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Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple Gujarat

The First Jyotirlinga – Nageshwar Temple

Nageshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Shrines mentioned in Shiva Purana. And Nageshwar is believed to be the first  and a self-existent “Jyotirlinga” i.e. shrine; in an underground sanctum. Located on the route between Dwarka city and Beyt Dwarka Island, this Shiva Temple lies on an island on the coast of Saurashtra in Gujarat. The major attraction of this temple is a 25 meter tall statue of Lord Shiva who is seated and a large garden with a pond surrounding the statue.

Nageshwar Temple Gujarat

History of Nageshwar Temple

The story behind this temple is not just one. Two well known legends are attached to the existence of this numinous temple. They are as follows:

The first story goes hundered years back in Shiva Purana, about a demon couple named Daruka and Daruki. Now known as Dwarka (the city), was earlier denoted as “Darukavana” (forest in which this couple stayed) named after them. Daruka’s wife Daruki was a devotee of Goddess Parvati and was blessed by her. But, Daruka was a cruel demon with sadistic characteristic; who found joy in troubling folks around. One day he imprisoned an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva named as Supriya with several others. Daruka misused the blessings granted to him and tormented the local folks by one means or the other. While in captivity Supriya advised all others to enchant the mantra “Om Namaha Shivaye” loudly. She said this mantra has enough power to protect them all. Daruka came to know about this and in anger went to kill her; is when Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga from the earth. Though Shiva couldn’t kill the demon because of the blessings granted to him by his wife, Parvati he assured Supriya and all others that he would protect them all in the form of a linga.

According to another fable (believed to be narrated by the local folks), a group of dwarf sages known as “Balakhilyas” worshipped Lord Shiva in Darukavana for an extremely long time. To test their persistence as well devotion Lord Shiva came to them as a nude ascetic wearing only nagas i.e. serpents on his body. All the wives of the sages got attracted to him and went after them leaving behind their husbands. This action made all the sages livid and made them curse the ascetic to lose his linga. The Shiva linga fell on earth and the whole earth trembled. Then appeared Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma who requested him to save the planet from getting destroyed and to take back his linga. After consoling the sages, Lord Shiva took back his linga and promised his divine presence in the form of jyotirlinga in Darukavana forever.

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Gujarat

Nageshwar Temple Timings

  • Morning darshan timings for the devotees are from 6 am onwards.
  • The devotees can have the perks of attending the “Sringar Darshan” at 4 pm.
  • Depending upon the season, the Shayan Aarti i.e. the evening prayers are usually conducted at 7 pm.
  • The temple closes at 9 pm.

Significance of Nageshwar Temple

  • It is believed to be the first shrine of all the Jyotirlingas.
  • This powerful Jyotirlinga is believed to protect the devotees from all kinds of poison. It is believed that one who prays to the lord becomes free of poison i.e.negativities.
  • The lingam at Nageshwar is unique as it is made from a stone popularly known as the Dwarka Stone, which has tiny wheel imprints on it.
  • The lingam is shaped like that of a three faced oval rudrakshara, which means the tears of Shiva.
  • The Rudra Samhita shloka refers to Nageshwar with the phrase ′Daarukaavane Naagesham′.
  • Nageshwar Mahadev Sivalingam is facing South while the Gomugam is facing east. There is a story behind this position. A devotee named asNaamdev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord, this when the other devotees asked him to stand aside and not hide the Lord. To this Naamdev asked them to suggest one direction in which the Lord does not exist, hence he can then stand there.  The infuriated devotees carried him and left him on the south. To their astonishment, they found that the Linga was now facing South with the Gomugam facing east.

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Gujarat

Pooja’s and Rituals at Nageshwar Temple

There are various poojas performed at Nageshwar Jyotirlinga and have different charges for it.

Rudraabhishek, the pooja conducted when Shiva is in it’s rudra (angry) form. The Shiva Linga is washed with water which continuously keeps pouring over it through a vessel along with continuous chanting of mantras.

Dudhabhishek, the pooja in which the Shiva Linga is washed with the continuous pouring of milk and enchanting of mantras.

There are various other forms of abhishekam and poojas known as rudrabhishek with bhog, ek somvar (one Monday), chaar somvaar (four Mondays), Laghurudra and Shravan

Festivals Celebrated at Nageshwar Temple

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Gujarat

As the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, Mahashivratri is the main festival celebrated here. During this festival the lingam is decorated with flowers and abhishek is conducted with milk. There is a special pooja which is conducted and the mantras are enchanted all day round continuously.

You can have a glimpse of Mahashivratri pooja at Nageshwar by clicking at this link-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnfJCqLtFiQ

How to Reach Nageshwar Temple

By Air- The nearest airport is that of Jamnagar which is 137 kms.

By Rail- Dwarka is a station on the Okha-Ahmedabad broad gauge railway line, with trains connecting it to

  • Jamnagar- 137 kms
  • Rajkot- 217kms
  • Ahmedabad- 471 kms
  • There are trains which even connect the way down to south through Vadodra, Surat, Mumbai, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.

By Road- There are direct buses available from Jamnagar and Ahmedabad

Accomodation

There are various places to accommodate you comfortably within a reasonable budget. A few of them are-

Hotel Guruprerna, Hotel Meera, Hotel Damji. Hotel Dwarka Residency and Hotel Gomti.

Where to Eat

The best places nearby to satiate your hunger would be Charmi Restaurant and Hotel Prasad.

Nearby Temples

Rukshmani Mandir – Rukshamanee/ Rukshmani Mandir is an important place of pilgrimage and is dedicated to the most adored consort of Krishna, Devi Rukmini. A masterpiece in artistic terms, this temple has embellished walls and carvings which are treat for one’s eyes. The rich paintings on the walls of this 12th century temple portray Rukmini’s times spent with her husband. This temple is located in the main city of Dwarka.

Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple – Located at a distance of 18.2 kms from Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, the temple is dedicated to Lord Chandra Mouliswar Shiva. The temple is located on the hillock on the sea. During high tide the temple gets surrounded by water and a fair takes place here every year on the day of Mahashivratri.

Shree Dwarkadish Temple – Also known as the Jagat Mandir this temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna also known as the “King of Dwarka”. Located at a distance of 17.3 kms from Nageshwar Jyotirlinga it consists of 5 storied building, 72 pillars and this temple is said to be 2,200 years old. It is considered to be a Pushtimarg temple, therefore it follows the guidelines and rituals created by Shree Vallabhacharya and Shree Vitheleshnathji.

Gomti Ghat Temples Gomati Ghat in Gujarat has plentiful of temples that are devoted to Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, Lord Shiva, and Sudama, who was Lord Krishna’s closest friend. The temples around this ghat present an unimpeachable view and a pictorial of the River Gomati which has been worshipped by people for 100 years. To get a glimpse of Dwarka, one can hire a boat and sail across the river. The Gomati Ghat Temples are located just at the entrance of the Dwarkadeesh temple. It is this place where River Gomati meets the vast sea. There are many small temples which have shrines also.

Bhimashankar Temple

Bhimashankar Temple

The ancient and sacred Bhimashankar Temple is located amongst the lush green forests of the Bhimashankar reserve in the village of Bhavgiri among the Sahyadri hill range near Pune in Maharashtra. The Temple is also the source of river Bhima. The Bhimashankar Temple is considered to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in Hindu mythology. The Temple is one of the five Jyotirlinga Temples located in Maharashtra, the other four being – Sri Vaidyanath in Parli, Sri Nageshwar in Dharukavanam, Sri Grishneshwar in Devasarovar and Sri Tryambakeshwar in Nasik.

The Bhimashankar Temple complex is small but the simple structure with numerous sculptures depicting Gods and Goddesses impart a calm and soothing feeling to the pilgrims.  The architecture of the Temple follows the Nagara style and the Hemadpanthi style of construction. The Temple is divided into the Garbhagriha, Sabhamandap, and the Kurmamandap. The main door of the Bhimashankar Temple is made of solid wood adorned with figures of several gods and goddesses. A huge bell is located at the entrance of the temple. It was gifted by Chimaji Appa, brother of Bajirao Peshwa I.  Two large Nandis are present in the Temple. The one in the front of the sanctum is very old but the other one is new and recently installed.  One can also visit the shrines of Lord Shani, Nandi, Lord Ram and Dutta.

Bhimashankar Temple

History and Legend

  • The original Bhimashankar Temple or the Sanctum is dated back to the 13th century. Later, during several different time periods, renovations and additions have been carried out to improve the temple complex.
  • According to the belief, in the 13th century, a woodcutter named Bhatirao Lakhadhara discovered the Jyotirlinga when his axe fell hit the tree, the ground started bleeding. The villagers gathered there and offered milk to the tree which stopped the bleeding. The people of the village built a small temple at the site and named it as the Bhimashankar Temple.
  • Several notable figures like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Peshwa Balaji Vishwanath, and Raghunath Peshwa regularly visited the shrine and carried out Poojas and renovations. The Diwan of the Peshwas, Nana Phadnavis built the Shikhar of the Bhimashankar Temple.
  • Many legends have been associated with the Bhimashankar Temple beginnings and the occurrence of the Jyotirlinga. As per one legend mentioned in the Matsya Puranam and the Shiva Puranam, three demons by the names of Vidyunmali, Tarakaksha, and Viryavana, together known as the Tripurasura demons performed Tapasya and obtained a boon from Lord Brahma. The boon was that three beautiful cities, each made of Gold, Iron and Silver will be constructed by the Gods for the demons with all the luxuries in them. The forts will be made in different worlds and will align once in every thousand years. All the three forts combined will be called Tripura. It was prophesized that only a single arrow can destroy the city.
  • Lord Brahma ordered the Asura architect Maya to construct these cities. The city made of Iron was constructed on Earth, the city of Silver was constructed in the sky and the city of Gold was constructed in heaven. These cities rotated in such a way that they never aligned in a single line except for some moments every thousandth year.
  • Demons from all over the world came and resided at the palaces. After the initial self-enjoyment, they eventually started troubling the people of the realm. They misbehaved with Rishis and Maharishis, terrorized the common folk and eventually challenged the Gods. Lord Indra accompanied by other Gods went to Lord Brahma to put an end to the Tripura, but Lord Brahma could not help and asked them to request Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva obliged and the war between the Gods and the demons began. The war raged on for several years without an end. Lord Shiva requested the help of Goddess Parvati and both of them took the form of “Ardha-Narya-Nateshwar” and descended to the Earth.
  • To destroy the Tripura, Lord Shiva asked Vishwakarma to build a chariot. The chariot had special features. The Goddess Earth (Prithvi) became the chariot, Sun and Moon became the wheels, Lord Brahma became the Sarathi, Mount Meru became the bow, Serpent Vasuki was the bow-string and Lord Vishnu became the arrow. Just as the three cities aligned, Lord Shiva burned them to the ground. The Gods requested Lord Shiva to take rest there and make the place his home. Lord Shiva turned himself into a Linga and made the Bhimashankar mountains his home.
  • The wives of the Tripurasura demons, Shakini and Dakini came to Lord Shiva and inquired about their existence without their husbands. Since they had helped Lord Shiva in the war, they were granted immortality by Lord Shiva.

