By Swami Harshananda
Naimisāraṇya literally means ‘wheel-rim forest’.
Mythological Significance of Naimiṣāraṇya
When several ṛṣis or sages appealed to Brahmā to show them an ideal place for the performance of sacrifices and austerities, he is said to have set a wheel rolling and told them that the place where the nemi or the rim of the wheel will drop off, is the most suitable place. Since the nemi fell at this place it came to be known as Naimiṣa or Naimiśa or Naimiṣāraṇya.
Location of Naimiṣāraṇya
It was on the right bank of the river Gomatī. It is now identified with Nīmsar which is about 40 kms. from the railway station Sondilla in Uttar Pradesh.
Historical Significance of Naimisāraṇya
The purāṇas mention it as a place where many Vedic sacrifices had been performed. It was also here that many demons had been decimated in few minutes. Here the famous Sutapurāṇika narrated many incidents and stories of the ancient period, including the Bhārata. Arjuna had visited this place during his pilgrimage.
Other Holy Places Around Naimisāraṇya
Some of the holy places associated with this place are:
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore