Thursday, 26 September 2013

Bathukamma - The Flower Festival


Bathukamma means ‘come back to life mother’ and is asking Goddess Sati to return back. Legend has it that Sati returned as Goddess Parvati and therefore the festival is also dedicated to Goddess Parvati.

The idol of the Goddess Bathukamma during the festival is made using flowers. The murti of Bahtukamma is immersed in water on the final day of the festivities.

There is a very special festival that celebrated by Telangana people only is called Bathukamma pandaga, it comes before Dasara. It starts before 10 days of dasara. The Women and Children make  bathukamma with lot of flowers and put them around in their varandas and play the songs by rounding those bathukammas. People celebrate this festival 9 days. On the sixth day (arrem), for instance, a call is given to herald the end of the festivities. On that day, there is a break of sorts and a bar on playful activities.

When Bathukamma will fall:-

Bathukamma is usually celebrated from Ashwayuja shuddha pandyami to Maharnavami.  On the 9th Day they will celebrate pedda Bathukamma . There will be hungama on the 9th day every body will wear pattu saries and they sing folk songs and at last they immerse them in

rivers. After that the next day Dasar will come that every body knows as Vijaya Dasami.
Women pray Bathukamma and Unmarried girls pray Bodemma (Girl Bathukamma). Bathukamma is a floral creation with flowers found in Telangana region i.e. yellow Tangedu, white Gunugu, golden marigold.

About Bathukamma :-
The flower pattern is unique. Tangedu (yellow flowers) are at the bottom. Atop that is Gunugu (white).  Banthi (Marigold) acts as the cover for the Bathukamma. The tangedu had a striking.
Bathukamma is a stack of beautiful flowers arranged in seven concentric layers in the form of a cone. It is believed that the flowers that are obtained in this season are unique seasonal flowers,  with medicinal value.  It is the ladies who prepare Bathukamma with the flowers. They then arrange them on a wide plate in a conical mound. Those ladies who participate in the festival  dress up in their best, wearing traditional Silk Sarees and jewellery. Young girls also
participate. They wear Langa-Oni – the traditional attire of young girls of the region. The ladies gather in large numbers along with their Bathukammas in their locality place them in the middle and dance around them while singing soul stirring Bathukamma folk songs. Synchronising steps and claps in unison provide a splendorous look to the festivities.

By practice one has to prepare veduru or duseru woven creeper, with an overwhelming collection of flowers, including the vegetable variety on each of the nine days. These range from gummadi, Thangedu, pydi thangedu, gunugu, nuvvu, rudraksha, katla, goranta, kakara, beera and potla to ganneru. 

After placing the Bathukamma in the open, the women go around it, hand in hand, to offer their prayers. Sari folded in typical style they dance around merrily while clapping their hands. Men can watch this from afar. The woman with the most melodious voice in the group is compelled to render songs on popular demand. The rest of the members constitute the chorus.

The songs are to invoke the blessings of various goddesses like Lakshmi, Parvathi as also Sita Anasuya, Chandramathi, Shashi Rekha, Satyabhama, Savitri, Kanyaka Parameshwari, who are eulogized wholeheartedly. By principle, the renditions end with any one of the following three tributes, Ooyala, Chandamama or Gouramma.

However, the pasupu mudda (depicting Gowramma) is not thrown inside the water. Rather every married woman applies a paste of this, after dipping it in the by now holy water, on her mangalsutra (the sacred thread/nuptial knot that marks the solemnization of her marriage) so that her husband is protected from all evils and ill fate. They also smear their cheeks and neck with the paste.

Food for Bathukamma:-

If on the first day betel nut placed on tulsi leaves are exchanged between families, on the Pedda Bathukamma day pesara (grams), wheat, rice, coconut and nuvvulu (sesame) are exchanged at the immersion spot.

On the ninth day, it is customary to prepare garelu (Wada) for breakfast, Pulihora (tamarind rice) for lunch and jaggery-rich laddoos for consumption during dinner.

What is Bathukamma immersion (Nimajjan or Visarjan)?:-

After the completion of Bathukamma Aata, women take their Bathukammas to ‘Cheruvu’ (pond or lake) and pray for the last time in the year and immerse them into water.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ujjaini Mahakaleswara Jyothirlingam - Ujjain

Ujjaini Mahakaleswar:-

Mahakala of Ujjain is known among the twelve celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The glory of Mahakaleshwar temple has been vividly described in various puranas. Starting with Kalidasa, many sanskrit poets have eulogised this temple in emotive terms. The tradition of Mahakala in minds of the people is eternal Ujjain used to be centre point of the calculation of the Indian time and Mahaklala was considered as the distinctive presiding deity of Ujjain.It is mentioned in many Hindu epics that, Lord Shiva had killed a demon here named ‘Tripur.

Maaha Kaala litterally means the “Grand Time” or “Lord of Time”. The theory seems plausible as Ujjain has been and still is a seat of astrology and Indian astronomy having a “Nava Graha”, a “Nine Planet” temple and an observatory.

