The supremely sacrosanct Jambavant cave or Jambuvant ki gufa located in Ranavav in Porbandar district is one of the most historical places in Gujarat. This beautiful ancient cave which is on the Panchadwaraka path is the resting place of Chiranjeevi Jambavan who had the rare opportunity to not only witness the divine Kurma avatar of Lord Vishnu during the Samudra Manthana (Churning of the Milky Ocean) but also had the pleasure of circumambulating Lord Vishnu in His Vamana avatar!
It was the pious Jambavan who revealed to Lord Hanuman, the truth of His immense capabilities instilling confidence in Him to leap to Lanka in search of Mother Sita. It was also Jambavan who knew all about Vanaspati Shastra (knowledge of rare medicinal herbs) when he witnessed the bewildering Churning of the Milky Ocean and told Lord Hanuman about Vishalyakarni when Lakshmana was rendered unconscious by Indrajit.
The wise and intelligent Jambavan was one of the ministers of Sugreeva and his devotion to Lord Rama is unparalleled. Lord Rama blessed him with long life, tremendous strength and the chance to have darshan of Lord Krishna in Dwapura Yuga.
Jambavant ki Gufa is that revered cave where the battle between Lord Krishna and Jambavan took place for 28 days continuously for the famed Syamantaka gem. By the end of 28 days, Jambavan was beginning to have serious doubts over the great personality he was fighting and blessed with the sparsa (touch) of Lord Krishna, suddenly realized that his beloved Lord Rama stands in front of him in the form of Lord Krishna.
Overcome with ecstasy, Jambavan stopped fighting and handed over the gem to his Lord and also offered his daughter Jambavati’s hand in marriage. There is an exact spot in the cave as identified by historians where this event has occurred.
This sacred place is situated in serene surroundings with hills on one side. The access to the cave is extremely narrow with naturally cut stone steps leading into a spacious cave. There is natural light coming in through a hole which adds to the mystery of the place.
This spectacular cave has over 50 swayambhu lingas. These lingas formed naturally are made of sand when water falls from the roof of the cave quite like Amarnath cave. Water drops from the ceiling of the cave over the main Shiva Linga uninterruptedly making for a superb visual spectacle. There are two tunnels inside the cave with one leading to Dwaraka and the other to Junagadh.
There is a temple dedicated to Lord Rama outside the cave as well as the samadhi of Guru Ramdasji who spent a lot of time in tapaha here. This is now a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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