Pandharpur – Vitthala perumal

Name of the Temple

Sri Vithoba Temple

Period of origin

Before 13 th century

Name of deity

Moolavar: Vithoba alias Vitthala

Thayar: Rukmini

Pushkarani: Chandrabhaga

Sthalapuranam:

There was a brave king  named ‘Muchkung’. In the battle of Gods and Devils, Gods demanded the help of the king. Making a great feat the king gave a great victory to the Gods, favorably disposed on his deed God told him to demand blessing. The king said, I am very tired, I want to rest now. If anyone brings an obstacle in my rest, he will be burnt by my eyes. Then he slept in cave, in the incarnation of Shree Krishna. The strongest cannot kill devil ‘Kalyavan’  by any weapons. Shree Krishna by trick brought him in where the king Muchkund and hide in the darkness. Kalyavan came in the cave. He saw the shawl of Shree Krishna, so he gave a strong kick to the king. As soon as the king Muchkund awakened from his sleep, he burnt the devil by his eyes. Then Bhagavan Shree Krishna gave darshan to Muchkund. He told the king all events. Then the king Muchkund begged  the Lord to stand him as it is.  Lord Shree Krishna has him front of Muchkund, promised him to complete his desire in his next life.

Thus the king Muchkund was born again named Pundlik. He looked after the needs of his father Janudev and his mother Satyavati. But things changed when Pundalik got married. He started ill treating them. Tired of his tyranny, the parents decided to head for Kashi / Varanasi. It is said that those who die in Kashi attain salvation and liberation from the cycle of birth and death. This is still believed today and many people travel there when they feel their end is near.
Hearing his parent’s plans, Pundalik and his wife decided to join them. His treachery continued so much that he made his old parents walk throughout the journey while he and his young wife rode on a horse. On the way, they came across the hermitage of the venerable sage, Kukkutswami. Tired of the long journey, the group decided to spend some days there. That night, Pundalik lay awake and witnessed something remarkable. Just before dawn, he saw a group of beautiful, young women dressed in dirty clothes, enter the Sage’s hermitage. They did chores like cleaning the floor, fetching water and washing the Sage’s clothes. After that, they went to the prayer room. When they came out, their clothes were spotlessly clean and they disappeared. Pundalik wasn’t alarmed seeing this but rather he felt at peace. He kept thinking about the incident the following day. He wanted to be sure that he was not dreaming but had truly witnessed such a glorious incident. So he remained awake again. But this time, he got closer and decided to speak to the women.
“Who are you all?”

“We are Ganga, Yamuna and all the holy rivers of India. People take a dip and bath in us to wipe away their sins. The impurity of their mind, body and souls make us dirty. That’s why you see our clothes in such filthy condition.” Pundalik was amazed with their answer.

“But you are the biggest sinner of all because of the way you treat your parents.”

This was a rude awakening for Pundalik. He realized his mistake and changed his ways. He served his parents well and looked after all their needs and comforts. It is said that devotion in any form reaches God. Seeing Pundalik’s sincere devotion towards his parents, Lord Vishnu was extremely pleased. He left his abode – Vaikauntha Lok to bless Pundalik.

Lord Vishnu reached Pundalik’s house and knocked on his door but he was serving food to his parents. Pundalik saw the Lord at his door but his devotion to his parents was so intense that he wanted to finish his duties first and then attend to his guest. It didn’t matter to him whether the guest was a mere mortal or God.

Pundalik gave the Lord a brick to stand on and asked Him to wait until his duty was completed. The ever-loving Lord was so pleased with his devotee that ,he waited for him. When Pundalik came out, he asked God’s forgiveness for neglecting Him, but the Lord instead asked him to request a boon and it would be fulfilled. What more could a devotee ask when his Lord was standing right in front of him? Pundalik asked that He should remain on earth and bless all His devotees. His wish was granted and the Lord remained behind and is known as Vithoba or the Lord who stands on a brick.This form of the Lord is Swayambhu which means that his idol has not been carved or etched but it came into existence on its own. He is accompanied by His consort Rakhumai or Rukmini..

Route:

You have to take State Transport Bus from Solapur. It is 70 km Distance.

Nearest railway station to Pandharpur is at Kurduwadi, at distance of 52 km away. The major rail head nearby is Solapur, at a distance of 74 km away. Taxi cars are available on hire from Solapur to Pandharpur. Taxi charge is about Rs 1,000.

Temple Timings:

6 am to 11.30 pm and 4 pm to 11 pm

Temple Telephone Number:

02186 – 224466 – 223550

Temple Address:

Vitthal Rukmini Mandir Samiti,
Saingt Tukaram Bhavan,
(Near Shri Vitthal Temple)
Pandharpur – 413304
Dis. Solapur, Maharashtra

Hotels

Hotel Hari Om

Near from S.T. Stand
Phone No. 23071
Charges: Rs. 125

Hotel Shamiyana

Near from S.T. Stand
Rent Rs. 200 to 400

Datta Lodge

Near S.T. Stand
Rent Rs. 60 to 175.

 

Nava Brindhavan

Name of the Temple

Nava Brindhavan

Sthalapuranam:

Navabrindavanam has the Samadhis  of nine saints, followers of Madhvacharya, and predecessors of Sri Raghavendra. Madhvacharya himself merged with the divine at Badrinath, and thus does not have a tomb, while Sri Raghavendra’s Samadhi at Mantralyam is a famous pilgrim place in Andhra Pradesh. This is among the few places where nine saints have their tombs, and its importance lie in the fact that these saints are believed to have attained ‘Jeeva Samadhi’, that is, they are believed to be alive even today under their tombs!

