Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams. It is located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple is an important and scared abode of Lord Shiva. Several tourists flock this shrine from different parts of India and the world. The temple is one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingams’ in the country and is also highly revered by Hindu devotees. The holy sanctuary is found along the banks of the Rudra Sagar Lake in Ujjain where the main deity is said to have formed on its own, in stone (also known as a Swayambhu). The highlights of this temple are the practice of ancient rituals undertaken to gratify the God and the ceremonial customs, which promise to evoke spiritual calling. The Mahakaleshwar Temple is also known for its beautiful and rich inscribing that reflects on the grandeur of the Rajput royalties, who once ruled the region. A visit to the cultural city of Ujjain would be incomplete without a stopover at the divine, Mahakaleshwar Temple. To learn more facts about the temple, take a look into the article below.
Most of the prehistoric temples find their origins spun around the outmoded legendary tales. Mahakaleshwar Temple too shares a similar history. Legend states that when this city was governed by King Chandrasen, a passionate follower of Lord Shiva, a young boy known as Shrikhar was highly moved by his dedication. He wished to be part of the King’s prayers but was turned down by the Royal cavalry. He was sent away to the outer edge of the city, near Kshipra river.
As Shrikhar strolled into the countryside, he eavesdropped to the neighboring kings discussing a plot to rob Ujjain. At this instance, Shrikhar began praying to Shiva. Slowly, the word spread across the town and all came to know of the forthcoming attacks. A local priest, Vridhi, went into Kshipra and began chanting the Lord’s name.
In the meantime, the rivals with the aid of a demon known as Dushan successfully plundered the city and killed countless Lord Shiva’s devotees. This made Lord Shiva to appear and destroy King Chandrasen’s enemies. After request from Shrikhar and Vridh, Lord agreed to dwell in the city as a “lingam” and protect its people from any suffering.
The structure in the region of the temple was built by different ruling kings. However, a part of it was shattered by Sultan Iltutmish, when he attacked the city during 1234 to 1235. In the 19th century, the Scindia Royal family took over the accountability of its restoration.
One of the major attractions of the place is the ‘Bhasm-Aarti’. The ‘aarti’ commences just before the break of dawn to awaken the deity. It happens just once every day. The ceremony comprises of the anointment of the idol with sacred ash that is brought from the ‘ghats’ or mountains. This is applied on the ‘lingam’ before the prayers are conducted.
The temple is said to be a five-storey building that has the presence of the Gods such as Ganesh, Parvathi, Karttikeya, Nandi and Nagchandreshwar. This is opened only on the Nag Panchami Day. After paying respects to the deity, you must take time to admire the temple’s architecture and the beautiful carved pillars located in the courtyard. The walls in hallways have unique pieces of sculptures that are remnants of a particular era. The floors, balconies and roofs in the shrine have adopted the Rajput style of architectures.
The best time to visit the Mahakaleshwar Temple is during the festival of Mahashivratri that falls between the months of February and March. On this day, the temple resonates with the scared chants of Lord Shiva.
How to Get
There The Mahakaleshwar temple is said to be located in the ancient city of Ujjain, a well known pilgrimage centre in Madhya Pradesh.
By Air: Ujjain does not have an airport of its own but if you choose this means of transport, then the closest airport is at Indore. Once you arrive here, you can travel to the old city by the SH-27 & 18 highways.
By Road: A number of buses commute on the state highway. This is probably the best mode of transport owing to the good condition of the roads.
By Train: Ujjain also boasts of rail facilities. The city has four stations, namely Ujjain Junction, Vikram Nagar, Chintaman and Pingleshwar, which connect to the metros of India.
Best Time to Visit
Though one can visit this eternal place of Grand Lord Shiva, at any time throughout the year, as thousands of devotees comes here everyday, but during the festive time and that too in Grand-Night of Shiva called Maha-shivaratri, which comes during February to March, brings a lofty numbers of visitors from around the globe, and so this can be the best time to explore the real divine charm of the city.