Mahakaleshwar(Shiva) Temple

Description of the Diety

Mahakaleshwar (Shiva) :
The Mahakal Temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The Shivalinga here is the only Jyotirlinga which faces the south and is thus known as Dakshinmukhi or the south-facing ling. It is 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 Water. Mahakal is Lord of the earth. Out of the 12 Jyotirlingas, only Mahakala is known Lord of earth and Lord of the death (Kaalo ke kaal Mahakal). Here Mahadev is Swapaneshwar and Shakti is Swapaneshwari. The temple courtyard of Lord Bhagwan Mahakaleshwar temple is very huge hence it is grand and beautiful. This Jyotirlinga is situated below the ground in Garbha Gruha. The linga is big in size and is encircled by snake of silver. On one side of the linga there is the idol of Lord Ganesh, on another side is the idol of Goddess Parvati and Lord Karthikeya.

Associated Dieties

Goddess Parvati
Lord Ganesha

Historical information

As per the Puranas, Prajapati Lord Brahma himself established this first temple at this site. The coins recovered at Ujjain belonging to 4th B.C have inscriptions of Lord Shiva on them. The Mahakaleshwar Temple has been described as magnificent and grand in several poems including Meghadhutham by the famous poet Sant Kalidasa and also by other Sants Harshacharit and Kadambari of Bana Bhatta, Naisadhacharit of Sri Harsha, and Navasahasamkacharit of Padmagupta.

Several dynasties like the Guptas, Maitrakas, Chalukyas, Kalachuris, Pusyabhutis, Gurjara Pratiharas and Rashtrakutas have ruled Ujjain over different periods of time. According to several poetic texts, in the Paramara period, the temple was destroyed by Muslim invaders. In later years during eleventh century, it was re-built by Kings Udayaditya and Naravarman.

The Mahakaleshwar Temple was destroyed by Sultan Shas-ud-din Iltumish in 1234. It was rebuilt by King Srimant Raanojirao Shinde Maharajah (Scindia) in 1736 AD. The Marathas built several smaller temples inside the Mahakaleshwar temple complex. Several traditions like Abhishekam, Aartis and Sawaris were re-introduced in the temple schedule. Under the leadership of King Madhavrao Scindia I who initiated renovations which were carried out at this Mahakaleshwar Temple.

According to Historical legend, There was ruler of Ujjain - King Chandrasena, who was pious devotee of Lord Shiva who worshiped him all the time. One day farmer's boy named Shrikhar who was walking on the grounds of this palace, 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 confiscate the treasures of kingdom during this period. Hearing this, Shrikhar started to pray and the news spread to the priest named Vridhi. He was shocked to hear this news and upon the urgent pleas of his son, He started to pray to Lord Shiva at the river Kshipra. The Kings who chose to attack and were unsuccessful; with the help of the powerful demon Dushan, who was blessed by Lord Brahma to be invisible, however they plundered to 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 consented to reside in this city and thus became Main deity of this Kingdom to ensure against all its enemies and to protect all His devotees. From that day on, Lord Shiva resided in His light form as Mahakala in the Lingam which was self -manifested on its own from the powers of the Lord along with His consort Parvati. The Lord also blessed his devotees and declared that people who worshipped Him in this form would be free from all their fear of death and diseases. Also would be granted worldly treasures and to be under the protection of the Lord himself.
Architecture :
The temple is three-storied. In the lowest middle and uppermost parts which are respectively installed Lingas of Lord Mahakaleshar, Lord Omkaresvara and Lord Nagachandresvara. The pilgrims and visitors are allowed to have Darshan of Lord Nagachandresvara only on the festive day of Naga Panchami. 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, devotes can view many idols/sculptures representing the sculptural grandeur of this temple built during King Paramara period. In the east of the Kunda is large-sized Veranda in which there is an entrance to the path leading to Garbhagriha. In the northern side of this verandah, is a cell, with the images of Lord Sri Rama and goddess Avanthika who are also worshipped. In the southern side of the main shrine, there are few small Lord Shiva temples built during the Shinde regime among these are the temples of Vraddha Mahakaleshara, Anadi Kalpeshwara and Saptarshi which are prominent and are seen as remarkable pieces of architecture.

