12 Jyotirlingas in India, Places, History Info

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Jyotirlingas

According to Linga Purana once Brahma and Vishnu started fighting over who was the supreme being. Suddenly, there appeared a Shivalinga before them as a huge column of fire. Both of them decided to find one end each.

Whoever returned first would be acknowledged as supreme. Vishnu assumed the form of Varah and went down. Brahma, in the form of a swan, flew upwards. They searched for days but in vain. Then Shiva appeared in the fiery column. Brahma and Vishnu realized their mistake and acknowledged Shiva as the Supreme Being.

The Shivalinga represents that column of fire as 12 Jyotirlingas. This incident took place on Krishna Chaturdashi of the Phalgun month in the Ardra nakshatra. This day is celebrated today as the festival of Mahashivratri.

There are 12 famous Jyotirlingas where Lord Shiva appeared in the form of light (Jyothi) lingam. These have been worshipped from time immemorial. They are mentioned in the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga Stotra given here.

Saurashtra Somnatham Cha Shrishaile Mallikarjunam ||
Ujjainyam Mahakalomkare Mammaleshwaram ||
Parlyam Vaijnatham Cha Dakinyam Bheem Shankaram ||
Setu Bandhe Tu Ramesham Nagesham Daruka Vane ||
Varanasya Tu Vishwesham Tribakam Gautamitate||
Himalaye Tu Kedaram Ghurmesham Cha Shivalaye ||
Aetani Jyotirlingani Sayam Prataha Pathennaraha ||
Sapta Janma Kritam Papam Smaranen Vinashyati ||

One who recites these Jyotirlingas every evening and morning. He is relieved of all sins committed in past seven lives.One who visits these, gets all his wishes fulfilled

The word Jyotirling is derived from the words Jyoti (vision) and ling (symbol of Shiv). From a philosophical viewpoint, it means the vision that shows a devotee the path toward unison with Shiv, and by treading the path, one can be in complete harmony with Shiv.

Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam is a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva where Shiva is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam or “Lingam of Light”. There are said to be twelve Jyotirlinga shrines in India although their location is not consistently identified. The Jyotirlingas look like any other Shiva Linga. However, it is believed that a person who has attained a certain degree of spirituality sees these lingas as columns of fire piercing through the Earth.Jyotirlinga are the 12 special shrines dedicated to Shiva since ancient times .

Significance of greatness of the Jyotirlingas. It goes on to say that by reciting the name of 12 Jyotirlinga a devotee can eliminate all the sins.

It is said that after attaining a certain level of devotion to Shiv, the devotee can see the stone ling as a glow of light radiating from the Earth.

12 Jyotirlinga in India

  1. Somnath
  2. Mallikarjun
  3. Mahakaleshwar
  4. Omkareshwar
  5. Vaidyanath
  6. Nageshvara
  7. Kedarnath
  8. Tryambakeshwara
  9. Rameshwaram
  10. Bhimashankar
  11. Vishwanath
  12. Grishneshwar

 

Somnath Jyotirlinga

Ancient Indian traditions maintain a close relationship of Somnath with release of Chandra from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati. Chandra was married to Twenty-Seven daughters of Daksha.

However, he favoured Rohini and neglected other queens. The aggrieved Daksha cursed Chandra and the Chandra lost power of light. With the advice of Prajapita Brahma, Chandra arrived at the Prabhas Teerth, built a Shivlinga and worshipped Bhagvan Shiva. Pleased with the great penance and devotion of Chandra, Bhagvan Shiva blessed him and relieved him from the curse of darkness partially letting the periodic waning of the Chandra(Moon).

Lord Shiva decided to rest in that Lingam till eternity, and hence called Jyotirlingam. Bhagvan Shree Krishna is believed to have built Somnath temple with Sandalwood.

The Somnath Temple is located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the God Shiva. Somnath means “The Protector of (the) Moon God”.

The Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”, having been destroyed sixteen times by Muslim invaders. This temple is constructed in the Chalukya style with a height of about 155 ft.

The stone Kalash place at the top of main shikhara weighs about 10 tonnes. Marvelously adorned Jyotirlinga with flowers, silver and gold adornments is a special attraction in this temple. The aarati puja at this temple is rejuvenating and is best for spiritual enlightenment. Ringing of bells, beating drums and cymbals make the occasion reverberating with Shiv Bhajans.

The research based on ancient Indian classical texts show that first Somnath Jyotirling Pran-Pratistha was done on the auspicious third day of brighter half of Shravan month during the tenth Treta yug of Vaivswat Manvantar.

Swami Shri Gajananand Saraswatiji, Chairman of Shrimad Aadhya Jagadguru Shankaracharya Vedic Shodh Sansthan, Varanasi suggested that the said first temple was built 7,99,25,105 years ago as derived from the traditions of Prabhas Khand of Skand Puran. Thus, this temple is a perennial source of inspiration for millions of Hindus since time immemorial.

“Somnath: celebrated city of India, situated on the shore of the sea, and washed by its waves. Among the wonders of that place was the temple in which was placed the idol called Somnath.

This idol was in the middle of the temple without anything to support it from below, or to suspend it from above. It was held in the highest honor among the Hindus, and whoever beheld it floating in the air was struck with amazement, whether he was a Musulman or an infidel. The Hindus used to go on pilgrimage to it whenever there was an eclipse of the moon, and would then assemble there to the number of more than a hundred thousand.”

