Nainital’s- Bhima Shankar and Jageshwar’s Jyotir Lingas and Kangra’s Jwalamukhi

From the dizzy heights of Himalayas of Manasaovar, Badari, Kedar, Gangotri and Yamunotri to the gradual decline of Rishikesh and Haridwar of Uttara Bharat to Nainital- an important Tourist Spot- where Naina Devi Mandir and Shiva Mandir on one side of Naini Lake and Pashan Devi Mandir on the other side are worship worthy. Hardly a km. away from Nainital is Bhimtal on the banks of which is a Bhimeshwar Shiva Mandir and a furlong height therefrom is a Karkotak Shikhir where a Maha Sarpa’s famed Great Serpent by the same name is a memorial as also a mountain range of Saptarshis or the Seven Ancient Rishis viz. Marichi, Atri, Angirasa, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, and Vasishtha.

Ujjanak in Kashipur nor far from Nainital there is Bhimashankar Shiva Mandir and a strong lokal belief prevails that one of the Dwadasha Lingas viz.of Bhima Shankar is here itself and not in Dakiniya near Pune in Maharashtra. The Shiva Linga at Ujjainak is so impressive and big that to reach upto the second tier of the Mandir and even both the hands need to be used to worship the Linga Swarupa. On the eastren side of the Mandir is Bhairava Mandir situated and its outer wing is Shiva Kanga Kund which merges with a srteam leading to Kosi River; on the western wing is the Bala Sundari Mandir where Shiva Ratri celebrations are observed on Chaitra Suklashtami and a ‘Mela’or Temporary Marketing Bazar is organised too. On the four sides of the Mandir are hundred Rudra Swarupas are arranged as these Idols were dug up in the same area as believed. Also in the dig up at the same place were the Murtis of Jageshar and Harishankar too and these were duly installd. Bhima Shankar Linga is of big build and is therefore named Moteshwar. To the western side of Devi Bala Sundari is an ancient Durga Mandir called ‘Khila’where it is believed Dronacharya was famed as having trained Dhanur Vidya to Kauravas and Pandavas and a local belief is that Dronacharya instructed Bhima of Pandavas to organise the Moteshwar Linga. It is further believed that the illustrious Shravan Kumar who was renowned in the history pages of Bharat as the ideal most son for his Matru-Pitru bhakti or of unpapalleled devotion to his parents who were not only disabled but blind too served them for long by carrying them on his shoulders in a two seat balance was in the habit of resting them for good time while on Tirtha Yatra intervals near by till King Dasharadha killed by arrows from a distance on the other side of Shiva Ganga Kund near by presuming Shravan Kumar was a deer carrying drinking water for his parents; when the King realised his mistake and brougt the dead body of Shavana Kumar to his parents, the latter cursed Dasharatha too to suffer ‘Putrashoka’ or the anguish of separation from Rama with Sita and Lakshmana while departing from Ayodhya on ‘Aranyavaasa’ or forest life for fourteen long years.

Uttarakhand’s (Almora’s)Devi Kaushiki Mandir: From Kathgodam near Almora atop Kashaya Parvat is the Devi Kaushiki Mandir where the notorious demon brothers named Shumbh- Nishumbh were exterminated by Kaushiki Devi who emerged from the Holy Physique of Devi Parvati herself and this is reported in Markandeya Purana and the immortal ‘Durga Sapta Shati’ too is a part of the Purana which is extracted from Devi Bhagavata. Its recitation is stated to sustain excellent marital relations as also smoothen problems of marital life, if need be.

