Oñkāreśvara

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Onkaresvara, OJkAreZvara, Oykaareshvara


Oñkāreśvara

Places of pilgrimage are a source of inspiration and symbols of cultural unity.

Among the well-known places of pilgrimage associated with lord Śiva, those containing the Jyotirliṅgas (literally, ‘liṅgas of light’, twelve in number, spread all over India) are considered extremely sacred. The Oṅkāreśvara (the liñga and the temple containing it) is classed among these twelve.

The Ohkāreśvara temple is situated

on the Māndhātā island inside the Narmadā river, the two streams that

surround it being known as Narmadā and Kāverī (not the Kāverī of South India). Inside it there are actually two Sivaliñgas —Oṅkāreśvara and Amaleśvara—both

considered as ‘Jyotirliṅgas’ but calculated as one only. The emperor Māndhātā of the Ikṣvāku race (same as the Raghu-race) is said to have realised Lord Siva here.

The area of this island is about 2.6 sq. kms. (1 sq. mile). The shape of the island resembles that of 35) (Om). Hence the name ‘Oṅkāreśvara’.

It is said that the god Vindhya (the supervising deity of the Vindhya mountains) once propitiated Lord Siva here through a yantra (sacred geometrical diagram) and a liṅga of sand (or clay). Pleased with his worship, Siva appeared before him and agreed to stay on in those two forms. These two forms—the yantra and the earthen image—later on became the two liṅgas which we now see. The Oṅkāreśvaraliṅga is a natural one (svayambhu or udbhava liṅga) and is surrounded by water. Entrance to the temple is small. Images of Pārvati and fivefaced Gaṇapati are also established inside the temple.

The temple can be approached by

boat.

There are quite a few temples around the Oṅkāreśvara shrine, on the island.

See also narmadā.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Oñkāreśvara Places of pilgrimage are a source of inspiration and symbols of cultural unity. Among the well-known places of pilgrimage associated with lord Śiva, those containing the Jyotirliṅgas (literally, ‘liṅgas of light’, twelve in number, spread all over India) are considered extremely sacred. The Oñkāreśvara (the liñga and the temple containing it) is classed among these twelve. The Oñkāreśvara temple is situated on the Māndhātā island inside the Narmadā river, the two streams that surround it being known as Narmadā and Kāverī (not the Kāverī of South India). Inside it there are actually two Sivaliñgas —Oṅkāreśvara and Amaleśvara—both considered as ‘Jyotirliṅgas’ but calculated as one only. The emperor Māndhātā of the Ikṣvāku race (same as the Raghu-race) is said to have realised Lord Siva here. The area of this island is about 2.6 sq. kms. (1 sq. mile). The shape of the island resembles that of 35) (Om). Hence the name ‘Oṅkāreśvara’. It is said that the god Vindhya (the supervising deity of the Vindhya moun¬tains) once propitiated Lord Siva here through a yantra (sacred geometrical diagram) and a liṅga of sand (or clay). Pleased with his worship, Siva appeared before him and agreed to stay on in those two forms. These two forms—the yantra and the earthen image—later on became the two liṅgas which we now see. The Oṅkāreśvaraliṅga is a natural one (svayambhu or udbhava liṅga) and is surrounded by water. Entrance to the temple is small. Images of Pārvati and fivefaced Gaṇapati are also established inside the temple. The temple can be approached by boat. There are quite a few temples around the Oṅkāreśvara shrine, on the island. See also NARMADĀ.