A most revered pilgrimage circuit in India is the visit to the holy places of 12 Jyotirlingas. It will be an enthralling experience for any of the Shiva devotee. In these places Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Jyotirlingas, means the Lingam
of Light. It is believed that Jyotirlinga is the prime source of energy and the pivot of all kinds of activities on Earth.
Devotees who visit all 12 Jyotirlingas are believed to be entitled for salvation and enlightenment. The views of the Jyotirlingas remove the darkness from the mind and bring peace, enjoyments and prosperity to the devotee. The 12 Jyotirlinga Yatra will purify the mind and body.
The 12 Jyotirlingas are spread across India from southern part to northern part. The south most Jyotirlinga can be visited on Rameshwaram tour packages
in Tamil Nadu and the north most Jyotirlinga is located at Kedarnath in Uttarakhand. Other Jyotirlingas are at Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjun in Srisailam, Andra Pradesh, Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, Omakareshwar in Shivpuri, Madhya Pradesh, Baidyanath in Deoghar, Jharkhand, Nageshwar in Dwarka Gujarat, Trimbakeshwar in Nasik, Maharashtra, Bhimashankar and Grishneshwar in Mahrashtra and Varansai in Uttar Pradesh.
One can start from any of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines and move over to others one by one. But mostly pilgrims come to the states of Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh and start their pilgrimage circuit at the Jyotirlinga places and move around the nearby shrines before proceeding to north and south.
A typical 12 Jyotirlinga pilgrimage itinerary
It is believed that people who recite the 12 names of Jyotirlingas regularly will be blessed with all kinds of prosperity and the chanting will wash away all the sins they committed. The way to attain Moksha
from the cycles of death and life is to visit the 12 Jyotirlinga circuit, at least once in a lifetime.
Optimal way to start the pilgrimage travel will be from South to North. 27 days (One Lunar Month) is the optimal travel period to cover all the 12 Jyotirlingas spending one day at each holy place.
Typically, one can get down at Chennai by air or rail and can start their pilgrimage by taking Rameswaram tours in Tamil Nadu
and end up in Kedarnath.
Reaching Chennai Airport and proceeding to Rameshwaram. Chennai to Rameshwaram can be covered by Taxi (600 km, 10 hr. journey) or up to Madurai by flight and then from Madurai to Rameshwaram by Taxi (180 km, 2 hrs). One can get comfortable travel in train up to Madurai as well. Stay at Rameshwaram.
Many accommodation facilities are available in Rameshwaram which includes budget hotels and temple sathrams (dormitories).
Rameshwaram Temple visit. One can visit other temples in and around Rameshwaram apart from the Jyotir Linga temple. Evening return to Chennai. Stay at Chennai.
Traveling to Hyderabad by train or flight. Stay at Hyderabad.
Travel to Srisailam at early morning which is about 230 km away by taxi or bus. It will take about 5 hours Journey. One can go to Markapur railhead and hire a taxi to temple (85 km, 2 hours) Visit to Mallikarjuna Temple in Srisaialm. Evening return to Hyderabad. Stay at Hyderabad. Many good standard hotels are available at Hyderabad for a nice comfortable stay.
Day 5 and 6:
Travel to Pune from Hyderabad by flight or train. Stay at Pune. Many budget hotels are available in Pune.
Visit to Bhimasanker in the morning, which is 95 km away from Pune. One can try out taxi or bus. Travel will take about two and a half hours. After the Darshan at Bhimashanker, the pilgrim can reach Triambakeshwar in Nasik by evening. Bhimasanker to Triambakeshwar is about 100 km, which can be covered by less than 3 hours. Evening Darshan at Triambakeshwar and move on to Mumbai, which is about 200 kms away taking about 4 hours by taxi. Stay at Mumbai. Mumbai has got enough accommodation facilities for all kinds of travelers from budget hotels to Star Hotels.
Travel to Aurangabad for a visit in Grishneshwar. Taxis and train services are available. It will take about 7 hours to reach Aurangabad by taxi or train from Mumbai. Evening visit to temple and stay at hotels in the neighborhood of the temple.
Day 9 & 10:
Travel to Mahakaleshwar located at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. One can reach Indore either by flight or by train. Tay at Indore on Day 10.
Visit to Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain at a distance of 55 km from Indore in the morning. Taxi services can be availed. Many bus services are also available. Travel to the next Jyotirlinga temple Omkareshwar in Maheshwar, which is at a distance of 95 km from Indore. Night return to Indore and stay at Indore. Indore offered fantastic accommodation facilities for the pilgrims.
Day 12 & 13:
Travel to Dwarka in Gujarat from Indore by train, Stay at Dwarka either in hotels or pilgrim centers at Nageshwar. Nageshwar can be reached by taxi from Dwarka (17 km).
