Among the 12 Jyotirlingas, Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is located at Nageshwar, Dwarka, Gujarat, India. This temple is also known as “Darukavana”, an ancient epic name of a forest in India. Other names are Nagnath Temple or Nageshwar Mahadev, and it is a temple that attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year.
Worshipping in Nageshvara Jyotirlinga can free you from all types of poison.
This Jyotirlinga signifies the protection from all types of poisons, and it is also said that the devotees who pray to the Nageshwar Linga will be free from poison. The phrase “Daarukaavane Naagesham” is used to refer Nageshwar according to the Rudra Samhita sloka.
Legend of Nageshvara Jyotirlinga
One can see many indications of “Darukavana” in the Indian epics of Kamyakavana, Dvaitavana, Dandakavana.
There used to be a demon known as Daaruka who attacked Supriya, a Shiva devotee, and imprisoned Supriya, along with others, in the city of Darukavana. Darukavana is a city under the sea inhabited by sea-snakes and demons. Supriya, being a Shiva bhakta, encouraged others to chant the holy mantra of Shiva. Immediately, Shiva appeared in the city and he vanquished Daaruka. Later, he resided there in the form of Linga. Daaruka’s wife, Daaruki was, however, a faithful devotee of Mata Parvati. Because of her devotion, Mata Parvati renamed the forest “Darukavana” in her honor. So, whenever she went outside the city, the forest followed her so that it would protect the demons of Darukavana from the punishments of gods. Then they moved towards the sea, kidnapping people and keeping them confined in their new forest in the sea. In that little forest “city” of theirs, Supriya also got kidnapped and prisoned there.
He was a spark of a new revolution; he set up a lingam in the forest and had many people chant the songs of Shiva, reciting the mantra “Om Namaha Shivaya”. When demons heard about this, they tried to kill Supriya. Right in that moment, Lord Shiva appeared and gave Supriya a divine weapon, defeating Daaruki and other demons, and in turn, saving lives of himself and many others. Parvati saved the remaining demons too.
That lingam is said to be Nagesha, and that is how the name Nageshwar got acquainted with the lingam, while Goddess Parvati was known as Nageshwari. Lord Shiva pledged that he would show correct path to those who worship him.
The Controversy Surrounding Location of Nageshvara Jyotirlinga
Nobody can pinpoint where the actual location of the legendary forest of Darukavana really is. Daarukavana, to this day, remains only a clue.
What is known is that devotees used to pray in the deodar forests to please Lord Shiva. According to the Treatise Prasad Mandanam:
Himadreruttare parshwe debadaruwanam param paawanam shankarasthanam tatra sarwe shivarchita:
So, many believe that it should the Jageshwar temple in Almora, Uttarakhand that should be known as the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga
The written name of Darukavana, however, could be misread as “Dwarakavana”, and as such, the temple could be in Dwaraka. Since the narratives of Shri Krishna, as mentioned in Somnath and Prabhasa tirtha, doesn’t indicate Nageswara or Darukavana in Dwaraka, there is a doubt. They state that Darukavana might be in The Vindhya Mountains.
In the Dvadasha Jyotirlinga, Shankaracharya, however, praises this Jyotirlinga as Naganath:
Yamye sadange nagaretiramye vibhushitangam vividhaishcha bhogai Sadbhaktimuktipradamishamekam shrinaganatham sharanam prapadye
Since then, the location and name has stuck. But the controversy remains.