Ancient business centre: Ujjayani

Bhopal, February 10, 2016 (Ataullah Faizan):  Ujjayani was counted among major cultural cities in ancient India. This city gave major contributions to religion, philosophy, literature, music, drama and fine arts. It had the honour of being political centre stage of Malav Janpad for centuries. First Gantantra and then ‘Nrip Tantra’ developed here over the years. Along with cultural and political importance, Ujjayani was also significant commercially. Western sea shore was far away from here. But Ujjayani had the benefit of being situated on main highways leading towards north and south India. Kshipra river also helped in its economic growth. A major trade route from Ujjayani led to Bharukuchh (Bhandonch). From Bharukuchh and Shoorparak (Sopara), goods from Malwa and Gujarat regions were exported to foreign countries.

Central India was linked to foreign countries through these ports. Thousands of ancients coins of Ujjayani and nearby areas have been found. Most ancient minted silver coins are of 4th centry BC. Ujjayani had mints and wealthy people had a number of establishments there. These establishments used to mint coins, manage markets and undertook a number of activities to promote trade and business.  A number of coins dating back to 2nd to Ist century BC have word “Ujino” or “Ujiniye” inscribed on them in Prakrit language was found.

These coins were issued by above mentioned establishments. Besides, hundreds of Janpad level coins have also been found on which Lord Shiva in various postures has been depicted as main deity of Ujjayani. In some coins, he has been depicted with Uma Devi. A number of coins also have attractive images of deity of wealth Lakshmi and Kartikey. Vajra was one of main symbols of Ujjain, which was called “Ujjain Chinha”. It is found mostly on these coins. Besides, attractive images of Vedika Vriksh, Kshipra river, Mandook, hillock etc. are also found on these coins of Ujjain. Large number of coins dating back to Shung-Satvahan era upto Kshahrat-Kshatrap dynasty kings are found in Ujjain.

Coins pertaining to Gupt kings, Sasanis,Gurjar-Pratihars, Parmars and medieval Muslim rulers are found here in large number. These show that Ujjain was very important from point of view of trade and commerce. Large number of foreign businessmen, specially Romans resided there. Role of Ujjain in ancient trade with western countries was specially noteworthy. Ujjayani’s ancient names Hirnyawati, Bhogwati and Vishala justify it being a vast and rich commercial township.