Unearth the History of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is the last and 12th Jyotirlinga shrine of Lord Shiva. It is the most sacred and serene temple of Mahadev, situated in a tiny village in Verul, Aurangabad. This heavenly abode of the Mahakaal is near the world-renowned Ellora Caves, just a few kilometers away. We at Vedic Story are going to unearth the story of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga. 

Significance of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is the most divine and serene abode for the devotees of Lord Shiva. It holds immense purity and invisible power because the Lord of Destruction is known as the ‘Lord of Compassion’ here. Grish is Mahadev’s name, and its meaning is compassion. 

Holy water flows from the inside of the shrine. 

Ancient Legends of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple 

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple has a unique and unbelievable story behind the establishment of the shrine.

Grishna, an abiding devotee of Lord Shiva, was living in a village named Shivalaya. 

A Brahmin woman used to carve 101 lingas every day. After creating them, she used to immerse the lingas in the nearby lake in the hope of bearing a boy.

After some time, she gave birth to a healthy, beautiful baby boy. Grishna was the younger sister who married her elder sister’s husband. Grishna’s sister couldn’t bear the child after so many attempts. She used to curse herself due to her barrenness and requested that her husband marry her young sister and fulfill her wish of becoming a father. 

After many requests, her husband agreed and got married to Grishna. 

The elder sister at first was happy with the marriage, but soon she realized her mistake, seeing them happy together and leaving her alone.

When the baby was born, she forgot all her good deeds and humanity due to jealousy.

She was beginning the moment when she could ruin Grishna’s happy married life. 

Grishna’s son soon became a handsome young man. She married off her son to a beautiful girl. The elder sister was hoping and wishing for the life that her young sister was living, but she couldn’t due to her childlessness. 

One day, the elder sister couldn’t bear the pain anymore and poisoned Grishna and dumped his body in the nearby lake where Grishna used to immerse the lingas. 

Despite the grief and pain of losing her son, she continued to carve Shiva lingas every day and worship Mahadev.

One day, during her prayers and selfless devotion, Grishna saw her son standing and alive at the edge of the lake. 

Grishna prayed and pleaded with Lord Mahadev to forgive her sister, and she gave reasons why she did the bad deeds. 

Pleased with the purity of Grishna and her devotion, Lord Shiva brought her son back to life and forgave her sister. He also manifested at the place where Grishna used to pray and was known as Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga, the Lord of Grishna.

The Legends of the Lost Game of Chess

Lord Shiva and Parvati used to play the game of chess. We can find many stories surrounding the Sarovar and the game of chess they used to enjoy.

Lord Shiva was winning every game, and Goddess Parvati accustomed him to not making proper rules.

However, Parvati defeated Mahadev in the game once, for the first time. Lord Mahadev got pissed, felt insulted, and left angrily. He went to the Kama Kavana forest.

Parvati was unhappy and went behind Lord Shiva to find her husband. She disguised herself. 

On the path, Parvati felt thirsty and was looking for water. On the other hand, Shiva offered her a chance to create the Ganga Dhara so that she could drink water and quench her thirst. 

That’s how Shivalaya Sarovar came into existence. 

Legends of the Vermillion God

As per the Shiva Purana, once goddess Parvati was mixing vermillion on her beautiful palms. However, applying red vermillion to the forehead and trichion (the middle spot where the ladies and girls part their hair in two) is a sign of marital status.

Parvathi realized that powder from vermillion couldn’t be used, so she mixed it with water from the lake, Shivalaya.

She began making a paste with her right hand in a circular motion and created friction (Grishna)—from the very spot Lord Shiva emerged. He appeared before Parvati as a light and turned into a linga. 

Goddess Parvathi gave a name to the linga: Grishneshwar,’ God of Friction. Indian mythology and ancient texts believe this is how the temple got its name.

Yelaganga River: A Man Who Turned into a Water Stream

Shivalaya flows within the Shivanand stream and then almost connects with the Yelaganga. 

However, this ancient river has a unique legend about how it came into existence. 

Lord Shiva and Parvati were spending a beautiful and peaceful time together.

Sudhanwa, a hunter, came there in search of an animal. 

He was astonished when he found himself in the body of a woman. 

Confused with gender transformation suddenly, he couldn’t find the reasons behind it. Sudhanwa decided to plead with Lord Shiva to understand the reason. 

He began to perform penance. Lord Shiva was pleased to witness Sudhanwa and his non-shattering tapa, and Lord Shiva appeared before him.

Sudhanwa asked Lord Shiva about the reason behind his gender change, and he came to know that it was due to a curse.

He further requested that Mahadev turn him back into a male body. Surprisingly, Lord Shiva denied it, saying he couldn’t and that it was impossible because Sudhanwa was a woman in his past life.

On Sudhanwa’s constant pleading, Lord Shiva turned him into the Yelaganga river.

Legends of the Thirsty King

Kings in ancient times, especially in the Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, and Dwapara Yuga, enjoyed hunting. 

And this unbelievable tale is related to one such king. 

One day, a king was wandering in the woods to hunt; however, he accidentally killed the animals of the sages. 

Sages were so angry with the loss of their animals that they cursed the king, saying that his body would be infested with insects.

King was so disheartened due to the curse. He couldn’t rule his kingdom thus he began wandering in the woods. 

He felt thirsty while walking miles but could not find water to soothe his thirst. 

After hours of searching, he came near a small water pool made of horse hooves. He drank the water and got rid of the curse.

Humbled by the miracle, the king began to penance near the lake. Lord Brahma appeared before him and turned the pool into a holy lake, known as Shivalaya.

Architecture Significance of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple 

  • Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is the smallest temple of Lord Shiva among the 12 Jyotirlingas. 
  • It is 240 ft x 185 ft with a 5-tier shikhara and a golden spire, or kalasha, at the top of the temple. Grishneshwar temple architecture is purely built in South Indian style, which is rare to witness in its region.
  • The shrine is built with red volcanic rocks, intricate carvings, and sculptures of divine gods and goddesses. 
  • The shrine of Lord Shiva comprises a garbhagriha, an antarala, and a sabha mandapa.
  • It has 24 pillars that showcase the delicate carving of Shiva Purana. 
  • Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple has a charming carving of Dashavataras, the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. 

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is known as the serene abode of Mahadev due to the amazing myths that make the shrines even more divine. 

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