Takshakeshwar Nath Mandir situated on the bank of the Yamuna River is one of the oldest temples in Prayagraj. The temple is believed to be at least 5000 years old if not more and historical and archaeological evidence found at the site suggests that this temple has been in existence since the ancient times.
According to the locals, the temple known as Bada Shivalaya is located in the midst of a dense jungle. However, the thick woods have now given way to a more open area and the snakes residing in the forest have moved away. Interestingly, the priests say that snakes come every day to have darshan of Takshakeshwar Nath and move quietly through the crowds without harming anyone! This phenomenon has been observed on the auspicious occasions of Naga Panchami, Shukla Paksha Panchami in the months of Margashirsha and Shravan, Lunar and Solar eclipse, Amavasya and Purnima.
According to the Padma Purana, five Shiva Lingas were consecrated in this temple as means of atonement by the descendants of Parikshit Maharaj after he was bitten by Takshaka. It is believed that one who has darshan of the Shiva Linga here will neither have any fear of snakes nor will he be bitten by one nor will his descendants be. Takshaka, the king of the Nagas (serpents) has been residing in the holy city of Prayagraj for thousands of years.
He is benevolent and blesses those who are afflicted with the Kala Sarpa Dosha, Naga Dosha and skin disease. There is a Takshak kund nearby which is revered by devotees.
Archaeological excavations have uncovered rare stone sculptures that are some of the oldest ever found in this region. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is very excited with its findings and plans to invest more time at the site.
There are beautiful idols of Lord Ganesha, Maa Durga, Lord Kartikeya, Lord Hanuman and a fair number of Shiva Lingas installed in this temple.
Thousands of pious devotees throng this temple of great antiquity during the Kumbh, Ardha Kumbh and Magha Mela as well as on important Hindu festivals.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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