How Many Of The 12 Jyotirlingas I Have Visited To Date?

Baidyanath Jyotirlinga, Jharkhand
Vaidyanath Temple is also known as Vaijnath or Baidyanath. It is located at Deogarh in the Santal Parganas region of Jharkhand. This is one of the highly revered Jyotirlinga shrines, and the devotees believe that the sincere worship of this shrine relieves a person from all his worries and miseries. People believe that one attains moksha or salvation by worshipping this Jyotirlinga.

According to a famous legend, the demon king Ravana meditated and asked Lord Shiva to come over to Sri Lanka and make it invincible. Ravana tried to take Mount Kailash with him, but Lord Shiva crushed it. Ravana asked for penance and in turn, was given of the twelve Jyotirlingas on the condition that if it was placed on the ground it would remain rooted to that spot till eternity.

While transporting it to Sri Lanka, Lord Varuna entered Ravana’s body and he felt an urgent need to relieve himself. Lord Vishnu came down in the form of a lad and offered to hold the lingam in the meantime. However, Vishnu placed the lingam on the ground and it got rooted to the spot.

As a form of penance, Ravana cut off nine of his heads. Shiva revived him and joined the heads to the body, like a vaidya and hence this Jyotirlinga came to be known as Vaidyanath.

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga, Maharashtra
The Bhimashankar Temple is located in the Sahyadri region of Pune, Maharashtra. It lies on the banks of the Bhima River and is considered to be a source of this river.

The legend about the existence of this Jyotirlinga is related to Kumbhakarna’s son Bhima. When Bhima learned that he was the son of Kumbhakarana who was annihilated by Lord Vishnu in his incarnation as Lord Ram, he vowed to avenge Lord Vishnu. He performed penance to please Lord Brahma who granted him immense power.

On achieving this power, he started creating havoc in the world. He defeated the staunch devotee of Lord Shiva – Kamrupeshwar and put him in the dungeons. This angered the Lords who requested Shiva to descend Earth and put an end to this tyranny.

A war ensued between the two and Shiva ultimately put the demon to ashes. All the Gods then requested Shiva to make that place his abode. Shiva then manifested himself in the form of Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga. It is believed that the sweat that poured from Shiva’s body after the batter is what formed the Bhima River.

Kashi Vishwanath, Varanasi
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is located in the most revered site in the world – Kashi! It is situated amidst the crowded lanes of the holy city of Banaras (Varanasi). More than the Ghats and Ganga of Varanasi, the Shivalinga remains the devotional focus of the pilgrims.

It is believed that Banaras is the site at which the first Jyotirlinga manifested its supremacy over other gods, broke through the earth’s crust, and flared towards heaven.

This temple is said to be the dearest to Lord Shiva, and the people believe that those who die here achieve liberation. Many believe that Shiva himself resided here and is the giver of liberation and happiness. This temple has been rebuilt several times but always continued to hold its ultimate significance.

Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga, Nasik
The Trimbakeshwar Temple is located about 30 km from Nasik in Maharashtra near the mountain named Brahmagiri from the river Godavari flows. This temple is considered to be a source of the river Godavari which is known as “Gautami Ganga” – the most sacred river in South India.

According to the Shiva Purana, it is on the earnest request of River Godavari, Gautam Rishi, and all the other Gods that Shiva decided to reside here and assumed the name Trimbakeshwar. Gautam Rishi earned a boon from Varuna in the form of a pit from which he received an inexhaustible supply of grains and food. The other Gods were rendered jealous by him and they send a cow to enter the granary. The cow was mistakenly killed by Gautam Rishi who then asked Lord Shiva to do something to purify the premises. Shiva asked Ganga to flow through the land to make it pure. Everyone thus sang praise for the Lord who then resided beside Ganga in the form of Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga. Hindus believe that this Jyotirlinga in Maharashtra is the one that fulfills everyone’s desires.

Kedarnath Jyotirlinga, Uttarakhand
One of the holiest pilgrimage sites in India, the Kedarnath Temple is located on the Rudra Himalaya Range at the height of 12,000 feet on a mountain named Kedar. It is approximately 150 miles from Hardwar. The temple enshrining the Jyotirlinga opens only six months in a year.

The tradition is that while embarking on a pilgrimage to Kedarnath people first visit Yamunotri and Gangotri and bring the holy water to offer at Kedarnath.

According to the legends, pleased by the severe penance of the Nara and Narayana – two incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva took up permanent abode in Kedarnath in the form of this Jyotirlinga. People believe that by praying at this site one gets all his desire fulfilled.

(Source: Babulnath Mandir, Mumbai)