The Linga in this temple is also called Dakshinamurti as it is the only one that faces South. Out of the twelve Jyotirlinga's, only Mahakal is known as the Lord of earth and death. The Linga in this temple is also known as Swayambhu as it derives powers from within, quite unlike the other Lingas where the powers are manifested by mantras or hymns.deriving The grandeur of Mahakaleswar is indescribable. Chandrasena, the king of Ujjain was not only a scholar, but also a staunch devotee of Lord Siva. Once his friend Maheswari’s follower Manibahdra 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 realized that he was surrounded by the enemy he sought the help of Mahakal. Bhagawan Shiva was pleased 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 saw the king performing Puja in the 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 SivaLinga. 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. Siva was not long in coming to the rescue of his devotee. This stone SivaLinga 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 Siva, 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 Siva, the boy became rich and led a very happy life. Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling Temple, Ujjain.

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 Siva devotee and ujjain itself is the city of Mahakal. It is therefore, impossible to 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 Siva 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 currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams that are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.


There once lived a Brahmin in Avanti, who had four sons, who were great devotees of Lord Shiva. Dushanan, a demon was giving trouble, disturbing all good and religious activities. The Brahmins from all over the land gathered with the four sons and performed Puja to Lord Shiva. The spot where they had taken mud to make the Lingam, became a huge pond. When Dushanan came to disturb their Puja, Lord Shiva rose from this pond as Mahakaleshwara and destroyed Dushanan. On the request of the Brahmins, Lord Shiva gave Darshan to devotees at this Jyotir Lingam Sthalam.

The lingam of Lord Mahakalesvara is colossus. One can also have a look at the silver plated Naga Jaladhari which is inscribed and esoteric silver-plate covering the roof of the garbhagrha add extra grandeur to the shrine. Besides this Jyotirlinga, attractive and small-sized images of Ganesha, Kartikeya and Paravati can be seen in the garbhagrha. All around the walls classical eulogies in the praise of Lord Siva are exhibited. The Nanda Dipa always remains lit. In the exit-path, there is a wide hall in which a most attractive metal.

Sthala purana of Ujjain Mahakaleshwar jyotirling:-

Once there lived a Brahman who had four sons, who were all devotees of Siva. The wicked demon king Dushan came to Avantika after attaining a boon from Lord Branhma and started torturing the erudite Brahmanas 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. The Brahmanas assured the people and pacified them. They immediately 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 form there. In this manner, Siva assumed the colossal form of Mahakal and appeared. He ordered the wicked Demon from going anywhere near the Brahmanas. But the wicked Demon king did not pay heed. As a result, Siva burnt him to ashes with just one grunt. Seeing Lord Siva in this Avatar, Brahma, Vishnu and Indra and other Devas came down and prayed to the Lord and pleased Him.

About Temple :-

The temple courtyard of Bhagwan Mahakaleshwar temple is very big. The temple is itself grand and beautiful. This Jyotirlinga is situated below the ground in a Garbha Griha. The linga is quite big in size and is encircled by a snake of silver. On one side of the linga there is the idol of Lord Ganesha, on the another side is the idol of Parvati and Kartikeya are installed. The Kumbha mela that is organised every year on the banks of the Kshipra river is very famous. All devotees take a holy water from the Kshipra river and seek blessings of Lord Mahakaleshwar.

On the banks of river Kshipra, the city of Ujjain exists in Madhya Pradesh. It is also known as Indrapuri Amaravati, and Avantika. Because of 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 teerthas, 84 SiddhaLingas, 25-30 SivaLingas, Ashtabhairav, Ekadasa Rudrasthana, temples for hundreds of deities, Jalakund and monuments are there.

The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, which means that it is facing the south. This is a unique feature, upheld by the tantric shivnetra tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Mahadev 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 vehicle of Lord Shiva.

The temple is a three tiered one, with Mahakal at the lowest level, which is actually below the ground. At the middle (ground) level is a temple to Omkareshwar, and over it is a shrine to Nagachandreshwara. This is an interesting shrine which is opened only on Nagapanchami day every year.

According to belief, 33 crore Gods reside in Mahakal premises. Adorned by Hanuman, Shiva, Devi, Navgraha, Radha-Krishna, Ganesha temples, the premises evokes vibrant spiritual feelings. Mahakal is the only temple among Dwadash Jyotirlingas, which has so many temples in its premises. Mahakal premises is also referred as home of gods. There are more than 42 temples in Mahakal temple premises. This include Lakshmi Narsimha, Riddhi-Siddhi Ganesha,Vitthal Pandharinath Temple, Sriram Darbar Temple, Avantika Devi, Chandradityeshwar, Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga in Garbhagriha, Omkareshwar Mahadev, Nagchandreshwar Temple(Which opens only on Nagpanchami in holy Shravan month),Nagchandreshwar Pratima, Riddhi-Siddhi Vinayaka.

