Things To Know Before Visiting The Mahakaleshwar Temple In Ujjain

The Mahakaleshwar Temple dates back to ancient times, with its current structure believed to have been built in the 18th century
Mahakaleshwar Temple In Ujjain
Mahakaleshwar Temple In UjjainAnilD / Shutterstock

The Mahakaleshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain is a revered Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, believed to be the sacred abodes of the deity. Before embarking on a visit to this ancient temple, one should know several essential things to enhance the experience and ensure a smooth pilgrimage.

Know Its History

First and foremost, visitors should be aware of the temple's significance and history. The Mahakaleshwar Temple dates back to ancient times, with its current structure believed to have been built in the 18th century. The temple complex is a religious site and a testament to India's rich architectural and cultural heritage.

One of the unique features of the Mahakaleshwar Temple is the idol of Lord Shiva, which is a 'Dakshinamurti,' facing the south. Unlike other Jyotirlingas, where the lingam is the primary form, the deity, here, is represented in a distinct form.


Timing is crucial when planning a visit to the Mahakaleshwar Temple. The temple is open for devotees at specific hours, and it is advisable to check the current schedule before planning the trip. Special ceremonies and rituals, such as the Bhasma Aarti, occur at specific times and offer a unique spiritual experience. Awareness of the temple's schedule ensures that visitors can participate in these rituals and witness the divine ambience during their visit.

Mahakaleshwar Temple In Ujjain
Mahakaleshwar Temple In UjjainShutterstock

What To Wear

The dress code is another important consideration. As with many Hindu temples, there is a prescribed dress code for entering the Mahakaleshwar Temple. Visitors are expected to dress modestly and cover their heads before entering the sanctum sanctorum. It is advisable to wear traditional Indian attire or carry a scarf to adhere to the dress code and respect religious customs.

Security measures are in place to ensure the visitors' safety and the temple's sanctity. Before entering the premises, individuals are required to undergo security checks, including bag inspections. Cooperating with the security personnel and following the guidelines is advisable to facilitate a smooth entry into the temple.

Photography Prohibited

Pilgrims should also be mindful of the religious practices and customs observed at the Mahakaleshwar Temple. Photography is generally not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum, and visitors should refrain from any behaviour that may disrupt the peaceful atmosphere or offend the religious sentiments of others.

Mahakaleshwar Temple In Ujjain
Mahakaleshwar Temple In Ujjain Laxmi Narayan Sharma / Shutterstock

Temple Architecture

The temple stands out for its unique design, constructed in Bhumija, Chalukya, and Maratha architectural styles. The marble walkways were refurbished in the latter part of the 19th century under the supervision of the Scindias. The three floors of the building house lingams of Mahakalesvara, Omkaresvara, and Nagachandresvara, respectively. Devotees can access the Nagachandresvara lingam only during Naga Panchami.

The premises also feature a kunda (tank) named Koti Tirtha, built in the sarvatobhadra (a type of temple architecture) style. One encounters several images of the original structure from the Kunda stairs to the temple, showcasing its grandeur from the Paramaras' era (9th to 14th centuries). The temple conducts a special Bhasma Arti near Rudra Sagar, attracting devotees as early as 4 am. 

Getting There

Nearest airport: Devi Ahilya Bai International Airport at Indore (54km/ 1hr) is connected by regular flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Ranchi, Raipur, Kolkata, Goa and many more

Nearest railhead: Ujjain's railway station is connected to all the major cities within the state as well as the rest of the country with both commuter and express trains. The main bus stand at Dewas Gate is located a little distance from the station.

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