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  About Ujjain Sightseeing

Ujjain is considered to be the place of learning and knowledge since the Vedic period. A famous ashram, Sandeepani Ashram is located there and is said to be one where Lord Krishna and his bosom friend, Sudhama studied under the guidance of Sandeepani, the great sage. Ankapata, where Lord Krishna is said to have cleansed his tablet which he used for writing is located closeby. There is a stone on which Guru Sandipani is said to have inscribed the numbers from 1 to 100. This place is considered holy by its association with Lord Krishna and attracts people with its exciting folktales.

Chintaman Ganesh Temple
Another pious place is the marvelous 11th century stone temple, the Chintaman Ganesh Temple which is right in the center of the market. Its presiding deity is considered to be Swayamabhu (Lord Ganesh) and is flanked on both sides by his companions, Siddhi and Ridhhi. The white shrine has an assembly hall with exquisitely carved pillars made of stone which shows its age old sacredness. Hindus firstly worship Lord Ganesh considered the vanquisher of all obstacles. Devotees flock here to worship the deity, conventionally named Chintaharan Ganesh ("the redeemer from the worldly worries and anxieties")

Harsiddhi Temple
Among the various Shaktipeeths of the Hindu mythology is the Harsiddhi Temple, considered the dwelling of the numerous Hindu Goddesses and houses their images too. Its highlights include the rock structure covered with vermilion and turmeric paste. Another highlight is the Sri Yantra (nine triangles) representing the nine different names of Goddess Durga. Among the famous images and idols known for their characteristic Maratha architecture style is the dark vermilion smeared image of Annapurna (Goddess of Nourishment) and the statue of Mahasaraswati (Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom). During the Navaratri festival, the temple glows with the simultaneous lighting of lamps numbering hundreds on the 15 feet tall lamp stand.

Patal Bhairav Temple
A famous temple dedicated to the Shakti (power) of the mother Goddess namely, Patal Bhairav Temple has an interesting legend behind it. As per Hindu mythology, a cruel and selfish demon, Bhairav Nath chased a young lady named Vaishno Devi, the reincarnation of Mother Goddess. In order to flee, the Devi shot an arrow in the ground from where water rushed out and took shelter in a cave. However, Devi had to assume the form of Mahakali to kill Bhairav after he found her. Just before dying, Bhairav begged for pardon and was granted Moksha along with a boon wherein each one of the devotees after the darshan of the Mother Goddess at the Holy cave, have to visit the nearby temple of Bhairav Nath in order to fulfill their pilgrimage.

Another holy place is the Siddhavat which lies on the river banks of the Shipra River. It is famous for its immortal tree, the Siddhavat Tree. It is sacred and is known by various names at different places such as Akashyavat (Gaya and Prayag), Vanshivat (Vrindavan) and the Panchavata (Nasik). Scores of devotees take a holy dip in the Shipra River at the bathing ghat situated there. Legend has it Goddess Parvati undertook her penance at this place which was formerly a place of prayers and worship of the Natha sect followers. Another legend is that the Mughals tried to prevent the Banyan tree from growing by cutting it off and covering the place with iron sheets. However, the tree cut through the sheets and continued growing.

Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir
Another significant place for learning Sanskrit and astrology is the Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir, located close to the Mahakaleshwar Temple's tank. It has a massive statue of Ganesh, the God with the elephant head. Hindus consider the elephant head having virtues of divinity and signifies foresight, wisdom and discretion. In the middle of the temple is an outstanding and unique five faced statue of deity Hanuman who symbolizes belief and devotion. The five faces symbolize strength, courage, righteousness, devotion, and loyalty.

Gomti Kund
Another place which abounds with legends and among the holiest places is the Gomti Kund, a steep water tank close to the Sandipani Ashram. It is said that Lord Krishna bade the holy rivers from all over the pilgrimage centers for his aged Guru to carry out his rituals easily. Till date, it remains a constant source of water supply to the Sandipani Ashram. The Puranas and Vedas have mentioned this ashram which has proven to be an important place since ancient times as excavations have found out painted artifacts to be more than 3000 years old. These articles resemble closely with those found at Kausambi, Hastinapura, Mathura and Indraprastha.

