Return
Home
About
Hinduism
Pilgrimage
in India
Religious
Products
Religious
Texts
Greatness
of India
Hindu
Deities
Powerful
Sadhanas
Sacred
Objects
Exquisite
Articles
 
 
Mahakaleshwar Temple, Madhya Pradesh
Click picture to ZOOM

Ujjain is situated on the banks of the Shipra River, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, in central India. From times immemorial this area and the Shipra River have been considered as most sacred.Ujjain is known for the famous Mahakaleswar Temple which is among the 12 celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The Mahakaleshwar temple is located near a lake and has five levels, one of which is underground. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum of the temple. The glory of this temple has been vividly described in various puranas. Mahakaleshwar Temple, mentioned by the great poet Kalidasa in his works, is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Destroyer of the Universe. The Shiva linga is worshipped throughout India as it symbolises Shiva?s incarnate power on earth. On the other hand, a jyotirlinga is the swayamabhu (self-manifested) linga, which is found only in 12 places in India.

The original temple was destroyed during Muslim invasions, and the temple was rebuilt recently by the Sindhias in the traditional Central Indian style.It is a five-storeyed structure at the south end of the city. The curved superstructure is adorned with motifs on all sides, rising above the colonnaded porches.Along the walls of the corridors in the temple rest old statues and sculptures, while in the courtyard lie ruined ancient shrines.The storeys are ornamented with pierced balustrades, and the balconies have richly decorated roofs reminiscent of the Rajput style of architecture. Screens and pavilions are combined with marble colonnades leading to the linga within the sanctuary, making Mughal architecture come alive right in the heart of this Hindu temple. The Mahakaleshwar Temple is indeed a cherished site and a sculptural delight as well.

One of the rituals performed in this temple is the Bhasm Arti that involves smearing the linga with hot ashes from the burning ghats (cremation grounds). Shiva is believed to dwell in cremation grounds, and the ash-smearing ceremony is a homage to the Destroyer of the Universe himself. This form of worship is symbolic of Death and Life being inseparable, an idea that is inherent to most of the Hindu schools of thought. The idol of MahakaleshwarTemple is called Dakshinamurtias it faces south (dakshin - south, and murti - idol).The idols of Ganesha, Parvati and Kartikeya are installed in the west, north and east of the sanctum sanctorum. The idol of Nagchandreshwar is open for darshan only on the day of Nagpanchami. On Mahashivaratri, there takes place a huge fair near the temple, and worship goes on throughout the night. The Mahakal dominates the life of the people and the city so much that even in the midst of the busy routine of everyday preoccupations, it provides an unbreakable link with past traditions.

Places of Interest

Chintaman Ganesh - The temple is built across the river Shipra on the Fatehabad railway line. The Ganesh idol enshrined here is supposed to be swayambhu - born of itself. The temple itself is believed to be of considerable antiquity. Riddhi and Siddhi, the consorts of Ganesha, are seated on either side of Ganesha. The artistically carved pillars in the assembly hall date back to the Paramara period. Worshippers throng to this temple because the deity here is traditionally known as Chintaharan Ganesh meaning "the assurer of freedom from worldly anxieties".

Harsiddhi Temple - This temple occupies a special place in the galaxy of ancient sacred spots of Ujjain. Seated between the idols of Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati, the idol of Annapurna is painted in dark vermilion colour. The Sri Yantra, the symbol of power or shakti, is also enshrined in the temple.According to the Shiva Purana, when Shiva carried away the burning body of Sati from the sacrificial fire, her elbow dropped at this place. There is an interesting legend in the Skanda Purana about the manner in which the Goddess Chandi acquired the epithet of Harsiddhi. Once when Shiva and Parvati were alone on Mount Kailash, two demons called Chand and Prachand tried to force their way in. Shiva called upon Chandi to destroy them which she did. Pleased, Shiva bestowed upon her the epithet of 'one who vanquishes all'.The temple was reconstructed during the Maratha period and the two pillars adorned with lamps are special features of Maratha art. These lamps, lit during Navaratri, present a glorious spectacle. There is an ancient well on the premises, and an artistic pillar adorns the top of it.

Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir - This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.
This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.

