[Jyotirling or Jyotirlingam is a shrine where Lord Shiva is
worshipped in the form of a Jyotir lingam or lingam of light. There are
twelve traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India. It is believed that
Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the
Arudra festival, thus the special reverence for the Jyotirlinga. It
is believed that a person can see these lingas as columns of fire
piercing through the earth after he reaches a higher level of
spiritual attainment. The location of these Lingas of light is given in
another prayer called Dwadasa Linga Sthavam:
Sourashtre Somanadham, cha Sri Shaile Mallikarjunam,
Ujjayinyam Maha Kalam, Omkaram, amaleshwaram,
Paralyam Vaidyanatham, cha Dakinyam Bhimasankaram,
Sethubandhe thu Ramesam, Nagesam thu Darukavane,
Varanasyam thu Viswesam, Trayambakam Gouthami thate,
Himalaye thu Kedaram, Ghushmesam cha Shivalaye,
Ethani Jyothirlingani sayam pratha paden nara,
Saptha janma krutham papam smaranena vinasyathi.
The twelve Lingas of light are,
Somanatha in Sourashtra,
Mallikarjuna in Sri Shailam,
Mahakala in Ujjain,
Omkaram in Amaleshwara,
Vaidhyanatha in Parali,
Bhimasankara in South,
Rameshwara near the bridge in Sethu,
Nageswara in Daruka forest,
Visweswara in Varnasi,
Trayambakeshwara in the shores of Godavari,
Kedareshwara in Himalayas,
And Ghushmesha in Sivalaya.
He who remembers them,
Morning and evening,
Would wash away sins,
Committed in his seven births.]
Sourashtra dese Visadhethi ramye,
Jyothirmayam Chandra kalavathamsam,
Bhakthi pradhanaya krupavatheernam,
Tham Soma nadham saranam prapadhye.1
I seek refuge of the Soma Nadha,
Who is in the holy and pretty Sourashtra,
Who is dazzling with light,
Who wears the crescent of the moon,
Who has come there to give,
The gift of devotion and mercy.
temple is dedicated to Someshwara, another name of Lord Shivawith moon
on his head. The temple is situated in Saurashtra in a place called
Prabhas Pattan near the port of Veravel. It is believed that the Moon
God himself had originally built the temple out of gold. Somnathis the
first of all the 12 jyotirlingas. The Somnath temple has been destroyed
six times and has been rebuilt. Last time it was after independence. The
temple faces the east direction.
Sri Shaila sange vibhudathi sange,
Thulathi thune api mudha vasantham,
Thamarjunam mallika poorvamekam,
Namami samsara samudhra sethum.2
I salute him who is the bridge to the ocean of life,
Who is in the company of all gods,
And living in the union of Sri Shaila,
Who resides on the peak of Thula,
And who is called Mallikarjuna.
Shailam Temple located in Kurnool district. Sri Shailam is a small city
situated in the densely forested Nallamalai hills. This temple
is considered very holy and is dedicated to Mallikarjuna Swamy
and Bhramaramba. 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 in South India. According to
popular legends, Adhi Shankara had composed his famous Sivananda Lahiri
here. 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.
Mukthi pradhanaya cha sajjananam,
Vande maha kala maha suresam. 3
I salute that Maha Kala,
Who is the lord of all devas,
Who has incarnated in the city of Avanthi,
For giving salvation to good people,
And to save people from untimely death.
Temple is situated in Ujjain, the historical capital of Central India.
This Temple is situated near a lake. The idol in the temple is known as
Dakshinamurti, facing the south and is white in colour. Among the 12
Jyotirlingas, the Mahakal Jyotirlinga is believed to be swayambhu,
meaning born of itself. The Mahakaleshwar temple is made in five levels,
one of which is underground. The underground sanctum is lightened by
brass lamps. The prasada in the temple can be re-offered unlike other
temples. According to the legends, a demon called Dushana tormented the
people of Avanti and then Lord Shiva appeared from the ground and
rescued the people and then on the request of the people, Lord Shiva
permanently settled there as Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga.
Kavaerika narmadhayo pavithre,
Samagame sajjana tharanaya,
Sadaiva mandha tripure vasantham,
Onkarameesam shivameka meede.4
I meditate only on Shiva,
With the form of the letter Om,
Who lives In the city of Mandhatripura,
Which is in the holy confluence
Of rivers Cauvery and Narmadha,
For helping good people cross,
The Ocean of the misery of life.
or Amaleshwara temple is located in an island on the banks of the
Narmada, is located on the Mandhata hill in Madhya Pradesh.
The Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga shrine and the Amareshwar temple is one of
the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The river Narmada
branches into two which forms an island Mandhata or Shivapuri in the
center. Ironically, the island's shape resembles the visual
representation of the Omkara sound, Om. The temple can be reached by
ferry. As per the legend, Vindhya mountain once prayed to Lord Shiva or
Omkareshwara and got blessed in return. Other story says that the
Shivalinga was split into two upon the request of the Devas. Thus, the
formation of Omkareshwara and Amareshwar.
Poorvothare prajjwalika nidhane,
Sada vasantham girija sametham,
Surasuradhitha pada padmam,
Sri Vaidyanatham tham aham namami.5
I salute that Vaidyanatha,
Whose lotus feet are worshipped,
By all asuras and devas,
And who lives in place of eternal shine,
In the north east of India,
Along with his consort Parvathi.
located at Deogarh in the Santal Parganas area of Bihar. Deogarh is also
known as Vaidyanath. The temple faces the east. The top of the Shiva
Lingam is slightly broken which as per the legend happened when Ravana
tried to uproot it. Sivaganga lake is positioned just near the temple.
While the Chandrakoopa well found near the main entrance is said to have
been filled with water by Ravana from several thirthams.The Shiva's
temple is almost 72 feet tall in the form of a lotus. There are three
ascending shaped gold vessels on the top. Then there is a Punchsula as
well as an eight petaled lotus jewel called Chandrakanta Mani.
According to mythology, Ravana did Tapas to invoke Lord Shiva. In
his desire to become invincible, he attempted to lift Lord Shiva's
abode, Mount Kailash. The act offended the Lord. He punished him but
with Ravana pleading for mercy, he left him on one condition. He gave
him one of the twelve lingas which were not supposed to be kept on
ground in any case. But Ravana's promise gave way in front of nature's
call & kept the linga on the ground. In order to rectify the
mistake, Ravana started cutting off nine of his heads as a part of his
repentance. Shiva was pleased by this & he joined the heads again to
the body. Worshipping Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga is considered to eliminate
one's all worries and miseries. It even imparts salvation.
Yaamye sadange nagare adhi ramye,
Vibhooshithangam vividaischa bhogai,
Sad bhakthi mukthi prada meesa mekam,
Sri Naganatham saranam prapadhye. 6
I seek refuge of Lord Naganatha,
Who lives in the pretty town
Of Sadanga in the southern part,
Who is well decorated,
Who grants all kinds of pleasures,
And who is the only God who grants,
Devotion and salvation.
is located between Dwarka and Dwarka Island in Gujarat on the coast of
Surat. The Jyotirlinga in the temple is known as Nageshwar Mahadev. The
temple is being visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. The
Jyotirlinga situated in the temple is considered to protect everybody
from all sorts of poisons. It is believed that one who offers prayers in
the temple becomes poison free.
Mahadri parswe cha thate ramantham,
Sampoojyamanam sathatham muneendrai,
Surasurair yaksha mahoraghadyai,
Kedarameesam shivameka meede. 7
I meditate on Shiva who is the Lord of Kedara,
Who takes pleasure in the valley of the great mountain,
Who is always worshipped by great sages,
And also devas, asuras, yakshas and nagas.
a Hindu holy town located in the Indian state of Uttaranchal. And is the
northern most Jyothirlinga. The place is located at an altitude of3,584
m and at the origin of the river Mandakini, The place is accessible
after a steep 13 km trek over a paved path from Gaurikund. Rishikesh,
Haridwar, The credit for the construction of this heavenly temple is
given to the Pandavas. According to the saying it is believed that the
Pandavas came to Lord Shiva to seek blessings to atone their sins after
the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva evaded them continuously and took
refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a Bull. On being chased, Lord Shiva
left his hump behind. This conical protrusion is worshiped in the
temple. The temple is located on the Rudra Himalaya range, also known as
the Pancha Parvata. It is believed that four of the Pandavas died on one
of the peaks, Swargarohini.
