Ujjain Travel Guide
Ujjain the ancient city of Madhya Pradesh is situated on the banks of the holy river Kshipra. It was also the capital of the ancient Avanti kingdom. Also known as the city of lord Shiva is among one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Every twelve years Kumbh Mela is organized here in which millions of devotees appear to take shahi snaan(bathing). This Ujjain travel guide will give you a complete list of tourist attractions.
Asoka the king of Ujjain has all his memories everywhere and on every corner of the city. The city was later reined by Chandragupta II who adopted the number system including negative numbers and zero. The renowned Navratnas were the gems of his court. The great poet Kalidas said that the city is the town fallen from heaven to bring heaven to earth.
Places to visit in Ujjain
Ujjain is known for its religious significance and ancient temples. Here are some of the must-visit places in Ujjain:
1. Mahakaleshwar Temple:
Eternal Shivlinga of lord Shiva situated at the garbh of the temple gives a soothing sight and the silence in the temple makes you feel calm and peaceful. Even in the busy routine of people, mahakaal dominates their life and connects then with the past traditions. There is no need to wait in the queue for hours except for Mondays as it is assumed to be the sacred day of mahakaal and on normal days you can take your time to worship and get a good view of Jyotirlinga.
2. Kaal Bhairav Temple:
The temple was built in praise of one of the eight bhairavs and the master of all, kaal bhairav. The temple is said to be built by King Bhadrasen on the banks of river Kshipra. Unlike any other temple, the tradition is totally different here as the devotees offer Liqour to the idol as a ritual. The worship of Kal bhairav is done by Kapalika and Aghora sects and the city is the main center for these sects
3. Bade Ganeshji Temple:
A new addition to the attraction list in Ujjain is the Bade Ganeshji temple which is situated at a walking distance from Mahakaleshwar temple. The temple is located over the tank and the enormous idol attracts many tourist as the size and beauty is rarely found. Learning of sanskrit and astrology is also followed at the temple as Lord Ganesha is known as the most intelligent god and attaining knowledge here is always admired by one and all.
4. Bhartrihari Caves:
Bhartrihari Caves are situated near the temple Gadkalika at the bank of river Ksipra. It is believed to be the spot where so called step brother of Vikramaditya, Bhartrihari lived and meditated his entire tenure of life. He was a great scholar and poet known for his famous works such as Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak and Nitishatak. These works are famous for their intense use of Sanskrit.
The enormous tree at the banks of river Kshipra is believed to be under the authority of religious sanctity. Most of the pilgrims take dip in the river as it is believed that once Goddess Parvati made her confessions here. The place is also used for performing the last rites in Hinduism and as per another believe, lord Ram came here to perform the last rites of his father.
6. Sandipani Ashram:
Ujjain apart from political and religious importance, is also known a great place of learning and this ashram is one of the places. It is said that Lord Krishna and his friend Sudama were instructed by guru Sandipani. The area nearby is known as ankapata, where lord Krishna used to wash his writing tablet. The Gomti kund is supposed to be the source of water supply to the ashram. There is a stone engraved with numbers from 1 to 100 and it is believed that it was done by guru Sandipani.
7. Gadkalika Temple:
The temple is situated two miles away from the city and is believed that Kalidasa used to worship the deity here. As per sayings, Kalidasa was an illiterate idiot and through his devotion, he acquired the literary skills afterward. The temple was renovated many times by emperor Harshavardhan during para mara period and lastly in modern times by Gwalior state.
8. Mangalnath Temple:
Away from the hustle bustle of the city the temple could be reached through peace. According to Matasya Puran the place is believed to be the birth place of Mars and in the ancient time the planet could be seen from here with naked eyes and was also used for astronomical studies.
9. Gopal Mandir:
Beautiful example of Maratha architecture, the huge temple of Lord Krishna also called as Dwarkadheesh Temple is located in the midst of the big market square. Constructed by Bayajibai Shinde, the queen of Maharaja Daulay Rao Shinde in the 19th century is inlaid with marbles and the doors are plated with pure silver.
The temple is dedicated to the nine planets and is located away from the old Ujjain town and situated at the Triveni ghat of Kshipra river. There is no reference of the temple with ancient times then too the religious importance has increased in recent years the reason being that one or the other planet is the Lord of the Sun sign that plays a major role in people’s life. There is large rush on new moon days falling on Saturday due to its importance.
11. Harsiddhi Temple:
The Harsiddhi Temple is a popular temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna, an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. The temple is located on the banks of the Shipra River and is known for its stunning architecture. The temple is believed to be one of the 18 Shakti Peethas in India and is visited by thousands of devotees every day. The temple also hosts various festivals and celebrations throughout the year, including Navratri and Diwali.
12. Chintaman Ganesh Temple:
The Chintaman Ganesh Temple is a popular temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh. The temple is located on the banks of the Shipra River and is known for its beautiful surroundings and serene atmosphere. The temple is believed to be one of the oldest temples in Ujjain and is visited by thousands of devotees every day. The temple also hosts various festivals and celebrations throughout the year, including Ganesh Chaturthi.
13. Ved Shala:
Ujjain holds considerable importance in the field of astronomical studies. Great works such as Surya Sidhanta and Pancha Sidhanta on astronomy were written in Ujjain. Indian astronomers reportedly said that Tropic of Cancer passes through Ujjain and the observatory also forecast weather condition. There is a small planetarium and a telescope to observe Moon, Mars, Jupiter and their satellites.