Significance of the Temple

  • The Linga of Lord Shiva is considered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in the Hindu mythology. The Jyotirlingas are self-manifested images of Lord Shiva, unlike the Lingas that are installed by humans.
  • The Bhimashankar Linga occurs at a lower level compared to the ground in the main sanctum. The top of the Linga is divided by a narrow groove in the Linga. Each half of the Linga signifies Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The Lord appears as “Ardhanareeshwara” in the  Bhimashankar Temple.
  • It is believed that water flows continuously from the Linga since time immemorial.
  • The River Bhima is considered sacred by the people because it is believed that the river is actually the perspiration of Lord Shankara (Shiva) after he defeated the demon Tripurasura. A holy dip in the river is believed to relieve ones of their sins.
  • The Mokshakumd, located behind the Bhimashankar Temple is believed to be the place where the Maharishi Kaushik (another name for the Brahmarishi Vishwamitra) performed penance or Tapasya to please the Gods.
  • The Temple administration allows pilgrims to conduct Abhishekam and Poojas to the Jyotirlinga by themselves with Marigold and Bilva leaves.

The Bhimashankar Temple Timings

  • The Bhimashankar Temple opens at 4:30 AM and closes at 9:30 PM.
  • The Morning Aarti or the Kakad Aarti starts at 4:30 AM.
  • The Nijarup Darshan (Darshan of the real Jyotirlinga) begins at 5 AM till 5:30 AM.
  • The regular Poojas and Abhishekams are performed between 5:15 AM to 11:50 PM.
  • The Darshan is stopped for 45 minutes from 3:15 PM to 4 PM.
  • The Shringar darshan starts at 4 PM.
  • The evening Aarti occurs at 7:30 PM

Dress Code

The Bhimashankar Temple administration as such has not imposed any dress code on the pilgrims. However, it is recommended that you wear decent clothes during the Temple visit. Carry an umbrella as the Temple is surrounded by mountains and rainfall is plenty but erratic. Wear strong and comfortable shoes, preferably flats as one has to descend some 200 steps to reach the Temple. The Bhimashankar Temple is surrounded by places where one can trek a lot.

Festivals celebrated at the Temple

  • Maha Shivaratri – A huge fair is organized for five days in late February or early March as a mark of their respect for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on this day. The day is marked with rigorous Poojas, Bhajans, and Abhishekams. Thousands of people descend on the small town to visit the glorious festival.
  • Karthik Poornima – The day falls in November – December and is celebrated with great pomp and fare. It is believed that on this day, Lord Shiva actually destroyed the demon kingdom of Tripura in all the three realms.
  • Ganesh Chaturthi – The festival is celebrated in August – September with great enthusiasm and cheers. The day is marked as the day Lord Ganesha, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati was born.
  • Deepawali – The festival is celebrated in October – November. The whole Temple is decorated with Deepams or Lamps and special Poojas are performed for Lord Shiva throughout the day.

Poojas and Rituals

The Daily Poojas include –

  • Rudrabhishek – The Pooja is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshiped as fire or Rudra. The puja wipes out all sins and purifies the atmosphere. It also removes all sorts of planetary related ill-occurrences. The Mondays of the month as well as the Pradosham days are considered as ideal for performing the Pooja.
  • Laghurudra Pooja – This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It is also done to remove the bad effects of planets in the horoscope.
  • The yearly Poojas or Sevas include Prati Somvar, Prati Pradosh, Prati Shivaratri, Prati Amavasya, Mahashivaratri, Shravan Maas Pratidin. The Rudrabhishekam and Mahapuja can be performed on every Monday, every Amavasya, every Pradosham day, and in the month of Shravan at a reasonable price. For more details, one can visit the link http://bhimashankar.in/index.htm?page=yearly.
  • Besides the above Poojas, a Shashvat Pooja can also be performed at the Temple. These Poojas can be performed for 1 day every year for a period of 20 years. The Poojas that can be done are – Rudrabhishek, Mahapuja, Mahapuja with MahaNaivedyam, Laghurudra, Shravan Somvar and Mahashivaratri, and Laghurudra with Brahman Bhojan.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

  • By Air- The nearest airport is the Pune Airport. Regular buses are available from Pune to the Temple between 5:30 AM and 4 PM.
  • By Train – The nearest well-connected railway station is Pune which is 120 km away from the Temple. One can avail the private Taxi services or the Bus services from the Pune Bus Stand to the Bhimashankar Temple.
  • By Road – Regular buses are available from Pune from 5:30 AM to 4 PM. A bus from Kalyan starts at 9 AM and one from Ghatkopar or Kurla at 11 AM. The route through the town of Manchar is the most recommended route for people who are coming on their own.

Where to stay

The staying options at the Bhimashankar Temple and the villages are limited as the area is not easily accessible. The Temple administration runs a Guesthouse named Jeevan Guest House that provides the basic facilities only. However, nearby towns have options like the Blue Mormon Jungle Holiday Resort, Ecogreens Sankalp Farms, and Holiday Maiyaan Karjat.

Where to eat

Several small restaurants are present near the Temple premises such as the Shivshakti and Shankar Vishranti.  The Cuisine available is a mix of both North Indian and South Indian food items. The items available here are predominantly vegetarian.

Nearby Temples

  • Gupt Bhimashankar – A small trekking path from the Bhimashankar Temple will lead you to the place where the Jyotirlinga was originally found. The Linga is situated on the banks of a waterfall and is surrounded by lush greenery.
  • Sakshi Ganapati Temple – The Temple is located 2 km away from the Bhimashankar Temple. The Ganapati here is called “Sakshi” because he is the witness to the visit of the pilgrims to the Jyotirlinga. It is believed that he keeps the attendance of who has visited the Bhimashankar shrine. The Pilgrims visit the Temple to show their presence to the Lord Ganapati and Lord Shiva.
  • Kamalaja Devi Temple – The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva. She helped the Lord in his battle against the demons. She is depicted as sitting on the Lotus in this Temple.

Kedarnath Temple

Kedarnath Temple

The Kedarnath Temple is one of the most prestigious and sacred temples as per the Hindu mythology. The main deity, Sri Kedareshwar who is considered as Lord Shiva himself is revered and worshiped here. Kedarnath Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and it is also the Jyotirlinga located at the highest elevation of 3581 meters among all the other Jyotirlingas. The Temple is one of the 275 Temples in a list known as Paadal Petra Sthalams. Kedarnath Temple is situated among the Garhwal Hills in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. The holy River Mandakini (one of the tributaries of River Ganga) flows near the town of Kedarnath.  It is also a part of Chhota Char Dham Yatra of Uttarakhand. The beauty, historical significance and the spiritual value of the place are unparalleled in the word.

The Kedarnath Temple remains open only for six months a year, beginning from the day of Akshaya Tritiya in March-April and closing on the eve of Karthik Purnima in November. The temple remains closed for the next six months due to extremely harsh winters. At the beginning of the winters, the deity is taken to Ukhimath and is worshiped there for the next six months till the onset of spring.

The Temple is built of large sized rocks on a rectangular platform. Inscriptions in the Pali Language can be seen on the steps that lead to the Sanctum. The Temple has a Garbhagriha (sanctum) and a Mandapam. A big Nandi statue of stone is present just opposite to the main shrine.  The Mandapam consists of statues of the Pandavas, Lord Krishna, Draupadi, Nandi, and Virbhadra. The Head Priest belongs to the Veerashaiva community from Karnataka.

kedarnath temple

Kedarnath Temple History

  • The original year or period of construction of the Kedarnath Temple is unknown but it is believed that the Temple has origins towards the end of Mahabharata epic. The Temple and the surroundings have been mentioned in the epic as well as in several Puranas.
  • It is believed that the Pandavas who performed penance here to be forgiven for their sins built the initial structure of the Temple. The present structure of the Kedarnath Temple is believed to have been built by the great Sri Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century.
  • The Kedarnath town’s control passed over to several dynasties over like the Katyuri dynasty, the Panwar dynasty and then to the Mughals.
  • In the 1640’s, the Mughals attacked the area. They retreated when Karnavati, queen of Garhwal defeated them and actually chopped the noses of the enemies. She is given the name of Naak-Katni Rani. Eventually, the Mughals took control of it with help from Raja Jaisingh in 1659.
  • In the period of 1814 to 1816, the control was handed over to the British monarchy. In 2000, Kedarnath was included in the state of Uttarakhand.
  • Several legends are associated with the Kedarnath Temple origins which are indeed fascinating. According to the popular beliefs, the Pandavas were very distraught after defeating their brothers Kauravas and wanted to atone their sins. In search of moksha and divine forgiveness, they traveled through the Himalayan range searching for Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva refused to appear before them and kept on dodging their requests. He fled Kashi and appeared as a bull in a town near Kedarnath where he was detected by the Pandavas. The town is since called as Guptkashi (Hidden or Secret Kashi).
  • The Pandavas in search of Lord Shiva then reached Gaurikund where they spotted an unusual bull. They started chasing it. The Bull hid its face inside the Earth as Bheema pulled its tail. A tug-of-war ensued and at the end, the face of the bull landed in Nepal (Doleshwar Mahadev Temple) and other parts landed in the Panch Badri areas.
  • On the hind part of the Bull, Lord Shiva appeared and gave the Pandavas his darshan and forgave them of their sins. He turned himself into a Jyotirlinga and established himself at Kedarnath.

Significance of Kedarnath Temple

  • The Kedarnath Temple is the highest situated Jyotirlinga at an elevation of 3581 meters, among the twelve Jyotirlingas. The Jyotirlinga means that the Linga of Lord Shiva is self-manifested and that Lord Shiva himself turned into the Linga instead of the Linga being installed by someone else.
  • The Temple is also one of the Temples forming the 275 temples of the Paadal Petra Sthalams. These Temples were revered by the Saiva Nayanars (Saivites) from the 6th to 9th century. They are considered to be the greatest and powerful Shiva Temples in the world.
  • The Kedarnath Temple is also a part of the Panch Kedar Yatra in Uttarakhand. It is believed that when Lord Shiva in the form of a cow split into six separate parts following the tussle with Bheema. The front portion appeared in Doleshwar Mahadev Temple in Nepal, other five parts appeared near Kedarnath. They are – Tungnath for arms, Rudranath for the face, Madhyamaheshwar for the stomach, Kedarnath for the hump and Kalpeshwar for the hair.
  • The Pilgrim is also the part of Chhota Char Dham pilgrimage of Uttarakhand, the other three being Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri.
  • A pilgrim has to pass through the town of Gaurikund (18 km away from Kedarnath) to reach the Kedarnath Temple. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva cut the head of Lord Ganesha and then eventually replaced it with an Elephant’s head.
  • According to the Skanda Puran, the pilgrimage is incomplete without visiting both Badrinath and Kedarnath at the same time. Visiting both God Vishnu and God Shiva will give the pilgrim salvation and relief from all their sins.
  • Unlike almost all the Linga of Shiva worshiped worldwide, the Linga at Kedarnath is not smooth and curved but is actually rough and conical in shape.
  • It is believed that the historical figure of Raja Pandu (father of the Pandavas) died at Pandukeshwar, a small distance from Kedarnath.
  • The pilgrims can touch the idol and perform Abhishekam by themselves to the holy Jyotirlinga.

Kedarnath Temple Timings

  • The Kedarnath Temple opens at 4am and closes at 9pm. The afternoon break timings are from 3pm to 5pm.
  • The pilgrims are allowed to touch the Linga and perform Abhishekam only till 3 PM.
  • The general darshan is free of cost for all pilgrims.