It is hard to say on what time Mahakaleshwar Temple came in existence, though certainly there are evidence which articulates its archaic values. Famous King Ashoka’s Generals and top commanding officers were living here, those days the perception here of Buddha religion was on the pace. Ujjain happened to be the capital of Great Maharaja Vikramaditya, he was very kind and brave King. Gupt dynasties came after Vikramaditya, and India parted in many regions after Gupt departed, Parmars ruled over Ujjain between 9th to 10th centuries, later they left for Dhar. In 1235 AD, Altamus, then the ruler of Delhi, seized Ujjain, since
then Muslims ruled over Ujjain for over 500 years. In 1750 AD, Sindhiyas, occupied Ujjain, and then British came in rule.

Mahakal and Bhasma Arti:-

To attend Bhasma Arti in Mahakaleshwar is desire for every Hindu devotee. Mahakal and Bhasma Arti are synonymous with each other. Bhasma means ash. Mahakaleshwar is the only Jyotirlinga temple,where the Bhasma Arti is performed. Amidst vedic chants and strotras and sounds of cymbals, conchs and damru, the Bhasma arti is performed every morning (Except the second day of Mahashivaratri) from 4:00 am to 6:00 am to the Lord Mahakaleshwar. The Bhasma is prepared by burning dried cow dung. The mahant of the Akhil Bhratiya Mahanirvani Akhada or his representative offers the Bhasma.
As mentioned, the Mahakaleswar Temple is another famous tantrik center of Ujjain. So for tantriks, the Bhasma Arti is most important. It is said that the ash with which the Shiva linga is 'bathed' every morning must be that of a corpse that has been cremated the day before. If no cremation has taken place at Ujjain, then the ash must be obtained at all costs from the nearest cremation ground. However, the temple authorities assert that though it was once customary for the ash to belong to a 'fresh' corpse, the practice had long been discontinued. Whatever the truth, pilgrims travel long distances to watch the Bhasm Arti. The belief goes that those who are fortunate to watch this ritual will never die a premature death.

Rules to Bhasma Aarti:-
· During Bhasma Arti, no one can enter in the garbhagriha for worship wearing regular clothes.
· Only males wearing sola or silk clothe on their loins are allowed to enter into garbhagriha.
· At the time of Bhasma Arti,women are not allowed to enter inside. The devotees enjoy watching the great puja sitting in Sabhagruha just outside the garbhagriha.
· On next day of Mahashivaratri, the Bhasma Arti is held in afternoon after removal of the Lord's Sehra(bridegrooms' floral crown).This happens only once a year.

History of Ujjain:-

Ujjain is also called Indrapuri, Amaravati or Avantika Nagar. In ancient litterature the city was also called “Vishaala”. Legend has it that Shiva commemorated his victory over the demon ruler of Tripuri by changing the name of his capital from Avantika to Ujjaini, which means, “One who conquers with pride”.

Ujjain is also famous for its two Kali temples. One for Kali Devi “Harasiddhi Matha”, who gave darshan to king Vikramaditya, who is believed to have held court in this city, and a temple for the “Mahakali” who gave Darshan to the poet Kalidasa. Kalidasa is one of the Nava Ratnas (Nine Gems) of Hindu literature, and some of his work is written in Ujjain.

Places of Interest:-

Chintaman Ganesh: -
The temple is built across the river Shipra on the Fatehabad railway line. The Ganesh idol enshrined here is supposed to be swayambhu - born of itself. The temple itself is believed to be of considerable antiquity. Riddhi and Siddhi, the consorts of Ganesha, are seated on either side of Ganesha. The artistically carved
pillars in the assembly hall date back to the Paramara period. Worshippers throng to this temple because the deity here is traditionally known as Chintaharan Ganesh meaning "the assurer of freedom from worldly anxieties".

Harsiddhi Temple :- This temple occupies a special place in the galaxy of ancient sacred spots of Ujjain. Seated between the idols of Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati, the idol of Annapurna is painted in dark vermilion colour. The Sri Yantra, the symbol of power or shakti, is also enshrined in the temple.According to the Shiva Purana, when Shiva carried away the burning body of Sati from the sacrificial fire, her elbow dropped at this place. There is an interesting legend in the Skanda Purana about the manner in which the

Goddess Chandi acquired the epithet of Harsiddhi. Once when Shiva and Parvati were alone on Mount Kailash, two demons called Chand and Prachand tried to force their way in. Shiva called upon Chandi to destroy them which she did. Pleased, Shiva bestowed upon her the epithet of 'one who vanquishes all'.The temple was reconstructed during the Maratha period and the two pillars adorned with lamps are special features of Maratha art. These lamps, lit during Navaratri, present a glorious spectacle. There is an ancient well on the premises, and an artistic pillar adorns the top of it.

Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir :- This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.
This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.

Pir Matsyendranath :-
This is an extremely attractive spot on the banks of the Shipra quite close to the Bhartihari Caves and the Gadkalika Temple. It is dedicated to the memory of one of the great leaders of the Natha sect of Saivism-Matsyendranath. Since Muslims as well as the followers of the Natha sect call their saints 'pir', the ancient
site of Pir Matsyendranath is venerated by both. Excavations at this site have yielded some antiquities which date back to the 6th and 7th century BC.

