Bhasm Aarti at Mahakaleshwar, Ujjain- A Divine Experience not to be Missed


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Bhasm Aarti at Mahakaleshwar- Ujjain | MP Tourism

Ujjain, located on the banks of river Shipra is a beautiful temple town and home to one of the 12 jyotirlingas- Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga.

Mahakaleshwar Temple Ujjain

The word Mahakaleshwar means 'the lord of time' and according to Hindu beliefs, Lord Shiva is the God of time. Mahakaleshwar Ujjain is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India and the idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be Dakshina Mukhi which means that it is facing the south. 

Bhasm Aarti at Mahakal Mandir

A unique ritual associated with the temple is- Bhasm Aarti which begins every day at 4 am. People from all walks of life visit Ujjain with a desire of beholding this lifetime experience. The early morning peaceful and calm environment at the temple is what fills you with immense positivity. 

In the past, Bhasm Aarti was performed with ash from the first funeral pyre cremated at night. But with the changing times, this practice has changed and fresh ash is prepared from cow dung.   

Since no one is allowed to enter the Garbhagriha, the devotees can witness the entire process through a screen projection installed inside the temple. 

The process begins with the 'Abhishek' or the ritual bath of the shivling then smearing it with multiple offerings like curd, honey, sandal paste and finally cleaning it with milk and water. Further, the Shivling is decorated with elaborate arrangements of flowers and especially the Bel leaves that are considered to be very dear to Lord Shiva are also offered. 

The process however doesn't end here. There is more to witness even before the ash ritual is performed. Through the application of various substances, the shivlinga is transformed into a divine face and then further embellished with garlands.

After this hour-long process of bathing and decorating the idol comes the most-awaited and interesting part associated with this first aarti of the day. The entire shivlinga is veiled with a cloth in a manner that the decoration is not disturbed. Thereafter, the head priest swings the ash-filled pouch on the shivling. The entire sanctum is filled with clouds of ash covering the shivling in the grey dust. This process of sprinkling ash on the Shivling lasts a minute.  

This is followed by performing Aarti with lit oil lamps, the clanging of bells, and the chants of 'Om Namah Shivay' and 'Har Har Mahadev'. When you are able to witness this entire process and the aarti starts, you just feel that you have experienced one of the most beautiful things in life.

Things you should know before attending Bhasm Aarti at Mahakaleshwar:

The Aarti begins every morning at 4 and witnesses a serpentine queue of devotees. Therefore, it is recommended to arrive at the temple an hour or even before the Aarti begins

  • Follow the dress code in case you wish to offer prayers at the inner sanctum.  Men should wear a dhoti and women need to wear a Saree.

  • The aarti is extremely popular as it is attended by large numbers of devotees therefore prior booking is required.

  • Online bookings are available. A month in advance booking is recommended. 

  • Mobiles or cameras are not allowed inside the temple premises. Devotees need to deposit gadgets inside the locker room.

Do visit tourist places in Ujjain and soak in this powerful, soul-stirring experience at Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga.