Facts about Ujjain’s Mahakaleshwar, the only south facing Shiva Temple

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Ujjain is one of the seven cities of India said to grant pilgrims liberation from rebirth. It is today a bit off the beaten path–60 kilometers from the nearest airport, for example. But in ancient times it sat at the crossroads of India as a key political, military, economic, literary and scientific center. One of our calendars, the Vikram era, began when the warrior king Vikramaditya repulsed an invasion of Ujjain. Among the “nine gems ” of his court were Kalidasa, arguably the greatest Sanskrit poet and dramatist, and the astrologer and mathematician Varahamihira. Today, Ujjain remains great in religious terms, one of the four sites for the Kumbha Mela, and site of the temple of the great Lord of Time, Siva, Mahakaleshwara. Hinduism Today’s team of journalist Rajiv Malik and photographer Thomas Kelly explored Ujjain while covering the April, 2004, Kumbha Mela attended by 30 million pilgrims over a ten-day period

In India, out of the 12 Jyotirlings, only Mahakaleshwar of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh is situated in the south direction. The residents of Ujjain believe Mahakal to be their king and therefore worship the God.

Although no one knows when this temple was established, however, its history goes back to thousands of years.

Every day almost a thousand of devotees visit this temple and in the month of Sawan there is no count of the devotees who arrive here as they are many. This Jyotirling has special importance during the holy month of Sawan.

According to references received on Mahakaleshwar temple, in the sixth century, King of Ujjain Chandpradyot had appointed his son Kumar to work on Mahakal temple. In the last decades of the tenth century Malwa Parmar kings dominated the city of Ujjain.

In that time, many beautiful poetic texts were written on Mahakal temple. In the 12th century, the temple was reconstructed during the reign of Udayaditya and Narvarma.

In the fourth decade of the 18th century, Ujjain was dominated by the Maratha rulers. This was the time when Mahakal was renovated once again. The present Makaleshwar that we see today has been renovated by Ranoji Shinde.

Currently, the Mahakal Jyotirling is placed in the bottom of the temple. In the middle level, Omkareshwar Shivling is present and the top most part of the temple Nagchandraeshwar opening.

The Ling of Mahakeshwar is the largest among all other Jyotirlings. 118 peaks of this temple have been made in gold because of which the glory of this Jyotirling has increased. The Ling of Mahakeshwar is the largest among all other Jyotirlings. The topmost part of the temple is only opened once a year during Nagpanchami. From morning 4 to evening 6, the Vedic mantras are chanted and Lord Shiva is worshiped with ashes.

In the 12th century, the temple was reconstructed during the reign of Udayaditya and Narvarma. In the fourth decade of the 18th century, Ujjain was dominated by the Maratha rulers. This was the time when Mahakal was renovated once again. The present Makaleshwar that we see today has been renovated by Ranoji Shinde. Currently, the Mahakal Jyotirling is placed in the bottom of the temple. In the middle level, Omkareshwar Shivling is present and the top most part of the temple Nagchandraeshwar opening. The complex of Mahakal is huge. It includes around 40 temples in it. Some of these temples are here since the 10th century.

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