The oldest tomb is that of Padmanabha Tirtha, the prime disciple of Madhvacharya, who attained Samadhi in the year 1324AD, while the near by new Samadhi  of Sri Suseendhra Tirtha, the guru of Sri Raghavendra, who attained Samadhi in 1623. The most famous saint entombed here is Sri Vyasaraja (1539) – the Raja Guru (literally, the king’s preceptor) of Krishnadevaraya. It is interesting to see that for over 300 years, this was the site chosen by nine saints to attain Samadhi, which seems to hint at some attraction other than simply the calm and peace which is evident even today. Legend tells us that the place is sacred by association with Prahalada, who was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Vishnu. This is believed to be the site where Prahalada performed penance to atone for the sins he had incurred by bringing about the death of his father, the demon Hiranyakashipu. Incidentally, both, Sri Vyasaraja and Sri Raghavendra are considered incarnations of Prahalada.

The nine tombs are sort of clustered around, in a circle, and a yellow line is drawn around them. There are boards warning us to keep outside the painted line, since we are not allowed to get too close and disturb the saints at peace in their Samadhi. There is a small shrine with an idol of Hanuman inside, called the Avatharatraya Hanuman. This idol is believed to have been installed by Sri Vyasaraja, and depicts Hanuman, Bheema and Madhvacharya in one form – the face and figure is that of Hanuman, the shoulders and build resemble that of Bheema, and the manuscript in the hand symbolizes Madhvacharya. (For those who need an explanation for this interesting depiction, it is believed that all three were incarnations of Vayu, the God of Wind).

There are two other shrines here – one of Lord Ranganatha, and another Hanuman temple, as well as a cave where Prahalada is believed to have worshipped. It is customary to light ghee lamps at these shrines before going on to circumambulate and pray at the Navabrindavanam. Since no puja materials are available here, it is advisable to carry whatever one needs.

Since it is located on an island, the only approach to Navabrindavanam is by boat – a coracle from the outskirts of Hampi, or a motor boat from the town of Anegundi. The river is exceptionally clean and the water invites us to have a dip, which speaks volumes about the place! (Of course, that might have been due to the fact that we visited just after the rains and the river was in full flow… I don’t know what the situation will be in peak summer!) During monsoons, the island is practically inaccessible, since the river is usually full and rages on, not allowing boats or any other means of access

1 Sri Padmanabha Theerthar – the first and a direct disciple of Sri Madhvacharya.

2 Sri Jayatheerthar/Sri Raghuvaryar – There is a lot of debate whether the second brindavana in Navabrindavan belongs to Sri Jayatheerthar also known as Teekachariar or Sri Raghuvaryar.

3. Sri Kaveendra Theerthar- Moolaguru to two important Madhva Maths.

4. Sri Vaageesa Theerthar.

5. Sri Vyasarajar- Sri Vyasaraja as we saw earlier was the previous incarnation of Sri Raghavendra. He was the Raja Guru of the Vijayanagar Empire and has installed over 700 Hanuman idols all over the country.

6.Sri Srinivasa Theerthar – Next in lineage to Sri Vyasarajar.

7. Sri Ramatheerthar – Sri Rama Theerthar succeeded Sri Srinivasa Theerthar.

8. Sri Sudheendra Theerthar – Sri Sudeendrar succeeded Sri Rama Theerthar. He was Sri Raghavendra’s guru and the noble saint who initiated him into sanyas.

9. Sri Govinda Odayaru

Sacredness of Nava Brindhavan:

Each and every Brindhavan, by itself is very sacred and had they been located in different places also, every place would have become very sacred and popular on its own. Now, if all of them are concentrated in one single place, a place chosen by nine great saints in a period of about 300 years, you can understand the sacredness of the place.

Anegundhi is the birth place of Sri Hauman, the avatar of Sri Madhwar in the previous yugas and so there is no surprise that Sri Padmanabha Theerthar, the 1st student of Sri Madhwar and other Madhwa saints chose this place.

The brindhavan of Sri Vyasaraja Theerthar is found at the center of the place. Though he comes in the middle in the order, the others who brindhavanised before him left the central place for him for some reasons. Sri Vyasarajar, the Rajaguru of Krishna deva raya is considered the next avatar of Brahalatha and the previous avatar of Sri Raghavendhra Swamy. The place where Sri Vysarajar is brindhavanised is considered the place where Brahalathar had penanced in the Grutha yuga to cleanse the sins for being instrumental in killing his father Hiranya kasibu. Vyasaraja stayed at Hampi-Anegundhi for nearly 40 years before, during and after the Krishnadevaraya period. This is the place between Tara parvatham and the Chakra theertham of Kishkintha

Route:

This is about 60 kms through Hospet-Hampi-Kamalapur-Kambli-Gangavathi-Anegundhi.

Temple Telephone Number:

08533-267733.

Temple Address:

Navabrindavanam,

Sri Raghavendra swamy mutt

Anegundi,

Gangavathi taluk,

Koppal District

Hotel

Mayura Bhuvaneshwari,
(Govt of Karnataka undertaking),
Kamalapur (near Hampi) – PIN: 583 221
Tel: 08394 – 241474/ 241574

Kavisthalam – Gajendra Varadan Perumal

Name of the Temple

Sri Gajendra Varadhan temple

Period of origin

Before 1600 Years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Gajendra Varadhan

Thayar: Ramamani Valli 

Pushkarani: Gajendra Pushkarani and Kabila Theertham

Vimanam: Kadhanakkruthi Vimaanam

Mangalaashaasanam: Thirumangai Alwar

Sthalapuranam:

The Moolavar of this temple is Sri Gajendra Varadhan. Moolavar in Kidantha Kolam in Bhujanga sayanam facing East direction. Prathyaksham for Anjaneyar and as Bhaktha Elephant for Gajendran.

