Shri Vaijnath Jyotirlinga of Parli is one of the great 12 jyotirlingas and one of the five jyotirlingas of Maharashtra. Located on the slope of mysterious Meru parvat (mountain) or Nag Narayan mountain, the temple is standing tall in the heart of Parli town. Brahma, Venu and Saraswati rivers adds a touch of myth to the place.
Shiva linga is made of Shaligram which smooth. Devotees from all casts are allowed to touch the lingam during darshana, called as sparsha darshan (स्पर्श दर्शन). The wide jyotirlinga is continuously praised with water abhishekam. Bel patra or bilva patra, leaves do not make difference here.
Though exact information is unknown, Vaijnath temple said to be build during 12th century, Yadavas period. In 1706, Ahilyabai Holkar renovated the temple just like she did for Aundha Nagnath temple. I must say that temple courtyard, corridor and the entrance are grand with huge stairs. Once you enter through a grand entrance with Dwarpals, there is large hall for devotees which is built of teak wood. The hall presents art glimpse from Peshwa period. Out of many holy kundas (ponds) in the temple campus, water of Harihar Teerth is used for pouring on Shiva lingam (abhishekam). A perfect assimilation of Shaiva and Vaishnava sects of Hinduism – this can be a perfect line to praise the temple.
As the temple is placed in the middle of the line between Ujjain and Kanyakumari, it is also called as Madhya Rekha. Some other mythological names of the place is Kantipur, Vaijayanti and Jayanti. One of the prominent Shaiva community, Veerashaiva, had there own temple in the courtyard of Vaijnath Jyotirlinga temple.
Mythology & History of Shri Vaijnath Jyotirlinga:
Vata vruksha (वटवृक्ष) or a great banyan tree on Nag Narayan mountain is said to be from Satyavan and Savitri story. Savitri said to be won back her husband, Satyavan’s life back from Yamraj. Vateshwara temple is famous here.
a Holy Kunda (pond) named after Markandeya tells a story of Markandeya’s release from the death and regaining the boon of his life with Lord Shiva’s blessings.
During the churning of the Nectar (अमृत मंथन), Lord Vishnu hid Dhanwantari and Amrut ratnas inside a Shiva Linga. That’s why it said that the touch of the linga brings health and blessing.
After demon Ravana’s extreme devotion and his offers of his 10 heads, Lord Shiva blessed the demon and was agreed to come with him to the Lanka in the form of Shiva Linga. Ravana was not supposed to put the linga o the ground, but when he handed over the linga to a shepherd for a rest purpose, that shepherd did. The linga once placed on the ground was immovable. It is believed that Lord Ganesha had become a shepherd to deceive Ravana.
As per the famous local story, Goddess Yogeshwari got married to Lord Vaijnath of Parli. But marriage party reached after passing of an auspicious time, they all turned into stone statues. Goddess Yogeshwari is still waiting at Ambajogai which near Parli town.
Another story speaks about Chilla, the son of King Sriyal and Queen Changuna, who came to life with blessings of Lord Vaijnath.
Parli Vaijnath on the map: