If there is heaven on the earth it is here ,it is here. No, no I am not speaking about Kashmir. These were the words that came out of my mouth while watching the mesmerizing view that the court yard of Brahma temple at Omkareshwar offered. Such was its impact.The deep wide basin of Narmada with tiny boats sailing into it made a picturesque scene. Omkareshwar is situated 30 km away from Indore in Madhya Pradesh. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, but it has many other things to offer as well.
Omkareshwar is an island. It is connected by two bridges to the world outside. There are two temples which comprise single Jyotirlinga at Omkareshwar. One is Onkareshwar which is situated on the island of Mandhata and another is Mamleshwar which is on the other side of the island.
Parikrama of the island gathers lot of punya to the devotees. The water of the river which divides itself to cover the island of Mandhata meets again near Runmukteshwar Mandir. The meeting point of the waters is known as Sangam. Many devotees gather their karmic accounts by taking a dip in the holy waters. You will see dream homes built everywhere. The dream home comprises of few stones kept one over the other. It is believed that you will have number of floors in your house equal to the stones you have kept one over the other.
Runmukteshwar literally means one who liberates from the debts. It is the temple of lord Krishna and also has a Shiv lingam. It is believed that you will get rid of all your loans if you offer gram at this temple. The temple was built by the Peshwas and is an impressive structure. There are number of coloured clothes displayed in the sanctum sanctorum which makes a pleasant sight.
You walk uphill with Narmadamaiyya's bustling sound accompanying you. You reach the top where three storeyed Mama Banej temple is located. The temple is an ancient rock structure. It houses a huge Shiva lingam. It is said that if a Mama and Bhanja are able to embrace the lingam in such a way that there hands meet, both of them obtain liberation. You have access to all the floors of the temple, which is a rarity. There are ample monkey's enroute who are smart enough to spot the eatables in your hands and snatch them away. I found a monkey clan resting in the courtyard of the temple. There is a small museum maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. Some of the sculptures therein are kept in the open, thus exposing them to sun winds and rains thereby damaging them. It disheartened me. On the picturesque parikrama route I was able to see many such sculptures being owned by locals. They have kept them at the entrance of their house, smeared them with saffron paint and insist on placing money before them. I wondered how many sculptures on this beautiful island have been damaged, looted due to apathy of both the Government and the locales.
Next to the Mama Bhanej temple comes the Ade Hanuman temple. Here you have a reclining Hanumanji. The next on the Parikrama marg comes RajRajeshwari temple, which is relatively new. It has a massive Shankar statue at the entrance and you are not allowed to take its pictures even from outside. There is a photographer arranged atop the hill.
I decided to rest on the platform outside the temple and munch some Chivada and Laddus. I spotted a foreigner coming from the opposite direction. Traditionally parikrama is done clockwise. This young white lad was doing it anticlockwise. I told him so. He was very happy to learn about it, yet he decided to complete his clockwise walk.
I again began my parikrama. Now there was a steep descent and again upside walk. I reached the spot where the chandrabindi or moon of the letter om falls. There is a lovely goshala, pathshala and a gayatri mandir there. I could see the cows making noise and young boys with their shaved heads reciting some mantra. Adjoining it is Siddhanath baradwari Anna purna Mandir and dam.
Omkareshwar has filled me with a deep joy. Such has been its impact. I always felt that I belonged to this place. There was some connection, not of this life for sure. Perhaps of past life. It is that bond which calls me to Omkareshwar again and again. Such has been its impact.
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