Raja Salhesh Shrines in Bihar

in Image Gallery
Published on: 14 June 2018

Sunil Kumar

Sunil Kumar is an independent cultural journalist, art researcher and art film maker based in Ghaziabad. Experiencing himself as a tool of mainstream media, where space for art writing and production of art shows is constantly shrinking, he never gave up his efforts to find options to showcase art and art matters. With almost 14 years of journalistic experience, he engages in audio-visual and photo documentation of various tangible and intangible folk-art forms of Bihar, that also includes recording archival interviews with living legends and oral histories of art traditions. He is the recipient of Dinkar Puraskar (Bihar Kala Samman) 2017 for his writings on visual art.


Salhesh Sthan, Salhesh Gahwar or Salhesh Shrine is a temple of Raja Salhesh, the most praised god of the Dusadh community of Bihar and Nepal. The name Salhesh means the king of mountains. In Salhesh Sthan or Gahwar, we have the idol of Salhesh depicted as being seated on an elephant and at some places on a horse. On either side of him are two attractive idols of Duna and Kusuma. In the composition of idols, we find Chuharmal (usually depicted in grey) sitting alongside Salhesh’s elephant, Motiram, Budheswar (riding a horse) and guards. We also see a tiger and a ‘pind' or 'pindi’ just in front of Salhesh’s idol, which represents Durga. British colonial officer and scholar, George A. Grierson, had mentioned Salhesh Gahwars in his book published in 1882 and says in the preamble of the book, ‘In the villages of Mithila one can see Salhesh shrines under Pipal trees with clay figures representing the characters in the story’. The following is an image gallery of Salhesh shrines.