Divine Experiences in Ujjain


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Divine Experiences in Ujjain

With a large number of temples and pilgrimage sites, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh is among the most significant religious places in the country. While devotees flock to the place in large numbers to offer their prayers at the much-revered Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple, the devotion towards Lord Shiva is manifested in many other holy shrines that have existed in the city since ancient times, apart from those dedicated to other deities. The legends associated with these sacred sites make them even more noteworthy.

In part two of the "Divine Experiences in Ujjain", let's take a look at some of the most important places of divinity in this holy abode.

Harsiddhi Temple

Standing very close to the famous Mahakaleshwar Temple is another significant religious shrine and a well-known Shakti Peetha in Ujjain: Harsiddhi Temple. According to Shiva Purana, it is here that Goddess Sati's elbow dropped when Lord Shiva carried her away from the sacrificial fire. In this sacred temple is seated a vermilion-coloured idol of Goddess Annapurna, flanked by those of Mahalaxmi and Mahasaraswati. The symbol of 'Shakti' or power, Sri Yantra, is also enshrined in the temple.

Mangalnath Temple

Overlooking the vast expanse of the sacred Shipra River, the Mangalnath Temple offers a tranquil setting for devotees to offer their prayers and introspect. The temple is believed to be the birthplace of Mars (Lord Mangal), who was born to Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, as mentioned in the Matsya Purana. It is said that the temple also served as an ideal site for astronomical studies in ancient times.

Kal Bhairav Temple

This revered temple is dedicated to Kal Bhairav, chief among the eight attendants (Ashta Bhairavas) of Lord Shiva. The worship of the Bhairavas is intrinsic to the Shaivite tradition. Also located on the banks of the Shipra, this holy shrine is said to have been built by King Bhadrasena. Interestingly, the deity here is offered alcohol as part of a religious ritual. The Kal Bhairav temple even finds mention in the Avanti Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Sandipani Ashram

This temple is located close to both Mangalnath Temple and Kal Bhairav Temple. The significance of this site dates back to the early era of the Mahabharata as an important learning centre. It is believed Lord Krishna and Sudama were educated by sage Maharishi Sandipani in this ashram. When you visit this place, you will also find a stone with the numbers 1-100 inscribed on it, believed to have been carved by the teacher himself. The area has a sacred pond with an image of Nandi (Bull Vahana of Lord Shiva), believed to belong to the Sunga period. The ashram is considered to be the 73rd seat of Sri Vallabhacharya, an Indian saint and one of the first proponents of the Bhakti movement, according to the followers of the Vallabha sect. Devotees celebrate Janmashtami with great pomp and enthusiasm at this ashram.

Chintaman Ganesh Temple

Chintaman Ganesh is believed to alleviate all worries. The temple is deemed one of the biggest in Ujjain and is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The idol of the deity in this temple is flanked by his wives Riddhi and Siddhi on either side. What's fascinating is that the idol of Lord Ganesha is said to have self-evolved or what is known as Swayambhu! There is a large gathering of devotees here every Wednesday of the Chaitra month. Apart from being a holy shrine, the artistic carvings on the temple pillars also catch attention. It is around seven km from the main city on the Ujjain-Fatehabad railway line.

How to reach Ujjain

The nearest airport is Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore (about 60 km), with nonstop or connecting flights from major cities like Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Ujjain is also well-connected by rail to cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Besides, the city has regular bus services to Indore, Bhopal, Ratlam, Gwalior and more. Good motorable roads connect Ujjain to cities like Ahmedabad, Delhi and Mumbai, among other places.