Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga

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Label : Top Attraction

Tags : Temple

Timings : From the month Chaitra to Ashwin:
Morning Pooja: 7:00 AM - 7:30 AM
Mid-day Pooja: 10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Evening Pooja: 5:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Aarti Shri Mahakal: 7:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Closing time: 11:00 PM
From the month Kartik to Falgun:
Morning Pooja: 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM 
Mid-day Pooja: 10:30 AM - 11:00 AM 
Evening Pooja: 5:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Aarti Shri Mahakal: 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM 
Closing time: 11:00 PM
Bhasma Aarti: 4:00 AM

Time Required : 4-5 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee
VIP Darshan: INR 250

Facilities : Wheelchair Accessible
Lockers for Mobile Phone and Valuables

Dress Code : No dress code for normal darshan
Jalaabhishek - Men: Dhoti and Shawl (available at the shops outside the temple or on rent at the temple)
Women: Saree

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Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain Overview

Mahakaleshwar Temple, located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Mahakal lingam at this temple is believed to be Swayambhu (self-manifested), obtaining currents of Shakti (power) from within itself. Mahakaleshwar is also one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas in India.

Another factor that makes Mahakaleshwar one of the most revered Jyotirlingas in India is the fact that the Mahakaleshwar idol is Dakshina Mukhifacing south, unlike all the other Jyotirlingas. Considered no less than a Hindu pilgrimage, the Bhasma-Aarti of Mahakaleshwar Temple is hugely popular amongst the devotees. 

The Mahakaleshwar Temple complex is a spacious courtyard with sculptural finery and sophistication that is influenced by Maratha, Bhumija and Chalukya styles of structural design and is complete with impressive lingam sculptures of Mahakaleshwar. It also has the inscriptions of Omkaresvara and Nagachandresvara and images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati. The temple, which is spread over five levels, sees a huge throng of devotees during the Maha Shivaratri festival.

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Bhasma Aarti at Mahakaleshwar Temple

The Bhasm Aarti that takes place in the Mahakaleshwar Temple on a daily basis is a prime attraction. The Aarti commences each day before dawn breaks. During this religious ritual, the idol of Lord Shiva is worshipped with sacred ash brought from the ghats, and the ash is then applied to the lingam before conducting the holy prayers. What adds to the joy and delight of attending this Aarti is that the temple at Mahakaleshwar is the only Jyotirlinga temple where this Aarti is performed.

The tickets for the booking of this Aarti are available online, and you need to apply a day in advance. The applications are accepted only till 12:30 PM, following which the list is declared at 7:00 PM.


All rituals, including Puja-Archana and Abhishekaarati, are regularly performed in the temple all year round. The main festivals celebrated here are:

1. Nitya Yatra: In this ritual, the participatory devotee, referred to as the Yatri, takes a bath in the holy Sipra and then visits Nagachandresvara, Kotesvara, Mahakalesvara, goddess Avantika, goddess Harasiddhi and Agastyesvara for Darshana.
2. Sawari (Procession): The sacred procession of the Lord Shiva passes through the streets of Ujjain on every Monday for some particular time periods. The last Sawari that takes place on the dark fortnight of the Bhadrapada especially draws the attention of lakhs of people and is celebrated with great pomp and show. The procession during the Vijayadashami festival is equally exciting and attractive.

Temple Architecture

The temple of Mahakaleshwar is a beautiful and artistic amalgamation of the Maratha, Bhumija and Chalukya styles of architecture. Situated near a lake and set upon a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls, the temple has five levels in all, one of which is underground. The colossal idol of Mahakaleshwar is located below the ground level (Garbhagriha) and is a Dakshina-murti, which means that it is facing the south direction. 

The beautiful temple has the lingams of Omkaresvara and Nagachandresvara installed in the middle and uppermost parts respectively. The idol of Nagachandresvara is open for darshan to the general public only on the occasion of Nag Panchami. A large Kunda, known as Koti Tirtha, can also be found in the compound and is considered to be celestial.

To the east of this Kunda lies a huge veranda, in which is the entrance to the path leading to the Garbhagrha, where small-sized images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Parvati can also be found. The esoteric silver-plate that covers the roof of the Garbhagriha adds to the grandeur of the shrine. Classical eulogies in praise of Lord Shiva are exhibited all around the walls. The images of Sri Rama and goddess Avantika are worshipped in a cell in the northern side of the veranda.

The Legend of Mahakaleshwar

"Mahakaleshwar", meaning the Lord of Time, refers to the Hindu deity, Shiva. One among the significant trinity of Hinduism; Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara, Shiva is also referred to as Maheshwara. The Mahakaleshwar temple is where the Mahakal; Lord Shiva is worshipped, it is also known as the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga; one among the 12 temples where the legend of Shiva appearing as the infinite column of light to test Brahma and Vishnu is observed. 

The legend of Mahakaleshwar is based on various theories and myths; these are some of the familiar stories.
It is believed that when Sati walked into the fire to rebel against her father, Daksha's objection towards her marriage with Shiva, the latter was furious and thus performed the Dance of Death; the Tandav. He was then called the Mahakal, or the one ahead and mightier than time itself. 

Another legend states that when the demon, Dushan preyed upon four Shaiva bhakts, Shiva broke out into a fit of rage and tore the earth in half. He manifested as Mahakaleshwar even then. 

Need to Know

  • It is recommended to stay in at the temple itself, or at a nearby hotel so that you get a chance to witness the mesmerising Bhasm-Aarti.
  • In case you wish to attend the Bhasm-Aarti ritual, carry along your photo-ID Proof. PAN cards are not accepted.

How to Reach

Located in Ujjain, the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is quite easy to reach via flights, bus and trains. 

Via Flight
Travellers can take a 3-a-half-hour flight to Indore; Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar Airport. It is the closest airport to Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga as the temple is just about 51 km from the airport, which can be covered via bus. Other relatively nearer airports are Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Jaipur and Udaipur; however, these flights are comparatively longer flights, with Udaipur being the longest; 16 and odd hours. 

Via Bus
The Jyotirlinga has a well-connected roadway with different cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune and Bhopal. It is also the most convenient way to reach Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga. Visitors can also take a 4-hour bus ride from Omkareshwar. 

Via Train
Ujjain Junction, Pingleshwar, Vikram Nagar and Chintaman are the closest railway stations to the temple. Omkareshwar also has trains plying to Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga. It would be about 3 hours of a train journey from Omkareshwar to the temple.

Via Taxi/Car
Taxis and self-drive are most feasible only from Omkareshwar. It is approximate 3.5 to 4.5 hours away. 

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Mahakaleshwar Temple Reviews

Your rating

K Rama Rao

on Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga 2 years ago
In the life time one has to go and worship "Jyotirlingam Shree Mahakaleswar (Lord SHIVA) at Ujjain. 2) Prabhu darshan is very peaceful. 3) The people at Ujjain are very co-operative, informatic, guid (Read More)e etc. OMM.

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Popular Questions And Answers on Mahakaleshwar Temple

Q. Women need to wear saree at Bhasma aarati so what should girl wear?

Somabhai Patel

5 years ago
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Q. Do we need to purchase both the tickets. Bhasmarti as well as VIP Darshan Ticket.


6 years ago
No, you do not need to purchase both tickets.
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