Omkareshwar is an island of shape Om, a Hindu religious symbol, formed by meeting of two rivers Narmada and Kaveri. It is known for a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva- Omkareshwara. The temple is one of the twelve revered Jyotirlinga shrines in India.
I took a bus from Maheshwar to Motakka Railway station and then another bus to Omkareshwar. On my Madhya Pradesh trip I have changed several buses in half-a-day to reach a place 20KM away! Well, that is the fun of backpacking or budget trips! I took a room in a hotel nearby the bridge to the temple. It was very clean with a wide-screen TV and clean bathroom. Next day morning I set out for darshan. The front-desk guy at the hotel gave me some insight before I started.
There are two revered temples, Omkareshwar on the north bank of Narmada and Amareshwar (or Mammaleshwar) on the southern bank. Some say Amareshwar is the Jyotirlinga. There are many legends associated with these temples. The King Mandhata worshiped Lord Shiva until he appeared as a Jyotirlinga. All Gods requested Shiva to spilt the Shivalinga into two- Omkareshwar and Amareshwar (why? I don't know!). Well, some say Omkareshwar is swayambhu. Whatever is the controversy, I visited both shrines.
The ancient Omkareshwar temple is small on top of the small hill. On the way to it is a modern building with facilities and railings for lines. The shivalinga is small and not decorated much. There is water flowing around it all the time. It seems on Mondays the shivalinga is decorated with gold-plated covering. After darshan I went on parikrama (walking along the perimeter of island). After 3KM of walking I was at the place where Narmada meets Kaveri- Sangam.
Sangam is one of the best things to see here. Two mighty rivers meet, you can see it in the picture. The vast and calm Narmada on the left and the turbulent Kaveri on the right. It was an amazing sight to see. I filled a small bottle with the water to take home for my Mother. I spent there a lot of time until some local kids started pestering me for money.
At almost end of the route I saw the Siddhanath temple believed to be built by Pandavas. The temple might have been magnificent in the days of glory, now the beautiful pillars stand almost individually without roof. The Shiva temple is still functioning. I wanted to be there for some time to enjoy the beauty and take pictures. But, the monkeys said NO to me!
There was one incident here which I cannot skip. Just before reaching the Siddhanath temple, all of a sudden, out of nowhere a huge dog appeared! The dog had quite long golden hair, with its ears straight. It grrred and jumped on me!! I screamed a loud and nobody noticed me as if nothing happened! I screamed at top of my voice to shoo away the dog. It ran away as fast as it had arrived. When I asked nearby people about the dog and why didn't they help me. They never saw a dog and didn't hear me scream! WHAT??!! Am I hallucinating?! Okay, I didn't have breakfast or drink water for whole of the morning but, hallucinating? No way ... Then I realized the dog was there ... I had proof ... the nail marks on side of my waist and three holes in my kurta. No one heard me scream and saw that huge dog? Strange!
Then, I headed to the remote Gayatri Shaktipeeth nearby. This is a very beautiful shrine visited by a very few. Took some rest to get out of the trauma caused by the strange dog-drama.
After finishing the parikrama, I had chai and aloo-vada. Crossed the bridge back and headed to the ancient Amareshwar temple. This temple is a protected monument. The temple has seen some destruction like any other important temples in India, the pieces are scattered around. Later visited Vishnu and Hanuman temples. There are numerous ancient temples here which are not maintained well and are crumbling.
I looked for a doctor to attend my dog scratch and the small hut like clinic was closed. Since there was no blood involved I hoped for good. I spent my evening roaming around the markets and streets. Next morning started to Bhopal- my next destination hoping to get a Doctor.---
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