Shani Shingnapur

Shani Shingnapur

Shani Shingnapur is one of the most important places for Shani worship in India. In Hindu astrology, Shani means the planet Saturn, one of the 9 heavenly objects. Shani is considered as some one who takes offence easily and brings bad luck to people who defy him. So, Shani is one of the most feared navagrahas. Devotees believe that Lord Shani is looking after this sacred place and thus it is devoid of theft or robbery. Hence it is one of the top religious places in Maharashtra. People across the country come here to seek blessings from Lord Shani.

A devotee story:

Smt. Chandrabhaga Devi, who was extolling the grace of God Shani told us that her in those days, her newly married daughter Sakardevi Karale, from Shingve village of Pathardi Taluka, which was her in-laws place had come to their home at Shingnapur. Because she was newly married, she was wearing a lot of jewelry. “On the same day, as four unknown persons, seeming to be beggars entered our house. Along with the alms, they also saw our jewelry and became happy. There was no fear in our minds and we gave the alms and we came into our home.

But on the same night, at around 1.30, the same four persons came into our home to rob our jewelry. I felt that they had come with the intention of robbing the jewelry. And it was proved right in a little while. They started fighting with us to take away the jewelry. To escape from them, my daughter and I escaped from them and went towards the house of Anna Saheb Kushinath Darandale who lived just 100 metres away.

But, what a strange occurrence! We saw them and were going away from them were seeing them, right in front of them but they could not see us! God Shani was protecting us and our jewelry from them! And though they were not blind, they could not see us. They had lost their sight suddenly. It was because of the grace of God Shani that our jewelry and we were protected. After this incident, I and my husband Shri Dhondiram Tukaram Darandale pray and serve God Shani day and night. After this true story which I have seen with my eyes, I have totally surrendered to Mahatma (Great God) God Shani.”

Shani Shingnapur or Shani Shinganapur is around 114 km from Nashik and 40 km from Ahmednagar in Maharashtra. This village is known for the Shani Temple, who is the presiding deity of the place.

Sthala Purana

Lord Shani is said to be a self-manifested deity in Shani Shingnapur. The deity is not a statue but is in the form of a black stone slab One of the popular legend is about a shepherd who found this big stone. The story is that once the shepherd accidentally hit the stone. Surprisingly, blood started oozing out of that stone. It is said that Lord Shani himself appeared and told him to build a temple around that stone. Lord Shani also said that “the sky itself is a roof for him and the shepherd need not build a roof for the temple.” Further, the Lord asked him to perform daily poojas.. Lord Shani also promised that he will protect the village from any theft or robbery. The main sanctum of Lord Shani doesn’t have a roof and it is an open temple. Shani Shingnapur Temple has a modern architecture with large premises.

For many years, women were not allowed inside the main sanctum. Recently, a group of women activists entered the main sanctum and protested against this tradition. This issue also went to the court and it gave a statement that women can also enter the sanctum. Now women are also allowed to enter the inner sanctum in Shani Shingnapur.

Not a single case of theft, riot, murder or rape has been recorded in the entire history of Shani Shingnapur village.

The people of Shani Shingnapur village are from the ancestry of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

There are no election panels or parties in this village. Only one vote is considered as final and the decision is accepted by all people.

It is told that once you have seen the idol and moved ahead i.e. you have shown your back to the idol then you should not see the idol again.

You cannot get Liquor, gambling or non-vegetarian food in this village.

The Peepal trees in the village have hanging roots (like Banyan tree), which is unusual.

People offer oil (like flowers to other gods) to the shrine of Shani Shingnapur temple. Some people offer 101 oil boxes or 1 quintal oil and few people even offer an entire tanker of oil to God Shani.

More than 10 lakh people visit this temple on the occasions of Shani Amavasya and Shani Jayanti.

People get their lost thing such as money wallet, watch, gold things or other precious items immediately.

Route

By Road: Shani Shingnapur temple is  35 kms away from Ahmadnagar, 160 kms away from Pune, 84 kms from Aurangabad and 295 kms from Mumbai. It’s a 7 hours drive from Mumbai.

Nearest Railway Station: Ahmednagar Railway Station is the convenient railway station to reach Shani Shingnapur town. The station is 35 kms away from the town.

Nearest Airport: Aurangabad (90 kms) & Pune (160 kms) are the closest airports to Shani Shingnapur. Taxi’s & other vehicles on hired are available outside the airport.

Temple Timings:

Devotees can visit Shani Shingnapur temple 24 x 7; all days of the week 12:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.

Entry Fees:

Entry for the darshan of God Shani is free to everyone. However, they take prasad packet charge as Rs.10/Packet.

Hotels :

There are some small hotels & eateries around the temple to have food.

Stay:

It’s a very small village & does not offer much accommodation options. So it is better to stay in Shirdi. There is a wide range of hotels in Shirdi.

Temple Telephone Number

Telephone: 02427 238110 , 02427 238108

Temple Address:

Shani Shingnapur Temple

Shanishingnapur,

Post: Sonai,

Taluka: Nevasa,

Dist.: Ahamadnagar Pin. 414 105.

Maharashtra, India.

