Ujjain (also known as Ujain, Ujjayini, Avanti,Avantikapuri), is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River , today a part of the state of Madhya Pradesh. It is the administrative centre of Ujjain District and Ujjain Division.
In ancient times the city was called Ujjayini. As mentioned in the Mahabharata epic, Ujjayini was the capital of the Avanti Kingdom, and has been the Prime Meridian for Hindu geographers since the 4th century BCE. Ujjain is one of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) of the Hindus, and the Kumbh Mela religious festival is held there every 12 years. It is also home to Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva and is also the place where Lord Krishna got education with Balarama and Sudama from Maharshi Sandipani.
Ujjain is situated on the Malwa Plateau in Central India. The soil is black and stony. The vegetation is typical of arid regions with thorny trees like babul and acacia dominating the landscape. Soybean, wheat, jowar and bajra are the main crops grown.
Ujjain is located at 23.182778°N 75.777222°E. It has an average elevation of 491 meters (1610 ft).
As of 2001 India census, Ujjain had a population of 429,933. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Ujjain has an average literacy rate of 72%, higher than the national average of 59.5% : male literacy is 79%, and female literacy is 66%. In Ujjain, 13% of the population is under 7 years.
Ujjain experiences typical climate conditions of the interior Indian subcontinent. The summer months (April–June) are harsh with temperatures reaching up to 45°C. In addition, hot winds may blow in the afternoons, worsening the heat. The winter months (Nov.–Feb.) are pleasant and cool with daytime temperatures typically 20°C, though it may drop to subzero in the night. The monsoon typically arrives in late June and the months of June till September receive moderate to heavy rainfall. There are periods of rainfall followed by long periods of bright sunshine and high humidity. The month of October generally is very warm and with high humidity.
Ujjain city has two legislative assembly zones, known as Ujjain North and Ujjain South. For Parliamentary purposes it is treated as one seat. There are 54 wards in Ujjain. Ward members are elected by people directly.
The economy of Ujjain is mainly depends on the agricultural activities of the nearby villages. Two main crops are grown each year: wheat as the major Rabi crop, soybean as the major Kharif crop. Ujjain agriculture is sensitive to changes in rainfall and failure of monsoon cycles can lay a devastating toll on agriculture and the local economy.
Ujjain was previously a centre of the textile industry with a number of textile mills in and around the city. Most of the mills have since closed. Religious tourism is also a contributor to the economy, especially during the Simhasta Mela.
Modern Ujjain is a major agricultural and textile trade centre, as well as the district headquarters. The fertile plains of Ujjain receive electricity from the Gandhi Sagar Dam on the Chambal River.
The district is fertile enough to produce sorghum, wheat, cotton, pulses, legumes and poppy. Cotton ginning and milling, oilseed milling, hand weaving and the manufacture of metal ware, tiles, hosiery, confectionery, strawboard and batteries are flourishing industries in Ujjain. In the suburb Bherugarh, aka Bhairavgarh, chippas or dyers and printers use vegetable dyes and hand-carved teak to print ancient designs and patterns on cotton saris, tapestries, hangings, bed sheets and mats.