Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh
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|• Zonal Headquarters||Mandi|
|Elevation||673 m (2,208 ft)|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|Vehicle registration||HP 23,24,69|
Bilaspur was the capital of a state founded in the 7th century, and known as Kahlur after its earlier capital, or as Bilaspur after its later capital. The ruling dynasty were Chandela Rajputs, who claimed descent from the rulers of Chanderi in present-day Madhya Pradesh. The town of Bilaspur was founded in 1663. The state later became a princely state of British India, and was under the authority of the British province of Punjab.
On May 13, 1665, Guru Tegh Bahadur went to Bilaspur to attend the mourning for Raja Dip Chand of Bilaspur. The Dowager Rani Champa of Bilaspur offered to give the Guru a piece of land in her state. The Guru bought the site on payment of Rs 500 (Five Hundred Rupees). The land consisted of the villages of Lodhipur, Mianpur and Sahota. Here on the mound of Makhowal, Guru Tegh Bahadur raised a new habitation. The ground was broken on June 19, 1665, by Baba Gurditta Randhawa. The new village was named after the Guru's mother, Nanaki. Chakk Nanaki later became famous as Anandpur Sahib.
In 1932 state was made part of the newly created Punjab States Agency, and in 1936 the Punjab Hill States Agency was separated from the Punjab States Agency. India became independent in 1947, and on 12 October 1948 the ruler, HH Raja Sir Anand Chand, acceded to the Government of India. Pandit Sant Ram was the last Home Minister of the state. As Bilaspur acceded to India on 12 October 1948, Pandit Sant Ram administered the state's accession ensuring that Bilaspur retained an independent identity as a separate province and in 1950 as a part C state while the territory of the princely state was politically integrated into the Indian Union.
Bilaspur became a separate state of India under a chief commissioner, and on 1 July 1954 Bilaspur State was made a district of Himachal Pradesh state by an act of the Indian Parliament. The historic town was submerged in 1954 when the Sutlej River was dammed to create the Govind Sagar, and a new town was built upslope of the old.
Most of the Rajputs in Bilaspur are chandias, that is they belong to different branches of the ruling family. These families are numerous, and all enjoyed jagir pensions from state amounting in aggregate to Rs. 40,000 a year in 1933. They are called 'the Mian families', and the chief names are: Ajmerchandia, Kaliyanchandia, Tarachandia and Sultanchandia.
Bilaspur is located at  It has an average elevation of 673 metres (2208 feet).It lies at foot of Bandla Hills. It lies near the reservoir of Govind Sagar on the Sutluj River. It is first major town after entering himachal on way to manali..
It is hot in summer as it is situated in valley at lower altitude while surrounding mountains top experience pleasant weather and cold in winters. Monsoon brings plenty of rain from July to September. Best time to visit is October to November, during this time Lake is completely full and weather is also pleasant. Hottest months are May and June when temperature usually hover around 37-38 degree Celsius and sometimes for few days jumping to above 40 degree Celsius, although unlike North Indian Plains nights are comparatively cooler and comfortable.
As of 2001[update] India census, Bilaspur had a population of 13058. Males constitute 56.25% of the population and females 43.75%. Bilaspur has an average literacy rate of 91%, higher than the national average of 74.04%.10.74% of the population is under 6 years of age. Most of people live in villages and are agrarian in addition to working for government.
|Rank||Language in Bilaspur district||1981 census|
Buses are the only mode of public transport to the district, and are available from all major towns within the state as well as from those outside it. Bilaspur lies on National Highway -21 also known as Chandigarh-Manali NH-21 highway. It is 86 kilometers away from Shimla, the state capital and 405 kilometers from Delhi. Nearest major airport with daily scheduled flights from major airports of India is in Chandigarh which is 141 kilometers away. Manali, a major tourist attraction in Himachal Pradesh is located 195 kilometers from Bilaspur. Mandi 70 kilometers away is another major town nearby and contains the Zonal headquarters of the district. Most of long route buses are run by state owned HRTC and local routes are covered by private bus operators.
- Naina Devi Temple: The Temple of Shri Naina Devi Ji is situated on a hilltop in the Bilaspur Distt. of Himachal Pradesh in India.The temple is connected with National Highway No. 21. The temple at the top of the hill can be reached via road (that curves round the hill up to a certain point) and then by concrete steps (that finally reach the top). There is also a cable car facility that moves pilgrims from the base of the hill all the way to the top.
