Naimisharanya is unique in that it is the only place, apart from Patal Bhuvaneshwar, where it is believed the pantheon of 33 crores Hindu Gods and Goddesses reside. Naimisharanya also claims the distinction of being the first and most sacred of all Tirth Sthans for Hindus. If one performs penance here for 12 years one goes straightaway to Brahmaloka. Visiting Naimisharanya is equivalent to visiting all the important Tirth Sthans. This is the only place to find mention in all important Hindu sacred texts.
The temple timings are – 5 am to 9 pm. The temple remains closed between 12 pm in the afternoon and 4 pm in the evening.
History of Naimisharanya
The Gods selected this spot to establish Dharma but Vrittasur, a demon, proved to be an obstacle whereupon they requested sage Dadhichi to donate his bones from which a weapon could be made to destroy the demon. The Bhagvat Purana mentions this place and calls it naimishe-animisha-kshetra or the abode of Lord Vishnu who is also known as Animisha. Lord Vishnu killed Durjaya and his gang of demons at this spot in a split second. He also destroyed Gayasura and cut his body into three parts with one part falling in Gaya in Bihar, the second in Naimisharanya and the third in Badrinath. The word Nimisha also means a part of a second. It is believed the Brahma Mano Maya Chakra fell here giving the place its name. Nemi is the outer surface of a charka (wheel). Naimisharanya vana has a circumbulatory path of 16 km which encompasses all sacred places of India according to one belief. Naimisharanya is old as time according to legend and the significance of this place was given to saints. It is believed Satrupa and Swayambhuva Manu performed penance for 23000 years in order to have Lord Narayana be born as their son. Lord Rama performed Ashwamedha yagna here to celebrate his victory over Ravana. Ved Vyasa put together the 6 shastras, 18 Puranas, and 4 Vedas at this spot and it was here that the Srimad Bhagavatam was spoken out loud at one stretch. The Pandavas and Lord Balarama, brother of Lord Krishna, visited this place. Tulsidas is believed to have penned the Rama Charita Manas here.
Just like every other ancient temple in India there are a number of legends associated with this holy destinations, some of them are:
- It is believed that the Hindu sage Narada, was looking for the best Teertha (water body) across the 3 worlds. He covered various holy centres of pilgrimage including the Kailash Parvat which was the home of Lord Shiva; Parkadal which was the home for Lord Vishnu and finally reached this water body in the Naimisha forest. This makes it one of the most pious and pure place of worship, especially because of the belief that the presiding deity was believed to be worshipped by all the celestial deities.
- Another legend goes back to the time when the king of devas – Indra was driven out of the Devlok by an Asura called Vritra. The Asura was immortal due to a boon. However as per the advice of Lord Vishnu, Indra went to sage Dadhichi to ask for his bones to fashion out a weapon to kill Vritra. Dadhichi mentioned his wish to visit all the holy rivers before dying. In order to fulfill his wish and not waste any further time Indra decided to direct all the water from the holy rivers to Naimisharanya.
- Another legend mentions about the fact that once when the sages were deciding in performing a penance, then Lord Brahma produced a ring out of the Darbha grass and advised the sages to perform penance at the place where the ring had fallen. This place where the ring had fallen down is said by Naimisharanya and it was here where the sages had performed their penance and Lord Vishnu had appeared to accept their prayers and holy offerings.
Naimisharanya is not a recently developed pilgrimage destination but it has always been of religious importance. This ancient pilgrimage destination has always been of prime attraction to sages, scholars and other devotees. This place has also found its mention in Rigveda, along with having being mentioned in the holy Puranas where it has been mentioned as one of the most highly revered pilgrimage destination. It has also found its mention in Valmiki’s Ramayana and later on in the epic Raghuvansham which was written by the ancient Sanskrit poet Kalidas. This spiritual Hindu centre of learning which is also a meditation centre. People gather here to take a holy dip in its water and clean their sins.
The temple is located right at the junction of the roads running between Sitapur and Khairabad. It is situated at a mere distance of 32 kms from Sitapur and 42 kms from the Sandila railway station. From Lucknow the temple is seated at a north ward distance of 45 miles. Naimisharanya sits majestically on the banks of river Gomati which ranks among one of the most holy rivers of India. The sacred well inside this holy temple’s premises which is named Chakra Kunda is believed to have been a ring belonging to Lord Vishnu and people visit the Kund to take a holy dip in its water.
Major Attractions Around Naimisharanya:
Here are some of the must-visit holy places to visit in Naimisharanya:
- Chakra Teerth – Chakra teerth is believed to have been created by the disc emanating from Brahma’s heart. Bathing here relieves you of all sins.
- Vyas Gaddi – Ved Vyaas created the Puranas and split the Vedas into four parts, transmitting his knowledge to Jaimini, Angeera, Pail, Shuk Dev, Vaisampaayam and Suth.
