Friday, September 4, 2009

18 Shakti Peeth / Ashta Dasha Shakti Peethas

18 Shaktipeethas

Ashta Dasha Shakti Peethas

Jai Matadi
Lankayam Shankari devi, Kamakshi Kanchika pure /Pradyumne Shrinkhala devi, Chamunda Krouncha pattane // Alampure Jogulamba,

Sri shaile Bhramarambika /Kolha pure Maha lakshmi, Mahurye Ekaveerika //
Ujjainyam Maha kali, Peethikayam Puruhutika /Odhyane Girija devi, Manikya Daksha vatike //
Hari kshetre Kama rupi, Prayage Madhaveshwari /Jwalayam Vaishnavi devi, Gaya Mangalya gourika //
Varanasyam Vishalakshi, Kashmire tu Saraswati /
Ashtadasha Shakti peethani, Yoginamapi durlabham //

Sayamkale pathennityam, Sarva shatri vinashanam /
Sarva roga haram divyam, Sarva sampatkaram shubham

The background of the story is like this: There was a great king called Daksha Prajapati who was son of Lord Brahma. He had 27 daughters and Sati devi is one among them. Sati devi got married to Lord Shiva. When Dashka entered the arena of a yaga performed by Agni, every one except Lord Shiva stood up as a mark of respect. Daksha felt insulted by Lord Shiva's behaviour. Later when Daksha conducted a yaga him self , he did not invite his daughter and his son in law.As there was no invitation from her Sati felt bad. Even then she wanted to attend the yaga against the wish of Lord Shiva.When Sati, attended the yaga no body has cared for her and she felt insulted by the actions of her sisters and parents. Then when her father started abusing her husband she could not control her feelings and sacrified herself at the place of yagna by creating agni from earth with her right thumb of her foot. Knowing this Lord Shiva got angry and removed one bunch of Jhatha from his head and hit it on the earth. From that Lord Veerabhadra has born and rushed to yaga spot as dircted by Lord Siva and killed Daksha by cutting his head. (later Daksha was given life by fixing a goat head) Later Shiva went to the spot and taken the body of sati from the fire and started dancing with it. The world was terrorized from this Tandava Nritya and requested Lord Vishnu to stop this Nritya. Knowingly well that Siva would not stop the Nritya unless the body of Sati is removed from his hands, Vishnu used his Sudarshan chakra and completely cut the Sati's body in to pieces. These body parts have fallen at various places in India and Srilanka and Where ever these parts have fallen the places are called Shaktipeethas. There are 18 such places and they are called Ashta ( 8) Dasa (10 ) Shaktipeethas.The list of body parts fallen at these 18 places are given below. If you observe them carefully some of the parts are not found in that list and people say that the remaining parts have fallen at other places and as such the shakti peethas are 51 or 108
But this blog is designed based on the above shloka of Adi shankaracharya and confined to 18 peethas only
The order given below is as per the above shloka.

Shankari Devi,Trimkomali

1) Lankayam Shankari Devi:The temple of Shankari Devi supposed to be in Sri Lanka at Trimkomali. At present there is no temple availble at this place and it is said the temple was destroyed by Portugese people between 16th to 17th century. My friend who was in air force and posted in Sri Lanka has confirmed the same. As the temple is not there Shankari Devi drawn by an artist is given.

Body part : Devi's Groin has fallen here.

Goddess Kanchi Kamakshi

Kamakshi Temple, Kanchi

2) Kamakshi Kanchika pure : The goddess is famous by kanchi kamakshi. A very popular shaktipeeth. It is 70 Km from Chennai. Kanchi Kamakshi temple is situated at about 5 acres of land and has four entrances. The main entrance of the temple has a Kalabhairavar deity on its left and the Mahishasura Mardini deity on the right. On the centre of the entrance you can see a huge Dwajasthampa. Moving further to the entrance of the Kamakshi deity you can see a Vinayaga deity. Moving on a straight line further, Goddess Kamakshi is visible. Goddess Kamakshi is surrounded by deities of Ayyapan, Saraswati, Annaporani and Adisankaracharya on its outer prakaram. The Goddess also has Varahi, Arupalakshmi Kalvarperumal (one of the 108 Divya Desam of Vaishanavities), Roopalakshmi and Arthanariswarar deities surrounding the sanctorum of Goddess on its Gayatri Mandapam. There is Santhanasthampam inside the prakaram of Goddess which is called the Nabisthan of the Goddess. There is a Srichakra Yantra (Sri Kamakoti Peetam) established by Jagadguru Sri Adisankaracharya in front of the Goddess deity. There is also a temple tank inside the premises. Kamakshi temple has a close relation with the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and its successive Sankarcharyas. The temple has a gallery of Adisankarcharya's Life history inside the temple premises itself. Goddess Kamakshi is the main deity and the temple is one of the eighteen Shakti peetas. The temple is spelled as Nabisthana - Ottiyana peetam. The temple also has a golden Gopuram on the sanctorum of the Goddess Kamakshi deity which is visible to all devotees.

Body part : Devi's Back part has fallen here.

Nabha Devi Temple ,Jammu

3) Pradyumne Sharinkhala Devi : The goddess here is called Sri Srukala Devi. The temple is supposed to be in Gujarat. But I could not find it is spite of my staying for 5 days. Some one says it is at Prabhas pattan.Where Somanath temple is there, the place is called Prabhas.It is 5Km from Veraval. One can go to Somanath by Somanath exp No 1464 which goes from Jabalpur to somanath via Bhopal, Ujjain, Ahmedabad and Rajkot. Prabhas pattan is 79 Km from Junagaudh. It is said that the temple was distroyed by Md Ghajani.

Some people say, the temple of Shrinkhala devi is near Kolkatta.It is said that it is in Hugli dist in a place by name Pandua.I had been to the place where the temple of Shrinkhala devi was supposed to be in the past.but at present there is such temple in the place. A minar was built there by muslim invaders. There were ruins of temple infront of minar.There is a temple of Hanseswari mata which is regarded as Shakti peetha which is very close to this place.

Body part : Devi's stomach part has fallen here.

As there is no temple of Devi in both theplaces one can visit Nabha Devi temple in Jammu at a place called Jindrah near Udhampur. Udhampur is 211 Km from Jammu. It is said that Devi's stomach part with navel has fallen here. As Nabhi(navel) has fallen here, the deity is called Nabha devi.

