THE TWELVE JYOTIRLINGAS

12 Jotirlingas
SAURASHTRA SOMNATHAM CHA SHRISHAILE MALLIKARJUNAM || UJJAINYAM MAHAKALOMKARE MAMMALESHWARAM || PARLYAM VAIJNATHAM CHA DAKINYAM BHEEM SHANKARAM || SETU BANDHE TU RAMESHAM NAGESHAM DARUKA VANE || VARANASYA TU VISHWESHAM TRIBAKAM GAUTAMITATE || HIMALAYE TU KEDARAM GHURMESHAM CHA SHIVALAYE || AETANI JYOTIRLINGANI SAYAM PRATAHA PATHENNARAHA || SAPTA JANMA KRITAM PAPAM SMARANEN VINASHYATI ||

1 Somnath in Saurashtra (Kathiawad), Gujarat 2 Mallikarjun in Shrishailam or Srisailam AP (also listed as a Shakti Pitha site). 3 Mahakal in Ujjain OR Mahakalaswar at Ujjain, MP state. 4 Omkar in Mammaleshwaram (at Omkareshwar on the river Narmada, MP) 5 Vaijnath in Parli (Vaidyanath at Deogarh, Bihar) 6 Bhima Shankar in Dakini northwest of Poona, in Dhakini, Maharashtra 7 Rameshwaram in Setubandha, TamilNadu 8 Nagesh, Naganath/Nageshwar, in Darukavana, Maharaashtra 9 Vishweshwar/ Viswanath in Banaras/Varanasi , UP 10 Trimbakeshwar near Nasik on the banks of river Gautami/Godavari , Maharashtra 11 Kedarnath/Kedareshwar in Utterkhand Himalayas, UP 12 Ghurmeshwar in Shivalaya OR Grineshwar in Visalakam, near Ellora caves, Mah One who recites these 12 names regularly in the morning and evening he washes all the sins committed in the previous 7 births and attains all the powers and Siddhis.

Jyotirlinga Sthalams
Somanath Mallikarjunam Mahakalam Omkaram Vaidyanatham Bhimshankaram Rameswaram Nagesam Viswesam Triyambagam Kedaram

Kusmesam

1 Somnath

Chandra Devan worshipped Siva at this spot to rid himself of the curse of Daksha. The story : Chandra Devan is considered to have built this temple & hence the name Somanathar to the Lord. Chandran fell in love with Rohini, one of the daughters of Dakshan. But Dakshan wanted to give all his daughters in marraige to one able & loving person, who would treat all his daughters equally. Chandran got married to all, but his love for Rohini was too great & the other daughters complained to their father. Dakshan cursed Chandran to dwindle in power & beauty. When Chandran begged forgiveness, Dakshan said that only prayers to Lord Siva, could free him of the curse. Chandran came to Somanath & prayed to Lord Siva, doing penance for about 4,000 years. Lord Siva appeared & said that he could not fully absolve him of the curse. Instead, he would wane in 15 days, but would grow again. This is the story said for the waxing & waning of the moon, producing new moon & full moon.

1 Somnath

2 Mallikarjuna

Sthala Puranam: When Siva and Parvathi decided to find suitable brides for their sons, Ganesha and Muruga argued as to who is to get wedded first. Lord Siva bade that the one who goes round the world in Pradakshinam could get married first. By the time Lord Muruga could go round the world on his vahana, Lord Ganesha went round his parents 7 times (for according to Sastras, going in pradakshinam round one's parents is equivalent to going once round the world (Boopradakshinam). Lord Siva got Siddhi & Buddhi, the daughtersof Viswaroopan married to Lord Ganesha. Muruga on his return was enraged and went away to stay alone on Mount Kravunja in the name of Kumarabrahmachari. On seeing his father coming over to pacfy him, he tried to move to another place, but on the request of the Devas, stayed closeby. The place where Lord Siva and Parvathi stayed came to be known as Sri Sailam. Lord Siva visits Lord Muruga on Amavasai day & Parvathi Devi on Pournami.

