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Shri Nageshwar Mahadev Temple

On July 10, 2024

Nageshwar Mahadev Temple is a renowned Shiva temple that lies on the route between the city of Dwaraka and Beyt Dwaraka Island on the Saurashtra coast in Gujarat.

This temple houses one of the 12 Jyothirlingas (swayambu or self-manifested Shivalinga) in an underground sanctum. Its other attractions include a 25 m tall statue of Shiva in a seated position and a vast garden with a pond. The place has a serene ambiance that draws tourists as well as devotees. Archeological excavations claim that five cities existed at this site earlier.

Shri Nageshwar Mahadev Temple

The Shiva Purana, too, mentions this Jyotirlinga. Jyotirlinga refers to a pillar of light, and there are supposedly 64 Jyotirlingas in the world, but only the locations of 12 among them are known.

In ancient days, this place was supposedly a dense forest called Darukavana.There are many legends about this temple. Darukavana probably comes from daruvana (forest of deodar trees, or forest of wood). But deodar or daru vriksha is mostly found only in the western Himalayas. In ancient texts, these trees are associated with Shiva. Many sages supposedly resided and did meditation in deodar forests to please Shiva.

Legends behind Nageswar Mahadev Temple

Long ago, ‘Balakhilyas’ (a group of dwarf sages) worshipped Shiva here for many years. On a whim, Shiva decided to test their patience and devotion. He appeared before them as a nude ascetic, with only serpents covering his body. On seeing the handsome ascetic, the sages’ wives were attracted to him. They began to follow him, unmindful of their husbands’ feelings. The sages became very angry on seeing this. Finally, their patience gave out, and they cursed the ascetic to lose his linga (it denotes’ phallus’ or male organ, but it also has a deeper theistic symbolism).

Shiva’s linga fell on earth, and the entire world went into a panic. Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu approached Shiva and asked him to take back the linga and save the earth from annihilation. So, Shiva took back his linga. One can find this story in the Vamana Purana. Shiva also assured them that he would remain in Darukavana as a ‘jyothirlinga’ forever.

The temple is but a short distance from the town. The main sanctum is at the end of a large hall and houses the Shivalinga. Near the temple is a lake called Gopi Talav Tirth, which is linked to the legends of Krishna and the gopis. It is said that they visited Krishna and offered their lives to become one with the soil here.

Another legend is linked to a female demon called Daruka. She performed severe penance to please Goddess Parvati, the consort of Shiva. When Parvati appeared before her, she demanded a boon, which was the ability to carry the forest with her wherever she went. Parvati agreed, and Daruka became the ruler of the forest.

Though she had told Parvati that she wanted to carry the forest’s resources to those who needed them, her real motive was to help the demons.

Now, she needed labor to harness the resources of the forest so that the demons could prosper. So, Daruka told the demons to capture humans to do the labor. The humans spent their time on worship mostly.

The demons caught several human beings and compelled them to work in the forest. They refused to work as they wanted to worship Shiva. The demons began to beat and torture them. One of the prisoners was a Shiva devotee called Supriya. Supriya created a lingam and exhorted all the prisoners to chant the Shiva Mantra, ‘Om Namah Shivaya’. As they kept chanting the Mantra, Lord Shiva appeared before them.

Daruka told Shiva about the boon from Parvati and how she needed a workforce for the welfare of the demons. She complained that the people who had been captured did not do any work and spent all their time on worship.

Meanwhile, Parvati also arrived there and berated Daruka for misusing her boon. Shiva then explained to everyone what their duties were. Though it was not right to force someone to do something, it was also a fact that life comprised certain stages. At each stage, a person had to fulfill certain duties.

They had to contribute equally in worship, earn an income, provide for the family, and seek Moksha. No duty was superior to another. People should not only worship but also work to meet their needs and save for the future.

On hearing this explanation, the human beings and Daruka were satisfied. They requested Shiva to bless the place with his presence. He converted the linga created by Supriya into a Jyotirlinga, which became the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga.

The temple’s interiors are in white and brown. There are no intricate carvings or sculptures on the walls and pillars here. One can see the Shiva idol from a distance. At the entrance is a decorated arch. In the sanctum sanctorum is a silver Shivling on a marble platform.

How to Reach

The temple is 15 kilometers away from Dwaraka, and you can hire local transport to get there. The nearest airport is Jamnagar Airport, which is very close to Dwaraka. Buses and private cabs are available to cover the rest of the distance.


Nageshwar Mahadev Temple will be open from 6 am to 12:30 pm and from 5 pm to 9:30 pm.


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