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Home ›   Astrology Blogs ›   Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga : History ,Temple , Bhasma Aarti ,and Major festivals

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga : know the History , Temple , Bhasma Aarti and Major festivals of the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga

MyJyotish Expert Updated 02 Mar 2022 07:11 PM IST
Mahakaleshwar temple
Mahakaleshwar temple - Photo : google
Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga 
Location- Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh
Deity- Mahakaleshwar (Lord Shiva)
Timing for Darshan- 3.00 AM to 11.00 PM
Timings for Aarti-
Bhashma Aarti- 4:00 AM to 6.00 AM
Morning Aarti- 7.00 AM to 7.30 AM
Evening Aarti- 5.00 PM to 5.30 PM
Shree Mahakaal Aarti- 7.00 PM to 7.30 PM

The Mahakaleshwar temple is located in Ujjain of Madhya Pradesh. It is considered as the third jyotirlinga. The temple is near the holy river Shipra. Lord Shiva presides there as Swayambhu, emitting currents of power (shakti). The Mahakaleshwar idol is known as dakshinamukhi. The temple is also considered as one of 18 shakti peethas. Kalidas mention the temple and its rituals in his work “Meghaduta”.

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Lord Shiva also called Maheshwar. Mahakaleshwar means “lord of time”. According a legend, Sati stepped into flames after her father, Daksha, opposed her marriage to shiva. This enraged Shiva, who then performed Tandava or the dance of death, which gave him the name ‘Mahakal or Mahakaleashwar’. According to another legend, the demon Dushan wronged shiva worshippers, which  enraged Shiva and in his wrath, he splits the world in half which gave him the name of Mahakaleashwar.

According to legend, ruler of Ujjain called Chandrasena, who was a devotee of Shiva. Once, a peasant’s boy rushed to the temple to pray with the king but he was removed b y the guard and sent to a city near to the river Kshipra. Rivals of Ujjain, decided to attack the Kingdom and take over its treasures around this time. Shrikhar began to pray. A priest virdhi got the news and he also began to pray to Lord Shiva. The rivals were successful with attacks due to help from Dushan .upon hearing the helpless cries of the devotees, Lord shiva as Mahakala destroyed the rivals. Shrikhar and Vridhi  requested to reside in the city, to protect them from the enemies. Lord Shiva decided to reside there as Mahakaleshwar in form of a lingam. the elder son of King Gandharva-Sena, Bharthari was given the kingdom of Ujjain by God Indra and the king of Dhara. There lived a Brahman who after years of austerities was given the fruit of immortality from the celestial tree of Kalpavriksha, who gave this to the king, who in turn passed it on to his beloved queen, the queen was in love with Mahapaala, the head police officer of the state, presented him with the fruit, who further passed it to his maid of honour Lakha, who was in love with king and therefore gave it to him. This cycle revealed the infidelity of the queen, so the king ordered to behead the queen. After this, he he abdicated the throne, and became a religious mendicant. Later he became the disciple of Pattinatthar, during a conversation pattinathar said that all women have 'dual mind' and this might be the case with Parameswari. The king conveyed this to Rani Pingalah, who ordered to punish Pattinatthar and ask him to sit in kalu maram, but Kalu Maram started burning and nothing happened to Pattinathar, later he was put in the saints jail.  The next day, the king came in tears to release him as he noticed his queen in love with the horseman. He gave up his empire, wealth, even full coat dress and dressed in a simple kovanam (loincloth), the king became a disciple of Pattinatthar and got moksha (salvation).

The temple was destroyed by Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltutmish in the raids of Ujjain in 1234-35. The jyotirlinga was destroyed and believed to be thrown in 'Kotiteerth Kunda'. The current structure was built in 1734 C.E. by Martha General Ranoji Shinde after Baji Rao I appointed him to collect taxes in malwa region. The Diwan of Ranoji was Sukhatanakar Ramchandra Baba Shenavi who wanted to donated his wealth for religious purposes, therefore, he rebuilt the Mahakaleshwar temple during the 18th century.  During the reign of Jayajirao Shinde, major ceremonies would be held in the temple. After the independence, The Mahakaleshwar Dev Sthan Trust was replaced by the municipal cooperation and now it is under the collector of Ujjain.

The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamukhi, which means it faces the south.[8] This is a unique feature, upheld by the tantric shivnetra tradition, this jyotirlinga is the only one having this unique feature. The sanctum above the Mahakal shrine has Omkareshwar Mahadev. The idol of Nagchandreshwar which was is open for darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami. The magnificent temple has five levels, out of which one is underground.  The temple’s prasad offered here to the deity can be re-offered. There is a huge kunda called Koti Tirtha, near this there are idols of Ganesha, Kartikeya, and Parvati.

Bhasma Aarti
One of the main attraction is Bhasma Aarti at the Mahakaleshwar temple, which takes place at 4.00 am. The idols are worshipped with holy ashes obtained from the ghats  and applied with sacred chants. According to the locals, visiting Mahakaleshwar temple without going to the Bhasma aarti is not ideal. 

Major festivals
Two primary festivals celebrated at Mahakaleshwar are Nitya Yatra and Sawari. In Nitya yatra the primary yatris bath in the holy sipra after which they seek blessings of goddess Mahakalesvara, Harasiddhi, Nagachandresvara, goddess Avantika, Kotesvara, and Agastyesvara.  In Sawari, each Monday a sacred procession dedicated to Lord shiva travels through the streets of Ujjain. Other festivals include Kumbh Mela, Karthik Mela, Harihara Milana, etc.

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