1) Ancient name “ Avanti” , “Avantika”
2)Place where Lord Krsna and Lord Balaram studied at Sandipani Muni’s ashram.
3) Place of Kumbhamela on river shipra.
4) One of the 12 Jyotirlingas.
5) One of the 51 sakthipithas( durga temple).
6) Lord Krishna principal queen Mitravinda was from Ujjain.
7) Lord Shiva killed Tripurasur here.
Prominent Holy places to visit
1) Sandipani Muni Ashram
Only 2km from the ancient town of Ujjain, is the famous hermitage of Sandipani Muni. The sage instructed Krishna and Balarama, and then Ujjain was known as Avantipura. On account of Lord Krishna lotus feet purifying this place, it also became well known as Ankpaadkshetra.
Sandipani muni always followed a strict regulation of everyday taking bath in Gomati. As Gomati was not flowing at Ujjain, so he would go to Dwaraka. Seeing that Guru maharaj would not be seen in the early morning hours, Lord Krsna asked Gurupatni (wife of guru) about it. She revealed the whole incident. Hearing this, Lord Krishna arranged for Gomati Kunda here in his ashram.
Once Sandipani muni wanted to take bath on Dasaswamedha ghat in Varanasi. Lord Krishna told him to wait till next morning. Meanwhile Lord Krishna overnight made dasaswamedh ghat appear on the Shipra river. Even today there is a ghat called Ganga ghat/ Dasaswamedh ghat to commemorate this pastime.
Krsna’s going to the school of Sāndīpani Muni was to show the people of the world that however great or ingenious one may be, he must go to higher authorities for general education.
A man is called intelligent if he has a sharp memory and fine discretion. As far as Kṛṣṇa’s memory is concerned, it is said that when He was studying in the school of Sāndīpani Muni in Avantīpura, He showed such a sharp memory that by once taking instructions from the teacher He immediately became perfect in any subject. Actually, His going to the school of Sāndīpani Muni was to show the people of the world that however great or ingenious one may be, he must go to higher authorities for general education. However great one may be, he must accept a teacher or spiritual master.-Excerpt from Nectar of devotion, Srila Prabhupada.
According to ancient Indian tradition, students – irrespective of their wealth or poverty – spent the formative years of their lives until adolescence, in a Gurukul ashram (hermitage). Apart from various subjects and ancient scriptures, they were taught battle techniques along with the means to attain spiritual enlightenment. At the end of the term, the guru was entiltled to Guru dakshina, the reward in return of his services.
After receiving the sacred thread, Krsna and Balarama desired to study the vedas. Looking our for a teacher who could be a shiva worshiper and school as Gurukul Asram, they settled on Sandipani Muni from Avantipura as their final choice. Having obtained permission and blessings from their parents and elders, they arrived at Sandipani Muni’s Asrama on foot, undetected in their guise as brahmacaris.
On becoming disciples, they quickly became their Guru’s firm favourites, endearing themselves to him by their surrendered service. For example, on one occasion some firewood was needed, but since it was so late in the day, with dark clouds overhead, no-one was willing to venture into the forest. When the situation came to the attention of Krsna and Balarama, they at once left to perform the task without being requested. Having penetrated deep into the forest, they lost their way, and were thus obliged to spend the night there, stranded by a heavy storm.
In their studies, they excelled, learning 64 arts in 64 days. Having completed their studies, Krsna and Balarama offered Sandipani Muni the daksina of his choice. He requested them to recover his drowned son from the ocean. After having gone there to search, and then meeting the presiding deity of that realm, Krsna and Balarama were unable to find Sandipani Muni’s son .
They next proceeded to the abode of Yamaraja, where their presence alone liberated the suffering inhabitants from hellish bondage. In this way the hellish planets became totally vacant. The insurmountable Vaitarani river, normally running with pus, urine and stool, now flowed with crystal clear water. Upon seeing their Lordships, Yamaraja greeted them with prayers and gifts and returned Sandipani Muni’s son to them.
Upon returning to the gurukula,Krsna and Balarama delivered Sandipani Muni’s son safely to him, along with all the gifts they had received. They then begged permission to return to Mathura. Sandipani Muni addressed them with great affection, requesting that they grant him the opportunity to act as their spiritual master whenever they appear in the Yadu Dynasty, thus allowing himself and his wife enjoy a parental relationship with them, a request which Krsna and Balarama happily granted.
The brothers then left, arriving in Mathura amidst a tumultuous reception.
Why Sandipani muni was choosen?