King Indrajumnan was a staunch Vishnu devotee. He will ever be drowned in the thoughts of Lord Vishnu and would not do anything without prayer to the Lord. During his meditation none would call on him and he too would not grant audience to any. It so happened that during his puja time, Sage Durvasa known for his temperament came to see him but had to wait. As he could not meet the king for a long time, he entered his Hut the meditating room and stood before him. The king was so deep in his prayers and did not recognize the presence of the sage before him. The angry sage shouted that the king would be born an elephant as he was proud of his Bhakti. The king woke up from his meditation and sought the pardon of the sage holding his feet. Durvasa took pity on him and said that even as an elephant he would still be a staunch Vishnu devotee and added that a crocodile would hold his leg while bathing in a tank and Perumal would rush to his rescue when he cried Aadhimoolame.

The sage said that he would be relieved of the curse and attain salvation. A demon, Koohoo by name was residing in a tank and had the habit of pulling the legs of those coming for a bath and harassed them, which he did to Sage Agasthya too. The angry sage cursed him to become a crocodile. When begged for the relief, the sage told the demon that he would be relieved of the curse when he caught the legs of Gajendra. Lord Vishnu would rush there to rescue the elephant when His discuss would hit him and the curse would disappear.

The curses of two sages met in Kabila theertham east of the temple. When Gajendra cried Aadhimoolame for relief from the grip of the crocodile’s teeth, Lord rushed, cut the crocodile and protected Gajendra and granted salvation.

As  per Legends  Lord Anjaneya, who belongs to Monkey family, who was gifted with all sorts of good activities and very well knowledged animal (human god) got the Siranjeevi pattam (there is no end of life for him) is also called as “Siriya Thiruvadi” and Gajendran, an elephant that has dedicated its life to Sri Vishnu, did all sorts of pooja and worshipped the God and went along the way what all the alwaars have said and got the stage as alwaars were given prathyaksham for these two (ie) Lord Anjaneya and Gajendran, the Elephant in Kidantha Kolam in bujanga Sayanam.

Emperuman giving his seva (or) dharshan for Lord Anjaneya as sri Rama, gives his seva to Gajendran when his legs was caught by a crocodile, when Gajendran wants to pluck a flower in a pind and do pooja for Emperumaan. But since he was unable to get rid from his mouth, he seeked the help from Sriman Narayanan. At that time he gave his presence there and helped him out to get out of Crocodile mouth. The way he showed his seva to Gajendran alwan in one thing which is to be explained. At the final stage when Gajendran felt that it is impossible to get put his legs from the mouth of crocodile, he raised his trunk along the sky and asked for Sriman Narayanan’s help. When hearing this, Sriman Narayanan flyed from Thirupparkadal on Sri Garudan.

Finally he came and helped out Gajendra Alwaan. After this, keeping the dedication of worship of Gajendran Alwaan in his mind he gave moksham, the final place each and every human thinks to go was given to Gajendra Alwaan.

Here Lord has given seva for Anjaneyar as Sri Ramar and as Sri Vaikundanathan for Gajendra Alwaan, he also showed his seva as “Kannan” in the river side. Thus this shetram is also called as “Krishnaranya Shetram”.

Not only for the Rishis, who born as Gopika Sri (Ladies in Aayar Padi)along the river side of Yamuna river, he showed his seva to Aanjaneya, the monkey god and for Gajendran, the Elephant, in Kidantha Thirukkolam.

If Gokulam and Aayarpaadi for Gopiyar and Naimisaaranyam for Maharishis, then this Thirukkavitham is for Aanjaneyar and Gajendran in all along of 108 Divya Desams.

In Languages, “Kabi” means monkey since Aanjaneyar was given the seva of Sriman Narayanan, this Sthalam is called as “Kabishthalam”.

Gajendram, which takes the Lotus flower from the pond and does the daily pooja here for the God, was given the seva along with periya pirattiyaar, as “Ramamani Valli”.

Route:

Kabisthalam is 10 km from Kumbakonam on the Tiruvaiyaru route

Temple Timings:

7.00 a.m. to 12.00 pm and 5.00 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

04374 – 223434

Temple Address:

Sri Gajendra Varadan Temple,
Kavisthalam-614 203.
Thanjavur.

Gaya – Vishnupad Mandir

Name of the Temple

Vishnupad Mandir

Period of origin

Before 4th Century

Name of deity

Moolavar: Vishnu and Rama

Thayar: Sita

Pushkarani: Palguni

Sthalapuranam:

According to the legend, there was once an Asura named Gayasuran, who was a great devotee of Vishnu. When the Devas couldn’t bear the trouble he caused any more, they went to Vishnu and asked for a way out. Vishnu approached Gayasuran and told him that He wanted to perform a special yagna, and wanted a special place to perform it. Gayasuran offered his heart, and Vishnu accepted. The yagna began, and soon, the fumes and the heat became unbearable, and Gayasuran started succumbing to it. Vishnu asked him for his final wish, and Gayasuran asked that the place he died would be immortalized by his name, and hence the name ‘Gaya’.

