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 ancient Hindu temples have their origins weaved around archaic mythological tales and the famous Mahakaleshwar Temple is no exception to this rule. Legend has it that when the city was ruled by King Chandrasen, an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, a young boy named Shrikhar was moved by his devotion. He then wanted to join the ruler in his prayers but was refused by the Royal cavalry and sent away to the outskirts of the city, near the river Kshipra.
As Shrikhar wandered off into the countryside he overheard the neighboring kings discuss a plot to plunder Ujjain. At this time, the young boy began praying to Lord Shiva. Slowly, word spread across town that there were going to be forthcoming attacks. A local priest known as Vridhi immersed into the river Kshipra and began to chant the Lord's name.
Meanwhile, the rivals sought the help of a demon called Dushan and they were successful in plundering the city and killed innumerable Lord Shiva's devotees. On hearing this, the God himself appeared and destroyed the enemies of King Chandrasen. After pleas from his disciples, Shrikhar and Vridh, Lord Shiva agreed to reside in the city in the form of a "lingam" and guard its people from any affliction. It is been believed that anyone who surrenders to Lord Shiva with true devotion is blessed and is free from disease and other worldly sufferings.
The structure around the temple was built by various ruling kings but a part of it was destroyed by Sultan Iltutmish, when he invaded the city during 1234 to 1235. During the 19th century, the Scindia Royal family undertook the responsibility 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.
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.
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.
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.
Ujjain is surrounded by a number of historical monuments but the Mahakaleshwar Temple continues to remain the life of the city. The temple serves as an unbreakable link between modern India and the ancient Hindu customs.