Aundha Nagnath is the 8th among the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The deity is also prayed as Nageshwar, Nagesh and Nagnath. The temple is situated in Aundha town of Hingoli district of Maharashtra.
Unlike other temples, Lord Shiva’s lingam is not located in the garbha gruha adjacent to main sabha mandapa. You have to climb down to the tiny garbha gruha which underneath the main one.
Shiva linga here represents combination of Vaishanav and Shaishav panthas of Hinduism. Lingam is in the form of Shaligram and made up of sand. Shaligram represents Lord Vishnu. Lingam is covered with silver cover and one can touch it during abhishekam.
History of Aundha Nagnath Temple
One of the oldest jyotirlinga, the temple experienced reconstructions and renovations many time. Seuna dynasty (Yadavas of Devagiri) built the current Aundha Nagnath temple which dates back to 13th century.
It is said that the temple was seven storey until Aurangzeb, an anti-hindu ruler, destroyed the upper portion. Ahilyabai Holkar rebuilt the upper portion later. Ahilyabai contributed in preserving and renewing many temples in north india. Her statue outside the temple reminds her great deeds. Newly built portion is colored in white now a days.
Mythology & Legends of Aundha Nagnath
The first temple is said to be built by eldest pandava “Yudhishthira” during their expulsion (vanvasa) from Hastinapur for 14 years.
The temple was situated in dense forest called Daruka Van (Daruka’s forest). Daruka, the demon, was a great devotee of Lord Shiva & Parvati. But used to trouble hermits of the forest (as his nature of demon suggests). “Supriya” one of the sufferer of Daruka’s misdeeds too was great devotee of Lord Shiva. She continued praying Lord Shiva even in the prison of Daruka and became liable for punishment of death. Lord Shiva appeared for her prayers and destroyed all the demons. While dying, Daruka repented for his sins. He prayed to be remembered forever as a warning for others. Lord Shiva accepted his prayers and stayed in the Darukavan in the form of jyotirlinga as a Nageshwara and Parvati as Nageshwari with him.
There is an interesting story about the Nandi’s placement on the back side of the Shiva temple and Sant Namdeo. You can read the story in the different post – Why Nadi is not placed in front of Aundha Nagnath Shiva temple?
Conflict of Nagnath Temples
Just like Vaijnath Jyotirlinga, Nagnath also got some conflicts about it’s true location. Three temples are claiming to be Jyotirlingas including Aundha Nagnath are Nageshwar Temple near Dwaraka of Gujarat and Jageshwar temple of Uttarakhand.
Legends talk about demons moving the Darukavan forest to sea which justifies Dwaraka one’s claim.
Darukavan means the forest of demon Daruka. But it also means the forest of Deodar trees which justifies Jageshwar temples claim.
It’s all about the faith!!
Aundha Nagnath Temple Campus:
Check out more in the Aundha Nagnath Series:
- Lord Shiva of Aundha Nagnath
- Matrika at Aundha Nagnath
- Mahayogi of Aundha Nagnath
- Sculptures of Aundha Nagnath
- My motor-bike trip to Aundha Nagnath
- Myth of Daruka – shaivam.org
- Saint Namdev’s story – wikipedia
- Conflict of the temples – Anushnkarn’s Blog