Sahyadri seershe vimale vasantham,
Godavari theera pavithra dese,
Yad darsanal pathakamasu nasam,
Prayathi tham Traimbaka meesa meede.8
I meditate on the lord of Triambaka,
Who lives on the peak of western ghats,
In the holy shores of river Godavari,
And who destroys all sins,
Of his devotees who see him.
one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines situated 30 km from Nasik
in Maharashtra. Considered to be the birth place of the river
Godavari,the shrine's beauty is still well intact. A small Shivalingam
or Tryambaka, is placed amidst a spacious courtyard & the
sanctum which is crowned with a graceful tower, a giant amalaka (goose
berry) and a golden kalasha. The Shivalingam is situated in a depression
on the floor of the sanctum. Continuous flow of water from the top of
the Shivalingam adds to the mystic beauty. Shivalingam is generally
covered with a silver mask which is then substituted with a golden mask
with five faces on festive occasions. These faces have their
respective golden crowns. While, the silver mask is similar to the
processional images seen in South Indian temples.
Suthamra varnee jala rasi yoge,
Nibhadhya sethum visikhaira sankyai,
Sri ramachandrna samarpitham tham,
Ramesamakhyam niyatham smarami. 9
I meditate with devotion the lord of Rama,
Who lives in the confluence of river,
Thamravarnee with the sea,
Where a bridge has been built.
With the help of umpteen arrows,
By the Lord Sri Rama Chandra.
Jyotirlinga is considered as the southern most Jyotirlingams of India.
According to belief, it was installed there by Lord Rama after his
return from Lanka. Since Ravana was a Brahmin, Rama got Brahma hathya
dosha and to get rid of it, he installed and worshipped Shiva. The Lord
is known as Ramanatha. The temple is situated on an island located on
the south eastern coast of Tamil nadu. It is believed that the ancient
shrine was a thatched hut till it was re-built in the12th century by
Parakrama Bahu of Sri Lanka. The rest of the temple was completed by the
Sethupathy rulers of Ramanathapuram. There are 36 Theerthams meaning
water springs in Rameshwaram out of which 22 aresituated in the temple.
Yam dakini sakinika samaje,
Sadaiva bheemadhi pada prasidham,
Tham shnkaram bhaktha hitham namami.10
I salute that Lord Sankara
Who is the darling of his devotees,
Who is being worshipped by rakshasas,
In the company of Ghosts called Dakini and Sakini,
And who is well known as Bheema.
is located near Pune of Maharashtra on the shores of river Bhima. And is
located on a high peak, surrounded by thick dense forests. The shrine
Bhimashankaram, dates back to the 13th century. Lord Shiva's killing of
the demon Tripurasura is the main legend associated with the temple. It
even states that Shiva took abode on the Sahyadri hills in the form of a
Bhima upon the request of the Gods, on the crest of the Sahyadri hills.
The sweat of Shiva poured after the battle ultimately led to the origin
of Bhimarathi river.
Sayanda mananda vane vasantham,
Mananda kandam hatha papa vrundam,
Varanasi nadhamanadha nadham,
Sri Viswanadham saranam prapadhye. 11
I seek the protection of the Lord of universe,
Who lives is happily in the forest of joy,
Who is the basis of all happiness,
Who destroys all accumulated sins,
Who is the lord of the city of Varanasi,
And who is the lord of all who do not have anybody.
holiest of the holies to any Hindu is situated in the banks of the holy
river Ganga in Varanasi. The temple has been destroyed several times by
invaders but has been rebuilt every time. It is believed the priests of
the temple have sacrificed their all several times to preserve the holy
Lingam. The present temple has been built by Ahalyabhai, a Maharashtrian
Ilapure ramya visalake asmin,
Samullasantham cha jagad varenyam,
Vande maha dhara thara swabhavam,
Ghusruneswarakhyam saranam prapadhye.12
I seek the refuge of Ghusraneswara,
Who lives and plays in the pretty city of Ilapura,
Who is the greatest among the universe,
And who is by his nature extremely kind.
Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the ancient and holiest shrines of India.
The temple is located at a distance of 11km from Daulatabad near
Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Daulatabad was once known as Devagiri.
Ahilyabhai Holkar constructed the Grishneshwar Temple. Grishneshwar is
also known as Ghushmeswara. According to legend, a devotee called Kusuma
worshiped Lord Shiva by immersing a Shivalingam everyday in a nearby
tank. Kusuma's husband's first wife out of jealousy because of Kusuma's
piety in the society killed her son. An aggrieved Kusuma continued her
daily ritual and when she dipped the Shivlingam in the tank her son
miraculously revived. From then on the people started worshiping Lord
Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlinga Grishneshwar.
Jyothir maya dwadasa linga kanam,
Shivathmanam prokthamidham kramena,
Sthothram padithwa manujo athi bhakthyo,
Phalam thadalokye nijam bhajescha. 13
This prayer which tells about,
The twelve resplendent lingas,
If read with devotion by men,
Would make them be worshipped by others.