Ujjain is one of the holy towns in Madhya Pradesh. During Puranic times, Ujjain was known as Avanti Kshetra. Ujjian also is the centre point of Bharat Desh. It may be noted that Ujjain is the central point for calculating the Indian Standard Time.
Being a holy town, there are various temples situated at Ujjain. A few of such temples are described in this article.
Sri Mahakaleshwar Mandir
Sri Mahakaleshwar Mandir is one of the twelve Jyotir-Ling temples in India. “Kala” means “Time”. Sri Mahakaleshwar is the God of time.
The temple exists from Puranic time. Many scholars including Madhura Kavi Kalidas had composed slokas and hymns on the Deity.
There are a few legends pertaining to the emergence of this temple. As per the legend, Chandrasen was the King of Ujjain and he was an ardent Shiv-Bakht. He was bestowed with a rathna which was a celestial gem having miracle powers.
The neighborhood Kingdoms were ruled by Ripudaman and Singhaditya. They heard about the miracle gem and wanted to somehow usurp it from Chandrasen. They sought the help of the demon named Dushan. Dushan had a blessing from Lord Brahma that he (Dushan) can be invisible and still be active.
This group of two Kings and the demon had decided to attack Ujjain. King Chandrasen was not aware of all the plotting and he was blissfully praying to Bhagwan Shiva all the time.
When King Chandrasen was chanting Shiv Naam in his palace at Ujjain, a farmer boy called Shrikar was walking on the palace grounds. He heard the chants. But the guards at the palace had expelled him.
So Shrikar came to Kshipra river. He also came to know that the enemies had invaded the Kingdom. He had also learnt that they are targeting all Shiv-Bakhts and torturing them.
He was distressed to hear this and shared the news with a priest named Vridhi. Vridhi was in turn agitated and was anguished at the plight of Shiv-Bakhts. He, along with his sons and others, were devoutly praying to Bhagwan Shiva to save them.
The day of invasion was a Pradosham day on a Saturday. On hearing the pleas of His ardent devotees, Bhagwan Shiva destroyed the enemies and protected His devotes. It is believed that He appeared in the form of light.
Shrikar, Vridhi and other devotees requested Bhagwan Shiva to stay in Ujjain as Sri Maha Kaleshwar. Bhagwan Shiva had consented to this.
It is believed that worshipping Sri Maha Kaleshwar during Shani Pradosham day shall remove fears and deceases.
As for architecture, the temple is built Bhumija, Chalukya and Maratha styles. The temple is in the bank of Rudra-Sagar lake.
The main Deity Sri Mahakaleshwar is in the form of Shiv-Ling which is self-manifested. The Swayambu Shiv-Ling has the powers embedded in itself. The Shiv-Ling faces southern side and hence is called as Sri Dakshina Murthy. A vessel dripping the holy water is placed above the Shiv-Ling.
In the main sanctum, the vigrahas of Sri Ganesh, Sri Parvathi and Sri Karthikeya are kept in the west, north and the east sides respectively. Sri Nandikeshwar is in the south facing Sri Mahakal.
The main sanctum of Sri Mahakaleshwar is three tiered. In the underground level, Sri Mahakaleshwar is worshipped. In the level above Sri Mahakaleshwar, there is a sanctum for Sri Omkareshwar.
Above Sri Omkareshwar, there is a sanctum for Sri Naga Chandreshwar. The sanctum of Sri Naga Chandreshwar also called as Sri Naga Vandheshwar is open for worship only on Naga Panchami day.
Normally, after completing the darshan of Sri Mahakaleshwar, the devotees ideally worship Sri Omkareshwar.
From the entrance to the main sanctum, there is a water tank named Koti Thirtha which was constructed as per Saravatobadhra method. The water in the tank is considered as holy and sacred.
There are depictions of Bhagwan Shiva in the wall in the pathways.
The vigrahas of Sri Rama and Sri Avantika Devi are displayed.
There are dedicated shrines for Sri Ganesh, Sri Kali and Sri Hanuman inside the temple premises.
As for Navagrahas, there is a Shrine of Nava Shiv-Lings. Each of the Nava Shiv-Lings is ascribed to each of the nine planets.
The Ganesha Shrine is called as Sri Siddhi-Riddhi Ganesha Mandir.
Apart from this, there are innumerable Shiv Shrines including Sri Anadhikaleshwar and Sri Kasi Vishwanath throughout the temples in all directions.
