Chandigarh, 3rd March, 2010.: BHIMA DEVI TEMPLE site located about 100 m from Yadvendra Garden or the Mughal Garden in Pinjore and was done up by the Hayana Tourism Corporation as an exquisite museum has been awarded the prestigious “Best Maintained Tourist Friendly Monument” by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Mrs. Keshni Anand Arora, Financial Commissioner & Principal Secretary Tourism, Haryana received the award that was handed over by the Vice President of India in a well attended function in Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi on 3rd March, 2010.
The remains of the Temple now preserved in the museum has been dated to circa 9-11th Century A.D. The name of the town Pinjore itself seems to be derived from the ancient name, that Alexander Cunningham, during his explorations in 1878-79, found in a 27-line inscription of 10th Century A.D., mentioning Panchpura as the name of this place. The name Pinjore also appears to be based on the myth that the Pandavs had stayed here during the course of their exile. Later on, the inhabitants also called this place Bhima Nagar – after a much revered local temple that came to be located at this ancient site. These evidences suggest that the ancient site of Panchpura and Bhima Nagar must have been a place of considerable importance between 9th and 13th century A.D. Evidences further suggest that the ancient temple site of Bhima Devi was systematically demolished repeatedly possibly by the contemporary Muslim invaders with the last blow coming when Aurangzeb reigned. The adjoining Mughal garden was possibly constructed using the rubbles of the temple. As a result of the scientific clearance of the site, three stone plinths of a prominent ancient temple have come to the daylight along with a good number of beautiful sculptural and architectural remnants. The presence of these three plinths indicates that the temple was built in the ‘Panchayatan’ style of temple architecture. Panchayatan means a group of five temples with a main shrine in the centre and four sub-shrines at the each cardinal direction.
The architectural remnants and other fragmentary pieces like chaitya windows, Bhadramukha, miniature turrets, the scouting figures on the brackets of the pillars, etc. indicate that the temple might have been built in the then prevailing north Indian style of temple architecture. Some of the sculptures in the remnants carry striking resemblance with those found at Khajuraho. The deities are related to the Shiva cult leading to the presumption that the temple was dedicated to Lord Shiva. Interior of the temple possibly remained simple in striking contrast to the profuse carving and decoration on the exterior. The outer walls of the temple were decorated with the sculptures of the gods and goddesses along with the depiction of social life. A large number of sculptures depicting Shiva and Parvati, Agni, Varun, Surya, Vishnu, Ganesha, Kartikeya has also been found on this site. The other decorative patterns include social preferences; floral designs; animal motifs; musicians and erotic scenes, etc. A few notable stone inscriptions have also been found at this site linking it with the name of Raja Ram Dev, possibly a local king of repute who patronized this temple.
The excavated remains of this temple have been organized in a nicely constructed indoor museum adjoining a big and attractively landscaped lawn serving as the outdoor museum by the Haryana Tourism Corporation at a cost of about Rs. 2.5 crores. The entire premises has been very artistically decorated and illuminated by a large array of modern lighting gadgets as well making it very live and vibrant during night as well. It is this site which has been adjudged as the “Best Maintained Tourist Friendly Monument” on a national basis.