Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga: 3rd Lingam of Shiva, the Guardian of Time

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is the 3rd Shiva Lingam. It rests along the shores of the holy Kshipra River in Ujjain. The Kshipra River is the heart of India, as the bank soothes thirsty souls. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple holds the time still and has the presence of divinity because the Lord Shiva himself blessed the place. Shiva is known as “Ujjain Ke Mahakal. The temple is built with stone and is a testament to India’s diverse and rich culture and spirituality. Earlier, we narrated the story of Lingodbhava Murty, Somnath, and Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga in Vedic Story.

Meanwhile, let’s get to know the complete story of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga’s establishment and the stories linked to the temple.

Significance of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a beautiful temple with a rich history, with many ancient narratives intertwined with the colorful tapestry of Ujjain.

Shiva Purana in Indian mythology, is considered one of the most ancient shrines in India. Indian texts and the Sanatan Dharma suggest that Lord Shiva decided to reside here in the form of light, or Malahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga. The lingam is known by the name “Swayambhu,” which means self-manifested.

Guardian of Time

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is as unique as Somnath and Mallikaarjun Jyotirlinga. Mahakaleshwar is famous as the “Kaala Bhairava, ” or “Guardian of Time. Devotees visit Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga to get free from the fear of death and time constraints.

Ujjain holds immense spirituality due to the presence of Lord Mahadev. Naga Sadhus, the abiding devotees of Shiva, visit the temple at the Kumbh Mela, which happens every 12 years.

Mythology and Legends of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple holds a rich and bewitching history and mesmerizes people with its mystic mythology and legends. Here are some of the most enticing myths and legends linked to the temple:

Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva

Mahakaleshwar temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, considered to be the most holy pilgrimage. People from all over India and the world flock to Ujjain to seek the blessings of Lord Mahakaleshwar.

The Legend of King Chandrasen and Shrikhand

As per Indian mythology and history, Prajapati Brahma installed the first temple on this religious site. Historians have found some coins marked with the icon of Lord Shiva on them.

The Indian scripture Sthalapuranam narrates the Vedic story of monarch Chandrasena and Shikhar, a young boy. Chandrasena worshipped Lord Shiva, and Shikhar heard his prayers and desired to join him on the spiritual path. However, the local people did not let him perform the puja with the king and cast him out of the city. He heard the rival kings Ripudhamana and Singhaditya attack the city with the assistance of the demon king Dushan.

Dushan had gained blessings and a boon to be invisible from Lord Brahma. Seeing such a devastating situation, Shrikhar and a local priest called Vriddhi prayed to Mahadev. Demon king Dushan and other enemy kings arrived at Avantika (Ujjain) and began torturing the locals. The enemies had banned Vedic rituals at Dharmanushtan.

All the devotees of Ujjain started to pray to Lord Shiva; at that time, the ground split near the statues of Goddess Parvati and Mahadev. He appeared and burned all the demons with a grunt. At the request of the locals of Avantika, Lord Shiva stayed there as the chief deity of Ujjain.

The Legend of King Vikramaditya

Another great legend is linked with King Vikramaditya, a famous monarch of Ujjain. It is believed that Lord Shiva appeared before the king and blessed him with a boon to protect the city of Ujjain.

The Eternal Flame: The Fire of Linga

Inside the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a continuously flaming holy fire, known as the “dhuni.” Locals and devotees of Lord Shiva believe that this flame has been burning for centuries, and they consider the Bhasma highly sacred and used in several rituals.

Bhasma Aarti

Bhasma Aarti is a daily ritual at the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple and has its own mythological importance. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva himself performs the Bhasma Aarti for his devotees during the early hours of the morning. Thus, it becomes the most sacred and spiritual experience.

Bhasma means ashes. Lord Shiva likes to smear ashes on his body, as it represents the eternity that remains before the creation of the world and after the destruction of the world.

The Bhasma Aarti offers an unforgettable experience.

  • Smearing the Shiva lingam with sacred Bhasma.
  • Chanting divine and Vedic hymns.
  • The captivating and rhythmic sound of bells and conch shells.

Witnessing this divine and unparalleled event in Mahakaleshwar temple, you may feel the presence of supreme power and a lasting spiritual experience.

Other Celebrations

Apart from Bhasma Aarti, the people of Ujjain perform several other pujas and festivals at the Mahakaleshwar Temple.

Nitya Yatra and Sawari are the top festivals of Ujjain and are observed at the temple each year.

Nitya Yatra

The most famous and primary event of the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple is the Nitya Yatra. During this festival, Yatri or devotees bathe in the sacred Sipra river and then visit the idols of the goddesses Harasiddhi, Mahakaleshwar, Nagachandresvara, Avantika, Agastyesvara, and Kotesvara for blessings.


Sawari is another event that happens at the temple every Monday. It is a religious procession that runs through the streets of Ujjain. The festival happens to honor Lord Shiva during the Bhadrapada fortnight.

Meghadutam (Purva Megha)

Kalidasa, one of the prominent poets of ancient India, wrote beautiful poetry about the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga temple and claimed that the temple was incredibly opulent. Stones were used to build the temple, platform, and foundation. The temple has wooden pillars, and the temple used to be called “Niketana” by Kalidasa in Raghuvansham, who gave a wonderful description in the first section of the Meghadutam of Purva Megha. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is the 3rd in the top 12 Jyotirlinga among 64 Lingams and is considered the most sacred due to the presence of the Kshipra River. Visit the Mahakaleshwar temple and live a spiritual life.

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