The next legend concerns the Falguni river. There is never much water in the river at Gaya, though apparently, there is water upstream as well as downstream. It is clear that there is water under the ground, because, even as one digs into the ground with ones fingers, water appears. This is apparently because of a curse on the river. The story goes that Rama, along with his brothers and Sita, came to Gaya to perform the sacred rites for his father, Dasaratha. When the brothers were bathing in the river, Sita was sitting on the banks, playing with the sand. Suddenly, Dasaratha appeared out of the sand, and asked for the Pindam, saying he was hungry. Sita asked him to wait till his sons returned, so that she could give him the traditional Pindam of rice and tilam. He refused to wait, asking her to give him pindams made of the sand in her hand. Having no other option, she gave him the Pindam he desired with five witnesses – the Akshaya Vatam, the Falguni River, a cow, a Tulsi plant and a Brahmin. Soon, Rama returned and started the rituals. In those days apparently, the ancestors would arrive in person to collect their share, and when Dasaratha did not appear, they wondered why. Sita then told them what had happened, but Rama could not believe that his father would accept pindams made of sand. Sita now mentioned her witnesses, and asked them to tell Rama the truth. Among the five, only the Akshaya Vatam took her side and told the truth, while the others lied, trying to take Rama’s side. In her anger, Sita cursed all of them thus: the Falguni river henceforth would have no water at Gaya; the Cow would no longer be worshipped from the front as all others are- only its backside would be worshipped; there would be no more Tulsi plants at Gaya and the Gaya Brahmins would never be satisfied, they would always be hungry and crave more and more. She then blessed the Akshaya Vatam saying that all who came to Gaya would perform the Pinda pradaanam at the Akshaya Vatam too.

Pinda Pradanam at Gaya:

Normal Tarpanam is followed by Pinda Pradhanam for Three generations, on the paternal side and the maternal side. This accounts for 12 Pindas(Six on the paternal side, six on the maternal side), One can also offer Pindas for Self, irrespective of the fact whether they have children or not this is called Atma Pinda and is sanctioned by the Sastra. Pindas are also offered to those who died in Accidents (normal Samskaras are not allowed for these people at the time if Death) and who died at a young age (Akaala Mritu) and while Pregnancy, those who expired without issues or without relatives, and Bootha Pinda  for animals also offered. Totally 32. After the Tarpanam completed The Pindas are left at the Tree in the Vishnu Pada temple (For Brahmins) For others the Pindas are to be left in the Phalguni River.The Pavithra is to be discarded at the Tree in the Temple.

The ritual of offering pindas or offerings to the dead has been long associated with Gaya and has been mentioned in the epics. (Vaayupuraana). Terra-cotta seals discovered at Vaishali dating back to the Gupta period (4th to the 5th century CE) place the existence of this temple even during that period. This structure and the brick structure built following its demise do not exist today. What is seen now is a relatively modern temple, built by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in 1783.

This temple faces the East and it is octagonal in plan with its tower reaching a height of 100 feet. The temple is built of gray granite blocks joined with iron clamps. The sides of the octagons of the pyramidal tower, are alternately plain and indented – each angle while reaching the pyramidal roof, culminating in a series of peaks, one above the other until they all merge in a single tall pinnacle, crossed by the lotus shaped Amalaka and the golden Kalasha.

In front of the shrine is the spacious Sabha Mandapa – or an open pillared hall. It is a double height space accessed by galleries all around. This hall has 42 pillars disposed in two stories. Over the central portion is a graceful dome, 80 feet high formed by overlapping of stones. The pillars contain various artistically executed motifs. The beautiful style of this temple, with its impressive Sabha Mandap represents the Indian architectural glory of a comparatively recent date.

Temples of Gadhadhara (1040 CE), Narasimha, Gayeswari (1459) are some of the ancient temples in the complex. The shrines, cells and courtyards around the temple contain hundreds of beautiful stone images mostly belonging to the Pala and Sena Periods. (800-1300 CE). Ramanujacharya and Madhvacharya – the great Vaishnava religious leaders, Vallabacharya, Sankaradeva of Assam, Raja Mansingh of Akbar’s court and Swami Vivekananda have visited this temple.

Route:

Road Distance or driving distance from Gaya Railway Station to Vishnupad Temple is 5 kms

Temple Timings:

Monday – Friday: 6.30 AM – 7.30 PM, Saturday: 6.30 AM – 7.30 PM, Sunday: 6.30 AM – 7.30 PM, Public Holidays: 6.30 AM – 7.30 PM

Temple Telephone Number:

+91 88 73 22 22 86.

Temple Address:

VishnuPad Mandri

Gaya

Bhihar

Hotels:

Nattukkotai Nagara Satram,

171,Chan Chowra,

Gaya-823001.

Phone; 0631 2226480

Siddharth Vihar, Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231
Phone: 0631-2200445, 2200127.
Rooms available: AC Rooms, Non-AC Rooms

Sujata Vihar, Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231
Phone:0631-2200445, 2200127.
Rooms available: Dormitory Beds available only

Buddha Vihar, Bodhgaya, Gaya-824231.
Phone: 0631-2200445, 2200127.
Facility Available: Restaurant, CTV, Conference Hall, Coach/Car Parking.
Rooms available: Dormitory Beds and Conference Hall is available.

 

Gokul – Navamohana Krishna Perumal (AYARPADI)

Name of the Temple

Sri Navamohana Krishnan Perumal Temple

Period of origin

Before 1600 Years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Navamohana Krishnan

Thayar:  Rukmani and Sathyabama

Pushkarani: Yamuna river.

