Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Guidance About Mahakaleshwar Temple Aarti

Mahakaleshwar Temple Aarti Entry

We were told that the aarti begins at 4 a.m. and if we were to offer our own puja (prayer) separately, we’d have to do it after the aarti and we might spend a couple of hours waiting. There are two ways to gain entry into the temple to watch this aarti –- one is through the free entry line, where you don’t have to pay except for any offerings that you want to take in. The other is through a “VIP” ticket, which lets you into a shorter line and helps you gain quicker entry to the sanctum. Furthermore, if you’re in the free entry line, you’re allowed to wear what you want, as long as it is appropriate. If you’re in the VIP line, men have to wear the traditional dhoti, and women must wear sarees.

Mahakaleshwar Temple Aarti VIP Tickets

While everyone told us that the VIP tickets are available at the shrine board throughout the day, it is actually available only between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Since we arrived in Ujjain in the evening, we missed this window, and had to opt for the free entry line.

The “VIP” ticket is a feature of most popular temples in India. However, the perks of the “VIP” ticket vary. In Tirupati (possibly the most popular shrine in India), for example, the free entry line has a waiting time of 12 to 20 hours, and sometimes days. Using a VIP ticket shortens the wait time to about two hours or less, essentially letting you jump the line. But, the free entry and VIP lines merge before you enter the sanctum, so that eventually there is no difference in the two entry types.

In Ujjain, however, we found that the VIP entry assures you really that -- VIP treatment.

Aarti Free Entry Line

Firstly, only a hundred devotees are allowed through the free entry line, so you are advised to join the line early enough to ensure you get through. We were told that 2 a.m. was a good time to go to the temple to avoid the rush. On arriving at 2 a.m., we found a family of 7 already there -- who’d been told to join the queue at midnight, just to be sure. Then ensued a long wait, in the bone-chilling cold. We were skeptical about the warnings of crowding until 3 a.m., when people began coming in and the line quickly grew to about 200 to 300 people behind us. There were no announcements, no signs of life within the temple, nothing to tell us that the aarti would even happen, until at 4.20 a.m. when the doors were opened to go through security check.

The waiting halls within the temple have been equipped with screens telecasting live from within the sanctum to allow people who miss the entry to watch the aarti. So while a hundred people are actually allowed into the main complex, the others are allowed to remain in the waiting hall and watch the aarti on the screen. To avoid wasting time in security check, it is better not to carry anything except your offering into the temple. We passed through security check into the waiting hall to find that the aarti had already begun, with the “VIP” entrants already in the complex. They were also allowed to participate in the first ablutions of the God.

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Photo Mahakal Mandir in Ujjain,
Mahakaleshwar Temple Ujjain Live Darshan
Mahakaleshwar Temple Ujjain India


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