A Jyotirlinga is considered to be holy and sacred. It is the devotional representation of Lord Shiva. In India, to pray to Lord Shiva, many devotees visit these 12 traditional jyotirlingas and offer obeisance. These shrines are the manifestations of Lord Shiva and are worshipped in the form of the phallus or the jyotirlinga symbol of the deity. Originally there were 64 Jyotirlingas. However, only 12 are considered auspicious and holy.
Here is the list of those 12 stunning jyotirlingas in India. Let’s check out:
1. Kashi Vishwanath: Varanasi
The Kashi Viswanath temple is situated on the banks of the river Ganga and is called the Golden Temple of Varanasi. According to legends, Varanasi was the first place where the Jyotilinga first manifested. It is also believed that Lord Shiva resided here and attained liberation. That is why people wish to die in this holy place.
2. Kedarnath: Uttarakhand
This holy temple is located at the feet of the mountain named Kedar. Legend has it that impressed by the penance of Narayana and Nara, the incarnations of Lord Vishu and Shiva took the form of a Jyotirlinga. And made Kedarnath their permanent abode. Many devotees believe that praying here fulfills all their needs and desires. That is why they make a pilgrimage to this sacred site. People also visit Yamunotri and Gangotri and bring the holy river water to offer in this temple.
3. Rameshwaram: Rameshwaram
The southernmost Jyotirlinga in India is present off the Sethu coast, Rameshwaram. This temple is considered as holy and sacred as that of the Jyotirlinga in Varanasi. This temple is known to be closely associated with the epic Ramanaya. It is believed that Lord Ram had stopped in Rameshwaram on his way to Sri Lanka to worship Lord Shiva to seek his blessings. Later, he went to Sri Lanka to kill Ravana and safely return with Sita. It is often visited by the devotees who embark on the Char Dhams of India.
4. Mallikarjuna: Andhra Pradesh
This Jyotirlinga is located on the lap of Shree Shaila Mountain, on the banks of the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh. This temple is known as the “Kailash of the South”. The main deities of this temple are Goddess Bhramaramba and Lord Mallikarjun (Shiva). Because of its amazing structure and divine ambiance, it is a praiseworthy Shiva temple in South India. The temple is also one of the 52 Shakti Peethas of Sati.
5. Nageshwar: Daarukavanam
This jyotirlinga is significant because devotees believe that it protects them from danger and poison. The temple is located in Gujrat, the coast of Sourashtra. Many devotees believe that offering prayers here will protect them from any form of poison and save them from all evil in the world.
6. Trimbakeshwar: Nashik
According to scripture, the Godavari river and Gautam Rishi pleaded with Lord Shiva to make Trimbakeshwar his home. So, to make this holy temple his abode, Shiva appeared in the form of a Trimbakeshwar. The Jyotirlinga here has a different shape, unlike the other 11 temples. There is a void in the temple with three pillars representing the Gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar.
7. Bhimashankar: Pune
This temple was built by the son of Kumbhakarna, Bhima. The temple is a famous pilgrimage site and has a lot of history behind it. Visit the temple to offer prayers to Lord Shiva and to check out the Nagara architectural patterns.
8. Grishneshwar: Aurangabad
This temple is constructed on a real Shikhara architectural side out of the red rock. You can also spot a Nandi bull at the temple and carvings of different Indian Gods and Goddesses. In this temple, Vishnu’s Dashavatar is carved entirely of red rock.
9. Somnath: Gir Somnath
The Jyotirlinga at Somnath begins with love. The love between Rohini, the daughter of Daksha Prajapati, and the moon. They both had a lot of difficulties in their relationship but it was saved by Lord Shiva. He appeared as Somnath and saved them. Since then it is believed that Shiva has made Somnath Temple his home.
10. Omkareshwar: Khandwa
Lord Shiva appeared in Omkareshwar to defeat the Danavas who came to fight the Devas. The temple is located on an island, on the banks of the river Narmada, and is believed to be rooted in mythology and Hindu culture.
11. Mahakaleshwar: Ujjain
The Mahakaleshwar is one of the most popular Jyotirlingas in India. There are many legendary stories that how the Jyotirlinga came into being at this temple. One of them is about a boy who kept worshipping a stone. Lord Shiva came down as a Jyotirlinga, pleased by his devotion, and settled in the town. It is also considered one of the seven “Mukti-Sthal” in India.
12. Vaidyanath: Ujjain
This temple is one of the 52 shakti peethas of Sati. Legends have it that Ravana prayed immensely to Lord Shiva to make Sri Lanka invincible. Lord Shiva granted one Jyotirlinga to the Lanka King in return and asked him to safely carry it without placing it on the ground. Unfortunately, Ravana placed the Jyotirlinga on the ground and it got rooted. Ravana cut his 9 heads and offered to Shiva as penance who in turn fixed them back to his body like a vaidya or doctor. That is why it is called Vaidyanath. Many devotees believe that coming to the temple helps them get rid of all the suffering.