Holy Pilgrimage –Some of the Shiva Temples in India -3

Holy Pilgrimage – Some of the Shiva Temples in India

Kailasnatha Temple, Kanchipuram


Kailasnatha Temple is an early structural Shiva temple built of sandstone in Kanchipuram, India, by a Pallava dynasty king in the 8th century.  It is decorated with Yallis (fierce monsters).

The Kailasanath temple is the oldest temple of Kanchipuram. Located in Tamil Nadu, India, it is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Siva and known for its historical presence. The low-stung sandstone compound is a chock-a-block with fascniating carvings, including many half-animal deities that were in vogue during the period of early Dravidian Architecture



It was built by the Pallavas in the early 8th century CE. It is famous for its splendid vimana. It also contains numerous panels showing lord Siva as Nataraja in various postures. This temple was built by Pallava King Narasimhavarman II (Rajasimhan), and is also called Rajasimha Pallaveswaram.
The Chola King, Rajaraja Chola I, visited this temple and named it Kachipettu Periya Thirukatrali(Stone Temple of Kachipettu(ancient name of Kanchipuram). It is believed by many archeologists that this Kailasanathar temple must be the inspiration for Rajaraja Chola I to build the Tanjore Brihadeeswarar temple.
Currently the temple is well maintained by Archaeological Survey of India


Gangesvara Siva Temple, Odisha


Gangesvara Siva Temple (lat. 20° 14’27” N., long. 85° 50’ 12”E., elev. 73 ft) is situated within a precinct on the left side of the Ganges–Yamuna road (leading from Talabazar Chowk to the Ganges-Yamuna temple) Old Town, Bhubaneswar. It is located at a distance of 200 metres north-east of Lingaraj temple, 50 metres north of Lakhesvara temple across the road, 200 metres south of Subarnesvara and 100 metres east of Gourisankar temple. The temple is facing towards east. The presiding deity is a Siva lingam within a circular yonipitha. It is a living temple and maintained by the Ganga Yamuna Sangathana.



There is a common belief among the local people that Goddess Parvati killed the demons Kirti and Basa in the Ekamra Kshetra. After this heroic incident, the deity felt thirsty. In order to quench the thirst, Lord Shiva struck his trident into the earth. A spring came out and to consecrate the spring river goddess Ganga and Yamuna were invited. To commemorate the incident twin temples of Gangesvara and Yamunesvara were constructed during the Ganga rule in Orissa. However, the present monument is a later renovation over the original shrine as evident from the use of earlier building materials used in a non-schematic manner and depiction of sculptures of later period in the jangha.


i)Precise date: 13th–14th century CE.
ii) Approximate date: Ganga rule.
iii) Source of Information: Architectural features and sculptures of the outer wall.



Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple, Bangalore


Gavi Gangadhareshwara Temple (ಗವಿ ಗಂಗಾಧರೇಶ್ವರ ದೇವಸ್ಥಾನ) also Gavipuram Cave Temple, an example of Indian rock-cut architecture, is located in Bangalore in the state of Karnataka in India. The temple is famous for its mysterious stone discs in the forecourt and the exact planning allowing the Sun to shine on shrine in certain time of the year.


The ancient temple was cut out of monolithic rock probably in the 9th century. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva.The Deity in the main shrine is Shivalinga, in the front of the temple there is also Nandi sculpture. The temple contains also a rare idol of Agni, the God of fire.
There are other idols inside including the idol of Agnimurthi, which has two heads, seven hands and three legs. Those worshipping this deity believe it will cure one of all eye defects.
This is one of few temples in Bangalore dedicated to Shiva and is visited by hundreds of devotees during Shivaratri.

