What is Naimiṣāraṇya | What is the importance of Naimiṣāraṇya or Naimisha forest?

The Naimiṣāraṇya Forest also known as the Naimisha Forest is located along the banks of the Gomti river in the Sitapur district of Uttar Pradesh.

The story of the forest goes back to ancient times and has mythical connections with the Purāṇas, the Rāmāyaṇa, and the Mahābhārata.

How was the name Naimiṣāraṇya derived?

The Brahmanas derive the name Naimiṣāraṇya from ‘nimiṣā’, “a twinkling of the eye”; hence Naimiṣāraṇya means “a forest or pool where in the twinkling of an eye sage Gauramukha destroyed an army of Asuras.

What is the importance of Naimiṣāraṇya forest?

Naimiṣāraṇya is regarded to be the place where the Puranas were narrated by Suta Gosvāmī for the first time, before a large gathering of sages.

According to the Rāmāyaṇa, Naimiṣa was situated along the Gomati river.

The sanctity attached to the place was such that Rāma desired to celebrate Aśvamedha sacrifice in this forest, and accordingly, placing his younger brother Lakṣmana assisted by the priests in charge of the steed, himself went to the forest.

It was during the sacrifice that Valmiki with his disciples came there and constructed some comfortable huts at a distance. Then Lava and Kuśa recited the whole Ramayana, which convinced Rama that they were the twin sons of Sītā.

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