Mahakaleshwar Mandir the Third of the 12 Jyotirlingams. It is located in the ancient historic city of Ujjain besides the Rudra Sagar Lake. The temple is so called because Lord Shiva appeared here in a terrifying form of “Mahakal” The presiding deity, Shiva in the lingam form is believed to be Swayambhu, deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams that are ritually establisdhed and invested with mantra-shakti.
According to belief, 33 crore Gods reside in Mahakal premises. Adorned by Hanuman, Shiva, Devi, Navgraha, Radha-Krishna, Ganesha temples, the premises evokes vibrant spiritual feelings. Mahakal is the only temple among Dwadash Jyotirlingas, which has so many temples in its premises. Mahakal premises is also referred as home of gods. There are more than 42 temples in Mahakal temple premises. This include Lakshmi Narsimha, Riddhi-Siddhi Ganesha, Vitthal Pandharinath Temple, SriramDarbar Temple, Avantika Devi, Chandradityeshwar, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga in Garbhagriha, Omkareshwar Mahadev, and Nagchandreshwar Temple among others.
The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, which means that it is facing the south. This is a unique feature, upheld by the tantric shivnetra tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas.
The idol of Omkareshwar Mahadev is consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal shrine. The images of Ganesh, Parvati and Karttikeya are installed in the west, north and east of the sanctum sanctorum. To the south is the image of Nandi, the vehicle of Lord Shiva. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami.
The temple has five levels, one of which is underground. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhar or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery.
Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasada (holy offering) offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other shrines.
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