Genral Information - Ujjain
Modern Ujjain is situated on the banks of the river Shipra, regarded since times immemorial as sacred. The belief in the sacredness of Shipra, has its origins in the ancient Hindu mythological tale of churning of the Ocean by the Gods and the Demons, with Vasuki, the serpent as the rope. The ocean bed first yielded fourteen gems, then Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and finally the coveted vessel of Nectar. Then began the wild scramble for immortality with the demons chasing the Gods across the skies, and in the process, a few drops were spilt, and fell at Hardwar, Nasik, Prayag, and Ujjayini. Hence the sanctity of the waters of the Shipra.
The early history of Ujjain is lost in the midst of antiquity. As early as the time of the Aryan settlers, Ujjain seems to have acquired importance. By the 6th century B.C. Avanti with its capital at Ujjaini, is mentioned in Buddhist literature as one of the four great powers along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha. Place To See :
Ujjain lay on the main trade route between North India and Deccan going from Mathura via Ujjain to Mahismati (Maheshwar) on the Narmada, and on to Paithan on the Godavari, western Asia and the West. The Northern black polished ware - the NBP as it is often called which is technically the finest pottery of the time, with a brilliantly burnished dressing almost of the quality of a glaze in colour from jet black to a deep grey or metallic blue and iron, found their way to the northern Deccan from the Gangetic plains through Ujjain. The articles of export to the western Asia such as precious stones and pearls, scents and spices, perfumes, silks and muslin, reached the port of Brighukachcha from the remote north through Ujjain. All this finds a detailed and interesting description in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea
An account of an unknown Greek merchant who made a voyage to India in the second half of the first century AD. The Periplus talks of a city called Ozene to the east of Barygaza (Broach) which fed all commodities to trade like onyx, porcelain, fine muslin and quantities of ordinary cottons, spikenard , costus bodellium to this important port and to other parts of India.
The earliest known epigraphic record of the Paramaras, the Harsola Granth, issued at the beginning of the 10th century AD, maintains that the kings of the Paramara dynasty were born in the family of the Rastrakutas in the Deccan The early Paramara chiefs of Malwa were probably vassals of the Rastrakutas. The Udaypur Prasati, mentions Vakpati Vakpati I as the king of Avanti and it was probably in his region that the Rastrakuta Indra III halted at Ujjain while advancing with his army against the Pratihara Mahipala I. Malwa was lost in the time of Vakpati's successor, Vairisimha II, to the invading forces of Mahipala I who avenged his defeat at the hands of Indra III by invading the empire of Rastrakuta. Mahipala and his Kalachuri confederate Bhamanadeva are said to have conquered the territory up to the banks of the Narmada including Ujjain and Dhar. The Paramara sovereignty in the Malwa ceased until AD 946 when Vairsimha II became dominant in the area. It is in his son Siyaka II's reign that the independent Paramara rule in Malwa began. It is believed that it was this time that the capital was shifted to the area of the Mahakala Vana in Ujjain.
From the 9th to the 12th centuries, the Paramaras became so identified with Ujjain that subsequent tradition has converted Vikramaditya into a Paramara. The last Paramara ruler, Siladitya, was captured alive by the Sultans of Mandu, and Ujjain passed into the hands of the Muslims.
Thus began a long era of misfortune and decay and the ancient glory of Ujjayini was lost in a morass of repeated inroads of attacking hordes. The invasion of Ujjain by Iltutmish in 1234 triggered off a systematic desecration and despoiling of temples. This tide of destruction was stemmed only in the time of Baz Bahadur of Mandu. The Mughal rule heralded a new era in reconstruction. Emperor Akbar put an end to Baz Bahadur's hegemony over Malwa and had a city wall constructed for the defense of Ujjain. The Nadi Darwaza, Kaliadeh Darwaza, Sati Darwaza, Dewas Darwaza and Indore Darwaza were the various entrances to the city.
In 1658 took place a battle near Ujjain in which Aurangzeb and Murad defeated Maharaj Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur, who was fighting on behalf of Prince Dara. The actual scene of the battle is Dharmatpura, renamed Fatehbad by Aurangzeb, after the victory. The cenotaph of Raja Rattan Singh of Ratlam, who fell in the battle, still stands at the site.
