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Aundha Nagnath - the oldest Jyotirlingam of Lord Shiva

Updated on March 25, 2011
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Aundha Nagnath temple
Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Pancha Pandava -- i.e. 5 Pandava brothers of the Maha Bharata fame)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Pancha Pandava -- i.e. 5 Pandava brothers of the Maha Bharata fame)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple ( Lord Ganesha with His two wives Riddhi & Siddhi)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple ( Lord Ganesha with His two wives Riddhi & Siddhi)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Lord Vishnu)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Lord Vishnu)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Lord Shiva & His Divine Consort Parvati)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Lord Shiva & His Divine Consort Parvati)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Ardhanaariswara -- Male & female power in the same body)
Stone sculpture on the outside wall of Aundha Nagnath temple (Ardhanaariswara -- Male & female power in the same body)
The two tanks (Kund) -- the one with greenish is the "Sash" Kund & the smaller one in the dietant corner is the "Bahu" Kund
The two tanks (Kund) -- the one with greenish is the "Sash" Kund & the smaller one in the dietant corner is the "Bahu" Kund
A sculpture of a snake at the top ofthe temple
A sculpture of a snake at the top ofthe temple
The pinnacle of the temple
The pinnacle of the temple

Aundha Nagnath

Aundha Nagnath  is a famous place for pilgrimage. One of the 12 Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva is situated here.

Aundha Nagnath is considered as the first (Addya) Jyotirlingams, which are twelve special Shiva temples to which the scriptures attribute special significance. The Lingam (the Phallic symbol of Lord Shiva) of these twelve Jyotirlingam s (literally meaning Lingams from which light emanates) are considered to be objects of great divine power.  Throughout the ages, these Jyotirlingams are worshiped by billions of Hindus with a strong belief that all their accumulated sins will be washed away if or when they visit these Jyotirlingams.

Aundha Nagnath is a small hamlet situated in the state of  Maharashtra, India. It is about 64 km from another big pilgrimage place Nanded, which  is famous  for its Gurudwaras ( places of worship of the Sikhs). Nanded is connected to big cities like Mumbai , Aurangabad & Hyderabad via rail, road & air. The nearest railway station is at Parbhani.

The main attraction of Aundha Nagnath is the temple of Lord Nagnath, which is another name of Lord Shiva.

The temple is surrounded on all sides by a strong high wall. Just outside the wall, there are several small temples dedicated to gods like Shani (Saturn), Rahu & Ketu. There are two small tanks or Kunds in front of the Shani temple. The bigger one is of brackish  water & is called “Sash kund” ( the kund /tank of the Mother –in – law, & the smaller one is of sweet water  & is called “Bahu kund” ( the kund/tank of the Daughter-in law)—fine depiction of human nature indeed!

Just inside the wall, there is a fairly big open space or courtyard. In the centre of this courtyard there stands the  big temple of Lord Nagnath. The temple is said to be originally constructed by the eldest Pandava brother Yudhisthira  of the Mahabhvarata fame, which  is at least 3000 years old! However , the  temple was renovated several times , latest by the pious queen Ahillyabai Holkar of Indore in the 18th century.

The temple is made of stone in Hemadpanthy style of architecture. A lofty pinnacle, plastered white  & decorated with sculptures of  a big snake looms large. The base of the temple is reddish as constructed with the red basaltic stone & is covered with exquisite sculptures depicting Hindu gods & goddesses & scenes from Mahabharata as well as from other Hindu mythology.

Inside the temple, the Garvgriha (sanctum sanctorum) is in the basement & can be entered through a narrow & deep opening in the floor of the main hall of the temple. Inside, there is the Lingam made of black stone. It is usually kept covered by a silver bucket-like cover, but the cover is removed for worshiping by the devotees. The Lingam can be touched by the devotees.

The most unusual part of this temple is the positioning of the sacred bull Nandi. Everywhere, Nandi  is seen facing the Shiva Lingam. But here Nandi is facing the back of the Shiva Lingam, & is placed in a separate temple on the backside of the main temple. The reason of this anomaly is explained in a short but inspirational story of the God & a true devotee. The story goes thus :

Sant Namdev , who was a famous Marathi saint & a true follower of the Lord,  once came here with some of his disciples to offer puja. They were  chanting Bhajan (devotional songs)  in front of Aundha Nagnath temple when the temple priests objected to their singing, & asked them to go away. Namdev did not argue &  went to the  back side of the temple and started chanting bhajan there. That time Lord Shiva turned the whole temple backward to listen to Namdev’s bhajan, but He did not turn the Nandi’s statue. That's why Nandi is located on back side of temple.

There are other temples also in close vicinity, the most important one is the temple dedicated to Dattatreya, considered an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Aundha Nagnath is a must for those who want to see the Jyotirlingams of lord Shiva.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Pankaj Kumar 

      4 years ago

      Very Nice Pics Man. Keep it up!

      - Pankaj K

      http://www.itpeoplesociety.in

    • profile image

      Kavya Singh 

      5 years ago

      - call me for any trip information or hotels details - 09810893332

      or mail me - info@ijdreamvacation.com

      http://tajmahaltripindia.com

    • profile image

      Dr.Rushi 

      5 years ago

      For more information like room reservation,distance from any city,temple timings etc please contact 9422876852,aundhanagnath@gmail.com,9730740237.

      I am native of Aundha Nagnath.

    • profile image

      injamven 

      6 years ago

      I thought Somnath was oldest [tho the temple isn't]. There's another Naganatha near Dwarka. Which do you think is the 'real' jothiling?

    • profile image

      amarnath yatra 

      7 years ago

      Your photos are really good. I think you can give me a few tips. What camera do you use and do you have any special equipment to take these landscape photos?

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