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Jyotirlingam or Jyotirlinga
A Jyotirlingam or Jyotirlinga is a special symbol of Lord Shiva. Jyoti means light or radiance and Lingam the phallic symbol representing Lord Shiva, though some consider it as a symbol for the pineal gland, a gland situated on the under surface of the brain which controls many things including the biological clock of our body. Jyotir Lingam thus means the The Radiant Symbol of Lord Shiva.
There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India, highly revered by millions of Hindus. Though the number is Dwadasha or twelve, there are controversies regarding the situation of three of these :
- Baijnath or Baidyanath : The Baidyanath temple at Deoghar, Jharkhand & the Baijnath temple at Parle, Maharashtra are the two claimants.
- Nageswar : There are three claimants : The Aundha-Nagnath at Maharashtra, The Nageswar at Dwarka, Gujarat & the nageswar at Jageswar near Almora, Uttarakhand.
- Ghushmeswar or Grishneswar : Two temples with the same name, one at Ellora, Maharashtra & the other at Shiwar, Rajsthan are the claimants.
The common Hindus who are aware of these controversies usually rehard all the 16 as the abode of Lord Shiva as Jyotirlingams & try to visit all the 16 places to complete their pilgrimage.
This article is about the Ghushmeswar temple at Shiwar, Rajsthan.
Shiwar Ghushmeswar temple is located at Shiwar, a dusty village about 3 km. from Isarda Railway Station on Kota - Jaipur Train Route. It is about 46 km from Sawai-Madhopur , the base town of Ranthambhore National Park famous for its tigers.
Did you know about the two Ghushmeswars?
Mythology associated with Ghushmeswar
According to the mythology, Lord Shiva appeared here to protect His devotee Ghushma & her newborn son. Ghushma used to worship Lord Shiva so intensely that she even did not care about the life of her newborn son who was killed by her elder sister Sudeha out of jealousy (both were married to Sudharma, but Sudeha was childless). Lord Shiva resurrected Ghushma’s son, & promised to stay here as a Jyotirlingam named Ghushmeswar after Ghushma.
Historical link of Shiwar Ghushmeswar temple
Sultan Mahmood of Gajni sent his commander Masood with army to destroy this temple in early 11th century CE. In the battle that followed, the local king Maharaja Chander Sen Gaur along with his son Indrasen, Army chief Rewat & 3000 Army men gave up their lives in protecting the temple.
1179 the temple was rebuild by king Shiv Veer Singh Chauhan.
In 1358 CE, Alauddin Khilji sent Malik Kafur to destroy the newly built temple. But he left without damaging the temple due to some unknown reason, though locals believe that Lord Shiva Himself apprehended Alauddin Khilji by appearing in his dream.
Photos of Ghushmeswar temple, Shiwar
The temple of Ghushmeswar at Shiwar
The temple of Ghushmeswar at Shiwar is situated just north of a hill called Devagiri having a fort on its top. There are an outer gate, & an inner one to enter into the temple premises. On entering the courtyard, the temple building is visible at the centre with a Shiv Dhuna ( a canopied structure for conducting Yajna by burning logs) at the left. Now there is the third entrance to the main temple area. Inside, there was the west-facing main temple of Lord Ghushmeswar with the stone Lingam in the sanctum sanctorum.
The Lingam of the Lord is located in a depressed bowl like structure & is kept submerged in milk almost whole day except few hours in the morning & evening. There is no clear cut Gouripatta as per the true tradition of Jyotirlingams. On the backside there is a big mirror which reflects the Lingam.
Outside the sanctum, there a stone Nandi Bull facing the Lingam. Behind the Nandi, there is a temple of Lord Shiva with multiple Shiva Lingams representing the 12 Jyotirlingams.
Outside the temple area, about 100 metres away to the north, there is a big tank said to be the tank where Ghushma used to worship Lord Shiva.
The Devagiri hill behind the temple on the north houses many idols of different gods of Hinduism.
Claims of the locals in support of this temple’s Jyotirlingam status
Locals cite many proofs in supported of this temple’s claim as the true Ghushmeswar Jyotirlingam :
- According to Shivpuran (Kotirudra), Ghushmeshwar Jyotirlingam must be at Shivalaya (“Ghushmesam Shivalaye”). In older times, this place was named Shivalaya, which was changed to Shival, and then to Shiwar.
- According to Shivpuran (Kotirudra), there is a mountain named Devagiri to the south of Ghushmeswar temple. At Shiwar, there is a mountain known as Devegiri to the south of the temple.
- Again, according to Shivpuran (kotirudra), there is a big pond to the north of the temple which is the abode of Shivlingams. At present day Shiwar, there is exactly so. There is a big tank to the north of the temple. In addition, in 1837, when this pond was excavated, nearly 2000 Shivlingams were found in the excavated mud.
Scholars’ approval : Many scholars, based on the above three proofs, have said to give approval to the true status of this temple as a true Jyotirlingam
The other Ghushmeswar at Ellora, Maharashtra
The other Ghushmeswar (or Grishneswar) temple is situated very close to the world famous cave-temples of Ellora. the locals claim that it is the real Ghushmeswar Jyotirlingam.
Photos of Ghushmeswar (Grishneswar) of Ellora, Maharashtra
Whatever may be the opinion of scholars, common Hindu devotees do not differentiate between the “True” & “False” Ghushmeswar, & they worship both as equal.