Among twelve 'Jyotirlingas' - representation of Lord Shiva in India, Omkareshwar is located in the district Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. Relieving the divinity in a place as celestials as the premise of the temple could be nothing else but otherworldly. One has to be here to feel the relevance of the written words.
Located precisely on an island in the River Narmada which is believed to have shape of Hindu symbol 'Om', the temple is visited by the Shaivites with deep faith. People go round of the temple while gaining 'darshan' of the lingam while doing Parikrama (circumambulation) of Om itself, which believed to give them 'punya'. 'Omkareshwar' literally mean 'Lord of Om (Omkar)', hence the name of the temple. The Jyotirlinga is supposed to be split from two rather than existing in singularity, the other one is known as Amareshwara, meaning 'Lord of Immortality' or 'Immortal Lord'.
The River Narmada which surrounds the island has smooth pebbles known as 'Banalinga' due to the resemblance with Shiva Lingam. Thus named 'Shankari', the river is considered to be among the most sacred. Moreover, the Narmada also is known to be the only river which is circumambulated by pilgrims, which is around 2600 Km on foot, passing through cities and towns like Jabalpur, Barwani, Hoshangabad, Harda, Narmada Nagar, Omkareshwar, Dewas, Mandla and Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh, and Rajpipla and Bharuch in Gujarat.
Where there is mention of Lord Shiva, the place ought to be enveloped by many mythology and legends inspiring mankind to be on the path of good. Some of them could be found here as well.
Once upon a time, when Narad Muni told Mount Vindhya about greatness of Mount Meru, he felt jealous and wanted to become greater than him. Inspired by this, he got engaged in 'tapasya', severe meditation for Lord Shiva to respond. Pleased, Lord Shiva appeared and gave Mount Vindhya what he wanted. This followed by installing a part of Himself split in two in Omkareshwara and Mamleshwar.
Another story tells about the sons of King Mandhata of Sun dynasty - Ambrish and Muchkund performed severe penance and austerities which pleased Lord Shiva and since then the mountain where they prayed to the Lord came to be known as Mandhata, while Lord Shiva remained here in the form of Shiva Lingam.
Best time to visit: Sep - March
Altitude: 567 mt
Area: 15 sq km
STD code: 0731
Languages: Hindi, English
By Air: Flights could be availed to Indore and Ujjain, 77 Km and 133 Km respectively away from Omkareshwara. Rest of the journey could be done by a hired taxi or rented car.
By Rail: Indore connects Delhi and Mumbai with the holy place by a railway station at Omkareshwara Road, 12 Km away from the town.
By Road: Most of major towns and cities of Madhya Pradesh like Ujjain, Khandwa, Indore, etc, are connected with the holy place by regular bus services.