1. Simhastha Kumbh Mela

01 Simhastha occurs once in 12 years in Ujjain

It is hosted when a rare configuration of planets takes place with the Sun in the zodiac sign Aries and Jupiter in the zodiac sign Leo. This configuration happens once in 12 years. Ujjain has been hosting the Simhastha Kumbh since April 22 and it will end on May 21.

2. Bhasma arti at Mahakaleshwar temple

02 Bhasma arti to Mahakal

Of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country, Mahakaleshwar is the only dakshin mukhi (south facing) idol which is considered special in tantric traditions. It is only in this temple that bhasma arti is done for the lord every morning.

3. Kark Rajeshwar temple

03 Kark Rajeshwar temple on the Tropic of Cancer

The temple is situated on the Tropic of Cancer (kark rekha). Itt is believed that Varamihira, one of the nine gems in King Vikramaditya’ s court  carried out astrological and astronomical experiments in this temple. In ancient times the central meridian line was assumed to pass through this point (Surya Siddhant 1/624). Even today Hindu calendar astronomical calculations are made by placing Ujjain on the Zero longitude.

ALSO READ All you need to know about Ujjain SImhastha!

4. Holy dip in Shipra River

04 A priest waits for pilgrims on banks of Shipra

Majority of Indian rivers flow towards the south but Shipra is an Uttargami (north flowing) river. According to sacred texts like Skanda Purana and Bhagwat Purana, a dip in Shipra is considered to free you of all sins and problems. The dip in the month of Vaishakh (May) holds special significance. A number of ghats dot its banks. The more popular ones are the Ram Ghat, Gandhavati Ghat, Sunhari Ghat, Ganga Ghat, Narsingh Ghat, Rinmukteshwar ghat and Siddhnath ghat.

5. Siddhavat and the legend of Vikram and Betal

05 Betal is belived to have hung upside down from this Siddhvat

Siddhavat is the banyan tree on banks of river Shipra. Legend has it that king Vikramaditya have meditated here for magical powers to control the ghost, Betaal. Popular folklore has it that every time Vikramaditya used to answer Betal’s question correctly, he used to run away from his shoulders and hang upside down from this banyan tree.

6. Meet holy men from all the 13 akhadas

06 Different akhadas have different tilak styles

Adi Guru Shankaracharya established the akhadas sometime in the early 8th century AD. This Simhastha is one of those rare occasions when saints from all the thirteen akhadas have come to participate. Each akhada has its own camp (Chawni), sign (nishan), flag, deity and organizational structure. Simhastha offers a rare occasion to peep in the lives of these holy saints.

7. Naga sadhus

07 A Naga sadhu

Shankaracharya organized the Hindu ascetics in ten sects (Dashnami Sampradaya) under four mathas. In the 16th century, Madhusudana Saraswati of Bengal organized armed saints (Naga or naked) in order to protect Hindus from the tyranny of the Mughal rulers. These fierce warrior like sadhus had been part of these ten sects before also but it was in the 16th century that they actively played a role in protecting the religion. Most of the time these sadhus stay away from human habitation but during the Kumbh Mela, they come down to participate in the rituals.

8. Tales of Sinhassan Battisi

08  Thirty two putlis of Sinhasaan Battisi

Kashmiri Pundit Soma Deva Bhatta wrote about Vikramaditya in Katha-Saritsagara during the mid 12th century AD. He wrote it primarily for the entertainment of Queen Suryamati, wife of King Anantdeva of Kashmir. The 32 stories of Sinhassan Battisiform are a part of his work. It is the tale in which king Bhoj, the Tanwar king of Dhar, attempts to sit on Vikramaditya’s throne. This leads to 32 attempts (and 32 tales) of Bhoj to ascend the throne and in each case Bhoj acknowledges his inferiority. Finally, the statues let him ascend the throne when they are pleased with his humility. The Vikram tila near Rudra Sagar is associated with this legend. A Grand statue of Vikramaditya complete with 32 statues has been erected at this tila.

ALSO READ List of special trains for Ujjain SImahastha

9. Bhairogarh prints

09 Artisans at work on Bhairogarh print

Bhairogarh in Ujjain became the hub of Batik printing, when craftsmen from Gujarat and Rajasthan came here during the reign of the Mughals, around 400 years ago. The popular motifs are flowers, creepers and other abstract designs. Bed sheets are the most popular items printed with these unique designs.

10. Dal Bati churma and Namkeen

10. Gathiya is a popular breakfast item

The entire Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh is famous for its Dal Bati Churma. Several restaurants in Ujjain offer this dish on their menu. Another popular breakfast and snacking item is Gathiya and Sev. Several variations of these namkeens can be savored in the restaurants here.

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