Location:-Aundha is situated Basmat Subdivision of Hingoli district of Maharashtra. This is a Marathwada region and is known as the pilgrimage destination of Aundha Nagnath. This place is about 100 km from Aurangabad.
Main Deity:- Lord Shiva here is present in his Linga form. This temple is a part of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country
Legend:- According to the legend, this temple has been built by Yudhistir (eldest Pandav) while on their Vanvas (forest journey) for 14 years.
This temple is revered by the Varkari sect (Vithoba worshippers) of hindu's in Maharashtra. It is said that one the great saints like - Namdev, Visoba Khechara and Gyaneshwar were singing devotional hymns to the lord. The preist however, was annoyed by their singing and asked them to go and sing at the back of the temple. The saints did so. However, the Lord, loved the devotion so much that once the saints were at the back of the temple, the entire temple rotated. Till date, the statue of Nandi is at the back of this temple unlike other Shiva temples. Surprisingly, unlike other Hindu temples, this temple faces West instead of East.
The great Saint Namdev was born here. Also, this temple is revered by the Sikhs, because Guru Nanak is said to have visited this temple.
By Definition from mythology, Jyotirlingas are rays of lights that do not have a beginning nor do they have any end. It encompasses the infinite powers of Lord Shiva. The 12 Jyotirlinga temples are dedicated to different manifestations of Lord Shiva.
Architecture:- The temple is dated to be built in the 13th century under the Yadava dynasty regime. It was intialy a seven storied structure, but attacks from the Mughal Army during Aurangzeb's regime had destroyed most parts of this temple.
The temple is mainly carved out of stone as follows the Hemadpanti design. The walls and ceilings are covered with various carvings of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The entrance gate and the crowning has been renovated and painted white.
The main sanctum is inside a narrow cave. This cave is almost at the basement and very few people can fit inside it at one time. In such a narrow space, the sounds of the chants and hymns reverberate and create a mystical atmosphere.
The main temple premises also house 12 smaller temples for the other deities like Maharsi Veda Vyasa, Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu, Nilakanteshwar, Pandavas, Lord Dattatreya and Dashavatara. There is also a Shani (saturn) temple nearby with two water tanks named - Sash Kund and Bahu Kund.There is also a statue of Ahilyabai Holkar (Queen of Maratha) who was a great Shiv devotee, at the entrance of the temple.
Festival/Prayers:- Mahashivtrati and Dussehra are the major festivals here. During the Hindu months of Magha to Falgun, a huge fair is held at the temple premises.
The main offering given to the Lord is Panchamrut - made out of milk,honey,ghee,curd and sugar.
How to Reach:-
By Air : Nearest airport is Aurangabad airport.
By Rail : Chondi is the nearest railhead that is connected to cities like Mumbai, Pune and Hingoli.
By Road: This place is well connected by roads from cities like Mumbai, Nagpur and Aurangabad. Maharashtra State Transport buses ply from Nanded, Parbhani, Chondi and Hingoli.
Nearby Places to Visit:
Such Khand Huzur Sahib Gurudwara - Nanded
Image Courtesy:- Wikipedia