Omkareshwar Temple is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh around 77 km away from Indore. A large number of Hindu and Jain temples were constructed here. The name Omkareshwar is derived from the sacred word “OM“. The River Narmada flows through Omkareshwar dividing it into two – North and South with an island called Mandhata or Shivpuri in between.
Omkareshwar Temple is believed to be the home of the fourth Jyotirlinga in Hindu culture. Jyotirlingas are believed to be Swayambhu in nature which means that they are self-born in nature. The legend says that Lord Shiva himself turned into Lingas in a fiery column of light at these particular places of worship.
The Omkareshwar Temple, also known as Shri Omkar Mandhata Temple is closely related to another temple called The Mammaleshwar Temple. The Linga forms of both the temples are considered as a single form of Lord Shiva or as a single Jyotirlinga. It is a common belief here that Shiva split into two and one-half of Jyotirlinga appeared in Omkareshwar and the other half at the Mammaleshwar temple. Both of the temples are separated by a narrow ridge.
The Omkareshwar temple is constructed in the Nagara style of architecture. The temple is a five storied structure, each level dedicated to a different God. Mahakaleshwar, Sidhnath, Gupteshwar and Dhwajeshwar temples are located on the upper floors. The white dome is made of soft soapstone. Carvings of various Gods and Goddesses can be seen on the temple tower which is five layered.
- What is the history of Omkareshwar Temple?
- Significance of Omkareshwar Temple
- What are the timings of Omkareshwar Temple?
- Omkareshwar Temple Sevas and Poojas
- Festivals celebrated at Omkareshwar Temple
- How to reach Omkareshwar Temple?
- Omkareshwar Temple Accommodation
- Where to eat
- Nearby Temples
What is the history of Omkareshwar Temple?
The original date of construction of this historic Omkareshwar Temple is unknown. The earliest historical evidence states that in 1063, Parama King Udayaditya installed four stone inscriptions each with Sanskrit Stotras.
The “Shiva Mahima Stotra” written by the ancient poet Pushpadanta can also be seen on a stone slab here.
It is believed that tribals were the first occupants of the island and Kalika Devi was their deity. The devotees of the Goddess harassed the pilgrims and often sacrificed several of them. Saint Dariyayinath took charge of the place and made the place safe for pilgrims to reach Omkareshwar.
In 1195, Raja Bharat Singh Chauhan won over the Bhils and built a palace near the Omkareshwar Temple whose ruins can still be visited. He renovated the temple excessively and increased the temple’s grandeur by manifolds.
Several legends are associated with the Omkareshwar Temple. It is believed that Narada the sage, sang high praises of Mount Meru in front of Mount Vindhya. Mount Vindhya felt jealous and prayed to Lord Shiva for more grandeur than Mount Meru. Lord Shiva appeared and blessed Vindhya with perpetual growth on the condition that Vindhya will not cause harm to anyone else.
As time passed, Vindhya grew so big that it blocked the Sun and the Moon. The people got scared and asked Saint Agasthya for help, who tricked Vindhya to stop growing. The Jyotirlingas that Lord Shiva had placed near Vindhya as a sign of his boon came to be known as Omkareshwar and Mammaleshwar. 5 of the twelve jyotirlingas are in Maharashtra.
According to another legend, there was a war between the Gods and Demons in which the Demons won. The demons wreaked havoc and tortured the three realms. Indra was worried and came to Lord Shiva asking help to re-establish the reign of God. Lord Shiva came out in the form of Jyotirlinga from the Paatala (underwater) on the banks of River Narmada. He along with other Gods won over demons and peace was restored in the three realms.
There is another legend associated with this place. It is believed that in the Purana Kala, Yavanaswa Putra Mandhata came into power with the help of Lord Indra. He worshiped Lord Shiva with great reverence and dedication. Lord Shiva was pleased with him and as a result, the water of Narmada emerged from the top of Omkar Jyotirlinga and flowed down. The Narmada then mixed with the water spring near the Linga. It is a common faith that when bubbles appear in the spring, Lord Shiva is happy.
