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Omkareshwar Temple | History, Architecture & Facts of Omkareshwar

The Omkareshwar Temple is a majestic and striking Jyotirlinga Temple, located on the island of Shivapuri or Mandata on River Narmada. Omkaeswar means Lord of Omkara and the devotees who throng here simply cannot help engulfing themselves in the mystic powers of this very compassionate Lord. Situated on a beautiful riverside, it is a picturesque place, surrounded by exquisite natural beauty which makes it ethereal and divine.

Visiting this place is enchanting for the ardent devotes due to its powerful spirituality. It is in this site that Lord Shiva decided to take rest and sleep, which is also referred to as Shayan. In this particular temple, devotees can experience the wonderfulness of the Shayan Aarti, which is religiously observed everyday. Such is the power of this Aarti that it is said a single visit to this place brings as much blessings as visit to the popular Panch Kedars and Kederanath.

Omkareshwar Temple

Omkareshwar Temple | Image Resource : i.pinimg.com

The interesting feature about the Temple’s Island is that it is shaped in the form of the sacred ॐ symbol. Right below the temple, is found a cave in which there is am image of Adi Shankara because it is the place where he saw his guru Govindapada. Situated very close to this temple is the Mamleshwar temple, which is on the south bank of the river and pilgrms consdier both as equally sharing the Jyotirlinga power and hence visit them together.

The lovely serenity of the landscape here is like none other, so picturesque, interesting and exquisite to see and experience. As you explore both the surrounding area and the temple interiors, you will find it to be an interesting adventure that takes ou back in time, wherein the rulers were Kings. All around the temple structure what can be seen in beautiful sculptures and imagery which is profound in itts artistic.

When you study the temple’s architecture, you simply cannot help but wonder at how wonderful it is due to its immense historical value. In the temple, there are five storeys, each of which have a different deity and regular pujas are conducted for them throughout the day by priests. What is most wonderful to see here on a daily basis is pilgrims coming into the temple after having a bath in the River Narmada and having the water in load full of pots, coconut and worshiping articles, performing special prayers to the main and other dieties through priests.

What is most enhancing about this place is the River Narmada, which can be said as the focal point of the temple. Devotees coming here bathe in the River, cross it to reach the temple and enjoy its serenity and majestic beauty. The River is all engulfing and it’s also surrounds the Mandata Hills, plus connecting the Malaeshwar and the Omkareswar temples. Always filled with little boats that carry people to and fro the temple, this River forms and important part of the pilgrimage experience. It is said that the Omkareshwar is the middle spot in River Narmada’s path from its place in Amarkantak up to Bharuch, which is close to the Arabia Sea.

History of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga

There are many legends associated with this temple, the key one being that the Vindyachal mountain range deity decided to worship Lord Shiva with the aim of removing his sins. In order to do thus he created a sacred geometrical diagram and made a lingam from sand and clay for this purpose. Lord Shiva was please with him and appeared in front of him as Omkareshwar and Amaleswara – two forms.

Another story revolves around King Mandhata, an ancestor to Lord Ram, who was such an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva that he prayed to him immensely. The Lord pleased with his devotion decided to reside in this place in the form of a Hyotirlinga. In another story.. the gods and the demons faught with one another in which the demons won. The god prayed to Lord Shiva who helped them by a appearing in the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated the demons.

The Omkareshwar temple is simply marvelous, surrounded by the majestic river Narmada, which makes it appear as a mystical place where you can surrender to the Lord. Untamed natural environment renders a unearthly beauty to the place, which devotees enjoy as they make their way to the temple. Out of the 12 Jyotirlingas, it is the Omkaeshwar Temple that is based on the symbol of ‘Om’, which is very powerful.

Arthitecture of Omkareshwar Temple

Enjoy the stunning architecture of this massive temple structure which has been designed according to ancient building design ideas. Majestic, impressive and very divine are the best ways to describe it and its entire beauty. The temple follows the Nagara architecture style, which makes it very stunning and breathtakingly beautiful. Such is the loveliness of the temple's intricate carvings that you will find its interiors to be more like a work of art than just a place of devotion. Reaching the Omkareshwar temple requires that you cross the Jhula Phul else you need to ride on a boat across the River Narmada.

Inside the temple, you will find the Sabha Mandap, which has some 60 pillars made from brownstone and they are 14 feet high. On these pillars, you can see the most beautiful frieze carvings. If you observe more closely, you can see gorup figures here, which resemble sanyasis.

The most interesting aspect about this temple is the Omkareshwar Parikrama or a circular path that runs around the island. It is an absolute must for a pilgrim to walk around this path as it is a sign of reverence and devotion to the Lord. This path is beautiful taking you around some of the most beautiful sections of the island, The path around the temple takes you also into various villages, ashrams and temples.

Thousands of devotees who come here to experience the power of the Lord go around this Parikrama and then enter the temple. It is easy to walk through although in some places you might have to put a bit of effort to get up or down. When the river is in full tide, you can do the Parikrama by boat itself which is a unique experience. Some of the many places that you will see along the parikrama include Kedareshwar Temple, Markanda Ashram, Khedapati Hanuman Mandi etc.

The lovely Shiva Linga is on the ground floor of the temple and interestingly it is immersed in water. It receives a daily abhishekam that is made of milk, curd and water from the river and this happens three times a day. Right behind the Linga is a Silver image of Goddess Parvati. Right in front of it is a bed laid out for Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati and alongside it a chaupad for them to play before sleeping.

Interesting and unusual are the best ways to describe the unusual architecture of this majestic temple. Just a single look at the images and sculptures, shows how interesting, intricate they are and the master skills of bygone artisans. As you explore the temple, you can see how time has lapsed by and how much this temple is of spiritual and historical significance. Some interesting places close by to check out include the Mandhata Palace and the Mamleshwar Temple. Enjoy the historical antiquity of this place and the loveliness of the surroundings examining every aspect about the structure and its surroundings.

Omkareshwar Temple Facts

  • Also called the called Omkar Mandhata temple as it was because of Mandata or Ikshvaku dynasty that brought the linga to this place

  • Most noted aspect about this temple structure is that it is spread across five storeys and has the Nagara architecture style

  • Beautiful carved balconies can be seen which display the skilled craftsmanship of expert artisans of yester years

  • It stands on top a lovely island called Mandhata which is shaped in the form of the OM symbol

  • Temple is situated in the small, quiet and peaceful town of Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh

  • An interesting feature of this temple is the hanging bridge over River Narmada which is called the Jhula Phul

  • Island is surrounded by confluence of River Kaveri and Narmada

  • In addition to touring the temple and praying to the Lord, you should also go through the Omkareshwar Parikrama

  • Temple was heavily raided during the Muslim period however it regained its luster and today it is one of the most visited pilgrimage spots n the country

  • It is said that the Linga was actually in another smaller temple and was then brought into the current structure

How To Reach Omkareshwar:

The best time to visit this temple is between the months of October and March, when the season is cool.

Air – Reach the Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport and arrive at the temple which is 83km from it by bus or taxi.

Train – Arrive at the Omkareshwar Road Railway Station and the take a taxi or bus to reach the temple

Road – Arrive by taxi or bus at the temple from Indore, which is well connected with cities close by through a network of roads

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