Monthly Archives: June 2015

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga – Lord Shiva temple

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga – Lord Shiva’s temple

Bhimashankar Temple is a Jyotirlinga  located 50 km northwest of Khed, near Pune, in Maharashtra. Bhima Shankar Temple lies on the banks of the river Bhima, in the ghat region of the Sahyadri hills in the village of Bhavagiri.

Legend behind Bhimashankar Temple

In the dence forest of Dakini, there lived a demon named Bhima with his mother Karkati. Bhima harassed and tortured everyone. Once he asked his mother about the details of his father. His mother told him that his father Kumbhakarna is the younger brother of Ravana, the king of Lanka. Both his father and uncle were slain by Lord Rama. She told her that Lord Rama was incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This infuriated Bhima and he vowed to avenge Lord Vishnu.

Defeat of Devas by Bhima and Kamrupeshwar’s devotion to Lord Shiva

Bhima performed severe penance to please Lord Brahma. Pleased, Brahma granted him the boon of becoming a very strong man. With this new strength, he captured all the divines including Vishnu and Indra. They were in his control. After this he won a victory over the great Shiva devotee Kamarupeshwar. Kamarupeshwar did not stop his worship of Shiva even when in prison. He performed the Puja with the same devotion, observing all the procedures his wife also joined him in this.

Bhimashankar Temple Jyotirlinga

Bhimashankar Temple Jyotirlinga

On the other hand, Brahma and Vishnu along with all the other divines started praying Shankara and of asking for deliverance from the wicked Demon King. Shiva assured the divines and sent them home after pacifying them.

Lord Shiva defeats Bhima

Bhima asked Kamrupeshwar to worship him instead of Lord Shiva. When Kamrupeshwar refused, Bhima raised his sword to strike the Shiva Linga. But as soon as he raised his sword, Lord Shiva appeared before him in full magnificence. Then the terrible war began. Holy sage Narad appeared and requested Lord Shiva to put an end to this war. It was then that Lord Shiva reduced the evil demon to ashes and thus concluded the saga of tyranny. All the Gods and the holy sages present there requested Lord Shiva to make this place his abode. Lord Shiva thus manifested himself in the form of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga.

Another story from Puran

There is another famous story about Bhimashankar. In ancient days there was a demon named Tripurasura, He harass and torture everybody in all three world namely Swarga, Naraka and Patal. Every one even Gods were scared of him.  Then Lord Shiva himself came to destroy Tripurasura. Lord Shankar assumed colossal proportions. Tripurasura feared when they saw this Rudravatar. The fight went on and at last Lord Shiva killed the wicked demon and set the there worlds free. After the fight Lord shiva was very tired so in order to get some rest he settled in the high areas of Sahyadri mountains. His sweat started pouring down from his huge body in thousands of streams. It all joined together and collected in a pond or Kund. The river that started from there is known as Bhima, which can be seen even today. Devotees then prayed to Bhimakaya Rudra to reside there for ever.  Lord Shiva listened to the devotees and stayed there as a Jyotirlinga forever.

Bhimashankar jyotirlinga

Bhimashankar jyotirlinga

 Architecture and surroundings

The Bhimashankara temple is a composite of old and the new structures in the Nagara style of architecture.  It is a modest yet graceful temple and it dates back to the 13th century and the sabhamandap developed in the 18th century by Nana Phadnavis.  The Diwan of the Peshwar, Nana Phadanvis renovated this temple.  It is decorated with the Dashavatar statues. These are very beautiful to look at. A unique and a huge bell can be seen in front of the the temple was presented by Chimaji Appa. (brother of Bajirao Peshwa). Chimaji Appa collected five large bells after he won in war against the Portuguese from Vasai Fort. When this bell is rung, the entire echoes with its sound.

Bhiashankar is declared as wildlife sanctuary in 1985.  It is rich in floral and fauna diversity. . A variety of birds, animals, insects, plants can be seen. A rare animal Malabar Giant squirrel locally called as ” Shekaru” can be found in deep forest.  It is said that the lions from these forests come to the shrine every night to get a Darshan of the Lord.