Vimanam: Hema Kooda Vimaanam

Mangalaashaasanam: Periyalwar , Andal, Thirumangai Alwar

Sthalapuranam:

The Moolavar of this Gokulam sthalam is Navamohana Krishnan. Moolavar is found in Nindra thirukkolam facing his thirumugham towards east direction. Prathyaksham for Nandagopar.

Thiruayarpadi/Gokul/Braja Bhoomi/ is one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu located on the river banks of Yamuna, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. The legend has that Lord Krishna was born to Vasudeva and Devaki as their eighth child, the little Krishna was relocated to Mathura/ Thiruayarpadi immediately after his birth in order to save him from the murderous intentions of Kamsa. Little Krishna spent most pleasurable childhood with his foster parents Yasodha and Nandagopan in Thiruayarpadi. He spent his mischievous and enjoyable days with cowherds, cows & calves in their pastureland in Mathura. Thus, this sacred land has attained significant place in Hindu mythology. Sri Krishna, who was born to Sri Vasudeva and Devaki in Mathura, was brought up by Nandagopa and Yasodhai in Aayarpadi. This is the place where Sri Krishna spent all of his childhood days. The temple where the Alwars did the mangalasasanam of the perumal is not in existence now and the idols now found are said to be installed in the later date. Soordasr, who was one of the disciple of Sri Vallabhacharya was a blind person and after he was brought up to this temple, he was blessed by Sri Krishna and praised the perumal in of poems.
In the life of a person, there are two main relationships that will continue and end till our lives. One is the mother and the next is the wife. For Sri Krishna, there are two mothers, Devaki who gave him the birth and the other one is Yasodha who brought him up. Like how he got two mothers, he got two wives also. One is Rukmani and the other one is Sathyabama. Thus, Sri Krishna gives importance to both of his mothers and his two wives. To explain this, this sthalaperumal Navamohana Krishna gives his seva along with his two wives, Rukmani and Sathyabama in standing posture.

The Aayarpadi Sthalapuranam is closely related with Mahakavi Soordasa and Sathyabama. In the previous Janmha, Soordasa lived as Akroorar, once a great devotee who is considered to be great person in character and a sincere Vishnu bhakta.
One day, Sathyabama was feeling lonely in the palace and she was in an urge mood to see Sri Krishna. But, Sri Krishna was unable to come to the palace then. At that time, Akroora came to the palace. On seeing the restlessness of Sathyabama he asked for the reason why she was restless? She told that she wants to see Sri Krishna that too in one minute, if he doesn’t come in a minute, she will sacrifice her life. As her name is Sathyabama, she will do whatever she says. Hearing this from Sathyabama, Akroora went in search of Sri Krishna. He could not find him anywhere. The time is also running and it is almost to end of a minute. Without knowing the consequence, Akroora he himself changed into Sri Krishna and stood in front of Sathyabama. On seeing this, Sathyabama could not recognize that it is only Akroora who had come there as Sri Krishna and she started to talk to him in love words.

After this, Akroora went towards Sri Krishna and told him what had happened. On hearing this, Sri Krsihna got angry on him and shouted at him that he has imitated as the perumal (Paramathma) and by doing this he has committed a sin and that is his eyes saw Sathyabama in a different way. so, Sri Krishna cursed him that in the next Janma he will be born as a blind person and Sathyabama as an ordinary working person. But, at the same time, he said once they get the Gnana, their curse will wither away.

As cursed, Akroorar born as “Soordasa”, in the next Janma. Despite being blind only in vision, his Gnana was so bright and he always praised the Lord through his songs and finally he got the Sabha vimochan through Sri Krishna.

About 4 miles away from Aayarpadi, there is a place named “Purana Gokulam” and a Krishna temple which is considered to be Gokulam. The Yamuna river flows in front of the purana (old) Gokulam temple and idols of Nandagopa, Yasodha and Balarama are seen. In a wooden cradle, one can see Sri Krishna posing as a child.

This Gokulam divyadesam is said to be with many of childhood naughty acts performed by Sri Krishna. The devotees are advised to visit both Gokulam and Old Gokulam.

In sanctum where we can see Nandgopar, Balaram, Yasodha, Yoga Maya (Durgai), and Bala Krishna crawling posture. Since the hall is a small, they allow few members in a batch. Everyone is supposed to crawl and reach the sanctum. In front of these main deities, there is a cradle to which a rope is tied, and Lord Krishna is seen in it. They ask us to swing the cradle. As we come out from the sanctum nearby, we see Poothana sculpture with Lord Krishna to her breast, relating to Poothana vadam by Lord Krishna. She attained Moksha. Once we come outside the premises we can see the  place where Lord Krishna as a child, played and enjoyed his childhood days upto five years. Here we were asked to roll on the ground, which is the holy place where Lord Krishna rolled on the ground and played.

Route:

Travel 3 miles from Mathura and cross the bridge on the Yamuna River. After that, travelling 5 miles in the bus, from there, we can reach the Temple of Gokulam. 8 miles away from Mathura.