The hills of Naina Devi overlook the Gobind Sagar lake. The lake was created by the Bhakra-Nangal Dam.
Several mythological stories are associated with the establishment of the temple.
According to a legend, Goddess Sati burnt herself alive in Yagna, which distressed Lord Shiva. He picked the corpse of Sati on his shoulder and started his Tandava dance. This horrified all deities in the heaven as this could lead to holocaust. This urged Lord Vishnu to unleash his Chakra that cut the Sati’s body into 51 pieces. Shri Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes of Sati fell down.
Another story related to the temple is of a Gujjar Boy . Once he was grazing his cattle and observed that a white cow is showering milk from her udders on a stone. He saw the same thing for next several days. One night while sleeping, he saw Goddess in her dreams who told him that the stone is her Pindi. Naina told about the entire situation and his dream to Raja Bir Chand. When Raja saw it happening in reality, he built a temple on that spot and named the temple after Naina’s name.
Shri Naina Devi Temple is also known as Mahishapeeth because of defeat of demon Mahishasur by the Goddess. According to the legends, Mahishasur was a powerful demon who was blessed by the boon of immortality by Lord Brahma, but the condition was that he could be defeated only by an unmarried woman. Due to this boon, Mahishasur started spreading terror on Earth and Gods. To cope with the demon, all Gods combined their powers and created a Devi to defeat him. The Devi was gifted different types of weapons by all Gods. When Mahishasur got mesmerized by the immense beauty of Devi and proposed her to marry him. Devi told him that she will marry him if he would overpower her. During the battle, Devi defeated the demon and took out both his eyes. This urged Gods to happily applaud "Jai Naina" and hence the name.
- Gobind Sagar
- Rukmani Kund: Probably one of the most beautiful under rock water body in the region. This place too has a rich history. It can be accessed by taking Bhager-Gehrwin route via Hirapur.
- Bhakar Dam: Bhakra Dam is a concrete gravity dam across the Satluj River in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh in northern India.
The dam, located at a gorge near the (now submerged) upstream Bhakra village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh of 226 m. India's tallest dam is "tehri dam "of 265 m. The length of the dam (measured from the road above it) is 518.25 m and the width is 9.1 m. Its reservoir known as "Gobind Sagar" stores up to 9.34 billion cubic metres of water. The 90 km long reservoir created by the Bhakra Dam is spread over an area of 168.35 km2. In terms of quantity of water, it is the third largest reservoir in India, the first being Indira Sagar Dam in Madhya Pradesh with capacity of 12.22 billion cu m and second Nagarjunasagar Dam. Described as "New Temple of Resurgent India" by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, the dam attracts tourists from all over India. Bhakra dam is 15 km from Nangal city and 20 km from Naina Devi town.
- Nahar Singh Dhaulra : The temple of Baba Nahar Singh exists at Dholra in the Bilaspur Town. The people all over Bilaspur worship Baba Nahar Singh. Baba is also known as ‘Bajia’, ‘Peepal Wala’, ‘Dalian Wala’. Baba ji is known as apparent (Prtyaksh) god. Baba Nahar Singh was the god of Naggar the capital of Kullu Riyasat. Raja Deep Chand (1650-1665) of Bilaspur married princess of Kullu Lai Dei (she is now known as Naggar Dei also). When the princess now known as Rani of Bilaspur reached Bilaspur she had frequent attacks of unconsciousness. The devoted persons of Bilaspur tried to find out the reason for this. They all came to the conclusion that Baba Nahar Singh has accompanied Rani and the god needs to be established with all religious rituals. Raja Deep Chand did the same and established the god in Dholra. ‘Kharaun’ (the wooden slippers) of Baba Nahar singh symbolizes him and are placed in the temple. In the month of ‘Jeth’ (mid May to mid June) on every Tuesday fairs are organized in the temple.
- Bandla Hills: Famous for paragliding.
- Vyaas Gufa: The oldest and the most famous religious place which lies on the left bank of river Satluj. It is about 610 m above sea level. It is situated between the old and new Bilaspur Township. There is a common belief that Vyas Rishi of Mahabharta fame lived in this Gufa in penance. The name of the present Bilaspur town traces its origin to Rishi Vyas which was originally known as Vyaspur. It is a place of pilgrimage. It is about 0.5 km from district headquarters.
