12 Jyotirlinga Darshan Yatra

Dwadasa Jyotirlinga darshan yatra

Regarded as the greatest ascetic, the all powerful being, He is the destroyer and the restorer. Endless, infinite, and perpetual, He is Mahadeva, the God of the Gods. The Lord takes different manifestations of his supreme form in the 12 shrines of Jyotir Linga (Dwadasa Jyotirlinga) spread across the Indian subcontinent. The pilgrimage to these 12 shrines is considered the holiest trip a Shiva devotee can undertake in his/her lifetime. Followers believe that one who conquers the pinnacle of spiritual enlightenment can see these Lingas as columns of flame penetrating the earth. Dwadasa Jyotirlinga pilgrimage traditionally starts at Somnath temple and ends at Grishneshwar temple.

Legend

According to mythology, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu had an argument over supremacy of creation. To test them, Lord Shiva penetrated the three worlds as an infinite pillar of light,the Jyotrilinga. Brahma and Vishnu, asked to find the end of the light set forth in either directions. While Vishnu conceded defeat Brahma lied that he found the end of the light. Lord Shiva angry at the lie, cursed  Brahma that he will not be worshipped on earth. The Jyothirlinga shrines are temples where Shiva appeared as a blazing column of light. Though there were believed to be 64 Jyothirlingas, 12 of them are considered to be especially auspicious. Through the eons of history, pilgrimage to these shrines have been considered extremely pious.

Deity - Temples

Deity :-  Lord Shiva

Temples Covered:-

Somnath Temple in Gujarat

Mallikarjuna Temple at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh
Mahakaleswar Temple at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh
Omkareshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh
Kedarnath Temple in Uttrakhand
Bhimashankar  Temple at Pune in Maharashtra
Kashi Viswanath Temple at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh
Tryambakeshwar Temple at Nashik in Maharashtra
Vaidyanath Temple at Parali village in Maharashtra
Aundha Nagnath Temple at Aundha  in Maharashtra
Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu
Grihneshwar Temple at Ellora in Maharashtra

Purpose

Pilgrimage to the shrines of Jyotirlinga is supposed to please Lord Shiva immensely. It is believed that through this yatra the sins of the previous births get eliminated. Devotees believe that the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga darshan helps in fulfilment of their wishes and sets them free from evils, sins or diseases. Apart from the spiritual aspect, this journey, also aids in savouring the life, culture topography and cuisine of various regions, a sweeping sense of the rich heritage of India.

Who can go?

Predominantly an all-Hindu yatra, anyone with honest spiritual inclination can go for this pilgrimage. But bear in mind that the experience can be very tiring and strenuous.
Dwadasa Jyotirlinga darshan with children or aged should be segmented into different journeys.

Yatra Preparations

From the coasts of Rameshwaram in the south, to the valleys of Himalayas in the north, one month of travelling through contrasting terrains of the country is a tedious task.
The trek to Kedarnath is quite demanding. It is advisable to get a thorough medical check up before the journey. It is recommended to improve your fitness with regular exercise.
It is suggested to have a BSNL number as these work even in the higher altitudes.

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Pooja Samagri

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Area Covered

Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu

Auspicious Days

Month of November(Karthika month) is considered highly auspicious for the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga darshan. However, the closing of the Kedarnath shrine should be checked if travelling during this season.
Mahashivrathri is celebrated with great fervour in all the Jyotirlinga temples.

Best time to Travel

Most of the Jyotirlinga temples can be travelled to any time of the year but the Kedarnath temple will be opened only from April to November. However considering the hot summer season in many parts of the country, the recommended time for the journey will be around September to November.

Duration

As this yatra covers the entire span of the country the duration of the complete journey is around one month. Some packages offer trips under three weeks.
The Dwadasa Jyotirlinga darshan can also be done in segments over a period of time.

Travel Method

Most of the Jyotirlinga temples can be reached by a combination of flights/trains and road. However the Kedarnath temple has to be trekked on foot or by ponies, as the motorable road stops around 15kms before the temple. Chopper services are available at Kedarnath.

Crowd Expected

Crowds can be expected in most of these temples during Mahashivrathri as well as the holy months of Shravan and Karthika.

Festivals

Month of November(Karthika month) is considered highly auspicious for the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga yatra. However, the closing of the Kedarnath shrine should be checked if travelling during this season. Mahashivrathri is celebrated with great fervour in all the Jyotirlinga temples.

Must Haves

The Dwadasa Jyotirlinga yatra passes through drastically different domains of India and hence will have dissimilar conditions.
While light cotton Indian attire is recommended for the shrines in the peninsular areas, in the higher altitudes of Kedarnath woollens will be needed. Heavy winter wear is essential in the Himalayan valley if travelling after August.
Though most of these shrines are in the vicinities of medical facilities or bigger cities, it is advisable to carry any special medications that you might need for the entire duration of the journey. 
Only basic necessities might be available in the Himalayan area, so it is recommended to stock up with the essential items before you reach there,. Dehydration salt packets, light snacks, sunscreen, first aid kit, general medications like antibiotics, antiseptic creams etc should be carried in the daypack.

Health Awarness

While most of the Jyotirlinga temples have hospital and medical facilities around their vicinity, trekking to the higher altitudes of Kedarnath by those with cardiac ailments, asthma etc must be avoided.

Additional Info

Char dham yatra can also be integrated with the Dwadasa Jyotirlinga pilgrimage.

Climate

The  Dwadasa Jyotirlinga yatra covers almost the whole of India and hence has varied climatic conditions. The summers can be scorching in most of the states that are covered in the journey with temperature in the mid to high forties. While, during the months of  Sept/Oct the climate will be pleasant for most of these areas, sub zero temperatures must be expected at Kedarnath during the time.

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