Want to visit a unique travel destination in Madhya Pradesh India? A place less visited, but filled with charm and culture? This complete Ujjain travel guide will explain everything you need to know about Ujjain and help you discover why Ujjain should be on your India travel itinerary!
Ujjain was our first travel destination in India and we definitely started off with a bang! Ujjain is an off the beaten path place to visit in India. Located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. This unexplored mark on the map is an ancient holy city on the banks of the Kshipra River.
A Madhya Pradesh tourism gem, this small city home to just over 500,000 people as well as some of the most holy hindu temples in India, making it a popular pilgrimage site for hindu worshipers. The city is so ancient its history dates back to 2000bc and it actually became the political centre of central India around 600bc.
Check out our Ujjian travel video:
Why Should You Visit Ujjain?
Off the Beaten Path: Ujjain is not for everyone, the city does not attract many tourist and therefore there are not many western comforts to be found here. However, if you want to get off the beaten path and experience a slice of authentic central India then Ujjain is an amazing place to come.
The People: The people in India are extremely hospitable, kind, honest and friendly. We were blown away so many times by the kindness of the people in India. People go out of their way to make sure you are safe and ok. This is very much the case in Ujjain, the warmth, smiles and friendliness we experience in Ujjian will stay with us forever.
Because Ujjain is a very off the beaten path travel destination in India the locals will be extra curious of travellers, so don't be surprised if you get lots of stares and selfie request. Don't be offended by the stares, just smile and 9 out of 10 times you will get a gleaming smile back.
Its Charm: Just because Ujjain doesn't attract many tourists doesn't mean its lacking in charm, culture and magic! You could compare Ujjain to perhaps Varanasi. Both are holy ancient cities nestled on riverbanks, with sights, colours and smells that will delight and sometimes shock you. However Ujjain is a much more relaxed version to Varanasi and see’s very few foreign tourists, making it that much more authentic.
The Culture: During our time in Ujjain we were amazed by the colour, culture and vibrancy of the place. Every corner you explore will present you with a new and interesting surprise. Elephants walking the streets, vibrant religious ceremonies, traditional street music, elaborately decorated cows and sadhus meditating and lively wedding parties celebrating. were just some of the spectacles that Ujjain served up!
Things to Do in Ujjain:
1. Relax by the holy riverside and take in the atmosphere at Ram Ghat. You will see holy shrines, sadhus partaking in religious ceremonies and people bathing in the holy waters of the river. If you visit the riverside at sunset you can witness the vibe change and you might also see some hindu arti ceremonies taking place with chimes and candles…...such an experience!
2. Wonder the streets in the early evening to witness the celebrations come to life. Between 5-8pm is when you will see most of the local activity coming to life. So head out and just explore Ujjain on foot, you will not be disappointed, promise!
3. Visit some of the holy temples. We visited the Harsiddhi Temple and found a group of hindu pilgrims dancing to traditional music, they invited us to dance and we had such and amazing experience, You can see this experience all unfold in our travel video too. The Mahakaleshwar temple is the the most famous temple in Ujjain and is dedicated to lord Shiva.
4. Explore some of the quiet residential streets. The small narrow residential alleyways of Ujjain are so beautiful. Coloured in light pastels and dotted with holy cows relaxing. Exploring these streets will give you a glimpse into the local life of central Indian people. Each corner will revealed something different and beautiful. Perhaps a man making woodcrafts, or a stunning hindu shrine!
5. To escape the bustle, for a relaxing place to chill you can visit The Vikramaditya Great Memorial Statue. We found literally no one else there and it had such a calm relaxing atmosphere. There are some nice shady areas where you can spend some time taking in the chilled vibes of this place.
6. Eat the yummy street food! The great thing about Ujjain is the food! Be brave and experiment with the food, don’t be afraid of the street food. A popular street food breakfast in Ujjain is Poha, you can see Reti eating Poha in our Indian street food vlog. Most food in Ujjain is strictly vegetarian, however if you would like some delicious meat, then visit the muslim sector and try delicious shawarma and shish kebabs! You can learn more about Indian street food in our top 8 Indian foods blog post.
7. Admire the beautiful wall murals and street art of the city. There are many beautiful murals in Ujjain to admire, however we found one quite street lined with huge magnificent murals that were spectacular. If you spend the day exploring you will most definitely stumble across them, or you can ask your guest house where to find them!
