Ujjain, ancient name Avantika is the place I liked for not only Mahakal ‘Niwas’ but for the fact that Raja Vikram ruled here. Yes, Raja Vikram who was very justiceful, who went in disguise to know his ‘janta’s dukh-dard.
Some people warned me not to go in month of holy Shrawan to avoid crowd. But we were firm to go there and have also got reservation by grace of Shiv. We started our pilgrimage on 8th of August. We had booked hotel in advance, so it was not subject of worry also. As we arrived at Ujjain Railway station, Rikshawalas came to us to hire their auto. We hired one and rikshawala cum agent of hotel cautioned us that hotels may be full. We told him not to worry as we have booked our rooms in hotel Girnar which is in short walkable distance from railway station. It was just 4.25 in morning so we took rest and after short rest we went for ‘darshan’ and ‘worship’ of Shree Mahakal.
Let me tell the readers who don’t know about Shree Mahakal. Mahakal is one of twelve (dwadash, as number twelve is called in Sanskrit) jyotirlings. It is believed very good fortune to go on pilgrimage on all twelve jyotirlings. My wife and myself have visited 6 jyotirlings so far. As Ujjainis known as Bharat’s Greenwichso kaal means time and temple was named Mahakal. Like other religious places, you will find Brahmins marketing themselves to give you relief and liberation from all your pain, diseases, unrest in your family etc. As there were lots of people standing in line to see holy Mahakal, we preferred to get V.I.P. tickets which was cost of Rs. 151 per person.We were given entry to the route from where we reached near to ‘garbhgruh’ (the center place where ling is installed) of Mahakal. We poured some water and prayed to mahakal. Rikshawala whom we had hired told us that we were luck as till 8th August ‘darshan from garbhgruh’ was closed and just opened on 9th. There are lots of other temples in premises of Mahakaal, including Swapneshwar Mahadev (You can read text on board that you will get ridden from bad dreams by darshan of this Mahadev), Prachin Mahakaaleshwar, Bruhaspati temple,SiddhiVinayakTemple, Das Hanuman etc.
After ‘darshan’ of Mahakal, we filled up forms to do ‘Bhasm Aartee’ which is done early in the morning at 4 am. For that one may have to stand in queue from 2 or 2.30. Why is the aartee called ‘Bhasm Aartee’? Because Bhasm (Ash) is brought from Smashan (cremation place) and poured on Shivling. One unknown person advised us to fill other forms also as all persons who names are filled in form may not get chance to view this ‘Bhasma Aartee’. Also there is need to attach photocopy of id proof with form. The person who was distributing and collecting forms told to attach only one id proof of one person. He told id proofs of all the persons whose names are filled up, need not to attach. We filled up two different forms with names in different series attaching only two id proofs. As we had not done photo copy, I went to get it. I was surprised to see that name of shops were photocopy. Generally I have seen all the places I visited have name- Zerox of photocopy shops. Actually name is photocopy and Zerox is name of photocopier machine. Now to know whether we had got permission for ‘Bhasma Aartee’ or not, we had to come at 9 pm.
So, we decided to visit Mangalnath temple. It was Tuesday and people from all corner of country come here to get free from ‘Mangal Dosh’. For those who don’t know what Mangal Dosh is, when Mangal is in first, fourth, seventh, eighth or twelth house, it is called Mangal Dosh. Accoring to Vedic astrology, those who have Mangal Dosh should match Kundli with aspiring to be bride/bridegroom. It is believed that such people often get delay in marriage, most of times, after age of 28 years. Their good fortune (Bhagyoday) arrives after age of 28 years. So, as I told, it was Tuesday which is considered the day of ‘Mangla’, people had come to get ‘Nivaran’ of Mangal dosh.
What shocked me was that even our temple are not free from corruption. People who came for ‘Mangal Dosh Nivaran’ were told to give 100 rupees which was donated by concerned Brahmin inTempleadministration. In return Brahmins were given receipt with numbers. So, clients of Brahmin have to go turn by turn. I saw that the person who was authorized to give entry by calling number was given bribe by Brahmin to change number so that his client can get early access in temple’s garbhgruh to perform pray. There were lots of monkeys there. It is believed that on Tuesday, if you feed monkey/monkeys ‘chana’ it is good for you. I did that.