Dress Code

The Kedarnath Temple is situated in the lush and cold valleys of the Himalayas. It is never summer here. The weather is cold for almost throughout the year. It is highly recommended to wear winter clothes like sweaters, jackets, socks, mufflers and gloves. People may experience altitude sickness here.  An umbrella is a must to have in your luggage.

Poojas and Rituals

The devotees who want to do specific Poojas or Sevas must deposit a fee and take a receipt at the Treasury counter. The different Poojas and Sevas provided are as below:

Morning Sevas: The below Poojas are performed in the morning hours between 4 AM to 7 AM.

  • Mahabhishek – This Seva can be performed between 4:30 AM – 6:30 AM.
  • Rudrabhishek – The Pooja is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshiped as fire or Rudra. The puja wipes out all sins and purifies the atmosphere. It also removes all sorts of planetary related ill-occurrences.
  • Laghurudrabhishek – This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It is also done to remove the bad effects of planets in the horoscope.
  • Shodasopachar Pooja – These are the sixteen traditional steps that are performed in  a Pooja ideally to any Lord.

Besides these Poojas, the Baal Bhog, Ashtopchar Pooja, Sampoorna Aarti, Pandav Pooja, Bhairav Pooja, Parvati Pooja and Ganesh Pooja are also performed at nominal rates.

Evening Sevas:  The below Poojas are performed in the evening hours between 6 PM to 7:30 PM.

  • Shiva Sahasranamam Path – The 1008 names of Lord Shiva are recited in front of the Linga and proper Pooja and Abhishekam are done.
  • Shiva Mahimastotra Path – The Stotram is a Sanskrit composition originally composed by Pushpadanta in praise of Lord Shiva.
  • Shiva Thandavastotra Path – There are stotrams containing 16 syllables per stotra. They describe Lord Shiva’s power and beauty to the common man.

Daily Bhog Sevas – Several Bhogs (Food spread) can be offered to the Lord. They are Uttam Bhog, Vishesha Bhog, Nitya Bhog and Sonvarav Sankranti.

Festivals celebrated at the Kedarnath Temple

  • Badri – Kedar Utsav – The festival is usually organized in the month of June. Artists from all over Uttaranchal come together to showcase their musical talent dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The festival is celebrated for 8 days.
  • Shravani Annakoot Mela – The Mela is celebrated on a day before the Raksha Bandhan festival. The entire Jyotirlinga is covered with cooked rice. Several Poojas are performed for the day. The rice is then distributed as Prasad to the devotees. This Prasad is believed to be special as it is considered as a blessing from Lord Shiva himself.
  • Samadhi Pooja – A grand Pooja is held every year on the Samadhi of the great Sri Adi Shankaracharya. The event is held on the day the Kedarnath Temple closes. The day is observed with much reverence and respect.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

  • By Air – Helicopter services are best option to reach the temple by air. The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. It is 238 km away from the Temple town. Regular flights are available to the Jolly Grant Airport from New Delhi. One can reach Gaurikund by availing the Buses or Taxis near the Airport.From Gaurikund, a trek route of 16 km will lead to Kedarnath.
  • By Train – The nearest railway station is Rishikesh, situated at a distance of 216 km from Kedarnath. Regular State Government operated buses are available to Gaurikund from Rishikesh.
  • By Road – All the motorable roads end at Gaurikund after which the pilgrims have to trek 16 km to reach Kedarnath. Gaurikund is well connected to all major cities in Uttarakhand as well as from surrounding areas like New Delhi. One can board buses from Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Pauri, Tehri, Srinagar and Chamoli.
  • Ponies and Palkis are available for hire to pilgrims who are unable to trek the 16 km route on foot.
  • Besides these routes, several private agencies operate Helicopter services from areas like Phata, Agasthyamuni, and Guptkashi.

Where to stay

The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), a Government of Uttaranchal Enterprise operates the GMVN Tourist Rest House at Kedarnath that provides basic facilities. The rooms available are standard or dormitory. Besides Kedarnath, GMVN also operates Tourist Rest Houses at Gaurikund and Guptkashi.

Several budget and deluxe hotels are available for stay in Kedarnath. However, after the floods in 2013, a lot of them are under renovation and reconstruction. It is advised to check with the Tour operators before deciding to stay in Kedarnath.

A lot of staying options are available in Gaurikund and Guptkashi from where the Kedarnath Temple can be a one-day trip.

Where to eat

There are a few small dhabas and eateries available in the town that offers simplistic vegetarian cuisine. Alcohol is prohibited a non-vegetarian is not served. It is advised to carry food items and snacks before making a trip to Kedarnath, especially with elders and children.

Nearby Temples

  • The Omkareshwar Temple, Ukhimath – The town of Ukhimath is the winter abode of Lord Kedareshwar as well as the year-round abode of Lord Omkareshwar. During the winter months, when the Kedarnath Temple is closed, the idol of Lord Shiva is taken from there to Ukhimath Omkareshwar Temple where regular Poojas are carried out for the next six months.
  • The Panch Kedar Temples – Besides the Kedarnath Temple, the other four temples of the Panch Kedar journey are the Temples of Madmaheshwar, Rudranath, Tungnath, and Kalpeshwar. They are all accessible only by trekking routes from areas such as Ukhimath, Uniana, and Rudraprayag.
  • Agasthya Muni Temple – The town of Agasthyamuni is 40 km before Kedarnath. The Temple is dedicated to the Sage Agasthya. It is believed that the Sage lived here for some part of his life and destroyed the monsters by the names of Aatapi and Vatapi who used to invite innocents to their home and eat them.
  • Gaurikund – The town is the starting point of a trek of 14 km to Kedarnath. The town is home to the Temple of Goddess Parvati, also known as Gauri. According to the legend, Lord Shiva asked Goddess Parvati’s hand in marriage at this place.
  • Adi Shankaracharya Samadhi – The resting place of the great Sage Sri Adi Shankaracharya is located at Kedarnath. He established the four mutts (Badrinath, Sringeri, Jagannath, and Dwarka) dedicated to promoting the Vedic teachings and the Advaita philosophy. He was the one who constructed and 9renovated several features of the Kedarnath Temple in the 8th century.
  • Triyuginarayan – The Temple is located at a distance of 25 km away from Kedarnath near Gaurikund and Sonprayag. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati in the presence of Lord Vishnu. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
  • Kalimath Temple – The Temple is located en route to Kedarnath. It is 20 km from Ukhimath. According to the legends, Goddess Kali went underground at the spot after killing the demon Raktbeej. A silver plate covers the spot where Kali supposedly entered the ground.
Kashi Yatra

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most sacred places of pilgrimage that a Hindu must make to ensure good health, well-being and to ultimately to attain Moksha. The Temple is situated in the holy city of Varanasi in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  The holy River Ganga flows beside the Temple increasing the spiritual value of the Temple by manifolds. Kashi Vishwanath Temple plays an important role in Hindu mythology and has been mentioned innumerable times in scriptures like Skanda Purana, Shiva Purana, the Upanishads and in the Vedas.

In the famous Skanda Purana, the city of Kashi has been given twelve different names, some of which are Varanasi, Anand-Kanan, Avimukt, Rudrawas, Shri Shivpuri and Muktibhumi.  The name “Kashi” means Prakash or Light of Brahma and Vishnu. The name of Varanasi is derived from the fact that the ancient city was initially situated between the Varuna and Asi rivers or Ghats.

The city consists of hundreds of temples, each having a unique significance in Hindu mythology. The Lords Dandapani (Lord Karthikeyan, son of Lord Shiva) and Kalabhairav are the guardians of the city. The city consists of around 84 bathing ghats and several Theerthams that are supposed to exist since the times of the Vedas.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple complex is quadrangular in shape with several small temples and shrines dedicated to Lord Dandapani (Karthikeya), Lord Vinayaka, Kalabhairavar, Avimukteshwar, Lord Vishnu, Virupaksha, Virupaksha Gauri and Lord Shaneeshwara. There are three distinct regions of the Temple – the first is a spire over the Temple of Lord Vishwanath, the second is a golden dome and the third is a spire with a trident and a flag atop it. The Temple has a Sabha Griha that leads to the Garbha Griha where the Linga is housed.

kashi vishwanath temple

History and Legend

  • As per mentions in several Vedas and Puranas, the Jyotirlinga existed at this place since time immemorial. However, actual evidence for the Kashi Vishwanath Temple exists only from the 11th century onwards.
  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple was subjected to repeated invasions and destruction. The original structure of the Temple was destroyed by Qutb-ud-din-Aibak in 1194 CE but was rebuilt under the reign of Sultan Iltutmish.
  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple was again attacked under the reign of either Sikander Lodhi or under Husain Sharqi in the 1400s. Raja Man Singh built it but was boycotted as he allowed the Mughals to marry into his family. However, Todar Mal further re-built the Temple with Akbar’s blessings at the original site in 1585.
  • In 1669, Aurangzeb destroyed the Temple again and over the foundations, built the Gyanvapi Mosque. The remains of the Temple can still be seen in the Mosque premises.
  • Plans were made to demolish the mosque by Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar in 1742 and in 1750 by the Maharaja of Jaipur. However, they were unsuccessful in doing so due to the objections raised by the Nawabs of Lucknow.
  • In 1780, Rani Ahilyabai Holkar constructed the present Kashi Vishwanath Temple near the mosque. In 1828, the widow of Daulat Rao Scindia, Baija Rao built a colonnade with 40 pillars at the Gyan Vyapi premises.
  • The Gyan Vyapi Well boundary, the Ghats, and other small temples were eventually built during the period 1833-1840.
  • In 1841, Silver was donated to the Kashi Vishwanath Temole by the Bhonsles of Nagpur and in 1859, Gold was donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • The legend of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple dates back to the origins of life on Earth. It is believed that at the time of creation when there were no humans on Earth, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu fought for supremacy. They used powerful weapons against each other and the fight continued for thousands of years. To test them, Lord Shiva intercepted them and created an endless pillar of fire and light. Both Brahma and Vishnu wanted to know the end of the pillar. Lord Brahma assumed the figure of Swan and flew up and Lord Vishnu assumed the figure of a Boar and went down to find the end. After searching for centuries, Lord Vishnu came back and conceded his defeat but Lord Brahma lied and said that he had found the end of the pillar.
  • The lie angered Shiva and he came out of the bright light and fire. He declared that all three of them will form Omkaar (Trinity), Brahma will be the creator, Vishnu will be the preserver and Shiva will be the destroyer. He cursed Brahma that no one will worship him because of his lies. He also declared that Lord Vishnu will be a Purushottam or the Supreme Being.
  • The pillar of fire vanished but some of the parts of it remained at Kashi as a Jyotirlinga.

