• October 18, 2022

History of Ujjain

History of Ujjain

History of Ujjain

The city of Ujjain, known by various names such as Ujjayani, Avanti, and Ozene, holds a rich historical legacy dating back to the time of the Buddha. It served as the capital of the Avanti Kingdom during that period. From the 4th century B.C., Ujjain marked the first peak of longitude in Hindu territory, and it is believed to have been the residence of Ashoka, who later became Emperor Ashoka, during his role as the viceroy of the western regions of the Mauryan Empire.

In the post-Mauryan period, Ujjain came under the rule of the Sungas and the Satavahanas successively. It went through a transitional phase between the Satavahanas and the Ror Sakas, also known as Western Satraps. Following the end of the Satavahana dynasty, the city was held by the Rors from the 2nd to the 4th century CE.

References to Ujjain can be found in ancient Greek writings, such as the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, where it is mentioned as the city of Ozene. With the enthroning of the Gupta dynasty, Ujjain gained prominence as an important seat in the annals of that empire. It is considered to be the traditional capital of King Chandragupta II, or Vikramaditya, a legendary emperor who ruled the city with his renowned Navratnas, a group of nine scholars, including Kalidasa, Shanku, Dhanvantari, Betalbhatta, Varruchi, Varahmihir, Kshapdak, Ghatkarpar, and Amar Singh, each epitomizing different branches of knowledge. The city has thus been a hub of learning and cultural significance since ancient times.

During the 6th and 7th centuries, Ujjain emerged as a major center for both fine arts and astronomical exploration. The city was home to renowned mathematicians and scholars who made significant contributions to various fields:

  1. Brahmagupta: His book, Brahmasphutasiddhanta, played a crucial role in spreading the use of zero, negative figures, and the positional number system to regions like Arabia and Cambodia.

  2. Varahamihira: He was the first to discover numerous trigonometric identities.

  3. Bhaskaracharya (Bhaskara II): His book Lilavati broke new ground in various areas of mathematics.

In 1235, Ujjain faced a major setback when it was raided by the forces of the Delhi Sultanate led by Iltutmish. The city suffered widespread destruction and the systematic desecration of temples during this invasion.

Under the rule of the Mughal emperor Akbar, Ujjain became the capital of Malwa. In the latter half of the 18th century, Ujjain served as the headquarters of the Maratha leader Scindia. However, the Scindias later established their capital in Gwalior, and Ujjain remained part of the Gwalior state until India gained independence in 1947.

After the defeat of the Marathas in the Third Anglo-Maratha War, Gwalior became a princely state of the British Raj, and Gwalior, Ujjain, and neighboring princely states were incorporated into the Central India Agency. Post-Independence, the Scindia ruler of Gwalior agreed to join the Indian Union, and Ujjain became part of the Madhya Bharat state. In 1956, Madhya Bharat was merged into the newly formed Madhya Pradesh state. The historical journey of Ujjain reflects its pivotal role in academia, culture, and political landscapes over the centuries.