Naimisaranya or Nimsar or Nimkhar is a place of great sanctity, situated 20 miles from Sitapur in U.P. Many of the Puranas were written here. Its distance from Sandila station is 24 miles. The word Naimisa can be spelt in two ways as ‘Naimish’ and ‘Naimeesh’. One legend is that Pitamaha Brahma sent out a ‘manomaya wheel’ after saluting Mahadeva. It went on moving at various places and its rim was shattered at the place now known as Naimisaranya. Sages followed the course of that wheel which was as bright as the Sun, and they stopped at Naimisaranya where the rim of the wheel was shattered.
This sacred place has a belief that those who stay here have no fear from Goddess Kali. The Puranic reciter, Sauti Ugrashravas, recited the Mahabharata to the Sages, here. The place has many sacred tanks and temples. In Ain-i-Akbari, the famous book on the Mughal ruler, Akbar, the Great, Nimsar finds a beautiful description of it. The reservoir, mentioned in the book is ‘Chakra Tirtha’. It is the place where the wheel of Brahma fell. It is also the place where Lord Vishnu flung his discus at the demons. The Chakra Tirtha is hexagonal in shape. Some other tanks worthy of mention are the Pancha Prayaga, the Godavari, the Kashi, the Gomati and the Godavari. The famous poet, Surdasji spent some part of his life here. The place finds a frequent mention in the Mahabharata, the Ramayana and most of the Puranas. Vana Parva says all ‘Tirthas’ are concentrated at Nimsar.
This place is described very holy on earth and is stated to be very dear to Lord Shiva. There is a belief, which says, it is meritorious to have a bath in the sacred tanks of this place, on Somavati Amavasya. I have also been to Nimsar and taken this holy bath, which blessed me a lot. A Parikrama Fair is held in the month of Phalguna, every year and is believed to be very beneficial. People from all over the world come here during this period for the grace of the Lord. The chief temple of Naimisaranya is of Lalita Devi. Naimisaranya also has forests, which has been an abode to about 60,000 sages. Another famous orator, Romaharshana, also known as Suta, recited various Puranas, here. In Vayu Purana, it is stated that it is the duty of the Suta community to maintain the lists of the Kings. They have to recite the Itihasa and the Puranas, as a ritual.
It is the essence of the Puranas, which has made this place of so holy. This famous pilgrimage is all year busy with tourists from the world over, who come here to offer prayers, bathe in the tank and wish for their desires from the Lord.