Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is Swayambhu.

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The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra attracted me whenever my mom chanted them. I accepted being a Shiva Devotee as a child, I Still do not know why, but the deity’s power always drew me close to him. And as a kid, I had this fascination to visit Mahakala once in my lifetime. But my mamma always said you could not see him until called. Hence I waited patiently to be contacted by Shiva. You must be guessing why Mahakal & not any other Jyotirlingams. I want to visit all twelve Jyotirlingams, but Mahakal was on my top list. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga’s presiding deity, Lord Shiva, in the Lingam form, is believed to be Swayambhu.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Mahakal Lingam

It derives currents of force (Shakti) from within and against the other images. And lingams that are ritually established and invested with the mantra Shakti. Mahakaleshwar’s shrine is said to be the most sacred abode of Lord Shiva. Eventually, I was called upon to visit the ancient temple city Avantika (Ujjain), situated on the holy Kshipra. The Simhastha Kumbh Mela, a grand Hindu spiritual festival, also takes place here in twelve years in Chaitra month per the Hindu calendar. It celebrates the religious belief in divinity and spiritual awakening, where devotees plunge into the holy Kshipra. The only river that travels straight from South to North. It is thought that bathing in this river is blessed with divine vitality.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Evening Sky at Kshipra

Ujjain is an essential home for major religious activities in ancient Hindu scriptures. One of Sapta Puris, situated on the tropic of Cancer, is in line with an extraordinary cosmic influence. It makes Ujjain an ideal place for time calculation and creating Panchang (Hindu calendar). Therefore, this city is situated at the intersection of the Tropic of Cancer. And the meridian for which it is also known as the ‘Greenwich of India’. As ‘Time’ in Sanskrit is called ‘Kal’, Shiva is worshipped as Mahakal, the God of Time. According to legend, Lord Mahakaleshwar’s idol is fixed at the meridian crossing point. And the tropic of Cancer is also n the Earth’s centre.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Kshipra Ghat

So then, without delay, I booked mine along with my mamma’s flight tickets for Mahakaleshwar. It was morning and a comfortable flight to Indore. Outside the airport, you can hire taxis or cabs to Ujjain, its 55Kms from Indore. The drive has a lavishing greenfield and natural scape to its beauty. And by the time we reached it, it was late afternoon. We checked in to our hotel. I booked Hotel Arthva, Near Jantar Mantar, Mahakal-Harsiddhi Road, Ujjain. Nonetheless, you have other options, from budget hotels to a dormitory or Dharamshala starting with a price range of Rs 500. After refreshing up & a hot coffee cup, we decided to visit the Mahakalewar temple for evening Arti.

Atharv Hotel

The synagogue was crowded as it was decorated for Holika Dahan. After the Aarti, I checked up on the Bhasam Aarti timing at Mahakaleshwar. I came across we had to fill in a form that was sold out. I was disheartened! But the Mahakaleshwar temple Pujari suggested speaking with the trustee’s head. Thus, I met the Mahakaleshwar trustee’s authority and shared my dilemma. And was able to allow us additional forms for the Bhasam Aarti. However, I suggest an online booking on a given internet site. Also, for Prasad & paid Darshan tickets along with Bhasam Aarti Booking. We stayed in the Mahakaleshwar temple until the Holika Dahan ceremony was performed. Later we ate local cuisine at our hotel & took sleep for a few hours.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Holika Dahan

The root of the Mahakaleshwar temple is unknown, but it dates back to prehistoric times. The Shiva Purana depicts that Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu once argued over who was supreme in the foundation. Hence the three worlds were pierced as an eternal pillar of light- the Jyotirlinga to test them. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma decided to travel along the post. From downwards and upwards to find the end of the light. And Lord Vishnu conceded his defeat, while Lord Brahma lied that he had found the end. Suddenly Lord Shiva came out as the second tower of light. And Shiva said Lord Vishnu would be worshipped till eternity goal. But cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
City of Temple

Later Prajapati Brahma established the temple. At that point king, Chanda Pradyota, appointed a citation of prince Kumarasena in 6th c. BC. He had to look after the Mahakala temple’s legal philosophy and order situations. And he worshipped him like a pious devotee. The icon of Lord Siva bore on punch-marked coins of Ujjain, belonging to 4th-3rd c. BC. The Mahakala temple is also identified in several ancient Indian poetic verses.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Mahakaleshwar Temple

As per historical facts, the Gazanavide commander invaded Malwa in the Eighth Decade of the Eleventh c. AD. He also looted the magnificent generous mouse temple, brutally destroying the image & the temple. But very soon, the Paramaras rejuvenated everything. Sultan Iltutmish of Delhi also attacked Ujjain. He knocked down the synagogue in 1234-35 AD. And the Maratha general Ranoji Shinde built the present structure in 1734 CE.