Significance of the Temple

  • The Linga of the presiding deity Lord Vishwanath (Lord Shiva) is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas that are revered in Hindu mythology. The Jyotirlinga means that the Linga is self-manifested and that Lord Shiva himself has turned into the Linga. It is believed that a one-time visit to Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga equals to the visit of the rest of the eleven Jyotirlingas. The Jyotirlinga is considered as the first among all Jyotirlingas as is called the King of Jyotirlingas.
  • It is believed that Kashi is the holiest city for Hindus and that anyone who lives here will attain Moksha. It is a belief that anyone who departs from the city of Kashi will attain spiritual enlightenment and salvation. This is the reason that the ashes of departed people are mostly dispersed in the River Ganga at Kashi.
  • The city of Kashi or Varanasi is the most direct of the seven Moksha Puris as per Hindu beliefs. The other six are Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kanchipuram, Ujjain, and Dwarka.
  • The holy city of Kashi is considered as the most ancient continually inhabited city in the world.
  • The holy city is home to other Gods too. In the Puranas, the city is also mentioned as Aadyavaishnav Bhoomi and Lord Brahma is supposed to have performed ten Ashwamedha Yagnas at the Dashashwamedha Ghat. The place is also important for devotees of Shakti (Goddess Sati) as the city is also home to a Shakti Peeth.
  • It is mentioned in the scriptures that the city was built by Lord Shiva on his trident as his residence after his marriage with Goddess Parvati. Hence, it is believed that the city is so sacred that even if the end of the world (Pralayam) happens, the city of Kashi will survive.
  • It is believed that the first rays of the sun fell on the city of Kashi when the world was created. Lord Shiva is the protector of the city.
  • It is believed that the nine grihas (Navagraha) do not influence or affect the people living in Kashi as they abide by the rules of Lord Shiva. They cannot even enter the city without Lord Shiva’s permission.
  • The well of Gyan Vaapi is also known as the well of wisdom. It is believed that before Aurangzeb attacked the city, the Jyotirlinga was hidden inside the well. The well can be seen between the mosque and the temple.
  • The Ghat of Manikarnika on the banks of River Ganga, situated near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha. The Shakti Peethas are the 52 places where parts of the body of Goddess Sati (Adi Parashakti), first wife of Lord Shiva, fell on Earth after being decapitated by Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yagna episode of history.
  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been visited and appreciated by several revered ancient saints like Sri Adi Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Gurunanak.
  • A popular tradition that is followed till date is that the water taken from River Ganga after visiting the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is used for Abhishekam of the Jyotirlinga of Sri Ramanathaswamy in Rameswaram. The sand from the Temple is brought back to Kashi and given as an offering to Lord Vishwanath. Hence, it is believed that pilgrimage of Kashi and Rameswaram will lead to complete Moksha and enlightenment.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple Timings

  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple opens daily at 2:30 AM and closes at 11 PM.
  • The Mangala Aarti is performed between 3 AM to 4 AM.
  • The mid-day Bhog Aarti is performed between 11:30 AM to 12 PM.
  • The Sapta Rishi Aarti is performed between 7 PM to 8:30 PM.
  • The Shringar Bhog and Aarti are performed at 9 PM.
  • The Shayan Aarti starts at 10:30 PM.
  • The general darshan timings are 4 AM to 11 AM, 12 PM to 7 PM, and from 8:30 PM to 9 PM.
  • After 9 PM, pilgrims are allowed to view the Lord from outside the sanctum.

The devotees can also have an Online Darshan and e-pooja by visiting the website https://shrikashivishwanath.org

Dress code

Although there is no prescribed strict dress code for entering the Kashi Vishwanath Temple premises, it is advised to wear decent clothes to visit the shrine. Shorts and miniskirts are generally not encouraged.

Poojas and Rituals

The below Sevas are performed between 4 AM to 6 PM:

  • Rudrabhishek – The Pooja is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is worshiped as fire or Rudra. The puja wipes out all sins and purifies the atmosphere. It also removes all sorts of planetary related ill-occurrences. The Mondays of the month, as well as the Pradosham days, are considered as ideal for performing the Pooja.
  • Maharudrabhishek – In the Abhishek, recitations of Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharva Veda is done in front of the deities of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
  • Laghurudrabhishek – This Abhishek is done to resolve issues related to health and wealth. It is also done to remove the bad effects of planets in the horoscope.
  • Shravan Somvar Pooja – The Mondays of the month of Shravan (July – August) are considered highly auspicious for worshiping Lord Shiva. Devotees observe Somvar Vrat during the Shravan month and perform Poojas in their homes.  The articles used for the worship are Bilva leaves, white flowers, water, honey, and milk. The charges for the Seva are Rs. 6251.
  • Lakh Vilvarchana – This Archana is performed by offering a lakh Bilva leaves to the Linga of the God.

The below Poojas are under the Long Term Schemes offered for a period of 20 years:

  • Dainik Pooja and Archana scheme – The scheme is an annual scheme for which the membership fees is Rs. 11,000. As per the scheme, the Rudrabhishekam is performed once a year for 20 years in the name of the devotee.
  • Yati Bhiksha – The word “Yati” means “Sadhu” or a Sage. The “Yati Bhiksha” means that offerings like food will be provided to the Sadhus residing in the holy town of Varanasi. The charges for the Seva are Rs. 8751.
  • Sarwa Pooja – All the Poojas of the day are performed for one day in the name of the devotee. The charges of the Seva are Rs. 13751.

The Poojas and Sevas can be booked online by visiting the site https://shrikashivishwanath.org/

Besides the above Poojas and Sevas, the below Yatras should be performed by the devotees:

  • Panchatheertha Yatra – The pilgrims should take a bath in the five main Ghats in the sequence of Asi ghat – Dashashwamedha ghat – Aadikeshav ghat – Panchganga ghat – Manikarnika ghat, and then visit all the shrines at Kashi.
  • Mauni Yatra – The Yatra should begin with a bath in the Manikarnika ghat followed by the darshan of various forms of Shiva and Shakti and end with a bath again at the Manikarnika ghat. The condition of the Yatra is that it should be performed in silence.

Festivals celebrated at the Temple

  • Mahashivaratri – The festival is celebrated on the 13th night and the 14th day of the month of Maagha (February / March). The Linga of Lord Shiva is bathed with Ganga water, applied with Chandan paste, and offered Bilva leaves, bhang, datura, flowers, coconut, fruits and cow milk. People keep fast for the whole day and do Shiva Pooja at their homes. Taking a bath in River Ganga on Mahashivaratri is considered extremely sacred.

Several myths and legends are associated with the festival of Mahashivaratri. As per one legend, the Devas and Asuras both churned an ocean of milk to obtain Amrit (water that gives immortality). They came upon a deadly poison which exploded into poisonous fumes when touched. The fumes enveloped the entire world and all Gods rushed to Lord Shiva to protect the world. Lord Shiva absorbed the fumes with his trident and swallowed the poison, thus saving the world. This is the reason for the blueness of the skin especially the throat of Lord Shiva.The day is also known as the day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati.

  • Makara Sankranthi – The day is celebrated with great pomp and festivities. The devotees take a dip in River Ganga and pray to the Sun God on this day. The day signifies the ascent of the sun and beginning of spring. The day is dedicated to a good harvest in the agricultural terms. On the day of the festival, thousands of kites are flown in the Varanasi skyline which is an enthralling experience to have.
  • Shravan festival – The whole month of Shravan (June-July) is celebrated with great zest and excitement. The month of Shravan is considered to be the holy month of the Hindu calendar. Special decorations and special Poojas are performed for Lord Shiva on every Monday. On the first Monday, decoration of Lord Shiva occurs, on the second, both Shiva and Parvati’s idols are decorated. On the third and the fourth Monday, Lord Ardhanarishwar and Sri Rudrakshaya are worshiped.
  • Dev Deepawali – The festival literally means “The Diwali of the Gods”. The festival is celebrated in the month of Karthik Poornima, 15 days after the festival of Diwali. The steps of all the ghats are lit with lamps in honor of river Ganga. It is believed that Gods descend to the Earth to take a bath in Ganga.
  • Rangbhari Ekadashi – The festival is celebrated in the month of February –March. As per the legend, the consummation of the marriage between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati happened on this day. The devotees carry the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in a Palki from the house of the Mahant of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and take them to the sanctum of the Temple. Then the Gods are offered with Gulaal and Rose petals.

Besides the above festivals, Ramnavami, Hanuman Jayanti, Dussehra, Holi, and Janmashtami are also celebrated with great pomp and fare.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

  • By Air – The nearest airport to the city is Babatpur which is 22 km from Varanasi. Direct flights are operated by Air India as well as other private airlines from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Agra, Bhubaneswar and Lucknow.
  • By Train – The nearest Railway Station is Varanasi Junction or the Mughal Sarai Junction. Several trains connect the city to almost all major parts of the country like Delhi, Chennai, Howrah, Jammu, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Guwahati.
  • By Road – The city is located on NH2 highway linking Kolkata to New Delhi. Several buses are available from places like Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Patna, Nagpur, Gorakhpur, Azamgarh and Gaya.

Where to stay

A number of Government operated Guest Houses are available for accommodation for Government servants. Please visit the link to see a list of the Government Guest Houses – https://shrikashivishwanath.org/accomodation.aspx

Apart from these Guest Houses, several private hotels offer a wide range of rooms like standard, AC Rooms, and dormitories.

Where to eat

The city of Varanasi boasts of great food and culture. The traditional must haves of the city’s culinary delights are Chaat items like Kachoris and Puris along with the Tomato Chat. The Kashi Kalakand is also a popular desert here and is available widely. Lassis and Thandais are popular drinks that one must try out in the city for an enjoyable experience. The cuisine in Varanasi is mainly vegetarian with occasional but rare non-veg hotels.

Nearby Temples

  • Kashi Visalakshi Temple – The sacred Temple is located behind the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The Temple is one of the 51 Shakti Peeths of Goddess Sati. It is believed that when her body was cut with Lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra, her third eye (Aksha) and the earing (Manikarni) fell at this location and hence the name Visalakshi.
  • The Kalbhairav Temple – The Temple is situated 1 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is said that one must visit this Temple to complete their Kashi yatra. As per the legend, when Lord Brahma lies about finding the end of the huge pillar of light, Lord Shiva gets angry and assumes the form of Kalbhairav. He decapitated one of the five heads of Brahma. However, the decapitation made Lord Shiva guilty of the crime of killing. He carried the head of Brahma and roamed around as a Bhikshatana until his sin was forgiven. The head was released from him after he reached Kashi. He is the guard of Kashi and it is a belief that no one can enter Kashi without his permission.
  • Markandey Mahadev Temple – The Temple is located at Kaithi, Varanasi which is 29 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. As per the legend, a couple named Mrikandu and Marudvati prayed to Shiva to attain a son. Lord Shiva granted them a boon of a son who was eventually named Markandeya. He was an extraordinarily intelligent in his childhood. He was always dedicated to Lord Shiva and master of the Mahamritunjaya Mantra. When he became 16, Yama came to take him. Markandeya prayed for the defense to Lord Shiva who vanquished Yama and granted him the gift of immortality.
  • Bharat Mata Mandir – This unique temple is located just 4 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The Temple is located inside the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth Campus. The unique feature is that the Temple does not contain any idol of Gods and Goddesses. The Bharat Mata is worshiped here. A map of India can be seen in the sanctum to which offerings are made. The Temple was constructed by Babu Shiv Prasad and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936.
  • Mrityunjay Mahadev temple – The famous temple is located just 1 km away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is believed that the Mrityunjay Mahadev is the “God who triumphs over death”. Devotees from all over the country come here to pray for long and healthy life and against unnatural death. It is a belief that the well of the temple contains water with medicinal properties and it can cure several ailments of the sick.
  • Annapoorna Mandir – The Temple dedicated to Annapoorna Devi, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati is located near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It is believed that Goddess Annapoorna is responsible for the nourishment of the human souls. Anyone who worships her with devotion will never have any food shortages in his or her life.
  • Tulsi Manas Mandir – The Tulsi Manas Mandir is dedicated to Lord Rama, Lakshman, and Sita. It is believed that the Temple is constructed over the place where the saint Goswami Tulsidas wrote the epic Ramcharitramanas. The walls of the Temple depict the scenes of the epic.

