Baijnath Mahadev Temple is located in southern banks of Banganga river in Agar Malwa of Madhya Pradesh, India. The Shiv Ling (the sacred stone form of Lord Shiva) in the Baijnath temple is believed to belong to 13th century, while some legends say it is probably more than thousand years old. As written in the foundation stone of the temple at the end of 16th century, the local inhabitants built a small mutt like mandhir and mandap (a type of small temple structure). Then after 300 years, in 1883, with the inspiration from British army Hindu officials, and financial help of British Commander Lt. Colonel C. Martin and other local people, 11000 rupees was donated for the renovation of the temple, making it large, and also building few other temples around it.
There is also another piece of writing on one of the pillars in middle of the temple suggesting that it was built (renovated) with the orders of C. Martin in 1883. The official website of Shajapur district in Madhya Pradesh (shajapur.nic.in), where this temple is located, also mentions about this story. It is said that when the British Commander Martin was in a war, his wife went to Baijnath mahadev temple and made a request for his returning. Then Martin successfully came back from the war, and thereafter a beautiful temple was constructed.
Legend around the temple
In 1879, when the British were ruling India, Lt. Col. Martin of Agar Malva was leading the army in the war against Afghanistan.
Col. Martin used to regularly send messages of his well-being to his wife. The war continued for long & Lady Martin stopped getting messages. She was very upset.
Once riding on her horse, she passed by the temple of Baijnath Mahadev. She was attracted by the sound of Conch & Mantra. She went inside and came to know that the Brahmanas were worshipping Lord Shiva. They saw her sad face and asked her problem. She explained everything to them. They told her that Lord Shiva listens to the prayers of devotees and takes them out of difficult situations in no time. With the advice of the Brahmanas she started the ‘Laghurudri Anushtthan’ of the Mantra:
‘Om Namah Shivaya’ for 11 days. She prayed to Lord Shiva that if her husband reaches home safely, then she would get the temple renovated.
On the last of the ‘Laghurudri’ a messenger came and gave a letter to her. Her husband had written: ‘I was regularly sending messages to you from the battle grounds but suddenly the Pathans surrounded us from all sides. We were entrapped in a situation where there was no scope of escaping death. Suddenly I saw a Yogi of India with long hair, carrying a weapon with three pointers (Trishul). His personality was amazing and he was maneuvering his weapon with a magnificent style. Seeing this great man, the Pathans started running back. With his grace our bad times turned into moments of victory. This was possible only because of that man of India wearing a lion skin & carrying a three-pointer weapon (Trishul). That great Yogi told me that I should not worry and that he had come to rescue me because he was very pleased with my wife’s prayers.’
Tears of joy were falling down Lady Martin’s eyes while reading the letter. Her heart was overwhelmed. She fell into the feet of Lord Shiva’s statue and burst in tears.
After a few weeks Col. Martin returned. Lady Martin narrated the whole incident to him. Now both husband & wife became devotees of Lord Shiva. In 1883 they donated Rs. 15,000 for renovating the temple. The information engraved slab for the same is still there in the Baijnath Mahadev Temple of Agar Malva. This is the only Hindu temple built by a Britisher