Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Badrinath temple, Chamoli district, Uttarakhand

Badrinath is the abode of  Lord Narayana and the temple is situated on the banks of Alakananda river in Chamoli district , this is a divyadesam of Vishnu and the idol here is  known as Badrinarayan. Lord Narayana sits here in this temple under the Badri tree  and the  idol is made of salagrama.
This is the  only temple that is believed to be in existence from Satyayuga and is  mentioned in our ancient religious texts. It is also glorified in Nalariyam Divyaprabandan

There is separate  shrine for Mahalakshmi , consort of Lord Narayana.
The temple puja and worship was designed by Sri Shankaracharya.
The temple is flanked by the snow capped Nar Narayan parvats.
There is a hot water spring just outside the temple and pilgrims take bath as it is supposed to have medicinal effect.
The mahadwara of the main temple is richly decorated and is a stark contrast to the snow laden surroundings.
This temple remains open only for 6 months and during winter months it gets covered in snow.













Friday, December 21, 2018

Kedarnath temple - Uttarakhand, Garhwal region

The Kedarnath temple is situated at a height of 11000 feet  in Himalayan Garhwal region and is a very popular pilgrim centre for the millions of Hindus all over the world.
The temple houses  one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.

The temple is supposed to be more than  1000 years old and has withstood the onslaught of 2013 devastating floods which erased and changed the geography of Kedarnath. The Lord here is a self manifestation and was first worshipped by Panch Pandavas. The idol of  Kedarnath  here is in the form of a pyramid on the floor of the sanctum and the devotees can offer puja rituals without the aid of a priest. Touching the deity and offering worship is a great feeling.

The  breath taking view of the temple with  the Chorabari glacier in the background  is terrific. The glacier  is the head of river Mandakini. The river flows with all its full might and the  strong cascade with the reverberating sound is stupendous.

The temple  remains open from May to November and rest of the time it gets submerged in  snow.
The roads leading to Kedarnath are narrow , hazardous and always there is  threat of land slides which may hamper the journey.

The Gaurikund is the base from where the trekking path starts to the temple and the distance to be covered is around  24 Kms. Ponies and dolis (a kind of cane basket to carry the pilgrims) and helicopter services are available to  aid the pilgrims.
Helicopter services make the travel easier and helps one save time and energy. One can have a great  experience of flying above the Garwhal  region .  The  breath taking  aerial view of the meandering river Mandakini, the green  carpeted and the   silvery snow  capped mountains at arms length  is an overwhelming experience. It just takes a few minutes to fly to the the temple and back and we   were fortunate enough to complete the whole trip  worship  included in flat 3 hours as we flew from the closest point Sersi. From the helipad the temple is just  about  half a Kilometre . Dolis are available for those who are unable to walk in cold . One also gets breathless faster as the Oxygen supply dips at times.

Note for pilgrims
The fee for helicopter ride is about 7500 per person (depends on the weight of the individual too)

Fees also differ depending on the distance as heli services operate from 3-4 different areas.
Aadhar card compulsory for registration. Online registration is available for heli rides.
Preference given to those who register online. No luggage allowed except a small bag.

Complete silence to be observed during the ride. Helicopter  carries a maximum of 6 passengers per ride.
Photography a big No during helicopter ride.
Dolis services are offered at around Rs.5500 -6000 and and pony rides above Rs.10000  and are uncomfortable and tiring. (The above rates as per September 2018)
Trekking is for the young and adventurous.
Avoid visits during rainy season which is between July and August.


Try visiting  Triyugnarayan temple yet another ancient temple  which is very near to Gaurikund.
for any queries regarding the Kedarnath trip please email me at manchitra2001@yahoo.co.in












Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lord of Pandharpur- The Vitthal Rukmini Mandir, Maharashtra

Lord Vittobha is none other than  Krishna and in Pandharpur He is waiting patiently  on the banks of Chandhrabhaga with his  hands on his hips for his dearest bhaktha Pundalik.

