Religion & Spirituality

Mahakaleshwar Temple – Where Shiva in The Lingam Form Deriving Shakti From Within Itself


Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, Ujjain

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to 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, 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.

Mahakaleshwar Temple History

The Mahakaleshwar temple complex 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.

Also Read : Somnath Jyotirlinga – The Twelve Jyotirlinga Shrines of Shiva

The Story of Mahakala – Shiva

Mahabelshwar temple, Ujjain
Mahabelshwar temple

Once there lived a pious man in Avanti (nowadays Ujjain),  who was an ardent devotee of Lord Shiva. He had four sons and the family worshipped Lord Shiva daily. Not far away from their home in a hill named Ratanmala. There lived an Asura (demon) named Dooshana. Demon Dooshana hated all forms of Shiva and vedic worship. He went around killing people who worshipped Shiva. Soon Dooshana came to know about the family in Avanti that worshipped Lord Shiva.

He arrived with his army and attacked the city. But the family continued to worship Shiva in the form of a Shivling. Finally, the demon and soldiers reached the home of the pious man and started hurling weapons. The demon broke open the door and advanced towards the Shivling by raising a sword.

Suddenly, there was a deafening sound and there appeared a dreadful form beyond explanation before the Shivling. A single glance by the Mahakala form of Shiva burned the demon and his army into ashes. Uncontrollable and unsatisfied, the form of Shiva gave a huge roar; the entire universe trembled in fear.

But the family was but delighted to see Lord Shiva and continued chanting his glory and prayers. Before his true devotees, Shiva is always the Bholenath – one can be easily influenced. Hearing the prayers of his devotees, His anger subsided.

But the family who was aware of the dangers of the world realized that the form of Shiva as Mahakala was essential for peace and prosperity and asked him to reside in this form at Ujjain. Since then Shiva remains at Ujjain Mahakala Temple as Mahakala – the one with the power to annihilate all living and non-living.

Also Read : Importance Of Applying Bhasma or Vibhuti & Its Benefits According to Hinduism

Mahakaleshwar Temple Information

  • There are many modes of local transport available within the city like car, buses, and taxis at nominal rates.
  • The temple opens at 4AM in the morning for a special aarti known as Bhasma Aarti. The aarti is performed with sacred ash – Bhasma.
  • There are no specific fees for the aarti and all you need to do is to register your name for the aarti and the passes will be allotted to you. This allows you entrance at a VIP gate the next morning.
  • Abhishek is performed every day from 4AM to 5PM, but the temple is open till 11PM.
  • You can stand in stadium-like area designated for darshan and have a direct look at the lord

Visitor Information 

  • Cameras, cell phones, and even leather wallets are not allowed inside the temple
  • Shoes and slippers are needed to be taken off before entering any place of worship. Keep shoulders and the lower part of the body covered while visiting temples.
  • Delicious food options are available in Ujjain along with Various Bhandaras that are administered by Mela authorities for hygiene and quality standards.
  • There will be many ATM’s in the area to facilitate the banking transactions.
  • Use of plastic bags is prohibited. So avoid using them
  • Beggary shouldn’t be encouraged by pilgrims as well as tourists
  • No pujan samagri should be thrown into the river for any reason whatsoever

Also Read : The Mystry Of Upa Lingas According To Shiv Purana

Mahakal Puja Timings

MATMARTI (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.

Unbelievable Facts of Bhasma Arti

The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, which means that it is facing the south. This is a unique feature, upheld by the tantric shivnetra tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Mahadev 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. To the south is the image of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami. The temple has five levels, one of which is underground.

The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhar or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasada (holy offering) offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other shrines.

The presiding deity of time, Shiva, in all his splendor, reigns eternally in the city of Ujjain. The temple of Mahakaleshwar, its shikhar soaring into the sky, an imposing façade against the skyline, evokes primordial awe and reverence with its majesty. The Mahakal dominates the life of the city and its people, even in the midst of the busy routine of modern preoccupations, and provides an unbreakable link with ancient Hindu traditions.

The shrine is revered as one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peetham. Shakti Peethas are shrines 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. Each of the 51 Shakti peethas have shrines for Shakti and Kalabhairava. The Upper Lip of Sati Devi is said to have fallen here and the Shakti is called as Mahakali.

Mahakaleshwar Festivals

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.

Also Read : Lord Siva, in Reality is The Regenerator Not The Destroyer

How to Reach Mahakaleshwar

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.

Best Time to Visit Mahakaleshwar

Ujjain comes in Malwa region so it is famous for its climate which permits normal activities all the year round. The hottest months are April to June with maximum temperature going to about 39-42 degrees and coolest months are from December to February, where temperature ranges from 5-8 degrees.