Somnath rose and fell many a time and the amazing drama for its desecration and the devout Hindu’s passionate desire for its restoration continued till the 15th century, when the Hindus finally gave up in absolute misery and built a new temple nearby.

Somnath Temple Wikipedia Page – Somnath Temple
Year: 1951
Contact Number: 0942821495
Check Distance Map, Location Via Google Maps: Shree Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple

Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga India Places

According to Shiva Purana, when Shri Ganesh was married of before Kartikeya, and because of this Kartikeya became angry, and despite being stopped and consoled by his parents Shiv-Parvati, went away to the Kraunch Mountain. Even the Gods went and tried consoling Kartikeya, but all their efforts were in vain, because of all this Shiv-Parvati were very sad and both decided that they would to Kraunch mountain themselves.

When Kartikeya came to know that his mother-father have arrived he went away. Eventually Lord Shiva assumed the form of Jyotirlinga and resided on that mountain by the name of Mallikarjuna. Mallika means Parvati, while Arjuna is another name of Shiva. In this way both Shiva and Parvati reside in this linga. Lord Siva visits Lord Kartikeya on Amavasya day & Parvati Devi on Poornima.

The Mallikarjun temple is situated on mountain named Shri Shaila by the banks of the Patal Ganga, Krishna river in the state of Andhra Pradesh of Southern India. It is also known as Kailash of the south.

It is said that by merely seeing the tip of mountain one is emancipated from all his sins and worries. The person becomes free from the vicious cycle of life and death. This Jyotirlinga is situated on the divine Shiv Shaila Mountain.

The temple is built in Dravidian style. According to popular legends, the religious leader had visited the temple and had composed his famous Sivananda Lahiri. It is also believed that Goddess Durga had taken the form of a bee and worshiped Lord Shiva here and selected this holy place as her abode.

One unique feature of the temple is that all the devotees who visit the temple are allowed to touch the idol which is not prevalent in any other temple.

The people who visit this Jyotirlinga are emancipated from all their sins and fulfill all their desires. It is for the welfare and well being of one and all.

Srisailam Temple is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. This whole area is full of forests of Kadali, Bilva trees, mountain ranges and Patalaganga (Krishnaveni river).All of them echo from these joyous voices of devotees.

Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple

Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga Wikipedia Page: Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple
State: Andhra Pradesh

Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/HCiPWn6uEWywXfkh8

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga

According to the Puranas, the city of Ujjain called as Avantika was famous for its beauty and its status as a devotional epicenter. It was also one of the primary cities where students went to study holy scriptures.

According to legend, there was a ruler of Ujjain called Chandrasena, who was a pious devotee of Lord Shiva and worshiped him all the time. One day, a farmer’s boy named Shrikhar was walking on the grounds of the palace and heard the King chant the Lord’s name and rushed to the temple to start praying with him.

Rivals of Ujjain, primarily King Ripudamana and King Singhaditya of the neighboring kingdoms decided to attack the Kingdom and take over its treasures around this time. Hearing this, Shrikhar started to pray and the news spread to a priest named Vridhi. He was shocked to hear this and upon the urgent pleas of his sons, started to pray to Lord Shiva at the river Kshipra.

The Kings chose to attack and were successful; with the help of the powerful demon Dushan, who was blessed by Lord Brahma to be invisible, they plundered the city and attacked all the devotees of Lord Shiva.

Upon hearing the pleas of His helpless devotees, Lord Shiva appeared in his Mahakala form and destroyed the enemies of King Chandrasena. Upon the request of his devotees Shrikhar and Vridhi, Lord Shiva agreed to reside in the city and become the chief deity of the Kingdom and take care of it against its enemies and to protect all His devotees.

From that day on, Lord Shiva resided in His light form as Mahakala in a Lingam that was formed on its own from the powers of the Lord and His consort, Parvati.

Shiva also blessed his devotees and declared that people who worshipped Him in this form would be free from the fear of death and diseases. Also, they would be granted worldly treasures and be under the protection of the Lord himself.

The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti. This is a unique feature, upheld by the tantric shivnetra tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Mahadev is consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal shrine.

The images of Ganesh, Parvati and Karttikeya are installed in the west, north and east of the sanctum sanctorum. To the south is the image of Nandi, the vahana of Lord Shiva. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshanonly on the day of Nag Panchami.

The temple has five levels, one of which is underground. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhar or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasada offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other shrines.

The presiding deity of time, Shiva, in all his splendor, reigns eternally in the city of Ujjain. The temple of Mahakaleshwar, its shikhar soaring into the sky, an imposing façade against the skyline, evokes primordial awe and reverence with its majesty.

The Mahakal dominates the life of the city and its people, even in the midst of the busy routine of modern preoccupations, and provides an unbreakable link with ancient Hindu traditions.

The glorious temple of Mahakaleshwar has been mentioned in several ‘Puranas’ (scriptures) of the Hindu mythology. Many poets of Sanskrit, including Kalidasa, have sung the praises of this temple.

Lord Shiva is synonymous with ‘Mahakal’ and suggests the perpetual existence of the Almighty. As stated earlier, Mahakaleshwar is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva in India. This Jyotirlinga is said to be ‘swayambhu’ (self-manifested) that obtained its ‘Shakti’ (power) from within itself, unlike other lingams that were established ritually by chanting ’mantra’.

