• Shiva

Mahakaleswar temple


Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is among the famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams, which are supposed to be the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva. It is located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. On the banks of River Kshipra, the city of Ujjain exists. It is also known as Indrapuri Amaravati, and Avantika. Because of the number of golden towers of several temples, this town is also known as “Swarna Sringa.” One of the seven cities of deliverance or salvation, Avantika Nagar has 7 Sagar Teerthas, 28 teerthas, 84 SiddhaLingas, 25-30 SivaLingas, Ashtabhairav, Ekadasa Rudrasthana, temples for hundreds of deities, Jalakund and monuments are there.The temple is situated on the side of the Rudra Sagar lake. The presiding deity, Lord 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.


According to the Shiva Purana, once, Lord Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Lord Vishnu (the Hindu God of sustenance) had an argument, in terms of supremacy of creation. In order to test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either direction. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme formless-less reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. There are 64 forms of Shiva, not to be confused with Jyotirlingas.

Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity - each considered different manifestation of Shiva.At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharashtra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharashtra, Vaidyanath at Deogarh in Jharkhand or at Baijnath in Himachal Pradesh, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.

About The Temple

The shrine is revered as one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peetham.Shakti Peethas are shrines that are believes 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 Shkati is called as Mahakali. The Adyapeetha i.e., is the foundation of Sanskrit learning, ethics, knowledge or science and art had their initiation at this place. It is indeed the Triveni Sangam or learning of the three great things. The greatness of Ujjain city was enhanced by the Maurya kings as well as other dynasties. The great emperor Vikramaditya who began new era by starting a new way of counting the years, made Ujjain his capital.

Architecture style

The temple is three-storeyed. In the lowest middle and uppermost parts are respectively installed the lingams of Mahakalesvara, Omkaresvara and Nagachandresvara. The pilgrims and the visitors can only have the glimpse of Nagachandresvara on the festive of Naga Panchami. A very large-sized Kunda named Koti Tirtha also exists in the temple-complex. The Kunda is built in the sarvatobhadra style. The Kunda and its water both are treated as very celestial. On the path adjoining the stairs of the Kunda, may be seen many images representing the sculptural grandeur of the temple built during the Paramara period. In the east of the Kunda is a large-sized Veranda in which there is the entrance to the path leading to the garbhagrha. In the northern side of the verandah, in a cell, the images of Sri Rama and goddess Avantika are worshipped. In the southern side of the main shrine, there stand many small Saivite temples built during the shinde regime among these the temple of Vrddha Mahakalesvara, Anadi Kalpesvara and Saptarshi are prominent and are the remarkable pieces of architecture.

The lingam of Mahakalesvara is colossus.The silver plated Naga Jaladhari and the inscribed and esoteric silver-plate covering the roof of the garbhagrha add extra grandeur to the shrine. Besides Jyotirlinga, attractive and small-sized images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Paravati can be seen in the garbhagrha. All around the walls classical eulogies in the praise of Lord Siva are exhibited. The Nanda Dipa always remains lit. In the exit-path, there is a wide hall in which a most attractive metal quoted stone Nandi, in the sitting humble pose may be witnessed. The courtyard just opposite to the Omkaresvara temple add much to the magnanimity of the temple-complex. Just adjoining to this temple, there are two pillared projections facing the east and adding a lot to the architecture of the temple. The temple of Mahakalesvara is a planned admixture of the Bhumija, Chalukya and Maratha styles of architecture. The sikhara with the mini-srngas is very peculiar. In previous years its upper part has been covered with gold plate.

As seen earlier, the present temple of Mahakala was built during the 4th – 5th decades of Eighteenth Century. Simultaneously the religious-minded nobles of Maratha community also built many a temples in the temple-complex. During this period many ancient traditions such as worship abhisheka, arati, sawari (procession) in the Sravana month, Harihara-milana etc, were also revived. These are still continuing with joyful ceremony and devotional enthusiasm. The Bhasmarti in early morning, Mahasivaratri, Pancha-Krosi Yatra, Somavati Amavasya etc. are special religious occasions interwoven with the rituals of the temple. Proper repairs and rejuvanation of the temple-complex is done at the time of the Kumbha Parva. In the year 1980, a separate mandapam was constructed to facilitate the visitors. In 1992, Madhya Pradesh Government and Ujjain Development Authority exclusively contributed special repairs and made provisions for the stay of pilgrims. The same process is also being followed at the time of the forthcoming Simhastha.