 

Srinagar – Kheer Bhawani Temple

Kheer Bhawani

Kheer Bhawani Temple lies near the village of Tul Mul and is a place of belief and faith for the Hindu followers. The temple derives its name from the Kheer which is a rice and milk pudding. The people offer this pudding as a symbol of their worship and faith. The Kheer Bhawani temple was built over a scared spring. A marvellous marble temple with splendid architecture has been built in the premises of the main temple. An annual festival is organised on the eighth day of the full moon in the month of May or June. The people believe that the colour of the water of the lake changes according to the avatars of Goddess Kheer Bhawani. A number of historical relics are related to the origin of the temple. It is believed that Maharagya was happy with the true love and devotion of Ravana. Ravana placed a statue of the Goddess in the temple. But later, she became upset by the atrocities of Ravana. She instructed Hanuman ji to place her idol in the village of Tul Mull. Pilgrims from all parts of the country come to visit this holy shrine and seek the blessings of Goddess.

The temple is dedicated to the Goddess Rajnya Devi, popularly known as Kheer Bhawani. The name ‘Kheer Bhawani’ is derived from the fact that thousands of devotees offer milk and ‘Kheer’ (pudding) to the sacred spring, as they believe the pudding turns black to warn of impending disaster. Be it Hindus or Muslims, devotees from all across India throng the temple during the Kheer Bhawani festival.

Kheer Bhawani temple is nestled in the small village of Tula Mula which is located at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagar. The temple is associated with goddess Ragyna Devi who is also worshipped as Ragini or Kheer Bhawani. She is an incarnation of Durga Bhagvati. Kheer Bhawani temple is located in the middle of a spring, which is surrounded by a huge area which has been decorated with smooth and beautiful stones. The spring is known as Mata Ragini Kund. The colour of the spring keeps changing. While other colours do not have any particular importance, black colour is considered as an indication of inauspicious times for Kashmir.

History Of  Kheer Bhawani Temple:-

Maharagya was pleased with the devotion of Ravana and appeared before him and Ravana got an image of the goddess installed in Sri Lanka. But the goddess became displeased with the vicious and licentious life of Ravana and so didn’t want to stay in Sri Lanka. Therefore, under the command of the goddess, Hanuman got the image from Sri Lanka and installed it at the holy spot of Tula Mulla. The mention of Kheer Bhawani is found in Kalhana’s Rajtarangini. Kalhana writes that the sacred spring ofTula Mula is situated in a marshy ground. The name of the spring is Mata Ragini Kund. Maharagini is the form of Durga Bhagvati. The Brahmins of Kashmir worship this spring and pilgrims from every comer of the country visit to have the darshan of the place. In Rajtarangini Tula Mula is considered very sacred and the Brahmins of Tula Mula were very great and powerful. The spring of Maharagya was very sacred. Thousands of years ago many floods occurred in Kashmir and the sacred spring of Tula Mula also was inundated under its sway and the holy place could nowhere be traced. All around was water. At last Kashmir’s Yogi Krishna Pandit had a dream in which the goddess appeared to him and ordered that she would swim in the form of a snake at the proper place and that he should stick large poles and when the water subsided there the holy spot was discovered. This event happened during the Samvat 4041. The mention of this temple is also found in Abul-Fazal’s book Aini-Akbari in which is written that the area of Tula Mula extended over the area of hundred bighas of land, which got sunk in the summer season and formed into a marsh. Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Vivekananda also visited here to have the darshan of the place. With the pouring of milk and throwing of sugar candy in the spring by the pilgrims, a thick and solid layer was formed at its bottom. When it was cleared, the ruins of an old temple and shrine slabs engraved with figures were discovered. Here many images were also found but nobody rebuilt the temple till the Samvat 1969 when Maharaja Pratap Singh who was the disciple and worshiped this goddess, got a marvelous temple of marble made in the midst of the spring which shines like a pearl in a shell. The marble temple was completed in 1920s. Some people are of the opinion that there was a mulberry tree near holy spot of Kheer Bhawani which, in Kashmiri, is called Tul Mul. But Tul Mul is also derived from the Sanskrit phrase-Tul Muli-that is of great value. This means that all other pilgrim centres are of lesser value than this one. It is said that after Ravana finished the worship of the goddess he offered the kheer (rice pudding) to the goddess which she accepted and since then it is called Kheer Bhawani.

Significance Of Kheer Bhawani Temple :-

The presiding deity of this Khir Bhawani temple is Goddess Bhawani who is also called by the names Maharagya Devi, Ragnya Devi, Rajni, Ragnya Bhagwati, and so on. It is believed that Goddess Maharagya is one of the form of Goddess Durga. For the Kashmiri Brahmins, the Historical Vedic Religion followers, Kheer Bhawani Temple is the most important pilgrimage. The temple is surrounded with Chinar trees (Platanus orientalis), which offers a wonderful panorama. The sacred spring at the holy place Tul Mul is called as Mata Ragini Pond. This pond is worshipped by the Kashmiris.
Swami Vivekananda, an Indian Hindu monk and Swami Rama Tirtha, an Indian teacher of the Hindu philosophy of Vedanta are said to have visited this temple and worshiped the Goddess. The special feature of this temple is that the sacred septagonal spring floes from west (which is considered as its head section) to the east (which is considered as its feet), changes its color with various shades of red, pink, orange, green, blue, white, etc. and the black shade of the spring is believed to be unpromising.

Poojas And Festivals:-

Mela Kheer Bhawani- The Annual Festival:-
The Goddess presides over her believers as they gather, upholding their fast on the 8th day following the full moon in May. Kashmir also observes a state wide holiday on that day. The day is celebrated as people believe that it was this day that the presiding Goddess indulges in changing the spring water’s colour. With colors having some significance, The water getting darker is a signal for the worse time to come. People assert that in 1990 when the Kashmiri Pundits had to go through te exodus, A black shape had taken over the water. People believe in the story that a total of 360 springs flowed near the holdy spring but they soon vanished as the marshy land increased.
In the last half century the pilgrimage has become the most important for Kashmiri Brahmans who come here from all over the State and even from outside. Kheer Bhawani is considered to be the Presiding Deity of most of the Kashmiri Brahmans.

