Grishneshwar Temple: The Jyotirlinga Temple in Ellora Caves (2023)
The Grishneshwar Temple is a Lord Shiva temple near to the Ellora Caves in Aurangabad. The temple houses the last Jyotirlinga in the Maharashtra region. The Grishneshwar Temple has a long history and is a part of the Maharashtra and Hindu culture.
Grishneshwar Temple History
During the Mughal rule, the Malvan area saw a lot of battles between the Marathas and the Mughals. Due to this, several structures saw destruction, and the Grishneshwar Temple was one of them.
Experts claim that the temple lost architectural brilliance because of the destruction. It was only in the sixteenth century that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj decided to rebuild the temple. Later, Ahilyabai Holkar contributed to the construction of the Grishneshwar temple as well.
The Grishneshwar Temple Experience
The Grishneshwar temple has three entrances. One of them is the main entrance, and the other two are smaller entrances. The main area of Grishneshwar temple is bigger than the other Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra and India. There are some pillars with some intricate carvings and sculptures.
Looking at all the Hindu temples in Maharashtra, apart from those in Mumbai, the Grishneshwar Temple is more beautiful and has some brilliant architecture. Sculptures showing the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu, as well as other Gods and Goddesses, exist all around the temple’s walls.
You will also see a Lord Ganesha idol in the Grishneshwar temple. There are other idols related to the Hindu way of living in the temple. Some of the other statues and carvings here portray birds, animals, and trees.
The Grishneshwar temple is the smallest Jyotirlinga in the Maharashtra area. Experts say that though the Jyotirlinga is small, the Shivling in the temple is one of the biggest in Maharashtra.
While there are several traditions in all temples, the Grishneshwar temple has one that is quite visible. All the men who go inside the temple must do so bare-chested. The men will need to remove their upper garments as well as belts. There is no clarity about the reason behind this tradition.
A visit to the Grishneshwar Temple is a memorable experience. It’ is surreal to see a temple being the center of an entire village, something that the urban devotees don’t experience in their everyday life. But you see such scenarios in many places in Maharashtra, like Shirdi, Trimbakeshwar, and other such locations.
You will see many devotees all around the temple premises, walking around and praying to the various idols that exist. There is no photography or videography allowed in the Grishneshwar temple premises. The temple is well maintained, and the premises are clean, so you do not have any issues visiting the location.
There is a small water body near the temple, and the devotees take a dip there before they enter the sanctum sanctorum.
Places near Grishneshwar Temple
Grishneshwar Temple is in Ellora, which is in Aurangabad. So, you have several places that you can travel and visit in the city. Grishneshwar Temple is in the Ellora Caves complex, so you can spend some time in the temple and then explore the caves.
Aurangabad is also famous for the Ajanta Caves, which are about an hour from the Aurangabad station. If you have the weekend, you can visit Ellora on one day and then visit Ajanta the next day.
You can also spend a quiet afternoon visiting Bibi Ka Maqbara, the tomb that Aurangzeb built for his wife, Dilraz Begum.
While Aurangabad is famous for the Ajanta and Ellora Caves, there is another set of caves that you can visit as well, the Aurangabad Caves, a smaller clump of caves inside Aurangabad city. The caves are on a hill, so this might be a bit of a trek.
Aurangabad is in the interiors of Maharashtra, and the weather in these places is very harsh. So, pack for the weather that you are traveling to. The summer season has high temperatures from the afternoon to the evenings. Therefore, the best option is to complete your exploring and visit by late afternoon.
Another aspect that you need to remember about tourism in Aurangabad is that most of the mid-budget hotels will not allow unmarried couples to stay in the same room. Aurangabad has several dormitories at the station itself, but these are super-economic and are available only for males.
Aurangabad is famous for the Ajanta Ellora Caves, so you will see several tourism agents offering you quick and fast deals to the place, right outside your hotel.
Another location that you can spend a while in is the Siddharth Garden. The garden is more of a place for a family to sit and chat for a while.
How to Reach Grishneshwar Temple?
Address: At Post, Ellora, Maharashtra 431102
Aurangabad is connected well to all the major cities of India. It also has an airport, so it is about an hour’s flight from Mumbai and Pune. If you plan to travel by train, several trains connect Mumbai and Pune to Aurangabad. The journey from Mumbai to Aurangabad is about eight hours. The time taken to travel from Pune to Aurangabad is about six to seven hours as well.