The mighty Mahakaleshwar
Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain is considerd one of the most religious place of India The devotees of Lord Shiva believe the prime adoration to worship of shivalinga. For those devotees, worship of all other forms is considered secondary and because the place is blessed with one Jyotirlinga amongst 12 Jyotirlinga. The importance of place is due to well known Mahakaleshwar Temple where The presiding deity of time, Shiva, in all his splendor, reigns eternal in the form of self powered Jyotirlinga. According to legends and common belief here Lord Mahakal or Shiva with his power can bring life to person who is almost gone to the clutches of death. And such is the mercy of Lord Shiva that he can wash off sins of seven birth if someone keeps faith on him and worship this Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga.
Ujjain has been a well-known center of religious activities for over 2,000 years. The holiness of this town is recognized by the mythological legend that during ‘Sagar Mathan’, one drop of nectar spilled over Ujjain, which makes it a sacred place. Whatever be the truth behind this, Ujjain has got a significant position in the Vedas .
The temple is located in the ancient city of Ujjain which is also called Avantika , in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The beauty of temple is amplified by Rudra Sagar lake. The presiding god, Shiva in the lingam form is believed to be Swayambhu,means deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images ,Mahakala of Ujjain is known among the twelve celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The splendor of Mahakaleshwar temple has been brilliantly described in various puranas.
The very famous Mahakaleshwar temple is main attraction and icon of Ujjain. temple is a five-storied massive structure and its engraved motives displays the Rajput style of architecture while screens and pavilions combined with marble colonnades reminds the influence of Mughal style.The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, which means that it is facing the south. This is a unique feature, upheld by the tantric
shivnetra tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Mahadev is consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal shrine. The images of Ganesh, Parvati and Karttikeya are installed in the west, north and east of the sanctum sanctorum. To the south is the image of Nandi, the carriage of Lord Shiva. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami. The temple has five levels, one of which is underground. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhar or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasada (holy offering) offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other shrines.
The Mahakal temple dominates the religious aspect of the city and its people, very profoundly.And in between hustle and bustle of life it makes people realize the sordid reality of death and provides the firm link between alive and dead once.
The Bhasm Arti
Bhasm Arti, one of the essential yet awesome rituals of this temple is a symbolic representation of Death and Life. This strange tradition involves adorning the idol with hot ashes from the burning burial ground is a mark of respect to the Destroyer of the universe, Lord Shiva. It is described in our scripture that Lord Shiva use to dwell in cremation grounds and all the ghosts are his servants thus the ash-smearing ceremony is a homage to the almighty who not only destroys the world but also all the discrimination between living, on living or dead. This form of worship is representative of Death and Life being inseparable, an idea that is inherent to most of the Hindu schools of thought.
It is also regarded as one of the top 10 Tantra Temples of India, and has the only Bhasm-Aarti [ash ritual] of its kind in the world. The Bhasm-Aarti is the foremost ritual conducted every day at the temple, which is to wake the God Shiva up, perform “Shringar” and offer the first aarti [an offering of fire to the deity by circulating lamps, incense and other items]. The aarti begins only when fresh ash is brought in. Mahakaleshwar is a name for the God Shiva, and means the god of Time or Death. This may be one of the reasons of the inclusion of the funeral ashYou will be assured that this aarti is something that you should not miss
Ujjain, the holy town in Madhya Pradesh, goes back to the times of Lord Buddha when the city used to be the capital of the Avanti Kingdom. During the 4th century B.C. the city was home to Emperor Asoka and it was during this time that the Hindu Geography’s first meridian of longitude was marked.
Post the Mauryan rule, the city came under the rule of Sungas and the Satavahanas respectively. The Ror Sakas came on to the forefront after the downfall of the Satavahanas and ruled here from 2nd to 4th century CE. During the reign of Gupta Kings, Ujjain became an important trading capital. It became an immensely important center of astronomical and mathematical research in the 6th and 7th century. The famous mathematician Brahmagupta and Varahamihira were born here.
