Recently I have been to Mhow, a place very near to Indore. Ujjain is around 55 kilometers from Indore. Ujjain is a famous tourist destination with great history of invasions. So, how could I resist visiting this city. There are a lot of places worth visiting in Ujjain. Ujjain is the modern name of the city of Ujjaini (Ujjayini, Avanti, Avantikapuri).Ujjain is situated on the banks of the river Shipra(Kshipra), regarded since times immemorial as sacred. Here, I describe the places I visited with some photographs.
I visited the Mahakaleshwar temple which is one of the 12 Jyothirlings in India. Shri Mahakaleshwar Ling is one of the 12 Jyothirlings in India which is situated on the South of the city, by the side of Shipra(Kshipra) river.
Near Shri Mahakaleshwar temple a big statue of Ganeshji is installed. In the center of the temple Panchmukhi Hanumanji’s idol is installed.
There is a Kal Bhairav temple in Ujjain which is very famous as the idol of Kal Bhairav is served alcohol. Kal bhairav is an avatar (incarnation) of lord Shiva.
Around 2 km from Ujjain there is Garh(pronounced Gadh) Kalika Devi Temple, it is situated on a small hill. It is believed that great poet Kalidas gained immense knowledge from a boon of Garh Kalika Devi.
King Bhartari(Bhathruhari) cave is located at south of Garh Kalika Devi temple. This is a place where king Vikramaditya’s elder brother king Bhartari used to meditate after he renounced his throne. King Bhartari was disappointed that the queen he loved most was in love with a man who kept horses in the stable. Hence, King bhartari left his kingdom and meditated for around 12 years in this cave.It is believed that Lord Indra got frightened of Bhartari’s meditation(Tapasya) and to break his meditation he threw a rock at the king. The king stopped it with one hand and the impression of his hand can be seen on that rock.
Navagrah Shani Mandir(Temple) is located 6km from the city at a place known as Triveni sangam. Here Shani temple is built and close to it is the Navgrah Mandir. At this temple statues of nine planets are located.
Harsiddhi Devi’s temple has a special status among the ancient and sacred places of Ujjain. It is believed that she is Vikramaditya’s Aradhya Devi.
King Vikramaditya was a great and popular ruler of Ujjain. He was a devotee of Harsiddhi Devi. Sinhasan Battisi and Betal Pachisi named stories are still famous about the courage of King Vikramaditya. Yeah, it is the same vikramaditya from the stories of Vikram and Betal.
Maharshi Sandipani’s Ashram was the prime Gurukul of India. According to Shrimad Bhagwat Gita it is here that lord Krishna, his brother Balram and Sudama acquired knowledge from Maharshi sandipani. Here Lord Krishna provided river Gomati’s water in a ‘kund’ to Guru Sandipani. Hence, this kund is called Gomati kund.
Shri Chintamani Ganesh’s temple is situated at a distance of 6 km from Ujjain city. Near this temple there is an old well known as Ban Ganga. It is believed that Laxmana made this well when Sita was thirsty. Later Sita established this temple of Chintamani Ganesh.
Mangalnath’s temple is situated over a hillock near the Sandipani Rishi Ashram on the bank of Shipra river in Ujjain. It is also believed to be the origin of Mars planet.
Some facts about Ujjain:
- One of the 12 jyotirlingas in India, the lingam at the Mahakal 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 imaginary line tropic of cancer passes through Ujjain.
- The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be Dakshinamurti, facing the south. This is a unique feature upheld by tantric traditions 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 story is open for darshan only on the day of Nagpanchmi.
- On the day of Mahashivaratri, a huge fair is held near the temple and worship goes on through the night.
- Great poets like Ved Vyas and Kalidas lauded the river Kshipra and the city of Ujjain in their literary work.
- Loard Krishna, his brother and his friend Sudama received their education living with Maharshi Sandipani in Ujjain.
- During ancient times astronomical studies were conducted from Ujjain. This is proved by the presence of a observatory. This observatory was built to study the planets. Also, one can have a good view of the planet Mars from the Mangalnath Temple in Ujjain.
- Ashoka, the great had been here for 11 years and received his education here.
- Ujjain witnessed the victory of Vikramaditya over the foreign invader Shaks and the commencement of ‘Vikram Samvatsar’ 2061years ago. Today, ‘Vikram Samvstsar’ is the oldest calendar in the Ujjain.
- Ujjain was the capital of renowned king Vikramaditya. His brother Bhrarthari became a dicipline of guru Gorkha Nath of ‘Nath Sampraday’ and renounced the world and meditated in the cave.
- It is believed that there was once a majestic Sun temple at the Kalia Deh site. The Avanti-Mahatmya of the Skanda Purana has recorded a description of the Sun Temple and two tanks, the Surya Kunda and the Brahma Kunda. People from nearby villages have a ritual dip in the Surya Kunda even today. Remains of the old temple are found scattered all over this area.
- A fragmented inscription of this place records the building of the palace in 1458, in the time of Mahmud Khilji. The story goes that the tanks were constructed all around to keep the temperature very low by Sultan Nasiruddin Khilji, the Sultan of Malwa in the 16th century, because he was in the habit of taking mercury which is very injurious to health.