Ujjain is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River, today part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.
In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini. As mentioned in the Mahabharata epic, Ujjayini was the capital of the Avanti Kingdom, and has been the Prime Meridian for Hindu geographers since the 4th century BCE. Ujjain is regarded as one of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) of the Hindus. It is one of the four sites that host the Kumbh Mela (also called the Simhastha Mela), a mass pilgrimage that attracts millions of Hindu pilgrims from around the country. It is also home to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva. An ancient seat of learning, Ujjain is the place where Lord Krishna, along with Balarama and Sudama, received his education from Maharshi Sandipani.
There is an interesting tale behind the sanctity of the city. Its origin is ascribed to the myth of Sagar Manthan (churning of the primordial ocean to discover the pot of nectar). The story goes that after the nectar was discovered, there was competition between the gods and the demons to have the nectar first so as to attain immortality. During this chase a drop of nectar spilled and fell on Ujjain, thus making the city sacred. According to legend, the river Kshipra that flows across Ujjain is regarded to have originated due to the churning of the gods and goddesses.
Apart from the myths, the city has a long and distinguished history: it has witnessed legendary rulers including the renowned king Chandragupta II, great scholars such as Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya, and literary gems like Kalidasa.
Today, however, Ujjain represents an interesting blend of an age-old legacy and the modern-day lifestyle: even as the city and its people move forward on the path of rapid change and