Temples of India – The 12 Jyotirlingas

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(Photo from: http://spiritindia.com/kedarnath-uttarakhand-2013-flash-floods/)

There are 12 temples dedicated to lord Shiva which are designated as Jyotirlingam. Jyoti means 'radiance' and lingam the 'Image or Sign' of Shiva; Jyothirlingam means the “The Radiant Sign of The Almighty Siva”. Each of the twelve Jyotirlingam sites take the name of the presiding deity, each considered a different manifestation of Shiva. In these temples, the primary image is lingam representing a pillar of light (Jyoti) with no beginning or end, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. There are twelve traditional Jyotirlingam shrines in India.


Somnath Jyotirlingam in Gujarat

(Photo from: http://www.travelportalofindia.com/2015/02/somnath/)

Temple Deity: Sri Somnath

Location: The Somnath temple located in Prabhas Patan near Veraval in Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat.

Brief History: The temple is built on the shore of the Arabian Sea in the western corner of Indian subcontinent. This pilgrimage is one of the oldest and find its reference in the ancient texts like Skandpurana, Shreemad Bhagvata, Shivpurana etc. Among the twelve JyotirLingas, Somanath is considered as the primary one, because the deity is supposed to be Swayanbhu (self-born).

The present temple is built in the Chalukya style of temple architecture or "Kailash Mahameru Prasad" style and reflects the skill of the Sompura Salats, one of Gujarat's master masons. The temple's shikhara, or main spire, is 15 metres in height, and it has an 8.2-metre tall flag pole at the top.

The temple is situated at such a place that there is no land in a straight line between Somnath seashore until Antarctica, such an inscription in Sanskrit is found on the Banastambha or "Arrow Pillar" erected on the sea-protection wall. The Banastambha mentions that it stands at a point on the Indian landmass that is the first point on land in the north to the South Pole at that particular longitude.

Temple Timings: 6.00am to 9.00pm

Accommodation: Rooms are available near the temple.


Srisailam Temple in Andhra Pradesh

(Photo from: http://www.srisailamonline.com/history.html)

Temple Deity: Sri Mallikarjuna

Location: Srisailam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. This whole area is full of forests of Kadali, Bilva trees, mountain ranges and Patalaganga (Krishnaveni River).

Brief History: Srisailam Mountain is looked upon reverentially as the Kailash of South. One unique feature of the temple is that all the devotees who visit the temple are allowed to touch the idol. Mallika means Parvati, while Arjuna is another name of Shiva. In this way both Shiva and Parvati came to reside in this linga. It is said that by merely seeing the tip of mountain one is emancipated from all his sins and worries. Adi Shankara composed his Sivananda Lahiri here. 

The huge temple is built in the Dravidian style with lofty towers and sprawling courtyards and is considered to be one of the finest specimens of Vijayanagar architecture. Temple of Tripurantakam, Siddavatam, Alampura and Umamaheswaram located in the vicinity of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga are considered to be the four gateways to Srisailam.

Timings: 4:30 AM to 10:00 PM

Accommodation: Rooms are available near the temple.


Mahakal in Madhya Pradesh