3 Mahakaleshwar

The theertam opposite the Mahakaleshwarar temple is known as Koditheertham & it is said that the colour of the waters of this theertham keeps changing. The Moola lingam is very small & is located underground. The lingam in the top level is called Ongareshwarar. The Kali Devi who gave darshan to Vikramaditya is known by the name Harasiddhi Matha. There once lived a brahmin in Avanti, who had four sons, who were great devotees of Lord Siva. Dushanan, a demon was giving trouble, disturbing all good & religious activities. The brahmins from all over the land gathered with the four sons & performed pooja to Lord Siva. The spot where they had taken mud to make the Lingam, had become a huge pond. When Dushanan came to disturb their pooja, Lord Siva rose from this pond as Mahakaleshwarar & destoryed Dushanan. On the request of the brahmins, Lord Siva gave darshan to devotees at this sthalam, one of the Jyotir Linga sthalams.

4 Omkareshwar / Mamleshwar

The Jyotir Lingam split into two, and there are two Siva lingams, Omkareswarar & Amaleshwarar (Amareshwarar). Mandhata was a great Emperor of the Ishvaku clan who ruled this land. He did great penance in this land & there is an ashram called Mandhata ashram here.

This spiritual and all powerful jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva is at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh There Lord Shiva came in the form of Mahakal out of the linga that split and killed the demon. Therefore all those who pray to this linga will never fear death and if their faith is true they will be out of the chakra of life and death.

The Omkareshawar temple is built in the North Inidan style of architecture, with high spires. Devotees consider worship to Panchamuga Ganesha, to be very auspicious. There is a shrine for Annapoorani. Siva Lingas of various sizes are sold in great numbers in this place. It is said that once, sage Naradar during his visit to the Vindyas, sang the praise of mount Meru to Mount Vindhya. On hearing this, Mount Vindhya prayed to Lord Siva to gain in importance. Lord Siva blessed him & appeared here as Omkareshwarar & Amaleshwarar and gave the boon of grwoing, but without hindering Siva devotees.. But the Vindhyas did not stop growing, and even obstructed the sun and the moon. Sage Agasthyar subdued its growth by saying it should not grow till he gets back there. He never went back & hence the growth was arrested. Omkareshwar is situated on the Mandhata hills in Madhya Pradesh, known in ancient times as Shivpuri. The temple dates back to the Krita Yuga. River Narmada flows here around the Mandhata hill in the form of an Om (Omkaram).

Amareshwar

Lord Amareswara temple at Amaravati is 30 km from Vijayawada and 35 km from Guntur. This city is famous for its art and culture. The temple of Lord Amareswara located on the banks of river Krishna, is rich in Dravidian and Buddist architectures. The Lingam is 15 feet high, carved out of marble. The city was named Amaravati after Indra's capital here. Tradition says that Indra and Devas had worshipped the Lord here. Goddess Shakthi is worshipped as Bala Chamundika Devi. It is held sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists

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5 Baidyanath Dham / Vaidyanatham
The legend of Vaidyanathan goes something like this. The demon lord from the Ramayan, the devout Ravana meditated hard in order to invoke Lord Shiva, and requested him to come over to Sri Lanka, in order that his capital may become invincible. It is said that he attempted to lift the holy mountain, Lord Shiva's abode, Mount Kailash and take it with him to his capital; however Shiva crushed him with his finger, and Ravana prayed to him and sought his mercy, after which Shiva gave him one of the twelve Jyotirlingams with the condition that if it was placed on the ground it would take root immediately and hence Ravana had to carry it back on his trek to his capital. Varuna the God of water, entered Ravana's belly, and caused him to feel the need to relieve himself. Vishnu then came down in the form of a lad and volunteered to hold the Jyotirlingam as he relieved himself. But before Ravana could return, the young lad placed the jyotirlingam on the ground to which it became rooted. A disappointed Ravana offered severe penances to Shiva here, and cut off nine of his heads as a part of his repentance. Shiva revived him and joined the heads to the body, like a Vaidya or a physician, hence this Jyotirlingam goes by the name Vaidyanath. The same legend holds at Gokarnam in Karnataka.

