Twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva

Saurastre Somanatham Ca Shrishaile Mallikarjunam |
Ujjayinyaam Mahakalam-Omkaara-Mamaleshvaram ||1||

1.1: At Saurashtra is the Somanatha Jyotirlinga and at Srishaila is the Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga,
1.2: At Ujjayini is the Mahakala (Mahakaleshwar) Jyotirlinga and at Omkara (Omkareshwara) is the Mamaleshwara Jyotirlinga,

Somnath Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Somnath Jyotirlinga is situated in Prabhasa Kshetra. Chandra Deva (Moon God) worshipped Lord Shiva here to get rid of his disease of consumption due to a curse of Daksha Prajapati. Lord Shiva appeared before him, relieved him from the curse by granting him the boon that the digit of the moon will increase and decrease on alternate fortnights. (from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 14)

The Somnath Jyotirlinga is identified with the Somanth temple in Prabhasa Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra. It is in the Gir Somnath district of Gujarat


Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is situated in the Krauncha mountain. Shiva and Parvati, out of their love for Son Kumara came to the Krauncha mountain to see him. Both of them took the form of Jyoti and stayed in the mountain..(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 15)

The Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga is identified with Srisailam Mallikarjuna temple in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in the Nallamalai Hills. Srisailam is located on the banks of river Patalaganga (Krishna).

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is situated in Avanti. Lord Shiva saved Vedapriya and his sons from the assault of demon Dushana. Vedapriya was a noble brahmin, devoted to Vedas and a great devotee of Shiva. Demon Dushana was evil-minded and intent upon overthrowing dharma. When Dushana tried to beat the brahmins, Lord Shiva appeared out of the Shiva Linga taking the terrible form of Mahakaleshwara, and with a humkara reduced the demon and part of his army to ashes. (from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 16)

The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is identified with the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain district of Madhya Pradesh. A special feature of the puja is Bhasma Arati which is held in the early morning at 4 AM.

Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga is situated in a place called Omkareshwara. Vindhya mountain worshipped Lord Shiva here to get the power to become the best of mountains. Lord Shiva appeared before Vindhya mountain and granted the boon.(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 18)

The Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga is identified with Omkareshwar temple in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh, on the banks of river Narmada. In this place river Narmada splits into two parts and forms an island (named Mandhata or Shivapuri) which resembles the symbol of Omkara. According to legend, the Shivalinga split into two, one half is Omkareshwar and the other Amreshwar (Mamleshwar).

Paralyam Vaidyanatham Ca Dakinyam Bhimashankaram |
Setubandhe Tu Ramesham Nagesham Darukavane ||2||

2.1: At Parli is the Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga and at Dakini is the Bhimashankara Jyptirlinga,
2.2: At Setubandha is the Ramesha (Rameshwaram) Jyotirlinga and at Darukavana is the Nagesha (Nageshwara) Jyotirlinga,

Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
Ravana worshipped Lord Shiva in the Kailasha mountain and performed severe penance. When the penance reached the peak, he used to cut off one of his heads daily and offer it to Lord Shiva. After offering nine heads, when he was about to offer his tenth head, Lord Shiva appeared before him and granted him the boon of immense power. Shiva also gave him a Lingam to carry to Lanka. While carrying the Lingam to Lanka, Ravana felt an urge to ease himself and gave the Lingam to a cowherd boy to hold. Unable to hold the Lingam for long, the cowherd boy kept it on the ground where it got fixated permanently. The Lingam came to be known as Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga.(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 28)

Pilgrimage - 1:
The Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga is identified with Baidyanath Dham or Babadham in the Deogarh district of Jharkhand. The temple is around 4 miles from the Jasidih railway station on the Howrah-Delhi route. During the month of shravan, thousands of devotees fill their kanwars (pots) with Ganga water at Sultanganj and carry the water to Baba Baidyanath temple at Babadham walking a distance of 109 km.

Pilgrimage - 2:
The Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga is also identified with the Parli Vaidyanath temple in Parli, in the Beed district of Maharashtra.

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is situated in Kamarupa. Lord Shiva saved his devotee, the king of Kamarupa from the demon Bhima. Bhima intent on overthrowing dharma imprisoned the king. The king continued to worship Lord Shiva in the prison. When Bhima tried to kill him with a weapon, Lord Shiva appeared there and killed demon Bhima and his army in a battle. (Note that Shiva Purana states Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga to be in Kamrupa) (from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 20)

The Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga is identified with the Bhimashankar temple in the Pune district of Maharashtra in Sahyadri hills (about 125 km from Pune city). This is the place from where river Bhima originates.

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga is situated in the southern sea shore. Sri Rama worshipped Lord Shiva here to get his blessings before crossing the ocean and waging war against Ravana. Lord Shiva appeared before Rama and granted the boon of victory.(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 31)

The Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga is identified with the Rameshwaram temple by the sea-side (Bay of Bengal) on the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. There are 22 Tirthas within the temple complex where the pilgrims bathe.

