Shiva meaning “The Auspicious One” is one of the three major deities of Hinduism. He is worshiped as the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in contemporary Hinduism and is also called “the Creator, the Preserver, the Transformer and the Destroyer”.
At the highest level, Shiva is regarded as formless, limitless, transcendent, and unchanging.
Shiva has many benevolent and fearsome depictions.
In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as a householder with wife Parvati and his two children, Ganesha and Kartikeya.
In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons.
The main iconographical attributes of Lord Shiva are :
- The third eye on his forehead.
- The snake Vasuki around his neck.
- The adorning crescent moon and the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair.
- The trishula as his weapon. The damaru as his musical instrument.
Practiced widely across all of India and also outside, the worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition where He is usually worshipped in the aniconic form of Lingam.
Regarded as the destroyer of ignorance, there are many temples dedicated to Lord Shiva’s worship in India The most prominent 108 temples are as follows :
Jyotirlinga temples : Jyotirlinga or Jyotirling or Jyotirlinga are shrines where Lord Shiva, is worshipped in the form of a Jyotirlingam. ‘Jyothi’ means ‘Radiance’ and ‘Lingam’ is the Shiva Lingam-‘the mark or sign’ of The Almighty or the phallus symbol. Therefore, Jyotirlingam means ‘The Radiant sign of The Almighty’. There are 12 traditional Jyotirlinga shrines in India. These shrines are:
- Jyotirlinga : Somnath.
- State : Gujarat.
- Location : Somnath is traditionally considered the first pilgrimage site – the Dwadash Jyotirlinga pilgrimage begins with the Somnath Temple located in Prabhas Patan, Saurashtra.
- Jyotirlinga : Mallikarjuna.
- State : Andhra Pradesh.
- Location : Mallikarjuna, also called Srisaila, is located on a mountain on the river Krishna and is enshrined in an ancient temple in Srisailam of Kurnool district.
- Jyotirlinga : Mahakaleshwar.
- State : Madhya Pradesh.
- Location : Mahakal, Ujjain (or Avanti) is the home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple.
- Jyotirlinga : Omkareshwar.
- State : Madhya Pradesh.
- Location : Omkareshwar, an island in the Narmada River is home to a Jyotirlinga shrine and the Mamaleshwar temple.
- Jyotirlinga : Kedarnath.
- State : Uttarakhand.
- Location : Kedarnath temple nestled in the snow-clad Himalayas 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.
- Jyotirlinga : Bhimashankar. Bhimashankar is very much debated. There is a Bhimashankara temple near Pune in Maharashtra, which was referred to as Daakini country. However, Kashipur in Uttarakhand was also referred to as Daakini country in ancient days and a Bhimashkar Temple known as Shree Moteshwar Mahadev is present there.
Another Bhimashankar is in the Sahyadri range of Maharashtra. The Bhimashankar temple near Guwahati, Assam is the Jyotirlinga according to Sivapuran. According to “LINGA PURAN”, Bhimasankar temple in Bhimpur near Gunupur of Rayagada district in South Orissa is also believed as Bhimasankar Jyotirlinga, which is situated at the western part of the holy Mahendragiri mountains and at the river bank of Mahendratanaya.
- Jyotirlinga : Visheakarmeshwar.
- State : Uttar Pradesh.
- Location : Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi is the home to the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga shrine, which is, perhaps, the most sacred of Hindu shrines.
- Jyotirlinga : Trimbakeshwar.
- State : Maharashtra.
- Location : In Trimbakeshwar, near Nashik, the Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga Temple associated with the origin of the Godavari river is located.
- Jyotirlinga : Baidyanath.
- State : Jharkhand.
- Location : Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple is located in Deoghar District in Jharkhand .
- Jyotirlinga : Nageshvara.
- State : Uttarakhand.
- Location : Near the Almora district, Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is located among a cluster of 124 large and small historical stone temples in Jageshwar.
- Jyotirlinga : Rameshwar.
- State : Tamil Nadu.