Significance of Omkareshwar Temple
The Jyotirlinga is split in nature – one-half in the Omkareshwar Temple (known as Omkar) and the other half in The Mammaleshwar Temple (known as Amaleshwar). The pilgrims must visit both these temples to get a darshan of the complete Jyotirlinga.
The shape of the island Mandhata is said to be in the shape of the Omkara chant – “OM”. Pilgrims consider that going around the Om-shaped Island having a Jyotirlinga is a blessing in itself.
The unique feature of the Omkareshwar Temple is that the main Shiva Jyotirlinga is not situated under the usual Cupola (dome-like structure where the idols of Gods are kept). Instead, it is located at the top of the temple.
The Omkareshwar Linga is not fixed to the ground but is naturally placed there with water surrounding it.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma also lived in the same place as Lord Omkar Amaleshwar. The towns Brahmapuri, Vishnupuri and Rudrapuri were built on the banks of River Narmada. These three places together are known as Tripuri Kshetra and are considered to be holy sites.
It is believed that by performing Aarti at the Koti Thirth (on the banks of River Narmada), one can achieve health and happiness in life.
It is believed that one can earn Punya or Blessing if one offers home-made Naivedyam Bhog to the Lord Shiva’s Linga on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
It is believed that Shri Govind Bhagavatpaada, Guru of Shankaracharya lived in a cave here.
The replica of the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is worshiped at the first floor of the Omkareshwar Temple. It is accompanied by a beautiful sculpture dedicated to River Narmada.
What are the timings of Omkareshwar Temple?
- Darshan Timings: 5 AM to 3:50 PM, 4:15 PM to 9:30 PM.
- The Mangal Aarti is done between 5 AM to 5:30 AM
- The Jalabhishek is done between 5:30 AM to 12:25 PM.
- The evening darshan begins at 4:15 PM and the evening Aarti is conducted from 8:20 PM to 9:05 PM.
- Special darshan is available for handicapped people or for people who are unable to stand for general darshan.
What is the dress code of Omkareshwar Temple?
The devotees are advised to wear neat and conservative clothes. Revealing clothes are not allowed inside the temple premises. Smoking and Alcohol are prohibited inside the complex.
Omkareshwar Temple Sevas and Poojas
- Parthiv Shivling Pooja – This Pooja is done on request only. 1008 Shiva Lingas are made with mud or wood and their Abhishekam is done by you or on your behalf. It is believed that by performing this Pooja, you can get rid of the Grah Dosh from your horoscope. It is also done to cure diseases, accidental injuries and misfortune.
- Maha Rudrabhishekam – This Abhishekam is done by reciting the Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and the Atharva Veda in front of the Linga.
- Laghu Rudrabhishekham – It is believed that by doing this Pooja, one can overcome health and wealth-related issues.
- Narmada Aarti – Every evening a Maha Aarti takes place on the banks of River Narmada which is spectacular to view. Several lamps are lit and released into the great river Narmada with the hope of achieving health and happiness.
- Bhagavan Bhog – Lord Shiva is presented with a Naivedyam Bhog in the evening every day. The Bhog (food) is made of pure Ghee, Sugar and Rice.
- Mundan (Tonsure) – Devotees can also perform a Mundan at a nominal price at the Omkareshwar Temple.
- Tuladaan – Pilgrims can do Tuladaan at the temple premises. Tuladaan is a ritual where a devotee sits on one side of a Tula and materials that are to be donated placed on the other side of it. When the Tula is balanced perfectly, the amount of material equivalent to the weight of the person is donated to the temple management. The Materials should be arranged by the devotee whereas the apparatus will be arranged by the temple administration.
Online bookings can be done for performing any of the above poojas.
Festivals celebrated at Omkareshwar Temple
- Maha Shivaratri – This festival is celebrated for 5 days. This day marks the event of Lord Shiva’s marriage to Goddess Parvati. A Mela is organised by the temple management which is visited by lakhs of pilgrims every day. Special Poojas and Aartis are conducted throughout the day.
