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Koteshwar

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District map of Kutch

Koteshwar (कोटेश्वर) is a small village and the location of an ancient Shiva temple in Kutch district of Gujarat.

Variants of name

Location

It is located near the mouth of Kori Creek, in the extreme west of Kutch district of Gujarat, India.[1] In past, the temple was almost entirely cut off from the mainland by tidal creeks but now is connected by road.[2]

Origin of name

Koteshwar literally means "ten million gods".[3]

Koteshwar Shiva is said to be the Bhairava of Hinglaj Mata residing at Hinglaj. The virtuous devotees are therefore recommended to visit Koteshwar after they have visited Hinglaj Mata.

History

The earliest mention of the place can be found in writings of Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsiang. Hiuen-Tsiang mentioned it as “Kie-tsi-shi-fa-lo situated on the western border of the country close to the river Indus and to the great ocean" of Kutch. According to Hieu-en-Tsiang, Koteshwar port was five miles in boundary near the mouth of the river Indus. There were 80 monasteries with about 5000 monks in them chiefly from the school of Sammityas. In the middle of the completion were thirteen temples of which Mahesh Mandir was full of good monument and where ash-smeared heretics lived.[4][5]

Except some temples, Koteshwar shows few signs of its former greatness.[6]

In the district of Lakhpat is situated the temple of Koteshwar which is a holy place of pilgrimage in Kutch. There is an ancient story attached with it. They say that King Ravana wanted to be immortal and did tapasya of God Shiva. Lord Shiva gifted him with Ling which he could worship and become immortal. But in arrogance he dropped the ling, which on touching the ground turned into a thousand Lings. King Ravana could not recognize the original ling, and so the boon was lost. There were a thousand lings at that place so the Gods of heaven decided to build this temple and name it Koteshwar.[7]

कोटेश्वर - कोटीश्वर

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[8] ने लेख किया है ...कोटेश्वर या 'कोटीश्वर' (AS, p.232) कच्छ, गुजरात में समुद्र तट पर स्थित एक छोटा-सा बंदरगाह है। कच्छ की प्राचीन राजधानी इसी स्थान पर हुआ करती थी। संभव है कि चीनी यात्री युवानच्वांग ने जिस नगर 'किए-शिफाली' का कच्छ की राजधानी के रूप में अपने यात्रावृत्त में वर्णन किया है, वह कोटिश्वर ही रहा हो। प्रोफ़ेसर लोशन के मत में 'किए-शिफाली' का संस्कृत रूप 'कच्छेश्वर' होना चाहिए। कोटेश्वर में इसी नाम का एक शिव मंदिर भी है। यहाँ से दो मील पर कच्छ प्रदेश का अति प्राचीन तीर्थ 'नारायणसर' है, जहाँ महाप्रभु वल्लभाचार्य सोलहवीं शती में आए थे।

Visit by Xuanzang in 641 AD

Alexander Cunningham[9] writes that The fourth province of Sindh, in the seventh century, was Kachh, and it was still attached to Sindh in the time of Akbar. It is described by Hwen Thsang as situated at 1600 li, or 267 miles, to the south-west of the capital of Sindh, 1 which at that time was Alor, near Bhakar, on the Indus. This agrees with the details given elsewhere, 1 which make the route as follows : from Alor to Brahmana, 700 li to the south, then to Pitasila 300 li to the south-west, and then to Kachh 700 li to the south ; the whole distance being 1650 li. But the general direction is south, instead of south-west, which agrees with the actual position of Kachh. The province is named O-tien-po-chi-lo, which M. Julien renders as Adhyavakila, or Atyanvakela, but for which no Sanskrit equivalent is offered either by himself or by M Vivien de St. Martin. I think, however, that it may be intended for Audumbatira, or


1 M. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' i. 207, 208. See Map No. IX. 2 Ibid., iii. 170.


[p. 303]: Audumbara, which Professor Lassen gives as the name of the people of Kachh. They are the Odomboerae of Pliny 1 , but there is no trace of this name at the present day.

The province is described as being 5000 li, or 833 miles, in circuit, which is much too great, unless the whole of the Nagar Parkar district to the north of the Ran was included, which is most probable, as this tract has always been considered as a part of Kachh, and still attached to it. Taking its northern boundary as stretching from Umarkot to the neighbourhood of Mount Abu, the whole length of frontier will be upwards of 700 miles. The capital, named Kie-tsi-shi-fa-lo, was 30 li, or 5 miles, in circuit. This name is rendered as Khajiswara by M. Julien, and as Kachchheswara by Professor Lassen. But as the Chinese syllable tse represents the cerebral , I think that tsi must have the same value ; and I would therefore read the whole as Kotiswara, which is the name of a celebrated place of pilgrimage on the western shore of Kachh. That this is the place actually intended is rendered certain by the pilgrim's description of its position, which is said to be on the western frontier of the country close to the river Indus, and to the great ocean. 2 This is a most exact description of the position of the holy Kotesar, which is situated on the western frontier of Kachh, on the bank of the Kori branch of the Indus, and close to the great Indian Ocean. This identification is further supported by the


1 Hist. Nat., vi. 23.

2 M. Julien's ' Hiouen Thsang,' iii. 175 : ....


[p.304]: statement that in the middle of the city there was a famous temple of Siva. The name of the place is derived from Koti+iswara, or the " ten million Iswaras," and refers to the small limgam stones that are found there in great numbers. Iswara is the well known name of Siva, and the lingam is his symbol.

M. Vivien de St. Martin has identified this capital with Karachi ; but the distance from Alor is not more than 1300 li, or 217 miles, while only the initial syllable of the name corresponds with the Chinese transcript. The country is described by Hwen Thsang as low and wet, and the soil impregnated with salt. This is an exact description of the low-lands of Kachh which means a "morass" (Kachchha) , and of the salt desert, or Ran (in Sanskrit Irina), which forms about one-half of the province. But it is quite inaccurate if applied to the dry sandy soil of Karachi. There is also a large swamp extending for many miles, immediately to the south of Kotesar.

In Skanda Purana

Skanda Purana writes that Continuing with the tale of Indradyumna, sage Jaimini told all the sages--' Next morning, Indradyumna and his entourage crossed Mahanadi on boats and reached Ekamrachhetra where they worshipped lord Purushottam. After that they worshipped on their onwards journey and reached Kotishwar Mahalaya where they worshipped lord Tribhuneshwar with appropriate rituals.[10]

References