Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple

The Mahakal Temple, or Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple, in Ujjain is one of the most famous temples in India. It is among the 12 Jyothirlingams where Lord Shiva visited the place himself and thus holds great significance among his devotees. The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlingam Temple is on Ujjain’s River Shipra banks in Madhya Pradesh. This is one of the most important tourist destinations for spiritual travellers due to its glory and magnificent history. It is also famous for the Kumbh Mela, or Simhastha fair, conducted once every 12 years. The name of the temple is derived from the Sanskrit words Maha (great) and Kaal (time and death). Devotees consider Lord Shiva to be the God of time and death, and hence this temple is called Mahakal Temple.

Legend of Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple

The main deity in the Mahakaleshwara Jyothirlingam Temple is Lord Shiva. He has several names, and one of them is Maheshwara. Among the trinity of Hinduism—Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara—Lord Shiva is Maheshwara or Mahakaleshwara, which means God of Time. The Jyothirlingam faces south, towards Dakshinamukhi, and is the only one that is in this direction. All other Jyothirlingams face east. South is said to be the direction of death, and the Jyothirlingam facing this direction represents that he is the God of Death. There are two legends that the locals believe in, because of which the name Mahakaleshwar exists.

One of these is that when the father of Sati, Daksha, objects to the marriage of Sati with Shiva, she walks into the fire. Upon hearing this, Lord Shiva gets angry and performs the Tandava (Dance of Death). This got him the name Mahakaleshwar, or Mahakal, the God of Time.

Another legend goes like this; Dushan was a demon king, and when this demon hurt Lord Shiva’s devotees, he got angry and broke the earth into two halves. So he got the name Mahakaleshwar.

The Architecture of Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple

The architecture of this temple is a nice blend of Chalukya, Bhumija, and Maratha styles. The idol of Omkareshwara may be the key attraction, but the idols of Karthikeya, Avantika, Lord Rama, Ganesha, and Parvati are stunning. The Shikara is awe-inspiring and stands tall. The temple is built near a lake and has five levels, with the walls having inscriptions of eulogies to Lord Shiva. Every level of the temple has a different god:

• The Mahakaleshwara temple is on the ground floor and is facing the south so called Dakshinamukhi. This is a unique feature that is found only in this Jyothirlingam.
• The Nagachandreshwara lingam is on the uppermost floor and is open only on Naga Panchami. The second floor has the Omkareshwara lingam. There is a large Kunda, or Koti Thirtha, in this compound. The idols of Parvati, Ganesha, and Karthikeya is also near the Koti Thirtha.
The Mahakal is Swayambhu (born of itself), which means the power also comes from within. The other idols and lingams established here are invested with Shakti derived from Mantras.

Festivals in Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple

There are various festivals conducted in this temple, and one of them is Maha Shivaratri. While many Shiva temples celebrate this festival throughout the country, only in this temple is it celebrated for nine days. The last day is the best, as there are special rituals done at Mahakaleshwara temple. Devotees from all over India come to witness this special event.

The other festivals that are worth a visit are the Nitya Yatra. On this day, devotees take a dip in the holy Sipra and then visit the various idols situated on different levels of the temple. Then there is the Sawari, which is a sacred procession during the Bhadrapada month, where Lord Shiva is taken in procession through Ujjain streets.
Another major attraction not to miss here is the Bhasma Aarti, which happens at 4 AM daily. It is a ceremony where holy ash from the ghats is used to worship the idol along with sacred chants. This is the only temple that performs Bhasma Aarti, and one should not miss this grand ceremony when visiting this place.

Benefits of Worshipping in Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple

As mentioned earlier, the Jyothirlingam here faces South and is called Dakshinamukhi. As that symbolises the direction of death, one of the benefits of worshipping here is that it can prevent premature death and help lead a long, happy life.

How to reach Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple

One of the main reasons people want to come to this temple is to witness the Bhasma Aarti. Some of the ways to reach this temple are:

• By Air: Reach Indore by air and land at the Devi Ahilya Bai Holka Airport which is about 50 km from Ujjain. There are many flights to Indore from various Indian cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, etc.
• By Train: Ujjain city is well-connected by railways. There are many direct trains to Ujjain from many cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Nagpur, Patna, Bangalore, Hyderabad, etc. There are four major railway stations that are near to this temple. Pingaleshwar, Vikram Nagar Chintaman and Ujjain Junction. To reach the temple, hail a local transport.
• By Road: Buses are the best way to reach Ujjain if travelling by road. There are many buses that ply to this destination from many major cities.

Temple Timings of Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlingam Temple

The temple is open to the public from 3 AM to 11 PM. The Bhasma Aarti takes place at 4 AM daily, and pre-bookings are available.


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