Along the busy Old Airport Road, is the sacrosanct Shivoham Shiva Temple. It was founded in the year 1994 when the construction of the 65-foot Lord Shiva idol started. The inspiration to build such a marvelous shrine to Lord Shiva came to Ravi V. Melwani from a vision he saw, one that he believed was a message from God. Both Ravi V. Melwani and his father Vashi J. Melwani were determined to turn this vision into a reality, and they did. The temple was inaugurated by Sri Shankaracharya of Sringeri on February 26, 1995, on the auspicious Maha Shivratri day in Bangalore, Karnataka. Today, it is a popular spiritual destination as well as a towering symbol of faith and hope.
At the entrance of the Temple, is a 25-foot Shiva Ling gate, a sacred form of Lord Shiva. The temple welcomes devotees through two entrances, one that leads straight in from the Old Airport Road, and another special entrance that is located in the Kemp Fort Mall’s basement. The latter opens closer to the sannidhi of the 65-foot Lord Shiva Statue within the temple. Devotees are greeted by archakas as they step into the temple. The serene spiritual energy that flows in the presence of Lord Shiva is discernably calming. Trees such as the cooling Bilva, the leaves of which are served to Lord Shiva, and Nagaling Pushpam, the flowers of which resemble a resting ling can be found on the temple ground. They create an ideal environment for those who want to lose their troubles at this shrine.
As one stands facing the statue of Lord Shiva, one cannot miss the Upchaar Patthar at the Shivoham Shiva Temple, which is a healing stone that stands firm at the pavilion. Miracles are born out of faith and many devotees who have touched the Upchaar Patthar have been cured of their ailments.
To the left is a line of brass vessels in which believers can drop Rudraksha seeds chanting Om Namah Shivaya 108 times. Doing so helps cleanse one’s mind of negative thoughts and enables one to focus on Lord Shiva, strengthening the connection for prayers. This helps the Seeker develop a deep love, longing and the desire to connect with God.
In front of the Abhishek Ling at the temple, coconuts are broken as a symbolic surrender of a bad habit, such as anger. A seeker can do the same, chanting Shivoham to express the intent to free one’s self from the illusions of bodily desires and sufferings. Believers are also encouraged to perform haldi, vibhuti, sugar, kumkum or chandan abhishek here. This can fulfill devotees’ wishes to enhance various aspects of life – health, wealth, happiness, energy and peace respectively.
In the presence of Lord Ganesha, who is fondly referred to as Vignaharan Ganapathi, the remover of obstacles, believers can surrender all their problems to a mast, by tying saffron-colored threads, before expressing their troubles in prayer to Lord Ganesha. A seeker’s dedication to connecting with the Creator can also be expressed by tying the knot. The magnificent 32-foot statue of Lord Ganesha, incidentally, was consecrated by Dada J.P. Vaswani, on Maha Shivaratri, 1st March 2003.
To bring one closer to what is considered as the sacred journey to the five most holy places in India, that are believed to help one attain Moksha, the Pahadi Shiv Dham Yatra has been recreated at the Shivoham Shiva Temple. The Lings in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Badrinath, Kedarnath, and Amarnath can be found here, each in the likeness of the ones in the pilgrimages mentioned above. One can experience the surreal mysticism of the ice-Ling at the Amarnath cave through this sacred pilgrimage. Seekers must understand that God manifests in everything beautiful and that our purpose is to unite with Him. Although there are many forms of God that one can witness, the Truth invites contemplation. To know more, one can visit the temple on Monday nights from 10 pm to 12 am where AIR, the founder of the temple, leads an enlightening bhajan session and answers questions that help understand the nature of God and Life.
The Barah Jyotirling Yatra has also been recreated at the Shivoham Shiva Temple, where devotees can pay homage to the radiant form of Lord Shiva by performing a special Barah Jyothirling abhishek.
Before undertaking this holy Yatra, devotees can choose to perform milk abhishek at the Shiv Ling with the belief that anointing this sacred form of Lord Shiva cleanses the believer’s intellect of bad thoughts.
The Shivoham Shiva temple also houses the shrines of 12 Jyothirlings where devotees can pay homage to the radiant form of Lord Shiva by performing a special Barah Jyothirling abhishek.
After walking through this passage with the shrines, Shiva and Parvati are held up as the perfect example of marital bliss by believers, and one is rarely depicted without the other, this sanctuary not being an exception. Next to the consecrated form the 65-foot statue of Lord Shiva, sit Goddess Parvati, his wife, and son, Lord Ganesha. Symbolizing purity as well as justice, faith, wisdom, virility, and honor, Nandi sits in front of them.
The magnificent statue of Lord Shiva, needless to say, is what draws devotees to the temple. He is seen seated on the skin of a tiger, with a cobra coiled around his neck, his long matted hair tied into a knot atop of his head, adorned with a crescent moon, and the sacred River Ganges flowing from his matted locks. He holds a trident and a damaru. He is depicted alone as an ascetic, deep in meditation, as well as, with his wife and child by his side representing Purusha and Prakriti.
In front of them, is the Manasa Sarovar pond that recreates the ambiance of the Manasa Sarovar in Mt. Kailash. Devotees can light diyas and leave them afloat on these waters, appealing to the ocean of kindness and compassion of Lord Shiva, and plead to be forgiven for their wrongdoings. Another belief is that, when devotees chant Om Namah Shivaya seven times and drop a miracle coin in the pond, their wishes come true. An altar to light agarbattis and pray for love, joy, peace, and harmony is also present near this pond.
By this pond, is the sacred form of Lord Shiva, who is fondly called Bholenath by devotees. The shivaling here represents both the formless, pervading all creation, and as the merging of Shiva and Shakti, the creative energies of the universe. The maha abhishek and maha aarti at this temple are performed to this shivaling once every day and on special occasions.
Behind the majestic likeness of Lord Shiva, is a spot where devotees can bathe in the holy Ganges that flows from the matted locks of Lord Shiva. This place is open only on special occasions. Additionally, an exclusive light and sounds event with enthralling stories, enchanting music and ‘self’ evoking dialogues, plays on Maha Shivaratri to give devotees a transcendental experience.
In the northern corner of the temple, devotees can offer prayers to the Navagrahas, the nine planets to remove negative energies from their lives.
There are several faith-instilling activities that are organized at the Shivoham Shiva temple, like ‘Letter to God’, where one can write their thoughts and prayers as a letter to the Divine and then drop it into the havan, where it is believed to become ashes and reach God.
The way devotees show their faith can be observed from various rituals that have been followed since the Vedic times. Yagna is a key part of such activities as it involves worship in front of the sanctity and sacredness of fire, Agni, along with the chanting of mantras. The Maha Yagna, at the Shivoham Shiva Temple encourages believers to surrender to the Lord. Seekers who come to realize God and to understand the path to Moksha can also participate in this activity as it symbolizes the renunciation of desires towards the materialistic world.
Every believer who visits this temple is sure to bask in the positive spiritual vibes that can be felt here. Faith that is carried into this place will grow to bear fruits, and when that happens in time, one must realize that God manifests in everything and that we should desire to unite with the Lord.
Om Namah Shivaya | Shivoham