Sacred Ujjayini is the city of Bhootbhavan Mahamrityunjay, Lord of three spiritual worlds (Akash, Patal And Mrityulok) Baba Mahakaleshwar. The popularity of Ujjayini is classical which means that one can conquer an epoch merely by rememberence, Ujjayini is such a city. According to mythological beliefs Ujjayani is also the creation center of entire creation. The place of beginning of creation in every eon. Ujjayini is situated on the picturesque bank of salvation presentee Maa Kshipra and the life of Ujjayini vibrates with the oozing sound of Kshipra. While underlying the significance of kshpra Skand Purana says-
नास्ति वत्स महिपृष्ठे सिप्रायाः सदृशी नदी । यस्यास्तीरे क्षणान्मुक्तिः किं चिरात्सवनेवौ ।
“There is no other river like Kshipra on Earth, not only all sins are destroyed merely by its remembrance, its holy touch gives salvation and the man attains immortality”.
Present Ujjain city is situated at 23.50 north latitude & 75.50 east longitude, 1678’ above sea level near Vindhya mountain range on the banks of sacred and historic river Kshipra. Ujjain is a main city of Madhya Pradesh state of India. The contribution of Ujjain is immemorial in the field of time calculation. What importance today is of Greenwitch for standard time, Ujjain enjoyed the same once upon a time. It is a very ancient city. It was the capital of Vikramaditya. It is also knows as the city of Kalidasa. Simhasth kumbh mela is organised every 12th year at Ujjain. Mahakal, one of the 12th Jyotirling of Lord Shiva is situated here. Ujjain is 55 km away from Indore, the largest city of Madhya Pradesh. Awantika,Ujjayini, kanakshringa etc are the ancient names of Ujjain. The city of temples, Ujjain has with many pilgrimage places.
The literal meaning of Ujjayini is conquerer or victory city. It is said that in ancient time a demon named Tripur after getting a wish from Brihma started troubling dieties. According to Shiva deities worshiped Devi Chandika and made her happy, being happy Chandika gave Mahapashupat weapon to Shiva with the help of the mahapashupat Shiva cut elusive Tripur in three pieces. This way Tripur was Ujjin (very badly defeated) and the place was named as Ujjayini.
Sanat Kumar has mentioned about name awanti that in when demons defeated deities in ancient Ishan eon, they collected at Sumeru summit, heard an oracle that they all should go to Kushisthal, their problem will be solved there only. When reached Kushisthal they found that every one is sinless, Rishi Gandharv remain in osterity, happiness and peace all around. After bathing in many pilgrimages there, they became the past creature and could get back to heaven. Since in every eon this place has protected deities, medicines, pilgrimages and creatures so this place was known by the name Awanti.
Present name Ujjain is the distoted form of Ujjayini, natural texts write it as Ujeni. Roman historian Tolemi mentioned this place by the name “Ozen”. Besides this, city also has other names like- sivarnshringar, kushsthali, awantika, amaravat, chooramani, padmavati, shivpuri, kumudwati etc. In the Bodhmayan Dharmasutra it is known as Avanti, whereas one part of Skandpurana is famous as the Avanti-Khand. Valmiki has discussed the Avanti-Nation in his Ramayana.
The political history of Ujjain has been very long. In the excavation of Ujjain’s stronghold area, abundant protohistoric and early iron age material have been found. It is mentioned in the Puranas and the Mahabharata that Vrishni-Veer Krishna and Balram came here to get education in Guru Sandipani’s ashram. One wife of Krishna Mitravrinda was princess of Ujjain, her two brothers Vind & Anivind faught from Kauravas side and killed in the war of Mahabharat. In the 6th century BC, Ujjain had a very glorious king named Chand Pradyot. Other rulers of India were afraid of him. Love story of his daughter Vasavdatta and Udayan, the king of Vats is famous in the history. Ujjain became part of the Magadha Empire after the Pradyoth dynasty.
Mahakavi Kalidas was one of the nine gems in the court of emperor of Ujjayini, the Vikramaditya. So, Kalidas has described Ujjayini beautifully. Emperor Vikramaditya is famous as the real patron of Mahakavi Kalidas.
Mahakavi Kalidas had deep faith for Malwa. In Ujjayini, he spent much of his time and here Kalidas saw the ancient and glorious splendor of this place. The opportunity to get acquainted with mythological importance of river Kshipra along with glorious skycrappers, love tale of Vasavdatta & Udayan, evening prayer of Lord mahakal and dancing Gauriganas.
While beautifully describing Ujjayini in “Meghadoot”, Mahakavi Kalidas says that, when heavenly creatures had to come to earth in their sacramental state they thought to bring with them a piece of heaven. That piece of heaven is Ujjayini. Further Mahakavi has written that Ujjayini is that state of India where the old historians are well versed in telling the love tale of famous king Udayan.
Even if the Ujjayini’s mejesty of Kalidas’s Meghdoot has extinct today but religious- mythological and historical importance along with the importance of field of astrology of Ujjayini is still famous in the world.