Bhartrihari Caves: -
These caves are situated just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadkalika. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, who is said to have been the step brother of Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. He is believed to have been a great scholar and poet. His famous works, Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak, and Nitishatak, are known for the exquisite
use of the Sanskrit meter. These caves are situated just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadkalika. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, who is said to have been the step brother of Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. He is believed to have been a great scholar and poet. His famous works, Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak, and Nitishatak, are known for the exquisite use of the Sanskrit meter.

Gopal Mandir :-
This huge temple is situated in the middle of the big market square. It was constructed by Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde in the 19th century. It is a beautiful example of Maratha
architecture. The sanctum sanctorum is inlaid with marble and doors are silver plated. The door in the inner sanctum is said to have been carried to Ghazni from the Somnath temple and from thence by Mahmud Shah Abdali to Lahore. Mahadji Scindia recovered it and now it has been installed in this temple.

Mangalnath Temple: -
 This temple is situated away from the bustle of the city and can be reached through a winding road. The temple looks upon a vast expanse of the Shipra waters and fills the onlooker with an indescribable sense of peace.Mangalnath is regarded as the birth place of Mars, according to the Matsya Purana. In ancient times,
it was famous for a clear view of the planet and hence suitable for astronomical studies. Mahadev or Shiva is the deity which is worshipped in the temple of Mangalnath.

Vikram Kirti Mandir: - 
Established on the occasion of the second millennium of the Vikram era, as the cultural centre to perpetuate the memory of Vikramaditya, the Vikram Kirti Mandir houses the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum, an art gallery and an auditorium. The Scindia Oriental Research Institute has an invaluable collection of 18,000 manuscripts on various subjects and runs a reference library of important oriental publications. Rare manuscripts in Prakrit, Arabic, Persian and other Indian languages cover a wide range of subjects from Vedic literature and philosophy to dance and music. Palm leaf and bark leaf (Bhurja Patra) manuscripts are also preserved in this institute. Apart from an illustrated manuscript of Shrimad Bhagavata in which actual gold and silver have been employed for the paintings, the Institute has a rich collection of old paintings in the Rajput and Mughal style. The museum also exhibits a rich array of images, inscriptions, copper plates and fossils discovered in the Narmada valley. A huge skull of a primitive elephant is of special interest.

Sandipani Ashram :- The fact that ancient Ujjain apart from its political and religious importance, enjoyed the reputation of being a great seat of learning as early as the Mahabharata period is borne out by the fact that, Lord Krishna and Sudama received regular instruction in the ashram of Guru Sandipani. The area near the ashram is known as Ankapata, popularly believed to have been the place used by Lord Krishna for washing his writing tablet. The numerals 1 to 100 found on a stone are believed to have been engraved by Guru Sandipani.

Kal Bhairava Temple: - The worship of the eight Bhairavas is a part of Saivite tradition and the chief among them is Kal Bhairava, believed to have been built by King Bhadresen, on the banks of the Shipra. There is mention of a Kal Bhairva temple in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana. Worship of Kal
Bhairava is believed to have been a part of the Kapalika and Aghora sects. Ujjain was a prominent centre of these two sects. Even today, liquor is offered as a part of the ritual to Kal Bhairava Beautiful paintings in the Malwa style once decorated the temple walls, only traces of which are visible. These intricate paintings are a speciality of this temple.

Navagraha Mandir: - Situated on the Triveni Ghat of the River Shipra, the temple is located away from the old site of Ujjaini town. It is dedicated to the nine planets (Navagraha means nine planets), attracts large crowds on new moon days falling on Saturdays. Its religious importance has increased in recent years though
there is no known reference to it in the ancient texts. The ruling planets have always had an important place in Indian rituals and tradition.

Gadkalika Temple: -
Situated about 2 miles from the city of Ujjain, the deity in this temple is believed to have been worshipped by Kalidasa. The legend goes that he was an idiot and it is by his devotion to the goddess Kalika that he
acquired great literary skills.Emperor Harshavardhan had this temple renovated in the 7th century AD. There is further evidence of renovation during the Paramara period. The temple has been rebuilt in the modern times by the erstwhile Gwalior State.

Siddhavat: -
This enormous banyan tree on the banks of the Shipra, has been vested with religious sanctity as the Akashyavat in Prayag and Gaya, Vanshivat of Vrindavan and the Panchavata of Nasik. Thousands of pilgrims take a dip in the Shipra from the bathing ghat built here. According to one tradition, Parvati is
believed to have performed her penance here. It used to be a place of worship for the followers of Natha sect. One legend has it that some Mughal rulers had cut off the Banyan tree and covered the site with iron sheets to prevent its roots from growing. But the tree pierced the iron sheets and grew and flourished. The little village of Bhairogarh near Siddhavat is famous for its tie and dye painting for centuries. In ancient times when trade with other countries flourished, exquisitely printed cloth from Bhairogarh used to find its way to Rome and China.

