Friday, February 17, 2012



The temple of Gangeshwar Mahadev is three kms away from the village of Pantahvada in the Banaskantha district. It is believed to have been built by Mata Kunti, mother of the Pandavas.

The temple has its roots in the events that occurred during the rule of King Shantanu. He had married Goddess Ganga and had a son called Devavrata, who was also called Gangadev after his mother.

After Ganga left him for failing to keep his promise of not questioning her for any of her deeds, King Shantanu was lonely and grieving. One day after Devavrata had been chosen as the heir, Shantanu was smitten by Matsyagandha (Satyavati), the beautiful daughter of a fisherman, and proposed marriage to her. Her father agreed on condition that it would be her son who would be crowned king after Shantanu and not Devavrata. Devavrata agreed to the condition and vowed never to marry so that he would have no heir to fight for the throne. To honour his sacrifice, ever since he made his vow, he was known as Bhishma.

Years later, Chitravirya, Shantanu's son doubted Bhishma's integrity and suspected his relationship with his mother. When his doubts were clarified he repented and as a penance he hid in a peepal tree, applied cow dung from a triangular farm nearby on it and asked a shepherd to burn him alive. After that, he was freed from the sin that he had committed.

The Rabari clan (shepherds) settled at that place which was called Pipavati (today it is called Paanswal). It is believed that Mata Kunti built this temple here as a tribute to her ancestors.

It is also believed that a stream from the River Ganga passed from here.

In the Gokh near the temple, idols of Gangeshwar, Dattatray, Kuber Bhadari, Budhdheshwar Mahadev, Lakshmi Narayan, Annapurna Devi and Rama Peers have been installed.

A fair is held here every year on the day of Kartaki Chaudas.

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