Bhima Devi Temple, Pinjore

Location -: Pinjore, District : Panchkula

Situation -: About 10 kms. from Yadavindra Gardens, Pinjore.

Under protection of -: Haryana Government

Period -: Circa 9th-11th century AD

History and description -: Alexander Cunningham, during his explorations in 1878-79, found in 27-line inscription of 10th century AD mentioning Panchapura from which modern name Pinjore is derived. The mention of Panchpura in the Handi stone inscriptions (1167 AD) also seem to refer to this place. The name Pinjore also appears to be based on the myth that the Pandavas had stayed here during the course of their exile. Later on, this place also came to be known as Bhima Nagar-- after a much revered local temple that came to be created at this ancient site. These evidences suggest that the ancient site of Panchapura and Bhima Nagar must have been a place of considerable importance between 9th to 12th century AD. Evidences further suggest that the ancient temple site of Bhima Devi was systematically demolished repeatedly possibly by the contemporary Muslim invaders with the last blow coming when Aurangzeb reigned. The adjoining Mughal Garden was possibly built using the rubble of the temple.

As a result of scientific clearance at the site, three stone plinths of a prominent ancient temple have come to light along with a number of beautiful sculptural and architectural remnants. The presence of these three plinths indicates that the temple was built in the 'Panchayatan' style of temple architecture. Panchayatan means a group of five temples with a main shrine in the centre and four sub shrines at the each cardinal direction.

The architectural remains included chaitya windows, bhadramukha, miniature turrets, the scouting figures on the brackets of pillars, etc. indicate that the temple might have been built in the then prevailing in North Indian style of temple architecture. Some of the sculptures in the remnants carry striking resemblance with those found at Khajuraho. The deities are related to the Shiva cult leading to the presumption that the temple was dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Interior of the temple possibly remained simple and striking in contrast to the profuse carving and decoration on the exterior.

The outer walls of the temple were decorated with the sculptures of the Gods and Goddesses. A large number of sculptures depicting Shiva and Parvaati, Agni, Varuna, Surya, Vishnu, Ganesha, Kartikeya were also found on this site. The other decorative patterns included social performances, floral designs, animal motifs, musicians and erotic scenes etc. A few notable stone inscriptions have also been found at this site linking it with the name of Raja Rama Deva, possibly a local king of repute, who patronized this temple.

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