HinduOFUniverse

Space Available for Advertisements

Contact: +92-03333130724

 

Space Available for Advertisements

Contact: +92-03333130724

 

Space Available for Advertisements

Contact: +92-03333130724

 

Space Available for Advertisements

Contact: +92-03333130724

 

Space Available for Advertisements

Contact: +92-03333130724

 

Space Available for Advertisements

Contact: +92-03333130724

 

HinduOfUniverse

 

Hinduism temp 

Religious Temples The Hindu religious temple is a house of worship for the followers of Hinduism. They are usually dedicated to any one prime deity or multiple of them. They inherited rich & ancient rituals & customs which have been kept intact till date. Since ages, the architectural part has been given prime importance keeping in mind the religious and spiritual activities to be followed at these sacred places. Today, they not only serve as pilgrim centers but also has hot tourist destinations simply because of their intricate architectural designs & patterns. The legends related to them make them all the more happening in every way.

Most of these were constructed as per the agama shastras. Vasstu Shastra is given due importance which is the science of aesthetic & auspicious designs. The common sight of most of the Hindu religious temples is the presence of the elaborate idols of the deity. Since the Vedic age, the milieu of the temple was equally kept in high esteem. Roch cut architecture, cave style temples carved out rocks are examples. Elaborate sculptures & paintings would adorn the walls of these temples. The spiritual temples are found in abundance throughout the country. The major centers come under these two prominent categories :

Char Dham

Char Dham The Char Dham is considered a vital Hindu pilgrimage circuit in the Indian Himalayas. The picture perfect location in the Garhwal section of the state of Uttarakhand, consists of four sites - Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath. All the site in the circuit has the backing of an autonomous history. They are seen as hot destinations because of their beautiful locales as well as pilgrim centers. The Char Dham has always been seen as a source to come in contact with the divine power. The mystical journey has been mentioned as 'Kedarkhand' in ancient Hindu scriptures.

As per the Hindu scriptures, all these holy centers are very sacred of all pilgrimages. One gets rid of all his sins when making a trip to any of these sacred places. It is believed that he gets free from worldly clutches, & thus, is blessed with Moksha. The beautiful placing of the spiritual Char Dham is seen as a meeting point for heaven and earth. The journey towards Chardham must be started from left to right - i.e. beginning with Yamunotri, then moving on to Gangotri, Kedarnath before finally ending the journey at Badrinath. This particular adoption of the route actually follows the Hindu tradition of parikrama or clockwise circulation.

Badrinath

Badrinath Badrinath is a Hindu holy town in Uttaranchal, India and considered to be the most important of the four sites in India's Chardham pilgrimage. It is an important destination on the sacred itinerary of every devout Hindu. It has been emphasized in the ancient scriptures that there are many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the Earth, Heaven and the Nether world, but there has been none equal to Badri nor there shall be. The significance of this place is that it is considered to be the seat of the God Vishnu in his aspect of Badrinarayana. The prime sites in this area are Badrinath Temple, Tapt Kund, Brahma Kapal, Charanpaduka, Sheshnetra, Neelkantha. Another important religious attraction at Badrinath is the Badrinath Temple which is considered as the abode of Lord Vishnu and is situated at 3,124 meters above sea level in the Himalayas. The temple has three parts - Garbha Grih (The Sanctum Sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Sabha Mandap (for devotees to assemble). At the backdrop is the Neelkanth mountain peak situated between twin peaks named Nar and Narayan. The Badrinath temple was built by the Gharwal kings.

The temple is more than two centuries old. It is believed that Lord Vishnu came to the area, called 'Badri Van', or the berry garden, to meditate after Narad rebuked the Lord for being immersed in worldly pleasures. The main idol in the temple is that of Lord Vishnu in the form of a black stone. Lord Vishnu is in a meditative stance with both hands on his lap. The sacred river Alaknanda flows by the temple. The holy river Alaknanda is fed by the Badrinath glaciers and the Holy Ganges. The temple of Badrinathji is five meters high, it is built in the form of a cone with a small coupla of a gilt bull and spire. The temple opens every year in the month of April-May and closes for winters in the third week of November. At one time the spot was covered with wild berries ("badris") and was famous as the "Badri Van" (the garden of wild berries). Facing the temple at the bank of Alaknanda River is "Tapt Kund"a hot water spring, a bath in this spring is a very refreshing experience for the travelers. It is believed to be a reliever from many diseases.

Places of Interest
The nearby places of interest are the Panch Badri namely :

Yog Dhyan Badri
The temple of Yog dhyan Badri, one of the five Badris. It is located at Pandukeshwar. The location is just 24 km short from Badrinath on the Rishikesh Badrinath highway. The image, worshipped here is that of the Lord in a meditative posture. It is believed that the Pandavas settled here after handing over Hastinapur to king Parikshit.