In the reign of Mahmud Shah, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh was made the Governor of Malwa, a great scholar of astronomy, he had the observatory at Ujjain reconstructed and built several temples.
At the beginning of the 17th century, Ujjain and Malwa went through another period of seize and invasion at the hands of the Marathas, who gradually captured the entire region. The Maratha domination of Malwa gave impetus to a cultural renaissance in the region and modern Ujjain came into being. Most of the temples of Ujjain were constructed during this period.
It was during this time that Ujjain became the meeting ground of painters of the Poona and Kangra styles. The impact of the two different styles of painting is distinctive. The examples of Maratha style are found in the temples of Ram Janardan, Kal Bhairava, Kalpeshwar and Tilakeshwar while the traditional Malwa style can be seen in the Sandipani Ashram and in many large houses of the local seths.
In the Maratha period, the art of wood work also developed. Wood carvings were done on the galleries and balconies. But many excellent examples have either been sold as junk or destroyed.
Ujjain finally passed into the hands of the Scindias in 1750 and until 1810, when Daulat Rao Scindia founded his new capital at Gwalior, it was the chief town of his dominions.
The shifting of the capital to Gwalior led to a decline in the commercial importance of Ujjain. But the opening of Ujjain-Ratlam-Godhra branch of the Bombay-Baroda line corrected the balance. A considerable volume of trade mainly with Bombay, existed in cotton, grain and opium during the British Indian period.
There is much to demonstrate that in the perspective of India's long history, Ujjain enjoyed great importance in the battle for the empire and the constant struggle for supremacy. Political importance was compounded by the economic factor of Ujjain being situated on the main artery of trade between the North, the South and the West. This in turn contributed to Ujjain acquiring a cultural splendour of its own which is equaled by very few other cities in India.
The names of Kalidasa and Ujjayini are inextricably linked together in the Indian traditions. It is in Meghdoot, a poem of a little over hundred verses, describing the anguish of a yaksha, separated from his beloved by a curse, sending a message to her in the city of Alaka through a rain cloud from his exile in Ramagiri (now identified as Ramtek near Nagpur) that Kalidasa's love of Ujjayini finds full expression. The poet describes the imaginary passage of the cloud over Ujjayini, and it is almost as if he is loath to move on, for in 12 verses (27-38), there is a lyrical description of the city and the people which conjures up a vivid picture of a civilized attractive society, a leisured class, intensely practical and yet imbued with deeply religious and philosophical preoccupations.
Aurangzeb gave numerous grants to temples belying tales of intense religious bigotry, which are preserved to this day by the families of the priests. He is said to have issued a firman giving blanket protection to Dara Shikoh's guru, Kavindracharya Saraswati, after he killed his brother. Several manuscripts signed by Kavindracharya Saraswati are preserved in the Scindia Oriental Institute to this day.
Bhartrihari Caves How Get There :
These caves are situated just above the bank of the Shipra near the temple of Gadkalika. According to popular tradition, this is the spot where Bhartrihari, who is said to have been the step brother of Vikramaditya, lived and meditated after renouncing worldly life. He is believed to have been a great scholar and poet. His famous works, Shringarshatak, Vairagyashatak, and Nitishatak, are known for the exquisite use of the Sanskrit meter.
Situated on the banks of the Shipra, the island-like site immediately conjures up the natural beauty of ancient Ujjain which poets down the ages have waxed lyrical. The glorious landscape of the flowing river on both sides of the palace and the man-made tanks and channels, with water gurgling through them, provide a spectacular backdrop to the imposing building.
The central dome of the palace is a beautiful example of Persian architecture. Two Persian inscriptions found in one of the long corridors of the palace record the visits of Emperor Akbar and Jehangir to this palace.
The palace was broken down in the time of the Pindaris and was restored by Madhav Rao Scindia in 1920 to its present glory. The Sun Temple was also restored by the family.
