8 Things To See In Ujjain Over A Weekend

If you're planning a spiritual getaway to Ujjain, we've prepared you an itinerary
The Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain
The Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain

The ancient city of Ujjain lies on the banks of the holy Shipra River, a tributary of the Chambal. It is popularly held that the number of temples in Ujjain is so large that if pilgrims come here with two cartloads of grain and offer only one handful at each temple, they would still run short of offerings.

Mahakaleshwar Temple

One of the 12 jyotirlingas, this temple, popularly known as the Mahakal Temple, is one of the most sacred Shiva temples in India. Located in the heart of Ujjain, it is also the best place to start exploring this ageless town. Among the diverse works of literature composed in the ancient and early medieval period, many sang praises of the Mahakaleshwar Temple, including Harshacharita and Kadambari by the poet Banabhatta. Bada Ganapati Temple Located next to the Mahakal Temple complex, the Bada Ganapati Temple houses a massive 4-m-tall idol of Ganesha. In one of its chambers, one can see a beautiful four-faced brass idol of Vishnu.

Harsiddhi Temple

Harsiddhi Temple, a major seat of the Shakta sect, occupies a special place in the galaxy of temples in Ujjain. Seated between the idols of Mahalakshmi and Mahasaraswati, goddess Annapurna, the main deity worshipped in the temple, is painted a brilliant vermilion.

Chardham Temple

The modern Chardham Temple was built in 1994. The temple enshrines the deities of the four holiest Hindu pilgrimages &ndash Dwarka, Badrinath, Rameshwaram, and Jagannath-Puri. A pilgrimage to this temple is said to bestow on the devotee the virtues borne out of visiting these four sites. The temple complex houses an artificial cave that replicates the environment in which the sages meditated in the Himalayas.

Ram Ghat

The Shipra River forms the spiritual lifeline of Ujjain. A dip in its waters is supposed to cleanse the soul and prepare one for moksha. For centuries, people have been thronging the banks of the sacred river not only for holy baths but also to perform life-cycle rituals. Ghats have been built all along the banks of the river for this purpose, the most important of them being the Ram Ghat. The best time to explore the ghat is early morning and late evening. The most spectacular scene on Ram Ghat is the sandhya aarti where priests gather on both banks at sundown every day to worship the sacred river.

Gopal Temple

Gopal Temple is located at the heart of the town&rsquos main market. Constructed in the mid-19th century by Bayajbai Scindia, wife of king Daulat Rao Scindia, it is a striking example of Maratha temple architecture. As in the Maratha tradition, the temple is enclosed by a high wall, pierced by an ornate gateway with the distinctive bangaldar roof.

Temple of Gadkalika

Gadkalika (goddess Kali of the fortress) is supposed to be one of the earliest deities to be worshipped in Ujjain. Like many of Ujjain&rsquos other shrines, the Gadkalika Temple has been rebuilt a number of times. The first recorded renovation was made by Harshavardhana of Thaneshwar in 7th century CE. Then following the destruction wreaked by the ruthless invasion of Iltutmish, it was rebuilt by the Paramaras in the 12th&nbspcentury CE. The temple was rebuilt yet again by the Scindias of Gwalior in the middle of the 19th century. It is located 2km away from Mahakaleshwar.

Bhartrihari Caves

These caves are located on the eastern bank of the Shipra River. Upon entering the enclosure that houses the cave, one can see the remains of an ancient temple of which only some pillars have survived. In the first courtyard, a cave enshrines an idol of Kal Bhairav. The courtyard walls have a number of sculptures and temple fragments cemented on to them, some of which display sculptural finesse.

Kaliadeh Palace

The serene environs of this sprawling complex on the Shipra River give the traveller a fair idea of what Ujjain might have looked like in the height of its glory. The Kaliadeh palace is located in a little island on the Shipra and man-made tanks and waterways inside the complex give the illusion that the entire structure is floating. An inscription found in the palace complex says that it was constructed in 1458 CE during the reign of Mahmud Khilji of Malwa. After the war between the Marathas and the Pindaris in 1818, the palace remained uninhabited and neglected until Madho Rao Scindia restored it to its former glory in 1920.   

When to go

October&ndashMarch, when the weather is pleasant . 

Nearest airport

Devi Ahilya Bai International Airport at Indore (54km/ 1hr) is connected by regular flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Ranchi, Raipur, Kolkata, Goa and many more

Nearest railhead

Ujjain&rsquos railway station is connected to all the major cities within the state as well as the rest of the country with both commuter and express trains. The main bus stand at Dewas Gate is located a little distance from the station.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller