The Arabian Sea has an Ancient Temple dated 5000 years old buried inside it dedicated to Lord Shiva at Koliyak, a village 28 kms from Bhavnagar district of Gujarat state in India, where people reach this temple for about 1.5 kms into the sea. This temple is also known as "Nishkalank Mahadev Temple". At the time of high tides in the sea, only the flag and a pillar of the temple are visible in the sea. This temple is under water during high tides in the sea and emerges during low tides to reveal itself majestically, promising its devotees to wash away all sins.
Nishkalank Mahadev Temple Koliyak Gujarat
The Flags of the Temple Visible at the Time of Hide Tide
This temple is still in use by the locals, and the people visit this place on their foot! It having 5 separate Swayambhu Shiva Lingas (Self Incarnated Lingas) inside it is certainly one of the best spiritual destinations to be visited by one once in his lifetime!
Nishkalank Mahadev Temple Main Shiva Linga
Legend Behind this Temple:
It is formed due to the Pandavas in the epic Mahabharata, who worshipped Lord Shiva upon the instructions of Lord Krishna, as they wanted to atone for the sin of killing their brethren (cousin brothers) all the Kuravas and won the battle, even though they were all evil incarnated. The Pandavas who were in grief sorrow for their such act, when met with Lord Krishna found redemption for their sins at this place. Then Lord Krishna advised Pandavas to atone for their sins of Mahabharata war and hands over them with a black flag and a black cow, and assured them as and when these two would turn white, their sins would be removed. He also advised them to do penance to Lord Shiva, after that. The Pandavas followed them for many days in different places but their color didn't change. One fine day upon arriving this place (Koliyak Beach), the flag and the cow became white in color and the Pandavas got exalted.
After reaching here they did penance for the blessings of Lord Shiva who by then impressed with their worship appeared infront of the Pandavas in the form of 5 Lingas and blessed them to be Nishkalank. The Pandavas worshipped with great devotion to these Five Lingas each having a Nandi infront of them and thus got the name Nishkalank Mahadev Temple which is situated at a height of 500 ft and is 2000 ft long in the sea.
All the Five Shiva Lingas placed in the Line
Shiva Lingas Worshipped by Pandavas
Nishkalank has many meanings like clean, pure, guiltless, innocent, to clean and to purify, etc. It is believed that according to Indian Calendar, Pandavas established Nishkalank Mahadev on a new moon night (the day next of Amavasya) in Bhadra month. Thus, according to Indian Calendar, "Bhadarvi" is the famous fair held here on the moon do night in months of Sharvana (August). There is also an idol of Lord Shiva created in this island, which is above the sea placed approx. 3 km to the east of Koliyak.
Bhadarvi Fair at Nishkalank Mahadev Temple Koliyak Gujarat
Significance of this Temple:
The temple is having 5 distinct Swayambhu Shiva lingas (Self Incarnated Lingas) inside it to which Pandava brothers worshipped, and each is having a Nandhi or Bull (Shiva’s vehicle) facing it, spread across a square platform. Devotees first wash their hands and legs in a pond called Pandavas pond, upon reaching the temple and only then they visit these shrines. The sea withdrews its water levels all days, and creates paving way for the devotees to offer their prayers.
Nandi facing Shiva Linga in the Temple
The temple is mainly visited to dissolve ashes of their loved ones who departed kith and kin. Hundreds of People reach here after the New Moon day, when the sea recedes to the maximum, including children who walk the distance and worship the idols. According to the Hindu calendar the New Moon Day which comes in the month of Bhadra (August) is of special importance, and thousands of people throng here in large numbers.
This temple can be visited between 9.00 AM to 12.00 PM on the day next to the new moon night. The visitors should leave this place before 1:00 PM as the sea begins to rise again.
It is seen that aficionados crowd this temple during the time of Amavasya (No Moon Day), as the tides are very active during the Full Moon Day than the No Moon Day, and they patiently wait for the tide to retrieve to visit this shrine. Thus it is seen that one can get into this temple only two times in a day (24 hrs).
Best Time to Visit:
One can visit this temple every day, though they will have to wait for the sea to recede and it is accessible for a few hours only. As there is occurrence of High and low tide every day in the sea, the times and amplitude of the tides at the coast are influenced mainly by the alignment of the Sun and Moon and ofcourse by the shape of the coastline. During full moon and new moon when the earth, sun and the moon are in the same line, then both the high and the low tides are at their maximum levels. That's why it is advisable to visitors to visit this temple during these times. The sea recession is maximum during the months of August-September.
Pilgrims Walking in the Mid of the Sea to Visit the Temple
How To Reach:
By Road: The one who wants to travel by road can take a bus or own car to reach this temple. From Bhavnagar to Koliyak it takes about 30 mins from road.
By Air: Vadodara Airport is the nearest airport to Bhavnagar, which is 126 km away from Bhavnagar city centre. Ahmedabad is another option to reach Koliyak.
By Train: The Bhavanagar Railway Station in Gujarat is the nearest railway station to reach this temple which is well connected with major cities of India.
Image Courtesy: tourismeveryone.com, religion.divyabhaskar.co.in, deshgujarat.com