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The Parikrama (circumambulation of holy places) of Naimisharanya has a great significance. It is held annually between Phalgun Amavasya to Phalgun Poornima.
Naimisharanya (Neemsar) is a land steeped with Hindu mythology linking it to Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Goddess Sati and Lord Shiva. The place is unique owing to the belief that it is the land where the pantheon of 33 Hindu God & Goddesses reside. It also believed to be the first most sacred of all pilgrim centres for Hindus. It is said that if one performs penance for 12 years on this land, one moves to Brahmaloka. The place is located on the banks of River Gomti in Sitapur district at a distance of 94 Km from Lucknow. This place finds mention as a dense forest in several ancient scriptures, including the Mahabharata. It is definitely worth a day trip to visit the various shrines. A paved street encircling the town connects the primary shrines and visitors can cover the circuit in a couple of hours.
Legend has it that the consequences of an imminent Kalyug drove many sages to Brahma to seek refuge. He rolled his Chakra (wheel) across Earth and told them to follow it till it rests; it is believed that Chakratirth is the place where Lord Brahma’s wheel cracked through the Earth developing a large source of water. However, due to high flow of water the saints then requested Lord Brahma to help them. On Lord Brahma’s request then arrived Goddess Lalita Devi who re-established the Chakra (Wheel) and controlled the flow. This formed a kund (pond) here, known as Chakra Kund. Today, this spot is surrounded by a promenade dotted with shrines honouring many Hindu deities.
This is the place where Lord Rama performed the tenth Ashwamedha Yagna. The spot is marked by an ancient temple with idols of Lord Rama, Lakshman along with Janaki and Lord Shiva called Siddheshawar Mahadev.
After his victory over Ahiravana in Patal Lok, Lord Hanuman first emerged here, hence the place draws high significance for his devotees. There is a magnificent stone-carved statue of Lord Hanuman, with Lord Rama and Lakshman sitting on his shoulders. The temple is called, Dakshineshwar, as idol of Lord Hanuman here is facing southwards.
Lalita Devi Temple
Lalita Devi is the presiding deity of Naimisharanya. The temple is an ancient shrine and as per the legends or various Puraanas when Devi Sati burnt herself in the Yogi Agni after Daksha Yajna, Shiva carried her body on his shoulder and started performing Shiv Tandav. Due to which the creation of universe was affected and so Lord Vishnu divided Devi Sati’s body into 108 parts. It is believed that the heart of Devi Sati is present in Naimisharanya and is one of the Shakti Peeth’s Known as Lalita Devi. As per another folklore it is also believed that by Lord Brahma’s order Lalita Devi appeared here for the destructions of Asurs in Devasur Sangram. The temple is a beautiful cantilevered, multi-limbed divinity over entrance flanked by elephant statues.
Misrikh Teerth or Dadhichi Kund
When ousted from devlok by the asura Vritra who could only be killed by a pious object, not weapons Devraj Indra pleaded to Vishnu, who advised him to request Maharishi Dadhichi for his ribs; the sage reluctantly agreed. Indra is said to have then fashioned a Vajra and slain the demon. All of this transpired in Misrikh, 10 KM away, where a temple, ashram (hermitage) and kund (pond) mark the event.
Nardanand Saraswati Ashram
The spiritual education at Swami Nardanand Temple is imparted in the old traditional manner which makes it worth a visit.
According to the legends, this is the fort of King Virat of Mahabharata. During the ‘Vanvas’ (exile), this is the fort where Pandavas lived. It is home to some splendid statues of Pandavas and Lord Krishna.
Puram Mandir and Ashram of Ma Anandmayi
This temple dates back to ancient times. You can find the Ashram (hermitage) of Ma Anandmayi nearby the temple
This is believed to be the place where Goddess Sita took a bath before heading for Vanvas (exile). Hence, the name Sita Kund.
It is believed that this is the place where Maharishi Soot narrated the Shri Shaunak to around 88000 saints and rishis. Manu chose this place for ‘tapasya’ (deep meditation). There is an age old Vat tree nearby.
This is the place where Ved Vyaas divided the Vedas into 4 main parts and formed Puranas. He preached Shrimad Bhagvathgita and Puranas to his disciples Jaimini, Vaisamaayam, Shuk Dev, Suth, Angeera and Pail. There is an ancient Banyan Tree which is said to be a blessed and is believed that anyone who performs Yoga under this tree can get rid of even an incurable disease.