A great devout center on the banks of river Shipra, Ujjain, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is regarded as a sacred place since time immemorial. A holy city, which found its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as Avantika, Ujjain positioned in equal terms with other major religious centers. Later the name was changed to Ujjayini, which literally means the glorious conqueror.
One among the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, Ujjain has been a high-flying center of spiritual activities for over 2,000 years. The sacredness of this township is attributed by the mythological legend that during ‘Sagar Mathan’, one drop of nectar spilled over Ujjain, which makes it a sacred place. Whatever be the truth behind this, Ujjain has got a considerable position in the Vedas and it is believed that two parts of Skanda Purana, are supposed to have been composed here.
From Vedic period onwards, Ujjain has assigned with the status of a great learning centre. Sandeepani Ashram is that legendary place where Lord Krishna and his best friend Sudhama were imparted knowledge under the great sage Sandeepani. Nearby surroundings of this famous learning center is known, as Ankapata.
Bade Ganeshji Ka MandirSituated near the tank of the Mahakaleshwar Temple, Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir holds a colossal statue of the elephant-headed God. The elephant head of the deity signifies wisdom, discretion and foresight that the Hindus attribute to divinity.
A tiny locale in Ujjain, Bhairogarh is situated near to Siddhavat. This beautiful hamlet is famous for its ancient technique in cloth printing. Clothes of Bhairogarh with its marvelous tie and dye paintings were very popular among people for centuries.
Bhartruhari Caves in Ujjain is believed to be the place where Bhartrihari, the step brother of Vikramaditya, have lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. His famous works, Shringarshataka, Vairagyashataka, and Nitishataka, were possibly written here.
Chaubis Khamba Temple
An impressive structure, which belongs to ninth or tenth century AD, Chaubis Khamba Temple presents an architectural marvel. The majestic entrance gate of the magnificient Mahakala-Vana, the remains of which provides an amazing spectacle. Two splendid images of goddesses are depicted on each side of the gate with the inscription of their names on the foot steps.
Chintaman Ganesh Temple
Built around 11th century, this Ganesh stone temple is located in the middle of the market. A marvelous shrine in white, the deity in this temple is believed to be Swayamabhu. The temple displays finely-carved stone pillars in the assembly hall which proves its age-old inviolability.
A former capital of two princely states, Dewas is Located in the Malwa plateau at the foot of the Chamunda Hill. Founded in the first half of the 18th century, Dewas is the administrative center of Dewas District in Madhya Pradesh. The term, Dewas, literally means the abode of god, and the city holds a marvelous shrine of Devi Chamunda on the majestic Devi Vaishini hill.
Situated on the suburban of Ujjain, Gadkalika temple is dedicated to goddess Kalika. This pretty shrine holds an amazing legend which states that, Kalidasa, the great poet had acquired his literary skills by his sincere devotion to this deity.
The legendary place where Lord Krishna believed to have summoned the holy rivers from all the pilgrim centres so that his old Guru can peacefully do all the rituals. Gomti Kund is a steeped water tank, which situates near to the Sandipani Ashram.
Dedicated to lord Krishna, Gopal Temple in Ujjain presents a classic example of Maratha architecture. Built in the 19th century, by Bayajibai Shinde, this huge temple is placed in the middle of a big market. Its strategic position in the heart of the city attributes the popularity of the temple.
One among the shaktipeeths of Hindu Mythology, Harsiddhi Temple, in Ujjain is the abode of numerous Goddesses of Hindu Pantheon. One among the fascinating aspect of this shrine is the structure which is made up of a rock smeared with turmeric paste and vermilion .The temple turns magnificient on the eve of the Navaratri festival, when hundreds of lamps on the 15 feet lamp stand being lit together.
Jantar Mantar (Vedh Shala Observatory)
Ujjain was the hub of all activities of Hindu astronomers and astrologers from ancient times, which paved the way for establishment of an observatory in the 17th century. In local phraseology this observatory is called as Jantar Mantar, which is a plagiaristic form of Yantra and Mantra.
Kal Bhairav Temple
Bhairav is a fierce materialization of Lord Shiva, and the city of Ujjain has numerous shrines dedicated to this ferocious manifestation. Kal Bhairav temple is believed to be associated with the Tantra cult, a heretical secret religious group with brawny black magic nuances. The temple premises are mottled with holy men with ash smeared body and long matted hair.
