Lord Shiva’s holiest 12 Jyotiralingas
ONE of the most prominent deities in Hindusim, Lord Shiva is worshipped by tens of millions of devotees for His sheer power and benevolence. He is also one the Trinity Gods in Hinduism after Lord Brahma and Vishnu. The Nataraj is worshipped primarily in the form of shivalinga. The Shivalinga is the resplendent light (flame) form of the supreme which represents the real nature of God – formless essentially and taking various forms as it wills. The ultimate manifestation of Lord Shiva can be found in shivalinga forms. There are prominent abodes across the country where the lingam is a splendid form. These are renowned as 12 jyotir lingas. Jyoti lingam means Lord Shiva appears in the form of light (Jyoti) lingam. These are held in great esteem since time immemorial. Puranas talk in detail about the glory of these abodes. Devotees visit these places due to the highly benevolent divine presence in these abodes, since ancient times. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious. Other famous temples of Lord Shiva are Amarnath, Bhojpur Shiva Linga Temple, Amareshwar temple Amarkantak, Murudeshwara, Shankaracharya temple Kashmiri, Lingaraj temple Bhubaneswar, Mukteswara temple, and great Kailasanathar Temple. A Sanskrit shloka lists all the 12 jyotirlinga temples. “Saurashtre Somanathamcha Srisaile Mallikarjunam| Ujjayinya Mahakalam Omkaramamaleswaram || Paralyam Vaidyanathancha Dakinyam Bheema Shankaram | Setu Bandhethu Ramesam, Nagesam Darukavane|| Varanasyantu Vishwesam Tryambakam Gautameethate| Himalayetu Kedaaram, Ghrishnesamcha shivaalaye|| Etani jyotirlingani, Saayam Praatah Patennarah| Sapta Janma Kritam pApam, Smaranena Vinashyati||” Shiva Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Stotram This is a very potent devotional hymn used to worship of Shiva. This stotra is recited to worship those 12 jyotirlinga of lord shiva. OM2One who recites these Jyotirlingas every evening and morning, gets relieved of all sins committed in past seven lives and one, who visits these, gets all his wishes fulfilled by Shiva grace and one’s karma gets eliminated as Maheshwara (Shiva) gets satisfied to the worship. Somnath-Jyotirlinga The Somnath Temple is located in the Saurashtra, Gujarat and the temple (shrine eternal) is considered to be the most significant and revered among the 12 Jyotirlinga temples. The temple is destroyed six times and rebuilt six times. In modern time, it was rebuilt in 1947. The Aadi Jyotirling Shree Somnath Mahadev temple is dedicated to Someshwara, the Lord Shiva, with moon on his head. Mallikarjuna-Jyotirlinga Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is located at Srisailam in Nallamala hills of Andhra Pradesh near the banks of Krishna River. Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga is one of the greatest shrines in India. The temple in hill looks like a great fort and is also known for its treasure of sculptures. There are number of sculptures on the walls appear as a gallery. Mahakaleshwar- Jyotirlinga The most famous Mahakaleshwar Hindu temples is situated in the holy and ancient city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. The Shiva temple of India is located on the side of the Rudra Sagar Lake in heart of Ujjain city. Mahakaleshwar idol is also known as dakshinamurti, as its facing the south. The holy temple which is credited with citations in the great works of Poet Kalidasa. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Omkareshwar is a famous Jyotirlinga temple located is a holy island of Shivpuri in Maheshwar, Madhay Pradesh. This shrine of Lord Shiva is located at the convergence of Kaveri and holy river Narmada. One of the Dwadasa jyotirlingas is spread on the Mandhata hills in Vindhya Mountains. Shape of the holy island looks like the holy symbol of Shiva “the Om”. There are two temples Omkareshwar and other one is Amareshwar. The Mamleshwar jyotirling is situated on other side of Narmada River. Kedarnath Jyotirlinga omThe Kedarnath jyotirlinga temple is located in Uttarakhand. The holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu is situated at the head end of the River Mandakini in the Garhwal Himalayas. Kedarnath temple is not directly accessible by road. A 14-km uphill trek from Gaurikund has to be cross to be reached here. The Temple is one of the four major sites in India’s known as Chota Char Dham, other three are Yamunotri,Gangotri and and Badrinath. Bhimashankar-Jyotirlinga Bhimashankar Temple Jyotirlinga is situated in the Sahyadri ranges near Pune. The ancient shrine of Lord Shiva is one of the most famous pilgrim places in Maharashtra. Bhimashankar jyotirlinga temple is far away from the hustle bustle of the city life and wrapped in the ambiance of the majestic Western Ghats. Bhimashankar, one of the oldest Shiva temple is surrounded by Buddha style carvings, dense forests of high hill ranges and home to rare species of flora and fauna. Vishwanath JyotirLinga Kashi Vishwanath JyotirLinga temple is located in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh. The city is situated on the bank of holy river the Ganges and considered the most sacred place for Hindus. The Aarti is held in the temple five times in a day, the evening Aarti is called Ganga Aarti held every evening at Dasashwamedha Ghat. Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga The Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga is located at the source of the holy Godavari River in the town of Trimbak, in the Nashik, Maharashtra. The Trimbakeshwar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Triambakeshwar owns spectacular distinction of the Jyotirlinga having three faces exemplifying Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva). All other 11 Jyotirlingas have only Shiva lingam. Tens of millions of people congregated at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar for the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2015, aptly described as one of the largest religious event on the Earth. The mega event was held once every 12 years when the Sun and Jupiter come together in Leo zodiac sign in the month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar. According to legends, the drops of Amrita or nectar fell at the Godavari River in Nasik when Lord Vishnu flew from earth to heaven after Samudra Manthan. This makes the place so sacred and is of great importance for the Hindus. In the lunar month of Magh when Sun and Jupiter are in Leo (Singh Rashi) zodiac sign Kumbh Mela is held at Trimbakeshwar in Nasik. Millions of pilgrims come here to wash away their sins in the holy river, Godavari. The two bathing ghats, Ramkund and Kushavarta holy reservoirs appreciate faith and belief of thousands of sadhus, holy men and millions of pilgrims as they take dips in holy River Godavari on the specific date and at specific time. Baidyanath-Jyotirlinga The Baidyanath dham also known as Baba dham is one of the most sacred abodes of Shiva. Located in Deoghar in Jharkhand, Baba Dham temple is located where the heart of Bhagwati Sati had fallen, so this place is also referred as Mahashakti peeth. It is believed that the Baidynath (Vaidyanath) Jyotirlingam in Deogarh is associated with legendary stories of Ravana and Lord Shiva. This shrine is very famous since Kanwariyas offer holy water of river Ganges to the Lord Shiva during the holy month of Shravan. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is believed as the first Jyotirlinga on the earth. The great Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is located near Dwarka, in Gujarat. This Nagaeshwara Jyotirlingam is facing south with the Gomugham facing east. There are three major shrines in India which are believed as identical to this Jyotirlinga, Those are the Jageshwar temple near Almora in Uttarakhand, the Nageshwara temple near Dwaraka in Gujarat, and the Nagnath temple in Aundha in Maharashtra. Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga Rameshwaram is a religious town located in Tamil Nadu and the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Amongst the 12 Lord Shiva Jyotirlinga, Rameshwaram is one of the most sacred shrines of Hindus in India. Rameswara means Lord of Rama, who is believed to have prayed to Shiva here. So this place is considered holy pilgrimage site for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The Pamban Bridge of Rameshwaram on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is located in Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Grishneshwar temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and near to rock-cut Ajanta Ellora caves. The holy month of Shrawan is filled with devotional fervours for the devotees of Lord Shiva at all Jyotirlinga shrines across India. Significance A visit to these 12 abodes of the Lord is a matter of immense glory and accomplishment. Those who chant the Dwadasa Jyotir Linga Stotram or prayer will attain salvation and enlightenment and be released from this cycle of human existence with all its travails. By worshipping the Lingas, people of all castes, creeds and colour would be salvaged from all difficulties. By eating the holy offering made to these Lingas (Naivedyam) one would be rid of all the sins instantly. In fact people do the darshan of the JyotirLingas as a part of their daily life. Sun, Fire and Light etc., are indeed a part of that great Light. “Om tatsavituvarenye” these magical words of the Gayatri mantra or chant invoke this Supreme light only. By chanting this powerful Mantra, humans can obtain divine power to their life-light or Atmajyothi. Deepajyoti or light and its greatness, is known to all of us, and we offer our prayers. Let us celebrate the glory of light. Light is offered a place of pride at welcome celebrations and on all auspicious occasions. “Shubham karoti kalyanam Arogyam Dhanasampada| Shatru buddhi vinashaya Deepa Jyoti namostute||” This light removes the darkness from the lives of one and all. Darkness means ignorance and it is destroyed by this light. The natured light of God makes all our wishes come true, when we take a Darshan of it. Thus, by taking a Darshan of these twelve JyotirLingas, the auspicious air surrounding them and the holy pilgrimage, will bring happiness, peace and satisfaction to all.