1.     The Sanastha shall manage daily morning and evening Poojas and provide the required Pooja Samgri for this purpose.

2.    The Sanastha shall make all necessary arrangements for enabling devotees of Mata Khir Bhawani to offer their Pooja at the Amrit Kund on all Suklapaksh Ashtamis.

3.    The Sanastha shall arrange to perform Namavali of Maha-Regeneya in early hours of each Ashtami and provide the materials required for it.

4.    The Sanastha shall arrange the traditional Pooja to be performed during the night of Ashtami-Novmi and make necessary arrangement for stay of the devotees for the Pooja during night.

5.    The Sanastha shall arrange Pooja to be performed during night of second Saturday after Ashtami for Mata Shri Bhawnishori.

6.    The Sanastha shall manage traditional Poojas on all the days of Navratras and make suitable arrangements for Jal-Pravah of the Nav-Durga Bhagwati.

7.    The Sanastha shall manage the Poojas on all the days of Ram-Navmi Pooja days and make suitable arrangements for Jal-Pravah of the Nav-Durga Bhagwati on the final day.

8.    The Sanastha shall make arrangement for performing a Hawan on Vyeth-Truvah (Bhadoon Shuklapaksh Triyodashi) and serve a meal as Naveed to the devotees who participate in the Hawan but invitations for participation shall not be extended formally to anyone except by notifying in the Annual Programme (Calender etc.).

9.    The Sanastha shall make arrangements for and perform annual Hawan on Ashad Shuklapaksh Ashtami. The announcement of the Hawan shall be made by the Management through Press and other available media. All devotees of the Mother shall be invited to participate and have Naveed (meals) at the conclusion of the Hawan. Elaborate arrangements shall be made by the Sanastha for convenience of the devotees as far as possible. Invitations to sister organizations and VIP’s as shall be decided by the Managing Committee from time to time shall be extended in writing. The Naveed shall comprise of a simple rice meal with Daal and one Vegetable (Potato) unless decided otherwise by the Managing Committee. Decision of the Managing Committee in this regard shall be final.

10. In order to make the celebrations of Jeshth Ashtami popularly known as “Mela Khir Bhawani and Ashadh Ashtami the Annual Hawan at the Peeth a success, the Pradhan shall call and hold meetings of the Managing Committee of the Sanastha first at least one month before the festival wherein arrangements shall be proposed/finalized. Necessary sub-committees for specific works shall be framed and announced. The sub-committees thus formed shall remain responsible for their allotted work. Each Sewak, Sahayak, Sadasya involved in the management of the festivals shall be informed by easiest direct or indirect means about his assignment and responsibilities at least fifteen days before the function. Final meeting of all the involved members shall be called and held by the Pradhan at least three days before the function and situation about preparations reviewed and suitable action wherever required taken.

11.  No outsider agency other than Govt. Public Utility Deptts. like Municipality, Public Health Engg., Health Services, Law & Order Agency (Security) shall be allowed to render any voluntary/organized/individual service within the premises. All rights with regard to managing affairs, providing services and holding of Samuhik (organized) Pooja within the premises of the Peeth rest with the Sanastha only.

12. All Samohik Pujas/Artis shall be lead by a Sewak only nominated by the Pradhan and in all Hawans performed on behalf of the Sanastha. Aahoti shall be offered by a Sewak of the Sanastha only under all circumstances, even if the entire Hawan is performed on costs contributed by general public or any individual.

13. The Sanastha shall make arrangements for and bear the cost of any   Pooja/Hawan/Sampat which shall be suggested by a 2/3 verdict of the Managing Committee and approved by the Pradhan.

Code Of Conduct Inside The Shrine Premises:-

1.     The Shrine is open to all castes of people for meditation provided the meditator abides by rules and regulations of the Sanastha. Management of the Sanastha reserves the right to deal with violator of the code of conduct in suitable way including fishing him out of the premises and/or handing him over to the law enforcing agencies.

2.    Meat, Eggs, Fish, Tomato, Onion or any kind of non-vegetarian eatables can neither be cooked nor consumed within the Shrine Complex.

3.    No toxic drinks hot or cold, drugs can be used within the premises.

4.    Devi-Angan is purely meant for Puja and Meditation and nothing can either be cooked or consumed (eaten) in Devi-Angan.

5.    The Shrine complex shall be open for following functions of the public to be celebrated within the Hindu Codes :

1.     Hawan.
2.    Kirtan.
3.    Mundan.
4.    Yagneopavit.
5.    Sampath.
6.    Get-together with regard to marriages.

For all the above functions, the party shall have to apply for booking in advance and pay a refundable Security Deposit. Facilities whatever available shall be extended to the party and decision of the Sewak Incharge shall be final. No party can book it when it is to be used by the Sanastha itself on important festivals.

Pooja Timings:-

The temple remains open from morning 6.00 am to night 8.00 pm.

Route:

Kheer Bhawani temple is nestled in the small village of Tula Mula which is located at a distance of 14 miles east of Srinagar.