Besides the above temples, several important and historically significant temples can be visited in the city of Varanasi. Some of those Temple are the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, the Durga Temple, the Vyas Temple, the Birla Temple, the Tilbhandeshwar Temple and the Sarnath Temple.

Madurai Rameshwaram Kanyakumari Tour

Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple

Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple

Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is part of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples and 4 Char Dham Temples in India. The temple is located in the Rameshwaram District of Tamil Nadu and is the southernmost Jyotirlinga in India.

Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple History

  • The history of the temple dates back to the Ramayana Period. It is believed that Lord Rama made the Linga and installed it here.
  • The rulers of Pandya Dynasty expanded the temple in 12th century AD.
  • Legend of the Jyotirlinga: Lord Rama and his wife Sita were returning from Lanka After killing Ravana, the demon king. Ravana was a half demon and half Brahmin. Since killing a Brahmin is a sin, Lord Rama wished to worship Lord Shiva and ask his pardon. He had sent Lord Hanuman to Mount Kailash to bring Lord Shiva’s idol.
  • Meanwhile, Lord Rama and Sita were living in the island and when they tried to drink the water, a powerful and divine voice spoke to them. The voice chided Lord Rama that he was drinking the water without worshiping. Instead of waiting for Hanuman’s return, Lord Rama instructed Sita to make a Linga with the sand and water from the seashore. He worshipped Lord Shiva in this form and pleaded for mercy. Lord Shiva manifested himself as the Jyotirlinga, blessed Lord Rama and also accepted to stay here and bless mankind forever.
  • Since Lord Rama worshipped the Linga, the Jyotirlinga was named as Ramanathaswamy, and the place was called as Rameshwaram.

Significance of the Temple

  • The Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple has two Lingas – the Ramalingam – made out of sand by Sita, and Vishwalingam – brought by Hanuman
  • Since Hanuman had brought the Linga all the way from Kailash, Lord Rama instructed that one should worship Vishwalingam first
  • The entire island of Rameshwaram and nearby areas are associated with Lord Rama. Several incidents from the Ramayana are believed to have happened here and therefore, this place is revered by both Saivites and Vaishnavites.
  • Since Lord Rama had killed the Brahmin Ravana, he was affected by Brahmahatya Dosha. He therefore worshipped Lord Shiva and performed certain rituals as per Agama custom to absolve of his Dosha.
  • Rameshwaram has many as 50 Teerths or holy wells, and 22 of them are inside the temple. The water from these wells is believed to possess medicinal properties
  • It is believed that the water from each Teerth tastes different and offers various remedies
  • The first of the holy wells – the Agniteertham lies immersed in the sea, 100 metres from the main temple. This is where Lord Rama is believed to have performed the rituals for the Brahmahatya Dosha. Therefore, devotees first take a dip in this well before entering the temple
  • The Linga is made of Spatika. The temple arranges for an early morning special darshan called the Mani Darshan, where the devotees can see and worship the Spatika Linga
  • It is auspicious to bathe the Linga with the water from the Ganges. Devotees who go to Kashi, make it a point to bring the Ganges water and offer it to the Linga here. It is believed that this offering completes their spiritual journey
  • The Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple has the world’s largest temple corridor. They measure around 1220 metres and comprises of nearly 1200 magnificent granite pillars in total

Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple Timings

Morning:     5:00 am – 1:00 pm
Evening:      3:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Poojas and Rituals

Brahmahatya Dosha Pooja – To alleviate Brahmahatya Dosha present in one’s horoscope. Performed in the Agni Teerth or in the nearby Mutts

Pitru Tarpanam / Thila Homam – Tribute to ancestors to seek their blessings, and to help their souls rest in peace. Performed in the nearby Mutts with assistance of purohits

Palliyarai Deepa Arathana: 5:00 am

Spadigalinga Deepa Arathana: 5:10 am

Thiruvananthal Deepa Arathana: 5:45 am

Vila Pooja: 7:00 am

Kalasanthi Pooja: 10:00 am

Uchikala Pooja: 12:00 noon

Sayaratcha Pooja: 6:00 pm

Arthajama Pooja: 8:30 pm

Palliyarai Pooja: 8:45 pm

Festivals

  • Maha Shivarathri festival is the key festival here like any other Saivite temple. In Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple, devotees can participate in the Rishaba Vaahana Darsha, Maha Shivarathri Abishekam and the Silver Chariot procession. This is a 10-day festival that is celebrated in February – March.
  • Vasanthotsavam is a 10-day festival celebrated in the month of May – June
  • Ramalinga Prathishtai is a 3-day festival celebrating the installation of the Ramalingam. The festival is celebrated during May- June
  • Thirukalyanam is the celestial wedding ceremony of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi. The festivities are spread over a fortnight and is celebrated in the month of July – August
  • Navarathri or Dussera is a 10-day festival celebrated in the month of September – October
  • Kandha Sashti is celebrated in honour of Lord Kartikeya or Skanda. This is celebrated after Deepavali during the month of October – November
  • Aarudhira Dharshan is an important day in the Saivite calendar when Lord Shiva indulges in a cosmic dance. Lord Shiva’s avatar, Lord Nataraja performs this ecstatic dance on a day that coincides with the longest night of the year. This festival is celebrated during the end of December or in early January.

How to Reach: Road, Rail, and Air

By road: Reaching Rameshwaram by road is not a challenge. This major pilgrim site is connected to all cities and towns in Tamil Nadu. Several state-run and private buses are available.

By rail: Rameshwaram has its own railway station and is connected to all major cities and town. The Railway station is just 1 km away from the Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Tempe.

The famous Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge, also known as Pamban Bridge is a 2 km stretch over the sea and connects the mainland Mandapam to Rameshwaram island. Special trains operate on the parallel-running Pamban collapsible railway bridge and offer spectacular views.

By air: The nearest airport is in Madurai, which is 174 km from Rameshwaram. The airport is well connected to major Indian cities.

Where to Stay

There are several accommodation options available at Rameswaram. The temple also offers accommodation options. One can also find comfortable rooms and dormitories in TTDC Guest House at a nominal tariff.

Where to Eat 

Food options are plenty at Rameshwaram. Several restaurants cater to both South Indian and North Indian palate. There are several Marwadi Bhojanalayas near the Rameswaram Ramanathaswamy Temple. These places offer food at reasonable prices. Devotees also partake the free food provided at the Temple.

Nearby Temples

  • Satchi Hanuman Temple: The Satchi Hanuman Temple is a spot of great significance in the Ramayana. It is the place where Hanuman conveyed to Lord Rama, that Sita is in Lanka. Hanuman gave Sita’s jewel as an evidence or ‘Satchi’ and hence, the spot was known as Satchi Hanuman Temple. The temple is 3 km from Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
  • Panchamukha Hanuman Temple: The Panchamukha Hanuman Temple has a majestic idol of Lord Hanuman with five faces covered in vermillion. The temple attracts devotees who come to see the floating rocks that were used by Lord Hanuman’s army to build the Ramsethu bridge between Indian and Sri Lanka. The Panchamukha Hanuman Temple is 2 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
  • Gandamadana Parvatham: The Gandamadana Parvatham is a small hill and holy site. It is the highest point in Rameshwaram. Devotees visit the place to worship an imprint of Lord Rama’s feet on a sacred chakra. The Gandamadana Parvatham is 3 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
  • Badrakaliamman Temple: Badrakaliamman Temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple is just 2 km away from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
  • Jada Theertham:Lord Rama returned from Lanka after killing Ravana and proceeded to install and worship Ramalinga. Before worshipping, Lord Rama
  • Nambu Nayagiamman Temple:– The Nambu Nayagiamman Temple is a 14th-century temple built by the people of Ramnad as a mark of their faith and respect for Lord Rama. The temple is 8 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathswamy Temple
  • Kothandaramaswamy Temple: This temple is associated with Vibishana, the brother of Ravana and Lord Rama. It is believed that Vibishana sought Lord Rama’s refuge in this place. This is also the place where Lord Rama coronated Vibishana after his victory in Lanka. The Kothandaramaswamy Temple is 12 km away from Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple
  • Villoondi Theertham: – The Villoondi Theertham is nearly 100 metres into the sea but is a freshwater well with sweet tasting water. It is believed that during his quest for Sita, Lord Rama reached this place. His thirst for water prompted him to flex his bow and arrow into the sea. The arrow created a well with fresh water to quench Lord Rama’s thirst. The Villoondi Theertham is 4 km from the Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple.
Srisailam Temple

Srisailam Temple

Srisailam Temple

Srisailam Temple Video 

The Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple, more commonly known Srisailam Temple is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is built on the top of the Nallamala hills situated on the banks of River Krishna. The town of Srisailam is one of the oldest Kshetras or Regions in India. The famous hill is also known as Siridhan, Srigiri, Sirigiri, Sriparvatha and Srinagam. It is one of the most important Saivite pilgrimage sites in India.

There are two separate temple complexes present inside- one is dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna and the other one to Goddess Bhramarambha. The Linga of the presiding deity Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The deity Goddess Bhramarambha Devi is one of the eighteen Mahashaktis or the Shakthi Peethas in India.

The sanctity of the hill is mentioned in Mahabharatha, Skanda Purana and many other religious scriptures. The temple is surrounded by walls as high as 6 meters and several towers. The Srisailam Temple is adorned with beautiful and intricate sculpture work.

The temple has four main Gateways in four main directions:

  • Tripuranthakam facing eastwards – It is located in the Prakasam district. The presiding deities are God Tripuranthakeswara Swamy and Goddess Tripurasundari.
  • Siddhavatam facing south – It is located in the Kadapa district on the banks of River Penna. God Jyotisideswara Swamy and Goddess Kamakshi are the presiding deities.
  • Alampur facing towards the west – It is located in the Mehboobnagar district on the banks of the River Tungabhadra. The famous Navabrahma Alayas, a group of nine temples are situated here. They were all built in the Chalukya period.
  • Umamaheswaram facing northwards – It is located in the Mehboobnagar district. God Umamaheswara Swamy and Goddess Umamaheswari Devi are the main deities worshiped here.

Apart from these main gateways, four other secondary gateways are present:

  • Eleswaram in the North East – It is currently submerged in the Nagarjunasagar Dam.
  • Somasila in the South East – It is located on the banks of River Penna.
  • Pushpagiri in the South West – Santana Maheshwara is the presiding deity of the Srisailam Temple.
  • Sangameswaram in the North West – It is located at the confluence of the Rivers Krishna and Tungabhadra. However, the temple has been submerged in the Srisailam dam.