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. At the northern side there are images of Lord Rama, Goddess Avantika. At the southern side of the temple, where is many small temples, built during the reign of Shinde. A lofty Kunda named Koti Tirtha is built in the sarvatobhadra style, which is situated in the temple complex. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami. In the inner and outer walls there are various sculptures have been carved during the Parmar period. 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 his entire splendor, reigns eternally in the city of Ujjain. The temple of Mahakaleshwar, its shikhar soaring into the sky, an imposing facade 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. On the day of Maha Shivaratri, a huge fair is held near the temple, and worship goes on through the night.

About The Deity

The Mahakal Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.The Shivling here is said to be the only Jyotirlinga which faces the south and is thus known as Dakshinmukhi or the south-facing ling. It is the most popular and important temple of Ujjain. According to Hindu scriptures, the universe is seen as consisting of three regions-the sky, the earth and the nether. Mahakal is Lord of the earth. Out of the 12 Jyotirlingas, only Mahakal is known as the Lord of the earth and Lord of the death (Kaalo ke kaal Mahakal). Here, the Mahadev is Swapaneshwar and Shakti is Swapaneshwari. The temple courtyard of Bhagwan Mahakaleshwar temple is very big. The temple is itself grand and beautiful. This Jyotirlinga is situated below the ground in a Garbha Griha. The linga is quite big in size and is encircled by a snake of silver. On one side of the linga there is the idol of Lord Ganesha, on the another side is the idol of Parvati and Kartikeya.

Lord Shiva also known as the god of destruction. It is mentioned in many Hindu epics that, Lord Shiva had killed a demon here named ‘Tripur’. After Abhishek, Chitabhasm (Ash of cemetery) is applied all over Mahakal. Mahakaleshwar is a name for the God Shiva, and means the god of Time or Death. This may be one of the reasons of the inclusion of the funeral ash. You will be assured that this aarti is something that you shouldn’t miss, and that until fresh ash is not brought in the aarti cannot start. According to classics, Chitabhasm (human ash) is considered as unholy and inauspicious. If anyone even touches it by mistake, one is required to bathe in order to be purified. But this very ash becomes holy, by merely touching the body of Mahakal, because Siva is Nishkam or lust-less. He is not touched by material desires. That is why Shiva is Mangalmay or auspicious.

Lord Shiva, is considered to be the most powerful and destructive god amongst all Hindu deities, he is the one who believed to be born of itself, simultaneously he is also very courteous and melted heart god, who never need any special worship, customary rituals or dedication from his devotees, an utterance of Mantra ‘Om’ or couple of tri-leafs of Bael (Aegle marmelos) or if nothing then to only recall him from a pure heart can be enough to conquer his heart. There are many names and tags that he owns, one of them regarding him as the ‘lord of Death’, the one who has the control over birth and death, which is why he is most adorable amongst Hinduism, he rules over whole universe, giving ‘Moksha’ to Living being, which meant to be ultimate door of getting off to the cycle of birth and death.

Legend and Stories

According to the Puranas, Ujjain was called Avantika and was famous for its beauty and its status as a devotional epicenter. It was also one of the primary cities where students went to study holy scriptures. According to legend, there was a ruler of Ujjain called Chandrasena, who was a pious devotee of Lord Shiva and worshiped him all the time. One day, a farmer's boy named Shrikhar was walking on the grounds of the palace and heard the King chant the Lord's name and rushed to the temple to start praying with him. However, the guards removed him by force and sent him to the outskirts of the city near the river Kshipra. Rivals of Ujjain, primarily King Ripudamana and King Singhaditya of the neighboring kingdoms decided to attack the Kingdom and take over its treasures around this time. Hearing this, Shrikhar started to pray and the news spread to a priest named Vridhi. He was shocked to hear this and upon the urgent pleas of his sons, started to pray to Lord Shiva at the river Kshipra. The Kings chose to attack and were successful; with the help of the powerful demon Dushan, who was blessed by Lord Brahma to be invisible, they plundered the city and attacked all the devotees of Lord Shiva.