The devotees are allowed to do abhishek to Bhagwan Shiv in all the shrines.
The temple observes festivals throughout the year. On all Mondays, all days of Shravan month, Pradosham and Masik Shivrathri days, large number of devotees throng the temple. During Maha Shivrathri, worship and darshan are done at the night time as well.
The vedic rituals are diligently followed in this temple with respect to conducting Puja. Prominently, at 4.00 A.M, bhasma puja is done. Bhasma is the ash brought from the ghats and it is smeared on Sri Maha Kaleshwar as abhishekam.
The temple is open from 04.00 A.M to 11.00 P.M.
As Sri Maha Kaal is considered as the King, it is believed that no political leader stays in Ujjain on the day he has the darshan.
Sri Kaal Bhairav Mandir
Sri Kaal Bhairav Mandir is the temple for worshipping Sri Kal Bhairav, one of the fiercest manifestations of Bhagwan Sri Shiva. This temple is dedicated for the chief Bhagwan of eight Sri Bhairavas. The Deity is mainly worshipped under Kapalika and Aghora sects’ tradition.
The main Deity is in the form of rounded long rock which looks like head. A crown is placed on the head. It is believed that the crown belongs to Shinde / Scindia clan.
As per the legend, the temple is said to be built by King Bhadresan in the bank of Kshipra river. The year of origin could not be ascertained. The temple is said to be built as per Malwa tradition. Some of the Malwa style murals are visible in the temple premises.
There is a peculiar practice of offering alcoholic beverages to the Deity as part of worship. The shops enroute the temple display and sell the hard beverages also as Puja materials. This is one of the five tantric rituals known as pancha makara.
The devotees offer the beverages to the Pujari and he pours the maximum content of the beverage in the hole near the main Deity in the sanctum. The balance small portion is given back to the devotee as prasad. Devotees are also offered milk as prasad.
The vahan of Sri Bhairav is the dog. The idol on black dog with silver kavach is facing the main Deity.
On entering the main gate, we can see the mandapam on which the sanctum is situated.
Just opposite the mandapam, there is a dheepa sthambam, the pillar of lamps.
To reach the main sanctum, we have to go up a few steps. Along with Dwarapalaks in the entrance, the main Deity is consecrated in an enclosure. We can have peaceful darshan of Sri Bhagwan. The parikrama path is below the mandapam.
Sri Kaal Bhairav is the Kshetra Palaka, i.e the protector of the place. It is believed that there is a practice of keeping the keys of the temple at the temple gate itself after locking.
At this place, Sri Bhairav is also worshipped as the God protecting the travelers. Hence, the long- distance night travelers offer cashew garland to the Deity and seek His blessings for safe journey.
The long dheepa sthamba in the temple is lighted by the devotees for both seeking redressal of their problems and for showing gratitude to Sri Bhairav for solving their troubles.
The temple is open from 06.00 A.M to 10.00 P.M. Aarti is done twice the day, morning and evening.
Sri Gadh Kaalika Mandir
Sri Gadh Kaalika Mandir is ascribed to Sri Kali Mata, one of the manifestations of Sri Parvathi Devi. It is believed that the Poet Maha Kavi Kalidas got his literary boons only from this temple Deity. This temple is considered to be a Shakthi temple.
It is believed that the original temple was built around 7th Century. As it got ruined in the passage of time, the royal family of Gwalior is said to have re-constructed the temple in the same site.
The temple is small but it has lots of positive vibes and serenity. Soon on entering, we can see the main sanctum on an elevated mandapam.
We have to go up a few steps and we are blessed with the darshan of Shri Maa. She looks beautiful and serene.
There is a dheepa sthambam opposite the mandapam.
We can do the perambulation of the main sanctum after getting down from the mandapam on the other side.
There is another premises in the temple where Homams are conducted.
The temple is open from 06.00 A.M to 09.00 P.M.
Sri Mangalnath Mandir
This temple is said to be Mandir built in the birth place of Angaraka, the planet mars, which is also called as Sri Mangal. The temple is in the banks of Kshipra river. It may be noted that this river is the tributary of river Narmada.
There are many legends pertaining to Sri Angaraka. Sri Vinayak Puran has one of the references.
Sage Bharadwaj was near the banks of Narmada. He went to the river to have bath. There he saw a beautiful lady coming out of bath. He was mesmerized with her beauty. He got ashamed of his own reaction. He took bath and went back to Ashram.
