Aundha Nagnath Temple is an ancient Shiva temple, considered to be one of the Jyotirlinga, located at Aundha Nagnath in Hingoli district of Maharashtra, India
Aundha Nagnath is supposed to be the eighth of the twelve jyotirlingas in India, an important place of pilgrimage. The present temple is said to have been built by the Seuna (Yadava) dynasty and dates to 13th century. The first temple is said to be from time of the Mahabharata and is believed to have been constructed by Yudhishthira, eldest of the Pandavas, when they were expelled for 14 years from Hastinapur It has been stated that this temple building was of seven-storyed before it was sacked by Aurangzeb
The temple covers an area of 669.60 sq mt (7200 sq ft) and height of 18.29 m (60 ft). The total area in which temple campus is spread is about 60,000 sq. ft. Apart from the religious significance, the temple itself is worth seeing for its unbelievably beautiful carvings. The present temple is Hemadpanti architecture. Large number of pilgrims visit this temple on Maha Shivaratri and Vijayadashami.
The temple is also closely associated with lives of Namdev, Visoba Khechara and Jñāneśvar, the sants revered by the Varkari sect of Hinduism.
Namdev met his guru, Visoba Khechara, at Aundha Nagnath Temple. He was advised to visit this temple by Jñāneśvar. According to the text Jñāndev Gatha, Jñāneśvar and Muktai instruct Namdev to journey to temple of Aundha Nagnath in search of a proper guru. In the temple, Namdev finds Visoba resting with his feet on the lingam, the symbol of Shiva. Namdev reproached him for having insulted Shiva. Visoba asked Namdev to place his feet elsewhere and wherever Namdev placed Visoba’s feet, a lingam sprang up. Thus, through his yogic powers, Visoba filled the whole temple with Shiva-lingam and taught Namdev the omnipresence of God.
There is one famous story told about Namdev and Aundha Nagnath temple. Once when he was chanting Bhajans in front of the temple with his senior gurus like Jñāneśvar, Visoba Khechara and few more Varkari, the temple pujari told them their singing in front of the temple is disturbing their routine pooja and prayers and asked them to go away from temple. The temple pujari told Bhagat Namdev, insulted him and said he is of lower caste and why he has come to the temple. Then Bhagat Namdev went back side of the temple and started singing bhajans there. But God, in order to be in the sight of the pining devotee and listen bhajans, revolved the temple. It is testimonial to that miracle why Nandi is located on back side of temple.
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism is said to have visited Audha Nagnath temple when he travelled this area and also visited Narsi Bamani, the birthplace of Namdev. It may be mentioned here that Namdev is also revered in Sikhism, as Bhagat Namdeo.
Every year a fair is held here in Hindu calendar month of Magha, which lasts till beginning of month of Phalguna. Thousands of people visit this temple during this time.
Content Courtesy – www.wikipedia.org
Picture Courtesy – www.wikipedia.org and www.gumukkar.com