India is well-known for its historical and cultural significance. Spirituality and religion are a component of a lot of people’s day-to-day lives in India. Many religions reside in India side by side. Among them is one religion- Hinduism. Lord Shiva is the most venerated god among Hindus all over the world. Lord Shiva is worshipped as Shivling and is also referred to as Mahadev (‘the mighty God’).

A Jyotirlinga is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is revered as a blazing pillar of light. ‘Jyoti’ signifies ‘radiance,’ and Lingam refers to the Shiva Lingam, which is the Almighty’s mark or sign,’ or the phallus symbol. As a result, Jyotirlingam refers to the Almighty’s luminous symbol.

There are 12 Jyotirlingas, also known as Dwadasa Jyotirlinga are considered to be the most significant in Hinduism. It is also claimed that the individual would be liberated from the karmic burden and the cycle of life and death if they visit 12 Jyotirlingas and seek blessings. 

The Jyotirlingas signifies limitlessness in Shiva’s form, whose magnificence has enticed worshipers from time immemorial. Worshippers from all around the world travel to see Lord Shiva’s holy sites and find spiritual calmness.

Legend behind Jyotirlingas

The Vishnu Purana mentions the legend of the “Jyotirlinga.” Lord Shiva had created a huge pillar of light and instructed both Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma to reach the end of the light in both directions while they were discussing who is superior. Lord Brahma lied and said he had discovered the end, but Lord Vishnu admitted defeat. Lord Shiva then condemned Lord Brahma, saying that despite being the creator of the Universe, he would be overlooked. The Jyotirlingas, meanwhile, are said to have emerged from Lord Shiva’s endless pillar of light.

The 12 Jyotirlingas are as follows:

  • Somnath Temple, Gujarat: The Somnath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is one of the most significant religious locations in the Hindu pilgrimage. The temple, which is considered the first of India’s 12 jyotirlingas attracts a great number of visitors each year. According to the Shiv Purana, Moon married 27 of Dakshin Prajapati’s daughters. But Moon was cursed by Prajapati for ignoring all his wives except one; Rohini. He worshipped Lord Shiva to be free of the curse and reclaim his lost shine and beauty. Lord Shiva took the name Somchandra (later known as Somnath) at his desire and lived there for all eternity. . The sacred site of worship has survived several attacks (it has been demolished 16 times and reconstructed) only to hold firm. The Kartik Purnima festival, which takes place in November, draws a significant amount of worshippers.
  • Nageshwar Shiva Temple, Gujarat: Nageshwar Shiva Temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is one of India’s oldest temples. It is also referenced in the Shiva Purana. Every year, thousands of worshippers travel to the temple to seek blessings from Lord Shiva, who is revered here as ‘Nagdev.’ This is one of India’s most prominent Jyotirlingas, representing protection against all forms of poisons.
  • Mahakaleshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh: Shri Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlingas is located in Madhya Pradesh’s historic city of Ujjain. Mahakaleshwar’s idol is called DakshinaMurti, which indicates that it is facing south. The lingam at the Mahakala is believed to be Swayambhu (born of itself, drawing currents of power shakti) from within itself. On the festival of Maha Shivratri, Lord Shiva worshippers pray throughout the night, and a large festival is held at the temple. The ‘Bhasm-Aarti,’ which is the early morning ceremony in which the Shivlinga is showered in ashes gathered from a fresh cremation pyre, is the temple’s main attraction.
  • Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu: Rameshwaram, a sacred town in Tamil Nadu, carries tremendous religious significance for Hindus and is regarded as one of the ‘Char Dham’ pilgrimage locations. The phrase ‘Ramanathaswamy’ refers to Lord Rama’s unwavering confidence in Lord Shiva, whom he prayed to before embarking on his trip to Lanka to rescue Goddess Sita from Ravana’s captivity.
  • Omkareshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh: Omkareshwar Temple, one of the most venerated Jyotirlingas, is situated on the Shivapuri Island in the Narmada River in Madhya Pradesh. Omkareshwar means “Lord of Omkara” or “Lord of the Om Sound!” According to legend, there was once a conflict between the Devas and the Danavas, and the Devas appealed to Lord Shiva to help them emerge victoriously. When Lord Shiva was pleased with the prayer, he emerged as Omkareshwar and aided the devas in their victory against the evils. The holiness of these sanctuaries is enhanced by the serene vibes and magnificent view of the holy Narmada River.
  • Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Uttar Pradesh: The ‘Kashi Vishwanath Temple’ is considered to be the holiest of the over 2000 temples in Banaras/Varanasi. Vishwanatha is Sanskrit for “Universe Ruler.” Lord Shiva wedded Goddess Parvati on Mahashivratri, a day marked by happiness and enthusiasm in Hindu mythology. Because of that, the ghats are filled with Shiva worshippers from all over the world during the Maha Shivaratri festival.
  • Trimbakeshwar Temple, Maharashtra: Trimbakeshwar jyotirlingas is located near Brahmagiri mountain, from where the Godavari River, also known as Gautami Ganga, originates. The temple is constructed of black stone in the Nagara architectural style. According to the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva decided to take the form of Trimbakeshwar at the request of the Godavari and Gautam Rishi. It is a one-of-a-kind jyotirlingas, with three faces representing Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. A tiara of diamonds, emeralds, and other valuable stones adorns the linga.
  • Bhimashankar Temple, Maharashtra: Bhimashankar temple, a magnificent black granite building with Nagara architectural pattern, is located on the banks of the River Bhima. The jyotirlingas here are said to have been constructed by Bheema-son of Kumbhakarna and is surrounded by a wildlife sanctuary of the same name. This shrine attracts a great number of worshippers throughout the year, particularly during Maha Shivratri.
  • Grishneshwar Temple, Maharashtra: It’s in the Maharashtra city of Aurangabad. In the Shiv Purana, this temple is referred to as Ghushmeshwar temple or Ghrneshwar Temple. The name Ghrneshwar means “lord of mercy.” The five-tiered shikhara of the Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is made of red granite. It is also India’s smallest Jyotirlinga temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand: Kedarnath is the Jyotirlinga that is nearest to Shiva’s true dwelling on Kailash mountain. This shrine is also a destination on the Hindus’ famed Char Dham yatra. The temple is closed during the wintertime due to the intense cold temperatures on the hills, and the idol of Lord Shiva is taken down to ‘Ukhimath,’ where the god is worshipped throughout the wintertime. People think that bathing the jyotirlinga at the Kedarnath temple will remove all sadness, bad luck, and misfortunes.
  • Baba Baidyanath Dham, Jharkhand: Baidyanath Temple, also known as Baba Baidyanath Dham or just Baba Dham, is among Lord Shiva’s greatest holy dwellings. Deoghar, Jharkhand, is home to this Jyotirlinga temple. The exquisite stones adorn the holy Shivalinga that exists here. It is not only one among the 12 Jyotirlingas but also a significant Shakti Peeth, where Goddess Shakti’s bodily parts have fallen. Chandrakanta Mani, the eight-petaled lotus, is the most magnificent sight to witness.
  • Mallikarjuna Temple, Andhra Pradesh: In Andhra Pradesh, Sri Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Temple is located in Srisailam. Shiva and Parvati resided at Shrishailam, as per legend, to be near their son Kartikey, who had chosen to reside alone on Mount Kravunja. Worshippers now believe that if they can even glimpse the mountain’s peak, they would be cleansed of all their sins.

It is said that visiting all 12 Jyotirlingas on a sacred pilgrimage removes negativity from a person’s life and gives peace, wellness, and contentment.

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