Chamundeswari Temple

4) Chamunda Krouncha pattane : The goddess here is called Chamundeswari devi. A very popular temple in Karnataka. The Chamundeswari Temple is situated on a hill in the neighborhood of Mysore. Krishnaraja III during the latter part of the 18th century built this temple tower. He gifted the Nakshatramalika jewel which has Sanskrit poesies engraved on it. The temple is adorned with various epitomes of Nandi. The colossal Nandi is 15 feet wide and 24 feet long and was made during the reign of Dodda Devaraja. It also has a seven floor ‘gopuram’. The idol of the Goddess is made of gold and the entrance with shinning silver.

Body part : Devi's head hairs have fallen here.

Goddess Jogulamba

5) Alampure Jogulamba :The temple is 24 Km from Kurnool in Andhra pradesh.Old temple of Jogulamba was destroyed by Bahamani sultans in the 14th century. The idols of Jogulamba and her two shaktis Chandi, Mundi were protected from them and placed in Bala brahmeswara swamy temple untill 2005. Now, a new temple was constructed in the same place and the godess was shifted in to it. New temple of Jogulamba is very much beautiful to see with a nice granite flooring. It is surrounded by a water pool. Villagers of Alampur tell an interesting reason for it: "Jogulamba is an Ugra rupa (highly energetic and hard to worship) and this water pool makes the atmosphere cool so that we can easily worship her".Idol of Jogulamba is typical. She is in sitting position. She has huge amount of hair with lizard, scorpion, bat and a human scull in it. Idols of Saptamatrikas, Vighneswara and Veenapani veerabhadra are also present in the temple. Original Chandi Mundi idols were left in Bala brahmeswara swamy temple and new idols are made and placed in Jogulamba temple. Alampur is called as "City of Temples". All of them are very old and famous for their sculpture. The entire temple campus was built on the bank of river Tungabhadra. Out of them, temples of Nava brahmas and the temple of Kanchi kamakshi are most important.

Body part : Devi's upper teeth row has fallen here.

Near by Places: Srisailam Jyotirlinga is 214 Km from Alampur.

Goddess Bhramarambhika

6) Sri shaile Bhramarambika : It is in Andhra Pradesh and it is well connected by road than train. One can go by bus or taxi to Srisailam from Hyderabad. The distance is nearly 232 Km .Nearest railway stations are Vinukonda(120Km), Markapur(85Km) and Kurnool(190Km). Markapur is in Guntur -Hubli route. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya has visited this temple and composed Sivananda Lahari here. The goddess is Bhramarambika Devi and the main deity is called Lord Mallikarjuna.

Body part :Devi's neck part has fallen here.

Nearest places: The famous Srisailam dam which is 512M length and 270M height and it is a major hydro power station of Andhra Pradesh. Alampur Jogulamba temple is 24 Km from Kurnool. It is one of the 18 shaktipeethas.
Airport : Hyderabad
Stay: Accommodation is available easily like Hotels /dharma salas

Maha Lakshmi Temple

Shri Maha Lakshmi Devi

7)Kolha pure Maha lakshmi : Shri Mahalaxmi Temple of Kolhapur is dedicated to Goddess Mahalaxmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that the Lord resides in this area, along with the Goddess. The temple holds the distinction of being one of the Shakti Peethas in India and is held in great regard by the people of Maharashtra. One can find the mention of the Mahalakshmi Temple of Kohlapur in the various puranas (holy books) of Hindu religion. It is believed to have been built somewhere around 700 AD, by the rulers of the Chalukya Empire.The temple holds special significance for the devotees, since it is believed to be one of the six places in India, where one will either get his desires fulfilled or obtain salvation from them. The image of the deity has been placed on a stone platform. The Goddess is shown having four arms and crowned with a beautiful tiara, which has been made of precious gemstone and weighs approximately 40 kilograms. The crown has been adorned with an image of the Sheshnag, the serpent regarded as the vehicle of Vishnu.In each of the four hands of the Goddess is a different object, believed to have symbolic value. The lower right hand holds a mhalunga (a citrus fruit) and the upper right hand holds a large mace (kaumodaki). In the upper left hand is a shield (khetaka), while in the lower left hand, there is a bowl (panpatra). Besides the idol stands a stone statue of a lion, considered as the vehicle (vahana) of Goddess Mahalakshmi. The image of Goddess Mahalaxmi looks towards the west (Pashchim) direction.Unusual Phenomenon On the western wall of the Mahalaxmi Temple of Kolhapur is a small window. It has been built in such a way that every year, the light of the setting sun falls on the face of the deity for three days. This phenomenon is noticed every year and it takes place around 21st of March and September

Body part : Devi's eyes (three) have fallen here.

Ekaveerika Devi, Mahur


8) Mahurye Ekaveerika : Ekaveerika devi temple is in Mahur , Maharashtra. This place is famous for Renukadevi temple and most of the people are not knowing about Ekaveerika temple and quote Renukadevi temple as shaktipeetha. It is in Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. Kinwat is 50 and Nanded is 126 km from the temple. Nagpur is 210 km by road from Mahur. It is said that Ekaveerika Devi is the elder sister of Renukadevi.The temple is 800 years old. Here pan patta and supari offer as prasad after grinding it as a paste. Other temples which we can see here are Parashuram Temple, Jamadgni temple and Anasuya temple. Ekaveerika Devi temple is 8 km from Yavatmal in Nanded high way and 300M from the main road. We could not find and poojari in the temple. Opposite to the temple there is one Gomata samadhi. The story about this samadhi no body could tell us. Mahur assumes prominence as the birthplace of Lord Dattatraya.

60 km from Mahur there is one pracheen shiva temple at Manpur which is 850 years old.
20 km from Yavatmal Chinta mani Ganesh temple is there at Kalam. It is one of the eight Ganesh temples in Vidarbha and it faces south.
Body part : Devi's right shoulder has fallen here.

Airport :Sonegaon(Nagpur) . Kinwat railway station is the nearest rail head.

For more details please visit my new blog at the following URL address

Hara Sidhi Mata Temple

9) Ujjainyam Maha kali : Maha kali temple is in Ujjain. Here the devi is called as Hara Sidhi Mata and if you ask by Maha kali temple people may not be able to tell about this. Though it is a shakti peetha people are not aware of this.

