We had darshan at Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain in ONE hour

Pic courtesy Free Press Journal Mumbai
  • Know about our Darshan experience-use of QR code. Who built temple? What is Mahakal ki Sawari?

When we decided to visit Mandu recently, Indore was the nearest airport. We were almost instantly advised by several friends to also visit Ujjain, 60kms away, before catching our return flight.


Ujjain, better known for having the prized possession of Mahakaleshwar, one of the Jyotirlings in Madhya Pradesh, is a classical temple town bustling with high energy devotees across all age groups. We decided to go there and what a good decision it turned out to be!


“The glory of Mahakaleshwar temple has been vividly described in various Purans. Starting with Kalidasa, many sanskrit poets have eulogized this temple in emotive terms. Ujjain used to be the central point for calculation of Indian time and Mahakala was considered as the distinctive presiding deity of Ujjain.” Source



Mahakaleshwar, a temple dedicated to Shivji, is situated in the middle of the city, next to Rudrasagar Lake and not far from the Kshipra river. The main deity is in the form of Swayambhu, i.e. originated on its own and drawing power from within. Also, this is the only jyotirling out of the total 12, where the murti is Dakshinamukhi, meaning facing south. The reason it faces south is attributed to the belief that the direction of death is south. 


This temple is the lifeline of Ujjain providing direct and indirect employment to thousands that we noticed on entering Ujjain. The temple has large courtyards and an imposing and beautiful shikhar. In fact, the temple dominates life in and around the city of Ujjain, also called Avantika. That is why the train from Mumbai to Indore via Ujjain is called Avantika Express.

Mahakaleshwar Mandir built by Ranoji Scindia (Shinde). 

Temple Darshan

The devotees need to park their vehicles around 500 meters before the temple. The walk to the temple is easy with shops all around selling offerings for prayers besides some daily needs. Closer to the temple, there are well organized places for depositing footwear. We had darshan around 1.30 pm. 


For darshan, there is an option to buy a VIP ticket near gate no 4 for Rs 250 that allows a separate entry (highly recommended). The VIP queue remains separate right till the end and offers an opportunity to come a bit closer to the deity and without merging into the general queue. Availing this opportunity, we could complete the entire darshan in less than an hour.


The queues are well organized in a zig zag manner with QR code on the ticket scanned for the final entry. The way the queues are organized, one can capture the darshan of the main deity multiple times and without any interruption.


Who built Temple  

The temple was built by Kaumarasena in 6th century AD, “the son of a former king of Ujjain, Chandpradyot. It was further reconstructed in the 12th century AD under King Udayaditya and King Naravarman. Later, the Maratha commander Ranoji Shinde, under Peshwa Bajirao-I, renovated this temple in the 18th century AD.” Art of Living Note that temple was demolished by Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltutmish in 1235 AD.

Bhasm Sringar. We missed Bhasm Aarti i.e. early morning & hope to experience the next time.

We missed Mahakal ki Sawari

Although we visited Mahakal during the holy month of Sravan, we missed experiencing the Sawari.


Here is what the MPTourism site says, “The ride of Shri Mahakaleshwar Baba (Mahakal Ki Sawari) is taken out in the month of Shravan - Bhado. One of the main attractions of the Mahakal Sawari is the salute ritual to Rajadhiraj (Mahakaleshwar Baba), given by a contingent of police force outside the temple at the beginning of the Sawari. During the Sawari the devotees leave the temple with a palanquin carrying the Mahakal idol on their shoulders. Devotees sing and dance and seek blessings from Mahakal Baba. The ride ends at Shipra Ghat where certain rituals are performed to worship Lord Shiva.”


The visit to Mahakaleshwar left us with a feeling of great satisfaction where we could feel the energy of the place, the vibrance of the people and without getting pushed or unsettled in the crowd.


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Author is a senior finance professional.


Also read

1. About Mahakaleshwar Temple and Corridor

2. Ujjain city Album

3. Jantar Mantar Ujjain Album

4. The Best of Malwa in a week  

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