Omkareshwar Jyotirlingas

Once upon a time Narada visited Vindhya parvat. In his spicy way Narad told Vindhya Parvat about the greatness of Meru Parvat. This made Vindhya jealous of Meru and he decided to be bigger than Meru.

Vindhya started worship of Lord Shiva to become greater than Meru. Vindhya Parvat practiced severe penance and worshipped parthivlinga along with Lord Omkareshwar for nearly six months. As a result Lord Shiva was pleased and blessed him with his desired boon. On a request of all the gods and the sages Lord Shiva made two parts of the lingas. One half is called Omkareshwara and the other Mamaleshwar or Amareshwar.

Lord Shiva gave the boon of growing, but took a promise that Vindhya will never be a problem to Shiva’s devotees. Vindhya began to grow, but did not keep his promise. It even obstructed the sun and the moon. All deities approached rishi Agastya for help.

Agastya along with his wife came to Vindhya, and convinced him that he would not grow until the sage and his wife returned. They never returned and Vindhya is there as it was when they left. Rishi Agastya and his wife stayed in Srisailam which is regarded as Dakshina Kashi and one of the Dwadash Jyotirlinga.

The second story relates to Mandhata and his son’s penance. King Mandhata of Ishvaku clan worshipped Lord Shiva here till the Lord manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga. Some scholars also narrate the story about Mandhata’s sons-Ambarish and Mucchkund, who had practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva. Because of this the mountain is named Mandhata.

The third story from Hindu scriptures says that once upon a time there was a great war between Devas and Danavas(demon), in which Danavas won. This was a major setback for Devas and hence Devas prayed to Lord Shiva. Pleased with their prayer, Lord Shiva emerged in the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated Danavas.

Omkareshwar is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga . It is on an island called Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river; the shape of the island is said to be like the Hindu ॐ symbol. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means “Lord of Omkaara ”) and one to Amareshwar. But as per the sloka on dwadash jyotirligam, Mamleshwar is the jyotirling, which is on other side of Narmada river.

Here, at the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri, the devout gather to kneel before the Jyotirlinga at the temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata.

Omkareshwar temple is the main attraction of the pilgrims. In fact the town owes its very existence to this temple. The sanctum sanctorum containing the Jyotirlinga seems to have been originally a small temple of the old construction style, the dome being made of layers of stone slabs and not of circular cut stones.

As this temple is too close to the precipitously deep bank of the Narmada to the south, the great extension is of new construction style. This is the reason why the sanctum sanctorum and the main deity are neither in the front of the main door nor below the higher conspicuous Shikhar or the tower of later construction.

The temple has a grand Sabha Mandap standing on about 60 huge brown stone pillar (14 feet high), elaborately carved with a curious frieze and fillet of satyr like figures. Many of them have broad shoulders and meditating foreheads.

The temple is 5 storeyed each having a different deity. There are three regular ‘Pujas’ in the temple. The morning one done by the temple trust, the middle one by the priest of Scindia state and the evening one by the priest of the Holkar state.

The temple is always crowded with pilgrims, coming after a bath in the Narmada and with pots full of Narmada water, coconuts and articles of worship, many of them performing Abhishek or special worships through the priests. Omkareswar kshetra parikrama is a very important thing to do in the Omkareswar tour.

The parikrama route Starts from Omkareswar temple and completes after surrounding the hill. Adi Shankaracharya did parikrama when he visited Omkareswar jyotirlinga.While doing parikrama, he met his Guru Sri Govindapada and learned Advaita from him.

All 19 Jyotirlingas Places:

  1. Aundha Nagnath Temple
  2. Baidyanath Temple
  3. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga (Dakinyam), Bhimpur
  4. Bhimashankar Temple
  5. Bhimeswar Dham
  6. Grishneshwar Temple
  7. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
  8. Kedarnath Temple
  9. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga
  10. Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga
  11. Moteshwar Mahadev
  12. Nageshvara Jyotirlinga
  13. Omkareshwar Temple
  14. Ramanathaswamy Temple
  15. Shri Vaijnath Temple
  16. Somnath temple
  17. Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple
  18. Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga

Vaidyanath Jyotirlingas

Baidyanatham chithabhoomau’ (sivmahapuran kotirudra samhita 1/21-24) is the ancient verse that identifies location of Vaidyanth jyotirlinga. According to which Baidyantham is in ‘chithabhoomi’, which is the ancient name of Deoghar. While, the same part of text has variation by which, verse is ‘paralyam vaidyanatham’, i.e., Vaidyanatham is in Parli, Maharashtra.

In Dwadasa jyothirlinga sthothram, Adi Sankaracharya has praised Vaidyanath jyothirlinga in following verses,

Poorvothare prajwalika nidhane
sada vasantham girija sametham
surasuraradhitha padapadmam
srivaidyanatham thamaham namami

This states that Vaidyanath jyotirlinga is located at Prajwalika nidhanam (meaning funeral place i.e., chithabhoomi) in the North-Eastern part of the country. Deoghar is far located in East compared to Parli which is in West central part of the country.

However based on the dwadash Jyotirlinga strotam we would discuss Parli Vaidyanath as the Jyorlinga Shrine.

