Legend is that the Vindhya mountain prayed to
Shiva - Omkareshvara and was blessed here. As the legend goes, upon the
request of the Devas, the Shivalinga split into two, one half becoming
Omkareshvara and the other Amaleshvara. King Mandhatha of the Ishvaku
clan is believed to have worshipped Shiva here. Govinda Bhagavatpaada,
the guru of Sankaracharya is believed to have lived in a cave here, as well as
many others like the great philosopher Adi Shankara who was born in 804 A.D.
History of the Town of Omkareshvara
Mandhata Omkareshvara was ruled in the medieval period by Bhil Chieftains
under the Parmars of Dhar, the Sultans of Malwa, and the Scindias of
Gwalior. In 1824 the Scindias gave Mandhata to the British. After India's
independence, the Rajas lost their Jagir rights to Mandhata Omkareshvara. In
1959 the Omkareshvara temple was declared a Public Trust under the M.P. Public
Trust Act 1951.
It was here at Omkareshvara that Shankaracharya,
born to Aryamba and Shivaguru of Kaladi in South Kerala, at the age of eight,
found his Guru Shri Govinda Bhagavadpada and was initiated to Sannyasa. As the
legend goes, Adi Shankara walked hundreds of miles through forests, valleys,
crossing mountains and rivers finally reaching Omkareshvara to find Shimad
Govinda Bhagavatpada in a state of Nirvikalpa Nishtha in a cave under a Banyan
tree on the bank of the River Narmada.
Guri Govinda Bhagavadpada statue inside the Govindeshvar Gupha (cave).