Nageshwar or the Lord of Nagas is the 12th jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. This temple is located very close to the Dwarka town, the place where the iconic Dwarkadheesh temple is located. The devotees who visit Dwarka usually accommodate a short trip to Nageshwar in their itinerary. It takes about 30 mins to reach Nageshwar temple from Dwarkadheesh temple. The best mode of transport is the Dwarka local sightseeing bus which with a nominal charge takes devotees to the Nageshwar temple along with a few other points of interest. The other alternatives are private taxis and auto rickshaws. Read my blog on Dwarkadheesh temple here:
Like everyone else, in my itinerary, I had a slot for the Nageshwar temple in my short 2 day trip to Dwarka. I took an auto rickshaw from the Dwarkadheesh temple. The temple is located far from the main town. There is a single, deserted road passing through arid lands that connect to the Nageshwar temple. Apart from private taxis that zoomed past us, the only other vehicles on the road were the obstreperous chakras, old bikes redesigned as luggage carriers, typical to the Saurashtra region. Thorny shrubs were the only vegetation on large stretches of lands on both sides of the road. Occasionally, I came across human settlements, mostly buffalo herders who had erected stables. The temple is also located in isolation and seems to appear from nowhere on the road. There are no restaurants, stalls or shops nearby which is quite uncharacteristic when compared to other temples in India with such high religious regards. The timing might have played a part; when I reached it was a peak summer afternoon.
I took off my shoes and entered the temple premises. The temple premises is small but well maintained. There were very few visitors when I reached, again the summer afternoon could be the reason. I joined a small queue which took me to the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum. The shivalinga is clearly visible from the hall in front of the sanctum. Inside the sanctum, is the holy jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, adorned with customary bel patra (Bilva leaves) and chandan (sandalwood paste). Here Lord Shiva is worshiped is Nageshwar, or the Lord of the Nagas (snakes). There are sellers inside the temple selling various puja accessories. Devotees are allowed into the main sanctum and anoint the shivalinga with gangajal and milk on paying a fee. There is a strict dress code, dhoti for men, for going inside the sanctum sanctorum. In case you are planning to do that, it is advisable to carry one with you. Westerns clothes are fine if you don’t intend to go inside the main sanctum. The shivalinga is clearly visible from the hall in front and you may not go inside the sanctum unless you plan to anoint the shivalinga. In the hall, there is a small Nandi bull, the mount of Lord Shiva. I sat in the hall and meditated on the divine jyotirlinga for some time before coming out of the main temple. Just outside the main temple, on the right, there is a small shrine dedicated to Shanidev and a shrine where Lord Shiva is worshiped with his family. Then there is a gigantic, 82 feet, statue of Lord Shiva in sitting posture which was funded by the legendary founder of T-series Gulshan Kumar. This statue is an added attraction of Nageshwar temple.
20-30 mins should be enough to explore the temple. It took me more as I spent some time in the hall meditating and also clicked lots of photographs. Owing to differences in interpretation of the sacred texts, the status of this temple as a jyotirlinga is often debated with Jageshwar temple in Uttarakhand and another in Maharashtra also claiming the honour. However, this temple is widely regarded as the correct Nageshwar temple and being a jyotirlinga, visiting this temple becomes an important part of the Dwarka circuit. It takes at max 1.5-2 hours to visit and return from Nageshwar. In case you are traveling to Dwarka on a short trip, try to accommodate it sometime during the afternoon when the Dwarkadheesh temple is closed. Those who visit ancient temples for architecture may avoid this place but for those who seek spiritual bliss and blessings, it is one of the best places to worship Mahadev Shiva. I liked visiting the temple and I hope you liked this post. Please share your experiences, queries and feedback in the comments section below. Har Har Mahadev…