The Jyotirlinga Shrines

 

Besides the other deities and shrines, the Siddhegvara Dhama Complex has also a complete group of the Jyotirlinga temples which are spread in the entire Siddheivara Dhama complex in U shape. They are twelve in number

What  is Jyotirlinga? It is a column .flight, which has a great sanctity attached to it being the holiest of all other types of the Shivalingas which are so commonly found in India and Nen abroad, enshrined in the temples.As to the genesis of the Jyotirlinga, one has to peep into the Puranas, which provide the requisite episode relating to the origin of the same. According to a legend in the Shiva Purana, once there arose a quarrel between Brahma and Vishnu in which both of them claimed superiority over each other, being the creator of the universe. Brahma did not accept the views of Vishnu, as a result of which the controversy was aggravated.


When both of them were so engaged in the controversy, there appeared a huge column of fire resembling the great cosmic fire with hundreds of tongues of flames emerging out of it. Both Brahma and Vishnu were totally surprised at the sight of the column of fire. Discarding their quarrel abruptly, they both thought to find out the end of the top and bottom of the column of fire and for that purpose Brahma assuming the form of a swan (hamsa) flew up towards the top, while Vishnu, taking to the form of a boar burrowed down into the earth. The efforts of both of them to discover the reality about the pillar of fire proved unsuccessful and they both came to realize that there was certainly a force greater than both of them, whose beginning and end, they were unable to find out. Having been unsuccessful, both of them approached the column of fire and started praising it. At this, lord Shiva, appeared before them both with a thousand arms and legs with the sun, moon and fire as his three eyes, carrying a Pinaka bow. He was clad in elephant hide and carried a trident, wearing a sacred thread of the snakes. His voice resembled the thunder of millions of clouds, or the sound of a big drum. He said to both of them, "Both of you are born of me. Brahma has emerged from my right loin and Vishnu from the left loin. All the three of us are one, in reality, but have been separated into three aspects viz:- Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva." After speaking these words Shiva then disappeared from the scene. Both Brahma and Vishnu then worshipped the column of fire which came to be known as Jyotirlinza, thereafter its worship came into practice from that day onwards.

 


Somanatha Temple


(The backgzound) This is the first Jyotirlinga temple as per the scriptures, and is related to the Mcoon god. Daksa Prajapati had married his twenty one daughters to the Moon god, but he was attracted towards Rohini the most, in preference to others. These neglected daughters complained to their father against the Moon, but his advice had no effect and the Moon god failed to change his ways. Daksa therefore, cursed The Moon god did so as advised and worshipped lord Shiva who was pleased with him.Then Shiva said, “in fortnight you will get reduced by a digit and in the next fortnigh.t you will go on increasing in the same sequence."

 

The Historical aspect of the ancient temple

The ancient temple of Somanatha is a beautiful structure, which was destroyed many times by the foreign invaders but it was rebuilt many times. According to historical annals, the Somanatha temple was located over the shores of ocean and was washed daily by the oceanic waves. The wonder of the place was that the idol was hanging in the middle of the temple, without any support for it from below or above. It was held in hi highest honor among the Hindus and whosoever saw it floating in the air was struck with amazement, irrespective of his being a Hindu or of other faith. The Hindus visited the place on the day of lunar eclipse in hundreds and thousands. The ebb and the flow of the oceanic waves was considered to be the worship paid by the ocean to the image. However, the hanging Shivalinga is no more to be seen presently there, which has been replaced by another one, having been consecrated subsequently

 

Replica of Somanatha at Solophok
A replica of the Somanatha temple has been built at Siddheivara Dhama at Solophok in which a stone label is fixed in the interior wall, which highlights the glory of the Jyotirlinga, which compares well with the original one at Somanatha. Daily puja at the temple is performed by the temple priest, both in the morning as well as in the eveninz. The visitors or devotees can offer prayers at the temple during the prescribed hours. A hooded snake rises above the Jyotirlinga covering it at the same time.


Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga (Location of Ancient Temple)


This Jyotirlinga temple is lodged over the Shri Shaila mountain in Karnool District of Andhra Pradesh.
The Background
According to a legend, Kumara Kartikeya, the son of lord Shiva, the killer of Tarakasura — the demon, after going round the globe returned to Kailash when Narada informed him about the marriage of Ganesha and also incited him against his parents. On hearing this, Kumara, offering his salutation to his parents, left for the Kraunch mountain for living there, much against the wishes of his parents.
After the departure of Kumara, Parvati felt painful at heart and was inconsolable, in spite of the words of Shiva spoken to comfort her. She continued to suffer from mental agony. Then lord Shiva asked the divine sages to go to Kumara and comforting him, get him back. The efforts of the sages were of no use, who returned and informed Shiva accordingly. Then the agonized parents went to the place of Kumara. But when Kumara came to know of the arrival of his parents, he at once left the place and retired three yojanas deeper in the forest.
After the departure of Kumara from the Kraunch mountain, both of them took to the form of a flame and halted at the Kraunch mountain. Because of their love for their son, both Shiva and Parvati visited the place of their son, in order to have a look at him. While Shiva visited the place of Kumara on the moonless day, Parvati did so on the full-moon day.

 

Replica of Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga Solophok

 

A replica of the Mallikarjuna Temple has been built at Siddheivara Dhama, Solophok, Namchi, in which a Jyotirlinga in black stone has been installed, which compares well with the one found in the ancient shrine at Shrisailam. A bilingual stone plaque inscribed in the interior wall of the shrine highlights the glory of the place. The Jyotirlinga can be worshipped by the visitors during the opening tic le of the temple. A five hooded snake in silver is coiled around the Jyotirlinga and raises the hoods at its top.


Mahakala Jyotirlinga (The background. )


This Jyotirlinga is quite famous because lord Shiva appeared in this case, to kill a demon known as Dushana in order to save his devotee named Devapriya, at Avanti (modern Ujjain) who was immensely devoted to lord Shiva and adored him daily. Arsund the same time, a Rakshasa named Dushana lived over the Ratnamala mountain in the vicinity of the same place. The Rakshasa, having received a boon from lord Brahma, became arrogant and cared for no one. He even drove out the gods from their abodes, after defeating them. He in due course of time became envious to the city and people of Avanti. In order to destroy Avanti, he deputed four of his powerful Rakshasas to destroy the town. There also lived a noble Brahrnana known by the name of Kalapriya at Avanti. The demon chief ordered the Rakshasas to surround the Brahmanas from all sides and kill them. The Brahman as remained peaceful and calm inspite of the attack from the demons and continued the worship of lord Shiva. They had full faith that lord Shiva would protect them from the demons. At the same time, the demons surrounded the entire city and were about the attack when, the people of the city rushed to the Brahmanas for help who remained peaceful and advised the people to follow the same and continue to worship lord Shiva. They assured the people that lord Shiva would surely protect them.
After some time the demon chief Dushana arrived there and commanded that the Brahmanas should be enslaved by the demon warriors. When the demon army attacked the Brahmanas they continued to perform homa in a fire altar. Suddenly, lord Shiva appeared from the fire altar in the form of Mahakala and announced to the Raksasas, "I am Mahakala and have arrived here to protect the Brahmanas and other people. You at once move away or otherwise you would get destroyed." On hearing this all the Brahmanas bowed in reverence to the 1 rd, lowering their heads. The demon Dushana was then destroyed and his demon army took to flight in panic. The people then prayed to lord Shiva to stay at the place forever. The lord granted their wish and stayed there ever since, as Mahakala.
There is another story relating to the same Mahakala Jyotirlinga in which an innocent cowherd boy plays an active role. According to that story, a fatherless gopa boy was once walking towards his home with his mother, when the mother

 


Omkareshvara jyotirlinga


Once sage Narada,worshipped the Shiva linga at a spot near Gokarna tirtha. Thereafter, he reached the Vindhya Mountain, where he also adored lord Shiva with great devotion. The Vindhya
Mountain then appeared before Narada, with the pride in his mind, that he possessed all the fortunes. But Narada paid little attention to him. At this, Vindhya realized that Narada was not quite happy with him. Therefore, he enquired from him about the cause of his indifference. Narada then replied, "You possess everythin:, no doubt, but Sumeru Mountain is surely better and higher than you are. Therefore, he has been classified as a god whereas you possess no such privilege." After speaking thus, Narada left the place.