In Gopala Champu Uttara 8.16: Discussion between Krishna and Balaram “Even though there are many worthy sages like Vyasadeva available to us, they will recognize us, and thinking that we are omniscient will be reluctant to teach us. This is because they are Vaishnavas and therefore know the truth of things related to Vishnu. However, we absolutely must engage in our studies, because to not do so would be a transgression and that would set a bad example leading to inauspiciousness. Therefore, we should approach a guru who is fully knowledgeable in the scriptures but is a Shaivite. There is one such sage, Sandipani Muni, who was born in Kashi and comes to Prabhasakshetra from time to time. He is living happily in Avanti now, near his beloved Shiva. Let us go there…”
More insights from Gaudiyaacharyas on Sandipani muni: RupaGoswami (BRS 3.4.8-11) classifies him among those in a parental mood (vatsalya-rasa), among the guravah, or elders whom Krishna respects.
Sri Rupa classifies him as an eternal servant. However in the lila he comes as impersonalist. His ontological position can be whatever, but for service he came as impersonalist as Krishna wanted to take initiation from an impersonalist.
Kesava Bharati was an impersonalist and Lord Caitanya took Sannyasa from him basically for the same reason : respect, education and reputation.
2) Mahakaleshwar temple (One of the twelve jyotirlingas).
The Mahakal temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, is a famous and venerated Shiva temple. It derives its name from “kaal” meaning end of life – death;
The word Mahakaal means Lord of Death. Lord Mahakaleshwar is the presiding deity of the city. The Shivling in this temple is supposed to be the only Jyotirlinga which faces south and hence it is known as Dakshinmukhi or the south-facing lingam. Every year on the day of Maha Shivratri, huge crowds of devotees throng the temple for “darshan”. The temple also attracts a large congregation of Shiva devotees on the day of Naagpanchami in the month of Saavan on the vedic calendar (around july). On every Monday of “Saavan”, the Lord Shiva deity is taken out in a grand procession through the city which is attended by large numbers of worshipers from around the country.
Temple is multiple storied. In basement, is huge deity of Mahakaaleshwar, on ground floor is Omkareshwar and on 1st floor is Naagchandreshwar. While both Mahakaleshwar and Omkareshwar remains open throughout the year, Naagchandreshwar temple opens once only on NaagPanchami Day.
The Origin of Mahakaleshwar – Shiva puran
There used to live a brahmin at Avantikapuri. He was a great devotee of lord Shiva and used to worship daily. This brahmin had four sons whose names were Devapriya, Medhapriya, Sukrit and Dharmabahu. By the blessings of lord Shiva the brahmin enjoyed a very happy and contended life. After his death, the brahmin’s son continued the tradition of Shiva’s worship. There was a mountain named Ratnamala on which a demon named Dushan used to live. Being intoxicated by the boons received from Lord Brahma, he used to torment all the people. He had all the surrounding area under his control except the house in which the brahmin family lived.
Dushan ordered his fellow demons to bring the brahmin after capturing them. All the demons went to Avantikapuri and created havoc. They went to the brahmins and told them about Dushan’s order. The brahmins were busy doing worship at that time so they did not give ear to their words. The brahmins continued with their worship. The demon became very angry and tried to attack them.
Suddenly the earth cracked with a tremendous sound and lord Shiva manifested from within the cracks. He killed all the demons. He then went to the Ratnamala mountain and killed Dushan. He again returned to the brahmins and expressed his desire of fulfilling their wishes. The brahmins expressed their desire of getting liberated from the bondage’s of this world. They also requested him to remain at that place. Lord Shiva accepted their request and established himself in the form of Mahakal.
3) King Bhartrhari’s cave
Once a great king of Avantika was overly attached to his beautiful wife. He was like a pet dog in her hands. Later when king realized that his wife was attached to someone else, king underwent a great renunciation and left everything to go on to become the great sage Bhartrihari. This is the cave where he performed his tapasya. His vairagyashatak book is well known book depicting his high level renunciation from opposite sex.
4) Shipra river:
While Lord Varaha was engaged in fighting against Hiranyaksha, the water emitting from his lotus body in form of perspiration became to be known as river shipra. Hence it is also called as “Vishnu dehaudbhava”. She is also called as Jvaragni because it was here that Shivajvara being chased by Vishnujvara (famous fight between Krishna and Shiva –banasura battle), got protection and was freed. The famous Simhastha kumbhamela is held on the banks of river Shipra at Ujjain. When Garuda was carrying the pot of nectar, few drops fell at 4 places – Prayag, Nashik, Haridwar and Ujjain. Many beautiful but small temples can be found on the banks of Shipra.
5) Narayan gaon
This village is located on the outskirts of Ujjain. This was the place where Krishna and Sudama spent their time on a stormy night. A small temple of Krishna Sudama is built here. Two trees of Sudama and Krishna nearby are said to be of the same wood they were each carrying for their guru’s service.
6) The Harsidhi temple
It is one of the Shaktipeeths,which are situated at 52 places in India. It is dedicated to the goddess Annapurna and houses the ShriYantra, a symbol of “shakti” or power. This temple is in connection with the Shiva and Sati pastime at DakshaYajna.
7) ISKCON Temple
Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Temple, of the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) or Hare Krishna Movement, also has a guest house and restaurant, and is a major attraction for tourists, though it is very new on the map of Ujjain.