One of the largest Shiva Lingas in India and possibly in Asia is the Baba Bhusandeswar Temple located in the charming village of Bhograi in the coastal district of Balasore. This temple lies almost on the bank of the scenic Subarnarekha river also called Swarnarekha because of the traces of gold found on the river bed.
Legend has it that this massive Shiva Linga was worshipped by Parvathi Devi and gifted by Lord Shiva to his bhakta, Ravana who graciously accepted the blessing of his beloved Lord. Indra and the devas who witnessed this gesture of Lord Shiva were taken aback.
Ravana held the impressive Shiva Linga in his palms and set off in the Pushpaka Vimana. Though Ravana was physically strong and known for his tapobalam (strength of penance and austerities), the tapas shakti (force of penance and austerities) of the chaste Parvathi Devi was too overwhelming and immense for Ravana who soon began to feel the weight of the Shiva Linga.
Fatigued, Ravana decided to place the Shiva Linga on the ground and give his arms time to recover their strength. After resting for a little while, Ravana decided to continue on his journey and tried to lift the Shiva Linga but to his dismay, the Shiva Linga appeared to be immovable.
And, it remained this way for many centuries covered with dense foliage and under the protection of wildlife till a Marwadi businessman from Jaleswar dreamt about this Shiva Linga and came searching for it in the forest. Upon discovering this magnificent and rare Shiva Linga, he built a temple in accordance with the wishes of Lord Shiva.
This ancient Shiva Linga is 12 feet long and 14 feet wide carved out of a single black granite stone with only the upper and middle portion of the Linga visible. A large part of the Linga is believed to be buried and a Shakti peetam encircling the visible portion has been made. The middle portion is octagonal in shape about 12 feet in diameter and 4 feet in height which is most remarkable and unusual.
The priest has to climb up on a podium to reach the top of the Linga to perform the daily rites and rituals. It would appear while viewing the Shiva Linga from the top that the Linga leans slightly to the right.
This divine temple is situated in an isolated part of Balasore district and the serenity and stunning natural beauty of this picturesque village is captivating. Though this temple is small in size, it draws huge crowds on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)