Bijli Mahadev, the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located across the river Beas, at some ten kilometers distance from Kullu. It is adorned with a staff that is sixty feet high and is visible from near by Kullu and Parvati valleys also. This sparkling temple has excellent view from near by mountains. Bijli Mahadev temple is called the ‘Temple of Lightening’ as it is believed that its staff attracts divine blessings, in the form of lightening, from presiding deity Lord Shiva.
According to a legend, Maharishi Vashishta prayed to Lord Rudra to absorb the excessive electric current within himself. Lord Rudra acceded to his request and absorbed the electricity current, saving humankind. The incident is believed to have taken place at the confluence of Parvati and Beas rivers. Later, a temple was erected at the sight, in commemoration of the event. A stone phallus was enshrined inside the temple and named as Bijleshwar Mahadev or Bijli Mahadev.
In another anecdote, after every 2 years, there is a frightful lightning and the ‘lingam’ gets reduced to pieces. It is believed that Lord Shiva absorbs the energy discharged from the atmosphere and saves the world. After the incident, the temple priest collects all those pieces and puts them into satto and butter. The image is restored to its original oneness until another similar flash repeats the miracle and in this way, the cycle goes on.
The work of resetting the ‘lingam’ is carried out in secrecy by the temple pujaris and the temple employees. The doorframes of Bijli Mahadev Temple have delicate and superb carvings. Two Nandis or bulls face the temple door. The big wooden pole of deodar, on the ground of the temple, is believed to receive the first brunt of the electric shock. Thousands of travelers gather at this place every year, for a fair held in the month of ‘Shravan’.