Aundha Nagnath Temple in Maharashtra is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known as Lord Nagnath in this region. The temple is a part of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples and Aundha Nagnath is believed to be the first of the Jyotirlingas. The temple is located in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra and is one of the state’s five Jyotirlinga temples.
Aundha Nagnath Temple History
The history of the Aundha Nagnath Temple dates back to the period of the Pandavas. Yudhistra first built this majestic temple during his exile.
According to history, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb tried to raze down the Aundha Nagnath Temple. His men were attacked by bees and the emperor gave up and left the temple. Later Rani Ahalya Bhai renovated and repaired the temple.
Saint Namdev was known to sing the praise of the Lord at the temple every day. The priests objected that this disturbed their routines and drove him away. The Lord turned the temple to face his devotee and showed his back to the priests. The entire temple stands rotated and directions of the temple, Linga and Nandi are different from other temples.
Legend of the Jyotirlinga:
During their exile, the Pandavas built their hermitage in a forest in this region. The cows from their hermitage drank the water from the nearby river and released milk into the river. Bhima noticed this one day and informed Yudhistra.
The Pandavas felt that some great God must be residing in this river and they began to remove the water. Beyond a point the water was boiling hot and Bhima struck the river thrice with his mace. Then blood started oozing from the spot and a brilliant Linga emerged. Yudhistra then built the temple and installed the Jyotirlinga.
Legend of Nageshwar Darukavane:
The Aundha region had thick forests in which serpents lived and was popular as Darukavane after two demons – Daruk and Daruka. The demons harassed the hermits living in the area and imprisoned them. This angered the Gods who fought the demons and drove them away. But Daruka was a devotee of Shiva and received boons from Goddess Parvati.
The boon gave them the power to shift the entire forest to an island. From there, the demons continued to harass the hermits and imprisoned them along with Supriya, a devotee of Lord Shiva. Supriya invoked the powerful Rudra mantra along with the prisoners and Lord Shiva appeared to kill the demons.
Daruka repented for their sins, asked for Lord Shiva’s pardon and requested that he stay in the forest. Lord Shiva and Parvati accepted the request, assumed the form of Jyotirlinga and stayed in Darukavane as Lord Nageshwar and Nageshwari.
Significance of Aundha Nagnath Temple
The Nagesh Linga or the Aundha Nagnath Temple Jyotirlinga is popular as the Adhya or the first Jyotirlinga on earth
Lord Shiva is Nagnath or Nageshwar since he has a snake around his neck
The association with the snake has led to a belief that this Linga is very powerful and potent against negating the harmful effects of all poisons
Devotees believe that by praying at this temple, one can safeguard themselves against all poisons
Devotees praying to Lord Nagnath, believe that the Lord will guide them to the correct path of life, the way he did with the demons at Darukavane
The Garba Griha and Linga are in the basement level and devotees have to climb down to worship the main deity
The Linga faces south and the Gomukha faces the east
Devotees have often sighted snakes with open hoods guarding the Linga
The Aundha Nagnath Temple structure is strong as it consists stones from the Pandava period. Therefore, the temple is nearly 3000 years old
Aundha Nagnath Temple is a pious site for followers of both Hinduism and Sikhism, and Sikh Gurus worshiped the Lord at this temple
One of the shrines inside the Aundha Nagnath Temple complex houses the Runomochan Teerth as is also famous as Saas Teerth and Bahu Teerth (Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law). The Saas Teerth has brackish water while the Bahu Teerth has sweet water. Once every 12 years during Kapila Shashti, the water from Kashi Ganga is offered here and the water of the teerth would turn crystal clear.
Aundha Nagnath Temple Timings
Aundha Nagnath Temple is open daily from 4 am to 9 pm
Shravan month: 4:00 am – 10:00 pm
Aundha Nagnath Temple – Poojas and Rituals
Temple opening : 4:00 am
Rudrabhishek Pooja : 4:05 am
Aarti Pooja : 12:00 noon
Shrisnan Pooja : 4:00 pm
Shejaarti Pooja : 8:30 pm
Temple closing : 9:00 pm
Rudrabhishek with bhog
Char somvar(four mondays) ek ammavasya rudrabhishek
Char somvar ek ammavasya rudrabhishek with bhog
Ek shravan mas akhand jyota
Rudrabhishek for one year somvar
Rudrabhishek with milk for one year somvar
Ek somvar 1008 bilva patra abhishek
Char somvar ek ammavasya rudrabhishek with dudh
Ek somvar 1008 mahamrityunjaya jaap
Laghurudra by 11 brahmins
Ek shravan mas jalabhishek
Ek shravan mas dudh and bilva patra abhishek
Aundha Nagnath Temple Festivals
Maha Shivarathri, and Vijayadashami are grand affairs at Aundha Nagnath temple
How to Reach Aundha Nagnath Temple: Road, Rail, and Air
By road: There are several buses connecting from Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and other nearby cities of Maharashtra.
By rail: The nearest stations Parbhani is 50 km from the temple. The station has several connecting trains to major cities. One can also find connecting trains to Hingoli junction.
By air: The nearest airport is in Nanded which is 54 km from Aundha Nagnath
Where to Stay
There few accommodation options at Aundha Nagnath Temple. Travellers mostly stay at Nanded or Parbhani.
Where to Eat
There are a few restaurant options at Aundha Nagnath Temple. Travellers eat at Dhabbas that one can find on the highway or at the hotels in Nanded and Parbhani.
Mallinath Digambar Jain Temple: The Mallinath Digambar Jain Temple is in Shirad Shahapur Village and is for Lord Mallinath. This 300-year-old temple is 15 km from Aundha Nagnath temple.
Parli Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga Temple: Parli Vaijnath Jyotirlinga Temple is in Parli, Beed District, Maharashtra. The temple is 118 km from the Aundha Nagnath Temple. Devotees believe that health conditions improve by praying at this temple.
Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple: The Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple is near Pune and is 465 km from Aundha Nagnath Temple.
Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: Temple is located in Verul, Beed District, Maharashtra. This temple is the last of the Jyotirlingas and for devotees who undertake the Jyotirlingas pilgrimage, a visit to this temple completes their journey. Grishneshwar temple is 227 km from Aundha Nagnath Temple.
Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: The Trimbakeshwar Temple is in the town of Trimbak, Nashik District, Maharashtra. The temple is 286 km from Aundha Nagnath Temple. The Linga has three faces symbolising Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma.