The Jyotirlinga in 12 Jyotirlingas names, is more of a devotional representation of Lord Shiva and is a holy site of worship for Hindus all over the world. Strategically placed all over the country, these 12 Jyotirlingas in India are visited by millions every year in search of blessings and a spiritual reckoning within them.
Each one of these 12 destinations has unique folklore attached to them which offers a distinct character to every one of them. Apart from being a holy site of worship, these temples are placed in some of the most beautiful places in the country that will provide you peace within you.
1. The Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujrat – 12 Jyotirlingas In India
The Somnath lingam is considered as the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. It one of the most sacred pilgrimages in the Sanatan religion. The temple and the lingam were destroyed multiple times by the Islamic invaders and rebuilt by the Indian kings. The story behind the origins of this lingam is that when the moon was cursed by his father in law due to his negligence towards his other wife, he lost all of his radiance. Then he prayed to the great Lord Shiva and was blessed by him regaining his lost radiance and beauty.
2. Mallika Arjun Lingam, Andhra Pradesh – 12 Jyotirlingas’ Names
The Mallika Arjun lingam is situated on the top of Shri Shaila Mountain, also called as the “Kailash of South” and is one of the greatest shrines of Lord Shiva. Mallika means Parvati and Arjun is another name of Shiva, and it is believed that both lord Shiva and goddesses Parvati reside on this mountain after their eldest son Kartikey left home in anger.
3. Mahakaleshvar, Madhya Pradesh – 12 Jyotirlingas In India
This lingam is situated in Madhya Pradesh. It is an important pilgrimage site in India, and as per the Puranas, there was a five-year-old boy Shrikar who took a stone and started worshipping it as Lord Shiva. Many people tried to deflect him in different directions, but his faith kept growing. Pleased by his rigid faith, Lord Shiva took the form of a Jyotirlinga and stayed in the Mahakal forest.
4. Omkareshvar Jyotirlinga, Madhya Pradesh
This is another one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India situated on a riverine island in the Narmada River. According to the Vedic scriptures, once upon a time, a great war broke between the devas and asuras, in which the asuras won. The Devas then prayed to Lord Shiva. Pleased with their prayers, Lord Shiva transformed into the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated the asuras. After that, this place is considered to be highly sacred by the followers of Hinduism.
5. Baidyanath Jyotirlinga, Jharkhand
One of the most visited shrines of Shivaites, 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. Another interesting thing about this lingam is that it was given to Ravana after his long meditation but on one condition that if it gets placed somewhere it will stay there forever. After this, all the gods conspired against Ravana and made him place the lingam in Jharkhand while he tried to relieve himself.
6. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra
The Bhimashankar lingam is situated in the Sahyadri region of Pune, on the banks of Bhima River. The legend about the origin of this Jyotirlinga is related to Bhima Kumbhkaran’s son. After a long penance, Brahma granted him eternal powers after which he started creating havoc on Earth, seeing this all god’s turned to Lord Shiva for help. Shiva then after fighting an immense battle killed the demon and stayed there on request of all the gods.
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7. Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu
Situated on the southernmost tip of India this lingam was placed by Shri Ram himself which is the reason behind this one of the 12 Jyotirlingas names. In the quest of Sita, Lord Ram reached the southernmost tip of India and saw a vast ocean between him and his love. He then made a Shiva lingam with sand and worshiped it, Shiva being pleased with his prayers helped him in winning the war from Ravana and then stayed there for eternity.
8. Nageshwar, Gujrat
The Nageshwar lingam also called the Nagnath is situated in the Saurashtra area of Gujrat. As per the Shiva Purana, a Shiva devotee named 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 and the Nageshwar Jyotirlinga came into being.
9. Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi
It is believed that Lord Shiva was first manifested here when a fight broke between Lord Vishnu and Brahma. This temple is said to be Lord Shiva’s favourite as it is considered as the very abode of Shiva. The original lingam and temple were demolished by Aurangzeb, and many believe that before Aurangzeb attacked the original temple the head priest hid the lingam in the Gyanvayapi well. The temple currently built at this place was made by Ahilya Bai Holkar.
10. Trayambkeshwar, Nashik
It is believed that the river Godavari has its source in this temple. And, Lord Shiva decided to reside here as a lingam after earnest requests of Gautam Rishi and Godavari who were big devotees of the Lord.
11. Kedarnath, Uttarakhand
Located in the Rudra Himalayan ranges, it is one of the holiest pilgrimages in India and one of the most visited of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and it is open only for six months in a year. According to legends after a hard penance of Nar and Narayan, Lord Shiva decided to stay in Kedarnath forever.
12. Girishneshwar Jyotirlinga, Aurangabad
Located near the famous Ajanta Ellora caves this Jyotirlinga has many legends associated with it. But no one really knows about the true origins of this lingam. According to Puranas, a childless mother named Sudeha made her sister Ghushma marry her husband. They both had a son which made Sudeha jealous and out of jealousy, she threw the newborn in the lake. Ghushma prayed to Lord Shiva and pleased by this lord Shiva returned her son and on her request stayed there forever.
This is the complete list of 12 Jyotirlingas in India, along with the reasoning behind why they came into being and what the significance of these 12 Jyotirlingas names is. All the 12 Jyotirlingas are accompanied by marvelous temples displaying rich architecture and cultural heritage.