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All About Mahakal Temple in Ujjain

Oct 13, 2022

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Our today's edition of Current Affairs is here. Read to know more about Mahakal Temple in Ujjain. Also, find the topic's relevance to the UPSC CSE syllabus below:

Important Topics

Mahakal Temple, Jyotirlinga, Mahakaleshwar Corridor, Ujjain, Kalidasa, Meghdutam, Shakti Peeth, Jantar Mantar.

Practice Question

Consider the following statements regarding Mahakal Temple:

1) It is North facing Jyotirlinga Located in Ujjain City of Madhya Pradesh.

2) It is one of the 18 Shakti Peethas.

3) Meghadutam, an ancient text composed by Kalidasa, gives a description of the Mahakal temple. 

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Read the blog till the end to know the answer to this question.

Context

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Mahakaleshwar Corridor, constructed in Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain.

About the ‘Shri Mahakal Lok’ Corridor in Ujjain Madhya Pradesh

  • Mahakal Maharaj Mandir Parisar Vistar Yojna is a plan for the expansion, beautification, and decongestion of the Mahakaleshwar temple and its adjoining area in Ujjain district.
  • After Vishwanath temple in Varanasi and the Kedarnath shrine in Uttarakhand, Mahakal temple is the third ‘jyotirlinga’ site to see a major upliftment exercise. 
  • The Mahakal corridor is four times the size of the Kashi Vishwanath corridor, which the PM had inaugurated late last year.

About Jyotirlinga 

Puranas say that Lord Shiva pierced the world as an endless pillar of light, called the jyotirlinga. There are 12 jyotirlinga sites in India, considered a manifestation of Shiva. 

Sr. NoJyotirlinga SiteLocated at
1Somnath Veraval, Gujarat
2NageshwarDwarka, Gujarat
3MallikarjunaNandyala, Andhra Pradesh
4Omkareshwar Mandhata, Khandwa, in Madhya Pradesh
5Kedarnath Rudraprayag, Uttarakhand
6BhimashankarPune, Maharashtra
7TrimbakeshwarNashik, Maharashtra
8Grishneshwar Aurangabad, Maharashtra
9Viswanath Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
10BaidyanathDeoghar, Jharkhand
11Rameshwar Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu
12MahakalUjjain, Madhya Pradesh 

Significance of Mahakal Temple in Ujjain  

  • Mahakaleshwar, which means the ‘Lord of time’, refers to Lord Shiva. As per Hindy mythology, the temple was constructed by Lord Brahma and is presently located alongside the holy river Kshipra.
  • Mahakal is the only jyotirlinga facing the south, while all the other jyotirlingas face east. This is because the direction of death is believed to be the south. People worship Mahakaleshwar to prevent an untimely death.
  • A local legend says that there once was a king called Chandrasena who ruled Ujjain and was a Shiva devotee. The Lord appeared in his Mahakal form and destroyed his enemies.
  • Upon the request of his devotees, Shiva agreed to reside in the city and become its chief deity.
  • It is also revered as one the 18 Maha Shaktia Peeth in India.

Watch this video on Ancient & Medieval History by Hemant Jha sir, to enhance your knowledge for UPSC CSE 2023 preparation.

https://youtu.be/j62E8qoiHsQ

Mention of Mahakal in Ancient Indian Texts 

  • The Mahakal temple finds a mention in several ancient Indian poetic texts. 
  • In the early part of the Meghadutam (Purva Megha) composed in the 4th century, Kalidasa gives a description of the Mahakal temple. 
  • It is described as one with a stone foundation, with the ceiling on wooden pillars. 
  • There would be no shikharas or spires on the temples prior to the Gupta period.

Also Read: Jagannath Temple Heritage Corridor Project

About City of Ujjain 

  • The city of Ujjain was also one of the primary centers of learning for Hindu scriptures, called Avantika in the 6th and 7th centuries BC. 
  • Later, astronomers and mathematicians such as Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya made Ujjain their home.
  • Also, as per the Surya Siddhanta, one of the earliest available texts on Indian astronomy dating back to the 4th century, Ujjain is geographically situated at a spot where the zero meridian of longitude and the Tropic of Cancer intersect. 
  • In keeping with this theory, many of Ujjain temples are in some way connected to time and space, and the main Shiva temple is dedicated to Mahakal, the lord of time. 
  • In the 18th century, an observatory was built here by Maharaja Jai Singh II, known as the Vedh Shala or Jantar Mantar, in Ujjain, comprising 13 architectural instruments to measure astronomical phenomena.
  • It is said that during the medieval period, Islamic rulers gave donations to priests for offering prayers here. 
  • In the 13th century, the temple complex was destroyed by Turk ruler Shams-ud-din Iltutmish during his raid on Ujjain. 
  • The present five-storeyed structure was built by the Maratha general Ranoji Shinde in 1734, in the Bhumija, Chalukya and Maratha styles of architecture. 
  • A century later, its marble walkways were restored by the Scindias.

Now that you have reached here, the answer to the question we asked in the beginning is Option (b) 2 and 3 only.

News Source: The Indian Express 

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