Rajasthan as a tourist destination boasts a lot of variety. The variety of tourist attractions make it one of the most popular tourist places in the world. There are a number of places in Rajasthan that experiences a high tourist footfall as a result of the nearby tourist attractions. Alwar is one such place. The presence of a large number of tourist attractions in and around Alwar makes it a sought after place for the tourists. Among the various attractions in and around Alwar, the temples bear a special significance. The Shiva temple is one of those temples in Alwar that attracts a lot of tourists. This temple has a religious importance and is also a piece of architectural marvel. Hence, tourists as well as devotees come to this temple in large numbers in order to add a lot of value to their Alwar tours.
History of the temple
Located very close to the Saiska National Park of Rajasthan, the Shva temple boasts an advantageous location. The temple is also known as Neelkanth temple. The rich history of the temple is also a major draw for the tourists. Alwar once had as many as 360 temples. Each of those temples was awesome to look at. However, after the unleash of the Mughal Emperor, most of them were destroyed. Among the very few temples which survived the invasion, Shiva temple is one of the most prominent ones. The temple dates back to the 10th century. This conclusion was drawn from 1010 mark on the figure Ganesha. This establishes the fact that the temple is more than thousands years old. In spite of being so old, the temple still retains its magnificence.
The temple had also gone through changes during the course of time. Initially, it was opened as an open temple with no walls. It was only after Rajah Jai Singh became the ruler of Alwar, he built the walls.
Attraction of the Shiva temple
It is also believed that the temple was built by the Pandavas. The popular religious belief tells us that Lord Shiva opposed Raja Jai Singh's army from conquering this land. It actually prompted the king to offer his prayers to the Lord. He also took the decision of appointing priests to offer regular worship in the temple. As a part of it, a lam would always burn in the honor of Lord Shiva. On visiting the temple, you will also be able to see small, oval shaped structures in front of the temple. These mark the graces of the various priests who were appointed for worshipping the Lord. It will be a unique experience to see those graves at the foot of the stairs of the temple.
The architecture of the Shiva temple is also something to look out. The walls of the temple are marked with various figures of gods, goddesses, men and women. If you carefully look the columns of the temple, you will surely find its resemblance with that of the column at Baroli in Mewar.
There are also a number of domes in the temple. The domes are dedicated to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh or Shiva. The exquisite carvings and sculptures of the temple will also be a great sight for the tourists. This intricate craftsmanship and the historical importance of the temple have also urged the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 declared it to be of national importance. Such an attraction should be never missed during a Alwar tour. The best time to visit this Shiva temple is during the Shiv Puja in the monsoon season. You can also visit it during the Mahashivratri temple.