Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga is located in Khandwa, a city in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is one of the 140 Jyotirlingas in India and the largest Jyotirlinga outside of Ujjain. It's a popular Shiva temple where Hindu pilgrims come to visit every year.
The name Omkareshwar means "Lord of Omkara" and Amaleshwar means "Immortal Lord." The term Lord Shiva is known by both names. Amaleshwar is also known as Mamleshwar. It is believed that Mamleshwar temple was originally known as Amamineshwar in ancient times. Both Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar Shivalis are considered the same Jyotirlinga.
Main Omkareshwar temple has five floors. Although it is a Shiva temple, there are different names for the deity. There is a first floor with a Mahakal Temple, a second floor with an Omkareshwar Temple, a third floor with a Siddhnatha Temple, a fourth floor with a Gupteswar temple, and a fifth floor with the Rajeshwar Mahadev Temple.
On one side of the Garbhagriha, Omkar Shiv Linga and Goddess Parvati are established. The other side is divided into three islands--Jyotirlinga followed by Govindeshwar and Maa Annapurna. Each island has temples inside of it. There's a queue system in front of the main entrance gate--pretty small. There's a staircase that features approximately 50-60 steps in each direction.
The legend that's told of Shivling Omkareshwar tells the story of Narad Muni Goenkaji going to Vindhya Mountain to make it stronger. After a contentious argument, Vindhya eventually acknowledges her superiority over Meru Mountain (which is just as high as Vindhya) and becomes saddened by what she has done.
One day, when a later-born mountain named Vindya Mountain felt jealous of a higher mountain named Meru Mountain, he decided to do penance and undergo strict spiritual discipline to gain Lord Shiva's blessings. He also worshipped Lord Shiva while praying at the river that feeds into Meru Mountain. After many months, he received vindication of his devotion and came into contact with the God of the Himalayas himself. With Lord Shiva's blessing and consent - as well as by their generosity - many gods and sages even went on to settle themselves permanently in this region.
Vindhya Parvat is one of many temples on the western coast of India that has a Shiva Linga with two parts (Omkareshwar and Amaleshwar). Unlike most other places, these two parts are considered the same because they perform a certain power and nature.
Vindhya Mountain gets the desired wish from Lord Shiv and starts to grow quickly. It's so tall now it starts obstructing the Sun, transforming whole regions of Earth. People start fearing it and go to the shelter of Agastya Rishi. Agastya raises a concern that Vindhya Mountain may not stop growing and they may never come back again if they continue to climb. But Agastya himself never returned with his wife, who was one of Indra's 8 Matrikas.
Legend has it that there was a fierce war between Deities and Monsters, which the Monsters ultimately won. Upon losing the war, the Deities went to Lord Shiva for shelter and prayed. Lord Shiva was pleased with their prayer and appeared as Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga near the banks of the Narmada river. The Deities started worshipping Lord Shiva, who eventually gave them the power to defeat their enemies.
As per legend, King Mandhata was the ancestor of Lord Ram. After his death, King Mandhata's capital became a popular temple in his honor. This place is now called Omkar Mandhata and people pray to him for their wishes to be fulfilled. Legend has it that when he prayed to Lord Shiva for all the comforts, God established himself here as Omkar.
Just as said in Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva does Shyan Arti every day. And what's better is that the temple priest who performs this ceremony will travel all night just to arrive at the exact time of day Shiva has traveled from his home in the Himalayas.
At the Omkareshwar temple, pujas are done by the priests themselves by chanting the correct mantras. If you happen to visit at eight-thirty every night, you'll be able to watch a live Shayan Arti performance.
The total time required to travel from one temple to another is about 3-4 hours. If you take the Om Path, then it takes a bit longer and can take up to 4 hours more. If you choose to boat or visit Sangam, then it goes up to about 1 hour for that trip as well. The journey from nearby cities is about the same as well.
Maha Shivratri is the main festival of any Shiva temple. Here, as in hundreds of other temples across India and the world, Maha Shivratri is celebrated at a very grand level. At Maha Shivratri fairs, which take place every day during Maha Shivaratri, religious offerings and food are distributed to the devout. In addition, millions of people come to see the Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar Jyotirlingas.
The Kartik Purnima is one of the biggest Hindu festivals in India. Lots of people come to have darshan (a spiritual experience) of the deity and offer Prasad. Lord Shiva's Arti is celebrated on this day with great grandeur. In addition, Ganesh Chaturthi and Anant Chaudas are also celebrated with much haste.
The best time to visit the Omkareshwar temple is in the morning, but visitors can enjoy it at any time of the day. The temple is open all year, even in winter, so you can happily walk around and enjoy your visit whenever you like.
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