After visiting Mangalnath temple, we told riskshawala Rajubhai to go to Gujarati Samaj. It is located onTilak Road. It is on height and you have to climb up stairs, but older and disable persons can also use lift. We came to know that there is good residence facility in Gujarati Samaj with affordable price. But as we were already got rooms in hotel Girnar, we took our lunch there.
Generally, most of Gujaratis who go on holiday tour or pilgrimage prefer Gujarati (which is by default vegetarian) food. If there is doubt of not getting vegetarian or Gujarati food, they took dry snacks like ‘Chewado’, ‘Sakarpara’, ‘Gathia’, ‘Bhakharwadi’ etc. from home. They like hot food. And as rain was coming hot food was need of body also, especially Roti. We got good hot Gujarati food- Roti, Shaak (vegitable), Bhaat (rice) and Daal.
In the evening, we visited famous temples ofUjjaincity. One such temple is Harsiddhi maa, also known as Harsiddh maa.. I believed that Raja Vikram used to worship Harsiddhi Maa. OnetempleofHarsiddhimaa is located near Porbandar inGujarat. After that we visited Mahakali maa’s temple, which is also known as ‘Gadh Kali maa’. Then we went Kaal Bhairav. As per mythology and shastras, Bhairav is fierce (Rudra) form of Shiv. One such form is known as Kaal Bhairav. We saw lots of monkeys there also. It is believed good to dedicate wine to this deity. This is exception case in deity. As most of deity are dedicated ‘Prasad’ of Sakardaliyas, Revadis, Sings, Pendas etc. Those who drink wine can take Prasad of wine after it is dedicated to Kaal Bhairav. When you purchase ‘Prasad thaal’ including wine, there is great chance that monkey will rush to catch Prasad. So the hawkers sell ‘Makai na doda’ (Bhutta). I offered bhutta to monkey, but my father in law didn’t, so one monkey rushed to him but as my father in law was aware, monkey just got some flowers poured on itself. After Kaal Bhairavdada’s ‘darshan’ we visited Sandipani Ashram.
In the night, we preferred not to have dinner. We had snacks. At 9 pm, we visited Mahakal again to check whether we had got permission for ‘Bhasm Aartee’. My wife on whose name one form was filled had gotten permission. She could bring one more person with her. Reason may be she is woman. I had also gotten permission. But only I could witness ‘Bhasm Aartee’. We were surprised to see that one other Gujarati soni family’s all four or five members got permission. I was not able to understand how they choose names for ‘Bhasm Aartee’,
Ok. We went to hotel and took brief sleep. At 2 am we woke up. With raining, weather was cold, but bath was necessary. There is rule for Bhasma Aartee. If you are man, you have to wear dhoti. Upper half body should be uncovered. You can not bring any thing with you. And if you are woman, you must have to wear Sadi (saree as wrongly spelled in English by Bhartiyas also) blouse. As I told, it was cold, but rule is rule my friend, as Firoze Khan tells in his last film ‘Wel Come’.
It was a long queue. Many people had stood up early at 2 or 2.30. Turn by turn, we were forwarding ahead. I had brief quarrel with one lady who was pushing me aside. I could not understand why people push up to see the deity when their turn is bound to come. Some people also jump to get ahead in queue. This is cheating, cheating to yourself and Ishwar. Can it be fruitful to you? I think, no.
After all the ‘darshanarthee’ did ‘pooja’, we were told to sit in ‘Nandy Hall’. Then ‘Bhasma Aartee’ started which we were able to see through television sets. It was really wonderful scene. Brahmins were giving bath to Mahakaal. Then they drew tripund, eyes, nose,mouth on black ling with Chandan (Sandal). They attached silver ears to him. They wore him ‘mugut’ (crown). They wore him ‘Mala’ (chain) of leaves. Chanting slok (again wrongly spelled as Slokas in English) was started. Atmosphered was totally charged. All audiences were also chanting ‘dhuns’ and ‘jai jaikar’. Suddenly lights got off. In the light of lamp, Mahakal was looking very awesome. After ‘Bhasma Aartee’ which lasted for an hour, was complete, we came outside. Now we were in search of some carwala who could take us to ‘Omkareshwar’. The texiwalas near hotel girnar were telling us high price. So we walked little towards railway station. One carwala stopped near us and was ready to take us. We got in car and our journed to Omkareshwar started.
(continue in second part)
(For second part click: http://jaywant-pandya.blogspot.in/2011/08/journey-to-omkareshwar-ujjain-where-you.html)