a matter of fact, Deoghar is a far bigger and more important town than Dumka, the district
headquarters. Deoghar or Devagriha has a large number of temples within the circumference
of a few miles. The temple of Baidyanath or Shiva is the most important of all the temples
and attracts a large number of pilgrims all the year round.
There are three important fairs, namely, Shri
Panchmi mela held in January, Shivaratri mela held in March and the Bhadra Purnima mela
held in September. Shivaratri mela is attended by about one- lakh visitors in the course
of afortnight. A number of lodging houses is available for pilgrims. The Pandas or the
priests have also a large number of rented houses of their own where the pilgrims stay
usually for one day.
The legends about the Shiva temple are various. One legend
is that in the Treta Yuga the demon Ravana, king of Lanka (Ceylon), propitiated Lord
Mahadeva and wanted him to come over to Lanka. Mahadeva did not agree to this prayer but
told Ravana that one of the twelve emblems of His divinity, Jyotirlinga, would be quite as
effective as His presence and that he might take it away on the condition that there
should be no break in the journey and the lingam would not be deposited anywhere on the