Shri Kaleshwar Temple (Nerur, Dist. Sindhudurg)

Nobody can challenge the Indian dependence and involvement with religion and tradition. The Hindus claim to have 32 crore deities above them. Yet, they have a staunch faith in an ancestral divine image. Every family and every village has its own ancestral and village deity respectively.

NERUR is no exception. It is a village lying in the industrial Taluka of Kudal in Sindhudurg District of Maharashtra.

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The devoutly worshipped, God of the Nerurkars – their village deity or “Gram devata” – is Shri Kaleshwar fondly called as KALOBA by locals. It is the centre of total devotion and faith for every villager.

The Kaleshwar shrine is no modern discovery. Its foundation origin dates back to a period 700 – 800 years old. Legend goes that the area around the present shrine was a thick jungle. A cow belonging to a Brahmin residing in the nearby village used to deliver milk at a particular spot here. On having dug at the spot the Brahmin found a ‘Shivling’ – Shiva’s epitome there. Necessary ceremonies were performed and a shrine was founded at the spot.

The ‘Shivling’ appears in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The platform on which the “Shivling” is placed is square in shape. This platform is called as “Shalunka”. The Shalunka and the Shivling are black in colour and are not in one piece. It is noticed that the water offered on top of the Shivlinga does not gather on the platform and it is still a mystery as to where the water seeps down. The premises outside is enormous. At one end is a Ganesh idol carved of stone. At the other is the image of Karkotak Nag (Nagdevta). In front of the entrance is Nandi – Shiva’s ardent follower.

To enter the larger premise one has to bend through a small entrance, the belief being that one should bow before the creator. At the north end is the 5 storied chariots. Adjacent to it are the rooms for lodgings and shops during any festival.

The enormity of the area becomes evident when one visits the smaller temples around. They include Shri Brahmanath Temple ( it is the believed that this is the only temple after the known temple of God Brahma in Pushkar, Rajasthan), Shri Ravalnath Temple ( Ravalnath is the God who embodies Shiva in his very macho form – sharp vision, moustaches, and trident in hand) and Bhutnath. Temples of God Vetal (God of Demons) , God Gavdoba (Protector of the Village) Godess Sateri (Aadi Maya) and a few others.

The most awaited celebration at Kaleshwar Temple is the Maha Shivaratri Utsav. It is a five- day long celebration. There is a fair throughout. The idol of Kaleshwar is drawn in the chariot. A huge congregation from distant places gathers in frenzy. Religious rites are performed intensively to the resonance of the drum and shehnai.
Folk dramas (Dashavtar), Kirtans and Chanting of Mantras and Bhajans are the regular features during the festivals of Mahashivaratri Utsav. Special decorations of the Temples and the deity (Utsavmurti) are truly spectacular sights.

There are numerous other festivals celebrated in the Temple premises. One of them which has acquired prominence lately is the Ganesh Jayanti celebration during the month of Magh known as Maghi Ganesh Utsav.

Many other festivals are celebrated. Navratri Utsav is one such festival in which all Bhajan Groups from Nerur and other nearby Villages gather and perform in the Temple.

One can reach Nerur by train via Kudal Station (Kokan Railway) or by Road via Kudal Town (on Mumbai Goa Highway).

Settled in the Kokan region, Shri Kaleshwar - the Avatar of Shiva continues to be the motivating spirit for the Nerurkars.

Site owner : Charuchandra Nerurkar