- Location : Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu is home to the vast Ramalingeswarar Jyotirlinga temple.
- Jyotirlinga : Grishneshwar.
- State : Maharashtra.
- Location : The temple is located t a village called Verul which lies at a distance of 11 km from Daulatabad and 30 km from Aurangabad and in close proximity to the Ellora Caves.
Pancha Bhoota Sthalas : This refers to the five Shiva temples, dedicated to Shiva, each representing the manifestation of the five prime elements of nature- land, water, air, sky, fire.’Pancha’ indicates ‘Five’, ‘Bhoota’ means ‘elements’ and ‘Sthala’ means ‘place’. All these temples are located in South India. The five elements are believed to be enshrined in the five lingams and each of the lingams representing Shiva in the temple have five distinct names based on the elements they represent. The Shrines are :
- Deity : Jambukeshwar.
- Manifestation ; Water.
- Location : Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu.
- Deity: Arunachaleswar.
- Manifestation : Fire.
- Location : Thiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu.
- Deity : Kalahastheeswar.
- Manifestation : Air.
- Location : Srikalahasti, Andhra Pradesh.
- Deity : Ekambareswar.
- Manifestation : Earth.
- Location : Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.
- Deity : Nataraja.
- Manifestation : Sky.
- Location : Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.
- Deity : Srimukhalingam.
- Manifestation : Fire.
- Location : Srmukhalingam, Andhra Predesh.
Panchaaraama temples : The Pancharama Kshetras (or the Pancharamas) are five ancient Hindu temples of Lord Shiva situated in Andhra Pradesh. The Sivalingas at these temples are made from a single Sivalinga. As per the legend, this Sivalinga was owned by the demon kingTarakasura. No one could win over him due to the power of this Sivalinga. Finally, Lord Kumara swamy, the son of Lord Shiva broke the Sivalinga into five pieces and killed Tarakasura. The five pieces of Sivalinga fell at five different places on earth namely
- Amaralingeswara Swamy Temple –
- Arama Name : Amararama Swamy.
- Siva’s Name : Amaralingeswara
- Location : Amaravathi.
- Bhimesvara Swamy Temple –
- Arama name : Draksharama
- Siva’s Name : Bhimesvara Swamy.
- Location : Draksharama.
- Someswara Swamy Temple :
- Arama’s Name : Somarama.
- Siva’s Name : Someswara Swamy
- Location : Bhimavaram
- Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy Temple –
- Arama Name : Ksheerarama.
- Siva’s Name : Ksheera Ramalingeswara Swamy.
- Location : Palakol.
- Kumara Bhimeswara Swamy Temple –
- Arama Name : Bhimarama.
- Siva’s Name : Kumara Bhimeswara Swamy.
- Location : Samalkota.
Other Shiva temples in Andhra Pradesh
- Srimukhalingeswara, Srikakulam.
- Kapila Theertham, Chittoor.
- Kotipalli, East Godavari.
- Mukteswaram, West Godavari.
- Kotappakonda, Guntur.
- Maha Nandi, Kurnool.
Sabha temples : The five temples located in Tamil Nadu where Shiva is believed to perform Bharata Natyamdance are :
- Temple : Natarajar Temple –
Sabha : Pon (Gold) Sabha.
Location : Chidambaram.
- Temple : Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple –
Sabha: Velli (Silver) Sabha.
Location : Madurai.
- Temple : Nellaiappar Temple –
Sabha: Thamira (Copper) Sabha.
Location : Tirunelveli.
- Temple : Sri Vadaranyeswarar Temple –
Sabha : Rathna (Gem) Sabha.
Location : Thiruvalangadu.
- Temple : Kutraleeswar Temple –
Sabha :Chitira (Picture) Sabha.
Location : Kutralam.
Other Shiva temples in Tamil Nadu
- Airavatesvara Temple, Darasuram.
- Amarapaneeswarar Temple, Pariyur.
- Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur.
- Sangameswarar Temple, Bhavani.
- Perur Pateeswarar Temple, Coimbatore.
