Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Ujjain
Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is among the 12 jyotirlingas of India and is located in the ancient city Ujjain or Madhya Pradesh. The description of Mahakaleshwar has been inscripted even in the Hindu puranas. It is said that the life of the city Ujjain revolves highly around the blessings and the power of Mahakal.
The shiv linga in the Mahakaleshwar Temple is known by different names also such as Swayambhu which means that the Shiv Linga gains power on its own. Another name is Dakshinamurti because the Shiv Linga in this temple faces towards the South direction.
The Legend of Mahakaleshwar
As per the puranas and many other legendary sources, Mahakaleshwar denotes time. As per this meaning, Lord Shiva or Mahesh, among the trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh) is known to have control over time.
Apart from this, there are many other tales coming from the depth of myths.
One such story says that Devi Sati got married to Lord Shiva against the will of her father King Daksha. When Daksha insulted Lord Shiva in front of everyone during an occasion, Devi Sati entered the fire in a state of rage. Lord Shiva could not control his feelings on the death of Devi Sati and performed the dance of rage called Tandav in the form of Mahakal.
Similarly, there is another story in which Lord Shiva took the form of Mahakal when a demon Dushan tried to harm four of his eminent bhakts.
The Architecture of Mahakaleshwar Temple
This ancient temple reflects a beautiful architectural combination of different ancient styles that are of Bhumija, Chalukya, and Maratha. The temple has five levels and the Garbhagriha is located underground where the Shiva Linga is situated.
Apart from the Mahakaleshwar Shiv Linga, there are more two Shiv Lingas present in the temple and these are Nagachandresvara and Omkareshvara. The Nagachandresvara Shiv Linga is located at the uppermost part of the temple and devotees are allowed to have darshan of this Shiv Linga only on the pious day of nag Panchami.
While you are entering the Garbhagriha of the main deity Mahakaleshwar in the temple, you will also witness many other idols such as that of Lord Ganesha, Mata Parvati, Kartikeye, Shri Rama, and others. The main shrine or the Shiv Linga has a silver plated roof on the top that increases the royalty of the Mahakaleshwar even more.
Celebrations at Mahakaleshwar
Usually, the pujaris of the temple perform arti and abhishek with proper ritual every day, but there are also a few celebrations for which devotees visit the temple from different parts of the country.
Nitya Yatra is when the devotees take a dip in the holy Sipra River and then pay a visit to the deities in the temple.
The Sawari is a possession of Lord Mahakaleshwar that takes place every Monday on the streets of Ujjain. This possession is followed by devotees from different parts of the country on special occasions such as Vijaydashami.
Bhasm-arti – This is a special kind of arti that takes place every day in the morning. For this ritual, the pujaris apply bhasm or fresh ashes from the burial ground on the Mahakaleshwar. It is said that Lord Shiva is above life and death and so the bhasm-arti is an important ritual in the temple.
Devotees who wish to witness the grand bhasm-arti of Mahakaleshwar should arrive at the temple early in the morning with a proper photo identity proof provided by the Government of India. Though all the Governmenr-approved identity cards are accepted, it is advised not to carry PAN card for the purpose.
Reaching Mahakaleshwar Temple
Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain is quite accessible through various means of transport.
Airways: The nearest airport to Ujjain is Indore that is at a distance of 51 km. Other airports that are near to Ujjain are Bhopal, Udaipur, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad.
Railways: The best route is through railways as you can get down directly at the Ujjain Railway Station from where you can take any vehicle to reach to the temple. Other railways stations where you can get down are Chintaman, Vikram Nagar, Omkareshwar, and Pingleshwar.
Roadways: There are different bus services that connects Mahakaleshwar to different cities of the country such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Pune, and Bengaluru. If you are opting for a cab service, Mahakaleshwar is 4 hours drive from Omkareshwar.