Ujjani is famous for Maha Kaleswar Jyothirling. The deity here is called as Mahakaleswara. Ujjain is 50Km(2hrs) from Indore. Or you can drop at Ujjain while going to Somanath by train.You are allowed to touch the jyotirlinga when rush is not there. The decoration of the linga is different in the morning and evening. One should not miss the evening decoration which is made with the clay from the river shipra. It is said that the Vibhodhi used in the temple comes from the burial ground.
Body part :Upper lip of goddess sati has fallen here.
Ujjain is place of historical importance and there are many places of tourist interests like Ghat Kalika(Kalidas aradhana devi ) temple,Char Dham mandir, bethala pipale tree, temple built by king Vikramaditya and Kala Bhirava temple where liquor is offered as prasada, Bada Ganapathi mandir ,Mangalanath Temple, Gopal mandir,Iskon mandir,Sandeepani Ashram and Bhookhi mata temple. You can see the rare potriat of King Vikramadithya in the court hall near Hara Sidhi mata temple.
Stay : Mahakalewara trust Dharma sala which is neat and clean.Local tourist bus is available which takes 4 hours to cover the above places. MP tourism bus charges Rs50 and private bus charges Rs36.
Food : Pooha is availble in the break fast. Near the main temple Idlis are available in Hotel Shivam

Puruhutika Devi (AP)

10) Peethikayam Puruhutika : It is in Pithapurem in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.The temple of Puruhutika devi is located within the temple campus of Kukkuteswara swamy. Kukkuteswara swamy temple is present in the outskirts of the Pithapuram village towards Kakinada. It is a big temple. Just entering in to the temple we will see a pond which is called as Padagaya sarovaram (Pada Gaya Sarovar). Pilgrims will take holy bath in this pond. Main temple of Kukkuteswara swamy is present towards the right side of the pond. Puruhutika devi temple is present in the North-East corner of the Kukkuteswara swamy temple. It is constructed facing South. Puruhutha temple is small but looks very nice with the carvings of Ashtadasa Shakti peethas on it's walls.The idol of Puruhuthika devi has four hands. They contain bag of seeds (Beeja), axe (Parashu), lotus (Kamala) and a dish (Madhu patra) from lower-right to lower-left in order.Previously there were two sects of Upasakas in Pithapuram worshiping Puruhootika devi. The first one calling her as Puruhootha Lakshmi (Meditating on Kamala and Madhu patra) and worshiping in Samayachara and the second one calling her Puruhoothamba (Meditating on Parashu and Beeja) and worshiping in Vamachara. There is also a tale that the original statue of Puruhutika devi was buried under the temple which was worshiped by them. Pithapuram has many important temples: 1). Kukkuteswara swamy temple: It is the main temple in Pithapuram.2). Hunkruthi Durga / Humkruthi Durga: Also called as Humkarini Durga. She is present in the Garbha griha of Kukkuteswara swami towards the left.3). Rajarajeswari: She is the Deveri (wife) of Kukkuteswara swamy. Also present in the same campus.4). Sripada Srivallabha Dattatreya: This temple of Lord Dattatreya is present in the South-West corner of the temple.5). Kunthi madhava: This is an old temple of Lord Sri Krishna located in Pithapuram village.

Body part :Devi's left hand has fallen here.

Girija Devi Temple

Girija Devi

11) Odhyane Girija devi :It is in Jajpur in Orissa. The presiding deity of Jajpur Asta dasha shakti peetha is Goddess Girija Devi. Goddess Girija Devi is also worshipped with various names such as Goddess Birija Devi, Goddess Virija.
Jajpur is located at a distance of 120 Kms from Bhuvaneshwar, the capital city of Orissa. Jajpur has a rich cultural and historical reference in several hindu scriptures. This place was ruled by King Jajati Kesari in the 10th Century. Hence, the name of the town became Jajpur. Once it was the capital city of Kalinga emperors. Jajpur is also called as ‘Baithangi Theertha’ or ‘Birija Kshetram’.
The whole idol of Goddess Girija Devi is decorated with flower garlands and gold jewelry. We can see only the face of Goddess Birija. The idol is decorated with silver crown full of jewels. Goddess Girija Devi blesses her devotees with her pleasant smiling face and charming looks. Another significance aspect of this temple is , a well near the main temple of Girija Devi in which devotees perform ritual rites to their ancestors. It seems the depth of the well is somewhere around 4 to 5 feet but it never dried up till now.

Body part : Devi's navel has fallen here.


12) Manikya Daksha vatike : Drakasharama is located in East Godavari district near Kakinada. Rajahmundry is the nearest airport. Draksharama constitues one of the five Arama kshetras of Andhra Pradesh, sacred to Shiva, the other four being Kumararama, Ksheerarama and Bheemarama and Amararama. Draksharama, Sree Sailam and Kaleshwar together constitute the three sacred Shivalingams of Andhra Pradesh, giving it its ancient name Trilinga Desh. Draksharama is one of the important centers of Shiva worship in Andhra Pradesh.Several legends tie together the five Pancharama temples dedicated to Shiva. Legend also has it that Vyasa installed the Shivalingam at Draksharama. Legend also has it that Draksharama was the site of Daksha yagna. Since it is believed that Sati immolated herself at the site of her father's sacrificial hall, no sacrificial yagna rituals are performed here.The Bhimeswara temple at Draksharama has two prakarams. The outer prakaram is pierced with four entrances each with a gopuram. The gopuram on the west is a five tiered one. The entrance to the inner prakaram is on the south. A pillared two storeyed verandah lines the inner prakaram (tiruchutrumaaligai in the ancient temples of Tamilnadu). The sculptural work in the mukha mandapam depicts clear Chalukyan features.There are shrines to Lakshmi Narayana, Sankaranarayana, Ganapati and the Navagrahas.The sanctum is two storeyed. The walls surrounding both levels are beautified with sculptural work. Two flights of stairs lead to the upper level of the sanctum. Bhimeswara is enshrined in the form of a ten feet high Shivalingam in the sanctum. Shiva's consort here is Manikyamba.Mahashivaratri and Navaratri are some of the festivals celebrated heHistory: This temple was built by the Eastern Chalukyan King of Vengi - Bhima, during very troubled times (9th -10th centuries), when his kingdom was under attack by the Rashtrakootas. Inscriptions reveal that he had to fight as many as 360 battles. Chalukya Bhima also built the Chalukya Bhimeswaram temple at Samalkota nearby. The Draksharamam temple contains as many as 400 inscriptions going back to the 11th century. These inscriptions can be traced back to the Eastern and the Western Chalukyas as well as the Cholas and Kalinga rulers.How to reachAir : The nearest airport to Draskharamam is in Vijayawada at Ryali Templea distance of 185 km. Rail :The nearest rail head is in Kakinada at a distance of 17 km. Road : One can easily reach Draskharam by bus from Kakinada and Rajahmundry.

Body part : Devi's left cheek has fallen here.

