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Photo by Praniket Desai; Unsplash

Khajurao Temple in India

The Jyotirlinga is a devotional representation of Lord Shiva, and is considered to be a holy site for Hindus. In India, there are 12 Jyotirlinga Temples in total which are visited by millions of devotees from all over the world.

It must be noted that each of this Jyotirlinga Temple has a significant folklore attached to them which adds a distinct character to each one of them.

Being strategically placed in beautiful parts of India, these 12 Jyotirlinga Temples attract a lot of tourists from all over the world, which in turn increases the tourism of India and adds up to the GDP of the country.

Read below to know all about the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples of India!

The Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple, Gujarat

It must be noted that the Somnath Lingam is considered as the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, and is considered to be one of the most sacred pilgrimages in the Sanatan religion. There exists an interesting story behind the origin of this Lingam. It is believed that when the moon was cursed by his father-in-law because of being negligent towards his other wife, he lost all of his radiance. Then the moon prayed to Lord Shiva and regained all the lost radiance and beauty.

Somnath Temple.Photo by Suketu Solanki; Unsplash.

Mallika Arjun Lingam, Andra Pradesh

This Lingam is situated on the top of Shri Shaila Mountain, which is also called the "Kailash of South". This temple is considered to be one of the greatest shrines of Lord Shiva. The name of the temple comes from “Mallika" which means “Goddess Parvati", who is the wife of Lord Shiva, and “Arjun" which is another name of Lord Shiva. It is also believed that Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati decided to live on this mountain after their elder son, Kartikey, left home in anger.

Mahakaleshvar Temple, Madhya Pradesh

This Lingam is considered to be another important pilgrimage site in India. As per the text of Puranas, it is believed that once there was a five-year-old boy named Shrikar, who took a stone and started worshipping it as Lord Shiva. Seeing this, many people made fun of him and tried to divert him, but his faith kept on growing. Then, when Lord Shiva saw this devotion in Shrikar, Lord Shiva took the form of a Jyotirlinga and decided to stayin the Mahakal forest.

Mahakaleshvar Temple.Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Omkareshvar Jyotirlinga, Madhya Pradesh

This Lingam is situated on a riverine island in the Narmada River. According to the text of Vedic scriptures, it is believed that once upon a time, a great war broke between the Devas (angels) and Asuras (demons), and in this war, the asuras won. Seeing this, the Devas then prayed to Lord Shiva, and highly pleased with their devotion, Lord Shiva transformed into the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated the Asuras (demons). Since then, Omkareshvar Jyotirlinga is considered to be one of the holiest site for Hindus.

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra

This Jyotirlinga is situated in the Sahyadri region of Pune, on the banks of Bhima River. The story behind the origin of this Jyotirlinga is very interesting. After a long penance, Lord Brahma granted Bhima Kumbhkaran's son some powers after which he started creating havoc on Earth. Seeing this, all the gods plead before Lord Shiva for help. Seeing how helpless the gods are, Lord Shiva then fought a battle and killed the demon, and on the request of the gods, Lord Shiva stayed at this very place.

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga.Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Rameshwaram Temple, Tamil Nadu

This temple is situated on the southern most tip of India, in the state of Tamil Nadu. The reason why this Lingam is named as “Rameshwaram" is because it was placed by Lord Ram himself. The story behind this temple is that once in the quest of Goddess Sita, Lord Ram reached the southern most tip of India and saw a vast ocean between him and his love, Goddess Sita, when Ravana abducted her. Lord Ram then made a Shiva Lingam with sand and started worshiping it. Seeing this, Lord Shiva became pleased and helped him in winning the war against Ravana. It is said that since then, Lord Shiva resides there.

Nageshwar Temple, Gujarat

This lingam is also known as Nagnath, and is situated in the Saurashtra area of Gujarat. According to Shiva Purana, a devotee of Lord Shivanamed Supriya was captured by the Asur Daaruka. The demon kept her as a prisoner with several others in his capital Daarukavana. Supriya told all the prisoners to chant "Om Namah Shivay" which made Daaruka furious who ran to kill Supriya. Lord Shiva emerged in front of the demon and killed him. Then Nageshwar Temple came into being.

Nageshwar Temple.Photo by Flickr.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi

It is believed that Lord Shiva was first manifested here when a fight broke between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. This temple is said to be Lord Shiva's favourite as it is considered as the true abode of Shiva.

Trayambkeshwar, Nashik

It is believed that river Godavari has its source in this temple. The story goes likes, once Lord Shiva decided to reside here as a lingam after many earnest requests of Gautam Rishi and Godavari who are known to be big devotees of Lord Shiva.

Trayambkeshwar Temple.Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Girishneshwar Jyotirlinga, Aurangabad

This Lingam is situated near the famous Ajanta-Ellora caves, and has many legends associated with it. It is interesting to note that no one really knows about the true origins of this lingam.

Kedarnath, Uttrakhand

This Lingam is situated Located in the Rudra Himalayan ranges, and is one of the holiest pilgrimages in India. This place opens up for its devotees for only six months in a year. It is believed that after a hard penance of Nar and Narayan, Lord Shiva decided to stay in Kedarnath till eternity.

Kedarnath Temple.Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga, Jharkhand

This Lingam is considered as one of the most powerful lingams in the world. It is believed that the worshippers of this lingam attain salvation. It is also believed that this lingam was given to Ravana after his long meditation but on one condition that if it gets placed somewhere it will stay there forever. To this, all the gods conspired against Ravana and made him place the lingam in Jharkhand, where it stayed forever.

Keywords: temples, india, indian temples, travel, tourism, hinduism, spirituality


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