Jageshwar’s Nageshwara Jyotir Linga: Some 15 km. up from Almora in the Kumoa region of 1870 mtrs. height from sea level stated to be of some pre medieval era of some 9th century stands unique the Sacred Nageshwara Linga Dham, situated in the dense forest of Deodar trees in a typically tranquil and picturesque setting with streams of Nandini and Surabhi of Jata Ganga River flowing along near the Dham. This Place was visited and revived by Adi Shankaracharya on his way to Kedar Kshetra. The Jageshwar Maha Deva Dham is a cluster of some 124 large and small Temples: the Jageswar Mandir is protected by the two dwarapakalas named Nandi and Skandi and is bright with Akhanda Jyoti or the everlasting flame. The Shiva Linga is of two parts, the larger portion depicting Mahadeva and the minor portion as Devi Parvati. Mrityunjaya Mandir or the Conquering Lord of Death is unique with an eye shaped opening of the Linga and devotees have immense faith in constantly reciting the Mantra from Shukla Yajurveda viz. Om Triamibikam yajamahe sugandhim pushtivradhanam, Urvaarukamiva bandhanaan mrityor muksheeya banbhanaat/ ( My sincere prostrations and submissions to Maha Deva, the Three Eyed and Omniscient One with abundant grace and fragrant divinity to grant us envigoration and prosperity.May He release us from the shackles and the travails of life and bestow longevity by avoiding untimely and premature death as a ripe fruit falls from the tree of life). Besides the Mrityunjaya Mandir where excellent facilities are in Place for performing ‘Namaka Chamaka purvaka Abhisheka’ by the devotees themselves as in the case of Shiva Temples in general and Dwadhasha Linga dhaams in particular, there are other Temples in the vicinity of Dandeshwara, Kubera, Chandi, Nanda Devi or Nava Durga, Navagraha and Surya Temple. Some two km by walk in the serene environs is situated the Koti Linga Maha Deva at the ‘Sangam’ or the Merging Point of Jata Ganga and Sama Ganga flows, where Mada Deva himself performed meditation for Loka Kalyan or Universal Auspiciousness. In the vicinity are Vinayak Kshetra, Jhankar SamaMaha Deva, Pushti Bhagavati, Ailavata Caves, Brahma Kunda, Patala Bhuvaneshwari caves and so on are yet other Temples nearby the Dham.

Incidentally Naina Devi at Nainital in Himachal Temple up the hill connected by cable car which witnesed a stampede in 2008 Navaratri Nine Day Festival a record crowd of about a lakh visited and several Yatris perished due the break down of hill-cliff! Shimla, the Capital of Himachal Pradesh, derives its name from Shyamala Devi, is par excellence with a height up to 8000 ft on Himalayas for its scenic charisma, while Kulu valley-Manali mountain range are famed for Navartra Festival and the Abode of Hidimba Devi  Mandir -the wife of Bhima of Pandavas respectively

Kangra’s Jwalamukhi: From Amritsar to Pathankot and Baijnath Paparola/ Jwalamukhi Rd. Station is situated the Jwamakuhhi Mandir where Devi Sati’s body part viz. her tongue; the specific name of Devi is Siddhida/Ambika and Maha Bhairava’s corresponding name is Unmatta Bhairava. The upper portion of the Mandir is of Golden make. Its rear portion has a ‘mashaal’ or torched flame originated from Earth from which Devi was supposed to have emerged; apart from the central flame, the wall mosiacs, wall corners, right side and central ‘Kund’too minor flames emerge always. Behind the Mandir of  Jwalamukhi Ambika Devi, there is a small well full of water as also a jala kund from which devotees lift up water. During Navaratras, continous flow of devotees is attracted for Devi darshan and puja besides a Mela.

Kangra from Pathankot of about 90 km is situated Kangra Mandir and Devi Maha Maya, also called Vajreshwari or Vidyeswari where as per local belief-if not as included in the Puranas-Devi Sati’s mouth fell at this Place and there is a Pratima or Image of the Mouth and also of ‘Vaag Yantra’on a silver base is in position. Maha Peetha Purana has included Kar nat Mandir at Kangra of Himachal Pradesh stating that Sati Devi’s both ears fell and the incumbent Devi is named Jaya Durga while Maha Bhairava is named Abhiru.Navaratra Celebrations are organised here too. Not far from Kangra Mandir at Vaijnatha Paparola is Vaidyanath Mandir which again is claimed as one of the popular Dwadasha Shiva Jyotir Lingas.This Holy Mandir celebrates Shiva Ratri and Mela.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at