Sunday 6 January 2013

The God who drinks alcohol

There are very few people, or rather, I would put it this way that very few sane people would recommend drinking alcohol. And fewer among them would even ask women and youngsters to have a sip. Hic.
However, in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, there is a temple where the deity drinks alcohol and you are expected to bring picture full of Soma Rasa to offer to the deity.
This is the temple of Kalabhairavanath and the deity is famous for its addition to alcohol. Believe it or not, the deity drinks all the alcohol placed before its mouth. No one has been able to figure out the peculiar phenomenon.
Devotees who come to the temple here offer bottles and sachets of alcohol which are then placed by the priest before the mouth of Kalabhairava.
What amazes the devotees and of course I too was stunned, was that the deity seems to be able to hold its drink. It keeps on drinking and it is ready for more. How this statue in stone consumes so much alcohol and what happens to the liquid is still a mystery.
One of the oldest temples of Ujjain and even India, the Kalabhairava temple is associated with the Tantric cult. In ancient times, this temple was more known as the centre of black magic and tantra.
Although tantric practices are outlawed, you can still see sadhus with matted hair and ashes dabbed all over their bodies mumbling tantric mantras, none of which make sense to ordinary people.
For them, this temple is the  Kshetra palaka of Ujjain.
The temple is in the north of  Ujjain and is close to the banks of the Shipra. The temple is so huge that it resembles a fort. Nearby is the underground temple of Patala Bhairavi. There are temples of  Vikranta Bhairav Naraditya nearby.
According to Puranas, Kalbhairava is considered to be the chief of the spirits created by Shiva. As even Kaal or time is scared of  Bhairava, he is also called Kalabhairava.
The Kalabhairava temple here is believed to have been built by  King Bhadrasen. This is mentioned in Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
Once the devotee hands over the picture, bottle or even sachet of alcohol to the priest, it is offered as Naivaidya to the idol. After a major portion of the liquid is gulped down by the statue, the rest is given back as  prasada to the devotee. 
So you can se, devotees flocking to the temple with all kinds of liquor in all shapes and sizes of bottles and containers. No wonder, liquor is available just outside the temple all through the year.
By the way, there is a statue of a black dog at the gate of  the temple. This is so as the black dog is supposed to be the vehicle of Bhairava. Therefore, you can find hundreds of devotees feeding and taking care of dogs every Saturday. The priest will tell you all your problems will vanish if you take good care of  dogs.
Bhairava is also called the kotwal for guarding the temple of Shiva.
This temple has never a dry day whatever be the festival or occasion. Liquor is freely available but mind you it should first be offered to the deity. You will anyhow get it second.
Ujjain is easily approachable by road and it is near Bhopal. There are many hotels and eateries here.
All I conclude by saying is, Hic Hic hurray.


  1. There is a similar teple in Kerala in Parasinikkadavu in Kannur district. Lord Shiva came here to quench his thirst and no water was available. A devotee Muthappa a Hunter gave some toddy to Lord Shiva. Here, Toddy and Tea are given as Prashad.

    1. You are right Mr. Govindarajan. I have been to the temple and it is worth visiting. I will be writing about it later. Thanks for the information and also your interest.

  2. Hi Samyuktha,

    Thanks for the detailed info.. made for a good read .. :) I was wondering if you know of any Bhairavi temple in Bangalore or surrounding it. Would be great if you point out to one.. :) thanks .. and keep writing.. God Bless India..