|Coordinates:||22.4798 N 78.4331 E|
|No:||72 (list of all attractions)|
|Categories:||Caves, Hindu shrines, Sites of legends|
|Values:||History, Archaeology, Geology|
|Address:||Asia, India, Madhya Pradesh, Hoshangabad district, in the hills north from Panchmarhi (Pachmarhi)|
|Alternate transcriptions:||Jatashankar, Jaat Shankar|
One of main attraction points of the beautiful surroundings of Panchmarhi town is a natural monument, site of legends and shrine - Jata Shankar.
Legend goes that the Bhasmasur was devotee of Shiva and wanted to get a special ability - to turn anyone in ashes by touching the head of victim by hand. After long entreating Shiva agreed. But now the former devotee turned into enemy - Bhasmasur wanted to test this ability on Shiva first.
Shiva escaped through a tunnel from Tilak Sindur and finally reached remote cave - Jata Shankar. While running through the cave he lost his hair.
Shrine and tourism
Nowadays Jata Shankar is famous destination for tourists - as it is usual in India, people appreciate the tangency of religion and natural beauties. Especially many pilgrims come here during Maha Shivratri festivity in February. Dramatic scenery around the cave is often used in Indian movies.
Important part of the experience is path towards the cave shrine with numerous small shops selling herbs and medicines. Near the cave there are two small ponds fed by springs - one is fed by cold spring, another one - by hot spring. Here originates Jambu Dwip stream.
Cave itself is hidden in deep ravine. Enormous, seemingly loose rocks are perched in ravine above the heads of visitors.
Dripstone formations inside the cave helped to create the legend. At the ceiling there is a formation which resembles a group of snakes - it is considered to represent hair of Shiva but also - a hundred headed divine snake Sheshnag.
Cave contains numerous stalagmites - revered as lingams. Some count even 108 such natural lingams here.
See Jata Shankar in Pachmarhi on the map of India!