My Ujjain trip

I lived in Ujjain for over 2 decades and crisscrossed the city hundreds of times on bicycle with friends but never looked at the city from a tourist point of view. So with a couple of friends I decided to visit Ujjain – this time as a tourist. We planned a six days trip to Ujjain and nearby locations.

We did a little research on Ujjain and found out that apart from usual tourist destinations of temples, ghats etc. it has a couple of archeological museums and an art gallery at Kalidas Academy. Ujjain is also supposed to have some very old houses with intricate and decorative wood work. We also included nearby towns of Omkareshwar, Maheshwar and Mandav in our itinerary.

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Ujjain

On reaching Ujjain we visited the museums and art gallery. The archeological museums have some very old scriptures from Hindu, Muslim and Parsi holy books. Some of them are written on Bhoj Patras and some of them are in the form of tiny (1 square inch) books. There were a large number of centuries old sculptures and an elephant fossil which is said to be 500000 years old!! The staff at the museum was very cooperative and helpful.

In the  city while most of the old houses have now been demolished and gave way to ugly unplanned development, we could find some old houses still standing in their grand old glory in Chota Sarafa and Gopal Mandir areas.

Next day we hired an Auto to take us on a ‘Chourasi Mahadev’ yatra. This yatra tour basically encircles the Ujjain city and covers all the traditional tourist places as well as some not very common ones. At the end of the day we had a glass of ‘thandai’ with a bit of traditional stimulant added to it to take care of the day’s not so smooth auto ride.

Our next destination was Omkareshwar. This is a small temple town on the banks of river Narmada. We undertook ‘Parikrama’ which encircles the Omkareshwar

Omkareshwar

Omkareshwar

temple hill and is a refreshing walk of about 7/8 Kms. One can also complete the parikrama taking a boat ride on river Narmada.

Next we reached Maheshwar. This is another small town on banks of Narmada river. It has a beautiful temple complex built by

Rani Ahillya Devi. The temples have intricate carvings and are in excellent conditions. Two kilometers down the river is a place

Maheshwar

Maheshwar

called ‘Sahasra Dhara’ where the river rapidly moves through rocks creating lots of small foamy currents.

Our last stop was at Mandav. This place is known for Rupmati-Baj Bahaddur love story and has a large number

Mandav

Mandav

of mosques, makbaras and palaces. All these monuments are well maintained and in fairly good condition. As these monuments are widely spread we hired a car and a guide and comfortably covered all the spots in a day.

 On sixth day We reached Indore to catch the train for our return journey.

 Ujjain-Omkareshwar-Maheshwar-Mandav is a nice tour circuit which can be covered in 5/6 days. Ujjain and Indore are well-connected by trains. Indore also has air connectivity. Back packers can travel by bus between the towns but for a family it is best to hire a vehicle (Rs 15/Rs 17 per km) for the entire trip for Ujjain or Indore. MP tourism hotels are available at all places. At Omkareshwar Bhakt Nivas is the best place to stay.

Finally my take on today’s Ujjain. This is a city trying to be a modern city and an ancient religious city at the same time. There is an enormous increase in vehicles of all types but the traffic sense of general public is very poor. You find vehicles parked at all places haphazardly  and cows roaming freely creating traffic problems. Also the city lacks on cleanliness at every level. I feel that Ujjain has considerably deteriorated on these counts in past 3 decades. However I still vote for Ujjain for its people, who are warm, friendly and simple-minded and also for the one and only magnificent temple “The Mahakaleshwar’.

Click on the link https://www.dropbox.com/sh/s9b37dmjae1eg3g/IMPEcaI6NL  to look at some more photographs from our trip.

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