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A brief History of Babadham/ Deoghar and its importance


Origin of Jyotirlingam

The history of Babadham has been derived from various manuscripts and also the inscriptions at various places in the Temple area.

In the 8th century A.D., the last Gupta Emperor Adityasena Gupta ruled this region. The Babadham temple has been famous since then.

When Mugals began to rule India, the temple of Babadham was under their tributory rulers. The most important literary source on the history of medieval Babadham is Aine - Akbari. During Akbar's rule Man Singh was associated with Akbar's court. Man Singh remained attached to the Gidhaur dynasty for a long time and had contacts with a number of rulers of Bihar. Man Singh's brother, Bhan Singh was married to daughter of Puran Mal.

Man Singh's interest in Babadham seems to have been determined by his love for this holy shrine because he then got a tank excavated, which is today known as Mansarovar.

The Madan Madhavi, a manuscript preserved in the archives of Maharaja of Gidhaur, provides information related to the political and cultural history of Gidhaur Raj. It includes a description of Babadham as well.

Puran Mal's inscription proves his connection with the Babadham temple. An inscription on the Baidyanath temple states that he built it at the request of the priest Raghunath Ojha. Tradition relates that the inscription was forcibly put by Puran Mal, after he had the temple repaired, to mark his ownership of the surrounding land.

Raghunath Ojha was displeased with the inscription, but was unable to resist Puran Mal. Hence, after Puran Mal was gone, he had a porch created and therein set his own inscription. The legend states that the priest fasted for some days at the gate of Baidyanath who revealed to him in a dream that he should build a new porch and set up an inscription. But he claims the credit of having created the entire temple.

Pilgrimage to Baidyanath was well recognized in the Muslim period as well. There is an interesting account of the pilgrimage to Baidyanath in the Khulasati-t-twarikh written between 1695 and 1699 A.D.

 

The account runs thus:
In the district of Munger on the skirts of the hill, there is a place named the Jharkhand of Baijnath (Baidyanath) sacred to Mahadeva.

From the writings of Khulasati-t-twarikh it is evident that the importance of Babadham temple has been well admitted by all.

In the 18th century, the Maharaja of Gidhaur faced political turmoil. He had to fight against the Nababs of Birbhum. Under the Muhammadan government, the chief priest appears to have paid a fixed rent to the Nabab of Birbhum, and the administration of the temple seems to have been left entirely in the hands of the priest. For a few years the Nabab ruled over Babadham. Subsequently, the Maharaja of Gidhaur defeated the Nabab and Babadham was brought back under his rule till the East India Company came in.

In 1757 after the battle of Pallsy the officers of the East India Company paid their attention to this temple. An English man, Keating was sent to look at the administration of the temple. Mr. Keating, the first English collector of Birbhum, took interest in the administration of the temple. In 1788, under Mr. Keating's order Mr. Hesilrigg, his assistant, who was probably the first English man to visit the holy city, set out to supervise personally the collection of the pilgrim offerings and dues. Later, when Mr. Keating himself visited Babadham, he was convinced and forced to abandon his policy of direct interference. He handed over the full control of the temple to the hands of the high priest.

 

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