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Nageshwara Jyotirlinga is situated in Darukavana. Lord Shiva saved his disciple Supriya (a vaishya) from demon Daruka in this place. Daruka was very proud of his strength and harassed people. He imprisoned Supriya and other merchants. Supriya, a great devotee of Shiva, along with other merchants worshipped Shiva in the prison devoutedly. When the demons tried to kill him, Lord Shiva appeared before Supriya and gave him the Pasupata Astra, with which Supriya killed all the demons.
(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 30)

Pilgrimage 1:
The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is identified with the Nageshwara temple on the coast of Saurashtra in the route between Dwarka city and island of Beyt Dwarka, in the Devbhoomi Dwarka district of Gujarat. It is believed that this is the Darukavana mentioned in the puranas.

Pilgrimage 2:
The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is also identified with the Aundha Nagnath temple located in the Hingoli district of Maharashtra.

Pilgrimage 3:
The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is further identified with The Jageshwar Mahadev temple (1870 m) in Almora district of Uttarakhand. This is located in a narrow and beautiful valley in the confluence of streams Nandini and Surabhi, which flow down the hills and meet here.

Varanasyam Tu Vishvesham Tryambakam Gautami-tatte |
Himaalaye Tu Kedaaram Ghushmesham Ca Shivaalaye ||3||

3.1: At Varanasi is the Vishwesha (Vishwanath) Jyotirlinga, and at the bank of river Gautami (Godavari) is the Tryambaka (Tryambakeshwara) Jyotirlinga,
3.2: At Himalaya is the Kedara (Kedarnath) Jyotirlinga, and at Shivalaya is the Ghushmesha (Grishneshwara) Jyotirlinga,

Vishwanath Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is situated in Kashi. Even before creation, Lord Shiva built a beautiful city for Prakriti and Purusha to perform penance. Lord Vishnu meditated there and as a result streams of water kept flowing. A gem from the ear of Vishnu fell on the ground which became the great pilgrim center known as Manikarnika. Manikarnika kept flowing as water for five koshas. Lord Shiva held it on the tip of his trident and that became the city of Kashi. Subsequently Lord Brahma created the other worlds. After a day of Brahma, Kashi does not get destroyed but is held on the tip of the trident of Lord Shiva.(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 22)

The Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is identified with the Vishwanath temple in Varanasi district of Uttar Pradesh. The temple is situated on the bank of river Ganga. The ancient city of Varanasi has many ghats on the Ganga river. The Dashahwamedh Ghat is close to the Kasi Vishwanatha temple.

Tryambakeshwar Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Tryambakeshwar Jyotirlinga is situated in Brahmagiri mountain. Sage Gautama worshipped Lord Shiva here as atonement to a false allegation of killing a cow. Lord Shiva appeared there and granted the boon of bringing Ganga to that place and himself staying in that place (as Jyotirlinga). The Ganga there is known as Gautami Ganga (Godavari).
(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 24)

The Tryambakeshwar Jyotirlinga is identified with the Tryambakeshwar temple in the Nashik district of Maharashtra in the foothills of Brahmagiri hills. The river Godavari originates from this place.

Kedarnath Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is situated in Badaryashrama. Nara and Narayana, two incarnations of Lord Vishnu worshipped Lord Shiva here. Lord Shiva appeared before them and granted the boon of staying there as Jyotirlinga.(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 19)

According to another legend, after the Kurukshetra battle the Pandavas wanted to meet Shiva and seek His blessings. But Lord Shiva evaded them again and again due to the unjust events of the battle. The Lord hid himself in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. But when the Pandavas pursued Him in Kedarnath, the Lord dived inside the ground leaving the hump on the surface. Lord Shiva reappeared at four other places which together form the Pancha Kedar (Hump at Kedarnath, Arms at Tunganath, Face at Rudranath, Navel at Madmaheshwar and locks with the head at Kalpeshwar).

The Kedarnath Jyotirlinga is identified with the Kedarnath temple in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. The temple is located at an altitude of 3581 m.

Grishneshwar or Ghushmeshwara Jyotirlinga:

Puranic Event:
The Grishneshwar or Ghusmeshwara Jyotirlinga is situated close to Devagiri mountain. Lord Shiva brought back to life the son of his devotees Sudharma and Ghushma. The son was killed by Sudeha, the elder sister of Ghushma (and co-wife of Sudharma) out of jealousy (since she herself did not have any son). Even after knowing the death of their son, Sudharma and Ghushma performed the daily worship of Lord Shiva unperturbed. They found their son being brought back to life. Lord Shiva also appeared before them and granted the boon of abiding there as Ghushmeshwara Jyotirlinga.(from Shiva Purana, Koti-Rudra Samhita - Ch 32)

The Grishneshwar or Ghusmeshwara Jyotirlinga is identified with the Grishneshwar temple in Verul village, 30 km from Aurangabad and 11 km from Daulatabad in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. The temple is in close proximity to Ellora caves.


Etaani Jyotirlingani Sayam Pratah Patthen-Narah |
Sapta-Janma-Krtam Papam Smarannena Vinashyati ||4||

4.1: These Jyotirlingas, those persons who recites (i.e. meditates upon) during the Evenings and Mornings, ...
4.2: ... (These Jyotirlingas) will destroy by rememberance, the sins committed during the seven births.

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