The legend goes like this, once Lord Krishna came to meet his devotee Pundalik . He was so  engrossed in his duty of serving his parents, he  just threw a brick (Eet or Veet in local parlance) for Lord to stand on as the area was full of slush and asked Lord to wait till his duty was over.   The kind and merciful God waited for his devotee but Pundalik never returned as he didn't want Lord to leave that place thus making Pandharpur a sacred place. The deity came to be known as Vittobha as He is standing on Veet .( Ba ' stands for father figure).
There is a  separate shrine for Rukmini near to Vittobha's sanctum .

The temple always reverberates with devotional songs. The unique feature here, one can enter sanctum and touch the feet of the Lord . The main entrance of temple is known as Namdev Mahadwar.

Ashadha Ekadashi and Kartik Ekadashi  are very important days here  and thousands Varkaris march on foot from various parts of Maharashtra singing the glory of Lord to be with the Lord.

The temple is also considered among the 108 divyadesams of Vishnu.
Tips to devotees
There are online facility to book the darshan ticket and one can choose darshan timings . Before going for darshan the ticket  has to stamped at the  administrative office which is very close to the temple. Entry for online darshan is through the main gate.These online tickets are free of cost.  
Cameras, electronic gadgets and mobile phones are banned inside the temple.

Check the link below for ticket booking and other details.

Very few good hotels in Pandharpur .  Recommend Prabhu Residency, it is neat and clean  right in the centre of the  town and is just a Kilometer from the temple.













Monday, November 12, 2018

Triyugnarayan temple-Triyugnarayan village, Rudraprayag district

Triyugnarayan temple, nestled in a  small quaint village amidst the Himalayas  is dedicated to Lord Narayan. This temple structure resembles   Kedarnath temple and is very popular as this is believed to be the  venue of  Shiva and Parvati's marriage which took place in Satyayuga in the  presence of Lord Narayan and other Gods and Rishis. 

There is a Akhand Dhuni ( perpetual fire) which burns in front of the sanctum and it is believed that this Dhuni is burning since the divine marriage of Shiva Parvati.
Devotees worship the Gods in the sanctum  and then offer firewood in the Dhuni and this ritual has been going on since three yugas hence the temple derived its name Triyug Narayan. There is a Brahma sila in front of the temple and this is the exact place where Siva-Parvati marriage was solemnised.

There are 3 natural springs inside the temple known as Brahma Kund , Vishnu Kund and Rudra kund and devotees sprinkle holy water from this kund on their head . 

 The serenity enveloping the temple, the amber glow of Dhuni, the recitations of mantras by the priests  will help  one to easily connect with the divinity .

This temple is 5 Kms from Gaurikund, the base camp for trek to Kedarnath. 

As it is close to Gaurikund do visit and get blessed when planning a visit to Kedarnath temple.

Performance of  marriage ceremony in this temple  is considered very auspicious.

Check some pictures Captured during my recent visit.
                                           



                                                                       Brahmasila



                                                                   Annapoorna Devi








Sunday, November 11, 2018

Kohlapur Mahalakshmi temple. Maharashtra


Mahalakshmi temple,  located at Karveer on the banks of Panchganga river in Kohlapur  is one among the 108 Sakthipeetas of Mother Sakthi.
Goddess here is also known as Amba Bai  and her idol is made of gemstone which is facing the west. The idol with four arms carries a mace, a fruit, a shield and a bowl.
The mount of goddess ,lion is behind the idol.
The idol is resplendent is bright silks and is always adorned with dazzling  jewellery.
sandal paste is smeared on the forehead with a huge vermilion dot  in the middle.

The temple was first built in 7th century by Chalukyas and is  referred in various puranas.
There is a also a shrine for Mahakali here.
Outside the main shrine, there are many sub shrines devoted to Navgrahas, Shiva, Tuljabhavani, Nagas, Vittal and   Rukmini.
It is believed that Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi reside here eternally and will not leave the place even during mahapralaya.
The cluster of lamp posts which we see around the temple  are unique, unlike what we see in other  temples.  Here they appear  like huge cones made of rocks  with lamps extending out . Really a visual treat.

Tips for devotees
Do not use mobile or cameras inside the temple .
A few quick photographs of exterior is not banned.
Selfies are a big NO
There are no special paid darshan queues here .
more details here.








                                                  Lamp Post


      This image below ;courtesy mahalaklshmikohlapur.com 

Plants: image 1 0f 4 thumb