Ujjan is situated on the right bank of River Shipra. It is a very holy city for the Hindus, a site for the triennial Kumbh Mela. According to Hindu scriptures, it was originally called Avantika. There is an interesting tale behind the sanctity of the city. It's origin is ascribed to the mythological legend of Sagar Manthan (churning of primordial ocean to discover the pot of nectar). The story goes that after the nectar was discovered, there was a chase between the gods and demons to have the nectar first and thus attain immortality. During this chase a drop of nectar spilled and fell on Ujjain, thus making the city sacred.
Apart from mythological legends, the city has a long and distinguished history. It was governed by the likes of Vikramaditya and Ashoka. Kalidas wrote his soul stirring poetry here.
More on M.P.
Legends of Kumbha
Today, Ujjain represents an interesting blend of an age old legacy and the modern day lifestyle.
What to See
Bade Ganeshji ka Mandir: There is a sculpted image of Lord Ganesh, in this temple, close to the tank near Mahakaleshwar.
Chintamani Ganesh: A temple of considerable antiquity and a popular place of pilgrimage, the idol here is believed to be self formed.
Bhartrihari Caves: According to legend, the caves on the banks of the river Shipra near Gadkalika Temple are where the great scholar-poet Bhartrihari lived and meditated.
Harsiddhi Temple: Another important shrine with the image of Goddess Annapurna.
Kal Bhairava: The speciality of this temple is its intricate paintings in the Malwa style.
Observatory: The stars and the skies seemed fascinating in the 17th century too. That would perhaps explain the number of observatories that we have in India. Even this 17th century observatory has a planetarium and a telescope.
Vikram Kirti Mandir: This mandir has the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum and an art gallery. Actually, a cultural centre, it is dedicated to the memory of King Vikramaditya - the much honoured King of Ujjain.
Gopal Mandir: A sanctum inlaid with marble and silver plated doors constitute the main attraction of this temple.
Navagraha Mandir: The ruling planets have always had an important place in Indian rituals and tradition. This temple is dedicated to the nine ruling planets(Navagraha means nine planets). It is located on the Triveni Ghat of the Shipra river.
Simhastha Kumbh Mela: It is a mammoth fair, held once in twelve years at Simhastha. The magnificence and awesome spectacle of the bathing ritual defies description.
Accommodation: Hotel Shipra (MPSTDC), Yatri Niwas (MPSTDC) and other medium budget hotels are available.
Information: Courtesy Government of India
Editor: Romola Butalia   (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.