Upon hearing the pleas of His helpless devotees, Lord Shiva appeared in his Mahakala form and destroyed the enemies of King Chandrasena. Upon the request of his devotees Shrikhar and Vridhi, Lord Shiva agreed to reside in the city and become the chief deity of the Kingdom and take care of it against its enemies and to protect all His devotees. From that day on, Lord Shiva resided in His light form as Mahakala in a Lingam that was formed on its own from the powers of the Lord and His consort, Parvati. The Lord also blessed his devotees and declared that people who worshipped Him in this form would be free from the fear of death and diseases. Also, they would be granted worldly treasures and be under the protection of the Lord himself. Once, there lived a Brahman who had four sons, who were all devotees of Siva. The wicked demon king Dushan came to Avantika after attaining a boon from Lord Branhma and started torturing the erudite Brahmanas of Avantika. But the Brahmanas who were very engrossed in their worship of Shiva did not even flinch.

The demon king sent all four of his henchmen with the orders that they have to ensure that no Vedic Dharmanushtan activities are to take place. The harassed people came running to the Brahmans seeking help. The Brahmanas assured the people and pacified them. They immediately started praying to Lord Shiva. Meanwhile, just as the Demon king tried to attack the Brahmanas, the earth would split open near the Parthiv Murty with a loud noise and huge crater would form there. In this manner, Siva assumed the colossal form of Mahakal and appeared. He ordered the wicked Demon from going anywhere near the Brahmanas. But the wicked Demon king did not pay heed. As a result, Siva burnt him to ashes with just one grunt. Seeing Lord Siva in this Avatar, Brahma, Vishnu and Indra and other Devas came down and prayed to the Lord and pleased Him.

History behind the Temple

The temple complex was destroyed by Sultan Shas-ud-din Iltutmish during his raid of Ujjain in 1234-5. The present structure was built by the General of Srimant Peshwa Baji Rao and Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj of the Hindu Pad Padshahi Srimant Raanojirao Shinde Maharaj (Scindia) 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. When did the Mahakala temple first come in existence, is difficult to tell. However, the event may be assigned to the Pre-historic period. Puranas narrate that it was first established by Prajapita Brahma. There is reference to the appointment of prince Kumarasena by king Chanda Pradyota in 6th c. BC for looking after the law and order situations of Mahakala temple. The punch-marked coins of Ujjain, belonging to 4th-3rd c. BC, bear the figure of Lord Siva on them. Mahakala temple is also mentioned in several ancient Indian poetic texts.

According to these texts, the temple had been very magnificent and magnanimous. Its foundation and platform were built of stones. The temple rested on the wooden pillars. There had been no sikharas on the temples prior to the Gupta period. The roofs of temples had mostly been flat. Possibly due to this fact, Kalidasa in Raghuvansam described this temple as ‘Niketana’. The palace of the king had been in the vicinity of the temple. In the early part of the Meghadutam (Purva Megha), Kalidasa gives a fascinating description of the Mahakala temple. It appears that this Chandisvara temple might have been a unique example of the then art and architecture. It may be ascertained that how splendid had been the temple of the main deity of that town which possessed multi-storeyed gold-plated palaces and buildings and the superb artistic grandeur. The temple was enclosed by high ramparts attached with the entry-gates. At twilight the lively rows of glittering lamps enlightened the temple-complex.

The whole atmosphere echoed with the sound of various musical instruments. The charming and well-decorated damsels added a lot in the aesthetic beauty of the temple. The echo of the Jaya-dhvani (Let the Lord be victories) of the assembly of the devotees was heard far and wide. Priests remained busy in worshipping the Deity and chanting eulogies. The Vedic hymns were recited and Stutis were sung, the painted walls and well-carved images projected the artistic heights of the day.

