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Mahakaleswar Bhimashankara Kedarnath
Somnath Mallikarjuna Omkaresswar
Nagneswar Trayembakeswar Rameshwaram
Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga Kashi Vishwanath Grishneswar

12 Jyotirlingam of Lord Shankar

Nageshwaram Jyotirlingam

Nagesawaram is one of the 12 jyothirlingas of Lord Siva. 'nagesam darukavane'[sivamahapuran kotirudra samhita 1/21-24]

It is believed to be the first sivalinga on earth.

Text says Nageswaram is in 'Darukavana', which is an ancient epic name of forest in India. Darukavana finds mention in Indian epics like kamyakavana, Dwaitavana, Dandakavana,etc.

According to legend, 'Balakhilyas', a group of dwarf sages worshipped SIVA in darukavana for long time. To test their devotion& patience, SIVA came to darukavana as an digmbara ascetic[nude] wearing only Nagas[serpants] in his body. Wives of sages were attracted and ran after the ascetic, leaving back their husbands. Sages got very disturbed and frustruated with this.They lost their patience and cursed ascetic to loose his linga. Sivalinga fell on the earth and whole world trempled.Brahma and VIshnu came to Siva, requested him to save earth from destruction and take back his linga. Siva consoled them and took back his linga.[Vamana purana CH.6th& 45th]

SIVA promised his divine presence in darukavana as 'jyothirlinga' for ever. Later darukavana became favourate place of Nagas and Vasuki worshipped Siva here for long and there after jyothirlinga came to be known as 'Nagnath/Nageswar'.

Also there is a story in Shiv Purana on jyotirlinga nageswaram. It says, a demon named Daaruka attacked a Shiva devotee by name Supriya and imprisoned her along with several others in his city of Daarukavana.This place was a city of snakes and Daaruka was the king of the snakes. On the insistence of Supriya, all the prisoners started to chant the holy mantra of Shiva and instantly Lord Shiva appeared and vanquished the demon and later started to reside here in the form of a Jyotirlinga.

At present, there is a debate on location of epic forest Darukavana so as to identify the jyothirlinga of Nageswaram. Since no other important clues are left in the text which help in locating the place,'darukavana' remains as the vital clue.

Many SIVA temples across the country are claiming their shrine as Nageswara and their location as darukavana. Out of these, three are most prominent.

1.Nageswara temple near Dwaraka, Gujarat

2.Jageswara temple near Almora, Uttarkhand

3.Nagnath Temple in Audha, Maharashtra

The very name of Darukavana in text is misread as 'dwarakavana' by many at their own interest to locate jyothirlinga at Nageswara temple at Dwaraka. In fact there is no legendary forest at this part of dwaraka that finds mention in any of the india epics. In legends of SriKrishna, we find mention of Somnath and adjoining Prabhas theerth, but never there is any mention of 'Nageswara or Darukavana' in Dwaraka and outskirts.

Darukavana is again misread as 'daruvana' [meaning deodar forest] by many to locate it in almora. Deodar[daru vriksha] is found in western himalayas in abundance and is not found in peninsular India. According to The ancient treatise Prasadmandanam, Thus many identify 'Jageswara' temple in Almora, Uttarkhand as Nageswara jyothirlinga.

But 'Darukavana' finds mention adjacent to Vindya Mountains in epics. It is south-southwest of Vindyas extending to sea in west.

In dwadasa jyothirlinga sthothram, sri sankaracharya has praised jyothirlinga as 'Naganath'.

"Yame sadanganagarethi ramye
vibhushithangam vividhaischabhogai
srinaganatham saranam prapadye"

which clearly says that it is located south ['yame'] in the beautiful town of 'sadanga'. 'sadanga' is the ancient name of Audh in Maharashtra and is located 'south' compared to Jageswara shrine in Uttarkhand and Dwaraka Nageswaram at West end.

This clearly shows that Nagnath Shrine at Audha [Parbhani Dist. Maharashtra] is the real Nageswara Jyothirlinga and Darukavana is located south-west of Vindhyas. Darukavana has nothing to do with Dwarakavana or Daruvana.

Nearest Rail Head is Parbhani Station on Manmad-Nanded line.