Naimisharanya, a sacred place of pilgrimage, about 90 km from Lucknow is one of the unexplored regions of India. It has a rich religious significance and is replete with mythological stories. A day trip to this place either from Lucknow or Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh can prove to be truly enriching if You’re interested in knowing about the rich history of mythology in India.
According to the scriptures, 88,000 rishis sat in the forests of Naimisharanya (also referred to with other names such as: Nemisharan, Naimisaranya, Neemsar, Naimish, Nimkhar, Nimsar and Naimisaranyam) where Ved Vyasa revealed the Vedas, Puranas, and Shastras to them.
Be it the Mahabharata or Ramayana, an Indian scripture will usually have the mention of Naimisharanya. It is said that in the four yugas there were four places for pilgrimage. In Satyuga it used to be Naimisharanaya, in Treta yuga it used to be Pushkar, in Dwapar it used to be Kurukshetra and in Kaliyug it is Ganga. So, visiting Naimisharanya is like travelling back in time to Satyuga.
However, it doesn’t look the same anymore. Nicely paved roads have replaced the dense forests; leading you to the haphazardly built temples and places of pilgrimage like: Chakratirth and the temples surrounding it, Sri Lalita Devi Mandir, Vyas Gaddi near Gomti or Adi Ganga River, Hanuman Garhi & Pandav Kila and Dadhichi Kund.
It is believed that the four Vedas – Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Saam Veda, and Atharva Veda – were also written here. All the 18 Mahapuranas and six Shastras are also said to be written at Naimisharanya.
According to a legend Lord Vishnu killed the demon Gayasur by cutting his body into three parts; and because the middle part of the body fell here, it is also known as Nabhi Gaya. Another legend goes that Lord Vishnu killed demons who were troubling the sages in a moment or Nimish, hence the place got its name.
Tulsidas is also said to have written Ramcharitmanas here. After returning from Sri Lanka, Lord Rama performed an Ashwamedha Yagna at Naimisharanya. It is also the same place where Devi Sita went back to earth. It is considered to be super holy to take a dip here on amavasya or the new moon day. There are plenty rites and rituals that complement these occasions, the significance of which increase manifold when you witness them in person.