Usually there is a Temple built for the village. Or a village exists for I the Temple. Or sometimes, a village is full of Temples, This is a very rare I occurrence. On the banks of river Kshipra, the city of Ujjain exists in Madhya I Pradesh. It is also known as Indrapuri Amaravati, and Avantika. Because of I the number of golden towers of several temples, this town is also known as “Swarna Sringa”.
One of the seven cities of deliverance or salvation, Avantika Nagar has 7 Sagar Teerthas, 28 Teethes, 84 SiddhaLingas, 25-30 ShivaLingas, , Ashtadhyayi, Ekadasa Rudrasthana, temples for hundreds of devoties, Jalakund and monuments are there. It feels as if Indrapuri, the city of the Gods, is right here with all the 33 crore deities presiding in Ujjain.
Once there lived a Brahman who had four, sons, who were all devotees of Shiva. The wicked demon king Dushan came to Avantika after attaining a boon from Lord Brahma and started torturing the erudite Brahmans of Avantika. But the Brahmanas who were very engrossed in their worship of Shiva did not even flinch.
The demon king sent all four of his henchmen with the orders that they have to ensure that no Vedic Dharmanushtan activities are to take place. The harassed people came running to the Brahmans seeking help, j The Brahmanas assured the people and pacified them. They immediately i| started praying to Lord Shiva. Meanwhile, just as the Demon king tried to attack the Brahmanas, the earth would split open near the Parthiv Murty with a loud noise and huge crater would from there. In this manner, Shiva assumed the colossal form of Mahakal and appeared. He | ordered the wicked Demon from going anywhere hear the Brahmanas. t But the wicked Demon king did not pay heed, As a result. Shiva burnt him to ashes with just one grunt. Seeing Lord Siva in this Shiva Avatar, Brahma, Vishnu and Indra and other Devas came down as prayed to him and pacified him.
The grandeur of Mahakaleswar is indescribable, Chandrasena, tho king of Ujjain was not only a scholar, but also a staunch devotee of Lord Siva Once his friend Maheswari’s follower Manibhadra gave him a beautiful gemstone called Sundara Chintamani. It shone so bright and beautiful when Chandrasen wore it on his neck, that he looked even more glorious than the celestial gods. It would make even them feel jealous. Once, some kings went and asked Chandrasen to part with the jewel and Chandrasen promptly refused to do so.This angered the kings, who in turn attacked Chandrasena’s kingdom. When Chandrasena realised that he was surrounded by the enemy, he sought the help of Mahakal. Bhagawan Shiva was pieased with his prayers and showed him a solution for his problem. Just then, by chance, a Brahman woman wandered near Mahakal, carrying her child with her, and suddenly became a widow. An illiterate boy once raw the king performing Puja in the Mahakaleswar Temple and felt inspired to do the same. He brought a beautiful stone and installed it in his empty house. He imagined it to be an incarnation of Shiva and started worshipping it. The boy became so engrossed in prayer and chanting, that he even forgot all about food. When his mother went to call him, any number of calls had no affect on him. He was silently praying. Angered by this, the mother who was still bound by worldly love, threw away the ShivaLinga. She destroyed all the thing of worship. The boy was very sad at what his mother had done. He started to pray to Shiva with his entire concentration. Shiva was not long in coming to the rescue of his devotee.This stone ShivaLinga which was brought by the son of a cowherd soon became adorned with gemstones and turned into a JyotirLinga. After Singing in praise of Lord Shiva, when the boy returned to his house, he was amazed to find a beautiful palatial home instead. Thus, with the Grace and Blessings of Lord Shiva, the boy became rich and led a very happy life.
In the mean time, the enemy kings who attached ceased Chandrasena’s empire, began to fight among themselves. They began to say king Chandrasena is a Shiva devotee and Ujjain itself is the city of Mahakal. It is therefore, impossible for anyone to win it. They then decided to extend a hand of friendship to King Chandrasena and together they all worshipped Mahakal.
At that time, the Vanara King Hanuman appeared there. He told the kings that only Shiva could grant salvation to mankind and nobody else. Siva can be pleased with worship done even without chanting any mantras. The example of the son of cowherd is for us.Then Hanuman looked at Chandrasena with eyes filled with affection and benevolence and disappeared.
The Adyapeetha i.e., is the foundation of Sanscrit learning, ethics, knowledge or science and art had their initiation at this place. It is indeed the Triveni Sangam or learning of the three great things. The greatness of Ujjain city was enhanced by the Maurya kings as well as other dynasties.The great emperor Vikramaditya who began new era by starting a new way of counting the years, made Ujjain his capital.
It is here that Raja Bharatrihari wrote his great epics (love stories) Virat Katha, Neeti Sataka, the love story of Pradyot Princess Vasavadfittn and Udayan, The beauty of this city Finds a pride place in the descriptions of a many great poets and writers who song its praise. At the auspicious timo .il dawn, the women of this town sprinkled vermilion water in their courtyards and decorated them with Rangeli designs.
In the Mahakal Shiv temple located in Ujjain on the banks of River Kshipra, at 4 AM Puja is performed. After Abhishek, Chitabhasm (Ash) is applied all over Mahakal.
According to classics, Chitabhasm (human ash) is considered as unholy and inauspicious. It any one even touches it by mistake, one is required to bathe in order to be purified. But his very ask becomes holy, by merely touching the body of Mahakal, because Siva is Nishkam or lust-less. He is not touched by material desires.That is why Shiva is Mangalmay or auspicious.
The greatness of Shiva is described in this Sloka, thus:
“Chitabhasmolepah Sragapinrukarotee parikarah
Amangalyam sheelam tava bhavatu naamaivamakhilam
Tathaapismritunaam varadaparamam mangalamasi.”
Thus Shiva is auspicious and beautiful. Avanti Nagar is Shiva’s favourite town. Those who visit the Mahakal Temple and take a Darshan, will never be touched by sorrows even in their dreams. Those who pray for whatever they desire to the Mahakal JyotirLinga, would be granted all his/her wishes. They would attain salvation.