Hello, my fellow travelers, so far we have covered many fantastic destinations through this Xplore Bharat blog train and the most recent visit was to Dapoli by a dear friend, Anshu.
When I came to know about this blog train, I was clear in my mind, which places I would be writing about. In my last post, I shared about Lucknow and today, I am writing on a pilgrimage in UP, Naimisharanya, about which most of the people don’t know. If you are interested in Hindy Mythology, this post will be of your great interest.
Naimisharanya was also known by the names of Nimsar, Nimkhar and most popularly, Neemsar. It is a hidden and lesser-known pilgrimage in India. Though people residing in UP, especially in and around Lucknow belt, are quite familiar with this place. So, I thought of sharing and making this place popular through my post.
Location & Religious Significance
This religious place is situated on the banks of the River Gomti in Sitapur District of UP, around 2 hours drive from Lucknow. It is believed to be the most sacred of all the pilgrim centers of the Hindus. It has been mentioned as a dense forest in several ancient scriptures, including the Mahabharata. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu along with Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Sati. It is believed that the pantheon of thirty-three Hindu God and Goddesses reside here, which makes Naimisharanya unique.
There is another belief about this land is that if one performs penance for 12 years here, one moves to The Brahmaloka. The temple is amongst one of the 8 temples of Lord Vishnu that self-manifested and is believed to be of notable antiquity having contributions from the ruling kings at various times.
It is definitely worth a day trip to visit the various shrines if you are visiting Lucknow or Ayodhya or even Varanasi.
Major Attractions in Naimisharanya:
The holy tank or sacred well, Chakra Kunda (Chakratirth) is believed to have stated from the weapon of Lord Vishnu. It is the most visited spot of the pilgrimage. People take a holy dip in the Chakra all over the year, especially during the festive occasions. Like on every new moon day, with a belief that deity Lalita will wash away all their sins.
There is a very interesting history related to it. It is believed that a pond was formed where the Chakra of Lord Vishnu was cracked and developed an enormous source of water. And it was then Goddess Lalita Devi arrived and controlled the flow of the water by re-establishing the Chakra. This Chakra is surrounded by a promenade dotted with the shrines of many Hindu deities.
Neemsar was visited by Shankaracharya and the devotional poet and singer, Surdas used to live here. It is believed that the author of 18 Puranas of Hindus, Suthar also lived here and shared his sayings to the sages. The central deity is believed to have presided over the forest and hence the rituals are done to the forest also.
Vyaas Gaddi (Seat)
This is another most popular spot of this pilgrimage place where Hindu Puranas were formed. It is believed that Ved Vyaas (writer of Mahabharata) divided the Vedas into four main parts and formed Puranas here. Hence, it has been named after him. Ved Vyas also preached Puranas and Bhagavad Gita to his disciples here. There is an old and primitive Banyan Tree just outside the Vyas Gaddi which is believed to a blessed spot. It is said that people can get rid of even incurable diseases by performing Yoga under this tree.
There is a belief that Lord Rama performed the 10th Ashwamedha Yagna at this ghat. There is an ancient temple with idols of Lord Rama, his brother Lakshman, Janaki and Lord Shiva called Siddheshawar Mahadev. Also known as Devdeveshwar, this place still has small rowboats as the mode of transport.
This place was named after Goddess Sita. It is believed that the Goddess took a bath at this place before heading for Vanvas (exile).
This is one of the rarest temples of Pandavas in India. According to the legends, this is the fort where Pandavas lived here during the exile. Hence, you can witness some magnificent statues of Pandavas and Lord Krishna here in Naimisharanya.
Lalita Devi Temple
Lalita Devi is the presiding deity of the pilgrimage Naimisharanya. The Lalita Devi Temple is an ancient shrine and according to the Puranas or the legends, when Goddess Sati burnt herself in the Agni after Daksha Yajna, Lord Shiva carried her body on his shoulder and started dancing. Due to the Shiv Tandav, the creation of the universe was badly affected, hence Lord Vishnu divided Devi Sati’s body into 108 parts.
It is said and firmly believed that Devi Sati’s heart is present in Neemsar and it is one of the Shakti Peeths. Also known as Lalita Devi. There is another belief also about this temple that Goddess Lalita appeared here for the destruction of the Rakshasas (devils) on Lord Brahma’s order. The temple is a beautifully intricated and its entrance is flanked by the statue of elephants.
As the name states, this place is dedicated to Lord Hanuman who first emerged here after his victory over a devil (Rakshas) Ahiravana (who was Ravana’s brother) in Patal Lok. This place draws a lot of significance for Lord Hanuman’s devotees. You will find a huge orange colored stone-carved statue of Lord Hanuman, with Lord Rama and Lakshman sitting on his shoulders. As the idol of Lord Hanuman is facing towards the South direction, this temple is known as Dakshineshwar (Dakshin+Ishwar) means South+God.
My connection with the place
I am not a very religious person but I believe in spirituality to some extent. Born and brought up in a highly spiritual family, I have seen my grandfather visiting this pilgrimage every day during the month of Shravan.
Also, I have been visiting Neemsar since my childhood as it was just 1.5 hours drive from my hometown. Those were the days when my entire joint family of 40-50 people would hire a bus on a Sunday and visit the pilgrimage.
Lord Ganesha shaped tree branch in Naimisharanya
It was a picnic for the kids as well as for the adults. We would carry a lot of home cooked food and after offering the prayers and a holy dip in the pond, everyone used to enjoy the potluck and play games like cricket and many more.
Even today, whenever there is a family get together or any wedding in the family, a quick trip to Naimisharanya is a must. Though I miss being a part of this fun, I enjoy through the pictures and videos.
During my last trip to India, I visited this place again for my kids mundan (head shaving) ceremony which we did here. It was a great trip amidst the natural beauty and it did surely revive many childhood memories of mine.
Hope you liked the tour of Naimisharanya and discovered a hidden religious spot with me.
Note: This post has been written just to make people aware of this pilgrimage and not for spreading any religious beliefs.
The next stop of this train will be at Lakshadweep by Ujjwal.
This post is a part of the #XploreBharat Blog Train hosted by Aditi, Esha, Maheshwaran, PraGun, Preeti, Saba, Sanjota, Sonia, Sudip, Suhasini, Supriya
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