Nageshwar just 16 km from Dwarka in Gujarat is considered tenth Jyotirlinga in the Dwadash Jyotirlinga circuit.
For the Hindus, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is considered to protect everybody from all sorts of poisons. It is believed that one who offers prayers here he is protected against all kind and he becomes poison free.
There is no unanimity among scholars about the location of 10th Jyotirlinga. A shloka of Rudra Sahmita of Shiva Puran gives the location of Nageshwar as ‘Darukavane Nagesham’, near Dwarka..
Some are of the view that the 10th Jyotirlinga is in Aundha village in Hingoli district of central Maharastra. Others believe that Nageshwar is situated in Jageshwar (also referred to as Nageshwar) near Almora in Uttarakhand state. Despite all this, the fact remains that lakhs of devotees visit Nageshwar Jyotirlinga in Gujarat, every year.
Story of Nageshwar Jyotirlinga:
There was a demoness Daruka who lived with her community in forest Darukayan near Dwarka.Demons used to harass sages living in the forest. To get rid of these demons, sages approached an enlightened sage Orvamuni. He cursed demons with destruction. It resulted into a massive attack by devas on denoms who ran for safety.
To save denoms, Daruka used her special powers she had got from godess Parvati. She shifted the entire forest into the sea. From here they continued their operation against hermits. They used to kidnap sages and kept them in their new place. Once they captured a great Shiva devotee, Supriya.
Arrival of Supriya changed the situation. He made all captives recite powerful Om Namaha Shivay mantra of Lord Shiva. Taking this as a rebellion, demons decided to kill Supriya. This disturbed Shiv Parvati devotee demoness Daruka. She prayed to Lord Shiva who appeared here and freed all from the clutches of denoms.
On the other hand, Parvati here granted a boon to Daruka. As a result, at the end of that era, only Demons would be created and she would rule Daruka. Lord Shiva accepted this. Then Shiva and Parvati stayed there. Lord Shiva once again assumed the form of Jyotirlinga with the name Nageshwar and Goddess Parvati was known as Nageshwari.
Why the name Nageshwar?
Recently some scholars found complementary evidences of the name Nageshwar from Hindu scriptures. Nag means snake. Panini, the famous grammatologist of 5th century BC has mentioned in his book Ganapatha that the region was known as Kutch,Saurastra and Anarta was the land of snakes. They were denizens of patallok and they used to come in this region. Nag girls were known for their beauty.
Hindu scriputres narrate that King Yadu of Yadu clan fame was married to a Nag girl. Skand Puran mentions that the King Raivat of Kushsthali was an avtaar of Takshak Nag and he ruled over this region. Interestingly, Dwarka is also known as Kushsthali in Hindu scriptures. The historians feel that the Aryas made the Nags a religious community and established Nageshwar Jyotirlinga.
Present Temple was renovated by Late Gulshan Kumar. He initiated the work in 1996 and his family completed the work after his assassination. The entire project cost Rs.1.25 crores. Gulshan Kumar Charitable Trust bore the entire expense of the project.
Nageshwar Temple is visible from a distance of 2 km. A huge, attractive statue of Lord Shiva in meditation pose greets devotees outside the temple. It’s a 125 feet high and 25 feet broad statue.
Main entrance is simple but beautiful. First is a hall or sabha mandap, where the Puja material counters are located. The Jyotirlinga is in a basement type sanctum.
Main Jyotirlinga is situated below the sabhamandap floor. The Jyotirlinga is moderately big and shalunka is plated with silver. A silver replica of Nag (snake) is also placed. Behind the Jyotirlinga there is an idol of Goddess Parvati.
At Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, only male devotees can enter and perform puja in Garbhagriha. They have to wear a dhoti. No one knows the reason for this male only practice.
The temple opens at 5 am with morning arti. It opens for devotees from 6 am. In the morning hours, different pujas/abhisheks are performed by the Pujaris and devotees..The devotees have a Sringar darshan at 4 pm and after that entry to Garbhagriha for devotees is closed. Depending upon the season, sayam arti is performed at 7 pm. The temple closes at 9 pm. However during special occasions like Holy Shravan month, Navaratri and Diwali festival, Kartik Purnima and Mahashivaratri, the temple remains open for long time.