Parli-Vaijnath (The 5th Jyotirlinga) : is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga in the country. The temple of Vaijnath, renovated by Rani Ahilyabai Holkar in the 17th century, has some good carvings. A fair is held on Mahashivratri, which attracts about 2,00,000 people.The Biggest Plant to gnerate the power, i.e. "Thermal Power Station" is one of the Key point of Parli Vaijnath.It is one of the biggest markets of Cotton, tobacco in Beed District. Situated at a distance of 240 Kms. from Aurangabad, is one of the important and only Jyotirlingas where both Shankar and Parvati stay together. That is why it is also called "Kashi of the South". All other Jyotirlingas are having temples of only Sankara. The temple here is also very beautiful and robust in construction. A must to see place. Situated at a distance of 240 Kms. from Aurangabad, is one of the important and only Jyotirlingas where both Shankar and Parvati stay together. That is why it is also called "Kashi of the South". All other Jyotirlingas are having temples of only Sankara. The temple here is also very beautiful and robust in construction. A must to see place.

6 Bhimasankara
Bhimashankaram is located at Bhuvanagiri village in Puna district of Maharashtra. River Bhima has its source here. This temple in the Nagara style is an old and not a very large structure. The jyotir Lingam is situated on top of the Sahyadri hill temple. Lord Siva is considered to be taking rest here after the Trpurantaka samharam. The sweat drops of Lord Siva were converted as steam & is running as Bhimarati. New structures have been added. There are two idols of Nandideva. One idol is old, while the other is of fairly recent addition. There is a theertham & a well behind the temple structure. The Bhimashankarar Lingam measures around one and a half feet & quite narrow. The Goddess is worshipped as Kamalaja. Shivaji, the Maratha ruler had made rich endowments for the maintenance of the temple. The moola lingam is at a lower level. There is another temple at Guwahati in Assam known as the Bhimshankaram and there is a belief that this is the real Bhimashankaram. Bhima was an asura, son of Kumbakarnan & Karkadi. On hearing that his grandfather, uncles & father had been killed by a brahmin & kings, he set out to destroy them. He undertook severe penance & got immense might and power from Lord Brahma. King Priyadarman of Kamarupa was also put under prison. Priyadarman & his wife Dakshinadevi prayed sincerely to Lord SIva everyday. Fearing that they would overcome him, Bhima asked them to stop their prayers. When they refused, he set out to kill them. Lord Siva rose out of the Lingam that they had been worshipping & slayed Bhima. On the request of the Devas, Lord Siva resides here under the namam Bhimashankarar.

It is believed that the ancient shrine was erected over a Swayambhu Linga or a Self Emanated Shiva Linga. Thus the Linga is exactly in the centre of the floor of the Garbagriha or the Sanctum.

6 Bhimasankara

7 Rameshwaram

The temple at Rameshvaram, besides being considered a Dhama, is also one of the twelve sacred Jyotir Linga sites. These sites, located throughout the sub-continent of India, are where the god Shiva is said to have manifested as a towering column of fire.

Rameshvaram

The jyotirlingam was worshipped by Lord Rama to atone the sin of killing Ravana. Hanuman flew to bring the Linga from Kailasa, for Lord Rama to wroship. As it was getting late, Rama worshipped the Lingam that was made of sand by Sita Devi. This Lingam worshipped by Lord Rama is known as Ramanathar. When Hanuman returned he was disappointed that his Lord had not used the Lingam that he had brought. Lord Rama pacified Hanuman & named this Lingam Kasi Viswanathar. Devotees have to worship Kasi Viswanathar before worshipping Ramanathar. This shrine is located at the extreme south eastern point of the Indian peninsula. The sethu bridge was constructed to link this land to Lanka for the Varnarams to reach Lanka. This island temple resembles the Panchajanya (Vishnu's conch) and like the Tamil letter 'OM'. Rameswaram is famous for the many teerthams. There are a total of 51 teerthams, 22 of them situated within the temple. Pilgrimage is considered complete with a bath in the Agni teertham. These waters are considered to have medicinal qualities. It is the custom to worship at Dhanushkodi before going to Rameshwaram. Several spots in this island are associated with Lord Rama. The Kothandarama temple stands at the spot where Vibeeshanan sought refuge to Rama.

