Famous Temples and Spiritual Places in Madhya Pradesh

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, Ujjain
Deity: Lord Shiva

Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga dedicated to Lord Shiva, it is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams (shrines that are said to be the most sacred abodes of Lord Shiva). The temple is located in the ancient city of Ujjain, and situated on the side of the holy river KShipra. The presiding deity, Lord Shiva in the lingam form is believed to be Swayambhu, deriving power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams that are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti.

Omkareshwar Temple, Khandwa
Deity: Lord Shiva

Omkareshwar Temple is dedicated to God Shiva. It is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlingam shrines of Shiva. The temple is located on an island called Mandhata or Shivapuri on the south bank of Narmada River; the shape of the island is said to be like the Hindu ॐ symbol.

There are two main temples of Lord Shiva here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means “Lord of Omkaara or the Lord of the Om Sound”) located in the island and one to Amareshwar (whose name means “lord of the Immortals or Devas”).

Ram Raja Temple, Niwari
Deity: Lord Rama and Devi Sita

The Ram Raja Temple is a sacred pilgrimage and receives devotees in large numbers regularly, and is a famous Temple in Orchha. In India this is the only temple where Lord Ram is worshiped as a king and that too in a palace. A Guard of Honour is held everyday, security personnel have been designated as Guards at the temple, much in the manner of a king. The food and other amenities provided to the deity at the temple are a royal repast. Armed salutation is provided to Lord Ram every day.

In the temple Raja Ram is accompanied by Sita (on the left), brother Laxman (on the right), Hanumaan ji, Maharaj Sugreev and Narsingh Bhagwan (on the right). Devi Durga Maa is also present in the darbaar on the right side. The speciality of this temple is that Lord Ram has a sword in his right hand and a shield in the other. Shri Ram is sitting in Padmasan, with the left leg crossed over the right thigh.

Chaturbhuj Temple, Niwari
Deity: Lord Rama

Chaturbhuj Temple is dedicated to Vishnu. The name Chaturbhuj is a combination of ‘chatur’ meaning “four” and ‘bhuj’ meaning “arms” which literally translates to “one who has four arms” and refers to Rama an avatar of Vishnu. The temple has a complex multi-storied structural view which is a blend of temple, fort and palace architectural features.

The temple was originally built to deify an image of Rama, as the chief deity, which was installed in the Rama Raja Temple inside the Orchha Fort complex. At present an image of Radha Krishna is worshiped in the temple. The temple is noted for having one of the tallest Vimana among Hindu temples standing at 344 feet.

Kal Bhairav Temple, Ujjain
Deity: Kal Bhairav

Kal Bhairav (or Kala Bhairava) Temple is located in the Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh. It is dedicated to Kal Bhairav, the guardian deity of the city. Located on the banks of the Shipra River, it is one of the most active temples in the city, visited by hundreds of devotees daily. Liquor is one of the offerings made to the temple deity.

As the name suggests, the temple is dedicated to Kal Bhairav. The deity’s image is a face in form of a rock layered with kumkuma or vermilion. The deity’s silver head is adorned with a Maratha-style pagri, a tradition dating back to the days of Mahadaji Shinde.

Pashupatinath Temple, Mandsaur
Deity: Lord Shiva

Pashupatinath Temple at Mandsaur, also referred to as the Mandasor Shiva temple, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Temple belongs to Pashupatinath tradition which is one of 6 major tradition within Shaivism. It is located on Shivna River, and is known for its eight-faced Shiva Linga. The temple sculpture is dated to the 5th or 6th century based on inscriptions, with some referring to the site as Dashapura. It is near the Rajasthan border in the historic region of Malwa, about 200 kilometres from Indore, about 340 kilometres west of Udaigiri Caves. The site has been important to dating and the architectural studies of some distant sites such as the Elephanta Caves.

Khajrana Ganesh Temple, Indore
Deity: Lord Ganesha

Khajrana Ganesh Temple is a pilgrimage center in Indore, dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Temple was constructed by Rani Ahilyabai of Holkar dynasty.

As per a local belief, all the wishes of the devotees are fulfilled, once they worship in this temple. The main festival of this temple is vinayak chathurthi that is held in grand manner during the month of August and september.

Pitambara Peeth, Datia
Deity: Devi Baglamukhi

Shri Peetambra Peetha is a complex of Temples (including an Ashram), located in the city of Datia. According to ancient stories, it was a ‘Tapasthali’ (place of meditation) of many mythological as well as real life people. The Shivling of shree Vankhandeswar Shiva is tested and approved by the Archaeological Survey of India to be of the same age as that of the Mahabharata. It is primarily a Shakti-peeth place of worship (devoted to Mother Goddess).

Shri Peetambara Peetha is one of the most famous temples of Baglamukhi which was established by Shree Swami Ji in 1920s. He also established the temple of goddess Dhumavati within the ashram. Dhumavati and Bagalamukhi are the two of the ten Mahavidyas. In addition to those, there are temples of Parshuram, Hanuman, Kal Bhairav and other god and goddess spread across the large area of the Ashram.

Khajuraho Group of Monuments, Chhatarpur
Deity: Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Devi Shakti

Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Chhatarpur district, about 175 kilometres southeast of Jhansi. These are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism. The Khajuraho group of temples were built together but were dedicated to two religions, Hinduism and Jainism, suggesting a tradition of acceptance and respect for diverse religious views among Hindus and Jains in the region.

Most Khajuraho temples were built between 950 AD and 1050 AD by the Chandela dynasty. Historical records note that the Khajuraho temple site had 85 temples by the 12th century, spread over 20 square kilometers. Of these, only about 25 temples have survived, spread over six square kilometers. Of the surviving temples, the Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art.

Sanchi Stupa, Raisen
Deity: Lord Buddha

Sanchi Stupa is a Buddhist complex, famous for its Great Stupa, situated on a hilltop at Sanchi Town in Raisen District of Madhya Pradesh. It is located in 46 kilometres north-east of Bhopal. Sanchi is the center of a region with a number of stupas, all within a few miles of Sanchi.

The Great Stupa at Sanchi is one of the oldest stone structures in India, and considered as an important monument of Indian Architecture. It was originally commissioned by the emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BCE. Its nucleus was a simple hemispherical brick structure built over the relics of the Buddha. The original construction work of this stupa was overseen by Ashoka, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant of nearby Vidisha. Sanchi was her birthplace as well as the venue of her and Ashoka’s wedding. In the 1st century BCE, four elaborately carved toranas (ornamental gateways) and a balustrade encircling the entire structure were added.