Kamakhya temple

13) Hari kshetre Kama rupi : This shakti peetha is in Assam near Gauhati. The deity is called Kmamkhya Devi. This temple consists of three major chambers. The western chamber is large and rectangular and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a square, with a small idol of the Goddess, a later addition. The walls of this chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other gods. The middle chamber leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the form of a cave, which consists of no image but a natural underground spring that flows through a yoni-shaped cleft in the bedrock. During the Ambuvaci festival each summer,the menstruation of the Goddess Kamakhya is celebrated. During this time, the water in the main shrine runs red with iron oxide resembling menstrual fluid.
It is likely that this is an ancient Khasi sacrificial site, and worshiping here still includes sacrifices. Devotees come every morning with goats to offer to Shakti.
The Kalika Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit describes Kamakhya as the yielder of all desires, the young bride of Shiva, and the giver of salvation.Shakti is known as Kamakhya.

The Kamakhya Temple in Assam symbolizes the "fusion of faiths and practices" of Aryan and non-Aryan elements in Assam. The different names associated with the goddess are names of local Aryan and non-Aryan goddesses (Kakati 1989, p38).The yogini tantra mentions that the religion of the Yogini Pitha is of Kirata origin.According to Banikanta Kakati, there existed a tradition among the priests established by Naranarayana that the Garos, a matrilineal people, offered worship at the Kamakhya site by sacrificing pigs (Kakati 1989, p37).
The goddess is worshiped according to both the Vamachara (left hand path) as well as the Dakshinachara (right hand path) modes of worship (Kakati, 1989 p45). Offerings to the goddess are usually flowers, but might include animal sacrifices. In general female animals are exempt from sacrifice, a rule that is relaxed during mass sacrifices (Kakati 1989, p65).

According to the Kalika purana, Kamakhya Temple denotes the spot where Sati used to retire in secret to satisfy her amour with Shiva. According to a legend the Koch Bihar royal family was banned by Devi herself from offering puja at the temple. In fear of this curse, to this day no descendants of that family dares to even look upward towards the Kamakhya hill while passing by. Without the support of the Koch royal family the temple faced lot of hardship. By the end of 1658, the Ahoms under king Jayadhvaj Singha had conquered the Lower Assam and their interests in the temple grew. In the decades that followed the Ahom kings, all who were either devout Shaivite or Shakta continued to support the temple by rebuilding and renovating it.
Rudra Singha (reign 1696 to 1714) was a devout Hindu and as he grew older he decided to formally embrace the religion and become an orthodox Hindu by being initiated or taking sharan of a Guru, who would teach him the mantras and become his spiritual guide. But, he could not bear the thought of humbling himself in front a Brahmin who is his subject. He therefore sent envoys to Bengal and summoned Krishnaram Bhattacharyya, a famous mahant of Shakta sect who lived in Malipota, near Santipur in Nadia district. The mahant was unwilling to come, but consented on being promised to be given the care of the Kamakhya temple to him. Though the king did not take sharan, he satisfied the mahant by ordering his sons and the Brahmins in his entourage to accept him as their spiritual guru.
When Rudra Singha died, his eldest son Siba Singha (reign 1714 to 1744), who became the king, gave the management of the Kamakhya temple and along with it large areas of land (Debottar land) to Mahant Krishnaram Bhattacharyya. The Mahant and his successors came to be known as Parbatiya Gosains, as they resided on top of the Nilachal hill. Many Kamakhya priests and modern Saktas of Assam are either disciples or descendants of the Parbatiya Gosains, or of the Nati and Na Gosains. Being the centre for Tantra worship this temple attracts thousands of tantra devotees in an annual festival known as the Ambuvaci. Another annual celebration is the Manasha Puja. Durga Puja is also celebrated annually at Kamakhya during Navaratri in the autumn. This five day festival attracts several thousand visitors.

Body part : Devi's Vulva (yoni) has fallen here.

14) Prayage Madhaveshwari : It is in Prayag (Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh. The temple here it is called as MATAJI ka temple (or LALITA ) by the locals. You can go by auto or riksha from the rail way station. Ananda bhavan and Hanuman temple are the othere place of interest. Since this temple is little away from the main road, you have to sepcify for this particualrly as it is not very famous. Evening at 7 pm every day Harati is performed. Locals are not calling the devi as Madhaveshwari.

Body part : Devi's fingers have fallen here.

JwalamukhidiviJwala mukhi Temple

15) Jwalayam Vaishnavi devi : Jwalamukhi temple is in Himachal Pradesh at Kangra
Other Deities at Kangra are Mahakali, Unpurna, Chandi, Hinglaj, Bindhya Basni, Maha Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ambika and Anji Devi.
Ancient legends speak of a time when demons lorded over the Himalaya mountains and harassed the gods. Led by Lord Vishnu, the gods decided to destroy them. They focused their strengths and huge flames rose from the ground. From that fire, a young girl took birth. She is regarded as Adishakti-the first 'shakti'.
There is a copper pipe in this temple through which natural gas comes out and the priest of the temple lights this.

Body part : Devi's head part has fallen here.

MangalaGouri Temple,Gaya

(a rare photo)

16) Gaya Mangalya gourika : The Mangalagauri temple in Gaya (Bihar) has been mentioned in Padma Purana, Vayu Purana and Agni Purana and in other scriptures and tantric works. The present temple dates back to 1459 AD. The shrine is dedicated to Shakti or the mother Goddess in the predominantly Vaishnavite pilgrimage center of Gaya. Mangalagauri is worshiped as the Goddess of benevolence. This temple constitutes an Upa-Shakti Pitha - where it is believed that a part of the body of Shakti fell - according to mythology. Here Shakti is worshiped in the form of a breast symbol, a symbol of nourishment.The temple is facing east, and is built on top of the Mangalagauri hill. A flight of steps and a motorable road lead to the temple. The sanctum houses the symbol of the Goddess and it also has some finely carved ancient relief sculptures. A small hall or mandap stands in front of the temple. The courtyard also houses a fire pit for the home. There are also two minor shrines dedicated to Shiva and images of Mahishasura MardiniGaya is one of the most famous spiritual destinations in India. Gaya is located in Bihar and stands on the bank of Falgu River. Gaya in India is held holy and pious by both Hindu and Buddhists. The narrow by lanes with age old buildings, beautiful natural surroundings with rocky hills on the three sides and river flowing by the city on the western side makes the city look beautiful and elates the spiritual atmosphere of the place.
The city derived its name from the demon, Gayasur who is said to have resided in this area. It is said that Lord Vishnu killed the demon by crushing him under his feet. On his being crushed, the demon got transformed into numerous rocky hills that form the topography of the city today. Then the deities decided to sit over the dead demon and that is the reason why one can find numerous temples over these surrounding rocky hills. It is said that any one who touched him or looked at him were fred of all sins. Mangla Gauri, Rama Shila, Brahmayoni and Shringa Sthan are the places where one can find temples on the hill tops and which comprise of the pilgrimage circuit of the city.
The Mangla Gauri shrine in Gaya, one of the most holy sites has two rounded stones which symbolizes the breasts of the Goddess Sati, who is regarded as the first wife of Lord Shiva.
Vishnupad Temple is marked by a footprint of Vishnu. This footprint is the significance of the act of Lord Vishnu crushing Gayasur under his foot. The temple that stands today was rebuilt by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar in the 18th century. As per the Buddhist tradition and culture, this footstep mark is regarded that of Lord Buddha who is said to be the avatar of Vishnu.
The temples and the Ghats that are present by the River Falgu are also of great spiritual significance. Some trees are also held sacred by the Hindus and in Gaya one would find Pipal trees, Akshayavat and the undying Banyan which are also offered prayers and offerings in huge numbers by the pilgrims coming into the city.
Gaya is held as an important spiritual center by Hindus as a site which offers salvation to the souls. Buddhists hold Gaya as an important pilgrimage center because of the presence of the Brahmayoni or the Gayasia hill where Buddha preached the Fire Sermon or the Adittapariyaya Sutta.
Body part : Devi's breast part has fallen here.

