Devan worshipped Siva at this spot to rid himself of the curse of Daksha.
Chandra Devan is considered to have built this temple & hence the
name Somanathar to the Lord. Chandran fell in love with Rohini, one of the daughters
of Dakshan. But Dakshan wanted to give all his daughters in marraige to one able
& loving person, who would treat all his daughters equally. Chandran got married
to all, but his love for Rohini was too great & the other daughters complained
to their father. Dakshan cursed Chandran to dwindle in power & beauty. When
Chandran begged forgiveness, Dakshan said that only prayers to Lord Shiva could
free him of the curse. Chandran came to Somanath & prayed to Lord Siva, doing
penance for about 4,000 years. Lord Siva appeared & said that he could not
fully absolve him of the curse. Instead, he would wane in 15 days, but would grow
again. This is the story said for the waxing & waning of the moon, producing
new moon & full moon.
When Siva and Parvathi decided to find suitable brides for their
sons, Ganesha and Muruga argued as to who is to get wedded first. Lord Siva bade
that the one who goes round the world in Pradakshinam could get married first.
By the time Lord Muruga could go round the world on his vahana, Lord Ganesha went
round his parents 7 times (for according to Sastras, going in pradakshinam round
one's parents is equivalent to going once round the world (Boopradakshinam). Lord
Siva got Siddhi & Buddhi, the daughtersof Viswaroopan married to Lord Ganesha.
Muruga on his return was enraged and went away to stay alone on Mount Kravunja
in the name of Kumarabrahmachari. On seeing his father coming over to pacfy him,
he tried to move to another place, but on the request of the Devas, stayed closeby.
The place where Lord Siva and Parvathi stayed came to be known as Sri Sailam.
Lord Siva visits Lord Muruga on Amavasai day & Parvathi Devi on Pournami.
The temple is situated facing East. The centre mandapam has sveral pillars,
with a huge idol of Nadikeswarar
The theertam opposite the Mahakaleshwarar temple is known as Koditheertham
& it is said that the colour of the waters of this theertham keeps changing.
The Moola lingam is very small & is located underground. The lingam in the
top level is called Ongareshwarar. The Kali Devi who gave darshan to Vikramaditya
is known by the name Harasiddhi Matha.
There once lived a brahmin in Avanti,
who had four sons, who were great devotees of Lord Siva. Dushanan, a demon was
giving trouble, disturbing all good & religious activities. The brahmins from
all over the land gathered with the four sons & performed pooja to Lord Siva.
The spot where they had taken mud to make the Lingam had become a huge pond. When
Dushanan came to disturb their pooja, Lord Siva rose from this pond as Mahakaleshwarar
& destoryed Dushanan. On the request of the brahmins, Lord Siva gave darshan
to devotees at this sthalam, one of the Jyotir Linga sthalams.
The Jyotir Lingam split into two, and there are
two Siva lingams, Omkareswarar & Amaleshwarar (Amareshwarar).
was a great Emperor of the Ishvaku clan who ruled this land. He did great penance
in this land & there is an ashram called Mandhata ashram here.
and all powerful jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva is at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. There
Lord Shiva came in the form of Mahakal out of the linga that split and killed
the demon. Therefore all those who pray to this linga will never fear death and
if their faith is true they will be out of the chakra of life and death.
Omkareshawar temple is built in the North Inidan style of architecture, with high
spires. Devotees consider worship to Panchamuga Ganesha, to be very auspicious.
There is a shrine for Annapoorani. Siva Lingas of various sizes are sold in great
numbers in this place. It is said that once, sage Naradar during his visit to
the Vindyas, sang the praise of mount Meru to Mount Vindhya. On hearing this,
Mount Vindhya prayed to Lord Siva to gain in importance. Lord Siva blessed him
& appeared here as Omkareshwarar & Amaleshwarar and gave the boon of grwoing,
but without hindering Siva devotees. But the Vindhyas did not stop growing, and
even obstructed the sun and the moon. Sage Agasthyar subdued its growth by saying
it should not grow till he gets back there. He never went back & hence the
growth was arrested. Omkareshwar is situated on the Mandhata hills in Madhya Pradesh,
known in ancient times as Shivpuri. The temple dates back to the Krita Yuga. River
Narmada flows here around the Mandhata hill in the form of an Om (Omkaram).
