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I am an ardent blogger and a web enthusiast. My blogs include varied topics from the picturesque details of my travelogue to theology and worldly facts. My passions are reading English and Tamil classics, Management Topics, Playing Tennis and taking long walks. I live with my wife in Bangalore. Visit regularly my children in Michigan and Colorado to spend time with them and three grandsons. Please brief your opinions there in when you read my blog :-

Friday, February 15, 2013

Jyothirlingas - Pictures & History will take the reader direct to the sites !

Friday, February 15, 2013


 -  P.Natarajan

Maha Shivaratri falls on March 10 this year. There are legends associated with Shivaratri.  It was the day when Arudra Nakshatra featured in the month of Magh when Shiva swallowed the 'Halahala' produced during the Samudra Manthan. Parvati stopped it at the throat level, as it was a deadly poison. Shiva's throat turned blue , so he got the name Neelakanta. Another legend says that 
Shivratri is the day when Shiva saved the world from  Pralaya and worship of Shiva is observed along with fasting and whole night vigil. Jyotirlingas are swayambu Lingas representing the formless nature of Lord Shiva. The Jyoti Swarupa of God exists in all the Shivalinga forms. There are 12 prominent abodes in India which are known as 'Dwadasa Jyotir Lingas '.

Popular Jyotirlinga Sloka:-

द्वादश ज्योतिर्लिंग स्तोत्रम्
सौराष्ट्रे सोमनाथं च श्रीशैले मल्लिकार्जुनम्। उज्जयिन्यां महाकालमोङ्कारममलेश्वरम्॥
परल्यां वैद्यनाथं च डाकिन्यां भीमशङ्करम्। सेतुबन्धे तु रामेशं नागेशं दारुकावने॥
वाराणस्यां तु विश्वेशं त्र्यम्बकं गौतमीतटे। हिमालये तु केदारं घुश्मेशं च शिवालये॥
एतानि ज्योतिर्लिङ्गानि सायं प्रातः पठेन्नरः। सप्तजन्मकृतं पापं स्मरणेन विनश्यति॥
एतेशां दर्शनादेव पातकं नैव तिष्ठति। कर्मक्षयो भवेत्तस्य यस्य तुष्टो महेश्वराः॥:

1) Rameswaram--- is an important pilgrim centre where Sri Rama worshiped Shiva to get rid of  the 'Brahmahathi dosha' of killing Ravana.

Sri Rama deputed Hanuman to fetch a Siva Linga for worship. In the meanwhile Sita made a Lingam out of Sand which has come to be known as Rama Linga, as Sri Rama Worshiped it. Rameswaram temple, built in the 17th century, is famous for its 1220 meter long Corridor housing 1200 gigantic and flamboyant Columns. Devotees take bath in the sea and in the Theerthas in the wells inside the 'Temple- Prahar' .  Agnitheertham where Rama bathed is 100 meters away from the temple. The imprint of Rama’s feet placed on a Chakra is at the highest point on the island 2km away from the temple. Rameswaram is known as ‘Dakshina Kashi’ and devotees consider that the pilgrimage is complete only when they bring Ganges water from Varanasi and perform ‘abhishek’ to Shiva Lingam here and take back the sand to Kashi for worship at Vishwanath Temple.

2) Kashi Vishwanath Temple-- is dedicated to Lord Shiva and people desire to make a visit at least once in their life time to this holy place and take bath in the Ganges.

  They also pour the remains of the cremated ancestors in the Ganges as it is believed that dying in Kashi means obtaining ‘Swarga’ or ‘Mukti’. Kashi, the temple town is the oldest living city in the world, 3500 years old. On the occasion of Shivratri, only the King of Kashi (Kashi Naresh) is  allowed to officiate as the priest and he alone can enter the sanctum sanctorum.  Kashi Vishwanath is the lord of the Universe, as the name implies. Kashi is considered as the holiest pilgrim center in India.

3) Tryambaka is in Maharashtra.There are good transport facilities exist from Nasik. It is here that Brahma stood as a mountain known as ‘Brahmagiri’ and worshiped Mahesa.

