August 3, 2018

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Alwar

1.      One Man who brought the Rolls Royce company to its knees and
2.      One of most haunted place in the world.
What is the relation?
The man was King Jai Singh, who bought entire available fleet of Rolls Royce (6 cars) on one day in year 1920 and ordered the municipality to use the Rolls Royce cars for garbage collection at his kingdom. Those were the times when Rolls Royce were used to sweep the streets in India.
The haunted place is “Bhangarh Fort” where entry before sunrise and after sunset is prohibited by law. Still not making sense. Let’s add one more point in the list;
3.      A temple dating back to the time of Mahabharata, that is approx. 5000 years back.

Thread all the 3 points and we land in the city of Alwar. Not so known, but a quiet place popular with tourists seeking some adventures/ quiet moments.
Leaving apart the desert areas of Rajasthan, Alwar is one of the most arid and scorching places in India. Nestled in the Aravali Ranges, Alwar has a preserved a secret from the times of Mahabharata. The secret is the “Neelkanth Temple”, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Pandavas carried the Shivlinga of Lord Shiva all the way from Kashi (Varanasi) and positioned at this place and a temple was erected for the Shivalinga. The engraved carvings on the temple walls are unique, in fact looks like statues glued to the walls:

Some of the carvings here are double layered. Check out the carved around main temple door and another door:




Have not come across such type of carvings, with so much depth at any other place in India. So probably this temple is much much older than many of the temples in India which are approx. 1000 or 2000 years old. Check out:

Excavations by Archaeological Survey of India have revealed existence of around 1000 temples in this place. 1000 temples in one place, probably the place must have been a grand establishment in its prime days.
More than 1000 temples used to exist at this sacred place. Why only one is standing now? What happened to other temples?
These temples were desecrated and destroyed by the attackers. However, when the attackers tried to damage the still standing Neelkanth temple, a huge fire erupted from the temple sanctum. Fire was so harsh that the soldiers had to surrender to the all mighty Lord Shiva and the king of the attackers had to ask for forgiveness from the Lord Shiva in order to safely retreat. That is why this Neelkanth temple is still standing to this day. Can clearly see the damage on the beautiful carvings:


The temple was constructed with 2 more connected shrines like structures. However, except the main temple, other 2 have got flat roofs. 

Existence of nearby places like Viratnagar (then known as kingdom of King Virat), where Pandavas stayed in disguise for one year further reinforces the fact that this Neelkanth Temple dates back to that age. 
As per records the temples were further re-beautified in around 1010 AD by king Ajaypal Rajorgarh (the place where Neelkanth temple is situated comes under Rajgarh. Word Rajorgarh changed to Rajgarh during course of time. Found inscriptions, dated 961 AD also refer to temples being built by King Mathanadeva, a related to local Pratihara dynasty. Other temples are in a dilapidated situation, crying desperately for refurbishment.
The place and this temple is revered and visited by large of devotees in the month of July/ August (Shravan, श्रावण). As per Hindu calendar month of Shravan, श्रावण is considered as most auspicious month of the year.
Where roads end, adventure begins. Last mile is in extremely bad shape; one has to literally wage an uphill battle. On reaching, once again realised that a journey of thousand steps makes the view from top so exhilarating. For explorers, travelling is like “Meditation” which keeps you cool even in temperature > 500 Celsius. That’s how the way to Neelkanth looks from the top.

Found remains from the excavations indicate number of step wells, one palace with 360 steps under the ground and a number of small temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman and others. Check out this step well in front of Neelkanth temple. 


Keep travelling Guys. And here is the route to the legendary "Bhangarh Fort" from Neelkanth Temple.

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2 comments:

  1. I found this post through IndiBlogger. Your blog post on Neelkanth temple is very interesting as I enjoy visiting such places and I didn't know about this one. Do keep posting more travel posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Swapna for dropping by and taking time to comment.
      This spot is one of those marvellous points, which is lying peacefully hidden from tourist eyes. Do share your visits to such places.

      Delete

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