Goddess Visalakshi

17) Varanasyam Vishalakshi : It is most famous jyotirlinga out of 12(14). It is well connected by train from New Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and other major cities. The deity is known as Lord Kasi Visweswar and goddess is known as Kasi Visalakshi. You can do abisheka yourself .Original temple was destroyed many times and finally by Auranagazeb and rebuilt byMaharani Ahilya Bai in 1776.
Stay: Many dharmasalas and hotels are available
Places of interest: The new Viswanath temple in the university complex

Body part : Devi's wrist has fallen here.

18) Kashmire tu Saraswati : The Sharda Temple is located in Kishanganga Valley just across the Line of Control (LoC) in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) in a small village called Shardi at the confluence of River Kishanganga and River Jhelum which flows from Kashmir.
In 1948, during raids by Pakistani tribal raiders, the village fell into Pakistani hands.
A famous learning centre of Kashmiris, it is identified by noted historians and chroniclers including Al Beruni (1130 ad) and M A Stein, who visited the temple in 1892, (in Rajtarangini) as one of the most important temples of the Hindus equivalent to the Shiva Lingam of Somnath, Vishnu of Thaneshwar and Surya of Multan.
Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari (16th century) says that on every eighth day of the month at the time of full moon, the temple "shakes and produces the most extraordinary effect." He however does not explain the "extraordinary effect."
The temple is so vital to Kashmiris that Kashmiri language has the script of Sharda, which is little similar to Devanagari.
Kalhana in Rajatarangini has said, devotees of Durga and Shiva from all over the country would flock to the temple of Sharda which can be approached from Bandipur in North Kashmir, about 80 km from Srinagar.
Through centuries the temple had remained the object of worship and devotion of lakhs of pilgrims from all over the country. Though in ruins now, the entire temple complex inspires grandeur and awe.
The temple had a massive library attached to it which had priceless works on art, science, literature, architecture, music, humanities, medicine, astrology, astronomy, philosophy, law and jurisprudence and sanskrit etc. The library was used by scholars from even neighbouring countries.
Kashmir was also called "Shardapeeth" (the base of Sharda), the name being derived from the temple.

Body part : Devi's right hand has fallen here

Saraswathi Temple , Kashmir

As it is not possible to visit this shaktipeetha, one can visit the famous Sarwathi temple in Basara in Nizamabad district of Andhra Pradesh. Basara is 200 km from Hyderabad.

Gnana Saraswathi

Basara temple:
Located on the banks of river Godavari, the Gnana Saraswathi Temple at Basara situated about 40 kms from Nizambad district head quarters and 70 Kms from Nirmal town of Adilabad district. Situated at a distance of 205 kms (approx) from Hyderabad, the Saraswati temple at Basara is one of the two famous Saraswati temples in India, the other being in Jammu & Kashmir. Legend has it that Sage Vyasa during his stay here used to bring daily three handfuls of sand after a bath in Godavari and kept it at a place, which transformed as the images of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali. How ever, according to Brahmandapuranam, Adikavi Valmiki installed Saraswati and wrote Ramayana here. There is a marble image of Valmiki and his samadhi near the temple. It is believed that this temple is one of the three temples constructed near the confluence of Manjira and Godavari rivers by Ashtrakutas. According to another school of thought ‘Bijialudu’ a Karnataka king, who ruled the province of Nandagiri with Nanded as his capital in the sixth century, constructed the temple at Basara. The image of Lakshmi stands besides Goddess Saraswati in the sanctum sanctorum. Due to the presence of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali, Basara is considered as the abode of the divine trinity on the Bank of the River Godavari which is 40kms from Nizamabad on Adilabad district border.
Now a days there is heavy rush of pilgrims coming to Basara to perform “Akshara abhyasam” for the children. According to the legend Maharishi vyasa and his disciples and sage Suka decided to settle down in a cool and serene atmosphere after the kurukshetra war. In the quest for the peaceful abode, he came to Dandaka forest and pleased with serenity of the region selected this place. After his ablutions in the river Godavari Maharishi Vyasa used to bring three fistful of sand and place it in three small heaps and made images Sarada, Laxmi, Gowri with his mystic power and later conducted prayers. This idol made of sand has its face smeared with turmeric. Eating a little bit of this turmeric paste, it is believed, will enhance one’s wisdom and knowledge. Many people, in fact, take their kids to Basara for “Akshara abhyasam” before commencing formal school education. Special poojas and celebrations are held at the temple during Maha Sivarathri, beginning 15 days before (Vasantha Panchami) and continuing 3 days after the festival. Devi Navarathrulu is celebrated for ten days during Dasara. Since Maharishi Vyasa spent considerable time in prayers, the place was then called “Vasara” and turned into Basara due to the influence of the Marathi language in the region.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

how jyotirlingas can be 14

How Dwadasa Jyothirlingas can be 14

Lord Siva,Nageswar ( Dwaraka)

“Saurashtre Somanathamcha Srisaile MallikarjunamUjjayinya Mahakalam Omkaramamaleswaram Paralyam Vaidyanathancha Dakinyam Bheema Shankaram

Setu Bandhethu Ramesam, Nagesam DarukavaneVaranasyantu Vishwesam

Tryambakam GautameethateHimalayetu Kedaaram, Ghrishnesamcha shivaalaye

Etani jyotirlingani, Saayam Praatah PatennarahSapta Janma Kritam papam,

Smaranena Vinashyati”

The above shloka tells us about dwadasa (12) jyotirlingas. Then how they can be 14.