- Karthik Utsav – It is celebrated in the month of Karthik as per the Hindu Calendar. This festival is celebrated for 10 days. The Panchakoshi Yatra is organized during this period. It starts from the Ekadasi of the Shukla Paksh from the Gomukh Ghat and ends on Poornima at the Omkareshwar temple. A huge Mela is organized when pilgrims from all over India stay and do Poojas.
- Narmada Jayanti – This usually occurs in the Magha month of the Hindu Calendar. This day is used to commemorate the birth of the holy River Narmada. The celebrations are started at 12 noon. Hundreds of deepams are lit throughout the hillside and along the Narmada Ghat. In the evening, special Aarti is conducted on the banks. A huge Bhandaar is arranged and Prasad is distributed to the pilgrims.
Some of the other main festivals celebrated are Basant Panchami, Holi, Hanuman Jayanti, Shanishwar Amavasya, Guru Purnima and Janmashtami.
How to reach Omkareshwar Temple?
- By Air – The nearest airport is Indore which is 77 km away. Regular flights are available from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal and Gwalior.
- By Train – The nearest Railway station is Mortakka which is 12 km away from Omkareshwar. Regular trains are available from places like Khandwa, Ajmer, and Ratlam. The nearest Railway Junction is Khandwa which is 72 km away. Trains from all major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Jaipur are available.
- By Road – Regular bus services are available from cities like Indore, Ujjain, Jalgaon, Khandwa and Bhopal. A special bus service has been introduced between Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain to Shri Omkareshwar Temple. This is operated by the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department.
Omkareshwar Temple Accommodation
- There are about 50 Dharmashalas available in Omkareshwar to stay. Most of them are newly constructed and are equipped with modern amenities. The Temple administration does not run any Dharmashala or Ashram.
- Some of the popular choices to stay are Shri Gajanan Mahajan Sansthan and the MP Narmada tourist bungalows.
Where to eat
- A Bhojanalaya is run by the Omkareshwar Temple Trust which provides hygienic food to the pilgrims at a nominal cost. A new full-scale restaurant is currently under construction.
- Several private hotels and restaurants are available outside the temple complex providing high quality vegetarian food.
- Mammaleshwar Temple – The other half of the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga is situated here. The Linga itself is called Amareshwar. The temple is small with a hall and sanctum. The Linga Abhishekam can be performed by the devotees themselves. The temple is comparatively less crowded than its counterpart Omakareshwar.
- Saptamatruka temple – It is located 6 km away from the Omkareshwar temple. This temple is dedicated to the famed seven goddesses who helped the great Shakti Devi in fighting with demons. The names of the seven goddesses worshiped here in order are Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, Chamunda and Narasimhi.
- Sri Siddeshwar Temple or the Siddhnath Barahdwari – This marvelously protected temple is located on the plateau. The central shrine has four entrances and sabha mandaps. All the four sabha mandaps contain 18 pillars, each of 14 inches height.
- Gauri Somnath Temple – This temple can be visited during the Parikrama around the Parikrama Path. Pilgrims have to climb 270 steps to reach the sanctum. ThLingam of Lord Shiva is 6 feet high made in shining black stone. Equally fascinating is a huge Nandi statue in front of the sanctum made of the same black stone. According to legend, a person can see what he would become in his/her next birth.
- Sri Annapurna Temple – The Annapurna Temple Trust of Indore has raised a complex around an ancient Annapurna temple. A Sarva Mangala temple has been developed inside the complex dedicated to the three Goddesses Laxmi, Parvati, and Saraswati. A 35 feet tall statue of Lord Krishna is the main attraction here.
- Parikrama Path – This path is 7 km long and goes around the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga. Pilgrims can visit several temples and historical places during this journey. Some of the temples visited are Gauri Somnath Temple, Omkar Temple, Patali Hanuman Mandir, Shri ram Mandir and Rin Mukhteshwar Mahadev.