Worship of Khatu Shyam is very popular in Rajasthan and Haryana. He is hailed
as 'Sheesh Ke Daani'
(One who donated his head). After the Mahabharata battle, head of Barbarika (later known as Khatu Shyam) was drowned in the river named Rupawati, by Lord Krishna, conferring lots of blessings. When Kaliyug started, the head was found buried in the village of Khatu (80 kms from Jaipur) in the district of Sikar, in Rajasthan.
In 1027 AD, Roopsingh Chauhan, the then King of Khatu, built a temple and installed the head therein, with the help of divine guidance. Later, in 1720 AD, Diwan Abhai Singh renovated the old temple, at the behest of the then ruler of Marwar. The temple took its present shape at that time and the idol (made of a rare stone) was enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum. Khatu Shyam reigns as the Family-deity of crores of families, removing their hardships and conferring on them boons. Khatu Shyam Baba is fondly, called by devotees as 'Haare Ke Sahara'
(the helper of losers), 'Lakha-datari'
(the munificent giver, one who never hesitates to give his devotees whatever they need and ask for), 'Teem Baan Dhaari'
(Bearer of three arrows got as divine boon) etc.
The temple is a marvel in architecture, being constructed with Lime mortar, Marble, tiles etc. The shutters of the sanctum sanctorum are covered with beautiful Silver sheets. The walls of the large prayer Hall outside are exquisitely painted with mythological anecdotes. The Entrance and Exit gates, made of Marble, exhibit ornamental floral designs. A beautiful garden full of flowers greets in front of the Entrance gate. Two shrines, one for Lord Gopinath and the other for Lord Gaurishankar, are seen at the Southeast part of the main temple. The Shiv Ling at the Gaurishankar temple bears marks of the spear. It is said that when soldiers of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb attached this Linga with spears, blood gushed out of the Linga and the soldiers ran away, terrified.
The holy Pond near the temple, Shyam Kund, is the place from where the idol was said to be retrieved later. Devotees throng to take a dip in this pond to get cured of diseases and regain health.
Barbarika (Khatu Shyam) was the grandson of Bheema, through his son Ghatotkacha. He learnt the art of warfare from his mother. He promised his mother that if he happened to participate in a battle, he would join the weaker side. Lord Shiva gave Barbarika three infallible arrows which had the mystic capacity to identify, protect and destroy the targets respectively. Lord Krishna knew about Barbarika’s unparalleled strength and wanted to stop him from participating in the Mahabharata war. Even if he would join Pandavas’ army first, he had to switch over to the enemy’s side soon, as his enemy would have become weak by then. None of the side would be victorious and he would be the lone survivor. The disguised Krishna sought his head as charity from Barbarika. Perceiving the divine plan, Barbarika agreed to sacrifice himself. Lord Krishna, as per his wish, placed his head on top of a hill, overlooking the battle-field, to enable him watch the complete proceedings of the entire battle. At the end of the battle, Barbarika cleared the doubt of who was responsible for the victory to Pandavas as Lord Krishna alone. He preached the noble philosophy that all those killed were Krishna and all those killing were also Krishna. The day Barbarika gave his head in charity to Krishna was Shukla Paksha Dwadasi Tithi of the lunar month of Phalgun (Feb.-March) on a Tuesday. He was given a boon from Krishna that he would be known by Krishna’s own name ‘Shyam’ in the Kaliyug, when his buried head would get retrieved and worshipped. As Khatu Shyam, he would bless his devotees with multiple boons. Just pronouncing his name would fetch a lot of benevolence.
Poojas and Festivities
As Khatu Shyam is worshipped as Krishna Himself,
the festivities in the temple are of very vibrant and
playful nature, such as Krishna Janmashtami, Jhool
Jhulani, Ekadasi, Holi, Vasant Panchami etc. Elaborate
Aarti rituals are performed five times a day. Two
special hymns (Shri Shyam Aarti and Shri Shyam
Vinati) are chanted on all these occasions. Shyam
mantra, litany of the Lord’s names, is chanted by
Devotees carrying Nishans
(cloth flag mounted on a
Special worship is conducted during Shukla Ekadasi
and Dwadasi of every month. The temple remains
open throughout the night that falls between these
days. (Barbarika was born on a Shukla Ekadasi and
sacrificed himself on a Shukla Dwadasi) Birthday of
Khatu Shyam is celebrated on Shukla Ekadasi of Kartik month (Oct.-Nov.). Phalguna mela is conducted
a few days prior to Holi with great fanfare. Devotees
undertake pilgrimage by barefoot, generally from Ringas
to Khatu (17 km), carrying Nishans
mounted on a Bamboo stick), singing the praise of
Khatu Shyam Baba. Mundan (shaving of hair on
the head for the first time)
ceremony is done to babies.
Newly married couples come to pay homage.
The temple is open from 05:30 a.m. to 01:00 p.m. and then
from 04:00 p.m. to 09:00 p.m. in Winter
In Summer, the temple timings are 04:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and
04:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Just remember and pronounce the name of Khatu
Shyam with sincere devotion and get benefitted with
In Kali yuga, chanting the holy name of the Lord is
itself suffice, to elevate us spiritually, to befit the fast,
modern life-style of mankind.