Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Images of various god and Goddesses, Apsaras and Kichakas adorn the walls and pillars of the temple. Also, the Lingam of the Mahakaleshwar temple is the largest in size among all other Jyotirlingas.
The Mahakaleshwar temple is a three-storied structure. The Lingam of Mahakaleshwar is worshipped on the first floor which is actually under the ground level. On the second level, the Lingam of Omkareshwara is worshipped. The Nagachandeshwara Linga is worshipped on the third level. The third level is open to the public only on Naga Panchami.
What is the history of Mahakaleshwar Temple?
As per the history of Mahakaleshwar Temple, Prajapati Brahma himself established the first temple at the site. The coins recovered at Ujjain have the mark of Lord Shiva on them. According to several poetic texts, in the Paramara period, invaders destroyed the temple. Later, Udayaditya and Naravarman rebuilt it.
According to the ancient scripture Sthalapuranam, King Chandrasena was a devotee of Shiva. A young boy named Shrikhar heard his prayers to the god and wanted to join him. However, people did not let him do it, and sent him out of the city. Also, Shrikhar heard the plans of rival kings Ripudhamana and Singhaditya to attack the city with the help of the demon king Dushan.
Moreover, Dushan had a blessing of invisibility from Brahma. So, Shrikhar and a priest named Vriddhi prayed to Lord Shiva for help. The enemies arrived at Avantika (Ujjain) and started torturing the people. They banned all Vedic Dharmanushtan activities in the city. The people started praying to Lord Shiva for help.
Devotees also believe that when Dushan started attacking Avantika, the ground split near the statue of Parvati and Lord Shiva came out of it as Mahakaal. He burnt the demons with just one grunt. Adhering to the request of the people of Avantika, Lord Shiva then decided to stay there as the chief deity of Avantika.
What is the significance of Mahakaleshwar Temple?
The significance of Mahakaleshwar Temple is that the Lingam of Mahakaleshwar is Swayambhu in nature. Sri Mahakaleshwar is the lord of time. He is also popular as the one capable of winning difficult situations. This is the only Lingam in the world which faces south, the direction of Death.
The Mahakaleshwar temple is also one of the eighteen Maha Shakti Peethas. Shakti Peethas are the sites where body parts of Sati Devi fell after the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yoga episode of Hindu mythology cut her body. Also, devotees believe that the Upper Lip of the Sati Devi fell here. Moreover, the Goddess here is popular as Mahakali.
Here are the timings of Mahakaleshwar Temple:
|Open||4 AM||11 PM|
|Bhasma Aarti||4 AM|
|Morning Pooja||7:00 AM||7:30 AM|
|Evening Pooja||5:00 PM||5:30 PM|
|Shree Mahakaal Aarti||7:00 PM||7:30 PM|
What are the festivals celebrated at Mahakaleshwar Temple?
Some of the festivals celebrated at Mahakaleshwar Temple are:
- Kumbh Mela –This Mela has the distinction of being the largest religious congregation on the planet. It takes place once in every 12 years in Ujjain, Allahabad, Haridwar as well as Nashik. Also, the festival continues for about one and a half months. The pilgrims and sages (sadhus) take a ceremonial dip in the River Ksipra. Religious discourses, Ramlilas, Raslilas as well as the grand procession of sadhus are the main features of the Kumbh Mela.
- Maha Shivaratri – Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple to celebrate the day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati. It occurs on the 13th or 14th day of the Magha month (February / March) in the Indian calendar
- Karthik Mela – It occurs every year in the Hindu month of Karthik (November / December).
- Harihara Milana – The celebrations of this festival take place on Vaikuntha Chaturdashi, which signifies the meeting of two Lords – Lord Krishna as well as Lord Shiva at midnight.
Some of the sevas and poojas of Mahakaleshwar Temple are:
- Bhasm Aarti – This aarti is unique to the temple. The priest applies Vibhhoti to the Shiva Linga every day at 4:00 AM. Only, pilgrims holding a VIP pass can enter the Sanctum or the Garbhagraha for the Aarti. Women cannot witness Bhasma decoration during the Aarti.
- Maha Rudrabhishekham – In this Pooja, recitations from Rigveda, Samveda, Yajurveda as well as Atharva Veda take place in front of the Mahakaal Linga.
- Mrityunjaya Jaap – This Pooja is done to increase the Longevity of a person.
- Laghu Rudrabhishekham – This Abhishekham is done to remove bad effects of different planets on the horoscope and for solving health-related issues.
Here’s how to reach Mahakaleshwar Temple:
- Air – The nearest airport is Indore, 53 km away from Ujjain.
- Train – Direct trains are available to Ujjain from major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Benaras, Kochi as well as Jaipur.
- Road – Bus services are available from cities like Indore, Surat, Mumbai, Pune, Udaipur, Nasik and Mathura.
The Temple Management has constructed two Dharmashalas for pilgrims to stay. The names of the Dharmashalas are Pandit Shree Surya Narayan Vyas Dharmashala and the Shree Mahakaal Dharmashala. Non AC dormitories, Non AC rooms and AC rooms are available to pilgrims at reasonable rates.
Several budget hotels, 3-star and 5-star hotels operate in Ujjain as this is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world.
Some of the temples near Mahakaleshwar Temple are:
- Harsiddhi Temple – It is located just 400 mt away from the Mahakaleshwar temple. This temple is one of the Shakti Peethas according to the Hindu mythology. Devotees also believe that Sati’s elbow fell here when the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yagna episode of the Hindu tradition cut her body.
- Ram Janardhan Mandir –Raja Jai Singh constructed this temple in the 17th century. The specialities of the temple include the 11th-century sculpture of Govardhandhari Krishna, 10th-century sculpture of Vishnu as well as the 12th-century idol of Trimurti.
- Kala Bhairava temple –Beliefs say that King Bhadra constructed this temple over the ruins of an old demolished temple. Further, this temple was of great significance during the Paramar period.
- Chintamani Ganesh temple – The Goddess Riddhi and Siddhi are present on two sides of Lord Ganesh. Devotees also offer special prayers to the god every Wednesday in the month of Chaithra.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple is a part of the Mahakaleshwar Omkareshwar Tour.