The 12 Jyotirlingas: A Journey to India’s Divine Destinations

The 12 Jyotirlingas are regarded as Lord Shiva’s most important shrines in India, a country rich in spirituality and religious beliefs. Millions of devotees visit to these 12 Jyotirlingas, which are located across India, each year. Visiting a Jyotirlinga is regarded as a spiritual pilgrimage because each one has its own distinct history and importance.

We’ll explore the traditions and significance of each of India’s 12 Jyotirlingas as we take you on a holy tour of them in this blog. Jyotirlinga is the holy depiction of the radiance of Lord Shiva. He is one of the Great Trinity of Gods in Hindu culture also referred to as ‘Adiyogi‘, the first yogi.

Mystical Tale

An infinite pillar of light piercing the three lokas was produced by Lord Shiva in order to settle the debate of supremacy between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. Vishnu descended and Brahma ascended across the light to find the end of it to prove their supremacy. After several iterations, Vishnu accepted His defeat but Brahma lied and presented a Ketaki flower as a proof to find the end of the light. The dishonesty of Brahma infuriated Shiva and He cursed Brahma not to be worshiped even being the creator of the universe. The Jyotirlingas are regarded as shrines where Lord Shiva appeared as the infinite pillar of light.

Originally there were 64 Jyotirlingas out of which 12 are considered to be very auspicious and holy. The Jyotirlinga represents the beginningless and the endless cosmic pillar. Each Jyotirlinga is considered to be a different manifestation of Lord Shiva which symbolizes His infinite nature. These 12 ferry column of lights are :

  1. Somnath, Gir Somnath (Gujarat)
  2. Nageshwar, Dwarka (Gujarat)
  3. Vishwanath, Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
  4. Baidyanath, Deoghar (Jharkhand)
  5. Kedarnath, Kedarnath (Uttarakhand)
  6. Mallikarjuna, Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh)
  7. Mahakaleshwar, Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)
  8. Omkareshwar, Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh)
  9. Bhimashankar, Pune (Maharashtra)
  10. Trimbakeshwar, Nashik (Maharashtra)
  11. Grishneshwar, Aurangabad (Maharashtra)
  12. Rameshwaram, Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu)

1. Somnath in Gir Somnath, Gujarat

Among the most famous Jyotirlinga and revered pilgrimage spots, Somnath is situated in Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra region of Gujarat state. The temple is believed to be built by the Moon God himself. The legend says that the Moon was married to 27 daughters of Dakshin Prajapati but he loved ‘Rohini’ the most out of all his wives. Observing the negligence towards other daughters, Prajapati cursed Moon to lose all his glow and lustre.

In order to regain his radiance, the Moon and Rohini came to Somnath to worship Lord Shiva lingam after which he regained his shine. Somnath means ‘Lord of the Soma’ or ‘Moon’ and hence, the name got famous. Since the erection of the temple, it has been attacked, destroyed and built 16 times only to remain standing strong.

Timing : Everyday 6am – 9pm
Location : 5 kms from nearest railway station Veraval

2. Nageshwar in Dwarka, Gujarat

Symbolizes protection from all types of poisons, Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is one of the powerful Jyotirlinga. It is situated in Darukavan (ancient name of forest in India), most likely the Dwarka region in Gujarat in the present day. The temple with a 25m tall Shiva statue and a view of Azure Arabian sea captivate thousands of devotees that come all round the year to visit.

According to Shiva Purana, a devotee named Supriya was captured by the demon Daruka and was kept in Darukavan. Chanting ‘Om Namah Shivay’ by her, angered the demon and he rushed to kill her but Lord Shiva embodied in front of the demon and put an end to his terror. And thus the Jyotirlinga came into being.

Timing : 6am – 12:30pm & 5pm – 9pm
Location : 80 kms from nearest railway station Veraval

3. Vishwanath in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Considered to be the first Jyotirlinga which manifested its supremacy over the other Gods, broke through the earth’s surface and moved towards heaven, Kashi Vishwanath is one of the popular and known Jyotirlinga in India. The Jyotirlinga shrine is located in Varanasi, on the banks of holy river Ganga.