Gautama Rishi fell prey to a deceptive plot and happened to bear the ‘Gohathi dosh’ (killing of cow).  By the grace of Lord Shiva, Ganges Waters appeared as river Godavari and removed the dosh of the Rishi. Godavari Devi requested Shiva to remain in Tryambaka and Shiva appeared as Tryambakeswar in the form of a jyotirlinga.The temple is in a mountain at 2500 ft. above mean sea level. The sanctum sanctorum which is in the form of a medium sized pit under the ‘avudayar’ consists of three sections of  small Lingams  representing Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. There is always presence of water under Rudra Shiva.
4) Journey to Kedarnath which is at 3500 ft above MSL is tedious and calls for precaution en-route. 


The principal deity Kedareswar removes all the difficulties of the devotees. Keth+Hara+Eswar
means remover of all hurdles and difficulties. This place has the distinction of Parvati sharing half the portion of Shiva’s Form as a result of her immense ‘tapas’. The shrine is open to public from May to October only. From Hardwar, Kedar can be reached by road via Rishikesh, Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Agastyamuni, Guptkashi, Gaurikund. The credit goes to Pandavas for constructing the Kedar temple. The sanctum sanctorum has the unique distinction of a strip of the Peak of Kedar Mountain appearing as Shivlingam and as the principal deity. Visitors bring a special lotus called Brahma Kamalam and Ganges waters from Gangotri and Yamuna Waters from Yamunotri for worshiping Kedareswar.

5) Mahakala is the name of the deity in Ujjain.

During the Samudra manthan, the nectar which was taken in a Kalasa  overflowed from the pot and  spilled upon the Earth in some places. Those places became holy places or ‘Kshetras’, Ujjain is one among them. Ujjain is considered as a Saptapuri as dying in Ujjain uplifts a devotee for mukti.  The other cities under this classification are (2) Kashi (3) Kanchi (4) Ayodya (5) Hardwar (6) Vadamadurai and (7) Dwaraka.  Shiva appeared from the Jyotirlinga and killed the demon called Dhooshanan and came to be called as  Mahakala. Ujjain has also the reputation for being the birthplace of famous people like Kalidas, Vikramaditya, Dhandi, Bhavabhuti, Bhartruhari, Shalivahana.  It is also known as ‘Bheeja-Kshetra’, The deity is decorated with ash brought from cremation ground which is also distributed as prasad.  The deity is anointed with  ‘abin’  (bhang) and  abhishek is performed with hot water . These two rituals are celebrated with great religious fervor on a special day  in the month of Kartik.
6) Darukavana is in Gujarat at a distance of 20km. from Mul-Dwarka.

Nageswara is the principal deity here. Legend says that Shiva killed the demon called ‘Daruka’ & his clan to protect his devotee called ‘Supriya’. The Lord also taught the Rishis of Darukavana to realize that they should shed  their ego. It is believed that prayers before Nageswara protect the devotees from poisonous creatures.

7) Ghushmeshwar temple in Veral near Ellora on the banks of Ela river is one of the Jyotirlingas

and the Linga is dark brown in color. Bharadwaj is a village in Maharashtra where lived a couple by name Sudharma and Sudheka. They didn't have issues  for a long time. At the repeated instances of Sudheka Sudharma married Gushma, an ardent devotee of Shiva. She was worshiping 101 Shiva Lingams daily and offered them after worship in a water tank nearby. A male child was born to them soon by the grace of God. He was named Supriya. Supriya was married when he came of age. One day Sudheka killed Supriya in anger as she came to believe that Gushma’s fame was due to the good nature of Supriya and threw the body into the tank. Gushma took everything in good stead and began to perform that day’s worship of 101 Lingams. When she dipped them in the tank after worship, Supriya came alive from the tank and called ‘Amma’ in a loud tone. Gushma embraced her son with a sense of big relief. At the same time, a Jyotirlinga appeared from the tank  before Gushma and narrated what had happened. Gushma prayed to Shiva not to punish Sudheka for her wickedness. Lord Shiva granted her request and stayed as Ghushmeshwar in the sanctum sanctorum.

8) There is one version which says Parali Vaidyanath is the next Jyotirlinga in the order. But ancient records or old Puranas do not state Parali but name Baijunath @ Deogar or Devgar as one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. 