Please go through the Blog completely...

The order of the Jyotirlingas is as per the shloka

Somanath Temple

1) Somanath Jyotirlinga :Jai Somnath. It is in Gujarat and one can go by Somanath express(trainNo1464) which goes from Jabalpur to somanath via Bhopal, Ujjain, Ahmedabad, Rajkot. Somanath is 79 Km from Junagudh.The temple is rebuilt by Maharani Ahilya Bai of Indore in 18th century.The original temple was destroyed by Md Ghajani in 1025 and rebuilt immediately by King Bhima of Gujarat and King Bhoja of Malwa.Later It was destroyed by Md Allauddin Khilji in 1300 and rebuilt by King Mahipala. Later it was destroyed number times and finally by Aurangzeb. It is said that the original shivalinga was hidden by the locals and was reinstalled in the temple built by the Maharani Ahilya Bai. Other places of interest are Gita mandir,Laxminarayana mandir and Parshuram mandir. It is said that Bhagawan Parshuram is relieved of his curse of killing Kshatriyas by Bhagawan Somnath.

Dwaraka is another Jyotirlinga in Gujrat which is 233 Km by road from here.

Stay: Good hotels are not available for accommodation at Somnath and one can stay at Veraval which is 7 Km from Somnath.

Food :Dokala a delicious gujarati dish is available in break fast. Raw khajoor is availble in the season which we may not find in any part of the India except Rajasthan. Thali is available for Rs40.

Near by places: Bakhla Tirth 5 Km from Somanath where lord Krishna has left his body when he was hit by arrow made by stone tip by a Bhil tribal. Famous Gir forest where you can find Asiatic Lions.You need at least two days to see the Gir forest. Gir forest is 42 Km from Junagudh and almost same distance from Somanath. Veraval beach is 5 Km from somnath. Porbandar, the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi is 103 Km from here. Veraval beach is 5 Km from Somnath.

Nearest Air port : Porbandar 103 km

Srisailam Temple

2)Srisailam Jyotirlinga : It is in Andhra Pradesh and it is well connected by road than train. One can go by bus or taxi to Srisailam from Hyderabad. The distance is nearly 232 Km .Nearest railway stations are Vinukonda(120Km), Markapur(85Km) and Kurnool(190Km). Markapur is in Guntur -Hubli route. Here the deity is called as Lord Mallikarjuna. It is said that Adi Shankaracharya has visited this temple and composed Sivananda Lahari here. You can perform abhisheka your self by purchasing the ticket.The goddess is Bhramarambika Devi and it is one of the 18 shaktipeethas. Neck part of goddess sati has fallen here.APSRTC runs a package tour to Sriailam and Nagarjuna sagar on week ends in the season.

Nearest places: The famous Srisailam dam which is 512M length and 270M height and it is a major hydro power station of Andhra Pradesh. Alampur Jogulamba temple is 24 Km from Kurnool. It is one of the 18 shaktipeethas.

Airport : Hyderabad

Stay: Accommodation is available easily like Hotels /dharma salas (chowltries)/srisailam trust guest house.

Mahakaleswar Temple

3)Ujjain Jyotirlinga : The deity is called as Mahakaleswara. Ujjain is 50Km(2hrs) from Indore. Or you can drop at Ujjain while going to Somanath by train.You are allowed to touch the jyotirlinga when rush is not there. The decoration of the linga is different in the morning and evening. One should not miss the evening decoration which is made with the clay from the river shipra. It is said that the Vibhodhi used in the temple comes from the burial ground.

Hara sidhi mata temple which is one of the shaktipeethas is very close to main temple. Upper lip of goddess sati has fallen here.

Hara sidhi mata Temple

(one of the 18 Shaktipeethas)

Ujjain is place of historical importance and there are many places of tourist interests like Ghat Kalika(Kalidas aradhana devi ) temple,Char Dham mandir, bethala pipale tree, temple built by king Vikramaditya and Kala Bhirava temple where liquor is offered as prasada, Bada Ganapathi mandir ,Mangalanath Temple, Gopal mandir,Iskon mandir,Sandeepani Ashram and Bhookhi mata temple. You can see the rare potriat of King Vikramadithya in the court hall near Hara Sidhi mata temple.

Stay : Mahakalewara trust Dharma sala which is neat and clean.Local tourist bus is available which takes 4 hours to cover the above places. MP tourism bus charges Rs50 and private bus charges Rs36.

Food : Pooha is availble in the break fast. Near the main temple Idli is available in the hotel Shivam. Neat Gujarati/Maravari khana is available easily.

Omkarewara Temple

4)Omkareswar Jyotirlinga:The god is called here as Omkareswara. Omkareswaram is 77 Km(Rs50) by road from Khandwa from where very frequent buses are available. It is 80 km(Rs50) from Indore. Nearest railway station is Omkareswara road which is 12Km from the town. You can perform abhisheka your self in the temple. The temple is on the banks of river Narmada. We find many Kanwarias carrying water from Narmada to Mahakaleswar temple by walk. MP Road transport runs direct bus to Ujjain daily twice at 11.30 and 14.30 hrs from Omkaleswar.

Stay :Best place is Gajanana samsthan very neat and less expensive.

5)Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga : There is a dispute about this jyotirlinga. Many people say it is in Deogarh district in Jharkhand state. Some body says it is in Parli in Maharashtra. In both places you will find a plaque made by the respective government saying that it is one of the 12 jyotirlingas. So better to visit both these jyotirlingas to have satisfaction. It increases your count to 13. It is said that Demon King Ravana has offered his heads one by one to Lord Shiva. Pleased with this Shiva descended to earth and cured Ravana who was injured with his act. As Lord Shiva has acted as Vaidya(Doctor) the place is called Vaidyanath.

Vaidyanath Temple (Deogarh)

5a)Vaidyanath,Deogarh(Jharkhand): Nearest rail way station is Jasidih junction which is 7Km from Vaidyanath temple.Jasidh is 311 Km from Howrah/Sealdah in Patna route. As per Siva puranam Vaidyanath is in Chithabhoomi which is the ancient name for Deogarh.It is well connected by road /bus from Ranchi,Gaya,Bhagalpur and Hazaribagh. You can perform abhisheka your self.

Here the Deity is called Baba Baidyanath. It is a huge temple complex having 22 temples. The main one is Baba Baidyanath which is 72 feet from the ground and it is lotus shaped. The other temples are of Maa Parvathi, Maa Kali, Maa Jagat Janani, Kal Bhairav and Lakshminarayan. You will find Maa parvathi temple is tied up with main temple with huge dagha (please see the photo)

The water used for abhisheka is brought from the river Ganga which is 117 KM from the temple from the place called Sultanpur. The water is brought by the Kanwarias who carry the water in Kavadi and walk all the distance by bare foot. You find large crowds walking all the way carrying water.