Despite the numerous ghats and the Ganges in the city, the temple remains the main attraction of Varanasi. The temple has a history of loot and destruction, and that is the reason out of all Shiva temples in India, Vishwanath has the Shivling behind the Nandi statue.

Timing : 2:30am – 11pm
Location : 5 kms from Varanasi Station

Also Read :
Shivling Behind Nandi
Places to visit in Varanasi

4. Baidyanath in Deoghar, Jharkhand

Also known as Baba Baidyanath Dham or Vaidyanath Dham or Baba Dham, Baidyanath Jyotirlinga is located in Deoghar. The main temple is in a compound which has 21 other temples. Millions of devotees with saffron clad come here to attend Shravan mela. They start their journey from Sultanganj and walk 109 kms to reach the temple. Such a long human chain is a fascinating sight to behold. According to Hindu sculptures, the king Ravana, the great Shiva devotee, asked Lord Shiva to come over to Sri Lanka and make his abode.

Ravana tried to take Mount Kailash, the abode of Shiva but in turn Shiva offered a Jyotirlinga with a condition that wherever he would put this lingam on ground then it would remain rooted there for eternity. While enroute to Sri Lanka, Varun and Vishnu tricked him to hold the lingam for sometime. But Vishnu placed the lingam on the ground and it was rooted there. Ravana started cutting his heads one by one as a form of self-mortifcation. Pleased with this, Lord Shiva descended to cure Ravana. As he acted like a ‘Vaidya’ meaning ‘doctor’, the Jyotirlinga known as Vaidyanath.

Timing : 4am – 3.30pm & 6pm – 9pm
Location : 7.4 kms from Jasidih railway station

5. Kedarnath in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand

One of the Paadal Petra Sthalams, Kedarnath Temple is believed to be built by Pandavas. It is situated at a height of 1200 feet in Rudra Himalayan region and trekking to the Jyotirlinga remains a difficult task given the height and the weather condition. Usually, pilgrims take rides on mules or dolis or use helicopter service. Before going on a trek to Kedarnath, the tradition is to first visit Gangotri and Yamunotri and bring their holy water which is then offered to Kedarnath. Being the holiest and most popular, the temple is not accessible throughout the year. It is open only for 6 months due to difficult weather and extreme snowfalls.

Location : a trek of 15 kms from Gaurikund

6. Mallikarjuna in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh

Being ‘the Kailash of the South‘, Mallikarjuna is one of the greatest shrines in the list of Jyotirlinga with beautiful sculptures, embellished pillars and impressive architecture. It is located on top of Shri Shaila Mountain on the banks of Krishna river. Mallikarjuna comprises two words, Mallika means Parvati and Arjuna is another name for Shiva. According to Shiva Purana, in order to remain close with their son Kartikey, Shiva and Parvati stayed in Srisailam when his son decided to live alone in the Kraunch mountain. Shiva was embodied as a Jyotirlinga and resided there by the name of Mallikarjuna.

Timing : 6.30am – 1pm & 6.30pm – 9pm
Location : 80 kms from Markapur railway station

7. Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

The only Jyotirlinga facing the south, Mahakaleshwar is known to be Dakshinamurti. It is located in the dense Mahakal forest of Ujjain on the banks of river Kshipra. There are multiple stories about how this Jyotirlinga came into existence. According to one of the stories, a fve year old boy was so moved by the devotion of king Chandrasena of Ujjain towards Shiva, he started worshiping a stone as linga. After numerous dissuasion by the people, his devotion kept growing. Pleased by this, Shiva appeared as a Jyotirlinga in Mahakal forest and resided there.

Timing : 4am – 11pm
Location : 1.5 kms from Ujjain railway station

8. Omkareshwar in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh

The second Jyotirlinga in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar is situated on an island called Mandhata in Narmada river. The word Omkareshwar is an interpretation of ‘Lord of Omkara’ or ‘Lord of the Om sound’. In a Hindu scripture, when there was a war between Devas and Danavas (Gods and Demons), the Danavas were winning. Devas then prayed to Lord Shiva for help. Listening to their prayers, Shiva emerged as Jyotirlinga and defeated the Danavas. Thus, the Omkareshwar is one of the highly revered Jyotirlinga.