Jantar Mantar
Another place of astronomical importance and for star gazers is the Jantar Mantar (also called the Vedh Shala Observatory) established in the 17th century. Since, ancient times, Ujjain was the center of the studies and research of Hindu astrologers and astronomers and the observatory is evidence of the same. Jantar Mantar is derived from the words, Yantra and Mantra. It is located in the south eastern place of Ujjain and has four monuments. The first one, Samrata Yantra, 22 feet tall calculates the time. The second one, Nadi Walaya Yantra calculates the Equinoctial days. The third one, Dignasha Yantra calculates the positions of the planets and stars. The fourth and last one, Bhitti Yantra calculates the suns' declination and its distance from the zenith. It also has a telescope and a planetarium.

Pir Matsyendranath
An exquisite and beautiful shrine revered by both Muslims and Hindus lies on the Shipra river banks, namely Pir Matsyendranath and is dedicated to the great sage, Matsyendra. In earlier times before Islamic rule, sages and saints were revered as they were said to have attained spiritual knowledge and awareness through strict atonement and penances. Matsyendra was one such sage and a Saivate (Lord Shiva devotee) of the Natha sect. The shrine is of 6th-7th century and is a simple one in terms of architecture with a white structure and a dome surrounded on all four sides by small minarets. Antiques were recovered in excavations. Its simplistic beauty and serene surroundings is appealing.

Vikram Kirti Mandir
An important cultural place, the Vikram Kirti Mandir was set up to commemorate the 2nd millennium of the Vikram period; with the purpose of keeping afresh the glorious memories of the Mauryan Age among the present and future generations. Its attractions include art gallery, archaeological museum, auditorium and the Scindia Oriental Research Institute. The Institute houses an amazing collection of 18, 000 priceless manuscripts on a variety of subjects like the illustrated Shrimad Bhagavata and also houses a library for referring to many important oriental publications. It also has a rare collection of Bark leaf and Palm leaf manuscripts, Rajput and Mughal paintings and a large collection of sculptures, inscriptions and coins.

Chaubis Khamba Temple
The Chaubis Khamba Temple is an impressive architectural marvel of the 9th or 10th century and was considered to be majestic and royal entry point of Mahakala-Vana whose boundary wall now in ruins lies near the gate. At each side of the gate are the splendid graceful images of the goddesses with their names Mahalaya and Mahamaya inscribed on their footstools. The sight of this place is spectacular.

Gopal Temple
Another holy place is the 19th century Gopal Temple devoted to Lord Krishna and a specimen of Maratha architecture. It was built by Bayajibai Shinde right in the middle of a huge market and the heart of Ujjain city, marking its strategic importance and popularity. It is made of marble with a spiral structure. The two feet high statue of the deity stands atop a marble altar with doors made of silver. The inner door is the one taken from the temple of by Somnath by Ghazni and restored by Maharaj Scindia.

Nagarkot ki Rani Temple
An archaeologically important and ancient temple situated in south-west of Ujjain on the marsh ramparts is the Nagarkot Ki Rani Temple ('queen of the city wall') and considered the protector of ancient Ujjain. It is associated with many has many popular folklores of Bharthihari and Vikramaditya and the traditions of Natha sect. Other highlights include a tank dating to the Paramar period and two temples on each side of Nagarkot temple. One of the temples is of the Gupta period and its main deity is Lord Karthikeya.

Ram Janardhan Mandir
The marvelous and eye catching shrine, Ram Janardhan Mandir, built in the 17th century by Mirza Raja Jaisingh is a perfect example of the elegant and fabulous architectural structural style of the Maratha period. The imposing and classic Maratha paintings decorate the walls and many structures were later on added in the 18th century by the Maratha Kings. Many amazing, striking and excellent sculptures of 11th-12th century like those of the Brahma, Mashesa, Govardhandhari Krishna and Vishnu adorns these shrines and add to their charm and beauty.

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