Ujjayini holds a prominent place in the seven famous mythological cities of India. Simhasth megaevent is organised every 12th year in Ujjayini. On this occasion, millions of devotees, sadhus, saints, Mahatma, Mahamandaleshwar and Akhada chief from India and abroad during shot stay at Ujjayini wish to achieve salvation.
विकमस (विक्रमस्य एवं उजनियि) लेख युक्त ताम्र मुद्रा 2100 ई.पू. इस मुद्रा के अग्र भाग के मध्य में लेख ‘उजनियि‘ तथा निम्नभाग में ‘विकमस‘ (विक्रमस्य) अंकित है तथा पृष्ठ भाग में द्वि वृत उज्जयिनी चिन्ह् है।
Picture Courtesy : Maharaja Vikramdity Shodhpeeth, Ujjain
Evidences of Ujjayini’s historicity is found in the year 600 BC. Avanti district was also one of the sixteen districts of India in those times. Avanti was devided in two parts north and south, Ujjain was the capital of north part and Mahishmati was the capital of south part. Chandpradyot was the then ruler. The descendants of Pradyoth ruled Ujjain until the third century BC.
Maurya Emperor Chandragupta Maurya came here. His son Ashok was the governor here. He got two children like Mahendra & Sanghamitra from one of his wife named Vesika Devi, who propagated Buddhism in Sri Lanka. With the rise of maurya empire Ashok the son of Magadh’s emperor Bindusara was appointed as governor of Ujjayini. After the demise of Bindusara, Ashoka took over control of Ujjayini’s rule in his hands and made all-round development. After Emperor Ashoka, Ujjayini saw the rise & fall of many emperors for a long time.
Fall of the Maurya Empire
After the collapse of the Maurya Empire, Ujjain became the center of contest between Sakas and Satvahanas. The first attack of Sakas led to the failure in the first century BC by the people of Ujjain under the leadership of brave Vikramaditya. In the coming period, foreign western Sakas have took over Ujjain. Chastan and Rudradaman proved to be the glorious and popular Mahakshatrap of this dynasty.
In the fourth century AD, the Guptas and the Aulikaras abolished the power of these Sakas from Malwa. During this period of Sakas and Guptas, this region achieved unique economic and industrial development. From the sixth to the tenth century Ujjain continued to see the scene of the political and Sainik contest of Kalchuris, Maitrakas, Later Guptas, Pushyabhutas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakootas and Pratiharas.
In the seventh century Ujjain merged into the Harshvardhan empire of Kannauj. Ujjain’s all-round development continued in that period. After the death of Harshvardhan in 648 AD, till the ninth century, Ujjain came under the control of Parmaras, which remained till the eleventh century. Development of Ujjain continued in this period too. After this, Ujjain came under the authority of Chauhan and Tomar rajputs.
From 1000 AD to 1300 AD Malwa was ruled by the power of Parmars. Ujjain remain their capital for a long period. Great rulers like Siyak II, Munjdev, Bhojdev, Udayaditya, Narvarman, unprecedentedly served literature, art and culture during this period.
Parmar dynasty collapsed due to the attacks of slaves and Khilji sultans of Delhi. In 1235 AD, Shamshuddin Iltutmish of Delhi came to Ujjain after conquering Vidisha. This cruel ruler not only looted Ujjain but also destroyed the glory of ancient temples and holy places. In 1406, Malwa was freed from the Delhi Sultanate and Ghori, Khilji and Afghan Sultan used to rule independently from its capital at Mandu. Ujjain was made the provincial headquarters when Mughal Emperor Akbar took over the Malva. Mughal emperor Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb visited Ujjain.
Rule of Marathas
In 1737 AD, Ujjain came under the control of Scindia dynasty and till 1880 AD, they ruled single handedly and all-round development of Ujjain remain continued. Ujjain became the capital of Scindia dynasty. Ranoji Scindia rennovated the Mahakaleshwar temple. Ranoji Scindia, the minister of Ramchandra Shenvi, the founder of this dynasty, constructed the present Mahakalal temple. In 1810 Scindia’s capital was transferred to Gwalior but the cultural development of Ujjain remain continued. In 1948 Gwalior state was merged with new Central India.
There are many religious mythological and historical places in Ujjayini like Lord Mahakaleshwar temple, Gopal Mandir, Chaubis Khambha Devi, Chaunsath Yoginiyan, Nagar Kot ki Rani, Ma Harsiddhi, Garhkalika, Kal Bhairav, Vikrant Bhairav, Mangalnath, Siddhvat, Bohron ka Roja, Bina Neenv ki Masjid, Gajlakshmi Mandir, Brahspati mandir, Navgrih Mandir, Bhookhi Mata, Bharthari gupha, Peermachhandarnath samadhi, kaliadeh Palace, Kothi Palace, Ghanta Ghar, Jantar Mantar, Chintaman Ganesh etc are the main.
Translation Courtesy -:
Dr. Anurag Titov
Department of Botany & Biotechnology,
Govt Madhav Science PG College,
Ujjain (MP) 456010.
+91 94248 93069, 9039713001