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India: Madhya Pradesh: Gwalior, Omkareshwar
Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh, India:
The 4th of the 12 Jyotirlingas
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
80 kms from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, the sacred River Narmada forks out and merges again to form an island. Interestingly, the shape taken by the branches resembles the shape of the script 'Omkara'. On this island stands the Omkareshwar Temple which is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlingas - sacred shrines of Lord Shiva. I have had the opportunities to visit few of the other Jyotirlingas. The links appear at the end of this article.
I was in Indore for business. I squeezed out half a day from my schedule to visit this beautiful location in the mountain range of Mandhata. I hired a car for a day and proceeded straight for Omkareshwar after landing early in the morning. It's a 2 hour drive and quite a picturesque one at that… save of course for the erratic traffic.
There are various legends doing the rounds. From the two sons of the Sun dynasty Mandhata who practiced sever penance and austerities to please the Lord Shiva to the belief of Vidhya Parvat practicing severe penance eventually to ask for the 'Shivling' to be recognized in two parts - Omkareshwara and Amreshwara.
The centre portion of the island is known as Shivpuri. The temple stands atop a hill. I took a ferry to cross the river and climbed about 100 steps from the bank to reach the sanctum sanctorum. For the return journey I crossed the bridge and to reach the car that got me back to Indore well in time. If you have the time, you may want to take a ferry ride that lasts for about an hour to take you around the island. Not sure of the cost, but just to cross the river, we paid Rs 100. Sure, you can negotiate it better.
Watch out for special days like Mondays especially those falling in the month of Shravan. The lines could be long. Since I was there during the 'off' days, I could be with the Lord in under 10 minutes. And of course, even if there's a queue, priests around the temple will offer you a faster route… at a small fee of course that will take care of jumping the line and offering a little prayer to the Almighty.
Links to my visits to other Jyotirlingas:
Omkareshwar Image Gallery Photo viewer
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