Bhavishya Badri
Bhavishya Badri is located at Subain near Tapovan, about 17kms. east of Joshimath on Joshimath - Lata Malari route. Pilgrims have to trek beyond Tapovan, up the Dhauliganga river. The temple of Bhavishya Badri is at an elevation 3641mts., and is surrounded by dense forests. It is believed that one day the route to Badrinath temple will become inaccessible and then Lord Badrinath will be worshipped here. Hence this place is rightly called Bhavishya Badri meaning the future Badri.

Adi Badri
Adi Badri is believed to be the ancient aboard of Bhagwan Badrinath. The Idol worshiped here is a black stone depicting Lord Vishnu. This place is approachable from Karnprayag by a motorable road on the way to Ranikhet. There are 16 small ancient temples, 7 among them belong to the late Gupta period. The credit for building these temples is given to Shankaracharya. The main temple of Lord Narayan is situated on a raised platform in the pyramidal form where the idol is enshrined. The idol of Lord Vishnu is a meter high. Adi Badri is considered as the emerging source of river Saraswati.

Vriddha Badri
The idol placed here is known as vriddha old or the first Badri and the temple remains open throughout the year. It is situated at an altitude of 1380mts. and at a distance of 7kms. from Joshimath. The idol of Badrinath was enshrined and worshiped here before the advent of Adi Guru Shankaracharya.

Things to remember
  • The Badrinath temple remains closed during winter and is open from April to November
  • One may carry light woolen between June - September
  • One should carry heavy woolen between October - November
  • Languages spoken - Hindi, English and Garwali

The other nearby places to visit are :

  • Panchshilas
  • Panchdharas
  • Mata murty temple
  • Mana Village
  • Vasudhara
  • Bhim Pul
  • Vyas GutaYogadhyan Badri
  • Alkapuri
  • Satopnath Swargarohan Parbat

Gangotri Temple

Gangotri Temple Gangotri, is known as the source of river Ganges and is believed that Goddess Ganga resides here. Gangotri is one of the four sites of Char Dhaam. The physical source of the river is at Gaumukh, this place is 18 km ahead. Pilgrims do trek this path to offer prayer to the Goddess at this holy spot. At the source the river is called Bhagirathi and from Devprayag it is called Ganga here it meets river Alaknanda. The origin of the holy river Ganges is at Gaumukh. The place is approachable after 18 km trek along the Gangotri glacier. According to popular legends, Goddess Ganga took the form of a river in order to wash off the sins committed by the King Bhagirath's predecessors. There is a submerged Shivling in the river. It is believed that Lord Shiva sat here and tamed the gushing flow of river Ganges in his matted locks.

The temple dedicated to Lord Ganges is situated at the right bank of the river Bhagirathi. The temple has a height of 3042 mts. The temple was constructed by a Gorkha commander called Amar Singh in the 18th century. The peak season when lakhs of pilgrims visit Gangotri is between May to October. By November Gangotri is covered by snow and hence becomes inaccessible. It is believed that by winter Goddess retreats to Mukhba her winter abode, this place is 12 km downstream. The physical surrounding of this holy spot is such that it proves to be an ideal trekking spot for sport enthusiasts. The other nearby places of interest are-
  • Surya Kund : A place where pilgrims offer their prayers to the Hindu Sun God

     
  • Vishnu Kund : A holy place of worship where pilgrims offer their prayers to Lord Vishnu-the preserver

     
  • Brahma Kund : A holy spot where the pilgrims offer their auspicious prayers to Lord Brahma -the creator

     
  • The submerged Shivling : This is a site a pilgrim must visit. This site has immense visual value. It speaks a silent language of God's power. It is believed that Lord Shiva sat here to tame the gushing force of the river Ganges in his locking mates.

     
  • Nandavan Tapovan : This site is ideal for excursion. Nandan Tapovan is situated at distance of 6 Km from Gangotri. A trek along the Gangotri glacier leads to this beautiful place which is really a visual treat. One can see the beautiful Shivalik peak from here.

     
  • Uttarkashi : Uttarkashi is another place to visit. It is situated at a distance of 99km from Gangotri. This place is accessible after a long trek along the Gangotri glacier. situated at an elevation of 1,150 mts. above sea level on the bank of river Bhagirathi. There are some important temples to visit in Uttarkashi like-
    • Vishwanath temple
    • Ekadash Rudra temple
    • Gyaneshwar temple
    • Kuteti Devi Temple

Kedar Tal : It is a beautiful lake, 4425 mts. above sea level. This lake is placed at the exotic backdrop of the Thalaiyasagar peak. This place is accessible after rough mountain trekking. Kedartal serves as a base camp for trekking to the other surrounding mountain peaks.

Gaumukh : It is the mouth of the sacred Gangs river. Pilgrims reach the spot after a long trek from gangotri. The pilgrim offer their prayers to the Goddess and take a holy dip in the chilling water of the Ganges.

Bhairon Ghati : This spot is surrounded by thick forest and is situated towards Uttarkashi. This place is famous for the famous temple of Bhairo Nath.

Harsil : This location is situated in the mountain district of Uttarkashi. Sat Tal is a nearby tourist destination. Harsil is famous for it's scenic beauty and for delicious apples.

