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Mythological importance of Sariska


Mythological importance of Sariska


Myths are stories passed down from one generation to the next about different occurrences of supernatural origin or type which provide a source of literature. Mythological study helps in correlating the past withthe present to get an estimate of how things changed over time.


In some cases,the mythscan act as stories but in some other instances they may help in providing abase for scientific or cultural development. Many stories exude basic values of humanity like love, respect, promises, which are exhibited by different mythological figures.


India is home to many of the greatest mythological epics which had their fair share of supernatural beings with unsurmountable powers and also superhumans which showed inexplicable strength, intelligence, dedication and many positive virtues. The epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata arehad many different protagonist and antagonist which paved the way for establishing how good always prevails over the evil.


As one traverses throughout India, the cultural and mythological diversity is such that each and every village have their own unique stories which have been passed on for centuries. Be it related with Gods and Goddesses or maybe ghosts and spirits. These stories provide thrill, curiosity and helps one glimpse into the past of that place.


Such closeness between the reality and fiction/ myths is one of the underlying reasons why Sariska is famous throughout India. Apart from being an important wildlife sanctuary and home to many differentflora and fauna species, Sariska displays close encounters with living proofs that the mythological connection is strong. Mentioned below are some of the most spread-out myths built and nurtures in Sariska which piques the enthusiasm of each individual.


Neelkanth Temple

A Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva; it is located on top of an isolated hill near Sariska Tiger Reserve. It is said to be built by Maharajadhiraja Parmeshwar Mathanadeva (a Gujar Pratihara) between 6th to 9th century BC and can only be accessed via a steep track with many sharp twists and turns.

The main temple (rangamandapa) stands on four pillars which consisted of three pancharathas housing the idols of three different deities. Out of the three pancharathas, the two on the sides have been destroyed by the Mughal army during their invasion.

The middlepancharathas is intact with the Shiva Linga and shikhara intact. According to the tales, this pancharathas survived as the Mughal army was forced to flee after being attacked by hordes of angry bees. The temple has many sculptures, including erotic ones and follow the Khajuraho style.


The name Khajuraho, or Kharjuravāhaka, is derived from ancient Sanskrit (kharjura,means date palm,and vāhaka, means‘one who carries’or bearer). Local legends state that the temples had two golden date-palmtrees as their gate (missing when they were rediscovered). Kharjuravāhaka also means scorpion bearer, which is another symbolic name for deity Shiva (who wears snakes and scorpion garlands in his fierce form).


Bhrartrahari Temple

A temple whichhouses the samadhi of Shri Bharthar (the then ruler of Ujjain). The temple is more than thousand-year-old and is visited by devotees from all over Rajasthan.


There are plenty of myths about the Maharaja

Bharthari. The myth unfolds as, there was asadhuin the city of Ujjain who after meditating for years received the fruit of immortality from the Kalpavriksha. To express his loyalty towards the then king of Ujjain (Maharaja Bharthari), thesadhugifted this fruit to the king. The king then gifted this fruit to his wife,queen Rani Pingala. Then the queen who passed this fruit to her lover, a state official of Ujjain. This state official gave this fruit to his wife Lakha. Lakha then presented this fruit back to Maharaja Bharthari.

The king realizing his wife’s disloyalty towards him ate the fruit and became immortal and wise. He gave up the kingdom in grief and became a sadhu and started searching for salvation.

A serious drought hit Ujjain thereafter. Many villagers who still were loyal towards Maharaja Bharthari, rushed towards him for help. After listening to their cries for help and despair, Maharaja Bharthari started meditating, praying to God for water. After listening to his sincerity and devotion, God became happy and a rivulet appeared from the rock on which he was meditating.The villagers stopped calling him Maharaja, and now he was known as Baba Bhrartrahari who then buried himself at the very place the temple stands today.


Talvriksh

A natural hot water spring located near Narayanpur in Alwar, this spring has water which is rich in Sulphur content and is said to have healing effects.


As per the myth, long time ago, the then king of Alwar hunted a tiger at Talvriksh and took away his head as a trophy. That night, in the king’s dream, a saintappeared and accused him of killing him while meditating and roaming the jungle of Talvriksh in form of a tiger.


After this scary dream, the king called his ministers and called many saints for his help. They suggested to hold a yagya and observe fast for10 days. The king followed this and then returned the trophy to the temple of the saint.



Ever since the head is a part of the temple and till this day remains here. A spring lies close to this temple which has a holy tree, named Talvriksh. Many visitors reach here to take a dip in the hot spring, as people say the water treats patients suffering from rheumatic pain.


Pandupole temple

One of the most known temples of Rajasthan which lies in the corejungle of Sariska is the Pandupole temple.


The Pandupole temple houses an idol of Lord Hanuman here and this temple is said to be about 5000 years old. The story unfolds as, when Pandavas were in exile, they took refuge in the thick forest of Sariska. One day in search of water, the mighty Bhima who was super proud about his strength and feats was roaming the jungle of Sariska. He was walking down a narrow path when a langur (Black-faced monkey) was feasting on a fruit and blocking the path with his longtail. Bhima ordered the langur to move his tail or be ready to the tossed off. The monkey oblivious to what Bhima was saying kept eating the fruit. In anger, Bhima went for the tail topick the langur up and throw him. He tried lifting the tail, but even after tremendous strength and continuous efforts was unable to do so. He realized something was wrong, and kneeled down in respect. The langur transformed who basically was Lord Hanuman who wanted to crush the hyperinflated ego of Bhima.



Lord Hanuman explained to Bhima, that strength only won’t help him during his lifetime. He has to be kind and respectful towards everyone and everything in order to be a good person. Bhima understood his mistake and apologized to Lord Hanuman who then flew away towards the sky. In order to respect the presence of Lord Hanuman and his teachings, Bhima and his brothers built a temple housing an idol of Lord Hanuman.

Bhangarh Fort

The Bhangarh fort was built by king Bhagwant Das Singh for his younger son Madho Singh.


It was built in the 16th century and is said to be the Asia’s most haunted place.


According to popular legends, the Bhangarh fort is affected by a curse spewed by a saint named Guru Balu Nath. The spot where the fort stands right now was used by the saint as a meditating spot. The then king pleaded to the saint that he wanted to build a fort as it was highest point of the region. The saint refused and said to build a fort elsewhere. The king agreed, but the saint ordered the king that the fort should not block the sunrise and sunset view and no shadow should fall upon the saint while meditating. But king ignored these orders, and built the fort anyway. The saint angered by this cursed the king’s kingdom saying that the fort will fall and crumble destroying the village altogether. After this the saint left, and the kingdom was attacked by enemies. The destroyed the fort and the village leading to numerous deaths.


As per the locals, voices of the villagers who died that day can still be heard within the fort’s vicinity and premises after dusk and before dawn. There have been instances where many people have disappeared who tried to test the spooky part of the fort. Due to his, the fort is closed for everyone from sunset to sunrise.






Blog by Kushagra Gupta & Aakash Upare (Naturalists at Utsav Camp Sariska)

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