INDIA – THE COUNTRY OF TEMPLES
- THE COUNTRY OF WORSHIP
- THE COUNTRY OF GODS
- MY COUNTRY
TEMPLES TO VISIT IN INDIA
Bhimashankar in the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra contains a Jyotirlinga shrine associated with Shiva destroying the demon Tripurasura. There is also a Bhimashankara temple at Kashipurnear Nainital, which was referred to as Daakini country in ancient days. It is believed that Bhima the Pandava prince was married to Hidamba, a Daakini here. Mahashivaratri is celebrated in great splendour here too. This temple also has shrines to Bhairavanath and Devi, and a temple tank by name Shivaganga.
Grishneshwar is an ancient pilgrimage site revered as the abode of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva. It is located at a distance of 11 km from Daulatabad near Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Daulatabad was once known as Devagiri. Located nearby are the popular tourist attractions Ellora - featuring ancient rock cut monuments from the 1st millennnium CE, and Ajanta known for its exquisite cave paintings again from the 1st millennium CE. The Grishneswar temple was constructed by Ahilyabhai Holkar who also re-constructed the Kasi Viswanatha temple at Benares and the Vishnu Paada temple at Gaya. Grishneshwar is also known as Ghushmeshwar.
Legend has it that a devout woman Kusuma offered worship to Shiva regularly by immersing 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 Ksuma 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 then on is believed to have been worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlinga Ghusmeshwar.
Somnath is traditionally considered the first pilgrimage site: the Dwadash Jyotirlinga pilgrimage begins with the Somnath Temple. The temple, that was destroyed and re-built sixteen times, is held in reverence throughout India and is rich in legend, tradition, and history. It is located at Prabhas Patan (Somnath - Veraval) in Saurashtra in Gujarat.
5) MALLIKARJUNA SWAMY
Mallikarjuna, also called Srisaila, is the name of the pillar located on a mountain on the river Krishna. Srisailam, near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple that is architecturally and sculpturally rich. Adi Shankara composed his Sivananda Lahiri here.
Mahakal, Ujjain (or Avanti) in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple. The Lingam at Mahakal is believed to be Swayambhu, the only one of the 12 Jyotirlingams to be so. It is also the only one facing south and also the temple to have a Shree Yantra perched upside down at the ceiling of the Garbhagriha (where the Shiv Lingam sits).It is one place where Shakti peeta and Jyotirlingam are together.
Omkareshwar, the sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, 'Om', has drawn to it hundreds of generations of pilgrims. And here, as in so many of Madhya Pradesh's sacred shrines, the works of Nature complement those of man to provide a setting awe-inspiring in its magnificence.According to a legend, when Narad, the great seer, paid a visit to the deity of the Vindhya mountains, he was angry to find that there was no dwelling here suitable for Lord Shiva. Dismayed at this, the deity of these mountains subjected himself to very severe austerities. Lord Shiva was so pleased with this that he said he would make Omkareshwar one of his homes. All this happened in legendary times, long before the first historian wrote the first history of Omkareshwar.
Kedarnath in Uttarakhand is revered as the northernmost and the closest Jyotirlinga to Lord Shiva's eternal abode of Mount Kailash. Kedarnath forms a part of the smaller Char Dham pilgrimage circuit of Hinduism. Kedarnath, nestled in the snow-clad Himalayas, is an ancient shrine, rich in legend and tradition. It is accessible only by foot, and only for six months a year. It is also one of the Padal Petra Stalam of Vada Naadu mentioned in Thevaaram.
9) KASHI VISHWANATH
Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga shrine, which is perhaps the most sacred of Hindu shrines. It is also one of the Padal Petra Stalam of Vada Naadu mentioned in Thevaaram. The temple is situated in Varanasi the holiest existing place of Hindus, where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage, and if possible, also pour the remains of cremated ancestors on the River Ganges. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. It is the holiest of all Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanath or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe. The temple town, which claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history, is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
10) VAIDYANATH JYOTIRLINGA
Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga temple is located in Deogarh District in Santhal Parganas division of the state Jharkhand . In the month of Shravana millions of devotee visit the temple. Bholebaba darshan during Shravan month attracts devotees from across India and overseas.
It is believed that once Ravan worshipped Shiva for years and requested his god ( Shiva) to come to Lanka . Shiva manifested as shivaling and asked Ravan to not to put down anywhere until he takes it to Lanka. Vishnu intercepted Ravana in between and convinced him to keep it for sometime. Since then shiva resides as Vaidyanath in Deogarh.
11) NAGESHVARA JYOTIRLINGA
Nageshvara is believed as the first Jyotirlinga on the earth. There are three major shrines in India which are believed as identical to this Jyotirlinga. Those are the Jageshwar temple near Almora in Uttarakhand state, the Nageshwara temple near Dwaraka in Gujarat state and the Nagnath temple in Aundha in Maharashtra state.
Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu is home to the vast Ramalingeswarar Jyotirlinga temple and is revered as the southernmost of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of India. It enshrines the Rameśvara ("Lord of Rama") pillar. It is also one of the Padal Petra Stalam of Pandya Naadu mentioned in Thevaaram.