Monday, June 17, 2019

Kala bhairav temple - Ujjain

India the land of mysticism,  strange beliefs systems and unique rituals never cease to surprise and amaze  me. The visit to Kalbhairava temple in Ujjain was no different. 
I witnessed an extraordinary ritual where the devotees were queuing up to offer liquor to the deity. This one deity, many who love booze would never fail to admire. 
There are many shops selling liquor and shopkeepers coax you get a bottle before you enter the temple premises. Its not compulsory to carry the bottles. The Lord here blesses everyone who prays in his durbar. 
Once inside the sanctum the priest pours out the content from the bottle on to a plate and holds it close to the mouth of the idol  by tilting the plate little  and one would  see the contents going down. Its a mystery as gallons of liquor goes down and disappears here everyday.

This visit was really  intriguing and felt so happy I could witness this strange ritual.
Check this link to see Kalabhairav temple ritual.

Things to remember: no mobiles and electronic gadgets and avoid carrying huge bags. 

Its at a distance of 6 kms from Mahakaleshwar Ujjain main temple and is on jail road, Bhairavar Garh. 



Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Kalyanan venkatesha perumal - Mangapuram

Kalyana Venkatesa Perumal temple is 12 Kms from the town of Tirupati in Chittoor district
This temple is considered in importance next to Tirumala temple and one can have darshan of Lord here in a unhurried manner and ample time to pray in a serene atmosphere. The deity here  is exact replica of Tirumala Venkateshwara.  
There are no sub shrines. There's a pushkarani ( temple pond) opposite to the temple.
 Lord  of Tirumala is  believed to have stayed here for 6 months post his marriage to Goddess Padmavati hence the name Kalyana Venkateswara. 
Newly wedded couples visit this temple to seek Lord's blessing.

An entry  fee of Rs 5 is collected for  Darshan which goes for the upkeep of the temple. This temple is also under the TTD administration now.
Things to remember :
Do not carry mobile/camera and other electronic gadgets inside the temple. 

As photgraphy is prohibited this picture is shared form Wikipedia

Image result for kalyana venkateshwara mangapuram temple , pictures

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.