गुजरात के भावनगर में कोलियाक तट से तीन किलोमीटर अंदर अरब सागर में स्थित हैं निष्कलंक महादेव। यहाँ पर अरब सागर की लहरें रोज़ शिवलिंगों का जलाभिषेक करती हैं। लोग पानी में पैदल चलकर ही इस मंदिर में दर्शन करने जाते हैं। इसके लिए उन्हें ज्वार के उतरने का इंतजार करना पड़ता है। भारी ज्वार के वक़्त केवल मंदिर की पताका और खम्भा ही नजर आता है। जिसे देखकर कोई अंदाजा भी नहीं लगा सकता कि पानी की नीचे समुद्र में महादेव का प्राचीन मंदिर स्थित हैं। यहाँ पर शिवजी के पाँच स्वयंभू शिवलिंग हैं।
इस मंदिर का इतिहास महाभारत काल से जुड़ा है। महाभारत के युद्ध में पांडवों ने कौरवों को मार कर युद्ध जीता। लेकिन युद्ध समाप्ति के पश्चात पांडव यह जानकर बड़े दुःखी हुए की उन्हें अपने ही सगे-संबंधियों की हत्या का पाप लगा है। इस पाप से छुटकारा पाने के लिए पांडव, भगवान श्रीकृष्ण से मिले। पाप से मुक्ति के लिए श्रीकृष्ण ने पांडवों को एक काला ध्वज और एक काली गाय दी और पांडवों को गाय का अनुसरण करने को कहा तथा बताया कि जब ध्वज और गाय दोनों का रंग काले से सफेद हो जाए तो समझ लेना कि तुम्हें पाप से मुक्ति मिल गई है। साथ ही श्रीकृष्ण ने उनसे यह भी कहा कि जिस जगह ऐसा हो वहाँ पर तुम सब भगवान शिव की तपस्या भी करना।
पाँचों भाई भगवान श्रीकृष्ण के कथनानुसार काली ध्वजा हाँथ में लिए काली गाय का अनुसरण करने लगे। इस क्रम में वो सब कई दिनों तक अलग – अलग जगह गए। लेकिन गाय और काली ध्वज का रंग नहीं बदला। लेकिन जब वो वर्तमान गुजरात में स्थित कोलियाक तट पर पहुंचे तो गाय और ध्वज का रंग सफेद हो गया। इससे पाँचों पांडव भाई बहुत खुश हुए और वहीं पर भगवान शिव का ध्यान करते हुए तपस्या करने लगे। भगवान भोलेनाथ उनकी तपस्या से खुश हुए और पाँचों भाईयों को लिंग रूप में अलग-अलग दर्शन दिए। वही पाँचों शिवलिंग अभी भी वहीं स्थित हैं। पाँचों शिवलिंग के सामने नंदी की प्रतिमा भी हैं। पांचों शिवलिंग एक वर्गाकार चबूतरे पर बने हुए हैं। तथा यह कोलियाक समुद्र तट से पूरब की ओर 3 किलोमीटर अंदर अरब सागर में स्थित है। इस चबूतरे पर एक छोटा सा पानी का तालाब भी है जिसे पांडव तालाब कहते हैं। श्रद्धालु पहले उसमें अपने हाँथ-पाँव धोते हैं और फिर शिवलिंगों की पूजा-अर्चना करते हैं।
चूँकि यहाँ पर आकर पांडवों को अपने भाइयों के कलंक से मुक्ति मिली थी। इसलिए इसे निष्कलंक महादेव कहते हैं। भादवे महीने की अमावस को यहाँ पर मेला लगता है, जिसे भाद्रवी कहा जाता है। प्रत्येक अमावस के दिन इस मंदिर में भक्तों की विशेष भीड़ रहती है। हालांकि पूर्णिमा और अमावस के दिन ज्वार अधिक सक्रिय रहता है, फिर भी श्रद्धालु उसके उतर जाने का इंतजार करते हैं और भगवान शिव का दर्शन करते हैं। लोगों की ऐसी मान्यता है कि यदि हम अपने किसी प्रियजन की चिता की राख शिवलिंग पर लगाकर जल प्रवाहित कर दें तो उसको मोक्ष मिल जाता है। मंदिर में भगवान शिव को राख, दूध, दही और नारियल चढ़ाए जाते हैं।
सालाना प्रमुख मेला भाद्रवी भावनगर के महाराजा के वंशजों के द्वारा मंदिर की पताका फहराने से शुरू होता है और फिर यही पताका मंदिर पर अगले एक साल तक फहराती है। और यह भी एक आश्चर्य की बात है कि साल भर एक ही पताका लगे रहने के बावजूद कभी भी इस पताका को कोई नुकसान नहीं पहुंचा है। यहाँ तक कि 2001 के विनाशकारी भूकंप में भी नहीं, जब यहाँ 50000 लोग मारे गए थे। यदि आपकी भोलेनाथ में आस्था है तो यह जगह आपके लिए जन्नत से कम नहीं है।
Pushpadanta – The author of the Shiva Mahima Stotra
Long ago, there lived a gandharva by name Pushpadanta. Gandharvas were powerful magical beings, who could move in air and could even turn invisible to humans. Pushpadanta was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and was a great scholar and a poet. Because of his singing skills, Pushpadanta was appointed as the divine musician in the court of Lord Indra, the King of the Devas.