Mirzapur – Sri Vindhyavasini Temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Vindhyavasini Temple

Period of origin

Before 2000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Devi Parvati

Sthala Theertham: Ganga

Sthalapuranam:

As per legends , it is believed that shaktipeeths were created by cutting the body parts of Devi Sati by Sudarshan Chakra by Lord Vishnu. But this is the place and shaktipeeth where Devi chose to reside after her birth in Dwapar Yuga. At the time of birth of Lord Krishna to Devaki and Vasudeva , MahaYogini Maha Maya took birth to Nanda gopa and Yashoda at Gokul as per instruction of Lord Vishnu. Vasudeva had replaced his son Krishna with this girl child of Yashoda . When Kamsa tried to kill the girl she slipped from his hands and assumed the form of Mahadevi Adishakti and anounced ” You fool , the one who is supposed to kill you is already born and vanished from this prison . Thereafter Devi chose Vindhya Mountains as her abode to live on the earth.

The idol is black in color, 5 feet tall. This idol is situated in a very small sanctum called Garbagriha . There are two queues from which the devotee can  enter Garbagriha .The legs of the Devi rest on her mount Lion . The eyes of the Devi are adorned with silver metal which gives special effects when you look her. The Devi is also adorned with all the ornaments like crown , bangles , necklaces , rings etc. all made of Gold. The whole idol is covered flowers and garlands. One is allowed to touch the feet of Devi and submit offerings.  Overall a soul refreshing  experience.

Shrimad Devi Bhagwatam has given special importance and special mention to Vindhyavasini Shakti Peeth out of its 108 Shaktipeeths.  Every years lakhs of devotees from every corner of India come here of both the Navaratri. Thousands of saints come to Vindhyachal Dham and Vindhya mountains for performing nine days penance and meditation. Every  day the  temple has huge crowd of devotees.

Many scriptures state that there is no other shrine as pure as  Vindhyachal elsewhere in the universe. The three supreme powers Maha Lakshmi, Maha Kali and Maha Saraswati reside at this place. Devi Parvati had performed meditation at this place for Lord Shiva and got the name Aparna. Lord Rama performed Shraadh to his ancestors at Ramganga Ghat and established the Rameshwaram Linga. He also established the Ramkunda here in Vindhyachal . Lord Vishnu received Sudarshan Chakra from Lord Shiva at this place. Vindhyachal is situated on the Mahalalakshmi Yantra which is circled with mountain is considered as the land of power. It is a very significant place out of the 108 Shakti Peetha and 12 Maha Peeths. According to legend  back of Sati had fell at this place. This place has multiple virtues. Vindhyachal is called as Shaktipeeth, Siddhipeeth and Manidweep in scriptures.

Route:

Temple is located in Vindhyachal, 8km far from Mirzapur, and around 80km far from Allahabad (Prayag) on the banks of the holy River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Temple Timings:

4 am to 10 pm

Temple Telephone Number:

+91-9415689576, 9651630326, 9651308686 ,9839027616

Temple Address:

Sri Vindhyavasini Temple

Maa Vindhya vasini dhaam,

Vindhyachal, Mirzapur,

Uttar Pradesh:231307

Haridwar – Mansa Devi Temple

Name of the Temple

Mansa Devi Temple

Period of origin

1811-1815AD

Name of deity

Mansa Devi

Sthalapuranam:

Haridwar is the Gateway (dwar) to God (Hari) for Hindus, and the city where holy River Ganga leaves the mountains to start its long journey of plains of northern India. Ganga, after traveling a distance of nearly 250 km from its origin at Gangotri Glacier, enters Haridwar, giving this city its ancient name—Gangadwara. According to the Hindu mythology, it is one of the four places on earth where drops of Amrit (the liquid of immortality) fell from the divine pitcher.

As the Legends said, when the Gods left their footprints on the land of Haridwar, metaphorically they also left an indelible mark on the spiritual ethos of every Hindu-more so, the devout, who would later follow their holy paths all across this blessed land. Haridwar, due to its geographical location stands as the gateway to the pilgrimages of Uttarakhand. Haridwar has always remained as a major Shaktipeeth for the devotees. And one such prominent most visited Temples of North India; in Haridwar is Mata Mansa Devi.

The temple lies atop the Bilva Parvat in the Sivalik Hills, about 2.5 km from the city center. It is one of the panch-teerths (five pilgrimages) of Haridwar, and is also famous as one of the three temples that make a Sidhpeeth trio in Haridwar; Maya Devi temple and Chandi Devi temple are other two temples of this Sidhpeeth trio. While Mansa Devi temple in Haridwar would continue to hold its spiritual relevance, the travel by cable rope way is an adventure in itself which has contributed tremendously for the number of pilgrims thronging Goddess Mansa Temple in Haridwar.

The Temple is constructed by Maharaja Gopal Singh and the year of construction of Temple is 1811-1815AD. The main Temple is dedicated to Mansa, who is workshiped in the Sanctorum in the form of “Pindi”, as well as in her anthropomorphic form executed on a marble. In the sanctum sanctorum she is worshiped with Devi Saraswati and Lakshmi in the form of Pindi (stone pebbles). Originally the pindi’s were only worshiped by the devotees. However in modern times, a marble bust of the deity was got sculpted for giving an attractive human look (form) to the deity. She is beautifully decorated with crown and other ornaments.

In ancient Hindu scriptures, Haridwar is referred with different names such as Mayapuri, Mokshdwar or Kapilsthan. The city organizing Kumbh Mela every 12 years to commemorate that celestial event, with millions of Hindu devotees congregating to enjoy a holy dip in the river Ganges with a desire to wash away their sins of present and past lives seems to be agglomerations of all faiths at one place.

