Hindus worship three main gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, in their trinity of power. Vishnu is often the most commonly worshipped god, especially in his avatar as Krishna. Shiva is also very popularly worshipped by followers in his linga form.
There are a total of 64 Jyotirlinga in India out of which 12 are especially revered as Maha Jyotirlingas. In Hinduism, these 12 are known as The Great Jyotirlingas and they are Mallikarjuna at Srisailam, Andhra Pradesh, Somnath in Gujarat, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Uttarakhand, Kashi Vishwanath at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Trimbakeshwar in Maharashtra and Nageshwara Jyotirlinga at Dwarka in Gujarat.
Like the other Jyotirlinga shrines in Maharashtra, there is a Bhimashankar temple in Pune. The shrine is located in the Sahyadris—mountains that form the back of India. It's also a source of one of its rivers, the Bhima River. There are also two Jyotirlinga shrines closer to Pune. One is Grishneshwar, and the other is Trimbakeshwar.
Bhimashankar temple is considered ancient among the temples of India because it was constructed in the 12th century and its location is 125 kilometers away from Pune. Though the contemporary structure of the temple appears to be of recent origin, its reference can be found in religious texts that date back to the 13th century.
Even Bhimarathi, a river in Maharashtra, is mentioned in ancient Indian texts. The site at which this ancient Shiva linga shrine is based honors a Swayambhu Linga, which means Shiva Linga self-emanated when he sent forth his energies into the matter. Sai Bhimak was a king under whose reign rain was abundant, and he worshipped Lord Shiva whose name is Shankar (Bhim).
The mythical Jyotirlinga can be calculated to be in the center of the shrine's sanctum. If you're interested in Hindu geography and architecture, it may help to know that the current structures of the temple were built by members of royalty and nobility from 17th century India.
When comparing two Hindu gods, it sounds like a fiery conflict could break out, but Shiva and Vishnu were able to co exist. Shiva pierced a huge pillar of light and challenged the two to find the end. Brahma doubted he could, so Shiva tricked him by appearing from the other side of the pillar as well - so no matter what you do, you're damned.
Jyotirlingas are the supreme parts of the infinite reality. So they all serve as the places where Shiva appeared in his fiery column of light.
The temple is also associated with the legend of Tripurasura, who prayed and did penance to please Lord Shiva to get immortality. Lord Shiva, pleased by his piety granted him his wish but under one condition that he would work for the welfare of people. This was short-lived because Tripurasura broke all his promises and started harassing people and other gods so ultimately, Lord Shiva killed him. After the fight, Lord Shiva rested in the hills nearby.
As he sat there, sweating profusely it formed small rivers around him which formed a pond. The river Bhima has its origin in this very pond where it is believed that Lord Shiva who resides in Bhimashankar at present remains eternal.
The Hindu temple opens at 4:30 AM and closes at 9:30 PM. During this time, the devotees can partake in aartis, which are religious rituals that involve chanting and worship of different deities together.
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