Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar – The Only South Facing Shiva Temple


Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar – Shiva Temple Where Mahakal  Is In The Lingam Form

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Mahakal – Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams, which are supposed to be the sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India. The temple is situated besides the Rudra Sagar lake. The presiding deity, Mahakal 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.

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Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Legend

King Chandrasena of Ujjain as a great devotee of Mahakal – lord Shiva and prayed to him all the time. Once, while he was praying, he was overheard by a farmer’s son, Shrikhar. The lad wished to pray along with the king but was thrown out by the palace soldiers and taken to the outskirts of Ujjain. The boy then overheard kings Ripudamana and Singhaditya, rivals of Ujjain, talk about attacking the city. He immediately began praying to the Lord to protect his city. The priest Vridhi heard the news and at the behest of his sons, began to pray to Lord Shiva at the banks of the river Kshipra.

Ripudamana and Singhaditya attacked Ujjain with the help of the demon Dushan and were successful in plundering the city and attacking the devotees of lord Shiva. On hearing the plea of the priest and his devotees, Lord Shiv appeared in his mahakal form and defeated Ripudamana and Singhaditya. At the behest of Shrikhar and Vridhi, he agreed to stay on in Ujjain to protect  the city and his devotees. From that day onwards, the Lord has resided in his mahakal form in the lingam, and anyone who worships the lingam is supposed to be free from death and diseases and is also blessed by the Lord for the rest of his life.

Origin of Ujjain Mahakal Mandir

The Ujjain Mahakal Mandir was destroyed by Sultan Shas-ud-din Iltutmish during his raid of Ujjain in 1234-1235. The present structure was built by Peshwa Baji Rao and Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj in 1736 AD. Further developments and management was done by Shreenath Mahadji Shinde Maharaj (Mahadji The Great) also known as Madhavrao Shinde the First (1730–12 February 1794) and Srimant Maharani Bayzabai Raje Shinde (1827–1863).

In the regime of Maharaja Shrimant Jayaajirao Saheb Shinde Alijah Bahadur until 1886, major programs of the then Gwalior Riyasat used to be held at this mandir. After Independence the Dev Sthan Trust was replaced by the municipal corporation of Ujjain. Nowadays it is under the collectorate.

The idol is a Dakshinamurti, which means that it faces the south. This unique feature is found only in the mahakaleshwar temple. The idols of Ganesh, Kartikeya, Parvati are installed in the western, eastern and northern corners of the temple. The temple has 5 levels of which one is located underground. The temple is situated in a massive courtyard, surrounded by high walls and a lake. It is believed that the prasada offered in this temple can be re-offered, a belief that is not found in any of the other jyotirlinga temples.

Mahakaleshwar temple Pooja Timings

Bhashmarti (morning 4 am):  Chaitra to Ashwin: Before sunrise, Kartik to Falgun: Before sunrise

Morning pooja : Chaitra to Ashwin: 7:00-7:30 AM, Kartik to Falgun: 7:30-8:00 AM

Mid-Day Pooja : Chaitra to Ashwin: 10:00-10:30 AM, Kartik to Falgun: 10:30-11:00 AM

Evening Pooja :  Chaitra to Ashwin: 5:00-5:30 PM, Kartik to Falgun: 5:30-6:00 PM

Aarti Shree Mahakal :  Chaitra to Ashwin: 7:00-7:30 PM, Kartik to Falgun: 7:30-8:00 PM

Closing Time : Chaitra to Ashwin: 11 PM, Kartik to Falgun: 11 PM

Mahakaleshwar Bhasma Aarti

  1. One should not miss the Bhasma aarti which starts at 4 am every day.
  2. One needs to register for the same. Registration is compulsory since there are limited entries per day. Earlier the registration process was at the temple premises. Now for the comfort of people visiting from distant locations, it has been offered online.
  3. One has to obtain advance pass by giving ID proof.
  4. Budget Hotels to Premium hotels are available within the city and people here are very peaceful & friendly.
  5. If you want to have quick darshan, you can take special darshan route.

Significance of “Bhasma Aarti ” in Mahakal Ujjain

As we all know the Bhasma Aarti (offering of ashes) is an obligatory tradition offered to Lord Mahakaleshwar daily at 4 AM in Ujjain. It’s a two hour long pooja that is performed using burning cow dung cakes (upale). During Aarti, chanting of mantras, sounds and vibrations within make it a very powerful Aarti in turn making it a very mesmerizing experience. Among 12 jyothirlingas, this jyothirlinga is the only place where bhasma aarti is performed. The aarti has lot of importance in the Hindus as it is performed for Lord Shiva who is “Nimohi” and “Bhoot Bhavan” so he is given bath from ashes.

During the Bhasma Aarti no one is allowed to enter into garbhagriha,area where ritual is performed. Devotees will be allowed to nandi hall and barricades behind nandi hall for participating in the Bhasma Aarti. Nandi hall which is situated outside the sanctum santorumm, accommodates 100 people where as 500 devotees could sit near barricades behind the nandi hall.