Yogeshwari of Ambejogai was married to Lord Vaidyanatha of Parali, but by the time the marriage party reached, the auspicious time of the wedding had passed. As a result the people of the marriage party turned into stone statues. Yogeshwari was waiting away from Parali. This is one story that is frequently heard there.

When the Gods and Demons made their combined effort in Amrit Manthan, fourteen gems emerged. There were Dhanwantari and Amrit Ratnas in it. When the Demons rushed to grab Amrit, Lord Vishnu hid the Amrit and Dhanwantari in the Shiva Linga of Lord Shankara. Just as the Demons tried to touch the Linga, flames started emanating from the Linga.

The scared Demons ran aay. But when devotees of Lord Shankara touched the Linga, there was a free flow of Amrit from the same. Even today, devotees touch the Shiva Linga as a part of taking Darshan. Here, there is no discrimination between caste, creed or color. Anyone can come and visit this place. As the Lingamurthy is supposed to have Amrit and Dhanvantari, it is also known as Amriteshwar and Dhanvantari.

The mountains and jungles and the rivers, are full of useful medicinal herbs. That is why Parali JyotirLinga is also known as Vaidyanatha. It is here that Lord Vishnu successfully helped the Devas to obtain Amrit. Therefore, this place is also known as ‘Vaijyanti”.

Near Parali Village, the temple is built with stones on a high mound. The temple is surrounded on all four sides by strong walls.

The insides have corridors and a courtyard. Outside the temple there is huge Deep Stambh or pillar. The main gate or the Mahadwar has a Minaret nearby. It is called a Prachi or Gawaksha, i.e., window. With the help of the location of these special prayers are held for Sun God, based on the sunrays falling through these windows, directly on to the Lingamurthy.

There is a strong, wide staircase to enter the Temple. It is called ‘Ghat’. The old Ghat was built in the year 1108. The inner portal of the temple and the court hall are both of the same size.

Therefore, the deity’s Darshan has to be done from the courtroom itself. No other place has this type of arrangement. At other places, the inner portal or the Garbhagriha is visually deep.

The Lingamurty at Vaidyanath is made of Shaligram stone. It is beautiful and very smooth and is in a benevolent attitude. On all the four sides of the temple, Nanda Deeps (lights) keep burning.

Just as Parali is a place of pilgrimage for Shiva devotees, it is also a meeting point for Hari Hara. In this mixed holy place, Lord Krishna’s festivals too are celebrated along with Lord Shankara’s festivals, with great festivity.

The water from the Harihar Teerth is brought for the daily worship of Vaidyanath. Every Monday devotees gather here in great numbers.

On Chaitra Padva, Vijayadashani, Tripuri Pournima, Maha Shivaratri and Vaikunth Chaturdashi, big celebrations take place. During these celebrations, there is no distinction between Bel and Tulsi. Mahadev is offered Tulsi leaves and Vishnu is offered Bel leaves. This unique practice is seen only in Vaidyanath.

During the rainy season (Sravan) worship of Vaidyanath, the entire area of Parali echoes with the chanting of Rudrabhisheka Mantrochchar. The regular Puja is also done with great devotion and dedication.

Markandeya, obtained his boon of life here in Parali from Vaidyanatha. This story is from Shivapuran, Markandeya was not blessed with a long life. Yama wanted to take his life in accordance with the time of Markandeya’s life. But Shiva released him from imminent death and from Yama. A pond is named after him. It is here that this happened.

The story of Satyavan and Savitri too is based in Parali this holy place. On the Narayan mountain, the Vata Vriksh or Banyan tree of Savitri’s story, is still here to be seen. There is a temple of Vateshwara there.

King Sriyal and Queen Changuna’s dear son Chilia, came to life due to the kindness of Lord Shiva in Parali Vaidyanath.

Lord Ganesha’s idol without the usual trunk and in a sitting posture like a body builder can be seen here.

Great saints like Vakrebua, Dhundiraj, Yamaraj, Vishweswar, Guru Lingaswamy lived here. Their holy touch has made Parali even holier. It is a place of pride for Maharashtra.

Vaidyanath is made of Shaligram stone. It is beautiful and very smooth and is in a benevolent attitude. On all the four sides of the temple, Nanda Deeps (lights) keep burning.

Nageshvara Jyotilingas

According to a narrative, the Balakhilyas, a group of dwarf sages worshipped Shiva in Darukavana for long time. To test their devotion and patience, Shiva came to the Darukavana as an digambara ascetic, wearing only Nagas in his body.

Wives of sages were attracted and ran after the ascetic, leaving back their husbands. Sages got very disturbed and frustrated with this. They lost their patience and cursed ascetic to loose his linga.

Shivalinga fell on the earth and whole world trembled. Brahma and Vishnu came to Shiva, requested him to save earth from destruction and take back his linga. Shiva consoled them and took back his linga.(Vamana Purana Ch.6 and 45)

Shiva promised his divine presence in Darukavana as Jyotirlinga for ever. Later Darukavana became favourite place of Nagas and Vasuki worshipped Shiva here for long and there after the Jyotirlinga came to be known as Nagnath or Nageshvara.

It is also said that a demoness ‘Daaruka’ worshiped Mata Parvati. Pleased with the great penance and devotion of Daruka, Mata Parvati gave her a boon that she would be the queen of the forest and the forest would be called ‘DARUKAVANA’.

