by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 750,347 words
This page describes List of Different Sacred Places of Shiva on the Earth which is chapter 2 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the second chapter of the Arunacala-khanda (Uttarardha) of the Maheshvara-khanda of the Skanda Purana.
1. O sage, the most excellent among the devotees of Maheśvara, it is for the welfare of all living beings, whether mobile or immobile, that (such) a holy place is being enquired into by you.
2. The birth of embodied beings has been ordained in different species by the Lord in accordance with their different Karmans.
3. You have wished to hear (about these holy spots) for the sake of their great welfare. Otherwise the (cycle of their) worldly existence will not cease even in hundreds and crores of Kalpas.
4. The continuity of birth and death will never cease because they possess very little knowledge or have not performed holy rites adequately. It will go on like the Ghaṭīyantra (i.e. a series of buckets in a mechanical device to raise water from a well).
5. How can any embodied being be disconnected from the embryonic membrane? How can one be able to have perfect rest without pure knowledge?
6. The regions have been mentioned by me before incidentally along with the names of different sages, wherein Lord Śiva resides.
9. Others are on the shores of the ocean; still others are on the islands in the rivers; some are on the mouths (sources) of the rivers and some at their confluences.
12-13. Some are on the banks of Airāvatī. Others are on the banks of Yātukāṃkṣikā(?). A few are on the banks of Kanyā; a few are on the banks of Kumārī. Others are near Tamasā and Varuṇā. Others are on either side of Mandākinī; others are on the banks of Śiprā; still others in the neighbourhood of Sarayū.
17. Others are on the (shores of) Indradyumna lake; a few are on Maṇikarṇikā. Others are on the banks of Varadā; a few are on Tāpī; others are in the vicinity of Pātālagaṅgā; still others near Śarāvatī.
25. The sacred place of Naimiṣa has been heard of by you. It is the place where the holy Lord Maheśvara is called Devadeva (‘Lord of Devas’). The Goddess (is also present) holding the Sāraṅga (‘Deer’).
38. The holy place named Kṛttivāsa has beeṇ mentioned to you, O most excellent one among those conversant with the Vedas. Residence at this place is dearer to the Lord wearing the elephant hide than Kailāsa.
43. Formerly the sacred spot named Śvetāraṇya has been spoken of to you by me, where Airāvata regained his broken tusk by worshipping Śiva.
45. There is a holy spot named Gataprati where the Bull-emblemed Lord has resorted to the root of a Jaṃbū tree (‘Rose-apple’) for the sake of protecting the universe.
46. This has been certainly heard by you that the Lord is always present in the holy place named Vṛddhācala near the river Maṇimuktā.
48. The holy Tīrtha named Somatīrtha has been heard of by you. It is occupied by Somanātha. Those who cast off their bodies there have no further entanglement with the bondage of worldly existence.
51. You have heard of Kaṅkādri where Hara is present. For the sake of salvation even now Brahmā and Keśava adore that (Lord).
52. You know the glorious Droṇapura where the Lord of Pārvatī boarded the ship when the ocean got agitated at the end of Kaliyuga.
54. You know the holy spot named Śrīkoṭikā where the Moon-crested Lord dispels crores of sins of the persons who propitiate (him).
56. The holy spot Tripurāntaka has been mentioned to you, where the Three-eyed Lord dispels the fear of hells from those who visit him.
57. The holy place Kālāñjana has been mentioned. The Blue-necked Lord dwelling there rids the devotees of the terrible fever of worldly existence.
59. The holy place Prabhāsa has been mentioned to you. There the Lord with the crescent moon on his crest was worshipped by Śauri (i.e. Kṛṣṇa) and Sīrin (i.e. Balarāma) and he conferred (on them) inexhaustible benefit.
62. There is a holy spot named Veṇuvana. It is destructive of sins. There an auspicious jewel of pearl was produced from within the slender stem of bamboo.
69. Indeed the holy spot named Vīrakoṣṭha has been known (by you). There by means of penance Vālmīki attained the status of being the chief of poets.
70. You know the holy place spoken of as Mahātīrtha where all the Devas beginning with Brahmā have been taught by Śaṃbhu.
72. The sacred place Śrīsundara on the banks of Vegavatī has been mentioned. Even in Kaliyuga the Lord of the Devas shines there.
75. O sage, excellent among the knowers of the Vedas, the holy place Śrīpāṭala (known as) Vyāghrapura has been mentioned (to you). There Gaṅgādhara was worshipped by Triśaṅku for the sake of sanctifying his birth.
76. The holy place named Kadambapurī has been known by you. For your sake Śaṃbhu injured the god of Death with his trident.
77. The holy spot named Avināśa has been mentioned to you. There the Bull-emblemed Lord became pleased with Paḍīkaṇṭha [Paḍikaṇṭha?] and granted his presence (to him).