Temple Timings:-
The main temple opens at 3:30 am .The Bhasma Arti is performed between 4:00 am and 6:00 am. Between 7:30 am to 8:15 am the Naivadya Arti is performed. Between 10:30 am to 11:15 am,the Mahabhog Arti is performed. In the evening, the Sandhya Arti is organised at 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm and Shayan Arti at 10:30 pm. The temple closes at 11:00 pm.

Nitya Yatra:-
A Yatra which is to be conducted is narrated in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanada Purana. During this Yatra, after taking bath in the holy Sipra, the Yatri (Participator) respectively visits Nagachandresvara, Kotesvara, and Mahakalesvara, Goddess Avanatika, Goddess Harasiddhi and Agastyesvara for darsana.

Sawari (Procession):-
On every Monday during the Sravana month upto the Amavasya in the dark fortnight of the Bhadrapada, even from the bright fortnight of the Kartika, then to the dark fortnight of Magasirsha, the procession of Lord
Mahakala it taken throughout the streets of Ujjain.

The last Sawari during Bhadrapada is been celebrated with great pomp and show and draws attendance of lakhs of devotees. And the procession of Lord Mahakala on Vijaydasami festival and the huge celebration at Dashahara Maidan is also very attractive.

Harihara Milana:-
On the day of Vaikuntha Chaturdasi, Lord Mahakala visits Mandir in a procession to meet Lord Dwarakadhisa (hari) usually during the mid-night. Later then in a similar procession on that very night Dwarakadhisa visits Mahakal temple. This festival is the symbol of one-ness between the two great Lords.

Simhastha is the great bathing festival of Ujjain. It is celebrated in a cycle of twelve years when Sun and  Jupiter enters the sign of Aries and Leo respectively. It commemorates the falling of nectar into the Shipra river during the fight for amrita between the gods and the demons. A dip in the river during the Fair days is considered most holy. Ceremonial bathing in the holy waters of Shipra begin with the full moon day of Chaitra and continue in different intervals throughout the successive month of vaishakha culminating on the full moon day

How To Reach:-
By Air:-
 Indore is the nearest airport, which is well connected to major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal and Gwalior.
By Rail:-
 The railway station in Ujjain connects it with the major cities of the country.
By Road:-
 A good network of road makes Ujjain easily accessible from cities like Bhopal. Delhi,Mumbai, Indore, Gwalior and Khajuraho.

Mahakal temple is located in Ujjain town. Here Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department Hotels "Shipra Residency" & "Hotel Avantika" are the ideal options for accommodation of tourists. In addition to them some budget category private guest houses and hotels are also their. Here we can't expect various options in different category. If visitor is looking for luxury option then it will be better to look for hotel in Indore city(65kms) and visit temple as excursion tour.

Omkareshwar Jyothirlingam - Shape of OM

Omkareshwar :-

River Narmada has been an incredible part of Madhya Pradesh. Amarkantak, Bhedaghat, Omkareshwar and Maheshwar are some of the major pilgrimages and tourist places developed near the banks of River Narmada.

Residing at Indore during our student life I and my cousin have got the opportunity to visit the Indira Sagar Pariyojana at Punasa and also to visit the Omkareshwar. We have gone to these places by motorbike as it is just 80 km away from Indore by road. There is a very frequent transport facility from Indore to Omkareshwar by road as it is a place of religious importance.

One of the 12 foremost holy shrines of Shivlingas is located at Malwa (on the banks of the river Narmada) in Madhya Pradesh, India. Here, the one of the supreme holy pilgrimage places is devoted to Lord Shiva (Mamleshwara). Indeed, the sole junction as an appearance of Lord Shiva comes visible as a tale of Spiritual place, millions of devotees from all over the country visit the prehistoric divine temple every year. Moreover, there are two most significant holy temples are situated here – Omkareshwar (dedicated to Lord of Omkara) and Amareshwar (dedicated to Lord of Immortals).