Devi Parvati gave her the power to shift the forest.To save denoms, Daruka used her special powers she had got from goddess Parvati. She shifted the entire forest into the sea. From here they continued their operation against hermits. They used to kidnap sages and kept them in their new place.

Once they captured a great Shiva devotee, Supriya. Arrival of Supriya changed the situation. He made all captives recite powerful Om Namaha Shivay mantra of Lord Shiva. Taking this as a rebellion, demons decided to kill Supriya, but they failed as Lord Shiva appeared there and saved him.

Daruka realized her mistake. Then Shiva and Parvati stayed there. Lord Shiva once again assumed the form of Jyotirlinga with the name Nageshwar and Goddess Parvati was known as Nageshwari. Lord Shiva said that he will show the correct path to one’s who will worship him.

Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines mentioned in the Shiva Purana (Śatarudra Saṁhitā,Ch.42/2-4, referred as “nagesham darukavane”).

The Shiva Purana says Nageshvara is in the Darukavana, which is an ancient epic name of a forest in India. Darukavana finds mention in Indian epics like Kamyakavana, Dvaitavana, Dandakavana,etc. ‘Darukavana’ can also be taken to exist adjacent to Vindhya Mountains. It is south-southwest of the Vindhyas extending to sea in west.

In the Dvadasha Jyotirlinga Stotra (6), Shankaracharyapraised this Jyotirlinga as Naganath:

“Yamye sadange nagaretiramye vibhushitangam vividhaishcha bhogai Sadbhaktimuktipradamishamekam shrinaganatham sharanam prapadye“

The Jyotirlinga in the temple is known as Nageshwar Mahadev. The Jyotirlinga situated in the temple is considered to protect everybody from all sort of poisons. It is believed that one who offers prayers in the temple becomes poison free. It is said that those who pray to the Nageshwar Linga become free of poison. The Rudra Samhita sloka refers to Nageshwar with the phrase ‘Daarukaavane Naagesham’

Nageshwar Mahadev Sivalingam is facing South while the Gomugam is facing east. There is a story for this position.

A devotee by name Naamdev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord. Other devotees asked him to stand aside and not hide the Lord. To this Naamdev asked them to suggest one direction in which the Lord does not exist, so that he can stand there. The enraged devotees carried him and left him on the southside. To their astonishment, they found that the Linga was now facing South with the Gomugam facing east.

Kedarnath Popular Jyotirlingas India

According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own brothers and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull.

On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations. The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madhmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

During winter due to heavy snowfall, the Temple is closed and no one stays in Kedarnath. For six months (November to April) the Palki of Lord Kedarnath is transferred to a place near Guptakashicalled Ukhimath. People shift their settlement too from Kedarnath to nearby villages. Around 360 families of Tirtha Purohit of 55 villages and other nearby villages are dependent on Kedarnath for livelihood.

Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu. It is set amidst the stunning mountainscape of the Garhwal Himalayas at the head of the Mandakini River. Kedar is another name of lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer.

Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions – love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range.

This temple, over a thousand years old is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps.

The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. It is situated at an altitude of 3,581 mt on the head of river Mandakini,. It is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund.

The shrine of Kedarnath is very scenically placed, and is surrounded by lofty, snow – covered mountains, and during summer grassy meadows covering the valleys. Immediately behind the temple, is the high Keadardome peak, which can be sighted from great distances.

The sight of the temple and the peak with its perpetual snows is simply enthralling.
An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas.

The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door, a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old.

Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a “Garbha Griha” for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

Tryambakeshwara Jyotirlingas

Brahmadev worshipped God Trivikram when he came to Satya Loka with the same holy water of the Ganges, to get the river Ganges held up by God Shankar on his head, to flow. There was a famine of 24 years and people were affected by the pangs of hunger.

However, Varun – the God of Rains, pleased with Sage Gautama arranged rains every day in Gautama’s Ashram (dwelling place) which was in Trimbakeshwar. Gautama used to sow rice in the surrounding fields of his Ashram in the morning, reap the crop in the afternoon and with it fed a large group of rishis, who took shelter in his Ashram on account of the famine.

The blessings of the group of rishis increased the Punya of Gautama. Lord Indra’s position became shaky because of his increased merit. So Indra ordered clouds to rain all over Trimbakeshwar, so that the famine will be over and Rishis will go back and the increasing merits of Gautama will be weakened.

Although the famine was over, Gautama urged the Rishis to stay back and kept on feeding them and gaining merit. Once he saw a cow grazing in the paddy field and he drove her away by throwing Darbha (sharp, pointed grass). The slender cow died by this. It was Jaya – Parvati’s friend, who had taken the form of a cow.

This news upset the Rishis and they refused to luncheon at his Ashram. Gautama requested Rishis to show a way out of this sin. He was advised to approach Lord Shiva and request him to release Ganges and a bath in the Ganges would set him free of his sins. Gautama then practiced penance by going to the peak of Brahmagiri. Lord Shankara was pleased by his worships and gave him the Ganges.

However, Ganges was not prepared to part with Lord Shiva, which irritated him. He made TandavNrutya on the peak of Brahmagiri and dashed his jata there. Frightened by this action, Ganges appeared on Brahmagiri.

