Mount Abu is aptly called the abode of Gods as it is replete with places of worship of all faiths. About 250 to 300 of these are spread over this small stretch of land.
One, somewhat lesser known of these, as compared to its more famous counterparts is the Sant Sarovar. This place of pilgrimage houses within its precincts, a temple dedicated to Lord Somnath, the deity of the famous Shiva temple in Gujarat, which is one of the twelve Jyothirlingas according to the Hindu faith. The temple is situated next to the placid waters of a small pond, the Sant Sarovar.
What strikes you most when you visit this temple is the serenity of the surroundings. There is none of the hustle and bustle or security issues associated with the more famous temples. It rests peacefully amid a natural forest of tall eucalyptus trees, adjacent to a water body.
The temple was built around the site of the already existing Shiva Linga at the instance of His Holiness, Shri Ishwaranandji Giri of Samvit Sadhana Yana. The project was supported and inspired by Smt. Anandiben Sarabhai. The entire process of re-construction and restoration was completed by the year 1978.
The temple complex also houses within its precincts, the head quarters of the spiritual organization, Samvit Sadhana Yana. The latter was founded here by Shri Ishwaranandji Giri because he was highly impressed with the spirituality of the place and chose it to do his Sadhana.
Facts and beliefs
The residing deity, Lord Somnath is represented here by 5 Shiva lingas, symbolizing the 5 faces of the Pancha-vaktra(five-faced) Shiva.
The 5 Lingas also stand for the 5 duties of Shiva, namely Srishti, or creation, Sthiti or maintenance, Laya or the merging with the Supreme Being, Anugraha or benevolence and Nigraha or control.
The Shiva linga in the centre is very ancient and is believed to be from the era of Sage Vashishtha from Hindu mythology. Some believe that it is a swayambho linga, meaning that the stone was discovered originally in the shape of Shivalinga.
Lord Shiva in this temple is found in company of his consort Parvati and his sons, Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartik.
Things to do
Prayer and meditation, religious discourse with the temple priests.
• The paintings on the roof of the temple. Two in particular deserve special mention. One is the painting of a Shivalinga. If you fix your gaze on the spout for outlet of water in the picture, and do a pradakshina, that is walk around the painting, you will find that it is pointing towards you wherever you are in the circle.
• Another similar painting of Nandi the bull also gazes back at you with its kindly face pointed in your direction if you keep looking at it while walking around the painting.
• The goldfish and other fishes in the pond.
A small distance of about 100 metres away, there is a tiny temple, which contains the imprints of feet, believed to be those of Arbuda Devi, the resident deity of Mount Abu.
About 1 km away is the temple of Adhar devi, also otherwise known as Arbuda Devi.
The Delwara Jain temples are at a distance of about 2 km from Sant Sarovar.
Nakki lake and Main market of Mount Abu are also about 2 km away in the opposite direction.
Timings: Open during the day.
Aarti service is offered at 6 in the morning and 6.30 in the evening
Duration: Darshan and looking around can be done in about half an hour. However, you can spend any length of time in peaceful contemplation, depending on your inclination.
Good for: people seeking peace and spiritual fulfillment.
Sant Sarovar is a pilgrimage place which must find a place in your itinerary when you visit Mount Abu. Its convenient location en route Delwara temple and GuruShikhar makes this an even more attractive proposition.