After the downfall of the Gupta empire, several dynasties including the Maitrakas, Chalukyas, Later Guptas, Kalachuris, Pusyabhutis, Gurjara Pratiharas, Rastrakutas etc. dominated the political scenerio in Ujjain one after the other. However, all bowed down before Mahakala and distributed endowments and alms to the deserving. During this period a number of temples of various gods and goddesses, Tirthas, Kundas, Vapis and gardens took shape in Avantika. Several Saivite temples including those of 84 Mahadevas existed here. This fact should specifically be underlined that when every nook and corner of Ujjain was dominated by religious monuments housed by the images of their respective deities, the development and progress of Mahakala temple and its religiocultural milieu was not at all neglected. Among many of the poetic texts composed during this period, which sung the significance and glamour of the temple, Harsacharit and Kadambari of Banabhatta, Naisadhacharit of Sri Harsa, and Navasahasamkacharit of Padmagupta are noteworthy. It so appears that during the Paramara period, a series of crisis prevailed over Ujjain and the Mahakala temple.

In the Eighth decade of Eleventh c. AD, one Gazanavide commander invaded Malwa, looted it brutally and destroyed many temples and images. But very soon the Paramaras rejuvenated everything. A contemporary Mahakala Inscription testifies the fact that during the later Eleventh c. and early twelfth c., the Mahakala temple was re-built during the reign of Udayaditya and Naravarman. It was built in the Bhumija style of architecture, very favourite to the Paramaras. Remains available in the temple-complex and the neighbouring places authenticate this fact. The temples of this style had been either Triratha or Pancharatha in plan. The main feature of identification of such temples had been its star-shaped plan and the sikhara. So far as the sikhara is concerned, urusrngas (mini-spires), generally of odd numbers, gradually decreasing in size in rows between the well-decorated spines (haravali or lata) rose up at the cardinal points from the Chityaas and the Sukanasas ultimately surmounted by the Amalaka. Every part of the temple was glutted with decorative motifs or images. Horizontally, the shrine from front to back was respectively divided in entrance, ardhamandapa, sanctum, antarala (vestibule) garbhagrha and Pradaksanapatha. Upper components of the temple rested on the strong and well-designed pillars and pilasters. Such temples, according to the contemporary Silpa-sastras contained the images of various god and goddesses, Nava Grahas (Nine planets), Apsaras (celestial damsels), female dancers, anucharas (attendants), Kichakas etc.

The sculptural art of the temple had been very classical and multifarious. Besides the Saivite images of Nataraja, Kalyanasundara, Ravananugraha, Gajantaka, Sadasiva, Andhakasura-slayer, Lakulisa etc., the temples were adorned with the images of Ganesa, Paravati, Brahma, Visnu, Surya (Sun-god), Sapta Matrkas (Seven mother-goddesses) etc. These images have been very proportionate, well-decorated, sculpturally perfect and carved according to classical and Puranic texts. The worshipping and the conduct of rituals continued in some way or the other. Prabandha Chintamani, Vividha Tirtha Kalpataru, Prabandha Kosha all composed during 13th-14th c. reveal this fact. Similar mention is made in Vikramacharit and Bhojacharita composed in 15th c. AD. According to the epic Hammira Mahakavya, Hammira, the ruler of Ranathambor worshipped Lord Mahakala while his stay in Ujjain.

A few Sanads issued by the Sultans of Malwa and Mughal emperors have come to light in Ujjain which testifies that during the mediaeval period these Islamic rulers contributed some donations to priests for conducting worship, lighting the lamps and offering the prayers to Divinity for the safety of their reign. Thus it is evident that these Islamic rulers also had a respect for Mahakalesvara and they issued financial assistance for the appeasement of Hindu subjects too. Maratha regime was established in Ujjain in the fourth decade of Eighteenth c. The administration of Ujjain was assigned by Peshwa Bajirao-I to his faithful commander Ranoji Shinde, The diwan of Ranoji was Sukhatanakar Ramchandra Baba Shenavi who was very wealthy but unluckily issueless. On the suggestions of many learned Panditas and wel-wishers, he decided to invest his wealth for religious purposes. In this connection, he re-built the famous Mahakala temple in Ujjain during the 4th-5th decades of Eighteenth c. AD.

