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Bindu Sarovar - the Sacred Lake in Siddhpur, Gujarat, India

Dr. A K Chatterjee is a seasoned writer with more than 330 blogs in English and Bengali and 10 books mostly on travel, trekking and temples.

Bindu Sarovar : The legend of Panchsarovar (Five Holy Lakes)

Bindu Sarovar : One of the  Panchsarovar (Five Holy Lakes)

Bindu Sarovar : One of the Panchsarovar (Five Holy Lakes)

Bindu Sarovar : The legend of Panchsarovar (Five Holy Lakes)

In the religious texts of Hinduism, there are five sacred lakes which are collectively called "Panchsarovar" (Five lakes). Each of these is related to one or other of the Trinities of Hinduism, viz. Lord Brahma (The Creator), Lord Vishnu/Bishnu (The Sustainer) and Lord Shiva ( The Destroyer).

These sacred lakes are Mansarovar in Tibet (related to Lord Shiva), Puskar Sarovar in Rajasthan (related to Lord Brahma), Pampa Sarovar in Karnataka (Related to Lord Rama, the 7th Avatar of Lord Vishnu), Narayana Sarovar in Gujarat (related to Lord Vishnu) and Bindu Sarovar in Gujarat (related to Parashurama, the 6th Avatar of Lord Vishnu).

The present article is about a visit to Bindu Sarovar, one of the sacred Five Lakes or "Panchsarovar".

Bindu Sarovar : Where is it?


Bindu Sarovar is situated in the ancient holy town of Siddhapur (Siddhpur) in the Patan district of Gujarat, India. Siddhpur is roughly 130 km from Ahmedabad, the largest city of Gujarat.
The geographical co-ordinates of Siddhpur are 23.9167 degrees North, 72.3833 degrees East.

Bindu Sarovar : legends of Parashurama and Kapila Muni

Parashurama in a shrine at Bindu Sarovar

Parashurama in a shrine at Bindu Sarovar

Parashurama as depicted in terracotta in temple-decoration in West Bengal

Parashurama as depicted in terracotta in temple-decoration in West Bengal

Bindu Sarovar : legends and importance


It is said that Bindu Sarovar is the place where Parashurama, the 6th Avatar of Lord Vishnu, conducted the religious rites of "Pind Daan" for his deceased mother Renuka. It is believed that at this time drops of tear rolled down the eyes of Lord Vishnu and these drops of tear created the lake which came to be known as Bindu (= drop) Sarovar ( = lake).
Since Parashurama did "Pind Daan" of his deceased mother here, Bindu Sarovar became a place where people started coming for performing the same for their own mothers and female ancestors, and the place was called "Matrugaya/Matrigaya" (meaning "Gaya for mothers", Gaya being the place in Bihar where all Hindus go to perform the religious rite of "Pind Daan" for their ancestors).
Now-a-days, maximum number of pilgrims visit Bindu Sarovar in the month of Kartik (November-December) to perform the religious rites.

There is another ancient legend associated with Bindu Sarovar and Siddhpur. It was the birthplace of the famous ancient sage Kapila Muni, who was the founder of the "Sankhya Yoga", one of the six Philosophies of the Hinduism. Kapila's father was sage Kardama and mother was Debhuti. It is said that Kapila taught his mother Debhuti the principles of Sankhya Philosophy here at this place.

Bindu Sarovar : the Historical connection


It is believed that Bindu Sarovar received it's water from one of the paleochannels of the Vedic river Saraswati. Incidentally, the same is said about Narayana Sarovar, another one of the five sacred lakes ( Panchsarovar).

Siddhpur is named after the Chaulukya King Jayasimha Siddharaja who ruled in this region in the 12th century CE. It was previously known as "Shristhal", meaning Pious or Sacred Place.

Bindu Sarovar : present state

Bindu Sarovar : The main entry gate

Bindu Sarovar : The main entry gate

Bindu Sarovar : Paved footpath and garden

Bindu Sarovar : Paved footpath and garden

Bindu Sarovar : present state

Bindu Sarovar : present state

Bindu Sarovar : present state

Bindu Sarovar : present state

Bindu Sarovar : present state

Bindu Sarovar : present state

Bindu Sarovar : present state


At present Bindu Sarovar is a man-made small square tank or pond (like many tanks associated with many temples as Temple-tanks, often called "Kund" in Hindi). The sides and the bottom of the tank is paved with red sandstone. There are stone-built stairs on all four sides leading to the water in the tank. Presence of thick PVC pipes inside the water may mean that the water is re-circulated, which is essential to keep the water clean.

