Holy City - Ujjain -

 

Ram Ghat

 

This historic city situated aa height of  1678 ft. from mean sea level and geographically positioned at 230 11 north longitude and 750 50 latitude  and the tropic of  cancer  also passes through  Ujjain, and also situated on the bank of river Shipra.Since  ages Ujjain has been a centre of religocultural activities of not only the nation but also of the whole world. Since ancient times the basic  reference of Hindu panchang  time, namely the prime meridian passes through Ujjain. For this reason it was an important referral point on the earth for the ancient astronomers. According to Mahabharata and other Puranas (Skand purana) the Ujjain city came into existence some 3000 yrs.  ago. The archaeological evidence also supports this view .

During  the time of Chand Pradyot (6th century B.C.) Buddhism was at  its peak in the area of Malwa of which Ujjain was the capital. A little  later, the regime of Samprati saw the jainism as a widely followed religion in this area. Later Kalidas of the 2nd  century B.C.  had captured the imagination and admiration of not only India  but also of the whole world. Ujjain was on the trade route joining the  north and the south, the east and the west and hence trade and commerce of  this area was highly developed, Coins of different regions in the   country have been found in and around Ujjain which  proves that the traders and pilgrims from all over the world  used to visit this ancient holy city situated on the bank of the  pious river Shipra ruled by Mahakala the deity of the deities. There are  some landmarks in Ujjain that can find place in the world map of tourism  and attract thousands of piligrims and tourisits from all over the world  every year. Ujjain has been thriving on pilgrims and tourists since ages  and it is likely to be so. in future too. The following is a brief note  containing information on the cultural and historical monuments of Ujjain.  It throws light on the existing infrastructure available in the town and  also covers the new proposals that would enable the township to meet the  future need of the growing tourism in this holy heritage city

Mahakal Temple -

 

Mahakal Temple

 

Mahakala of Ujjayini is known among the twelve celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The glory of Mahakaleshwar temple has been vividly described in various Puranas. Starting with Kalidasa, many sanskrit poets have eulogised this temple in emotive terms. The tradition of Mahakala in the minds of the people is eternal. Ujjain used to be the central point for calculation of Indian time and Mahakala was considered as the distinctive presiding deity of Ujjain.

This  temple has been  renovated by  successive dynasties – Shunga, Kushana, Satavahana, Gupta,  Parihar, Parmara and comparatively modern period of Marathas. Altutmish  pulled this temple down in 1235 A.D.

Reconstruction of this temple  structure was done at the instance of Ramchandra Baba Shenvi, a Subedar of  Malwa under Ranoji Scindia. Renovation and carving facilities in the  temple have regularly been looked after in the contemporary period also.

The  idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be Dakshina Murti or southfaced. The  unique distinction of dakshina murti worship, upheld in the tantric  tradition is realised only in Mahakaleshwar among the twelve Jyotirlingas  of India. Like the Mahakala shrine installed in the upper sanctum of  Omkarshewar temple, the idol of Omkarshewar-Shiva is consecrated in the  upper sanctum of this temple.  Nagchandreshwar  image on the third story is opened for darshan only on Nagpanchmi days.   Mahakala  worship by Vikramaditya and Bhoja is wellknown but the temple has  continued to receive royal grants for its Puja- expenses even in the  Mughal period.Presently  this temple is under the management of Mahakala Mandir Samiti. 

Haraasiddhi -

 

Haraasiddhi

 

Harasiddhi temple is one of prominent temples of Ujjayini. Seated between the idols of Mahakaleshwar and Mahasarasvati the idol of Annapurna is painted with dark virmillon colour.  Shri yantra is also enshrined this temple.
According  to Shiva-purana, when Shiva carried away the burning body of Sati from the  sacrificial fire of Daksha-prajapati, her elbow felt on this spot. Tantric  tradition holds this seat as a siddha-pitha. According toSkanda-purana  the name Hara-siddhi got currency from the personal achievement of the  goddess in vanquishing the demons. The folk tradition holds Harasiddhi as  the worshipping deity of the King Vikramaditya.
The temple was reconstructed in the Maratha-period and the two lamp-pillars in the courtyard specially represent the Maratha art. There is a pretty old well in the courtyard;  and the small temple, by its side, houses the idol of Mahamaya.
 

