The Mahakaleshwar temple is a three-storey temple. You can find the lingams of Mahakalesvara, Omkaresvara and Nagachandresvara installed in the lowest, middle and the uppermost part respectively. The pilgrims and tourists get to see the glance of Nagachandresvara on the celebratory of Naga Panchami. A large-sized Kunda known as Koti Tirtha is also found in the temple. It’s constructed in the sarvatobhadra manner. The Kunda as well as its water are considered as celestial. While gpping up the stairs, you can notice many images representing the sculptural magnificence of this temple built which is said to have been built the Paramara period. There is a large Veranda to the east of Kunda, this path is said to lead to the garbhagrha. To the north is a cell that holds the images of Lord Rama and goddess Avantika. There are many Saivite temples in the south side of it. The temple of Vrddha Mahakalesvara, Saptarshi and Anadi Kalpesvara are famous and amazing pieces of architecture.
Mahakalesvara’s lingam is colossus. The silver coated Naga Jaladhari and the emblazoned and obscure silver-plate wrapping the roof of garbhagrha give that added opulence to the shrine. Other than the Jyotirlinga, you can even find appealing images of Ganesa, Kartikeya and goddess Paravati in the garbhagrha. The walls are all inscribed with traditional tributes in the honor of Lord Siva. The Nanda Dipa constantly stays lit. To the exit, there is a large hall in which an eye-catching metal quoted stone of Nandi can be seen. The patio opposite the Omkaresvara temple adds to the nobility of the temple. There are two pillars adjoining the temple which face to the east and add to the beauty of the temple. Mahakalesvara’s temple is a planned blend of the Bhumija, Maratha and Chalukya architecture styles. The sikhara with mini-srngas is very atypical.
The existing temple of Mahakala was constructed in the 4th – 5th decades of 18th century. At the same time, the religious nobles of the Maratha community too built a lot of temples in the same complex. This period also saw the revival of many primeval traditions like worship, arati, sawari (procession) in month of Sravana month, abhisheka, Harihara-milana etc. These are still carried out with wonderful ceremony and devotional fervor. The Bhasmarti conducted early morning, Mahasivaratri, Somavati Amavasya etc. are unique religious junctures interwoven with the temple rituals. The temple is renovated during the Kumbha Parva. In 1992, Madhya Pradesh Government and the Ujjain Development Authority contributed unique repairs and made necessities for the stay of the pilgrims. The same would be done for the forthcoming Simhastha too.
Most of the prehistoric temples find their origins spun around the outmoded legendary tales. Mahakaleshwar Temple too shares a similar history. Legend states that when this city was governed by King Chandrasen, a passionate follower of Lord Shiva, a young boy known as Shrikhar was highly moved by his dedication. He wished to be part of the King’s prayers but was turned down by the Royal cavalry. He was sent away to the outer edge of the city, near Kshipra river.
As Shrikhar strolled into the countryside, he eavesdropped to the neighboring kings discussing a plot to rob Ujjain. At this instance, Shrikhar began praying to Shiva. Slowly, the word spread across the town and all came to know of the forthcoming attacks. A local priest, Vridhi, went into Kshipra and began chanting the Lord’s name.
In the meantime, the rivals with the aid of a demon known as Dushan successfully plundered the city and killed countless Lord Shiva’s devotees. This made Lord Shiva to appear and destroy King Chandrasen’s enemies. After request from Shrikhar and Vridh, Lord agreed to dwell in the city as a “lingam” and protect its people from any suffering.
The structure in the region of the temple was built by different ruling kings. However, a part of it was shattered by Sultan Iltutmish, when he attacked the city during 1234 to 1235. In the 19th century, the Scindia Royal family took over the accountability of its restoration.
Bhasm-Aarti is a prime attention seeking event here. It starts prior to the break dawn to wake up the divinity. It takes place just once in a day on a daily basis. The ceremony consists of the worshipping the idol with sacred ash brought from the ‘ghats’. It’s applied on the ‘lingam’ before conducting the holy prayers.
The controlling divinity of time, Shiva, in all his magnificence reigns everlasting in Ujjain. Mahakaleshwar’s temple, its shikhara towering into the sky, evokes primeval admiration and respect with its splendor. The Mahakal rules the life of the people here. Despite the demanding schedule of modern preoccupations, it offers an indestructible link with the past traditions.
As per the scriptures, the universe has three regions namely the sky, earth and nether. Mahakal is the Lord of earth. Of all the 12 Jyotirlingas, it’s just the Mahakal which is called the Lord of earth as well as death.
Ved Vyas has sung the glory of Mahakala in the epic Mahabharat and so have other poets such as Kalidas, Bhoja and Banbhatt. The temple got renovated at the times of Parmar regime in 11th century. In the year 1234, Sultan Iltutmish of Delhi, made an attack on Ujjain and knocked down the Mahakal temple.
The current temple of Mahakaleshwar is situated near a lake set upon a roomy courtyard surrounded by gigantic walls. It has a total of five levels, with one being underground.
Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is located below the ground level (Garbhagriha). Mahakaleshwar’s idol is said to be dakshinamurti, i.e. facing the south. This is a distinctive characteristic endorsed by the tantric traditions. Owing to these thoughts, Mahakal’s worship with vedic mantras stands rewarding for the supporters.
All the devotees desire to be a part of the Bhasma Arti in Mahakaleshwar. Mahakal and Bhasma Arti are identical with each other. Mahakaleshwar is the sole Jyotirlinga temple, where this arti is performed.