An introduction to Sukla Tirtha
Shukal Tirth or Shukla Tirtha, where the blackest of sins turns into white virtue, is an important place of pilgrimage in the circuit of Narmada Parikrama (a strenuous almost 2800 km long circumambulation of the river Narmada). Situated on the south bank of Narmada near Bharuch in the Indian state of Gujarat, Shukla Tirtha is a nice place to visit.
Shuklka Tirtha in mythology
A mythological story regarding Shukla Tirtha goes thus. Once Chanakya asked Lord Shiva for his salvation . Lord Shiva agreed and told him to start an upstream voyage with a black cow in a black boat from the mouth of the holy river Narmada. The place where the cow and the boat would turn white would be the place where Chanakya would get his salvation. So Chanakya did just that and found the place where the black cow and the black boat turned white. He named the place Shukla Tirtha (The place of pilgrimage where black sin turns into white virtue). He founded a temple with a Shiva Lingam called Shukleswar Mahadeva. It is believed that the present Shukleswar temple has the same Shiva Lingam and if one worships it all sins are purged.
Location of Shukla Tirtha
Shukla Tirtha is situated about 12 km from Bharuch, an important city in the Indian state of Gujarat. Bharuch is connected to other major cities of Gujarat & India via rail and road routes. The road to Shukla Tirtha from Bharuch is a good one with all sorts of vehicle plying on it.
The temples at Shukla Tirtha
Two most important temples are the temples of Shukleswar Mahadeva and a temple dedicated to Lord Omkarnath Vishnu. There are a number of other temples also.
Shukleswar Mahadeva temple
The temple of Shukleswar Mahadeva is a medium sized temple with three main Shikhara-s (pinnacles) . Inside, there are three Shiva Lingams – that of Shukleswar Mahadeva at the centre flanked by Patteswar and Shomeswar Shiva Lingams. The place has an aura of purity which instantly has a calming down effect on the visitors’ minds.
The temple of Omkarnath Vishnu
This is a large temple with a tall Shikhara (pinnacle) with two dome shaped roof of the NATMANDIR portion. Inside in the sanctum, there is a beautiful white idol of Lord Vishnu which is made of sand, though looks like a marble statue. It is believed that this Vishnu idol is Shayambhu (self-manifest).
The hamlet of Shukla Tirtha
Shukla Tirtha is a small hamlet with a number of houses most of which are decorated with beautiful wood carvings and fine artistically drawn pictures.
The bank of the river Narmada is nicely maintained with big trees and there are some benches for the public to seat to enjoy the beauty of the river.
Importance of Shukla Tirtha
Shukla tirtha is an important place where the sages & other people doing Narmada Parikrama (a strenuous 2800 km long circumambulation of the holy river Narmada) stay to worship. It is believed that if one worships the deities here, all sins committed in this life as well as in the past lives will be washed away.
Shukla Tirtha : the conclusion
Shukla Tirtha is not very well known to general people (unless they are interested in Narmada Parikrama), but its religious importance should be widely circulated so that interested pilgrims come and visit this serene place.