Nishkalank Ma­hadev tem­ple, Gu­jarat

A TO Z INDIA - - Inside - - Pad­man­ab­han

Nishkalank Ma­hadev Tem­ple in Koliyak, Bhav­na­gar, Gu­jarat is full of won­ders and awe. This tem­ple is buried in­side the sea. On a heavy tide day, all that can be seen are the flag and a pil­lar. It is be­yond ones com­pre­hen­sion that there is a Lord Shiva Tem­ple just un­der the fierce sea. This tem­ple is still in use, and peo­ple visit this place on foot! The tem­ple has 5 dis­tinct swayumbu Shiva lingams in­side. This is def­i­nitely one of the best spir­i­tual des­ti­na­tions!

The fol­low­ing tem­ple story dates back to Ma­habaratha era. Pan­davas killed all the Ku­ravas and won the bat­tle. Pan­davas were grief stricken know­ing they ac­quired sins for killing their own rel­a­tives. In or­der to find re­demp­tion for their sins, Pan­davas met Lord Kr­ishna. To re­move the sins, Kr­ishna hands over a black Flag and a Black COW. He asks the Pan­davas to fol­low it, when both Cow and flag turns white, they all will be par­doned. Kr­ishna also ad­vises them to do penance to lord Shiva, af­ter that. The angst stricken broth­ers fol­lowed the cow wher­ever it went and car­ried the flag. They walked for days, to dif­fer­ent places and the color did not change. Fi­nally, when they ar­rived at the Koliyak Beach, both cow and the flag color turned to white. Pan­davas were ex­alted. And all the 5 broth­ers sat for deep penance, med­i­tated on lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva im­pressed by the broth­ers showed up in lingam form to each brother. As they med­i­tated, each lingam ap­peared in front of each brother. In to­tal there were 5 (Swayumbu) lingams that showed up on their own. Pan­davas were de­lighted to see this and they wor­shiped all the five lingams with great de­vo­tion. Lord Shiva here is known as Nishkalan

Ma­hadev. ‘Nishkalank’ has many mean­ing they are clean, pure, guilt­less, to cleanse, to pu­rify, etc. It is said that Pan­davas es­tab­lished Nishkalank or Nakalank Ma­hadev on a Amava­sai of the In­dian cal­en­dar month of Bhadarva. The fa­mous fair pop­u­larly known as ‘Bhadarvi’ is held on the no moon night in month of Shar­van (Au­gust), as per the In­dian cal­en­dar. An idol of Lord Shiva was es­tab­lished in an is­land, over the sea about 3 km to the east of Koliyak. Each lingam has a Nandhi fac­ing it. The lingams are spread across a square Plat­form. There is a pond called Pan­davas pond and devo­tees’ first wash their hands and legs and only then they visit the Lord Shivas shrines.

Now the is­land is un­der heavy tide. This is one of the rarest of rare tem­ples. The sea ev­ery­day with­draws, pav­ing way for the devo­tees to of­fer their prayers. This tem­ple is lo­cated in the mid­dle of the sea, and devo­tees’ young and old alike walk all the way to reach this tem­ple. The wa­ter just around the tem­ple pave the way, and this is a rare sight. And af­ter 7 pm, the tem­ple is again cov­ered un­der the fierce tide.

Devo­tees’ throng this tem­ple dur­ing Amava­sai (no moon day), it is to be noted here that the tides are very ac­tive dur­ing full moon day and no moon day, yet devo­tees pa­tiently wait for the tides to re­trieve. There is strong be­lief that when loved ones are cre­mated their ashes are im­mersed in these wa­ters and by do­ing so, one at­tains sal­va­tion or mok­sha. Be­sides ash, milk, curds and whole co­conut are of­fered to the lord here. The tem­ple fes­ti­val is ini­ti­ated by hoist­ing the flag by the clans of Ma­hara­jas of Bhav­na­gar. This flag is on for 364 days and is changed only dur­ing the next tem­ple fes­ti­val. And for the records, the flag has never fallen down or washed away by the tides. It stands undis­turbed by the fe­ro­cious tides and has seen the dead­li­est earth quake that killed more than 50,000 peo­ple in 2001.

This is a won­der beauty. The devo­tees wor­ship not many tem­ples that are buried un­der the sea. How­ever, this tem­ple stands as an ex­cep­tion. Please visit this tem­ple at least ones in a life­time to ex­pe­ri­ence the spir­i­tu­al­ity that res­onates from this tem­ple!

May Lord Shiva Bless us all with Hap­pi­ness, Pros­per­ity, and Health & Wis­dom!!

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