The story of Ravana unearthing the mount Kailash to test the efficacy of the boon earned by him and the troubles that followed the demon are well known. Ravana pleased Shiva by singing ‘Samagana’  and got rid of those troubles. Ravana conveyed his wish to Shiva to take the Kailash mountain to Sri Lanka. Shiva instead gave a part of the lingam form to Ravana. Lord Narayana became aware that Ravana's strength would grow if he carried the  same to Sri Lanka. He appeared as a small boy before Ravana who left the Lingam with the boy for answering Nature’s call. The boy placed the Lingam on the floor before Ravana returned. Ravana was not even able to shake the Lingam. That was the place called Deoghar where a hunter by name Baiju worshipped that Jyotirlinga. The Deity also came to be called as Lord Baijunath. Chandrakup river was created by Ravana at this place. Deoghar is connected with major towns which include Calcutta, Ranchi and Patna by road.

9) Somnath is at a distance of 5km from Veraval which place is well connected from Ahmedabad. Sri Somnath is the jyotirlinga in Somnath in Sowrashtra. Somnath Temple was affected by the invasion of foreign forces many times. Natural disasters also contributed to enough damages .However today Somnath Temple stands lofty reflecting  the spiritual health of our Nation. Chandra, the Moon God, married the 27 daughters of Daksha but had affection only for Rohini. Daksha cursed Chandra on observing the woes of  his other daughters. Chandra immediately lost his shine and glory. He came to Somnath and offered prayers intensely at the feet of Sri Somnath and regained  his glory.


10) Srisailam gets its name from a Rishi by name Silata Muni who did penance to bring fame to this place. Sri Mallikarjuna rules as the Jyotirlinga 

and is the presiding deity in Srisailam. Further Silata Muni’s son also did penance to earn the grace of Shiva and to attain the status of a Nandi and shoulder the temple town in the form of a mountain. Sisailam Temple has a  legend which portrays that Ganesa and Kumaran were contesting to go around the world seven times to prove who would emerge as the winner. A condition was put forth that whoever emerged first could only get married.  Ganesa was the winner and Kumaran became angry on account of this. He left the place and reached a hill called as ‘Crouncha’. Parvathi could not bear this separation and went to the Crouncha Hill. Shiva followed Parvati in good spirit. The history of this sacred temple is that Shiva and Parvathi came to stay in the hill temple because of Kumaran. Even visiting a part of this hill is considered as good fortune. Srisailam is approachable by road from Ongole Raiwayl station. The distance to be covered is 180 KM.

11) Bhima Sankaram is at a distance of 90 km from Pune and is situated on a hill. Bhima Shankar is worshiped as a Jyotirlinga. Peshwa and   Marati Kings did a lot of development works to raise the status of the temple. Bhima Sankara has five faces (‘swayam panchamukha:) .

Bhima River is at the forefront of the town and is called as ‘Moksha Kund’. It is believed that a bath at ‘Moksha Kund’ and worship before Bhimashankar relieves the hurdles and difficulties and promotes the bhakti cult in a devotee.

12) Omkareshwar is in Madhya Pradesh and at a distance of 77 KM from Kaunda. The background history portrays that Vindhya mountain wished to grow higher than  Meru Mountain. Vindhyan therefore drew a picture depicting ‘Pranava Mantra’ and installed a Lingam made of sand upon it and started worshiping the same with severity.

He obtained the boon as wished by him but there was a condition that he would be reverted to his old status by a sage if he became proud and haughty. Agastya was the sage who humbled Vindhya. Devas made a fervent plea to Lord Shiva to remain in the same place. Shiva acceded to the request and the Linga made of sand by Vindhya was transformed into a Jyotirlinga. Since Shiva took that place which was in the shape of ‘Omkara’, the Lord was called as ‘Omkareshwar’. There is a cave nearby where Adi Sankara's Guru Govinda Padar did penance and devotees have darshan at the cave also.

Om Namah Shivaya, Om Namah Shivaya !

The Picture below shows all Dwadasa Jyotirlingas in one shelf. Worship of the Jyotirlingas at the respective shrines would be very much fulfilling in the life of a Hindu.





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