), is an ancient city situated on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River in the Malwa region of central India. The city is today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh, and it is the administrative center of Ujjain district and Ujjain Divsion. 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 Amrit was discovered, there was a chaos between the gods and demons to have the nectar first and thus attain immortality. During this chaos a drop of nectar spilled and fell on Ujjain, thus making the city sacred.
Apart from the rich tapestry of myths and legends surrounding the city, Ujjain has stood witness to a long and distinguished history: it was home to legendary rulers including the renowned king Chandragupta II, great scholars such as Brahmgupta and Bhaskaracharya, and literary gems like Kalidasa. Since the 4th century BC, the city was considered the prime meridian by Hindu astrologers, and it was placed as the centre of the world in numerous ancient world maps. In the past, Ujjain was variously known as Arin
to the outside world. Ujjain is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, known as Saptapurior Mokshapuri, Ujjain has been a prominent centre of religious activities for over 2,000 years. The township is particularly mentioned in the Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas (ancient Hindu texts written between 1,000 to 800 b.c.). Two parts of the Skanda Purana, another ancient holy text, are supposed to have been composed here.
Today, Ujjain represents an interesting blend of an age old legacy and the modern day lifestyle.
Places to see in Ujjain
This temple of Lord Shiva with its lingam is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. It is also known as the shrine of Mahakaleshwara. The temple has an idol of Omkareshwara Shiva consecrated in the sanctum above the Mahakal Shrine. The temple also has images of Ganesh, Parvati, Kartikeya and Shiva's Bull, Nandi.
Bade Ganeshji ka Mandir:
There is a sculpted image of Lord Ganesh, in this temple, close to the tank near Mahakaleshwar.
A temple of considerable antiquity and a popular place of pilgrimage, the idol here is believed to be self formed.
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.
Another important shrine with the image of Goddess Annapurna.
The speciality of this temple is its intricate paintings in the Malwa style.
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.
A sanctum inlaid with marble and silver plated doors constitute the main attraction of this temple.Gopal 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.