Unmajanni Tirtha, Hariharpur, Vaitarni [Canto 40-41-42]

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Unmajanni Tirtha, Hariharpur, Vaitarni [Canto 40-41-42]

As one visits Kotitirtha, he encounters one more temple known as “Shankar- Narayan or Hariharpur.

The legend trails back to Tretayuga. In the clan of demon Hiranyakashyap, a mighty demon was born by the name of Khar. One day he saw Jagatmata Parvati wandering in orchard. He was spellbound by her beauty and developed a desire for her. He started a penance by lifting his both hands in air and by standing on tip of a leg thumb. He worshipped and did severe penances of lord Shiva for number of years. Finally the lord was pleased and asked him his wish.

Khar said, “Oh my Lord, grant me a boon such that whomsoever I touch on the head should be instantly reduced to ashes”. Lord Shiva said “Tathastu”. After this boon, Khar became to be known as Bhasmasur. He immediately ran towards Lord Shiva to try the power of the boon. Lord Shiva realized his intentions and started running to the abode of Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva reached Vaikuntha and by the time he could narrate the incident, Khar followed him at Lord Vishnus’ abode. At the sight of Khar, both of them rushed for their life.

To mitigate the unforeseen turn of events, Lord Vishnu created an enchanting women called Mohini by using Maya (illusion). She was an essence of female beauty and allurement. When Khar saw Mohini, charmed by her beauty he forgot everything and asked her to marry him. Mohini replied “ why she should marry you? Khar boasted that he was almighty and she could have witnessed his strength and power. Fear stricken Lord Shankar and Lord Vishnu were running away from him to save their life. Mohini asked him how that was possible. Khar replied that he has a very special boon. Mohini said that if he really intends to marry her, he should pass on the boon to her. By the time Bhasmasur had turned in to a Kamasur and without thinking he handed over the boon to Mohini. Mohini eluded him in a dance and converted Khar into ashes by touching him on his head.

During this episode, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu had sought asylum in Patal. In Purana, nothing happens without a purpose. During this regime River Vaitaranee full of blood marks on her body was performing penance for her salvation in Patal.

Who is this Vaitarnee River? Why did her body became, full of blood? Vaitarnee is the daughter of Dharmaraj (i.e. Yama, The God of death) and as a river she is a boundary between Karma Lok and Yama Lok (i.e. earth and infernal Narak-Hell, the realm of Yama). She is believed to have highest powers to purify one’s sins. All rivers are wives of Varun and all of them have to meet their husband at a designated time and at a designated place. Once, Vaitarnee engrossed in play, forgot to meet her husband Varun at her designated time. Furious by her failure, he cursed Vaitarnee that her whole body shall become blood red. She pleaded to be forgiven. Varuna said, purity shall return to you, only when you see Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu together.

Thanks to Khara, Vaitarnee saw both these Lords together in Patal.

Happiness spread on the death of Khara and the news reached in Patal. Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Vaitaranee came out together form Patal. It is this place from where the trio came up, known as Unmajanni Tirth. River Vaitarnee flows from here, meets Tamragauri and eventually merges in to sea.
  

Shiva was curious to know the episode of death of Khara and when heard of Mohini, he wanted to see her with his own eyes. On his request Lord Vishnu once again took the form of gorgeous Mohini. Overcome by lust, Shiva and Mohini, merged in to one body.

This is the place, where Shiva and Mohini merged and became one composite deity, widely known as Ardha Nari Nateshwar (Half woman and half man). Right side of the body is male Shiva and left side of the body being female Mohini.

 

 

The prayers and donations at this place multiply many folds. This is around three and half kilo meters away from Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple.