Ujjain is situated at a distance of 56 km from Indore and is one of the holiest cities for Hindus. It is situated on the bank of the sacred river Shipra in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Having mythological legends, the city also has a long and distinguished history. This ancient city was governed by great emperors like Vikramaditya and Ashoka. Kalidas, the great poet wrote his soul stirring poetry here.
Today, Ujjain represents an interesting amalgamation of an age-old legacy and the modern day lifestyle.
There are numerous shops and stalls outside the Mahakal Temple. Papier-mache articles, lacquer ware and beadwork can be had at these shops and stalls. Wonderfully carved objects like penholders, glasses, plates and images of Gods and Goddesses can be bought here. The stone carved images with delicate hues can be the best buys of the visitors.
Ujjain faces extremes of temperature during the summer months. Summers extend from April to June and the temperature touches a maximum of 45 degrees centigrade. Loo(hot winds) blow in summers. November to February are the winter months. Winters remain pleasant and cool. Moderate to heavy rainfall is received during the months of June to September.
The Kumbha Mela in Ujjain
Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir: Above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar Temple, the large ornate statue of Ganesh here makes this temple a popular pilgrimage spot.
Navagraha Mandir (Triveni): Situated on the Triveni Ghat of the Shipra, the temple is located away from the old site of Ujjaini town. It is dedicated to the nine planets, attracts large crowds on new moon days falling on Saturdays. Its religious importance has increased in recent years though there is no known reference to it in the ancient texts.
Chintaman Ganesh Temple: On the opposite bank of of the River Shipra, this temple of considerable antiquity and a popular place of pilgrimage, the idol here is believed to be self formed. The artistically carved pillars of the assembly hall date back to the Parmara Periods.
Vikram Kirti Mandir: This Mandir has the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum and an art gallery. Actually, a cultural centre, it is dedicated to the memory of King Vikramaditya - the much honoured King of Ujjain.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Ujjain
Mahakaleshwar temple: The temple of Mahakaleshwara has high shikhara dominating the skyline and life of Ujjain. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the lingam at Mahakaleshwara is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, it is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself). It is believed that it derives its shakti or power, from within itself. The south facing idol of this majestic shrine is one of its kind, a positioning upheld by tantric traditions and found only in Mahakaleshwara among the 12 Jyotirlingas. Every Mahashivaratri, in the month of March, a fair is held near the temple.
Chintaman Ganesh temple: This temple is situated on the opposite bank of the River Shipra and is a considerable antiquity and a popular place of pilgrimage. The idol here is believed to be self formed. The artistically carved pillars of the assembly hall date back to the Parmara Periods.
Bhartrihari Caves: These caves are named after the great scholar poet Bhartihari, who lived and meditated here. These caves are situated on the banks of the river Shipra near Gadkalika Temple.
Vedh Sala ( Observatory)
This is an observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh between 1725 and 1730 AD. Ujjain is considered the Greenwich of India, with the first meridian of longitude passing through it. This observatory is smaller than those in Jaipur or Delhi but it's still in use and quite interesting. Astrologers can purchase the complete year's astronomical ephemeris in both English and Hindi at the observatory for Rs15 only.
Apart from these attractions there are many more to see at Ujjain. There are many nearby tourist destinations also like Dewas, Agar, Nagda, Sailana, Maksi, Mandsaur, Gandhi Sagar and Bhanpura.
How to Reach Ujjain
Air: The nearest airport is at Indore (55 Kms.) and is connected by air with Bhopal, Bombay, Delhi and Gwalior.
Rail: Ujjain has a railway station on the Western Railway line and connected with major cities in India.
Road: Good roads connect Ujjain with Ahmedabad (402 Kms.), Bhopal (183 Kms.), Bombay (655 Kms.), Delhi (774 Kms.), Gwalior (451 Kms.), Indore (53 Kms.), Khajuraho (570 Kms.), Mandu (158 Kms.).