Maha Shivratri 2022: Check out the list of 12 Jyotirlingas spread across India
New Delhi: Maha Shivratri, the Hindu festival that celebrates the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva and Mother Parvati, will be celebrated on March 1 this year. On Maha Shivratri, Lord Shiva performs a heavenly dance called ‘Tandava’. The literal meaning of the festival is – “Great Night of Shiva”. Since India is home to diverse cultures and traditions, festivals are celebrated differently across the country including Mahashivratri. Unlike other parts of India, Maha Shivratri is celebrated by Kashmiri Pandits for two days.
Lord Shiva is considered the embodiment of masculinity and most Hindu women want a husband like him. Shiva first appeared as a linga on the night of Aridra Nakshatra and hence the significance of Maha Shivaratri.
There are 12 Jyotirlingas in India which symbolize ‘Lord Shiva’s radiance’ (Jyoti means radiance and Linga – part of Shiva).
Here’s a look at 12 famous Jyotirlingas in India that can be worshiped during one’s lifetime:
Considered the holiest of all Jyotirlingas, the Somnath temple in Gujarat is traditionally the first to be visited during the Dwadash pilgrimage. The temple is believed to have been destroyed and rebuilt 16 times since the Soma or moon god, built in gold.
Perched on top of a mountain on the Krishna River, Mallikarjuna, also known as Srisaila, is the divine place where Adi Shankaracharya composed Sivananda Lahiri. Srisaila, located in the Kurnool district of the state of Andhra Pradesh, is famous for its splendid archeology.
Located in Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), Mahakal Shivling is the only Swayambhu (self-made) linga among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The linga faces south and is the only temple to have a Sri Yantra carved on the terrace above the planetarium.
Situated on an island called Mandhata or Shivpuri on the Narmada river, Omkareshwar is famous for its Omkara and Amareshwar temples. The shape of the island is believed to be like the symbol of Om.
The Garhwal Himalayan range in Uttarakhand is home to Kedarnath, one of the most famous Jyotirlingas. Situated near the Mandakini river, this temple is often covered with snow. Due to the inaccessible terrain and harsh climatic conditions, access to the temple is possible only on foot.
Most of the people believe that Bhimashankar Linga is located near Pune in Maharashtra. However, there is an ongoing debate over the original Bhimashankar linga as different legends refer to different places of the linga. According to the Shiva Purana, the Bhimashankar Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas near Guwahati in the eastern Indian state of Assam. But the Linga Purana states that the Bhima Shankar Temple is one of the 12 temples in Bhimpur, Orissa.
The holiest of all Jyotirlingas, Kashi Vishwanath is situated on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi, also known as Kashi or Banaras. The deity is known as Vishwanatha or ‘ruler of the universe’. The city of Banaras is believed to be the oldest surviving city, with a history dating back more than 3500 years.
Located on the banks of the Godavari River near Nashik in Maharashtra, Trimbakeshwar is known for its three-headed linga that represents the Hindu trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. The size of the penis is getting smaller due to excessive use of water. But the erosion of the linga is considered symbolic as it shows the loss of life over time.
Vaidyanath or Baidyanathi
The exact location of the Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga is also debated as some believe it to have an origin in Jharkhand, while another school of thought holds that Baijnath is one of the 12 sacred lingas in Himachal Pradesh. Parli Vaijyanath in Maharashtra also claims to be one of the Jyotirlingas.
The state of Gujarat is home to another Jyotirlinga, the Nageshwar Linga. However, the states of Uttarakhand and Maharashtra are in dispute over claiming a place among the 12 Jyotirlingas. But according to Shiva Purana, Nageshwar is in the forest area of Darukvan. Darukvan lives in the deodar forest in Uttarakhand and since there is no trace of forest in Dwarka region (Gujarat). But the popular belief seems to be Gujarat.
Ramanathaswamy in Rameshwaram
The southernmost temple which houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas is known as Rameshwaram. Lord Rama is believed to have prayed to Lord Shiva to forgive the sins (if any) committed by him during the war against Ravana. This temple is one of the four holy places a Hindu visits in his lifetime.
Situated near the Ellora temples in Aurangabad, the Grishneshwar Linga has an interesting legend. Lord Shiva helped a mother get back her dead son by performing a miracle and manifesting her and the villagers as Jyotirlinga Gushmeshwar.
Here’s wishing our readers a very Happy Mahashivratri!