Assam is loved by tourists mostly for its numerous national parks and awesome wildlife, along with vast tea gardens. However, the north eastern state is also home to several ancient and important pilgrimage spots. It has a number of ancient temples that have turned major pilgrimage destinations over the years. One such example is the Mahabhairav Temple of Tezpur. The grand temple, built to worship Lord Shiva, is located on a hillock.
History of the Mahabhairav temple
As per the folklore, the origin of Mahabhairav Temple is related to Hindu mythologies. It was supposedly built by son of Bali, King Bana-who was a demon monarch. The legends say this monarch introduced the norm of worshipping the Linga to pay homage to Shiva. The original temple was made of living stone. Historians think it was actually set up by the rulers of Salasthambha dynasty in 8th century AD. However, the temple was ravaged by a severe quake in 1897. After that it was rebuilt by a monk named Sri Swayambar Bharati, also called Naga Baba.
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The remnants of the original temple are still found in adjoining area in form of broken pillars. Later, a "Nat Mandir" was built close to the temple by another monk named Sri Mahadeo Bharati. Two statues of Hanuman and Ganesha were built at temple entrance later.
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Nuances of the Mahabhairav temple
The presiding deity of this ancient temple is Lord Mahabhairav, an incarnation of Shiva. The devotees visiting the temple are given Bhang Ladoo, which is said to be favorite delicacy of the deity. Every year, Shivaratri is celebrated with pomp and fanfare at this temple. Thousands of Shiva devotees throng the temple at that time. One unique aspect about the temple is that here pigeons are made free and they are offered to the temple. The freed birds do not fly away and they stay in the premises.
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Over the years, the Mahabhairav temple has become a major tourist destination and landmark in Tezpur. It is located in northern part of the historic city, encircled by greenery. Along with nearby attractions like Agnigarh, Bamuni Hills and Padum Pukhuri, the temple attracts thousands of tourists all over the year.