Ujjain, stands glamorously among many other Indian sacred and holy cities. The early history of Ujjain is lost in the midst of antiquity. According to ancient Hindu scriptures it was originally called Avantika. later King Shiva of Avanti commemorating his triumph over the demon king of Tripuri, changed it to Ujjainyini (one who conquers with pride).
It is a very holy city for the Hindus, a site for the triennial Kumbh mela. There are many great mythological legend about Ujjain city. Apart from mythological legends, the city has a long distinguished history. It was governed by the likes of Vikramaditya and Ashoka. Kalidas wrote his souls stirring poetry here.
In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini. As mentioned in the Mahabharata epic, Ujjayini was the capital of the Avanti Kingdom, and has been the Prime Meridian for Hindu geographers since the 4th century BCE. Ujjain is one of the seven sacred cities(Sapta puri) of the Hindus, and the Kumbh Mela religious festival is held there every 12 years. It is also home to Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva and is also the place where Lord Krishna got education with Balarama and Sudama from Maharshi Sandipani.
Since Ujjain is one of the oldest cities in India, it has been known by many names:
|Ujjain is situated on the right bank of River Shipra,on the Malwa Plateau in Central India that originates from the Kakri Bardi Range in Indore district, Ujjain forms the eastern district of Madhya Pradesh, the heart-state of India. The district of Ujjain is surrounded by the districts of Shajapur in the north, Ratlam in the east, Dhar in the west, and Indore and Dewas in the south.
Ujjain is located at 23.182778°N 75.777222E. It has an average elevation of 491 metres (1610 ft).
Climate (deg C): Summer- Max. 40, Min. 20; Winter- Max. 28, Min. 10.
Ujjain experiences typical climate conditions of the interior Indian subcontinent. The summer months (April-June) are harsh with temperatures reaching up to 45°C. In addition, hot winds (called loo) may blow in the afternoons, worsening the heat. The winter months (Nov.-Feb.) are pleasant and cool with daytime temperatures typically 20°C, though it may drop to subzero in the night. The monsoon typically arrives in late June and the months of June till September receive moderate to heavy rainfall. There are periods of rainfall followed by long periods of bright sunshine and high humidity. The month of October generally is very warm and with high humidity.
History of Ujjain:
The discovery of ancient silver and copper coins enables historians to reconstruct the basic pattern of administrative and kingship systems. In 326 b.c., the Greeks arrived in India led by Alexander the Great, who crossed into India and met King Porus on the banks of the River Jhelum. The Greeks stayed on for 18 months, after which they began their long march back. Alexander left behind ambassadors and vassals to rule the territories he had conquered upto Jhelum.
In the Post-Mauryan period, the city was ruled by the Sungas and the Satavahanas consecutively. It was contested for a period between the Satavahanas and the Ror Sakas (devotees of Shakumbari), known as Western Satraps; however, following the end of the Satavahana dynasty, the city was retained by the Rors from the 2nd to the 4th century CE. Following the enthroning of the Gupta dynasty, the city soon became an important seat in the annals of that empire. Ujjain is considered to be the traditional capital of King Chandragupta II, also known as Vikramaditya, at whose court the nine poets known as the navaratna (nine jewels) of Sanskrit literature are said to have flourished.
In the 6th and 7th centuries, Ujjain was a major centre of mathematical and astronomical research. The famous mathematicians who worked there included: Brahmagupta, whose book Brahmasphutasiddhanta was responsible for spreading the use of zero, negative numbers and the positional number system to Arabia and Cambodia; Varahamihira, who was the first to discover many trigonometric identities; and Bhaskaracharya, or Bhaskara II, whose book Lilavati broke new ground in many areas of mathematics.
Ujjain was invaded by the forces of the Delhi Sultanate led by Iltutmish in 1235, suffering widespread destruction and systematic desecration of temples. Under the Mughal emperor Akbar it became the capital of Malwa.
These regents who were responsible for administering Indian territories in Alexander's name, eventually came to be known as Kshatrapas (vassals) and the Mahakshatrapas (senior vassals). This was around the Saka era in the 1st century a.d. From Saka coins found in Ujjain, it is believed that a Kshatrapa would succeed a Mahakshatrapa, indicating the influence of a foreign rule in Ujjain. A glass stamp inscribed with the name Asadevas, a lid with the name Nagabhudhis and an ivory stamp with the name Gothjastiscus were discovered in Ujjain as well. All carved, moulded, inscribed or stamped coins, rings and stamps are conserved in various museums in Madhya Pradesh.
