Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, known as the most sacred abodes, is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams of Lord Shiva. Located in the ancient city of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, this temple is situated on the side of the Rudra Sagar lake.
A quick glimpse of inside the Temple
The idol of Mahakaleshwar is facing the south and therefore known as “Dakshinamurti”. 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. In the south direction, the image of Nandi is placed (vehicle of Lord Shiva). The idol of Nagchandreshwar is placed on the third storey of the temple and is open for darshan only on Nag Panchami.
History & Significance of Jyotirlinga:
According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu & Lord Brahma were having an argument regarding who the most supreme and powerful of the two. To end this argument, Lord Shiva appeared before them in the form of a huge piller of fire and told them, whoever finds the top and bottom of the fire is the greatest. Both of them decided to find the top and bottom of the pillar to prove their supremacy. Brahma took the form of a swan and moved upwards. Vishnu transformed himself into a boar and started digging deep into the earth. After searching for several years, neither of the two was able to find the ends of the pillar. Finally, they realized that the pillar was none other than Lord Shiva.
The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyotirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. There are 12 Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva and at all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar. The pillar is symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
Bhasma Aarti Of Mahakaleshwar Temple:
This aarti is one of the most important rituals of Mahakaleshwar Temple. As the name suggests, this aarti is performed using bhasm (sacred ash). In ancient times, the bhasma of funeral pyre was used for the aarti proceedings but this practice has been changed now. Now the aarti is performed with the bhasma made with cow dung (also known as Vibhooti). It is performed early morning at 4:00 am.
Do’s & Don’ts for Bhasma Aarti Mahakaleshwar:
- Booking and attending Bhasma Aarti is Free.
- One has to do booking either online or offline to attend Bhasma aarti. For online booking, follow instructions as mentioned on Mahakaleshwar website.
- If you reach the temple before noon the day before, you can register your names for the aarti on the following day which will allow you entrance at a VIP gate the next morning.
- Gents wearing silk dhotis are allowed inside the sanctum during the aarti.
- Complete aarti is divided into 2 parts i.e. Jal Abhishek & Bhasma Aarti.
- Bhasma aarti is done after Jal Abhishek. Bhasma aarti timings are 4:00AM to 5:00AM. You need to be in line from 1AM. Jal abhishek starts around 3:15AM and stays open only till 4:00AM.
Top attractions near the temple:
- Harsiddhi Temple: This temple is one of the Shaktipeeths of India of Maa Sati. It is a great place to visit during aarti time in evening. The best time to visit is between 6.45 pm and 7.30 pm. Devi aarti is done and is a treat to mind and eyes.
- Ram Mandir Ghat: It is one of the most sacred ghats of India and 10 mins walk away from Harsiddhi Temple. An evening visit is recommended. The number of temples on this ghat and the resemblance with the Har-ki-Pauri of Hardwar, makes this place a must visit. The water of the river is dammed and does not flow; hence it is advisable not to take a dip as it could be a health hazard.
- Kal Bhairav Temple: This is second most visited place of Ujjain after the Mahakleshwar Temple. Temple is beautifully constructed and holds moderate crowd.