Illumination of shrine by the Sun

Thousands of devotees come in middle January every year on Makar sankranti Day to this cave temple. This is a special day when the sunrays fall on the Sivalinga for one hour as it passes between the horns of the Nandi. Such was the knowledge of architecture and astronomy that the ancient sculptors could craft the horns of the stone bull outside the temple so that the sun's rays would pass through its horns and light up the deity Shiva Linga inside the cave. Comparison of contemporary structures and earlier drawings by Thomas Daniell and William Daniell show that earlier the temple has less structures and the Sun illuminated the shrine in summer and winter solstice.  Also today the Sun illuminates Shivalinga two times per year - from 13 to 16 January in late afternoons and from 26 November to 2 December.

Protected temple

The temple shrine is a protected monument under the Karnataka Ancient and Historical Monuments, and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1961.


Harihar Dham, Jharkhand


Harihar Dham temple, commonly known as Harihar Dham located in Giridih, Jharkhand has the distinction of having the biggest Shivalinga in the world.



Harihar Dham is located at 3 km away from Grand Trunk Road at Bagodar 60 km South west of the Giridih district headquarter in the North Chotanagpur division division of the state of Jharkhand, India.
Giridih was earlier a part of Hazaribagh district, of former undivided Bihar state. Giridih was later made a separate district and a part of the state of Jharkhand.


The Shivalinga is the tallest in the world with a height of 65 feet  The Temple is spread over an area of 25 acre and is surrounded by river. It took around 30 years to complete the construction of the huge Shivling.  The temple is a major tourist spot and is visited by devotees from all over India every year on Shravan Poornima to worship Lord Shiva. Shravan Poornima is the full moon night in the holy month of Shraavana. It is the month of festivals and pious rituals. On the fifth day of the bright half of the holy month of Shraavana the ritual of worshiping a cobra popularly known as Nag Panchami is celebrated. Owing to its religious importance Harihar Dham is also a popular place for marriage for people of the Hindu religion.


Indralath Temple, Orissa


Indralath Temple   is dedicated to Shiva and is situated in Kantabanji block near Ranipur-Jharial in Balangir district. It was supposed that Indra first worshipped lord Shiva here and erected a temple.



This is an intact brick temple whose Jagamohana and other structures are destroyed. Only the Vimana which is of Rekha deula order is existing. The innermost sanctum houses a recent installed Linga, along with old images of Vishnu, Kartikeya and Uma-Maheshwara. The old Shivalinga is displaced to outside by some attack, which proves the existing Shivalinga placed outside the temple (made of sandstone).

Temple at present

The temple is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. Being a brick temple, the time built can be traced to the early 10th century. Images of Nrisimha, Vishnu along with Ganesh, Kartikeya clearly proves that it was a centre for Harihara worship. Every year Shivaratri and other festivals related to Shiva and Vishnu are organised. Daily worship is done by some local priest. Kantabanji is easily accessed by railway from Raipur and Balangir.


 Jageshwar, Uttarakhand


Jageshwar is a Hindu pilgrimage town in Almora district, Uttarakhand, dedicated to Lord Shiva, located 36 km northeast of Almora, in Kumaun region. The temple city comprises a cluster of 124 large and small stone temples, dating 9th to 13th century AD, with many preserved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which include Dandeshwar Temple, Chandi-ka-Temple, Jageshwar Temple, Kuber Temple, Mritunjaya Temple, Nanda Devi or Nau Durga, Nava-grah temple, a Pyramidal shrine, and Surya Temple Alphabetical List of Monuments - Uttranchal (Uttarakhand) - Dehradun Circle Archaeological Survey of India. amongst which the oldest shrine is the 'Mrityunjaya Temple' and the biggest shrine is the ' Dandeshwar Temple'.Places around Almora - Jageshwar Almora district Official website. Once the centre of Lakulish Shaivism, Jageshwar is located at an altitude of 1870 mts, in the Jataganga river valley near a Deodar forest (Cedrus deodara) starting from Artola village on AlmoraPithoragarh highway, where two streams Nandini and Surabhi flow down the hills in the narrow valley and meet near the sacred spot.
Jageshwar is believed to be the site of first of the twelve Jyotirlingas, Nageshvara Jyotirlinga. The 'Jageshwar Monsoon Festival', held between 15 July to 15 August takes place at Jageshwar during the Hindu calendar month of Shravan,Fairs and Festivals of Almora - 'Jageshwar Monsoon Festival Almora district, Official website. and the annual 'Maha Shivratri Mela' (Shivratri festival), which takes place during spring has an important place in the calendar of the entire Kumaon region.Almora Almora city, Official website.Dotted with temples Business Line, November 5, 2001.