Later on Ganges appeared in the Trimbak Tirtha. Gautama praised her but she off and on appeared on the mountain at various places and disappeared in anger. Gautama could not bathe in her waters. Ganges then appeared in Gangadwar, Varaha-tirtha, Rama-Laxman tirtha, Ganga Sagar tirtha. Still Gautama could not bathe in her waters.

The Gautama surrounded the river with enchanted grass and put a vow to her. The flow stopped there and the tirtha thus came to be called Kushavarta. It is from this Kushavarta that the river Godavari flows up to the sea. The sin of killing a cow by Gautama was wiped off here.

Trimbakeshwar is a religious center having one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The extraordinary feature of the Jyotirlinga located here is its three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra.

Due to excessive use of water, the linga has started to erode. It is said that this erosion symbolizes the eroding nature of human society. The Lingas are covered by a jeweled crown which is placed over the Gold Mask of Tridev (Brahma Vishnu Mahesh). The crown is said to be from the age of Pandavs and consists of diamonds, emeralds, and many precious stones.

All other Jyotirlingas have Shiva as the main deity. The entire black stone temple is known for its appealing architecture and sculpture and is at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri. Three sources of the Godavari originate from the Brahmagiri mountain.

This place is famous for lots of religious vidhis. Narayan Nagbali, Kalsarpa Shanti, Tripindi vidhi are done here. Narayan Nagbali puja is performed at Trimbakeshwar only. This puja is performed in three days. This puja is performed on special dates.

Some days are not suitable to perform this puja. This puja is performed for many reasons like to cure an illness, going through bad times, killing a Cobra (Nag), childless couples, financial crisis or you want to perform some religious puja to have everything.

Trimbakeshwar town has a large number of Brahmin households and is also a centre for Vedic Gurukuls. It also has ashrams and Muths devoted to Ashtanga Yoga.

The place is known for its scenic beauty in rainy/monsoon season and is surrounded by lush green hills untouched by pollution.

Rameshwaram Jyotirlingas

There is one mythological tale , related to Rameshwar Jyotirlinga .When Shri Ram was taking Sita back to Ayodhya , at that time on theitr way to Ayodhya they rested on Gandhmadan Parvat While resting , he got to know that it is cursed to end the Rishi Pulstaya’s entire Family , and to prevent them from this curse he should establish Shiv Jyotirlinga there and worship Lord Shiva After knowing this , Shri Ram recommended Hanumanji to go and get the Shivlinga from Kailash Parvat. Hanuman ji , reached Kailash Parvat , but could not find Lord Shiva there.

Then he prayed Lord Shiva with full concentration . Lord Shiva was pleased with Hanuman’s prayer and fulfilled his purpose. Hanuman got late cause of praying and pleasing Lord Shiva, and there Shri Ram and Ma Sita was waiting for the Shivalinga to be established at an auspicious time.

Then Devi Janaki decided and methodically formed Balu’s Linga and established it only , so that the auspicious time do not pass away. After a while Hanumanji reached with Shiva-Linga , and was disappointed to see that the establishment was already done.Hanumanji compelled to establish that Shivlinga that he brought from Shivaji, on which Shri Ram said that for that he needs to remove Balu’s linga and then only his Shivalinga can be established.

Hanumanji with his full strength tried to remove Balu’s Linga , but was unsuccessful in it. Hanuman tried so hard that he started to bleed , which made Ma Sita sad and she started crying.Then Shri Ram , told Hanumanji that the sin he had made to remove Balulinga, is the reason that his body has suffered so much. Hanumanji realized his mistake and apologised , and the Shivalinga that he got from Kailasha Parvat , was also established next to Balulinga. This linga is known as Hanumdeshwar Linga.

Ramanathaswamy Temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to god Shiva located on the island of Rameswaram in the state of Tamil Nadu,India. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where the three of the most revered Nayanars, Appar, Sundarar and Tirugnana Sambandar have glorified the temple with their songs.

The temple was built during the 12th century by Pandya Dynasty . The temple has the longest corridor among all Hindu temples in India. The temple is located in Rameshwaram, an island town in South India. The Temple is also one of the 12 Jyothirlinga temples.

The temple is one of the holiest Hindu Char Dham sites comprising Badrinath, Puri and Dwarka.

It is believed that whosoever visits Rameshwaram and Hanumeshwar Linga and prays with full dedication and faith , gets relieved from all sins. Moreover , it is also said that only by visiting these sacred places , all wishes get fulfilled .

Rameshwaram is also known as the site of Tarpan for Pitaroan .The place is surrounded by oceans from two sides..

The devotees come here to work for their Pitaroan,and take a dip in the sea. Beside it , there is a splace known as Lakshmantirtha. Here devotees perform ceremonies like Child’s Mundana and Shraadha. It is said about Rameswaram temple that , the stones which are used to build this temple were brought from SriLanka, as no range of mountains can be seen in this area.

Like all ancient temples in South India, there is a high compound wall on all four sides of the temple premises measuring about 865 feet furlong from east to west and one furlongs of 657 feet from north to south with huge towers (Gopurams) at the east and west and finished gate towers on the north and south. The temple has striking long corridors in its interior, running between huge colonnades on platforms above five feet high.

The second corridor is formed by sandstone pillars, beams and ceiling. The junction of the third corridor on the west and the paved way leading from the western gopuram to Setumadhava shrine forms a unique structure in the form of chess board and it is popularly known as Chokkattan Madapam.

