Life in Bharmour, or Brahmpura as the ancient capital was known, centres around the Chaurasia Temple square, which owes its name to the 84 shrines built within its periphery. The beautiful shikhara of the Manimahesh Temple dominates the square while a life-size image of Nandi in polished brass stands before it.
According to one legend, 84 yogis visited Brahmpura during the reign of Raja Sahil Verman. Pleased with his hospitality, they blessed the raja with 10 sons who in turn erected the temple complex. Another story goes that Shiva, accompanied by 84 yogis, stopped at Brahmani Devi’s vatika (garden) on his way to Manimahesh. The devi, displeased by the trespassing, ordered them out of the place. However, at Shiva’s request, the devi consented to let them stay and the yogis turned themselves into lingas. According to another version, the 84 yogis paid no heed to the goddess, who turned them into stones in a fit of rage.
Although each temple in the complex enjoys its own history and sanctity, some of the more important temples in the complex are those of Sri Manimahesh/ Harihar, Nar Singh, Lakshna Devi, Ganesh, Shiva Davala, Nandigran, Mahadev, Shivalaya, Sitla Devi, Ardh Gaya and Dharamraj/ Yamraj. Built in shikhara style, the predominant temple is that of Manimahesh. While the woodwork in the Lakshna Devi Temple to Durga is superb, the Dharamraj/ Yamraj Temple at the northern corner of the complex is made of stone and wood and has a pendant roof. It is believed that souls of the departed pass through this temple on their way to Shivaloka, ie, Kailash. The court of Chandragupt is located right in front of this temple. He is believed to keep records of each individual’s good and bad deeds.