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When I visited Ujjain last time my friend Prof. Brijesh Pare, (Department of Chemistry, Madhav Science P.G. College, Ujjain) assured me that if I visit Ujjain again then he will take me to attend Bhasma Arti of Mahakaleshwar. I was in Ujjain again and as promised Dr Pare ensured that I attend this unique ceremony. He asked for my ID proof so that he can arrange passes for our visit to Mahakaleshwar temple for Bhasma Arti.

He asked me to take bath at 2.30 AM and be ready so that we can proceed to temple of Mahakaleshwar. I got up at 2.15 AM, took bath and got ready. Exactly at 2.45 AM, Dr Pare arrived in the guest house to pick me up. Dr Prasad, a retired ISRO scientist from Hyderabad and his wife also accompanied us. We reached Mahakaleshwar Temple at around 3.10 A.M. and were surprised to see many ladies children and gents were already there at the temple. We were not allowed to take mobile, camera etc. inside the temple and gents were to enter only in dhoti. We did not have dhoti so we got the same from a shop where we kept our clothes and chappals also. We joined the queue to enter in the temple of Mahakaleshwar. At 3.30 AM security asked us to keep our passes and ID proof ready and after the check up we were allowed to enter in the temple. We followed a set path and again we were stopped by security to wait. At 4 AM we were told that only 5 minutes are kept for jalabhishek by the devotee so we rushed up to get water in our patra (lota) from a water pond in the temple premises and followed the queue. At 4.30 AM we were allowed to reach to the main temple and offer water to Mahakaleshwar in just few seconds only and immediately we were pushed out of the temple by the pujaris. I could not stop myself for touching the Shiv Linga. After that we came out and sat in front of the main gate of the temple comfortably. It was a very neat and clean place with 3 huge LCD TVs so that one can watch very clearly what is happening inside the temple. Now Pooja started. Pujaris were chanting mantras and I saw around 8-10 older ladies are inside wearing the same type of clothes. Probably they were the regular devotees of Mahakaleshwar. Suddenly they all offered water to Mahakaleshwar and then left the temple without joining us. Then mantars were chanted continuously and first jalabhishek means water was offered to Mahakaleshwar. Then milk was offered and again cleaned with water and now dahi (yoghurt) was put all over the Shiva ling. They further cleaned and now offered Bhang (as solution) to the deity and cleaned by water. Now they dried all around with a cloth and a priest started making tilak, nose and moustaches of Mahakaleshwar. Finally they put three eyes on Shiva ling which  probably was made up of silver. A bunch of flowers were kept on top of the Shiva ling. It was looking as if Mahakaleshwar is looking towards us and giving us blessings. Now with a small cloth the face part of Shiva linga was covered.

In the mean time I saw that a Aghori sadhu having ashes all over his body was inside the temple. An old priest came and announced that all the ladies please cover the face and don’t watch Bhasma Arti of Mahakaleshwar. The oldest priest was now visible with a white clothes full of ashes of the burnt dead body brought by the Aghori sadhu from shamshan. He started shaking that cloth vigorously over the Mahakaleshwar and ash started pouring as fine dust all over the shiva linga. It was a very unique to witness this part of the Bhasma Arti of Mahakaleshwar. Whole atmosphere was having a strong divine feeling and everyone was just mesmerized to see what was happening. After some time entire temple was full with ashes but no one was having any problem and many pujaris were inside.

The aghori sadhu was inside the temple watching the entire pooja from a distance. Chanting of arti “OM Jai Jai Mahakal” was now at full swing along with ghantas, damroo and small drums being played. Whole atmosphere was having a complete different feeling and we all forgot everything except the Arti of Mahakaleshwar. I was thinking and was also thanking God that how kind he is on me to give this life time opportunity. I was also feeling very grateful to Dr Pare who took all the pains for me and was with us since 3 AM. Arti was going on and everyone was totally in a different world being blessed by the Mahakaleshwar. It was such a divine experience which cannot be simply explained by words but you have to be there to feel it and witness it. At 5.30 AM Dr Pare reminded me that its time for me to leave for Indore so that I can catch early morning flight to Lucknow. In fact I never wanted to leave as I wanted to live every second of this unique years old celebration called Bhasma Arti of Mahakaleshwar. With a very heavy heart we all left the Mahakaleshwar temple with a hope to be there again and again. I was thinking that it is my scientoons which are giving me such wonderful and amazing opportunities and incredible experiences otherwise I would have never known Dr Pare and may not be there in Ujjain. Jai Mahakaleshwar! Please keep on showering your blessings on me ever forever!!!!!!!!


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