As a devotee of Lord Shiva, Pushpadanta loved worshiping Lord Shiva with plenty of different flowers.
Once as Pushpadanta was traveling around the world, he arrived at the kingdom of King Chitraratha. Pushpadanta was struck with the beauty of the kingdom. Slowly as he watched the kingdom he was stunned, the kingdom was surrounded by the most beautiful gardens and the flowers there was lovely to look at. He went to the palace of Chitraratha and was amazed to find the flowers even more beautiful there. When Pushpadanta saw the garden, he was unable to stop himself. He plucked as many flowers as possible…Pushpadanta felt bad that he was stealing flowers, but he could not help himself when he saw the flowers.
King Chitraratha to whom the gardens belonged, was also a devotee of Lord Shiva. He had developed this garden to pluck the flowers and use them for worshiping Lord Shiva daily.
However that day when he came to the gardens to worship Lord Shiva, he stared blankly as he saw most of the flowers gone. King Chitraratha called his guards, ‘What…What happened to the flowers?’
The guards looked nervously at each other and then at the king, ‘Sir! We do not know…We did not take it…We were doing the rounds of the palace. When we came…’ The guard shook his head, ‘the flowers were missing, your majesty!’
King Chitraratha looked at the guards and realized that they were telling the truth. He frowned as he plucked the pitifully few flowers from the tree. He finished his prayers that day and the next day appointed more guards to guard his gardens…
However much to his surprise, he looked at the shame faced guards the next day and saw most of the flowers missing today too! King Chitraratha fumed. After his prayers, he thought for some time.
He looked at the gardens and saw around saw all the other trees. He angrily called his guards, ‘Guard! Get those leaves and bring them here…’ He said pointing at the bilpatra plants.
The guards gathered the leaves and brought them before the king. ‘Spread them around the trees having the flowers….This way…When anyone walks over them, the leaves will rustle…you live hear the noise and be able to catch the thief…’ The king barked.
The guards nodded and spread the leaves around the trees.
The next day, Pushpadanta came inside the garden by becoming invisible. As he was walking towards the trees, he unknowingly stepped on the bilpatra leaves….
Up in Kailash, Lord Shiva was disturbed from his meditation. The bilpatra leaves were used to worship Lord Shiva and they were his favourite leaves. Lord Shiva frowned as he realized that someone had stepped on the leaves…Lord Shiva closed his eyes and used the powers to find out who had stepped on the bilpatra leaves. He opened his eyes as he realized that it was Pushpadanta. If it was a human who had committed this error, I would have forgiven him…but a gandharva…they are supposed to beings from heavens….they are supposed to know all this…’ Lord Shiva was angry as he thought… That man does not deserve to be a gandharva…And he is stealing the flowers from another…He is doing all this because he is invisible…Fine! I will take away his powers of being invisible and his powers to fly…
Back on earth, Pushpadanta was going towards the trees, when the guards, who had the rustling of the leaves ran towards the sound to find a tall gandharva coming towards the trees and plucking the flowers without any fear! They attacked the gandharva.