Gangani : This place is noted for it's splendid landscape, thermal springs and peaceful surroundings. Bhatwari a small upcoming town 12 km away from Gangani is a must visit.

Maneri : Maneri is a spot that is worth visiting for its beautiful surroundings, the nearby lake and also the dam across the river Bhagirathi.

Dayara Bugyal : Dayara Bugyal is famous for its magnificent ski slopes spread over an area of 28 sq.km. Dayara is approachable from Bhatwari after a 6km trek. Bhatwari is 27 km from Uttarkashi. The famous Shashang temple is an attraction while trekking. This spot is famous for it's splendid scenic beauty. The spot is situated at a height of 3048 meters.

Dodi Tal : This sparkling lake is situated at an elevation of 2286 mts. The lake is surrounded by dense forests. The famous himalayan fresh water fish are found here in abundance. This site is a must visit for auatic life lovers.

Nachiketa Tal : This spot is famous for its beautiful scenery. A small temple along the lake is also very famous. This spot is approachable after a pleasant trek through a rich green forest.

Tehri : This spot is famous for a giant hydel project. This beautiful spot lies in the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Bhilanga river. This spot is generally visited by tourists who like to travel and venture more into this beautiful pilgrim spot after paying homage at Gangaotri.

Narendranagar : From this spot one can view the beautiful scenic beauty of Ganga valley of Rishikesh and the plains of Haridwar. Narendranagar is the new capital of erstwhile Tehri.

Things to remember
 

  • The main season to visit Gangotri is April to November.
  • One may carry light woolen in summer.
  • One should carry very heavy woolen in winter.
  • The colloquial language is Hindi, Garhwali & English.
  • The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, 226 km from Dehradun.
  • The nearest railway station is Rishikesh.
  • The road route is well connected Well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi.
  • A number of ashrams, dharamshalas, guest houses, private guest houses serve as a convenient stay.
  • The local eating joints dhabas are an ideal place to eat. They serve tasty vegetarian food. Non vegetarian food and liqour is prohibited.

Kedarnath

Kedarnath Kedarnath is a Hindu holy town located in the the Indian state of Uttaranchal. The place is located at an altitude of 3,584 m and at the origin of the river Mandakini, the temple of Kedarnath is the most venerated place for Hindu pilgrims. Amidst the dramatic mountain scapes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas' of Kedar or Lord Shiva. Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples and is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world. The place is accessible after a steep 13 km trek over a paved path from Gaurikund. Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun are well connected to Gaurikund by road. There are different places on the route like- Rambara, Janglechatti and Garurchatti, where one can spend some time while trekking or can even spend a night as a halting station. There is a high and beautiful cascading waterfall just one kilometer before Rambara. The main attraction at Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple, which is one of the Panch Kendras located in the Himalayas, at the source of the Mandakani river. It is about 120000 feet above the sea level. One can get a glimpse of the God when traveling by foot. The picture perfect setting with breathtaking scenic beauty transforms it in a heaven. Perpetually covered with snow, the place is best accessible from May to October except the Monsoon.

The credit for the construction of this heavenly temple is given to the Pandavas. The entrance starts with the statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva. Fine & detailed carvings exhibiting images can be seen on the walls inside. The shiva lingam is in the form of a pyramid. The Kedar dome peak is located exactly behind the temple. It can be viewed from great distance as well. The temple is located on the Rudra Himalaya range, also known as the Pancha Parvata. It is believed that four of the Pandavas died on one of the peaks, Swargarohini.

The holy statue of Shiva is carried from Garhwal (Kedarkhand) to Ukhnimath in November which is then restablished at Kedarnath in the first week of May. The doors of the temple are now thrown open to pilgrims.

Mythology states that the deity of Kedarnath temple is identified with the rump of a bull. Shiva had camouflaged himself while eluding the Pandavas, who had come to repent for killing their kith and kin, during the battle of Kurukshetra. Shiva dived into the ground, thus, leaving a hump on the surface. This very conical projection is worshipped till now.

The temple is open only during the months of May to October, due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold weather during winter. The origin of this revered temple is mentioned in the great epic-Mahabharata. According to the saying it is believed that the Pandavas came to Lord Shiva to seek blessings to atone their sins after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva evaded them continuously and took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a Bull. On being chased, Lord Shiva left his hump behind. This conical protusion is worshiped in the temple. During the winters, the shrine is submerged in snow and hence is closed. The ideal time to visit is between May to October. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva are worshiped at four other places like-
  • The arms {baahu} - at Tungnath
  • The mouth {mukh} - at Rudranath
  • The hair {jata} - at Kapleshwar

Things to remember

  • The best season to visit is May to October except monsoon
  • One may carry light woolens in summer and must carry heavy woolens in winter
  • The colloquial Language in use are Hindi, Garhwali and English
  • The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun (251 kms.)
  • The nearest railway stations are Rishikesh (234 kms.) Kotdwar (260 kms.)
  • The walking route starts from Gaurikund which is connected by road to Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region
  • There are halting stations like Dharamshalas, Ashrams, Cottages and Tourist Rest House for comfortable stay

