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Kolkata 2 Ujjain. Where Time Stopped

Piu Sur

Ujjain was just a city in my history books during my school days. Little did I know that soon I would be there. With no plans, a sudden trip was planned to Ujjain as I had some work there. It was in the midst of May and going by the information on Google, temperatures were above 40°c in mid- May. Braving the climate we reached Ujjain which was a long drive from the Indore airport. Once there the heat did not seem to matter at all because the evenings were very breezy and comfortable.

My first reaction to Ujjain was that it was so easy going with traffic at a comfortable speed, friendly and helpful people, and was very neat and clean with an array of houses, all in a row. Since the Kumbh Mela had concluded it was not very difficult to find a place to stay, thanks to Airbnb.

We met a wonderful couple and spent a couple of days in Trolet Inn right on the University Road. Besides enjoying the beautiful gardens, open terrace and a very friendly German Shepherd named Gabbar, we were informed by Archana, the lady of the house, that we should explore the city and also suggested a few places to go to. Completing the work at hand, since the evening sun took its time to set we set out to explore the place.

Ujjain has a rich heritage and there are many historical tales associated with the place. I realised this when I reached the Mahakaleswar temple and stood in a very long cue to visit god. The temple and the ones adjoining it bore the marks of age and yet were preserved very carefully. It was one of the most visited holy places of worship. I was told that there were some important festivals here too, mainly Shravan Mahotsav, Shravan Sawari, Kalidas Samaroh, and Navratri. It made me feel very special to be in a city which breathed of piety and sported a rich cultural history. It felt like being teleported back into the past.

Ujjain is said to be the naval center (Manipura lotus) and the cultural identity of India. It is one of the seven Puris of India which is said to be the bestower of deliverance (moksa). Interesting the meridian of the ancient world Yamottara was supposed to have passed through Ujjain.

We spent the evening by the river banks which came alive with the enchanting sounds of the incantation of the arti. We took a trip on a boat all along the coast and all that time the still waters flowed by with a very lazy pace of a relaxed life on the banks of the river. There is a folk tale that Once Maharshi Sandipani wanted to bathe in the Ganga at the Dashmesh Ghat in Kashi and told Lord Krishna, his disciple, to come along for a bath in the holy Ganges. Lord Krishna requested him to rest at night before leaving the next morning. Then Lord Krishna used his supernatural powers and brought the Ganga to this place and arranged a bath for his teacher. Thus from then onwards the legend goes that this place was called Gangaghat where the River Kshipra flows northwards in entire Ujjain but only flows eat at Gangaghat.

Each place is waiting to be discovered and has its own story waiting to be discovered. Among the many, we were able to visit were the Gayatri Shakti Peeth, Kaalbhairav temple, Shri Chintaman Ganesh and a few more. There was so much more to be discovered. In spite of the heat the shrikhand, buttermilk, lassi, peda and other milk products made us energetic as we hopped from one place to the other totally enchanted in this heritage city called Ujjain. We left the place but carried back fond memories and are certainly planning to revisit it soon with time at hand. This was one city that needed time to visits its beautiful sites and comprehend its history tracing back to our cultural roots.

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