Aurangabad (Bihar): The Sun Temple at Deo in Aurangabad district of Bihar, which is said to be built in Tretra Yug, has been a holy shrine for centuries, giving people the desired results.
Although people from different parts of the country come here throughout the year to ask for blessings of Lord Surya and pay obeisance to Him on fulfillment of their wishes, many believe that on the holy occasion of Kartik and Chaiti Chhath, there is an exciting feeling of the presence of Sun God around the temple.
No wonder that lakhs of devotees throng the Deo Sun temple on occasion of Chhath every year and pay obeisance to Lord Sun and get their rationalistic wishes fulfilled.
Sun Temple Deo has been an attraction of tourists
The huge Sun Temple in Deo has been an attraction for the devotees, scientists, sculptors and smugglers and common people for centuries, due to its unmatched beauty and craft. Due to the unprecedented architectural, crafts, artistic grandeur and religious importance of the temple, the legend is famous among the people that it was built by the Deva Shilpi Lord Vishwakarma himself. The exquisite work of black and brown stones, as is the craft of Jagannath temple located in Puri, Odisha state, – similar to the same is also of the ancient Sun temple of Dev Shilpi.
An architectural marvel built in Treta Yug
A verse engraved in Brahmi script and translated into Sanskrit is embedded outside the temple states that Ilaputra Pururava Ail started the construction of the Sun Temple after 12 lakh 16 thousand years of Treta Yuga had gone by. The inscription shows that in the year 2014, one lakh fifty thousand fourteen years have been completed for the construction period of this mythical temple.
The engraved stone idols of the sun from the seven chariots in the Dev temple in its three forms – Udayachal – Morning Sun, Mayachal – Lord Surya in middle phase and Astachal – Sun in setting form—exist in the temple. Dev’s temple is the only Sun temple in the whole country, which is not facing east but the west. This Sun Temple, about one hundred feet high, is a wonderful example of architecture. This temple is very attractive and awe-inspiring, built without using cement or lime – slurry, rectangular, square, semicircular, circular, triangular, cut stones in many forms and shapes.
Surya Purana names King Ail as Temple builder
According to the most popular legend from the Surya Purana, Ail was a king who was suffering from white leprosy due to the curse of a sage. Once he lost his way after reaching the forest province of Dev whiling hunting. The thirsty king saw a small lake on the banks of which he went to drink water by filling it in Anjuri (by joining both hands). In the course of drinking water, he was astonished to see that while stains vanished from the portion of his body that contacted with water.
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Very pleased and surprised by this, the king, not caring about his clothes, went down in the dirty water of the lake and due to this his white leprosy went away completely. Seeing the astonishing changes in his body, King Ail decided to rest for the night in this forest area and in the night the king had a dream that the idol of Lord Bhaskar was buried in the same lake. He received instructions in a dream to take out the idol and build a temple there and establish it there.
It is said that according to this instruction, King Ail did the work of removing the buried idol from the lake and installing it in the temple and got the sun pool built. However, despite the temple being intact, the original idol of Lord Sun seems to be missing. The present idol is certainly ancient, but it appears to have been installed later. The idols, which are in the temple premises are fragmented and in dilapidated condition.
Legends say Lord Vishwakarma built in a single night
A story is also prevalent in relation to the construction of the temple that it was built by Lord Vishwakarma in a single night by his own hands and it is said that such a beautiful temple cannot be built by any ordinary craftsman. Its black stone carvings are unique. All sun temples in the country face the east and hence the idols get the sunrays early in the morning. Deo’s the only temple in India which faces the west and hence the rays from setting sun bathe the idol.
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Beliefs have it the temple turned west facing overnight
It is a popular belief that once the barbaric robber reached here destroying the Kala Pahad idols and temples, the priests of the Dev Mandir requested him a lot not to break this temple, because the Lord here has a lot of greatness. At this he laughed and said if there really is any power in your God, then I give it overnight and if its face turns from east to west, then I will not break it. The priests accepted this by bowing their heads and they kept on praying to the Lord throughout the night. As soon as he got up in the morning, everyone saw that the temple had actually turned from east to west and since then the face of this temple is towards west.
Temple had gold urn weighing 320kgs
It is said that once a thief came to the temple to steal a golden urn weighing eight manas (one mana is equal to 40 kilograms). While he was climbing on the top of the temple, he heard the sound of thunder from somewhere and he stuck there like a stone. Today people tell themselves by pointing their fingers towards the neighbouring thief.
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Historians, archaeologists have different views about temple
In this regard, former MP, eminent litterateur and resident of Bhawanipur village next to Dev Shankar Dayal Singh believed that there could be two reasons for this. One of them is that no one came to steal the gold. The second that the idol might be of Lord Buddha, who is called a thief. Pandit Rahul Sankrityayan differed from this view. According to Sankrityayan, it was a Lord Buddha temple in ancient times, which was filled with mud by the devotees, who were frightened by the heretics.
It is said that when Shankaracharya, the patron of Sanatan Dharma, came here, modified and cultured it and established the idol here. Archaeologists KK Datt and Pandit Vishwanath Shastri strongly supported antiquarian value of the temple.