There are some important fairs that are organized at Kedarnath anually like :

  • Nagnath (Feb.)
  • Sardotsava, Joshimath (Feb.)
  • Sardotsava Chamoli, Gopeshwar (Feb. - Mar.)
  • Shivaratri, Gopeshwar (Feb. - Mar.)
  • Nanda Devi, Nauti (Mar.)
  • Maithan, Maithan (Mar.)
  • Bishwat Sankranti, Karnaprayag
  • Nandprayag (April)
  • Bikhot, Agastyamuni (April)
  • Nautha, Adi Badri (May)
  • Kaviltha, Kaviltha (Jun.)
  • Naumi, Jasoli Haryali (Aug.)
  • Bhaikhal, Mela, Bhaikhaltal (Aug.)

Yamunotri Temple

Yamunotri Temple The shrine of Yamunotri is situated in the opposite direction of Gangotri. Yamunotri is the source of river yamuna which originates from the Champasar Glacier. This spot is not generally visited by pilgrims as it is not easy to approach the place. The shrine is placed at an elevation of 3235 meters. Dharasu is the strategic point from where the road bifurcates to Yamunotri and Gangotri, this place is between Rishikesh- Uttarkashi. The holy shrine of Yamunotri is one of the four Dhams of Uttarakhand. At an altitude of 4421 meters is situated the source of Yamuna, this is 1 km ahead of the shrine. Reaching the source is very difficult hence the pilgrims offer their prayers in the shrine itself. The pilgrims take a refreshing bath in the hot water springs situated nearby the temple.

This bath in the water spring is very relieving after a long and tedious trek. The most popular hot water spring is the Surya Kund. This hot water spring is used to prepare the prashad of the temple by tying rice and potato in cloth and dipping it in the hot water spring. In Surya Kund the temperature of the water is 190F. The legends say that the temple was built by Maharani Gularia of Jaipur in the 19th century. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Yamuna and is represented in the form of a silver idol. It is believed that a highly worshipped hermit, Asit Muni resided here. Goddess Yamuna is the daughter of Lord Surya and Sangya, the Goddess of consciousness. Goddess Yamuna is the sister of Lord Yama, the God of death. It is hence believed that anyone taking a bath in the river Yamuna escapes a painful death. Before entering the temple the pilgrims worship a rock pillar called Divya Shilla. The main season to visit yamunotri is during summers.

The other places to visit apart from the shrine are:
  • Surya Kund : This is a hot water spring. A very interesting fact about this spring is that the main prashad of the temple is prepared in the Surya Kund. It is very refreshing for the pilgrims to take a bath in Surya Kund.

     
  • Divya Shilla : Divya Shilla is a rock pillar situated before the temple. The devotees offer their prayers here before visiting the main shrine of Goddess Yamuna.

     
  • Sayanachatti : This is a beautiful scenic spot situated on the banks of river Yamuna. This place is 29 km from Barkot.

     
  • Jankichatti : This place is known for it's thermal springs. The pilgrims take a refreshing bath here after their long treks.

     
  • Hanumanchatti : This spot is the confluence of Hanuman Ganga and river Yamuna. The trek to Dodi Tal starts from here.

Things to remember

  • One should carry light woolens during summer.
  • One should carry heavy woolens in winters.
  • The colloquial language is Hindi, Garhwali, English.
  • The nearest airport is Jolly Grant which is 18 kms from Rishikesh.
  • The nearest railway station is Rishikesh.
  • Dharamshalas are the main source of accommodation.
  • The local dhabas are the main eating out joints.
  • Alcohol and non vegetarian food is prohibited in Yamunotri.

Jyotirlinga Temple

Jyotirlinga The 12 jyotirlinga shrines, popularly known as the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga shrines are considered to be very holy by the Hindus. The Jyotirlingas have held an important position in the Indian belief system. The Jyotirlinga temples have a rich tradition and each temple has a legend attached to it. They are situated in different parts of India. The northernmost Jyotirlinga is located in the snow clad Himalayas at Kedarnath. The southernmost Jyotirlinga is situated at Rameswaram. These temples provide a fine view of Indian architecture and definitely add to the rich glory and tradition of Indian history. These places are a must visit both in terms of pilgrimage and as tourist destinations.

The 12 Jyotirlinga temples are the following :

Somnath Jyotirlinga Shrine

Somnath Jyotirlinga Shrine The Somnath temple is dedicated to Someshwara, another name of Lord Shiva with moon on his head. The temple is situated in Saurashtra. It is believed that Somraj, the Moon God himself had originally built the temple out of gold. Somnath is the first of all the 12 jyotirlingas. Though the temple is of Hindu origin, the Architecture has Jain influences. The Somnath temple has been destroyed six times and have been rebuilt. The temple faces the east direction. Externally the Somnath temple resembles the Rudramala temple at Siddhapur. The dome of the temple is the biggest ever made in this century. The temple has large central hall with entrances on three sides, each protected by a lofty porch. The temple carvings and the sculptures speak about the great artistic endeavor made by the craftsmen of that era. At a certain interval in the balconied corridor is a deformed Nataraja statue.

