Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, shrines that are said to be the most sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in the ancient city of Ujjain in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. The temple is situated on the side of the holy river Shipra.
Of the 12 jyotirlinga sites in India, Mahakal is the only jyotirlinga facing the south, while all the others face east. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Mahakal lingam at this temple is believed to be Swayambhu (self-manifested), obtaining currents of Shakti (power) from within itself. Mahakaleshwar is also one of the 18 Maha Shakti Peethas in India.
History Of The Temple
The temple complex was destroyed by Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltustmish during his raid of Ujjain in 1234-35. The Jyotirlinga was dismantled and believed to be thrown into a nearby ‘Kotiteerth Kunda’ (a pond neighboring the temple) with the Jaladhari (a structure supporting the Lingam) stolen during the invasion.
The present structure was built by the Maratha general Ranoji Shinde in 1734 CE after Baji Rao appointed him to collect taxes in the Malwa region. Further developments and management were done by other members of the Shinde dynasty, including Mahadji Shinde and Daulat Rao Shinde’s wife Baiza Bai. During the reign of Jayajirao Shinde, major programs of the then-Gwalior State used to be held at this temple.
Reason & Significance Behind the Making Of The Temple
The Maratha Empire regime was established in Ujjain in the 4th decade of the 18th Century. The administration of Ujjain was assigned by Peshwa Bajirao to his faithful commander Ranoji Shinde, The Diwan of Ranoji was Sukhatanakar Ramchandra Baba Shenavi who was very wealthy he decided to invest his wealth for religious purposes. In this connection, he rebuilt the Mahakaleshwar Temple during the 4th-5th decades of the 18th Century.
After India became independent in 1947, the Mahakaleshwar Dev Sthan Trust was replaced by the municipal corporation of Ujjain. Nowadays it is under the collectorate office of the Ujjain district.
The temple was famous for its beauty and its status as a devotional epicenter. It was also one of the primary cities where students went to study the Holy Scriptures. According to legend, there was a ruler of Ujjain called Chandrasena, who was a devotee of Shiva and worshiped him all the time.
The city of Ujjain was also one of the primary centers of learning for Hindu scriptures. According to the Puranas, the city of Ujjain was called Avantika in the 6th and 7th centuries BC. Later, astronomers and mathematicians such as Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya made Ujjain their home.