Nageshvara Jyotirling Temple, Dwarka, Gujarat

Nageshvara  Mahadev or Nagnath temple is  about 12 km from  Dwarka on road to  Bet Dwarka , it  is one of the 12 Jyotirlingams while other 11 are situated in the other parts of  India . It is the first Joyotirlinam on the earth . There are two more Jyotirlings with same name as the place described in the Vamana Puran  and Shiva Puran (old texts ) the Daruka Vana means the forest of Deodar Trees which grows at a height of 2000 mtrs. and above in Himalayas and  suppose to be a place called Jageshwar in Uttrakhand . The second place is Anudha in Satpura Hills of Maharashtra state  

Legend about the discovery of this place is, during their Vanavasa period Pandavas reached this place and they saw  a cow flows its milk every day from its fodder into a lake on its own volition. The Pandavas doubted a divine presence , all five brothers  emptied the water from the lake and started  digging  it. To their surprise a Shiva Lingam emerged out of it and they constructed a temple here , the present temple is a new structure over the old one .

Legend according to Shiv Purana, a devotee of Lord ShivaSupriya  a merchant while travelling  in a boat was attacked by a demon Daaruka. The demon imprisoned him along with others at  Daarukaavana . Supriya advised all prisoners to recite the mantra ‘Aum Namaha Shivaya’. When Daruk came to know about it  he wanted to kill Supriya , at same time  Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a Jyotirlingam and killed  the demon Daruk  with the Paasupata Astram.

                                                              
Nageshvara Mahadev Temple, Dwarka Gujarat

There is one more legend associated with the  position of Shivalingam and Gomugam ,  a devotee named  Naamdev was in front of the Lord singing the devotional songs , other devotees wanted him to move away from in front of  Shivalingam as his body is hiding the view of Lord , Naamdev asked them to suggest one place  in which the Lord does not exist , the angry devotees carried him out of the temple and and left him on the South side , when they returned to their surprise , they found that the Lingam was now facing South with the Gomugam facing east.

 

Lord Shiva at Nagesvara temple Dwarka , Gujarat

Shankaracharya had established his Western Math (Kalika Peeth) hereit  is considered as one among the seven  moksh-daayi cities.

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Kawariyas , Devoties of Lord Shiva

Every year in the Shrawan month of the Hindu calender ( July, August ) more then 10 lakh ( one million ) number increasing every year, devotees from various part of North and Central India gathers at Haridwar and Gangotri to to take holy water of river Ganges, carry  it on their shoulders walk to their respective Lord Shiva temple in their city or village and pour it on Shiva Lingam.

The prepration is done much before the Kawariayas leave from their home by observing strict disipline of simple vegetarian food , sleeping on floor and away from induldging sex ,tabaco and alcohol, wearing saffron colour cloths,  they leave from home at least 7 -10 days before Shivaratri after performing the pooja for Haridwar or Gangotri by any means of transport , again after performing the pooja they fill their small copper or brass urns , hang it on a decorated  bamboo stick , wearaing saffron cloths bare foot or non leather sandals or shoes start their return journey back home trekking up to 600 – 700 kms to reach their respective destinations before the Shravan Shiva Ratri . these devotees of Lord Shiva are as young as toddlers with mothers and as old as one can walk long distance I have seen 80 years old covering distance of more than 300 kms with young devotees even crippled , lame and blinds undertaking this journey chanting BOL BUM. One wonders is it just faith that makes them complete such a long journey on foot or there is some divine power which makes them perform to do.

There are kawariyas who carry the Ganga water themself upto their destination , there are another set of Kawariyas who carry it as a relay race a team of devoties accompany in a truck and turn by turn each one carries, walk or run with the Ganga water while others rest and wait for their turn in the vehicle these are called the Dakiyas or the Postmen.

Legend is when the churning of Sea took place ( Samundra Manthan) ambrosia (amrit ) and poison (vish) surfaced. No one wanted to have poison. Yet consuming poison was crucial as it would have caused  destruction had it touched the earth. Lord Shiva drank the poison but kept it holding in his throat which caused tremendous heat in his body. To pacify that heat Gangajal was poured over Lord Shiva.

It is not only a yearly ritual for the Kawariyas to carry  the holy water of Ganges but villagers and people on the way take it as their religious duty to feed ,  medical help , offering foot massage, arranging for night stay and rest to Lord Shiva devotees, large number of camps are erected on highways  from Haridwar to Delhi , Jaipur , Alwar, Agra, and Haridwar to Sahranpur, Ambala , Panipat, Rohtak , the main highway Haridwar to Delhi NH8 is closed for traffic for 4-7 days due to heavy rush of walking Kawariyas back home .

There are similar rituals at Deoghar in Jharkhand state , the devotees over 7-8 million in number bringing holy river Ganga  water from various places and pour it over the Shiva lingam at Baidyanath Dham Deoghar

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