Ujjain, considered one of India’s holiest cities, is a historic city located on the eastern bank of the Shipra River in Madhya Pradesh’s Malwa region. Ujjain is one of four locations for the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest peacetime gathering, which attracts 100 million people.
As a result, Ujjain is a significant Hindu pilgrimage site. It also houses the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve
Jyotirlinga shrines are dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Ujjain is one of ancient India’s most glorious towns, as it was also known as a centre of learning for many Indian academics. Ujjain’s tremendous wealth in terms of religion, architecture, and educational value makes it a popular tourist destination for both Indian and foreign visitors.
Ujjain is 52 kilometres from Indore, which also happens to be the nearest major airport.
- 1 Brief History of Ujjain
- 2 Greenwich of India
- 3 So many ancient temples
- 4 Places to visit in Ujjain
- 5 Mahakaleshwar Temple
- 6 Mangalnath Temple
- 7 Kaal Bhairav Temple
- 8 Harsiddhi Mandir
- 9 Chintaman Ganesh Temple
- 10 ISKCON Temple
- 11 Gadkalika Temple
- 12 Gopal Mandir
- 13 Ram Mandir Ghat
- 14 Kaliadeh Palace
- 15 Pir Matsyendranath Temple
- 16 Jantar Mantar
- 17 Bhartrihari Caves
- 18 Chaubis Khamba Temple
- 19 Ram Mandir
- 20 Birla Mandir
- 21 Sandipani Ashram
- 22 Kalidasa Academy
- 23 Gomti Kund
- 24 Shani Mandir
Brief History of Ujjain
Ujjain’s history may be traced back to the Mahabharata and Ramayana periods. The legends of Lord Ram and Sita of the period when they used to visit this place to conduct “Pind-Daan” for father Dasharat at Ramghat are lost in the middle of antiquity.
It was formerly the home of Great Emperor Ashoka and is now a revered pilgrimage site. It was here, as a viceroy, that he learned about Buddha’s teachings during his reign in the western regions.
Greenwich of India
Hindu astrologers and astronomers have named this city ‘Greenwich of India’ based on its positioning on the Tropic of Cancer (first meridian longitude) that passes through Jantar Mantar. Due to this unique characteristic of its geographical location,
Ujjain has been referred to as a central reference point. Several calculations including the denotation of standard time are attributed to this place.
So many ancient temples
One of the oldest cities in India and a perfect destination for a spiritual journey, Ujjain is also regarded as ‘the city of temples’ for its vast array of temples. The Mahakal temple venerated to Lord Shiva attracts the most crowd during pilgrimage including several other temples such as the Harsiddhi temple, Kal Bhairav temple, and the Chintaman Ganesh temple.
Dedicated to Lord Krishna and Radha, the Sri Radha Madan Mohan temple is famous for its unique architecture and attracts tourists from far away.
Places to visit in Ujjain
- Harsiddhi Mandir
- Kaal Bhairav Temple
- Ram Mandir Ghat
- Kaliadeh Palace
- ISKCON Temple
- Pir Matsyendranath Temple
- Jantar Mantar
- Bade Ganeshji Mandir
- Bhartrihari Caves
- Chaubis Khamba Temple
- Chintaman Ganesh Temple
- Ram Mandir
- Mangalnath Temple
- Sandipani Ashram
- Gadkalika Temple
- Gopal Mandir
- Kalidasa Academy
- Shani Mandir
- Gomti Kund
- Birla Mandir
Shri Mahakaleshwar of Ujjayini is one of India’s twelve renowned Jyotirlingas. Mahakaleshwar temple’s splendour has been vividly depicted in several Puranas. Many Sanskrit poets, beginning with Kalidasa, have eulogized this temple in poetic terms.