Chaubis Khamba Temple -

 

Chaubis Khamba Temple

 

According to old tradition this was the majestic entrance gate of Mahakala-vana. Remains of the boundary wall are also in existence near this gate. Architectural design, of the twenty four ornate columns, belongs to the ninth or tenth century A.D.
Two  images of goddess are installed, one each on either side of the gate. The  names inscrbed on the footstools are Mahamaya and Mahalaya.
Looking at the  graceful forms of these guardian deities of the grand entrance structure  one can imagine the dimension of the boundary-wall of the traditionally  known Mahakala-vana, which is now covered under thick inhabitation

Triveni Navgraha - Shani Mandir -

 

Triveni Navgraha - Shani Mandir

 

Present temple of Navagraha, the nine planets, on the Triveni ghat of Shipra is a prominent centre of attraction for the pilgrims. There is a confluence of Khan river near Triveni ghat on the Shipra. Mythological sanctity of the invisible river Saraswati, associated with the story of Triveni-sangam, is attributed to this place also. Presently, the Khan river , known with different names around Indore, has been blocked for irrigation in the upstream. Its water is not worth welcoming into the Shipra. 

Obervatory -

 

Obervatory

 

This observatory was constructed by Savai Raja Jaysingh between 1725 and 1730 A.D.  Similar observatories were  constructed by Raja Jayasingh at four other places – Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura and Varanasi.
Samrat yantra, Nadivalaya yantra, Digamsha yantra and yam-yottara- Bhitti yantra are the main instruments constructed in this observatory. Motions and orbits of the planets are studied through these instruments. On the  acccount of this people call it Yantra Mahal also.This observatory was renovated by Madhav Rao Scindia then Maharaja of Gwalior state in 1923 A.D. Astronomical studies of planetary motions are still conducted in this observatory under the department of education and an ephemeris (Panchang) is published every year. In other words this is the  only observatory among the observatories of Jayasingh where these masonic instruments are even today utilised for astronomical studies.

Chintaman Ganesh Temple -

 

Chintaman Ganesh Temple

 

The  present sanctum of Chintaman Ganesh is very old. Riddhi and Siddhi, the  two goddes are enshrined on both the sides of the idol of Ganesh.  Traditionally this is known as the seat of Chintaman Ganesh (assurer of  freedom from worldly anxieties) and people assemble here in large numbers  to offer their prayers on every Wednesday in the month of Chaitra.  Artistic pillars in the assembly hall of the temple belong to the Parmar-period.  The temple was renovated by Ahalyadevi Holkar with the addition of a water  tank and the boundary wall.

Nagarkot Ki Rani Temple -

 

 Nagarkot Ki Rani

 

Nagarkot Ki Rani is the guardian deity of the south-west corner of ancient Ujjayini. This is a place of some archaeological importance.Many popular tales of Vikramaditya and Bharatrihari as also traditions of Natha cult are associated with this place.

The  tank facing the temple is of Parmar-period. Both the sides of the tank  have two small temples. The idol of Kartikeya in one of the temples is  assigned to Gupta-period. The temple is situated on the ancient mud  rampart and hence  known as  the queen of the city wall (Nagarkot Ki Rani)

Sandipani Aashram -

 

Sandipani Aashram

 

According to the puranic traditions Yogeshwar Krishna and his friend Sudama received regular instruction in the Ashram of Kulguru Sandipani. Besides Mahabharata, Shrimad Bhagvata, Brahma, Agni and Brahmavaivatra bear references to Sandipani Ashram. Three thousand years old painted grey wares have been covered from this area. These bear a resemblance to the similar remains recovered ar Hastinapur, Indraprastha, Mathura, Ahichchhatra and Kaushambi.

Gomati-kunda  had been the source of water supply to the Ashram and the same has been  referred to in the puranas also. The image of standing Nandi, near the  tank, is worth seeing and it belongs to the Shung-period. The area nearby  is known as Ankpata. Popular tales describe the place as used by Lord  Krishna for washing his  writing  tablet.  In the beginning of the sixteenth century Shri Vallabhacharya  delivered his religious discourses in the vicinity of this ashram. There  is a peepal tree planted by the Acharya which is testified by a letter of  decree granted to one Narottam Sharma. The followers of the Vallabh sect  count this place as the seventythird seat of their Acharya while he is  said to have made eightyfour sittings for religious discourses throughout  India.

