A Unique Shrine of Lord Kal Bhairav

Kal Bhairav Mandir

Attributed to King Bhadrasen, as documented in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana

Abstract :

The Kal Bhairav Temple, nestled on the banks of the Shipra River in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, stands as a testimony to centuries of devotion, Maratha influence, and unique rituals. This research article offers an in-depth exploration of the history, religious significance, and distinctive practice of offering liquor to the guardian deity, Kal Bhairav.

Introduction :

Ujjain, an ancient city steeped in tradition, hosts the Kal Bhairav Temple, dedicated to Kal Bhairav, the chief of the Ashta Bhairava. This temple, flanked by the Shipra River, is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of unique traditions that intrigue devotees and visitors alike. The temple’s history, architecture, and rituals provide insights into the rich tapestry of Ujjain’s religious heritage.

Historical Background :

The Kal Bhairav Temple is rooted in history, with its original temple attributed to King Bhadrasen, as documented in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana. Over time, the temple evolved under different influences. The existing structure, which reflects Maratha architectural aesthetics, was restored by the Maratha general Mahadaji Shinde. After the Maratha defeat at the Third Battle of Panipat (1761 CE), Mahadaji Shinde offered his pagri to the deity, a gesture believed to have contributed to his later success in reviving Maratha rule in North India.

Images of deities, including Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, and Ganesha from the Paramara period (9th-13th century CE), have been discovered at the temple site. Though the temple walls were once adorned with Malwa paintings, only faint traces remain today.

Deity and His Significance :

The chief deity of the Kal Bhairav Temple is Kal Bhairav himself, depicted as a rock face layered with kumkuma or vermilion. His silver head is adorned with a distinctive Maratha-style pagri. In Hindu tradition, Kal Bhairav holds a special place as the guardian and Senapati (Commander-in-Chief) of Ujjain. His worship is deeply rooted in the Saivite tradition, with Ujjain being a prominent center for sects such as Kapalika and Aghora that venerated Kal Bhairav.

Unique Ritual of Liquor Offering :

One of the distinctive aspects of the Kal Bhairav Temple is the ritual offering of liquor to the deity. This practice, a part of tantric rituals known as panchamakara, involves offering five items: madya (alcohol), maansa (meat), meena or matsya (fish), mudra (gesture or parched grain), and maithuna (sexual intercourse). While all five offerings were made in the past, today only alcohol is offered, while the others are symbolically ritualized.

Devotees offer bottles of liquor to the temple deity, and the priest conducts a unique ritual. He pours the liquor into a saucer, presents it to the deity, and a miraculous event unfolds. As the saucer tilts, the liquor seemingly disappears into the deity’s lips, which possess a mysterious slit. Approximately one-third of the offered liquor is returned to the devotee as prasad.

The temple’s priest maintains that the deity miraculously consumes the liquor and that this phenomenon can only be performed by him. Attempts by others to replicate this miracle have purportedly failed.

Contemporary Practices :

The practice of offering liquor at the Kal Bhairav Temple continues unabated. Visitors and devotees remain awestruck by the enigmatic phenomenon, despite not being allowed to closely examine the deity’s statue. Although there are no official figures, it is estimated that hundreds of liters of liquor are offered daily.

During the 2016 Ujjain Simhastha, a significant religious gathering, the state government temporarily banned liquor sales in Ujjain. However, an exception was made for the shops in front of the Kal Bhairav Temple, which were allowed to sell alcohol during the event.

Conclusion :

The Kal Bhairav Temple in Ujjain is a captivating blend of history, spirituality, and unique traditions. Its architectural heritage, strong Maratha influence, and the mysterious practice of offering liquor to the deity make it an intriguing destination for pilgrims and enthusiasts of religious customs. The temple’s enduring traditions continue to be an integral part of Ujjain’s religious landscape, drawing visitors and devotees from far and wide.

Editor – Kaalchakra Team

[ Note – Before Concluding anything as a Finale, Please Go through Original Scriptures of Vaidik Literature Written in Sanskrit and Also with Meaning of That time of Language. Because English is a Limited language to Explaining the Deeper Knowledge of Vaidik Kaal. ]