Omkareshwar Jyotirling

By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2018

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1. Omakreshwar is divine. There is something special about this place that makes me want to return. On the banks of the holy river Narmada is Omkareshwar Jyotirling (temple on left of pic). Right is a dam. Adi Sankara met his Guru, Sri Govindhapada, in a cave that is just below the Omkareshwar temple. Do see Govindeshwar Cave.

2. Reached Omkareshwar from Asirgarh Fort (took slightly less than two hours). Went for evening darshan. Next day started parikrama round Mandhata hill. It is about 7 kms, left at 6 am. It was raining nearly all the way. Shed on right is the starting point. Centre of pic top of hill u can see something in black. That is Shivji moorthi ka hair that u shall see later.

3. Enroute saw many sadhus & ashrams. I think he is reciting the Ramayana. It is a hill so go up and down. Path is cemented so comfortable. Island is shaped like OM hence its name starts with Om-kareshwar. ‘Omkareshwar is a river island in the Narmada about 4 km by 2 km in size. It is also a hill that is surrounded by waters of the Narmada on all sides.’

4. Stop one is TRIVENI where rivers Narmada & Kaveri meet. One is supposed to have a dip in the water and then offer chana in the temple close by. Most pictures of this album are taken from cell phone. Omkareshwar is one of twelve Jyotirlings.

5. First gate is Dharamraj Dwar. The 4 km wall was made by Parmar rulers. ‘In recorded history, Omkareshwar was under the Parmar Rulers of Malwa from 10-13thCE, followed by Chauhan Rajputs. Even during the overall Mughal rule, Omkareshwar was under the administration of Chauhans. In 18th CE Marathas took over and that is when a lot of temples were built or renovated.’

6. Dharmraj Dwar – side cells are for security. The town has 68 teerth (places of spiritual importance) and 108 lingas making it an important Saiva site.

7. All along the parikrama pathway are boards like this which have a verse of the Bhagavad Gita written on them. Guru Nanakji also visited Omkareshwar. Minutes away from the jyotirling is a Gurudwara in memory of his visit.

8. Enroute is a Raj Rajeshwari Mandir where you see Shivji. Around temple are 64 or Chausath Yoginis ki murthis. It is Shivji’s head that you saw in pic 2. ‘Omkareshwar Island is a living island. The part of towns on the island is called Shivpuri. It is said that once upon a time there used to be towns of Brahmpuri and Vishnupuri. Together they formed the Tripuri.’

9. This is the Gauri Somnath mandir. It has a huge linga – do stop by for darshan. There are many ashrams enroute, some very nicely made. Great place to meditate in silence.

10. So first went up & down hill to reach Triveni, then walked uphill (not steep), downhill and uphill again. Centre of pic thru the dwar you might see the path downhill. Met a Sadhu here – we chatted for a while and had tea together. It was raining so the parikrama was more enjoyable and area lush green.

11. This is an ornamental and biggish gate. U see an overview. Missed visiting the Annapurna Temple. Also missed 24 Avatars, a group of Hindu & Jain temples. 6 kms from Omkareshwar are Satmatrika Temples whose history goes back to the 10th century. 9 kms away is Kajal Rani cave.

12. Pillars are well designed – see elephant. As you cross gate are sculptures of Ganesha etc. Top part design is like what is seen in many temples. Indore is 77 kms from Omkareshwar.

13. U see Mahisasuramardini. This is Deviroop killing the Asura who is in the form of a Mahisha (i.e. male buffalo) so she is known as Mahishasuramardini. Mahisa is a male buffalo, asura is demon, mardhini means slay.

14. Ganesha. ‘The parikrama route passes through Khedapati Hanuman Mandir, Omkarnath Ashram, Kedareshwar Temple, Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Markanda Ashram with 12 meter high image of Sri Krishna, Narmada Kaveri Sangam where Kuber meditated to become king of Yakshas, Rin Mukteshwar Temple, Dharanraj Dwar, Gauri Somnath temple, Patali Hanuman temple, giant statue of Shiva & Siddhanath temple.’

15. Panel Siddhanath Temple. This is an architectural marvel even in ruins. Thanks to the MP Tourism resort receptionist for insisting I do the parikrama and telling me about this temple. Due to rain & shortage of time missed seeing temples along parikrama route. Hope to visit Omkareshwar again. Do see album on esamskriti.

16. This is the last entrance or dwar before the parikrama ends. Murthis of Bhima and Arjuna are in the niches. You get a very good view of the Narmada from here.

17. As I walked downhill had this view. Bridge was made during the last Kumbh Mela. Right blue sheet is a bridge that takes you straight to the jyotirling.

18. U can either use the bridge of take these boats to cross the Narmada. ‘A unique thing about the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga temple is that the main Shivalinga is not below the Shikara, it is on the side. Morning Puja is done by temple trust, day puja is done by Scindias and evening one by the Holkars’.

19. Bridge – luckily the sun was out so got a bright pic. Close to the temple is Mandhata Palace that I missed seeing. U also get a very good view from there.

20. Cross the bridge and visit Mamaleshwar Mandir. ‘The Mamleshwar temple, also known as Amleshwar or Amareshwar temple is one half of the Jyotirlinga at Omkareshwar. A unique practice of Lingarchana at Mamleshwar is the worship of thousand Banlingas that are placed in concentric circles around the main Shivalinga every day.’

21. Reliefs Mamaleshwar Mandir. Centre is a mithuna couple.

22. View of Ma Narmada on the MP Tourism hotel side ie opposite the jyotirling. Ghats that you see at end of pic are a good place to take a dip in the Narmada. Om Namah Shivay. Matter in inverted comma taken from o/s travelogue by Anuradha Goyal

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