 

Then Vindhya worshipped lord Shiva at Omkareshvara mountain, where a Shivalinga had been consecrated. Reaching there, he made another Shivalinga in a day and adored it for six months. Lord Shiva was pleased with Vindhya and appeared before him and asked him to seek for a boon. Then Vindhya said, "In case you are pleased with me then bestow wisdom on me to enable me to get my task established?'
On hearing these words of Vindhya, lord Shiva understood that Vindhya was seeking boon from him in order to cause pain to others. Still, the lord granted Vindhya, the best of the boon, pleasing him at the same time. Thereafter, all the gods prayed to lord Shiva to stay there permanently, for the benefit of the people. The lord agreed to the proposal of the sales and the place became sacred thereafter.
Then Omkareshvara Shivalinga was divided into two parts, as a result of which Shiva was lodged at Omkareshvara and the Parthiva-linga or the Shivalinga of clay came to be known as Parameshyara. Both the Jyotirlingas fulfil the desires of the devotees and are worshipped by the people.

 

The Replica of Omkareshvara Templt, Siddhesvara Dhama

The replica of the Omkareshvara Temple of Mandhata has been built at th Siddhdvara Dhama, Solophok, in which a Jyotirlinga resembling the ori:inal on at Mandhata has been enshrined. A bilingual plaque has been displayed over th-interior wall of the temple here. The worship of the Shivalinga is performed twic a day and devotees can visit the temple during the prescribed time


Kedaresvara Jyotirlinga (The background)


According to Shiva Mahapurana, once Nara-Narayana, the twin incarnations of Vishnu, performed penance at Badarikashrama in Bharatavarsha. Lord Shiva in order to accept their worship of Parthiva or Earthen Shivalinga, arrived there daily, since the lord is believed to be subservient to his devotees. Both Nara and Narayana worshipped lord Shiva there with devotion f r a long time. Once the delighted lord said to them, "I am pleased with your devotion. You ask for a boon."
At the command of lord Shiva, both of them spoke to the lord keeping in view the welfare of the world as a whole. Both of them said, "0 Lord, in case you are pleased with us and are desirous of giving us a boon, then you kindly stay here forever to enable the people to worship you here, daily." At the request of both of them, lord Shiva established himself there at the snow clad mountain of Kedarnatha in the form of a Jyotirlinga. The Jyotirlinga is believed to remove all the dangers, pains and sufferings of the devotees, who have an audience with the Shivalinga there.
The epic of Mahabharata testifies that the Pandavas accompanied with the sage Lomash, and other Rishis visited the Gandamadana mountain in search of Arjuna, where Nara-Narayana had performed the tapas.

 

Kedarnatha. Jyotirilinga temple, Siddhesvara Dhama

A replica of the Kedaresvara temple has been raised at the Siddhesvara Dhama, Solophok, the Jyotirlinga of which compares well with the original Jyotirlinga at the ancient temple at Kedarnatha. It gives the impression of its having the natural formation. Besides that, two bilingual sign boards highlight in the importance of the shrine are found placed over

 


Bhima Shankara Jyotirlinga (Location)


This temple is located at a distance of over a hundred kms. east of Mumbai, towards Pune. From Pune it is located at a distance of nearby 65 kms. over the bank of the river Ithima. The place of Bhima Shankara is located over a hilltop, and one has to pass through the forest to reach it. On the day of Shivaratri a large number of people visit the place. The place can also be approached from Nashik. This temple is said to have been renovated by Nana Phadnavis over the site of an ancient temple. The entire temple had been in damaged condition, which was built in black stone. It is a plain solid structure with a vaulted roof. The mandapa houses a Nandi built in a rough stone. In the temple, there is a metal cast which represents five faced Shiva or Bhima Shankara.
According to a story in the Shiva Mahapurana, it is stated that the Jyotirlinga of Bhima Shankara is located in the Kamarupa district of Assam, on North-Eastern Railway, near Guwahati over the Brahmapur mountain peak.