During the last half of the 18th century Ujjain was the headquarters of the Maratha leader Sindhia. The Scindias later established themselves at Gwalior, and Ujjain remained part of Gwalior state until Indian Independence in 1947. Gwalior state became a princely state of the British Raj after the Maratha defeat in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, and Gwalior, Ujjain, and the neighboring princely states were made a part of the Central India Agency. After Indian independence, the Scindia ruler of Gwalior acceded to the Indian Union, and Ujjain became part of the Madhya Bharat state. In 1956 Madhya Bharat was merged into the Madhya Pradesh state.
Educational Institutions in Ujjain:
Primary and secondary education in Ujjain is offered by various schools which are affiliated to one of the boards of education, such as the Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education and CBSE Schools in Ujjain are either government run or are private (both aided and un-aided by the government).
Ujjain is well known for its university, Vikram University. It is the second oldest University in Madhya Pradesh,established in 1957. The city has one Government aided Engineering College Ujjain Engineering College (UEC) and numerous privately run Engineering and Management institues. Medical Colleges include Government aided Govt. Autonomous Dhanvantri Ayurveda College & privately held R.D.Gardi Medical College.
Ujjain is the modern name for Ujjayini. Legend has it that in the hoary past, the God like king Shiva of Avanti commemorated his victory over the demon-ruler of Tripura or Tripuri on the banks of the Narmada by changing the name of his capital, Avantipura to Ujjayini (one who conquers with pride).
The magnificence and awesome spectacle of the bathing ritual at Simhastha 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.
Festive occasions and fairs are an important part of the lives of people in Ujjain. An ancient religious centre, Ujjain is famous for the Kumbh Mela, a month-long fair attended by thousands of Hindu devotees. Locally known as Sinhast,the fair is held every 12 years, beginning on the full moon in the month of Chaitra (March-April) when Jupiter is in Scorpio and the Sun is in Aries.
The Ardha Kumbh(half Kumbh) is held every six years. Legend has it that a kumbh (pot) containing nectar arose from the depths of the ocean because of a tug-of-war between the gods and the demons. The ocean was churned with the help of the snake Vasuki, and Mount Meru.
Ujjain was previously a centre of the textile industry with a number of textile mills in and around the city. These mills have since closed, leaving hundreds unemployed. Religious tourism is also a contributor to the economy, especially during the Simhasta Mela.
The business for small traders is booming because of money brought in by the young professionals working in MNC's in other cities. Because of this many shopping complex and developmental projects are coming up in the city.
A number of new infrastructure projects are under construction. Major investments are planned by some of the leading companies in steel sector (like SAIL) to utilize Ujjain as a base for regional supply. With cheaper land & labour costs Ujjain is creating enough attention for new investments.
Madhya Pradesh tourism also promotes other cultural activities held in Ujjain. The state is the centre of cultural activities and festivals such as the Malwa Utsav, a festival of folk and classical music, and the All IndiaKalidasa Festival. These festivals are held annually in Ujjain by the government of Madhya Pradesh. Dedicated to the 4th century poet Kalidasa, the Kalidasa Festival honours the creative talent of authors, poets and playwrights.
Ujjain also generates huge revenue from the boost given to the economy by the holy fair of Kumbh Mela locally known as Simhastha.Ujjain city has two legislative assembly zones, known as Ujjain North and Ujjain South. For Parliamentary purposes it is treated as one seat.
The soil is black and stony. The vegetation is typical of arid regions with thorny trees like babul and acacia dominating the landscape. Soybean, wheat, jowar and bajra are the main crops grown.The belief in the sacredness of Shipra, has its origins in the ancient Hindu mythological tale of churning of the Ocean by the Gods and the Demons, with Vasuki, the serpent as the rope. The ocean bed first yielded fourteen gems, then Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and finally the coveted vessel of Nectar. Then began the wild scramble for immortality with the demons chasing the Gods across the skies, and in the process, a few drops were spilt, and fell at Hardwar, Nasik, Prayag, and Ujjayini. Hence the sanctity of the waters of the Shipra.
In addition to the ruins of antiquity, Ujjain tourism offers information on number of interesting monuments. such as the Jai Singh Observatory, the Choubis Khamba Darwazaand the Kaliyadeh Mahal, apart from the numerous temples in the periphery of the town. A dip in the holy river Shipra is supposed to pave the way to Heaven for human beings. The river flows north passing through the bathing sites of Mangalghat, Narsimhaghat, Ramghat and Siddhavat before reaching the Rana Pratap Sagar Dam and finally draining into the Chambal River. The adjoining terrain is interspersed with teak and cultivated farmlands.
