The third jyotirlinga, Mahakaleshwara lingam is situated in the ancient city of Ujjain, on the banks of Rudrasagar lake in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
In this shrine, Lord Shiva is in the form of Mahakaleshwar, facing south and hence called as Dakshineshwar. Another unique feature about this temple is the shiv ling has a third eye which is not found in other jyotirlingas.
This temple is in five levels. The sanctum of Mahadev(omkareshwar) is above that of Mahakal shrine. The sanctum sanctorum is surrounded by the images of Ganesh, Parvati and Kartikeya in west, north and east directions respectively. Nandi, the vehicle of the lord is in the south direction.
The idol of Nagchandreswar is on the third floor and is open for darshan only on the occasion of Nag Panchami. Interestingly, one of the five storeys is situated under the ground and can be reached with the help of brass lights. On the occasion of Mahashivratri, a huge fair is held and special prayers are held until late in the night.
As far as the medieval history of the temple is considered, it was destroyed by Iltutmish in 1234-35. The present structure of this temple was constructed by a Maratha general, Ranoji Scindia in 1734. During the reign of Jayaji Rao Scindia, the temple premises used be the venue of major programs of Gwalior state.
There was a mention of this temple even in the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata and it is said that Lord Rama and the Pandavas worshipped the deity in their respective times during their exile. Devotees believe that their wishes are fulfilled when prayed with a pure heart in this temple. All these unique features make this temple one of the most visited Shiva temples in the country, especially during Mahashivratri.