Omkareshwar Temple in Mandhata Island, on the banks of River Narmada. In Madhya Pardesh’s Malwa region, is a Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. This pilgrimage site is home to one of the 12 sacred Jyotirlingas in India. The shape of the island is similar to the ‘Om’ symbol of Hinduism. Furthermore, the town is presumably five thousand years old. Making it one of the ancient Indian cities. Omkareshwar Temple: A Divine Destination of Spiritual Solace
Furthermore, this holy place is located at the confluence of the Narmada and Kaveri rivers. There are two temples dedicated to Lord Shiva here- Omkareshwar, located on the island, and Amaleshwar, located on the south bank of river Narmada. Every year, thousands of Lord Shiva devotees wend their way to the island to seek the blessing of Lord Omkareshwar.
However, before planning a trip and booking a flight to Madhya Pradesh. Here are some important things you should know about this holy site.
By Air: The nearest airport is Devi Ahilyabai Holkar International Airport in Indore, which is just 81 km from Mandhata. It takes just 2 hours by road from the airport. You can book a flight to Indore from any major Indian city.
By Train: The nearest railway station is Khandwa Junction. Several trains ply from different cities that can take you here.
By Road: There are several public and private buses that connect Omkareshwar to other major cities like Indore, Bhopal, Khandwa, Ujjain, Dewas, Jalgaon, etc.
Also read – 10 Best Night Markets in Bangkok
Best Time to Be There
Omkareshwar has a tropical climate, with hot summers and cold winters. You may want to avoid the town during the summer and rainy seasons due to scorching hot and heavy rainfall. Winter is considered the ideal time to be here.
Lord Shiva devotees flock to the town in large numbers on Mahashivratri. Mahashivratri is considered auspicious and the best day to visit the temple.
History & Legends Omkareshwar Temple: A Divine Destination of Spiritual Solace
Several legends are associated with the temple. One prominent legend has it that, Vindhya, the deity of Vindhyachal mountain, worshiped Lord Shiva to free himself from all the sins committed.
He created a sacred geometrical diagram and a Linga, out of sand and clay. Pleased by his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared in front of him in the forms of Omkareshwar and Amleshwar.
Since the mud mound resembled Om, the island was named Omkareshwar. There are two other shrines in the temple of Devi Parvati and Lord Ganesha.
Another legend is related to King Mandhata of the Ikshvaku Clan (an ancestor of Lord Ram). According to the legend, King Mandhata and his sons Ambarish and Muchukunda worshiped Lord Shiva for penance. Pleased by the prayers, Lord Shiva manifested as a Jyotirlinga.
The third story tells about a great war between Devas and Danavas, in which Danavas won. The Devas prayed to Lord Shiva and sought his help. Lord Shiva emerged as a form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated the Danavas.
Furthermore, it is in Omkareshwar, where Adi Shankara, an 8th-century. Indian Vedic scholar, and teacher, met his Guru Govinda Bhagavatpada in a cave. You can still find this cave here, near the Shiva temple. There is also an image of Adi Shankar installed inside the cave.
In addition, nobody knows the exact year of construction of the temple. The earliest archeological evidence suggests that King Udayaditya installed four stone inscriptions in 1063. In 1195, Raja Bharat Singh Chauhan renovated the temple and built a palace nearby.
A unique feature of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga is, it is split. One half of the Jyotirlinga is in Omkareshwar and the other half is in Mamleshwar. Devotees visit both temples to have complete Darshan of the Jyotirlinga.
As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had an argument over the supremacy of creation. They sought help from Lord Shiva. Who then pierced the three worlds as a huge pillar of light.
Lord Shiva asked them to find the end of the pillar. Both Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu split their ways upward and downward. While Lord Brahma lied to have found the end, Lord Vishnu told the truth and accepted defeat.
Lord Shiva knowing the truth, cursed Brahma. He would never be a part of any religious ceremony and Lord Vishnu will be worshiped eternally. And the Jyotirlinga at Omkareshwar temple is the supreme partless reality.
Nearby Places to Visit
The Mamleshwar Temple has the other half of the Jyotirlinga. Devotees believe that the trip to Omkareshwar is not complete until you visit Mamleshwar and get the complete Darshan of the Linga. Located on the southern banks of River Narmada, Mamleshwar temple has immense historical as well as religious significance. The temple is protected by the Archeological Survey of India.
While in the temple, try to get a glimpse of its unique practice of Lingarchana. Where a thousand Banalingas are placed in concrete circles and are worshiped around the main Linga. Omkareshwar Temple: A Divine Destination of Spiritual Solace
Kajal Rani Cave
Located 8 km away from Omkareshwar mandir, Kajal Rani cave is a picturesque place, where one can rejuvenate in nature. Its scenic beauty makes for a perfect spot for photography.
Locals come here on the weekend or holidays to enjoy picnics with the family. While soaking in the beauty of the surrounding vistas, make sure to visit its caves as well.
Visit this ancient temple on Mandhata island to admire its charismatic architectural beauty. This 13th-century temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built in Brahmanic and Indo-Nagara styles.
The visually stunning elephant carvings on its walls are examples of fine Indian craftsmanship and architectural prowess. However, Mahmud Ghazni attacked the temple multiple times, and yet it is standing tall, symbolizing its strength.
Gauri Somnath Temple
Gauri Somnath temple is one of the most revered Hindu temples. This 11th-century AD temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was built by the Paramaras in the Pancharatha style. The temple has a huge 6 feet long Linga, which is made up of black stone. Climb around 200 stairs to get a glimpse of its star-shaped architectural beauty.
Fanase Ghat Omkareshwar Temple
Fanase Ghat is located on the banks of the sacred river Narmada. Every year, millions of devotees visit the ghat to take a dip, as they believe, the sacred waters of the river wash their sins away. On special occasions, such as Diwali, Purnima, Mahashivratri, and Holi, thousands of diyas (earthen lamps), lit up the ghat. Take a boat ride, to admire its beauty from afar.
In conclusion, Omkareshwar is a sacred religious site where visitors come in large numbers to find solace and spirituality. Several ancient scriptures and Puranas have mentioned the temple and the Jyotirlinga. The temple is a must-see for anyone visiting Madhya Pradesh, so make sure you add it to your travel itinerary.
Moreover, apart from its religious significance, Omkareshwar has several other amazing places to discover. Omkareshwar Temple: A Divine Destination of Spiritual Solace