Kumbh Mela: This festival is world famous and draws a massive crowd from around the world. It only takes place once every 3 years, but only occurs in Ujjain every 12 years. The festival sees thousands of pilgrims and devotees coming to Ujjain to bath in the holy rivers, it would surely be a chaotic but spectacular time to visit this holy ancient city! The last Allahabad Kumbh in Ujjain attracted over 120 million visitors in January 2013 and become the largest religious event in the world. The next one is scheduled for 2025.
Shiv Ratri: We visisted Ujjain during Shiv Ratri, an important festival for Ujjain which is dedicated to lord Shiva. The celebrations and ceremonies occur in the famous Mahakaleshwar temple and the city see's a swell in visitors, but nothing compared to that of Kumbh Mela. Shiv Ratri occurs in early March, we recommend attending during march as temperatures are not too hot and it’s also wedding season, so you will get to see many wedding celebrations on the streets. You might also get invited to a wedding, we did, but couldn't attend due to timing.
How Long Should You Stay in Ujjain?
This is all dependent on how much time you have. We stayed 6 nights, but we would recommend anywhere between 3-5 nights would be the perfect amount of time to relax and enjoy what Ujjain has to offer.
Where to stay in Ujjain?
Finding the right place to stay can make or break your travel experience. Ujjain does has limited accommodation options, but we have done some research and have found the best places to stay in Ujjain for every budget.
Budget: During our time in Ujjain we stayed at Mansarovar Guest House which costs about $7USD per night for a budget double room. The accommodation was very simple and located on a very lovely street away from busy crowds but close enough to everything so that you can explore easily.
The best thing about this guesthouse was the family who owned it, they were so friendly and kind. We even got invited for cake and tea and were given gifts! It's nice to feel safe and welcome in any hotel or guesthouse you stay at.
But when we say simple we do mean simple, and the bathrooms left a bit to be desired.......so this accommodation option is only suitable for those wanting a safe budget room and who do not need the comforts of a fancy hotel room.
MidRange: For those who would prefer a bit more luxury I can recommend Hotel Amar Palace which has glowing reviews and costs about $18USD per night.
When to visit Ujjain?
When to visit Ujjain does depend on a few factors including your travel style and budget. So we we list all the season so that you can decide when is the best time for you. You can also see our in depth guide on the best time to travel to India for more details on all the regions of India.
WINTER SEASON, Oct-Feb:
Ujjain you will bring pleasantly warm days and chilly nights during winter. Although days can still be hot you will escape the scorching heat of the hot season during these months, winter is considered one of the best months to travel to India due to its mild climates great for travelling and exploring.
Winter means high season for India and most tourist hot spots are very crowded during these months. However, because Ujjain is largely unexplored this wont be an issue for you and you can almost have the place to yourself......well you and the locals!
Tourist Numbers: low
Temperatures: 15℃ to 30℃
HOT SEASON March-June:
Hot season in Ujjain can bring unbearable heat. Expect very hot and dry days that linger well into the 40’s and with no coastal breeze the heat is inescapable. Not the most ideal time to visit for sightseeing especially if you do not enjoy the heat. Tourist numbers will be low and you will encounter great deals on accommodation.
Tourist Numbers: low
Price: Cheap, amazing discounts!
Temperatures: 35℃ to 45℃
MONSOON SEASON: July-Sept:
Monsoon season in Ujjain see's temperatures begin to drop but humidity and rainfall begin to rise. Ujjain see’s moderate to heavy rainfall during monsoon with August its wettest month.
September see’s the tail end of monsoon and rain begins to be less frequent with days getting hotter. Tourist numbers will be very low and accommodation prices will drop to match.
Tourist Numbers: low
Temperatures: 25℃ to 35℃
How to get to Ujjain?
The cheapest way to reach Ujjain would be via sleeper train. You can read our Indian Trains post to learn how to buy Indian train tickets. From Delhi to Ujajin it will take you about 12hours.
If you are short on time you can also fly into Indore which is only a 1 hour taxi ride from Ujjain. If you choose to fly from Delhi to Ujjian it would only take about 3.5hours total including the taxi ride.
Total Costs: $170 (approx)
So there it is, our complete Ujjain travel guide. If you have any other questions related to travel in Ujjian or India, just leave them in the comments section below and we will happily answer them for you as best we can!
Cheers, Native Travellers
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We are Reti & Bianca a couple of adventure seekers from Aotearoa New Zealand. Welcome to our travel stories hub, we are super happy you are here! We share our experiences and provide travel guides, tips and inspiration for anyone who wants to get intrepid!
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