 

Bhima Shankara Temple  at Siddhesvara Dhama

 

A replica of thima Shankara Jyotirlinga temple has been built at the Siddhevara Dhama, Solophok. The Jyotirlinga enshrined there compares well with the original one of Bhima Shankara, which is made in black stone. The pithika however is circular in shape and is made in the white marble. Two bilingual sign boards highlighting the importance of the Jyotirlinga have been provided in the interior wall of the temple. The devotees can perform worship in the temple at the prescribed hours. A silver snake coils around the Jyotirlinga, raising its seven hoods above the same

 


Vishvesvara Jyotirlinga, Varanasi. (Location)


The Vishvesvara Jyotirlinga stands installed in the holy city e f Kashi or Varanasi, which is quite a popular place of pilgrimage in Uttar Pradesh.


The Background


Accordin to the Shiva Mahapurana, once goddess Parvati, pleasantly requested lord Shiva to enlighten her about the importance of the city of Varanasi. At this lord Mahadeva replied, "Varanasi is the mysterious shrine, which bestows salvation to the people in every respect. This holy place is located within a radius of five kosas known as Avimukta ksetr . Kashi always remains stable and bestows salvation to the people. The present Vishvesvara temple is located to the north of Kashi, the foundation of which is said to have been laid by lord Shiva himself. The ancient temple of Vishvesvara which had been of great antiquity was destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and a mosque was built at the original site. The present temple was built close to the original one, by the Maharani Ahalya Bai of Indore, close to the ancient temple sites, the remains of which can still be found scattered around the present temple. Subsequently a golden Kalasha was added to the new temple by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. Besides, Svami Karpatriji also built another Vishvanatha temple over the bank of the river Ganga.

 

Vishvesvara Jyotirlinga temple, Solophok

 


A replica of the Vishvesvara Jyotirlinga temple has been built at the Siddhegvara Dhama Complex at Solophok, Namchi. The Jyotirlinga is of black stone which resembles the original one at Varanasi. The inscribed plaques with bi-lingual labels have been provided in the interior walls of the temple. the pilgrims can worship the Jyotirlinga here during the prescribed hours, in this temple
A square enclosure has been provided around the Jyotirlinga on the same apttern as at Varanasi

 


Tryambakeshvara Jyotirlinga (The location)


The Tryambakeshvara Jyotirlinga is located in the Nashik district of Maharashtra. On the Central Railway, there is a Nashik Road Railway station Panchavati is located at a distance of nearby ten kms from Nashik. This is the place where Lakshmana is said to have severed the nose and ears of Surpanakha — the sister of Ravana. Sita was kidnapped from the same place. The temple is located nearly thirty kms from Panchavati. There is the Brahmagiri mountain, which is the starting point of the sacred river Godavari and is considered as auspicious as the river Ganga. Ganga is said to have been brought on earth by Bhagiratha, Godavari is said to have been brought on earth with the tapas of the sage Gautama.


The background


In the ancient time, there had been a great sage, Gautama who had a chaste wife known by the name of Ahalya. He is said to have performed tapas in the southern region of Brahmagiri mountain for many years. Once there was no rainfall on earth for a hundred years, as a result of which all the living beings suffered badly. Not a single green leaf could be seen on earth. There was an unprecedented drought. Gautama, therefore, performed severe tapas, which pleased lord Varuna, who appeared before him and desired him to seek a boon. Gautama prayed to Varuna for rainfall, to quench the thirst of the living beings. Instead of the rainfall Varuna asked Gautama to dig a pit which would be filled by him with the everlasting water and would never get dried up. Gautama did so and the pit was filled with water, which never dried up. With the use of that water, Gautama started farming in his ashrama, and soon, plenty of grains were available with him. The other ascetics from far off places soon started arriving there and Gautama served them well and extended all the hospitality to them at all times.


