Rudravarta Tirtha : A miraculous experience
There are countless temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in India & elsewhere, but one place stands apart among these. That is the Rudravarta/Rudravarth Tirtha, a little known place in Uttar Pradesh in India. Everywhere devotees offer flowers, milk, Bael (Indian Wood Apple) leaves, fruits etc. to Lord Shiva as a Puja, & take the offerings back as Prasad or blessed things touched by the Lord. But only at Rudravarta Tirtha, where devotees offer those things in a small pool of water known as Rudravarta Kund which is situated near, & connected to, the holy river Gomati, the things vanish into the Kund as if Lord Shiva actually has accepted the offerings, & more astonishingly, only one fruit (out of five offered as a ritual) floats up in the water of the Kund as if the Lord has returned that which the devotees joyfully accept as Prasad. This is so astonishing that it is better seen to be believed.
Rudravarta Tirtha is situated in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, about 100 km from the state capital Lucknow. It is situated near (about 8 km) a famous place of pilgrimage called Naimisharanya, which is frequented by thousands of people, but only a very few visit Rudravarta Tirtha, though it is connected with state highway by good all-weather motorable road.
Rudravarta Tirtha is a remote place, situated on the bank of the holy river Gomati. Very few people reside nearby. There are two temples, one of Lord Shiva & the other dedicated to Goddess Parvati, under the shade of huge Pipul trees. An old Sadhu (sage) lives there alone. During the day, some local villagers come with a merchandise of flowers, Bael leaves, fruits & small pots of milk which they sell to the devotees who visit the place.
Gomati river (also known as Gumti ) is a holy river. It is a tributary of the Ganga. Arising from a lake called Gumat/Fulhaar Taal near Pilbhit, it runs 900 km through the state of Uttar Pradesh to join Ganga near Saidpur in Varanasi district. As per Hindu mythology, Gomati is the daughter of the great sage Vashistha. It is considered a holy river & a bath in it on the Ekadasi (the 11th day in the ancient Hindu calendar) day removes all sins.
The picturesque river flows by the side of Rudravarta Tirtha.
This is a small pool of water, approximately 10ft X 12 ft on the surface. It is connected to Gomati river, but the main source of water is probably a number of small fountains under the water. Water & sand come up bubbling at several points creating an image of small Shiva Lingams of sand continuously appearing & disappearing.
A miracle or a Natural phenomenon?
The manner in which devotees offer Puja here is unique. Though there is a Shiva temple just on the bank of Gomati, people first offer Puja at the Rudravarta Kund. A devotee is required to offer milk, few Bael leaves & five fruits (whether of the same type or different does not matter). When one offers the things into the water of the Kund, an astonishing thing happens. Milk, when poured into water, normally mixes with water & flows away; but not here - it goes straight down the water of the Kund!
Next, when one offers the Bael leaves & the five pieces of fruit, instead of floating in water they all disappear into the Kund, as if Lord Shiva has accepted the offering. But the most astonishing thing happens after that. One piece of fruit reappears on the surface as if Lord has returned that! The devotees collect that fruit as Prasad of Lord Shiva.
Very rarely it so happens that no fruit reappears at all, in such cases it is considered that Lord Shiva has accepted everything the devotee has offered, & it is considered as even a more holy sign.
The Shiva temple at Rudravarta Tirtha
There is a small Shiva temple on the bank of Gomati just behind the Kund with a small Shiva Lingam where people come later to worship. It is an ordinary Shiva temple like the millions elsewhere. An old Sadhu stays there looking after the temple. He is a real holy man which is rather rare to find. He used to talk of many things about Religion & God, of which I cannot resist the temptation to mention one in a poor translation : “ Man has many types of demands – those of name, fame, money, good health, sex, child etc., but not of seeing the God. If one really wants to see Him, He surely appears before one.”
Rudravarta Tirtha is known to a very small section of the public. The information about it requires widespread circulation, so that more & more pious men & women know about this unique place.