Somnath is also known by different names like- Deo pattan, Prabhas Pattan or Pattan Somnath. It is believed that 2000 priests served the idol of the temple. The Somnath temple has a long history attached to it. The first temple of Somnath is believed to have existed before the christian era. The second temple was built by the Maitraka Kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat. The Pratihara King- Nagabhata II constructed the third temple. The fourth temple was built by the Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa and the Solanki King. Kumarpal built the fifth temple and was again destroyed by Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The present temple is the seventh temple and has been rebuilt and taken care by Shree Somnath trust.

Sree Sailam-Mallikarjun Temple

Sree Sailam-Mallikarjun Temple The Sree Sailam Temple located in Kurnool district, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingam. Sri Sailam is a small city situated in the densely forested Nallamalai hills. This temple is considered very holy and is dedicated to Mallikarjuna Swamy and Bhramaramba. One unique feature of the temple is that all the devotees who visit the temple are allowed to touch the idol which is not prevalent in any other temple. The temple is located at a distance of 245 km from Hyderabad. The Sree Sailam temple has rich sculptural work, fort like walls and towers. The temple is built in Dravidian style. According to popular legends, the religious leader had visited the temple and had composed his famous Sivananda Lahiri. It is also believed that Goddess Durga had taken the form of a bee and worshiped Lord Shiva here and selected this holy place as her abode. There are some temples in the vicinity of Sree Sailam Temple, they are-
  • Tripurantakam to the east of Sree Sailam.

     
  • Siddavatam of Cuddapah district to the South.

     
  • Alampur Navabhrama temples in Mahboobnagar district to the West.

     
  • Umamaheswaram in Mahboobnagar district to the North.

     
  • Paladhara Panchadara : The spot where Adi Sankara is said to have meditated.

     
  • Hatakeswaram : Another Shiva temple near Paladhara Panchadara where the lingam was originally made of gold.

     
  • Sakthi Ganapathi temple : It is considered important to visit this temple before visiting Sri Sailam.

     
  • Kailasa Dwaram : The main entrance to Sri Sailam for those trekking to the temple.

     
  • Sikharam : There is a hill temple dedicated to Shiva at a height of 2850 feet above sea level in the Nallamalai hills

     
  • Patalaganga : is where the bathing ghats associated with Sri Sailam are located. (Krishna river).

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is situated in Ujjain, the historical capital of Central India. This Temple is situated near a lake. The idol in the temple is known as Dakshinamurti, facing the south. The idols in the temple are all strategically placed like the images of Ganesh, Parvati and Karttikeya installed in the west, north and east direction respectively. The image of Nandi is situated in the south direction. The idol of Nagchandreshwar is situated in the third storey and pilgrims are allowed to pay homage to the diety only on the day of Nagapanchami. Among the 12 Jyotirlingas, the Mahakal Jyotirlinga is believed to be swayambhu, meaning 'born of itself'. It is believed that the holy powers of the Jyotirlinga are self derived from within and unlike other Jyotirlinga, they are not ritually established through Mantra Shakti.

The Mahakaleshwar temple is made in five levels, one of which is underground. The Temple is surrounded by huge walls. The Temple peak is decorated with fine sculptures. The underground sanctum is lightened by brass lamps. The prasada in the temple can be re-offered unlike other temples. According to the legends, a demon called Dushana tormented the people of Avanti and then Lord Shiva appeared from the ground and rescued the people and then on the request of the people, Lord Shiva permanently settled there as Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga. The glory of the Mahakaleshwar Temple has been mentioned in the Tamil hymns of the Nayanmar saints of the 1st millenium CE. The Parvati - Harasiddhi temple is also situated in Ujjain. A huge fair is held on the day of Mahashivratri near the Temple and the worshiping of Lord Shiva goes on through out the night.

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Temples of Lord Shiva. The Jyotirlinga in the temple is known as Nageshwar Mahadev. The temple is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. The Jyotirlinga situated in the temple is considered to protect everybody from all sort of poisons. It is believed that one who offers prayers in the temple becomes poison free. The temple is located between Dwarka and Dwarka island in Gujarat on the coast of Surat. According to the legends, a devotee called Supriya was attacked by a demon named Daaruka in a boat.

The demon imprisoned the devotee and several others in his capital called Daarukaavana. It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared in the form of Jyotirlinga and rescued the imprisoned and vanquished the demon. The Shivalingam in the temple faces South with the Gomugam facing East. There is a legend regarding the position of the idol. It is believed that a devotee called Naamdev was singing bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva and was asked by other devotees to stand aside and not to hide the image of Lord. On being asked to do so Naamdev argued and asked for one such direction where Lord is not present, this angered the devotees and they picked him up and placed him on the south side. To everyones astonishment even the Linga was then facing South with the Gomugam facing east. The other two temples dedicated to Nageshwar Jyotirlinga are situated near Audhgram near Purna and another near Almora in Uttar Pradesh.

