Spread across India, we have many temples of Lord Shiva and we also have about twelve Jyotirlingas.
I want to know whether there's any difference between a Shiva Temple and a Jyotirlinga.
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Shiva Temples are specially designed places of worship where the presiding deity is Lord Shiva in the form of a Linga.
Linga is an aniconic representation of Lord Shiva, which is used for worship in temples. To know more about a Linga, you can refer this post
Jyothirlingas are twelve 1 specially consecrated lingas present in the world. The Shiva Purana deals with Jyothirlingas in detail. It is believed that Shiva first manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga on the night of the Arudra festival, thus the special reverence for the Jyotirlinga. The legend behind this is mentioned in the Shiva Purana and is beautifully explained in this answer.
Etymology of the Word - The word Jyothirlinga is made up of two words, Jyoti meaning 'radiance' and Linga, which represents Lord Shiva.
1 As Keshav mentions in a comment below, there are actually many more Jyothirlingas, but these 12 are the most famous amongst them. The exact number is put at 64 in a few texts
As mentioned earlier the main difference is that jyothirlingas are twelve special lingas (mentioned in Shiva Purana). Shiva Lingas are a form of Lord Shiva which are found in many Shiva Temples.
The relation can be explained by stating the the Jyothirlingas are an enumerated sub set of 12 different elements of the countably infinite set of all Lingas in the world.
Jagadguru Sri Shankaracharya mentioned the twelve Jyothirlingas in a 13 stanza verse with 1 stanza dedicated to each of the Jyothirlingas and 1 concluding stanza. He also wrote a shortened form, which can be translated as follows
Saurāṣṭre Somanāthaṃ ca Śrīśaile Mallikārjunam
Ujjayinyāṃ Mahākālam Omkāram Mamleśhwaram
Paraly Vaidyanāthaṃ cha Ḍākinyāṃ Bhīmaśhaṅkaram
Setubandhe tu Rāmeśaṃ Nāgeśhaṃ Dārukāvane
Vārāṇasyāṃ tu Viśveśaṃ Tryambakaṃ Gautamītaṭe
Himālaye tu Kedāraṃ Ghuśmeśaṃ ca Śivālaye
etāni jyotirliṅgāni sāyaṃ prātaḥ paṭhennaraḥ
saptajanmakṛtaṃ pāpaṃ smaraṇena vinaśyati
The verse can be translated in English as
Somanath in Saurashtra and Mallikarjunam in Shri-Shailam
Mahakaal in Ujjain, Mamleshwar in Omkareshwar
Vaidyanath in Chitaobhoomi, Jharkhand or Parali in Maharasthra and Bhimashankaram in Dakinya
Ramesham (Rameshwaram) in Sethubandh, Nagesham in Daruka-Vana
Vishwa-Isham (Vishvanath) in Vanarasi, Triambakam at bank of the river Gautami;(Godavari)
Kedar (Kedarnath) in Himalayas and Grushnesh (Gushmeshwar) in Shivalaya (Shiwar)
One who recites these Jyotirlingas every evening and morning
is relieved of all sins committed in past seven lives.
(Transliteration and Translation taken from the Wikipedia page on Jyothirlingas)
Name of Jyothirlinga | State | Location
Somnath | Gujrat | Prabhas Patan
Mallikarjuna | Andhra Pradesh | Srisailam
Mahakaleshwar | Madhya Pradesh | Ujjain
Omkareshwar | Madhya Pradesh | Mandatha
Vaidyanath* | Jharkhand | Deoghar
Bhimashankar* | Maharashtra | Khed
Rameshwar | Tamil Nadu | Rameshwaram
Nageshwar* | Maharastra | Aundha
Vishwanath | Uttar Pradesh | Varanasi
Tryambakeshwar | Maharashtra | Nashik
Kedarnath | Uttarakhand | Garhwal
Grishneshwar* | Maharashtra | Daulatabad
* Places are disputed and no conclusion has been drawn.
An image of the 12 Jyothirlinga temples on a map can be seen below
Image from Shiv Parvati Sewa Dal, Chandigarh
Yes there is a difference between a Lord Shiva temple and a Jyotirling. It is said that Lord Shiva himself is present there at all 12 Jyotirlings where as in temples we do establishment( स्थापना)of a Lord Shiva murti as an idol or a shiv linga and start doing prayers and performing all the rituals. No Jyotirling was established by us, it was all already established by Lord Shiva himself.
Each and every Jyotirling has its own importance, check the links to get the details as it would be a too long answer to post importance of each jyotirling
Jyotirlings are place where the Shiva appeared when he had created the jyotirlings initially.
As the mythology suggest there was a argument between the lord Vishnu and lord Brahma over the supremacy. At that time Lord Shiva had created three endless light beams cutting across the three world and asked both the gods to enter in these light beams and one who will find the end would be supreme. Both Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma enter the light. But none could find the end. Lord Vishnu accepts the defeat and Lord Brahma lied.
Lord Shiva cursed Lord Brahma that he will not have any followers, And He blessed Lord Vishnu that He will be Prayed till the end of the world. Those three beams of light are original Jyotirlings and the place where the Lord Shiva appeared on the earth during that travel are called jyotirlings there were supposedly 64 jyotirling out of which 12 are very Pious.
For more information read this article published by ISKCON.
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