Omkareshwar Temple is situated on the mountain Mandhata by the banks of Narmada River in the Malva area in Madhya Pradesh. Omkareshwar Temple is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The temple is closely linked with Mammaleshwar Temple (situated on the south of river Narmada) as both the forms of Shiva have been counted as one.
Legend behind Omkareshwar Temple
Shiva Purana describes the greatness of Omkareshwar and Mammaleshwar.
It says, two sons of the sun dynasty Mandhata - Ambarish and Mucchkund
practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva.
They also performed great religious sacrifices in this place because of
which the mountain is named Mandhata.
Another popular legend says that once upon a time Vidhya Parvat
practiced severe penance and worshipped Parthivarchana along with Lord
Omkareshwar for nearly six months. As a result Lord Shiva was pleased
and blessed him with the desire boon. On the sincere request of all the
gods and the sages Lord Shiva made two parts of the lings. One half
being Omkareshwara and the other Amaleshwara or Amareshwar.
Some scholar say, King Mandhatha of the Ishvaku clan is believed to
have worshipped Shiva here. Besides, Govinda Bhagavatpaada, the Guru of
Shankaracharya is believed to have lived in a cave here.
Structure and Significance of Omkareshwar Temple
Omkareshwara Temple is located at a distance of about 12 miles from
Mortakka in Madhya Pradesh. A special feature of the location of
Omkareshwar Temple is that the river Narmada branches into two and forms
an island Mandhata or Shivapuri in the center. The shape of the island
resembles that of the visual representation of the Omkara sound, Om.
There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar and one to Amareshwar.
The Omkareshwar Temple is built in the Nagara style and is
characterized by a lofty shikhara. There are also shrines to Annapurna
and Ganesha here. Before entering the temple one has to pass through two
rooms. The Omkareshwar is not affixed to the ground but is naturally
installed there. There is always water around it. The significance of
this linga is that the linga is not situated below the cupola. The idol
of Lord Shiva is situated on the top of the temple. The temple can be
reached by ferry from the banks of the river. A huge fair is organized
here on the day of Kartik Poornima.