About the Temple:
Mahakaleshwara temple stands on the banks of Rudra Sagar lake, amidst the dense Mahakal forests in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. It is a sacred shaivite pilgrimage centre which is considered as one of the twelve jyotirlinga manifestations of Lord Shiva. Mahakaleshwar temple is a sacred abode of Lord Shiva and he resides in the form of lingam. The glorious Mahakaleshwar temple has been mentioned in several blockedures (Vedas) of the Hindu mythology. MahakaleshwarJyotirlinga is a 'Swayambhu' or self-manifested lingam. Mahakaleshwar is recognised as 'Dakshinamurti' since the idol faces towards the southern direction. This is an unique feature of this temple.
The temple is said to be a five-storey building which is decorated with the images of Lord Ganesh, Goddess Parvati and Lord Kartikay. These idols are placed in the west, north and east direction respectively. An image of Nandi is placed in the south direction. The third level has an idol of Lord Nagchandreshwar which is a form of Lord Shiva. Devotees can take darshan of Nagchandreshwar only on the day of Nagpanchami.
Temple History and Architecture
The original temple building was damaged during Muslim invasions. Later, it was restored by the Scindias. The pinnacle of this three-leveled temple dominates the skyline of the southern Ujjain city. The view of huge and grand structure of the temple is breathtaking. The structure is adorned with motifs above the pillared porches. The corridor walls are adorned with the ancient images and sculptures, whereas the courtyard comprises remnants of ancient shrines. The floors are decked with railings. The balconies are decorated with splendid roofs designed in Rajput architectural style.
According to a hearsay narrated in Puranas, a five-year-old boy, Shrikar was delighted seeing the devotion of King Chandrasena of Ujjain for Lord Shiva. Shrikar started worshipping a stone, considering it as a Shiv linga. People mocked him, thinking that his worship as a game and tried to interrupt him. But the devotion of Shrikar kept increasing day by day. Pleased by the little boy’s devotion Lord Shiva assumed Jyotirlinga form and made the Mahakal forest his abode.
According to another hearsay related to Mahakal Temple, a demon, Dushana tormented the residents of Avanti. Lord Shiva appeared from the ground and killed the demon. Later, the locals of Avanti requested Lord Shiva to take up an abode here. Hence, Lord Shiva is worshipped as Mahakaleshwara Jyotirlinga.
Festivals, pujas and celebrations
Mahakaleshwar temple follows a ritual where the lingam is smeared with the ash that is brought from the cremation grounds. This ritual depicts the circle of life and death that is a part of the Hindu mythology.
Maha Shivratri is the major festival which is observed in the temple with fervor and great devotion. A grand fair is held near the temple. During this, prayers and worship are offered to Lord Shiva.
Devotees also participate in Kumbh Mela which is organized on the banks of the Kshipra river.
How to reach
By Road: Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain can be reached by buses or by hiring Taxis from anywhere in Madhya Pradesh.
By Train: The nearest railway head is Ujjain Junction.
By Air: The nearby airport is located at Indore which is 53 km away from the temple.