80. You know Kailāsa, the favourite residential place of Lord Śaṃbhu, where (Kubera) the Lord of Yakṣas, who is a perpetual servant of Śiva, devoutly worships the Three-eyed Lord.
81. Thus the abodes and holy spots of Lord Śiva mentioned by me formerly have been known by you also. What more do you wish to hear?
82. Thus the son of Śilāda (i.e. Nandikeśvara) told the leading sage (Mārkaṇḍeya), the son of Sage Mṛkaṇḍu. As he bowed down with devotion at his feet, he took pity on him and touched his head with his hand.
Footnotes and references:
Generally identified with the river Rishikulya in Ganjam District, Orissa.
Krishna which rising in the Western Ghats joins the Bay of Bengal.
Vai Gai on the banks of which Madura stands.
The river Nerbuda (De 134).
Rāvī (Punjab) (De 9).
The author probably means Kanyākumārī.
The river Tons, a branch of Sarayu. It flows through Azamgarh and joins Gaṅgā.
The river Barṇā in Vārāṇasī.
The river Chambal flows through Rajasthan and M.P.
Bhima on which stands the holy place Pandharpur. It joins Krishna.
A sacred pool in Rudra-Himalayas, two miles south of Gangotri. Here King Bhagīratha performed penance for bringing down Gaṅgā from heaven.
A lake near Hampi in Karnataka. It is associated with Rāma and his ally Sugrīva.
The river Kosi.
A tributary of Ghagra. The hermitage of Kaṇva, Śakuntalā’s foster-father, was on this river (Vide Kālidāsa’s Śākuntala, Act III).
A small branch of Sipra on which the temple of Mahākāla is situated (De 61).
Lake Achchāvat in Kashmir, six miles from Marttanda (De 1).
The river Wardha in Vidarbha, Maharashtra.
Jhelum in Kashmir.
The river Chenab (Punjab).
Pain-Ganga, a branch of Wardha, Vidarbha, Maharashtra.
Mowar or Modhwar river. It rises near Ranod and joins Sind in Malwa (De 115).
The river Pennarin, Tamil Nadu (De 157).
It is an age-old belief that death at Vārāṇasī liberates a person from Saṃsāra.
Kedāranātha—a great Liṅga of Śiva—is on the south of the confluence of Mandākinī and Dūdhagaṅgā. The shrine is in the region of Rudra-Himalayas, Garhwal (U.P.).
Badarikāśrama or Badrinath in Garhwal (U.P.) famous for the temple of Nara-Nārāyaṇa.
Oṃkāra—Māndhāta on Narmadā, 32 mites north-west of Khandwa (De 142).
Karwan in Dabhoi District, Gujarat.
Kanakhala—A village two iṇḍes to the east of Hardwar (U.P.). Dakṣa’s sacrifice was destroyed by Vīrabhadra here.
Aṭṭahāsa—On the eastern part of Labhapur in Birbhum District of Bengal.
Śrīśaila—Famous Śiva-shrine in the Karnual District of Andhra Pradesh. It is also famous as Śrīparvata in old Sanskrit works.
Kālahastī—This Vāyu (Wind) form of Śiva-Liṅga is on Suvarṇamukharī in the North Arcot District at a distance of a mile or so from Renugunta railway station.
The same as Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.
Madhyārjuna—Thiruvidaimarudur—six miles from Kumbhakonam and 20 miles from Tanjore, Tamil Nadu.
Somatīrtha—Prabhāsa noted for its Jyotirliṅga; Somanātha in Gujarat.
Brahmapura—Garhwal and Kumaon (De 40). But both are inapplicable in the Indrajit-context here.
Known as Gokarṇa-Mahābaleśvara in North Canara (Karnatak).
Somatīrtha—Prabhāsa noted for its Jyotirliṅga; Somanātha in Gujarat.
Vedāraṇya—A forest in Tanjore five miles north of point Calimere in Tamil Nadu (De 28). But in the context of Dakṣa the identification is doubtful.
The same as mount Kailāsa (De 115).
The same as Jullunder, the headquarter of the District of the same name in Punjab.
Jvālāmukhī—A place of pilgrimage 23 miles south of Kangra. Also known as a Śaktipīṭha. The temple of the Gṇḍdess is on the Jwālāmukhī hill.
In this context a branch of Rudra Himalayas is not improbable though the author’s list generally mentions places in Tamil Nadu.
Takht-i-Sulaiman mountain near Srinagar in Kashmir (De 129).
The same as Hardwar (De 129).
Madurai which stands on the river Vai-Gai (Vegavatī) and not Kāñcī as the Śiva thereof is called Ekāmranātha.
Kumbhaghoṇa or Kumbhaconum in Tanjore District, Tamil Nadu. There the sacred tank Kumbhakarṇa-kapāla or Mahā-māgam is visited by pilgrims in the month of Māgha (De 107).
The famous Śiva shrine in Nasik District near Nasik in Maharashtra State.