BAIDYANATH DHAM / VAIDYANATHAM
legend of Vaidyanathan goes something like this. The demon lord from the Ramayan,
the devout Ravana meditated hard in order to invoke Lord Shiva, and requested
him to come over to Sri Lanka, in order that his capital may become invincible.
It is said that he attempted to lift the holy mountain, Lord Shiva's abode, Mount
Kailash and take it with him to his capital; however Shiva crushed him with his
finger, and Ravana prayed to him and sought his mercy, after which Shiva gave
him one of the twelve Jyotirlingams with the condition that if it was placed on
the ground it would take root immediately and hence Ravana had to carry it back
on his trek to his capital. Varuna the God of water, entered Ravana's belly, and
caused him to feel the need to relieve himself.Vishnu then came down in the form
of a lad and volunteered to hold the Jyotirlingam as he relieved himself. But
before Ravana could return, the young lad placed the jyotirlingam on the ground
to which it became rooted. A disappointed Ravana offered severe penances to Shiva
here, and cut off nine of his heads as a part of his repentance. Shiva revived
him and joined the heads to the body, like a Vaidya or a physician; hence this
Jyotirlingam goes by the name Vaidyanath. The same legend holds at Gokarnam in
is located at Bhuvanagiri village in Puna district of Maharashtra. River Bhima
has its source here.
This temple in the Nagara style is an old and not a very
large structure. The jyotir Lingam is situated on top of the Sahyadri hill temple.
Lord Siva is considered to be taking rest here after the Trpurantaka samharam.
The sweat drops of Lord Siva were converted as steam & are running as Bhimarati.
New structures have been added. There are two idols of Nandideva. One idol is
old, while the other is of fairly recent addition. There is a theertham &
a well behind the temple structure. The Bhimashankarar Lingam measures around
one and a half feet & quite narrow. The Goddess is worshipped as Kamalaja.
the Maratha ruler had made rich endowments for the maintenance of the temple.
The moola lingam is at a lower level. There is another temple at Guwahati in Assam
known as the Bhimshankaram and there is a belief that this is the real Bhimashankaram.
Bhima was an asura, son of Kumbakarnan & Karkadi. On hearing that his grandfather,
uncles & father had been killed by a brahmin & kings, he set out to destroy
them. He undertook severe penance & got immense might and power from Lord
Brahma. King Priyadarman of Kamarupa was also put under prison. Priyadarman &
his wife Dakshinadevi prayed sincerely to Lord SIva everyday. Fearing that they
would overcome him, Bhima asked them to stop their prayers. When they refused,
he set out to kill them. Lord Siva rose out of the Lingam that they had been worshipping
& slayed Bhima. On the request of the Devas, Lord Siva resides here under
the namam Bhimashankarar.
at Rameshvaram, besides being considered a Dhama, is also one of the twelve sacred
Jyotir Linga sites. These sites, located throughout the sub-continent of India,
are where the god Shiva is said to have manifested as a towering column of fire.
The jyotirlingam was worshipped by Lord Rama to atone the sin of killing Ravana.
Hanuman flew to bring the Linga from Kailasa, for Lord Rama to wroship. As it
was getting late, Rama worshipped the Lingam that was made of sand by Sita Devi.
This Lingam worshipped by Lord Rama is known as Ramanathar. When Hanuman returned
he was disappointed that his Lord had not used the Lingam that he had brought.
Lord Rama pacified Hanuman & named this Lingam Kasi Viswanathar. Devotees
have to worship Kasi Viswanathar before worshipping Ramanathar.
is located at the extreme south eastern point of the Indian peninsula. The Sethu
(Bridge) was constructed to link this land to Lanka for the Varnarams to reach
Lanka. This island temple resembles the Panchajanya (Vishnu's conch) and like
the Tamil letter 'OM'.