The architecture of the main Temple is not consonance with the Shivalik region where usually typical Nagara or Curvilinear spirals Temples were erected. This is in sharp contrast to the environment of the region architecturally, speaking the Temple has been built in panchavati pattern in which at four cardinal corners stand four shrines with the main shrine(fifth shrine) being located at the centre.

Hindus believe that if; you pray to the Goddess with a pure and grateful heart, she is sure to fulfill your wishes. For a “Darshan” (visit) of the Goddess, devotees need to stand in the queue at the Temple site. The prime attraction of the Mansa Devi Temple includes two awe-inspiring sculptures. While one of the Goddess of Mansa Devi Temple of Haridwar has eight arms, the other one stands in the shrine with five arms and three mouths. The unique traits of the two presiding deities make Mansa Devi Temple one of the outstanding religious appeals of Haridwar. Close to the Temple on the hilltop is a holy tree, around which devotees tie threads to get their wishes fulfilled. They seek the blessings of Goddess Mansa Devi. Not only in Haridwar, but Temple of Mansa Devi is known and reverted in the whole of Northern India. Apart from getting glimpse of the Goddess at the Temple.

Route:

Haridwar city lies about 200 km from Delhi and about 65 km from Dehradun. It is linked to other cities of the state by a fine road network. National Highway 58 passes through the city, connecting it with Ghaziabad, Modinagar, Meerut, Roorkee and Mana. NH 74 connects Haridwar to Kashipur, Pilibhit and Bareilly. Haridwar Railway Station receives trains from many cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Jaipur, Kolkata, Bhopal, Gwalior, Amritsar, Ahmedabad, Patna, Varanasi, Thiruvananthapuram and other major cities of India. Jolly Grant Airport, located about 36 km from Haridwar is the nearest domestic airport.

Local Transport Services like private bus services, tempos (vikrams), auto rickshaws, tongas, cycle-rickshaws and taxis are easily available. You can reach Mansa Devi Temple either on foot or using the ropeway service. About 2-km long trek is quite interesting, but can be draining during the summer months. The cable car service starts at 7 a.m. (April to October), and 8 a.m. (November to March), and costs around 50 rupees per person.

Temple Timings:

7 am to 11.30 pm and 2 pm to 10 pm, Navratras the Temples remain open for Darshan from 5:00am to 10:00pm.

Temple Telephone Number:

01334-227745.

Temple Address:

Manasa devi Temple

Bilwa Parwat

Haridwar.

Ayodhya – Sri Ramachandra moorthy Perumal temple

Name of the Temple

Sri Ramachandra moorthy Perumal temple

Period of origin

Before 3000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Sri Ramachandra moorthy Perumal

Thayar: Sita devi

Pushkarani: Nageswara theertham , Paramapadha Pushkarani, Sarayu River

Vimanam: Pushkala Vimaanam.

Mangalaashaasanam: Kulasekhara Azhwar, Tirumangai Azhwar and Thondaradipodi Azhwar

Sthalapuranam:

The Moolavar of Ayodhya is Sri Ramar. He is also called with the names “Chakravarthy Thirumagan”, facing his thirumugham towards North direction. Prathyaksham for Bharadhan, all Devars and Maharishis. The Great epic, Ramayana is said to start and ended in this sthalam. The avathaar of Sri Ramar explains how an ordinary human should be and it explains the Sathya path which leads him to the final mukthi.

This Divyadesam is said to be one among the 7 Mukthi Kshetrams. These 7 mukthi sthalam represents different part of the body of Sriman Narayanan. Avanthi is represented as the divine feet, Thiruvadi of the perumal, Kachipuram, represents the waist, Thirudwaraka represents the Nabhi (the lower stomach), Maya represents the Thiru maarbhu (the chest) Madhura represents the neck, Kasi represents the nose and finally, this Ayodhya Kshetram represents the Head of the perumal. Thats the reason it is said to be one of the most important among the 7 Mukthi kshetram.

Sri Ramar by killing Ravanan explains to the world that all the life led and its destiny ends only through ones character. Sri Ramar led his life by thinking of only one life parter, Seetha Piratti, his wife along with his bow (vil). He followed his previous generationed member and followed their words. Thus, the Rama avathaar explains about one word, one bow and one wife and all the characters are found inside Sri Ramar. When Emperumaan took the human avathaar, as Sri Ramar, Periya piratti came as his wife as Seetha piratti, the Aadhiseshan as his brother, Lakshmanan and perumal’s sangu and chakkaram took their birth as “Bharadhan and Sathrukkanan. Hanuman born as the hamsam of Sivaperumaan. This Avathaar of Sriman Narayanan as “Sri Ramar”, shows the best and excellent characters of all human and explains how all must be. By giving the entire Raajyam (empire) of Ayodhi to Bharathar as asked by Kaikeyi he gave the entire Raajyam and left out from Ayodhi to a forest. This character shows the obiedience for Kaikeyi, inspite of she doing harm by making him to go to the forest.

By helping Sukreevan and Vibheeshanan, Sri Ramar explains about the great friendship character and finally, the mercy and love showed towards Sri Hanuman is the ultimate character of Sri Ramar. This Ayodhya sthalam is siad to be the birth place of Sri Ramar and he got Mukthi (Paramapadham) only from this Ayodhya sthalams and it is said to be the final place where the Rama avathaar ended.

