What is Jyotirlinga ?
Worship of shivalinga is considered the prime worship for the devotees of Lord shiva. Worship of all other forms is considered secondary. The significance of the shivalinga is that It is the resplendent light (flame) form of the Supreme – solidified to make the worship of It easier. It represents the real nature of God – formless essentially and taking various forms as It wills. More details on the Shiva Linga significance could be found at Shaivam A Perspective.
This jyoti swarUpa of God exist in all the shivalinga forms, there are prominent abodes across Indian subcontinent, where It is in a splendid form. These are renowned asdvAdasa jyotir lingas or 12 jyotirlingas. These are held at much great esteem since the ancient pre-historic times. purANas talk in many sections as well as in detail about the glory of these abodes. Devotees have been getting pulled towards these kshetras due to the highly benevolent divine presence in these abodes, since ancient times.
The 12 Jyotirlinga Temples
There is an sanskrit shloka that lists the twelve 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..”
Mahadev, the Lord incorporates in Himself, the aura and the holiness of all the twelve JyotirLingas. The grandeur of these places is unique. Devotees line up in great numbers to take a look and get a Darshan of all the JyotirLingas.
Location of the Jothirlinga Temples
These are the twelve ancient pilgrimage centers reference of which is found in the Shiv Purana. They are called jyotirlingas because Lord Shiva is said to have revealed himself to his devotees in the form of Jyoti i.e. light. Even today devotees are said to have got his darshan in the form of jyoti at these places. These tweve jyotirlingas are –
Temple of Lord Kedarnath is situated on the banks of River Mandakini which is on the west side of Kedar mountain in Himalayas. This place is reached by road via Rishikesh, from where it is more than 200 kms. The last phase is completed by a steep walk of about 3-4 hours.
Temple of Lord Viswanath is situated in Varanasi. While it is a highly revered place some Muslim rulers had destroyed & desecrated it, and built a mosque next ot it. The place has been renovated by later kings.
Temple of Lord Somnath is situated near the town of Veraval in Western part of Gujarat. Veraval is reached from Rajkot. The present Temple is a great imposing structure and is situated just on the sea shore.
Temple of Bhagwan Mahakal is situated in the town of Ujjain. Ujjain is near Indore, and is reached by train via Ratlam or Bhopal.
The Temple of Lord Omkareshwar is situated on the banks of River Narmada, in between Indore & Khandwa. It is also a rare archaeological site. The temple is situated on an island, which is encircled by the Narmada River.
The consecration of the temple of Lord Rameshwar was done by none other than Lord Rama himself, and thus this name. It is situated in a large island surrounded by sea in the southern side of India. It is approached from Madurai, which by itslf is well connected by all means of transportation.
The temple of Lord Mallikarjuna is situated in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is situated in the town of Srisailam on the banks of River Patalganga Krishna. Srisailam mountain is looked upon reverentially as the Kailash of South.
Lord Trayambakeshwar resides in a beautiful locale about 20 kms from the city of Nashik. It is a wel connected place and can also be reached from Bombay in about 4-5 hours.
Temple of Lord Bhimashankar is situated in a Forest Reserve about 3 hours drive from Pune. The place is hilly with beautiful greenery all around.
Temple of Lord Nageshwar is situated in Gujarat, and is about 12 kms on way from Gomti-Dwarka to Bhet-Dwarka.
The Temple of Lord Baijnath is situated in Bihar. On the rail route from Patna to Kolkata is a place called Kiul. About 100 kms south-east of this place is Devghar – where this ancient Temple is situated.
The Temple of Lord Grishneshwar is situated just adjacent to the famous Ellora Caves.