Srisailam Temple History

  • The origins of the Srisailam Temple are unknown and are mired in controversy. The earliest mention of the Srisailam hills can be traced to the Nasik inscription of the Satavahana King Vasisthiputra Pulumavi in 1st century AD.
  • The Ikshavakus kingdom ruled Srisailam from AD200 – 300. The inscriptions dating around AD 375-612 states that the Vishnukundis were the devotees of Sri Parvathsawamy also known as Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy.
  • The Pallavas and the Kadambas also ruled the Srisailam region from AD 248-575 and AD 340-450 respectively. The Srisailam Temple architecture gives clues that the Chalukyas and the Kakateeyas also influenced several aspects of the temple administration. Mailamadevi, sister of Ganapathideva of the Kakateeya kingdom is said to have constructed the vimana gopuram of Mallikarjuna Garbhalayam.
  • The Golden Age of Srisailam temple is considered to be under the Reddi Kings (AD 1325-1448). They constructed the 854 steps that go down to River Krishna or the PaatalaGanga.
  • The Vijayanagara rulers were responsible for major renovation works carried out at the Srisailam Temple. The Second Harihararaya of Vijayanagara empire constructed the Mukhamandapam of Mallikarjuna Temple. He also raised a Gopuram on the south of the temple complex. Sri Krishnadevaraya is credited with the construction of the Rajagopuram of the temple.
  • In 1674, Chhatrapati Sivaji visited the Srisailam Temple and carried out renovations under his name. The North Gopuram was constructed by him.
  • After the fall of Mughal Emperors, this place came under the control of Nizam of Hyderabad. After independence, the Srisailam Temple was opened to the public in 1956.
  • According to the Shiva Purana, when Lord Ganesha got married before Lord Karthikeyan, Lord Karthikeyan got angry and left for the Kraunch Mountain. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati tried to console him but were unable to stop him from leaving. Several other Gods went to Lord Karthikeyan to convince him to come back but were unsuccessful. Finally, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati went to convince them but were unable to do so. Dejected, Lord Shiva took the form of Jyotirlinga and settled on the mountain-top.
  • As per another legend, Parvatha who was the son of Silada Maharshi performed penance here. Lord Shiva was impressed and granted him the wish that he will live in his body. As a result, Parvatha became the big hill Sriparvatha with Shiva living on the top as Mallikarjuna Swamy.
  • There is another legend associated with the Srisailam Temple. Chandravathi, daughter of Chandragupta Patana ran away from her father who made amorous advances towards her. She crossed the River Krishna and went up the hill top where she lived with her servants. She observed that one of her cows would stand over a rock formation and shed milk over it daily. The Princess dreamt that the rock was a self-manifested Linga of Lord Shiva. She dug the ground and a glowing Linga emerged out of it. She worshipped the Linga daily by adorning it with Jasmine (Mallika) flowers. Lord shiva was very pleased and granted her Mukti and salvation by sending her to Kailasa. This legend is mentioned in the Prakara of the temple wall as well as in the Skanda Puranam.
  • The local tribal Chenchus, believe that Siva comes to Srisailam forest as a hunter. He fell in love with a Chenchu girl, married her and settled down on the hill. They believe that Mallikarjuna Swamy is their relative and refer to him Chenchu Mallayya.

Significance of Srisailam Temple

  • The Mallikarjuna Linga is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. He is supposed to have appeared in a fiery column of light. The Linga is also supposed to be self-born in nature. The Brahmaramba temple is one of the eighteen Shakti Peethas in India. It is believed that the neck of the Sati Devi fell here when her corpse was cut through by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yoga episode.
  • Anyone, irrespective of caste, creed or religion can perform Abhishekam and Archana to the Mallikarjuna Linga. The unique feature is that you can touch the Linga and perform the Puja yourself.
  • It is believed that Lord Rama himself installed the Sahasralinga in the Srisailam Temple. The Linga is divided into 25 facets which in turn represent 40 Lingas each. This leads to a total of 1000 small Lingas carved on a single Linga.
  • The Pandavas placed the Panchapandava Lingas in the temple courtyard. The five Lingas are named after the different forms of Siva – Sadyojatha , Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha and Eesana. Stories from the Mahabharata are carved on the walls of the temple. The Srisailam temple is mentioned as a holy hill in the Mahabharata.
  • It is believed that the Goddess Adisakthi turned into a bee (Bhramaram) to slay the demon Arunasura. After slaying the demon, she settled in Srisailam. In the Brahmaramba temple, it is believed that you can hear this buzzing sound of a bee through a hole in the wall.
  • According to scriptures, Adi Sankara visited this temple and then composed the Sivananda Lahiri. In the Sivananda Lahiri, he sings praises for Lord Mallikarjuna and Goddess Brahmarambha in forms of several hymns.
  • It is postulated that Hiranyakasipu, father of Bhakta Prahlad conducted poojas to Lord Shiva here.
  • It is the common faith that anyone who worships this Linga is forgiven of all their sins and is blessed with wealth and all his / her wishes are realized.
  • The River Krishna is in the form of an underground spring. Hence, it is called Paatalaganga. Devotees take a holy dip in this river before going for the darshan.
  • On the full moon day of the Karthigai month (8th month of the Indian calendar), Jvalathoranam is performed in the temple. It is believed that by viewing the Jvalathoranam, one’s sins are forgiven.

Srisailam Temple Timings

  • Srisailam Temple opens at 4:30 AM and closes at 10 PM.
  • General darshan or free darshan – 6:00 AM to 3:30 PM and 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
  • Special Queue – Rs. 50 will be charged per person and the darshan will happen between 6:30 AM to 1 PM and 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
  • Suprabhatha Darshanam – It will take place daily at 5:00 AM. The temple charges Rs.300 per couple/single.
  • Mahamangala Aarathi – It starts at 5:30 AM in the morning and 5:00 PM in the evening. The ticket fees are Rs. 200 per person.
  • The Suprabhatham, Aarathi darshanams and the Abhishekam timings will be held in advance by 30 minutes on every Monday.
  • Items such as Belts, Mobile phones, ladies handbags, Cameras and Shoes are not allowed inside the temple. These items can be stored at the Cloakroom located opposite to the darshan queue starting point.
  • The Temple maintains a Central Reception Office at the Ganga-Gouri complex near the Bus Stand to provide assistance to the pilgrims.
  • The temple arranges several cultural programs such as Hari Katha, Burra Katha and Sampradayas Nrityam on every Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It takes place in evenings at the Akkamahadevi Almkara Mandapam.

Dress Code

It is advised to take a bath and wear clean clothes by the temple management. Smoking, Alcohol consumption and Non-Vegetarian food are not allowed in the temple premises.

Festivals celebrated at Srisailam Temple

  • Mahasivaratri Brahmothsavams – The Mahasivaratri Utsav is celebrated in the month of February or March. The Mahasivaratri day (29th day of Magham) marks the beginning of a seven day festival period. The important events are Ankurarpana, Dhwajarohana, Vahana Seva to God and Goddess, Lingodhbhavakala Maharudrabhishekam to God, Pagalankarana, Kalyanothsavam, Radhothsavam and Dhwajavarohana. The temple is visited by nearly 5 lakh pilgrims during this period.
  • Ugadi – The celebrations happen for five days in which lakhs of people visit the temple for God’s blessings. The festival begins 3 days before Ugadi (Telugu New Year) which occurs in late March or early April. The important events of the celebrations are Vahana Seva to God and Goddess, Alankaras to Goddess, Veerachara Vinyasalu and Rath Yatra. Pilgrims walk from states like Karnataka and Maharashtra carrying offerings like tamarind, kumkum, nandikavaallu etc. on their shoulders.
  • Dasara – The Dasara or the Devi Sarannavaratrulu festival is celebrated for 9 days starting from the 1st day of the seventh month of the Indian calendar. It usually falls in September / October. Goddess Brahmarambha Devi is worshipped on these days. Various religious rituals like Srichakrarchana, Navavarana pooja, Anustanams, Devi Sapthasathi, Parayanas and Yagnas are performed. Kumari Pooja and Suhasini Pooja are also conducted at evening hours. Girls of age group 2 to 8 years and married women or Soubhagyawati women are worshiped as deities.
  • Kumbhothsavam – This festival is celebrated on the first Tuesday or Friday (whichever comes first) after the full moon of Chaitra month.
  • Sankranthi – This Utsav is celebrated for a period of seven days with Panchahnika Deeksha in the month of Pushyam (the 10th month of Indian Calendar) which falls in the month of January.
  • Kartheekai Mahothsavam – It is one of the most auspicious months in the Indian calendar. Large numbers of deepams are lighted in the temple premises. On the full moon day of the month, Jvalathoranam (bonfire) performed in the temple.
  • Sravanamahothsavam – This festival is celebrated in the Shravan month (August / September). The Akhanda Sivanama Sankeerthana (Bhajans) is performed round the clock throughout the month.

Srisailam Temple Poojas and Rituals

Around 27 types of Poojas and Sevas are performed at the Srisailam Temple. The main types of Poojas performed here are:

  • Special Abhishekam to Swamyvaru in Garbhalayam – Any person irrespective of caste, religion or creed is allowed to perform this Abhishekam to the Linga itself. The material needed for the Pooja and the Prasadam is provided by the temple itself.
  • Abhishekam to Sri Vruddha Mallikarjuna – This Abhishekam can be done between 6 AM to 1 PM and then between 6 PM to 8:30 PM.
  • Ganapathi Abhishekam – Abhishekam is performed for Sri Ratnagarbha Ganapati at 7 AM daily. Laddu as a prasadam is also given to the sevadars.
  • Ganapathi Homam – This homam is done between 7 AM to 7:30 AM.
  • Rudra Homam – It is done between 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM. The materials required are provided by the Srisailam Temple administration.
  • Laksha Bilwarchana – This Pooja is done at 11 AM. The temple has to be informed two days in advance as they have to collect the Bilwa leaves.
  • Sahasralingam Abhishekam – It is performed between 6:30 AM to 1:00 PM and 6:00 AM to 8:30 PM. The Pooja materials are provided by the Srisailam Temple itself.

Some of the other important poojas performed at the temple are Maha Mrityunjaya Homam, Navagraha Homam, Chandralinganhishekam, Suryalingabhishekam and Namakaranam.

  • Kumkuma Pooja – This is performed between 7 AM to 1 PM and 6 PM to 8:30 PM.
  • Gouri Vratham – This pooja is performed especially for ladies at 8 AM.
  • Other Poojas performed are Suvarnapushparchana, Lakshakumkumarchana, Navavarana Pooja and Chandi Homam.

How to reach Srisailam: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Road – The Srisailam Temple is situated just 1 km away from the Srisailam Bus Stand. The town is well connected to all cities in Andhra Pradesh like Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Tirupati and Warangal. Buses from cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Kochi are also available.
  • By Train – The nearest Railway Station is Markapur which is 80 km away followed by Nandyal and Kurnool. Direct trains to Markapur are available from cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Vijayawada and Vizag.
  • By Air – The nearest airport is Rajiv Gandhi International airport at Hyderabad. It is 202 km away from Srisailam. Regular flights are available to Hyderabad from all major cities in India and abroad.

Where to stay in Srisailam

  • The Kuteera Nirmana Pathakam, a donation scheme has been launched by the Devasthanam or the Temple management under which several suites, cottages, rooms and dormitories have been built for the pilgrims. Please visit the site http://www.srisailamonline.com/ for online booking of these rooms. Please bring your Identity card to confirm booking. The booking once done cannot be cancelled.
  • There are up to 70 private hotels / choultries in the area where accommodation and food is provided.

Where to Eat in Srisailam

  • Annadanam (Prasadam distribution) is provided at the Annadana Mandiram or the Annapurna Bhavanam to all the pilgrims visiting the Srisailam Temple. The scheme is run by the Temple administration. On an average, it provided free meals for 2000-3000 people every day.
  • Several small private hotels and restaurants are available in the town for a wider variety of food.

