The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 1,344,335 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.

Chapter 2 - A List of Different Sacred Places of Śiva on the Earth

Nandikeśvara replied:

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.

7. Some of them are on the banks of Gaṅgā; some on the banks of Sarasvatī. Others are on the banks of Kālindī (Yamunā). Some of them are on the banks of Śoṇa.

8. Others are on the banks of Narmadā; still others on the banks of Godāvarī. Some are on the banks of Gomatī; others on the banks of Haimavatī.[1]

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.

10. Some are on the banks of Kṛṣṇaveṇī;[2] others are near Tuṅgabhadrā. A few are on Upaveṇī and others near the river Śakti.

11. Others are on the banks of Kāverī. Some are on the banks of Vegavatī.[3] Others are on the banks of Tāmraparṇī; a few are on the banks of Muralā.[4]

12-13. Some are on the banks of Airāvatī.[5] Others are on the banks of Yātukāṃkṣikā(?). A few are on the banks of Kanyā; a few are on the banks of Kumārī.[6] Others are near Tamasā[7] and Varuṇā.[8] Others are on either side of Mandākinī; others are on the banks of Śiprā; still others in the neighbourhood of Sarayū.

14. Some are near Vipāśā,[9] while others are on the banks of Śatadru;[10] some are near Carmaṇvatī,[11] while some are on the banks of Bhīmarathī.[12]

15. Some are in the vicinity of Bindusaras;[13] others are on the banks of Paṃpā Lake.[14] A few are very near Bhairavī and some are on the banks of Kauśikī.[15]

16. Others are on the banks of Mālinī;[16] still others on the banks of Gandhavatī.[17] A few are in the neighbourhood of Mānasa. Some are on the banks of Acchoda.[18]

17. Others are on the (shores of) Indradyumna lake; a few are on Maṇikarṇikā. Others are on the banks of Varadā;[19] a few are on Tāpī; others are in the vicinity of Pātālagaṅgā; still others near Śarāvatī.

18. Some are on the banks of Lohityā;[20] some are on the banks of Kālamā; others are very near Vitastā;[21] still others are near Candrabhāgā.[22]

19. Some are in the neighbourhood of Suralā; others are on the banks of Payoṣṇī;[23] some are on the banks of Madhumatī;[24] some are near Pinākinī.[25]

20. The holy place of Vārāṇasī has already been mentioned. It is very sacred and it extends to five Krośa (i.e. 15 kms). There the Lord named Avimukta is worshipped by Viśālākṣī.

21. Know that place to be Kāśī, O sage, where there is (the Tīrtha of) Kapālamocana and where Kālabhairava is also there. It is the place where Rudra-hood is attained on dying there.[26]

22. Gayā and Prayāga have also been mentioned to you. They bestow all types of Siddhis. By offering rice-balls there Pitṛs (Manes) certainly become contented.

23. You have heard about Kedāra[27] where the Daitya who had assumed the form of buffalo was killed by the Goddess. This place causes all welfare unto men.

24. The holy place of Badarikāśrama[28] confers all types of Siddhis unto men. The Three-eyed Lord accompanied by the Goddess is present here. He has been worshipped by Nara and Nārāyaṇa.

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’).

26. The holy spot of Amareśa has been described as conducive to the attainment of all objectives. There the Lord is called Oṃkāra[29] and the great Goddess is called Caṇḍikā.

27. The great holy place named Puṣkara has been spoken of by me and heard of by you. There the Lord is called Rujogandhi and the great Goddess Puruhūtā.

28. The sanctifying place named Āṣāḍhī has been mentioned to you by me. There Hara is called Āṣāḍheśa and the supreme Goddess is called Ratīśā.

29. The holy spot called Daṇḍimuṇḍī has been told to you, where the great Lord is Muṇḍī and the supreme Goddess is Daṇḍikā.

30. The pure and sanctified holy spot named Lākula[30] has been mentioned to you by me. It is the place where Hara is Lākulīśa and Sarvamaṅgalā (i.e. Pārvatī) is Anaṅgā.

31. The holy place Bhārabhūti has been mentioned to you by me. There Śaṃbhu is called Bhāra and the daughter of the Mountain is called Bhūti.

32. The sacred spot named Arālakeśvara has been mentioned to you by me. The Trident-bearing Lord is called Sūkṣma there and the daughter of the Mountain is called Sūkṣmā.

33. The great holy spot named Gayā has beeṇ described to you by me. There Śivā (‘Pārvatī’) is called Maṅgalā and Śaṅkara is called Prapitāmaha (‘Great-grandfather’).

34. The sacred place called Kurukṣetra has been described to you. There the Goddess is Sthāṇupriyā and the Lord is called Sthāṇu.

