Garh Mukteshwar, often called as the mini-Banaras is dotted with many temples of great antiquity dating back to the Treta Yuga. Perhaps, one of oldest temples of this holy city is the Prachin Ganga Mandir situated on an 80 feet high mound.
It is unclear when and by whom this temple was built, but the Hindu scriptures state that in the ancient days, the sacrosanct Ganga used to flow right past this temple. This temple originally had 108 steps leading from the ghat to the Ganga Mandir, however, modern-day construction and natural recession of the Ganga has now reduced it to only 84 steps.
A fascinating point to note is that the incredibly rare stone used to build these steps in the olden times emanates the sound of flowing water that is heard quite distinctly as you walk up the steps! It is also said that if one throws stones on the steps on the temple, the sound heard is that of stones thrown on the surface of water!
This temple in Garh Ganga Nagari has a beautiful idol of Maa Ganga, an idol of Lord Brahma as Chaturmukha in milk-white stone, a Shiva Linga called Lord Narmadeshwar that has been installed fairly recently and a much older broken Shiva Linga also known as Narmadeshwar and Prabhu Shri Rama along with Sita Mata, Lakshmana and his devotees.
The most interesting feature of this temple is that a seedling (ankur) grows every year from the Shiva Linga in the auspicious month of Karthik. If the seedling is split open, one will find images of Lord Shiva, gods and goddesses! While scientists have been unable to explain this phenomenon, the priests attribute it to the spiritual potency of this place.
Thousands of devotees come here in the months of Magha, Shravan, Karthik and Agrahāyaṇa (Mārgaśīrṣa) and on Maha Shivaratri, Amavasya and Purnima to offer their prayers at Ganga Mandir.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)