Important Festivals

1. Uma Sanjhi Mahotsava pradosh
2. Shravan Mahotsava
3. Narak Chaturdashi
4. Nagpanchami
5. Mahashivaratri
6. Harihar Milan

Mahashivaratri Festival or the ‘The Night of Shiva’ is celebrated with devotion and religious fervor in honor of Lord Shiva, one of the deities of Hindu Trinity. Shivaratri falls on the moonless 14th night of the new moon in the Hindu month of Phalgun, which corresponds to the month of February - March in English Calendar. Celebrating the festival of Shivratri devotees observe day and night fast and perform ritual worship of Shiva Lingam to appease Lord Shiva. Various traditions and customs related to Shivaratri Festival are dutifully followed by the worshippers of Lord Shiva. Devotees observe strict fast in honor of Shiva, though many go on a diet of fruits and milk some do not consume even a drop of water. Devotees strongly believe that sincere worship of Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Shivaratri, absolves a person of sins and liberates him from the cycle of birth and death. Shivaratri is considered especially auspicious for women. While married women pray for the well being of their husbands unmarried women pray for a husband like Lord Shiva, who is regarded as the ideal husband.

To mark the Shivratri festival, devotees wake up early and take a ritual bath, preferably in river Ganga. After wearing fresh new clothes devotees visit the nearest Shiva temple to give ritual bath to the Shiva Lingum with milk, honey, water etc.

On Shivaratri, worship of Lord Shiva continues all through the day and night. Every three hours priests perform ritual pooja of Shivalingam by bathing it with milk, yoghurt, honey, ghee, sugar and water amidst the chanting of "Om Namah Shivaya’’ and ringing of temple bells. Nightlong vigil or jaagran is also observed in Shiva temples where large number of devotees spend the night singing hymns and devotional songs in praise of Lord Shiva. It is only on the following morning that devotee break their fast by partaking prasad offered to the deity.

Every year on shivratri (claimed to be the Wedding day of Lord Shiva), there is a huge crowd of devotees for darshan. The same kind of public crowd can be seen in the month of Savaan, NagPanchami. On every Monday of "Savan", there is a huge procession for the Lord Shiva idol in the city attended by large numbers of devotees from across the India. Mahakal is also prime attraction for devotees in Ujjain. The savari or procession of king Mahakal is a unique celebration. Mahakal sitting in Palanquin moves in the city and the devotees from different corners of the world gather to have a glimpse of their beloved king. The message underlying becomes clear that when the ruler cares for his subject, the subject makes him god. In the state gazette, this day is recognized as a Parva.

To provide shoulder to the panquin of Mahakal is included in the responsibilities of the minister of the state administration, the district collector and the police Superintendent. During the month of Shravana, the savari is being organised on every Monday. On these days, the Mukhauta(the face) of the Lord Mahakal is moved in the city in the form of a procession. This event takes place between 4:00 pm to 7:30 p.m. On all Mondays of Shravana and first two Mondays of Bhadrapada, the savari takes place. Similar tradition of savari on all Mondays of the Kartika and Vijayadashmi is also followed.

Important Days










Ranga Panchami, Phaga and Dhvaja - Pujana





New Samvatsara celelbration and Panchanga - Pujana





Jaladhara for continuous two months




Third (Akshay – Trtiya)

Jala-mataki Phala-dana





Parjanya Anusthana for eleven days




Guru Purnima

Special Srngara on the advent of month. Chaturmasa Begins




Every Monday











The Darsana of Naga Chandresvara




Purnima(the full-moon day)

Raksha-sutra Parva, Bhoga and Srngara




Every Monday uto Amavasya





Eighth (astami)

Janmastami celebrations after evening arati





Uma-Sanjhi festival begins




Second (dvitiya)

