Madhya Pradesh Trip-5: Visit to Ujjain
Overview: From Khajuraho, I took the 9pm train to Ujjain and reached at around 7:30am in the morning. There are quite a few hotels outside the railway station but there is one Avantika Guest House just adjacent to the railway station which I recommend. The guest house has dormitory, single and double rooms.
After getting fresh, I proceeded towards the Ujjain Mahakal temple. The whole street is lined with prasad sellers and souvenir shops. The Mahakal corridor recently inaugrated by the Hon'ble PM Mr Modi starts from the main entrance of the temple. The queue for the darshan starts from the Manasarovar Bhavan, and carrying any sort of cameras is not allowed inside the premises. However, there is no restriction on carrying phones but photography is prohibited. It takes around 2 hours to complete the darshan. Once out of the temple, the visitors are welcomed at the Mahakal corridor where several sculptures are newly installed with stories from the Shiva Puraana. There is an attractive fountain as well on the western side of the corridor with a sculpture of Shiva at the centre, giving it a divine look.
There is the Triveni museum of Art and Archaeology too, which opens at 9am. The museum houses artifacts from Ujjain and the state of MP, and one can see ancient images from differne temples. The first floor is a cultural museum with different facets of culture being showcased.
There is one Bharat Mata temple too near the Mahakal temple which shows the terrain of India clearly with different rivers. Vande Mataram is chanted daily in the evening time at this temple.
Around 2km from the Mahakal temple is the Jantar Mantar, an observatory constructed by Savai Raja Jaisingh between 1725 to 1730 CE similar to the one in Delhi and Jaipur. Motions and Orbits of the planets are studied through the different yantras constructed in the observatory. The observatory was renovated by Madhav Rao Scindia, the then Maharaja of Gwalior state in 1923 CE. There was a school trip being organised on the day I visited so I couldn't get inside the Observatory.
Tilakeshwar Mahadev Temple
Around 5km from the Mahakal temple is the Tilakeshwar Mahadev temple, built in the 18th century on a one metre high foundation, the temple has one Ardhamantapa, Antarala and a Garbhagriha. The dome shaped ceiling once had beautiful frescos which has now faded with time. The temple is not usually crowded and one can even do Abhishekam on the Shivalinga.
Maharshi Sandeepani Ashram
This is another major attraction in Ujjain, and this is the place where Krishna and Balarama along with Sudama got formal education from Rishi Sandeepani. The temple and the hall has beautiful colours and has stories from the Krishna's adolescence on the topics of education from Astronomy to Ayurveda. The outer periphery of the temple also has details about the 64 artforms learnt by Shri Krishna.
A visit to Ujjain normally takes the whole day, and I took a late afternoon train to Indore where I stayed overnight.
How to reach:
Ujjain can be reached by train and is connected to major cities in India. The nearest airport is Indore and can also be done as a day trip from Indore.
The places in Ujjain can be visited on autorickshaws and can charge between Rs 200-Rs 400.