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Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple In Sikkim

Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple In Sikkim

The Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple in Sikkim is one of the many hidden gems the state has. Also referred to as the Shiva Temple or Shiv Mandir of Legship, the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple has many stories attached to its presence. On my previous visit to Legship, I had to visit this miraculous temple that the locals of Sikkim had told me about. 

In this blog, I share my experience of the time I visited the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple in Sikkim and all the stories that I have heard about the place.

Location Of The Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple

The Kirateshwar Shiva Mandir is located in Legship. Legship is a small town in Gyalshing district of the Indian State of Sikkim. The temple is located in this village and built on the banks of the beautiful Rangit River. To reach the temple, devotees have to use the foot suspension bridge. This Shiv temple in Legship is visited by people from all across the state in large numbers.

How To Reach Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple

If you are planning on going to Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple, you have to reach Legship. Legship is considered as the gateway to the Gyalshing City and is easily accessible by road. It is located around 15 kilometers from Geyzing.

Road from Siliguri To Gangtok

The most convenient way to reach Legship is to first come to Gangtok and then from there you can hire a private taxi or a shared one to reach the town. The distance from Gangtok to Legship is approximately 110 kilometers. You can also use the state buses to reach Legship and then finally travel to Kirateshwar Temple.

What Is The Main Attraction Of Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple

If you are traveling to Sikkim in the months of November – December, mark your dates and do not miss an opportunity to visit the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple during the Bala Chaturdasi. You are guaranteed to get a different experience during this time of the year. The festival of Bala Chaturdashi in this Shiva Temple in Legship is the main attraction of the temple.

You can also visit this temple during Shivratri also known as “Maha Shivaratri” if you are traveling to Sikkim during the months of February or March. Many other temples dedicated to Lord Rama and Durga can be found in Legship. Legship has thus become one of the important pilgrimage destinations for Hindus in Sikkim.

Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple Architecture

Here’s an overview of the architecture and features of the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple:

Architectural Style

  1. Himalayan Influence: The architecture of Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple showcases a blend of traditional Himalayan styles, reflecting the local culture and religious practices.
  2. Pagoda Style: The temple features a pagoda-style roof, a common characteristic in Himalayan temple architecture. This tiered structure not only adds to the aesthetic appeal but also has practical benefits, such as shedding heavy snowfall.

Structural Elements

  1. Main Shrine: The main sanctum houses the Shiva Linga, the primary object of worship. The sanctum is often simple, focusing on the divine presence rather than elaborate decoration.
  2. Mandap (Hall): The temple has a spacious mandap or prayer hall where devotees gather for rituals and ceremonies. This area is typically open and airy, facilitating the flow of air and light.
  3. Entrance and Courtyard: The temple usually features a grand entrance leading into a courtyard, where various smaller shrines dedicated to other deities might be located. These courtyards are often used for community gatherings and festivals.

Decorative Elements

  1. Intricate Carvings: The temple walls and pillars are adorned with intricate carvings and motifs depicting various aspects of Hindu mythology, particularly scenes related to Lord Shiva.
  2. Sculptures: Statues and sculptures of different deities, mythological figures, and animals are placed around the temple premises, adding to its spiritual ambiance.
  3. Prayer Flags: Reflecting the syncretism of Hindu and Buddhist practices in the region, the temple surroundings often feature colorful prayer flags that are commonly seen in Himalayan religious sites.

Materials Used

  1. Local Stone and Wood: The primary materials used in constructing the temple are locally sourced stone and wood. These materials are chosen for their durability and ability to withstand the harsh mountain climate.
  2. Metal Elements: Metal is used in various elements of the temple, including the roof finials, door frames, and other decorative details, often featuring intricate craftsmanship.

Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple Information

The Kirateshwar Mahadev Mandir has many mythological episodes of the Mahabharata attached to it. It is said and referred that whoever worships here in this temple gets virtues of two lifetimes. The temple is believed to be among the oldest temples in the state. The Kirateshwar temple has many mentions in the Indian Scriptures and the fact that the temple has three platforms, one for Shiva, one for Ram and another for Goddess Durga, adds up to its spiritual value.

Kirateshwar Shiva Temple, Sikkim
Kirateshwar Shiva Temple, Sikkim

Best Time To Visit Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple

As mentioned above, the Bala Chaturdashi is a major event of the Kirateshwar Temple. I, thus, feel that the months of November – December are the best time to visit the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple. The place will be decorated like a newly wed bride during this time of the year. 

The later part of the month of February and the beginning of March would be another great time to visit the Kirateshwar temple because of the festival of Mahashivratri, celebrated in the entire country. The festival is related to Lord Shiva which automatically makes the Shiv Temple in Legship a place to visit during this time. 

Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple History and Local Beliefs

According to the Indian mythology and scriptures, Lord Shiva appeared before Arjuna after being pleased with Arjuna’s meditation and devotion in the exact spot where the Mahadev Temple is built. Lord Shiva appeared before Arjuna as a hunter named Kirateshwar or Lord of the Kiratas and gave him the blessing of success in the war of Mahabharata.

Long time ago, the local people of Legship miraculously found a ‘Shiva Ling’. The said Shiv Ling is the main point of worship in the temple. The locals believe that the temple fulfills one’s wishes, specially, if one wishes for a son or daughter or peace, harmony and good health.

The Kirateshwar temple is also widely visited because the premises of the temple has three separate platforms to pray to Goddess Durga, Lord Rama and Lord Shiva. It is believed by locals that the Kirateshwar Mahadev is the oldest temple in the state. This sacred temple is also mentioned in the Mahabharata because of its role in the epic battle.

FAQs Related To Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple

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

The Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple is a significant Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva, believed to be where Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a hunter (Kirata) to bless Arjuna.

2. Where is the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple located?

The temple is located in the Legship area of West Sikkim, India, on the banks of the Rangit River.

3. What is the historical background of the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

The temple is rooted in the legend from the Mahabharata where Lord Shiva blessed Arjuna, bestowing upon him the Pashupatastra. It is believed to have ancient origins, with its current structure established and maintained over centuries.

4. What festivals are celebrated at the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

The temple is particularly famous for the Maha Shivaratri and Bala Chaturdashi festivals, which draw large numbers of devotees.

5. Are there any other deities worshiped at the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

Yes, apart from Lord Shiva, the temple complex also houses shrines dedicated to Lord Rama and Goddess Durga.

6. What are the visiting hours for the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

The temple is generally open to devotees from early morning until late evening, though exact hours may vary.

7. Is there an entry fee for the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

No, there is no entry fee for visiting the temple.

8. What is the best time to visit the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

The best time to visit is during the festivals of Maha Shivaratri and Bala Chaturdashi or during the cooler months from October to April.

9. How can one reach the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

The temple can be accessed via road from various parts of Sikkim. The nearest major town is Geyzing, and the nearest airport is Bagdogra in West Bengal. 

10. Are there any special rituals performed at the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

Special pujas and aartis are conducted daily, with grand rituals during major festivals. Devotees also perform Jal Abhishek, offering water to the Shiva Lingam.

11. Is photography allowed inside the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

Photography policies can vary, so it’s best to check with temple authorities on arrival. Generally, photography of the inner sanctum is restricted.

12. What facilities are available for visitors at the Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple?

Basic facilities such as restrooms, drinking water, and a resting area are available. Additionally, nearby shops and eateries provide refreshments and religious offerings.

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