Omkareshwar is a Hindu temple of Shiva and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is located in Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh on an island called Mandhata in the Narmada river. The shape of the island is said to be like the ॐ in Devanagari script. There are two temples here – one called Omkareshwar (Lord of the sound ‘Om’) located on the island and the other called Mamleshwar (Amaleshwar) which means ‘immortal Lord’ or ‘Lord of the immortals or the Devas’ located on the south bank of the Narmada on the mainland.
Not one, not two, but three stories are famous about how this temple came into existence. One story states that once there was a war between the Devas and the Danavas and the Danavas won. The Devas prayed to Lord Shiva here and Shiva appeared in the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated the Danavas. Another story states that Vindhya, the deity of Vindhyachal mountain was worshipping Shiva to propitiate himself from the sins committed by him. He created a Shivalinga of mud and clay. Shiva was very pleased with his worship and appeared in two forms – Omkareshwar & Amaleshwar. Since the mud mound was in the shape of Om the island came to be known as Omkareshwar. Yet another story states that Mandhata – an ancestor of Shri Ram worshipped Lord Shiva here until the Lord manifested in the form of a Jyotirlinga. Because of this the mountain is called Mandhata.
There is no authentic information available about who built the temple and when. The temple has 5 floors and various deities have been installed on all the floors. The afternoon prayer ritual is conducted by the priest of the Scindia family and the evening prayer ritual is conducted by the priest of the Holkar family. Many devotees first bathe in the Narmada and carry some of the river water to offer to the Shivalinga inside the temple. Every Monday the utsav murti of Lord Shiva is taken out in a procession in a palkhi.
The nearest airport is at Indore which is well connected with most of the major Indian cities. The nearest railway stations are Khandwa and Mhow. You can visit Omkareshwar along with Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain thus visiting two Jyotirlingas in one trip.
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