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Omkareshwar Temple
Click picture to ZOOM

Situated at 77 km from Indore, the name Omkareshwar derives from the word Om, which signifies the most sacred Hindu symbol. Omkareshwar, the sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, 'Om', has drawn to it hundreds of generations of pilgrims. Here, at the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri, the devout gather to kneel before the Jyotirlinga (one of the Twelve jyotirlingas throughout India) at the temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata. And here, as in so many of Madhya Pradesh's sacred shrines, the works of Nature complement those of man to provide a setting awe-inspiring in its magnificence.

The island comprises two lofty hills and is divided by a valley in such a way that it appears in the shape of the sacred Hindu symbol 'Om' from above. Between the precipitous hills of the Vindhya on the North and the Satpura on the South, the Narmada forms a deep silent pool which in former times was full of alligators and fish, so tame as to take grain from human hand. This pool is 270 ft below the cantilever type bridge constructed in 1979. The bridge has enhanced the scenic beauty of the place, making it look exceedingly picturesque.

This place of pilgrimage became famous in the historical times too. In 1063 AD, Paramarking Udayaditya installed four stone inscriptions with four Sanskrit Stotras and dedicated them to the Amaleshwar Temple. Pushpadanta's 'Shiva Mahima Stotra' can also be seen as a stone inscription.

Legend

Shiva Purana describes the greatness of Omkareshwar and Mammaleshwar. It says, two sons of the sun dynasty Mandhata - Ambarish and Mucchkund practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva. They also performed great religious sacrifices in this place because of which the mountain is named Mandhata.

Another Legend has it that the Vindhya mountain prayed to Shiva - Omkareshwara and was blessed here. Legend also has it that upon the request of the Devas, the Shivalinga split into two, one half being Omkareshwara and the other Amaleshwara or Amareshwar. King Mandhatha of the Ishvaku clan is believed to have worshiped Shiva here. The Omkareshawar temple is built in the North Indian style of architecture, with high spires. Devotees consider worship to Panchamuga Ganesha, to be very auspicious.

Places of Interest

Shri Omkar Mandhata - The temple stands on a one mile long, half mile wide island formed by the fork of the Narmada. The soft stone of which it was constructed has lent its pliable surface to a rare degree of detailed work, of which the frieze figures on the upper portion are the most striking. Also intricately carved is the stone roof of the temple. Encircling the shrine are verandahs with columns which are carved in circles, polygons and squares

The Siddnath Temple -   A classic example of early medieval Brahminic architecture, this one is well worth a visit. Its most eye-catching feature is a frieze of elephants over 1.5m high carved on a stone slab at its outer perimeter. Elaborate carved figures decorate the upper portion and the roof of the temple. The shrine is encircled by verandahs with columns carved in circles, polygons and squares.

24 Avatars - A cluster of Hindu and Jain temples, remarkable for their skillful use of varied architectural modes.

Satmatrika Temple - 6 km from Omkareshwar, a group of 10th century temples.

Kajal Rani Cave - 9 km from Omkareshwar a particularly picturesque scenic spot, with a panoramic view of broad acres and gently undulating landscape that stretches in unbroken harmony till the horizon.

Getting there and Around

By Air - The nearest airport is Indore (77 km), connected by regular flights with Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal and Gwolior.

By Rail - Nearest railhead is Omkareshwar Road (12 km) on the Ratlam-khandwa section of the Western Railway.

By Road - Omkareshwar is connected to Indore, Ujjain, Khandwa and Omkareshwar Road by regular bus services.

Accommodation

Donít expect any plush hotels, the accommodation available is pretty basic.Dharamshalas are aplenty but they are primarily for Hindus. Check out the Yatrika Guest House at Omkareshwar Mandir. Another good bet is the Holkar Guest House run by the Ahilyabai Charity Trust.






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