Ujjain is an ancient city beside the “Kshipra River” in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh Tourism. An important Hindu pilgrimage destination, it’s known for the centuries-old Mahakaleshwar Temple, “a towering structure with a distinctively ornate roof“.
First impressions don’t always impress. And that’s the case with Ujjain. But wander away from the chaotic station area towards the river ghats and some of Ujjain’s famous temples, via the city’s maze of alleyways, and you’ll discover an older, more spiritual side to Ujjain that has been attracting traders and pilgrims for hundreds of years. An undeniable energy pulses through the sacred sites here – not surprising given this is one of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities and also one of the four cities that hosts, every 12 years, the gigantic “Kumbh Mela” pilgrimage festival. An estimated 75 million people crowded into Ujjain during the month of its most recent Kumbh Mela in 2016.
Places Of Interest
Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams, the sacred abodes of Shiva. It is located in the city of Ujjain in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. It is a three-storey temple, on the side of the lake called Rudra Sagar.
The main deity, Shiva in the Lingam form is believed to be swayambhu (“born of itself“), deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti. The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be Dakshinamurti, facing the South. This is a unique feature, upheld by tantric tradition to be found only in Mahakaleshwar among the 12 Jyotirlingas. The idol of Omkareshwar Shiva is consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal Shrine. The images of Ganesh, Parvati and Karttikeya are installed in the West, North and East of the sanctum sanctorum. To the south is the image of Nandi. The idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for Darshan only on the day of Nag Panchami. The temple has five levels one of which is underground. The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls near a lake. The shikhara or the spire is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum.
Shrimant Ranojirao Shinde the founder of Scindia dynasty in northern India, renovated the Famous Jyotirling temple of Shri Mahakaaleshwar.
This temple, situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar Temple, contains a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesha, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty is rarely to be found. The middle of the temple is adorned by an idol of the Panch-Mukhi (five-faced) Hanuman. There is a provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.
Chintaman means “the assurer of freedom from worldly anxieties“. This temple is built across the Shipra(Kshipra) river on the Fatehabad railway line. The Ganesh idol in this temple is supposed to be swayambhu – born of itself. Riddhi and Siddhi, the consorts of Ganesha, are seated on either side of Ganesha. The temple is considered to be of considerable antiquity. The artistically carved pillars in the assembly hall date back to the Paramara period. The temple is about 15 km from the main city. Every Wednesday people come for special “Darshana“.
This famous temple is said to have been built by famous King Vikramāditya. Vikramaditya is said to have visited Miyani, then known as Minalpur, a port city ruled by Prabhatsen Chavda of Chawda dynasty. Vikramadiya was blessed by the Devi. He requested Harsidhhi Mata, to come to his kingdom at Ujjain, where he would worship her daily. She is also known as Vahanvati Mata. This temple occupies a special place in the galaxy of ancient sacred spots of Ujjain. The temple is dedicated to Annapurna, seated between the idols of Mahalakshami and Mahasaraswati, the Annapurna is painted with a dark vermillion colour. The Shri Yatra, the symbol of power or Shakti, is also enshrined in this temple. According to Shiva Purana, when Shiva carried away the burning body of Sati from the sacrificial fire, her elbow dropped at this place. There is an interesting legend in the Skanda Purana about the manner in which the Goddess Chandi acquired the epthet of Harsidhhi. Once when Shiva and Parvati were alone on mount Kailasha, two demons called Chanda and Prachanda tried to force their way in. Pleases Shiva bestowed upon her the epithet of Harsidhhi means ‘one who vanquishes all’.
The temple was reconstructed during the Maratha period and has two pillars adorned with lamps, that are special features of Maratha art. There is an ancient well on the premises, and an artistic pillar adorns the top of it.
The worship of the Eight Bhairavas is a part of Saivite tradition, and the chief among them is Kala Bhairava. The Kal Bhairava temple is believed to have been built by King Bhadrasen, on the banks of the Shipra. Mentioned in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana. Important for the Tantric Kapalika and Aghora sects, of which Ujjain was a prominent centre. Beautiful paintings in the Malwa style once decorated the temple walls, only traces of which are visible. The village of Bhairogarh, famous for its printing, takes its name from the temple, and is located very near.