Pir Matsyendranath - This is an extremely attractive spot on the banks of the Shipra quite close to the Bhartihari Caves and the Gadkalika Temple. It is dedicated to the memory of one of the great leaders of the Natha sect of Saivism-Matsyendranath. Since Muslims as well as the followers of the Natha sect call their saints 'pir', the ancient site of Pir Matsyendranath is venerated by both. Excavations at this site have yielded some antiquities which date back to the 6th and 7th century BC.

Bhartrihari Caves - These caves are situated just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadkalika. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, who is said to have been the step brother of Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. He is believed to have been a great scholar and poet. His famous works, Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak, and Nitishatak, are known for the exquisite use of the Sanskrit meter. These caves are situated just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadkalika. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, who is said to have been the step brother of Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. He is believed to have been a great scholar and poet. His famous works, Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak, and Nitishatak, are known for the exquisite use of the Sanskrit meter.

Harsiddhi Temple - This temple occupies a special place in the galaxy of ancient sacred spots of Ujjain. Seated between the idols of Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati, the idol of Annapurna is painted in dark vermilion colour. The Sri Yantra, the symbol of power or shakti, is also enshrined in the temple. According to the Shiva Purana, when Shiva carried away the
burning body of Sati from the sacrificial fire, her elbow dropped at this place. There is an interesting legend in the Skanda Purana about the manner in which the Goddess Chandi acquired the epithet of Harsiddhi. Once when Shiva and Parvati were alone on Mount Kailash, two demons called Chand and Prachand tried to force their way in. Shiva called upon Chandi to destroy them which she did. Pleased, Shiva bestowed upon her the epithet of 'one who vanquishes all'. The temple was reconstructed during the Maratha period and the two pillars adorned with lamps are special features of Maratha art. These lamps, lit during Navaratri, present a glorious spectacle. There is an ancient well on the premises, and an artistic pillar adorns the top of it.

Gopal Mandir - This huge temple is situated in the middle of the big market square. It was constructed by Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde in the 19th century. It is a beautiful example of Maratha architecture. The sanctum sanctorum is inlaid with marble and doors are silver plated. The door in the inner sanctum is said to have been carried to Ghazni from the Somnath temple and from thence by Mahmud Shah Abdali to Lahore. Mahadji Scindia recovered it and now it has been installed in this temple.

Mangalnath Temple - This temple is situated away from the bustle of the city and can be reached through a winding road. The temple looks upon a vast expanse of the Shipra waters and fills the onlooker with an indescribable sense of peace.Mangalnath is regarded as the birth place of Mars, according to the Matsya Purana. In ancient times, it was famous for a clear view of the planet and hence suitable for astronomical studies. Mahadev or Shiva is the deity which is worshipped in the temple of Mangalnath.

Vikram Kirti Mandir - Established on the occasion of the second millennium of the Vikram era, as the cultural centre to perpetuate the memory of Vikramaditya, the Vikram Kirti Mandir houses the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum, an art gallery and an auditorium. The Scindia Oriental Research Institute has an invaluable collection of 18,000 manuscripts on various subjects and runs a reference library of important oriental publications. Rare manuscripts in Prakrit, Arabic, Persian and other Indian languages cover a wide range of subjects from Vedic literature and philosophy to dance and music. Palm leaf and bark leaf (Bhurja Patra) manuscripts are also preserved in this institute. Apart from an illustrated manuscript of Shrimad Bhagavata in which actual gold and silver have been employed for the paintings, the Institute has a rich collection of old paintings in the Rajput and Mughal style. The museum also exhibits a rich array of images, inscriptions, copper plates and fossils discovered in the Narmada valley. A huge skull of a primitive elephant is of special interest.

Sandipani Ashram - The fact that ancient Ujjain apart from its political and religious importance, enjoyed the reputation of being a great seat of learning as early as the Mahabharata period is borne out by the fact that, Lord Krishna and Sudama received regular instruction in the ashram of Guru Sandipani. The area near the ashram is known as Ankapata, popularly believed to have been the place used by Lord Krishna for washing his writing tablet. The numerals 1 to 100 found on a stone are believed to have been engraved by Guru Sandipani.

