This shrine of Omkar Mandhata Shiva pilgrimage is most beautiful. According to Shankaracharya. It is:
kAverikAnarmadayoH pavitre samAgame sajjanatAraNAya |
sadaiva mAndhAtRipure vasantamoNkAramIshaM shivamekamIDe ||
I pay my obeisance to the One Who is the savior of the good people and the great One Who always resides at the Holy merging point of Kaveri and Narmada, i.e., Omkar Shiva.
JYOTIRLINGA: THE STORY OF THE LIGHT
What is jyothirlinga ?
Worship of shivalinga is considered the prime worship for the devotees of Lord Shiva.
The 12 jyothirlinga temples
There is an sanskrit shloka that lists the twelve jyotirlinga temples.
"Saurashtre Somanathamcha Srisaile Mallikarjunam|
Ujjayinya Mahakalam Omkaramamaleswaram ||
Paralyam Vaidyanathancha Dakinyam Bheema Shankaram |
Setu Bandhethu Ramesam, Nagesam Darukavane||
Varanasyantu Vishwesam Tryambakam Gautameethate|
Himalayetu Kedaaram, Ghrishnesamcha shivaalaye||
Etani jyotirlingani, Saayam Praatah Patennarah|
Sapta Janma Kritam pApam, Smaranena Vinashyati||"
Mahadev, the Lord incorporates in Himself, the aura and the holiness of all the twelve JyotirLingas. The grandeur of these places is unique. Devotees line up in great numbers to take a look and get a Darshan of all the JyotirLingas.
Omkareshwar is a Hindu temple in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh state in India. It is on an island called Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river. It is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is about 12 miles (20 km) from Mortakka in Madhya Pradesh.
This island and the river are shaped like "OM" and that is how it derives its name. It is a natural phenomenon.
The river Narmada spits into two and forms the island Mandhata or Shivapuri in the center. The shape of the island resembles that of the visual representation of the Omkara sound,Hindu Symbol , Om.
There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means "OM-maker-lord") and one to Amareshwar (whose name means "immortal lord" or "lord of the immortals").
The Bhagvad Gi:tā (17.23)
om tatsatiti nirdesho brahmanstrividhah samratah
"OM, tat and sat is the triple appellation of Brahma, who is Truth, Consciousness and Bliss."
The Sanskrit name for the syllable is praṇava, from a root nu "to shout, sound, praise", verbal pra-nu- being attested as "to make a humming or droning sound" in the Brahmanas, and taking the specific meaning of "to utter the syllable aum" in the Chāndogya Upanishad and the Shrauta Sutras.
OmkAreshwar is a beautiful self manifest (swayambhu) linga. From the Vindhyanchal mountain range in Madhya Pradesh, river Narmada, turns westward and meanders in that direction. The deep wide river looks like it has assimilated into itself all the sins and sorrows of the humans and releasing them from these. This river Narmada, which flows rippling from the mountains, is also known as "Reva". The smooth, round pebbles found in this river are called "BanaLingas".Narmedheshwar.
"Narmada ke Kankar, UtteShankar" is the belief of the devotees. That is how, Narmada is also known as "Shankari" river.
The devotees who go round the temple consider themselves blessed because they are doing a Parikrama or Circumambulation of Omkara itself and Darshan of the holy JyotirLinga. The Narmada banks and the island are extremely beautiful. The beauty of Nature here is seen to be believed. The houses perched on the terraced green, strong mountains, the temple, KotiTeerth located in the waterfalls and valleys like Chakrateerts are some of the places to be seen. One can see very big fish and also crocodiles in these waTers. There are many trees with beautiful creepers all over them. Groups of monkeys live on these trees. There are a variety of birds. The temple towers look bright and shiny in between. The whole atmosphere echoes with the the sound of "Om Namah Shivaya". It is here that Lord Sankara has taken the forms of "Omkareshwara" and "Amaleshwara", as JyotirLinga.
Brahma and Vishnu also lived in the same place as Omkar Amaleshwar. That is why on the banks of Narmada Brahmapuri, Vishnupuri and Rudrapuri are built which are known as Tripuri Kshetra. The Amareshwar JyotiraLinga is situated in Rudrapuri.
King Mandhata made this holy place his capital. Therefore, this place is also known as Omkar Mandhata. The descendents of Mandhata live here even today. The Vindhya mountain also performed a severe penance and pleased Omkar-Amareshwar. As a result of which, the whole place turned beautiful. Many hermits like Agastya have performed severe penances and japas at Omkar-Amaleshwaram JyotirLingam. They had built their hermitages.
This place of pilgrimage became famous in the historical times too. In 1063 AD, Paramarking Udayaditya installed four stone inscriptions with four Sanskrit Stotras and dedicated them to the Amaleshwar Temple. Pushpadanta's "Shiva Mahima Stotra" can also be seen as a stone inscription.