Indore (Distance 36 KM)

Indore is not a historically important city. Not many tourists wind up here unless they make it a sort of basecamp for excursions from it. Located in the heart of India, Indore is quite hot in the summer but the nights are something special. Due to its location on the southern edge of the Malwa plateau, it makes an excellent tourist destination, during the day a cool breeze starts which makes the evenings quite pleasant. No wonder poets have deemed Shab-e-Malwa (the night of Malwa) exquisite beyond compare. Indore is spread out along the two small rivulets, Saraswati and Khan, which unite at the centre of the city where a small 18th century temple of Sangamnath exists. Thanks to the rich black soil of the Malwa Plateau, Indore has prospered into being the fourth largest centre of cotton textile industry in India. It is also justly famous for its beautiful bangles. Indore rose to prominence very late in Indian history. About the same as when the thirteen colonies were busy trying to wrest America from the tight grips of England, Malhar Rao Holkar, the founder of the dynasty, enters the stage of history.

 

Omkareshwar (Distance 112 KM)

Omkareshwar Temple is situated on the mountain Mandhata by the banks of Narmada River in the Malva area in Madhya Pradesh. Omkareshwar Temple is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The temple is closely linked with Mammaleshwar Temple (situated on the south of river Narmada) as both the forms of Shiva have been counted as one. Shiva Purana describes the greatness of Omkareshwar and Mammaleshwar. It says, two sons of the sun dynasty Mandhata - Ambarish and Mucchkund practiced severe penance and austerities here and pleased Lord Shiva. They also performed great religious sacrifices in this place because of which the mountain is named Mandhata Omkareshwara Temple is located at a distance of about 12 miles from Mortakka in Madhya Pradesh. A special feature of the location of Omkareshwar Temple is that the river Narmada branches into two and forms an island Mandhata or Shivapuri in the center. The shape of the island resembles that of the visual representation of the Omkara sound, Om. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar and one to Amareshwar. The Omkareshwar Temple is built in the Nagara style and is characterized by a lofty shikhara. There are also shrines to Annapurna and Ganesha here. Before entering the temple one has to pass through two rooms. The Omkareshwar is not affixed to the ground but is naturally installed there. There is always water around it. The significance of this linga is that the linga is not situated below the cupola. The idol of Lord Shiva is situated on the top of the temple. The temple can be reached by ferry from the banks of the river. A huge fair is organized here on the day of Kartik Poornima.

Ujjain (Distance 37.3 KM)

Modern Ujjain is situated on the banks of the river Shipra, regarded since times immemorial as sacred. The belief in the sacredness of Shipra, has its origins in the ancient Hindu mythological tale of the churning of the Ocean by the Gods and the Demons, with Vasuki, the serpent as the rope. The ocean bed first yielded fourteen gems, then Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth, and finally the coveted vessel of Nectar. Then began the wild scramble for immortality with the demons chasing the Gods across the skies, and in the process, a few drops were spilled and fell at Hardwar, Nasik, Prayag, and Ujjayini. Hence the sanctity of the waters of the Shipra. Ujjain is the modern name for Ujjayini. Legend has it that in the hoary past, the God like king Shiva of Avanti commemorated his victory over the demon-ruler of Tripura or Tripuri on the banks of the Narmada by changing the name of his capital, Avantipura to Ujjayini (one who conquers with pride). The magnificence and awesome spectacle of the bathing ritual at Simhastha defies description. Beginning on the full moon day in Chaitra (April), it continues into Vaishakha (May), until the next full moon day. Ujjain turns, amidst a riot of colors, into an India in miniature.

Bhopal (Distance 154 KM)

Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh combines scenic beauty, historicity, and modern urban planning. It is situated on the site of an 11th-century city, Bhojapal, founded by Raja Bhoja. Bhopal today presents a multi-faceted profile; the old city with its teeming marketplaces and fine old mosques and palaces still bear the aristocratic imprint of its former rulers; among them the succession of powerful Begums who ruled Bhopal from 1819 to 1926. Equally impressive is the new city with its verdant, exquisitely laid out parks and gardens, broad avenues and streamlined modern edifices The founder of the existing city was Afghan soldier Dost Mohammad (1708-1740). Fleeing from Delhi in the chaotic period that followed Aurangzeb's death, Dost Mohammad met the Gond queen Kamlapati, who sought his aid after the murder of her consort. A charming legend relates how the queen would recline in a lotus badge that, on moonlit nights, would drift across the lake. The two lakes of Bhopal still dominate the city and are indeed its nucleus. Bordered along their shores stand silent sentinels that testify to the growth of a city.