Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple in Bhimtal, Uttarakhand

Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscape of Bhimtal, Uttarakhand, lies the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple, a revered Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. Steeped in history, mythology, and serene beauty, the temple draws devotees and travelers alike, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the region. This article delves into the history, architecture, significance, and captivating aura of the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple.

Unveiling the Tapestry of History

The exact origins of the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple remain shrouded in some mystery. However, popular belief suggests it was built in the 17th century by King Baz Bahadur of the Chand dynasty, the rulers of Kumaon at the time.

Legends surrounding the temple add another layer of intrigue. The Skanda Purana, an ancient Hindu text, narrates that Bhima, the second Pandava brother from the epic Mahabharata, visited this region during their exile in the Himalayas. The place is believed to have been named Bhimtal after him, and the temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is said to have been built here.

Another legend associates the temple with Ravana, the ten-headed king from the Ramayana. It is said that Ravana, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, worshipped a Shiva lingam here. While the historical veracity of these legends remains debatable, they contribute to the temple’s mystique and its deep connection to Hindu mythology.

How to Reach Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple

By Air

The nearest airport to Bhimtal is Pantnagar Airport, located approximately 55 kilometers away. From Pantnagar, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Bhimtal. The airport has regular flights connecting major cities like Delhi. Once you reach Bhimtal, you can hire a local taxi or auto-rickshaw to reach the Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple.

By Train

The nearest railway station to Bhimtal is Kathgodam Railway Station, situated around 22 kilometers away. Kathgodam is well-connected to major cities like Delhi, Kolkata, and Lucknow. From Kathgodam, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Bhimtal. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the traffic and road conditions.

By Road

Bhimtal is well-connected by road to major cities in Uttarakhand and neighboring states. You can either drive to Bhimtal or take a bus from nearby cities like Nainital, Haldwani, or Kathgodam. The road journey offers scenic views of the Himalayan foothills and takes approximately 6-7 hours from Delhi.

Map of Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple

Architectural Splendor on the Shores of Bhimtal Lake

The Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple stands majestically on the banks of the pristine Bhimtal Lake. The architectural style of the temple reflects the Kumaoni tradition, characterized by its simplicity and elegance. Built with local grey stone, the temple complex comprises a central sanctum sanctorum, an antarala (vestibule), and a mandapa (hall).

The sanctum sanctorum houses the revered black stone idol of Lord Shiva, known as the Shiva lingam. The lingam is adorned with flowers and ornaments, a captivating sight for devotees. The walls of the sanctum sanctorum and the mandapa are adorned with intricate carvings depicting scenes from Hindu mythology, adding a touch of artistic and religious significance.

The temple complex also houses smaller shrines dedicated to other Hindu deities, including Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, and Lord Kartikeya. These additional shrines cater to the diverse devotional needs of the visitors.

The serene setting of the temple adds to its charm. The sparkling waters of Bhimtal Lake on one side and the lush Himalayan foothills on the other create a picture-perfect backdrop for this sacred space.

A Beacon of Faith and Cultural Significance

The Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple holds immense religious significance for Hindus, particularly devotees of Lord Shiva. Throughout the year, devotees throng the temple to seek blessings, offer prayers, and participate in various rituals.

The temple comes alive during the festival of Mahashivratri, celebrated annually in honor of Lord Shiva. Thousands of devotees converge on the temple grounds, participating in elaborate puja ceremonies, night-long prayers, and vibrant cultural performances.

Shravan Maas, a holy month in the Hindu calendar dedicated to Lord Shiva, also witnesses a surge in devotees visiting the temple. Special prayers and offerings are made during this period, and the temple atmosphere is filled with an air of piety and devotion.

Beyond its religious significance, the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple serves as a cultural hub for the local community. It is a place where people gather for social interaction, celebrate festivals, and pass down traditions to future generations. The temple also plays a role in promoting tourism in the Bhimtal region, attracting visitors interested in experiencing the rich cultural heritage of Uttarakhand.

A Journey to Experiencing the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple

  • Temple Timings – The temple is generally open from sunrise to sunset throughout the year. However, it is advisable to check with local sources for any specific timings during festivals or special occasions.
  • Dress Code – As with most Hindu temples, modest clothing that covers shoulders and knees is recommended.
  • Offerings – Devotees can offer flowers, fruits, and sweets to the deities.
  • Photography – Photography is usually permitted within the temple complex, but it’s always respectful to seek permission before taking pictures of devotees engaged in prayer.

A visit to the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple is not just about religious devotion; it is an experience for the soul. The serene ambiance, the captivating backdrop of the lake and mountains, and the vibrant atmosphere offer a sense of peace and tranquility.

Things to do in Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple

Admire the architecture

The Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple is a beautiful example of Kumaoni architecture. Take some time to appreciate the intricate carvings on the walls and the overall design of the temple complex.

Learn about the history and legends

The temple is steeped in history and mythology. Learn about the legends associated with Bhima and Ravana, and how the temple came to be built. You can also research the Kumaon dynasty, who are believed to have built the temple in the 17th century.

