Deoghar town, is in the northern part of Jharkhand, in north eastern India. It is a major rail and road junction and agricultural trade centre. An ancient town, it is famous for its group of 22 temples dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Siva (Shiva). Numerous Buddhist ruins are nearby.
The Ravenshwar Mahadeo- Mahatamya temple
Ravan, the stepbrother of Kuber and king of Lanka once realised that all his worldly possessions were useless until he did some godly things. He started "shodsopchar pujan" of lord Shiva. Lord Shiva allowed him to come over to Kailash. Later he did intense Tapsaya and made Lord Shiva happy. Lord agreed to allow him take Kamana Jyotirlinga to Lanka. Lord Shiva put only one condition that the linga shall get "sthapit" (established) at the same place where he shall put it down. Realising that Ravan will become invincible if he could take the Shiv Linga to Lanka, Goddess Parvati asked Ravana to take bath and do achaman (drinking some water) before touching the Shiv- Ling.
In the process Ganga, Jamuna etc rivers entered the stomach of Ravana. Meanwhile Lord Vishnu in the guise of Baiju waited for him on the way. Ravana had terrible urge to urinate but did not want to put the Shiv Ling down, as it shall then get established at that place itself. Seeing Baiju, however Ravana asked him to hold the Ling and went to urinate. He took a terrible long time to urinate and Baiju put the Shiv Ling down presumably after loosing patience. As per conditions of Lord Shiva the Jyotirlinga got established at that place itself and that's why the names - Baijnath dham, Baidyanath Dham, or Ravneshwar Mahadeo.
Although Ravana could not take the Shiv Linga to Lanka, he filled a well called Chandrakup with the holy waters of all important rivers. It is also said that Ravana was the first Kawarian who worshipped the lord with ganga-jal from Haridwar. The Shakti Pith at the main temple is called Hriday (heart) peeth. As per legend heart of Devi Sati fell here when Lord Shiva was moving with her body in trance and grief. It is said all desires in your heart gets fulfilled after worshipping the devi here.
Kanwar Yatra is also called Bam Bam Bole yatra the chant the trekkers make while walking. It is said persons of all age, sex, and even handicapped walk through this difficult trek with total faith on Shiva, called Baba here. Saffron is the dress colour of all trekkers. The trek starts from north flowing Ganga at Sultan Gunj (Bihar state-India) and ends at Babadham Devghar or Baidyanathdham.
Ones taking part in this yatra arrive at Sultangunj by Road or Train and then the route of the trek is as following:
Best time of visit
The most auspicious time is "shrawan" month, which coincides with July-August. Treks are usually taken up in rainy season. Trekking is for about 110 kM and is taken up in normally by walking barefoot with "kaanwar" (a bamboo rod with Gaga water in pots hanging from both ends). Some kaawanrias known as "Dak Bams" vow to do the walking without stopping in about 24 hours. They do it without kaanwar with a pot or 2 of Holy Ganga water. All have to walk bare foot i.e. without and foot-wear.
The rules to are be followed :-
Holy Ganga water is to be from North Flowing Ganga at Sultangunj. You can eat on way but wash hands and sprinkle ganga water (carried separately in a small pot for this purpose) over your body before lifting the kanwar. Rotate kawanr from one shoulder to other not from the front but behind you. Keep the Kanwar on the kanwar stands provided on the way not on ground. Sit always at level lower than the kanwar. Don't smoke, urinate or defecate near the kanwar. Take bath before touching the kanwar if you have slept, ate boiled rice or gone to toilet.
At Deoghar / Babadham
Please don't let ego take over you. It is Baba's grace you could perform the journey. You are required to take bath in Shivganga and then enter the mandir. After pujas by your Panda (Many pandas may ask you about your place of stay etc. they keep record for the same), you have to be in a queue to offer the "jal" to Lord Shiva. To avoid rush you may avoid reaching Babadham on Mondays or Purnima day etc. You may buy Khowa Peda and other goodies at Deoghar, and in any case first thing you shall buy shall be a footwear !