Sunday, 3 January 2016

Ujjain, a popular ancient Indian city

Ujjain is a popular city across India, in particular, among Children because this city is interwoven with various heroic  exploits of legendary king Vikramadhiya and the ghost (vedal; in Tamil Vedhalam). There are several movies and cartoon serials on  this  famous king. Incidentally, it is also one of India's ancient cities that stoically saw the rise and fall of empires. In the 19th century, this city came under the control of the British. 

Ujjain, also known by Ujjayini, was  the capital of Avanti Kingdom  in ancient India as mentioned in Mahabharata. It is one of several ancient cities in India in the state of Madhya Pradesh.  Going  back to the period of Iron Age India - the 6th century BC, it is  situated on the banks of holy river Kshipra There is a famous temple for Mahakaleshwar, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga of Lord Shiva.

 01. About  700 BCE, Ujjain  became  an urban settlement  and emerged as the political center of central India around 600 BCE.

 02. It's early settlements dated back to 2000 BCE backed by excavations that pointed out chalcolithic (Bronze age) agricultural settlements. 

 03. Popular king Chandragupta II, eminent scholars such as Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya, and literary figures of great repute  like Kalidasa were all connected with this old city. 

 04. Since the 4th century BC, the city had been considered the prime meridian by Hindu astrologers, and it was placed as the center of the world in numerous ancient world maps.  In the past, Ujjain was variously known by other names -  Arin, Aryn or Ozein to the outside world.
 

 05.Along with seats of learnings such as Takshshila, Nalanda and Kashi, Ujjain was considered to be an important center of learning in ancient India, attracting students from various countries. 

 06.The presence of a 45 meter wide and 6.6 meter deep moat around the city, came to be known from the  archaeological investigations  of this walled city.  F. R. Allchin and George Erdosy, historians believe that  the careful defenses against possible enemy invasions, were built even before 600 BCE.

 07.A prominent  ancient city situated on the
Eastern bank of the Kshipra river on the  Malwa plateau of central India,  it  began growing  as an urban settlement around 700 BCE.

Mahakaleshwar Jyothirlinga Temple :The temple situated on the side of the Rudra Sagar lake is dedicated to  Lord Shiva who is  in the Lingam  (a formless aspect of the Divine; anthropomorphic) form -  believed to be Swayambhu ( originated on its own) by origin. One of the twelve Jyotirlingams. Lord Sjiva is eternally rules the city and is very much revered by the people here.  The idol of Mahakaleshwar is known to be dakshinamurti as he he is facing south. In 1234-5, Sultan Shas-ud-din Iltutmish during his raid of Ujjain destroyed and plundered the temple. it was built by the general   Srimant Peshwa Baji Rao and Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, Maratha rulers. Between 1736 AD and 1863, the rulers of Scindia built the temple under their management. Ujjain.  en.wikipedia.org
 
08.The legendary king Vikramaditya, known for his wisdom and valor,  is very much associated with this city. Ujjain of ancient India  was a silent spectator to the  rise and fall of empires like the Mauryas and the Guptas.

 09. Iltutmish of Delhi Sultanate  in 1235 CE plundered the city, and destroyed its temples
  
10.The Government of Madhya Pradesh has a plan to
develop a  'Knowledge City' in Ujjain on 448 hectares of land to keep up its ancient heritage in the  area of knowledge.

Harsiddhi Temple, Ujjain: Believed   to have been built by famous King Vikramāditya who visited Miyani, then known as Minalpur, a port city ruled by Prabhatsen  Chavda of  Chawda  dynasty. Vikramadiya was blessed by the Devi. He requested Harsidhhi Mata, to come to his kingdom at Ujjain, where he would worship her daily.   The temple is dedicated to Annapurna. The Shri Yatra, the symbol of power or shakti, is also enshrined in this temple.  en.wikipedia.org




The Kal Bhairav temple: A Hindu temple in Ujjain city, is  dedicated to Kala Bhairavar, the guardian deity of the city.  Located on the banks of the Shipra River, it is one of the most popular temples in the city and it is  being  visited by a large number of devotees daily. An interesting feature is one of the offerings  to the deity is Liquor. Worship of Bhairavas is  part of  Savite tradition.Ujjain mahakal (mahakali) temple.www.bhavyaholidays.com
Kalabhairava Temple Ujjain India .en.wikipedia.org

Location map of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India. www.torna.in
The Jantar Mantar at Ujjain: It was commissioned by Jai Singh II (1688-1743) of Jaipur Governor of the local region. It consists of 13 architectural astronomy instruments to measure local time, altitude (of the place) and also to measure declination of the Sun, stars and planets and to determine eclipses. Motion, speed and properties of stars and planets were also recorded using several special instruments. en.wikipedia.org
This ancient city is associated with the  Kumba Mela
 religious festival that is held here every 12 years. One could see a sea of humanity here - more than a million Hindus congregate, following different traditions. The only eye-sore and disgusting part is  innumerable fake sadhus/ ascetics   may appear weird and strange smearing ash all over the body in Adam's dress!! In Hinduism true ascetics are erudite scholars of wisdom and spirituality, imparting virtues of good and righteous life. The next Kumbha Mela will be held in Ujjain from 21 April 2016 to 22 May 2016.
Ref: 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ujjain