35. The excellent holy spot named Kanakhala[31] has been mentioned to you by me. There the enemy of the Puras (i.e. Śiva) is Ugra and the daughter of the excellent Mountain is Ugrā.

36. The great holy place named Tālaka has been spoken of by me, O Mārkaṇḍeya. There the Goddess is Svāyaṃbhuvī and the supreme Lord is Svayaṃbhū.

37. The great holy spot named Aṭṭahāsa[32] has been mentioned by me to you. By worshipping Īśa there Arka (i.e. the Sun-god) had all his desires fulfilled.

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.

39. The great Īśa named Mallikārjuna along with the Goddess named Bhramarāṃbikā was worshipped in Śrīśaila[33] by Brahmā for the sake of achieving (the power) to create.

40. On the banks of Suvarṇamukharī Śaṅkara under the name Kālahastī[34] along with Aṃbā named Bhṛṅgamukharālakā was propitiated by Vyāsa.

41. At Kāñcī the chastiser of Kāma (i.e. Śiva) stationed at the foot of Ekāmra (‘Single Mango Tree’) was embraced by Kāmākṣī who was engaged in penance and he became marked with the bangle.

42. There is (a holy place) named Vyāghrapura in the middle of the Tilli forest where Patañjali adores Īśāna in his dancing posture.

43. Formerly the sacred spot named Śvetāraṇya has been spoken of to you by me, where Airāvata regained his broken tusk by worshipping Śiva.

44. I have told you about the holy spot Setubandha.[35] There Rāghava installed the Lord called Rāmanātha who annihilates sins.

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.

47. The most excellent holy spot named Śrimanmadhyārjuna[36] has been heard of in which Hara in close association with Gaurī is always present to confer boons.

48. The holy Tīrtha named Somatīrtha[37] 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.

49. Indeed you have heard of the holy spot named Siddhavaṭa where Siddhas worship the excellent Jyotirliṅga (‘Fiery Liṅga’).

50. The holy place named Kamalālaya has been surely heard of by you. It is the place where Śrī was obtained alive by Hari through the worship of Valmīkeśa.

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.

53. The holy place named Brahmapura[38] has been heard of (by you). It is the place where formerly Indrajit installed Dhūrjaṭi (i.e. Śiva) on the banks of Ārya Puṣkariṇī.

54. You know the holy spot named Śrīkoṭikā where the Moon-crested Lord dispels crores of sins of the persons who propitiate (him).

55. The holy spot Gokarṇa[39] has been heard of. Jāmadagnya (i.e. Paraśurāma) desirous of propitiating Śiva here ceased to wish for heaven.

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.

58. The holy spot Priyālavaṇa has been recounted. There the Lord of Aṃbikā profusely poured out an ocean of milk to Upamanyu who sought milk.

59. The holy place Prabhāsa[40] 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.

60. You do know Vedāraṇya[41] where the Lord of Pramathas was earnestly requested previously by Dakṣa who had committed sins, for the grant of salvation.

61. You have heard of the holy spot Hemakūṭa[42] of the Three-eyed Lord. There is no fear from rebirth in the case of men who perform penance there.

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.

63. The holy spot of (Śiva) the enemy of Andhaka named Jālandhara[43] has been heard of by you. There Jālandhara performed penance and obtained the leadership of the Gaṇas.

64. You have known about the holy place Jvālāmukha[44] mentioned by me. There the Goddess Jvālāmukhī worshipped Kālarudra.

65. There is a sacred spot named Bhadravaṭa. It has been mentioned (by me) and heard of by you. For the sake of riches Heraṃba (i.e. Lord Gaṇeśa) worshipped the Three-eyed Lord here.

66. The holy place Nyagrodhāraṇya has been mentioned to you, where Ugra (i.e. Lord Śiva) performed the terrific dance called Tāṇḍava and competed with Kālī.

67. That holy spot named Gandhamādana[45] has been heard of by you. It is the place where Āñjaneya (i.e. Hanumān) performed the worship of Mṛtyuñjaya.

68. The sacred place of Śaṃbhu named Goparvata[46] has been proclaimed by me. There Pāṇini [ī?] acquired the foremost place among grammarians.

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.

71. The holy spot of Maheśvara named Mayūrapura[47] has been mentioned by me to you. Indra performed holy rites and observances there and gained his thunderbolt.

72. The sacred place Śrīsundara[48] on the banks of Vegavatī has been mentioned. Even in Kaliyuga the Lord of the Devas shines there.

73. You do know the holy place Kuṃbhakoṇa[49] of Śaṃbhu. There in the month of Māgha even Gaṅgā presents herself for absolving herself of (all) her sins.