Rameshvaram

The greatness of Ramesvara
Formerly Vishnu, the favorite of the good, took his incarnation as Rama on the earth. Rama’s wife Sita, the daughter of Janaka, was kidnapped by Ravana the wielder of great Maya and taken to his abode in Lanka. Searching for her, Rama went to the city called Kiskindha. Having alliance with Sugriva for his benefit, he killed Bali. After staying there for sometime, Rama held consultations with Laksmana, Sugriva and others to find out about Sita. The Prince Rama sent Monkeys, the chief of whom was Hanuman, to various directions in order to find out Sita. On getting the crest-jewel of Sita, Rama came to know from monkeys that Sita was in Lanka. Accompanied by Hanuman, the chief of monkeys, Laksmana, Sugriva and other monkey chiefs of great might and a vast army of monkeys, eighteen thousand billion in number, Rama reached the shores of the Southern salt ocean. Reaching there, Rama, the favorite of Siva, stationed himself on the shore, being served by monkeys and his brother, Laksmana. They had to cross the ocean knowing the fact that Raksasa of great strength and valour Ravana, up lifter of the Mountain Kailasa had resorted to his strong hold in Lanka. His son was Indrajeet, the conqueror of Indra. Rama then told his brother Laksmana that he was desirous of having water and told him to get some water quickly through some monkeys. Monkeys got sweet, cool and refreshing water for Rama. Just as Rama was about to have water, he realized that he had not yet had the sight of Siva and drinking water without his sight was not possible for him. He then drank water and performed the worship of Siva’s earthen image. He worshipped Siva performing all the sixteen ancillary services like invocation etc. with devotion according to the rules. After propitiating him with obeisance, divine eulogies etc. strenuously, Rama joyously prayed to Siva with great devotion. Addressing Siva as Bhavaratna (one who takes devotees across the ocean of worldly existence), Rama expressed that ocean was very deep and Raksasa Ravana was heroic and mighty. The army of monkeys was a very fickle instrument of war. He believed that it was difficult for him to achieve his tasks resulting in pleasing acquisition. He admitted that without Siva’s help, his purpose was difficult to be achieved. Ravana too was his devotee. Ravana was invincible in every respect to everyone. He was haughty due to boons granted by Siva. Ravana was a great hero and conquered the three worlds. He begged to Sadasiva that he too was Siva’s slave and considering this Siva would not be partial to him. After praying and bowing to Siva again and again, Rama shouted loudly of victory and continued to eulogise Siva. Repeating the mantras and performing the worship again and again, he danced before the lord. With the heart drenched with devotional love, he produced the throat-sound. Lord Siva was much delighted. Assuming his pure form, lord Siva of brilliant form appeared before him immediately. Satisfied in his heart with Rama’s devotion, lord Siva talked of Rama’s welfare and decided to grant him a boon too. Rama became sanctified and interested in Siva’s cult, performed the worship. Eulogizing in diverse ways and bowing to Siva joyously, Rama requested for his victory in the imminent fight with Ravana. Delighted in his heart at Rama’s devotion, lord Siva granted him the boon. Securing the blessing of victory granted by Siva and receiving the permission of the lord, he prayed again with palms joined in reverence and head bent down. Rama told Siva that if he were pleased, he would stay there to sanctify the world and render help to others. Thus implored, Siva took up the phallic image named Ramesvara, which is now famous on the surface of the world. It was by Siva’s favour that Rama crossed the ocean soon, killed Ravana and other Raksasa and regained his beloved Sita. The greatness of Ramesvara became wonderful and unequalled in the world. It yields worldly pleasures and salvation and bestows all desires on the devotees always. One who performs the ablution of Siva with the waters of the Divine Ganga and worships Ramesvara with great devotion becomes a living liberated soul. After enjoying all pleasures there, rare even to the gods and deriving perfect knowledge in the end, one certainly achieves salvation. Ramesvara is thus divine. It destroys the sins of the devotees who listen to it.

