Maha Shiv Ratri Jyotirlingas & Indian Culture

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Shree Shiva-12 Jyotirlingas
Somanath: This temple is situated in Gujarat and is one of the first Jyotirlingas. According to Hindu mythology, Bhairavanatha at Prabhasa was worshipped by the moon, and hence Shiva here is referred to as Somanath.
Mallikarjun: Mallikarjun is situated at Sree Sailam, about 250 km From Hyderabad, near Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh. This is widely visited by Saivities and it constitutes one of the 12 Jyotirlingam shrines of Shiva. The deities here are worshiped as Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Devi).
Mahakaleshwar: The shrine of Mahakaleshwar is situated at Ujjain (or Avanti) in Madhya Pradesh. It was considered to be the capital of King Vikramaditya Chandragupta of the Gupta dynasty. According to one legend, demon Dushana beset the residents of Avanti; upon the request of the population of Avanti Lord Shiva appeared from the ground and bested the demon. Since that period Shiva took up permanent address here as Mahakaleshwara Jyotirlinga. The Maha Shivaratri Festival is celebrated here every year with much ecstasy and gaiety.
Omkareshwar: It is situated on Mandhata hill on the banks of river Narmada in M.P. There are two famous temples dedicated to Omkareshwara and Amaleshwara. There is popular belief that once upon the request of the Devas, the Shivalinga split into two, one half being Omkareshwara and the other Amaleshwara or Amareshwar. King Mandhatha of the Ishvaku clan is regarded to have worshipped as Shiva here.
Kedarnath: It is situated near Badrinath in Uttaranchal, located on the Rudra Himalaya range. This shrine is accessible to visitors only once in every 6 months because rest of the time, it is covered with snow. According to Hindu mythology, Nara and Narayana - two incarnations of Vishnu practised severe penances at Badrikashramam, in front of a Shivalingam fashioned out of earth. When Shiva appeared in front of them, they requested him to take up a permanent abode as a Jyotirlingam at Kedarnath.
Bhimashankar: It is situated near Pune, Maharashtra. According to the legend, Lord Shiva is said to have taken house in the form of Bhima, upon to the request of the Gods on the top of the Sahyadri hills. The sweat that poured forth from his body after a battle is believed to have formed the Bhimarathi River. Thus, Mahashivratri is the biggest festival celebrated here every year.
Kashi Vishwanath: It is situated in Banaras, the city believed to be devoted exclusively to Lord Shiva and is a major shakti peeth of India. There is popular belief that any human being who dies here gets a place in the heaven.
Tryambakeshwar: It is situated near Nashik in Maharashtra. In ancient history, Gowtama muni lived here with his wife - Ahalaya. By virtue of his devotion received from Varuna, a bottomless pit from which he received an inexhaustible supply of grains and food. The other rishis, jealous of his fortune, arranged for a cow to enter his granary, and caused it to die as Gowtama attempted to ward it off with a bunch of Darbha grass. Gowtama therefore worshipped Shiva, to bring the Ganga down to his hermitage to purify the premises. The Ganga came down as Godavari, and Shiva took up an abode here in the form of Tryambaka. Interestingly, locals refer to the river here as Ganga and not as Godavari.
Vaidyanath: Vaidyanath is situated at Deogarh, in the Santal Parganas region of Bihar. This shrine is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva and devotees throughout the country visit the shrine in large crowds especially on Maha Shivaratri.
Nageshwar: It is situated at Dwarka in Gujarat. According to one legend, God’s devotee by name Supriya was attacked by a demon Daaruka and then, demon imprisoned him along with many others at his capital Daarukaavana, where he resided with his wife. Since then, Lord Shiva appeared there in the form of Jyotirlinga and is believed that he has beaten the demon with the Paasupata Astram.
Rameshwaram: It is situated in southern Tamil Nadu. The temple is dedicated to Rama for his victorious return from Sri Lanka. According to the history, it is believed that Rama worshipped Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita, while returning to Ayodhya. It is believed that ancient temple has been demolished in 12th century itself.
Grishneshwar: It is located close to Ellora, in Maharashtra. The legend says that a devout woman Kusuma worshipped Lord 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 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. The villagers, since then, believed to have been worshiping Lord Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlinga called Grishneshwar or Ghusmeshwar.

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