74. The holy spot named Tryaṃbaka[50] near the banks of Godāvarī has been heard of by you. It was there that Guha obtained (his weapon) Śakti that killed Tārakāsura.

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).

78. O sinless one, the holy spot Raktakānana has been mentioned by me to you. Rudra manifested himself and granted boons to Mitra and Varuṇa there.

79. The holy spot Śrīhāṭakeśvara situated in Pātāla has been heard of by you. The son of Virocana (i.e. Bali) worships the Lord there in order to regain his position.

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:

[1]:

Generally identified with the river Rishikulya in Ganjam District, Orissa.

[2]:

Krishna which rising in the Western Ghats joins the Bay of Bengal.

[3]:

Vai Gai on the banks of which Madura stands.

[4]:

The river Nerbuda (De 134).

[5]:

Rāvī (Punjab) (De 9).

[6]:

The author probably means Kanyākumārī.

[7]:

The river Tons, a branch of Sarayu. It flows through Azamgarh and joins Gaṅgā.

[8]:

The river Barṇā in Vārāṇasī.

[9]:

Bias (Punjab).

[10]:

Sutlej.

[11]:

The river Chambal flows through Rajasthan and M.P.

[12]:

Bhima on which stands the holy place Pandharpur. It joins Krishna.

[13]:

A sacred pool in Rudra-Himalayas, two miles south of Gangotri. Here King Bhagīratha performed penance for bringing down Gaṅgā from heaven.

[14]:

A lake near Hampi in Karnataka. It is associated with Rāma and his ally Sugrīva.

[15]:

The river Kosi.

[16]:

A tributary of Ghagra. The hermitage of Kaṇva, Śakuntalā’s foster-father, was on this river (Vide Kālidāsa’s Śākuntala, Act III).

[17]:

A small branch of Sipra on which the temple of Mahākāla is situated (De 61).

[18]:

Lake Achchāvat in Kashmir, six miles from Marttanda (De 1).

[19]:

The river Wardha in Vidarbha, Maharashtra.

[20]:

Brahmaputra.

[21]:

Jhelum in Kashmir.

[22]:

The river Chenab (Punjab).

[23]:

Pain-Ganga, a branch of Wardha, Vidarbha, Maharashtra.

[24]:

Mowar or Modhwar river. It rises near Ranod and joins Sind in Malwa (De 115).

[25]:

The river Pennarin, Tamil Nadu (De 157).

[26]:

It is an age-old belief that death at Vārāṇasī liberates a person from Saṃsāra.

[27]:

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.).

[28]:

Badarikāśrama or Badrinath in Garhwal (U.P.) famous for the temple of Nara-Nārāyaṇa.

[29]:

Oṃkāra—Māndhāta on Narmadā, 32 mites north-west of Khandwa (De 142).

[30]:

Karwan in Dabhoi District, Gujarat.

[31]:

Kanakhala—A village two iṇḍes to the east of Hardwar (U.P.). Dakṣa’s sacrifice was destroyed by Vīrabhadra here.

[32]:

Aṭṭahāsa—On the eastern part of Labhapur in Birbhum District of Bengal.

[33]:

Śrīśaila—Famous Śiva-shrine in the Karnual District of Andhra Pradesh. It is also famous as Śrīparvata in old Sanskrit works.

[34]:

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.

[35]:

The same as Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.

[36]:

Madhyārjuna—Thiruvidaimarudur—six miles from Kumbhakonam and 20 miles from Tanjore, Tamil Nadu.

[37]:

Somatīrtha—Prabhāsa noted for its Jyotirliṅga; Somanātha in Gujarat.

[38]:

Brahmapura—Garhwal and Kumaon (De 40). But both are inapplicable in the Indrajit-context here.

[39]:

Known as Gokarṇa-Mahābaleśvara in North Canara (Karnatak).

[40]:

Somatīrtha—Prabhāsa noted for its Jyotirliṅga; Somanātha in Gujarat.

[41]:

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.

[42]:

The same as mount Kailāsa (De 115).

[43]:

The same as Jullunder, the headquarter of the District of the same name in Punjab.

[44]:

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.

[45]:

In this context a branch of Rudra Himalayas is not improbable though the author’s list generally mentions places in Tamil Nadu.

[46]:

Takht-i-Sulaiman mountain near Srinagar in Kashmir (De 129).

[47]:

The same as Hardwar (De 129).

[48]:

Madurai which stands on the river Vai-Gai (Vegavatī) and not Kāñcī as the Śiva thereof is called Ekāmranātha.

[49]:

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).

[50]:

The famous Śiva shrine in Nasik District near Nasik in Maharashtra State.

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