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Ujjain is an ancient city on the banks of the Kshipra River in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. One of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus, known as Saptapurior Mokshapuri, Ujjain has been a prominent centre of religious activities for over 2,000 years. Mahakaleshwar Temple, cited by the great poet Kalidasa in his works, is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. The deity here is called Dakshinamurtias since the idol faces southwards. Nearby, Bade Ganesh Temple houses a colorful statue of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu deity. In addition to the ruins of antiquity, Ujjain offers interesting monuments, such as Jai Singh Observatory – a centre for astronomy, developed by one of its rulers, Jai Singh – the Choubis Khamba Darwaza and the Kaliadeh Mahal. There are numerous temples in the periphery of the town. A dip in the holy river Kshipra is supposed to pave the way to salvation.