Ujjain – the temple town and one of the ancient cities of Madhya Pradesh is the most prominent spiritual attraction and the most sacred Lord Shiva temple in the country. Mahakaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the most important and revered Hindu pilgrimage sites. It houses one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. The temple town is also home to the world’s largest religious gathering ‘Simhastha’(Kumbh Mela), which is held on the banks of the Sipra River once every 12 years. The last Simhastha took place in 2016 and the next will be held in 2028. Moreover the Bhasam Aarati at Mahakaleswar, Ujjain is the most popular in the whole world.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple is also known as Mahakal Mandir. It has a long and rich history that dates back to ancient times. Mahakala temple first comes into existence in the Pre-historic period. Puranas narrate that it was first established by Prajapita Brahma. The temple was later rebuilt by the legendary king Vikramaditya, who is said to have ruled the region in the 1st century BCE. Over the centuries, the temple has undergone many renovations and additions, with different rulers and dynasties leaving their mark on its architecture and design. The current structure of the temple is believed to have been built during the Maratha period in the 18th century.
The main attraction of the Mahakaleshwar Temple is the Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva, which is believed to be one of the most powerful and sacred lingams. There are two meanings of the word – ‘Kaal’- Time & Death. According to beliefs Lord Shiva is the god of death and time, that is why he is called Mahakaleshwar. The Jyotirlinga is worshipped as a representation of Lord Shiva’s cosmic energy and creative power.
The glory of this Jyotirlinga has been vividly described in the Puranas, and believed that Lingam in Ujjain is ‘Swayambhu’. It is also known as ‘Dakshin Murti’ due to its south-facing feature. It is housed in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple, which is accessible to devotees only during specific hours of worship. The lingam is bathed in holy water and decorated with flowers and other offerings, as devotees offer their prayers and seek the blessings of Lord Shiva.
The temple has also been featured in several Bollywood films. The famous Bollywood film “Bajirao Mastani,” which was released in 2015, features a song that was shot at the temple. The song, “Deewani Mastani,” became a massive hit, and it helped to increase the popularity of the temple among the younger generation.
4 crore people visit Mahakal 40 million people visit the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga throughout the year. After the construction of the Mahakal Corridor, about 90 thousand people come to Ujjain daily. Earlier this figure was up to 15
thousand. That is, after the construction of the Mahakal Corridor, more than 75 thousand devotees come for darshan. Around 1.5 lakh devotees visit Ujjain during the month of Shravan and various festivals. This year the figure is expected to increase as compared to last year.
Mahakal Corridor is a new attraction Last year in the month of October, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the Mahakal Corridor at the Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain. The total length of this corridor is more than 900 meters surrounded by the old Rudra Sagar Lake. and it has two grand entrances through Nandi and Pinaki. There are a total of 108 pillars in this corridor. On which various postures of Lord Shiva ave been made. This corridor is decorated with beautiful lighting and sculptures. The country’s first night garden is also being built in the Mahakal corridor. Where around 200 idols related to Lord Shiva will be installed. It looks stunning at night in colorful lights.