14. Kumbh Mela:
The Kumbh Mela is a major religious festival that is held in Ujjain once every twelve years. It is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world and is attended by millions of devotees from all over the country. The festival is celebrated to mark the river’s sanctity and to seek blessings from the gods. During the Kumbh Mela, various rituals and ceremonies take place, including the Shahi Snan or the royal bath. The Kumbh Mela is a unique experience and is a must-visit for anyone coming to Ujjain.
15. Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir:
The Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir is a popular temple dedicated to Lord Ganesh. The temple is known for its massive idol of the deity, which is about eight meters tall and five meters wide. The idol is made of a single piece of stone and is believed to be more than 1,500 years old. The temple is located near the tank of the Mahakaleshwar Temple and is visited by thousands of devotees every day. The temple also hosts various festivals and celebrations throughout the year.
How to reach Ujjain
Ujjain is very well linked with the entire India by road and train but unfortunately, there is no airport in the ancient city but yes, the closest airport is in Indore which is 52 km away from city.
In comparison with other cities, Ujjain is very well connected to the nearby cities. It is 52 km from Indore connecting the NH3 road which is a 4-lane road covering the distance within an hour or less. Indore is connected to Agra-Mumbai national highway to other cities of India.
Ujjain is linked with major cities of India, some are not so good for a direct journey so it would be a better option to get a break in between at Bhopal. Some trains that are available are; Avantika Express (daily) and Pune-Indore Express (thrice a week) from Mumbai, Hazrat Nizamuddin Intercity Express from New Delhi, and Jaipur-Mysore Express from Bengaluru.
Things to do
Apart from visiting the religious sites and attending the Kumbh Mela, Ujjain offers a variety of things to do. Here are some of the top activities that you can enjoy in Ujjain:
Take a dip in the Shipra River: The Shipra River is considered holy and taking a dip in its waters is believed to cleanse the soul. You can take a dip in the river at the ghats located near the temples.
Attend aarti at Mahakaleshwar Temple: The Bhasma Aarti at Mahakaleshwar Temple is a unique ritual that takes place early in the morning. It is a must-attend for anyone visiting the temple.
Enjoy the street food: Ujjain is famous for its street food, including the famous bhutte ki kees and poha. You can try out the local delicacies at the various food stalls located throughout the city.
Visit the Vedh Shala: The Vedh Shala is an ancient observatory that was built by Raja Jai Singh. It is a great place to learn about the ancient Indian science of astronomy.
Shop for souvenirs: Ujjain is known for its traditional handicrafts and artifacts. You can shop for souvenirs like brass items, terracotta, and handloom fabrics at the local markets.
Take a heritage walk: Ujjain has a rich cultural and historical heritage, and taking a heritage walk is a great way to explore the city’s hidden gems.
Visit the Sandipani Ashram: The Sandipani Ashram is a great place to meditate and seek spiritual enlightenment. You can spend a peaceful day at the ashram and learn about the ancient Indian scriptures.
Where to Stay
Ujjain offers a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets, from budget guesthouses to luxury hotels. Here are some of the top places to stay in Ujjain:
- Hotel Imperial Ujjain: This is a 3-star hotel located near the Mahakaleshwar Temple. It offers comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a rooftop garden with views of the city.
- Hotel Shanti Palace: This is a budget hotel located near the railway station. It offers clean and comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a travel desk.
- Anjushree Ujjain: This is a luxury hotel located near the Mahakaleshwar Temple. It offers spacious and well-appointed rooms, a restaurant, a spa, and a swimming pool.
- Hotel Atharva Ujjain: This is a budget hotel located near the Mahakaleshwar Temple. It offers clean and comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a travel desk.
- Hotel Grand Tower: This is a mid-range hotel located near the Mahakaleshwar Temple. It offers well-furnished rooms, a restaurant, and a travel desk.
- Hotel Avantika: This is a budget hotel located near the Mahakaleshwar Temple. It offers clean and comfortable rooms, a restaurant, and a travel desk.
- Hotel Park Palace: This is a mid-range hotel located near the railway station. It offers well-furnished rooms, a restaurant, and a travel desk.
These are just a few of the many accommodation options available in Ujjain. It is always recommended to book in advance, especially during the Kumbh Mela or other major festivals, to avoid any last-minute hassles.
frequently asked questions (FAQs) you may have about Ujjain!
What is the best time to visit Ujjain?
The best time to visit Ujjain is between October to March as the weather during this time is pleasant and comfortable for sightseeing.
Is Ujjain safe for solo travelers?
Ujjain is generally safe for solo travelers, but it is always recommended to take basic precautions like avoiding isolated areas and taking care of your belongings.
How can I reach Ujjain?
Ujjain is well-connected by road, rail, and air. The nearest airport is in Indore, about 55 km away from Ujjain. The city also has a railway station, and buses are available from nearby cities.
What are some famous festivals celebrated in Ujjain?
The Kumbh Mela is the most famous festival celebrated in Ujjain, which takes place every 12 years. Other important festivals celebrated in Ujjain include Navratri, Mahashivratri, and Holi.
What are some famous dishes of Ujjain?
Ujjain is famous for its street food, including bhutte ki kees, poha, samosas, and kachoris. The city is also known for its traditional sweets like jalebis and pedas.
What are some popular shopping destinations in Ujjain?
The local markets around the Mahakaleshwar Temple are great places to shop for souvenirs like brass items, terracotta, and handloom fabrics. The city also has shopping malls like Treasure Bazaar and Central Mall.
What are some important religious sites to visit in Ujjain?
The Mahakaleshwar Temple, the Kal Bhairav Temple, and the Harsiddhi Temple are the most important religious sites to visit in Ujjain.
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