UJJAIN: ‘Shri Mahakal Lok’, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in one of the oldest and holiest cities of India, Ujjain, is the culmination of the first phase the Mahakal Vistar Parisar Yojana planned and executed with a unique blend of tradition, divinity and modern urban planning.
For times immemorial, Ujjain is the home to Mahakaleshwar, which means the ‘Lord of time’, referring to Lord Shiva. As per Hindu mythology, the temple was constructed by Lord Brahma and is located alongside the holy river Kshipra.
Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga in Ujjain is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas considered the most sacred abodes of Shiva. As per records, the temple’s Mahakal Lingam is believed to be Swayambhu (self-manifested) and unlike any other Jyotirlinga, the idol of Mahakaleshwar faces the South. The shrine is revered as one the 18 Maha Shaktia Peeths in India.
The temple complex was destroyed by Sultan Shams-ud-din Iltutmish during his raid of Ujjain in 1234-35 and the present temple was built by the Maratha general, Ranoji Shinde in 1734. The complex underwent many repairs and improvements after Independence, but the on-going project is the most ambitious. Under the plan, the Mahakaleshwar Temple premises of around 2.82 hectares has been increased to 47 hectares. The newly-constructed corridor of the Mahakal Temple has been built on 108 pillars; the entire temple of 910 meters will rest on these pillars.
SHIVA STUTI BY KAILASH KHER
UJJAIN: Well-known singer Kailash Kher performed ‘Shiva Stuti’, a special anthem dedicated to Lord Shiva, at the grand event held here after the inauguration of Shri Mahakal Lok. The ‘Jai Shri Mahakal’ anthem was especially composed by Kher, who performed it along with his team, at Kartik Mela Ground, the venue of the ceremonial event, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi The ‘Teri Deewani’-fame singer in the past has sung songs like ‘Babam Bam’, ‘Shivoham’, and ‘Devon Ke Dev’, all in veneration of Lord Shiva.
Kher said in composing the new anthem he had drawn inspiration from the ancient heritage of the famous shrine, whose devotees chant ‘Jai Shri Mahakal’ in its honour, and the glory of old city Ujjain. The stage setting was inspired by symbols associated with ‘Mahakal Maharaj’, and a huge ‘trishul’ was symbolically placed in the backdrop. The images and videos of the Mahakaleshwar Temple and other holy sites in Ujjain were on display on huge screens before the arrival of the PM.
The concept of Mahakal forest, beautifully presented in the epic Meghdoot of Mahakavi Kalidas, has been given a physical form after hundreds of years. This is a unique and wonderful effort to give complete experience of Shiva glory to devotees visiting Ujjain from all over the world. One of the aspects of the Vistar Yojna’s first phase is a visitor plaza with two entrances or Dwaars – the Nandi Dwaar and the Pinaki Dwaar.
The visitor plaza can hold up to 20,000 pilgrims at a time. A circulation plan to reduce congestion has also been developed keeping in mind the entry of visitors into the city and their movement up to the temple. Decentralised parking has been provided at various entry points and vehicular movement into the expanded temple area has been restricted. Facilities like ticketing kiosks have been provided at the entry plaza.
The A 900-metre pedestrian corridor has been constructed, connecting the plaza to the Mahakal temple, dotted with 108 murals and 93 statues depicting stories related to Lord Shiva, such as Shiv Vivah, Tripurasur Vadh, Shiv Puran, and Shiv Tandav Swaroop. There are also 128 convenience points, eateries and shopping joints, florists, handicraft stores, etc. along this pedestrian corridor. The beauty with which the unique cultural heritage of India has been beautifully displayed in “Shri Mahakal Lok” is incomparable.
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