About Omkareshwar Lingam:-

Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga also has its own history and stories.Three are them are prominent. According to one story, Vindhya mountain was visited by Narad Muni (son of Lord Brahma) in a comic mood. He told Vindhya about the greatness of Meru mountain which made Vindhya full of jealousy. He begin worship of Lord Shiva to become greater than Meru mountain. He continued his relentless worship for 6 months. He practiced severe penance and even worshipped Parvita Linga Puja without moving from its place. As a result, lord Shiva was pleased with his worship and blessed him with his desirable boon with a condition to not to become problem to Shiva devotees. At the same time Hindu Goods and Maharishis came and praised Shiva and requested to stay in that place. Shiva accepted and stayed in that place as Mamaleshwar Jyotirlinga. Full with proud and jealousy, Vindhya mountain began to grow in unconditional way and even violate the boon conditions. He even create obstruction for Sun & Moon also. All devotees and deities put
the matter in knowledge to Lord Vishnu who suggested them to meet sage Agastya who is capable to solve their problem. On suggestion of Vishnu Gods meet saint Agastya and described their problem. At that time Agastya Maharishi was living in Kashi with his wife. Agastya with his wife visited Vindhya mountain and requested him to stop growing till they can go to southern part of India for worship purpose and return back. Vindhya was agree on this condition and stop its further growth. But Agastya Maharishi never returned back which put Vindhya restricted to its present state. Saint Agastya with his wife stayed in Srisailam which is also called "Kashi of South India" and Dwadash Jyotirlinga. Similarly their are some other legends also.
In later history we can discover that during 12th century, Omkareshwar was under rule of Bhil Kings. Bhil is a martial tribe mainly concentrated in Central India. It was the time when Bhil king Natthu was ruling the region and he was in a conflicting situation with powerful priest Daryo Gosai. Priest wrote a letter to Jaipur's Rajput king for help in settling the issue with Natthu Bhil. Jaipur king send his brother Bharat Singh Chauhan to do the justice with arrogant Natthu Bhil. Soon Bharat Singh Chauhan was at Natthu's door. Natthu Bhil was a shrewd person and in the name of child has only a beautiful and talented daughter. To avoid the conflict, Natthu offered a marriage proposal to Bharat Singh with his daughter which was accepted. After Natthu Bhil, Bharat Singh ruled this region and from here Bhil-Rajput genealogy begins due to which today's Bhils in this region claims themselves as descendents of Rajputs.

The second story relates to Mandhata and his son's penance. King Mandhata of Ishvaku clan (an ancestor of Lord Ram) worshipped Lord Shiva here till the Lord manifested himself as a Jyotirlinga. Some scholars also narrate the story about Mandhata's sons-Ambarish and Mucchkund, who had practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva. Because of this the mountain is named Mandhata.

The third story from Hindu scriptures says that once upon a time there was a great war between Devas and Danavas(demon), in which Danavas won. This was a major setback for Devas and hence Devas prayed to Lord Shiva. Pleased with their prayer, Lord Shiva emerged in the form of Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga and defeated Danavas.

  Omkareshwaram History1:-
The shape of the island is said to be like the Hindu Om symbol. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means "Lord of Omkaara or the Lord of the Om Sound") and one to Amareshwar (whose name means "Immortal lord" or "lord of the Immortals or Devas").

According to legends, Shiva Purana illustrates the importance of Mammaleshwar and Omkareshwar. Mucchkund and Ambarish were two sons of Sun dynasty Mandhata. Both practiced rigorous reparation at this place to make Lord Shiva pleased and happy. They also carried out great spiritual sacrifices in this place due to that the mountain is known as Mandhata.

Another famous myth says that Vidhya Parvat practiced strict penance and worshipped Lord Omkareshwar along with Parthivarchana for almost six months. As a result, Lord Shiva became happy and blessed him with desired boon. On the heartfelt request of all the deities, Lord Shiva created two parts of the lings. One half being Amareshwar and the other is Omkareshwar.

According to some scholars, King Mandhata of Ishvaku kinfolk worshipped Lord Shiva at this sacred place. Moreover this, Govinda Bhagavatpaada, who was the Guru of Shankaracharya is considered to have lived in a cave located at this place.

Omkareshwar Temple Architecture:-

There are not many monuments of interest in Omkareshwar, in architectural sense, however you will find many modern religious shrines in the town.

The old temples about Mandhata have all suffered greatly from the bigotry of the Mohammedans who ruled the country from about A.D.1400. Every old dome is overthrown, and not a single figure of a god or animal is to be found unmutilated. The fanatic Allauddin passed through the country in A.D. 1295 on his return from his Deccan raid, and as he took Asirgarh (near Burhanpur) which is not far from Omkareshwar, it was probable that he would have passed over so tempting on idol preserve. Policy of Allauddin of intolerance to other religions was continued by the Ghori princes of Malwa, and later by Mughal king Aurangzeb. While visiting the Mandhata hills and its nearby places, we can witness the remains of temples and structures which attracts interest of archaeologists. Both the hills are covered with remnants of habitations built in stones (Basalt and yellow Sand-stone) without cement.

Omkareshwar is considered to be one of the holiest Hindu sites in the nation. This is due to the presence of the Jyotirlingam, one of the twelve in India. Lingam is the symbol of Lord Shiva but the Jyotirlingam is special. Jyotirlingam is called the lingam of light. It is said to derive currents of power from within itself. While, an ordinary lingam is ritually invested with mantra shakti (power invested by chants) by the priests. The Jyotirlingam is enshrined in the Temple of Sri Omkareshwar Mahadeo.

This shrine can be seen from long distance attributed to its white high rising spire. It is built on the edge of a cliff overlooking river Narmada. The core of the existing temple is perhaps built by Paramaras in 11th century as seen by its Bhumija style of spire. The most of the present shrine is built quite later, in the 19th century by Holkars. This is a three tiered temple, where Shiva linga is placed on the lowest level. There is a Panchamukhi Ganesha shrine on the next level. The uppermost level has Annapurana shrine. The pillars of the mandapa are carved with sculptures and yaksha capitals. This is the only jyotirlinga where the linga is not of proper shape or better say shapeless. You can take photographs inside the mandapa but not of the sanctum.

