Baijnath is a town in Kangra
district of Himachal Pradesh
. It is about 50 kilometres from Dharamshala
which is the district headquarters.The very famous ancient temple of Lord Shiva (Baijnath) is situated here which is believed to be one of twelve jyotirlingas according to popular legends also giving the town its name .
Baijnath is famous for its 13th century temple dedicated to Shiva as Vaidyanath, ‘the Lord of physicians’. Originally known as Kiragrama, the town lies on the Pathankot-Mandi
highway (National Highway No. 20) almost midway between Kangra and Mandi. The present name Baijnath became popular after the name of the temple. The town is located on the left bank of the river Binwa, a corrupt form of ancient Binduka, a tributary of River Beas
The main attraction of Baijnath is an ancient temple of Shiva. Neighbouring towns are Palampur
Kangra and Joginder Nagar in Mandi district. According to the legend, it is believed that during the Treta Yug, Ravana in order to have invincible powers worshiped Lord Shiva in the Kailash. In the same process, to please the almighty he offered his ten heads in the havan kund. Influenced by this extra ordinary deed of the Ravana, the Lord Shiva not only restored his heads but also bestowed him with powers of invincibility and immortality.
On attaining this incomparable boon, Ravana also requested Lord Shiva to accompany him to Lanka. Shiva consented to the request of Ravana and converted himself into Shivling. Then Lord Shiva asked him to carry the Shivling and warned him that he should not place the Shivling down on the ground on his way. Ravana started moving south towards Lanka and reached Baijnath where he felt the need to answer the nature’s call. On seeing a shepherd, Ravana handed over the Shivling to him and went away to get himself relieved. On finding the Shivling very heavy, the shepherd put the linga on the ground and thus the Shivling got established there and the same is in the form of Ardhnarishwar (God in form of Half Male & Half Female). In the town of Baijnath, Dussehra festival in which traditionally the effigy of the Ravana is consigned to flames,celebrated all over the country is not celebrated as a mark of respect to the devotion of Ravana towards Lord Shiva. Another interesting thing about the town of Baijnath is that there are no shops of goldsmiths here .
Besides the main temple there are several other shrines which are of equal importance for the local residents. Some of them are Mukut Nath temple at Sansal (6 km)and the Mahankal Temple on Chobin Road. The town offers splendid views of the Dhauladhar
Ranges and numurous mountain streams.
Tibetan Monasteries at Sherabling (Bhattu)(5 km),Chauntra
and Chowgan on the Mandi Highway and at Bir
(14 km). Billing(28 km) is an international paraglding site which is considered as one of the best in the World
for paragliding and other aerosports .The site has been the host to international events such as the Paragliding Pre-World Cup multiple times and other national and international events.