Location:- A holy pilgrimage place for Lord Shiva is located about 14 kilometers from Devgad Taluka in the Konkan region of Maharashtra. This place is also called Konkan Kashi because of its spiritual significance. The town is Kunkeshwar, which is located in the Sindhudurg district.
Main Deity:- The presiding deity at this temple is Lord Shiva in his Shivling form. The idol is made of white stone. It is considered to be a Swambhu (self manifested) jyotirling.
This temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and 1 out of the 4 situated in Maharashtra.
Besides the Shivling, the idol of Nandi guards the entrance and there is also another shrine for Ganpati.
Legend:- The story of this temple is very interesting. It is said that this temple was built by a muslim sailor. Once, this sailor was sailing through the arabian sea. Suddenly the waves were uncontrollable and his ship was sure to capsize. At a distance, he saw a lamp and prayed to it saying "I do not know who you are but if I live, I will build a shrine for you" Suddenly, the ship held steady and the sailor landed at Kunkeshwar shore. He searched for the lamp and found a shivaling. True to his promise, he built a temple.
The sailor knew that his community will never accept him for building a Hindu temple and worshiping there. He was ostracized by his community. In fact, his king had already decided the death penalty for such an act. So he committed suicide after jumping from the temple roof. His tomb is still situated nearby and he is honored as a great devotee.
Architecture:- This temple is built on the banks of Arabian Sea in the 12th century.
The temple has eight stories and is octagonal in shape. The crowning holds the temple Kalash.
The Shivaling is placed in the main sanctum. Behind the main temple is a smaller temple structure for the Kailash temple. It has a sabhamandap and is decorated with chandeliers. The Shivpanchayatan (Shiv, Parvati, Nandi, Shree Deo Manglik and Shree Ganesh) are drawn on the walls. There is also a Vishnu temple in the vicinity.
There are caves near the temple. The walls of these caves are decorated by warrior paintings having male and female forms.
The temple foundation also has a 4 storied hostel called "Bhakta Niwas" for devotees/tourists.
Kunkeshwar being a coastal town is home to many mango and coconut plantations.
Festivals/Prayers:-Mahashivaratri is best time to visit this temple as the festival is celebrated with thousands of devotees.
Besides this Navratri and Ganesh Chaturthi are also celebrated here in a grand manner.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was an ardent devotee of this temple.
How to Reach:-
By Road:- This place falls on the Mumbai-Goa highway number 17
By Train:- The nearest railway station is Nandgaon Thitta Junction. Other railway stations are Kankvali (50 Km) and Nandgaon (44 km). Buses or share autos can be taken from the railway station to the temple.
By Air:- The nearest airport is at Goa (Panajim)
Nearby Places to Visit:-
Image courtesy: Tripadvisor