 

Kashi – Sri Viswanathar Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri  Viswanathar Temple

Period of origin

11th or 12th century BC

Name of deity

Moolavar: Viswanathar

Ambal: Vishalakshi

Sthala Theertham: Ganga

Sthala Virksham: Castor

Sthalapuranam:

Standing on the western bank of India’s holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the inexorable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well and thereby symbolizes man’s desire to live in peace and harmony with one another. Vishwanath being a supreme repository of this spiritual truth thus strengthens the bonds of universal brotherhood and fellow feeling at the national as well as global levels. The Temple in the present shape was built way back in 1780 by Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. In the year 1785 a Naubatkhana was built up in front of the Temple by the then Collector Mohd. Ibrahim Khan at the instance of Governor General Warren Hastings. In 1839, Two domes of the Temple were covered by gold donated by Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Third dome but was remained uncovered, Ministry of cultures & Religious affairs of U.P. Govt. took keen interest for gold plating of third dome of Temple.

The rivers Varana and Asi join the Ganges here, a beautiful city was built there in the ancient times. It was named Varanasi. Varanasi, a prime place of pilgrimage, a tribe called kasha used to live. Therefore, Varanasi was also known as Kashi. Near Kashi, Ganga flows in the shape of a bow. Hence it acquired special importance. A king called Deivodas expanded this area. Nirvikar cahitanya and Sanatan Brahma have assumed the form of Saguna Vishwarupa from the initial Nirgun Roopa or form. The Shiva Shakti roopa became the Purusha (man) and Stree (the woman) again. Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and man) (Shiva-Shakti) were once ordained by Shiva to do tapas in the universe in order to create the best being. He specified the best place for this purpose. When a prayer was held, Nirgun Shiva, with His own powers and aura, created a wonderful city called Panchakoshi. Vishnu, who resided there, spent a lot of time praying to Shiva after which several watersprings originated there. Vishnu was amazed at this wonderous event, and even as he tilled his head, a gemstone fell from his ear. Because of this place, it was also called Manikarnika. The entire Panch Koshi area of Manikarnika waters were then gathered into the Trident by Shiva. Then from the navel of Vishnu was born a lotus flower with Brahma in it. Brahma was ordained by Shiva to create a world, at which Brahma created this wonderful world. It had fifty crore Yojanas of area and fourteen lokas. In order to save the lives of these who are bound by their own actions or karma. Shiva kept panchakoshi city away from the entire universe. In this city, Shiva Himself established the saviour Muktidayak JyotirLinga, which He can never leave. Shiva removed this very Kashi from His Trident and set it in this mortal world. It was not to be destroyed when Brahma’s day ends, but during Pralay i.e., final destruction of the world, Shiva saved it by keeping it safe in his trident. So the kashi is called avimukta kshetra. In Kashi, the Avimukteshwar Linga is there forever. Those who can never hope for salvation, attain Moksha here.

This holiest city of Panchakoshi, with its capacity to destroy every conceivable sin, is the vehicle of a special Moksha by the name “Samyugha”. That is the reason why this city which is ruled by Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesha, is the place, where even divines want to die. Sarwaguna from inside and Tamoguna from outside, are the qualities of Rudra here. When prayed to, Vishwanatha Bahagavan Sri Shankar made this abode and resided there with Parvati. Kashi city is the place for Moksha and Ganga. Those who live here attain Mukti or Salvation, even without having to travel to any place of pilgrimage. Any one, be it a man, woman, young, old, Sahava, pure or impure, Prasuta, Aprasuta, Swadesh, Andaja, Udibhaja, of whatever caste, all attain Moksha. There is not an iota of doubt in this. Whatever a person may be doing, eat, sleep or anything else, if he departs from this world from Avimukteshwar, he definitely attains Moksha. Any small act of goodness or Punyakarya, takes away all the sins. Good as well as bad people are born on this earth. But by living in Kashi, both attain Moksha

Vishalakshi Temple

There is a saying in Tamil ” Kanchi Kamakshi, Kasi Visalakshi”. But this is not known in Kasi. The Visalakshi temple is near Viswanath temple. You have to enquire around. Then they may ask “do you mean the Nattukottchetti temple? This is the local name as the temple was constructed by the Nattukottai Chettiars. Not an old temple. A small temple in typical Tamil Nadu style.

Sati was the daughter of the Prajapati Daksha and She got married to the Lord Shiva against Her father wishes. Once, Prajapati Daksha had organized a great yagya but he did not call his daughter and his son in law. Sati was very sorrow from Her father’s such behavior. She reached there but got insulted from Her father as he ignored the Sati. She could not bear insult of his husband (Lord Shiva) and She had jumped into the fire of yagya and committed suicide. She died but Her dead body did not burn. Lord Shiva became angry and had taken His Virabhadra Rupa. He cut the head of Daksha but finally He forgave him by reviving his life again. The heartbroken Lord Shiva had wandered in the universe by taking the Sati’s corpse. Finally, Lord Vishnu dissected the corpse of the Sati into 52 parts by His Chakra. Each of the body part became Shakti Pitha. At the place where body piece had fallen on the earth had changed into the temple. Lord Shiva had created 52 Bhairava for each Shakti Pitha as a guardian to secure the Shakti Pitha. It is considered that Her eyes or earrings had fallen.  It is said that karna kundala (earring) of Devi Sati fell here. Hence Devi Maa here is also known as Manikarni or Manikarnika. The Puranas say that this city exists even after the Pralaya. The famous place ‘Manikarnika’ is located here and named so because the earring of Goddess Sati was like a pearl (Mani). Goddess worshiped here as Maa Vishalakshi & Lord Shiva as Kala or Kaal Bhairva. Some pundits feel that karna kundala is merely an ornament and not part of the body. Therefore this place can at best be considered as a upapeetha, a minor or sub-centre. Another version says that this is a shakti peetha only because one of the three eyes (Akshi) fell here. As the divine eye can perceive the entire universe, Mother here is called Vishalakshi, the vast-eyed. The Vishalakshi Temple of Divine Mother Sati, wife of Lord Shiva stands at Meer Ghat just behind Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, India. Vishalakshi Devi temple is a powerful Shakti Peeth and any pooja, charity, recitation of devi mantras performed in this premises is considered to yield very high results. Unmarried girls worshiping Vishalakshi Devi are sure to get married, childless couple will certainly be blessed with a child, even the most unfortunate ladies will find all fortunes coming their way.