Ujjain was once the focal point for calculating Indian time, and Mahakala was revered as the city’s unique ruling deity. In Ujjain, Shiva, the reigning deity of time, reigns eternally in all his glory. Mahakaleshwar’s majesty elicits primaeval awe and devotion, with its shikhara rising into the skies and an imposing façade against the skyline.
Even in the middle of the hectic routine of modern preoccupations, the Mahakal dominates the life of the city and its inhabitants, providing an unbroken link with previous traditions. The lingam at the Mahakal is said to be swayambhu (born of itself), receiving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself, as opposed to other images and lingams that are ritually formed and infused with mantra-shakti. It is one of India’s 12 Jyotirlingas.
Mahakaleshwar’s idol is called Dakshina Murty, and it faces south. This is a tantric tradition-held trait that can only be found among the 12 jyotirlingas in Mahakaleshwar. In the sanctum above the Mahakala shrine, Omkareshwar Shiva’s idol is consecrated.
The images of Ganesh, Parvati, and Karttikeya are placed in the sanctum sanctorum’s west, north, and east corners, respectively. The image of Nandi can be found to the south. On the day of Nag Panchami, the idol of Nagchandreshwar on the third storey is open for darshan.
A large fair is conducted around the temple on Mahashivratri day, and prayer continues all night.
Lord Siva had a brutal battle with the demon Andhakasura at this location, according to the Matsya Purana. A drop of sweat from Lord Siva’s brow fell to the ground during the conflict, forming the Siva Linga. Mangal was the Son of the Earth, according to the Puranas, and was born here.
Mangal Dosh can be eased for Aries and Scorpions by doing pooja for the primary god with curd rice. This temple will perform Bhat Pooja, Mangal Pooja, and Grah Shanti. For the same day Pooja, it is on arrival tickets purchased over the counter.
The temple is situated on a hill near the Shipra River. Mangal Dosh Puja is best performed on Tuesdays.
If the Kuja Graha appears in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 12th houses, it is considered Manglik. Kuja Graha is known to affect a person’s marriage, health, and accidents.
Kaal Bhairav Temple
The Temple of Kal Bhairav Ujjain is a must-see temple with a unique history of presenting liquor to the gods. The Pagdi (Crown) that the Lord wears comes from the King of Shinde or Scindia of Gwalior, according to the history of this temple in Ujjain.
On the banks of the Shipra River, King Bhadrasen is supposed to have built the Kal Bhairav Temple. This ancient shrine honours Kal Bhairav, the most powerful of the eight Bhairavas. Kal Bhairav is a Shaivite deity worshipped mostly by the Kapalika and Aghora sects.
The Kal Bhairav Temple’s most outstanding feature is its stunning Malwa-style murals, of which only vestiges may be seen.
Lord Kal Bhairav is Lord Shiva’s avatar who is supposed to be in charge of the future. It is also said that “Time wasted is time wasted forever,” thus one should make the most of their time in life. The Kal Bhairav Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Kal Bhairav. For Shaivites, this is a must-see attraction.
People believe that the Kal Bhairav should be venerated because time cannot be reversed. Time must be spent with the understanding that spiritual growth is essential in men’s lives.
People visit the Kal Bhairav temple to worship Kal Bhairav, who is also known as Khetrapala and is considered the temple’s guardian. As a result, the keys to the Kal Bhairav temple must be left at the temple site at night and should not be carried anywhere.
Because Kal Bhairav is also a traveller’s protector, one should build a garland of cashew nuts and gift it to God along with a lamp to satisfy him and safeguard the traveller from harm. This is especially important if the journey is at night.
Because the dog is the Lord’s vehicle, feeding dogs to express our respect for Kal Bhairav is exceedingly auspicious. All offerings to the Kal Bhirava Lord must be made on Kal Bhairav Ashtami when the Lord is adorned with reverence and devotion.
The Kal Bhairav is the most important of the eight Bhairavs worshipped by Shaivites. The temple of Kal Bhairav is supposed to have been built by King Bhadrasen.
