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Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Naimisharanya Excursion

    Approximately 100 kilometers from Lucknow, there is a small temple town called Naimisharanya. It takes about two hours one way in a car. In this album, I am sharing a few photos of our journey. It includes many things like the temple itself, the agricultural fields, toll bridge, etc. Hope you enjoy the photos.

    The Naimisharanya temple a major pilgrimage center and attracts devotees from all over India. Naimisharanya is situated on the left bank of the Gomti river, which is a tributary of the Ganges river. Naimisharanya is popularly known as Neemsar or Naimisha. In the Bhagavata Purana it is mentioned: naimishe animisha-kshetre. This means that Naimisha is the abode of Lord Vishnu called by his name Animisha. Sri Vishnu Sahasranama (Sloka 23) describes Lord Vishnu as Animisha, which means the one who is ever awake, ever alert, and ever vigilant.

     According to ancient legends, Lord Maha Vishnu had killed demons at this place within a nimisha (nimisha is a unit of time, the time it takes to blink) and thence forth this are was called as Naimishaaranya. It is also said that when Lord Maha Vishnu killed the demon Gayasura with his Sudarshana Chakra his body was cut into three parts that fell at three places, namely Paada Gaya (Gaya Kshetra in Bihar), Naabhi Gaya in Naimisharanya and Kapali Gaya in Badri Kshetra (Badrinath). Hence Naimisharanya is also called Nabhi Gaya Kshetra.

    Nemi means the outer surface of the disc (chakra) and the place where it fell is called by the name of Nemisharanya or popularly called as Naimisharanya. The spot where the Nemi of the chakra fell came to be known as Chakra Tirtha (a holy bathing place in the shape of a chakra) and the surrounding forest area as Naimisharanya. The spot where the Chakra struck the earth and water sprung out became known as Chakra Tirtha. It is said to be the center of the universe. It is said that the large sweet-water spring that marks the location of Chakra Tirtha has no bottom. It is said that if you bathe in Chakra Tirtha and make an offering to the presiding deity, Sri Lalitha Devi, on a full Moon or new Moon day that falls on a Monday, you will wash away all the sins committed in a lifetime.

    Today, Naimisharanya Misrikh has numerous pilgrim places to see around. This temple is renowned from the time of Satya Yug or Kritha Yug, the most ancient times. It is the holy place where many sages have performed their penance. It is believed that on visiting this sacred place, people are rid of their sins. Upon visiting Naimisharanya, man attains Moksh (liberation)

    People say that anyone who meditates hard enough over here and rids oneself of worldly desires will definitely attain some amount of divine power and force. Every year, in the Hindu month of Phalgun, a temple festival known as Chaurasi Kosi Parikrama is held in the honor of the sage.