Visit to Nageshwar temple. Evening train can be used to move on to Veraval for a visit to Somnath. Stay at Somanath temple lodges.
Visit to Somanath temple
Free day before moving to North Indian Jyotirlinga temples.
Day 17 & 18:
Travel to Patna by train. Stay at Patna.
Visit to Vaidyanath temple. Taxi can be availed from Patna to temple (280 km) or first travel to Deoghar railway station and then travel to temple by taxi (10 km from Deoghar).. Stay at Deoghar.
Day 20 & 21:
Travel to Varanasi for visit in Kashi Viswanath temple. Train services can be availed fro the travel. Flights are available from Patna to Varanasi as well. Stay at Kashi.
Darshan at Kashi Viswanath temple and Stay at Kashi. Government owned guest houses, temple lodges and private hotels are plenty in Varanasi.
Travel to Dehradun Varanasi. Flight services are available from Varanasi to Dehradun. Train services can also be availed from Varanasi to Rishikesh. Stay at Dehradun. Or Rishikesh.
Day 24 & 25:
Travel to Kedarnath temple. Temple can be reached from Dehradun or Rishikesh. Some part can be covered by taxi up to Gaurikund and other parts require trekking. One day trekking of about 14 km required to reach the temple.
Return to Dehradun or Rishikesh.
Travel to Delhi finishing the 27 day 12 Jyotirlinga travel.
Details of the 12 Jyotirlinga temples are also provided for easy travel and ready reference.
1. Rameshwar Jyotirlinga
Rameshwaram is a religious island located in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is believed that Rameshwaram is the holy place where Lord Rama offered his prayers to Lord Shiva asking pardon for killing Ravana and also as a thanks giving for his victory over Lanka.
The Linga of Ranganatha adorns the holy shrine of Rameshwram. The place is renowned as Banaras of the south. The place is religiously very significant and revered as the most holy place in southern India.
The nearest airport is at Madurai in southern India, which is 173 km away. One can reach Rameshwaram through trains as well. The city is well connected with other major cities. One can get down to Chennai airport or railhead and proceed to Rameshwaram by bus, taxi or train. Tamil Nadu Road Transport Corporation buses connect Rameshwaram with all cities in Tamil Nadu, including Kanyakumari, Madurai, Trichy and Thanajvur. Overnight deluxe super fast buses connect Chennai and Bangalore with Rameshwarm, both cities are nearly 600 km away.
2. Mallikarjun in Srisailam
Mallikarjun temple at Srisailam is located in Nallamala hills of Andhra Pradesh. Srisailam is a revered holy place and it is believed Lord Shiva and Parvati stayed in this place. The temple is dedicated to Mallikarjuana Swamy, one form of Lord Shiva. Srisaila Khandam in Skanda Purana narrates the mythology behind the holy Jyotirlinga temple in Srisailam. It is believed that Lord Rama installed the Jyotirlinga. One can see Panchapandava lingas installed by Pandvas in the temple premises.
Srisailam is located at about 232 km south of Hyderabad. It is placed on the scenic location on the banks of River Krishna. The nearest airport is at Hyderabad. The nearest railway station is at Markapur, which is 85 km away. The holy temple is well connected by all cities in the neighborhood by APSRTC buses.
3. Bhimashankar in Maharashtra
The temple of Bhimshankar is considered to be the most revered Shiva temple in Andhra Pradesh. The temple is built in 18th century in the Nagara architectural style. The mythology associates the temple with Lord Shiva’s killing of the demon Tripurasura. It is believed that Shiva killed the Asura in Bhima form.
The nearest airport to Bhimashankar is at Pune at distance of about 95 km. This airport is connected to Mumbai and Bangalore. Taxis are available from Pune to Bhimashankar. Nearest International Airport is Mumbai Chathrapati Sivaji Airport, which is 250 km away. The nearest railhead to Bhimashankar is Pune that is well-connected to various cities of Maharashtra and other places of India. State Bus services connect various parts of the state to Bhimashankar.
4. Trimbakeshwar in Nasik, Maharashtra
Triambakeshwar owns spectacular distinction of the Jyotirlinga having three faces exemplifying Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva). All other 11 Jyotirlingas have only Shiva linga as the main deity. This extraordinary feature of the Tridev Linga of Triambakeshwar makes it a most revered Jyotirlinga shrine. The linga has been adorned by jeweled crowns and other ornaments. The crown is very precious with diamonds, worthy stones and emeralds. The devotee who offers puja to the Trimurthy (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) linga in Triambakeshwar is sure to get sanctified and can lead a peaceful life in future. The linga has started to erode due to excessive use of water over it and it is believed that the erosion symbolizes the nature.