The outer set of corridors is reputed to be the longest in the world being about 6.9 m height, 400 feet in each in the east and west and about 640 feet in north and south and inner corridors are about 224 feet in east and west and about 352 feet each in north and south. Their width varies from 15.5 feet to 17 feet in the east and west about 172 feet on the north and south with width varying 14.5 feet to 17 feet.

The total length of those corridors is thus 3850 feet. There are about 1212 pillars in the outer corridor. Their height is about 30 feet from the floor to the center of the roof. The main tower or rajagopuram is 53 m tall Most pillars are carved with individual composition.

There are sixty-four Tirthas in and around the island of Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu, India. According to Skanda Puraṇa, twenty-four of them are important. Bathing in these Tirthas is a major aspect of the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and is considered equivalent to penance. Twenty-two of the Tirthas are within the Ramanathasvami Temple. The number 22 indicates the 22 arrows in Rama’s quiver. The first and major one is called Agni Teertham.

Bhimashankar

Years ago in the dense forests of Dakini, on the lofty ranges of the Sahaydris lived an evil Asura by the name Bhima with his mother Karkati. Compassion and kindness shivered in the presence of Bhima, but he himself was confronted by certain questions about his own existence which continuously tormented him.

When Bhima could no longer sustain his agony and curiosity, he asked his mother to unveil the mysteries of his life. After much hesitation and with a lingering fear, Karkati his mother, revealed to him that he was the son of the mighty Kumbhakarna, the younger brother of the Lankadheeswara of Lanka.

Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Lord Rama annihilated Kumbhakarna. Karkati told Bhima, that his father was killed by Ram in the great war. This infuriated Bhima and he vowed to avenge Lord Vishnu. To achieve this he embarked on a severe penance to please Lord Brahma.The compassionate creator was pleased by the dedicated devotee and granted him immense prowers.

The evil tyrant caused havoc in the three worlds. He defeated King Indra and conquered the heavens. He also defeated a staunch devotee of Lord Shiva – Kamarupeshwar, and put him in the dungeons. He started torturing Rishis and Sadhus. All this angered the Gods. They all along with Lord Brahma beseeched Lord Shiva to come to their rescue. Lord Shiva consoled the Gods and agreed to rescue them from the tyrant.

On the other hand Bhima insisted and ordered Kamarupeshwar to worship him instead of Lord Shiva. When Kamarupeshwar denied, the tyrant Bhima raised his sword to strike the Shiva Linga, to which Kamarupeshwar was doing abhishekam and pooja. As soon as Bhima managed to raise his sword, Lord Shiva appeared before him in all his magnificence.

Then the terrible war began. Narada appeared and requested Lord Shiva to put an end to this war. It was then that Lord Shiva reduced the evil demon to ashes and thus concluded the saga of tyranny. All the Gods and the holy sages present there requested Lord Shiva to make this place his abode. Lord Shiva thus manifested himself in the form of the Bhimashankar Jyotirlingam.

It is believed that the sweat that poured forth from Lord Shiva’s body after the battle formed the Bhimarathi River.

Bhimashankar Temple is a Jyotirlinga shrine located 50 km northwest of Khed, near Pune, in India. It is believed that the ancient shrine was erected over a Swayambhu Lingam . It can be seen in the temple that the Lingam is exactly at the centre of the floor of the Garbagriham . Intricate carvings of divinities interspersed with human figurines adorn the pillars and the doorframes of the temple. Scenes from mythology find itself captured in these magnificent carvings.

Within the temple precincts there is also a small shrine dedicated to Lord Shani Mahatma. The image of Nandi Lord Shiva’s vahanam is installed as is the case with all the Siva Temples, just at the entrance of the temple.

The Bhimashankara temple is a composite of old and the new structures in the Nagara style of architecture. It shows the excellency of the skills achieved by ancient Vishwakarma sculptors.

There are Buddha style carvings of Amba-Ambika, Bhootling and Bhimashankar in the hills of Manmaad near Bhimashankar at a height of 1034 metres. Far away from the tumult of the urban life, peeping through the white fleecy clouds, Bhimashankar can be termed a pilgrim paradise.

Bhimashankar is the source of the Bhima River, which flows southeast and merges with the Krishna River. With endless stretches of virgin forests, lofty peaks that seem to reach out to the heavens, and the whispering waters of the Bhima River, Bhimashankar is definitely one of God’s choicest creations.

It seems as if Lord Shiva is keeping a silent vigil over the majestic ranges of the Sahyadris. The serenity interrupted only by the silent murmuring of the cool breeze and the occasional chirping of birds.

Rudrasamhita sloka in its reference to Bhimashankar says, Daakine Bhimashankaram.

Vishwanath

Where the Varuna and Asi rivers join the Ganges, a beautiful city was built there in the ancient times. It was named Varanasi. Varanasi, a prime place of pilgrimage, a tribe called kasha used to live. Therefore, Varanasi was also known as Kashi. Near Kashi, Ganga flows in the shape of a bow. Hence it acquired special importance

Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is situated in Kashi and famous by the name of Shiv Vishwanath Kashi.