In the wee hours of the day aarti is performed at Shri Mahakal, Ujjain. There is advance bookings that take place for taking part in this aarti. Bookings are to be made by filling out online registration form and submitting it to the respective websites before 12 noon.

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Festivals  in Mahakal Mandir

The Puja-archana, abhisheka, arati and other rituals are regularly performed all year round in Mahakaleshwar temple.

Nitya Yatra

A Yatra to be conducted is narrated in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana. In this Yatra, after taking a bath in the holy river Kshipra, the Yatri respectively visits Nagachandreshvara, Kotesvara, Mahakaleshvara, goddess Avanatika, goddess Harasiddhi and Agatsyesvara for darsana.


On every Monday of the Shravan month, upto the Amavasya in the dark fortnight of the Bhadrapada and also from the bright fortnight of the Kartika to the dark fortnight of the Magasirha, the procession of the lord Mahakal passes through the streets of Ujjain. The last Sawari in bhadrapada is celebrated with great pomp and show and draws attendance of lakhs of people. The procession of Mahakal on Vijayadasami festival visiting the celebrations at Dashahara Maidan is also very attractive.

Harihara Milana

On Baikuntha Chaturdasi, Lord Mahakal visits the mandir in a procession to meet lord Dwarkadhisa (hari) during midnight. Later on, in a similar procession on that very night, Dwarkadhisa visits Mahakal temple. The festival is the symbol of one-ness between the two great gods.

Places to visit in Ujjain

Bade Ganeshji Temple

Bade Ganeshji Temple is one of the famous temples of Ujjain. It is known by the name Bade Ganeshji because in temple there is a big artistic idol of Ganeshji in the temple.

Harsiddhi Mataji Temple

Harsiddhi Temple is one of the most famous shakti peeth among all the shakti peeths of our country. It is located in Ujjain near Shipra River.

Char Dham Temple

Ujjain is famous for its temples and unique places. One of the most beautiful temples of Ujjain is Char Dham Temple. The reason of its popularity is that, it is a place where you can feel of visiting all the four Chardhams – Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. It is located behind the Mahakaleshwar temple.

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Sandipani Ashram

Sandipani Ashram is the most ancient and one of the popular ashrams of Ujjain. It is named after the great Saint or Maharishi Sandipani. Maharishi Sandipani was the Guru of Lord Shri Krishna, Balram and Sudama.

Mangalnath Temple

Mangal Nath Temple is one of the famous temples of Ujjain. According to the ancient records it is believed that it is place of birth of the planet Mars. Mangalnath Temple has a vital importance in terms of Jyotish as meridian passes through the city of Ujjain.

Kal Bhairava Temple

Ujjain is the city of miracles, every day a new miracle happens here. Kal Bhairava Temple is the temple of Lord Bhairava situated in Bhairavagarh of Ujjain and gives a sense of peace after visiting. It is 8 km away from the main city.

Gadkalika Mataji Temple

Another Shakti Peeth in Ujjain city is Gadkalika Temple. In Gadkalika Temple, Mata Kalika is worshiped and it is believed that the upper lip of Devi Sati was fallen at that place. It is located 2 miles away from the city.

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Bhartrihari Caves

The Bhartrihari Caves named after the step brother Raja Vikramaditya. These caves are located near the holy river Shipra. Bhartrihari lived his lavish life of Mahal and charge himself as hermit because of the conflicts in his family life. He had written Shringarshataka, Vairagyashataka, and Nitishataka there in these caves .

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Siddhavat Temple

Siddhvat Temple is one of the temples in Ujjain, where the activities related to funeral and serenity of their ancestors are executed. The opening time of temple is 4 a.m. in the morning and therefore visitors have to wait in line for the vision of God from around 2-3 hours ago the opening time. After opening pooja in Siddhvat temple takes place using milk and is known as Dhughdabihshek.

How to reach Mahakaaleshwar temple

Mahakaaleshwar temple is located in Ujjain town of Madhya Pradesh. Ujjain is very well linked with Indore city and can be reached easily by road and train. Accessibility information is given below:

By Train

Ujjain falls in Western Railway Zone, and well connected to all major railway stations in India like, Ahmadabad, Mumbai, Indore, Jabalpur, Delhi, Banaras, Hyderabad, Jaipur. Direct train services are available to Bhopal, Indore, Pune, Malwa, Delhi and many other cities.

By Road

There are many buses ply between Ujjain to Indore (55km), Gwalior (450km), Ahmadabad (400km) and Bhopal (183 km).

By Air

Ujjain don’t have its own Airport, Ahilya-devi airport in Indore, is the nearer one which is about 60 km from city Ujjain, this airport has wide domestic & international air connectivity; there are frequent flights for national capital Delhi, Mumbai & other major cities of India.