The story of Baba Khatushyam Ji traces back to the Treta Yuga, during the Mahabharata era. He was the grandson of Pandu’s son Bhima and the son of Mahaveer Ghatotkacha. Legend has it that due to Baba Khatushyam Ji’s immense powers and abilities, Lord Krishna blessed him to be worshipped by his name in the Kali Yuga (current era).
Khatushyam Ji is not only significant in Rajasthan but is also considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the country. It is believed that devotees who chant his name from the depths of their hearts receive blessings, and if done with true devotion, their difficulties are alleviated.
Legend states that during birth, Barbarika’s hair resembled that of a ‘babbri’ (camel’s neck), hence the name Barbarika was given to him. According to the Mahabharata, Barbarika’s head was buried in the town of Khatushyam in Rajasthan. Therefore, Barbarika came to be known as Khatushyam Baba.
Barbarika was a brave and talented young boy from childhood. He learned the art of warfare and battle skills from Lord Shri Krishna and his mother, Maurvi. Barbarika also underwent intense penance dedicated to Lord Shiva, who granted him three miraculous arrows. Hence, Barbarika is known as the deity of these three arrows.
Lord Agnidev provided Barbarika with a divine bow, enabling him to achieve victory over all three worlds. Upon learning about the war between the Kauravas and Pandavas, Barbarika decided to participate. Seeking his mother’s blessing and promising to support the losing side, he pledged to leave the battlefield. It was this pledge that made Baba Shyam, who supports the defeated, famous.
As Barbarika headed towards battle, he encountered a Brahmin on the way. This Brahmin was none other than Lord Shri Krishna, who wanted to test Barbarika. Disguised as a Brahmin, Shri Krishna asked the young Barbarika if he intended to fight with only three arrows. How could one engage in battle with just three arrows? Barbarika replied that one of his arrows was capable of destroying the entire enemy army, and even after its use, it would return to his quiver intact. Therefore, if all three arrows were used, it would lead to the destruction of the entire world.
Pointing towards a peepal tree, a Brahmin instructed Barbarika to pierce all the leaves of the tree with a single arrow. Barbarika, focusing on the divine, released the arrow. It pierced all the leaves and then, returning, started circling around Krishna’s feet. This happened because Lord Shri Krishna had hidden a leaf under His feet. Barbarika realized that the arrow was circling the Brahmin’s feet to pierce that leaf. He warned, “O Brahmin, move your feet, or this arrow will harm them.”
Impressed by Barbarika’s valor, Lord Krishna was pleased. He inquired about the direction from which Barbarika would fight. Barbarika had chosen a side to fight for, and according to his promise, he would fight for the losing side. Hearing this, Shri Krishna pondered as the Kauravas were aware of Barbarika’s vow.
The Kauravas had planned to engage in battle with a smaller force on the first day, intending to create a defeat that would compel Barbarika to join their side. If Barbarika fought for the Kauravas, his miraculous arrows would annihilate the Pandavas. To thwart the Kauravas’ plan, Krishna disguised himself as a Brahmin and promised a donation to Barbarika. Barbarika vowed to give the donation. The disguised Krishna asked for Barbarika’s head as the donation.
Upon hearing this unprecedented request, Barbarika was astonished and realized that the Brahmin was not an ordinary person. He prayed that the Brahmin should reveal his true identity first.Lord Krishna manifested in His true form. Barbarika said, “O Lord, I am committed to giving my head, but I wish to witness the battle with my own eyes.” Pleased with Barbarika’s commitment, Krishna blessed him to fulfill his wish. Barbarika cut off his head and offered it to Krishna.
Lord Krishna used 14 goddesses to anoint Barbarika’s head with nectar and placed it on a hill near the battlefield, allowing Barbarika to witness the battle. Following this, Krishna performed the final rites for Barbarika’s body as per the scriptures.
The great war of the Mahabharata concluded, and the Pandavas emerged victorious. After the victory, a debate arose among the Pandavas regarding whom the credit for this victory should be attributed to. Krishna said, “Since Barbarika witnessed this battle, the answer to this question should be known from him.” Then, the valiant Barbarika declared that the victory of this battle was solely Krishna’s, as it was possible due to Krishna’s excellent strategies and expertise in warfare. He acknowledged that behind the victory was all Krishna’s divine play.
Impressed by Barbarika’s truthful statement, the gods showered flowers upon him and began praising him. Lord Krishna said, “O valiant Barbarika, you are great. From now on, you will be known by my name, Shyam. In the Kali Yuga, you will be worshipped as an incarnation of Krishna and will fulfill the desires of your devotees.”
This promise of Lord Krishna was fulfilled, and even today, we witness that Baba Shyam continues to shower his grace upon his devotees. Baba Shyam becomes the support for those who are defeated and troubled by the world. Therefore, whoever is defeated and troubled by the world, if they sincerely chant and remember the names of Baba Shyam, their welfare is assured.
The fair of Khatushyamji is held every year during Holi. Devotees from all over the country and abroad come to visit Baba Khatushyamji. There is profound faith among devotees in this temple and Baba Shyam.Baba Shyam, Hare Ka Sahara, Lakhidataar, Khatushyam Ji, Morvinandan, Khatush Ka Naresh, and Sheesh Ka Daani are all names by which his devotees call out to Baba Khatushyam. The attraction of the Khatushyam Ji fair also lies in the humanitarian service conducted here. Large families come here just like ordinary people and serve the devotees. It is said that by doing so, one accumulates merit.
After the war, Lord Krishna blessed Barbarika’s head and floated it in the Rupvati River. After the onset of Kali Yuga, the head was found buried in the village of Khatus. The then king, Rupasinh Chauhan, had a dream in which he was instructed to install the head inside a temple. When the temple was constructed, the head was installed inside.
Made of white marble, this temple is truly an architectural marvel. Apart from being a highly popular place among devotees, many visit to admire the temple’s architecture. The main prayer hall is named Jagmohan and is surrounded by walls illustrating detailed mythological scenes. While the entrance and exit doors are made of marble.