8 Naganath / Nageshwar
Nageshwar is located near Dwaraka, on the way to Beti Dwaraka. There once lived a rakshasa called Daruka, who was extremely cruel and tortured the good ones. But yet he was a great devotee of Lord Siva. A Siva devotee, Supriya who was a merchant reached the Darukavanam, where Daruka lived with his wife Daruki, while sailing with his goods. Daruka asked Supriya to teach him the path of devotion to Siva, the norms of performing pooja and penance. Fearing that Daruka would use any additional powers gained by such penance, to bad use, Supriya refused to guide him. The enraged Daruka began to torture Supriya. Supriya however was staunch is his faith in the Lord and was unmoved by any torture. Lord Siva was pleased and appeared and killed the demon Daruka. Daruki, Daruka's wife, now started giving even more trouble than her husband. Siva vanquished her too and gives darshan to his devotees at this place as Nageshwar. The Nageswara Jyotirlingam is claimed to exist in 3 places in Dwaraka, in Audhgram, near Almora in Uttar Pradesh. The Sivalingam is facing South, with the Gomugam facing East. There is a story for this position. A devotee by name Naamdev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord. Other devotees asked him to stand aside and not hide the Lord. To this Naamdev asked them to suggest one direction in which the Lord does not exist, so that he can stand there. The enraged devotees carried him and left him on the southside. To their astonishment, they found that the Linga was now facing South with the Gomugam facing East. Aundha Nagnath (The 8th Jyotirlinga) :- Situated at 210 kms from Aurangabad is also one of the 12 jyotirlingas. The temple at nagnath is truely beautiful and magnificient. It is totally built out of stones. The temple and the surrounding walls at all the sides are very robust in construction. Another speciality of this temple is that the statue of " Nandi " (i.e. the divine Ox of Shankar) which is usually situated on the entrance of the temples , is situated on the backside of the main temple in a seperate structure. Also the main temple is surrounded by 12 small temples of other Jyotirlingas Both the above jyotirlingas are situated on the same route and can be covered in the same day .

8 Naganath / Nageshwar

9 Vishwanath

New Vishwanath temple, BHU

Kasi is amongst the holy spots for visit by the Hindus. It is believed that a visit to Kasi ensures liberation & hence pious Hindus seek a visit during their lifetime. The Lord himself has declared this spot as his Royal residence. Goddess Parvathi's mother felt ashamed that her son-in-law had no decent dwelling. To please Parvathi Devi, Siva asked Nikumbha to provide him with a dwelling place at Kasi. On the request of Nikumbha, Aunikumbha a brahmin made Divodas construct a temple for the Lord here. The pleased Lord granted boons to all his devotees. But Divodas was not blessed with a son. The angered Divodas demolished the structure. Nikubha cursed that the area would be devoid of people. When the place was emptied Lord Siva once again took residence here permanently. The Lord along with Parvathi Devi once again started blessing his devotees with wonderful boons. Parvathi Devi was so pleased that she offered food (annam) to one and all and hence is worshipped as Annapoorani. The Lord himself is seen with a bowl in his hands asking for annam from the seated Devi at the Devi's shrine adajacent to Viswanathar's shrine. This is considered to be one of the 52 Sakthipeedams (the place where Parvathi's left hand fell, when her corpse was cut by Mahavishnu's sudarsana chakram). The Siva lingam is placed in a square shaped brass plated pit. Devotees are permitted to offer worship such as abhishekam with holy ganga water, garlanding the Lord, karpoora aarathi, etc. personally to the swaymbhu lingam. There are several smaller shrines around the main shrine. The head of each ghat has a Siva linga shrine. The Lord can be seen placed on a pedestal at every location in the city, even if there is not shrine as such. Behind the temple is situated the temple of Dhundhiraja Ganapathi.

10 Tryambakeshwar

Trimbakeshwar (The 10th Jyotirlinga ): It is situated 220 kms away from the city of Aurangabad and near the pilgrimage city Nasik. The "Ganga of the South" i.e. the "Godavari River" originates from this place. It is a wonderful and fascinating jyotirlinga where the linga does not rise above the ground as other but placed in a pit, inside the holy place. There are 3 lingas placed inside the same pit, which belong to Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh. That is why it is named Trimbakeshwar i.e. Tri-(three). Out of these three lingas, a spring of water is generated continuously from the linga of Mahesha, throughout the year. There is a well known Hindu fare the "Kumbh Mela" organised every 12 years, for which lakhs of people come from all over the world to take a dip in the river Godavari. This is considered very auspicious for the Hindus.

The Triyambakeshwarar temple is located in the Triyambak town near Nasik. The temple is in the Indo Aryan style. The temple structure with excellent adornments of idols and sculptures, is surrounded by a massive stone wall. There is a huge bull in front of the temple & another marble Nandi is seen on the inside. The sculptural adornments continues even to the garbagriha with human, animals and yakshas carved . From the Jyotir Lingam at the centre of the garbagriha, trickles the Ganges continuously throughout the year. Sometimes, it is said flames issue forth as also a rumbling sound.