This holy place is very dear to Lord Shankar. It is said in the scriptures than this place was forever destroyed when the Earth was submerged under water (Pralaya). It is so because Lord Shiva holds this place by his Trishul. Those who come and die here attain Moksh. It is said that Lord Shiva gives the Tarak Mantra to the one’s who is going to die, here. He resides here and is the giver of Moksh and happiness. The one who prays and worships Vishweshwar with devotion attains all his desires and one who incessantly recites his name attains all siddhis and finally gets Moksh.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage, and if possible, also pour the remains of asthy on the River Ganges. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples.

The main deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara. The temple town, which claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history, is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The temple has been referred to in Hindu theology for a very long time and as a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosophy.

The temple complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in a small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli, near the river. The linga of the main deity at the shrine is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference housed in a silver altar.

There are small temples for Kaalbhairav, Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and Virupaksh Gauri in the complex. There is a small well in the temple called the Gyana Vapi (the wisdom well) and it is believed that the Jytorlinga was hidden in the well to protect it at the time of invasion. It is said that the main priest of the temple jumped in the well with the Shiv Ling in order to protect the Jyotirlinga from invaders.

The temple is widely recognized as one of the most important places of worship in Hindu religion and most of the leading Hindu saints, including Adi Sankaracharya, Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Goswami Tulsidas, Swami Dayananda Saraswati and Gurunanak have visited the site.

A visit to the temple and a bath in the river Ganges is one of many methods believed to lead one on a path to Moksha. There is also a tradition that one should give up at least one desire after a pilgrimage the temple, and the pilgrimage would also include a visit to the temple at Rameswaram in South India, where people take water samples of the Ganges to perform prayer at the temple and bring back sand from near that temple.

Many legends record that the true devotee achieves freedom from death and saṃsāra by the worship of Shiva, Shiva’s devotees on death being directly taken to his abode on Mount Kailash by his messengers and not to Yama. There is a popular belief that Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of people who choose to end their lives at the Vishwanath temple.

Jaya Ganga, Jaya Vishwanath, Om Namah Shivaya. The entire area echoes with these chantings. The Gods in Varanasi are described in Sanskrit in the following way

Grishneshwar Jyotirlingas

Once Parvati, was about to fill her hair parting with vermillion and saffron, in Kamyavana. She kept them in her left palm and mixed the water of Shivalay in it. With the right thumb she started mixing them both.

Then a miracle occurred, vermillion turned into a ShivaLinga and a great light appeared in it. Parvati was awe struck at this. Then Lord Shankara said: “This Linga was hidden in the Patala.” And removed it with his trident. Parvati kept that glorious light in stone Linga and installed it there. This Purna JyotirLinga is called Kunkumeshwar. But since Dakshayani created this Linga with the function of her thumb. She gave it the name of Grishneshwara (Grishna means friction).

On the southern mountain caleed Deva Parvata, a great scholar Brahmin Sudhama of Bharadwaja gotra, used to live with his beautiful, devout wife called Sudeha. They had no children.

They were very unhappy because of this. They were harassed and tortured by the sly remarks of their neighbours. But Sudhama, an intelligent person, did not care about these. One day, Sudeha threatened to commit suicide and sister Dushma, married her husband. Both of them promised that there would be no jealousy between them.

After sometime, Dushma gave birth to a son. And eventually even that son married. Both Sudhama and Dushma, were nice to Sudeha. But jealousy did get the better of Sudeha. Once she picked up Dushma’s son who was sleeping by her side and killed him. She threw the body into the lake near by.

In the morning there was a big hue and cry. Dushma’s grief knew no bounds. Even then, she went to the river to do her routine worship. She made her usual hundred Lingas and began worship she saw her son standing near the lake. Shiva was pleased with her worship and revealed the truth about Sudhas forgiveness of Sudha’s sin. She indeed requested Shiva to remain there itself for the welfare of the humanity.

Shiva acceded to her request and remained there with the name of Dhushamesha.

The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the ancient and holiest shrines of India. An ancient pilgrim destination, Grishneshwar is popularly known as the abode of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva.

This pilgrimage site is located at a village called Verul and lies at a close proximity to the Ellora caves. Being the abode of one of the holiest and ancient temples known by the name of Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple, the popularity of Grishneshwar can be ascertained. The temple is also known by several other names like Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, Grushmeswara and Grishneswara.

This 240ft x 185 ft temple is still there strong and beautiful as ever. Halfway up the temple, Dashavataras are carved in red stone. These are beautiful to look at. There are also other beautiful statutes carved out.

A court hall is built on 24 pillars. On these pillars there are wonderful carvings. The scenes and paintings are beautiful. The Garbhagriha measures 17ft x 17 ft. The Lingamurty faces eastward. There is a gorgeous Nandikeshwara in the court hall.

The temple stands as an illustration of the pre-historic temple traditions and routines as well as of the pre-historic architectural style and structure. The temple is built of red rocks which call for the alluring look that it delivers.

The temple is composed of a five tier shikara which account for the attractive look thatit renders. Built in the 18th century the temple is 240 x 185 feet tall and cubicle in shape. It exemplifies the medieval architecture in all its opulence. There are beautiful carvings and attractive sculptures of many Indian Gods and Goddess. Holy water is known to flow inside the temple and this is where the mystery lies.

“Blessed by VerulNagar, there is no other place like it on this earth, where Lord Grishneswara resides, the best palce on this earth.” – Madhwamunishwar

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