The Bheema temple in Pinjore.

Besides its rich cultural and historical base, the town is known for the Yadavindra Mughal gardens, which remain a piece de resistance, with the distant awe-inspiring hills adding to the ambience.
Known as a temple town, it was dotted with nearly 360 temples and shrines and alt an equal number of traditional bawris (water tanks), some of which became victims of the vagaries of time and iconoclast Mughal marauders who razed these relics to rubble.
The Bheema Devi temple, a rare architectural marvel, now in ruins, is a grim reminder of the bygone era of the wanton loot and bloodletting India has gone through.
Close to the Yadavindra Mughal gardens, the Bheema Devi temple, a winsome blend of medieval art and architecture, has been witness to trying times. The defaced stone images of the Hindu gods that once adorned the walls of the sanctum sanctorum are scattered amid weeds. Devotees from distant parts of the country have to offer obeisance to the "goddess in exile" at a temple-like structure housing the stone images of the goddess, with the sky as the roof. Nearby is a bawri, which has been reduced to a mere puddle of slush. A Herculean effort on part of the Archaeological Survey of India, in tandem with the state, has saved this treasure-trove from slipping into obscurity.

A huge Shivalinga and many a disfigured image of Shiva-Parvati found from the site give credence to the belief that the temple was devoted to Shiva. A minuscule replica of the temple has also been placed here for public viewing. The outer walls of the temple were adorned with beautifully carved stone images of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Bhairon, and some local deities.

It is said that Pinjore, also known as Bheema Nagar, drew its name from Bheema, one of the Pandavas, who chanced upon this place towards the end of agyatvas. According to the scriptures, it was named Panchpur.
Till 1974, the temple remained unnoticed. It was only when the Archaeological Survey of India started excavating it that a rich haul of rare stone icons of the contemporary Panchayatan genre, from the 9th and 11th centuries, was discovered.

The engravings found during the excavations testify that the temple was built during the reign of King Ramdev circa 606 AD. However, the images and manuscripts found from the site date back to 1199 A.D. Documented in chaste Devanagri script and Sanskrit, these engravings provide significant inputs regarding the raising of the temple.

Since the medieval times and the beginning of the 13th century, Pinjore became a spiritual and cultural hub. This is corroborated by the account of travels of Al Beruni (1030 AD) in his memoirs. The rare collection of these relics lies safe with the Department of Archaeological Survey of India and Haryana?s Museum of Art Gallery at Chandigarh and the Department of Ancient History, Culture and Archaeology, Kurukshetra University at Kurukshetra.

The state government is trying to preserve these findings. A museum, in a typical Panchayatan tradition, is being constructed in the vicinity of these wonders in stone? which would showcase these relics. It has also drawn up an ambitious plan to give the entire area a facelift and connect it with Yadavindra Gardens to exploit the tourism potential of the area.

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