Jageshwar is the place from where on the worship of “Shiva Linga” started. Jageshwar is also known as Nageshwar. The etymology behind the name is that the nearby areas are named after “Naag” (Snake) like Dholinaag, Liyanaag, Berinaag etc.
Temple’s ancient architecture shows Jageshwar is around 250 thousand years old. This temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. In the main temple of Jageshwar, “Shiv Linga” is worshipped in the form of “Nagesh Linga”.
There are approximately one hundred and twenty four big and small temples in Jageshwar. These temples are build with boulders. The front doors are beautified with carvings of the God and Goddesses which adds to the beauty of the temple. In these cluster of temples some are very high and some low.
Ling Pujan Mythology in Jageshwar:
It is said that in Jageshwar – Ravana, Markendeya and Love – Kush worshiped Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva himself once lived and meditated here.
It was when Lord Shiva demolished the “Yagya” of King Daksh and killed every one present during the ceremony then he covered himself with their cremated ashes. After which he began his meditation in Jhankar Saim which is close to the famous temple of Jageshwar.
The area has been covered with the dense forest of deodaar trees. In this region of Kumaon various “Yogis” (sage) lived with their wives. While roaming in jungle the wives came across “Lord Shiva” who was covered in the cremated ashes. Shiva was nude with only a snake in his neck as garland. The legend goes that the women found Shiva’s muscular body, closed eyes and meditative posture fascinated.
It was when the wives didn’t return home all night. The husbands (yogis) began worrying. They finally decided to go out and look for their wives.
What they saw in the dense jungle after that, made them bewildered and angry. They were , for a moment, not able to believe their eyes.
A naked man sitting there in deep trance while their wives lay unconscious in the ground. Yogi’s quickly reached to the conclusion that Shiva has insulted these women and in a moment of deep outrage, they cursed the man saying:
“This man who has dared to abuse our sacred women, let his Linga (Penis) fall in the ground”.
After hearing this, the man awoke from his meditation and introduced to the sages his identity. But the damage has been done. Shiva explained the situation of his ordeal, and the sage realized that they had abortively cursed Shiva. Shiva, understanding the situation, did not protest their decision. He calmly accepted.
Shiva said you seven yogis are not at fault. You were only following your job as husbands. And you will be remembered as seven stars shimmering in the dark night together.
With this “Lord Shiva” dropped his “Linga”. Although Shiv ji ling was so powerful that earth was not able to resist its pressure. Lord Vishnu came to Shiva with a solution. Lord Vishnu with his “Sudarshan Chakra” slit the linga into different khanda’s (parts).
Thus the linga was stilted into 9 parts in Jageshwar and Shiv Ji was worshipped in the form of ling. Later the linga was called as “Yagish” or “Yagishwar” and the seven yogis were named as “Saptrishi”.
Nine parts of ling are as:-
- Himadri Khanda
- Manas Khanda
- Kedar Khanda
- Patal Khanda
- Kailash Khanda
- Kashi Khanda
- Reva Khanda
- Brahmottar Khanda
- Nagar Khanda
Jageshwar once referred as the “Fifth Dham” is snuggled between the dense forest of deodaar trees. Located in the Almora district of Kumaon region the place is best for whom they want to get close to the nature. Jageshwar being a small hill station in Kumaon is calm and angelic region, and lures lots of devotees round the year.