Thursday, June 28, 2007

BITHOOR

The town of Bithoor is a place of great antiquity. It is here that Brahma, the God of creation, performed the grate horse sacrifice for propagating the human race on earth. The story is told in the Puranas that the Lord Vishnu, after having created the earth, asked Brahma to create human beings to inhabit it. Thereupon Brahma brought certain Saints into existence, but they began to live a life of austerity and would not propagate their race. On the prayer of Brahma, the Lord Vishnu then advised him to perform a Yagna (sacrifice) and to perform it at the most sacred place on the earth - the forest of the name of Utpalaranyan. So, Brahma performed the Yagna here after installing the image of Lord Shiva and naming it Brahmeshawra Mahadeva. On the completion of Yagna Brahma created Swayambhuva Manu and his wife, Queen Satrupa through whom the world began to propagate.

At the place of yagna, Brahma also fixed a nail of the shoe of the sacrificial horse. Legend has it that the nail which is now seen embedded in one of the steps of the Brahmeshwara ghat in Bithoor is the original nail which, along with the temple of Brahmeshwara Mahadeva on the bank of river Ganga, commemorates the exact place of Brahma’s yagna.

On the completion of the yagna, the forest of Utpalaranyan became known as Brahmavarta from which the popular name Bithoor has been derived.

It is in Brahmavarta that the sage, Valmiki, the famous author of the Sanskrit Ramayan known after his name, has his hermitage. On that spot, which is on a high mound, there now stands ancient temple known as the Valmiki Temple. The temple was renovated and added to by Peshwa Baji Rao-II. In the premises of the temple there is a place called Sita Kund which is said to mark the spot where mother Sita had disappeared in the bosom of the Earth.

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