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Referring to “that which is not,” and Adiyogi, Shiva is represented in a variety of forms. He is a cosmic dancer (Nataraja); a naked ascetic; and a mendicant beggar. Shiva is both - the great ascetic and the master of fertility, and he is the master of both - poison and medicine. He is also called the Mahakaal, the destroyer among the ‘Tridev’ (the holy trinity). Lord Shiva is worshipped in his myriad forms and it only reflects his popularity and the unwavering faith devotees have in him.

As devotees prepare their homes and hearts to worship Lord Shiva on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivratri (Great Night of Shiva) 2022, here's a look at the twelve Jyotirlinga in India.  A Jyotirlinga is a shrine where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of a column of light. There are twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India. Let’s learn about them below.

 

Jyotirlingas in North India

 Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Unarguably one of the most popular Shiva temples,  Kedarnath is situated in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand. It also enjoys a scenic setting and is the highest of all the 12 Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath is also part of the Chota Chardham along with the popular shrines of Badrinath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. The temple remains open for pilgrimage only 6 months in a year (during April to November) and can only be reached on foot by trekking 18 km from another sacred place in Uttarakhand called Gauri Kund.

 According to the legends, the Pandavas performed a great penance here to absolve their sins after the battle of Mahabharata. Pleased with the Pandavas, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of a triangular shaft of light also known as Jyotirlinga.

 How to Reach Kedarnath - By air reach Dehradun or by road, you can reach Rishikesh. From here you can travel by road to Gauri Kund, the base point of the Kedarnath trek.

 Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Uttar Pradesh

 Kashi Vishwanath is an iconic temple situated in the holy city of Varanasi. The temple originally dates back to the 11th century, however, the present-day temple is said to have been renovated by Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar in 1780. The temple’s highlight is its gold-plated spires.

According to mythology, Lord Shiva appeared in the form of an endless pillar of fire to stop the ongoing battle for supremacy between Lord Vishnu and Brahma. While the pillar of fire vanished after Lord Shiva declared Lord Vishnu ‘Supreme’, there is believed to be a part of it that remained in Kashi as Vishwanath Jyotirlinga.

How to Reach Kashi Vishwanath -  Varanasi has an international airport with flights to many domestic and international destinations.

Jyotirlingas in South India

Mallikarjuna Temple, Andhra Pradesh

 Boasting a spectacular Dravidian style of architecture, Mallikarjuna Temple in Srisailam Andhra Pradesh was built around 1234AD, by the Hoysala King, Vira Narsimha. Also known as Srisailam Temple, this Shiva temple is perched on a hill and is adorned with stunning wall sculptures and carvings depicting scenes from Ramayana and Mahabharata.

According to the Shiv Purana, Lord Shiva took the form of Jyotirlinga here on the Krauncha Mountain while consoling his son Kartikeya of his anger owing to the marriage of his younger brother, Lord Ganesha, before his.

How to Reach Mallikarjuna Temple - The temple is located around 180 km from  Kurnool, and 213 kilometers from Hyderabad. Pilgrims coming by train would need to alight at the railway station in either Markapur or Tarlupadu. These stations are between 2 and 2.5 hours by road from Srisailam.

Ramanathaswamy Temple, Tamil Nadu

Situated in the holy town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Ramanathaswamy Temple is not only one of the twelve Jyotirlingas but also part of the Chardham circuit in India. The temple is known for its fine architecture - majestic towers, sculpted pillars, and lavish corridors.

It is said that Rameshwaram was sanctified by Lord Rama after returning from Lanka, where he killed the demon Ravana. For the atonement for his sins, he wanted to pray to Lord Shiva in the form of Shivling. So, he sent Lord Hanuman to get the biggest lingam from the Himalayas. As Lord Hanuman took very long to get the Shivling, Goddess Sita created a Shivlinga from the sand.

How to Reach Ramanathaswamy Temple - There are trains from Madurai and one can also get her by road from Madurai easily

Jyotirlingas in West India

Somnath Temple, Gujarat

Located in Gujarat, on the shores of the Arabian Sea, the Somnath Temple is one of the first shrines of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Considered to be the holiest of all Jyotirlingas, the temple is originally believed to have been constructed with pure gold and silver.

According to a legend, the Moon God, Somdev had 27 wives (daughters of Daksha Prajapati), out of them he only loved Rohini. Seeing this, Daksha Prajapati cursed the Moon God to have his brightness consumed by the darkness of night. It is believed, the grief-stricken Somdev prayed to the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva for 4000 years at the place where the Somnath Temple is located today.

How to Reach Somnath - There are flights to Rajkot, which is situated 160 km away from Somnath. The rest of the journey can be done by road from Rajkot.

Nageshwar Temple, Gujarat

Located near Dwarka in Gujarat, Nageshwar Mahadev Temple is considered to be the home of one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. A 25-meter-tall statue of Lord Shiva in a seated posture is the major attraction of this temple.

As per the Shiv Purana, a demon named Daruka was blessed by Goddess Parvati. Misusing the blessings from the Goddess, Daruka tyrannized the local people and imprisoned a Shiva devotee named Supriya along with some other people. On the advice of Supriya, the inmates started to chant Shiv Mantra. Seeing this, Daruka raged in anger and rushed to kill Supriya, however, suddenly Lord Shiva in the form of Jyotirlinga appeared to protect her and other devotees.