Nearest airport from Trimbakeshwar is at Mumbai at a distance of about 200 km away from the holy city. Taxi services are available from airport to Trimbakeshwar. One can access the holy city by train and Nasik is the nearest railway station. It is one the major railway stations connected to all manor cities in India. One can get enough convenient trains from Nasik to other cities. Trimbakeshwar is connected by bus services run by Maharashtra road Transport Corporation. There are many private luxury buses available from Mumbai to Nasik.
5. Grishneshwar in Maharashtra
Grishneshwar is believed to be one of the ancient pilgrim destination revered as the shrine of one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva. This linga is known as Kusumeswarar, Grushmeswara and Ghushmeswara, apart from Grishneswara. The temple was re-constructed in the 18th century by Ahilyabhai Holkar.
Legends tell that a spiritual woman named as Kusuma offered worship to Lord Shiva in this place. She used to immerse the Shivalinga in a tank of water ritually and she was blessed with the Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord had miraculously given rebirth to her son after the death. Devotees offer pray in this place with high reverence and devotion.
The Grishneshwar temple is placed at a close distance of about 11 km from Daulatabad in the neighborhood of Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Ellora caves are nearby attractions here. Nearest Airport is located at Aurangabad, which is at distance of about 29 km from the city of Grishneshwar. Regular flight services are available from Aurangabad Airport to Jaipur, Mumbai, Udaipur and Delhi. Nearest Railway station is Aurangabad, which is not in the main route. Grishneshwar is connected by state owned transport buses. Regular bus services are available from Grishneshwar to Aurangabad.
6. Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain Madhya Pradesh
Mahakaleshwar is located at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and is a holy temple which is credited with citations in the great works of Poet Kalidasa. The importance of the Jyotirlinga here is that the idol in this shrine faces southward and is known as Dakshinamoorthy. The famous ritual of Bhasma Arti, showering the linga with hot ashes (Bhasmam) symbolizes the life and death of human beings. The temple architecture is worthwhile to observe. The five-storied architectural style is a mix of Rajput style and Mughal style.
Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore is the nearest airport to Ujjain, which is situated 55 km away. Indore is air connected to major cities in India by public and private domestic airlines. Ujjain Junction Railway Station is well connected to all major railway stations in India. Ujjain is well connected by state road transport public bus services.
7. Omakareshwar in Maheshwar, Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar is a famous Jyotirlinga temple located is a holy island of Shivpuri in Maheshwar, Madhay Pradesh. This holy shrine is located at the convergence of Kaveri and Narmada rivers. The devotees offer Shiva Bhajan as a ritual in this temple. The place looks like the “OM” and hence the name Omkareshwar. There are two Shiva Lingams in this place Omkareswarar and Amareshwarar. There are many legendary stories relating Naradar and Lord Shiva with Jyotirlinga at Omkareshwar. Devotees offer worship to get salvation from the charka of life and death.
One can approach this place through the nearest airport at Indore, which is at a distance of 91 km from Maheshwar. Indore is well connected to many major cities in India, including Bhopal, Mumbai and Delhi. The nearest international airport is Delhi which is 895 km away from Maheshwar. Delhi is connected with all major cities in India and abroad. Barwaha is the nearest railhead, which is at a distance of 39 km from Maheshwar. Regular public services are available from Maheshwar to many parts of the sate.
8. Nageshwar in Dwarka, Gujarat
Nageshwar is a renowned Jyotirlinga temple in near Dwarka, Gujarat. This Nagaeshwara Jyotirlingam is facing south with the Gomugham facing east. The mythology relates the killing of Asura named Daruka by Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared as Nageshwar linga in this place to bless Supriya, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva to save Supriya from the cruel Darukasura. Lord Shiva eliminated Daruka and his wife to save the devotees from torture and cruelties.
Nageshwar is located 17 km away from Dwarka. The closest domestic airport to Dwarka is located at Jamnagar, which is about 137 km away. There are regular flights from Jamnagar to Mumbai International Airport. Dwarka railway station in the Ahmedabad- Okha rail route is connected to other major railway stations. Gujrat state road transport buses connect Dwarka with all major cities in the state. Luxury coach tourist buses are also available from nearby cities to Dwarka.
9. Somanath in Gujarat
Somnath temple is considered to be the most significant and revered 12 Jyotirlinga temples across India. The temple is imposing with ancient Chanukya style of constructions. The Jyotirlinga in this temple is adorned with flowers and Jewels and provides eternal feeling to the devotees. Reveberating Shiva Bhajans all through the day and the Aarati Puja at regular intervals are enthralling in this temple.