Road Route: By road Babadham is 373 Km from Kolkatta,112 Km from Girdhi, 281Km from Patna, 67 Km from Dumka and 57 Km from Madhupur. It is 6 hrs distance from Ranch and 4 hrs from Bhagalpur.

Stay : Moderate hotels are available.

Places of Interest: Budh Gaya which is 300Km from here by road. Sarva Mangala Gowri shaktipeetha is also there near Gaya where breast part of goddess sati has fallen.

Parli vaijnath Temple

5b) Parli Vaijnath: The temple is 2Km from the Parli rail way station.It was rebuilt by Maharani Ahilya Bai in 1776. you can perform abhisheka your self by paying Rs 101. Men have to remove their shirts while performing the abhisheka. Out side the temple, Dakshin mukh Ganesh temple is there. Rani Ahilya Bai's (who has renovated many jyotirlingas ) statue is there in the temple complex. The temple water tank is also constructed like shiva linga only.

It is also well connected by road from Nagpur and over night super deluxe buses are available.Bus takes 10hours.

Railway station : Parli vaijnath, which is connected by direct trains from Secunderabad (340Km), Kakinada, Manmad, Visakhapatnam and Bangalore. Parbhani rail way station is 70Km from here which is on Nagpur-Mumbai train route.

Airport : Nanded

Places of interest : Ganghakher is 31 Km from Parli where Dattatreya temple is there. Nanded is 107 Km from here. It is famous gurudwara.

Bhima shankaram temple

6) Bhimashankar Jyotirlinga :It is one of the jyotirlingas which is not connected by train. you can reach it by road from pune or Shirdi or Mumbai . It is 120 Km from Pune and 170 Km from Shirdi. There is no proper accommodation for stay at Bhimashankar and one has to stay at Manchar which is 35Km from Bhimashankar on the way to Pune. Buses are available from Pune,Shivaji nagar bus stand(5Km from rly station) to Bhimashankar directly. First bus (Rs82) starts at 5.15AM.It is ghat road and journey is very enjoyable.

Rameswaram Temple

7) Rameswara Jyotirlinga :It is in Tamil nadu and it is well connected by train from Chennai, Madurai and Trichy.From Chennai it is 600Km and from Madurai it is 120Km.Here deity is called Ramanatha swamy.One can reach Rameswaram(a island) via Pamban bridge across the sea. Here 36 theerthas are there.The lingam here is said to be made by earth by Sita while returning to Ayodhya. It is said that Hanuman was asked to bring a linga from Kasi for worship by Lord Rama. Anticipating some delay in Hanuman's arrival, Rama worshiped Siva(linga made by Sita) before the auspicious moments. we can find the linga brought by Hanuman also which is known as Viswanthar linga or Hanuman linga or Kasi linga.

Out of 36 theerthas 22 are available in the temple and one can take bath in water from these theerthas. people are available in the temple who can take you to all these theerthas and pour water on you with a bucket. Whole activity will not take much time as all these theerthas are very close to each other.

Places of Interest : Dhanuskoti from where Rama has built the bridge to lanka.,Gandamadana .

Nageswara Temple(Dwaraka)

8)Nageswara Jyotirlinga :
There is a dispute about this temple also.Many people say it is in Gujarat near Dwaraka. Some people say it is in Maharashtra at Aunda nagnath .However I am covering both these Jyotirlingas in this blog.

8a)Nageswara jyotirlingam: The Temple is 17 km from Dwaraka. You can reach Dwaraka by Puri - OKha or Ernakulam-OKha train. Dwaraka is one station before Okha. There are reasonable accommodation available for stay at Rs150 for single and Rs 250 for double room. You can visit Nageswar temple by tourist bus(Rs50) which will cover Rukhmini temple, Nageswar temple and Bet Dwaraka apart from Nageswar temple. Bet Dwaraka is the place where Sudhama met lord Krishna. For Bet dwaraka You have to go by boat for which you have to buy boat ticket seperately. At Nageswar temple, one can buy Rs 151 abhisheka ticket and do the same him self by wearing a dhoti provided by temple trust (if yor are not having your own). A huge statue of Lord Siva is there by the side of Nageswar temple.Please see the top of this blog

Places of Interest: Dwarakadish temple, Iskon temple, Swami narayan temple and Trilok darshan art gattery of Brahmakumaris. and the Sharada peeth(Dwaraka). It is one of the four peethas installed by Adi Shankaracharya. Sri shankaracharya has installed Sharada peethas in all four sides that is east ,west, north and south.This is the peetha installed in west.

Food :In breakfast Ghaatia or dokala both made of basan are only available. Both are delicious but if basan does not suit you ,alternative arrangement for bread etc to be made in advance. Plenty of curd is available near all the temples.

Dwarakadish Temple

From here one can go to Somanath by road which is nearly 233 Km. Cell phones are not allowed in any of the temple in Dwarakha.

Aunda(aundha) Naganath Temple

8b) Aunda Naganath jyotirlinga: It is 120Km from Parli in Maharashtra. This is very old temple built by Rani Ahilya Bai. The place where the temple is there is called Darukavanam. The above shloka says 'Nagesam Darukavane' as such it is believed that this is the actual jyothirlinga.It is 51Km from Parbhani rail way station. Nandigram express( train No1401) which goes from Nagpur to Mumbai stops here.The main deity at aundha is in under ground. One can perform abhisheka by purchasing the ticket. The men need not remove their shirts while performing the abhisheka. After the abhisheka the silver cover on the linga is removed and one can have the darshan of the main deity. While coming out from the inner temple one has to climb a 3 feet step which is difficult for ladies and old people.

Food : one can have good food at National dhabha which 2Km from the temple.

Stay : Parbhani where reasonable lodges at Rs 200 to 300 are available.

Places of interest : Jintur is 40 Km from Aunda where Digambar Jain temple is there. The statue of Mahaaveerji here is in almost floating state and just one inch above from the ground and resting on tip of a stone. This can be compared with the mysterious place in US near Sanfransisco. It is said that 500 years back this statue was floating six inches above the ground and when Moghals raided this area it was covered with earth and later the equilibrium was lost.

Nanded which is 64 Km from aundha is another place of interest where we will find famous Gurudwara and Guru Govindji ka samadhi.