Nagesh Jyotirlinga

Many Hindus believe that Jageshwar is the place of Nagesh among the forest of Deodar(देवदारू वन), 8th among the Dwadasa Jyotirlingas: the twelve resplendent lingas of Lord Shiva established by Lord Vishnu-
सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम् ।
उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोकांरममलेश्वरम् ।
परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशंकरम् ।
सेतुबंधे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारूकावने
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्रयंम्बकं गौतमीतटे ।
हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये ।
ऐतानि ज्योतिर्लिंगानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः ।
सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति । - Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Stotra by Adi Shankaracharya
The twelve Jyotirlingas are-
  • Somnath at Prabhas Patan, Saurashtra, Gujarat.
  • Sri Mallikarjun in Srisailam, near Kurnool,Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of river Krishna.Adi Sankaracharya composed his Sivanandalahiri here.
  • Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain(Avanti), Madhya Pradesh.
  • Omkareshwar in Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh, this jyotirlinga is situated on an island in the course of the river Narmada.
  • Vaidyanath temple at Deogarh,Santal Parganas area of Bihar.
  • Bhimashankar in Dakini and located in the Sahyadri hills,near Pune, Maharashtra.
  • Ramalingeswarar in Setubandanam, Tamil Nadu.This is situated on vast temple island of Rameswaram.It is the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of India.
  • One possible location is Nageshwar in Darukavanam, near Dwarka in Gujarat. However, many strongly believe it is in Jageshwar.
  • Vishwanath in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Tryambakeswar Jyotirlinga shrine is intimately linked with the origin of the river Godavari near Nasik, Maharashtra.
  • Kedareswar in Kedarnath in Himalayas,Uttarakhand.
  • Ghrishneshwar in Devasrovar,near Ellora,Aurangabad, Maharashtra.
Hayat singh bani Village dhounaili


The ancient treatise Prasadmandanam describe this place as an abode of Lord Shiva-
हिमाद्रेरूत्तरे पार्श्वे देवदारूवनं परम्
पावनं शंकरस्थानं तत्र् सर्वे शिवार्चिताः।
There is no definite dating of the construction of Jageshwar group of temples but according to the ASI, they belong to the post-Gupta and pre-medieval eras and are estimated to be about 2500 yrs old. These temples range in the period from the 8th century (early Katyuri Dynasty) to the 18th century (Chand Dynasty). The temples were renovated during the reign of Katyuri King Shalivahandev. There is an inscription of Malla Kings on the main temple premises indicating their devotion to Jageshwar. The Katyuri Kings also donated villages to the temple priests for its maintenance. The Chand Kings of Kumaun were also patrons of the Jageshwar temple.

It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya visited Jageshwar and renovated and re-established many temples before leaving for Kedarnath. The Samsan ghat of Jageshwar is also the cremation ground of the erstwhile Chand Kings. It is possible that sati, the act of self-immolation, may have been performed here. The temples architecture belong to the Nagara [this link is not to an appropriate entry] style, characterized by a tall curved spire surmounted by an amalaka (capstone) and a kalasha crown. Most of the temples enshrine a stone lingam, surrounded by stone sculptures of various deities. The pilgrimage to Jageshwar was considered as sacred as the famous chardham yatra.
Before the construction of roads, pilgrims passed through Jageshwar en route to Kailash and Mansarovar. Due to the restrictions on pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar in the past, pilgrims were diverted towards Kedarnath; however, this center has re-attained its past glory.