Legendary stories give credit to Moon God for the construction of this temple. Chandra Devan (Moon) worshipped Lord Shiva in this place to get rid of the curse of demon Dakshan and Shiva blessed him by eliminating Dakshan’s curses to Moon. It is believed that followed by Moon, Ravana renovated the temple using Silver, Lord Krishna using wood and finally BHima Pandava renovated it with marvelous stones. The visit to this temple and the worshipping of Shiva Jyotirlinga enlighten the mind and spirit.
Somnath is about 890 km away from Mumbai. One can reach Somnath from Mumbai International Airport. Nearest airport to Somnath is Diu, which is 90 km away from Somnath city. This airport is connected to Mumbai only. Veraval in Konkan line is the nearest railhead, which is only just 5 km away. State transport buses and private luxury coaches connect Somnath to various cities in and around.
10. Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh
The holy city of Varanasi is fully dedicated to the Lord Kashi Vishwanath. Kashi Viswanath temple enshrines the famous Vishweshwar Jyotirlinga. The present Vishwanath temple is built by Rani Ahalyabhai in the 18th century. The temple is placed in a holy spot on the banks of River Ganges. It is believed that viewing the holy Jyotirlinga at the Kashi enlighten the mind and purify the body. Offering prayers and visiting the Jyotirlinga is assumed to be the sacred moment in anybody’s lifetime. There are many mythological stories behind the installation of Jyotirlinga in Kashi. One mythical story is attributed to Goddess Parvathi's mother and Lord Shiva. Mother in Law of Lord Shiva felt embarrassed as Shiva was not having a decent home. To overcome this and to please wife Parvati Devi, Lord asked Nikumbha to construct the temple at Kashi. To attain Moksha, one has to perform a dip in the Ganges in Kashi and has to offer worship to Kasi Vishweshwar. The Jyotirlingam is positioned in a square brass plated pit. One can perform abhishekam and aarati on the holy lingam at this place.
Kashi is located 800 km away from Delhi. Varanasi airport is connected to some cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai and Agra. There are daily domestic flights from Varanasi to these cities. Varanasi is well connected with all major railway stations in India. There are two railheads nearby, namely Varanasi junction and the Kashi junction. Many express trains connect Varanasi with Delhi and Kolkata. State owned public bus services connect Varanasi with other holy cities in Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states. Frequent and regular private bus services are available from nearby cities to Varanasi.
11. Baidyanth in Jharkhand
It is believed that the Baidynath (Vaidyanath) Jyotirlingam in Deogarh in Jharkhand is associated with legendary stories of Ravana and Lord Shiva. It was at this place Ravana cut off his nine heads to repent and Lord Shiva blessed him by joining back all his heads like a Vaidya. The temple is very famous with thousands of devotees offer their prayers with great devotion and reverence. The Shivalinga here is adorned majestically with jewels and pearls. One can get all kinds of prosperity and long life by praying in this holy place.
Closest airport to Deoghar is at Patna, at a distance of 281 km from Deoghar city. Patna is air connected well with other major cities in India. The railway station in Deoghar is at Baidyanath Dham, at a distance of 7 km from the heart of the city. It is a terminal station. Deoghar is well connected by buses to Patna 281 km. Regular bus services are available from all nearby cities to Deoghar.
12. Kedarnath in Uttaranchal
Kedarnath is located at the head end of the River Mandakini. It is the holiest pilgrimage spot for a devout Hindu. Jyotirlingam is termed as Lord Kedareshwar in this shrine. This jotirlingam is the rump of the bull followed by the legendary story. The shrine is snow covered for nearly 6 months in a year. One has to visit the temple to offer prayers from May to October.
Legends tell that Lord Shiva took refuge in the form a bull in Kedarnath to evade Pandavas. Lord shiva dived into the earth leaving the back hump over the surface. This hump is worshipped in this holy shrine of Kedarnath. The remaining parts are located and worshipped as Panch Kedar, namely Tungnath where Bahu (arms), Rudranath where Mukh (face), Madmaheshwar where nabhi (navel) and Kalpeshwar where jata (hair).
Kedarnath is located in the Great Himalayan ranges in Uttar Pradesh. This shrine is placed in a hillock of about 11,735 feet above sea level. This region of the Himlayas where Kedarnath is located is known by different names like Gandhamadana parvatham, Pancha parvatham and Sumera parvatham.
The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun, which is about 239 km from Kedarnath. Taxi cabs are available from airport to Kedarnath. Nearest railhead at Rishikesh, 221 km away from Kedarnath. One has to travel 207 km by road and the rest 14 km by foot to reach Kedarnath. Kedarnath is well connected through road. The National Highway from Delhi to Mana(538 km) is accessible throughout the year. Kedarnath can be accessed by foot from GauriKund. Gaurikund is connected by state buses to Rishikesh, Dehradun, Kotdwara, Haridwar and other hill stations of Kumaon and Garhwal Hills.