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Parshuram Temple At Nirmand – Himachal Pradesh

Parshuram Temple at Nirmand, the largest village in Himachal
Pradesh, is around 19 km from Rampur. The temple is dedicated to the
Parashurama avatar of Vishnu. This fort like temple was until 1886 CE, the site
of human sacrifice during the Bhunda festival, held every 12 years. Today a
goat is used instead, though local fascination with the heady tradition has not
lessened.

A solid wooden door leads into a grassy compound, known as
Parshuram kothi, with the main shrine towards the end and store rooms to the left.

There are some carvings on the compound walls, relief works
on its wooden balconies, and stone images of deities set outside the shrine,
but the temple is otherwise remarkably austere.

To the right of the entrance is a small hollow, called the
Pandava Gufa. It is believed that the Pandava brothers and their wife spent
part of the last year of their exile here.

The main murti of the temple is taken out only during the
Bhunda festival, was gifted by a king of Kashmir in 900 AD. The murti of
Parashurama has three heads, the central one with a diamond in its forehead. It
is kept in a store room along with treasures such as a 16 kg axe and jewelry.

Outside the pent roof, two storied compound there is a
smaller shrine to Bhairava, leaning against the walls of the larger temple.

It is during the Bhunda festival that the Parshuram Bhandar
is opened and the artistic wealth of the temple is displayed to the public. The
prized objects include a copper plate dating to the 6th-7th century A.D. and
the famous brass bust of Sujanu Devi. The inscription on the bust dates it to
1026 AD. Many stone sculptures dating back to the 6th-7th century have also
been discovered from the bhandar. Two of them, a stone sculpture and a stone
pillar, are displayed in the temple courtyard.

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