Over 25 inscriptions of different periods are inscribed on the walls and pillars of the Jageshwar temples. Most of these belong to the period between the 7th century AD to 10th century AD. The dialect of inscriptions is Sanskrit and Brahmi. These are studied by D.C. Sarkar in Epigraphica indica.


The main temple in the temple complex at 'Jageshwar Mahadev' is dedicated to ‘Bal Jageshwar’, or the Child Shiva. There is also a temple dedicated to Vridh Jageshwar, or Old Shiva, situated on the higher slopes. According to tradition, Lord Shiva came to meditate here, and when the women of the village came to know of this, they immediately left their household chores to have his darshan. When the men of the village heard of this, they were infuriated and came to see who is this sadhu who has captivated their women. Seeing the commotion, Shiva took the form of a child, which is why he is still worshipped in his child form here Jageshwar Info Govt. of Uttarakhand.


Jageshwar Mahadev

Tarun Jageshwar is one of the principal temples situated in the temple premises. The temple has two dwarapalas (door guardians) in the form of the armed Nandi and Skandi. This is a west facing temple of Lord Shiva. Here, Shiva is worshipped in the form of Nagesh/Jageshwar. In the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, the Shivlinga is divided into two parts. The larger one depicts Shiva and smaller one his consort Parvati. An Akhand Jyoti, (an immortal flame) burns in the temple. There are two Asthadhatu statues of Chand Kings Deepchand and Tripalchand in the standing posture behind the Shivlinga.

Sri Mahamritunjaya Mahadev

The Mahamrityunjay temple is the largest and oldest temple in the Jageshwar temple complex. This temple of Shiva is eastern facing and the Linga is worshipped as the saviour from death - महामृत्युंजय. The unique linga has an eye shaped opening. Pilgrims believe that reciting the Mahamritunjaya Mantra (महामृत्युंजय मंत्र) is a fruitful, auspicious and powerful method of self-realisation, removal of evil effects, and freedom from all kinds of fears, illness and negativity. The Mahamritunjaya Mantra is attested in the Sukla Yajurveda Samhita III/60 –

ॐ हौ जूँ सः
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः
ॐ त्रयंबकं यजामहे सुगन्धिम् पुष्टिवधर्नम्
उर्वारूकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्यॊर्मुक्षीय मामृतात्
ॐ स्वः भुवः भूः ॐ
सः जूँ हौ ॐ

 (We pray Lord Shiva, the All-Seeing One,three eyed,who bears grace of all-pervading divine fragrance and enricher of all kinds of powers and viguour by His enormous prosperous bestowals. May He release me from the grip of premature untimely death,but not from immortality like pumpkin or watermelon separates after ripening from its vine.)

Dandeshwar Shiv Temple Complex

Situated slightly upstream from the Jageshwar temple complex, the Dandeshwar temple complex is in a dilapidated condition. The stone lingam is a natural rock, and, unlike the lingams of the Jageshwar complex, is not carved.

Vinayak Kshetra

This place is 200 mts from Artola village from where temples of Jageshwar starts. From this place Vinayak Kshetra or sacred area begins. This place lies between Jhanker Saim temple,Vrudhh jageshwar and Koteshwar temples.

Jhanker Saim Mahadev

This temple is situated south of Jageshwar. Legend has it that during the Tapasya by Lord Shiva, Demons obstruct His penance. Then God Jhanker Saim come into being as Trinetra and send His Ganas to kill the demons.

Sri Briddha or Bud Jageshwar

This temple is situated three km north to Jageshwar.This temple is situated at the top of the hill and comes after an uphill trek. It is contemporary to Jageshwar group of temples.

Pushti Devi or Pushti Bhagawati Maa

It is the temple of Goddess Devi. The temple enshrines the full murti of Goddesses. This temple is situated in the Jageshwar main premises.

