EKLINGNATHJI (PART-II)

The present temple that is about eighteen metre high and with radius of about eighteen metres has a beautifully sculpted Shikhar built with marble and granite in a typical style. There is an elaborately pillared hall or mandap that is ornate and has a canopy in the shape of a large pyramid and an entrance portico.

Lord Shiv is worshipped here as a four-faced black marble idol. The four faces represent Brahma facing west, Vishnu facing north, Maheshwar facing south and Surya facing east. The flat top on the composite idol is covered with a Yantra, a mystic symbolic drawing standing for the ultimate reality, the supreme one and the wholesome one – Parabrahma. Interestingly, each face is half-male half-female representing the Ardhanarishwara version of the traditional plain, phallus-shaped lingam, signifying the synergy of Shakti and Shiv, unifying the female and male principles, Prakrati and Purusha. All four faces can be seen when one circumambulates the deity as there are four doors, one on each side.

There are different versions about the idol and it is not possible to decide which one is true. According to one, by the time of the reign of Maharana Kumbha’s son Udaikarna, the old temple had collapsed. So Raimal got it rebuilt. The idol was in the form of a Lingam but in its place Raimal got built a four- faced one of black stone. Some others say that due to the fear of foreign attacks, it was hidden in Indrasarovar. It was not possible to recover it later on as the water was too deep. Hence a new four-faced idol was installed. According to yet another version Bhojraj, husband of Meera Bai, got built ten Shivlingams during his lifetime. After his death, a four-faced Lingam was found in his palace. This very Lingam was set up in Eklingnath Mandir, Kailashpuri.

There are several other temples in the complex that is fortified by high walls. To the left and south of the main temple lies the beautiful temple of

Lakulishji, the celibate aspect of Shiv, that can be reached by climbing up a flight of steps. It is said to be older than the temple of Eklingji. It is a marvelous specimen of architecture and is the only one of its kind of Lakulish sect in India. At the back of it, there are three small temples of Mahakali, Bhawani Durga and Ganpati in a row from east to west. Near Mahakali temple lies Parvatikund from which water is drawn for the purpose of worship of the idol of Eklingji. It is to be mentioned here that whenever the Maharanas used to visit the temple during the month of Shrawan, they themselves drew water from it in a pot of gold and filled the vase (Jaladhari) from which water trickled on to the idol of Shri Ekling.

Built by Maharana Kumbha, Kumbh Shyam temple that is decorated with superb mincature sculpture studded on its outer walls.

There is a row of several other small shrines near the Kumbh Shyam temple. In front of the main temple stands the mount pavilion (Vahan Mandap) in which lies a large statue of Nandi, the bull mount of Shiv. Here is also a large plaster cast statue of Bappa Rawal gazing at the statue of sage Harit that is also a plaster cast and placed at he top of the dome of the entrance porch of the main temple. The hermit has been shown seated in his Viman.

Behind the pavilion of Nandi, there are three more temples dedicated to Shiv. Near these temples is the Muth, residential quarter of Gusaniji, the chief spiritual guide of the Maharanas who till the reign of Maharana Jagatsingh First, came in the line of sage Harit and later on followed by Sanyasis. There are two more important temples outside the premises – Ban Mataji, the tutelar female deity of the house of Mewar and Vindhyasini Deviji.

In front of the south gate of the temple is an inscription of one hundred Shlokas that is of great importance for Mewar history from Maharana Hameer to Maharana Raimal and description of this temple.

It is said that after the completion of the Ekling Mandir, a Kalash was set up but it fell down in the night. In a dream, the Maharana was said that only after Dhara touched the Kalash, it would stay in place. After a long search Dhara, a tailor was traced. The Kalash was put in place by him. As desired by him, a

temple in his name, Dhareshwarji Mandir was built. A ‘dhwaja’ made of white khadi cloth is hoisted on the temple on Chaitra Amawasya every year.

Pooja in the Ekling Mandir is performed according to Tantric and Vedic system. In not many places in India it is done in such a way. One speciality is that in the morning, the darshan is of Baal, child form, in mid-day of the young form and in the evening of old form. Bilva patras are an essential part of worship. Kesar and chandan are used profusely. The famous rose flowers of Khamnore are also offered. Groups of women sing ‘bhajans’ while some of them dance in synchrony keeping to the beat of the song. Their swirling moments reflect the ecstasy they experience.

The present Maharana goes to the Mandir on Mondays for the evening aarti. There was a time when he would go on a Sunday, stay there for the night and meditate and return on Tuesday.

So devoted were the Maharanas that they used to carry a ‘Chhar’ when they entered the main mandap civil and ring the bells. They would seek the Lord’s permission before going on a journey.

In the Mandir are celebrated several festivals and the biggest of them all is Shivratri, when a large number of devotees from far and near throng to the holy place for ‘darshan’. Groups of devotees can be seen walking towards the sacred shrine and Chirwa Ghati resonates with the sounds of Bam Bam Bhole.

One of the four important dhams, places of pilgrimage, of Mewar, Eklingnath is thronged by devotees from far and near throughout the year.

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