As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of saving) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either direction. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity.
The jyotirlinga is the supreme part less reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites takes the name of the presiding deity - each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginning less and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
Somnath is the first amongst the holy shrines and traditionally, the Dwadash Jyotirlinga pilgrimage begins with the Somnath Temple. It is the prime abode of Lord Shiva and is considered to be holiest of all the Jyotirlingas. The temple was destroyed and re-built sixteen times, is held in reverence throughout India and is rich in legend, tradition and history. It is located at Prabhas Patan (Somnath - Veraval) Saurashtra in Gujarat.
Mallikarjuna also called Srisaila is located on a mountain on the river Krishna. Srisailam, in Kurnool District in Andhra Pradesh enshrines Mallikarjuna in an ancient temple that is architecturally and sculpturally rich.It is one place where Shakti peeta and Jyotirlingam are together. AdiShankara composed his SivanandaLahiri
Mahakal, Ujjain (or Avanti) in Madhya Pradesh is home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple. The Lingam at Mahakal is believed to be Swayambhu, the only one of the 12 Jyotirlingams to be so. It is also the only one facing south and also the temple to have a Shree Yantra perched upside down at the ceiling of the Garbhagriha (where the Shiv Lingam sits).It is one place where Shakti peeta and Jyotirlingam are together
Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh on an island in the Narmada River is home to a Jyotirlinga shrine and the Mamaleshwar temple
Kedarnath in Uttarakhand is the northernmost of the Jyotirlingas. Kedarnath, nestled in the snow-cladHimalayas, is an ancient shrine, rich in legend and tradition. It is accessible only by foot, and only for six months a year.
Bhimashankar is very much debated. There is a Bhimashankara temple near Pune in Maharastra, which was referred to as Daakini country, but Kashipur in Uttarakhand was also referred to as Daakini country in ancient days and a Bhimashkar Temple known as Shree MoteshwarMahadev 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 BhimasankarJyotirlinga, which is situated at the western part of the holy Mahendragiri mountains and at the river bank of Mahendratanaya(which is also believed as the Daakini area by many historian), was excavated in the year 1974, having quadrangular Shakti around the Linga and decorated by a Upavita as per the puran.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh is home to the Vishwanath Jyotirlinga shrine, which is perhaps the most sacred of Hindu shrines.
Trimbakeshwar Temple, near Nasik in Maharashtra, is a Jyotirlinga shrine associated with the origin of the Godavari river.
If one is to draw a line between Kanyakumari and Ujjain, Parali village can be clearly seen on that line. This village is located on the slopes of Meru or Naganarayana Mountain. Parali is an ancient village located near three rivers, Brahma, Venu and Saraswati, because of the presence of one of the twelve JyotirLingas of Shankara, it has become famous. This village is also known as Kantipur, MadhyarekhaVaijayanti or Jayanti. It is 26 kilometers from Ambejogai in the Beed district
According to Shiv Mahapuraan, Brahma (The Creator) and Vishnu (The Preserver) once had a disagreement about which of them was supreme. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as an immeasurable pillar of light, the Jyotirlinga. The Shiva Purana says Nageshvara Jyotirlinga is in 'the Darukavana', which is an ancient name of a forest in India. 'Darukavana' finds mention in Indian epics, such as Kamyakavana, Dvaitavana, Dandakavana.
Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu is home to the vast RamalingeswararJyotirlinga temple and is revered as the southernmost of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of India. It enshrines the Rameśvara ("Lord of Rama") pillar.
Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga shrine, in Aurangabad district, Maharashtra, is located near the rock-cut temples of Ellora. This shrine is also known as Ghushmeshwar.