Other Places of Interest

  • The river that flows through the town, Jata Ganga
  • A cave, Airavat Gufa
  • Brahma Kund
  • Other temples such as Sri Kuber Temple and the Batuk Bhairav Temple.
  • The temple of Golu Devata at Chitai.
  • Patal Bhuvaneshwar Caves Patal Bhuvaneshwar Caves

Archaeological Museum

The Archeological Museum run by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), houses idols and statuettes removed from Jageshwar shrine dating 9th to 13th century AD.Archeological Museum, Jageshwar Archaeological Survey of India .


The nearest rail head is Kathgodam 125 km. Jageshwar has direct road links with Almora (35 km), Haldwani (131 km.), Pithoragarh (88 km) and Kathgodam. State transport, and private jeeps and taxis ply from these place for Jageshwar regularly.


Jaleswar Siva Temple Precinct, Odisha


Jalesvara Siva Temple Precinct is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Siva situated on the southern outskirt of the village Kalarahanga at a distance of 2.00 km from Patia and 6.00 km south of Chudangagada in the northern outskirt of Bhubaneswar. The presiding deity is a Siva-lingam within a circular yonipitha inside the sanctum, which is 1.15 meters below the chandrasila. The Sanctum measures 2.00 square meters. It is a living temple.



According to the prevalent legend the king of Chudangagada was a devout worshipper of lord Lingaraja. He used to visit Lingaraja every day. Since it was notpossible to commute to Lingaraja during the rainy seasons the lord advised him in a dream to construct a temple in the centre of a neighboring lotus pond where the lord himself dwells as a Jalasayi. The King complied with the desire of the lord by constructing the present temple, which is located on the western embankment of the Jalesvara pond. To conduct the rituals and other associated activities of the temple the King gave land grants to the Brahmins of Rahanga sasan and other Sevayatas. Hence the place is known as Kalarahanga.


According to local tradition the temple was built by Padma Keshari, one of the Keshari rulers, which however does not conform to the genealogical table of the Somavamsis. Rituals like Siva Vivaha, Sivaratri, Janmastami, Dolapurnima, Sitalasasthi, Chandana Yatra, Pindadana and Dhanu Makara are observed. Various social functions like marriage ceremony, thread ceremony, mundanakriya and engagement are performed.

Physical description

A massive compound wall in all the four sides surrounds the temple. Beyond the compound wall Jalesvara pond in the east, paddy fields in the north and south sides and the approaching road in the western side. The adjoining depressions in the paddy fields indicate that originally the temple was surrounded by water on all the four sides which is attested by the local legend.



Kaleshwaram, Andhra Pradesh


Kaleswaram (Telugu: కాళేశ్వరం) is the site of the famous Shiva temple called "Kaleswara muktheswara swamy", in the border of the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Kaleswaram village is in Mahadevpur mandal of Karimnagar district. It is 277 kilometers from Hyderabad, 125 kilometers from the town of Karimnagar, 115 kilometers from Warangal, and 60 kilometers from Manthani. Kaleswaram is located exactly at the merging point of the River Pranahita (tributary of Godavari) with the Godavari River .
Significance of Mukteshwara Swamy Temple: This ancient temple holds a unique significance as two Shiva Lingas found on a single pedestal,one is Lord Shiva and Lord Yama, collectively known as Kaleswara Mukteswara Swamy.
Kaleswaram, is one of the places of the three Shiva temples mentioned in Trilinga Desham (Land of Three Lingams), another name for Telugu speaking region, the Andhra Pradesh, the other two being Draksharamam and Srishailam. This place is also called Dakshina Triveni Sangamam, as two rivers meet here along with third illusionary flow of Antarvaahini. It is said  that a long time back one Vaishya has performed abhisheka to Kaleswara Mukteswara with hundreds of milk pots and the milk evolved at the sangamam of Godavari and Pranahita. Hence the name Dakshina Gangotri (other being Allahabad, or Prayaga)
Large numbers of tourists arrive during the Karthika Month of the Indian Calendar and Maha Shiva Ratri.
Regular bus services from both Warangal, Karimnagar and Manthani are available provided by APSRTC. Buses leave from Hanamkonda every 30 minutes from 4:30 AM to 8:00 PM. The bus from Kaleswaram to Hanamkonda runs on a similar schedule.
There are also bus routes from Manthani (which is at a distance of 32 km), Godavarikhani, and Peddapalli.
The ticket price for Abhishekam of Kaleswara+Mukthiswara is Rs.300/- (Three Hundred only). If anybody wishes for Laksha Bilwapatri pooja then the Dewasthanam persons should be intimated at least a month in advance.
The timings of the temple is from 4 AM till 1 PM and again from 3:30 PM to 9 PM. The temple will be locked from all the sides between 1 PM and 3:30 PM.
There are two types of Prasadams available inside the temple:
1) Pulihora (Tamarind rice) - Rs.5/- 2) Laddu (Sweet) - Rs.20/- (2 No.s)