Entrance and view - From the LHS

Before you enter the Nandi Temple facing Lord Shiva

Before you enter the main temple <-

11 Kedarnath First Panch Kedar
Kedarnath, at the head of the Mandakini River, is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually renovated over the centuries. According to legend, Lord Shiva wished to elude the Pandavas, and took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, He dived into the ground, leaving behind His hump of the surface. The hump is worshipped in the temple of Kedarnath in the conical Shiva pinda form. The remaining parts of the body are worshipped at four other places — the arms (Bahu) at Tungnath, face (mukh) at Rudranath, navel (nabhi) at Madmaheshwar and hair (jata) at Kalpeshwar. Together with Kedarnath, these places are known as the Panch Kedar. The lingam at Kedarnath, unlike its usual form, is pyramidal and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlings.

Kedarnath

* Kedarnath is situated in the Himalayan slopes in the Gharwal district of Uttar Pradesh. The uniqueness and greatness of this temple sees mention in the vedas, ithihaasaas, epics. The term Kedara for the Lord denotes !The Lord who holds the holy Ganges in his matted locks & allows it to flow evenly to the world. It could also mean the mark that is left on the Lord's head from the time when Arjuna got the Paasupathastram. This shrine is located at an elevation of 11,735 feet above sea level. The region of the Himlayas, where the shrine is located is known by several names such as Gandhamadana parvatham, Sumera parvatham, Pancha parvatham, etc. (Pancha parvatham, for this is the spot of five sacred peaks namely Rudra Himalayas, Vishnupuri, Brahmapuri, Udayagiri & Swargarohini. The exterior of the temple is rather simple, but the interior is adorned with marvellous sculptures. In the garba griha is an irregular shaped conical rock which is about five feet by four feet. Lord Siva in the form of jyotirlingam is worshipped here as Lord Kedareshwar. It is believed that the jotirlingam is actually the rump of the bull, which was the form that Lord Siva assumed, when the Pandavas tried to reach him to atone the sins of the Kurukshetra war. Since it was not time designated for humans to worship the Lord here, Lord Siva tried to go away in the form of a bull. It is believed that temple structure that exists till date was actually the one constructed by the Pandavas. The sannadhi of the Lord is facing South. There are the idols of Kedaragowri, Krishna, Pandavas, Draupadi, Vinayagar, Veerabadrar, Kaarthikeyan, Nandi.. The shrine is covered by snow for 6 months in a year (closed from Oct-Nov upto Apr-May). It is believed that this is the time when the Devas are worshipping the Lord. There is mountain path called Sorga Vaasal, through which the Pandavas, Sankaracharyar are supposed to have gone through. he river Mandakini flows down from near this area

12 GRINESHWAR

12 Grineshwar in Visalakam, near the Ellora caves, Maharashtra state. There has to be legend associated with every temple. This one too is no exception. There was once a devout woman Kusuma who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and she regularly immersed a Shivalingam in a tank, as a part of her daily ritual worship. Her husband's first wife, envious of her piety and standing in society murdered Kusuma's son in cold blood. An aggrieved Kusuma continued her ritual worship, and when she immersed the Shivalingam again in the tank, her son was miraculously restored to life. Shiva is said to have appeared in front of her and the villagers, and ever since then the shivalingam here has been worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlinga Ghusmeshwar.

Jyotir Lingam exists at Devagiri near Ellora. The Lord is known by several names - Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, Grushmeswara, Grishneswara There once lived a pious brahmin & his wife. He was a great devotee of Siva. He was not blessed with a son. At the persuasion of his family, he got married to Kusuma, in order to give him a son. Kusuma was an even greater devotee of Lord Siva. Everyday she would make one Siva Linga, worship it and then immerse it in the temple tank. Soon she was blessed with boy baby. The first wife was seeting with jealousy & ill treated Kusuma. Putting all her faith in the Lord, Kusuma bore all the sufferings humbly. When the boy grew older, they planned his wedding. The jealous first wife, killed the boy with an axe. Kusuma was deeply grieved, yet did not stop her daily worship of Lord Siva. She continued to make the Lingam, worshipped & immersed it in the tank. To the surprise of one and all, her son rose out of the water one day, coming back to life. Lord Siva apperaed before them & blessed them. He declared that he would give darshan to devotees in his Jyotir Linga swarupam at the same spot where Kusuma immersed the Lingams. This Jyotir Lingam is considered to exist in two places, one at Devagiri near Ellora & the other at the Kailasa temple at Ellora.