Gradually, those ascetics became envious of the sage Gautama and conspired against him. Playing a trick, they blamed him of the killing of a cow and for that purpose Gautama with his wife was asked to perform tapas for Shiva for long. This pleased lord Shiva, who appeared before Gautama and asked him to seek a boon. The lord also informed Gautama, about the trick the ascetics had played on him. But Gautama prayed to lord Shiva to forgive the ascetics who had cheated him and further prayed Shiva to stay there with Ganga forever. Lord Shiva granted the wish of Gautama. Thereafter, Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlinga and Ganga in the form of Godavari were lodged in the pit and the river started flowing for the benefit of the people.

 

Tryambakeshvara temple, Solophok

 


A beautiful temple of Tryambakeshvara has been built at the Siddhegvara Dhama, Solophok, the Jyotirlinga of which compare well with the one in the ancient Tryambakeshvara temple at Nashik. The bilingual sign boards highlighting the glory of the deity have been provided in the interior wall of the temple. The visitors can make their offerings and perform puja here during the prescribed hours.

 


Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga (The Background)


This Jyotirlinga is said to be related to Ravana - the King of Lanka, who once performed severe tapas for Shiva, in which he cut off his own nine heads on nine consecutive days. On the tenth day when he was about to cut off his tenth head, Shiva appeared before him and asked Ravana to seek a boon. He at the same time restored all his severed heads. Then Ravana begged of him saying, "Kindly allow me to carry you to Lanka." But Shiva advised Ravana, to carry his Shivalinga to Lanka. Saying this the lord gave him a Shivalinga and also cautioned him, that in case the Shivalinga was placed on the ground, on his way back home, then it would get fixed there and could never be removed from that place. Thereafter, Ravana moved towards Lanka carrying the Shivalinga with him. On the way, he developed a desire to ease himself. He could not stop the urge but at the same time he could not place the Shivalinga on the ground. Suddenly he found a cowherd passing by that way. He called him and handed over the Shivalinga to him with the request that he should never place it on the ground. Ravana took excessive time to relieve himself. In the meantime, the cowherd who felt quite uneasy with the weight of the Shivalinga made of diamond, quickly placed it over the ground and quietly left the place. On the other hand the Shivalinga, on touching the ground got stuck there. Ravana on his return found the Shivalinga could not be moved inspite of his best efforts. The said Shivalinga could remove all the sins and grant all the desires with a mere look at it. The same Shivalinga came to be known as the Vaidyanatha, which bestows salvation.

 

The Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga temple at Solophok

 

A modern temple of Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga has been built at Siddhegvara Dhama, Solophok, the Shivalinga of which is installed in the temple and resembles the one found at the ancient temple of Vaidyanatha. There is a circular enclosure made of white marble, around the Jyotirlinga which is of black colour. The pilgrims can visit the shrine during the prescribed hours and worship the deity making the offerings to the same.

 


Nageshvara Jyotirlinga (The location)


It is believed that there are three Nageshvara Jyotirlinga temples, one of them is in Gujarat nearly seven kms. from Dvaraka, which is quite popular with the people of the western region. Another Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is located in Avodh in Andhra Pradesh. There is a branch line of Railways from Purna Junction to Hingoli. Avodh village is lo sated at about 20 kms, from Chandani Railway station. While some people believe that Nageshvara temple is located at a distance of twenty kilometers from Almora

 

The Background
According to Shiva Purana, there was  trader known by the name of Supriya, who was a great devotee of lord Shiva. Once when he was proceeding on a voyage in a boat, a demon suddenly arrived and attacked the boat. He captured those who were travelling in the boat and carried them to his place and put them in prison, including Supriya. In the prison also the trader continued to ad re Shiva. The demon .n coming to know about the trader worshipping lord Shiva, arrived there and ordered all the people to be killed. But Supriya remained undisturbed from the threat of the demon. He kept on eulogizing Shiva, who appeared at a high place in the form of a Jyotirlinga. He handed over his Pashupat to the trader and disappeared. Supriya, after killing all the demons with Pashupat weapon, proceeded on to the place of Shiva. As per the command of Shiva, the Jyotirlinga was given the name of Nagesha.