Durgadas Ki Chhatri
This distinctive monument glows like a small jewel in the surrounding lush landscape. Vir Durgadas earned a secure niche for himself in the history of Marwad by his undaunting, selfless service to the State. He fought for the independence of Jodhpur after the death of Maharaj Jaswant Singh and helped Ajit Singh to ascend the throne against the wishes of Aurangzeb.
Durgadas died at Rampura in 1718, and his funeral rites were performed according to his wishes on the banks of the Shipra. The rulers of Jodhpur had built the chhatri to consecrate his memory. This beautiful structure, built in the Rajput style of architecture, houses a statue of Durgadas which crumbled down.
Ujjain enjoyed a position of considerable importance in the field of astronomy. Great works on astronomy such as the Surya Siddhanta and the Panch Siddhanta were written in Ujjain. According to Indian astronomers, the Tropic of Cancer is supposed to pass through Ujjain. It is also the fist meridian of longitude of the Hindu geographers. From about the 4th century BC, Ujjain enjoyed the reputation of being India's Greenwich. The observatory extant today was built by Raja Jai Singh (1686-1743), who was a great scholar. He translated the works of Ptolemy and Euclid into Sanskrit from Arabic. Of the many observatories built by him at Jaipur, Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura, and Ujjain, the one at Ujjain is still in use actively. Astronomical studies are conducted through the Department of Education and the ephemeris is published every year. There is a small planetarium and a telescope to observe the moon, Mars, Jupiter and their satellites.
Vikram Kirti Mandir
Established on the occasion of the second millennium of the Vikram era, as the cultural centre to perpetuate the memory of Vikramaditya, the Vikram Kirti Mandir houses the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum, an art gallery and an auditorium. The Scindia Oriental Research Institute has an invaluable collection of 18,000 manuscripts on various subjects and runs a reference library of important oriental publications. Rare manuscripts in Prakrit, Arabic, Persian and other Indian languages cover a wide range of subjects from Vedic literature and philosophy to dance and music. Palm leaf and bark leaf (Bhurja Patra) manuscripts are also preserved in this institute. Apart from an illustrated manuscript of Shrimad Bhagavata in which actual gold and silver have been employed for the paintings, the Institute has a rich collection of old paintings in the Rajput and Mughal style. The museum also exhibits a rich array of images, inscriptions, copper plates and fossils discovered in the narmada valley.A huge skull of a primitive elephant is of special interest.
This academy was set up in Ujjain by the Government of Madhya Pradesh to immortalize the memory of the great poet dramatist-Kalidasa, and to create a multi-disciplinary institution to project the genius of the entire classical tradition, with Kalidasa as the apex, enable research and study in Sanskrit classical and traditional performing arts, and facilitate its adaptation for contemporary stage in different cultural settings and language groups.
The fact that ancient Ujjain apart from its political and religious importance, enjoyed the reputation of being a great seat of learning as early as the Mahabharata period is borne out by the fact that, Lord Krishna and Sudama received regular instruction in the ashram of Guru Sandipani. The area near the ashram is known as Ankapata, popularly believed to have been the place used by Lord Krishna for washing his writing tablet. The numerals 1 to 100 found on a stone are believed to have been engraved by Guru Sandipani.
The Gomti Kunda referred to in the Puranas was the source of water supply to the ashram in the olden days. An image of Nandi, belonging to the Shunga period, is to be found near the tank. The followers of Vallabha sect regard this place as the 73rd seat of the 84 seats of Vallabhacharya where he delivered his discourses throughout India.
By Air Accomodation :
Nearest Airport Indore (53 km) is connected to Bombay by Indian Airlines Continental Airways also operates flights from Bombay to Indore.
Ujjain is a railway station on the Western Railway.
Good Motorable roads connect Ujjain with Ahmedabad (402 kms), Bhopal (183 kms), Bombay (655 kms), Delhi (774 kms), Gwalior (451 kms), Indore (53 kms) and Khajuraho (570 kms) etc.
Regular bus services connect Ujjain with Indore, Bhopal, Ratlam, Gwalior, Mandu, Dhar, Kota and Omkareshwar etc.
There are several hotels and lodges available to accommodate the tourists visiting the town. Besides, in Ujjain, there are also government run hotels like the Shipra and the Yatri Niwas that are conveniently priced and comfortable.
