Also known as Ujjayini and Avantikapuri, Ujjain is a city where one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva considered extremely holy by Hindus have been enshrined. Situated on the eastern bank of Kshipra River in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Ujjain has always held an important place in the mythology as well as history of India.
Ujjain is also the administrative center of Ujjain district and Ujjain division of Madhya Pradesh. The historical weightage of the city comes from the reign of one of the most famous Indian kings, Chandragupta II. Mythologically, the prehistoric ashram of Maharshi Sandipani makes Ujjain a valuable place. This ashram is believed to be the center of learning of Lord Krishna, his elder brother Balrama and his best friend Sudama. Ujjain is also one of the seven cities considered to be the most sacred by Hindus known as Saptpuri.
Major attractions in Ujjain
- Shree Mahakaleshwar Temple – Situated close to the Rudra Sagar Lake, Shree Mahakaleshwar Temple is one of the most popular temples of not only Ujjain but entire India. This is also the place where one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva has been sanctified. Held as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, the temple is built in Bhumija style of architecture. If you are planning a visit to the temple then the early morning Bhasma aarti is a sight not to be missed.
- Bhartruhari caves – Situated right over the shores of river Kshipra, Bhartrihari Caves are the most significant tourist spot of Ujjain. Supposedly, this is the place where Bhartrihari, the step-brother of Vikramaditya stayed and meditated after he gave up the worldly life. It is also believed that he could have written his famous works Shringarshataka, Vairagyashataka, and Nitishataka at this very place.
- Gomti Kund – Sited near the Sandipani Ashram, Gomti Kund is an ancient steeped water tank which was the main source of supply of waters to the ashram. Gomti Kund has a great mythological significance as well. This is the very place where Lord Krishna convened the holy rivers from all the pilgrimages to enable his Guru to perform the rituals.
- Kal Bhairav Temple – Furious manifestation of Lord Shiva is Kal Bhairav. There are a lot of temples in Ujjain dedicated to this materialization of Lord Shiva. The temple is full of saints having their body coated with ash and hair which are long and matted. It is believed that this Kal Bhairav temple bears associations with tantra sect which possess powerful black magic nuances. A Shiva Linga has been enshrined in the temple under a banyan tree. During the Shivratrti festivals, temple premise is full of devotees of Lord Shiva offering their prayers to the deity.
Other places of tourist interest in Ujjain are
- Pir Matsyendranath
- Sandipani Ashram
- Patal Bhairav Temple
- Kalideh Palace
- Ram Janardhan Mandir
- Chaubis Khamba Temple
- Gopal Mandir
- Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir
- Navagraha Mandir (Triveni)
- Ram Mandir
- Ram Mandir Ghat
- Chintaman Ganesh Temple
- Harsiddhi Temple
- Vikram Kirti Mandir
- Vikrant Bhairav Shrine
- Nagarkot Ki Rani
- Gadkalika Temple
- Mangalnath Temple
- Jantar Mantar (Vedh Shala Observatory) etc.
Nearby cities that can also be visited by tourists while on a trip to Ujjain are Indore (52km), Mandu(102km), Maheshwar(114km) and Bhopal(168km).
Best time to visit
Best time to visit this sacred city is between the months of October and March. The weather in Ujjain is at its best during these months. One can thoroughly relish a visit to Bhartruhari caves in months of November and December which is the peak time for winter season in this holy city.
How to reach
By Air – Nearest airport to Ujjain is Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport of Indore at a distance of 55 km. The airport is well connected other airports of the country.
By train – Ujjain has three railway stations, namely Ujjain Junction (UJN), Vikram Nagar (VRG), Berawanya (BRNA). All these have good connectivity with major cities of India.
By road – Ujjain is well linked by way of fine roads with rest of the country. State and private transport buses ply to and from Ujjain from almost all the major towns and cities of India.