- Sri Lalita Devi Temple – Sati, wife of Siva, immolated herself after which Siva carried her body. On the way, her body split into 108 parts out of which the heart fell at Naimisharanya at this spot known as Lalitha Devi, one of the Shaktipeeths in India.
- Balaji Temple – As the name suggests the temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara and it receives a number of devotees especially from Andhra Pradesh. The temple offers accommodation facilities within its premises for pilgrims looking to stay the night there.
- Dadheechi Kund: – Indra, the king of Gods prayed to sage Dadheechi to give up his bones in order to kill the demon Vritta Asur. He agreed but on one condition that he would do so after visiting all holy rivers and spots. The gods were in a hurry and brought all those places together at this spot to grant Dadheechi his wish after which he gave up his bones from which a weapon, the Vajr, was made that ultimately killed Vrittasur. Bathing in this kund is equivalent to bathing in all holy spots in India.
- Suth Gaddi: – The sage Suth, a disciple of Ved Vyaasa, discoursed to 88000 sages at this spot.
- Hanuman Gaddi and Pandav Killa: – This is the spot from where Hanuman, after killing Ahiraavan, freed Ram and Lakshman and traveled South. The Pandavas performed penance at the spot known as Pandav killa.
- Dasaashwamedha Ghat: – Lord Rama performed the tenth Ashwamedha yagna at this spot marked by an ancient temple with the idols of Lord Rama, Lakshman, and Sita.
- Swayambhu Manu and Satrupa: – This is the spot where Swayambhu Manu and Satrupa performed penance for 23000 years to obtain their boon that Lord Narayana be born as their son.
Best Time to Visit:
Being located in Uttar Pradesh, Naimisharanya experiences a typical north Indian weather condition. The winter months lasts from September to January or mid-February where the temperature stays between 3 to 12 or 15 degrees Celsius. The summer months which follows lasts from March to June where the days are extremely hot and humid where the temperature can go up to 40 degree Celsius. Sub-tropical climatic conditions are experienced all throughout the summer months. The rainy months which lasts from July to mid-September witnesses heavy rain falls, where the temperature falls down substantially after the summer months and the entire region experiences a rainfall of 35.28 inches.
Located on the plains of North of India the weather here is subtropical. In summers the temperatures can go up to 40 deg. C. Monsoon is nominal with an average rainfall of 35.28 inches during the season lasting from July to September. Winters can be cold with the minimum temperature falling to 3 °C. The best time to visit Naimisharanya is September/October when the weather is cool but not too cold.
How to Reach:
By Road – Lucknow is well connected with a network of roads leading up to from all the major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Kanpur and Allahabad. Regular bus facilities are made available that makes reaching Naimisharanya and easy task. From Lucknow it is advised for you to hire a cab leading up to Naimisharanya.
By Train – Regular trains run from Balrampur to Sitapur and Naimisharanya from Kanpur. You can opt for travelling on passenger trains from Lucknow to Sitapur and then later on get yourself on a bus which is leading up to Naimisharanya.
By Air – The closest airport for Naimisharanya is located in Lucknow which is the Amausi airport. This airport is located at a distance of 100 kms from Sitapur and after reaching the airport you will be required to hire a cab heading for Naimisharanya by road.
Things to Do:
You will never be in a dearth of things to do and places to visit on your visit to Naimisharanya. Here are some of the activities you can indulge in:
- Taking a holy dip in the holy waters of chakra Tirth as well as in Gomati River.
- You can also perform your Pind Daan services here which are also known as Pithru ceremonies.
- Some of the most sacred Puranas were written here especially Srimad bhagavatam, Bhagavad gita, Purusha Sukta, Narayana Upanishad among other important Hindu holy scriptures.
- Facilities and services are made available at Sri Balaji Mandir for the pilgrim to perform their puja ritual of Sri Sathyanarayana puja.
The state of Uttar Pradesh is not only known for its ancient structures and monuments of great importance, but it is also extremely popular for its delectable selection of cuisines. The food available here is an oasis for every foodie since they can indulge in Nawabi food and get a taste of some of the most flavor packed dishes. The cuisines and food stuff available in Naimisharanya is fulfilling and each bite bursts with flavours. There a range of food stalls and eateries available here offering typical UP food.
Usually people and pilgrims visiting this temple visit this place as a part of their day trip which can be commenced either from Lucknow or Sitapur. Currently there are not a lot of options available for a proper stay or food options. A traveller’s bungalow is available as an option for stay. There are a number of religious trusts available here which offers shelter services to the pilgrims taking up this journey. Organised by sri Vaikhanasa Samajam dormitory facilities are made available at the Sri Balaji Mandir. Special arrangements are also made for orthodox and traditional individuals who prefer to make their own food, at Annadanam that is located around here.