Acclaimed as one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, Ujjain nestles on the embankment of the Shipra River in Madhya Pradesh. Imbued with mythological associations, the place boasts of a glorious past. Known as Shiva’s land, it proudly brackets together its name with legendary figures like Kalidasa, Vikramaditya, Ashoka, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta and the like. This historical city stands dotted with numerous temples that form the major chunk of its tourist attractions. Get a glimpse of the places of tourist interest that should be seen on a tour of the city.
Bhartrihari caves of Madhya Pradesh stand proudly on the bank of the Shipra River, near the revered Gadkalika Temple of Ujjain. Named after the famous sage ‘Bhatrihari’, the caves stand as testimony to the traditional wealth of India.
This famous Shiva temple is consecrated as one of the twelve ‘jyotirlingas’ in India. With its magnificent ‘shikhara’ and highly stylized facades, it evokes strong spiritual sentiments and is a place of arcane awe and reverence among the people. Unlike usual ‘lingams’, which are ritually established and bestowed with Divine powers with the help of ‘mantras’ and ‘shlokas’, the ‘shivalingam’ of this temple is believed to be ‘swayambhu’ (born of itself). The temple is divided into five levels and houses sculptured idols of various Hindu deities, along with Shiva.
Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir
One of the most revered historical landmarks of Ujjain, this temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity of Wisdom and Prosperity, ‘Ganesha’ and is situated near the reservoir of the Mahakaleshwar temple. It enshrines a large ornate idol of the God, which is believed to be one of His largest sculptured images. The place also harbors the only ‘panchmukhi’ (five-faced) statue of Lord ‘Hanuman’ inside it. Today, the temple is also a popular training center for imparting education on astrology and the Sanskrit language.
Built by the Sultans of Mandu, in 1458 AD, this palace majestically stands on an island in the Shipra River, 8 km from the main city center. The monument was built over an ancient Sun Temple, in the Persian architectural style. One can still notice various carvings from the Sun temple on the bridge of the island. Though, most part of the palace was brought down to ruins due to the ravages of time, it was later refurbished by Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia I in 1920. This floating paradise, with its tranquil backdrop, forms a major tourist attraction of Ujjain.
Observatory (Veda Shala)
Ujjain enjoyed a place of prominence in the field of astronomy in Ancient India. One of the existing examples of the astronomical advancement of the city, during those times, is explicit in the form of the ‘Veda Shala’. It was built by the Rajput King, Jai Singh II and is one of the many observatories of India. The place houses ancient astronomical devices that make it a fascinating storehouse of antique relics. This observatory is still in use and is also a major site of various astronomical studies and research.
An ancient shrine of Ujjain and one of the most famous ‘Shaktipeeths’ all over India, this temple enshrines a vermilion colored idol of Goddess ‘Annapurna’, placed between the images of Goddess Laxmi and Goddess Saraswati. According to mythology, this is the place where Goddess Sati’s elbow fell while Shiva carried away her burning body from the sacrificial fire. The place today is a famous religious shrine of the Hindus. Apart from its cosmic manifestations, the place also exhibits the finery of Maratha artistry in its architectural style.
Situated about 2 miles from Ujjain, Gadkalika temple is located near the Bhartrihari Caves. This ancient temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kaali. It is believed that the poet Kalidasa worshipped the image of Kaali present in this shrine. The temple was renovated by the Indian emperor Harshavardhana, in the 7 AD, and later by the Parmers. In modern times, the temple has undergone some amount of refurbishing, under the erstwhile Gwalior state.