First impressions don't always impress. And that's the case with Ujjain. The area around the train and bus stations is chaotic and nothing special, but wander down towards the river ghats, via Ujjain’s maze of alleyways, and you’ll discover an older, more spiritual side to this city that has been attracting traders and pilgrims for hundreds of years. An undeniable energy pulses through the temples here – perhaps because this is one of Hinduism’s seven sacred cities.
The town is also one of four sites in India that hosts the incredible Kumbh Mela, during which millions bathe in the Shipra River. It takes place here every 12 years, normally during April and May. The next one is in 2016 (22 April to 21 May). Six years before and after each Kumbh Mela there is a slightly smaller Ardh (Half) Mela. On all other years a smaller festival called Magh Mela is held.