of the Gangetic Plains
Description Vishnu is is considered to be
an Aranya Swaroopi, or in other words, the forest of Naimisaranyam, hallowed earlier on by
the discourses on the great epics of India, by Vyasa Muni and Suka Muni - is considered as
a manifestation of Vishnu and held in reverence and worship. The forest is considered to
have been the abode of 60000 sages. Naimisaranyam is located at the junction of the roads
from Sitapur and Khairabad, 20 miles from Sitapur and 24 miles from the Sandila railway
station,, 45 miles north of Lucknow in Uttarpradesh. Naimisaranya is also known as Nimsar
or Nimkhar and is located on the left bank of the river Gomati. This place has also been
visited by Sankaracharya; Surdas resided here
Legends: : The word Naimis has been spelt in two ways - Naimis and
Naimish. The Vayu Purana and the Bhrammanda Purana state that that Bhrama sent out a
manomaya wheel (chakram) after worshipping Shiva, and that this wheel after moving around
reached Naimisaranya where its rim was shattered, and that the sages following this wheel
bright as the sun, stopped at Naimisaranya and settled here and so did several of the
sacred thirthams (rivers).
The Varaha Purana says that the entire army of Danavas was destroyed at this place in
one nimisha, hence the name Naimisharanya.
Naimisaranya: A more recent work the Ain I Akbari describes Nimkhar as
a large fort and a religious resort with the Bhramavartakundh tank with a strong
ccurrent, which ejects anything that is thrown into it. This work also speaks of a natural
stream held in reverence. It also speaks of the sand taking the natural shape of Shiva.
The reservoir mentioned here is the Chakra Theertham, where the wheel of Bhrama fell.
It is also the place where Vishnu flung his discus at the demons. The chakra theertham is
hexagonal in shape. There are other sacred tanks such as the Pancha Prayag, the Godavar,
Kasi, Gangotri and Gomati. The Gomukhi river flows here.
Temples: There are temples to Chakranarayana, Ganesh, Ram, Lakshman
here. Enroute to the river, there is a shrine to Veda Vyasar. There is also the Puran
Mandir. The Mahabharat was recited here, and Naimisaranya is mentioned freqeuntly in
both the Mahabharat and the Ramayana. The chakratheertha is considered very holy,
and a dip here on Somavati Amavasya is considered to be sacred. The chief temple here is
that of Lalita Devi. Large crowds collect here on new moon days.
The parikrama fair, begins at Nimkhar and ends at Misraka; crows collect here in the
bright half of the month of Phalguna, and visit Korauna, Haraiya, Sakin, Dahi, Gomati and
Deogaon and a few other sites and visit Nimkhar and Misrikh. Misrikh houses the Dadichi
Kund. Legend has it that sage Dadichi gave up his material body, so that his bones could
be used in th preparaption of a missile to destroy demons. The Hatyaharana Thirtham here
at Misraka is of great importance; where Rama is believed to have bathed to purify himself
of the sin of having killed Ravana.
Tirumangaialwar of the 9th century CE has sung of Naimisaranyam
in chaste Tamil in a total of 10 verses, as one of the abodes of Vishnu. Tirumangai
Alwar refers to Vishnu as 'Naimisaaranyattull en Taai' . An Ahobila Madam and a
Ramanuja Kootam in the Sree Vaishnavite tradition are located here.