Rameshwar Jyotirlinga Mandir

Rameshwar Jyotirlinga Temple The Rameshwar Jyotirlinga is considered as the southmost Jyotirlingams of India. The mandir is siyuated on an island located on the south eastern coast of Tamil nadu. To the right of the Lords shrine is the shrine for Parvathi. To its North is the Kasi Viswanathars shrine. The temple has close association with Lord Rama and his victorious return from Sri Lanka. It is believed that the ancient shrine was a thatched hut till it was rebuilt by Parakrama Bahu of Sri Lanka into a lofty temple in the 12th century. The rest of the temple was completed by the Sethupathy rulers of Ramanathapuram. Between the 12th and the 16th century much of the additions were carried out in the temple. The temple has six worship services, the first one taking place at 5am in the morning. A special worship service takes place every Friday. There are 36 Theertham meaning water springs in Rameshwaram out of which 22 are situated in the temple.

The water of these springs are said to have medicinal properties. There is another Shivalingam situated in the temple. It is believed that this Lingam was brought by Hanuman from Benaras. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. The Legend regarding the temple goes this way that Lord Rama wanted to worship Lord Shiva and so had asked Hanuman to get an image of Viswanathar from Benares. Hanuman got a bit delayed and so Lord Rama offered his prayer to a Shivalingam made out of earth by Goddess Sita on a pre-chosen auspicious moment. This Lingam came to be known as Ramalingam and the town is known as Rameswaram. There is a nearby hill in the island called Gandamadana parvatam and has a small temple where imprints of Rama's feet are worshipped. This hill also provides a majestic view of the temple.

There also exists a shrine dedicated to Ganapathi and Subramanya. The Rameshwaram temple is spread over an area of 15 acres with lofty towers, impressive 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars. One unique feature about the corridor is that the rocks used are not originally from the island but have been brought from other places across the sea. The Rajagopuram on the eastern side towers to a height of 126 feet and it has nine levels. The western Gopuram is impressive but not as tall as the eastern one. There is a huge Nandi measuring 12 feet in length and 9 feet in height. To the North of the temple is the Kasi Viswanathars shrine. Two annual festivals are celebrated between June 15 and July15. This festival commemorates Lord Rama's worship.

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is one of the ancient and holiest shrines of India. This temple is the holy abode of one of the 12 jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva. The temple is located at a distance of 11km from Daulatabad near Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Daulatabad was once known as Devagiri. Ahilyabhai Holkar constructed the Grishneshwar Temple, who also re-constructed the Kasi Viswanatha temple at Banaras and the Vishnu Paada temple at Gaya. Grishneshwar is also known as Ghushmeswara. The Lord is also known by several names like Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, etc.

The famous Ajanta and Elora caves are the famous tourist spots nearby the temple. According to legend, a devotee called Kusuma worshiped Lord Shiva by immersing a Shivalingam everyday in a nearby tank. Kusuma's husband's first wife out of jealousy because of Kusuma's piety in the society killed her son. An aggrieved Kusuma continued her daily ritual and when she dipped the Shivlingam in the tank her son miraculously revived. From then on the people started worshiping Lord Shiva in the form of a Jyotirlinga Ghusmeshwar.

Tryambakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Tryambakeshwar Temple Tryambakeshwar is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines situated 30 km from Nasik in Maharashtra. Considered to be the birth place of the river Godavari, the shrine's beauty is still well intact. The effort made by the Peshwa Balaji Bajirao in mid 18th century has kept the magic of the shrine's architecture still alive.

The influence of the Nagara style of architecture can be well seen through the extensive usage of black stone. A small Shivalingam or Tryambaka, is placed amidst a spacious courtyard & the sanctum which is crowned with a graceful tower, a giant amalaka and a golden kalasha. A mandap with doors on all sides enhances the beauty well situated in front of the garbagriha and the antaral. Three doorways are covered with porches whose opening are ornamented with pillars and arches. The mandapam's roof has curvilinear slabs rising in steps. Sculptural work can be traced everywhere featuring running scrolls, floral designs, figures of gods, yakshas, humans and animals.

The Shivalingam is situated in a depression on the floor of the sanctum. Continuous flow of water from the top of the Shivalingam adds to the mystic beauty. Shivalingam is generally covered with a silver mask which is then substituted with a golden mask with five faces on festive occasion. These faces have their respective golden crowns. While, the silver mask is similar to the processional images seen in South Indian temples.

The worship service is carried out thrice on daily basis. Night is meant for the sheja-aarti service where in a mirrored hall, the silver mask is placed on a bed. According to the ritual, on every monday, the silver mask of Tryambaka is placed in a palanquin. This is taken in a procession to Kushavarta theertha where its given an abhisheka. While days like Shiv ratris, full moon day in the month of Kartika & other festive occasions are meant for the special golden mask procession.