The lingam of Mahakaleshara is colossus. The silver plated Naga Jaladhari with inscribed and esoteric silver-plates covering the roof of the Garbhagriha to add extra grandeur to this temple. Besides Jyotirlinga, attractive and miniature images of Lord Ganesha, Lord Karthikeya and Goddess Parvathi can also be seen inside Garbhagriha. All around walls are with classical eulogies in praise of Lord Shiva are exhibited. The Nanda Dipa which is always remains lit. On the exit-path, there is wide hall in which most attractive metal embellished stone Nandi who is sitting in humble pose may be witnessed. The courtyard just opposite to the Omkaresvara temple adds much to benevolence of this temple-complex. Just adjoining to this temple, there are two pillared projections facing the east which is adding significance to the architecture of this temple. The temple of Lord Mahakaleshara is well planned admixture of the Bhumija, Chalukya and Maratha styles of architecture. The shikhara with the mini-pinnacle is very peculiar. In recent years its upper part has been covered with gold plate.

As seen earlier, the present temple of Mahakala was built during period of 4th- 5th decades of Eighteenth Century. Simultaneously the religious-minded nobles of Maratha community also built many more temples within the temple-complex. During this period many ancient traditions were adopted such as worshipping with Abhishekam, aarti, Sawaris (procession) in the Shraavana month, Harihara-milana were also revived. These are still practiced with joyful ceremony and devotional enthusiasm. The Bhasmaarti in early morning, Mahashivaratri, Pancha-Krosi Yatra, Somavathi Amavasya , which are special religious occasions which are interwoven with the rituals of this temple. Proper repairs and rejuvenation of this temple-complex was carried out during the Kumbha Parva. In the year 1980, separate Mandapam was constructed to facilitate visitors to this temple. In1992 Madhya Pradesh Government and Ujjain Development Authority exclusively contributed to the special repairs and ensured that provisions were made 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 Dakshinamurthi, which refers to the Main Deity which is facing South Direction. This unique feature is upheld by the tantric Shivnetra tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The idol of Lord Omkareshwar Mahadev is consecrated in the sanctum Santorum above the Lord Mahakal Temple. Idols of Lord Ganesh, Goddess Parvathi and Lord Karthikeya are installed in the west, north and east of the sanctum sanctorum. To the south is the image of Nandi, carrier vehicle of Lord Shiva. At the northern side there are idols of Lord Rama, Goddess Avantika. At the southern side of this temple, there are miniature temples, built during the reign of Shinde. Lofty Pond- Kunda named Koti Tirtha is built in the sarvatobhadra style, which is situated inside the temple complex. The idol of Lord Nagchandreshwara on the third story is open for darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami. In the inner and outer walls there are various sculptures which have been carved during the Parmer period. The temple has five levels, one of which is underground. The temple itself is located in spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near the lake. The shikhara or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasadam (holy offering) offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other temples in India.

The presiding deity of that period Lord Shiva is in his entire splendor reigns eternally in the city of Ujjain. The temple of Lord Mahakaleshwar with its shikhara 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 their busy routine of modern preoccupations, and provides an unbreakable link with ancient Hindu traditions. On the day of Maha Shivaratri, massive fair is held near the temple, and worshipping is carried on through the night.

Significance Of Diety

Sri Mahakaleshwar is known as the lord of Time. This is the only Lingam in this world which faces south, which is the direction of Death (south). Hence Lord Shiva here is also called Dakshina murthy, meaning the god facing south. Therefore he is celebrated as the God who is capable of winning difficult situations.

The Mahakaleshwar temple is also one of the eighteen Maha Shakti Peethas. Shakti Peethas are the sites where it is believed that body parts of Sati Devi fell after being cut by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yoga episode of Hindu mythology. The Upper Lip of the Sati Devi is believed to have fallen here hence The Goddess here is called Mahakali.

The Linga of Mahakaleshwar is the largest in size among all other Jyotirlingas in India.

The idol of Lord Nagchandreshwara sits on throne of ten-hooded snake. This is the only temple in the world where Lord Shiva is sitting on throne of snake instead of Lord Vishnu. It is common faith here that one can purge themselves of any (Snake) sarp doshas by visiting Lord Nagchandreshwara temple on Nagapanchami day.

Shtala Purama

Once, there lived Brahman who had four sons, who were all devotees of Shiva. The wicked demon king Dushan came to Avantika after attaining boon from Lord Brahma and started torturing the erudite Brahmin’s of Avantika. Whereas the Brahmin’s were fully engrossed in their worship of Lord Shiva and they did not even flinch in offering prayers to Lord Shiva.

