Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sri Chamundeshwari temple- Mysore, Karnataka

This ancient  temple is situated on  a small hill known as Chamundi  hills about 13 kilometers  from the city of Mysore.
The goddess here is Chamundeshawari ,a reincarnation of  Goddess Parvati, consort of Shiva who fought  a fierce battle and slayed demons Chanda, Munda and  Mahishasura saving the world from their  evil clutches. She is also known as Mahishasura Mardini ,the one who  killed the Mahishasura.

The image of goddess here is believed to be powerful and is seen seated in the sanctum in richly decorated finery. Dussehra festival is celebrated on a grand scale at this temple.
The temple architecture is very simple  but the temple tower is magnificent; it is a beauty to behold.

Just outside the main temple there is a small niche for Aanjaneya and a few feet away from temple one can see a colorful  image of Mahishasura . One can have a panoramic view of Mysore city from the hills here, and also there is a huge Nandi , mount of Shiva  around 16  feet which attracts lot of tourists  here.
There temple timings are
7.30 am to 2 pm
3.30 pm to 6 pm
7.30 pm to 9 pm

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Varanasi- Kasi Viswanath temple, Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi /Benares/Kasi is an ancient Hindu city  blessed by the Holy river Ganga. Every Hindu likes to visit this Holy city at least once in his life time to worship the Lord of Varanasi, Kasi Viswanath and to bathe in the river Ganga which is believed to cleanse one's sins.

River Ganga, is the life line of Kasi and the river is lined  with around 90 Ghats,( landings) each identified with a name which is   linked to either history or Mythology on a stretch of 3-4 Kms . These ghats are  always a buzz of activity thronged by pilgrims performing various rituals.  One can see a number of boats plying up and down the river and every activity here is dedicated to Mother Ganga .  Worship is offered to  Mother  in the form of flowers and floating lamps.

The temple  Kasi Viswanathar is small  and is guarded heavily and approach to the temple is through extremely narrow lanes in which  pedestrians, two wheelers. and cows jostle to find their way forward.  It needs great skill to meander through and reach the temple.

 The temple  has a beautifully carved  Golden spire  and every devotee here can make their offerings to the deity directly . The Sivalinga is placed in a square pit about 2 feet deep  and is always immersed in a pool of milk and water offered by devotees.

Just outside the main shrine there are 2 sub shrines for Siva and other of  Goddess Annapoorna, Guru of Kasi Viswanath.

A few yards from this temple lies the temple of Kasi Vishalakshi the consort of Viswanath. This is a Sakthi Peetam.

There are also 2 burning ghats here where dead bodies are cremated , it is believed that  death in Kasi helps one to attain moksha - Liberation . One can see funeral processions reaching the Ganga Ghat continuously and in the days of yore many old people used to travel to Kasi leaving their families to attain liberation;  to unite with the Lord. The local authorities give  a decent farewell  to people who die in the Holy city.

Ganga Aarti is a grand ceremony performed at Dasashmedh ghat. This takes place in the evening after sunset and it is really an amazing spectacle which is not to be missed.  Tourists from all over the world  watch this ritual which goes on for about 45 minutes. One can watch this either from the ghats or from the boats parked in  front during this worship.
It was really a great experience watching the Ganga Aarti and floating lamps in the river.
 Check my captures of Ganga aarti to get a feel of the ritual.