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Ujjain | Maheshwar | Omkareshwar
 

Ujjain has a unique geographical location as the tropic of cancer passes through it. The early history of Ujjain is shrouded in the ancient traditions. It is known as the GMT of the east. Out of all the holy towns of India, the spiritual history of Ujjain is second to none. Known as the city of temples, it was here that the great Hindu God, Lord Krishna was educated at the Sandeepani Ashram, which exists even today. Ujjain recieved migration from the civilisation of Harrappa and was also the centre which saw the shift from the Copper Age. It was the superior weaponary of the migrants that led to the conquer of Chalcolithic Age. In ancient times Ujjain was a key political and trade centre. The early history of Ujjain is shrouded in the ancient traditions. Excavations conducted at Garh area in Ujjain reveal the existence of Ujjain in 6th century AD.

Ujjain is the oldest centre of astronomical studies with the oldest observatory in India. Ujjain recieved migration from Iran in the form of Magi Savant and the Bohra community of Ujjain trace their roots in Yemen.

During Mauryan period, Ujjain had been the headquarters of Avanti province. The great emperor Chandragupta in the Jaina ascetic forms visited Ujjain en-route to Karnataka. His grandson Ashok was appointed as Governor of Ujjain by Mauryan emperor Bindusara. His son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjain who later on whole-heartedly propagated the Buddhism in Ceylon.

Amongst the greatest temples of Ujjain is the Mahakal Temple one of the post powerful religious places for Hindus. The Chintamani Ganesh temple is popular as a belief goes that a visit to this temple ensures a life without worry. Another ancient temple is the 150 year old Navgraha Temple dedicated to the 9 planets of the Hindu astrologial system. The Gopal Krishna temple is an old temple dating back to 250 years.

Hindus believe that the planet Mars has it's origin in Ujjain. Mars is considered an auspicious planet and worshipped specially on Tuesdays. The most unique temple in Ujjain is that of Kaal Bhairava, the liquor consuming Hindu God. Even today, the stone image of the God is offered liquor by devotees.

Ujjain is on the banks of river Shipra, a holy town where Hindu Gods were educated.

The name Maheshwar comes from Mahesh, another name of Lord Shiva. Maheshwar mean the abode of Shiva.  In the ancient times, it was the capital of King Sahasrarjun. Today, a temple exists on his name with a special 11 lamp ceremony.

Maheshwar is a quiet town on the banks of Narmada with tranquil ghats reminiscent of an old era. It was the capital of Queen Ahilyabai around 200 years ago.  The town is made beautiful by it's unique cenotaphs and temples. Maheshwar is also famous for it's old looms that weave the splendid Maheshwari hand woven fabrics. The weaving centre is located in one of Maheshwar's historic buildings. Maheshwar is also witness to the Narmada Festival sometime in November to Decmeber. The festival is unique as it is a result of public donation. There is no formal date of the festival as the event is organised exactly when sufficient funds have been raise through the public. The festival is a tribute to the local Narmada river. Maheshwar has been a centre of handloom weaving since the 5th century. 

Every January, Maheshwar also conducts the Chariot journey. The chariot journey known as the Mahamritunjay Rath Yatra is a salution to Lord Sadashiv, with the purpose of renouncing all attachment from wordly affairs. Maheshwar is full of festivals and religious celebrations all around the year. The ultimate credit of building Maheshwar goes to Queen Ahilya Devi Holkar, ruler of the state of Indore who embellished the city with her palace fort, numerous temples and riverfront ghats (broad stone steps which step down to the river).

More than 100 temples tell the long history of Maheshwar.

Omkareshwar is a sacred Hindu pilgrim temple island surrounded by the Narmada river in south and the Kaveri river in the north. It is considered to be one of the twelve shrines of Lord Shiva.  The shape of the island is said to be like the Hindu Om symbol. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar (whose name means "Lord of Omkaara or the Lord of the Om Sound") and one to Amareshwar (whose name means "Immortal lord" or "lord of the Immortals or Devas"). Omkareshwar is formed by the sacred river Narmada. Omkareshwar is the result of the diversion in the river Narmada which caused it to branch its flow into two.

Omkareshwar is unique in the sense that it is one of the few places to be ruled by tribal kings( Bhils) in the 12th century. The most famous temple in Omkareshwar is Omkar Mandhata. The temple stands on a one mile long, half mile wide island formed by the fork of the Narmada. The soft stone of which it was constructed has lent its pliable surface to a rare degree of detailed work, of which the frieze figures on the upper portion are the most striking. Also intricately carved is the stone roof of the temple. Encircling the shrine are verandahs with columns which are carved in circles, polygons and squares. Mamleshwar is a group of temples built in the 10th century, now protected by the Archeological Survey of India.

The island comprises two lofty hills and is divided by a valley, making Omkareshwar a geographical delight.

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