Omkareshwar the Sacred Island

Omkareshwar, the sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, ‘Om’, has drawn to it hundreds of generations of pilgrims. And here, as in so many of Madhya Pradesh’s sacred shrines, the works of Nature complement those of man to provide a setting awe-inspiring in its magnificence.According to a legend, when Narad, the great seer, paid a visit to the deity of the Vindhya mountains, he was angry to find that there was no dwelling here suitable for Lord Shiva. Dismayed at this, the deity of these mountains subjected himself to very severe austerities. Lord Shiva was so pleased with this that he said he would make Omkareshwar one of his homes. All this happened in legendary times, long before the first historian wrote the first history of Omkareshwar.

The island comprises two lofty hills and is divided by a valley in such a way that it appears in the shape of the sacred Hindu symbol ‘Om’ from above. Between the precipitous hills of the Vindhya on the North and the Satpura on the South, the Narmada forms a deep silent pool which in former times was full of alligators and fish, so tame as to take grain from human hand. This pool is 270 ft below the cantilever type bridge constructed in 1979. The bridge has enhanced the scenic beauty of the place, making it look exceedingly picturesque.

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