This hot seat of religion was raided by Iltutmish, the king of Delhi Sultanate in 1235, thus causing a lot of destruction to the temples. It became the capital of the Malwa region under the kingship of Akbar.
The city came under the rule of the Sindhia kings during the second half of the 18th century. However, they shifted their base to Gwalior and after the independence of India, it became a part of Madhya Bharat. In the year 1956, it was merged in to the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Poupular places around mahakaleshwar
Apart from main temple there are other significant temples of religious and historical importance in Ujjain.
Gopal Temple in Ujjain gives a typical example of Maratha architecture.This temple is a marble-spared structure and the deity’s two feet tall statue is placed on a marble-inlaid altar with silver-plated doors. The door in the inner sanctum is the same door, which had been carried away by Ghazni from the Somnath temple. Mahadji Scindia recovered the door and now it has been installed in this temple. . The temple is dedicated to lord Krishna and Built in the 19th century, by Bayajibai Shinde, this huge temple is located in the middle of a big market. Its considered position in the heart of the city attributes the popularity of the temple.
The temple is unique due to the reason it is dedicated to the Planets of Our Solar system. Its pretty known to everyone that all the planets affect our live with different ways. Navgraha Mandir in Ujjain indicates that the planets need to be propitiated to stay away from a negative influence. In India, Astronomy and Astrology adorned a crucial role in the life of people since ancient times and due to this belief is the temple makes great importance in city. Marking of the first meridian at Ujjain, adds a special significance to this temple, which situates at the confluence of the Shipra and two other rivulets. Devotees tender flowers, coconuts and vermilion, and especially mustard oil as their offerings to the deities to please them.
This is another important place of Ujjain which can’t be missed.Bhairav is a ferocious appearance of Lord Shiva, and the city of Ujjain has numerous shrines dedicated to this form of Shiva. Kal Bhairav temple is believed to be associated with the Tantra cult, a heretical secret religious group with brawny black magic nuances. The temple premises are mottled with holy men with ash smeared body and long matted hair.
The Kal Bhairava Temple houses a Shiva linga under a banyan tree inside the periphery of the temple opposite to the statue of Nandi Bull. Kal Bhairav temple also depicts beautiful sculptures of other deities along with Lord Vishnu. On the eve of Mahasivarathri, the temple premises put on a festive mood when this shrine is packed with ardent devotees.
Bhartruhari Caves in Ujjain is believed to be the place where Bhartrihari, the step brother of Vikramaditya, have lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. His famous works, Shringarshataka, Vairagyashataka, and Nitishataka, were possibly written here.
Situated just above the bank of the Shipra River, Bhartrihari Caves is a predominant tourist place in Ujjain. One among the ideal location where one can experience the glorious heritage of past, Bhartrihari Cavesexemplifies the historical elegance of Ujjain
Chaubis Khambha Temple-An remarkable structure, which belongs to ninth or tenth century AD, Chaubis Khamba Temple presents an architectural marvel. The majestic entrance gate of the magnificient Mahakala- Vana, the remains of which provides an amazing spectacle. Two splendid images of goddesses are depicted on each side of the gate with the inscription of their names on the footsteps.
These guardian-deities by name Mahamaya and Mahalaya in a very graceful form guards the grand entrance of the structure. One can imagine the dimensions of the boundary-wall of the conventionally recognized Mahakala-vana, which is now covered under thick inhabitation.
How to reach
Ujjain By Air Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore is the nearest airport to Ujjain, which is situated 55 km away. Indore is air connected to major cities in India by public and private domestic airlines.
Ujjain Junction Railway Station is an important railway station in Western railway zone. It is well connected to all major railway stations in India. Direct train services are available to Bhopal, Indore, Pune, Malwa, Delhi and many other cities.
Ujjain is well connected by state road transport public bus services. Regular bus services are available from Indore (55 km), Gwalior (450 km), Ahmedabad (400 km) and Bhopal (183 km) to Ujjain.
Best time to visit:
Ujjain experiences extreme climatic conditions of very hot summers and chilly cold winters so Best period to visit Ujjain is from October to March.