Timing : 5.30am – 12.30 pm & 4pm – 8.30pm
Location : 79 kms from Indore railway station

9. Bhimashankar in Pune, Maharashtra

Considered to be the source of river Bhima, Bhimashankar is situated in the Sahyadri region of Pune lying on the banks of Bhima river. The temple enshrining the Jyotirlinga is built with

Nagara style of architecture. According to a legend, when Kumbhkaran’s son, Bhima, learned about his father’s death by Lord Vishnu, he penanced to Lord Brahma for powers. He started creating chaos and destruction and captured a Shiva devotee, Kamrupeshwar into a dungeon upon which Lord Shiva descended as Jyotirlinga to put an end to Bhima’s terror. Believed to be the sweat from Shiva’s body that poured during the battle formed the Bhima river.

Timing : 5am – 9.30pm
Location : 150 kms from nearest railway station Karjat

10. Trimbakeshwar in Nashik, Maharashtra

Unique Jyotirlinga of all, Trimbakeshwar has a void with three pillars instead of a shrine symbolizing three most powerful Gods in Hindu religion, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. It lies on the foothills of Brahmagiri Mountain, the place of origin of Godavari river. In Shiv Purana, Godavari River and Gautami Rishi pleaded Lord Shiva to reside with them. Thus, Lord Shiva manifested as a Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga. The Jyotirlinga temple was destroyed by Aurangzeb but it was rebuilt by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao.

Timing : 5.30am – 9pm
Location : 40 kms from Nashik Road railway station

11. Grishneshwar in Aurangabad, Maharashtra

Also known as Kusumeswarar or Grusomeswara, Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is built with red rocks having 5 stories architectured in Shikhara style. The temple was established by Ahilyabai Holkar who had also rebuilt the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. There are sculptures of Vishnu’s Dashavatar and other Gods & Goddesses carved out of red rocks. Located near the famous Ajanta and Ellora caves, the temple is in a village called Verul in Aurangabad. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga is the linga of light and the word ‘Grishneshwar’ means ‘Lord of compassion’. The temple is the smallest Jyotirlinga temple in India.

Timing : 5.30am – 9.30pm
Location : 40 km from Aurangabad railway station

12. Rameshwaram in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu

Southernmost Jyotirlinga in India, Rameshwaram is also one among the Char Dhams. It lies on an island of Rameshwaram. The temple is popularly known as ‘Varanasi of the South’ and is famous for its architectural design with embroidered pillars and towers and 36 beautiful Theerthams. In Hindu scripture, Rama prayed to Lord Shiva to amend for the sins done during

the battle against demon king Ravana. Rama, along with his brother and wife, erected a linga out of sand on the seashore and pleaded to Shiva to atone the sins they had incurred while killing the Ravana who was a Brahman and a devotee of Lord Shiva. They got the blessings and Shiva embodied himself as Jyotirlinga to reside there for eternity.

Timing : 5am – 8pm
Location : 180 kms from Madurai railway station

Explore the 12 Jyotirlingas on Google Maps !

Plan the Journey of 12 Jyotirlingas

There is no order of which Jyotirlinga to be visited frst. The Jyotirlinga nearest to you can be the frst Jyotirlinga and then you can plan others state wise. Since Gujarat (Somnath and Nageshwar), Maharashtra (Trimbakeshwar, Bhimashankar and Grishneshwar) and Madhya Pradesh (Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar) have 7 Jyotirlingas in total and are neighboring states, these Jyotirlingas can be clubbed in one visit.

If someone is from the northern part of India, they can start with Kedarnath in Uttarakhand and go down south-east visiting Kashi Vishwanath in Uttar Pradesh and Baidyanath in Jharkhand. Then visit Mallikarjuna in Andhra Pradesh and going further south complete your divine journey at Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu. One can retrace this journey backwards if they are from the southern part of India.

Continue reciting “Har Har Mahadev !”

