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If your’re told that Nageshwar near Dwarka is one of 12 Jyotirlingas, BEWARE!

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I see the big picture. I have deep interest in history, philosophy, traditions and developments in India.

Most of the Hindus have heard the following slokas or are familiar with dwadash(12) jyotirlingas:

सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्।
उज्जयिन्यां महाकालम्ॐकारममलेश्वरम्॥१॥

परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमाशंकरम्।
सेतुबंधे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने॥२॥

वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यंबकं गौतमीतटे।
हिमालये तु केदारम् घुश्मेशं च शिवालये॥३॥

एतानि ज्योतिर्लिङ्गानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः।
सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति॥४॥

These describe the 12 specially powerful Shiva Temples in India and according to the Sloka no. 4 above asserts their importance.

Among these is mentioned Nagesham(sloka 2) which is present in “Darukavan” according to the sloka.

Being not very geographically gifted, I can point only 5 of these (Somnath, Mahakal, Rameshwaram, Vishvanath, Kedarnath) on a map. I had had the good fortune to visit Rameshwaram and Vishvanath already. So, it was natural that when in Dwarka our taxi driver mentioned that Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is nearby, I became curious. We had come to Gujarat for Somnath and Dwarka. Another important site, and that too a jyotirlinga, would be the proverbial icing on the cake. Google seemed to confirm this.

I was told that this jyotirlinga is around 30 km from Dwarka. So, we started from Dwarka next day and traversing the barren landscape reached ‘Nageshwar’. The temple had a huge Shiva idol outside. The building seemed quite new (30-40 years old) and there started my suspicions.

A long serpentine queue awaited us. Social proof is often sufficient in matters of religion in India. However, my doubts were compounded by many reasons:-

  • First of all there was no van {forest} around when tradition clearly mentions Darukavan as location of Nageshwar.
  • Usually there are subsidiary and nearby temples wherever there are large temples. There were none to be seen nearby.
  • The building itself was plastered and made of bricks. Very few old temples in India are made of bricks, and none of them are large. All old important temples are made of stones, without exception.
  • No govt. signboards {like that of ASI, Tourism dept etc.}

Anyway, we waited as the line moved slowly. I still hoped to be proved wrong. The inner walls of the temple may reveal some ancient structure and maybe there are a few trees left within or near by temple due to passage of time. The subsidiary temples are not always present, so maybe I am wrong.

As we entered the dwara of temple mandap, we came to a main hall. The most interesting feature was a large picture of Gulshan Kumar (of T Series) there! Apparantly, he had got the temple constructed a few years ago. There was a series of small gumtis (shops?) where Prasadam plate was being sold from Rs. 150 to Rs. 2100 or more. It was being advertised that donating a silver figurine of Naga would be most appropriate way to worship the God here. My father got a simple Thali, I did not ask the price. Even if I was suspicious, I had no right to question his Bhakti. At the entrance of the garbh-grih (sanctum-sanctorum), we were made aware that there was a Rs. 200/- per person fee for Darshan of Mahadev. No other temple in my experience demands it.

Thus, this alleged jyotirlinga, Nageshwar in Dwarka is just a base, villainous, unholy scheme to defraud innocent and devoted Hindus of their money. My father knew it at that moment too and confronted the priests. Only one of the family members went in there for darshan.

Our next stop was Somnath and it was an amazing place. We offered worship in Old Somnath Temple constructed in 18th century by warrior queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore. There is no sparsh darshan in the new main Somnath temple, but to sit in its premises and have samudra darshan from there is an experience in itself. The entrance and darshan does not cost anything in any of the two. However, if you conduct pujas in old Somnath temple, you will have to pay for priestly services and material.

I made enquiries there regarding Nageshwar Jyotirling and was told that in Saurashtra region, there is only one jyotirlinga at Somnath. The Nahgeshwar jyotirlinga is actually in Hingoli district of Maharashtra in a forested area. It is also called Aundh Nagnath Temple. It is an ancient temple with large area and a beautiful stone building.

Such kinds of fraud harm Hinduism and undermine its sanctity. It is important that we realize these frauds and give them wide publicity so that future imitations are discouraged. Our dharmacharyas also have a duty to periodically name and shame such persons and institutions.

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I see the big picture. I have deep interest in history, philosophy, traditions and developments in India.
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