Ujjain Travel Guide

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Ujjain pronunciation   ( help· info) ( Hindi:उज्जैन) (also known as Ujain, Ujjayini, Avanti) is an ancient city of central India, in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division. In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini, and is referred to as Ozene by Ptolemy. It has been the first meridian of longitude for Hindu geographers since the 4th century BCE. It is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, and the Kumbh Mela religious festival is held there every twelve years. It is also home to Mahakal, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva.

Geography

Ujjain is situated on the Malwa Plateau in Central India. The soil is black and stony. The vegetation is the typical of arid regions with thorny trees like babul and acacia dominating the landscape. Soybean, wheat, jowar and bajra are the main crops grown.

[ edit] Climate

Ujjain experiences typical climate conditions of the interior Indian subcontinent. The summer months (April–June) are harsh with temperatures reaching up to 45°C. In addition, hot winds (called loo) may blow in the afternoons, worsening the heat. The winter months (Nov.–Feb.) are pleasant and cool with daytime temperatures typically 20°C, though it may drop to 3°C in the night. The monsoon typically arrives in late June and the months of June till September receive moderate to heavy rainfall. There are periods of rainfall followed by long periods of bright sunshine and high humidity. The month of October generally is very warm and with high humidity.

[ edit] History

The earliest references to the city, as Ujjaini, are from the time of the Buddha, when it was the capital of the kingdom of Avanti. Since the 4th century BCE the city has marked the first meridian of longitude in Hindu geography. It is also reputed to have been the residence of Asoka (who subsequently became the emperor), when he was the viceroy of the western provinces of the Maurya empire.

In the 4th century CE, Ujjain was the traditional capital of King Chandragupta II, also known as Vikramaditya, at whose court the nine poets known as the navaratna (nine jewels) of Sanskrit literature are said to have flourished.

d: Brahmagupta, whose book Brahmasphutasiddhanta was responsible for spreading the use of zero, negative numbers and the positional number system to Arabia and Cambodia; Varahamihira, who was the f many areas of mathematics.

Ujjain was invaded by the forces of the Delhi Sultanate led by Iltutmish in 1235, suffering widespread destruction and systematic desecration of temples. Under the Mughal emperor Akbar it became the capital of Malwa.

During the last half of the 18th century Ujjain was the headquarters of the Maratha leader Sindhia. The Sindhias later established themselves at Gwalior, and Ujjain remained part of Gwalior state until Indian Independence in 1947. Gwalior state bacame a princely state of the British Raj after the Maratha defeat in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, and Gwalior, Ujjain, and the neighboring princely states were made a part of the Central India Agency. After Indian independence, the Sindhia ruler of Gwalior acceded to India, and Ujjain became part of the Madhya Bharat state. In 1956 Madhya Bharat was merged into Madhya Pradesh state.

Administrative

Ujjain city has two legislative assembly zones, known as Ujjain and Freeganj. For Parliamentary purposes it is treated as one seat.

[ edit] Economy

The economy of Ujjain is mainly dependent on the agricultural activities of the nearby villages. Two main crops are grown each year: soybean as the major Rabi crop, wheat as the major Kharif crop. Ujjain agriculture is sensitive to changes in rainfall and failure of monsoon cycles can lay a devastating toll on agriculture and the local economy.

Ujjain was previously a centre of the textile industry with a number of textile mills in and around the city. These mills have since closed, unemploying hundreds. Religious tourism is also a contributor to the economy, especially during the Simhasta Mela.

[ edit] Commercial Zones

Shopping areas of Ujjain include Freeganj, Gopal Mandir, and Satigate. Apart from this every colony has its own shopping complex.

[ edit] Transport

Ujjain is well-connected by rail and road. It is on the Western Railway and is connected by direct train to most major Indian cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, etc).

The nearest airport is Indore, which has daily flights to Delhi, Mumbai and Bhopal.

The road network is developed with other parts of Madhya Pradesh. Private buses ply on these roads, though it is best to take your own vehicle for short distances.

An extensive network of old but inexpensive three-wheelers called tempoes serves the majority of the population. Three-wheeler auto-rickshaws are also quite popular. Recent years have seen an explosion of privately owned vehicles, especially two-wheelers unsuited for the traffic, that congest the narrow thoroughfares.

Railway Stations

There are three well-known railway stations:

Ujjain City Junction Vikram Nagar Chintaman (metre gauge)

Bus Stations Dewas Gate NanaKheda Koyla Phatak

Major Roads

Indore Road ,Dewas Road, Agar Road, Badnagar Road etc.

Places to Visit

See also: Ancient monuments in Ujjain

Ujjain is a holy city for Hindus and has many places to visit for the religiously inclined. The Mahakal Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlings, is the most famous and venerated Shiva temple. The Shivling in this temple is supposed to be the only Jyotirling which faces south and hence it is known as Dakshinmukhi or the south facing ling. Other temples include MahaKaleswareswari temple - one among the Astadasa MahaSakti Peethams, Harsidhhi (Durga Temple), Chintaman Ganesh, Gadh Kalika, Kaal Bhairav, Sandipani Ashram and Mangalnaath.

Ujjain, being an ancient city, is home to many monuments that have survived from the ancient period. The most stunning example is the Kaliyadeh Palace on the outskirts of the city, which is a fine piece of ancient Indian architecture, though in poor upkeep. The Bharthari Gufa is an ancient cave which has some interesting legends associated with it. The Observatory (Veda Shala) built by a Rajput king, Raja Jai Singh II, is one of five such observatories in India and features ancient astronomical devices.


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