Half a kilometer away from the great Ellora Caves lies Ghrishneshwar temple, one of the important religious places in India, the last of the temples that form the holy pilgrimage of Jyotirlinga. The temple was rejuvenated in 18th century by Queen Ahillyabai Holkar, a famous figure in Indian history, who ruled Indore from 1765 to 1795.
Built in the spotted, red sandstone, this historical monument is a fine example of temple architecture. Designed in a beautiful shape, the temple has been adorned by various intriguing sculptures that depict stories such as the marriage of Shiva-Parvati and the tales of Bramha, Vishnu and Ganesh.
An interesting story accounts how the place where this temple has been built became one of the twelve places in India where Lord Shiva appeared in form of a flame. Once here lived two sisters, Ghrushma and Sudeha, married to the same man. For a long time, none could produce a child. But Ghrushma worshiped Lord Shiva piously, and was soon rewarded with a son. Jealous upon this, her sister, Sudeha, killed the boy and threw him in the river. When the news reached Ghrushma, she was engrossed in her usual worship of Lord Shiva. Unperturbed, she said the one who gave me the son, shall protect him. And that is what happened. The baby boy walked out of the river, alive again. Shiva then appeared before Ghrushma and told her what had happened. But he suggested that Ghrushma forgave her sister and let her walk away on her own way. Later, Shiva, pleased by Ghrushma’s devotion, nodded at her plea that he remained there in form of a flame for the benefit of the people from around and the place be known by her name. And thus, the temple is also known as, Ghrushneshwar.
A busy place everyday, the temple is especially crowded on Mondays, as it is the day of Shiva. The number of devotees increases manifold on the day of Maha Shivratri.
Situated 30 kilometers from Aurangabad, thee temple is half a kilometer drive away. You can visit this temple immediately after you have visited Ellora Caves as a religious visitor or as a tourist.