Ghrishneshwar (The 12th Jyotirlinga ): Situated at a distance of 30 kms is one of the 12 famous Jyotirlingas in India. It is situated near Ellora Caves. This Jyotirlinga is said to be self - oriented. According to historical records it was built in the 7th century. It is the last Jyotirlinga without which the journey to the Jyotirlingas is not considered to be complete. The beautiful and huge temples measuring 240 x 185 ft. is still as fresh as it was when built. 24 beautifully carved stone columns take the load of the main hall of the temple. The men have to compulsorily take off their upper garments before entering into the temple.

Svayambu / Natural Lingas and the AncientLingas
Amarnath Kailash Pashupati .....

SHIVA IN NATURE
Peaks a. Famous "Kailash Peak' near Manasrovar in Tibet. b. "Chhota Kailash", also in Tibet. c. Another "Kailash Peak" in Gangotri region. d. "Kinner Kailash" in Kinnaur Valley, Himachal Pradesh. e. "Neelknath Peak" near Badrinath. f. "Shivling Peak" near Gaumukh-source of Ganga. g. "Shrikant Mahadev" peak in Himachal Pradesh. h. "Kedar Dome and Peak" in Gangotri glacier region. i. "Dhaulagiri Peak" in Nepal. k. "Mani Mahesh Peak" beyond Chamba in Himachal Pradesh. l. "Ganesh Himal Peak" in Nepal. m. "Nandi Hills" near Bangalore. 2. Lakes and Kunds a. "Parvati Kund" near Kailash Parbat, Tibet. b. "Parvati Kund" near Mani Mahesh. c. "Gauri Kund" near Kedarnath. d. "Kedar Tal" in Garhwal. 3. Rivers/Streams a. "Parvati River" in Kulu Valley. b. "Kedar Ganga" in Gangotri town. c. "Madhyamaheshwar Ganga" in Garhwal. d. "Rudra Paryag" in Garhwal. 4. Caves a. "Patal Bhuvesneshwar Cave" in Kumaon. b. "Jata Shankar Cave" in Pachmari, Madhya Pradesh. c. "Mahadev Cave" in Pachmarhi. 5. Natural Shivlings a. "Ice Shivling" in Amarnath, Kashmir. b. "Swayambhu Shivling" in Kedarnath temple. c. A verically tall more than 100 feet high natural rock near Kinner Kailash called Shivling locally. d. Shivling in Swayambhu temple in Nepal.

Amarnath Yatra

Darshan of Holy Shiva Lingam as on 23.5.2001

The Legend of Amarnath

There is famous Rigvedic Verse that says "Ekam Sat " that is "There is one Being, the sages call him by many names." The God (Parmeshwar) has three deities who carry on the world .This is Known as Holy Trinity. Brahma- the creator, Vishnu - the perpetuator of life and Shiva (Mahesh ) -the purifier and perpetuator of good and destroyer of evil. Rig Veda refer Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse . "We Worship Tryambaka (Rudra) , Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment , May He release me, like the cucumber from its stem, From Mortal Life, But not From Immorality. "(Rig Veda Mandal VII Sukta 59 and Mantra 12) The Yajurveda describes Shiva as ascetic warrior Whose robe is of Deer Skin and he carries Trishul. According to the verse Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram the life is described as having three facets Truth (Satyam), Good (Shivam) and the Beautiful (Sundaram). According to the older scriptures, He has three places of his residence. One is Kailash Parvat another is Lohit Giri under which Brahamputra flows and third is Muzwan Parvat.

