A linga or a lingam is a very complex symbol of Hinduism. It is associated with Shiva, one of the three main gods of the Hindus. The Hindu scriptures say that a linga represents energy and strength. In almost all the temples of Shiva, Shiva is shown in the form of a linga.
The Hindu scriptures also say that Shiva took twelve forms as Jyotirlinga, that is, a linga of light. In India, there are twelve places where this form of Shiva is worshiped. The Hindu scriptures also tell about five more forms of lingas. These form of lingas represent the earth, the water, the fire, the air and the sky (or ether). There are five different places in India where Hindus worship these forms of Shiva. These places are located at the following places:
- Kanchipuram: God Shiva’s linga in the form of the earth
- Srirangam: God Shiva’s linga in the form of the water
- Tiruvannamalai: God Shiva’s linga in the form of the fire
- Kalahasti: God Shiva’s linga in the form of the air
- Chidambaram: God Shiva’s linga in the form of the sky (or ether)
Beside above places, in almost all the towns and villages of India, Shiva’s temples are found. In all such temples, lingas are worshipped.