Saturday, January 3, 2009
MAHAKAL TEMPLE, UJJAIN
Ujjain is situated on the right bank of River Shipra.
Ujjain, is among many other Indian sacred and holy cities.
According to ancient Hindu scriptures it was originally called Avantika. Later King Shiva of Avanti commemorating his triumph over the demon king of Tripuri, changed it to Ujjaiyini (one who conquers with pride).
It is one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, and the Kumbh Mela religious festival is held there every twelve years.
It was governed by the likes of Vikramaditya and Ashoka. Kalidas wrote his souls stirring poetry here.
The Mahakaleshwar Temple in Ujjain: Mahakal of Ujjayini is known among the twelve celebrated Jyotirlingas in India. The glory of Mahakaleshwar temple has been vividly described in various Purans. Starting with Kalidasa, many sanskrit poets have eulogized this temple in emotive terms. Ujjain used to be the central point for calculation of Indian time and Mahakala was considered as the distinctive presiding deity of Ujjain.
Ved Shala Observatory: The observatory was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Raja Jaisingh of Jaipur in 1719 when he was in Ujjain as the Governor of Malwa under the reign of king Muhammad Shah of Delhi. Besides being a brave fighter and a politician, Raja Jaisingh was exceptionally a scholar. He studied books on Astro-mathematics available in the Persian and Arabic languages at that time. He wrote books on astronomy himself.
Miraza Ulook Beg, the grandson of Temurlung and an expert on astronomy, built an observatory in Samarkund. Raja Jaisingh constructed observatories in Ujjain, Jaipur, Delhi, Mathura and Varanasi in India by permission of king Muhammad Shah. Raja Jaisingh set up new instruments in these observatories employing his skills. He made alterations in a number of main Astro-mathematical instruments by observing the activities of planets himself for eight years in Ujjain.
Thereafter the observatory remained uncared for two decades. Then as per suggestions of Siddhntavagish (Late) Shri Narayanji Vyas, Ganak Churamani and (Late) Shri G.S. Apte, the first Supreintendent of observatory, (Late) Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia renovated the observatory and funded it for active use. Since then it has been continuously functioning.
The four instruments viz. Sun-Dial, Narivalaya, Digansha and Transit instruments are made by Raja Jaisingh in the observatory. The Shanku(Gnomon) Yantra has been prepared under the direction of (Late) Shri G.S.Apte. Having arrived at the last moments of its position, the Digansh Yantra was re-constructed in 1974 and the Shanku Yantra was re-built in 1982. Marble notice boards displaying information about the instruments were prepared, both in Hindi and English in 1983.
According to Indian astronomers, the Tropic of Cancer is supposed to pass through Ujjain. It is also the first meridian of longitude of the Hindu geographers. From about the 4th century B.C. Ujjain enjoyed the reputation of being India`s Greenwich.
Ujjain also hosts the Kalidasa Academy, built in the memory of the great poet dramatist, Kalidasa.