Kal Bhairava Temple - The worship of the eight Bhairavas is a part of Saivite tradition and the chief among them is Kal Bhairava, believed to have been built by King Bhadresen, on the banks of the Shipra. There is mention of a Kal Bhairva temple in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana. Worship of Kal Bhairava is believed to have been a part of the Kapalika and Aghora sects. Ujjain was a prominent centre of these two sects. Even today, liquor is offered as a part of the ritual to Kal Bhairava Beautiful paintings in the Malwa style once decorated the temple walls, only traces of which are visible. These intricate paintings are a speciality of this temple.

Navagraha Mandir - Situated on the Triveni Ghat of the River Shipra, the temple is located away from the old site of Ujjaini town. It is dedicated to the nine planets (Navagraha means nine planets), attracts large crowds on new moon days falling on Saturdays. Its religious importance has increased in recent years though there is no known reference to it in the ancient texts. The ruling planets have always had an important place in Indian rituals and tradition.

Gadkalika Temple - Situated about 2 miles from the city of Ujjain, the deity in this temple is believed to have been worshipped by Kalidasa. The legend goes that he was an idiot and it is by his devotion to the goddess Kalika that he acquired great literary skills.Emperor Harshavardhan had this temple renovated in the 7th century AD. There is further evidence of renovation during the Paramara period. The temple has been rebuilt in the modern times by the erstwhile Gwalior State.

Siddhavat - This enormous banyan tree on the banks of the Shipra, has been vested with religious sanctity as the Akashyavat in Prayag and Gaya, Vanshivat of Vrindavan and the Panchavata of Nasik. Thousands of pilgrims take a dip in the Shipra from the bathing ghat built here. According to one tradition, Parvati is believed to have performed her penance here. It used to be a place of worship for the followers of Natha sect. One legend has it that some Mughal rulers had cut off the Banyan tree and covered the site with iron sheets to prevent its roots from growing. But the tree pierced the iron sheets and grew and flourished. The little village of Bhairogarh near Siddhavat is famous for its tie and dye painting for centuries. In ancient times when trade with other countries flourished, exquisitely printed cloth from Bhairogarh used to find its way to Rome and China.

Kalidasa Academy - This academy was set up in Ujjain by the Government of Madhya Pradesh to immortalise the memory of the great poet dramatist, and to create a multidisciplinary institution to project the genius of the entire classical tradition with Kalidasa as the apex, enable research and study in Sanskrit classical and traditional performing arts, and facilitate its adaptation for contemporary stage in different cultural sittings and language groups. The academy complex consists of a theatre built according to the specification laid down by Bharata's Natya Shastra, an exhibition hall and theatre museum, library, lecture and seminary halls, research facilities for scholars.

Getting There and Around

By Air - The nearest airport is at Indore (55 Kms.) and is connected by air with Bhopal, Bombay, Delhi and Gwalior.

By  Rail - Ujjain has a railway station on the Western Railway line and connected with major cities in India.

By Road - Good roads connect Ujjain with Ahmedabad (402 Kms.), Bhopal (183 Kms.), Bombay (655 Kms.), Delhi (774 Kms.), Gwalior (451 Kms.), Indore (53 Kms.), Khajuraho (570 Kms.), Mandu (158 Kms.).

Accommodation

There are several hotels and lodges available for accommodation. Besides, in Ujjain, there are government run hotels also like the Shipra and the Yatri Niwas that are conveniently priced and comfortable.

 






| Bamleshwari_ Temple | Bhojeshwar Temple | Khajuraho Temples | Mahakaleshwar Temple | Omkareshwar Temple |
| Char Dham | 12 Jyotirlinga | 52_shaktipeethas | 108_Divyadesams | Pancha_ Bhoota_ Temples | Religious Places in North India | Religious Places in East India | Religious Places in South India | Religious Places in West India | Religious Places in Central India | Tantra Temples in India | Modern Famous Temples in India | Religious Fairs in India | Famous Hindu Temples outside India |
| Return Home | About Hinduism | Pilgrimage in India | Religious Products | Religious Texts | Greatness of India | Hindu Deities | Powerful Sadhanas | Sacred Objects | Exquisite Articles |
 
 



Copyright 2014, M/s Devshoppe. All rights reserved.