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Tourist Places To Visit In Omkareshwar
Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh is 77km away from Indore. It is a holy place for Hindus on account of the temple being one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. It is quite possible that the place is more than 5500 years old. The temple is on an island which is shaped in the Om symbol. The island is 2km long and 1km wide. The Omkareshwar temple is closely linked to the Mamleshwar Temple that is located on the south-end of the River Narmada. Historically, Omkareshwar was under the rule of the aboriginal Bhil chieftains in the medieval period. It was under various rulers such as the Parmars of Dhar and the Sultans of Malwa as well as the Scindias of Gwalior before the British took over in 1824. Being an old town there are several tourist places to visit in Omkareshwar. These places will now be discussed.
Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is one among the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples that are dedicated to Shiva in various parts of India. This temple has a prayer or meeting hall called Sabha Mandap which stands on top of some 60 large (14’) stone pillars that have been carved elaborately with figures like those of satyr that have broad shoulders and foreheads that seem to be meditating. The temple is of 5 storeys and each of these storeys has a different deity. The temple has three pujas, one by the Temple Trust, one conducted by the priest from Scindia state and the one in the evening conducted by the priest assigned by the Holkar state. Try to attend one of these pujas.
Gauri Somnath Temple
Gauri Somnath Temple is among the largest shrines in Omkareshwar. Dedicated to Shiva the temple is constructed in a star-like shape. It has three storeys and it is the sanctum sanctorum that holds the 6’ high Shiva Lingam made of a shining stone. There are other idols behind the Lingam and these are idols of ‘dev kulikas’. The bull, vaahan Nandi of the Lord, stands outside the sanctum sanctorum.
Dedicated to Lord Kedar who was a different manifestation of Shiva, Kedareshwar Temple was built in the 11th Century AD and is well known for its excellent architecture. Just 4km from the Omkareshwar Temple this temple is located at the meeting point of the rivers Kaveri and Narmada and it is often known as the stepping stone to the Kedarnath Temple and therefore considered very auspicious.
Sri Govinda Bhagavatpaada Cave
Sri Govinda Bhagavatpaada Cave is one of the major places for visitors to see while in Omkareshwar since it is linked with one of the greatest saints of India, Adi Shankaracharya. It is said that this cave is the place where Shankaracharya learnt his lessons after having walked thousands of miles through dense forests and valleys as well as tall mountains. His teacher was Govinda Bhagavatpada whose cave on the banks of the Holy Narmada River was his school. A visit to this cave is an unforgettable experience.
Visitors to this temple said that they had to walk about 1.5km from Omkareshwar Temple to reach Ranmukteshwar Temple which is ancient and located near the sangam of Narmada and Cauvery Rivers. The walk from this temple to the sangam will take you less than 5min. Earlier visitors recommend that one must visit this temple when one is in Omkareshwar. Devotees offer gram pulses to the deity at this temple.
The Satmatrika Temples situated 6km from the island known as Omkareshwar is a group of temples that is located where the rivers Narmada and Cauvery meet. The history of this group of temples goes back to 10th Century AD when these temples were built. Devoted to Shiva these temples have a striking form of architecture and the group of temples is therefore worth visiting.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Siddhanath Temple is made in a typical style of architecture known as the Brahminic style. Situated on top of a plateau, the temple is supported by a very large podium that is decorated with frescos and carvings that portray the elephant in diverse postures. The architecture of this temple is most attractive.
The 24 Avatars is located in Omkareshwar and it is a group of Jain and Hindu temples that are well known for their amazingly different form of architecture. It was in the 11th century AD that Mahmud Ghazni attacked and destroyed several Hindu as well as Jain temples all over the country. His forces entered and destroyed several temples in Omkareshwar as well. However, of the several temples in Omkareshwar, the 24 Avatars is just about the only set of temples that is still standing.