Shri Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple
Shri Nageshwar near Dwarka in Gujarat is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva.The Jyotirlinga in the temple is known as Nageshwar Mahadev. The temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. The Jyotirlinga situated in the temple is considered to protect everybody from all sort of poisons. It is believed that one who offers prayers in the temple becomes poison free. The temple is located between Dwarka and Dwarka island in Gujarat on the coast of Surat. According to the legends, a devotee called Supriya was attacked by a demon named Daaruka in a boat.
The demon imprisoned the devotee and several others in his capital called Daarukaavana. It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga and rescued the imprisoned and vanquished the demon. The Shivlingam in the temple faces South with the Gomugam facing East. There is a legend regarding the position of the idol. It is believed that a devotee called Naamdev was singing bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva and was asked by other devotees to stand aside and not to hide the image of Lord. On being asked to do so Naamdev argued and asked for one such direction where Lord is not present, this angered the devotees and they picked him up and placed him on the south side. To everyone's astonishment even the Linga was then facing South with the Gomugam facing east. The other two temples dedicated to Nageshwar Jyotirlinga are situated near Audhgram near Purna and another near Almora in Uttrakhand. There are many more Jyotirlinga in India, named as Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. There have been many beliefs related to this fact. Jyotirlinga in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh is also famously known as Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. In Almoda, Jageshwar Shivalinga, is also popularly called Nageshwar Jyotirlings by the devotees. But in Shivapuran, the Jyotirlinga established in Dwarka is the only one considered as Nageshwar Jyotirlinga.
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 patal lok and they used to come in this region. Nag girls were known for their beauty. Hindu scriptures narrate that King Yadu of Yadu clan fame was married to a Nag girl. Skanda Purana 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.
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.
There is a popular legend, related to Nageshwar Jyotirlinga. According to the legend, there was a businessman with an immeasurable faith in god and karma . He was highly devoted to Lord Shiva. Despite being busy in his business and work, whatever spare time he used to get, he exhausted it in praying, adoring, and serving Lord Shiva. Seeing his devotion in Lord Shiva, a monster names Darukk got angry .Being a monster in nature, he was never in favor of Lord Shiva and infact hated him. That demon, always looked for an opportunity, to disrupt merchant’s devotion . One day that merchant was going in a boat for some business purpose. The monster saw this, and with the found opportunity he attacked the merchant’s boat and took all the travelers to the capital and imprisoned them.
Even in the prison, the merchant use to pray Lord Shiva constantly. When the demon, got to know about about it, he got aggressive and visited the merchant in prison, in the spirit of anger. The merchant was meditating at that time .The monster, started to resent at the merchant in that state only. When the demon saw, that his resentment is not affecting the merchant at all, he instructed his slaves to kill the merchant. Even this instruction could not act as a barrier to his meditation. The merchant kept on praying for his and his fellow people’s liberation. Lord Shiva was pleased with this devotion, and appeared in the prison in the form of Jyotirlinga and gave Pashupata, a weapon to the merchant, to protect himself.. He killed Rakshas Darukk, and his disciples from the weapon given by Lord Shiva. Since then this Jyoitirlinga is established there, and was named Nageshwar.
The temple opens at 5 am with morning aarti. It opens for devotees from 6 am. In the morning hours, different pujas/ abhishekas are performed by the Pujaris and devotees. The devotees have a Shingar darshan at 4 pm and after that entry to Garbhagriha for devotees is closed. Depending upon the season, sayam aarti 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 Maha shivratri, the temple remains open for long time.
Getting there and Around
By Air - Jamnagar, 145 kms away, is the nearest airport.
By Rail - Dwarka is a station on the Ahmedabad- Okha broad gauge railway line connected to Jamnagar, Rajkot (217 kms) and Ahmedabad (378 kms).
By Road - There is regular bus service from Jamnagar, Rajkot and other nearby towns connected to Dwarka.