Among the 12 Jyotirlingas, the Mahakal Jyotirlinga of Ujjain holds a special place in itself. The Mangala Aarti of Mahakaleshwar Temple is a unique type of aarti in the world. It anoints the Mahakal Jyotirlinga with bhasma. This aarti is performed every day in the Brahma Muhurta (about two hours before sunrise). is done. In this aarti, women join the veil. Here the makeup of the Jyotirlinga is also done from bhasma. Let's know why we do this?
According to the legend of Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva was very sad after the renunciation of Goddess Sati, in this sorrow he lost his well-being and took the body of Goddess Sati and started doing tandava. In order to disillusion Shiva, Lord Vishnu cut the body of Sati into several pieces from his chakra. In the disconnection of Sati, Lord Shiva Shankar took the form of Aughad and Digambar and sat on the cremation ground and applied pyre ash on his body. It is believed that since then bhasma also became the makeup of Lord Shiva and the makeup of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga began to be done from bhasma.
Mahakaleshwar Temple One of the seven Moksha Puris, Ujjain is the abode of Mahakaleshwar, the Shiva who incarnated to protect his devotees from untimely death. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple is situated in the town of Ujjain. Ujjain is near Indore, and is reached by train via Ratlam or Bhopal.
The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, facing the South. This is a unique feature, upheld by tantric tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Shiva 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 idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan only on the day of Nagpanchami.
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 shikhara 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.
This Jyotirlinga is situated on the banks of the Shipra River in Ujjain city in Madhya Pradesh which is one of the most important pilgrimage centres for Shiva devotees.
Mahakaleshwar Temple is One of the 12 Jyotirlingas Temples of Lord Shiva, the holiest of holy shrines of Lord Shivain the lingam at the Mahakal is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself), deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.
Shiva remained in the auspicious chasm for the protection of his devotees after granting them the goal of the good. The brahmins attained salvation here.
Legend as per Shiva Purana:
There was a great Asura Duṣaṇa on the Ratnamala hill who hated virtue and virtuous rites. He defeated the gods and ousted from their places and positions. Then he went to the beautiful city, Avanti desiring to harm the brahmins staying in the city. He ordered brahmins there to abandon the rites of Shiva and the rituals of the Vedas.
However, the brahmins continued in meditating on Shiva. He harassed people who rushed to the brahmins. As per their advice, they performed the worship of Shiva’s earthen idol. They sat firmly engaged in meditation. On seeing them thus the mighty Dusana got angry. But the brahmins engrossed in meditation on Shiva. When the wicked Daitya desired to kill the brahmins, the spot near the Parthiva idol caved in and Shiva rose up assuming a hideous form. He became famous as Mahakala, the slayer of the wicked. Shiva reduced Duṣaṇa and his army, to ashes immediately with a mere sound of Hum.
Reference: Shiva Purana, Koṭirudra Saṃhita, Chapters - 16