Situated on an island in the river Shipra, Kaliadeh Palace was built in the year 1458 AD by the Sultans of Mandu. The palace was demolished at the time of the Pindaris and was restored to its former glory by Madhav Rao Scindia in 1920. The central hall, which is surrounded with galleries, presents a classic example of Persian architecture. Though lost in the loneliness of the torrents of Shipra River, even now, this water palace holds some religious significance. People from the nearby villages took a dip in one of the tanks, which is called as Surya Kund.
MahakaleshwarTemple, cited by the great poet Kalidasa in his works, is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is a five-storied massive structure and its carved motives displays the Rajput style of architecture while screens and pavilions combined with marble colonnades reminds the influence of Mughal style. The deity here is called Dakshinamurtias since the idol is facing southwards.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, Mangalnath Temple is a greatly respected holy place situated in Ujjain. As per the inscriptions in Matsya Purana, Mangalnath is said to be the birthplace of Mars. Mangalnath Temple is placed on a serene surroundings and it overlooks the vast stretch of water in the majestic Shipra River.
Nagarkot Ki Rani
An ancient temple in the south-western part of Ujjain, Nagarkot Ki Rani is considered as the guardian deity of ancient Ujjaiyini. Nagarkot Ki Rani literally means queen of the city wall. Situated on the mire fortifications, this place has got tremendous archaeological importance.
Navagraha Mandir (Triveni)
A unique temple dedicated to the Planets of Our Solar system, Navgraha Mandir in Ujjain indicates that the planets need to be propitiated to avoid a negative influence. In India, Astronomy and Astrology adorned a pivotal role in the life of people of ancient times and the popular belief is that each planet exercises an influence on the lives of people.
Patal Bhairav Temple
A legendary temple, which holds an astounding story about the power of the mother Goddess, Patal Bhairav Temple adorns a prime position.
Pre-Islamic India held peers and saints with great respect and it is believed that they have attained spiritual awareness through stern atonement. Matsyendra, a peer belonged to the Natha sect of Saivism lived in the outskirts of Ujjain, and Pir Matsyendranath is dedicated to the memory of this great leader.
Ram Janardhan Mandir
Constructed by Mirza Raja Jaisingh in the Seventeenth Century, Ram Janardan temples present an eye-catching look. Presenting an outstanding structural elegance, these temples depict masterpieces of Maratha paintings on their walls. The Maratha Kings added some of the structures in the temples in the eighteenth century. The imposing pictures on the walls of the temples add the charm of the temples.
Dedicated to Lord Ram who is flanked by his consort Sita on one side and brother Lakshman on the other side, Ram Mandir in Ujjain is a eye catching spectacle. Built in the 17th century, this fabulous shrine is a finest example of structural brilliance. The walls of the pretty shrine are decorated with beautiful paintings.
Ram Mandir Ghat
Ram Mandir Ghat, located near the Harsiddhi Temple in Ujjain is famous for its Kumbh Mela. Kumbh Mela is held in every 12 years. Ram Mandir Ghat, Ujjain is the most ancient bathing ghat in connection with the Kumbh celebrations.
The Ancient Indian Tradition of gurukul imparts education to students irrespective of their wealth or poverty. Besides a variety of subjects and ancient scriptures, in gurukul, students were taught battle techniques and spiritualism. From the vedic period itself, Ujjain was a reputed center of learning.
Siddhavat a tiny locale at Ujjain is well known for the immortal Siddhavat Tree situated on the banks of the Shipra. Blessed with religious sanctity, Siddhavata as the Akashyavat in Prayag and Gaya, Vanshivat of Vrindavan and the Panchavata of Nasik. Thousands of pilgrims take a dip in the Shipra from the bathing ghat built here. According to one tradition, Parvati is believed to have performed her penance here. It used to be a place of worship for the followers of Natha sect.
Vikram Kirti Mandir
The Vikram Kirti Mandir in Ujjain has been established in order to jog the memory of the young generation about the glory of the Mauryan Age. A cultural centre, which is established on the occasion of the second millennium of the Vikram era, the Vikram Kirti Mandir holds the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum, an art gallery and an auditorium.