How to Reach Nageshwar Temple - The nearest airport to Dwarka is in Jamnagar, some odd 137 km away. From Jamnagar, one can travel by road to Dwarka.

 Bhimashankar Temple, Maharashtra

Bhimashankar Temple is situated in a small village called Bhorgiri amidst the Sahyadri Hills near Pune in Maharashtra. The architecture of the temple is the main draw. The temple’s Garba Griha (sanctum sanctorum) is a beautiful meld of Rajasthani and Gujarati style. The outer walls of the temple depict the scenes from Shiv Leela, Krishna Leela, Ramayana, and Mahabharata.

According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva took a Rudra avatar to kill a wicked demon called Tripurasura, who was in a rage of destroying the three worlds (lok): Heaven, Hell, and Nether (Patal). After killing the demon, Shiva sat down on Sahyadri Mountains. It is then, the sweat from his body started flowing and turned into the Bhima River. On request from Devas, Lord Shiva stayed on these mountains in the form of Jyotirlinga.

How to Reach Bhimashankar Temple - The nearest airport to Bhorgiri is in Pune, which is 125 km away. One can travel by road from Pune to Bhorgiri, easily.

Trimbakeshwar Temple, Maharashtra

 

Reckoned as the legacy of Balaji Bajirao, Trimbakeshwar Temple is set amidst scenic settings of Brahmagiri and Kalagiri Hills near Nashik, Maharashtra. This popular Shiva Temple in India is built of black stone in the Nagara style of architecture and the inner sanctum houses the Trimbakeshwar Shivling. There is a pond named Kushavarta on the premises of the temple which is said to be the origin point of Godavari River. The most fascinating sight at the temple is the three-faced Shivalinga which embodies Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Brahma. The Linga is decked with numerous precious stones like diamond and emerald.

As per Hindu mythology, sage Gautam once unintentionally caused a cow to die in his hermitage. For the atonement for his sin, he worshipped Lord Shiva and asked him to send River Ganga to purify him. River Ganga flowed down as River Godavari. Seeing this, all gods sang in praise of Lord Shiva and requested him to reside here in the form of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga.

How to Reach Trimbakeshwar Temple - The nearest airport to Nashik is in Mumbai, which is 178 km away. One can reach Nashik from Mumbai by road, easily.

Grishneshwar Temple, Maharashtra

Located in Verul village, near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the Grishneshwar Temple dates back to the 18th century and is the smallest Jyotirlinga in India. This Shiva temple is known for its architecture, paintings, and sculptures. One of the major highlights of Grishneshwar Temple is the five-tier spire.

According to the Shiv Purana, there was a woman named Ghushma whose son was killed by her own sister. The grief-stricken mother then started to pray to Lord Shiva. Pleased with the devotion of Ghushma, Shiva blessed her with a son. On request of Ghushma, Shiva resided here eternally in the form of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga.

How to Reach Grishneshwar Temple - The nearest railway station to Velur is in Aurangabad, which is 29 km from. This short distance between Aurangabad and Velur can be covered by road.

Jyotirlingas in East India

Baidyanath Dham, Jharkhand

Amongst the twelve Shiva Jyotirlingas, Baidyanath Dham is situated in Jharkhand. This Shiva temple is located in Deoghar in the Santhal Parganas division and is accompanied by 21 temples. The sacred Shivlinga existing here is gem-studded. The eight-petaled lotus known as Chandrakanta Mani is the most beautiful sight to behold.

As the legend goes,  it is where Ravana sacrificed his ten heads in order to gain the favour of Lord Shiva. The heads were then joined back by Lord Shiva, who acted like a Vaidya (Doctor), and thus, the place was named Baidynath Dham.

How to Reach Baidyanath Dham - The nearest railway station to Baidyanath Dham is in Deoghar, which is only 7 km away.

Jyotirlingas in Central India

Mahakaleshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh

Situated in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on the banks of River Kshipra, Mahakaleshwar Temple is not only one of the twelve holy Jyotirlingas but also amongst the Tantra Temples of India. The main highlight of Mahakaleshwar Temple is its Bhasm-Aarti, the first ritual performed in the morning during which the Shivlinga is bathed with the ashes taken from a fresh funeral pyre.

It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared in Ujjain from the ground to vanquish a demon called Dushana who tortured people and Brahmins of the Ujjain city. After killing the demon, Lord Shiva took the form of the Jyotirlinga and since then, been believed to be residing in this holy city.

 Omkareshwar Temple and Mamleshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh

The temples of Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar are situated on an island called Mandhata in Madhya Pradesh. A large number of devotees gather here for the darshans of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga on the occasions of Shivratri, Mahashivratri, and Kartik Poornima. The temple of Mamleshwar is separated from Omkareshwar by a narrow ridge.

As per Hindu mythology, Vindhya Parbat performed a penance to please Lord Shiva; as a reward, Lord Shiva appeared here and blessed the Vindhya Parbat with his wish of being greater than Meru Parbat. The Linga which was worshipped by Vindhya Parbat was split into two parts Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar at the request of gods and sages. Since then, it is believed Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar temples are the single forms of the same Shiva Lingam.

Wishing your family a happy Mahashivratri 2022. Hope the blog was insightful and helped you decide on your next holiday destination. Club Mahindra has managed resorts and partner hotels spread across India for you to choose from for a wonderful stay.

 

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