The demon king sent four of his henchmen with strict orders that they should ensure that no Vedic Dharmanushtan activities are to be held at this place. They harassed people who came running to the Brahmins seeking their help. These Brahmins assured these people and pacified them. They immediately started praying to Lord Shiva. As the Demon king strained to attack these Brahmins, the earth would split open near the Parthiv Murty with loud noise and huge crater would form here. In this manner, Siva assumed the colossal form of Mahakal and appeared. He stopped the wicked Demon from attempting to go anywhere near the Brahmins. However the wicked Demon king did not pay heed. As a result, Lord Siva burnt him to ashes with just one rumble. Seeing Lord Siva in this Avatar, Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Indira and other Devas emanated here and offered prayers to the Lord Shiva and pleased Him.


Sri Mahakaleshwar is known as the lord of Time. This is the only Lingam in the world which faces south, which is the direction of Death. The Shiva here is also called Dakshinamurthy, meaning the god facing south. Therefore, he is celebrated as the God who is capable of winning difficult situations.

The Mahakaleshwar temple is also one of the eighteen Maha Shakti Peethas. Shakti Peethas are the sites where it is believed that body parts of Sati Devi fell after being cut by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yoga episode of Hindu mythology. The Upper Lip of the Sati Devi is believed to have fallen here. The Goddess here is called Mahakali.

The Linga of Mahakaleshwar is the largest in size among all other Jyotirlingas.

The idol of Nagachandreshwar sits on a throne of a ten-hooded snake. This is the only temple in the world where Lord Shiva is sitting on a throne of snake instead of Lord Vishnu. It is a common faith here that one can get rid of any sarp dosh by visiting Nagachandreshwar temple on Nagapanchami.

Temple traditions

The “Bhasma Aarti” is performed every day at 4:00 AM to awaken the deity. This Aarti is unique to this temple only. In ancient times freshly burnt body’s Human ash was used for the Aarti, currently the Bhasma is made from cow dung known as Vibhooti. This (Bhasma) or Vibhooti is then applied to the Linga. It is believed that Chitabhasm (human ash) which is normally considered inauspicious turns holy when applied to the Idol of Lord Mahakal (Shiva also known as Rudra).

In order to attend the Bhasma Aarti in Mahakaleshwar is desire for every Hindu devotee. Mahakal and Bhasma Aarti are synonymous with each other. Bhasma means ash. Mahakaleshwar is the only Jyotirlinga temple, where the Bhasma Aarti is performed. Amidst Vedic chants and Stotras and sounds of cymbals, conchs and damru, the Bhasma aarti is performed every morning (Except on the second day of Mahashivaratri) from 4:00 am to 6:00 am to the Lord Mahakaleshwar. The Bhasma is prepared by burning the dried cow dung. The Mahants of the Akhil Bhratiya Mahanirvani Akhada or their representative are only allowed to offer this Bhasma to Lord Shiva.

The Bhasma Aarti has its own protocols. During Bhasma Aarti, no devotee can enter inside the Garbhagriha for worship wearing regular clothes. Only Men wearing sola or silk clothes on their loins are allowed to enter into Garbhagriha. At the time of Bhasma Aarti, women are not allowed to enter sanctum Santorum. The devotees enjoy watching this unique puja sitting in front of Sabhagruha just outside the Garbhagriha. On next day of Mahashivaratri, the Bhasma Aarti 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 Aarti is most important. It is said that this Bhasma (ash) with which Lord Shiva linga is smeared every morning must be that of human corpse which has been cremated the day before. If no cremation has occurred in that place at Ujjain, then Bhasma (ash) must be obtained at all costs from any of the nearest cremation ground.

However, the temples authorities assert that though it was once customary for this ash to belong to ‘fresh’ corpse, this practice has been disbanded currently and use Bhasma from Cow dung ash. Whatever the truth, pilgrims travel long distances to watch this Bhasma Aarti.

Do's & Dont's

Dress Code :
Avoid dressing in mini skirts, shorts and any disrespectful dress. Prefer decent clothing.It is a rule that during the “Bhasm Aarti”, ladies and gents should only wear Saree and Dhoti / Sala respectively.

Temple Timings

  • Morning - 4:00 A.M. and Evening - 11:00 P.M..

Darshan Timings

  • Morning - 4:00 A.M. and Evening - 11:00 P.M..

