Numerous legends and stories remain associated with Ujjain and they explain the construction and the presence of the temples in this district. One can choose to believe any of these according to their sensibilities but popular belief has thousands of pilgrims flocking to do the Panchkroshi Yatra, Ujjain. It is also called as the Pancheshani Yatra, where pilgrims cover a distance of 52 miles on foot. I had made up my mind to do a part of it what I could and in fact this yatra was the prime attraction for me to come to Ujjain.
Some say that Ujjain was created by Lord Shiva for Goddess Parvati and the four gates with their guardian deities were appointed in the four directions to guard the city – Pingaleshwar in the east, Kayavarohaneshwar in the south, Bilveshwar in the west and Darudureshwar in the north. The Mahakaleshwar at the center of the town was the chief attraction for pilgrims in this yatra. I began my yatra after my darshan at the Mahakaleshwar and though it was not the traditional route for the Panchkroshi, I stopped in all the temples that I came across and worshipped for the health and happiness of my family members. I could finish the Chatdwar Yatra, which is the ceremonial visit to each of the deity in the four directions and with each temple that I worshipped in, my faith in the Almighty strengthened even further. The atmosphere was infectious, people were filled with great devotion and enthusiasm and the crowd consisted of young and old alike all moving in their own pace to finish the yatra.
The Panchkroshi Yatra, Ujjain, I am told usually takes about five days to complete and it requires a great deal of stamina and self-restraint to finish it. But for the Hindus, the yatra is very sacred and is a process with which devotees are able to unite with their Gods. The pilgrims who take the yatra are also able to reflect on their spiritualism and feel blessed once they are able to finish the yatra successfully. I also did my bit what I could and proceeded to the Shipra River, Ujjain for a holy dip.