Jyotirlinga or Jyotirlingam, as name suggests means Linga of Light. It is believed that when you reach a certain level in your spiritual journey, while performing puja to these lingas you can see them as columns of light piercing the earth. There are in all twelve Jyotirlinga hence referred to as Dwadash Jyotirlinga. Long back itself I had made up my mind to visit them all. In this article I’ll be telling in details about all the Jyotirlinga and also share photographs of all those places which I have myself visited. Especially, share the jyotirlinga photograph. Not all the temples allow taking them, still few I could manage!
The names of these twelve Jyotirlingas are as follows:
According to Linga Purana, once Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu were fighting to prove who was more powerful. Lord Shiva comes between them in the form of Linga and asked both to measure the linga. Both Lord Brahma and Vishnu decide to measure one end each and so Vishnu in the form of a boar went down the earth surface while Brahma took the form of a swan and flew up. After trying hard and failing to find the end, both came back. At this moment Lord Shiva arises from the linga and both realized their mistake and acknowledged Lord Shiva’s supremacy. This happened on the 14th days of full moon in the dark half of the month of Phalguna, the day even today is celebrated as Mahashivratri.
Dwadasha Jyotirlinga stotra.
Sourashtre Somnatham cha sri shaile Mallikarjunam
Ujjainyam Mahakalam Omkaram Amaleshvaram
Kedare higvatprishthe dakinyam bhimshankaram
Varanasya cha Vishvesham Trayambakam gautami tate
Vaidyanatham chitabhumou Nagesham Darukavane
Setubandhe cha Ramesham Grishnesham shivalaye
Etani jyotirlingani Pratruthyay yah pathet
Janma janmantar krit papam smaranen vinashyati
Let us now start with each of them one by one.
(Click the pictures for enlarged view)
(Click the pictures for enlarged view)
This temple is located at Kathiarwar, Gujrat. The temple is associated with the Aeries moon sign. As the name suggests, Somnath means “Protector of Moon God”. This temple was ransacked and destroyed six times by Mongols and Mughals, but it was again rebuilt. It was during attack by Ghazni that the original lingam was completely destroyed. Aurangzeb was the last to destroy the temple and then in 1995 the current temple was again built and at the same spot. It is said that on the day of Shivratri if one can do jaap of Mahamrityunjay mantra here, he can get benefit spiritually. This jyotirlinga is said to be the first jyotirlinga.
This lingam is located at Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is an ancient one. You read about this lingam in details in Mahabharat, Shiv Puran and Padma Puran. It is said that when Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikeya were fighting among themselves as to who’ll get married first, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati asked them both to go round the earth and who so ever comes back first would be married first. Lord Kartikeya went off on his peacock for the trip while Lord Ganesh went round his parents saying they are his world. By the time Lord Kartikeya came back, he found Lord Ganesha already married. So he left off in huff. Finally Goddess Parvati goes to him to calm him down. Lord Shiva also reached the place but as a Jyotirlinga. This came to be known as Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga as puja of this Linga was first done with the Mallika flower (Jasmine).
This Jyotirlinga is located at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. Among all the twelve jyotirlinga, this one is Swayambhu and the only one to face south. In Mahabharat, Shivpuran and Skandapuran you get to hear in details about this jyotirlinga. Ujjaini was being ruled by King Chandrasen who was a Shiv Bhakt. One day a small boy saw him doing puja and decides to do the same. He collects all material required for the puja and a small stone and reaches home to start with the puja. It was dinner time and his mother started calling him. When he refused to leave the puja, the mother in anger threw away the stone. The little boy fell down unconscious with sadness. At this moment Lord Shiva himself presented himself to the boy as a beautiful Linga.
In this temple daily at 4am there is Bhasma aarti that’s done. It is said that early times the bhasma from cremation ground used to be offered to Lord Shivas linga, the same custom is followed here. The bhasma offered here as bhasma aarti, is made from cow dung cake incinerated residue. In the evening you can see the "Sringar" of Mahakaleshwar. The linga is adorned beautifully and after that aarti is done.
This jyotirlina is also located at Madhya Pradesh on an island in the Narmada River. At one point the Narmada River branches out into two rivers, one flowing north while one towards south. The southern flow is taken as the main river. At this juncture is an island called Mandahata hill. King Mandhata did penances here to Lord Shiva here hence the name. The Mandhata hill itself is known to be a form of Lord Shiva. To reach the Linga, you need to pass through two cells. Omkareshwar jyotirling has two forms. The other one is bit far off from Omkareshwar towards south and is called as Mamaleshwar. The story goes as, once Vindhyachal did hard penance to please Lord Shiva. The Lord came and blessed Vindhyachal. At this moment there were many sages and rishis present and on their request the Lord made two parts of the Omkareshwar linga and placed other on the southern end. Though both are different yet they are equal in every way.