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Kayavarohan Mandir – Shiva Lakulisa Temple At Karvan – Vadodara Gujarat

Kayavarohan, currently known as Karvan, is considered to be the birth place of God Shiva in the form of Lakulisa. The place is 24 km south of Vadodara in Gujarat. The place is associated with the Lakulisa Pasupata sect.

Vayu Purana (Chapter XXIII) regards Lakulisa as the last and 28th incarnation of Shiva. He was born in Kayavarohan and he is assigned to 2nd century BC by some and to 105 – 130 AD by others on the evidence of a series of teachers mentioned in the Mathura Pillar Inscription of (380 – 81 AD).

Meaning of Kayavarohan – kaya means body and avarohan means descent. Thus Kayavarohan is the place where Shiva appeared in a human body.

The place is one among the 68 pilgrimages associated with Shiva in Shiva Purana.

It is believed that Sage Vishwamitra wrote the Savitri Mantra and Gayatri Mantra here.
There developed a tradition around Lakulisa, who means God of the club.

The tradition was popular in western parts of India from the 1st century BC and later spread all over the region in the medieval period.

In iconographic representation, Lakulisa is often shown in dharmachakra mudra (posture of the wheel of dharma), and his personal attributes are akshamala (rosary), gada (mace), kapala (skull), trishula (trident) and urdhva linga (ithyphallic).

Lakulisa is invariably sculpted in the niches on the outside walls of a temple, on the lintels of the shrine, door frames and in the interior of the sanctum.

There are nearly thirty-eight temples at Kayavarohan, constructed during the last couple of centuries.

Brahmeswara Temple

In the temple dedicated to Nakleshwara (lalkulisvara), the image in the sanctum is identified as the conjoint figure of Brahmeshwar and Lakulisa, which according to Karavan Mahatmya, is that of Lakulisa, who merged himself into Brahmeswara. It is believed that this temple was founded by famous Sage Vishwamitra.

It is believed that Lakulisa merged in the Shivling here in Shambhavi Mudra.

Around 1000 years ago when Mahmad Ghaznavi destroyed the famous temple of Somnath in Gujarat state, the luminous jyotirlinga with Lakulish merged the light of all of the 12 jyotirlinga into it's form and then disappeared underground.

The Eklingaji Temple inscription in Rajasthan speaks of Kushika and others as pupils of Lakulisa.

The Mahadeva temple at Karvan enshrines an image of Lakulisa in black stone, and five lingas within the sanctum are named Billeshwara (Bilveswara) Mahadeva, Nilkantheshwar Mahadev, Trimbakeshwar Mahadev, Kaleshwara Mahadeva, and Kedarnath Mahadev all symbolizing different forms of Lakulisa.

Source – 
  • The concept of Rudra Shiva Through The Ages (1994) Mahadev Chakravarti – Motilal Banarsidass New Delhi
  • Shiva Purana (2004) Edited by B K Chaturvedi – Diamond Pocket Books Delhi
  • The Canon of the Saivagama and the Kubjika Tantras of the Western Kaul Tradition (1989) S G Mark Dyczhowksi – Motilal Banarsidass – New Delhi
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism – Volume VI – page 34 - 35