The Shivalinga of Mahakaleshwar temple is one of the famous twelve jyotirlingas in India. The temple is in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. Shiva is the presiding deity over here.
The story of this temple goes like this. Once, King Chandrasena of Ujjain was gifted a beautiful gemstone by his friend Maheshwari. The name of this gemstone was Sundara Chintamani. King Chandrasena started wearing around his neck. On wearing this necklace he started to look more glorious than the gods. The other kings instructed Chandrasena to part with the gemstone. But Chandrasena refused. This lead to a war. On being surrounded by enemies, Chandrasena started praying to lord Shiva. He took a stone Shivalinga and started concentrating on it.
A small boy named Shrikhar saw the king performing his puja and offering flowers and milk to the Shivalinga. Shrikhar stole the Shivalinga and installed it in his own house. The boy engrossed himself into prayers and meditation. He went so deep into meditation that he did not answer when his mother called him. Angered by this, his mother threw away the Shivalinga. Shrikhar became very sad about what his mother had done. He went out to go and look for the Shivalinga and finally found it. Again he started praying to Shiva with full concentration. Shiva was pleased with him. Due to this the Shivalinga became adorned with gemstones and turned into a jyotirlinga.
Lord Shiva also heard the pleas of King Chandrasena. He appeared in Ujjain in his Mahakal form and destroyed the enemies of Chandrasena. On the request of his devotees, Lord Shiva agreed to reside in the city, for ever. From that day on Shiva is worshipped in Ujjain as Mahakala.
The Shivalinga here is known as Dakshinamurti, which means south facing statue. The Mahakaleshwar jyotirlinga is the only jyotirlinga which faces south. The images of Ganesha, Parvati and Kartikeya are installed towards west, north and east respectively.
The Mahakaleshwar temple is near the Rudrasagar lake. One of the major attractions of this place is the ‘BhasmaAarti’. Bhasma means ashes. This aarti takes place only once in a day, just before dawn. It takes place to awaken the deity. In this ceremony the ashes from the aarti are applied to the Shivalinga.
The best time to visit the Mahakaleshwar temple is during the festival of Mahashivratri.It is believed that those who visit the Mahakaleshwar temple are never touched by sorrows and they attain salvation. A person who visits this place with faith and devotion gets his wish fulfilled. The Shivalinga is worshipped here for longevity of life and to remove all evi from creationl.
The Mahakal mantra goes like this
“Om MahakalMahakaya, MahakalJagatpate