Considered one of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities, Ujjain is also one of the four centres of the 12-yearly Kumbh Mela. The next one here is in 2028. The holy town sees a steady stream of pilgrims through the year, but at the time of the Kumbh the stream swells to a flood.
Several dynasties ruled over this prosperous town, believed to have been the seat of the vice-royalty of Ashoka in 275 BC. In its heyday, Ujjain was on a flourishing trade route with Mesopotamia and Egypt.
The great poet Kalidasa is said to have written some of his works, including the epic Meghdoot, here, at the court of Chandragupta II. Ujjain’s final decline as a politically important centre dates to when the Scindia capital was moved to Gwalior in 1810.
Lying on the banks of the sacred river Shipra are numerous temples, standing upon ancient sites. The structures that you see today are of a more recent date, as they have been renovated or rebuilt over the years but the Hindu ceremonies and the traditions are ancient.