There are different pujas performed at Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. There are different rates for different Pujas. The rates are:Rudrabhishek-Rs.105,Dudhabhishek-Rs.155,Rudrabhishek with Bhog-Rs.205,Char Somvar(four Mondays) ek amavas Rudrabhishek-Rs.505, Char Somvar ek amvas Rudrabhishek with dudh(milk)-Rs.751, Char Somvar ek amvas Rudrabhishek with Bhog-Rs.1001,Rudrabhishek for one year somvar-Rs.1101,Rudrabhishek with milk for one year somvar-Rs.2101,Ek Somvar 1008 Bilva patra Abhishek-Rs.251,Ek Somvar 1008 Mahamrityunjaya Jaap-Rs.501,Laghurudra by 11 brahimns-Rs.2101,Ek Shravan mas Jalabhishek-Rs.551,Ek Shravan mas dudh and bilva patra abhishek-Rs.1101,Ek Shravan mas akhand Jyota-Rs.1501.There are also two pujas for Mahashivaratri.These are-Mahashivaratri char prahar Puja-Rs.1101,Mahashivaratri Laghurudra by 11 brahmins-Rs.2101.
The devotee who wants to perform puja has to first deposit the money at puja counter in temple. A purohit from temple leads the devotee to Garbhagriha and performs sankalpa which lasts for 5 to 10 minutes.
If one is not able to come personally, but he wants to perform puja he can. He has to just send money to the temple office with his details like name and gotra. Puja is performed and devotee gets Prasad by post. He can send money by money order, draft or cheque
A devotee can also buy puja material and dhoti from the counter in the temple hall. One thali with material like silver plated Nag is available for Rs.251. He can get dhoti for use and it is to be returned.
Transport and Accommodation:
Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is situated between Okha (14 km) and Dwarka(16 km). One has to stay either at Dwarka or Okha as there is no accommodation available. Buses from Dwarka and Okha are easily available. Nageshwar is also on the circuit of Dwarka Darshan of local civic tourist bus.
In Rs 50 per head Dwarka darshan offers a circular trip of five to six hours.It covers Nageshwar Jyotirlnga,Gopi Talav ,Bet Dwarka(ferry boat charges Rs.20 per person),Rukamini temple and returns Dwarka.
Auto rickshaws are also available. They charge Rs.250 for Dwarka-Nageshwar-Dwarka round trip and Rs.400 for Dwarka-Nageshwar-Okha-Dwarka round trip. Sharing rickshaws called shuttle rickshaws charge Rs.20 per person for Dwarka-Nageshwar or Okha route one side trip.
How to Go to Nageshwar?
The distance between Dwarka and Nageshwar is merely 16 km. Dwarka, the ancient capital of Lord Krishna is well connected with different parts of country by train. There are more than seven long distance trains coming to Dwarka. The major trains are:5045/5046 Okha Gorakhpur Express,9569/9570 Okha Varanasi Express,9005/9006 Okha Mumbai Saurastra Mail,8401/8402 Okha-Puri Express,6733/6734 Okha-Rameshwaram Express,6337/6338 Okha Ernakulam Express and 5635/5636 Okha Guwahati Express among others.
There are regular ST and private buses between Ahmedabad and Dwarka. It takes nine to ten hours to reach Dwarka. Nigh buses have sleeper buses also. At present private buses charge Rs.280 per person for sleeper coach and Rs.200 for regular one’s.
Distance chart from Dwarka:
The distance between Ahmedabad and Dwarka on railway line is 471 km and by road is 457 km. The distance from Dwarka to Somnath by road is 230 km, Rajkot-232 km, and Jamnagar is 144 km.The distance by railway line from Dwarka to Vadodara-571 km,Surat-700 km,Vapi-798 km,Mumbai(upto Bandra) 962 km,Puri-2752 km and Jammu Tavi is 2154 km.Okha is the last stop on railway and road map.The distance between Dwarka and Okha is 30 km.
Many devotees take Dwarka-Porbandar-Somnath circuit as a value addition. Porbandar is 75 km from Dwarka. The devotees first visit Harsiddhi Mataji Temple on seashore before Porbandar. Locals call this place as Harshad Mataji Temple. Porbandar is the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi. The distance betweeen Porbandar and Somnath is about 150 km. The journey on the coastal road becomes memorable because of its scenic beauty.
Private buses on this route are available daily. They start from Dwarka at 8 in the morning and reache Somnath at 2 in the afternoon covering Mool Dwarka and Harsiddhi Mataji temple.The bus charges Rs.130 per person.
How many days required?
If you are travelling to Nageshwar, Dwarka and surrounding places, you should have three full days to get complete feel. of the entire land of Okhamandal. Some devotees do this in one day. But such a tour is quite taxing and does not go with the idea of peace associated with these places.
Dwarka city has all the basic amenities. Power cut is rare. There are good hotels/dharmashalas and guest houses ranging from Rs.100 to Rs.2000 a day. One can also find food of different tastes like North Indian, South Indian, Gujarati, Rajasthani and even Chinese!
—–Vipul K Shukla
The writer is Ahmedabad based Public Relations Consultant. He visited Nageshwar Jyotirlinga in March, 2009. He can be contacted at: email@example.com