Why Lord Shiva is worshipped in Lingam form, Legend of Thiruvannamali Arunachaleshwara Lingam

Lingodbhava puja is a special ritual performed during midnight on Maha Shivaratri in all Shiva temples. Lingam or Lingodbhavamurthy is an iconic representation of Lord Shiva to whom we offer our pujas. Why Shiva is worshipped in the form of Lingam?

Here is a legend explores the story of Lingodbhava which is associated with Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwara Temple. This legend is mentioned in Kurma Purana, Vayu Purana, and the Shiva Purana.

At the end of a kalpa (4.32 billion years of period in Hinduism as per Vishnu Purana and Bhagavata Purana), when Vishnu was in his Yoganidra (cosmic sleep), Brahma emerged from illumination and introduced himself to Vishnu as the Creator of the Universe. Vishnu also introduced himself as the architect of the universe. When an argument of superiority has arrived, a huge column (lingam) of fire has emerged.

To trace the origin of the column of fire, Lord Brahma turned as a swan and flew upwards and Vishnu manifested as a boar and burrowed down into the earth. Neither of two is able to find the trace of the origin of the column and surrendered to Lingam.

shiva lingam

shiva lingam

Lord Shiva appeared in front of them and explained the story of their origin and no one is superior among them. The huge column of fire represents cosmic nature of Lord Shiva whose origins were not found by Brahma or Vishnu. This is the main fact behind the worshipping Shiva the form of Lingam.

The legend mentioned above was believed to be held at Thiruvannamali Arunachaleshwara temple. Thiruvannamalai hill is known to be a representation of Lord Shiva in linga form.

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Write Your Comment


  1. rngupta says:

    thank u very much, it is a very useful information

  2. Mohan says:

    clear and conscise information regarding Lingam. Keep up the good work

  3. Shiv Sharma says:

    Jai Bhole Nath,
    The article on the lingam is very interesting . I would like to pose a question . Can please let me know what size of the lingam is best for prayers at home , this is for personal satisfaction. And what would be the size if it is to be kept in the Mandir

    Thanks very much if I cud get answers supported by the references


  4. Nikhil says:

    why lord shiva is worshiped in linga form

  5. Ramita says:

    why is lord shiva worshipped in the form of linga

  6. Sanyog says:

    why lord shiva is worshipped in the form of linga

  7. Doosri Radha says:

    Very surprising! This is to mislead innocent people. In Bhagawata Mahapurana, Rishabhdeva Ji has described about the seniority among Krushna, Brahma and Rudra(Shiva). Brahma gave birth to 11 Rudras. So, Shiva, the tamasic part of Paramatma, is the lowest. About Shiva Linga, a closer view shows that the Linga is situated in a structure, spread all around the Linga. This is said to be the Yoni of Parvati. This is the position of coitus, the male-female union. Why people worship this I do not know. In the past, I also worshipped it in Varanasi temple because people worshipped or because God wanted me to worship. Anyhow, there is no real explanation on this topic so far. HARI BOL !

  8. Champak says:

    why lord shiva is worshiped in the form of linga

  9. Srivar says:

    – Why does Lord Shiva worshipped in the form of Linga

  10. Mandakini says:

    why hindu worship siva linga in bengali form

  11. Nirdhar says:

    what is history of siva lingam in malayalam

  12. Pramesh says:

    why is lord shiva worshiped in the form of linga ?

  13. S. Arunachalananda says:

    Dear Doosri Radha,
    From the point of dualistic vaishnava samkhy belief (maybe ISCON) this story can not be understood properly.Linga actualy means only SYMBOL (of the transcendental form of Maheshwara).Vishnu puranam of course tells another story than Shiv puranam. If you defend your belief in the way you did, you are devenately dishonoring also Vaishnavabelief. If you would take a walk (pradakshina) around holy Arunachala, some deeper understanding will rise. OM NAMAH SHIVAYA


  14. Doosri Radha alias Debendra Kishore Panda says:

    JAYA JAYA SHRI KRUSHNA! Arunachalananda Ji, I do not defend anything. You also know that Lord Shiva is the greatest devotee of Lord Vishnu. Bhagavata Mahapurana also says, the Trimurti, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara are the creations of Maya. These are not real. They are Leela Murtis. The only one who is original and unique (Ekoham, Dwitiyo Nasti!) is the Brahma or Paramatma or Bhagawana, as one may call Him. Lord Krushna is that Brahma. The only object of human life is attaining that Brahma (God realisation). Worshipping Shiva Lingam is a part of a ritual for some gain. I have read Shiva Purana. My father was a Shiva bhakti. But, the Gayatri Japa, took me to Lord Krushna and He blessed me after 12 years of Sadhana with God realisation. There is complete unity in this Universe. Everything is Lord Krushna. Everything is Brahma. Shiva Linga is not different. Those who discriminate do so because of limited knowledge and view. So, there is nothing to defend or to prove. Each one has to strive for Mukti in one’s own interest. HARI BOL!

    • Sanjeev says:

      Vaisnavas usually suffer from superiority complex. There is just one Reality. Some may call it Shiva, some may call it Krishna, some may call it God or Allah…Call it what you will, but there is just one Reality. There is no use asserting that Krishna is the greatest and not Shiva. It is like saying that if Iam thirsty, I will drink water only, not that liquid called Jal in Hindi or Vari in Sanskrit. Where there is superiority complex, there is no knowledge, just plain pride and dogmatism.