Pushpadanta was so amazed that the humans could see him that he was not able to defend himself. The guards caught him and took him to their king. King Chitraratha put Pushpadanta in prison.
As Pushpadanta was in prison, Pushpadanta slowly realized why he had suddenly become visible…The bilpatra leaves…Pushpadanta knew that he was made Lord Shiva very angry….
Anxious to regain his powers, Pushpadanta composed a sloka in favour of Lord Shiva. The sloka was beautiful to listen to…When Lord Shiva heard the sloka he was so pleased and that readily forgave the gandharva. This sloka is called as the Mahimnastava. The sloka is full of beautiful thoughts and meanings.
After Lord Shiva forgave Pushpadanta, Pushpadanta got back his powers. Pushpadanta met the King Chitraratha and asked for the king’s forgiveness. He promised that he would never steal again. The king was also amazed that the sloka composed by Pushpadanta and readily forgave him.
However the story of Pushpadanta does not end there. After composing the sloka, Pushpadanta grew very proud…He thought that he had written a sloka which was admired even by Lord Shiva.
He felt proud and boasted to everyone about how great his slokas were….Lord Shiva heard about this and came and talked him. ‘Pushpadanta! Do you know my temples, always have a Nandi outside…Why don’t you just go and peak inside Nandi’s mouth?
Pushpadanta was wondering why the Lord was making such a weird request…He went and looked inside Nandi’s mouth. Pushpadanta was taken aback to find that the entire sloka that he had composed was engraved in tiny letters in the teeth inside Nandi’s mouth!
Flabbergasted he ran back to Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva smiled and explained to him, ‘You are not the author of anything, Pushpadanta…It is the Brahman, which flows through you….All of this was written long ago…You are an instrument of the sloka coming out…’
Pushpandanta realized that he had been wrong in being proud of his composition, when he could not call the sloka his own composition. Pushpadanta asked the forgiveness of Lord Shiva and went back home and wiser man!
RAMMAPA TEMPLE ~ THE BRICKS WHICH FLOAT ON WATER !!!!
RAMAPPA ~ Ramappa Temple is located 77 km from Warangal, which served as the ancient capital of the Kakatiya Empire, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is situated in a valley at the now forgotten Palampet village of Venkatapur Mandal, in the Mulug Taluq of Warangal district.
This Temple is a Shivalaya (where Shiva is worshipped) and named after the sculptor Ramappa. It is the only temple in the world named after its sculptor/architect. Its presiding deity, Ramalingeswara, is the form of Shiva and a personal god of the Avatar of Vishnu, Rama. The history says that it took 40 years to build this temple.
This is opposite the beautiful temple, an example of brilliant Kakatiya dynasty art, Planned and sculpted by Ramappa, the temple was built on the classical pattern of being lifted above the world on a high star-shaped platform. Intricate carvings line the walls and cover the pillars and ceilings. Starting at its base to its wall panels, pillars and ceiling are sculpted figures drawn from Hindu mythology.The roof (garbhalayam) of the temple is built with bricks, which are so light that they are able to float on water.
The hall in front of the sanctum is filled with exquisitely carved pillars that are placed as to combine light and space wonderfully with the finely chiselled walls and ceiling.
There are two small Shiva shrines on either side of the main temple. The enormous Nandi within, facing the shrine of Shiva, remains in good condition. In most of the shiva temples, the Nandi was strait to deity but in the temples built by KAKATIYAS the nandi is in an alert position and waiting for the order of lord shiva. Acharya Nataraja
Ramakrishna revived Perini Shivatandavam (Perini Dance), by seeing the sculptures in this temple. The dance poses written in NRITTA RATHNAVALI by JAYAPA SENAANI also appears in these sculptures. The temple built area is 5 acres and a twenty acres of land was developed by the greenery around the temple. A total of 25 km radius found historic temples in the district.