This was done on the banks of the Shipra River, whose iridescent beauty rejuvenates and cleanses the traveller of his sins. Kal Bhairav is usually worshipped by the Kapalika and Aghora sects. As a result, they place a high value on the temple of Kal Bhairav.
As part of the worship, liquor is offered to the Lord, and the temple is designed in the Malwa style. The temple’s paintings, on the other hand, are only partially visible.
This temple has a unique custom of offering liquor to the gods, and you may find many kinds of liquor at the stores outside the temple throughout the year. The temple also features a deep stambh, which is enlightened by devotees by their intentions.
The Harsiddhi temple is one of India’s 52 Shakti Peeth (Shakti Temples). Shiva married Sati, the daughter of Daksha, a Prajapati who was proud of his position and despised his ascetic son-in-law, according to tradition.
Daksha prepared a yagna to put his son-in-law in his place, but he purposefully did not invite Shiva. Sati, hearing of the large yagna, went alone, defying her husband’s counsel, and, enraged at her father for purposefully ignoring her husband, threw herself into the yagna’s flames.
Shiva’s Ganas erupted in fury as a result of her act, and Shiva himself arrived on the scene, dancing the Tandava (angry dance) with Sati’s body in his arms. While Shiva was ultimately calmed and apologies were made, it is said that bits of Sati’s corpse fell to the ground as He danced, and each of them (a total of 52) is worshipped as Shakti Peeth.
Mahamaya is honoured with a modest shrine immediately outside the temple. This shrine is located a little below ground level and is accessible through steps, but it is not open to the public.
The significance of this shrine is a lamp that burns 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has done so for centuries. Only the pujari has access to the sanctum, which he visits multiple times a day to offer prayers to the goddess and maintain the lamp.
Harsiddhi Temple in Ujjain is one of the shaktipeeth of Hindu Mythology and is the home of various Goddesses from the Hindu Pantheon.
The structure, which is built of a rock covered with turmeric paste and vermilion, is one of the shrine’s most interesting features. On the eve of the Navaratri festival, when hundreds of lamps on a 15-foot lampstand are ignited simultaneously, the temple takes on a spectacular appearance.
The presence of Sri Yantra, or nine triangles that signify the nine names of Goddess Durga, is another distinguishing element of the magnificent shrine. Other goddesses’ images can also be found in this magnificent shrine.
The idol of Mahasaraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom and Knowledge, and the famous dark vermilion image of Annapurna, the Goddess of Nourishment, are significant for their distinctive Maratha construction.
Chintaman Ganesh Temple
The temple is located on the Fatehabad railway line, across the Shipra. The Ganesh deity that is ensconced here is said to be swayambhu, or self-created. The temple itself is thought to date back thousands of years.
Ganesha’s consorts, Riddhi and Siddhi, are seated on either side of him. Chintaharan Ganesha is the popular name for this location.
The ‘Prabandha Chintamani’ treatise mentions the temple. A granite Shikhar covers the mandapa and garbhagriha’s domed roof. The temple is located on land that is fortified with a fortification wall and an entrance gate.
The temple, which was originally built during the Parmara period, was restored during the Maratha period. The assembly hall has pradakshina patha and mandapa made of intricately carved sandstone pillars that date back to the Paramara period.
A boadi (step-well) on the premises is linked to the legend of Shri Ram, who passed this route on his journey back from Lanka after killing Ravana and, thirsty, begged his brother to fetch some water.
When Lakshman was unable to find water, he pierced the earth with his arrow, causing Ganga to emerge, satisfying their thirst and sanctifying the location.
Worshipers go to this temple because the deity is known as Chintaharan Ganesh, which means “the guarantor of liberation from worldly worries.”
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada created the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), often known as the Hare Krishna Movement, in 1966.
ISKCON is a worldwide organization of devotees of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; it has 250,000 congregational devotees and 10,000 temple devotees.
The ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) or Hare Krishna Movement’s Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Temple is the newest addition to the Ujjain map. Tourists flock to the city because of its stunning idols and architecture. Just behind the temple, there is a well-kept gaushala.
This is a must-see attraction in Ujjain. On Dewas road, 3 kilometres from the train station, is the ISKCON temple.
Gadkalika Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kalika and is located in the Ujjain suburbs. It is a well-known Shakti Peeth in India, and thousands of people gather here during Navratri.
Kalika is thought to be the Goddess of the poet Kalidas, who flourished around the turn of the Christian era. This lovely temple is the site of amazing mythology, according to which Kalidas, the great poet, gained his actual abilities via his genuine devotion to this deity.
It is the temple where Kalidas received Maa’s boon. The Maa, with her lovely eyes, is a sight to behold. The current temple is rather new. It is thought to be built on the same site as the previous temple.
Some experts say that when King Harshwardhan of Thaneshwar visited Ujjain in the 7th century, the renovated this ancient temple Kalika. It is, without a doubt, Ujjain’s oldest temple. Previous emperors of Gwalior restored this sacred sanctuary to its former splendour.
Bricks, a portion of the plinth, and numerous sculptures from various periods were discovered during excavations near the temple grounds. From the 8th century BCE to the Paramara period, the area around the Garh Kalika was the site of an ancient settlement. Even now, antique coins can be found in this location.
Ujjain’s Gopal temple is devoted to Lord Krishna in his blue avatar. Dwarkadhish Temple is another name for this temple. Lord Krishna is the milkmaid’s lover, the celestial herdsman, and the glorious incarnation of God Vishnu, the Universe’s Preserver.
Around 1750, the Scindias took over Ujjain. The Maratha conquest of Malwa sparked a cultural renaissance in the region, and contemporary Ujjain can rightfully be claimed to have been founded during their reign.
During this time, the majority of Ujjain’s temples were built. The Gopal Mandir, dedicated to Dwarkadheesh, the Scindia family’s tutelary god, was built by Bayaja Bai, Daulat Rao Scindia’s wife, between 1848 and 1856.
White marble is used for the Shikhar and garbhagriha, while the black stone is used for the main idol, porch, and galleries. The spire structure in Marble is a magnificent example of Maratha architecture.
There is a magnificent silver statue of God Krishna that is 2 feet tall. With the silver-plated doors, the idol of God Krishna is placed on a marble-inlaid altar.
The garbhgriha’s main entry door is made of silver that was previously part of the Somnath Temple. As part of his loot, Ghaznavi transported it to Ghazni. It was brought to Lahore by Mohammad Shah Abdali.
During his siege of Lahore, Mahadji Scindia carried it to Ujjain and had it erected at the Gopal Mandir.
Ram Mandir Ghat
The Harsiddhi Mata Temple is close to the ghat. Thousands of worshippers flock to Ram Mandir Ghat during the Kumbh Mela, believing that a dip in the waters of the holy Kshipra river can cleanse them of their sins.
Tourists can also pay their respects at the ghat’s numerous temples. The ghat is especially beautiful in the evenings when the lights and diyas create a mesmerizing scene. It’s a lovely spot for a stroll while taking in the sights and sounds of Ujjain.
Furthermore, guests may enjoy spectacular sunset views from the ghat, which is thought to be one of the oldest Kumbh celebration places. Watch in awe as the sun’s flaming orb travels below the horizon, illuminating the sky in a kaleidoscope of crimson and orange hues.
One of the city’s most well-known historical sites is Kaliadeh Palace. The Sultan of Mandu built this palace in 1458 AD, a long time ago. On an island in the centre of the Shipra River, the palace is located.
