Ujjain Mahakaleshwar Temple Timings:
Ujjain Mahakaleshwar Temple Opens at 4:00 AM and will be closed at 11:00 PM
Ujjain City History:
Ujjain is situated on the right bank of the holy river Sipra, the eternal city Ujjaiyini has been narrated as the naval center (Manipura lotus) of the cultural identity of Indian nation. It ranks among those seven ancient Puris of India which are regarded as the bestower of deliverance (moksa). The meridian of the ancient world named Yamottara was supposed to pass through place. It has been severally named in ancient texts. Some such names being Avantika, Ujjain, Pratikalpa, Kanakasrnga, Amaravati, Shivapuri, Chudamani, Kumudvati etc.
The poet laureat Kalidasa has called it the great Visala while the ancient solo-dramas (Bhanas) narrate it as cosmopolitan (Sarvabhauma) city. Saints, seers and scientists viz., Sandipani, Mahakatyayana, Bhasa, Bharttrhari, Nine gems in the court of king Vikramaditya including Kalidasa, Amarasimha-Varahamihira etc., Paramartha, Sudraka, Banabhatta, Mayura, Rajasekhara, Puspadanta, Harisena, Samkaracharya, Vallabhacharya, Jadrupa etc, had been closely inter-related with Ujjain. It has been elevated by the exclusive affinity of great political personalities such as Krsna-Balarama, Chanda Pradyota, Udayana- the king of Vatsa, Mauryan governor Asoka, emperor Samprati, warrior king Vikramaditya, Mahaksatrapa Chastana and Rudradaman, Paramara rulers Munjaraja-Bhojadeva and Udayaditya, Mughal governor Sawai Jaya Simha- king of Amer, Mahadaji Scindhia etc. Ujjain had been the resting-abode of Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir and Shahjahan. Avantika has been the city of many Tirthas, where pilgrims take bath, grant endowments for religious purposes, and offer tarpan to and perform sraddha for the departed ancestors. Such Tirthas have been situated of the banks of the Sipra and its tributaries, Sapta Sagaras (seven lakes), Tadagas (tanks), Kundas and Vapis (wells). A series of large-sized and picturesque ghats are situated on these Tirthas, prominent being Triveni, Gau, Nrismha,
Pisachamochana, Harihara, Kedara, Prayaga, Okhara, Bhairava, Ganga, Mandakini, Siddha Tirthas. At the interval of every twelve years, lakhs of Sadhus and pilgrims take bath here on the pious occasion of the Simhastha Parva. Though the whole of India is a cultural nation, still the most worth-mentioning religious sites are the four Dhamas viz., Badari-Kedara in the North, Puri in the East, Ramesvara in the South and Dwarika in the West, the main deities being Badri-Visala, Jagannatha, Ramesvara and Lord Krsna. In the center of all these Dhamas is Avantika which in mini-form represents a religious India, Ksetrapalas Darduresvara in the North, Pingalesvara in the East, Kayavarohanesvara in the South and Bilvesvara in the West. The Chief Deity is Ksetradhipati Mahakalesvara, not only of the Avanti Ksetra but of the whole cultural India. Ujjainyini was situated in one Mahakala Vana (forest) in ancient period. The much-famed Avanti Ksetra was a part of it. Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana tells that several seers, sages, gods and goddesses, Yaksas, Kinnaras etc. practiced tapas in this Vana in ancient times. It had been this vana where Lord Siva exhibited several super-natural deeds by his divine power, thus justifying His Mahadeva name.
Thousands of Siva lingas existed and were worshipped in this Vana, In this Ksetra, Mahakala, after beheading Brahma and crushing his kapala (fore head) performed the penance, Mahakala Vana and Avantika both have been very beloved to the Lord. Hence, he is the eternal conscious body of this Ksetra, Due to this fact, Avantika is regarded as super most among all the Tirthas. It had been this Mahakala Vana where Lord Visnu, on the request of Brahma, seated on the Asana of the Kusha grass for the welfare of all the beings, Therefore, this town was also known as Kusasthali. Needless to mention that this territory had been very favorite to the Divine Trinity-Brahma, Visnu and Mahesha. So for as the name Ujjayini is concerned, the Puranic legends tell that one Tripura demon, being blessed by Brahma, turned very cruel and tyrannical towards the gods and their followers. Ultimately, all the celestial powers requested Lord Siva to protect them from the evil deeds of Tripura. Lord Siva worshipped the goddess Raktadantika and after pleasing her received the great weapon Mahapasupatastra, by the strike of which the demon was killed. As a result of this Vijaya (victory) the town became popular as Ujjaiyini or Ujjain. According to Matsya Purana, the demon Andhaka was also killed by Lord Siva in this Mahakala Vana. It also had been the territory where the eminent devotee Prahlada attained abhaya (fearlessness) from Lord Visnu and Lord Siva.
As a result of the victory of Lord Siva over the demons, the gateways and spires of the palaces were decorated with gold-plates, due to which Ujjaiyini was also called Kanakasrnga i.e. the town of gold-spires. As time rolled on, the area of this Vana narrowed down due to the rapid development and expansion of the township. According to the narration of Kalidasa, there existed only an upavana (small forest) surrounding the Mahakala temple which was cooled by the breezes of the river Gandhavati, a tributary of the Sipra, What a fate ? Now that upavana has also lost its existence.