Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh is considered one of the seven most important pilgrim centers by followers of Hinduism. Well, the city on the banks of River Shipra is not all about religion. The place has a rich past and its supremacy over other kingdoms finds mention in early literatures that date back to 6th century BC. It was a great center of learning in the past. The place still retains its magic. Adding to its attraction is the Kumbh Mela, a fair that is held once in every 12 years. Millions of believers gather here during the fair for a holy dip in River Shipra. Here are the top 5 destinations in Ujjain.
1. Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple
The lingam at Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple is one among the twelve Jyotirlingas in the country. It is believed that the lingam was born of itself. Located near a lake, the time it came to exist is still a mystery. It is considered to belong to prehistoric period. The temple finds mention in the works of the famous poet Kalidasa. Surrounded by huge walls, the temple amidst a spacious courtyard is thronged by devotees on the day of Shivratri.
2. Kal Bhairav Temple
Kal Bhairav Temple is situated on the banks of River Shipra. King Bhadrasen is believed to have constructed this temple. Bhairav, according to Hindu mythology, is a manifestation of Lord Shiva. The sculptures of deities are seen in this temple. It is believed that Kal Bhairav is a protector of travelers. Travelers who belong to this particular faith offer prayers to Bhairav. The god in this temple is offered liquor and hence liquor bottles along with other pooja items are available in the shops nearby.
3. Jantar Mantar
It is no wonder that the land, which was a center of learning, houses astronomical observatory. Jantar Mantar was built by Raja Jai Singh in the 17th century. Being a great scholar, Raja Jai Singh had written books on the subject of astronomy. The instruments in the observatory were made by Raja Jai Singh. It is interesting to note that the belief held by Hindu geographers about Ujjain being the place where the first meridian passes through is authenticated by present calculations in which the Tropic of Cancer is just 3 kms away from Ujjain. This probably was said to be the reason why Raja Jai Singh constructed an observatory here.
4. Kaliadeh Palace
Kaliadeh Palace is located on the banks of Shipra River. Sultans of Mandu built the palace in 1458 AD. The ancient construction is mentioned in the early literary works and it is believed that the palace had a sun temple in it. The beautiful dome of the palace highlights the influence of Persian architecture. Demolished by Pindaris and later restored in 1920 by Madhav Rao Scindia, the palace has seen better times. It was visited by Akbar and Jahangir.
5. Chintaman Ganesh Temple
Chintaman Ganesh Temple is the biggest Ganesh temple in the city. It is built across River Shipra. The idol of Ganesh in this ancient temple is believed to have been born by itself. As the deity is known as Chintamani Ganesh, which means reliever of tensions, devotees visit this temple in great numbers.
The tour to Ujjain was very interesting as it was a blend of ancient element and religious beliefs. Ujjain is a land of limited tourist destinations with unlimited possibilities to explore each of them. If you plan to be there and if you get to visit more places than I did, drop in a mail so that I can update my knowledge.
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