From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Banalinga, BANaliJga, Baanaliyga

Bāṇaliñga literally means ‘liṅga of Bāṇa’.

Occurence of Bāṇaliṅgas

Bāṇaliṅgas are natural liṅgas of Śiva (svayambhu or self-manifest) made of crystallized quartz. They are generally found in some sacred rivers like the Narmadā.

Significance of Bāṇaliṅgas

A legend goes that Śiva got them manifested at the special request of Bāṇāsura, a great devotee of his. It is hence named as ‘bāṇaliṅga’.

Characteristics of Bāṇaliṅgas

Though several stones shaped like a liṅga are found in the river Narmadā, not all of them are bāṇaliṅgas. Special characteristics are prescribed for them in order to determine which ones are true bāṇaliṅgas. The bāṇaliṅgas occur in many shapes, sizes and colors. They are hence given different names.

  • The ‘āgneya-liñga’ will be rose in color and warm to touch.
  • The ‘yāmya-liṅga’ is shaped like a cudgel.
  • The ‘varuṇa-liñga’ is round in shape.
  • The ‘raudra-liṅga’ resembles a piece of bone.
  • The ‘vaiṣṇava-liṅga’ has variegated colors.

They are sometimes given different names of Śiva like Svayambhu, Mṛtyuñjaya or Nīlakaṇṭha depending upon their external characteristics.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore