Legend has it, that Siva commemorated his victory over the demon ruler of Tripuri, by changing, the name of his capita,l from Avantika to Ujjayini (One who Conquers with Pride). It is also believed that King Vikramaditya held court in Ujjain. Many dynasties ruled over this prosperous city, and it is said, to have been, the seat of the viceroyalty of Asoka, in 275 BC. His sons were born here, and it was from here, that they set out to preach Buddhism. The poet Kalidasa, one of the Nava Ratna (Nine Gems) of Hindu literature, wrote some of his works here. Ujjain stands on the first meridian of longitude for Hindu astronomers, who believed, that the Tropic of Cancer also passes through the site. This explains the presence of the Vedha Shala observatory, southwest of town, built by Raja Jai Singh II of Jaipur around 1730 ,when he was the Governor of Malwa, under the Mughals.
The Simhastha Kumbh Mela, is a mammoth fair, whose magnificence and awesome spectacle of the bathing ritual, defies description. Beginning on the full moon day in Chaitra (April), it continues into Vaishakha (May), until the next full moon day. Ujjain turns, amidst a riot of colours, into an India in miniature. The names of Kalidasa and Ujjayini are inextricably linked together in the Indian traditions. It is in Kalidasas Meghdoot, a poem of a little over hundred verses, that the poet describes, the imaginary passage of the cloud over Ujjayini. In it, there is a lyrical description of the city, and the people, which conjures up a vivid picture of a civilized attractive society, a leisured class, intensely practical and yet imbibed with deeply religious and philosophical preoccupations.
Climate & Geogaphical Location
The summers are dry and hot while the winters are cool and pleasant. Only 56 km from Indore, Ujjain is situated on the right bank of the River Shipra.
How to Reach
Ujjain is well connected by road, rail and air. By air, the nearest airport, Indore is connected by air with Bhopal, Mumbai, Delhi and Gwalior. By rail, Ujjain is the nearest railhead on the western railway line and is connected with Mumbai, Ahmedabad and other major cities in India. Good motorable roads connect Ujjain with Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Mumbai, Delhi, Indore, Gwalior, Khajuraho and Mandu.
The presiding deity of time, Shiva, in all his splendour, reigns eternal in Ujjain. This temple of Lord Shiva, with its lingam, is one of the 12 Jyotirlings and is known as the shrine of Mahakaleshwar. With its shikhara soaring into the skies, it evokes primordial awe and reverence with its majesty. The Mahakal, dominates the life of the city and its people, even in the midst of the busy routine of modern preoccupations, it provides an unbreakable link with past traditions.
The stars and the skies, seemed fascinating in the 17th century too. That would perhaps explain, the number of observatories, that we have in India. Ujjain enjoyed a position of considerable importance in the field of astronomy. Great works on astronomy, such as the Surya Siddhanta and the Panch Siddhanta, were written in Ujjain. This 17th century observatory, has a planetarium and a telescope, to observe the moon, Mars, Jupiter and their satellites and is also used for weather forecasts. Built by Raja Jai Singh, who was a great scholar, and who translated the works of Ptolemy and Euclid, into Sanskrit from Arabic.
BADE GANESHJI KA MANDIR - Close to Mahakaleshwar, this temple enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, the son of Shiva. An idol of this size and beauty, is rarely found. The middle of the temple, is adorned by an idol of the pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman.
BHARTIHARI CAVES - According to legend, the caves near Gadkalika Temple, are where the great scholar - poet Bhartihari lived and meditated.
CHINTAMANI GANESH - A temple of considerable antiquity and a popular place of pilgrimage, the Ganesh idol, enshrined here, is supposed to be swayambhu - born of it self. Riddhi and Siddhi, the consorts of Ganesha, are seated on either side of Ganesha.
GOPAL MANDIR - Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde, in the 19th century, constructed this huge temple. A beautiful example of Maratha architecture, the sanctum sanctorum, is inlaid with marble and doors are silver-plated.
HARDIDDHI TEMPLE - An important shrine of Goddess Annapurna, this temple occupies a special place, in the galaxy of ancient sacred spots of Ujjain. Seated between the idols of Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati, the idol of Annapurna is painted in dark vermilion colour.
KAL BHAIRAVA - The specialty of this temple, is its intricate paintings in the Malwa style. The worship of the eight Bhairavas is a part of Saivite tradition and the chief among them is Kal Bhairava, believed to have been built by King Bhadresen, on the banks of the river Shipra.
KALIADEH PALACE - This island-like site, immediately conjures up the natural beauty of ancient Ujjain ,which poets down the ages, have waxed lyrical verses.
NAVAGRAHA MANDIR - The ruling planets, have always had an important place, in the Indian rituals and tradition. Situated on the Triveni Ghat of the Shipra, the temple is located, away from the old site of Ujjaini town. This temple is dedicated to the nine ruling planets (Navaghra).
PIR MATSYENDRANATH - This is an extremely attractive spot on the banks of the Shipra, quite close to the Bhartihari Caves and the Gadkalika Temple. It is, dedicated to the memory of one of the great leaders of the Natha sect of Saivism - Matsyendranath.
SANDIPANI ASHRAM - Ujjain apart from its political and religious importance,enjoyed the reputation of being a great seat of learning, as early as the Mahabharata period, is borne by the fact, that Lord Krishna and Sudama received regular instruction in the ashram by their guru.
VIKRAM KIRTI MANDIR - This mandir has the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaelogical museum and an art gallery. Actually, a cultural centre, it is dedicated to the memory of King Vikramaditya - the much honoured King of Ujjain.
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