Nature has its own ways of worshipping the creator. Temples and shrines all over India has its own unique way of residing in land or structure around it. We have witnessed a number of temples and sacred places all over the world with some of the most unique features to astonish human beings.
One such unique shrine is the “Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga” residing on the Island of Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada River. The sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, ‘Om’, has drawn hundreds of generations of pilgrims.
The Sacred Island hosts 2 Shiva temples:
Amareshwar Temple (which means Immortal or the Lord of Immortals of Devas)
The temple takes the shape of Nagara style and the most important feature of the temple is the lofty shikhara. To enter the temple one has to pass through two rooms. The Omkareshwar is naturally installed in the area, with water flowing all the time across it. One other feature is that the linga is not below the Cupola, instead it is on the top of the temple. The temple also houses the shrines of Panchamuga Ganesha and Annapoorani which are considered very auspicious by the devotees.
Legends behind the Omkareshwar…
Lord Shiva’s Omkareshwar linga is situated on the mountain Mandhata. The Shiv Purana speaks of the greatness of Omkareshwar and Mammaleshwar. The 2 sons of the sun dynasty Mandhata (Ambarish and Mucchkund), practiced severe penance and austerities here pleased Lord Shiva. They had also performed great religious sacrifices here, because of which the mountain is named “Mandhata”.
Omkareshwar is undoubtedly amongst the 12 Jyotirlingas but another name often comes up in this context is Mamaleshwar. Not only the name but the existence of these two are also thoroughly different. The temple of Maleshwar is situated south of the river Narmada, but both the forms of Shiva have been counted as one.
It is also said that once upon a time Vidhya Parvat practiced severe penances and worshipped Parthivarchana along with Lord Omkareshwar for nearly six months. As a result Lord Shiva was pleased and blessed him with the desire boon. On the sincere request of all the gods and the sages Lord Shiva made two parts of the ling. In one he resided as the Pranav or Omkar and assumed the form of Omkareshwar and Bhagwan Sadashiva, Parameshwar, Amareshwar or Mamaleshwar assumed form from the Partivlinga.
Among those chain of tales associated with Omkareshwar, it is also said that Mughal invader, Mohammed Ghazni had once invaded here and severely damaged the temple at Omkareshwar in the 11th century. It was then Peshwa Baji Rao who had to build a new one as the earlier ones were mutilated beyond repair.