Brahmadevan did a strong tapas towards Sriman Narayanan. The perumal gave his prathyaksham for Brahma and both of them hugged together. On seeing the great bhakti of Brahmadevan, Sriman Narayanan is so emotionally attracted towards him and his (perumal) eyes started to swell tears. But Brahma devan doesnt want the tears to let down it into the earth and he collected all of his tears in the Kamandalam (a small vessel which all the Rishis have). Using his power, Brahma devan created a pushkarani and all the drops of tears was mixed into the pushkarani. And that is called the Maanasasaras in the Himalayas. Since, the theertham is created along with the tears drops of perumal and the Manasika power (created from his heart fulfilled) of Brahma devar, this theertham is so called as “Maanasasaras”.

When Itsuraku was ruling Ayodhya he said his plea that if a river flows in his empire he would feel happy to Vasishta Maharishi. Vasishta Maharishi went towards Brahma devan in Sathya loka and along with the help of him, he made to flow the Maanasasaras to flow near his city . Since, Maansasaras was made to flow in Ayodhi, it is called as “Sarayu Nadhi”. Since, this river flowed as the step taken by Vasistar, this theertham is also called as “Vasistai”. This river is said to be the body of a women and said that it talked to Sri Ramar and Dasarathar because of this, the river is also called as “Rama Gangai”. It is said that earlier Ayodhya had 2700 temple of Sri Ramar near the South shore of Sarayu Nadhi.

Swayavambhuvamanu, who was the first son of Brahma devan, met in Sathya lokam and asked him which is the place he need to start the task of creation. Brahma along with his son, went towards Sriman Narayanan in Sri Vaikuntam. Through Brahma devan, Sriman Narayanan hands over the middle portion of Sri Vaikuntam which is said to be the Ayodhi Raajyam. This explains that all the wealth of Grand father belongs to Grand son (ie) since Brahma devan emerged from the Naabhi of Sri Mahavishnu he is considered to be his son and Swayavambhuvamanu is considered as the grandson of Mahavishnu.

Sri Ramar had two sons namely Lavan and Kusa. One day, Kusa was having a bath in Sarayu river who was very much attracted by his beauty by Kumudavathi, a princess of Naga Lokam. she wanted to marry him and because of this, she caught hold of Kusa’s hands but she could not stop him. After reaching the palace, kusa found his ornaments (bangle) was missing. He thought it might have fallen in Sarayu river and to taken out the bangle from the river he dried up the river using his astram. The Naga princes got frightened of the astram and returned the bangle and falled to the feet of Kusa. Kusa explained the bangle was so important since it was given by Vasistar to Sri Ramar, his father. And finally, Kusa let the river to flow once again. Because of this, the theertham is called as “Nageswara theertham”.

Route:

Those desirous of going to Ayodhya, should reach Lucknow. Ayodhya is 130 km from Lucknow. Ram temple is in Faizabad district. There are bus and rail link to Faizabad from Lucknow. Ayodhya is 8 km from Faizabad.

Temple Timings:

10.00 am. to 5.00 p.m.

Temple Telephone Number:

+91-9415039760, +91-9580717014

Temple Address:

Sri Rama Temple,

Ayodhya,

Uttar Pradesh.

Nasik – Panchavati Kalaram Temple

Panchavati  Kalaram Temple

Nasik is one of the most holiest places in India and is sacred as it is in this place Lord Rama along with Devi Sita and brother Laxman spent their part of the exile period and has witnessed several mythological events. It is one of the four cities which hosts Kumbha Mela which occurs every after 12 years. Legend has that during Sagar Manthan the Demigods while they tried to hide the Nector of Immortality from the demons, four drops fell onto the four location on the earth (other location are Prayag,Haridwar and Ujjain). Thus these four places are believed to have acquired mystic power and hosts the Meha Kumbha Mela every after 12 years (“Kumbha” means “Pot of Nector” and “Mela” means festival) where dates are calculated depending upon the certain planetary positions. In the medieval era several temples where built by devotees along the bank of river Godavari.

The name Panchavati it got is from the five banyan tree present in the vicinity where Lord Ram and Sita spent their exile period. The name Nasik also has a legend, during exile period Laxman (brother of Shri Ram) cut off Shupernakha’s Nose (In Sanskrit Nose means “Nasik”) and throws it on other side of the river Godavari (Ganga) which then christened as “Nasik” or “Nashik”. Thus on one side of the sacred river is known as Nasik while other side where five banyan tree is known as Panchavati. Various legends are associated with each of the places here and its to be noted that Lord Rama hasn’t consecrated any of the Idols during his exile period here though some of the priests here falsely claims that some Shivlingams are consecrated by Lord Rama himself. Most of the temples fall in Panchavati province where only one or two resides other side of the river Godavari i.e. in Nasik.

Ram Kund

As the names says its a Kund (pond) on the river Godavari in Panchavati where Lord Ram is said to have taken bath. Its the place where one immerse the mortal remains (Arthi) and is said to be absorbed in the river quickly. It is also the place where according to Hindu rituals one performs Shrad’s of their beloveds. At the very place is the sangam of three rivers Aruna, Varuna and the Godavari. Aruna/Varuna is said to be coming from underneath whereas Godavari flows on top of them. Its here where the ashes of Mahatma Gandhi were immersed and to commorate the same Ghandi Memorial (the tall tower in the pic) was built alongside the bank, underneath is where Idols of Shri Ram is installed. Just adjacent to Ram Kund is temple of Devi Ganga and Sai Baba. You will get plenty of guides (authorized) so without wasting time I hired one old age person who was born there and is almost 70 years old by now. Interestingly at several occasions I find very discriminating facts about what he told and what priests believe.

