Situated on one side of the Rudra Sagar Lake, in the ancient city of Ujjain, located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is one among the 12 main jyotirlingas spread all across the country. These jyotirlingas are known as the holy abodes of Lord Shiva, where it is believed he had appeared as a fiery column of light defining his endless nature, and Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is the third in the series of 12, right after the Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga, situated in Srisailam in Andhra Pradesh.
The Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is housed in the Mahakaleshwar Temple, and the temple is said to have a speciality. That is, it is the only temple among all the 12 series of jyotirlinga temples, which faces south; in other words, it is known to be Dakshinamurti. In the temple, idols of OmkareshwarMahadev, Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya, Nandi: the holy vehicle of Lord Shiva, as well as idol of Nagchandreshwar are consecrated. The idol of Nagchandreshwar located on the third storey of the temple is open to tourists/pilgrims for darshan, only on the occasion of Nag Panchami, a popular Hindu religious observance day.
The temple has five storeys in total, out of which one is underground. It is also said that unlike other shrines, it is only in the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, where a Prasad once offered to the deities can be re-offered again. The Mahakaleshwar Temple is also popular as one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in the country and one among the 18 Maha Shakti Peethams, wherein it is believed when ages ago Lord Shiva carried the corpse of Goddess Sati, her body parts fell in different locations, each of them turning into a Shakti Peetha. In this place of Mahakaleshwar Temple in the religious city of Ujjain, it is believed that Goddess Sati’s upper lip had fallen here and Goddess Shakti is known by the name of Mahakali in this place.
Like all other jyotirlinga temples, the Hindu festival of Mahashivaratri is the main festival celebrated in Mahakaleshwarn Temple as well. On the occasion of this festival, a grand fair is organized every year near the temple and the celebrations and worship go through the entire night.
Featured Image Source: globalhinduism.wordpress.com