Modern Ujjain is a major agricultural and textile trade centre, as well as the district headquarters. The fertile plains of Ujjain receive electricity from the Gandhi Sagar Dam on the Chambal River.
The district is fertile enough to produce sorghum, wheat, cotton, pulses, legumes and poppy. Cotton ginning and milling, oilseed milling, hand weaving and the manufacture of metal ware, tiles, hosiery, confectionery, strawboard and batteries are flourishing industries in Ujjain. In the suburb Bherugarh, aka Bhairavgarh, chippas or dyers and printers use vegetable dyes and hand-carved teak to print ancient designs and patterns on cotton saris, tapestries, hangings, bed sheets and mats.
How to reach Ujjain?
Nearest Railway Station:Ujjain is a railway station on the Western Railway.
1. Ujjain Junction main
|Nearest Airport:Nearest Airport Indore (53 km) is connected to Bombay by Indian Airlines Continental Airways also operates flights from Bombay to Indore.|
Road Transport:Regular bus services connect Ujjain with Indore, Bhopal, Ratlam, Gwalior, Mandu, Dhar, Kota and Omkareshwar etc.
Ujjain is well-connected by rail, air and road. It is on the Western Railway and is connected by direct train to most major Indian cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Lucknow, Jaipur, Kanpur, Nagpur, Patna, Indore, Jabalpur, Bhopal Junction, Coimbatore, Mysore, Thiruvananthapuram, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Jammu, Agra, Kota, Rajkot etc).
Ujjain has an air strip. The nearest airport is Indore Airport, which has daily flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahemdabad, Bangalore, Nagpur, Raipur, Bhopal, Jabalpur.
The road network is developed with other parts of Madhya Pradesh. Private buses ply on these roads, though it is best to take your own vehicle for short distances.
Ujjain is connected to Indore through SH-27 and SH-18 Dewas-Badnawar passes through it.
An extensive network of old but inexpensive three-wheelers called tempoes serves the majority of the population. Three-wheeler auto-rickshaws are also quite popular. City buses have been introduced recently, which ply between all the important parts of the city. The city administration seeks to gradually replace the tempoes with city buses. Recent years have seen an explosion of privately owned vehicles, especially two-wheelers unsuited for the traffic, that congest the narrow thoroughfares.
Tourist Attraction of Ujjain:
Mahakala of Ujjain is known among the twelve celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The glory of Mahakaleshwar temple has been vividly described in varoius puranas. Starting with Kalidasa,many sanskrit poets have eulogised this temple in emotive terms.The tradition of Mahakala in minds of the people is eternal Ujjain used to be centre point of the calculation of the Indian time and Mahaklala was considered as the distinctive presiding deity of Ujjain.
The Mahakaleshwar temple at Ujjain is located near a lake; it has five levels, one of which is underground.The temple itself is located in a spacious courtyard surrounded by massive walls. The shikhara is adorned with sculptural finery. Brass lamps light the way to the underground sanctum. It is believed that prasada offered here to the deity can be re-offered unlike all other shrines.
Bade Ganeshji ka Mandir :
There is a sculptured image of Lord Ganesh in this temple, close to the tank near Mahakaleshwar.This temple situated above the tank near the Mahakaleshwar temple, enshrines a huge artistic sculpture of Ganesh, 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 pancha-mukhi (five faced) Hanuman. There is provision for learning of Sanskrit and Astrology in the temple.
Chintamani Ganesh :
A temple of considerable antiquity and popular place of pilgrimage, the idol here is believed to be self formed.The temple is built across the Shipra on the Fatehabad railway line. The Ganesh idol enshrined here is supposed to be swayambhu - born of itself. The temple itself is believed to be of considerable antiquity. Riddhi and Siddhi, the consorts of Ganesha, are seated on either side of Ganesha. The artistically carved pillars in the assembly hall date back to the Paramara period. Worshippers throng to this temple because the deity here is traditionally known as Chintaharan Ganesh meaning "the assurer of freedom from worldly anxieties".
Regarded as the birthplace of Mars according to the Skanda Purana, Mangalanath commands a panoramic view of the shipra. Mahadev is worshipped at the temple here.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. Since Muslims as well as the followers of the Natha sect call their saints 'pir', the ancient site of Pir Matsyendranath is venerated by both. Excavations at this site have yielded some antiquities which date back to the 6th and 7th century BC.
Harsiddhi Temple :
An important shrine with the image 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. The Sri Yantra, the symbol of power or shakti, is also enshrined in the temple. According to the Shiva Purana, when Shiva carried away the
The enormous banyan tree on the banks of the Shipra has been vested with great sanctity.