It seems as if Lord Shiva is keeping a silent vigil over the majestic ranges of the Sahyadris. The serenity interrupted only by the silent murmuring of the cool breeze and the occasional chirping of birds

Other temples and shrines 

There is a shrine to Kamalaja near the Bhimashankara temple. Kamalaja is an incarnation of Parvati, who helped Shiva in his battle against Tripurasura.  Shaakini and Daakini the Shivaganas who helped Shiva in the battle against the demon are also honored and worshiped here.

The Mokshakund thirtha is behind the Bhimashankara temple, and it is associated with the rishi Kaushika. There are also the Sarvathirtha, the Kusharanya thirtha where the Bhima river begins to flow eastward, and the Jyanakund.

Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga – Lord Shiva

Omkareshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The Temple of Lord Omkareshwar is situated on the banks of River Narmada, in between Indore & Khandwa. The temple is situated on an island, which is encircled by the Narmada River. The island is known as Mandhata island.

Omkareshwar Temple of Lord Shiva

This holy temple is situated in Madhya Pradesh, in the Khandwa district. This is situated on Mandhata island. An interesting fact about the island is that this is in the shape of Om symbol. Here are two temple, one of Omkareshwar and other of Mamleshwar or Amareshwar.

Omkareshwar Temple

Omkareshwar Temple

The Temple

The main Omkareswar temple is built in the North Indian style of architecture, with high spires.  The sanctum sanctorum containing the Jyotirlinga seems to have been originally a small temple of the old construction style, the dome being made of layers of stone slabs.

Puja at Omkareshwar Temple

There are three regular ‘Pujas’ in the temple. The morning puja done by the temple trust, the middle one by the priest of Scindia state and in evening by the priest of the Holkar state. The temple is always crowded with pilgrims, coming after a immersion in the Narmada and with pots full of Narmada water, coconuts and articles of worship, many of them performing Abhishek or special worships through the priests.
During fair or ‘Parva’ times there are heavy crowds in the temple. On every Monday, the gold plates three headed idol of Lord Omkar is taken in a palanquin with bands, drums , priests. The  devotees gather in procession known as Dola. First, they go to the river where worship is performed, and then through the streets of the town.

In the holy month of shravan, the processions take place, known as “Somvar Sawaris”. These are huge and grand. The crowds dance uttering the Lord’s name “Om Shambhu Bholenath”. In this procession, throwing Gulal making the atmosphere red.

Three Legends of Omkareshwar

Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga also has its own history and many stories. Out of these, three of them are prominent.

First story

This is about Vindhya Parvat (Mount). Once upon a time, Sage Narada (son of Lord Brahma), visited Vindhya parvat. In his spicy way, Narada told Vindhya Parvat about the greatness of Mount Meru.

This made Vindhya jealous of Meru and he decided to be bigger than Meru. Vindhya started worship of Lord Shiva to become greater than Meru. Vindhya Parvat practiced severe penance and worshipped parthivlinga (A linga made from physical material) along with Lord Omkareshwar for nearly six months.

As a result, Lord Shiva was pleased and blessed him with his desired boon. On a request of all the gods and the sages, Lord Shiva made two parts of the lingas. One half is called Omkareshwara and the other Mamaleshwar or Amareshwar.

Lord Shiva gave the boon of growing to Vindhya mountain, but took a promise that Vindhya will never be a problem to Shiva’s devotees. Vindhya began to grow, but did not keep his promise. It even obstructed the sun and the moon.

Soon, all deities approached sage Agastya for help. Agastya along with his wife came to Vindhya, and convinced him that he would not grow until the sage and his wife returned.

They never returned and Vindhya is there as it was when they left. The sage and his wife stayed in Srisailam which is regarded as Dakshina Kashi and one of the Dwadash Jyotirlinga.

Second Story

The second story relates to Mandhata and his son’s penance. King Mandhata of Ishvaku clan (an ancestor of Lord Ram) worshipped Lord Shiva here till the Lord manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga. Some scholars also narrate the story about Mandhata’s sons-Ambarish and Mucchkund, who had practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva. Because of this the mountain is named Mandhata.

Third Story

The third story from Hindu scriptures says that once upon a time there was a great war between Devas and Danavas(demon), in which Danavas won. This was a major setback for Devas and hence Devas prayed to Lord Shiva. Pleased with their prayer, Lord Shiva emerged in the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated Danavas.