Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga decorated with flowers and the holy beads of Rudraksha.

The significance of the temple is that the pilgrims believe that by paying a visit to the Grishneshwar temple, one can reap the benefits of worshiping all the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is also said that the Grishneshwar temple is a classic example of the pre-historic style of architecture and has beautiful carvings.

Devotees can see the marriage scene of the Lord and his consort in the temple murals and carving. The Grishneshwar temple also houses a well that springs holy water.

The Grishneshwar Temple consists of a holy Kund.

What is the history of Grishneshwar Temple?

The history of Grishneshwar temple speaks of Maloji Bhosle, an ardent devotee and chief of the Verul village. He built the temple in the 16th century after he found a treasure hidden inside an anthill. Rani Ahilyabai Holker, Queen of the Maratha Malwa Kingdom, renovated the temple in the 17th century.

According to the Shiva Purana, several legends are associated with this ancient place of worship:

Legend of Shivalay

The legend of Shivalay states that during his hunting expeditions, the king of Verul killed animals living in the hermitage of Rishis. This angered the Rishis who cursed the king and insects swarmed over his body. The king wandered in the forest and came across a hole with water flowing from it.

The moment he started drinking the water, the insects miraculously vanished from his body. The overwhelmed king did severe penance in that place. Pleased with the penance, Lord Brahma blessed the king and created a lake that came to be known as Shivalay.

Legend of Kumkumeshwar

Lord Shiva and his consort Parvathi were residing in the Sahyadri range, near Shivalay. One day, when the Goddess was about to apply vermilion, she mixed it with the Shivalay water. The vermilion then transformed into a Linga, emitting a radiant ray of light.

Since the Linga emerged from the vermilion, this Jyotirlinga was initially called Kumkumeshwar. But the Goddess named it Grishneshwar since she believed the Linga came from the rubbing action, and the word Grish means friction.

Legend of Ghushmeswar

A great Brahmin scholar, Brahmavetta Sudharm and his wife, Sudeha, lived in the southern mountain of Devagiri (later known as Daulatabad). They were childless, and an agonized Sudeha persuaded her sister Ghushma to marry Sudharm so that they could have a child together.

Eventually, Ghushma and Sudharm had a son much to the envy of Sudeha. The boy grew up to be a handsome young man and eventually got married. Unable to cope with jealous feelings, Sudeha killed the boy when he was asleep and threw the body into a lake.

A deeply grieving Gushma continued with her routine. During her morning ritual of visiting the lake where she usually made and worshipped a hundred Lingas, she saw her son emerging from the lake. Then Lord Shiva appeared before her and said that Sudeha had killed her son.

Pleased with Gushma’s devotion, he gave back her son and also granted her a boon. Then Ghushma requested the Lord to forgive her sister and also to remain in the place. The Lord accepted her request and continued to reside there in the form of a Jyotirlinga. Hence, he took the name Ghushmeswar in Gushma’s honor.

What is the architecture of Grishneshwar Temple like?

The Grishneshwar Temple is carved out of red stone and is a treat for lovers of ancient architecture.

History lovers would find the temple engrossing as several rock carvings of Maratha heroes are preserved beautifully in the temple. Devotees and visitors find the brilliant five-tiered Shikhara (temple tower) amazing.

The Shikara also includes intricate carvings of the Dasavathar, which appear resplendent in the red volcanic rock. Devotees also marvel at the statue of Nandikeshwara that adorns the court hall.

What are the festivals celebrated at Grishneshwar Temple?

Some of the festivals celebrated at Grishneshwar Temple are:

  • Mahashivaratri: Like all important Shiva temples, the Maha Shivaratri festival is a grand event at Grishneshwar temple. It is the main festival here. Crores of devotees make a trip to this town to catch a glimpse of the Lord on this auspicious day that falls in February/March every year.
  • Ganesh Chaturthi:Dedicated to Lord Ganesh, this festival is celebrated in August / September
  • Navratrior Durga Puja: It is a famous festival, celebrated as a symbol of victory of good over evil. As per legend, Goddess Durga defeated the demon king Mahishasura to save the world and restore Dharma. Navratri is celebrated across India for nine days. Celebrations in the temple include stage decorations, recital of the legend, enacting of the story, and chanting of the scriptures of Hinduism.

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