  • Pranahita Pushkaralu : "Pushkaralu" evolved from sanskrit word Pushkara(12 years). River Pranahita along River Vynya, River Saraswati merge in River Godavari, where holy baths are done held during Dec 6th to Dec 17th (Karthika masamam). People who took bath here during Pushkar first visits Lord ganesha. Then pray to the 1st Linga Lord Yama and then to 2nd one Lord shiva. These two linga's are on same pedestal.
  • Mukteshwara Swami Temple.



Kalleshwara Temple, Hire Hadagali, Karnataka


The Kalleshwara temple (also spelt Kalleshvara or Kallesvara) is located in the town of Hire Hadagali in Bellary district of Karnataka state, India. The temple was constructed by Demarasa, prime minister (or mahamatya) to Western Chalukya Empire King Somesvara I (who had the honorific Trailokya Malladeva or "Lord of three worlds"), who reigned from 1042–1068 CE.[1] Art historian Adam Hardy refers to the temple as Kattesvara and classifies it as a "close to main stream" Western Chalukya architecture (also called Later or Kalyani Chalukya), with the tower over the shrine being a later day re-construction. The basic material used for the original construction is soapstone.
According to art historian Ajay Sinha, an old Kannada inscription (c. 1057) at the temple calls it Bhimesvara-Demesvara. The inscription gives information about the geneology of the Chalukya dynasty and refers to Vikramaditya VI as a kumara (prince). Another old Kannada inscription (c. 1108) from the rule of Vikramaditya VI gives further details about the consecration of the temple by Udayaditya under the orders of Demarasa  A third poetic Kannada inscription (c. 1212) on the premises belongs to the rule of Hoysala King Veera Ballala II.  The temple is protected as a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India


Temple plan

The temple is two shrined (dvikuta, though only one shrine has a superstructure or sikhara),  each with a sanctum (garbhagriha) and a vestibule (antarala) that connects to a common four pillared closed hall (navaranga or sabhamantapa, lit meaning "gathering hall"). In the original plan, a large "main hall" (mukhamantapa) existed, connecting the closed hall to the outside of the temple, form the southern direction. Outside the main temple complex, an open hall (called nandimantapa) containing a sculpture of Nandi (the bull, a companion of the god Shiva) has been converted into a shrine.
The decorativeness of the outer walls of the main shrine and its closed hall exemplify Chalukyan art. Projections and recesses with niches have been created and used skillfully to accommodate pilasters whose niches contains Hindu deities in relief, depicting the gods Indra, Shiva, his consort Parvati, Lakshmi and others.  The doorway to the vestibule has artistic carvings of dvarapalas (door keepers), the goddess of love Rati, and god of love Manmatha. The door lintel (lalata) has an image of Gajalakshmi (Lakshmi flanked by elephants on either side). The eaves over the door has fine images of the Hindu deities Brahma, Keshava (a form of Vishnu) and Shiva  According to Sinha, the exuberance of sculptural articulation seen here is actually a southern Karnataka Hoysala influence on Chalukyan architecture.


Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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