Naimisharanya, a pilgrimage destination in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh have been extolled in a full-throated manner in the Puranas and in many other holy, ancient texts.
Naimisharanya falls within Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur district. This holy place is believed to have existed right from the beginning of creation. In the ancient eras such as Satya Yuga, Kritha Yuga too Naimisharanya was considered to be an extremely sacred land. Numerous renowned saints and sages are believed to have performed rigorous penance at this place. According to popular religious beliefs, a visit to Naimisharanya cleanses one of all mortal sins, guarantees the attaining of Moksha and bestows some great divine powers on the visitor. There are many interesting places to visit at Naimisharanya. The top tourist attractions in Naimisharanya may be listed below-
01. Chakra Tirtha
Chakra Tirtha is a sacred disc-shaped water tank. Pilgrims bathe in this tank to purge themselves of their mortal sins and also undertake a circumambulation or Parikrama of this tank. There are many mythological stories associated with Chakra Tirtha. One story states that this pond emerged at this place when lord Vishnu’s Sudarshana chakra or powerful disc fell over here. Another story says that the pond came into being when Lord Brahma’s wheel came to a halt at this place. A water body emerged right then and the water was flowing in it with devastating force. The terrified sages prayed to Lord Brahma to save them who then directed Goddess Lalita to bind the raging waters of the tank. The goddess then constructed a chakra around the waters in order to control it. The place receives a huge crowd of pilgrims on the Somvati Amavasya Tithi.
02. Sri Lalita Devi Temple
Lalita Devi Temple is a much revered Shaktipeeth at Naimisharanya. According to mythological tales Sati’s heart fell at this place after lord Vishnu attempted to disintegrate her lifeless body with his Sudarshana chakra. Here the goddess is known by the name of Lalita. Also, it is believed that she had appeared at this spot twice; once to administer over the Chakra Tirtha waters and again to help the Devas during the fierce battle between the Devas and Asuras.
Sita Kund is a holy water tank where Devi Sita is said to have bathed prior to leaving for the 14 years long exile along with her husband; lord Rama and brother-in-law Lakshmana.
03. Vyasa Gaddi
Vyasa Gaddi is another sacred spot at Naimisharanya. It is said that Ved Vyas; the great scholar and sage had composed the Puranas and four Vedas at this place. Also, he is said to have imparted profound spiritual knowledge and wisdom to his fond disciples, namely Vaishampayan, Sukh dev, Jaimini, Pail, Suth, and Angeera at this very place.
04. Dashashwamedh Ghat
At this Ghat lord Rama is said to have carried out the 10th powerful Ashwamedha Yajna after having destroyed the demon king, Ravana. There is an ancient temple at the Ghat and it houses the statues of lord Rama, Devi Sita and lord Lakshmana. Also there is an idol of Siddheshwar Mahadev; a manifestation of lord Shiva.
05. Suta Gaddhi
This is believed to be the place where the great sage Suta delivered his lectures to Shounak as well as to 88000 other saints and sages in the yesteryears.
06. Shri Narada Temple
This temple belongs to the celestial storyteller and musician; sage Narada and is indeed a must-see place at Naimisharanya.
07. Balaji Temple
The Balaji temple of Naimisharanya belongs to lord Venkateswara. This temple receives a huge number of pilgrims from Andhra Pradesh. There are accommodation facilities such as dormitories for pilgrims to put up within the temple premises.
This place had been the place of meditation for Machhrehta Nath. It is also differently named as Aaina E Akbari. The place is dotted with several mosques and temples, Imambara, an ancient inn too.
09. Havan Kund
This is an ancient fire altar where sages and saints were said to have carried out their sacrifices and Yajnas in the yesteryears.
10. Swayambhu Manu and Satarupa
This is another holy place where the first man on earth, Manu along with his partner Satarupa performed rigorous penance to get blessed with God as their son and their wishes were ultimately granted.
11. Pandav Qila
Pandav Qila is an ancient fort where the Pandavas of famous epic Mahabharata are said to have put up during their years of exile. The story goes that King Virat; another character from Mahabharata was the original owner of this fort which later the Pandavas had used as their shelter. The fort bears the idols of Panch Pandavs in company of lord Krishna. The fort lies southwest of Chakra Tirtha, along the river banks of Gomti. Historical records say that around 1305 AD this fort was renovated under the initiative of a Hindu minister working under Alauddin Khilji.
12. Dadhichi Kund
Dadhichi Kund is believed to be the place where set Dadhichi gave up his life and offered his bones to Indra deva so that a vajra or weapon could be made out of it in order to destroy a fierce demon, Vritrasura. Before agreeing to lord Indra’s request sage Dadhichi asked for one last wish of his to be fulfilled prior to sacrificing his life. He told that he wished to make a pilgrimage to all the sacred places of the country plus bathe in all the sacred rivers prior to ending his life. As that would have wasted much time, all sacred rivers and sites were beckoned at this very place so that Dadhichi last wish could be kept. As waters of many sacred rivers mingled here, this kund is also referred to as Misrit Teerth.