Nearby Temples

  • Sakshi Ganapathi – It is located about 3 km away from Srisailam. It is believed that Ganapathi keeps attendance / Sakshi of the pilgrims visiting the Srisailam holy town. In the sculpture, the god holds a book in the left hand and a pen in the right hand to note down the names.
  • Hatakeswaram – It is 5 km away from Srisailam. The legend says that God Siva appeared to a potter in Atika (Piece of Pot). Hence, this place is named as Atikeswaram which later became Hatakeswaram.
  • Sikhareswaram – It is located at a distance of 8 km away from Srisailam. The temple is located at 2830 feet above the sea level making it as the highest peak in Srisailam. The temple is an ancient stone structure. According to the Skanda Puranam, a glance at the peak will relieve the curses of re-birth.
  • Phaladhara Panchadhara – It is located 4 km away from Srisailam. Sri Adisankara performed penance at this place and composed the famous Sivanandalahari.
  • Akkamahadevi caves – It is located 10 km away from Srisailam. It is said that Akkamahadevi, a lyricist and philosopher spent some years in these caves in 12th Century AD doing penance and worshiping the Sivalinga. The Linga naturally existed in the deep parts of the cave. These caves are also home to Siddhas who practiced Alchemy.
Ujjain Mahakaleshwar Omkareshwar Tour

Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple

Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple

Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple is one of the most prestigious Jyotirlingas among the twelve Jyotirlingas worshiped in Hindu culture. It is situated in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. The temple is located on the banks of Rudra Sagar Lake. The city of Ujjain was also known as Indrapuri Amravati and Avantika. This town was also given the unique name of “Swarna Shringa” because of the presence of golden towers in several temples.

The Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple complex consists of around 40 temples, most of them built around 10th century. The Mahakaleshwar temple is a three-storied structure. The Lingam of Mahakaleshwar is worshipped on the first floor which is actually under the ground level.  In the second level, the Lingam of Omkareshwara is worshipped. The Nagachandeshwara Linga is worshipped on the third level. The third level is open to the public only on Naga Panchami.

Many of the supposed 84 shrines of Mahadev in Ujjain are located inside the Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple complex. Some of the other shrines located nearby are Swapneshwara Mahadev (the one who helps to get rid of nightmares), Chandradityeshwara Mahadev, Trvishtapateshwara Mahadev, Anadikalpeshwara Mahadev, and Vruddhakaleshwara Mahadev (which is considered by some to be the original Jyotirlingam).

The Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple is divided into four areas starting from front to back – TheArdhamandapa (Entrance), The Antarala (Vestibule), Garbhagraha (Sanctum) and Pradakshanapath. Images of various god and Goddesses, Apsaras and Kichakas adorn the walls and pillars of the temple.

Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple

Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple History

  • As per the Puranas, Prajapati Brahma himself established the first temple at the site. The coins recovered at Ujjain belonging to the 4th B.C have the mark of Lord Shiva on them. The Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple has been described as magnificent and grand in several poems including Meghadutam by the famous Kalidasa, Harsacharit and Kadambari of Banabhatta, Naisadhacharit of Sri Harsa, and Navasahasamkacharit of Padmagupta
  • Several dynasties like the Guptas, Maitrakas, Chalukyas, Kalachuris, Pusyabhutis, Gurjara Pratiharas and Rashtrakutas have ruled Ujjain over different periods of time.
  • According to several poetic texts, in the Paramara period, the temple was destroyed by invaders. In later years of the eleventh century, it was re-built by Udayaditya and Naravarman.
  • The Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple was destroyed by Sultan Shas-ud-din Iltumish in 1234. It was rebuilt by Srimant Raanojirao Shinde Maharaj (Scindia) in 1736 AD. The Marathas built several smaller temples inside the Mahakaleshwar temple complex. Several traditions like Abhishekams, Aartis and Sawaris were re-introduced into the temple schedule.
  • Under the leadership of Madhavrao Scindia I, renovations were carried out at the Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple.
  • According to the ancient scripture Sthalapuranam, King Chandrasena was a devotee of Shiva. A young boy named Shrikhar heard his prayers to the god and wanted to join him. However, he was not allowed to do so and was sent out of the city. Shrikhar heard the plans of rival kings Ripudhamana and Singhaditya to attack the city with the help of the demon king Dushan who was blessed to be invisible by Brahma. Shrikhar and a priest named Vriddhi prayed to Lord Shiva for help. The enemies arrived at Avantika (Ujjain) and started torturing the people. They banned all Vedic Dharmanushtan activities in the city. The people started praying to Lord Shiva for help. It is believed that when Dushan started attacking Avantika, the ground split near the statue of Parvati and Lord Shiva came out of it as Mahakaal. He burnt the demons with just one grunt. Adhering to the request of the people of Avantika, Lord Shiva decided to stay there as the chief deity of Avantika.

Significance of the Temple

  • The Lingam of Mahakaleshwar is Swayambhu in nature. It means that it is self-born in nature. Lord Shiva is believed to have turned himself into the Jyotirlingas.
  • Sri Mahakaleshwar is known as the lord of Time. This is the only Lingam in the world which faces south, which is the direction of Death. The Shiva here is also called Dakshinamurthy, meaning the god facing south. Therefore, he is celebrated as the God who is capable of winning difficult situations.
  • The Mahakaleshwar Ujjain temple is also one of the eighteen Maha Shakti Peethas. Shakti Peethas are the sites where it is believed that body parts of Sati Devi fell after being cut by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yoga episode of Hindu mythology. The Upper Lip of the Sati Devi is believed to have fallen here.
  • The Goddess here is called Mahakali.
  • The Linga of Mahakaleshwar is the largest in size among all other Jyotirlingas.
  • The “Bhasm Aarti” is performed every day at 4:00 AM to awaken the deity. This Aarti is unique to this temple only. In ancient times, Human ash was used for the Aarti but now the Bhasma is made from cow dung, known as Vibhooti. The Vibhooti is then applied to the Linga. It is believed that Chitabhasm (human ash) which is normally considered inauspicious turns holy when applied to the body of Mahakal.
  • The idol of Nagachandreshwar sits on a throne of a ten-hooded snake. This is the only temple in the world where Lord Shiva is sitting on a throne of snake instead of Lord Vishnu. It is a common faith here that one can get rid of any sarp dosh by visiting Nagachandreshwar temple on Nagapanchami.
  • It has been an established fact that Sultans of Malwa and Mughal emperors gave financial assistance to the priests to continue worshipping for the safety of their realm.
  • The water from the Kund named Koti Tirtha is considered to be pure and is believed that it relieves you of your sins.
  • The City of Ujjain is one of the seven ancient Mukti- Sthalas where it is believed that man can attain Moksha or divinity. The other six cities are – Kanchipuram, Dwaraka, Maya, Ayodhya, Kasi and Mathura.

Mahakaleshwar Ujjain Temple Timings

  • The temple opens at 4:00 AM and closes at 11:00 PM
  • The Bhasma Aarti starts every day at 4:00 AM.
  • The Morning Pooja is performed between 7:00 AM to 7:30 AM.
  • The Evening Pooja is performed between 5:00 PM to 5:30 PM.
  • The Shree Mahakaal Aarti is performed between 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM.
  • Leather items such as wallets, belts and handbags are not allowed inside the temple complex. Electronic gadgets like mobiles, laptops and cameras are prohibited.
  • Smoking is prohibited inside the temple complex.

Dress Code

Avoid dressing in mini skirts, shorts and any disrespectful dress. Prefer decent clothing.It is a rule that during the “Bhasm Aarti”, ladies and gents should only wear Saree and Dhoti / Sala respectively.

Festivals celebrated at the Temple

  • Kumbh Mela –This Mela has the distinction of being the largest religious congregation on the planet. It is conducted once in every 12 years. It is organized in Ujjain, Allahabad, Haridwar and Nashik. The 2016 Kumbh Mela will take place in Ujjain. The festival continues for about one and a half months. The pilgrims and sages (sadhus) take a ceremonial dip in the River Ksipra. Religious discourses, Ramlilas, Raslilas and the grand procession of sadhus are the main features of the Kumbh Mela.
  • Maha Shivaratri – Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple to celebrate the day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. It is celebrated on the 13th or 14th day of the Magha month (February / March) in the Indian calendar
  • Karthik Mela – It is celebrated every year in the Hindu month of Karthik (November / December).
  • Sawari in the Shravan month – The idol of Lord Mahakaleshwar is taken around the streets of Ujjain in this procession. The festivities start on Monday of the Shravan month (August/September) and ends on the Amavasya of the Bhadrapada month.
  • Harihara Milana – This is celebrated on Vaikuntha Chaturdashi, which signifies the meeting of two Lords – Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva at midnight.

Other important festivals celebrated with great pomp are Vijaya Dasami, Holi and Nagapanchami.

Poojas and Rituals

  • Bhasm Aarti – This aarti is unique to the temple. Vibhhoti is applied to the Shiva Linga every day at 4:00 AM in the morning. Only, pilgrims holding a VIP pass are allowed to enter the Sanctum or the Garbhagraha for the Aarti. You must apply for the VIP pass one day before the Aarti. Applications for the Aarti will be accepted only till 12:30 PM. As only the first 100 people are allowed to view the Aarti, the VIP passes are issued on “First come First serve” basis. The list of people successful in getting the VIP pass will be displayed in the evening at 7:00 PM and passes will be handed over between 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM. It is a must to bring a valid Identity card with your photo on it. PAN Card is not accepted as a proof. Women are not allowed to witness Bhasma decoration during the Aarti.Online booking can be done for the VIP pass. Please visit http://dic.mp.nic.in/Ujjain/mahakal/Default.aspx for more information.
  • Maha Rudrabhishekham – In this Pooja, recitations from Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharva Veda are performed in front of the Mahakaal Linga.
  • Mrityunjaya Jaap – This Pooja is done to increase the Longevity of a person.
  • Laghu Rudrabhishekham – This Abhishekham is done to remove bad effects of different planets on the horoscope and for solving health-related issues.
  • Other poojas performed at the temple are Shiv Mahima Path, Shiv Mahima Stotra, Rudra Patha Avartan and Bhanga Shringar.

How to reach: Road, Rail, and Air

  • By Air – The nearest airport is Indore which is 53 km away from Ujjain. Regular flights are available from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Gwalior.
  • By Train – Direct trains are available to Ujjain from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Benaras, Kochi and Jaipur.
  • By Road – Bus services are available from cities like Indore, Surat, Mumbai, Pune, Udaipur, Nasik and Mathura.

Where to stay

  • The Temple Management has constructed two Dharmashalas for pilgrims to stay. The names of the Dharmashalas are Pandit Shree Surya Narayan Vyas Dharmashala and the Shree Mahakaal Dharmashala. Non AC dormitories, Non AC rooms and AC rooms are available to pilgrims at reasonable rates. No refund will be made after cancellation.
  • Several budget hotels, 3-star and 5-star hotels operate in Ujjain as this is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world.

Where to eat

Several private hotels and restaurants are present near the main temple complex offering a variety of local food along with Punjabi and Chinese cuisine. The most popular restaurants are the Zharokha restaurant, Celebrity restaurant and the Aarti restaurant. The menu is pure vegetarian.

