Distance : 37km from Dewas, 45km from
Indore, 55km from Ratlam
Location : Situated on the Malwa Plateau on the eastern side
of the River Shipra that originates from the Kakri Bardi Range in
Indore district, Ujjain forms the eastern district of Madhya Pradesh,
the heart-state of India. The district of Ujjain is surrounded by the
districts of Shajapur in the north, Ratlam in the east, Dhar in the
west, and Indore and Dewas in the south.
¤ Most Holy City of Hindus
of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, known as Saptapurior
Mokshapuri, Ujjain has been a prominent centre of religious activities
for over 2,000 years. The township is particularly mentioned in the
Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas(ancient Hindu texts written
between 1,000 to 800 b.c.). Two parts of the Skanda Purana, another
ancient holy text, are supposed to have been composed here.
The district of Ujjain along with its surrounding regions, was
ancient Avantikawith its capital at Ujjayini, which literally means
the glorious conqueror. Apart from being a religious place, Ujjain
tourism highlights the city as a centre for astronomy,developed by one
of its rulers, Jai Singh. Ancient Hindu geographers fixed the centre
of the Earth and the first meridian here to make astronomical
¤ Buddhist Sites Found Here
Damaged sculptures and monasteries have been found scattered around
Ujjain, leading to the belief that Buddhism flourished here in the 4th
century. A profusion of these along with ruined temples and old
remains of foundations of houses found in the district belong to the
Mauryan period (4th to 2nd century b.c.). Ancient bones and skeletons,
coins, terracotta figurines, beads and semi-precious stones were some
of the other things discovered in Ujjain.
¤ Evidences of an Ancient Empire
The discovery of ancient silver and copper coins enables historians
to reconstruct the basic pattern of administrative and kingship
systems. In 326 b.c., the Greeks arrived in India led by Alexander the
Great, who crossed into India and met King Porus on the banks of the
River Jhelum. The Greeks stayed on for 18 months, after which they
began their long march back. Alexander left behind ambassadors and
vassals to rule the territories he had conquered upto Jhelum.
These regents who were responsible for administering Indian
territories in Alexanders name, eventually came to be known as
Kshatrapas (vassals) and the Mahakshatrapas (senior vassals). This was
around the Saka era in the 1st century a.d. From Saka coins found in
Ujjain, it is believed that a Kshatrapa would succeed a Mahakshatrapa,
indicating the influence of a foreign rule in Ujjain. A glass stamp
inscribed with the name Asadevas, a lid with the name Nagabhudhis and
an ivory stamp with the name Gothjastiscus were discovered in Ujjain
as well. All carved, moulded, inscribed or stamped coins, rings and
stamps are conserved in various museums in Madhya Pradesh.
¤ Attractions of Monuments
In addition to the ruins of antiquity, Ujjain tourism offers
information on number of interesting monuments. such as the Jai Singh
Observatory, the Choubis Khamba Darwazaand the Kaliyadeh Mahal, apart
from the numerous temples in the periphery of the town. A dip in the
holy river Shipra is supposed to pave the way to Heaven for human
beings. The river flows north passing through the bathing sites of
Mangalghat, Narsimhaghat, Ramghat and Siddhavat before reaching the
Rana Pratap Sagar Dam and finally draining into the Chambal River. The
adjoining terrain is interspersed with teak and cultivated farmlands.
¤ Modern Ujjain
Modern Ujjain is a major agricultural and textile trade centre, as
well as the district headquarters. The fertile plains of Ujjain
receive electricity from the Gandhi Sagar Dam on the Chambal River.
The district is fertile enough to produce sorghum, wheat, cotton,
pulses, legumes and poppy. Cotton ginning and milling, oilseed
milling, hand weaving and the manufacture of metal ware, tiles,
hosiery, confectionery, strawboard and batteries are flourishing
industries in Ujjain. In the suburb Bherugarh, aka Bhairavgarh,
chippas or dyers and printers use vegetable dyes and hand-carved teak
to print ancient designs and patterns on cotton saris, tapestries,
hangings, bed sheets and mats.
¤ Fairs & Festivals
occasions and fairs are an important part of the lives of people in
Ujjain. An ancient religious centre, Ujjain is famous for the Kumbh
Mela, a month-long fair attended by thousands of Hindu devotees.
Locally known as Sinhast,the fair is held every 12 years, beginning on
the full moon in the month of Chaitra (March-April) when Jupiter is in
Scorpio and the Sun is in Aries.
The Ardha Kumbh(half Kumbh) is held every six years. Legend has it
that a kumbh (pot) containing nectar arose from the depths of the
ocean because of a tug-of-war between the gods and the demons. The
ocean was churned with the help of the snake Vasuki, and Mount Meru.
A fight broke out between the gods and the demons over the pot of
nectar. In the ensuing conflict, drops of nectar fell on the places
that are now Prayag(Allahabad), Nasik, Hardwar and Ujjain.
The age-old festival of Shivaratriis dedicated to Shiva, the
Destroyer in the Hindu Holy Trinity of Creator-Preserver-Destroyer.
Devotees flock to the temples at dawn and make special offerings of
berries and belpatra or leaves of the wood apple. The Shiva linga
(Shivas symbolic phallus) is bathed with milk and honey and
worshipped on Shivaratri.
¤ Centre of Cultural Activities
Madhya Pradesh tourism also promotes other cultural activities held
in Ujjain. The state is the centre of cultural activities and
festivals such as the Malwa Utsav, a festival of folk and classical
music, and the All IndiaKalidasa Festival. These festivals are held
annually in Ujjain by the government of Madhya Pradesh. Dedicated to
the 4th century poet Kalidasa, the Kalidasa Festival honours the
creative talent of authors, poets and playwrights.
Moreover, the Theatre Academy of Madhya Pradesh also has its centre