As far as the legend goes, Gowtama muni resided on the Bhramagiri hill. Once he worshiped Lord Shiva to bring the Ganga down to purify his premises, as he had committed a sin of killing a cow while in his quest to protect his granary. Therefore, the Ganga came down as Godavari while Shiva came in the form of Tryambaka. The other legend relating to the Lingodbhava manifestation of Shiva also prevails here. Tryambakeshwar has been referred to in the Padma Purana.

Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga Temple

Bhimashankar Temple Bhimashankar, the origin of Bhima river, is located on a high peak, surrounded by thick dense forests. It is one of the major pilgrim center which is the abode for one of the five 'Jyotirlinga' of Maharashtra. Innumerable devotees flock near the temple during 'Tripuri Poornima'. The breathtaking scenic beauty & the picture perfect setting of Bhimashankar has made it a hit tourist center, especially famous for trekking, sight seeing & mountaineering.

Bhimashankar temple houses the main 'Shani temple'. One of the two main pillars outside the 'Shani' temple is actually an ancient huge Portuguese bell. The impact of Nagara style can be well make out. Dating back to mid 18th century, the shikhara was built by Nana Phadnavis. The sanctum is located at the lower level. The shrine Bhimashankaram, though dates back to the 13th century. Bhimashankar temple is well surrounded with Kamalaja shrine & Mokshakund thirtha.

As per the ritual, at least three worship services are offered on a daily basis. Mahashivratri is the most auspicious day here.

Lord Shiva's killing of the demon Tripurasura is the main legend associated with the temple. It even states that Shiva took abode on the Sahyadri hills in the form of a Bhima upon the request of the Gods, on the crest of the Sahyadri hills. The sweat of Shiva poured after the battle ultimately led to the origin of Bhimarathi river.

Kedarnath

Kedarnath Kedarnath is a Hindu holy town located in the the Indian state of Uttaranchal. The place is located at an altitude of 3,584 m and at the origin of the river Mandakini, the temple of Kedarnath is the most venerated place for Hindu pilgrims. Amidst the dramatic mountain scapes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve 'Jyotirlingas' of Kedar or Lord Shiva. Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples and is a popular destination for Hindu pilgrims from all over the world. The place is accessible after a steep 13 km trek over a paved path from Gaurikund. Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun are well connected to Gaurikund by road. There are different places on the route like- Rambara, Janglechatti and Garurchatti, where one can spend some time while trekking or can even spend a night as a halting station. There is a high and beautiful cascading waterfall just one kilometer before Rambara. The main attraction at Kedarnath is the Kedarnath Jyotirlinga Temple, which is one of the Panch Kendras located in the Himalayas, at the source of the Mandakani river. It is about 120000 feet above the sea level. One can get a glimpse of the God when traveling by foot. The picture perfect setting with breathtaking scenic beauty transforms it in a heaven. Perpetually covered with snow, the place is best accessible from May to October except the Monsoon.

The credit for the construction of this heavenly temple is given to the Pandavas. The entrance starts with the statue of Nandi, the divine bull of Shiva. Fine & detailed carvings exhibiting images can be seen on the walls inside. The shiva lingam is in the form of a pyramid. The Kedar dome peak is located exactly behind the temple. It can be viewed from great distance as well. The temple is located on the Rudra Himalaya range, also known as the Pancha Parvata. It is believed that four of the Pandavas died on one of the peaks, Swargarohini.

The holy statue of Shiva is carried from Garhwal (Kedarkhand) to Ukhnimath in November which is then restablished at Kedarnath in the first week of May. The doors of the temple are now thrown open to pilgrims.

Mythology states that the deity of Kedarnath temple is identified with the rump of a bull. Shiva had camouflaged himself while eluding the Pandavas, who had come to repent for killing their kith and kin, during the battle of Kurukshetra. Shiva dived into the ground, thus, leaving a hump on the surface. This very conical projection is worshipped till now.

The temple is open only during the months of May to October, due to heavy snowfall and extreme cold weather during winter. The origin of this revered temple is mentioned in the great epic-Mahabharata. According to the saying it is believed that the Pandavas came to Lord Shiva to seek blessings to atone their sins after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva evaded them continuously and took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a Bull. On being chased, Lord Shiva left his hump behind. This conical protusion is worshiped in the temple. During the winters, the shrine is submerged in snow and hence is closed. The ideal time to visit is between May to October. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva are worshiped at four other places like-
  • The arms {baahu} - at Tungnath
  • The mouth {mukh} - at Rudranath
  • The hair {jata} - at Kapleshwar

Things to remember

  • The best season to visit is May to October except monsoon
  • One may carry light woolens in summer and must carry heavy woolens in winter
  • The colloquial Language in use are Hindi, Garhwali and English
  • The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun (251 kms.)
  • The nearest railway stations are Rishikesh (234 kms.) Kotdwar (260 kms.)
  • The walking route starts from Gaurikund which is connected by road to Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region
  • There are halting stations like Dharamshalas, Ashrams, Cottages and Tourist Rest House for comfortable stay