The desire of the Sage Bharadwaj had become a male child. Bhu Devi, the earth was pleased with the child. She reared the child. The child was of reddish hue. So, she called him Angaraka.
Angaraka one day asked his mom “who is my father? Why he is not coming to see me?”. She told him “Son, your father is Sage Bharadwaj. I will take you to him. You know about him yourself”.
She took him there. The Sage was sleeping. When he woke up both of them greeted him. She told him about his son. Sage Bharadwaj was happy to receive his son.
Sage Bharadwaj taught his son all sastras and vedas. He did upanayanam also. He taught him Vinayak mantra as well.
Angaraka had set up a separate ashram for himself and kept chanting Vinayaka mantra. This was going on for 1000 years.
Sri Vinayak appeared before him. Angarak worshipped Him ardently. Vinayak said “ask whatever boon you want”.
Angaraka said “I always want to remember you. I want to eat the nectar with you. I am blessed to see you today. I want to be one of the planets. If any chathurthi falls on Tuesday, the worries of those worshipping you on that day should go away”. Sri Ganesh had granted his wish.
The temple is said to be built in the place where the first meridian is passing the earth. It is believed that at a specific point in this temple, mars planet can be viewed. The entire temple premises is of reddish hue.
On entering the main building, we can see Pujaris performing Homam all through the ground floor. The homams are conducted by the devotees to alleviate kuj dosh / mangal dosh in their horoscopes. The temple authorities charge fees for this.
We have to go up the flight of stairs to the first floor. The sanctum has Sri Shiv Ling. Sri Mangal nath is in the form of Shiv-Ling.
In front of the main sanctum, there is an idol of the goat, which is the Vahan of Mangal. The shrine entrance has the name board as “Graha Raj Mangal”.
As red is the color ascribed to mars, the puja items offered are in red color such as red flowers, red cloth, red japa mala, red holy thread etc.,
The devotees are allowed to personally do annabhishekam, the abhishekam of cooked rice. The temple authorities keep the mounds and mounds of cooked rice. Devotees are allowed to take the cooked rice and do abhishek to Shiv-Ling with their own hands. This is also on a chargeable basis.
On perambulation, we can see other small sanctums for Sri Ganesh and other Deities. Devotees keep their horoscope at the feet of Deities to seek the blessings.
Bhat Puja, Mangal Puja and Grah Shanthi are the popular regular Pujas done in this temple.
The entire temple premises is serene and calm. The place is full of positive vibes. The temple is open from 4.00 A.M to 08.00 P.M.
Sri Siddhvat Mandir
Siddhvat Mandir is situated in the banks of Kshipra river. It is the banyan tree temple. The temple has the ghat for performing the rites. The worship rituals are said to be based on Nath tradition.
As per the legend, this temple is believed to be referred as Preta-Shila-Tirth. The temple has equal prominence as Akashayvat in Allahabad, Panchavat in Nashik and Vamshivat in Vrindavan.
It is believed that Goddess Parvathi Devi had done penance in this place. As per belief, Bhagwan Sri Rama had offered Tharpan in this temple.
Special Pujas are done in this temple for alleviating Kal-Sarpa-Dosh nivaran.
The temple is situated near the banyan tree which is believed to be existing from time immemorial. The river bank at the temple premises is said to be abound in tortoises.
On every Krishna Paksha Chathurthi day, milk is offered to the Deity.
Sri Gopalnath Mandir
This temple is ascribed to Bhagwan Sri Krishna. Though situated in the bustling market area, the temple premises is calm and quiet.
The temple is said to be very old and is maintained by Scindia family trust. The temple is also called as Sri Dwarakadheesha Gopal Mandir.
The roof and the walls are adorned with paintings and pictures of Bhagwan Sri Krishna’s life happenings.
Soon on entering, we have to mount to a few steps to reach the main sanctum. The roof of the maha mandapam portrays Sri Krishna with Gopikas. The entrance to the main sanctum is beautiful and decorated.
When we go for parikrama, we can see the Gopuram of the sanctum. There are sculptures adorning the walls.
The temple premises is full of positive vibes and this is a good place for prayer and meditation.
How to visit
Ujjain is accessible through road transport from Indore and other cities of Madhya Pradesh. Once we reach Ujjain, we can hire an auto for the comprehensive tour of all the temples for a nominal fare.