The 12 Jyothirlinga shrines, popularly known as the Dwadasa Jyothirlinga shrines are considered to be the divine places by the Hindus. The Jyothirlinga temples have a rich tradition and each temple has a legend attached to it.
According to Shiva Purana once Brahma and Vishnu started fighting over who was the Supreme Being. Suddenly, there appeared a Shivalinga before them as a huge column of fire. Both of them decided to find the one end each. Whoever returns first would be acknowledged as supreme. Brahma, in the form of a swan, flew upwards. Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and went down. Brahma had returned and lied that he has discovered the end of the pillar, but Vishnu admitted that he had not. Shiva then appeared as a Jyothirlinga and cursed Brahma, telling him that he would have no place in the ceremonies, though Vishnu would be worshipped until the end of eternity. The Jyothirlinga shrines (the Jyothirlinga being the supreme indivisible reality from which Shiva appears) commemorate and consecrate this time when Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light.
It was believed that there were originally sixty-four Jyothirlinga, twelve of these being considered to be especially auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve Jyothirlinga sites takes the name of the presiding deity and each is considered a separate manifestation of Shiva.
12 Jyothirlinga Shrines:
· Vaidyanath Jyothirlinga in Parali (Maharashtra)
· Nageswar Jyothirlinga in Darukavanam (Gujarat)
· Kedareswar Jyothirlinga in Kedarnath / Himalayas (Uttar Pradesh)
· Tryambakeswar Jyothirlinga in Nasik (Maharashtra)
· Rameshwar Jyothirlinga in Setubandanam / Rameshwaram (Tamilnadu)
· Bhimashankar Jyothirlinga in Dakini (Maharashtra)
· Visweswar Jyothirlinga in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and
· Ghrishneswar Jyothirlinga in Devasrovar (Maharashtra)
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