Sometimes, beliefs in our land are based on a seamless meld of epics, legends and reality. The tales that wreath Omkareshwar in haloes of worship have their origins in such lore. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga a shiv temple on Omkar Mountain an island in mid Narmada, revered Hindu temple is the center of extreme faith. There are 12 jyotirlinga temples in world and Omkareshwar is one of them.
Omkareshwar : Inroduction
Omkareshwar is considered to be one of the holiest Hindu sites in the nation. This is due to the presence of the Jyotirlingam, one of the twelve in India. Lingam is the symbol of Lord Shiva but the Jyotirlingam is special. Jyotirlingam is called the lingam of light. It is said to derive currents of power from within itself while, an ordinary lingam is ritually invested with mantra shakti (power invested by chants) by the priests.
Figure 1: Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga View
The Omkareshwar temple is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is located on a huge island called Mandhata or Shivapuri along the banks of the Narmada river; the river Narmada, is here called “Rewa”. The shape of the island is said to be like the Hindu ? symbol. The pebbles found here in this river are called “Bana Lingams”. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means “Lord of Omkaara or the Lord of the Om Sound”) and one to Amareshwar (whose name means “Immortal lord” or “lord of the Immortals or Devas”). The temple is closely linked with Mammaleshwar Temple (Amareshwar, situated on the south of river Narmada) as both the forms of Shiva have been counted as one.
The golden Panchmukh idol of Omkareshwar is taken along the river by boat. Omkareshwar Temple is located in the state of Madhya Pradesh around 77 km away from Indore. A large number of Hindu and Jain temples were constructed here. The name Omkareshwar is derived from the sacred word “OM“. The River Narmada flows through dividing it into two – North and South with an island called Mandhata or Shivpuri in between.
Significance of Omkareshwar Temple
The Jyotirlinga is split in nature – one-half in the Temple (known as Omkar) and the other half in The Mammaleshwar Temple (known as Amaleshwar). The pilgrims must visit both these temples to get a darshan of the complete Jyotirlinga.
The shape of the island Mandhata is said to be in the shape of the Omkara chant – “OM”. Pilgrims consider that going around the Om-shaped Island having a Jyotirlinga is a blessing in itself. The unique feature of the Omkareshwar Temple is that the main Shiva Jyotirlinga is not situated under the usual Cupola (dome-like structure where the idols of Gods are kept). Instead, it is located at the top of the temple. The Omkareshwar Linga is not fixed to the ground but is naturally placed there with water surrounding it. It is believed that Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma also lived in the same place as Lord Omkar Amaleshwar. The towns Brahmapuri, Vishnupuri and Rudrapuri were built on the banks of River Narmada. These three places together are known as Tripuri Kshetra and are considered to be holy sites.
Figure 2: Omkareshwar Temple
It is believed that by performing Aarti at the Koti Thirth (on the banks of River Narmada), one can achieve health and happiness in life. It is believed that one can earn Punya or Blessing if one offers home-made Naivedyam Bhog to the Lord Shiva’s Linga on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. It is believed that Shri Govind Bhagavatpaada, Guru of Shankaracharya lived in a cave here. The replica of the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is worshiped at the first floor of the Temple. It is accompanied by a beautiful sculpture dedicated to River Narmada.
Timings of Omkareshwar Temple
- Darshan Timings: 5 AM to 3:50 PM, 4:15 PM to 9:30 PM.
- The Mangal Aarti is done between 5 AM to 5:30 AM
- The Jalabhishek is done between 5:30 AM to 12:25 PM.
- The evening darshan begins at 4:15 PM and the evening Aarti is conducted from 8:20 PM to 9:05 PM.
- Special darshan is available for handicapped people or for people who are unable to stand for general darshan.
Festivals celebrated at Omkareshwar Temple
- Maha Shivaratri – This festival is celebrated for 5 days. This day marks the event of Lord Shiva’s marriage to Goddess Parvati. A Mela is organised by the temple management which is visited by lakhs of pilgrims every day. Special Poojas and Aartis are conducted throughout the day.
- Karthik Utsav – It is celebrated in the month of Karthik as per the Hindu Calendar. This festival is celebrated for 10 days. The Panchakoshi Yatra is organized during this period. It starts from the Ekadasi of the Shukla Paksh from the Gomukh Ghat and ends on Poornima at the Omkareshwar temple. A huge Mela is organized when pilgrims from all over India stay and do Poojas.
- Narmada Jayanti – This usually occurs in the Magha month of the Hindu calendar. This day is used to commemorate the birth of the holy River Narmada. The celebrations are started at 12 noon. Hundreds of deepams are lit throughout the hillside and along the Narmada Ghat. In the evening, special Aarti is conducted on the banks. A huge Bhandaara is arranged and Prasad is distributed to the pilgrims.
How to Reach Omkareshwar
Devi Ahilyabhai Holkar Airport (Indore) is the nearest airport from Omkareshwar. From there, you could take a train, bus or car to reach Omkareshwar.
Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport – 63 KMs from the temple
Buses are available from most nearby cities and towns for this destination.
Omkareshwar has its own railway station, known as Omkareshwar Road (Mortakka) Railway Station, which is connected to different cities and towns of India.
Commuting within Omkareshwar
Tourists who arrive at the banks of the river can go across in two ways- by crossing the bridge which connects the temple to the other side of the river or by taking the steamer. Tourists can also travel locally by buses, auto-rickshaws, boats, steamers or taxis.
 “Vaastuyogam”, June 2013, available online at: https://vaastuyogam.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/13+14+15+16.pdf
 Myoksha Travels, “Omkareshwar Temple”, November 6, 2017, available online at: https://www.indianholiday.com/omkareshwar/best-time-to-visit.html
 “Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga – Madhya Pradesh”, available onlibe at: https://www.bharattaxi.com/blog/omkareshwar-jyotirlinga-madhya-pradesh/