Excited Ujjain: Ahead of Mahakal Lok opening, flyover turns into ‘selfie point’


PTI, Oct 6, 2022, 12:03 PM IST

Ujjain resident Dipu Sharma is unable to contain his excitement about the soon-to-open Mahakal corridor in his home town, and says he travels nearly every night to an old overbridge near his house to catch a glimpse of the ”dazzling new project” and take selfies.

But, Sharma isn’t the only local who is admiring this drastic change of landscape from the ramp of the Hari Phatak Overbridge which offers a magnificent view of the 108 ornate sandstone columns bearing decorative ‘trishul’ design on top and ‘mudras’ of Lord Shiva on its faces, the gushing fountains surrounded by artistic sculptures of the deity and illuminated murals.

This distance admiration trend has picked up from the last few weeks, and after the Madhya Pradesh cabinet meeting was held in this holy city late last month, for the first time, the desire and the craze for ”flyover selfies” has even grown further.

Every day, particularly after dark, scores of people gather near the parapet of the overbridge, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle-borne commuters, and they either just stand there and appreciate this emerging skyline facing the ancient Rudrasagar Lake, or can be seen taking selfies with the corridor in the background.

Sharma, a resident of Jaisinghpura area near the project site, had gone to the flyover along with his wife on Navratra’s final night on Tuesday. He sat on his bike, parked on the flyover while his wife peeked below to admire the view while standing near the parapet.

”People of Ujjain are super excited about the new corridor, especially after it was confirmed by the MP government that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating it soon. And, as that day nears, the excitement is only building up,” he told PTI.

In day time, one can have the view of the new structures, but people gather mostly after dark so that illumination can be enjoyed and colourful fountain at play, Sharma said.

His wife said women in her neighbourhood are also excited, particularly the young ones.

Prime Minister Modi on October 11 will inaugurate the first phase of the Rs 856-crore Mahakaleshwar Temple corridor development project here, located around 200 km from the state capital Bhopal. The corridor has been named ‘Mahakal Lok’ by the state government, and it is also becoming popular among the youth through social media.

”This portion of the overbridge has sort of become a viewing gallery and a favourite point among people to take selfies, day and night. For last few weeks, this craze has particularly picked up, and I see it often while driving by,” said Rohit Songara, an Ujjain-based cab driver.

Chief Executive Officer of Ujjain Smart City, Ashish Kumar Pathak feels after the opening, the excitement will only multiply and lead to a ”huge jump” in tourist footfall.

”The ornate columns, the aesthetic-looking fountains, and depictions of various elements from Shiv Puran in murals will enhance the viewers’ experience,” he told PTI. Officials of IPE Global, the consultancy firm which worked on this ambitious project under the Ujjain Smart City mission, said testing of fountains and lights have been happening for the last several days, which draws people. ”The project started in 2017 and in five years, the entire landscape has undergone a sea change, from a chaotic, haphazard space into an aesthetic and pleasing sight. Since, the opening is still few days away, people are getting curious. Once it opens, people will feel a different kind of excitement when they will see the details on the columns and in murals,” said Amit Gupta, manager, urban infrastructure and tourism at the firm.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday offered prayers at the Mahakaleshwar Temple on Dusshera and took part in the grand ‘Mahakal ki Sawari’, and described it as an ”extraordinary moment”.

His visit to Ujjain for few hours has further heightened the excitement of people about the new corridor. ”This is an extraordinary moment, and an extraordinary time. Delight is all around and there is an environment of excitement,” the CM told reporters as he took part in the ceremonial procession. Chouhan and his wife joined ‘Mahakal ki Sawari’ mid-way, and he also played a ‘damru’ and carried a sacred flag briefly. Later, he braved rains on Dussehra and was seen walking barefoot in the streets as he got drenched on way to Dussehra Maidan.

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