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 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.
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.
Its Charm: Just because Ujjain doesn't attract many tourists does not 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. We saw elephants roaming the streets, camels relaxing, goats wondering, sadhus meditating, amazing street music, beautiful religious ceremonies and lively wedding parties celebrating.
You can see for yourself in our Ujjain travel video here:
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 Ujjian?
This is all dependant 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 Ujjian?
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.
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.
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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