Final day of Uma-Sanjhi festival




Tenth (Dasmi)

Vijaydasmi Parva, Sami Pujana and Sawari




Full moon day

Sharadotsava and distribution of Ksira in midnight




14th day (Chaturdasi)






Lighting of lamps on the Deepavali festival




Every Monday

Sawari (Procession)




Baikuntha Chaturdasi

Harihara-milana (Processions)




Every Monday





Dhana-Samkranti (Ekadasi)





Basant Panchami

Special Puja





Mahotsava, Special Pujana and Abhisheka




Second (Dvitiya)

Darsana of five-forms of Siva (Pancha Swarupa)




Full-moon day

Holika festival after Sandhya arati

Pooja /Arti / Seva

The Puja-archana, abhishekaarati and other rituals are regulalrly performed all the year round in Mahakala temple.Some particular aspects are as under –

Nitya Yatra

Yatra to be conducted is narrated in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanada Purana. In this Yatra, after taking bath in the holy Sipra, the Yatri (Participator) respectively visits Nagachandresvara, Kotesvara, Mahakalesvara, goddess Avanatika, goddessHarasiddhi and Agastyesvara for darsana.

Sawari (Procession)

On every Monday of the Sravana 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 Magasirsha, the procession of Lord Mahakala passes through the streets of Ujjain. The last Sawari in Bhadrapadais celebrated with great pomp and show and draws attendance of lakhs of people. The procession of Mahakala on Vijaydasami festival visiting the celebrations atDashahara Maidan is also very attractive.

Harihara Milana

On Baikuntha Chaturdasi, Lord Mahakala visits Mandir in a procession to meet Lord (hari) during the mid-night. Later on in a similar procession on that very night Dwarakadhisa visits Mahakal temple. This festival is the symbol of one-ness between the two great Lords.

Shree Mahakaleshwar Temple Daily Pooja Schedule

From month Chaitra to Ashwin

1. Bhasmarti early morning 4:00 am.
2. Morning Pooja 7:00 am to 7:30 am
3. Mid-day Pooja 10:00 am to 10:30 am
4. Evening Poojai 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm
5. Aarti Shree Mahakal 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm
6. Closing Time 11:00 pm
From month Kartik to Falgun

1. Bhasmarti early morning 4 am.
2. Morning Pooja 7:30 am to 8:00 am
3. Mid-day Pooja 10:30 am to 11:00 am
4. Evening Pooja 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm
5. Aarti Shree Mahakal 7:30 pm to 8:00 pm
6. Closing Time 11:00 pm

In order to attend the Bhasma Arti in Mahakaleshwar is desire for every Hindu devotee.Mahakal and Bhasma Arti are synonymous with each other. Bhasma means ash. Mahakaleshwar is the only Jyotirlinga temple,where the Bhasma Arti is performed. Amidst vedic chants and strotras and sounds of cymbals, conchs and damru, the Bhasma arti is performed every morning (Except the second day of Mahashivaratri) from 4:00 am to 6:00 am to the Lord Mahakaleshwar. The Bhasma is prepared by burning dried cow dung. The mahant of the Akhil Bhratiya Mahanirvani Akhada or his representative offers the Bhasma.

The Bhasma Arti has its own protocols. During Bhasma Arti, no one can enter in the garbhagriha for worship wearing regular clothes. Only males wearing sola or silk clothe on their loins are allowed to enter into garbhagriha. At the time of Bhasma Arti, women are not allowed to enter inside. The devotees enjoy watching the great puja sitting in Sabhagruha just outside the garbhagriha. On next day of Mahashivaratri, the Bhasma Arti is held in afternoon after removal of the Lord's Sehra (bridegroom’s floral crown).This happens only once a year.

The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is another famous tantrik center of Ujjain. So for tantriks, the Bhasma Arti is most important. It is said that the ash with which the Shiva linga is 'bathed' every morning must be that of a corpse that has been cremated the day before. If no cremation has taken place at Ujjain, then the ash must be obtained at all costs from the nearest cremation ground.
However, the temple authorities assert that though it was once customary for the ash to belong to a 'fresh' corpse, the practice had long been discontinued. Whatever the truth, pilgrims travel long distances to watch the Bhasm Arti.

