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12 Jyotrilingas In India That You Must Visit

Here’s all that you need to know about jyotirlingas.

Team ZZ

Samudra Manthan Ka Tha Samay Jo Aa Pada, Dwand Dono Lok Me Vshamrit Pe Tha Chida, Amrit Sabhi Main Baant Ke, Pyaala Vish Ka Tune Khud Piya.

Don’t these lyrics of Amit Trivedi's famous song from the film Kedarnath make you feel divine? Isn’t everything about Lord Shiva unique?

Lore has it that Shiva can destroy the world within a fraction of a second. While many question his existence, the 12 jyotirlingas in India can be considered proof of Lord Shiva. In addition to that, the fact that there is a particular sequence of 12 jyotirlingas inspires faith in devotees. So, in which parts of the country are these 12 jyotirlingas located? Here’s all that you need to know about them.

What is jyotirlinga?

While many of you are aware of Shiv-Lingas, the term 'jyotirlinga' may have left you confused. Starting from the basics, the 12 jyotirlinga are collectively known as Dwadash jyotirlinga.

According to Śiva Mahāpurāṇa, the jyotirlinga story began when Brahma (the creator) and Vishnu (the pervader) picked up a quarrel in a bid to establish supremacy over the other. As their quarrel turned into a war, Mahadev interfered to settle the debate. He pierced the three worlds appearing as a huge infinite pillar of light. To win the battle, Brahma and Vishnu were asked to find the end of the light in either direction. While Brahma moved to find the light upwards, Vishnu went downwards.

In the end, Vishnu accepted his defeat, however, Brahma lied to win the war. Hearing upon Brahma's lie, a furious Shiva emerged from the pillar and cursed Brahma that though the latter had created the world, no one will worship him till the end of eternity—and he blessed Vishnu instead.

It is believed that during the confrontation, Lord Shiva appeared on the earth in 64 places in the form of Lingodbhava. Of those 64 places, only 12 are considered to be the major ones. It is believed, in each Jyotirlinga, Lord Shiva resides in the form of a deity. Scroll down to know these 12 jyotirlinga names and places according to saint Adi Shankaracharya's Dwadash Jyotirling Strotram.

1. Somnath Temple

Location: Saurashtra, Gujarat

The Dwadash Jyotirling Strotram suggests that Somnath is the first pilgrimage site. Did you know that the Somnath temple was destroyed and rebuilt sixteen times by invaders in the medieval centuries? The temple is named after Moon, who worshipped Bholenath to get rid of a curse given by the former's father-in-law, Daksha. With Shiva's blessings, the Moon regained its light.

2. Mallikarjuna Temple

Location: Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh

The second jyotirlinga of Shiva, Mallikarjuna, is located on a mountain in Kurnool. Interestingly, the gigantic fort-like temple is also widely known as the Kashi of the South. The architecture and the sculpture of this holy shrine will leave you shunned. Legend has it that Shakti Peetha and Jyotirlingam are kept here together.

3. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling and Temple

Location: Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

People believe that the Mahadev jyotirlinga here is Dakshinmurti Swayambhu, which derives power within itself, unlike others where lingas are installed. Hence, it is considered the most powerful jyotirlinga. There are hundreds of small shrines of various deities in the temple complex. Did you know, Mahakaleshwar is also one of the 7 Mukti-Sthal in India?

4. Omkareshwar Temple

Location: Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh

Omkareshwar, which means ‘the sound of Lord Shiva', is located on an island in Madhya Pradesh called Shivapuri. It is believed that Shiva emerged as Omkareshwar when Gods prayed to him to help them with the victory in the war against demons. Since then, Shiva has been residing there as Omkareshwar.

5. Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga Temple

Location: Deoghar, Jharkhand

Well, this divine jyotirlinga has quite an interesting story behind it. It is said that one of the biggest devotees of Shiva, Ravana, once requested the lord to visit Lanka. Lord Shiva gave Ravana a linga and promised to visit Lanka if the latter reached Lanka without dropping it or putting it down anywhere. As Ravana agreed and carried the Shiv-linga. Vishnu cleverly manipulated Ravana to place it down with different magics. Since then, Lord Shiva, in the form of Vaidyanath, has been residing in Deodhar.

6. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga

Location: Pune, Maharashtra 

Situated on the banks of River Bhima, this jyotirlinga was installed after a war between Lord Shiva and Khumbhkaran's son Bhima. To seek revenge for his father's death from Lord Vishnu, Bhima worshipped Lord Brahma. However, after gaining powers and blessings from Lord Brahma, Bhima started the destruction of the world, which eventually angered deities. Lord Shiva defeated Bhimaand lived there in the form of Bhimashankar.

7. Rameshwar Jyotirlinga

Location: Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu

Interestingly, the story behind its origin dates back to the time when Lord Rama sought the help of Lord Shiva to travel towards Lanka in search of his wife Sita. When he had to build a bridge to get to Lanka, Lord Rama made an idol of Shiva with sand and worshipped it. In return, he received blessings from Lord Shiva and since then the latter is living there in the form of Ramanathswamy.  

8. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga

Location: Dwarka, Gujarat

This divine jyotirlinga is in Dwarka, along with the house of Lord Krishna. Thousands of devotees and tourists visit this holy place to see the 25m-tall statue of Lord Shiva, the garden, and the stunning view of the Arabian sea. Fact: This Jyotirlinga is well-known for having a boon of protection against all types of poison.

9. Kashi Vishwanath

Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Undoubtedly, Kashi Vishwanath is one of the most prominent of the 12 jyotirlingas in India. It is said that Kashi Vishwanath, situated near the banks of river Ganga, is one of the first Jyotirlingas where the influence of God was experienced. Many believe that if a body is burnt on the ghats of River Ganga, their soul departs directly to heaven.

10. Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga

Location: Nashik, Maharashtra

The three pillars inside this divine shrine resemble the three principal dignities of the universe: Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. The Shiva Purana claims that at the request of Gautam Rishi, Lord Shiva resided here in the form of Trimbakeshwar.

11. Kedarnath

Location: Kedarnath, Uttarakhand

This holy pilgrimage is located at a higher altitude of around 12000 ft in the Himalayan range on a mountain named Kedar. Interestingly, according to various Puranas, this holy place is the permanent home of Lord Shiva.

12. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga

Location: Aurangabad

Next on the list of jyotirlinga places is Grishneshwar! The natives call it Kusumeswarar, Grushmeswara, Grishneswara, Ghusmeswara. As per the Shiva Purana, a devotee by the name of Sudharm sought the divine's help to find his son. When Lord Shiva exposed the real culprit, instead of punishing him Sudharm requested for forgiveness. As Lord Shiva was impressed by Sudharam's generosity, on the latter's request decided to stay there in the form of Grishneshwar. 

Photo: Shutterstock
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