Rameswaram is famous for the many teerthams. There
are a total of 51 teerthams, 22 of them situated within the temple. Pilgrimage
is considered complete with a bath in the Agni teertham. These waters are considered
to have medicinal qualities.
It is the custom to worship at Dhanushkodi before
going to Rameshwaram. Several spots in this island are associated with Lord Rama.
The Kothandarama temple stands at the spot where Vibeeshanan sought refuge to
NAGANATH / NAGESHWAR
is located near Dwaraka, on the way to Beti Dwaraka. There once lived a rakshasa
called Daruka, who was extremely cruel and tortured the good ones. But yet he
was a great devotee of Lord Siva. A Siva devotee, Supriya who was a merchant reached
the Darukavanam, where Daruka lived with his wife Daruki, while sailing with his
Daruka asked Supriya to teach him the path of devotion to Siva, the
norms of performing pooja and penance. Fearing that Daruka would use any additional
powers gained by such penance, to bad use, Supriya refused to guide him. The enraged
Daruka began to torture Supriya. Supriya however was staunch is his faith in the
Lord and was unmoved by any torture. Lord Siva was pleased and appeared and killed
the demon Daruka. Daruki, Daruka's wife, now started giving even more trouble
than her husband. Siva vanquished her too and gives darshan to his devotees at
this place as Nageshwar.
The Nageswara Jyotirlingam is claimed to exist in
3 places in Dwaraka, in Audhgram, near Almora in Uttar Pradesh.
is facing South, with the Gomugam facing East. There is a story for this position.
A devotee by name Naamdev was singing bhajans in front of the Lord. Other devotees
asked him to stand aside and not hide the Lord. To this Naamdev asked them to
suggest one direction in which the Lord does not exist, so that he can stand there.
The enraged devotees carried him and left him on the southside. To their astonishment,
they found that the Linga was now facing South with the Gomugam facing East.
Kasi is amongst the
holy spots for visit by the Hindus. It is believed that a visit to Kasi ensures
liberation & hence pious Hindus seek a visit during their lifetime. The Lord
himself has declared this spot as his Royal residence. Goddess Parvathi's mother
felt ashamed that her son-in-law had no decent dwelling. To please Parvathi Devi,
Shiva asked Nikumbha to provide him with a dwelling place at Kasi.
request of Nikumbha, Aunikumbha a brahmin made Divodas construct a temple for
the Lord here. The pleased Lord granted boons to all his devotees. But Divodas
was not blessed with a son. The angered Divodas demolished the structure. Nikubha
cursed that the area would be devoid of people. When the place was emptied Lord
Siva once again took residence here permanently. The Lord along with Parvathi
Devi once again started blessing his devotees with wonderful boons. Parvathi Devi
was so pleased that she offered food (annam) to one and all and hence is worshipped
as Annapoorani. The Lord himself is seen with a bowl in his hands asking for annam
from the seated Devi at the Devi's shrine adajacent to Viswanathar's shrine. This
is considered to be one of the 52 Sakthipeedams (the place where Parvathi's left
hand fell, when her corpse was cut by Mahavishnu's sudarsana chakram).
Siva lingam is placed in a square shaped brass plated pit. Devotees are permitted
to offer worship such as abhishekam with holy ganga water, garlanding the Lord,
karpoora aarathi, etc. personally to the swaymbhu lingam.
There are several
smaller shrines around the main shrine. The head of each ghat has a Siva linga
shrine. The Lord can be seen placed on a pedestal at every location in the city,
even if there is not shrine as such. Behind the temple is situated the temple
of Dhundhiraja Ganapathi.
Triyambakeshwarar temple is located in the Triyambak town near Nasik. The temple
is in the Indo Aryan style. The temple structure with excellent adornments of
idols and sculptures is surrounded by a massive stone wall. There is a huge bull
in front of the temple & another marble Nandi is seen on the inside. The sculptural
adornments continue even to the garbagriha with human, animals and yakshas carved.
From the Jyotir Lingam at the centre of the garbagriha, trickles the Ganges continuously
throughout the year. Sometimes, it is said flames issue forth as also a rumbling
Kedarnath, at the head of the Mandakini River, is amongst the holiest pilgrimages
for the devout Hindu.