Grand Sabha Mandap (meeting or prayer hall):-

The temple has a grand Sabha Mandap (meeting or prayer hall) standing on about 60 huge brown stone pillar (14 feet high), elaborately carved with a curious frieze and fillet of satyrlike figures. Many of them have broad shoulders and meditating foreheads.The temple is 5 storeyed each having a different deity. There are three regular ‘Pujas’ in the temple. The morningone done by the temple trust , the middle one by the priest of Scindia state and the evening one by the priest of the Holkar state.The temple is always crowded with pilgrims, coming after a bath in the Narmada and with pots full of Narmada water, coconuts and articles of worship, many of them performing Abhishek or special worships through the priests.

About Demon:-

In the ancient times the Demons defeated the gods or divines. Indra was worried. The Danavas or Demons have wrecked havoc in all the three worlds, i.e., Trilokas. In order to empower the Devas once again, Lord Shiva assumed the form of Jyotirmaya Omkararoop. He came out of the nether world or Patala. Lord Shankar came out in the form of Linga on the banks of river Narmada. The gods or Devas have worshipped the Linga which made them powerful once again. This time they were able to destroy the demons and re-acquiesced their empire in Heavens.
Brahma and Vishnu also lived in the same place as Omkar Amaleshwar. That is why on the banks of Narmada Brahmapuri, Vishnupuri and Rudrapuri are built which are known as Tripuri Kshetra. The Amareshwar JyotiraLinga is situated in Rudrapuri.

Omkareshwar or better known as Mandhata Omkareshwar is one of the foremost of the 12 Joytirlingas or it is luminous physical self-presentation of Lord Shiva of the Hindus. Omkareshwar, the sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, 'Om', has drawn to it hundreds of generations of pilgrims. Here, at the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri, the devout gather to kneel before the Jyotirlinga (one of the twelve throughout India) at the temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata. And here, as in so many of Madhya Pradesh's sacred shrines, the works of Nature complement those of man to provide a setting awe-inspiring in its magnificence.

The island comprises two lofty hills and is divided by a valley in such a way that it appears in the shape of the sacred Hindu symbol 'Om' from above. Between the precipitous hills of the Vindhya on the North and the Satpura on the South, the Narmada forms a deep silent pool which in former times was full of alligators and fish, so tame as to take grain from human hand. This pool is 270 ft below the cantilever type bridge constructed in 1979. The bridge has enhanced the scenic beauty of the place, making it look exceedingly picturesque.

Omkareswar kshetra parikrama is the very important thing to do in Omkareswar tour.The parikrama route Starts from Omkareswar temple and completes after surrounding the hill.Adi Shankaracharya did parikrama when he visited Omkareswar jyotirling.While doing parikrama, he met his Guru Sri Govindapada and learned Advaita from him.We can see that place at the end of parikrama.It is nearer to Omkareswar temple.

First of all we will reach Triveni sangamam.Here we can take holy bath.Just after Triveni sangamam there is a temple of Runa Mukteswar. In this temple people offer Red gram to lord Siva. After that the journey is through forest.It is very pleasent and nice to see in Winter season.After crossing this forest there is a temple of Bholenath.It is the mid point of parikrama. The Siva linga in this temple is very big and it is made of
Narmada banam.After that we will reach Durga Goddess temple. By crossing Durga temple we will enter into a deep forest.In the forest there are many ancient monuments and temples which are under the control of Indian Archeological department.

 In the way of Parikrama one can see so many Sadhus belonging to different traditions.If we are lucky we can see deers and peacocks in the route. The view of Narmada river is very beautiful with the bridges and the Project.

The last stop is the cave of Guru Govindapada. Totally we can get very much pleasure by doing this parikrama.

Festivals &Pujas:-

The main festival Mahashivratri and Kartik Poornima are celebrated with great spirits and harmony. The temple is specially decorated with flowers and beautifully lit up during the festival season. Millions of devotees from around the world visit during these festivals. Apart from Lord Shiva, the temple premises also comprise other small temples of Goddess Annapoorneshwari and Lord Panchmuga Ganesha located on the first floor of the main temple. Panchmuga Ganesha Temple also forms one of the most important spiritual attractions of Omkareshwar. Motorboats are used to establish connectivity with the mainland and to reach Koti Tirth Ghat below the temple. The usual temple timing is 5 am to 10 pm. The temple may, however, be closed at various times during the day for various activities like Gupt Aarti (5.30-6 am), Bhog (12.30- 1 pm), Cleaning (5.45-6.15 pm) etc. The temple remains open 24 hrs during Shivaratri.

Sight seeing Places:-
Siddhanatha Temple :- There are many temples scattered around the hill, most of those are recent structures. However, Siddhanatha temple, located on a high plateau up on the hill, is of 11th century construction and in much of ruins. It looks like a rubble of stones, carelessly put at one single place. Yes, there is a MP Archaeological and Museum Department board of protected monument however there is no

protection given to this shrine, even there is no enclosing boundary. Many of its stones are taken by villagers
and put inside their local shrines nearby. All the guidebooks talked about very magnificent elephant frieze in relief, however all my efforts failed to locate such a frieze within the temple site. However I was able to locate such a relief in nearby vicinity, in a local open-air temple. Yes, indeed it is an exquisite relief carving showing an elephant with a rider under a makara -torana. Restoration of this temple can be done as many of the stones are still in their original form, however I do not see any activity of such a sort in near future.

