Mahakaleshwara Temple is located by the banks of river Kshipra, in the dense Mahakal forests in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. It is an important Shaivaite pilgrimage centre in North India and is revered as one of the 12 Jyotilinga manifestations of Shiva.
Legend Behind Mahakal Temple
According to an episode narrated in Puranas, a five-year-old boy named
Shrikar was enthralled seeing the devotion of King Chandrasena of Ujjain
towards Lord Shiva. Shrikar took a stone and by considering it a linga
started worshipping it regularly. Others thought that his worship as
merely a game and tried to dissuade him in all ways. But all the efforts
went in vain. On the contrary, devotion of Shrikar increased by every
passing day. Pleased by the boys devotion Lord Shiva assumed
Jyotirlinga form and resided in the Mahakal forest.
According to another popular legend related to Mahakal Temple, a demon
by name, Dushana tormented the residents of Avanti. Shiva appeared from
the ground and vanquished the demon. Then, upon the request of the
inhabitants of Avanti, Shiva took up a permanent abode here as
Architecture of Mahakal Temple
Bhagwan Mahakaleshwar Temple is located near a lake and has a spacious
courtyard surrounded by massive walls. The temple has five levels, one
of that is underground. Brass lamps light the way to the underground
sanctum or Garbha Griha where the Jyotirlinga is situated. 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 while on the other
side, idols of Goddess Parvati and Kartikeya are installed. The shikhara
of temple is adorned with sculptural finery.
Significance of Mahakaleshwara Temple
Mahalakesheshwar Temple is consider significant by the Hindus for the
Mahakaleshwara Temple in Ujjain is regarded amongst the seven holy
places that can liberate a human. The other six Mukti-Sthal
being Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Benares, Kanchipuram and Dwarka.
All devotees that come to participate in the famous Kumbh Mela
organized year on the banks of the Kshipra River consider it important
to seek blessings of Lord Mahakaleshwar. The Mahakaleshwar Temple has
also been referred to in the Tamil hymns of the Nayanmar saints of the
1st millennium CE.