- Kapaleeshwarar Temple, Chennai.
- Ardhanareeswarar temple, Tiruchengode.
- Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval.
Other Famous Shiva temples in India
Shiva Temples in Uttarakhand
- Daksheswara Mahadev Temple, Kankhal.
- Rudreshwar Mahadev Temple.
- Baleshwar Temple, Champawat.
- Baijnath, Uttarakhand.
- Gopinath Mandir, Chamoli Gopeshwar.
- Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, near Rishikesh.
- Panch Kedar.
- Tungnath, Chamoli district.
Shiva Temples in Uttar Pradesh
- Lodheshwar Mahadev Mandir, Barabanki.
- Waneshwar Mahadev Temple, Kanpur.
Shiva Temples in West Bengal
- Tarakeswar Mandir, Hooghly.
- Pataleswar Shiv Mandir, Murshidabad.
- Nakuleswar Temple, Kolkata.
Shiva Temples in Madhya Pradesh
- Bhojeshwar Temple, Bhojpur.
- Kal Bhairav temple, Ujjain.
- Pashupatinath temple, Mandsaur.
Shiva Temples in Maharashtra
- Kailash Temple, Ellora.
- Cavess, Mumbai.
- Walkeshwar Temple, Mumbai.
- Babulnath, Mumbai.
- Shiv Mandir, Vangaon.
Shiva Temples in Odisha
- he Leaning Temple of Huma, Sambalpur.
- raj Temple, Bhubaneswar.
- Kapilash Temple, Dhenkanal.
- Mukteswar Temple, Bhubaneswar.
- Parsurameswar Temple, Bhubaneswar.
- Akhandalamani Temple, Bhadrak.
- Chandaneswar, Balasore.
- Dhabaleswar, Cuttack.
- Gupteswar Cave temple, Jeypore.
Shiva Temples in Sikkim
- Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple, Legship.
Shiva Temples in Assam
- Sukreswar Temple, Guwahati.
- Sivadol, Sivasagar.
Shiva Temples in Jammu and Kashmir
- Amarnath, Pahalgam.
Shiva Temples in Karnataka
- i Manjunath Temple, Dakshina Kannada.
- Murudeshwara, Uttara Kannada.
- Dharmasthala Manjunatha Temple, Dakshina Kannada.
- Srikanteshwara Temple, Nanjangud.
- Kotilingeshwara, Kolar.
- Gokarna, Uttara Kannada.
- Shivoham Shiva Temple, Bengaluru.
Shiva Temples in Kerala
- Maheswaram Temple, Thiruvananthapuram.
- Rajarajeshwara Temple, Taliparamba.
- Vadakkunnathan Temple, Thrissur.
- Mahadeva Temple, Vaikom.
- Vadakkeshwaram Temple, Kottiyoor.
- Mahadevar Temple, Ettumanoor.
- Siva Temple, Poonkunnam.
- Bhavaneeswara Temple, Palluruthy.
- Shiva Temple, Ernakulam.
- Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur.
- Vaikom Temple.
- Sreekanteswaram, Thiruvananthapuram.
- Pazhaya Sreekanteswaram Temple.
- Jagannath Temple, Thalassery.
- Kolathukara shiva temple.
Shiva Temples in Goa
- Mangueshi Temple.
- Nagueshi Temple, Bandora.
- Ramnathi Temple, Bandora.
- Saptakoteshwar, Narve.
- Mahadev Temple, Tambdi Surla.
- Vimleshwar Temple, Rivona.
Shiva Temples in Bhopal
- Bhojpur Shiva Temple is also a famous one dedicated in the name of Lord Shiva. It is located near the capital city of Bhopal on the bank of Betwa river in Raisen District.
- The Pashupatinath Temple is a famous, sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Pashupatinath and is located on the banks of the Bagmati River 5 kilometres north-east of Kathmandu Valley in the eastern city of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. This temple is considered one of the sacred temples of Hindu faith .The temple serves as the seat of the national deity, Lord Pashupatinath.