Girshneshwar Temple - Listed Under UNESCO World Heritage Sites Grishneshwar Temple - Also called as Dhushmeshwar Temple Grishneshwar Temple - One of the 12 Jyotirlingas

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Timings : Usual Timings - 05:30 AM to 09:00 PM (Open all days of the week)
Shravan Month Timings – 03:00 AM to 11:00 PM (all days from August to September)

Time Required : 3-4 hours

Entry Fee : Free

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"One of the 12 Jyotirlingas"

Grishneshwar temple, Aurangabad Overview

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grishneshwar Temple located in Ellora is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. Also known as Ghrneshwar or Dhushmeshwar Temple, this Jyotirlinga in Aurangabad is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered an important pilgrimage site. Grishneshwar is the smallest of the Jyotirlingas and is considered the last or the 12th Jyotirlinga of India.

Entry to the Grishneshwar Temple is open to all, but to enter the Garbhagriha (the main sanctum housing the Shiva Linga), men need to be bare-chested. This is also one of the only Jyotirlingas in India where the devotees can touch the Shiva Linga with bare hands.

The temple architecture follows a South Indian Style and it is known to be one of the holiest places to visit in Aurangabad. The five-tiered shikhara of the Grishneshwar Temple is spectacularly carved and constructed in the traditional temple architecture style. Rebuilt several times, the current form temple was built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in the 18th century.

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Legend of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga

The most famous legend of Grishneshwar talks about Ghushma, a woman married to her sister’s husband, Sudharm. The sister, Sudeha, could not bear a child with the husband, Sudharm. The fear of being childless pushed her to ask her sister, Ghushma to marry Sudharm. She also advised her to offer prayers to Lord Shiva, make 101 Shivalingas and immerse them in a waterbody. Her prayers are said to be answered and she gave birth to a baby boy. Sudeha also is believed to have become jealous of her sister, killed the son and threw him in the same waterbody. The son was married by then.

The next day, the son’s wife, discovered bloodstains on the bed and found her husband missing. Ghushma was in between her rituals prayers when her daughter-in-law came to tell her about her son. Ghushma did not let her narration disturb her and continued with her rituals. She believed Lord Shiva will save her son. She began chanting and after the prayers when she was about to immerse the Shivalinga in the waterbody, she saw her son coming. Lord Shiva also appeared, pleased by her devotion and asked her another boon. Ghushma requested him to reside there eternally. Lord Shiva, thus, manifested himself into a Jyotirlinga and came to be known as Ghushmeshwar.

Architecture of Grishneshwar Temple

  • Grishneshwar Temple has a traditional South-Indian Temple architecture.
  • The temple complex consists of inner chambers and a sanctum sanctorum.
  • The structure is made up of red coloured stones and occupies an area of 44,400 square feet. With these dimensions also, the Grishneshwar Temple is the smallest Jyotirlinga temple.
  • The temple has a 5-layered tall shikhara and several pillars which bear intricate mythological carvings.
  • The red-stone walls mostly depict the legends of Lord Shiva and the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
  • The garbhagriha or the sanctum sanctorum has the Shivalinga facing east. It measures about 289 square feet and has a statue of Nandi in the passageway.

How to Reach Grishneshwar Temple

Tourists can reach Grishneshwar Temple from Aurangabad via road. The city is 31.5 kilometres away from the temple and connected by Maharashtra State Transport buses. The Aurangabad Central Bus Station is barely 29 kilometres away. There are frequent buses heading to Ellora almost every day.

The second-best option is to self-drive or rent a cab to reach Grishneshwar Temple from Aurangabad. The route to be taken goes via SH 60 – NH 52. Those taking a bus ride would have to disembark at Grishneshwar Temple Road and walk towards the temple.

History of Grishneshwar Temple

The actual date of establishment of the Grishneshwar Temple is unknown but it is believed to be built before the 13th Century. When the Mughal Empire acquired the region that included Velur (now known as Ellora) where the temple is located, the region witnessed some devastating Hindu-Muslim conflicts and the temple was destroyed sometime between the 13th and the 14th Century.

Maloji Bhosale, the Grandfather of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, as the chief of Verul, played an important role in rebuilding the temple in the 16th Century. It is said that Maloji Bhosale found a hidden treasure which he spent in reconstructing the temple and also built an artificial lake at Shanishingnapur.

Grishneshwar Temple suffered several more attacks by the Mughals even after the 16th Century. It required rebuilding a few more times during the Mughal-Maratha wars that happened between 1680 and 1707. In the 18th Century, it was rebuilt for the last time when the Mughal Empire was defeated by the Marathas. The Queen of Indore, Rani Ahalyabai sponsored the reconstruction of the temple that can be seen even today.

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