Shopping in Ujjain is fun and the tourists can have a beautiful experience of shopping in Ujjain if they can reach the right place for the right things. Shopping in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh in India can be exciting as the tourists get to buy several things which is exclusive of Madhya Pradesh. These things reflect the culture and the tradition of the tribal people residing in Madhya Pradesh. While shopping at Ujjain people should go for things that are traditional artifacts of Madhya Pradesh. People who have a knack for buying and collecting jewelry and tribal artifacts must go for a shopping in ujjain. The handicrafts sold in the markets of Ujjain are mostly made by the tribal people who make these objects to spend their free time and commercially these things have a great value. Ujjain can be a unique shopping destination for people who take interest in collecting tribalmetal wares, bamboo articles, pottery etc. Ujjain has proved to be a one stop shopping destination for the tourists who have a taste for ethnic tribal designs. Events :
Bazaars in Ujjain
Bazaars in Ujjain reflects the old age charm of India. The hustle and bustle, the busy life, the crowds gathering from all walks of life characterizes the bazaars of Ujjain. One can find both traditional bazaar which is a bit unorganized and sells certain kind of things whereas just beside one can find the huge departmental stores and the shopping malls that specializes in selling everything at a stop. The departmental stores that have come up in Ujjain also portrays the modern outlook towards life and the effect of Globalization in every corner of the world.
Bazaars in Ujjain look attractive because of the beautifully decorated shops and the designs formed by the arrangements of the products that are put up for sale. The traditional Bazaars in Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh in India reflects the essence of old India and the new shopping malls speaks of the radiant effect of the modern age.
At the Ujjain Bazaars one can find authentic and exclusive pieces of arts and artifacts. Bazaars in Ujjain are further categorised into areas and parts depending on the wares and things that are sold.the bazaars are also named as per the wares and things that are put up for sale. Tin the bazaars of Ujjain one will find everything ranging from food products to dress materials to exquisite jewelery items. The Traditional Bazaars of Ujjain is known for authentic products that are sold at a cheaper price.
Tourists and the natives should go to the bazaars for Shopping in Ujjain. The Bazaars in Ujjain are mainly situated in the heart of the city. Bazaars in ujjain are flocked by people from villages and cities, the natives and the tourists alike. The bazaars are known for selling authentic products at reasonable rates.
To get an exact glimpse of the Ujjain bazaars one need to visit the place and experience the jostling bazaar scenarios. A visit to the bazaars gives an idea about the means of livelihood of the natives of Madhya Pradesh and the way they earn their livelihood.
What to Buy in Ujjain
Visit to a place remains incomplete if tourists come back without buying any souvenir or memento from the place he has been to. A visit to a new place definitely gives an idea about the history of the place, the traditions and cultures practiced in the place. The things sold at the place certainly reflect the cultural bend and the traditional arts practiced in the place. A memento or a souvenir which is authentic and exclusive of the place keeps the essence of the city alive even after one is back from the tour. The people and the things present around certainly attract one’s attention and tempts the tourist to buy certain things as souvenir of the place. What to buy in Ujjain while touring is an obvious question. To buy authentic things the tourists must visit the local Bazaars in Ujjain.
Madhya Pradesh is known for its tribal tradition and culture. The tribal people are known for making beautiful articles from bamboo and cane. While touring in Madhya Pradesh things to buy in Ujjain includes these traditional handicrafts. Ujjain is also known for stone crafts, that is, beautiful small statues carved out of stone. If one ponders on what to buy in Ujjain, one should head straight to the local bazzars and the handicrafts emporium to get exclusive and ethnic artifacts of Madhya Pradesh. Apart from these traditional things, other things to be bought from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh in India include dress materials, jewelry both modern and ethnic and leather goods from Ujjain.
Almost all the major Hindu festivals are celebrated here. Having one of the 12 Jyotirlingas, Maha Shivratri is a big event here. Thousand of pilgrims flock to the fair grounds near the Mahakal temple to worship Lord Shiva.
The Simhastha Kumbh Mela is a mammoth fair held once in twelve years. The magnificence of the bathing ritual is seen at its best during this fair at Ujjain.