Remarkable Nageshvara Jyotirlinga, Gujarat

Nageswar Jyotilinga, Dwaraka. TripAdvisor

Nageswar Jyotilinga, believed to be the first one on the earth is in Dwaraka, Gujarat. It is  one of the prominent 12 jyotirlings that are located across India. Here, the all-pervading Almighty Shiva appears in the form a huge column of fire, stretching up into the sky and and down into the abyss - patal, thus proving his supremacy in spite of his being   simple in form. The radiance from him, it is believed, destroys all bad elements and instills positive energy, driving away the negative elements, ignorance and darkness in us.

Given below are engaging legends about Nageswar Jyotirlinga:

According to Shivapurana,  demon named Daruka,  terrorized sages and Shiva devotees in a place called Darukavana, an ancient forest in India  under the sea inhabited by sea snakes and demons. Indian epics Kamyakavana, Dvaitavana, Dandakavana made mention of Darukavana. They caused untold miseries and the Shiva devotees led by one  Supriya prayed to Lord Shiva intensely. Upon their continuous prayer, Lord Shiva appeared and vanquished the demon Daruka  and later resided there in the form of a Jyotirlinga. The Demon's wife Daruki,who was angry over Daruk's death, obtained immense power from Parvati, consort of Shiva, moved the entire forest - Dharakavana under the sea   and continued to harass the sages and Shiva devotees. Literally, she held them hostage. Supriya, together with other devotees,  prayed to Shiva by chanting the mantra Om Namaha Shivay in  praise of Shiva. Though he had no food, never  had Supriya failed to do Puja to Shiva while in prison and this  irritated demons  who wanted to put Supriya to death. Supriya and others  prayed to Lord Shankara  to save their lives from the demons.
Nageshwar Jyotirling, Dwaraka, Gujarat. Temple Advisor

 The Lord appeared before him at once and destroyed the entire group of demons including their families. Because of Parvati's boon to Daruki, she saved some  Demons. Then Shiva and Parvati stayed there  and  Shiva once again assumed the form of JyotirLinga,  and the lingam worshiped by Supriya was  called Nageswar, while Parvati was known as Nageshwari.

As for the location of Darukavana, no acceptable explanation is available. It could be in the  western Himalayas, however, Sri Shankarachariya of Kaladi  praised this Jyotilinga as Naganath and inferred that the location could be  south west of the Vindhya Mountains extending to the sea in the west ( vide Dvadasha Jyotirlinga Stotra ..6 ). It could mean the town of Sadanga whose ancient name was Aundh in Maharashtra, south of the Jageswara shrine in Uttarakhand and west of Dwaraka Nageshvara.

The other legend has it that once the Pancha Pandavas (of Mahabharata) in the course of their exile (Vanavasa - spending life in the forest) settled here  on the bank of the river and built their home. Whenever their cows went to the near-by river for drinking water, they had let their milk flow into the river as if it was an offering to the god. One day, one of the Pandava brothers, Bhima, upon seeing the miracle, immediately told his brother Dharmaraja about it. The brothers  suspected the association of divinity with the river at that particular place. Then the Pandavas  explored the river bed and found it to be hot and the water was boiling.
Bheema with his mace struck the the river thrice and the  water gave way instantly. Instantly, blood had begun to ooze like a spring and  Lord Shankara’s Linga  was visible  as the Jyotirlinga.

The Nageswar  temple architecture is impressive with strong boundary walls around it.  This temple is believed to have been  built with stones during the Pandava period. As in other temples,  the idol of  Nagesha Lingamurthy is in the Garbhagraha -Sanctum.

Unlike numerous Shiva temple, there is no  Nandi (bull) idol in front of Mahadeva and there is a separate Nandikeshwara shrine on the temple premises.  On all the four sides of the main temple, there are small shrines  for the twelve JyotirLingas. Also present are small shrines dedicated  to Vedavyasa Linga, Bhandareshwar, Nilakanteshwar, Ganapati, Dattatreya, Muralimanohar, Dasavatar temple and idols etc., In all, there are 108 Shiva lingas and 68 shrines  located here.
Nageshwar Jyotirling, Dwaraka, Gujarat. en.wikipedia.
There is an interesting story  about the direction of Nageshwar Mahadev Sivalingam that faces South while the Gomugam is facing east. An avid  devotee by name Naamdev, while busy  in praise of Shiva and doing bhajans was asked by the devotees to move to other place as he was blocking the view. He asked them to show the direction. The impatient crowd removed him to the south side. Naamdev was sad that he could not continue the bhajan in front of the god. At that time a miracle had happened. The Lingam slowly turned toward south side and  the Gomugam was  facing east. Every 12 years, at the time of Kapila Shashti, kashi Ganga offering as “Padarpan” is performed.

During the first hour in the early morning, the temple priests perform  Pooja and Rudrabhishekam. Contrary to the tradition being followed at  numerous Shiva temples, here the devotees are allowed to perform Abhishekam (anointing) on the   Jyotirlinga in the Grabagraha-Sanctum .

The main religious festivals of this shrine are Magh  month festival in January-February, Ganesh Chaturthi (Vinayaka Chaturthi) in August-September,  Makar Sankranti, etc.  Special pujas are performed in the temple for Lord and Goddess Ambika on Deepavali.  Pradosha days – 13th day of New Moon or Full Moon days, procession of Lord in Kailash Vahana, 29 day Brammotsavam in May-June, Skanda Sashti in October-November, Maha Shivarathri in February - March and 10 day Ashada Purnima (Aadi Pooram) in July-August are other temple festivals that are attended by lots of devotees.