In my opinion Aunda naganath seems to be the actual jyotirlinga because this temple only renovated by Rani Ahilya Bai and not the temple at Dwaraka even when she got constructed the temple at Somanath which is also in Gujarat. The temple at Dwaraka seems to be constructed recently. At both these temples(Nageswar Dwaraka /Aunda naganath) we find the plaques/boards made by the respective authorities saying that it is one of the 12 jyotirlingas. As such it is better to visit both these temples.

If you visit both these temples your count goes to 14.

Kasi Viswanath Temple

9) Varanasi Jyotirlinga:
It is the most famous jyotirlinga. It is well connected by train from New Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and other major cities. The deity is known as Lord Kasi Visweswara and goddess is known as Kasi Visalakshi. You can do abisheka yourself . Original temple was destroyed many times and finally by Auranagazeb and rebuilt by Maharani Ahilya Bai in 1776. You can take bath in the river ganges which is close to the temple.

Stay: Many dharmasalas and hotels are available

Places of interest: The new Viswanath temple in the university complex and Saranath which is 11km from here. Harichandra ghat where the fire is continuing from the days of Raja Hari chandra.

Trayambakeswar Temple

10) Trayambakeswar Jyotirlinga : It is in Maharashtra and it is 27 km from Nasik. Nasik road railway station is 188 km from Mumbai central . Trayambakeswar is 6 hours by road (bus Rs121) from Manchar which is near Bhimashankar. It is one of the Jyotirlingas where you are not allowed in the inner temple and you can not do abhisheka your self.The decoration of the deityis different in the morning and evening.

Stay:Gajanana Samsthan very clean and reasonable rates( Rs 150 for double room)

Near by places of interest : Panchavati, Muktidham and birth place of River Godavari. It is 2hours hilly route to the birth place of Godavari. Unless you have lot of stamina, do not attempt to visit this place.

Kedarnath Temple

11) Kedarnath Jyotirlinga: It is in Uttaranchal. This is the only jyotirlinga which is not opened through out the year. The temple is opened from May to October every year and you have to go by road only.It is 230Km from Rishikesh and 250Km from Dehradun by road and is at an altitude of 3584M. The temple is built by Adi Shankaracharya in 8th century AD. Original temple said to be built by Pandavas. Behind the temple there is samadhi of Adi Shankaracharya. The route to Kedar from Rishikesh is via Devprayag, Srinagar,Rudraprayaga, Ukhimath and Gowrikhund.There is another route via Utter Kasi and gangotri.

Ukhimath is the place where priests offer prayers for six months when the temple is closed during the winter season.

Nearest railway station : Rishikesh

One can go upto Gowri(Gauri) kund by road and from there you can go to the temple by foot or by horse back or by doli . Lot of stamina is required to go by walk. Doli is safer and convenient than horse back. Doli charges Rs2400 for round trip in season and in non season even less than 1000.Before start one can have bath in Gowri kund(hot water spring). It will be very cold in the month of May also in Kedar and one should have proper winter clothing. On the hill oxygen content will be less and one should take necessary steps when you are planning to go by walk. Now a days helicopter service is also available.

Helecopter services : Helipad is at Agastymuni which is 17 Km from Rudraprayag. Rudraprayag is 140 Km from Rishikesh. Pawan Hans is operationg helecopter services (Five seater) from 6.30 AM to 11.10 AM. Daily 4 trips. Flying time is 45 min. 1hr and 30 min are given for Darshan and you should come back in the next trip. you can opt for next day trip too. Fare is Rs 8000 plus 501 for special darshan. One way ticket is Rs 5000.

Here also you can do abhisheka your self. Abhisheka tickets are available at Rs 2001 and 5 people are allowed for 15 minutes in the inner temple after 00.00 hrs in the night for doing abhisheka.

Other places of interest: Badarinath,Brahama kapalam, Gangothri and Yamunotri. From Kedar via Gupta kashi, Joshimath one can visit Badarinath. Badari is 300Km from Haridwar. Here deity is called Badarinarayana. Day time the deity is covered with chandan and flowers. Late night you can see the original moorthy.

At Gangothri You can visit Ganga mata temple. Here Ganga is called Bhagiradhi.From here one can visit Gomukh. You have to go by walk or pony back to Gomukh. Here you find Bhagiradhi comes out from Gomukh which is supposed to have come from Manasa Sarovar the birth place of River Bhagiradhi(Ganga). Devprayag is the place where Bhagiradhi meets Alakananda. After this also the river is called Alakananda. Rudraprayag is the place where Alakananda meets river Mandakini. After this it is called river Ganga and from here it goes to Rishikesh/Haridwar.

Joshimath is one of the four peethas installed by Adi Shankaracharya.

Grishneswar Temple

12) Grishneswar Jyotirlinga : It is in Maharashtra and near by rail way station is Daulatabad which is 12Km from the temple. It is also well connected by road from Aurangabad. The temple is rebuilt by Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore around 1768. It is the only jyotirlinga where the deity faces east. Many people are not aware of this temple and people who are visiting shirdi can plan a trip to this temple easily.The deity is called Ghrushmeshwar.The goddess is Grishneshwari. The temple is at Ilapur and the village is called Verul.

Stay : At Verul no proper lodges are there and one has to stay at Daulatabad/Aurangabad.

Near by places of interest: Ellora caves, Shiridi Sai baba temple , Daulatabad Fort, Aurangzeb Tomb, Bibika Makbara(mini tajmahal). Ajantha caves are 110 Km from the temple. Ellora is only 2Km from the temple. 34 caves are there at Ellora.

It is difficult to visit all the above Jyotirlingas in one go and recommended to visit in 3 or 4 attempts by combining the near by jyothirlingas. State wise jyothirlingas are given in the map below.

If you cover all these Jyotirlingas you will be covering 3 Shaktipeethas out of 18 and two Sharada peeths out of four.

Maha Rani Ahilya Bai

(Renovated Somanath,Parli, Aunda nagnath ,Varanasi & Grishneswar Jyotirlingas)

Rajmata Ahilya Bai Holkar (1725 - 1795) has ruled the Malwa kingdom, India from 1767-1795. She was born in the village Chaundi in Maharashtra. She has moved the capital to Maheshwar south of Indore on the Narmada River. Ahilyabai’s husband was killed in battle in 1754. Twelve years later, her father-in-law, Malhar Rao Holkar has died and she has taken charge of the Malwa kingdom. Rani Ahilya Bai was a great builder and patron of many Hindu temples which embellished Maheshwar and Indore. She has also built temples at sacred sites outside her kingdom, from Somanath in Gujarat to the Kashi Vishweswar temple at Varanasi. Some of these details are given in above blog.

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18 shaktipeethas