12 Jyotirlingas In India
What is jyothirlinga ?
Worship of shivalinga is considered the prime worship for the devotees of Lord shiva. Worship of all other forms is considered secondary. The significance of the shivalinga is that It is the resplendent light (flame) form of the Supreme - solidified to make the worship of It easier. It represents the real nature of God - formless essentially and taking various forms as It wills.
This jyoti swarUpa of God exist in all the shivalinga forms, there are prominent abodes across Indian subcontinent, where It is in a splendid form. These are renowned as dvAdasa jyotir lingas or 12 jyotirlingas. These are held at much great esteem since the ancient pre-historic times. purANas talk in many sections as well as in detail about the glory of these abodes. Devotees have been getting pulled towards these kshetras due to the highly benevolent divine presence in these abodes, since ancient times.
The 12 jyothirlinga temples
There is a sanskrit shloka that lists the twelve jyotirlinga temples. (This and the complete dvAdasa jyotirlinga stotra could be found at Scripture Page)
"Saurashtre Somanathamcha Srisaile Mallikarjunam|
Ujjayinya Mahakalam Omkaramamaleswaram ||
Paralyam Vaidyanathancha Dakinyam Bheema Shankaram |
Setu Bandhethu Ramesam, Nagesam Darukavane||
Varanasyantu Vishwesam Tryambakam Gautameethate|
Himalayetu Kedaaram, Ghrishnesamcha shivaalaye||
Etani jyotirlingani, Saayam Praatah Patennarah|
Sapta Janma Kritam pApam, Smaranena Vinashyati||"
Mahadev, the Lord incorporates in Himself, the aura and the holiness of all the twelve JyotirLingas. The grandeur of these places is unique. Devotees line up in great numbers to take a look and get a Darshan of all the JyotirLingas.
Location of the jothirlinga temples
Two on the seashore, three on riverbanks, four in the heights of the mountains and three in villages located in meadows; the twelve Jyotirlingas are spread out like this. Every place has been described in glorious words by many detailing the surroundings etc.
Those of us who go to these temples of Shubhankar Shankar- Jyoti-Sivasthan, receive the holy blessings of the Lord, and come back happy, peaceful and blessed. This in indeed depends on one's devotion and experience too.
- Somnath in Saurashtra (Guj)
- Mallikarjun in Srisailam (A.P.)
- Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain (M.P.)
- Omkareshwar in Shivpuri / mAmaleswara (M.P.)
- Vaidyanath in Deogarh (Bihar)
- Nageswar in Darukavanam
- Kedareswar in Kedarnath / Himalayas (Utt)
- Tryambakeswar in Nasik (Mah)
- Rameshwar in Setubandanam / Rameshwaram (T.N.)
- Bhimashankar in Dakini (Mah)
- Visweswar in Varanasi (U.P.) and
- Ghrishneswar in Devasrovar (Mah).
Those who chant the Dwadasa JyotirLinga Stotram or prayer will attain salvation and enlightenment and be released from this cycle of human existence with all its travails. By worshipping the Lingas, people of all castes, creeds and colour would be freed from all difficulties. By eating the holy offering made to these Lingas (Naivedyam) one would be rid of all the sins instantly.
As a matter of fact, we do the Darshan of the JyoritLingas as a part of our daily life. Sun, Fire and Light etc., are indeed a part of that great Light. "Om tatsavituvarenye" these magical words of the Gayatri mantra or chant invoke this Supreme light only. By chanting this powerful Mantra, humans can obtain divine power to their life-light or Atmajyothi.
The aura of the Sun rays and the various benefits that can be derived there from is indeed a difficult task to describe. This gorgeous life-light is the only thing that is responsible for the activity in the universe. We salute this life force.
"Agni" or fire is a great light. For all the activities on the earth, "Fire" is the pivot.
Deepajyoti or light and its greatness, is known to all of us, and we offer our prayers. Let us celebrate the glory of light. Light is offered a place of pride at welcome celebrations and on all auspicious occasions.
"Shubham karoti kalyanam Arogyam Dhanasampada|
Shatru buddhi vinashaya Deepa Jyoti namostute||"
This light removes the darkness from the lives of one and all. Darkness means ignorance and it is destroyed by this light. The natured light of God makes all our wishes come true, when we take a Darshan of it.