Kapaleshwar Temple 

Just in front of Ram Kund is the Shiva Temple called “Kapaleshwar”, Its around 250 years old and probably the only temple in the world where Nandi Idol is not placed in front of the Shivlingam. The very reason is it is at this place where Lord Shiva considered Nandi as his master. Legend behind this is, Lord Shiva incurred a sin (Brahma Hatya) by cutting off one of the Lord Brahma’s head (fifth head). Shiva wandered the whole universe and tried every possible penance to get rid of this sin but all went into vain. Then Nandi advised him to take holy bath in Godavari which he followed and was purified (this is what told by my guide). Other sources relate this sin incurred by killing a cow by mistake. Whatever be the story, the bottom line is that Lord Shiva accepted Nandi as his master due to his advice, which is why we don’t see Nandi Idol at its position (i.e. infront of Shivlingam).

Naroshankar Temple

This is Shiva temple built by Naroshankar Rajabahadur 1747 along side of Godavari. It is fortified by 11 feet tall stone wall on each corner of the wall is a dome like structure built, where one of them is said to be washed out by flood in Godavari river. The most noticeable thing about this temple is the 6 feet wide Bell which is fixed on top of the entrance gate of this temple. The Maratha Ruler  Bajirao Peshwa’s younger brother Chimaji Appa won the fort of Vasai  against Portuguese.After winning the  fort, Vasai Portuguese Church bell was removed, marched on elephant till Nashik with great celebration and offered to Naroshankar as a medal  – an award for  his bravery.  It is made of bronze, with six feet diameter. The year engraved on it is 1921. The temple is beautifully sculpted from outside and is raised on a 2 feet platform. The architect is more similar to Tirmbakeshwar temple (only the roof of sanctum sanctorum). Photography was allowed so was able to click some. No entrance fees for any of the temple in Panchavati. The style of this architecture is called “Maya”. Now the interesting part, as per the priest this temple is 10,000 year old and Shivalingam is placed by Shri Ram himself. As I said earlier you need to cross verify each legend you hear. There is no formal information inscribed anywhere in the temple which would verify the history. Whatever be the case all temples throughout Nasik seems to follow same style of architecture i.e. there are 3 domes out of which the one which houses the sanctum sanctorum is the tallest, the smallest is for the entrance and the middle is of the hall/space in front of sanctum sanctorum and is in circular dome shape from inside

Dutondaya Maruti Hanuman

It has Idol on both side of the structure I didn’t know that earlier and thus only showing the Idol of one side. On side of wall there is a painted water meter to measure the level of water during flood. It is believed that flood no matter at what level it never touches or raise upto or above the Idol head.

 Sunder Narayan Mandir

It is situated in one end of the Devi Ahilliyabai Holkar bridge. It’s a Lord Vishnu’s temple and why it’s named as “Sunder” is because he was once become ugly by the curse given by Jalandar’s (wicked Demon) wife Vrinda. Due to curse Lord Vishnu turned black and ugly. He then took bath in Godavari and thus was relieved from the curse and regained his beauty again. So many temples along the bank of Godavari so does the legends of it. The temple is built by Gangadhar Yashwant Chandrachud in 1756.One remarkable thing about this temple is that it is built at such an angle that on 21st March, rays of the rising Sun first fall exactly upon the idols. Some sources say the ray’s falls on the foot of deity.

Kalaram Mandir

Its Ram temple and named KalaRam (“Kala” means Black). The temple is built in the remembrance of the exile period of Ram during which his complexion became dark. This is the only biggest temple of Lord Ram in Nasik and is built by Sardar Odhekar of Peshwas with black stones brought from Ramshej 200 years back. It took 23 lakhs and around 2000 workers to build this temple in 12 years. The Apex of the temple is made up of 32 tons of Gold which is said to be gifted by Devi Aahilliya. Its a massive temple from outside and fortified with 15-20 feet wall. For the construction no cement is being used there was only three ingredients (choona, malaai and gur) used to clay the stones together. Photography was strictly prohibited though you can carry camera and mobile inside the temple. Since the Lord Ram’s Idol is black here so does of Shri Hanuman. After the entrance you will step into a long varanda (or pillared corridor) at the starting of which is Hanuman’s black Idol facing exactly straight to the sanctum sanctorum. This pillared structure is separate then the main temple and is constructed just in-front of it. There are total 40 pillars which are said to set because there are 40 shloka’s of Shri Hanuman (i.e. Hanuman Chalisa). There is nothing else inside this structure except the Hanuman’d Idol positioned in start and the pillars which total counts to 40. Its an open architecture from the sides i.e. no closed walls. You pass through this and then will take steps to the main deity temple which is on the raised platform. There are total 14 steps to reach the temple door, 14 because Shri Ram spent 14 years in exile. All three gates of this temple has exactly 14 steps. The architecture is very much similar to of Trimbakeshwar. 3 dome structure one being the tallest who houses the main deity and one medium size which is the front portion/space of the sanctum sanctorum and the smallest in the front i.e. of the entrance door. The fortified wall has pillars too which total counts to 90, it has some reason for 90. On the back side of this temple is a Lord Ganesh idol with a stone platform just enough to enclose this Idol. No separate guide or information brochure available, but it appearance is too aesthetic similar to Trimbakeshwar. This temple is thronged during hindu festivals like Ram Navami etc and probably the only temple where Lord Ram is enshrined in black stone. As per my guide the Idols are self emerged from the Godavari and since it was black in color so the temple was named as KalaRam.