Relax by the Bhimtal Lake

The Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple is situated on the banks of the picturesque Bhimtal Lake. After offering your prayers, take a boat ride on the lake and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Explore the surroundings

The Bhimtal region offers a variety of activities for visitors. You can go for a trek in the hills, try your hand at mountain biking or rappelling, or simply relax and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

Beyond the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple Walls

The Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple experience extends beyond the walls of the sacred complex. Here’s how you can enrich your visit:

  • Exploring Bhimtal Lake – After seeking blessings at the temple, take a boat ride on the pristine Bhimtal Lake. Enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding hills and soak in the natural beauty.
  • Adventures in the Hills – Bhimtal offers a range of adventure activities like trekking, mountain biking, and rappelling. Explore the nearby hills and get an adrenaline rush amidst the stunning scenery.
  • Visiting Nearby Temples – The region boasts several other temples worth exploring. Mukteshwar Dham Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, offers breathtaking views from its hilltop location. Consider visiting Naina Devi Temple in nearby Nainital for a deeper dive into the region’s rich religious heritage.
  • Indulging in Local Delicacies – Savor the flavors of Kumaoni cuisine. Sample delicacies like Bhatt ki churma (made from fermented black lentils), Aloo curry (potato curry), and Siddu (steamed bread stuffed with lentils). Don’t miss the opportunity to try local Kumaoni sweets like Bal Mithai and Aapri.

Festivals and Cultural Immersion

Witnessing a festival at the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple is a truly immersive experience.

  • Mahashivratri – As mentioned earlier, Mahashivratri is the most prominent festival celebrated at the temple. Witness vibrant processions, night-long prayers, and a joyous atmosphere as devotees come together to celebrate Lord Shiva.
  • Baisakhi – This spring harvest festival is a joyous occasion marked by folk dances, music performances, and a display of colorful attires.
  • Navratri – During this nine-day festival, the temple celebrates the nine forms of Goddess Durga. Special pujas and prayers are held, and the temple is decorated with vibrant colors.

Sustainable Tourism Practices

When visiting the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple and its surroundings, be mindful of sustainable tourism practices:

  • Respect the Local Culture – Dress modestly and be respectful of local customs and traditions.
  • Minimize Waste – Carry reusable water bottles and avoid littering. Dispose of waste responsibly in designated bins.
  • Support Local Businesses – Opt for local homestays and shops to support the local economy.

Nearby Places to Explore in Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple

Bhimtal Lake

As mentioned earlier, Bhimtal Lake is a pristine lake located right next to the temple. You can take a boat ride on the lake, enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding hills, or simply relax by the waterfront.

Victoria Dam

The Victoria Dam is located on the outskirts of Bhimtal and offers stunning views of the lake and the valley below. You can take a walk along the dam wall and enjoy the scenic beauty.

Hanuman Garhi

This temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey god, is situated on a hilltop overlooking Bhimtal Lake. The temple offers panoramic views of the surroundings and is a popular spot for trekking enthusiasts.

Aquarium Island Cafe

The Aquarium Island Cafe is a unique cafe located on a small island in Bhimtal Lake offers a delightful experience. You can enjoy a meal while surrounded by an aquarium filled with colorful fish.

Hidimba Parvat

This mountain offers a challenging trek for those seeking adventure. The trek leads to a cave temple dedicated to Hidimba Devi, a character from the Mahabharata epic. The views from the top of the mountain are truly rewarding.


This popular hill station is located about 34 km from Bhimtal. Nainital is known for its picturesque lake, colonial architecture, and scenic beauty. You can enjoy boating on the lake, explore the bustling markets, or take a cable car ride to enjoy panoramic views of the Himalayas.

Mukteshwar Dham Temple

Mukteshwar Dham Temple is located at an altitude of 2312 meters, this temple dedicated to Lord Shiva offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The temple is a popular pilgrimage destination and is known for its peaceful atmosphere.

Jim Corbett National Park

If you are interested in wildlife, then a visit to Jim Corbett National Park is a must. This park is home to a variety of animals, including tigers, elephants, and leopards. You can go on a jeep safari or an elephant safari to explore the park’s rich biodiversity.


The Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple is a captivating blend of history, spirituality, and breathtaking natural beauty. It offers a glimpse into the cultural heart of Uttarakhand and provides a haven for those seeking peace and spiritual connection.

So, pack your bags, embrace the serenity of the Himalayas, and embark on a journey to the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple. It’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression on your soul.

FAQs about Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple

1. What is the significance of the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple?

The Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple holds immense spiritual significance for devotees, as it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that the temple was built by Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers from the epic Mahabharata, during their exile period. Worshipping Lord Shiva at this sacred site is believed to bestow blessings and fulfill the desires of devotees.

2. What are the temple timings and entry fees?

The Bhimeshwara Mahadev Temple is usually open to visitors from early morning until late evening. While there is no entry fee to visit the temple, donations are welcome for its maintenance and upkeep. It’s advisable to check the exact timings before planning your visit, as they may vary depending on the season and any ongoing festivals or rituals.

3. Are there any festivals celebrated at the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple?

Yes, several festivals and religious ceremonies are celebrated at the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple throughout the year. The most prominent among them is Maha Shivaratri, which is celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm. During this festival, the temple comes alive with devotional songs, prayers, and rituals, attracting devotees from far and wide to participate in the festivities.

4. Is there accommodation available near the temple?

Yes, there are several accommodation options available near the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple to suit different budgets and preferences. Visitors can choose from hotels, guesthouses, resorts, and homestays located in Bhimtal and its surrounding areas. It’s recommended to book your accommodation in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure a comfortable stay.

5. What are some nearby attractions to visit along with the Bhimeshwar Mahadev Temple?

Bhimtal and its surrounding areas are blessed with natural beauty and cultural heritage, offering plenty of attractions for visitors to explore. Some nearby places of interest include Bhimtal Lake, Naukuchiatal Lake, Sattal Lake, Hidimba Parvat, and Garg Parvat. Additionally, travelers can also visit the famous hill station of Nainital, which is just a short drive away from Bhimtal.

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