Shiva or Mahadeva is the deity which is worshipped in Mangalnath temple. The Mangalnath temple is situated away from the bustle of the city and looks down upon a vast expanse of the Kshipra River. It is regarded as the birthplace of Mars (“mangala in Hindi”), according to the Matsya Purana. Famous for a clear view of the planet and hence suitable for astronomical studies.
Constructed by Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde, in the 19th century. The door in the inner sanctum is believed to have been carried to Ghazni from the Somnath temple and from thence by Mahmud Shah Abdali to Lahore, from where it was rescued by Mahadji Scindia.
This is very attractive spot on the banks of Shipra River, quite close to the Bhartrihari Caves and the Gadkalika temple. The shrine is dedicated to a leader of the Natha sect of Shaivism- Matsyendranath. It is also venerated by Muslims. Excavations here have yielded artifacts dating to the 6th and 7th century BC.
Features an enormous banyan tree on the banks of the Kshipra, considered sacred since the medieval ages. This banyan tree has got the same significance as that of akshayavata in Prayag and Gaya, Vanshivata of Vrindavan and Panchavata of Nasik. Thousands of people take dip in the kShipra River from the bathing ghats built here. According to one tradition, Parvati is believed have performed her penance here. It used to be a place of worship for the followers of the Natha sect. The little village of Bhairogarh near Siddhawat is famous for its tie-and-die printing for centuries. In ancient times, when the trade with other counties flourished, exquisitely printed cloth from Bhairogarh used to find its way to Rome and China.
It is situated on the banks of kShipra River and a beautiful ancient site. It is believed that there was once a majestic Sun temple at this site. The Avanti-mahatmya of Skanda Purana has recorded a description of the Sun temple and two tanks, The Surya Kunda and the Brahma Kunda. Remains of old temple are scattered all around. A fragmented inscription of this place records building of the palace in 1458 AD, in the time of Mahmud Khilji. The central dome of the palace is a beautiful example of Persian architecture. Two Persian inscriptions record the visits of Akbar and Jehangir to this palace. The palace was broken by the Pindaris and was restored by Madhav Rao Scindia in 1920
Ujjain in ancient times, enjoyed the reputation of being a great seat of learning as early as the Mahabharata period. According to Puranic traditions, in the Ashrama of Guru Sandipani, Krishna and Sudama received their education. The area near the ashrama is known as ankapata, popularly believed to have been the place used by Lord krishna for washing his writing tablet. The numerals 1 to 100 found on a stone are believed to have been engraved by Guru Sandipani. the Gomti Kunda, referred to in the Puranas, was the source of water supply to the ashrama in the olden days. An image of Nandi, belonging to the Shunga period, is to be found near the tank. The followers of the Vallabha sect regard this place as the 73rd seat of the 84 seats of Vallabhacharya where he delivered his discourses throughout India.
Ujjain Simhastha is a Hindu religious mela held every 12 years in the Ujjain city of Madhya Pradesh, India. The name is also transliterated as Sinhastha or Singhastha. In Hindi, the fair is also called Simhasth or Sinhasth (due to schwa deletion). The name derives from the fact that it is held when the Jupiter is in Leo (Simha in Hindu astrology).
The Ujjain Simhastha started in 18th century as an adaptation of the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha. The Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh (1695 CE) is the earliest extant text that mentions the term “Kumbh Mela“. The book mentions Ujjain as a very sacred place in its description of the Malwa Subah. However, it does not mention any fair at Ujjain, although it mentions the melas at Haridwar (an annual mela and a Kumbh Mela every 12 years), Prayag (an annual mela in Magh) and Trimbak (a mela held every 12 years when Jupiter enters Leo). Like the fairs at Prayag (Allahabad) and Nashik, the Ujjain mela was not called a “Kumbh Mela” until the 19th century: that term was originally used only for the Haridwar fair.
Best Time to Visit Ujjain
October to March are the best months to visit Ujjain. However, Ujjain is accessible to tourists throughout the year. The Summers are quite hot with temperatures rising upto 45 degrees, just like the other parts of Madhya Pradesh Tourism, and the Winters are comparatively more pleasant with the temperature in the day going upto 20 degrees, while the nights are relatively very cold at 3 degrees. Hence, we recommend you to visit Ujjain during the winters especially in the month of March because that it is when the mega Kumbh Mela kicks off every 12 years.