There are some important fairs that are organized at Kedarnath anually like :

  • Nagnath (Feb.)
  • Sardotsava, Joshimath (Feb.)
  • Sardotsava Chamoli, Gopeshwar (Feb. - Mar.)
  • Shivaratri, Gopeshwar (Feb. - Mar.)
  • Nanda Devi, Nauti (Mar.)
  • Maithan, Maithan (Mar.)
  • Bishwat Sankranti, Karnaprayag
  • Nandprayag (April)
  • Bikhot, Agastyamuni (April)
  • Nautha, Adi Badri (May)
  • Kaviltha, Kaviltha (Jun.)
  • Naumi, Jasoli Haryali (Aug.)
  • Bhaikhal, Mela, Bhaikhaltal (Aug.)

Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Omkareshwar Temple Omkareshwar, an island on the banks of the Narmada, is located on the Mandhata hill in Madhya Pradesh. The Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga shrine and the Amareshwar temple is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The river Narmada branches into two which forms an island Mandhata or Shivapuri in the center. Ironically, the island's shape resembles the visual representation of the Omkara sound, Om. The temple can be reached by ferry.

The influence of the Nagara architecture can be well made out. The proof is the lofty shikhara. High spires are another eye catching point of the temple. Shrines dedicated to Annapurna & Ganesha are also found here. Worshiping Panchamuga Ganesha is considered to be very auspicious.

One has to go through two rooms before entering the temple. With mysterious circumstances, the Omkareshwar is naturally installed there surrounded by water. The highlight of this particular linga is its location which is not below the cupola. Lord Shiva's idol is situated on the top of the temple. Kartik Poornima is supposed to be the organization of a huge fair.

As per the legend, Vindhya mountain once prayed to Lord Shiva or Omkareshwara and got blessed in return. Other story says that the Shivalinga was split into two upon the request of the Devas. Thus, the formation of Omkareshwara and Amareshwar.

Vaidyanatha Jyotirlinga Temple

Vaidhyanath Temple Vaidhyanath is located at Deogarh in the Santal Parganas area of Bihar. Deogarh is also known as Vaidyanath.

The temple is situated in a spacious courtyard surrounded by stone walls. Within the vicinity of the temple complex, twenty two other temples are as well found. The temple faces the east. The top of the Shiva Lingam is slightly broken which as per the legend happened when Ravana tried to uproot it. Sivaganga lake is positioned just near the temple. While the Chandrakoopa well found near the main entrance is said to have been filled with water by Ravana from several thirthams. The Shiva's temple is almost 72 feet tall in the form of a lotus. There are three ascending shaped gold vessels on the top. Then there is a 'Punchsula' as well as an eight petaled lotus jewel called 'Chandrakanta Mani'.

According to mythology, Ravana meditated hard to invoke Lord Shiva. In his desire to become invinciible, he attempted to lift Lord Shiva's abode, Mount Kailash. The act offended the Lord. He punished him but with Ravana pleading for mercy, he left him on one condition. He gave him one of the twelve lingas which was not supposed to be kept on ground in any case. But Ravana's promise gave way infront of nature's call & kept the linga on the ground. In order to rectify the mistake, Ravana started cutting off nine of his heads as a part of his repentance. Shiva was pleased by this & he joined the heads again to the body.

Worshipping Vaidhyanath Jyotirlinga is considered to eliminate one's all worries and miseries. It even imparts Moksha. In order to complete the travel, devotees carry Kanwars on their shoulders.

Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple

Vishwanath Temple The Vishwanath temple in Benares, Uttar Pradesh is a hot spot for thousands of pilgrims. Vishwanatha got its name from two rivers, Varana and Asi. It is the abode of Shiva.

This temple has its own saga to tell. It was desecrated and rebuilt countless times. Rani Ahilyabhai Holkar in the 18th century is reponsible for the latest structure. Pilgrims come here to perform abhishekam to the pious Jotirlingam with holy Ganges water.

The temple can be approached from a lane called Vishwanatha lane. The temple is surrounded by many subsidiary shrines. A well called Jnana Vapi is also located to the north of the main temple. There are three temples in a row as one enters from the southern side of the first temple. There are many temples with their own set of llingas. So much so that often the confusion arises as to which enshrines the original Jyotirlinga.

The temple boasts of a mandapa and a sanctum. A linga made of black stone is well placed in the center of the floor in a square silver altar inside the sanctum. The interior is not very extensive.

Pilgrims can pay homage to the Lord at any time of the day. Ritually, the Shringaar Aarti is performed five times a day where the linga is well decorated with flowers. Shivaratri in February is considered to be the festive day.

As per the legend, the earring of Shiva fell into the pit that Vishnu had dug. It, thus, got its name Manikarnika which is considered holy for cremation.

 

Both of them include a set of highly esteemed Hindu religious temples where every year large number of pilgrims pay a holy visit to satisfy their quench for spiritualism.