One of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, the lingam at the Mahakal is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself), deriving currents of power from within itself as against the other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti. The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti, facing the South. This is a unique feature, upheld by tantric tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Shiva 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 idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan only on the day of Nagpanchami. The temple has five levels one of which is undergound. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhara or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasada (holy offering) offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other shrines.
Significance:There once lived a Brahmin in Avanti, who had four sons, who were great devotees of Lord Siva. Dushanan, a demon was giving trouble, disturbing all good & religious activities. The brahmins from all over the land gathered with the four sons & performed pooja to Lord Siva. The spot where they had taken mud to make the Lingam, had become a huge pond. When Dushanan came to disturb their pooja, Lord Siva rose from this pond as Mahakaleshwarar & destoryed Dushanan. On the request of the brahmins, Lord Siva gave darshan to devotees at this sthalam, one of the JyotirLinga sthalams. Location: Ujjain State: Madhyapradesh