A Jyotirlinga is a temple where Lord Shiva is worshiped in the form of a burning column. ‘Jyoti’ means ‘energy’ and lingam, Shiva linga-omnipotent or phallus symbol ‘the sign’. Therefore, Jyotirlinga means the glowing sign of the Almighty. There are 12 traditional Jyotirlinga temples in India.
12 Jyotirlingas are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain, Omkareshwar, Kedarnath, Bhimashankar at Pune, Aundha Nagnath in Maharashtra, Rameshwar at Rameshwaram and Grushneshwar, Viswanath, Tryambakeshwar, Vaijyanath Temple in Deoghar District of Jharkhand.
1. Ramanathaswamy, Tamil Nadu
Ramanathaswamy Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the most revered and sacred pilgrimage sites in India. According to Hindu mythology, the Jyotirlinga was made by Lord Rama himself to correct the killing of the Brahmin Ravana on the battlefield. He asked Hanuman to bring a linga from Kailash, but as it was too late he worshiped the linga made of the sand of the goddess Sita. It is believed that the identical lingam is placed inside the womb. This linga worshiped by Lord Rama is known as Ramnath.
The Ramanathaswamy Temple is located on the island of Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. The Rameshwaram temple, the southernmost of the 12 Jyotirlingas, is located on Rameshwaram Island off the coast of Tamil Nadu. This temple is popular for its architecture, especially known for its long ornate corridors, towers, and 36 teams. It is a revered place of pilgrimage that has been considered by many to be the equivalent of Benares.
This Jyotirlinga is closely associated with the Ramayana and the victorious return of Rama from Sri Lanka. It is believed that on his way to Sri Lanka Rama stopped at Rameshwaram and was drinking water on the beach when there was a heavenly proclamation: “You are drinking water without worshiping me.” Hearing this, Rama made a penis of sand and worshiped it, and sought its blessing to defeat Ravana.
2. Mahakaleshwar, Madhya Pradesh
The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known as Dakshinamurti, which means it faces south. One of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, the Mahakala Linga Swayambhu (born of itself) is believed to generate a stream of energy. It is believed that Shiva, the god of time, has his blessings on the city of Ujjain.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple is located on the banks of the Kshipra River in the dense Mahakal forest of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Srikar took a stone and started worshiping Shiva. Many tried to annoy him in various ways, but his devotion continued to grow. The Mahakaleshwar temple is considered by Hindus to be significant for other reasons. It is one of the seven “places of liberation” that can set people free.
3. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
The first of the twelve Jyotirlinga temples of Shiva is believed to be the Somnath temple located at Prabhas Patan. It is considered one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India and a great tourist destination in Gujarat. Somnath means “Lord of Mon”, a title of Shiva. The history of the Somnath temple is of a kind interesting because according to legend the temple was built by the moon god himself. Fear has made numerous attacks (destroyed and rebuilt 16 times) to keep the place of worship strong.
Considered to be the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas, the Somnath Temple in Gujarat is located near Verbal in Kathiawar District (Prabhas Kshetra). There is a legend related to how this Jyotirlinga of Gujarat came into existence. Seeing his negligence towards other wives, the butterfly cursed Chand that it would lose all its vigor. At his request, Lord Shiva took the name Somchandra and lived there forever. He became famous as Somnath. Since then Somnath Jyotirlinga has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in history.
4. Kashi Vishwanath, Uttar Pradesh
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Jyotirlinga temple is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and stands on the banks of the holy river Ganga. Called the holiest of Shiva temples, Bishwanath means the ruler of the universe. On the occasion of the great Shivaratri festival, the ghats are filled with Shiva devotees from all over the world. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on Mahashivaratri, a day celebrated with joy and ecstasy.
Kashi Bishwanath Temple is located in the most revered place in the world – Kashi! It is located in the middle of a crowded alley in the holy city of Banaras (Varanasi). More than the ghats of Varanasi and the Ganges, Shivling remains at the center of the devotion of the pilgrims. It is believed that Banaras was the place where the first Jyotirlinga manifested its dominion over the other gods, breaking the earth’s crust and spreading towards heaven.
This temple is said to be the most beloved to Lord Shiva and people believe that those who die here are liberated. Many believe that Shiva himself lived here and that he was the giver of liberation and happiness. This temple has been rebuilt several times but has always retained its ultimate significance.
5. Mallikarjuna, Andhra Pradesh
Sri Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Temple is located in Sri Sailam, Andhra Pradesh. According to mythology, Shiva and Parvati stayed in Srisailam to stay close to their son Kartikeya, who decided to stay alone on Mount Kravunj. Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga is one of the 275 Padal Petra sites which is one of the greatest Lord Shiva temples in Asia.
The Mallikarjun Temple is located on the banks of the river Krishna in the southern part of Andhra Pradesh. It is also known as “Kailash of the South” and is one of the best Shaiva temples in India. The main deities in this temple are Mallikarjun (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Goddess). According to Shiva Purana, Lord Ganesha tied the knot before Karthik which angered Kartikeya.
He went to Mount Crunch. All the gods tried to comfort him but failed. Eventually, Shiva-Parvati traveled the mountain on their own but Kartikeya turned their backs on them. They were shocked to see their son in such a condition and Shiva took the form of Jyotirlinga and lived on a hill called Mallikarujan. Mallika means Parvati, and Arjuna is another name for Shiva. It makes people believe that just by looking at the tip of this mountain one is freed from all sins and freed from the vicious cycle of life and death.
6. Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga temples, is located at Mandhata on an island in the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh. The name “Omkareshwar” is based on the shape of the island, which appears to be Om. There are two main temples of Lord Shiva – Omkareshwar which means “Lord of Omkara or Lord of the word Om” and the other is Amareshwar which means “Immortal lord” or “Lord of Immortals or Gods”. It is the second Jyotirlinga temple in Madhya Pradesh, the first being Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain.
Omkareshwar Temple is a highly revered Jyotirlinga and is located on an island called Shivpuri on the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh. The word Omkareshwar means “Lord of Omkara” or Lord of the word Om! According to Hindu scriptures, there was once a great battle between gods and demons (gods and demons), where the demons won. It was a big shock for the gods who then prayed to Lord Shiva
7. Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
This Jyotirlinga temple is considered to be the most difficult to visit by devotees of Lord Mahadev. Weather Sikesh, located at an altitude of 3,583 meters from Uttarakhand, with extreme weather, going to Kedarnath Temple, Jyotirlinga is a challenging affair. It is accessible only six months a year. It is one of the 275 Padal Petra stalams and was built by the Pandavas and revived by Adi Shankaracharya.
8. Bhimashankar, Maharashtra
One of the five Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra, the Bhimashankar Temple is located in Pune. It is the source of the river Bhima in the Bhimashankar hills of Khed taluk. According to legend, the ancient temple is believed to have been built on the Swayambhu linga or the self-extinguished Shiva linga.
The Bhimashankar Temple is located in the Pune Sahyadri region of Maharashtra. It is located on the banks of the river Bhima and is considered as the source of this river. When Bhima learns that he is the son of Kumbhakaran, who was destroyed by his incarnation Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Rama, he vows to avenge Lord Vishnu. He did penance to please Lord Brahma who gave him infinite power.
After gaining this power, he began to cause havoc in the world. He defeated the ardent devotee of Lord Shiva-Kamarupeshwar and kept him in a dungeon. This angered the lords who begged Shiva to come down from the earth and put an end to this oppression. The battle between the two begins and Shiva finally turns the asura to ashes. Shiva then manifested himself in the form of Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga. It is believed that the river Bhima formed from the sweat that flowed from Shiva’s body after the battle.
9. Baidyanath, Jharkhand
Baidyanatha Temple or Baba Vaidyanath Dham or just Baba Dham is the holiest abode of Lord Shiva. This Jyotirlinga temple is located in Deoghar, Jharkhand. The name of Jyotirlinga is Vaidya which means ‘doctor’ for the reason that Lord Shiva healed the demon king Ravana because he was the greatest Shiva worshiper. Millions of pilgrims come to attend the Shravan Mela, and the famous festival is celebrated at the Maha Shivaratri temple.
10. Nageshwar, Gujarat
Nageshwar, Gujarat The Jyotirlinga temple is located near Dwarka in Gujarat. According to Shiva Purana, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is located in Darukavan, India, which is the ancient name of a forest in India. It is known from Indian mythology that Lord Krishna used to perform Rudrabhishekam. This Jyotirlinga has special significance because it is a symbol of protection from all kinds of poisons. It is believed that all those who worship in this temple are detoxified.
According to Shiva Purana, a Shiva devotee named Supriya was captured by a Daruka monster. The demon held him captive in his capital, Durukavana, along with a few others. Supriya advised all the prisoners to chant “Nm Namah Shiva” which angered Daruka, who ran to kill Supriya. Lord Shiva appeared before the demon and put an end to it. Thus Nageshwar Jyotirlinga came into existence.
11. Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra
Another Jyotirlinga temple in Maharashtra is the Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple in Nashik. The temple is located at the foot of the Brahmagiri mountain. According to Shiva Purana, at the request of the Godavari and Gautam Ishi, Lord Shiva decided to live as Trimbakeshwar. It is considered to be a unique Jyotirlinga: the three faces of the linga symbolize Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. The Jyotirlinga is covered by a gem crown, which is placed on top of the gold masks of the three deities.
The Trimbakeshwar Temple flows from the Godavari River near a mountain called Brahmagiri, about 0 km from Nasik in Maharashtra. This temple is considered to be the source of the Godavari river which is known as “Gautami Ganga” – the holiest river in South India. Gautam Ishi received a boon from Shi Varuna in the form of a hole from which he received an inexhaustible supply of grain and food.
The other gods were enraged by him and they sent a cow to enter the barn. Gautam Ishi Shi killed the cow by mistake, who then told Lord Shiva to do something to purify the courtyard. Shiva told the Ganges to flow through the land to purify it. In this way, everyone sang the praises of the Lord who was then living on the banks of the Ganges in the form of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga. Hindus believe that this Jyotirlinga of Maharashtra fulfills everyone’s desires.
12. Grishneshwar, Maharashtra
Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga or Ghraneshwar Jyotirlinga or Dhushmeshwar Temple is one of the 12 holy Jyotirlingas mentioned in Sripurana. It is located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Called the last or twelfth jyotirlinga (linga of light), Ghraneshwar means ‘Lord of Compassion’. The Krishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is built of red stone and consists of five levels of peaks.
There are 12 Jyotirlingas in India. It is believed that Lord Shiva first appeared on earth on the night of the constellation Aridra, thus paying special homage to Jyotirlinga. There is no unique look to identify Jyotirlingas. Many people believe that you can see these genders as a pillar of fire on earth after a high level of spiritual attainment. Originally there were 64 Jyotirlingas out of which 12 are considered extremely auspicious and sacred. Twelve Jyotirlinga temples in India are named after the chief deity. Everyone considered a different manifestation of Lord Shiva.