12 Jyotirlingas of India: India is the land of religion and many people worship many deities which people believe in. Being a land of religion, one such religion that has stood the test of its time is Hinduism. And in Hinduism, is a particular sect called Shaivism where people who follow Shaivism worship Lord Shiva.
As a devotional representation of Lord Shiva, people worship Linga and according to ancient scripts, there are Jyotirlingas which means Radiant Sign of The Almighty Shiva which is considered to be the holiest places in India.
There are 12 Jyotirlingas in India which tourists visit every year and most during the holy day of Maha Shivarathri. Here are the 12 Jyotirlingas that are worshipped.
1. Somnath, Gujarat
Somnath located in Gir Somnath is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas that is worshipped by deities of Lord Shiva. It is located in Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra, Western Coast of Gujarat. It is believed to be the first Jyotirlingas in India and is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot of Gujarat.
The temple of Jyotirlinga was constructed and re-constructed several times as it was destructed by invaders and the present temple is constructed with Chalukya Style of architecture and was completed in the year 1951.
2. Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh
Srisailam temple or Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and Parvati is one of the important pilgrimage sites in Andhra Pradesh.
The site is significant to both Shaivism and Shaktam as this is a site of both one of the Jyotirlinga and the 18 Shakti Peethas of Goddess Parvati. Here Lord Shiva is worshipped as Mallikarjuna and is one of the places where both Shiva and Parvati are worshipped.
3. Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Said to be one of the sacred abode of Lord Shiva, the Jyotirlinga present in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Here the Jyotirlinga is worshipped as Mahakaleshwar and the temple is situated in the ancient city of Ujjain beside the holy river of Kshipra.
It is believed the holy Jyotirlinga is derived by the powers of Shakthi by itself as opposed to other Lingas which are ritually established.
4. Omkareshwar, Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar is a temple in Madhya Pradesh that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located on an island called Mandhata or Shivapuri in the River Narmada at Khandwa District. It is believed that the shape of the Island Shivapuri is in the form of ‘Om’ in the Devanagari script.
On this island there are 2 temples that are worshipped, one being Omkareshwar that is a Jyotirlinga and the other being Mamleshwar which is located on the southern banks of the mainland.
5. Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
One of the highest Jyotirlinga worshipped is at Kedarnath, Uttarakhand that is located near the Garhwal Himalayan region near to Mandakini river. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga that is worshipped but due to its extreme natural condition, the temple is open to the general public only between the months of April and November.
According to the legends, the temple was originally built by the Pandavas and is one of the major temples for Char Dham yatra.
6. Bhimashankar, Maharashtra
Located in Khed taluka, Pune, Maharashtra. Bhimashankar temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga that is worshipped and is one of the 3 Jyotirlingas located in Maharashtra. The temple of Bhimashankar is built in Nagara style of architecture which dates back to the 13th century and is a modest yet graceful style.
7. Vishwanath, Uttar Pradesh
Probably one of the major names of Jyotirlingas which you might have heard is Kashi Vishwanath temple located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Located on the banks of the Holy River, Ganges.
The main deity here is known as Shri Vishwanath or Vishweshwar which means Lord of the Universe. The city of Varanasi was known as Kashi during ancient times, hence the name Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
8. Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra
Located in the town of Trimbak, Nashik district, Maharashtra the Trimbakeshwar temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and 1 of the 3 present in the state of Maharashtra.
Trimbak is the origin of Godavari river where the sacred pond Kusavarta kund located in the temple premises is said to be the source of the river, Godavari River is one of the longest rivers of the Indian peninsula.
9. Baidyanath, Jharkhand
Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga temple also known as Baba Baidyanath Dham and Baidyanath Dham is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas located in India. It is located in Deoghar, Jharkhand, and is one of the most sacred Jyotirlingas.
According to the beliefs, Ravana is said to have worshipped Lord Shiva at the current site to get the boons and get his wishes fulfilled. As a sacrifice, Ravana gave his ten heads one after other, pleased by this Lord Shiva acted as a doctor (vaidya) hence the name Vaidyanath.
10. Nageshwar, Gujarat
One of the Jyotirlingas present in Gujarat is Nageshwar in Dwaraka, Gujarat. According to beliefs, it is said that a demon had kidnapped a Shiva Devotee named Supriya and imprisoned him along with others in Darukavana which is a city full of snakes and demons, Supriya along with other people chanted the holy chant of Lord Shiva to which Shiva appeared and making the demon vanquish and later resided there as a Jyotirlinga.
11. Ramanathaswamy, Tamil Nadu
Located in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. Ramanathaswamy is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas where the three revered Nayanars have glorified the temple with their songs.
The temple was expanded during the 12th century by the Pandya Dynasty and is one of the temples which is having the longest corridors. It is believed that the Jyotirlinga which is worshipped here has been established and worshipped by Lord Rama hence the name Ramanathaswamy.
12. Grishneshwar, Maharashtra
Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple or Dhanumeshwar Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. It is the last Jyotirlinga of the 12 and this pilgrimage site is located near to Ellora Caves and is one of the important pilgrimage sites for Shaiva tradition of Hinduism.
The temple of Grishneshwar went on for several renovations as it was destroyed by Maratha and Mughal conflict, it was destroyed by Delhi Sultanate and the current temple was rebuilt after the fall of Mughal Empire.
[ Also Checkout: Top 10 Tallest Lord Shiva Statues In India ]