Mahakaleshwar Temple / Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga
#1 of 19 Places to Visit in Ujjain
Distance (From Ujjain Junction): 2 Kms
Trip Duration (Including Travel): 1-2 Hours
Place Location: Beside The Rudra Sagar Lake
Transportation Options: Cab / Auto
Travel Tips: The tickets for Bhasma Aarti are available online, and one needs to apply a day in advance. The applications are accepted only till 12:30 PM, following which the list is declared at 7 PM.
At a distance of 2 km from Ujjain Junction, Mahakaleshwar is a sacred Hindu temple located in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Situated beside the Rudra Sagar Lake, it is one of the top places of pilgrimage in Madhya Pradesh, and among the must include places in Ujjain tour packages.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Mahakaleshwar Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, which are said to be the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. The presiding deity, Lord Shiva in the lingam form is believed to be Swayambhu, deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams that are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti. Also, the shrine is revered as one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethams that are believed to have enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it. The upper lip of Sati Devi is said to have fallen here and the Shakti is called Mahakali.
Also known as Ujjain Temple, Mahakaleshwar Temple has been rebuilt several times. It was destroyed by Altamish in the 13th century during his raid of Ujjain but it was restored to its present structure by the Maratha general Ranoji Scindia in 1734 CE. Built-in Bhumija, Chalukya, and Maratha styles of architecture, the five-storied temple is an architectural marvel. Three floors of the building are occupied by lingams of Mahakaleswara, Omkareswara, and Nagachandreswara, respectively. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhara or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery.
Among the top places to visit in Ujjain, the idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be Dakshinamurti, facing the south. This is a unique feature, upheld by tantric tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Shiva 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 while the Nandi is to the south. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third floor is accessible for devotees only on the occasion of Naga Panchami. There is also a tank in the premises called Koti Tirtha that has been built in the sarvatobhadra style. On the path from the stairs of the kunda to the temple, one will come across several images of the original structure of the temple, reflecting its grandeur during the period of the Paramaras (9th and 14th centuries).
Of the various Aartis performed every day in Mahakaleshwar Temple, the 'Bhasma Aarti', is the famed ritual for which devotees gather here as early as 4 am. During this religious ritual, the idol of Lord Shiva is worshipped with sacred ash brought from the ghats, and the ash is then applied to the lingam before conducting the holy prayers. On the day of Mahashivaratri, a huge fair is held near the temple, and worship goes on through the night.
Timings: 4 AM - 11 PM, Bhasma Aarti: 4 AM
Entry: Free, Rs. 250 for VIP Darshan