Parali Vaijnath Temple (Solapur)
A renowned town in Beed district, Parali is identified by the presence of the Vaijnath Temple, a ‘jyotirlinga’ temple on a small hill that attracts a large number of devotees all through the year. Parali is also known for a thermal power station. That apart, the small town provides a unique flavour of a laid-back atmosphere that is in stark contrast to the ‘life in a fast lane’ culture of most metro cities.
Out of the 12 ‘jyotirlingas’ of Lord Shiva, five are situated in Maharashtra. Parali Vaijanath is one of them. Being popular as a ‘jyotirlinga’ it attracts a constant stream of devotees throughout the year and especially so in the Hindu calendar month of Shravan when pilgrims come here to have ‘darshan’ of the auspicious ‘shivlinga’. Parali is a taluka in Beed district and is primarily known for the temple. Known as the Vaijanath Temple, it is built out of stone on a small hill and is surrounded by a wall that protects it from all sides.
Facing towards the east, the temple has two doors in the south and north directions. At the entrance is a large hall constructed out of teak wood. The complex has a spacious courtyard and a big corridor for circumambulation of the temple. While the exact date of the building of the temple is not known, experts feel that it belongs to the Yadava period that goes back to 12th or 13th century CE. There are records stating that the temple was renovated in the year 1706. The aesthetical and architectural beauty of the temple is enhanced with some ponds around the temple which too have religious significance. One of them is Harihara Teerth, the water of which is poured over the Shivlinga every Monday. This place defines the assimilation of the Shaiva and Vaishnava sects.
As is the case with any temple, the Vaijnath Temple too has its share of mythological tales. One such is the story of Satyavan and Savitri that is said to have taken place at Parali. Another story is that of Lord Vishnu helping the gods to obtain nectar from this region. There is also the legend from the Ramayana about Ravana halting here while on his way to Lanka with the Shivlinga. It is said that to be able to relieve himself, Ravana asked a herdsman to hold the Shivlinga for a while. However, the boy was unable to do so for long and placed it on earth, which is how the jyotirlinga happens to be here. The belief is that Shiva decided to reside here in the form of Vaidyanatheshwar. Even the story of Markandeyanugraha is said to have taken place at Parali.
Celebrations take place at Parali on several auspicious occasions such as Gudi Padawa, Vijaya Dashami, Tripuri Pournima and Mahashivaratri. Parali is well-connected by road from Beed, Parbhani and Ahmednagar. Parali is a railway station on the South Central Railway. State transport buses too are easily available from all over Maharashtra to Parali. Since this is a prominent pilgrimage centre, there are ample lodging facilities in the town and the Vaidyanath Mandir Committee has their own Bhakta Niwas and Yatri Niwas where rooms are available at very affordable rates.
*Source Maharashtra Tourism