Bagnath temple is an ancient and one of the most important Hindu temples in Uttarakhand. Perched at the height of 1,004 m (3,294 ft), the shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated in Bageshwar near the confluence of Gomti and Sarayu rivers. The town of Bageshwar gets its name from Bagnath Temple.
History of Bagnath Temple:
The temple was built by a ruler of Kumaon region named Laxmi Chand in 1450. Although some sources state that the existence of Bagnath temple is since 7th Century. Built in South Indian architectural style, the temple is mentioned in “Skanda Purana”.
Mythology of Bagnath Temple:
According to a legend Lord Shiva was seen as a tiger at this place, hence the temple was named as Bagnath. “Bag” means tiger. The temple attracts lots of devotees on the occasion of Shivratri and Makar Sankranti. It is believed that Sage Markandeya worshipped Lord Shiva here.
Fairs and Festivals in the Temple:
The temple hosts a huge fair of ‘Uttarayani’ on the occasion of Makar Sankranti in the month of January every year. This fair is noted by holy bathing at the confluence of Gomti and Saryu river in the dawn. After the holy bath, the water is offered on the Shivalinga inside the Baghnath temple. People continue this ritual of the holy bath for three days. This is known as ‘Trimaghi’.