Ujjain is an ancient city of India. It has immense religious and historical significance. It is located beside the River Shipra. A number of big and small temples are scattered throughout the city. This was the ancient city of Avanti and the tales of beauty and grandeur of this city is still found in the folklore of India.
Location : State/District
This is the headquarters of the Ujjain district in the state of Madhya Pradesh in central India.The latitude of Ujjain is 23° 11' 0" N and its longitude is 75° 46' 0" E.
Though Ujjain has a rich historical and cultural heritage, today it is principally known as a pilgrim center because of a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which is located here.
Hindu Pilgrim Center
Ujjain is a spot which is visited by devotees and their families. In addition, religious minded persons and ascetics from all orders of Hinduism gather in this city every year at the Maghi mela, every six years at the Ardh Kumbha and every twelve years at the Kumbha mela.
Tropical monsoon type of climate prevails over Ujjain. Summers are scorching hot and a hot dry dusty wind called loo blows during noon. This season lasts from March to June. Moderate rainfall occurs during the monsoon season that extends from June to September and brings much needed relief from the heat. The winter is pleasant and cool. Days are often bright. This season lasts from November to February. This is the best time to visit Ujjain. However, the largest number of pilgrims visits Ujjain at the time of the Kumbh Mela.
No special documents are necessary for Indian citizens to visit Ujjain. Foreign nationals must carry a valid passport with Indian visa in order to visit this city.
Places to Visit
The most important place to visit in Ujjain is the temple of Mahakaleswar. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity. It is one of the twelve jyotirlingas of India and is thought to be self created. the unique feature of Mahakaleswar is that it is the only Jyotirlinga that faces south. In addition to the Mahakal, idols of Parvati, Ganesha and Kartikeya and Nandi are found on the four sides while the idol of Omkareswar Shiva is situated on the sanctum above the Mahakal. The Nagchandreswar idol is present in the third storey. This idol is opened for darshan on only the day of Nagpanchami. Though the external visage of the temple do not appear to be very impressive, it is one of the most visited pilgrimage sites of India and Mahakal dominates the way of life of Ujjain in spite of its modern veneer.
Apart from the Mahakaleswar, there are a number of temples in Ujjain. These include Bade Ganesh ji ki mandir, Chintaman Ganesh temple, Harisiddhi temple, Kaal bhairav temple, Gopal mandir, Navagraha mandir etc. Among these, the Harisiddhi temple is a unique temple where a vermilion colored deity of Annapurna is placed between the idols of Mahalakshmi and Maha Saraswati. This temple is also the venue of the famous Sri Yantra.
The Kaliadeh palace is situated on the Shipra River amidst many water channels and lakes. The water bodies form a beautiful background for the imposing palace. It is a good example of Persian architecture.
Durgadas ki chhatri is a small but beautiful monument set amidst a lush landscape. It was erected in memory of Durgadas who offered selfless service to the state during the rule of Marwad.
Sandipani Ashram is another interesting spot in Ujjain. It was the ashram of sage Sandipani and Lord Krishna and his friend Sudama received their education here. The Vikram Kirti Mandir commemorates the achievements of king Vikramaditya. It has an archeological museum, an auditorium and an art gallery. The museum houses an impressive collection of 18000 manuscripts – many of which are rare and invaluable.
The most important activity to try out at Ujjain is to offer puja at the shrine of Lord Shiva in the temple of Mahakaleswar. Apart from this, a dip in the River Shipra is also considered a holy activity.
The Kumbh Mela is held every twelve years at Ujjain. According to legend, four drops of the divine nectar or Amrita fell on earth when lord Vishnu conveyed it away from the demons. The Kumbh Mela is held by rotation at each of the four spots where the drops had fallen. Ujjain is one such spot. Millions of devotees visit the city during Kumbh mela. Visiting this mela and taking a dip in the Shipra at this time is considered to be a major activity in Ujjain.
There are several places near Ujjain which are of interest to tourists. You can visit Dewas located at a distance of 36 kms from Ujjain. The Chamunda Mata mandir and the Tulja Bhavani mata mandir of this town are very famous. In addition, there are a few other temples in the area.
Nagda, located 60 kms away from Ujjain has a number of archeological ruins. Ashoka visited here when he was the governor of Ujjain and remains from his time are found here.
Agar is an ancient archeological site located 66 kms from Ujjain. There are a number of temples here. The two most important temples are Sri Rani Sati Dadi ji’s temple and the Chintaharan Ganesh temple.
39 kms from Ujjain lies Maksi. There are a number of temples here, but the town is best known as an important Jain pilgrim destination. There are two beautiful Jain temples devoted to Parsvanath and Suparsvanath.
Ujjain is located only 56 kms away from Indore which is the commercial capital of the state. There are a number of tourist attractions in Indore including Lal Baag Palace, Kaanch mandir, Rajwada, Nehru Park and Indore museum, Mukteswar temple and many more.
Food & Accommodation
Traditional dishes and typical north Indian vegetarian and non vegetarian food are easily available in Ujjain. The Shivam restaurant, Sudama restaurant and Zharokha are hugely popular vegetarian restaurants. Other notable eateries are Duggar restaurant, Golden, Viru, Aarti etc. Food prices are quite reasonable.
There are a number of good hotels in Ujjain like Mittal Avenue, Imperial, Grand Tower, Satyam, Kanha etc. You can also easily find budget hotels in the city.
Safety and Security
The area in and around Ujjain are quite safe and secure. You should be careful in avoiding touts in the temple areas. Apart from this, the city enjoys a moderate degree of security and travel here is generally free of trouble.