Puja / Abhishek Rates

1. General Puja-Rs.51.00
2. Shiv Mahimn Path-Rs.101.00
3. Rudrabhishesk Vaidik Puja-Rs.151.00
4. Shiv Mahimn Strot-Rs.251.00
5. Rudrabhishek (11 Avartan) Rudra Patha-Rs.501.00
6. Laghu Rudraabhishek (121 Paath) by 11 Brhamin-Rs.1500.00
7. Maha Rudraabhishek-Rs.11000.00
8. Mahamrutyunjay Jaap (1.25 Lakh jaap)-Rs.15000.00
9. Bhanga Shringar-Rs.101.00

There are seven special parva pujas and special events of Mahakal in a year. This includes Shravan Mahotsava in the holy month of Shravan, Harihar Milan on 14th day of the Kartik Sud(bright fortnight),Narak Chaturdashi, Uma Sanjhi Mahotsava which is organised on 11th day of Ashwin vad(Dark fortnight),pradosh(on the 13th day of every dark and bright fortnight),Mahashivaratri and Nagpanchami(5th day of the bright fortnight in holy shravan month).

Temple Timings

The temple is open from 4 am to 11 pm.


Mahakal temple is located in Ujjain town. Here Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department Hotels "Shipra Residency"  and  "Hotel Avantika" are the ideal options for accommodation of tourists. In addition to them some budget category private guest houses and hotels are also available. Here we can't expect various options in different category. If visitor is looking for luxury option then it will be better to look for hotel in Indore city(65kms) and visit temple as excursion tour. Mahakalewara trust Dharmashala is available to the tourists for stay.

Best Time To Visit

Though one can visit this eternal place of Grand Lord Shiva, at any time throughout the year, as thousands of devotees comes here every day, but during the festive time and that too in Grand Night of Shiva called Mahashivaratri, which comes during February to March, brings a lofty numbers of visitors from around the globe, and so this can be the best time to explore the real divine charm of the city.

Rare Facts

Legend has it that great poets like Ved Vyas and Kalidas lauded the river Kshipra and the city of Ujjain in their literary work. It is in Ujjain that Raja Bhartrihari wrote his great epics (love stories) Virat Katha, neeti Sataka, the love story of Pradyot Princess Vasavadatta and Udayan. The beauty of this city found a pride of place in the descriptions of a great many poets and writers who song its praise. At the auspicious time at dawn, the women of this town sprinkled vermillion water in their courtyards and decorated them with Rangoli designs. The Kumbha mela that is organised on the banks of the Kshipra river is very famous. All devotees take a holy water from the Kshipra river and seek blessings of Lord Mahakaleshwar.

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. Legend has it that as many as 33 crore Gods reside in Mahakal premises. Adorned by Hanuman, Shiva, Devi, Navgraha, Radha-Krishna, Ganesha temples, the premises evokes vibrant spiritual feelings. Mahakal is the only temple among Dwadash Jyotirlingas, which has so many temples in its premises. In order to attend Bhasma Arti in Mahakaleshwar is desire for every Hindu devotee. Mahakal and Bhasma Arti are synonymous with each other. Bhasma means ash. Mahakaleshwar is the only Jyotirlinga temple,where the Bhasma Arti is performed. The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is another famous tantrik center of Ujjain. So for tantriks, the Bhasma Arti is most important. It is said that the ash with which the Shiva linga is ‘bathed’ every morning must be that of a corpse that has been cremated the day before. The belief goes that those who are fortunate to watch this ritual will never die a premature death.

Lord Krishna, his brother and his friend Sudama received their education living with Maharshi Sandipani in Ujjain. It is also believed that King Ashoka the Great was in Ujjain for 11 years and had been educated in the city. Ujjain was also the place of the victory of Vikramaditya over the foreign invader Shaks and the commencement of ‘Vikram Samvatsar’ 2061years ago. Today, ‘Vikram Samvstsar’ is the oldest calendar in the Ujjain. It was the capital of renowned king Vikramaditya. His brother Bhrarthari became a disciple of guru Gorkha Nath of ‘Nath Sampraday’ and renounced the world and meditated in the cave. The prominence of Ujjain Jyotirlinga temple is that the idol in this shrine faces southward and is popularly known as Dakshinamoorthy.


