Nishkalank Mahadev Temple in Koliyak, Bhavnagar, Gujarat is full of wonders and awe. This temple is buried inside the sea. On a heavy tide day, all that can be seen are the flag and a pillar. It is beyond ones comprehension that there is a Lord Shiva Temple just under the fierce sea. This temple is still in use, and people visit this place on foot! The temple has 5 distinct swayumbu Shiva lingams inside. This is definitely one of the best spiritual destinations!
The following temple story dates back to Mahabaratha era. Pandavas killed all the Kuravas and won the battle. Pandavas were grief stricken knowing they acquired sins for killing their own relatives. In order to find redemption for their sins, Pandavas met Lord Krishna. To remove the sins, Krishna hands over a black Flag and a Black COW. He asks the Pandavas to follow it, when both Cow and flag turns white, they all will be pardoned. Krishna also advises them to do penance to lord Shiva, after that. The angst stricken brothers followed the cow wherever it went and carried the flag. They walked for days, to different places and the color did not change. Finally, when they arrived at the Koliyak Beach, both cow and the flag color turned to white. Pandavas were exalted. And all the 5 brothers sat for deep penance, meditated on lord Shiva.
Lord Shiva impressed by the brothers showed up in lingam form to each brother. As they meditated, each lingam appeared in front of each brother. In total there were 5 (Swayumbu) lingams that showed up on their own. Pandavas were delighted to see this and they worshiped all the five lingams with great devotion. Lord Shiva here is known as Nishkalan Mahadev. ‘Nishkalank’ has many meaning they are clean, pure, guiltless, to cleanse, to purify, etc. It is said that Pandavas established Nishkalank or Nakalank Mahadev on a Amavasai of the Indian calendar month of Bhadarva. The famous fair popularly known as ‘Bhadarvi’ is held on the no moon night in month of Sharvan (August), as per the Indian calendar. An idol of Lord Shiva was established in an island, over the sea about 3 km to the east of Koliyak. Each lingam has a Nandhi facing it. The lingams are spread across a square Platform. There is a pond called Pandavas pond and devotees’ first wash their hands and legs and only then they visit the Lord Shivas shrines.
Now the island is under heavy tide. This is one of the rarest of rare temples. The sea everyday withdraws, paving way for the devotees to offer their prayers. This temple is located in the middle of the sea, and devotees’ young and old alike walk all the way to reach this temple. The water just around the temple pave the way, and this is a rare sight. And after 7 pm, the temple is again covered under the fierce tide.
Devotees’ throng this temple during Amavasai (no moon day), it is to be noted here that the tides are very active during full moon day and no moon day, yet devotees patiently wait for the tides to retrieve. There is strong belief that when loved ones are cremated their ashes are immersed in these waters and by doing so, one attains salvation or moksha. Besides ash, milk, curds and whole coconut are offered to the lord here. The temple festival is initiated by hoisting the flag by the clans of Maharajas of Bhavnagar. This flag is on for 364 days and is changed only during the next temple festival. And for the records, the flag has never fallen down or washed away by the tides. It stands undisturbed by the ferocious tides and has seen the deadliest earth quake that killed more than 50,000 people in 2001.
This is a wonder beauty. The devotees worship not many temples that are buried under the sea. However, this temple stands as an exception. Please visit this temple at least ones in a lifetime to experience the spirituality that resonates from this temple!