Morning view of the temple

The temple faced destruction, reconstruction and renovation over the centuries. In the 19th century, the Scindias took over the temple’s restoration work. Situated near the Rudra Sagar lake, the present five-level temple was constructed in the 18th century AD. The architecture is a mixture of the Paramara, Chalukya and Maratha styles. The Garbhagriha has the Dakshinamurti Lingam, i.e. facing the south. So this Jyotirling, Mahakal, is the Lord of Earth and Lord of Death as well.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Dakshmimurti Lingam

I woke up at midnight. We have to reach the MahaKaleswar temple for Bhasam Arti before 4 am. I took a quick shower and called an autorickshaw for the synagogue. Bhasma Aarti booking counter is available for offline booking, opening daily from 10 am to 3 pm. They snap a photograph of a person and his identity proof. And confirmation of your booking is sent over SMS. You will also get a confirmation SMS after 7:00 pm if your booking application is allowed. I felt lucky as I could get express permission despite being late & unaware of the procedure.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
The worshipper For Bhasma Aarti

Upon arriving at the Mahakaleshwar temple, we saw a massive queue for Bhasma Aarti. As the timings were 4 am to 5 am, we stood in line from 1 am. And the Jal Abhishek started around 3:15 am. And after the Jal Abhishek, we were gone to the enormous hall to watch Bhasma Aarti.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Crowd During Bhasma Aarti

Lord Shiva is called Mahaankaal in Ujjain or The Ruler of Kal. Even the Lord Transcends Time or Death & Immortality. And this Aarti is done with fresh ashes of Aghori’spyre. However, I saw that Bhasma Arati Seva with Human Ash is now not being used in Ujjain. The Ash used is obtained by burning Cow Dung or the Bark & Timber of trees. Or the Ash received after conducting Havan, Homa & Yagnas. During the Bhasma Arti, women have to do Parda, as Shiva is usually depicted naked in Sadhana, his whole body covered in Bhasma.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Bhasma Aarti

The first rhyme of the Shiva Panchakshara Stotram gives the following description: Naagendrahaaraaya Trilochanaaya, Bhasmaangaraagaaya Maheshwaraaya Nityaaya Shuddhaaya Digambaraaya – ‘Salutations to the mighty three-eyed Shiva, eternal and pure, wearing the king of snakes as his garland, naked and besmeared with sacred ash.’ The whole space was filled with the chanting of hymns. And for a moment, I felt his third eye open with a flash of fierce lightning.

Bhasma Aarti Roop

After the Bhasam Arti, Lord Shiva was dressed & decorated with flowers, ornaments & Chandan. Before, devotees played Holi with the Shiva by smearing Gulal. Afterwards, we left for the hotel to return for the Jal Abhishek with the correct dress code. I returned to the Mahakaleshwar temple around 7.30 am for Jal Abhishek & Darshan. We took the paid tickets of 250 INR each to keep off the crowds. However, it took an hour to complete the entire process. But the priest was kind and generous to perform the ritual with all mantras.

Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is believed to be Swayambhu.
Holi with Mahakal

Post by Jal Abhishek & Darshan, I took an autorickshaw to tour another city’s sacred spot. The tour cost me 1000 INR for the whole day, with a drop at my hotel.

How to reach:

By Air: 

The nearest airport to Mahakaleshwar temple is located in Indore. It is 51 km away. Or Raja Bhoj Airport (BHO) at Bhopal, 172 km from Ujjain. It is connected with cities like Delhi and Mumbai. You can take Cab or taxi, or public busses to reach Ujjain.

By Rail: 

The Ujjain Junction, Vikram Nagar, Chintaman and Pingleshwar are four nearby railway stations. All these stations are well-connected to the major cities. After reaching the railway station, tourists can take any local transport to get to the temple.

By Road:

Many buses Ply to Ujjain, making it the best transportation mode if planning to visit via road. Several buses commute to this destination from major cities like Bhopal, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune.

Important points to note if you are visiting Ujjain:

  1. Ujjain Darshan Bus runs from Dewas gate Bus stand at Ujjain and covers most of Ujjain’s issues. There are two trips, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
  2. There are buses available that cover two jyotirlingas daily, Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar.





3 thoughts on “Mahakaleshwar:The Jyotirlinga is Swayambhu.

  1. It’s really a great and helpful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

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