The Shri Swapaneshwar Mahadev temple is situated in the premises of the Mahakaleshwar temple, where devotees pray to Shiva as Mahakaal, to realize the most important dreams of their lives. Sadashiv Mahadev is so empathetic, benevolent and easy to please that devotees are sure to be granted the boons they wish for with a pure heart in this temple, it is believed.

Nearby Places to Visit


Indore is the largest metro city of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. It happened to be the administrative capital of Holkar dynasties, situated 55 km down-south to the Ujjain. One can visit some famous places in Indore like, Rajwada, Lal Bagh Palace, Kanch Mandir, Chhatris, Central Museum, Kamla Nehru Zoo, Gandhi Hall & much more.


It is another must see place for the devotees of Lord Shiva. The island is also known as Mandhata Omkareshwar or Shivapuri. Omkareshwar is located in Khandwa district on the south eastern Madhya Pradesh, 140 km far from Ujjain, via Indore. River-side temples and boat-ride are main tourist attractions in Omkareshwar.


It is yet another Hindu pilgrimage destination on the bank of holy Narmada river, about 150kms in south of Mahakal temple. Here one can visit Maheshwar fort and river-side temples. In addition to this, visitor can also enjoy boat ride in Narmada river.


Mandu City is located in Dhar District in western region of Madhya Pradesh in India, about 160 km from Ujjain. A complete nature paradise, surrounded with historical places, there is much more see in Mandu.

Bagh Caves

These caves are made out of rock dove, and used as the residence and for the meditation by the Buddhist monks. These caves have the paintings which are corresponded with the Ajanta caves situated in Aurangabad, about 180 km from Ujjain.


It is capital city of Madhya Pradesh state, about 180kms east of Ujjain town. All major administrative head-offices are located here along with many other local tourist attractions like boating in lakes, Van Vihar, Museums etc. In addition to this 02 World Heritage sites: Sanchi & Bhimbetka Rock Shelters are also in surrounding to Bhopal city.

Other Important Temples of Ujjain

1. Shree Chintaman Ganesh Temple
2. Shree Harsiddhi Mata Temple
3. Shree Shani Devta Temple
4. Shree Mangalnath Temple
5. Shree Kaalbhairav Temple



Ujjain doesn’t have its own Airport. The Ahilya Devi airport in Indore is the closest one, and is about 60 kilometres from city Ujjain, this airport has wide domestic and international air connectivity; there are frequent flights for national capital Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities of India.


Ujjain falls in the 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.


If one were to access Ujjain by Road, there are buses that ply between Ujjain to Indore (55km), Gwalior (450km), Ahmadabad (400km) and Bhopal (183 km).

Temple Address

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga,
Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh 456006, India.


Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-

  • To be rid of sorrows
  • To have wishes fulfilled
  • To attain salvation

Kailaasarana Shiva Chandramouli Phaneendra Maathaa Mukutee Zalaalee Kaarunya Sindhu Bhava Dukha Haaree Thujaveena Shambho Maja Kona Taaree

Meaning -Oh Lord Shiva who is seated on Mount Kailash, where the moon decorates his forehead and the king of serpents crown his head, who is merciful and removes delusion, You alone can protect me. I surrender to thee.

Aum Trayambakam Yajaamahey Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam Urvaarukamiva Bandhanaath Mrutyor Muksheeya Maamritaat

Meaning -We worship the fragrant Lord Shiva, who has 3 eyes and who cultivates all beings. May He free me from death, for immortality, as even a cucumber is separated from its bond with the vine.


4:30 am - 9:30 p.m. on normal daysIt is open till 11:30 p.m. on Shravan Mondays

Weather in Ujjain
Scattered Clouds
13° 15°