The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually
renovated over the centuries. According to legend, Lord Shiva wished to elude
the Pandavas, and took refuge in Kedar- nath in the form of a bull. On being followed,
He dived into the ground, leaving behind His hump of the surface. The hump is
worshipped in the temple of Kedarnath in the conical Shiva pinda form.The remaining
parts of the body are worshipped at four other places - The arms (Bahu) at Tungnath,
face (mukh) at Rudranath, navel (nabhi) at Madmaheshwar and hair (jata) at Kalpeshwar.
with Kedarnath, these places are known as the Panch Kedar.
The lingam at Kedarnath,
unlike its usual form, is pyramidal and is regarded as one of the 12 Jyotirlings.
* Kedarnath is situated in the Himalayan slopes in the Gharwal district of
Uttar Pradesh. The uniqueness and greatness of this temple sees mention in the
vedas, ithihaasaas, epics.
The term Kedara for the Lord denotes
who holds the holy Ganges in his matted locks & allows it to flow evenly to
It could also mean the mark that is left on the Lord's head from
the time when Arjuna got the Paasupathastram.
This shrine is located at an
elevation of 11,735 feet above sea level. The region of the Himlayas, where the
shrine is located is known by several names such as Gandhamadana parvatham, Sumera
parvatham, Pancha parvatham, etc. (Pancha parvatham, for this is the spot of five
sacred peaks namely Rudra Himalayas, Vishnupuri, Brahmapuri, Udayagiri & Swargarohini.
The exterior of the temple is rather simple, but the interior is adorned with
marvellous sculptures. In the garba griha is an irregular shaped conical rock
which is about five feet by four feet. Lord Siva in the form of jyotirlingam is
worshipped here as Lord Kedareshwar. It is believed that the jotirlingam is actually
the rump of the bull, which was the form that Lord Siva assumed, when the Pandavas
tried to reach him to atone the sins of the Kurukshetra war. Since it was not
time designated for humans to worship the Lord here, Lord Siva tried to go away
in the form of a bull. It is believed that temple structure that exists till date
was actually the one constructed by the Pandavas.
The sannadhi of the Lord
is facing South. There are the idols of Kedaragowri, Krishna, Pandavas, Draupadi,
Vinayagar, Veerabadrar, Kaarthikeyan, Nandi. The shrine is covered by snow for
6 months in a year (closed from Oct-Nov upto Apr-May). It is believed that this
is the time when the Devas are worshipping the Lord.
There is mountain path
called Sorga Vaasal, through which the Pandavas, Sankaracharyar are supposed to
have gone through. River Mandakini flows down from near this area
12 Grineshwar in Visalakam, near the Ellora caves, Maharashtra state.
has to be legend associated with every temple. This one too is no exception. There
was once a devout woman Kusuma who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva and she
regularly immersed 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 Kusuma 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 ever since then the shivalingam here has been worshipped in the form of a
Jyotir Lingam exists at Devagiri near Ellora.
The Lord is known by several names - Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, Grushmeswara,
Grishneswara There once lived a pious brahmin & his wife. He was a great devotee
of Siva. He was not blessed with a son. At the persuasion of his family, he got
married to Kusuma, in order to give him a son. Kusuma was an even greater devotee
of Lord Siva. Everyday she would make one Siva Linga, worship it and then immerse
it in the temple tank. Soon she was blessed with boy baby. The first wife was
seeting with jealousy & ill treated Kusuma. Putting all her faith in the Lord,
Kusuma bore all the sufferings humbly. When the boy grew older, they planned his
wedding. The jealous first wife killed the boy with an axe. Kusuma was deeply
grieved, yet did not stop her daily worship of Lord Siva. She continued to make
the Lingam, worshipped & immersed it in the tank. To the surprise of one and
all, her son rose out of the water one day, coming back to life.
apperaed before them & blessed them. He declared that he would give darshan
to devotees in his Jyotir Linga swarupam at the same spot where Kusuma immersed
This Jyotir Lingam is considered to exist in two places, one
at Devagiri near Ellora & the other at the Kailasa temple at Ellora.