THE two great shriens of Udaypur are – Nâthdwârâ, dedicated to Krishņa or Dwârkaji, twenty-two miles N.N.E. of the capital on the Benâs, and Eklinga, six or eight miles north, dedicated to Mahâdeva, or Śiva, who is the tutelary divinity of the Râjputs. He is commonly worshipped by them under the usual monolithic phallus or linga, or as Panchmukhi represented by a bust with four faces round it and one atop. The sacred bull Nandi, on which Śiva is said to ride when he goes abroad, is always attached to the shrines of Iśvara or Śiva, facing the linga and is often placed outside the temple in a separate mandap.1 In this temple he is so placed under an open canopy fronting the shrine; he is cast of brass, and of about the natural size, but his side has been penetrated, possibly by some Musalman invader in search of treasure.
This great temple stands nearly in the centre of a large square court, and consists of a mandap of two stories, with an inner shrine, surmounted by a lofty spire. It is built of white marble, and was erected, according to local tradition, by Hamir Singh, who ruled over Méwâr when at the zenith of its power (A.D. 1301 –1365), and who is said to have then only restored an older temple built by Bappa about 740 A.D. It is probable, however, that the present temple was built in 1488 A.D., in the time of Raimal. Round the central shrine there are many smaller ones to subordinate divinities, and on the north side is a temple, apparently older than the others, which, from the sculptures on it, has evidently been erected as a Vaishņva shrine. It appears in the view, to the right of the Great temple.
The Maharâņâs of Mewar are titulary diwâns of Eklinga, and when they visit this temple, supersede the high priest in his duties and perform the ceremonies. All grants by these princes also bear at the head the formula—“By the favour of Śrî Eklinga.”2 The origin of this is handed down by tradition thus:-- Bappa, the founder of the Mewar dynasty, was of the Gehlot dynasto of Idar, but had fled from his enemies and lived at Nagindra or Nagda, in this vicinity, and ten miles from Udaypur, in the disguise of a heardsman. In this capacity he was suspected of appropriating the milk of a particular cow to his own use. The habitual dryness of the brown cow, when she returned at even, led him to seek to vindicate himself by watching her, and by following her to a narrow deli, he saw her spontaneously pur the stores of her udder amid the shrubs. There, under a thicket, he found Harita, a hermit, reposing in a state of profound abstraction, and beside him, the linga on which the cow had poured out her milk. This was the spot on which the temple of Eklinga now stands. Bappa now visited Harita daily with milk for himself and offerings of flowers for the divinity, and in return received instructions in the rites of the worship of Śiva and the title of “Diwân of Eklinga,” which has been borne even since by his descendants, whilst the high-priest of the temple traces his spiritual descent through about seventy predecessors to the Sage Harîta.