Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nageshwar Jyotirling, Dwarka, Gujarat

On our trip to Gujarat a couple of years back, we knew we would not be able to cover even half the spots we wanted to. Making it a mad dash from one place to the other was not exactly our goal either. Therefore we decided to cover the southern coast of the state of Gujarat, which meant starting from Bhavnagar, where some of our extended family is. We landed at Ahmedabad and took the road to Bhavnagar. Enroute we stopped at the Harappan town of Lothal. There we got a personal guided tour from a dock owner at the shipbreaking port of Alang. From there we got on the road, and made a dash to Dwarka, passing the oil refinery town of Jamnagar. From there we drove down to Sasan Gir, the last preserve of the Asiatic lion. While in Dwarka we also stopped by the Nageshwara Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiv Purana (see Wikipedia excerpt below).

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana (Śatarudra Saṁhitā,Ch.42/2-4, referred as "nagesha darukavane"). Nageshvara is believed as the first Jyotirlinga on the earth. There are three major shrines in India which are believed as identical to this Jyotirlinga. Those are the Jageshwar temple near Almora in Uttarakhand state, the Nageshwara temple near Dwaraka in Gujarat state and the Nagnath temple in Aundha in Maharashtra state. []

While the main temple here is a small building where in about half an hour you can perform puja and make any offerings, the most striking thing about this place is the massive statue of Shiva, which can be seen more than five kilometers away. Someone told me this had been built through a donation made by Gulshan Kumar (the music industry tycoon who was killed allegedly by Jehadis at the behest of some Bollywood dons). You can gauge the size of the statue by the relative size of the pigeons in the photos below.

The best way to see this place is on your way back from Bet Dwarka. If you get to this place in the afternoon, you are not likely to find too many pilgrims here, save for a small gaggle of buses and taxis parked in the dusty lot opposite the temple. Unless it is a festival.

A vendor selling what seems to be bhelpuri was quite clear on what his dharma was at this teertha-sthal when it came to debt.

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The Shiva Purana (Sanskrit: शिव पुराण, Śiva Purāṇa) is one of the purāṇas, a genre of Hindu religious texts dedicated to Shiva. According to a tradition which is stated in the Vāyaviya Saṁhitā (the Venkateshvara Press edition) of this text, the original text was known as the Śaiva Purāṇa.
According to tradition, it originally consisted 12 Saṁhitās and 100,000 ślokas (verses). After the reconstruction and the abridgement by Vedavyasa, the extant text comprises 24000 ślokas (verses), which he taught to his disciple Romaharshana (or Lomaharshana). []

© 2013, Abhinav Agarwal. All rights reserved.