Bhairavnath Temple – Kikali

Bhairavnath Temple – Kikali

Located just north of the village of Kikali in Maharashtra, 15 km north of Satara, is the ancient Bhairavnath Temple. This monument is definitely off any tourist map, and indeed even in my quite extensive reference library at home and via the internet, I can find little information about it.

Front of Gateway to Bhairavnath Temple, Kikali
Back of Gateway to Bhairavnath Temple, Kikali

The highlight of my short visit to this temple was unquestionably The Hero Stones of Kikali, so much so that I’ve written a completely separate blog about them. Seeing those hero stones alone makes a trip to the Bhairavnath Temple well worthwhile.

Built during the Yadava period (12th – 14th century AD), this is one of only fourteen Bhairavnath Temples in the state of Maharashtra. Facing east, it conforms to the classic tridala plan of Indian temple architecture; the main and southern sanctums housing a shivalinga, the northern sanctum containing a sculpture of Bhairavnath.

What initially appears to be quite a plain temple is actually quite decorated within, with diamond and floral motifs along with scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Plus the odd splash of colour for good measure.

The main hall has an impressive Nandi, and outside there is a deepastambha (lamp post) and other subsidiary shrines, most of them in a ruined state.

It would seem that some effort occurred a few years ago to reconstruct the main temple, the clues are in the white numbering system written all over the stones as the giant jigsaw puzzle was reassembled. I never quite understand why this writing is not removed once the reconstruction is complete, but I guess it does at least give evidence to the fact that this event has occurred. The information plaque indicates that the temple was declared a monument of state importance in June 2000.

The entire complex is bounded by a perimeter wall, it is here that you will find those Hero Stones that I highly recommend visiting this site for.

My visit to Kikali was part of a day heritage tour of sites near Satara. My thanks goes to the co-organizers, Shantanu Paranjape and Anurag Vaidya from Pune who did an amazing job that day.

Unusually in front of the camera…Anurag (left), myself (middle), and Shantanu (right)

If you are planning on visiting the Bhairavnath Temple and Hero Stones at Kikali, here are two other nearby sites that are could be combined to offer a great day out of exploring :

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4 replies »

  1. Sir, it’s a beautiful article on Bhairava Temple. I am writing a blog in kannada on Kalabhairava. I’d like to put a Kannada translaction of this along with your pics in my blog with due credits. I may please be permitted. Thanks.


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