There are various reasons for Omkareshwar to be named so; surely for the Shiva temple or the Omkareshwar Mahadev Temple. And, if one were to stretch their imagination, they would find that the Mandhata Parvat, the river island on which the temple is situated, forms a rough ‘Om’ shape.
Omkareshwar is an ancient site of one of the 12 jyotirlingas and is visited by millions of devotees each year. Said to have been built in the 11th century by the Paramaras, it is the starting point of the famous Omkareshwar parikrama. Apart from the main attraction, there’s the modest Kedareshwar Temple, the elaborate 13th-century Siddhanath Barahdwari, and even the remains of the iconic Gauri Somnath Temple. Around the temple, three magnificent gates are dedicated to the Hindu epic Mahabharata—Dharamraj Dwar, Chand-Suraj Dwar and Bheem-Arjun Dwar. The Chand-Suraj Dwar lies on the highest point of the island. It’s the spot where the first rays of the sun fall and from where one can also enjoy a spectacular moonrise in the evenings.
While there’s no doubt the island is a key attraction for pilgrims, it also beckons history lovers.