Monday, December 15, 2014

On the Trail of Western Madhya Pradesh - Day 1

Have you ever thought of a marathon trip? Well I am used to doing it. Less days and more places to cover, after all life is short and there is so much to see.

Well wanderlust never ceases to leave me and yes I am quite happy with that. With every new place I check, in my list or not; it starts all over again. R&D on the place, planning trip, itinerary, food etc., gives me a sense of containment. 

My 6th trip of the year 2014, I planned to visit heart of India - Central India with my family. With a weekend in hand we planned on visiting 5 places viz. Ujjain, Mandav, Maheshwar, Omkareshwar and Indore. Yes it is possible. 


Our journey at a glimpse


DAY 1 - A Day in UJJAIN - an ancient Indian city, situated on the eastern bank of the Shipra River.

Known as many names Ujjain, Ujjayini, Avanti, Avantika, Avantikapuri; the city dates back to an era of Mahabharata. It also has a mention in Buddhist Literature and was the capital of Avanti Kingdom. Ujjain is one of the four places to hold Kumbh Mela. The city is full of temples but is much famous for Mahakaleshwar Temple and also as a place where Lord Krishna, Balrama and Sudama, received their education from Maharishi Sandipani.

If legend is to be believed its a drop of nectar which spilled and fell on Ujjain from the pot containing nectar of mortality (Refer Samudramanthan) which makes it a sacred city. 



Ujjain is well connected with different cities, by road, rail and air (nearest airport - Indore). 
We were travelling from Mumbai by Avantika Express and reached Ujjain early in the morning at 07:30 hrs. Its as overnight journey and quite comfortable.

The atmosphere of Ujjain was very welcoming. Neat and clean, cool and breezy morning made me feel rejuvenated.

Well, we got auto right outside the station. They don't really run on meter here. He charged us Rs.80 for around 4 km with luggage and stuff, so I must say it was a good bargain. We straight went to a newly constructed Hotel Vrindavan Palace. We checked the room and yes it was quite good. 


Hotel Details: Vrindavan Palace

Room: Our room had 3 double beds, one toilet and one bathroom cum toilet and flat screen TV.
Price: Rs.2500 per night - It was quite a good room and worth the price we paid.
Plus points: On the main road, approx 700 m from Mahakaleshwar Temple and the main market. 
Near by Restaurant: Satyug Restaurant (100 m, towards right from the Hotel)

We checked in hotel around 08:00 hrs and after having bath we left to explore near by. Had street food in breakfast which comprised of pav vada (no don't confuse it with mumbai's vada pav), samosa and chai.  On return our van was waiting for us which was booked to explore Ujjain in the first half of the day.



#StreetFood, #Breakfast, #FoodieMe

Van details: An 8 seater van, Rs.700 for half day.

Where to Go

Half day is enough to explore Ujjayini minus Mahakaleshwar Temple. In this half day we visited the following places as ordered below:
Shri Bade GaneshJi ka Mandir
Shri Vikramaditya Temple
Shri Harsiddhi Temple (Shakti peeth)
Shri Manokamna Siddh Hanuman Mandir
Shri Ram Mandir
Shri Gadh Kalika Mandir
Shri Kal Bhairav Mandir - the god drinks liquor, yes the idol drinks in front of you. People offer alcohol to kal bhairav as prasadam
Vikram Betal Mandir / Vat Vraksh / Kshipra Nadi (Ghaat) - Vat Vraksh is believed to be planted by Goddess Parvati. There is ghat behind the temple where people feed fishes residing in shipra river with kala chanas. Alas! this holy river is not clean any more to either take a dip in or to collect and take holy water with you.
Shri Mangalnath Mandir - It is believed to be the birth place of mangal grah (Mars)
Shri Sandipani Ashram - A place where Lord Krishna, Balrama and Sudama believed to be have taken education.

Also there are a lot of temples just behind Harsiddhi temple.


For pictures of various temples click here.

After the half day trip we headed to Satyug Restaurant for lunch.



Mahakaleshwar Temple

Mahakaleshwar Temple - Clicked at night
After having some rest at hotel we left for Shri Mahakaleshwar Temple. It is quite a huge compound and there are two way in. One is VIP entry and one is the normal one. There are lockers too wherein you can keep your mobile because those are not allowed in the temple. Cameras are not allowed either so if you want to click please do from outside else you have to keep in the locker.

After going inside there are 2 levels, 1st level has the Mahakaleshwar jyotirling with a huge seating in front. During puja and aarti you can comfortably sit there. After aarti you can go inside the garbha and have darshan.


2nd level above has quite many small temples. We spent quite sometime in the temple. 


Right outside the temple compound there is street food lane. Reasonable prices and variety. You will find small bazaar and many desi sweets like garma garam gulab jamun, rabdi, etc on the way.


If you want to buy anything / souvenir, there are many brass items you'll find in the market, books, frames of gods / goddesses etc.




After walking through the streets of this shiva nagri, we came to our hotel room for a good sleep. Because the early next day awaited a journey to the city of forts i.e. Mandu (also known as Mandav). 


For the next leg of our marathon trip read here.



Tips

1. Avoid going to Mahakaleshwar Temple on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It will be difficult to get darshan inside the garbha because of the crowd. While you can have darshan from the hall.
2. There is one aarti called bhasma aarti which is performed at 04:00 am in the morning daily. If you want to attend the same, you have to go in person with your id proof to the temple in order to register for the same. The registrations are made one day prior upto 11:00 am.
3. There are many pandits who may try to trick you for various pujas at all these temples, don't fall in the trap. If you really want to perform puja, go through some known person.
4. Don't feed monkeys or dogs in temples.
5. There is lot of dust in the city, cover yourself well and keep yourself hydrated.


Other Places which we did not go, but you surely can go if you like 

Vedha shala Observatory, Jantar Mantar, Isckon Temple, Ram Mandir Ghat, Pir Matsyendranath, Kaliadeh Palace, Durgadas ki Chhatri


When to VISIT

October to March wherein October and March are not so cold. Carry woolen during winters while cotton during summers which are really hot.


Where to STAY

Hotel Vrindavan Palace (9229543813,9479811421), Avantika (Yatri Niwas) (0734-2511398), Shipra Residency (0734-2551495)


Tourist Office

MPSTDC Tourist Office - (T) - 0734 - 2561544


For more info you can even contact me through the "contact form" on my blog.


Enjoy!!

5 comments:

  1. Your post is very descriptive and really helpful for the new visitors. It is helpful in planning the budjet as you have mentioned the charges as well.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks alot. Glad you liked it! Do spread the word!
      Keep watchin for my posts on remainin 4 cities n pictures. Subscribe to be updated, thank you.

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  2. I am very interested to learn more and more about indian festivals and culture. Your site is very much helpful to give us latest information on kshipra river.

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