Last time I was at Indore, visiting the Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga, I missed on visiting Mahakaleshwar, another Jyotirlinga in the neighbouring Temple town of Ujjain. It was yet another sudden thought over the weekend that materialized into this trip to Ujjain. It is November and perfect time to roam around in an otherwise hot Madhya Pradesh.
Ujjain is a small town known for countless Temples, the biggest of them all being the Mahakaleshwar Shiva Mandir. Their are twelve Jyotirlingas in India which according to mythology brings peace and prosperity in the lives of devotees. Usually, people cover both Omkareshwar and Mahakaleshwar together and it only makes sense to do it but if you are someone who likes exploring the place more than visiting the regular tourist attractions, I suggest 1). Either you come with sufficient time 2). Or you do it in separate trips.
A morning flight from New Delhi to Indore is just a little more than 1 hour. A prepaid taxi ride to Ujjain is Rs. 1000. If you check outside the Airport, it is Rs.900, surprisingly. It is because of the morning, which is “Boney” time. Another 1 hour in taxi and you are in the Mandir Nagri.Take up any Hotel on the Indore road, suitable to your budget. Indore road is the central location of Ujjain city.
Places to see:
Mahakaleshwar Temple – An auto ride from Indore road costs Rs.50 (1.5KM) to reach the Temple. Keep your mobile and foot wear at one of the Prasad shops in return of purchase of the Prasad and flower petals to be offered to Lord Shiva. Avoid the ever growing regular queue and opt for the VIP entry for Rs.150.Ironically, touts can get you in for Rs.100 only. You can offer milk and Prasad to the Shivlinga. Priests offer to conduct Puja ceremony for Rs 500 or more. It is a scene seen at most religious places these days. Well, this way you get more time near the Jyotirlinga. Temple premise is fascinating with many small temples with old architecture and a Kund “water body”.
Ram Ghat – On the banks of Kshipra River is a sight that gives an insight and impact of religion on the lives of common people of Ujjain. The sight looks peaceful from a distance but a constant attempt by locals to make money from visitors spoil the fun. Here, every one is making a living in the name of Religion. Boating experience is wonderful.
Bharthari Caves – The legend has it that King Bharthari (elder brother of Vikram Aditya) renounced his kingdom and meditated for 12 years in this Cave and attained enlightenment. It was his guru Baba Goraknath who adviced him to renounce the world. These are 2 Caves of Guru and Shishya (Teacher & Student). Watch your head in the Caves. They are also humid in Summers. Beware of monkeys. There is a souvenir shop outside which is very reasonable.
MatsyendraNath Samadhi – He was the guru of Gorakhnath and his samadhi is at a walking distance from Bharthari Caves. Travelers usually skip this very peaceful place.
KalBhairav Temple – This unique Temple is known for liquor offering to God.The liquor is sold in Prasad shops outside the temple. It is not just the Lord but some devotees too that can be seen making merry here.
Nanakheda – Near the Nanakheda Bus stand is Shree Parvati Restaurant which serves an amazing Tea. There are Pakodas, nankeen, chips but nothing beats the taste of the Tea.
Freeganj Market – The main market has a touch of colonial period. For instance, one can see the archetecture of buildings like the Post office. There is Street food, milk products, even a Bhang shop offering shakes and lemonade.
- All Cows are decorated. Their coloured horns don’t go unnoticed.
- Bhang shop is operational and perfectly alright in the town of Mahakaleshwar. Men and women both consume Bhang as an aurvedic Medicene.
- Milk procured from Dairy is good. Try out the local milk shakes.
- There are numerous temples everywhere. You can’t count them.
- Most taxi drivers are pushy and try to be your guide and ask for extra money. Negotiate in the beginning and stick to it.
- One has to be firm in saying no to beggars, hawkers etc.
- Dont forget to buy Gajjak here.
- Pakoda, Poha, Chai are favorite local food items and must not be missed.
- Shree Parvati Restaurant serves the best Tea. It is located near Nanakheda Bus stand.
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