Nearby Temples

  • Harsiddhi Temple – It is located just 400 mt away from the Mahakaleshwar temple. This temple is one of the Shakti Peethas according to the Hindu mythology, It is believed that Sati’s elbow fell here when she was cut through by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yagna episode of the Hindu tradition.
  • Bade Ganeshji ka Mandir – The ancient temple was built in the Paramara period. It contains the sculpture of Ganapati as the main deity. Panchmukhi Hanuman and the Navagrahas are also worshiped here.
  • Gopal Mandir – It is located in the Patni Bazaar area of Ujjain, just 700 mts away from the Mahakaleshwar temple. It was constructed by Queen Bayajibai Shinde in the 19th century. The Banyan Tree on the banks of River Ksipra is considered sacred and thousands of pilgrims take bath here. Amazingly, liquor is offered to the deity here.
  • Ram Janardhan Mandir – This temple was constructed by Raja Jai Singh in the 17th century. The specialities of the temple include the 11th-century sculpture of Govardhandhari Krishna, 10th-century sculpture of Vishnu and the 12th-century idol of Trimurti.
  • Kala Bhairava temple – It is believed that King Bhadra constructed this temple over the ruins of an old demolished temple. This temple was of great significance during the Paramar period.
  • Chintamani Ganesh temple – The Goddess Riddhi and Siddhi are present on two sides of Lord Ganesh. Special prayers are offered to the god every Wednesday in the month of Chaithra.

Parli Vaijnath Temple

Parli Vaijnath Temple – Divine Healing Jyotirlinga

Parli Vaijnath Temple, also known as Parli Vaidyanath Temple, is located in the state of Maharashtra and belongs to the celebrated list of 12 Jyotirlinga temples of Lord Shiva. The Parli Vaijnath Temple is located on the slopes of the mystical mountain range – Meru or Naganarayana. The village of Parli is very ancient and is also known by other names – Kantipur, Madhyarekha Vaijayanti or Jayanti.

Parli Vaijnath Temple

Parli Vaijnath Temple History

  • History says that Rani Ahilyabhai renovated the Parli Vaijnath Temple in the 1700s.
  • Legend of the Amrit: When the Gods and Demons were churning the ocean and competing for the Divine Nectar or Amrit, fourteen gems emerged from the process. It included Dhanavantari and Amrit.
  • Just as the demons were about to pounce on the Amrit, Lord Vishnu grabbed both Dhanwantri and Amrit and hid them inside a Shiva Linga. The angered demons tried to break the Linga, but when they touched it bright light emanated. This scared the demons and they fled from the place.
  • Since this is the place where the Gods or the Devas successfully received the Amrit, the village came to be known as Vaijayanthi and therefor the temple as Parli Vaijnath Temple.
  • Legend of Ravana and Shiva Linga: The demon King Ravana did severe penance and even cut off his heads to please Lord Shiva. Moved by his sacrifice, Lord Shiva offered several boons, and Ravana requested that Lord Shiva come to Lanka. The Lord accepted and instructed Ravana to carry his Shiva Linga and warned him not to keep it down anywhere till he reached his destination.
  • During the journey, Ravana wanted to take a break and instructed a shepherd to carry the Linga for a while. Unaware of the Lord’s instruction, the shepherd put the heavy Linga down for a brief moment. The Lord thus stayed there at the place and was known as Vaidhyanath.

Significance of Parli Vaijnath Temple

  • The Parli Village is home to mountains and thick forests rich in medicinal herbs. Since the Parli Vaijnath Temple Jyotirlinga in this region is amidst such a healing atmosphere, the Lord is addressed as Vaidhyanath.
  • Since Lord Vishnu hid both Amrit and Dhanavantari in the Linga, it is believed that anyone who touches the Linga can receive the power of Amrit.
  • The Parli Vaijnath Temple Linga is also known as Dhanavantari and Amriteshwari.
  • The Linga is known to made of the Saligram stone and has a very smooth surface.
  • Devotees are allowed to touch the Parli Vaijnath Temple Linga during worshipping and this helps in healing and reaping various health benefits.
  • In fact, devotees themselves perform the abhisheka here and they use the Bilva leaves that can be purchased outside the Parli Vaijnath Temple precincts.
  • Devotees from all walks of life, castes and religion are welcome to visit this sacred Parli Vaijnath Temple. There are absolutely no discriminations.
  • According to Puranas, sage Markandeya was blessed by the Lord Vaidhyanath of Parli and became immortal.
  • Rani Ahilyabhai is known to have brought in special stones from the Trishul Devi mountain range during the Parli Vaijnath Temple renovation.
  • A minaret outside the Parli Vaijnath Temple has Gwakshas or windows. When the sun’s rays pass through the windows and fall directly on the Shiva Linga, special prayers and poojas are offered to the Sun God.
  • Parli is also considered to be a meeting place of HariHara. Festivals of both Hari (Lord Vishnu) and Hara (Lord Shiva) are celebrated here. The waters of the nearby Harihara Teerth is brought to the Parli Vaijnath Temple daily for the Linga Pooja.

Parli Vaijnath Temple Timings

  • Parli Vaijnath temple opens at 5am and closes at 9pm. There is afternoon break though. Afternoon break timings are from 3:30pm to 6:00pm.

Poojas and Rituals

  • Somvar Pooja on Mondays
  • Shadopachar: 5:00 am
  • Shringar Pooja: 6:00 pm

Festivals celebrated at Parli Vaijnath Temple

  • Maha Shivarathri, Vaikunth Chaturdashi, Tripuri Pournima, Vijayadashami and Chaitra Padva are important festivals. One can see a unique practice during these celebrations – Bilva leaves that are usually offered to Lord Shiva are offered to Lord Vishnu. Similarly, the Tulsi leaves that are usually offered to Lord Vishnu are offered to Lord Shiva.
  • During the Shravan months, devotees visiting Parli are often overwhelmed by the chanting of the Rudra Mantra that can be heard in the entire village of Parli.

How to Reach Parli Vaijnath 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 station is Parli station and is 2 km from the Parli Vaidhyanath Temple. Direct trains operate from Secunderabad, Kakinada, Manmad, Vishakapatnam and Bangalore. Visitors taking the Mumbai – Nagpur train route must get off at the Parbhani station which is 70 km away from Parli and take a connecting train.
  • By air: The nearest airport is in Nanded and is 105 km from the Parli Vaidhyanath temple.

Parli Vaijnath Hotels: Where to Stay

There are a number of budget accommodations available at Parli. You can also find accommodation in the state-run MTDC cottages.

Where to Eat

Most of the hotels that offer accommodation also have in-house restaurants. Travellers choose to eat in Ambajogai, which is 20 km away from the temple, as one can find more restaurant options in this area.

Nearby Temples

  • Yogeshwari Temple, Ambajogai: The Yogeshwari Temple is dedicated to Goddess Yogeshwari who was married to Parli Vaidhyanath. Puranas say that by the time the wedding party arrived at Parli, the auspicious time had passed and the entire party turned into stone. The Yogeshwari temple is 25 km from Ambajogai.
  • Aundha Nagnath Jyotirlinga Temple: The Aundha Nagnath Temple in the village of Aundha Nagnath in Maharashtra is the first of the Jyotirlingas. The temple is located 118 km from Parli Vaidhyanath temple. It’s believed that Yudhishtra, the eldest of the Pandava brothers built the Temple during their exile.
  • Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple: The Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple is near Pune and is 387 km from Parli Vaidhyanath Temple. The Linga here is self-manifested and is one of the five Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra.
  • Grisheshwar 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 246 km from Parli Vaidhyanath Temple.
  • Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple: The Trimbakeshwar Temple is in the town of Trimbak, Nashik District, Maharashtra. The temple is 397 km from Parli Vaidhyanath Temple. The Linga has three faces symbolising Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma.

Aundha Nagnath Temple

Aundha Nagnath Temple – First Jyotirlinga on Earth

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

Aundha Nagnath Temple History 

  • The history of the Aundha Nagnath Temple dates back to the period of the Pandavas. It is believed that Yudhistra first built this majestic temple during his exile.
  • 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. They were taken aback when 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 inhabited by serpents and was known 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 Shiva devotee and had 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 the Temple

  • The Nagesh Linga or the Aundha Nagnath Temple Jyotirlinga is known as the Adhya or the first Jyotirlinga on earth
  • Lord Shiva is addressed as 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
  • The Linga is made of a stone called Dwaraka Shila and one can see small chakras on the top
  • The Linga is oval shaped and resembles a Trimuki Rudraksha
  • Devotees have often sighted snakes with open hoods guarding the Linga
  • The Aundha Nagnath Temple structure is strong as it was built with stones from the Pandava period. Therefore, the temple is considered to be nearly 3000 years old
  • 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. Unlike other Shiva temples, the Nandikeshwara is seen at the back of the temple.
  • Aundha Nagnath Temple is a sacred site for followers of both Hinduism and Sikhism, and Sikh Gurus are known to have worshiped the Lord at this temple
  • One of the shrines inside the Aundha Nagnath Temple complex houses the Runomochan Teerth as is also known as Saas Teerth and Bahu Teerth (Mother-in-law and Daughter-in-law). The Saas Teerth is known to have 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.
  • 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.

Aundha Nagnath Temple Timings

Daily:                                  4:00 am – 9:00 pm
Shravan month:               4:00 am – 10:00 pm

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
  • Dudhabhishek
  • Rudrabhishek with bhog
  • Char somvar(four mondays) ek ammavasya rudrabhishek
  • Char somvar ek ammavasya rudrabhishek with dudh
  • Char somvar ek ammavasya rudrabhishek with bhog
  • Rudrabhishek for one year somvar
  • Rudrabhishek with milk for one year somvar
  • Ek somvar 1008 bilva patra abhishek
  • Ek somvar 1008 mahamrityunjaya jaap
  • Laghurudra by 11 brahmins
  • Ek shravan mas jalabhishek
  • Ek shravan mas dudh and bilva patra abhishek
  • Ek shravan mas akhand jyota

Aundha Nagnath Temple Festivals

  • Maha Shivarathri, and Vijayadashami are celebrated in a grand manner at Aundha Nagnath temple

How to Reach: 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 are limited accommodation options available at Aundha Nagnath Temple. Travellers mostly stay at Nanded or Parbhani.

Where to Eat

  • There are limited 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.

Nearby Temples

  • Mallinath Digambar Jain Temple: The Mallinath Digambar Jain Temple is in Shirad Shahapur Village and is dedicated to Lord Mallinath. This 300-year-old temple is 15 km from Aundha Nagnath temple.
  • Parli Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga Temple: Parli Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga Temple is located in Parli, Beed District, Maharashtra. The temple is 118 km from the Aundha Nagnath Temple. It is believed 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. The Linga here is self-manifested and is one of the five Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra.
  • 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.

Omkareshwar Temple

Omkareshwar Temple

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.

omkareshwar temple

Omkareshwar Temple History 

  • 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.
  • 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 the 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.

Omkareshwar Temple Timings

  • The Omkareshwar Temple opens at 5:00 AM and closes at 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 sanctum is closed between 3:50 PM to 4:15 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.

Dress Code

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.

Poojas and Rituals

  • 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 the 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: Road, Rail, and Air

  • 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.

Where to stay

  • 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.

Nearby Temples

  • 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.