The Amarnath Cave has special significance

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The Legend about the importance of Amarnath Cave is as follows :This is The Cave which was chosen by Bhole Shankar for narrating the secrets of immortality and creation of Universe to Maa Parvati ji. The story goes like this. Centuries ago Maa Parvati asked Shiv ji to let her know why and when he started wearing the beads of heads ( Mund Mala). Bhole Shankar replied when ever you are born I add one more head in my beads. Maa Parvati said, " My Lord, my body is destroyed every time and I die again and again, but you are Immortal. Please let me know the secret of this ." Bhole Shankar replied that it is due to Amar Katha ." Maa Parvati insisted that she may be told that secret. For long Shiva ji continued postponing . Finally on consistent demand from Maa Parvati he made up his mind to tell the immortal secret . He started for lonely place where no living being could listen it. He choose Amarnath Cave. In preparation to that he left his Nandi ( The Bull which he used to ride ) at Pahalgam (Bail gaon). At Chandanwari he released Moon from his hairs (Jataon). At the banks of Lake Sheshnag he released the snakes. He decided to leave his son Ganesha at Mahagunas Parvat (Mahaganesh Hill ). At Panchtarni, Shivji left the Five Elements behind (Earth , Water, Air , Fire and Sky) which make living being. He is the Lord of these elements. It is believed that as a symbol of sacrificing the earthly world, Shivaji and Maa Parvati had Tandav Dance. After leaving behind all these, Bhole Shankar enters the Holy Amarnath Cave along with Parvati Maa. Lord Shiva takes his Samadhi on the Deer Skin and concentrate . To ensure that no living being is able to hear the Immortal Tale, He created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to spread fire to eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. After this he started narrating the secret of immortality to Maa Parvati. But as a matter of chance one egg which was lying beneath the Deer skin remained protected. It is believed to be non living and more over it was protected by Shiva -Parvati Asan (Bed). The pair of pigeons which were born out of this egg became immortal having listened the secret of immortality (Amar Katha). Many pilgrims report seeing the pair of pigeons when they trek the arduous route to pay their obeisance before the Ice-Lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva).

The trek to Amarnath, in the month of sharavan ( July–August) has the devout flock to this incredible shrine, where the image of Shiva, in the form of a Lingam, is formed naturally of an Ice Stalagmite, which waxes and wanes with the Moon's cycle. By its side are fascinating, two more Ice Lingams, that of Maa Parvati and of their son, Ganesha .

Kailash Yatra
Mt. Kailash has the unique distinction of being the most venerated yet least visited of the world's major holy places. Soaring above 22,000 feet, the mountain is the supremely sacred site of four religions and billions of peoplePilgrims to Kailash, after the difficult journey getting there, are then confronted with the equally arduous task of circumambulating the sacred peak. This walking around the mountain (clockwise for the Buddhists, counter-clockwise for Bon adherents) is known as a Kora, or Parikrama, and normally takes three days. In hopes of gaining extra merit or psychic powers however, some pilgrims will vary the tempo of their movement. A hardy few, practicing a secret breathing technique known as Lung-gom, will power themselves around the mountain in only one day (the author’s method). Others will take two to three weeks for the Kora by making full body prostrations the entire way. It is believed that a pilgrim who completes 108 journeys around the mountain is assured enlightenment. Most pilgrims to Kailash will also take a short plunge in the nearby, highly sacred (and very cold) Lake Manosaravar. The word 'manas' means mind or consciousness; the name Manosaravar means Lake of Consciousness and Enlightenment. Adjacent to Manosaravar is Rakas Tal or Rakshas, the Lake of Demons. Pilgrimage to this great sacred mountain and these two magical lakes is a life changing experience and an opportunity to view some of the most magical scenery on the entire planet.

Kailash

Kailash at sunrise

Kailash abode of Lord Shiva. The Jains call the mountain Astapada and believe it to be the place where

Origin of Ganga - Gaumukh

Cross Ganga in 1 step

Cave of PadmaSambhava, Lake Mansarovar

ANCIENT Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal

Pashupatinath, Kathmandu

Pashupatinath Linga

Mount Shivling
near Gaumukh-source of Ganga.

Mount Agung, Bali abode of Mt. Agung is the abode of Batara Gunung Agung (Mahadewa)

Arunachal Mt. Shasta

For Hindus, the name of the mountain is Sivan Adi Padham, because it was the world-creative dance of the god Shiva that left the giant footprint (5 feet 7 inches by 2 feet 6 inches).

Adam’s Peak, Sri Lanka

Svayambhu Lingams

The Svayambhu Linga temples contain representations of Shiva that are believed to have risen up by themselves in the primordial past. In the commentary by Nigamajnanadeva on his Jirnoddharadasakam, sixty-eight Svayambhu Lingas are listed

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