“Blessed by VerulNagar, there is no other place like it on this earth, where Lord Grishneswara resides, the best place on this earth.
On this holy pilgrimage of the JyotirLingas of Lord Shankara, the last one, with out whiten the Pilgrimage will not be considered as complete, is the twelth JyotirLingas, of Ghrishneswar.
About 30 km towards the west side of Aurangabad, there is a village called Verul. In this Village there is place of pilgrimage called Shivalay, when the great Holy Trilinga of Ghrishneswar is located. The stories associated with Verul, Shivalay and Ghrishneswar are like this:
This was originally a settlement of the Naga trives. The place of the Nagas is Bambi, whien is known as “varul” in Marathi “Varul” gradually changed into “Verul” and is known by this name only River Yelaganga flows here. The name “Verul” is derived from Yelaganga, on whose banks the village is located, There was a king by the name “Yela” here. The capital of his kingdom was yelapar, or Yelur or Verul.
Once the king went hunting. While hunting, the king killed the animals living with the Rishis and munis too. Seeing this, the irate Saints cursed the king, as a result of which, his entire body was infestied with insects.
Now, smitten by this curse, the king began to wander in the forest. His throat was parched because he was very thirsty. There was, alas, no water to be found amywhere. At last he found a water hole made by the hooves of a horse. Just as the king started to drink water a miracle occured. The king’s body was rid of all the insects. The king did severe penance (Tapa) there. Lord Brahma was pleased and appeared before him and installed Parashta Teerth there. He also created a huge and holy lake near by.
This Brahma sarovar later came to be known as Shivalay.
There is a story about Shivalay also:
Once Shiva and Parvati were playing chess on mount Kaiiasa. Parvati checkmated Shiva. Shankara was angry, at this and went away southward.
He went and stayed at a place on the Sahyadri range, where there is colol preeze. This place was given the name of Maheshamauli Basinasal. Parvati came there looking for Shankar. She won the heart of Shiva in the form of a bhilmountain tribal girl. They both spent some time there happily.
This forest came to be known as kamyakavana. Lord Mai lesha for bade crows from enticing the area of mahesmouli or Bhainsmal. One day, Parvati was very thirty. Shankara pierced earth with his trident and got the, water of Bhagavata from the Patal (Netherworld). This is the Shivalay.
The Shivalay expands a little ahead where Shivanadi (Shivananadi) meets it and a little more for ther, Yelaganga also just it when Shiva and Parvati were busy in their love-play, a hunter by the name Sadhanva come there looking for prey A miracle appended and Sudhanwa turned into a woman. At this he did a severe Tapa there. Shankara was please and appeared. Actually, Sudhanwa was a woman in his previous life. Thus, Shankara from that very curse of becoming a woman, turned Suchanwa into Yelaganga river.Thus, Punya Sarita Yelaganga was born in the Kamyawana. Later, it was to become the bathing place called Dhara Teerth or ‘Sita’s Snangriha” (Bathroom) and flow from a higher place and goes through Verul village.
Once, Parvati was about to fill her hair parting with vermillion and saffron, in Kamyavana. She kept them in her left palm and mixed the water of Shivalay in it. With the right thumb she started mixing them both. Then a miracle occurred. Vermillion turned into a ShivaLinga and a great light appeared in it. Parvati was awestruck at this. Then Lord Shankara said.
“This Linga was hidden in the Patala.” And removed it with this Trident Then a bubble emerged from the earth-with water (kashikhand)”
Parvati kept that glorious light in stone Linga and installed it there.This Purna (complete) JyotirLingas is called Kunkumeshwar. But since Dakshayani created this Linga with the Function of her thumb, She gave it the name of Grishneshwara. (Ghrishna means friction).
On the southern mountain called Deva Parvata, a great scholar Brahmin Sudharma of Bharadwaja gotra, used to live with his beautiful, devout wife called Sudeha. They had no children. They were very unhappy becuse of this. They were harassed and tortured by the sly remarks of their neighbours. But Sudharma, an intelligent person, did not care about these, One day, Sudeha threatened to commit suicide and sister Dushma, marry her husband. Both of them promised that there would be no jealousy between them.
After sometime, Dushma gave birth to a son. And eventually eventhat son married. Both Sudharma and Dushma, were nice to Sudeha. But jealousy did get the better of of Sudeha. Once she picked up Dushma’s son who was sleeping by her side and killed him. She threw the body into the lake nearby.
In the morning there was a big hue and cry. Dushma’s grief knew no bounds. Even then, she went to the river to do her routine worship. She made her usual hundred Lingas began she saw her son standing near the lake. Shiva was pleased with her workship and revealed the thruth about Sudhas deeds. He went after her to destroy her. Dushma pleaded with Siva, for forgiveness of Sudeha’s sin. She indeed requested Shiva to remain there itself forthe welfare of the humanity.
Shiva acceded to her request and remained there with the name of Dhushamesha.
The very devout Shiva devotee, Bhosale (The Patel of chief of Verul) once found a treasure hidden in the snake pit (ant hill) by the grace of Lord Ghrishneshwar. He spent that money to renovate the Temple and built a lake in Shikharshinganapur. Later, Lord Bholenath Himself took birth in the Bhosale family and made it famous.
Later on, Goutamibai (Bayajabai) and Ahilyadevi Holkar renovated the Ghrishneshwar temple. This 240 ft X185 ft temple is still there strong and beautiful, as ever. Halfway up the Temple, Dashavataras are carved in red stone. These are beautiful to look at. There are also reveal other beautiful statuettes carved out. A donor by the name Jayaram Bhatia, got a copper tower with gold sheeting and designs, made. A court hall is built on 24 pillars. On these pillars there are wonderful carvings. The scenes and paintings are beautiful. The Garbhagriha measures 17 ft x 17 ft. The Lingamurty faces eastward. There is a gorgeous Nandikeshwara in the court hall.
The temple is managed by a committee appointed by the government. During the day twelve drums are played and arati is performed. While entering the Garbhagriha one has to undress and go. Mondays, Pradosh and Shivaratri and other festivals see a big mela (Fete) happening here. The place is always busy with a lot of pilgrims. Of the 21 Ganesha peethas, one is famous by the name Lakshavinayaka. First of all, people go to the Laksha vinayaka shrine. This place always echoes with the chanting of Shiva’s names.
Om Namah Shivaye! Om Namah Shivaya!