For Shiva bhakts a Shivalinga signifies more than just an idol kept for worship. The deeper significance of a Linga, beyond the regular phallic symbolism associated with it, is the worship of formless Mahadev who appeared as a pillar of light before Shri Brahma and Sri Hari Vishnu thus proving His all powerful and omnipresent nature. Shiva temples across the world are celebrated pilgrimage centres for Shiva bhakts as are the 12 Jyotirlingas located at various places within Bharat. Here we are going to bring to you two Shiva temples which are known for their colossal Shivalingas and although they aren’t among the Jyotirlingas; their significance is no less than one for a devotee of the supreme Lord Maheshwara.
Asia’s biggest Shivalinga
About 30 kilometres from Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of the Betwa River lies the temple of Bhojeshwar which is famous for being home to the biggest Shivalinga in the whole of Asia. Located amidst beautiful hills, this temple which brings out the beauty of Indian architecture was constructed during the reign of Paramara King Bhoja between 1010 and 1053 CE. The temple gets its name from Raja Bhoj who commissioned its construction. Although the construction of the temple remained incomplete, the wishes of devotees who throng to seek blessings here never go unfulfilled.
In ancient times Bhojpur was known as the ‘Somnath of North India’. According to folklore Pandavas are believed to have spent a few years of their ‘Agyatvaas’ (year in hiding) at Bhojpur. As per legend, Maharani Kunti would not even consume water until she completed Shiva Puja. Therefore, her son Bheema along with his brothers consecrated a 21.5 feet tall Shivalinga here. Devotees throng this temple in large numbers particularly during Maha Shivratri and other days considered significant for Shiva Puja. During those special days aarti is conducted 5 times a day. Additionally it is believed that those unmarried women who complete 5 Somwar vrat and seek the blessings of Sri Bhojeshwar are blessed with a husband of their choice.
Kotilingeshwar: the world’s biggest Shivalinga
In the Kolar district of Karnataka lies the village of Kammasandra. This village has acquired significance for being home to the world’s biggest Shivalinga. Not only is this temple home to the world’s biggest Shivalinga but the temple itself is constructed in the shape of a Linga. The height of this temple, fashioned in the shape of a Linga, is 108 feet. Devotees, who visit the temple to seek the blessings of the Lord, install Lingas varying in size from 1 foot to 3 feet here so that their wishes may come true. The instalment of around 1 crore Shivalingas points towards the hordes of devotees who visit the temple. A 35 feet tall Nandi, Vahana and biggest devotee of Sri Maheshwara, stands on a platform which is 60 feet long, 40 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Around this colossal Shivalinga we can see idols of Nandi, Sri Ganesh, Sri Kartikeya and Devi Maa. Besides the main temple, the complex also houses 11 other temples dedicated to various deities such as Annapurna Devi, Sri Hari Vishnu, Sri Brahma, Sri Venkatramani Swami, Sri Pandurang, Panchamukh Ganapati and Ram-Lakshman-Sita Mandir among others. Devotees from far and wide visit this temple not just to see their Lord in a ‘Viratrupa’ but also to have their thirst for His darshan quenched and their wishes fulfilled.
A visit to both these places will make us realise not only the architectural skills of our people but also fill us with bliss.