Annapurna Temple

Annapurna temple is situated at Dashashwamedh road, Opening time of the Annapurna temple is 4:00 am to 11:30 am and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  Annapurna temple is dedicated to the Annapurna or Annapoorna Mata, the Goddess of Food or the Goddess of Nourishment (Anna means food and Purna means complete or full), Mata Parvati. There was a golden idol of the Annapurna Mata in the Annapurna temple. Annapurna temple has a huge crowd of pilgrims at the occasion of Annacoot. Annacoot festival is celebrated in India every year after Diwali. On the occasion of Annacoot coins are distributed to all the devotees. It is considered that whoever will worship this coin, he will be blessed by the Annapurna Mata for his successful and prosperous life. Annapurna Mata is the Goddess of the Varanasi city Who always protects the Kashi and fulfill His devotees with the food

Once, Lord Shiva said to the Goddess Parvati that the whole world is an illusion and the food is the part of that known as ‘Maya’. The Goddess of food (Mata Parvati) became very angry and She had to show the importance of all the material, in order to that She had vanished all things from the world. In the absence of food from the earth, the earth became infertile and everyone had suffered from the deep hunger.

She had to reappear in the world by seeing His devotees suffering from the deep hunger. She, then made a kitchen in the holy city, Varanasi. Lord Shiva too came to Her and said that I understand that the material can never be sent away as an illusion. Mata Parvati became very happy and offered food to the Lord Shiva with her own hands. From that time Mata Parvati is worshiped as an Annapurna means the Goddess of Food.

Another myth about the Annapurna is, Once Mata Parvathi had closed all the eyes of the Lord Shiva (three eyes: Sun, Moon and Fire) and entire world was full of darkness. There was the condition of ‘Pralaya’ and the color of the Mata Parvati became dark also (means She has lost Her Gauri Rupa). She was very sorrow and asked Lord Shiva how to get Gauri Rupa again. Lord Shiva said to Her to make Anna Dan in the Kashi. Mata Parvati took Her Annapurna Rupa with a golden pot and ladle and made Anna Dan in Varanasi. Again She got Her Gauri Rupa. It is considered that Her devotees do Annapurna Pooja by making Anna Dan in Kashi.

Kalabirav Temple

Kaal Bhairav Temple today is one of the most intresting in Varanasi. Entering from the street , through a door guarded by Bhairava’s mount, the dog, one finds a fine courtyard, in the center of which is the main shrine of Bhairava. Only the silver face of kaala bhairava, garlanded with flowers, is visible through the doorway of inner sanctum. The rest of Bhairava’s image-said to be pot-bellied, seated upon a dog, holding a trident-is hidden behind a cloth drapery. This a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are nine other Bhairav temples in the city. Kaal Bhairav, the “Black Terror,” is widely known as the Kotwal, the “police chief,” of Kashi, and the section of the city in which his temple stands is known as Kotwalpuri. Bhairav is considered a fearsome manifestation of Shiva. He wears a garland of skulls and carries a club of peacock feathers. Kaal Bhairav, whose name, Kaal means both Death and Fate, in addition to meaning Black. He is the black one who has also assumed the duties of the God of Death in Kashi. Even Death, it is said, is afraid of Kaal Bhairava.

Long ago many great saints went to the Sumeru Mountain in order to know from Lord Brahma that who is eternal and supreme power. Lord Brahma stated that he was the superior person. Lord Vishnu (also known as the Yagyeshwar or Narayan) was not agreed with the quick and impudent decision of the Lord Brahma. Both, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu went to the four Vedas for the answer of same question. Rig Veda answered that the Rudra is supreme as He has the power to control all living beings. Yajur Veda answered that Lord Shiva is supreme as He could be worshiped by various Yagnas (Yagam). Sam Veda declared that Triambakam is supreme as He is worshipped by a variety of Yogis and can control the entire world. Atharva Veda answered that Lord Shankar is supreme as He can eliminate all the troubles of human beings. All of the four Vedas declared that Lord Shiva is the ultimate supreme.

Both, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu laughed on the decision of Vedas. Soon, Lord Shiva came as a powerful divine shine in their center. Lord Brahma was staring very angrily at that shine with his 5th head. Lord Shiva has instantly created the new being (known as the king of Kaal means Kaal Bhairav). Lord Shiva said that Kaal Bhairav will forever be in Kashi in order to remove sins of the disciples, that’s why Kaal Bhairav is also known as Paap Bhakshak. In the meantime, Kaal Bhairav plucked the burning head with anger of Lord Brahma and devotees started praying Lord Shiva.

Lord Shiva said to Kaal Bhairav to go to various places but Brahma Hatya Dosh was following him. Brahma Hatyia (a female stature) created by Lord Shiva was following Kaal Bhairav at every places. Finally, he reached to Kashi, also known as the Moksha Puri in the world. Brahma Hatya has finally vanished as soon as Kaal Bhairav has entered to the Kashi. The Lord Brahma’s head (held by Kaal Bhairav) fell at the ground known as Kapal Mochan and the place famed as the Kapal Mochan Teerth. From that day onwards, Kaal Bhairav stayed at Kashi forever and protects devotees from their problems.

