Kal Bhairav Temple in Ujjain: A Sacred Abode of Lord Shiva’s Fierce Manifestation

Priyanshi Pareek reports on the Kal Bhairav temple..

The Kal Bhairav temple, situated on the banks of the sacred River Shipra, stands as a prominent religious landmark in Ujjain, known as the “City of Temples” and the abode of Lord Mahakaal. This revered shrine is dedicated to Kal Bhairava, the formidable manifestation of Lord Shiva and the guardian deity of Ujjain. Its rich history dates back thousands of years and is steeped in spiritual significance.

Historical Roots and Renovation

According to ancient texts like the Skanda Purana, the presence of the Shri Kal Bhairav temple in Ujjain can be traced back over 6000 years. It holds deep connections with Tantric Vidhya and was revered by followers of Aghora and Kapalika sects. The temple, as we see it today, was initially built by King Bhadrasen in the 9th century and underwent significant renovations during the Maratha rule. The temple’s architecture is a testament to the Maratha style, with intricate paintings adorning its walls, reflecting the heritage of Malwa.

Unique Offerings and Rituals

A distinctive aspect of this temple is the offering of liquor as part of the Panchamakara ritual, one of the five tantric offerings. While traditionally all five offerings were made, today, only alcohol is presented to the deity. Devotees bring baskets filled with coconuts, flowers, and bottles of liquor, which are offered to the temple deity.

Mystical Devotion

Legend has it that the deity miraculously accepts the liquor offerings, despite claims of no physical cavity. The temple priests perform this ritual, and visitors believe that the deity swallows the liquor, with about one-third returned to devotees as prasad. The mystical aura surrounding this ritual adds to the temple’s uniqueness and spiritual allure.

Guardian of Ujjain

Kaal Bhairav, the chief of the eight Bhairav manifestations, holds the esteemed title of being the Kotwal (guardian) of Ujjain, a role assigned by Lord Mahakal himself. This temple serves as a symbol of protection and divine presence in the city, further enhancing its significance among devotees and visitors.

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