Categories: Hindu Shrine

Nageshvara: Unraveling the Mythology of Gujarat

Nageshvara, a revered temple, holds a legendary status according to the ancient scripture, the Shiva Purana. It stands as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, sacred to Lord Shiva. Situated in Dwarka, Gujarat, India, this temple carries profound spiritual significance for devotees seeking blessings and divine connection.

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga Temple

Story of Jyotirlinga

According to Hindu mythology, there was a time when Brahma, the Creator, and Vishnu, the Preserver, engaged in a debate over who held the ultimate power in the universe. To settle the dispute, Shiva, the Destroyer, manifested himself as an immense pillar of light, known as the Jyotirlinga, that pierced through the heavens, earth, and underworld.

Upon seeing this magnificent spectacle, Brahma and Vishnu decided to explore the pillar to find its limits. Brahma chose to ascend upwards, while Vishnu opted to descend downwards. After a long search, Brahma returned and claimed to have reached the top of the pillar, but Vishnu confessed that he couldn’t find its base.

Seeing through Brahma’s lie, Shiva appeared again as a second Jyotirlinga and reprimanded Brahma for his deceit. As a consequence, Brahma was cursed by Shiva, and it was decreed that Brahma would not be worshipped as the primary deity in any ceremonies.

The Jyotirlinga, representing the supreme and indivisible reality of Shiva, became a symbol of his omnipresence and infinite nature. It was believed that there were originally sixty-four such Jyotirlingas scattered across the universe, but twelve were considered especially sacred.

Each of these twelve sites is dedicated to a different manifestation of Shiva and is named after the presiding deity. The lingams, which are representations of Shiva, symbolize the endless pillar that he embodies, signifying his eternal existence and omnipotence.

Among these sacred sites, Nageshvara Jyotirlinga holds a special place. Situated in the forest of Daarukavanam in Gujarat, it is revered by devotees seeking blessings and spiritual fulfillment.

Legend of Nageshvara

In ancient lore recounted in the Shiva Purana, there existed a formidable demon named Daruk who held sway over a city concealed beneath the depths of the sea, known as Darukavana. Within this submerged realm, Daruk carried out his tyrannical rule, imprisoning numerous souls, including a devout follower of Lord Shiva named Supriya.

Supriya, unwavering in his devotion, rallied the imprisoned souls to invoke the sacred mantra of Lord Shiva. Their fervent chants reverberated through the underwater city, reaching the divine ears of Shiva himself. Responding to their pleas, Lord Shiva manifested before them, wielding his divine power to vanquish the oppressive demon Daruk.

The tale further delves into the backstory of Daruka, the demoness wife of Daruk, who possessed a deep devotion to Mata Parvati. Through her penance and unwavering dedication, Mata Parvati granted Daruka the ability to control the forest where she practiced her devotions, which came to be known as Darukavana in her honor. This enchanted forest, obedient to Daruka’s will, followed her wherever she ventured.

To shield the denizens of Darukavana from divine retribution, Daruk utilized the powers bestowed upon Daruka by Mata Parvati, relocating the entire forest beneath the sea. There, shielded from the prying eyes of gods and mortals alike, the demons continued their malevolent deeds, ensnaring unsuspecting victims and adding to their ranks of prisoners.

In the face of such oppression, Supriya emerged as a beacon of hope. He erected a sacred lingam, a symbol of Lord Shiva, within the depths of their underwater prison, and led the imprisoned souls in chants of the Om Namaha Shivay mantra. This act of devotion and defiance served as a catalyst for change, sparking a revolution against the demonic tyranny.

In a climactic showdown, Shiva bestowed upon Supriya a divine weapon, empowering him to thwart the demons’ attempts to suppress their uprising. With the combined forces of devotion and divine intervention, Daruka and her demonic cohorts were ultimately defeated, and the remaining demons were spared by the grace of Mata Parvati.

The lingam (Shivling) erected by Supriya, known as Nagesha, became a symbol of victory and divine intervention. Shiva, in recognition of this sacred site and the devotion of Supriya, transformed himself into the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, with Parvati assuming the title of Nageshwari. Through this tale, Shiva conveyed the message that sincere worship and unwavering faith would lead devotees onto the righteous path.

Controversy of Location

The Shiva MahaPurana mentions that the legendary forest of Darukavana, where one of the Jyotirlingas is believed to be located, is situated near the Western (Arabian) Sea. In a specific chapter, it describes Darukavana as a lush forest spreading in all directions for sixteen yojanas (an ancient unit of distance). The name “Darukavana” possibly originates from Queen Daruka and is associated with deodar trees found abundantly in the western Himalayas. These trees have strong connections to Lord Shiva in Hindu texts, with sages often meditating in deodar forests to please him.

One interpretation places Darukavana in Almora, Uttarakhand, due to its abundance of deodar trees and the presence of the Jageswara temple, often identified as Nageshvara Jyotirlinga. Another viewpoint suggests it could be near the Vindhya Mountains, south-southwest of the range extending to the western sea. Shankaracharya‘s Dvadasha Jyotirlinga Stotra praises this Jyotirlinga as Naganath, possibly indicating its location in the south at a place called ‘Sadanga’, believed to be the ancient name of Aundh in Maharashtra. However, despite these clues, the exact location of Darukavana and the corresponding Jyotirlinga remains a subject of debate in Hindu mythology.


Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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