The tank is only a small unit of a much larger complex consisting of a number of temples, office buildings, pavilions, another bigger tank called "Alpa Sarovar", a holy Pipal tree called "Moksha Pipal" where pilgrims perform "Tarpan" (the religious rites of offering water) to their female ancestors and a museum, all enclosed inside a huge walled area.
Entry to the area is free (as of March 2021).

Bindu Sarovar : associated temples

Mukhya Mandir (Main temple); Bindu Sarovar

Mukhya Mandir (Main temple); Bindu Sarovar

Bindu sarovar with three Shiva temples on right, portion of the pavilion on left and the Mukhya Mandir in the centre

Bindu sarovar with three Shiva temples on right, portion of the pavilion on left and the Mukhya Mandir in the centre

Parashurama temple; Bindu sarovar

Parashurama temple; Bindu sarovar

Moksha Pipal; Bindu Sarovar

Moksha Pipal; Bindu Sarovar

Alpa Sarovar; Bindu Sarovar complex

Alpa Sarovar; Bindu Sarovar complex

Kedareswar temple; Bindu Sarovar

Kedareswar temple; Bindu Sarovar

Bindu Sarovar : associated temples


When you enter the enclosure through a big guarded gate, you'll be greeted by well maintained garden and paved footpaths leading to Bindu Sarovar straight ahead and the museum on the left.
If you proceed straight, you'll reach the sacred tank of Bindu Sarovar. It is a square tank, all paved by red sandstone slabs, and flights of stairs going down to water from all four sides.
On standing on the north bank of the Sarovar, on the opposite bank, that is on the southern bank, there are 4 Nagara type of temples with tall Shikhara-s (spires). These 4 temples are arranged in pairs (i.e. 2+2). This is collectively called the "Mukhya Mandir" or the main shrine.
From the the east to the west the shrines are dedicated respectively to the sage Kardam Muni, Mother Debhuti, Kapila Muni and the God of the place ("Tirtha Devata") Gaya Gadadhar (a name of Lord Narayana).
On the western side of the tank, there are 4 small temples -- 3 small adjacent shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva of which the shrine of Lord Pataleswara is important.
A 4th shrine, bigger than the previous three, is dedicated to Lord Kedareswara.
On the eastern bank of the tank there is a big pavilion or hall without walls with multiple pillars. Religious rites are performed here.
Beyond that pavilion on the far eastern side, there is a small shrine dedicated to Parashurama and the "Moksha Pipal" tree.
Behind the Parashurama temple is a bigger tank called Alpa Sarovar.

There are few more temples on the northern side of Bindu Sarovar, all dedicated to Lord Shiva's different forms.

Bindu Sarovar : the Museum

Bindu Sarovar Museum : The replica of the "Torana" of Rudra Mahalaya temple

Bindu Sarovar Museum : The replica of the "Torana" of Rudra Mahalaya temple

Bindu Sarovar : the Museum


Bindu Sarovar Museum, also known as Siddhpur Museum or "Shristhal Sangrahalay", is a newer addition. The museum has 3 galleries named "Tirtha", "Itihas" and "Samaj" presenting the historical and religious background of this place. It was opened in June, 2017.

In front of the museum, there stands a scaled down replica of the enormous "Torana" or gate of the now ruined grand temple of "Rudra Mahalaya", a 10th century CE Shiva temple of Shiddhpur which was destroyed by Muslim invaders ( the Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khalji in the late 13th century and again by the Sultan of Gujarat Ahmed Shah in the 15th century).

Bindu Sarovar : How to go?


Siddhpur is situated about 130 km from Ahmedabad, and connected with the latter by very good state highway.It takes less than than 2 hours to reach Siddhpur from Ahmedabad. A detour of about 20 km can take one to the world famous Sun Temple of Modhera, so a trip to Siddhpur can easily be combined with a plan to visit Modhera.

Ahmedabad is a big city and is well connected with all the major cities of India by rail, road and air traffic.

Conclusion


Bindu Sarovar, though very important from the religious as well as historical points of view, is visited mostly by the pilgrims, who either go there to perform "Pind Daan" ceremony for their deceased female ancestors, or to complete their visit to "Panchsarovar".
But considering the historical importance, general tourists should also visit the place.

Comments

Sukhdev Shukla from Dehra Dun, India on April 15, 2021:

Your first hand experience narration is always a treat to go through, Dr. Chatterjee!

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