We are told that God is omnipresent, in the sky, in mountains, under the ground and even under the sea. Man has tried to mark this presence by placing a symbol at all these locales in form of places of worship. One can find temples built on level ground, in valleys, forests, in rough and freezing mountains, in dark hollow caves, below rushing waterfalls, under the ground and one even under the Sea. Nishkalangeshwar temple at , Bhavanagar is an example of a temple built under the Sea.
Nishkalangeshwar Temple – The Site
This temple is located some 1.5 kilometers into the Arabian sea. The amazing aspect of this temple is it is visible only at short periods of time during the day. Every night at high tide, the whole temple is submerged by the sea. The height of the temple pillar is 20 feet and surprisingly, only the flag on this pillar is visible at high tide.
It is only when the water levels recede at low tide around 1 pm in the afternoon that devotees walk along the 1.5 km clear path to the temple to seek the blessing of the merciful Lord Shiva.
There are five Lingas established by the legendary Panch Pandavas and each Linga has a Nandi facing it. A square platform surrounds each of this deities and flowers and offerings like curd, milk, and coconut, are made in this area. There is even a pond where devotees cleanse themselves before entering this temple.
The Legend Of Nishkalangeshwar
Nishkalangeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Nishkalang means without any blemish. The Panch Pandavas built this temple after their victory over their evil cousins in the Mahabharat. They established this temple to atone for the sin of killing their cousins, even though the war was fought to establish righteousness.
The story goes thus…..
Pandavas could not get over their grief of killing their cousins. They approached Krishna to find redemption from this grave sin. Krishna gave the five Pandavas a black flag and a black cow. He asked them to follow the cow whilst carrying the flag and stop only when the two changed color. The cow roamed all over the country and turned white at this very location, amidst the furious Arabian sea waves in Gujarat. And so, the Pandavas started meditating on the merciful Lord Shiva for many days. The Lord blessed appeared each of them as a distinct Swayambhu Linga and forgave their grave sin.
Festival, Fairs, And Rituals Associated With The Temple Under The Sea
According to the legend the temple was established on a no-moon day(Amavasai)in the month of Bhadarva. The sea recedes the most on new moon days and this is the day when the crowds swell the most here.
Bhadarvi is a temple fair held in the month of Sharavan(English month of August) and is attended by hordes of devotees seeking the blessings of the Lord. This festival begins with the hoisting of a new flag by the descendants of the Maharajas of Bhavnagar. The aforesaid flag remains at its post for the next 12 months, unassailed by high tide, storms or earthquakes such as the one that occurred in 2001.
Devotees disperse the ashes of their loved ones in these waters after cremation as they believe this is a means for the loved ones to attain moksha.
How To Reach
A very rare temple indeed! Nishkalangeshwar temple stands unblemished by the elements and the Lord here helps you overcome all blemishes.
The temple is located at Koliyak some 30 kms by road from Bhavnagar. Bhavnagar is connected to major cities by train. People visiting this temple must check out high tide and low tide timings to know the correct time when the temple is visible.
Seek out the lord and achieve his goodwill and blessing by visiting this miraculous Shiva temple at least once in your lifetime.