Nagesiwara Temple, Solophok

 

A temple of Nageshvara Jyotirlinga has been built at the Siddhegvara Dhama, Soloph tk, the Jyotirlinga of which compares well with the ancient one at Dvaraka. A bilingual stone plaque has been provided over the interior wall of the temple, which highlights the importance of the shrine. A seven hooded snake coils the Jyotirlinga, raising its hoods at the top of it.


 

Rameshvara Jyotirlinga (Location)


The Rameshvaram temple was built over the eastern coast of the island of Rameshvaram, in Tamil Nadu, which has a great history of construction. The buildings are very large surr unded by a high wall on four sides. The main temple at Rameshvaram was built in A.D. 1414. The entire temple construction extends over a period of 350 years and is endowed almost exclusively by the Sethupati family (or the architects and builders).


The Background


The Jyotirlinga temple at Rameshvaram as per tradition, was built by Shri Rama, the son of Dasharatha, the King of Ayodhya, in order to worship Shiva, before crossing the bridge over the ocean which was built at his command by the monkeys to reach Lanka, in order to rescue Sita, who had been kidnapped by Ravana. For more details the chapter on four Dhamas in this work may be consulted.

 

The Rameshvara Jyotirlinga at Solophok

 

A replica temple of  Rameshvara has been built in the Siddhelvara Dhama C.mplex at Solophok. The Jyotirlinga enshrined in the new temple, resembles the one found at Rameshvaram. The pitha of the temple is square, the centre in which the Shivalinga is installed. A circular enclosure in marble stone appears around the Jyotirlinga. The devotees can offer worship in the temple during the prescribed hours of the temple. A seven hooded serpent coils the Jyotirlinga, raising its hoods at the top of the linga. Another Jyotirlinga has the decoration of gold akin to the ancient Rameshvara temple, with two other goddesses.


Ghushmesvara Jyotirlinga (Location)


The temple of Ghushmesvara Jyotirlinga is located in the vincinity of Virulgaon, nearly eighteen kms. from Daulatabad in Maharashtra.


The Ancient temple


The old temple of Ghushmesvara was renovated by Maharani Ahalya Bai Holkar who ruled from A.D. 1765 to 1795. The elegant temple has a fine style and has the influence of Muslim architecture in its renovation, so commonly found in the contemporary structures of the period. It stands over a platform of 85 feet by 60 feet. Its pillared sabhamandapa is twenty five feet square from inside, with three porches, on three of its sides, which provides entrance to the shrine. On three sides the hall is surrounded by low screen wall over which stand eight columns, supporting the roof, while four more are attached to the back wall. Four other pillars stand in the middle of the floor on a slightly raised platform, making a total of sixteen pillars in all, which are arranged in four rows. These columns have square moulded base. Their shafts are square and plain to about half their heights. But a few octagonal mouldings are introduced under a thick square member sculptured on each side with small group of figures. The temple is quite an impressive one.

 

Ghushmesvara Jyotirlinga temple, Solophok

 

The Ghushmesvara temple has also been erected in the Siddhegvara Dhama Complex at Solophok, the Jyotirlinga of which is comparable with the one in the ancient temple. The jyotirlinga, installed in a pitha is in black stone which is enclosed with a circular enclosure, of white marble. The people can worship the jyotirlinga during the prescribed times, and make offerings of flowers etc. to the deity. The two engraved stone slabs fixed to the interior walls of the temple, highlight the glory of the jyotirlinga.