Naimisharanya is a small town located near Lucknow in state of Uttar Pradesh, India. The name Naimisharanya is also famous by various names like Naimisharan, Nimsaar and Neemsar.
The name Naimisharanya is derived from Naimisha and Aranaya the means ‘Forest of Knowledge.’
Naimisharan Pilgrimage is one of the most revered pilgrimages of India. It is believed that Naimisharan is a place that would be untouched from the chaos of dreaded Kaliyuga described in scriptures of India. Many of the scriptures of India and Vedic Mythologies describe Kaliyuga as one of the four Yuga in the cycle of creation and destruction of Earth. Not only Indian but world scriptures present a concept of Apocalypse that is said to engulf world once chaos, disharmony and human values would extinct in future.
Temple Timing :
Temple remains open till 6 PM at night. So, visit this place according to Temple Time otherwise you may get despair.
Historical Evidence of Naimisharanya Pilgrimage :
It is believed that Satyanarayan Vrat Katha which is an usual recitation in Hinduism was first delivered at Naimisharanya. There is mention in Skanda Purana of name Naimisharanya as quoted in Hindi, “एकदा नैमिशारंये ऋषयः शौनकादय”. It translates that there was a Shaunak Rishi in Naimisharanya.
A mention of Naimisharanya is also found in Kurma Purana wherein it is written:
इदं त्रैलोक्य विखायातं तीर्थ नामिश्मुत्तम्म
महादेव प्रियाकरण महापताकनाशनम
It translates to Naimisharnya is famous in Indraloka i.e. abode of Lord Indra, the deity of Rain and Thunder in Hinduism. It removes sins of people.
There are mentions of Naimisharanya in Valmiki Ramayana, Mahabharata and other scriptures. There is also mention of this place in Ain-i-Akbari of Mughal Period. Various Yajna and Rituals have been performed at this place.
Origin of Naimisharanya Pilgrimage :
It is said that once Sage Shaunak reached Lord Brahma to get Gyana. Gyana has a broader concept in Hinduism than its literal translation of knowledge in English. Then Lord Brahma gave the Chakra or Wheel of Knowledge. Lord Brahma advised Sage Shaunak to meditate at the place where the wheel stops. The wheel stopped at Naimisharanya near River Gomti. The place was earlier uninhabited like nowadays. In ancient India sages and saints used to meditate here in dense forests.
Religious significance of Naimisharanya :
This place has very deep roots in Hinduism. It has been visited by many sages and saints who have contributed immense to Indian Culture and Hindu Religion with their immense knowledge. Many Sages like Shankaracharya, Tulsidas, Surdas and many Alwar Saints have visited at the place. There is a Vishnu Temple that is famed to be one of 8 most revered Vishnu Temple of India. Seven of these 8 temples are as below:
- Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple
- Bhu Varaha Swamy temple, Tirumala
- Venkateswara Temple
- Vanamamalai Perumal Temple
- Badrinath Temple
Temple has a Chakra Kunda that is related to Chakra or the wheel that was thrown to show path of knowledge to Sage Shaunak. It is believed that Chakra Kunda relieves one of past misdeeds. Getting rid of misdeeds and sins is a matter of debate in Hinduism though it has immense importance. There are several other shrines dedicated to various gods and goddesses of Hinduism. The presiding deity at Chakra Kunda is Lalitha.