The worship of Kal Bhairava is carried out here and the temple was noteworthy for its exquisite painting in the Malwa style, traces of which still remain. Close by is the village of Bhairogarh, famous for its ancient technique in cloth printing
Gopal mandir :
A sanctum inlaid with marble and silver plated doors constitute the main attraction of this temple.This huge temple is situated in the middle of the big market square. It was constructed by Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharajah Daulat Rao Shinde in the 19th century. It is a beautiful example of Maratha architecture. The sanctum sanctorum is inlaid with marble and doors are silver plated. The door in the inner sanctum is said to have been carried to Ghazni from the Somnath temple and from thence by Mahmud Shah Abdali to Lahore. Mahadji Scindia recovered it and now it has been installed in this temple.
Pir Matsyendranath :
Dedicated to the memory of Matsyendranath, a great Shaivite leader of the Natha sect, this ancient site has a scenic setting on the banks of the Shipra. A place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Muslims, this site has yielded antiquities during excavations carried out here, which date back to 7 and 6 BC.
The deity in this temple is believed to have worshipped by Kalidasa. Renovated in 7 AD by the Emperor Harshavardhana, it was restored yet again in the Parmar and, in modern times, by the erstwhile Gwalior State.
Navgraha ka Mandir (Triveni):
Situated on the Triveni Ghat of Shipra, this temple is dedicated to the nine planets.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.
These caves are situated just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadkalika. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, who is said to have been the step brother of Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. He is believed to have been a great scholar and poet. His famous works, Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak, and Nitishatak, are known for the exquisite use of the Sanskrit meter.
Situated on the banks of the Shipra, the island-like site immediately conjures up the natural beauty of ancient Ujjain which poets down the ages have waxed lyrical. The glorious landscape of the flowing river on both sides of the palace and the man-made tanks and channels, with water gurgling through them, provide a spectacular backdrop to the imposing building.
Durgadas Ki Chhatri:
This distinctive monument glows like a small jewel in the surrounding lush landscape. Vir Durgadas earned a secure niche for himself in the history of Marwad by his undaunting, selfless service to the State. He fought for the independence of Jodhpur after the death of Maharaj Jaswant Singh and helped Ajit Singh to ascend the throne against the wishes of Aurangzeb.
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. According to Indian astronomers, the Tropic of Cancer is supposed to pass through Ujjain. It is also the fist meridian of longitude of the Hindu geographers. From about the 4th century BC, Ujjain enjoyed the reputation of being India's Greenwich. The observatory extant today was built by Raja Jai Singh (1686-1743), who was a great scholar. He translated the works of Ptolemy and Euclid into Sanskrit from Arabic. Of the many observatories built by him at Jaipur, Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura, and Ujjain, the one at Ujjain is still in use actively. Astronomical studies are conducted through the Department of Education and the ephemeris is published every year. There is a small planetarium and a telescope to observe the moon, Mars, Jupiter and their satellites. The observatory is also used for weather forecasts
Vikram Kirti Mandir:
Established on the occasion of the second millennium of the Vikram era, as the cultural centre to perpetuate the memory of Vikramaditya, the Vikram Kirti Mandir houses the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum, an art gallery and an auditorium. The Scindia Oriental Research Institute has an invaluable collection of 18,000 manuscripts on various subjects and runs a reference library of important oriental publications. Rare manuscripts in Prakrit, Arabic, Persian and other Indian languages cover a wide range of subjects from Vedic literature and philosophy to dance and music. Palm leaf and bark leaf (Bhurja Patra) manuscripts are also preserved in this institute. Apart from an illustrated manuscript of Shrimad Bhagavata in which actual gold and silver have been employed for the paintings, the Institute has a rich collection of old paintings in the Rajput and Mughal style. The museum also exhibits a rich array of images, inscriptions, copper plates and fossils discovered in the narmada valley.A huge skull of a primitive elephant is of special interest
This academy was set up in Ujjain by the Government of Madhya Pradesh to immortalize the memory of the great poet dramatist-Kalidasa, and to create a multi-disciplinary institution to project the genius of the entire classical tradition, with Kalidasa as the apex, enable research and study in Sanskrit classical and traditional performing arts, and facilitate its adaptation for contemporary stage in different cultural settings and language groups. The Academy complex consists of a theatre, museum, library, lecture and seminary halls, mini stage for rehearsals, research facilities for scholars, and a large open air theater
The fact that ancient 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 out by the fact that, Lord Krishna and Sudama received regular instruction in the ashram of Guru Sandipani. The area near the ashram 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.
Hotels/Lodge/Accommodation in Ujjain:
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