Purana of Aunda Nagnath temple (Sri Nageshwar temple)
Pandavas came here during their Vanvas (life in forests) build a hermitage for themselves. Their cows used to go to the same river bank to drink water. After drinking wate, milk used to automatically flow into the river as if the cows were offering to the river. One day Bhima saw this miraculous event. He promptly told Dharmaraja about the same. Then Dharmaraja said, “Surely, some great God must be living in this river”. Then the Pandavas started removing the water from te river. The middle part of the river was so hot that the water there was boiling.
Bheema lifted his mace attacked the river thrice. The water gave way instantly. At the very moment , instead, blood started oozing like a spring. Lord Shankara’s Linga could be seen as the JyotirLinga.
On the west coast in an area of 16 Yojanas Daruka and Daruk need to live. The hermits were tired of being harassed by Daruk, and others. So they went and sought refuge with Orvamuni, who in turn cursed the Demons that they would be destroyed. The Devas launched an attack on the Demons. Now, the Demons began to worry. Daruka, who received some special boons from Parvati, lifted the entire forest, took it away on the path of the sky and put it in the middle of the sea. Only then, did the Demons relax and continue to live there. They used to go by boats and capture the hermits and imprison them the island. Once, there was a Shiva devotee by the name Supriya who was among the prisoners. He never ate food or drank water without worshipping Shiva. He continued to do Puja even while in prison.
When the guards informed their chief about his, he ordered that Supriya be put to death. Then Supriya prayed to Lord Shankara for his life. The Lord appeared before him immediately and destroyed the entire group of demons including their families. The Lord laid open the entire island for all the four classes of people for living. On the other land, Parvati here granted a boon to Daruka. As a result, at the end of that era, only Demons would be created and she would rule Daruka. Lord Shiva accepted this. Then Shiva and Parvati stayed there. Shiva once again assumed the form of JyotirLinga, with the name Nageshwar and Parvati was known as Nageshwari.
Specialities of Aundha Naganath Temple
The architectural beauty of the Nagesh Temple is simply exquisite. This temple built with stones during the Pandava period is strong. The four walls of the temple are very strong and the corridors are large. The court hall is supported by eight pillars. It is oval shaped. Both this and the Nagesha Lingamurthy is located in the small internal Garbhagriha.
Here, there is no Nandi idol in front of Mahadeva. There is separate Nandikeshwara temple back of the main temple. On all the four sides of the main temple, smaller temples for the twelve JyotirLingas are constructed. Apart from these, VedavyasaLinga, bhandareshwar, Nilakanteshwar, Ganapati, Dattatreya, Muralimanohar, Dasavatar temple and idols etc., are there. In all, there are 108 Shiva temples and 68 shrines are located here.
The structure of the Naganath temple is very beautiful. Inside it, there is another shrine called Runamochan teerth. Both these shrines are called “Mother-in-law- Daughter-in-law” shrines. Every 12 years, at the time of Kapila Shashti, kashi Ganga offering as “Padarpan” is performed. During this the water in the teerth kund looks crystal clear. Again at a specific time it becomes ‘Shivala Yukt”.
Close to the Naganath temple, there are several statues of various divines. Besides these there are many more idols of animals, soldiers relating some stories. These stones idols are very beautiful to look at. At a huge corner, there is an idol of Paravti, who is sulking with Shiva trying to pacify her. This statue is amazing to look at with its stunning features. It is unmatched in its expression of emotions.
Aurangazeb was intolerant towards other religions and wanted to destroy this Hindu temple. When he tried, thousands of bees came out of the temple and attacked Aurangazeb and his army. He left the demolition work midway and went away. The devotees rebuild the broken temple.
Sometimes snakes with their hoods open can be seen standing guard on the Naganath Linga idol. When they drink the milk left in cups for them, is never known.
“Amardakamidam Kashi Dughdeyamkila Jahnave|
Vishwesho Naganadhoyam, Bhawani Kanakeshwara||”