One of the most important tirthasthalas along the Rewa River is the ancient temple of Kuber Bhandari Shiva in Karnali village. People often stop over at the ‘City of Temples’, Chandod located at the Triveni Sangam of Saraswati, Narmada and Orsang rivers before proceeding to Kuber Bhandari Temple by boat.
Legend has it that Lord Shiva and Parvati Devi were exploring the thick forested area along the Rewa River enjoying the exquisite natural beauty of sweet-smelling flowers, birds chirping and lush greenery. After a few hours, Parvati Devi was overcome with fatigue and hunger. She requested Lord Shiva to fetch her some water and food but much to his surprise, Lord Shiva looked around to find the land barren without a single tree or plant. With the sun beating down on them with fiery intensity, Lord Shiva decided that it would be appropriate for him to take the form of annam (food) and jal (water) in this remote place so that all devotees could enjoy the bliss and sanctity of the Narmada River without worrying about food.
Lord Shiva took the name of Kuber Bhandari wherein Kuber is derived from Kubera, The God of Wealth and Bhandari means repository. Locals also say that in another legend, Ravana usurped Kubera’s wealth and drove him away from Lanka seizing his prized Pushpaka Vimana. Narada Devarshi advised him to go to Karnali and do penance on the bank of the Narmada River. Kubera sought refuge in Lord Shiva who asked him to seek the blessings of Divine Mother. Divine Mother, pleased with his tapas gave him this area to rule over with the assurance that Ravana will never be able to enter it.
This temple is said to have existed since the Treta Yuga and named after both Kubera and Lord Mahadev. Locals refer to this temple as Kubereshwar Mahadev and say that it is almost two thousand five hundred years old. Different bhog is offered daily to Lord Mahadev for four days from Dhanteras which contains fifty-six types of ingredients.
The morning and evening aarti are a sight to behold! Devotees are allowed to offer flowers, milk and water to the Lord themselves. The priest says that childless couples will be blessed with a little one once they have had darshan of Lord Shiva. Those with sarpa dosha have found relief after offering prayers here.
Thousands throng this temple on Maha Shivaratri, Amavasya, Purnima, Dhanteras, Diwali and the holy month of Sravana.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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