This palace contains a large central hall, often known as the middle arena, and is built in a noteworthy style. This Kaliadeh Mahal Ujjain is one of the most visited locations in Madhya Pradesh, according to the tourist ministry. The Shipra River runs on both sides of the palace, enhancing the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
One of Ujjain’s most well-known historic landmarks is the palace. On the banks of River Shipra, it was previously known as the beautiful Sun Temple. The Surya Kunda and the Brahma Kunda were the names of the two tanks.
Pir Matsyendranath Temple
Pir Matsyendranath Samadhi is a memorial on the banks of the River Shipra in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, located 5 kilometres from Ujjain Junction. It is one of the most popular spots to visit in Ujjain, as it is close to the Bhartrihari Caves and the Gadkalika Temple.
Matsyendranath Pir Matsyendranath Pir Matsyendranath Matsyendra Nath, the famed preceptor of the Nath sect and mentor of Guru Gorakhnath, who founded Hatha Yoga, is buried in Samadhi. He is also the guru of seven other followers who, along with Gorakhnath, make up the Navnath group of nine saints.
The saint is said to have attained samadhi here, and a mausoleum has been constructed in his honour. The Nath sect’s saints were known as Pirs as well as Muslims. As a result, both Hindus and Muslims appreciate this location.
Some of the antiquities discovered during the excavation of this site date from the 6th and 7th centuries. Even though it is not a remarkable architectural effort, its plain white construction with a dome surrounded by small minarets exudes a serene appeal to the surroundings. Tourists of all faiths come to pay their respects to the saint at this memorial.
The architectural marvel Jantar Mantar (also known as the Veda Shala Observatory), which was built in the 17th century, is the oldest of the five observatories (Jaipur, Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi).
In 1719, Maharaja Jai Singh began building to aid Hindu scholars and astrologers in their research and studies. Jantar Mantar, the result of much hard work, has not only functioned as a research station for astronomers in the past, but it also has an astronomical and tourism purpose now.
Visiting the site will teach you about the methods used in the past to calculate time, revolutions, and the positions of celestial bodies. Everything you see will undoubtedly make you reflect on the king’s brilliance. Furthermore, the location is a stargazer’s dream.
The ‘Yantra Mahal’ was named after the study of motions and orbits that were conducted here. It has a variety of yantras, including the Samrat Yantra, Sun Dial, and Niyati Chakra, among others.
The major goal of the Jantar Mantar was to visualize and compile the data gathered through astronomical computations, which assisted in the study of the movement of the sun, planets, and their moons. Furthermore, the observatory in Ujjain is the only one that still does astronomical study.
Every year, a variety of data, including the research on planetary motions, is published. Jantar Mantar is unquestionably a work of genius that has added grandeur to Indian architectural masterpieces.
Bhartrihari Caves are a popular tourist stopover on the outskirts of the city, near the banks of the River Kshipra. The cave, which is supported by stone pillars, features many rooms that store Hindu deity idols or images.
There is also a little temple inside that is designated as a holy shrine for Nath community devotees. The caves, which date from the 11th century AD, are a testament to Ujjain’s rich cultural past.
According to legend, the cave was named after King Vikramaditya’s stepbrother, Bhartrihari, who meditated here for over 12 years. Bhartrihari was a poet and a scholar, according to his works, which include Nitishatak, Vairagyashatak, and Shringarshatak.
The caves feature incredibly tight entrances that are difficult to navigate. Thousands of devotees visit the caverns every year to pay their respects to the scholar; saints from the Nath group even pitch tents outside the caves to meditate.
Chaubis Khamba Temple
A visit to Chaubis Khamba Temple is a must if you want to discover Ujjain’s spiritual richness. The temple, which dates from the 9th or 10th century, is revered by Hindus as a sacred site. The temple’s name comes from the 24 pillars that embellish the temple’s structure.
The location of the temple is Mahakal-main Vana’s entrance gate. The temple’s ancient-styled structure and architecture make it a fascinating sight.
The temple is devoted to Chhoti Mata and Badi Mata, and it proudly displays the idols of Ujjain’s guardian goddesses, Mahalaya and Mahamaya. Their names can also be found inscribed in the temple’s footsteps.
