Legend has it that Lord Krishna and his elder brother received education in Ujjain. The place has also been mentioned in the Mahabharata and has witnessed the rule of mighty dynasties, including the Mauryan and Gupta dynasties. It is even surmised that two parts of the Skanda Purana were composed here. Hardly surprising, that given such a rich legacy, Ujjain has a mighty religious and historic significance. A trip to Ujjain bombards one with an overwhelmingly large number of famous historic structures and an all encompassing religious ambiance.
The early history of Ujjain or Ujjaiyini is lost in the mists of antiquity. But by the 6th century BCE, Avanti (as Ujjain was then known) finds mention in Buddhist literature as one of the four great sovereign powers of the time, along with Vatsa, Kosala and Magadha. The city lay on the main trade route between North India and the Deccan region to the south. This is documented in the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, the widely accepted account of an unknown Greek merchant who made a voyage to India in the second half of the 1st century CE. The Periplus talks of a city called Ozene (Ujjain) to the east of Barygaza (Broach) that was nodal to the trade of onyx, porcelain, ordinary cottons and fine muslin. Ujjain was the capital of the renowned King Vikramaditya. The city witnessed the victory of Vikramaditya over the invading Shaks, and the commencement of ‘Vikram Samvatsar’, the lunar calendar, 2,061 years ago. Today, the ‘Vikram Samvatsar’ is the oldest calendar in the Ujjain.