Summary: The The 12 jyotirlingas are the holiest of Shiva temples in the Hindu religion. Their legend and religious importance makes them the Best of Religious Tourism in India.
Come winter and the tourist season starts in India. But away from tourists are the many travellers who also make their way around India’s many ancient holy sites. Of the many such sites the 12 jyotirlingas stand out. Whether you are Lord Shiva devotee or not, the jyotirlingas are worth visiting for their spirituality and religious importance.
The 12 jyotirlingas are the holiest of Shiva temples and represent the Religious Tourism in India. Spread across India these temples are present in 8 states. These 12 are:
- Somnath in Gujarat
- Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh,
- Mahakaleswar in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh,
- Viswanath in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh,
- Aundha Nagnath in Hingoli, Maharashtra,
- Kedarnath in Uttrakhand,
- Bhimashankar in Pune, Maharashtra,
- Grushneshwar in Ellora, Maharashtra
- Tryambakeshwar in Nashik, Maharashtra,
- Vaijyanath Temple in Parli, Maharashtra,
- Rameshwar in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu
- Mallikarjuna in Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh
Somnath temple in Gujarat is one of the most important jyotirlingas because the Jyotirlinga pilgrimage should start from his site. Located in Saurashtra, Gujarat, the Somnath temple has seen bloodshed and tussle for power, destroyed and then rebuilt again and again.
The Kedarnath jyotirlinga is also part of the revered char dhams (four supreme holy sites) of the Hindu religion. It is one of the most important jyotirlingas because it is seen to be closest to the God’s home in Mount Kailash.
The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga in Ujjain, Madhya Prdesh is the only swayambhu temple among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The temple has a few other unique features. It faces south and and houses a Shree Rudra Yantra. The Nageshvara Jyotirlinga in Dwarka, Gujarat finds mention in the ancient holy book of Shiva Purana.
The Rameswaram temple in Tamil Nadu is the southernmost Jyotirlinga shrine of India. It also houses the Rameśvara pillar. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple located in Uttar Pradesh is another major pilgrimage site for Hindus. Located in the holy city of Varanasi, the temple stands at Ganges’ Western bank.
The 12 Jyotirlinga represent the Best Religious Tourism in India. Whether you are a devotee or just interested in the religion, visiting at least a few of these temples is a must.