Special Entry Timings

  • Special Entry : Rs.250/- Per head

Seva Timings

From month Chaitra to Ashwin
  1. Bhasmarti Pooja Performed everyday 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
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

Prasad Details/Timings

From month Chaitra to Ashwin
  1. 100g Laddu Box : Rs.50/-
  2. 200g Laddu Box : Rs.80/-
  3. 500g Laddu Box : Rs.140/-
  4. 1kg Laddu Box : Rs.265/-
  5. 10g Silver Coin : Rs.1196/-


Mahakaleshwar Temple
Jaisinghpura, Ujjain District,
Madhya Pradesh.
Pincode : 456006


Ujjain to Indore (55km)
Gwalior (450km)
Ahmadabad (400km)
Bhopal (183 km).

Travel Mode

By Road :
Ujjain is directly connected by road to Indore, Surat, Gwaliar, Pune, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Udaypur, Nasik, Mathura.
By Rail :
Ujjain is directly connected by railway line to Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Mumbai, Fouzabad, Lucknow,Dehradun, Delhi, Banaras, Kochin, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Howrah and many more.
By Air :
Nearest airport is Indore (53 K.m.). Flights arriving from Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Gwalior.



Nearby Temples

  1. Harsiddhi Temple :
    It is located just 400 mt away from the Mahakaleshwar temple. This temple is one of the Shakti Peethas according to the Hindu mythology, It is believed that Sati’s elbow fell here when her elbow was cut by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yagna episode of the Hindu tradition.
  2. Bade Ganeshji ka Mandir :
    The ancient temple was built in the Paramara period. It contains the sculpture of Ganapati as the main deity. Panchmukhi Hanuman and the Navagrahas are also worshiped here.
  3. Gopal Mandir :
    It is located in the Patni Bazaar area of Ujjain, just 700 mts away from the Mahakaleshwar temple. It was constructed by Queen Bayajibai Shinde in the 19th century. The Banyan Tree on the banks of River Ksipra is considered sacred and thousands of pilgrims take bath here. Amazingly, liquor is offered to the deity here.
  4. Ram Janardhan Mandir :
    This temple was constructed by Raja Jai Singh in the 17th century. The specialities of the temple include the 11th-century sculpture of Govardhandhari Krishna, 10th-century sculpture of Vishnu and the 12th-century idol of Trimurti.
  5. Kala Bhairava Temple :
    It is believed that King Bhadra constructed this temple over the ruins of an old demolished temple. This temple was of great significance during the Paramar period.
  6. Chintamani Ganesh temple :
    The Goddess Riddhi and Siddhi are present on two sides of Lord Ganesh. Special prayers are offered to the god every Wednesday in the month of Chaithra.
  7. Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga :
    It is a 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.
  8. Maheshwar :
    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.

Surrounding Places to Visit

  1. Indore :
    Indore is the largest metro city of Madhya Pradesh in Central India. It is considered 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.
  2. Mandu :
    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.
  3. 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.
  4. Bhopal :
    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.



Private Accomodation



SL.No Sevas / Poojas Amount
1 General Puja 51/-
2 Shiv Mahimn Path 101/-
3 Rudrabhishesk Vaidik Puja 151/-
4 Shiv Mahimn Strot 251/-
5 Rudrabhishek (11 Avartan) Rudra Patha 501/-
6 Laghu Rudraabhishek (121 Paath) by 11 Brhamin 1,500/-
7 Maha Rudraabhishek 11,000/-
8 Mahamrutyunjay Jaap (1.25 Lakh jaap) 15,000/-
9 Bhanga Shringar 500/-

Annual Uthsavas

  1. Uma Sanjhi Mahotsava pradosh
  2. Shravan Mahotsava :
    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. 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 at Dashahara Maidan is also very attractive.
  3. Naraka Chaturdashi :
  4. Karthik Mela
    It is celebrated every year in the Hindu month of Karthik (November / December).
  5. Nagpanchami
  6. Mahashivaratri :
    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.
  7. Harihar Milan :
    This is celebrated on Vaikuntha Chaturdashi, 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. which signifies the meeting of two Lords – Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva at midnight. This festival is the symbol of one-ness between the two great Lords.

Occasional Uthsavas

Kumbh Mela :
This Mela has the distinction of being the largest religious congregation on the planet. It is conducted once in every 12 years. It is organized in Ujjain, Allahabad, Haridwar and Nashik. The 2016 Kumbh Mela was held in this place Ujjain. The festival continues for about one and a half months. The pilgrims and sages (sadhus) have ceremonial dip in the River Ksipra. Religious discourses, Ramlilas, Raslilas and grand procession of sadhus are the main features of this Kumbh Mela.