Omkareshwar jyotirlinga is a very popular Hindu temple and pilgrimage dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located in the Narmada river, Omkareshwar temple is one of 12 jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva. It is situated in Mandhata island, also known as Shivpuri ( Khandwa district, Madhya Pradesh). The shape of the island is said to be like the Devanagari ॐ symbol.
The name Omkareshwar means ‘Lord of Omkaara’. Omkareshwar jyotirlinga is located at Vindyachal mountain range of Madhya Pradesh, just 60 km from India’s cleanest city Indore, on the meeting point of Narmada and Kaveri River, making it a must-visit pilgrimage destination in India. It has two ancient shrines including Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar. Omkareswar temple structure is molded according to Nagara style architecture.
I have taken a trip to this holy place before writing this article and I am going to share my experience and information I gathered. If you are planning to visit Omkareshwar jyotirlinga anytime soon then you must read this blog till the end.
Legends and history behind Omkareshwar jyotirlinga
There are multiple stories attached to the origin of this spiritual Hindu pilgrimage.
- According to Hindu mythology, Vindya, the god in charge of the Vindyachal mountain range, was worshipping Shiva to atone for his crimes. He fashioned a sacred geometrical diagram and a sand and clay Lingam. Shiva is said to have emerged in two forms, Omkareshwar and Amaleswara, in response to the adoration. The island became known as Omkareswar as the mud mound developed in the shape of Om. In the temple, there is a shrine dedicated to Parvati and Ganapati.
- Mandhata and his son’s penance is the subject of the second narrative about the origin of Omkareshwar jyotirlinga. Lord Shiva was worshipped here by King Mandhata of the Ikshvaku clan (an ancestor of Lord Ram) till the Lord showed himself as a Jyotirlinga. Some academics also tell the account of Mandhata’s sons, Ambarish and Muchukunda, who pleased Lord Shiva by doing extreme penance and austerities here. Mandhata is the name given to the mountain as a result of this.
- According to the Hindu texts, there was once a tremendous war between Devas (gods) and Danavas (demons), which the Danavas won. As a result of this catastrophic setback, the Devas prayed to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared in the guise of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, pleased with their prayers, and destroyed the Danavas.