GoreRam Temple

As the name says “Gore” (fair) the Idol inside is of Lord Rama fair in color. This temple is not a conventional one but resides inside a apartment like structure. The peculiarity of this temple is that it is made up of complete wood i.e. only the portion which shrines Lord Ram along with Laxman and Devi Sita. This is around 300 years old and the wood is still intact and has retained its strength. This was built to commemorate Lord’s return from exile after killing the daemon Ravana and  rescuing Devi Sita. Lord was resurrected as King and Rajya Abhishek was carried out. The process has made his complexion fair from dark so the Idol was made white in color and thus named the temple as Gore Ram.

Sita Gumpha(Sita Cave) 

Just adjacent to KalaRam Temple is the Sita Cave, the cave which is believed to be where Devi Sita was stayed to hide herself from Demons. It was very unclear that how much the original cave differs from the today’s structure. One has to literally crawl to reach the bottom of the cave (its not big though) where the three Idols of Lord Ram, Laxman and Devi Sita is shrined(not possible for obese people). Cave (though very small, you enter from one side and get off the other). In the bottom which is enough for 6-8 peoples to stand is well illuminated by mini tube light. Passing this Idol while coming up from other side is Shivlingam. History say’s that its the same lingam which Devi Sita used to worship. Also some web site mentions this place as the very point where Devi Sita was abducted by Demon Ravan. five banyan tree is present adjacent to each other from which the name “Panchavati” derived. .

Laxman Temple

This is the only temple in the world devoted to Laxman (brother of Shri Ram). The tree which is been shown is where Laxman is said to have mediated. Beside this is the temple built by devotees thereafter. It is believed that this is the very place where Laxman has cut off the nose of Surphanaka. Adjacent to this temple is Shri Ram ParnKutir (Shri Ram’s cottage) where Shri Ram is said to have performed penance for one year during his exile.

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.

 

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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Thiruppirudhi (Joshimutt) – Paramapurusha Perumal

Name of the Temple

Sri Paramapurshan perumal Temple

Period of origin

Before 3000 years

Name of deity

Moolavar: Parama Purushan

Thayar:  Parimala Valli

Pushkarani: Indra, Manasa Saras

Vimanam: Govardhana Vimaanam.

Mangalaashaasanam: Thirumangai Alwar

Sthalapuranam:

The Moolavar of this sthalam is Paramapurushan. He is in sleeping posture (Kidantha kolam) in Bujangha sayanam facing east. Prathyaksham for Parvathi devi.

It is said a king by named “Nandar” stayed in this Kshetram and sacrifices for the welfare of the whole humanity to live a good life, this sthalam is also called as “Nandaprayag”. It is said that the Kanva Maharishi also lived in this sthalam.

At the age of 11, Adi Shankaracharya came to Badrikaranya for performing penance. After performing penance for 5 years, he got enlightened under the Amar Kalpavriksha tree. There is a temple dedicated to Lakshmi Narayana. After going further up, one will find Totakacharya cave and Rajarajeshwari temple. Totakacharya was one of the four principal disciple of Sri Adi Shankaracharya, the Advaita philosopher. His original name was Giri (AnandaGiri). He composed Totakashtakam, in praise of Guru Adi Shankara, Tika on the Mandukya Karika, and SrutisArasamuddharana. On top of Adi Shankaracharya cave  where, he attained enlightenment there is a mulberry tree  which is more than 2500 years old. The Jyoteshwar Mahadeo Temple has a sphatik  Shivalingam brought by Adi Shankaracharya himself from Kailash. There is a akhanda jyothi burning all the time. The vatavruksham is an ancient tree with lofty top raising in their full green splendor towards the sky, with strong stems, gigantic boughs, that spoke of such iniquity, of such long years during which they had looked down upon the valley below, where pilgrims came and went, and the things were continually changing, while it stood undisturbed and changeless. Climbing further up, one comes across the Purnagiri Mata temple and swayambu Sankatamochana Hanuman temple dedicated to Goddess Durga and Lord Hanuman respectively. During Samudra manthan (churning of the ocean of milk) along with the Kamadenu, the divine cow providing for all needs. The unique property of the tree is that it never loses a single leaf by itself, it is evergreen and is said to be emanating the deep-seated devotion of Shakaracharya for the Supreme Godhead Vishnu. “Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa narrates one way of gaining insight into the cosmic doctrine of karma is through the parable of the Kalpataru, the wish fulfilling tree.” This tree has an astonishing girth of 36 meters.

Since, this sthala perumal is like the same way as the perumal found in Thiruppaarkadal and His disciples can’t go along with their human body only their Aathma (soul) can reach, the bhaktas in their mind itself worship this perumal as the perumal in Paarkadal. Since, the bhaktas worship in their mind (Maanaseegam), the pushkarani is Maanasaras. Other theertham are Govardhana Theertham and Indira Theertham.

In Krishna avathaar, Sri Kannan protects all the Yadhavas, Aayars and all the cows from the heavy rain through the Govardhana mountain serving them as an umbrella. Likewise, this sthala perumal protects the people here having his Vimaanam as Govardhana Vimaanam.

Route:

This Divyadesam is found around 154 kms away from Haridwar, while travelling from Devaprayag to Badrinath

Temple Timings:

6 am to 11 pm and 3 pm to 7 pm

Temple Telephone Number:

—-

Temple Address:

Sri Paramapurshan perumal Temple

Joshimutt

Chamoli District

Uttarakhand,

India