Lord Rama is depicted with his wife Sita on one side and his brother Laxman on the other side of the Ram Mandir, as the name suggests. The Ram Mandir is the pinnacle of architectural achievement.
Everything has been meticulously designed, from the carvings to the sculptures to the paintings (particularly those of Bedalya Bua Maharaj and Sant Tukoba). Regardless of your time limits, this is a must-see.
Birla Mandir, a prominent Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is located in the Industrial Area of Nagda, near Ujjain. It is one of the several Birla Mandirs erected across the country by the Birla family.
The temple, which has immaculate architecture and stunning designs, is also encircled by a lovely garden and lovely fountains, which add to the overall atmosphere.
Sandipani Ashram is located on the Mangalnath Temple road, 5 kilometres from Ujjain Railway Station. The ashram complex is enormous, covering vast swaths of land.
According to ancient scriptures, Lord Krishna, Lord Balarama, and Sudama studied in this ashram. There are other shrines, but Guru Sandipani is clearly the most important. One of the temples here, Sarveshwar Mahadev, features a 6000-year-old Shivlinga that Guru Sandipani and his students worshipped.
Images of Lord Shiva, Parvati, Ganesha, and Kartikeyan can be found in the Sarveshwar linga if one looks closely. The premises also include a large water tank known as Gomti Kund.
Mahakavi Kalidasa is regarded as the most important storehouse of our country’s cultural history. He is still regarded as one of the most eloquent representatives of Indian culture.
In honour of his legacy, the Government of Madhya Pradesh’s Department of Culture created the Kalidasa Academy in Ujjain in 1978.
The primary concept behind Kalidasa Academy’s establishment in Ujjain is twofold. One is to continuously renew the memory of the great poet-dramatist Kalidasa.
The other is to create a multi-disciplinary institution that would project the entire classical tradition with Kalidasa as its focal point; provide facilities for research and study in Sanskrit classical and traditional literary thought, the tradition of fine and performing arts, and their adaptation for contemporary times in various cultural and linguistic milieus.
The Kalidasa Academy’s multi-level programme includes academic pursuit and research on Kalidasa, complete Sanskrit Shastric studies, training-oriented experimentation and research on Sanskrit theatre as well as Bharata’s Natyasastra, and the promotion of classical literary and various art-form activities.
The Academy has taken on the responsibility of not only rediscovering and preserving lost or dormant traditions, but also of enhancing, reinterpreting, and recreating living traditions in the context of modern requirements.
As a result, the Academy has a schedule of academic activities, including conferences, seminars, public lectures, workshops, exhibitions, training, play performances, classical and folk traditional music recitals, film screenings, academic research, and publication.
Every year, the Kalidasa Festival, which lasts seven days, is held.
The Kalidasa Academy is intended to capture the contribution of the complete Sanskrit classical tradition, theatre, and fine arts to the international society, as well as to express its unique aesthetic perspective.
Gomti Kund, located on the outskirts of Ujjain city, has a calm ambience and is hence a good area to spend some quiet time. It is a holy water tank or a hilly pond located near the well-known Sandipani Ashram.
According to mythology, Lord Krishna gathered water from all the holy rivers in this tank to assist his instructor, Guru Sandipani, with his ceremonies.
This kund has religious significance for Hindus, as seen by the throngs of devotees that visit each year to experience the divinity of this holy location. Because the water in this pond is considered sacred, believers fill their water bottles here and take them home.
This is a must-see on your visit to Sandipani Ashram.
The Shani Mandir in Ujjain, which has stood for over 2000 years, is India’s first Navgraha Mandir and the world’s only Shani temple where Shanidev is worshipped as Lord Shiva.
Thousands of worshippers present more than 5 quintals of oil to the Lord during Amavasya evenings, which are given special importance at the temple.