Devotees believe the temple houses the head of Barbarika or Khatushyam, a legendary warrior who sacrifices his head upon the request of Krishna during the antebellum of the Kurukshetra War.
Story of Khatu Shyam Mandir
Before the Mahābhārata battle begin, Barbarika’s last wish was to see the war “Mahabharat”. Lord Krishna himself placed his head on the top of a mountain for Barbarika to see the war.
Many years after Kali Yuga started, the head was found buried in the village of Khatoo (Sikar district), Rajasthan. The location was obscured until well after the Kali Yuga period began.
On one occasion, milk started flowing spontaneously from a cow’s udder when she neared the burial spot. Amazed at this incident, the local villagers dug the place up and found the buried head.
The head was handed over to a Brahmin who worshipped it for many days, awaiting divine revelations as to what was to be done next. Roop Singh Chauhan, king of Khatu, then had a dream where he was inspired to build a temple and install the head therein. Subsequently, a temple was built and the idol was installed on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha (bright half) of the month of Phalgun.
A slightly different version of this legend is there. Roop Singh Chauhan was the ruler of Khatu. His wife, Narmada Kanwar, once had a dream in which the deity instructed her to take his image out of the earth. When the indicated place was dug up (now known as Shyam Kund), it yielded the idol, which was duly enshrined in the temple.
In 1720 AD, a nobleman known as Diwan Abhaisingh renovated the old temple, at the direction of the then-ruler of Marwar. The temple took its present shape at this time and the idol was enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum. The idol is made of rare stone. Khatushyam is the family deity of many families.
Another temple is located at Lambha, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. People bring their newly born children to have the blessings of Khatushyam. Here he is known as Baliya Dev.