Garhkalika -

 

Garhkalika

 

Garhkalika is traditionally known to be the choice of worship of the great poet Kalidasa. Images, bricks and a part of the plinth of first century B.C. “ the Shunga period, fourth country A.D. “ the Gupta period and tenth century A.D. “ the Parmar period, have been recovered from the basement of the temple.
Emperor  Harsha Vardhan got this temple renovated in the seventh century A.D.  There is evidence of its further renovation in the tenth century  under the Parmar Rule. The temple has been rebuilt in the modern times by  the erstwhile Gwalior state.
 

Bharaturi Cave -

 

Bharaturi Cave

 

According to the old belief this cave had been used for the yogic practices of the King Bharturuhari. The structural designs of the present cave are the remains of a double storied monastery of the Parmar-period (10th century A. D. ) By Fourteenth  and Fifteenth century this place was associated with two important preceptors ofthe Nath cult Gorakhnath and Matsyendranath.  The testimony of Shaivite and Bhairavi forms of worship is evident from the sculpture of this place.

The idol of Shiva wielding Khatvanga  in a dancing pose proves the contact of this seat with Kapalika cult also. The eastern cave and its decorated pillars seem to be a part of certain ancient temple of Lord Shiva.

Pir Machchindar -

 

Pir Machchindar

 

This  place is known as the tomb of Matsyendra Nath, the famous preceptor of  Nath sect. Followers of Nath sect called their saints as Pir. Muslims also call their saints as pir. It is therefore that Hindus  and Muslims equally adore this place .

 

Kala Bhairava -

 

Kala Bhairava

 

Shaivite form of worship has assigned importance to the adoration of eight Bhairavas also. Kala –bhairava is the foremost among them. Skand-purana has made a mention of the temple of Kalabhairva in its Avanti-khand.
According to some tradition the followers of Kapalika and Aghora used to worship Shiva or Bhairava. People also offer liquor, as part of their worship, to Kalabhairava.

It is said that a certain king named Bhadrasen got this temple constructed. This must has been a great temple during Parmar period. The images of this period like Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu and Ganesh have been recovered from this place. The temple has usually been rebuilt with the remains of the old temple.
Beautiful  paintings of  Malwa-style once  decorated the temple walls. The temple on  the right of the courtyard is dedicated to Vitthala and on the left  there  is a Dharamshala.

Siddhavata -

 

Siddhavata

 

Siddhavata at Ujjain is well known for its sanctity as Akshayavata of Prayag, Vamshivata of Vrindawan and Panchavata of Nasik. Post funeral rites are performed here at the Siddhavata ghat of holy Shipra. Skanda-purana has referred to this place as preta-shilla-tirth. According to some opinion Parvati performed her penances here. This has also been a place of worship for the followers of Nath sect.

Shipra abounds in tortoises at Siddhavata. Old coins of Ujjain are found to bear the imprintof tortoises along  the river. This is also indicative of the fact that the tortoises must have flourished here even in the ancient period. It is said that Banyan tree was once sought to be vanished by cutting it off and covering it with iron sheets but its offshoots pierced through the iron sheets and this tree regained its foliation. 

 Kaliyadeh Palace -

 

 Kaliyadeh Palace

 

Kaliyadeh palace, as it is lost now in the symphonious solitude of the streams of Shipra, flowing through tanks and channels with frolicsome twists and turns in the serene setting of nature, was once a majestic Sun-temple. Avanti-mahatmya of the Skand-purana has recorded a description of the Sun-temple, the Surya-kunda and Brahma-kunda. People from nearby villages have their religious bath in one of the tanks known as Surya-kund even today. Remains of the old temple are seen scattered here and there throughout the area. The flow of Shipra is divided into two parts on the southern side. The stream of Shipra has been made to rush through tanks and channels carved on the western side by arresting it on the eastern side with a barrage.Kaliyadeh palace was shaped in the present form in the sixteenth century by Nasiruddin Khilji, the sultan of Malwa. The central dome of the palace is a beautiful example of persian architecture. Visits of Akbar and Jehangir to this  palace are recorded in two persian inscription found in the long corridor adjacent to the tanks. The  palace came under the control of the Scindias during the Maratha period.  The Sun-temple has now been restored here by Rajmata Scindia.