Grishneshwar Temple Aurangabad is one of the ancient and holiest shrines of India and a popular destination for the devotees of Lord Shiva. It is the last and smallest of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India but a magnificent structure emanating divinity. It is a stunning temple with beautiful architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is found at a distance of 1 km from the Ellora caves.
Grishneshwar temple was built in the 13th century and it was destructed in the 14th century during the Mughal period. Maloji Bhosale, the grandfather of Chhatrapati Shivaji and Chief of Verul, rebuilt the temple in the 16th century. Even after this, the Grishneshwar Temple was attacked several times by the Mughal rulers during the Mughal - Maratha wars. It was rebuilt finally when the Mughal Empire was defeated by the Marathas. Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore reconstructed the temple.
Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Aurangabad is also known as Kusumeshwar Temple. Legend says that a Brahmin couple Sudharm and Sudeha lived in Verul. They were disheartened as they did not have a child. Sudeha got her sister Kusum married to her husband. Soon a baby boy was born to Kusum and Sudharm. Kusum was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and did not fail to worship him every day. As a part of their daily ritual worship, Kusum made Shivalinga and immersed them in water. As years passed by everyone was happy except Sudeha. She became envious and finally killed the boy who was married by then. His wife ran to her in-laws and informed them about her husband's death. But Kusum continued her prayer and Lord Shiva was pleased to see her devotion. He appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga and resurrected her son. Sudharm and Kusum requested Lord Shiva to reside in that place and bless the devotees. Hence this temple was built and it is also known as Kusumeshwar Temple. This is one of the oldest temples in Maharashtra.
Grishneshwar Temple is of traditional south Indian style architecture. It is built of red-colored stones and has a five-tiered shikara. The temple has 24 pillars in the court hall with intricate carvings. The carvings depict the legends of Lord Shiva and the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. There is an idol of Nandi (bull) in the court hall of the temple. It is believed that holy water springs out from inside the temple. Grishneshwar Mandir Aurangabad is open to all but there is a dress code, men should enter the Sanctum Sanctorum bare-chested. Women should wear only traditional clothes and avoid wearing jeans, shorts, and skirts. Taking photographs inside the temple is strictly prohibited. Camera and mobile phones are not allowed inside the temple.
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Grishneshwar Temple, Aurangabad Timings: 5:30 A.M to 9:30 P.M (during Shravan month it opens from 3:00 A.M to 11:00 P.M)
Grishneshwar Temple, Aurangabad Entry Fees: Nil