Omkareshwar is a beautiful self manifest (swayambhu) linga. From the Vindhyanchal mountain range in Madhya Pradesh, river Narmada, turns westward and meanders in that direction. The deep wide river looks like it has assimilated into itself all the sins and sorrows of the humans and releasing them from these. This river Narmada, which flows rippling from the mountains, is also known as “Reva”. The smooth, round pebbles found in this river are called “BanaLingas”.
“Narmada ke Kankar, UtteShankar” is the belief of the devotees. That is how, Narmada is also known as “Shankari” river.
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On the banks of river Narmada, there is a huge island on which the fourth of the JyotirLinga “Omkaram Amaleshwar” is situated. This island and the river are shaped like “OM” and that is how it derives its name. It is a natural phenomenon. The devotees who go round the temple consider themselves blessed because they are doing a Parikrama or Circumambulation of Omkara itself and Darshan of the holy JyotirLinga. The Narmada banks and the island are extremely beautiful. The beauty of Nature here is seen to be believed. The houses perched on the terraced green, strong mountains, the temple, KotiTeerth located in the waterfalls and valleys like Chakrateerts are some of the places to be seen. One can see very big fish and also crocodiles in these waers. There are many trees with beautiful creepers all over them. Groups of monkeys live on these trees. There are a variety of birds. The temple towers look bright and shiny in between. The whole atmosphere echoes with the the sound of “Om Namah Shivaya”. It is here that Lord Sankara has taken the forms of “Omkareshwara” and “Amaleshwara”, as JyotirLinga.
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.
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.
There are several smaller shrines around the main shrine. The head of each ghat has a Siva linga shrine. The Lord can be seen placed on a pedestal at every location in the city, even if there is not shrine as such. Behind the temple is situated the temple of Dhundhiraja Ganapathi.
Omkareshwar Road is about 77 km (48 mi) from Indore on the Indore–Khandwa highway. It about 12 km (7 mi) from the Omkareshwar road station. There are steamboats across the Narmada river and also two connecting bridges.
You can reach Omkareshwar from khandwa. It is 72km from Khandwa. There are many buses are available
from khandwa(you can also go from khandwa to Sanawad and then pick bus to Omkareswar) to Omkareswar,we are having a broad gauge train form khandwa to omkareshwar road ,which we have a good sight seeing.
Omkareshwar is 77km from Indore and can be reached by buses and private vehicles.
You can reach Omkareshwar from Ujjain via Indore and then Omkareshwar. There are many buses and trains are available from Ujjain to Indore and then from Indore You have to pick up Bus for Omkareshwar.Train route is not good from Indore to Omkareshwar and there is no train route to Omkareshwar.
The Narmada is the only river in the country whose Parikrama is done. A large portion of traditional Parikrama Path has come under submergence due to construction of Sardar Sarovar, Omkareshwar, Rani Avantibai dams and proposed Maheshwar dam. The state government has decided to construct the Narmada Parikrama Path keeping in view the convenience of the pilgrims. Various facilities for stay and food would be provided along the proposed path for the convenience of the pilgrims.
This shrine of Omkar Mandhata Shiva pilgrimage is most beautiful. According to Shankaracharya. It is: