Shiva is known as “The Destroyer” within the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity which also includes Brahma and Vishnu. Shiva is the Supreme Lord who creates, protects and transforms the universe.
In the goddess-oriented Shakta tradition, the Supreme Goddess (Devi) is regarded as the energy and creative power (Shakti) and the equal complementary partner of Shiva. Shiva has many aspects, benevolent as well as fearsome.
Even the Puranas and scriptures cannot describe the glory of Shiva. It is said that if any god has maximum number of temples in the world, then it is of Mahadev.
The temples of Mahadev have been recognized without grandeur. A proof of Shiva’s glory is obvious in a temple called Kathgarh in Himachal Pradesh.
Lord Shiva is incomplete without Adishakti Parvati. Shiv without Parvati is just like a dead body, only the mother Parvati completes him. That’s why Lord Shiva is called Ardhanarishwar.
You must have seen idols in many temples in the form of Ardhanarishwar, but today we are going to tell you about Ardhanarishwar Shivling.
Although Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh is famous for its natural beauty, however it is also famous for Kathgarh Mahadev temple in which the Shivling is divided into two parts.
One part of the Shivling is worshiped as Shiva and the other part as Maa Parvati. The fame and recognition of this temple has spread abroad.
Kathgarh’s Shiva Temple is special
Although, we have heard about the Ardhanarishwar avatar of Lord Shiva only in stories but in this Mahadev Temple located in Kangra, Lord Shiva is present in Ardhanarishwar form.
Kathgarh Mahadev Temple is the only temple in the world where the Shivling is divided into two parts i.e. half of Mahadev and the other half is of Parvati.
Here Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati are enshrined in the form of dark brown stone, in which the length of Lord Shiva is 7 to 8 feet and that of Mother Parvati is 5 to 6 feet.
It is said that the distance between the Shivling of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati keeps decreasing according to the constellations and they meet on the day of Mahashivaratri.
These idols of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati get connected and keeps on separating according to seasons.
The day of Mahashivratri is considered special in Kathgarh Mahadev Temple because on that day the stone form of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati becomes one.
The day of Mahashivaratri is also considered special because on this day the marriage of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati took place.
This is the reason why a huge fair is organized here on Mahashivratri. To see this miracle of Kathgarh Mahadev, there is an influx of devotees from far and wide.
History of Kathgarh Mahadev Temple
Although different stories of Kathgarh Mahadev are prevalent, but according to Shiva Purana, it is said that once there was a war between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu over their supremacy, in which they were using their divine weapons, which destroyed could have destroyed the entire creation.
Seeing this dreadful situation and to save the entire creation from destruction, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a fire-like Jyotirlinga and saved the entire creation from destruction by equating both the deities.
This fiery Jyotirlinga came to be known as Kathgarh Mahadev. It is said that this fiery Jyotirlinga appeared on the day of Shivratri, hence this stone form of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati becomes one on the day of Shivratri.
Story related to Maharaja Ranjit Singh
It is said about the Kathgarh temple that even the world champion Alexander was greatly influenced by this place. He got the land leveled here and built a boundary wall.
On the Beas-river side of this boundary wall, octagonal platforms were made, which are still here today. Later, when Maharaja Ranjit Singh took over the throne, he got the temple constructed here.
Devotees believe that the divine Shivalinga located here was revealed on Shivratri. That’s why both the parts of Shivling come closer and go away with the phases of the moon. Their meeting is considered to be the day of Shivratri.
This is the reason why a huge three-day fair is organized here every year on the occasion of Shivratri. During this, a large number of devotees reach the Kathgarh temple.
Indicator of the word Ardhanarishwar
Ardhanarishwar incarnation of Mahadev is indicative of combined form of Shiv and Shakti. This incarnation of Shiva gives the message of both men and women.
Women are as important as men in life. These two are incomplete without each other and complete each other.
Why did Shiva have to take the incarnation of Ardhanarishwar?
It has been said in the scriptures that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Ardhanarishwar as per his wish. There is a legend attached to this incarnation of God.
According to the Shiva Purana, when Lord Brahma created the universe, he initially created man, but expansion of the universe was not possible by the creation of man, so he decided to go to the shelter of Lord Shiva for the expansion of the universe, and he started doing harsh penance to please him.
As a result of many years of penance, Lord Shiva, being pleased with his penance, appeared in the form of Ardhanarishwar to Brahma and said that woman is the capital of power, without her the beginning and expansion of the universe cannot take place. Saying this, he appeared in his Ardhanarishwar form as a woman. Format separated.
Separating from Shiva’s body, Shakti Swarupa manifested a woman from the middle of both her eyebrows and from this the creation was able to proceed further.
Kathgarh Mandir Google map