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.
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 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.
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
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-
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
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.
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.