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Story of Poet Vidyapati and Lord Shiva as Servant Ugna – Story of Ugna Temple in Madhubani


Vidyapati (1352–1448), popularly referred as Maithil Kavi Kokil (the poet cuckoo of Maithili), was a Maithili poet and a Sanskrit writer. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and composed several poems on Shiv Bhakti. As per a famous story in the region, Shiva appeared as Ugna, the servant, and served Vidyapati. Ugna Temple in Madhubani is dedicated to this divine incident. 

Shiva was very much pleased and impressed by the devotion and poems of Vidyapati.

One Shiva decided to appear at the house of Vidyapati as his servant.

When Shiva appeared as Ugna and asked for a job in the house, Vidyapati denied it saying that he was not financially in a position to pay him. Shiva told him that he did not need any money and all that he needed was food for his service.

Vidyapati agreed and Shiva became his servant.

During a summer season, the poet along with his servant Ugna traveled to the court of the king of the region. Due to intense heat, Vidyapati was thirsty. He could not find a source of water nearby. He took rest under a tree and asked his servant to fetch water.

Ugna went a bit far and then opened his matted locks and poured water from it.

When Vidyapati drank water, it had the taste of water from Ganga River. The poet wondered how Ugna was able to find Ganga water in the area.

Soon Vidyapati had doubt about the identity of Ugna. He soon realized that Ugna was Mahadev Shiva.

The poet fell on the feet of Ugna and offered his prayers and greetings.

Soon Shiva took his original form and gave darshan to Vidyapati.

Shiva then told that the poet that he wished to stay with him as his servant Ugna. But Shiva put the condition that the poet should not reveal his real identity to anyone. Thus Shiva stayed with the poet as Ugna.

One day Ugna committed some mistake in the kitchen and the wife of Vidyapati started beating him with burning firewood.

Vidyapati happened to see this he stopped his wife by telling her that you are beating Mahadev Shiva with firewood.

The moment Vidyapati revealed the truth about Ugna, Shiva disappeared.

A saddened Vidyapati roamed around the region calling out the name of Shiva. The poet had become mad after losing the companionship of Ugna.

Shiva could not tolerate the condition of his ardent devotee. He appeared before Vidyapati and told him that he could no longer stay with him. But he will be always present in the form of Shivling which symbolizes Ugna.

The temple of Shiva with Ugna Shivling is located at Bhavanipur in Madhubani District in Bihar.
The Shivling is swayambhu and one has to climb down six steps to reach the sanctum sanctorum. The steps are similar to that of the Ujjain Mahakal Temple.

The Shivling is five feet down from the surface.

The most important festival and fair in the temple is the Narak Chaturdashi in Magh month.

The current temple was built in 1932. A huge earthquake that hit the region in 1934 had no impact on the temple.

The temple complex has a beautiful pond. There is a well in the complex and Shiva is believed to have taken water out of the well.