Somanath: This temple is situated in Gujarat and is one of the first Jyotirlingas. According to Hindu mythology, Bhairavanatha at Prabhasa was worshipped by the moon, and hence Shiva here is referred to as Somanath.
Mallikarjun: Mallikarjun is situated at Sree Sailam, about 250 km From Hyderabad, near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. This is widely visited by Saivities and it constitutes one of the 12 Jyotirlingam shrines of Shiva. The deities here are worshiped as Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Devi).
Mahakaleshwar - The shrine of Mahakaleshwar is situated at Ujjain (or Avanti) in Madhya Pradesh. It was considered to be the capital of King Vikramaditya Chandragupta of the Gupta dynasty. According to one legend, demon Dushana beset the residents of Avanti; upon the request of the population of Avanti Lord Shiva appeared from the ground and bested the demon. Since that period Shiva took up permanent address here as Mahakaleshwara Jyotirlinga. The Maha Shivaratri Festival is celebrated here every year with much ecstasy and gaiety.
Omkareshwar: It is situated on Mandhata hill on the banks of river Narmada in M.P. There are two famous temples dedicated to Omkareshwara and Amaleshwara. There is popular belief that once upon the request of the Devas, the Shivalinga split into two, one half being Omkareshwara and the other Amaleshwara or Amareshwar. King Mandhatha of the Ishvaku clan is regarded to have worshipped as Shiva here.
Kedarnath: It is situated near Badrinath in Uttaranchal, located on the Rudra Himalaya range. This shrine is accessible to visitors only once in every 6 months because rest of the time, it is covered with snow. According to Hindu mythology, Nara and Narayana - two incarnations of Vishnu practised severe penances at Badrikashramam, in front of a Shivalingam fashioned out of earth. When Shiva appeared in front of them, they requested him to take up a permanent abode as a Jyotirlingam at Kedarnath.
Bhimashankar: It is situated near Pune, Maharashtra. According to the legend, Lord Shiva is said to have taken house in the form of Bhima, upon to the request of the Gods on the top of the Sahyadri hills. The sweat that poured forth from his body after a battle is believed to have formed the Bhimarathi River. Thus, Mahashivratri is the biggest festival celebrated here every year.
Kashi Vishwanath: It is situated in Banaras, the city believed to be devoted exclusively to Lord Shiva and is a major shakti peeth of India. There is popular belief that any human being who dies here gets a place in the heaven.
Tryambakeshwar: It is situated near Nashik in Maharashtra. In ancient history, Gowtama muni lived here with his wife - Ahalaya. By virtue of his devotion received from Varuna, a bottomless pit from which he received an inexhaustible supply of grains and food. The other rishis, jealous of his fortune, arranged for a cow to enter his granary, and caused it to die as Gowtama attempted to ward it off with a bunch of Darbha grass. Gowtama therefore worshipped Shiva, to bring the Ganga down to his hermitage to purify the premises. The Ganga came down as Godavari, and Shiva took up an abode here in the form of Tryambaka. Interestingly, locals refer to the river here as Ganga and not as Godavari.
Vaidyanath: Vaidyanath is situated at Deogarh, in the Santal Parganas region of Bihar. This shrine is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva and devotees throughout the country visit the shrine in large crowds especially on Maha Shivaratri.
Nageshwar: It is situated at Dwarka in Gujarat. According to one legend, God's devotee by name Supriya was attacked by a demon Daaruka and then, demon imprisoned him along with many others at his capital Daarukaavana, where he resided with his wife. Since then, Lord Shiva appeared there in the form of Jyotirlinga and is believed that he has beaten the demon with the Paasupata Astram.
Rameshwaram: It is situated in southern Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Rama for his victorious return from Sri Lanka. According to the history, it is believed that Rama worshipped Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita, while returning to Ayodhya. It is believed that ancient temple has been demolished in 12th century itself.
Grishneshwar: It is located close to Ellora, in Maharashtra. The legend says that a devout woman Kusuma worshipped Lord Shiva regularly by immersing a Shivalingam in a tank, as a part of her daily ritual worship. Her husband's first wife, envious of her piety and standing in society murdered Kusuma's son in cold blood. An aggrieved Kusuma continued her ritual worship, and when she immersed the Shivalingam again in the tank, her son was miraculously restored to life. Shiva is said to have appeared in front of her. The villagers, since then, believed to have been worshiping Lord Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlinga called Grishneshwar or Ghusmeshwar.