12 Jyotirlingas in India – Names, Locations and Map

12 Jyotirlingas in India are considered the holiest shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, the supreme God in Hinduism. These shrines are spread across different parts of India and attract millions of devotees annually. Visiting these 12 Jyotirlinga temples is considered highly meritorious and spiritually rewarding for Shaivites (followers of Lord Shiva).

What are Jyotirlingas?

According to Hindu scriptures, a Jyotirlinga is a radiant pillar of light representing Lord Shiva. The Supreme Being appeared in the form of a Jyotirlinga to overcome demonic forces and bless His devotees. Each of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India has its own unique mythology and significance.

The 12 Jyotirlingas are:

  1. Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujarat
  2. Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga, Andhra Pradesh
  3. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Madhya Pradesh
  4. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, Madhya Pradesh
  5. Kedarnath Jyotirlinga, Uttarakhand
  6. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra
  7. Vishwanath Jyotirlinga, Uttar Pradesh
  8. Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra
  9. Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Jharkhand
  10. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, Gujarat
  11. Rameshwar Jyotirlinga, Tamil Nadu
  12. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra
12 Jyotirlingas in India - Jyotirling Names, Place and Map
Map Showing Locations Of 12 Jyotirlingas In India

Below we take a detailed look at each of the 12 Jyotirlingas, their history, significance, architecture, and how to reach them.

1. Somnath Jyotirlinga, Gujarat

  • Location: Prabhas Patan, Veraval in Saurashtra, Gujarat
  • Deity: Lord Somnath (Shiva)
  • Significance: Considered the first Jyotirlinga, established by Soma (Moon God)

The Somnath temple is an architectural marvel overlooking the Arabian Sea on the western coast of Gujarat. As per Shiva Purana, the Moon God (Soma) built a golden Jyotirlinga here to atone for the curse that had reduced his brilliance. Destroyed and rebuilt several times in history, the present temple was reconstructed in Chalukya style of temple architecture and completed in 1951.

The elaborate stone carvings, conical shikhara, and kalash above the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) are noteworthy. Non-Hindus are not allowed inside the temple, but they can view from a raised platform nearby. The best time to visit is during Mahashivratri when the temple attracts over 5 lakh pilgrims.

2. Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga, Andhra Pradesh

  • Location: Srisailam, Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh
  • Deity: Lord Mallikarjuna (Shiva)
  • Significance: One of holiest sites for Shaivites in South India

The Mallikarjuna temple, situated on the banks of Krishna River, is one of the greatest Shiva shrines in southern India. Lord Shiva is worshipped here in the form of Mallikarjuna, together with Goddess Bhramaramba.

The temple has a lofty white gopuram (tower) in Dravidian style, which dominates the landscape for miles around. The inner hall houses the Shivalinga along with shrines for the goddesses. Exquisite stone carvings depicting various deities and mythological episodes adorn the temple walls.

Unique rituals like Jalabhishekam (water bath) for the Lingam are performed here daily. The temple attracts massive crowds during Mahashivratri.

3. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Madhya Pradesh

  • Location: Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
  • Deity: Lord Mahakaleshwar (Shiva)
  • Significance: One of most revered Jyotirlingas for Shaivites

The Mahakal temple in Ujjain is regarded among the seven holiest Hindu sites in India. As per Hindu texts, Lord Shiva graces devotees here in a ‘swayambhu’ self-manifested Jyotirlinga form beside the Rudrasagar Lake.

The existing temple was built by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar in 18th century in a unique architectural style, blending Maratha elements with old Bengali and Gujarati designs. The Bhasm-Aarti in the early hours of morning, when temple priests offer incense and ash on the Shivlinga, is a magical spectacle.

Shravan is the most popular time to visit when huge processions carrying water from Shipra River are taken out to the temple. The Mahakaleshwar temple resonates with energy, attracting Shaivites from far and wide.

4. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, Madhya Pradesh

  • Location: Khandwa district, Madhya Pradesh
  • Deity: Lord Omkareshwar (Shiva)
  • Significance: One of holiest pilgrimage places for Hindus

The sacred Omkareshwar temple is located on an island called Shivapuri in Narmada river. As per Hindu scriptures, once upon a time the Devas (Demigods) and Danavas (Demons) churned the mighty ocean to obtain Amrit (nectar of immortality). First emerged the terrible poison which Lord Shiva drank to protect the world. This made His throat turn blue, earning Him the name Neelkanth. Shiva then chose this secluded spot beside Narmada River to reside and assumed the name Omkareshwar.

The Jyotirlinga shrine here contains 63 sacred Yoni shrines dedicated to Narmada river and various forms of Shakti. The black stone temple has an imposing appearance, featuring tall shikharas, sculpted pillars and mandapams. The night aarti during Mahashivratri, performed on boats in Narmada river, is a sight to behold.

5. Kedarnath Jyotirlinga, Uttarakhand

  • Location: Himalayas, Uttarakhand
  • Deity: Lord Kedarnath (Shiva)
  • Significance: One of Chota Char Dham pilgrimage sites in Himalayas

Perched at an altitude of 3,583 m amidst snow-clad peaks of Garhwal Himalayas, the Kedarnath temple is one of the most scenic pilgrimage destinations in India. The conical rock formation inside the inner sanctum is worshipped here as the Jyotirlinga embodiment of Lord Shiva.

According to legend, the Pandava brothers visited Kedarnath to seek Shiva’s blessings after the Kurukshetra war. Pleased with their devotion, Lord Shiva took up permanent abode here as Kedarnath Jyotirlinga. The existing temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century AD, right behind the site of the original shrine.

Surrounded by glaciers and snowy peaks, the remote temple can only be reached after a 14 km uphill trek from Gaurikund. The shrine remains closed during winters due to extreme weather.

6. Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra

  • Location: Pune District, Maharashtra
  • Deity: Lord Bhimashankar (Shiva)
  • Significance: Source of Bhima River in Sahyadri Hills

Situated in the scenic Sahyadri ranges near Pune, Bhimashankar is a relatively newer temple constructed in 18th century in Hemadpanthi style. It marks the spot where Lord Shiva is believed to have destroyed the demon Tripurasura.

The Shivlinga here is unique as it is tilted to one side. The temple complex features shrines of Bhairavnath, Hanuman,Ganesh and Nandi. Carvings depicting scenes from the Shiva Purana adorn the walls and pillars.

Bhimashankar is located inside the Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary. Besides jungle treks, one can also enjoy river rafting during monsoon here in the fast-flowing streams of Bhima River.

7. Vishwanath Jyotirlinga, Uttar Pradesh

  • Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
  • Deity: Lord Vishwanath (Shiva)
  • Significance: One of holiest Hindu shrines

The Vishwanath (Kashi Vishwanath) temple on the banks of Ganga in Varanasi is among the most iconic Hindu shrines. Revered since ancient times as the chief centre of learning and enlightenment, Varanasi remains the spiritual capital for all Hindus.

The temple complex, dotted with shrines and domes, bustles with thousands of pilgrims everyday. Inside the sanctum, the Shivlinga is adorned only with bilva leaves and water offerings in veneration. Devotees whisper their prayers into the well ‘Gauri Kund’ nearby considered as ears of Shiva.

The temple premise resounds with chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’, with the Ganga Aarti on Dashashwamedh Ghat being a magical spectacle every evening. Kashi Vishwanath remains deeply etched in the collective consciousness of Hindus as a Tirtha of highest sanctity.

8. Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra

  • Location: Near Nasik, Maharashtra
  • Deity: Lord Trimbakeshwar (Shiva)
  • Significance: Source of Godavari River

The temple city of Trimbak near Nasik is named after the Tri-ambika temple dedicated to Lord Shiva as Trimbakeshwar or ‘Lord of Three Eyes’. As per Hindu texts, the Godavari river originated when Lord Ganesha dug out a pit with his trident on Anjaneri mountain to fetch holy water to perform abhishekam on this Shivlinga.

Built in 18th century by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao, the Trimbakeshwar temple features black stone architecture, towering shikharas, exquisite carvings and a golden Nandi idol.

The town transforms during Mahashivratri when over a million pilgrims converge here to seek blessings from Trimbakeshwar, while Godavari overflows with fervent devotees taking a holy dip.

9. Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Jharkhand

  • Location: Deoghar, Jharkhand
  • Deity: Lord Vaidyanath (Shiva)
  • Significance: One of 51 Shakti Peethas in India

The remote temple of Vaidyanath, also called Baba Baidyanath Dham, is located in Jharkhand. Mythology states that Lord Shiva assumed the form of Vaidyanath after being requested by Ravana to cure his arms, injured during battles.

The existing temple was constructed in 17th century, and later renovated extensively by the Maratha queen Ahilyabai Holkar in 1788. Sprawled over 48 acres, the temple complex features 22 temples, the main one being a nine-story high shrine housing the Jyotirlinga. Millions gather here during Shravan to offer holy water from Ganga.

10. Nageshwar Jyotirlinga, Gujarat

  • Location: Dwarka, Gujarat
  • Deity: Lord Nageshwar (Shiva)
  • Significance: One of Char Dham pilgrimage sites

The Nageshwar temple is part of the holy pilgrimage centre of Dwarka in Gujarat. Legend says Lord Krishna himself came here to rescue a devotee in distress and destroyed a demon named Nagesh. Lord Shiva then agreed to make this place his permanent abode as Nageshwar Jyotirlinga.

The existing temple is built in traditional Hindu architectural style, adorned with a 25 m tall Shikara. The Shivlinga enshrined inside comprises of three stone oval structures, signifying Lord Shiva’s three aspects – Rudra, Shiva and Mahesh.

The Submarine underwater cable car ride to reach Nageshwar temple from Dwarka beach makes it a fascinating visit.

11. Rameshwar Jyotirlinga, Tamil Nadu

  • Location: Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu
  • Deity: Lord Rameshwar (Shiva)
  • Significance: Part of Char Dham pilgrimage circuit

Rameshwar temple, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, is part of the holy town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. As per Ramayana, Lord Rama came here to offer prayers to Shiva and seek atonement before marching to Lanka.

The unique temple features two Lingams – a main Lingam carved out of black stone and Vishwalingam brought by Hanuman from Kailash. The temple also contains 22 holy theerthas (wells) believed to possess medicinal properties.

The colossal temple built in Dravidian style boasts an awe-inspiring hall of 1,212 ornate pillars, the most in any Indian temple. The atmosphere turns electric during Mahashivratri when devotees flock here in thousands for a glimpse of the Jyotirlinga.

12. Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra

  • Location: Near Ellora Caves, Maharashtra
  • Deity: Lord Grishneshwar (Shiva)
  • Significance: Located beside Ellora Caves UNESCO site

The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is located just half a km from the famous Ellora Caves near Aurangabad. Grishneshwar derived its name from the Grishna river (now called Ghurku) that flows nearby.

The temple built in red volcanic rocks features carvings of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi on the entrance doorway. Inside the inner sanctum, the ancient Shivlinga can be seen half submerged in a water tank.

The temple comes alive on occasions like Shravan, Shivratri or Somvati Amavasya when devotees throng here in large numbers. For tourists visiting the Ellora Caves, a quick visit to Grishneshwar can nicely complement the trip.

How to Plan a Pilgrimage to Jyotirlingas

While each of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines has its individual allure, undertaking a Jyotirlinga pilgrimage covering all these sites can be spiritually rewarding. One can either cover them region-wise in north, south, east or west circuits or take up an extended pilgrimage to visit all Jyotirlingas.

For ease of travel, the tour can begin from the north or west starting with Kedarnath, Badrinath, Rameswaram and Dwarka temples. From Dwarka one can progress towards Somnath in Gujarat and then proceed to eastern/central Jyotirlingas like Vaidyanath, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar etc. before ending the pilgrimage at Trimbakeshwar/Grishneshwar in Maharashtra.

Most Jyotirlinga temples provide accommodations for pilgrims. One can also choose to stay in nearby towns and visit the shrines on day trips. Hiring a taxi or taking up package tours organized by travel agencies allows one to complete the circuit leisurely without much hassle.

An early start, comfortable shoes, light woolens, some basic medication and extra batteries can go a long way in making the trip pleasant. Carrying a checklist helps avoid missing any shrine while ensuring time for relaxation and sightseeing along the way.

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