FAQs : 12 Jyotirlingas

Where are the 12 Jyotirlingas located?

The 12 Jyotirlingas are located in states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.

What are the 12 jyotirlinga of Shiva?

Somnath, Mahakaleshwar, Nageshwar, Vishwanath, Baidyanth, Kedarnath, Mallikarjuna, Omkareshwar, Bhimashankar, Trimbakeshwar, Grishneshwar and Rameshwaram are 12 Jyotirlinga of Shiva

Which is the most powerful jyotirlinga?

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga in Ujjain is considered to be the one of the powerful Jyotilinga.

Which jyotirlinga to visit frst?

Somnath Jyortirlinga in Gujarat is considered to be the frst of the 12 Jyotirlinga.

Which is the oldest Jyotirling?

Somnath Jyotirlinga is the oldest Jyotirlinga. The temple enshrining the Jyotirlinga has been attacked, destroyed and rebuilt multiple times

What are the 5 Lingas?

Bhumi Lingam (Ekambareshwar Temple), Varuna Lingam (Jambukeshwar Temple), Agni Lingam (Arunachaleswara Temple), Vayu Lingam (SriKalahasti Temple) and Indra Lingam (Thillai Natarajar Temple) are the fve Lingas

Where is Asia’s biggest shivling?

Bhuteshwarnath in the Gariaband Forest of Chhattisgarh is the largest natural Shivling in the world

Why is shivling called jyotirlinga?

Jyoti means light and linga means phallus. Jyotirlinga is the radiance of Lord Shiva. These are the shrines where an infnite cosmic pillar of light produced by Lord Shiva appeared. While Shivlings are created by humans.

Who built 12 jyotirlinga?

An infnite pillar of light piercing the three lokas was produced by Lord Shiva in order to settle the debate of supremacy between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The Jyotirlingas are regarded as shrines where Lord Shiva appeared as the infnite pillar of light.

Which jyotirlinga is in Pakistan?

The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is believed to be originally in Pakistan but present day, it is in Dwarka region of Gujarat.

What is the difference between shivling and Jyotirling?

Jyoti means light and linga means phallus. Jyotirlinga is the radiance of Lord Shiva. These are the shrines where an infnite cosmic pillar of light produced by Lord Shiva appeared. While Shivlings are created by humans.

Which Jyotirlinga is for health?

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga is also known as ‘Vaidyanath’. The Jyotirlinga is a manifestation of Shiva healing Ravana like a ‘Vaidya’, a hindi word for doctor.

Which Jyotirlinga is in water?

Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga is submerged in water and surrounded by three pillars symbolizing three powerful authorities in Hindu scriptures, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.

Which Jyotirlinga should be visited second?

It is up to pilgrims as there is no order of visiting the Jyotirlingas.

Are all jyotirlinga in same line?

It is believed that when someone attains a higher level of consciousness, they can see these Jyotirlingas as a single pillar of infnite light.

Who cursed Shiva as linga?

Linga is a representation of Shiva’s infnite nature.

Is Shiva half female?

According to Matsya Purana, Parvati penanced to Lord Brahma and was blessed with a golden complexion. Later Parvati gets merged as half of Shiva’s body.

Can I touch jyotirlinga?

Yes, you can touch Jyotirlinga. It is one form of getting His blessing.

Where is world largest Shivling in India?

Bhuteshwarnath in the Gariaband Forest of Chhattisgarh is the largest natural Shivling in the world

How can I plan to 12 jyotirlinga?

You can plan it state-wise. If you are in the north-eastern part of India then start with Baidyanath in Jharkhand, then go to Kashi Vishwanath in Uttar Pradesh. Plan a trek to Kedarnath in Uttarakhand. In Madhya Pradesh, visit Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar. Then enter Gujarat to visit Somnath and Nageshwar. So far 6 Jyotirlinga have been visited. Now in Maharashtra visit the three Jyotirlinga Bhimashankar, Trimbakeshwar and Grishneshwar. Stop by in Andhra Pradesh to see Mallikarjuna. And complete your divine journey by visiting Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu.

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