Mamleshwar – the Jyotirlingam:-
While the island temple has received much attention in the past and has been renovated recently, the Mamleshwar temple certainly looks much older and more beautiful too. The Mamleshwar temple is also more endearing thanks to the absence of the pandas (priests) who are the most prominent feature of the

Omkar Mandhata temple on the island. We visited the Mamleshwar temple at night before the final aarti was performed, and had to literally hunt out a priest to perform Abhishek to the lord, and the one we finally found was so thrilled by all the items we had brought for the puja that he happily did the elaborate puja with a smile on his face and asked for money only when we were done.

Annapurna Temple:-
There is an ancient type construction old Markandeya Mandir around which the Annapurna Temple Trust of Indore has raised a great complex containing a Sarva Mangala temple with the three goddesses Laxmi , Parvati and Saraswati.
A 35 feet tall statue of Lord Krishna depicting the “Virat Swarup” or gigantic shape of Krishna as mentioned in the Bhagwat Geeta .It is center of attraction for the pilgrims. Swami Sacchidanandji Maharaj , a learned saint , guides the Ashram.He has founded the Ashram.

Shri Gajanan Maharaj mandir:-
Shri Gajanan Maharaj mandir (Shegaon) is a place you must visit in Omkareshwar, The temple is completely made of marble and Dholpuri stones.
The Bhakta niwas (Dharmashala) is here to make your stay pleasant.Another view of the temple, photography inside the temple is strictly prohibited.

Gouri Somnath Mandir:-

Temple, containing a gigantic six feet tall shivlinga, around which as the legend goes two grow up persons embracing it cannot reach their hands unless they are a internal uncle and nephew (Mama-Bhanja). The lingam though very old of a smooth black stone with shinning polish. There is a sitting Nandi(Scared bull) of similar stone outside. As per legend if anyone looked into it he would see the figure of his next birth.

More about Gouri Somnath Mandir:-

Emperor Aurangzaeb, the devout son of Islam and arch iconoclast, while marching to the south, on his way near by Omkareshwar he heard of the rich temples and monuments therein, so he could not resist temptation to come to a spot full od spils. He came and did spoil by multitating the figures as apparent even now. Curious to test the legend, he stood before the Lingam, and on gazing he saw a pig in it . In his rage he hurt the Lingam, and sicethe it has assumed its.

Vishnu temple:-
Large ancient Vishnu temple in omkareshwar Also known as VishnuPuri.

Sidhwarkut Jain temples:-

Just as omkareshwar is one of the foremost of 12 Jyotirlingas of the Hindus, So is Siddhwarkut of the 24 tirthankars of jains.

There are number of Jain temples in Siddhavarkut some old and renovated and some new ones. Some images found in the old temple bear the date 1488 A.D. Most of the images of Shantinathji a jain tirthankar with the symbol of deer.

Ram mandir:-
Shri Ram mandir on prikrama path is part of sri Rajrajeshshwari seva sansthan trust.

Ananta Sri Thakur Omkarnathjee Maharaj:-

PARAM GURUDEV Sri Dasharathi Dev of Digsui was the Guru Of Thakur Sitaramdas Omkarnath. His life of total surrender to his Guru is indeed a unique example of exclusive devotion to one's Guru.At the age of forty-five, He was commissioned by His Guru, to preach the Naam or the Mahamantra. In the days before He gave up His mortal body, Dashrathideva saw a dream set in celestial space. The dream contained a message: the Mahamantra was the only means to universal succour, in the present age. Dashrathideva conveyed this message to His disciple. By now Prabodhchandra Chatopadyaya had formally become a renunciate; he had donned the robe and assumed the name of ‘Sitaramdas Omkarnath'.

Shri Omkar Mandhata:-
The main temple with detailed carving in soap stone stands on a mile long and half mile island.

24 Avataras:-
A cluster of Hindu and Jain temples in varied architecture modes.
Satmatrika Temple:-
6 km. A group of 10th century temples.

How To Reach:-

By Air:-
The nearest airport, Indore - 77 km from the shrine, is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal and Gwalior with regular flights.

By Train:-
Nearest railhead is Omkareshwar Road on the Ratlam-Khandwa section of the Western Railways.

By Road:-
Omkareshwar is connected to Indore, Ujjain, Khandwa and Omkareshwar Road by regular bus services including Volvo buses and private buses. 

Don’t expect any plush hotels, the accommodation available is pretty basic.

Dharamshalas are aplenty but they are primarily for Hindus. Check out the Yatrika Guest House at Omkareshwar Mandir. Another good bet is the Holkar Guest House run by the Ahilyabai Charity Trust.