When I visited Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, an ancient city situated on the bank of river Shipra, then I came to know why it is called as the city of temples.
I arrived in this beautiful city early morning by train. My stoppage was in a guest house named Duggad yatriki, near Mahakaleshwer temple (one of the most prominent temples in Ujjain). After morning routine, I first headed towards Mahakaleshwar temple on foot. In my way to the temple, I saw lots of people heading to the same temple in devotion. There were big and small shops; vendors were giving a basket of offerings containing stola’s of red color, dry coconut, flowers, garlands, festoons and other worship materials.Police personnel’s were also present to maintain law and order in that hugely crowded place. I came to realize that people from all over India came there, and even there were a few foreign nationals. As soon as I reached near shops vendors surrounded me for buying worship materials, I did buy from one of them and went ahead for entering the temple.
To my surprise, there were two gates for getting the entry in the temple, one standard entry route for all the devotee and another one for pass holders (for one person charge was 151 Indian rupee). I was a bit startled to see the commercial route for entering the temple (Even at God’s house there is a shorter way if you have enough money it seems!!). After entering the temple, I attended the morning Aarti with umpteen others devotees chanting devotional song and clapping, it was a mesmerizing moment (somewhere down the heart I felt a positive energy). The best thing which I found about this temple was that it had preserved its antiquity, I did not found much artificial construction there which contributed to the beauty of this everlasting temple (cameras were not allowed inside Mahakaleshwar temple).
After this I visited Harsidhhi temple, a priest said that there are two temples of Goddess Harsidhhi; one in Porbandar( fortunately I have visited that temple also) known as Harshad goddess temple and another one here in Ujjain.This was also a unique temple to visit. Also, all these temples have a story associated with them (regarding the importance and who made the temple), but I would not be able to explain every temple in detail to keep this article of readable length.
At Harsidhhi goddess temple, I saw a very antique structure ( I noticed it at few other temples also) which is called as ‘Deep stambh.’ When I enquired about that, then I came to know that people who want to fulfill their wishes Kindle ‘deep'(lamps) on this structure where large number of hand ankles make to hold ‘deep.’
My next stop was Mangalnath temple (en route there were many other temples also), I came to know that Manglik people come here for worship. Also, individuals who have inauspicious graha also come to worship here (according to astrological science).
From Mangalnath temple I headed to see Siddvat, a banyan tree said to be planted by goddess Parvati (Wife of Lord Shiva) thousands of years ago.
Now, it was time for a very famous and astonishing temple known as ‘Kal Bhairav’ temple. The interesting fact about this temple was that ‘sharab'(alcohol) is a ritual offering to the deity of this temple. People bring alcohol of different brands and offer to the god. First of all, I was flummoxed to learn this fact, but when I gave my offering to the priest, he served it to the statue of a deity, and miraculously statute swallowed alcohol!!
Nobody knows where this alcohol goes, by the way, no visitor is allowed to offer the alcohol themselves and as per people around me said, nobody, to date has been able to solve this enigma. Hundreds of liters of alcohol from hundreds of the year have been offered, but nobody knows what’s happens to the alcohol.
There are many other temples apart from ones mentioned above. After visiting all these and viewing few others from outside, I was delighted with my experience, and now it is evident to me why Ujjain is called City of temples!!