Kalbhairav temple is located at K-32/22 Bharonath, Vishweshwarganj, Varanasi. God KalBhairav is believed to be the “Kotwal of Sati pind”. Without his permission no one can even touch to the Sati pind.

Ashtami day [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][eighth day after Poornima] in the month of Margashirsha is an important day for worshipping Kaal Bhairav. Besides sundays, tuesdays, Ashtami and Chaturdasi days are very important for worshipping Kaal Bhairav. A person who circumabulates Lord Kaal Bhairav 8 times will be absolved of all the sins committed by him. It is also believed that a devotee who worships Kaal Bhairav for 6 months will attain all types of Siddhi [ as mentioned in Kashi Khand Chapter 31]

Old timers in Kashi believe whenever residents of Kashi leave the city for short journeys, they worship Kaal Bhairav[taking his permission] and on return back to Kashi, they again worship Kaal Bhairav. It is said that those living in or visiting Kashi, must worship Kaal Bhairav and he in turn, grants protection/shelter to all his devotees.

Sankatmochan hanuman Temple

Sankat Mochan temple is one of the sacred temples of Varanasi. It is located in the southern part of Varanasi, near the Banaras Hindu University. It is dedicated to the Hindu God, Hanuman. The word “Sankat Mochan” means one who helps in removing sufferings Lord Hanuman. Tulsidas, the author of the famous Hindu epic Ramacharitamanasa, founded the Sankat Mochan temple. According to Hindu mythology, one who visits the Sankat Mochan temple regularly, his wishes get fulfilled. Lord Hanuman at this temple brings good luck to the devotee.Every Tuesday and Saturday, thousands of devotees queue up in front of the Sankat Mochan temple to offer prayers to Lord Hanuman. According to Vedic Astrology, Hanuman protects human beings from the anger of planet Saturn and those who have ill placed Saturn in their horoscope visit the Sankat Mochan temple to get remedy. People put “Sindoor” on the statue and offer “laddoos” to Lord Hanuman. The “Sindoor”, from the statue of Lord Hanuman is put on the foreheads of devotees. Sankat Mochan Temple was founded by Tulsidas who was the author of the Tulsi Ramayan, which is the Hindi version of the Hindu epic Ramayan originally written by Valmiki. Tradition promises that regular visitors to the temple will gain special favor of Hanuman. This is supposed to be the most effective way for appeasement of Shani. While it is suggested that Hanuman did not hesitate in engulfing in his mouth the sun, the lord of all planets, humbling all the gods and angel, making them to worship for sun’s release. Some astrologers believe that worshiping hanuman can neutralize the ill-effect of Mangal (mars) ad practically any planet that ha ill effect on human life.

Hari Chandra ghat
This ghat is name after King Harish Chandra. This is one of the two cremation ghats, and sometimes referred as Adi Manikarnika. You remember the climax of the Harischandra story in the cremation ground. There is an electric crematorium here now. However traditional funerals of wood fire continue.

Hanuman Ghat
The ancient name of this ghat was Rameswaram ghat. A lot of importance to Tamil Brahmins as the Brahmins who perform the ceremonies for ancestors stay in and around this ghat. Kanchi Madam has a branch here. They have also erected a Kamakshi temple. There is a Veda Patashala founded by a Tamil Brahmin Professor of Banares Hindu University.

Kedar Ghat
This ghat is near the Hanuman ghat. At the top there is a Shiva (Kedareswara) temple. You enter the temple and you will immediately be back in a Tamil Nadu temple. The reason is very obvious. This temple is attached to the Kumaraswamy madam. In late Sixteenth century Kumaraswamy, a Tamil Saivite founded the madam. Now this is part of the Tirupparanthall (Tiruvaippadi) math. Fairly large temple unlike the other temples. The ghat here is kept very clean and it is good to take a bath here and have Dharshan of Kedareswar. The Nayanmars were very much devoted to Shiva at Kedarnath. One of them wrote a poem called Kedarappan Pathikam. It is displayed prominently in the Shiva temple at Kedarnath. Most of Tamil Nadu are Shaivites. Other than the Veera Shaivas, Shivism is now almost exclusively Tamil.

Dasasvamedha Ghat
This is an ancient ghat and the busiest ghat. According to the mythology, Lord Brahma performed the ten-horses sacrifice (dasa-asvamedha) at this site. The historical sources infer that at this site the Hindu dynasty of the second century, the Bhara Siva Nagas had performed ten-horses sacrifice here. It is in the heart of the town with broad roads leading to it.

These are the ghats which would be of interest to the Tamil Brahmin pilgrim. Of course your Sasthirigals will take you on a conducted tour with specific instruction where to bathe and offer Pindams. Like you remember the famous quote “poonalai valam pottukkarathu”. At that time you will not have time to appreciate the beauty of the ghats. You should go back later.

This temple is  Aathara Stalam.This place is called Anahata meaning Central channel behind spine

Route:

Road Distance or driving distance from Varanasi Junction Railway Station to Kashi Vishwanath Temple is 4 kms 

Temple Timings:

3.00 am to 1.30 pm and 4.30 pm to 10.30 pm

Temple Telephone Number:

0542- 2392629

Temple Address:

Sri Kashi Viswanath Mandir

Vishwanath Gali,

Varanasi-221001

Uttar Pradesh

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