A Story Of Pilgrimage, Shopping and Food – Indore & Ujjain

Our trip to visit the famous Jyotirlinga turned out to be a melting pot of experiences. This destination had a perfect mix of all the ingredients necessary to make it an IDEAL HOLIDAY. The first element, Divinity-Our visit to the famous Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain and Omkareshwar in Khandwa invoked the divine power of Lord Shiva in us, the second element, Shopping-a place to quench our shopping thirst which we found on streets of Rajwada, Kothari Market and Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holker Cloth Market. Lastly, Food-a dream getaway for a foodie is to get lost in a street like Sarafa Bazar. This destination ticked all the boxes for me in BOLD, Italics and Underlined.

Our itinerary was dotted with temples and each had a significance and was quite different from the ones we have visited to date. Have you heard of a temple where alcohol is given as an offering. The temple is called Kal Bhairav located on the banks of Shipra river and is the guardian deity of Ujjain. Liquor is offered to the temple deity as one of the five ritual offerings knows as Panchamakara. Comprises of Alcohol, meat, fish, grain and sexual intercourse. In older times all five offerings were made. However, now alcohol is offered and the others are in a form of symbolic rituals only. The other temples we visited in Ujjain are Harsiddhi Shaktipeeth, Shree Kadakalika, Mangal Nath and Ram Ghat. Don’t forget to feed a cow or calf in Ram Ghat. Harsiddhi temple is a Shaktipeeth and all who visit Mahakaleshwar usually visit this temple too.

The first Jyotirlinga we visited is Mahakaleswar. This Jyotirlinga is believed to be swayambu (born by itself) VS other Jyotirlingas which was established with mantra shakti. We were fortunate enough to see the mahamangalarti as well as the Bhasmarti. Ensure you book the Bhasmarti well ahead of your travel dates as they quickly sell out. Thanks to my friend Radhika, we couldn’t have experienced this powerful darshan without her help.

Note: For Bhasmarti you have to wear a saree in the traditional way meaning no draping the saree over legging or pants. Believe me when I say, they literally check by lifting your saree and I was subjected to it. If the tickets for Bhasmarti are unavailable online you can seek help of Pandits if you know any. Usually people prefer to sit in the nandi mantap for Bhasmarti but I would recommend you to sit in the third row to get an uninterrupted view of the arathi.

Omkareshwar and Mamleshwar was our next destination. These temples are situated on the Om shaped island on the banks of river Narmada. The temple is connected to the mainland via a suspension bridge or by boat. You also have an option to do Parikrama by boat. Unfortunately, we did not have the luxury of time as it easily takes about an hour to complete.

Note: Ensure you have a guide/Pandit accompanying you as many are unaware of the fact that there are 2 temples and only one of them is a Jyotirlinga or both. The debate is still on as to which one is the Jyotirlinga. So I say, visit them both as they are not very far. Do read this article if you need more information on the same topic. However, I don’t see any consensus as to which is the Jyotirlinga Mamleshwar or Omkareshwar.

Let’s jump to the second ingredient that made this 4 day trip quite interesting, Shopping. Rajawada, Sitalamata Bazar, Kothari Market , Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holker Cloth Market, Begum market and many more within the same vicinity is a paradise for ready made dress for ladies of small and medium size. Don’t fret my XL friends we do have options of buying casual and office wear and not to forget you can shop some amazing materials at prices unheard of (applicable to Bangalore shoppers). Take a break from shopping and visit the Kaanch Mandir, which is a 110 year old Jain temple and it is made entirely out of glass.

The last ingredient to make any vacation the PERFECT one is grub. If you are a lover of street food then a visit to Sarfa Bazar, 56 Dhukaan and Chappan Dhukan is a must. From the Gol Gappas to the rolling Kulfi, Jamoon to Chocolate Beda, Poha to Jelabi, Mawa Baati to Moong Bhajiya, Pav Bhaji to Aloo Tikki you get them all. What you need is a hungry tummy and strong gut. Take me again to the streets of Indore is what my tummy is singing again and again. Not to forget a visit to Nagoda for lunch for those who love typical home style lunch.

Accomodation: My suggestion would be Hotel Anjushree in Ujjain and Fairfield Marriot in Indore. Both these hotels are top notch without burning a hole in your pocket and the breakfast spread served by both these establishments is pretty elaborate

Saurashtre Somanaatham Cha Sree Shaile Mallikarjunam Ujjayinyaam Mahaakaalam Omkaare Mamaleswaram Himalaye to Kedaram Daakinyaam Bhimashankaram Vaaranaasyaam cha Viswesam Trayambakam Gowtameethate Paralyaam Vaidyanaatham cha Naagesam Daarukaavane Setubandhe Ramesham Grushnesam cha Shivaalaye

Our goal is to visit all the above Jyotirlinga and to quote my friend Gowri, hope the universe conspires and makes this wish come true