There has been a tradition of worshiping serpents in Hinduism for centuries. In Hindu tradition, serpents are also considered as ornaments of Lord Shiva. There are many temples of snakes on the land of India, one of these temples is Nagchandreshwar’s Mandi in Ujjain, which is situated on the third floor of the famous Mahakal temple of Ujjain.
The special thing about this Nagchandreshwar temple is that this temple is opened only on one day in a year on Nagpanchami (Shravan Shukla Panchami) for the darshan of common devotees. It is believed that Nagraj Takshak himself resides in this temple.
This temple of Nagchandreshwar also has a wonderful statue of 11th century, in this amazing statue of Nagchandreshwar Shiva-Parvati are sitting on the seat of a snake spreading its hood. It is said that this statue was brought here from Nepal. Apart from Ujjain, there is no such statue anywhere in the world.
This is the only temple in the whole world, in which Lord Bholenath is seated on a snake bed instead of Lord Vishnu. In the ancient idol installed in the temple, Shivaji, Ganeshji and Mother Parvati are seated on a ten-mukhi snake bed. Bhujang is wrapped around the neck and arms of Shivashambhu.
Sarparaj Takshak did severe penance to persuade Shivshankar. Bholenath was pleased with his penance and he gave the boon of immortality to Takshak Nag, the king of snakes. It is believed that from then on the Takshak king started living in the company of the Lord.
But before residing in the Mahakal forest, it was his intention that there should not be any disturbance in his solitude, so it has been the practice for years that he is available for general darshan only on the day of Nagpanchami. The rest of the time the temple remains closed as per tradition in his honor. After visiting this temple, a person becomes free from any kind of snake defects, so there is a long queue of devotees outside this temple which opens on the day of Nagpanchami.
This temple is very ancient. It is believed that Parmara Raja Bhoj built this temple around 1050 AD. After this the present temple was renovated by Maharaj Ranoji Scindia of Scindia Gharana in 1732. At that time this Nagchandreshwar temple was also renovated. Everyone’s wish is that they get a glimpse of Shiva Shambhu sitting on Nagraj. More than two lakh devotees visit Nagdev in a single day.
The doors of the temple are opened every year at 12 o’clock in the night for the darshan of Lord Nagchandreshwar, which is held once a year on Nagpanchami, which remains open for the next 24 hours. At 12 o’clock on the night of Nagpanchami, there is an aarti in the temple and the doors of the temple are closed again.
The worship of this temple of Lord Nagchandreshwar ji and all the arrangements etc. are done by the monks of Mahanirvani Akhara.
On the occasion of Nagpanchami, separate entry arrangements are made for the devotees who visit Baba Mahakal and Lord Nagchandreshwar. Their lines are also different. The doors of the temple are opened for the general visitors at 12 o’clock in the night, but the crowd of devotees who have darshan starts in the line from evening itself and waits for their turn.
On the day of Nagpanchami, special worship is done by the collector at around 12 noon. This is a special puja at the government level. This tradition is going on for a long time. After this, worship is also done by Shri Mahakaleshwar Management Committee at around 8 o’clock in the night.