Ambarnath more often spelt as Ambernath is a town in Indian state of Maharashtra which is also a part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Ambernath comes under the Thane district of Maharashtra. The 11th-century Shiv Mandir of Ambarnath is a popular tourist destination.

The Shiv Mandir of Ambarnath is a historic 11th-century Hindu temple, still in use, at Ambarnath near Mumbai, in Maharashtra, India. It is also known as the Ambreshwar Shiva Temple, and known locally as Puratana Shivalaya. It is situated on the bank of Vadavan (Waldhuni) river, 2 km away from Ambarnath (East) railway station. The temple was built in 1060 AD beautifully carved in stone.

Ambernath literally means Lord of the sky. Ambernath is the site of a very old temple, the ancient Ambreshwar Shiva Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, the construction of which dates back to 1060 AD in the 11th century.

One belief suggests that the temple was constructed by the Pandava brothers of the epic Mahabharata fame for taking a night refuge during their period of exile (vanvaas). They could not complete the structure which is reflected even today in the missing roof directly above the main sanctum area (Garbha Griha) of the temple. It is also said that there is a km–long passageway which was used by the Pandavas to escape which lies shut and locked today.

Inside the temple, the main sanctum housing the shivling is situated at a slightly lower level and one has to descend a few of steps to take the blessings of Lord Shiva. There are a couple of other smaller temples too in the temple premises that you will come across while Circumambulation.

The Ambreshwar Temple of Ambernath is also locally referred as the Shiv Mandir Temple. Ambernath is an industrial town located in the Thane District. Ambernath is around 60 km away from Mumbai. The town got its name 'Ambernath' because of the temple, Ambreshwar. Ambreshwar means the 'Lord of the Sky'.

This Shiv temple is around 1000 years old. As per the inscriptions that are instated on the door that faces the north, this temple has been built by the King Chittaraja of the Silhara Dynasty. But if one has to believe the legendary tales associated with the temple, and then it is been said that this temple was built by the Pandavas.

It is said that Pandavas built this temple in just one night from a single big piece of stone. The temple has been built on the Valdhuni River. Though to speak the truth, the river no more resembles a river but still it was definitely a river at that point of time.

The construction of the temple resembles the Hemadpanthi style, which has been observed in many ancient temples built during those times. Though the temple isn't that big the way you normally see the other temples of that time, still the Ambreshwar Temple is one of its kind.

The temple has around three porches which give access to the main, central hall. One finds several stone carvings of various deities inside the hall. There are few beautifully carved pillars that hold the hall in the centre. A stone carved Nandi Bull is found in the middle of the hall way.

But the actual Shiva Linga is actually placed underground and there is a narrow walkway that has to be climbed down to reach the main sanctorum. There are around 20 steps that one needs to climb down for reaching the main Gabhara. The inner sanctorum is open to the sky and the Shiva Linga is placed right in the middle of the sanctorum.

Ambernath prominently gained importance because of this temple. The temple has survived strongly to tell its tale. The temple is still in a good shape, though one finds few sculptors withered out due to weathering. But overall the structure is totally impact.

Places to see in Ambernath

Shiva Temple, Methodist Church, Fatima Catholic Church and School, Sacred Heart syro-Malabar Catholic Church, GIP Tank, One Tree Point, Ayyapa Temple at Ordnance Estate, Shantisagar Water Resort, Chikloli Dam, Barvi Dam and Labour statue (which is probably the only statue representing Labour in India). Malang Gadh, a pilgrimage place known as Haji Malang Dargah, as well as hiking spot, is also close by. Heramb Mandir is a renovated temple of Lord Ganesha.The Shiv temple of Ambernath is worth visiting at the time of Shivratri.

Best Time to Visit Ambernath

Shiv Mandir Temple can be visited throughout the year. But it is best visited during Mahashivratri. As there is a big fair held during this occasion. The temple is lit up with lights and there are various events held on that day.

How to Reach Ambernath?

By Air : The nearest airport is Mumbai, around 60 km away.

By Rail : Ambernath can be easily accessed by trains. Ambernath falls on the central route of Mumbai, and several trains including the fast trains ply regularly to Ambernath from Mumbai CST. From Ambernath, the temple is around 2 km away and hence one can always take an auto rickshaw from Ambernath station and reach the temple in a couple of minutes.

By Road : Ambernath can be easily accessed by roads. Being just 60 km away from Mumbai, one reaches Ambernath in just an hour or so. The best route to reach Ambernath is by taking the Eastern Express Highway and going straight towards Ambernath via Nasik bypass.