The word Jyotirlinga originates from Sanskrit Language, which means Symbol. Further, the Agama text defines the literal meaning by breaking it into three pieces. “Jyoti” means light, “Ling” means to dissolve or destroy and, “Ga” means to emerge or create. The in-depth sense of jyotir linga lights on Lord Shiva’s infinite nature, we are a creation of Lord Shiva (Universe), and we all dissolve back into him at the end. Jyotirlinga marks the cosmos of the universe.
There are twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India. The 12 Jyotir lingas are Somnath in Saurashtra (Gujarat), Mallikarjuna in Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh), Mahakaleswar in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Uttrakhand, Bhimashankar in Pune (Maharashtra), Vishwanath in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Trimbakeshwar in Nashik (Maharashtra), Baidyanath Temple in Deoghar District of Jharkhand, Nageshvara Temple at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar in Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu) and Grishneshwar at Ellora near Aurangabad, in Maharashtra.
Somnath Temple, Gujarat
This Jyotir linga is one of the first jyotir linga Shrine of Lord Shiva. The Somnath temple has its location in Prabhas Patan, also known as Somnath Patan or Prabhas Kshetra, historically named Dev Patan. Morever, considered one of the most auspicious pilgrimages of Sanatan Dharma, the temple is also a famous tourist attraction of Gujarat. Further, the term Somnath derives from the Sanskrit word “Som” and “Nath,” an epithet of Lord Shiva. According to the legends, lord Chandraman (God of Moon) himself created the Somnath temple. The temple has witnessed numerous attacks by foreign invaders (destroyed 16 times and rebuilt), but it resisted and still stands with dignity.
Mallikarjuna Temple, Andhra Pradesh
The Amllikarjuna Jyotirlinga temple has its location at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh. According to the legends, Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati stayed in Shrishailam to live close to their son, lord Kartikey, who choose to live in penance on Mount Kravunja. Mallikarjuna is one of The Paadal Petra Sthalam that are 275 temples revered in the verses of Saiva Nayanars and are amongst the grand Shiva temples of Asia.
Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
The Kedarnath Jyotir linga temple has its location in the Garhwal Himalayan Range near the Mandakini river in Uttarakhand. Also, the temple is open for the public from April till November due to extreme weather conditions. According to the legends, the temple was built by the Pandavas and later revived by Adi Shankaracharya. It is also one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalam.
Mahakaleshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga have a location in the ancient city of Ujjain. Also, the idol at the temple is also known as Dakshinmurti (facing in the South). The Jyotir linga has believed to be born by itself (Swayambhu). According to the Puranas, Ujjain is known as the devotional epicenter and was famous for its beauty and scriptures during ancient times.
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Omkareshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar Temple, situated on Mandhata, an island in the Narmada river, Madhya Pradesh. The shape of the island is said to be like the holy symbol “OM.” There are two main temples of Lord Shiva here. Firstly, Omkareshwar (Lord of Om Sound) located on the island. Secondly, Mamleshwar (Lord of immortals) located on the bank of Narmada. It is the second Jyotir linga in Madhya Pradesh after Mahakaleshwar.
Bhimashankar Temple, Maharashtra
The Bhimashankara of Sahyadri hills in Maharashtra is one of the 12 ancient Jyotir linga. According to the legends, the name Bhimashankara originated from the river Bhima. However, the river evaporated due to the energy generated during the war between Lord Shiva and Demon Tripurasura. Chatrapati Shivaji and Rajaram Maharaj, known to visit this Jyotir linga.
Also Read: LORD SHIVA CONSUMING BHANG: MYTH OR REALITY?
Trimbakeshwar Temple, Maharashtra
Trimbakeshwar temple is another Jyotirlinga in Maharashtra. The location of Nashik city temple lies between the three mountains, Brahmagiri, Nilagiri, and Kalagiri. According to the legend, Gautam Rishi and Godavari request Lord Shiva to reside in Trimbakeshwar. Also, it is a unique Jyotir linga with three faces, symbolizing Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. The current temple has built by Peshwa Bajirao.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh
Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the most popular Jyotir linga. Located at the western banks of the holy river Ganga, this Jyotir linga is a sacred Shiva temple. Moreover, the name Vishwanath originates from the Sanskrit language, meaning “Lord of the Universe.” Therefore, Varanasi city known as Kashi during ancient times, and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The temple has a mention in the Puranas as well as in the Kashi Khanda of Skanda Purana.
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Baidyanath Temple, Jharkhand
Baidyanath Temple is one the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. This Jyotirlinga shrine, located in Deoghar, Jharkhand. To clarify, the name Baidyanath originates from the term Vaidya, meaning doctor. Lord Shiva healed and cured demon king Ravana at this place when he offered his ten heads to the lord. Ravana was one of the eminent worshippers of Lord Shiva.
Nageshvara Temple, Gujarat
Nageshvara Temple is one of the sacred Shiva temples and Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. A self-manifested Shivalinga appeared after Lord Shiva killed the demon named Daruka. Daruka imprisoned a Shiva Devotee named Supriya. Close to the temple is another important spiritual spot called Gopi Talav Tirth, a lake that’s connected to the legends of Gopis visiting Lord Krishna.
Rameshwaram Temple, Tamil Nadu
Ramanathanswamy Temple is an ancient Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. Located on the Rameswaram island in Tamil Nadu, it is one of the holy 275 Paadal Petra Sthalam. According to the Ramayana, the Jyotirlinga, established by Lord Rama himself to make amends of Killing Demon king Ravana, as he was a brahmin. Moreover, here are two Shivalinga inside the temple – one made by Lord Rama, from the sand. The second Linga brought by Lord Hanuman from Kailash, known as Vishwalingam. Lord Rama instructed to worship the Vishwalingam first brought by Lord Hanuman from the abode of Lord Shiva.
Grishneshwar Temple, Maharashtra
Grishneshwar Temple, refers to the Ghumeshwar Temple that is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva that, also mentioned in Shiva Purana. Moreover, the name Grishneshwar means “Lord of Compassion.” The ancient pilgrimage, located in Ellora, near the Ellora Caves (UNESCO Heritage Site). It is approx. 30 km away from the city of Aurangabad.