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Ujjain
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Mahakaleshwar Temple: Located near the lake, this temple is dedicated to Shiva’s manifestation of Mahakal. Built in five levels, including an underground level, the temple is surrounded by a spacious courtyard and huge walls. The lingam is believed to have been formed on its own and the entire temple is lit up by brass lamps. The tower (shikhara) is finely sculpted as are the balconies, and the walls have adornments of sculptures, motifs and statues. The sanctum also houses images of Ganesha, Parvati, Kartikeya and Nandi Bull. The main roof in the sanctum is adored with 100 kg silver Rudrayantra. The huge Jaladhari (vessel of water suspended over the shivalinga) is also made in silver. A particular event you should not miss is the Bhasma Aarti or ash-smearing ceremony, in which hot ashes from the cremation grounds are smeared on the shivalinga. This event is believed to symbolize the fact that life and death are inseparable. Open from: Bhasma Aarti – 4.00 am-6.00 am Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir:Located near the Mahakaleshwar Temple, Bade Ganeshji ka Mandir houses a huge statue of Ganesha. A unique element you’re unlikely to find elsewhere is the presence of a five-faced Hanuman in the middle of the temple. This temple is also an institute for imparting education in astrology and Sanskrit language. Chintaman Ganesh Mandir: Of considerable antiquity, the Ganesha idol is believed to be a swayambhu or self-made idol, like the shivalinga in Mahakaleshwara Temple. The temple showcases finely carved pillars in the main hall. The white sanctum houses the main idol flanked by his consorts, Riddhi and Siddhi. Gopal Mandir: Dedicated to Lord Krishna, this beautiful marble temple is situated in the main market area. The sanctum houses a two feet tall idol of Krishna covered in silver and placed on a white marble altar with silver-plated doors. Harsiddhi Temple: Another shaktipeeth where Sati’s elbow is said to have fallen, the dark vermilion idol of Goddess Annapurna is the presiding deity here. Highlights of the temple include two towering lighted iron lamp, which are especially bright during Navratri, when hundreds of lamp are lit. Another interesting feature is the Yantra or Nine Triangles depicting the nine names of Goddess Durga. Before you enter the temple, you would come across a rock smeared with turmeric and vermilion. This is believed to be the head of King Vikramaditya, which was offered to Goddess Durga. Kalbhairav Temple: This temple is dedicated to Bhairava, a manifestation of Shiva as the Destroyer. The temple also has sculptures of Vishnu, along with other Hindu gods and goddesses. The main shivalinga is placed under a banyan tree opposite the Nandi Bull. The temple is particularly active during the Shivratri festival. Kaliadeh Palace: This historical palace is said to have been built over a Hindu Sun Temple on an island in River Shipra. The bridge connecting the island to the mainland still has remnants from the Sun Temple. The water from the river is transported to the palace, where it cascades over carved stone screens. Navagraha Mandir: This temple is dedicated to the nine ruling planets and located on the Triveni Ghat of the Shipra River. The idols are covered with different coloured cloths and offerings of flowers, coconuts and vermilion are made by devotees. Pir Matsyendranath: This structure was built in the memory of Matsyendranath, a famous Shaivite leader of the Natha Sect. Set on the banks of River Shipra, this is a simply created white structure marked by a dome and four small minarets. Sandipani Muni’s Ashram: This Ashram is dedicated to the Guru Sandipani, who imparted training and instructions to Lord Krishna. The Ankapata area near the ashram is believed to have been used by Lord Krishna for washing his writing tablets. You’d also find numbers from 1 to 100 engraved on the stone, believed to have been done by Guru Sandipani himself. Adjacent to the ashram is the Gomti Kund, which is a stepped water tank. Legend has it that Krishna directed the waters from holy places across the centres, so his Guru would not have to travel. Vikram Kirti Mandir: houses the Scindia Oriental Research Institute, an archaeological museum, and an art gallery. The Scindia Oriental Institute has a rare collection of old palm-leaf and bark-leaf manuscripts. Dedicated in the memory of King Vikramaditya; the much honored King of Ujjain it’s a well known cultural centre. There is an illustrated manuscript of the Srimad-Bhagavatam in which gold and silver were employed in the paintings. There is also a rich collection of old Rajput and Mughal style paintings. Vedh Shala: This is an observatory designed by Maharaja Jai Singh, similar to the Jantar Mantar in Delhi and Jaipur. You can get a guided tour of how the instruments were used. Samrata Yantra was used to calculate time, Nadi Walaya Yantra calculated the position of the sun and equinoctial days, Dignasha Yantra was used to mathematically calculate the position of stars and planets and Bhitti Yantra was used for calculating the declination of the sun and distance of the zenith. If you’re interested, you can also purchase a copy of the yearly position of planets. Bhartrihari Caves: This is said to be the caves on the bank of River Shipra, where the scholar-poet Bhartrihari stayed and meditated.