- Laxmi Narayan Temple
- Baba Balak Nath: Babal Balak Nath is a Punjabi and Hindu deity worshipped in the northern Indian states of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh.He has a large number of followers in Delhi also. His main temple is in Una, Himachal pradesh. The base city is known as Shahtalai. His temple is very big and women are not allowed to enter the main garbagriha because he was a Brahmachari and could not had any women near him. There is a different way to seek blessings from the same idol but at a distance. Many people with their desires come to this temple. Baba Balak Nath is an avatar or incarnation of lord Shiva.
- Markandey: Temple:At just 20 km, it is an attractive place in Bilaspur located on Ghagus-Brahmpukhar road. It is named after Rishi Markandey. As per the history, Rishi Markandey had no children and thus, he worshiped in this temple to have a child. As a result, Lord Shiva blessed him with one son but warned that the boy will live up to the age of 12 years only. So Rishi named his son as Markandeya. Later on, the child Markandey worshiped Lord Shiva at this place and lastly when his claimed age was about to approach, he received the blessings from Lord Shiva in the form of grant of his wishes. Markandey Ji is also adored as the ‘Child of God’.
- Badol Devi Temple: Badol Devi Temple, Badol, Bilaspur, Himachal PradeshBadol Devi Temple is located atop a hill in Badol Village in Bilaspur district, Himachal Pradesh, at a distance of 3 km from Gehrwin on the Gehrwin-Dhanathar Road. The shrine is dedicated to Goddess Durga, extensively known as Badol Devi, the symbol of Mother Shakti. Legendary stories abound by the Badol Devi temple. The most talked about is that of an old man, Bhura. He had a childless cow that used to spill her milk in a definite place. After witnessing this incident, Bhura was astounded and presumed that some person had enchanted his cow. He prohibited his cow from going to that place again. One day he was furious and chopped the cow. But he was taken aback when he saw bloody milk flowing from the cow's wounds. Finally Bhura understood everything. When people got to know about the happening, they dug up the place where the cow used to drop her milk and found a 'pindi' (the base of a sacred stone or stone idols) of Goddess Durga that was later established in the shrubs nearby. Badol Devi temple can be reached from Kiratpur Railway Station, the nearest railhead.
- Gugga Gehrwin Temple: This is a very elegant temple situated on famous plateau ofGehrwin which is about 36 km ahead of Bilaspur. This place is Gugehri of famous Chauhan’s family of Marudesh of Rajasthan. There are many Gugehris spread throughout the district which have their own identity, however, this temple is centre of special devotion and honour for the people. During rainy season, throughout Bilaspur, tale of Gugga is recited from Raksha Bandhan to Gugga Naumi. Legend is that Gugga was son of mother Bachhal and disciple of Guru Gorakhnath. He originated from Guggal (a special type of Dhoop) as a result of Guru Gorakhnath’s blessings.
- Kandrour Bridge: (8 kilometres from Bilaspur on National Highway No-88, across the river Satluj). Very beautiful and fascinating bridge. Its construction was started in April,1959 and was completed in 1965. The total cost of construction came to Rs. 28,12,998. The span of the bridge is about 280 meters with a breadth of about seven meters and the height above the lowest river bed below is about 80 meters, making it one of the highest bridge in the world. It is ranked first in Asia for its height. It has provided a link between Bilaspur, Ghumarwin and Hamirpur district, and is a marvellous engineering feat. The pillars supporting the bridge are hollowed. The bridge was opened by Shri Raj Bahadur, Minister of Transport in 1965.
Notable People from Bilaspur
Bhandari Ram, Victoria Cross recipient
Sanjay Kumar, Param Veer Chakra recipient
Jagat Prakash Nadda, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare
Yami Gautam, Bollywood/television actress
- History of the PUNJAB Hill States,Volume 2, J. Hutchinson and J.Ph. Vogel, P - 513, 1933, by Superintendent, Government Printing, Lahore, Punjab
- Falling Rain Genomics, Inc - Bilaspur
- "Census of India 2001: Data from the 2001 Census, including cities, villages and towns (Provisional)". Census Commission of India. Archived from the original on 2004-06-16. Retrieved 2008-11-01.
- "Census of India: Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues –2001".
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh).|