Char Dham [Siddhesvara Dham]

Char Dham or Siddhesvara Dham is a unique pilgrimage tourism venture of the Sikkim Government developed as “ Pilgrim cum Cultural Centre” having a 108 ft statue of Lord Shiva and replicas of four Dhams of the country at one place at Solophok hilltop in Namchi. Jaya & Babai visited this place last year. This time they came with me and Jaya’s father.

Char Dham are the names of four pilgrimage sites in India that are widely revered by Hindus. It comprises Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. It is considered highly sacred by Hindus to visit Char Dham during one’s lifetime.

Lord Shiva overseeing the Char Dham

The four most revered Dhams of the Hindus — Jagannath, Dwarika, Rameshawaram, Badrinath have been replicated in this fantastic complex to benefit the devotees and tourists.

Badrinath temple

For the consecration of the Dham Shri Jagadguru Sankaryacharya Swami Swarupananda Saraswati did the “Pran Prastisha” of the Dham.

There are replicas of the “Dwadash Jyotirlingas” (the twelve jyothirlinga) of Somnath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleswar, Omkareshwar, Kedarnath, Bhimashankar, Viswanath, Triambakeshwar, Vaidyanath, Nageswar, Rameshwar and Grishneshwar surrounding the statue of Lord Shiva and the Char Dhams.

There is a grand statue of Kirateshvar Mahadev and a temple of Shirdi Sai Baba too.

Lord Kirateshwar

In Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Shiva, after losing Sati in Agnikund, had gone into seclusion and became a hunter in the forests of Sikkim. There is also a famous Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple at Legship, in West Sikkim along the banks of River Rangeet.

There are Tulsi plants (Ocimum tenuiflorum) growing over 6 ft!

Tulsi plants

The Dham has stay facility for the devotees at “Yatri Niwas” which can accommodate more than 90 people at a time.

There’s a restaurant serving thali in the afternoon. We had thalis of food before leaving this place for Rabongla. The food was yummy!

The environment here is serene and divine. It’s a nice place and we felt blessed visiting all the temples.

The Siddhesvara Dham has won the National Tourism Awards 2010-11 under the category of “Most Innovative/Unique Tourism Project” by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.

Chhinnamasta temple

Jaya and I decided to go on pilgrimage to Chhinnamasta temple during this auspicious nine-day period of Navaratri. This is after many years that I am at home during the Vasanta Navratri period this year. Vasanta Navaratri started from March 31 this year. We therefore visited the temple today.

Navaratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity Durga. Vasanta Navaratri, is nine days dedicated to the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) in the month of Chaitra (March–April) and is observed during the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Chaitra. The beginning of this Navratri also marks the start of the new year as per the Hindu mythological lunar calendar (Vikrami Samvat).

The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit – nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or “Dussehra”. The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are considered to be important junctions of climatic and solar influences. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother Durga. Navaratri or Navadurga Parva happens to be the most auspicious and unique period of devotional sadhanas and worship of Shakti (the sublime, ultimate, absolute creative energy) of the Divine conceptualized as the Mother Goddess-Durga, whose worship dates back to prehistoric times before the dawn of the Vedic age.

Chhinnamasta Temple dedicated to Goddess Chinnamasta is a hindu pilgrimage. The temple is located at Rajrappa, 28 km away from Ramgarh Cantonment along NH-23 in the Ramgarh district of the State of Jharkhand, India. It is situated on a hillock at the confluence of rivers Damodar and Bhairavi popularly known as Bhera. Rajrappa is around 80 km from Ranchi.

The Bhera River joins the Damodar River from a height of 20 feet creating a waterfall.

Chhinnamasta (She whose head is severed), also called Chhinnamastika and Prachanda Chandika, is one of the Mahavidyas, ten Tantric goddesses and a ferocious aspect of Devi, the Hindu Divine Mother. The headless statue of Goddess Chhinamastika stands upon the bodies of Kamdeo and Rati in a lotus bed.

The temple is very old and the place Rajrappa finds mention in the Vedas, Puranas and Hindu scriptures as a “Shakti Peeth” which is flocked by devotees from Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam and Nepal for worship of Goddess Chinnamastika.

Vedic book Durga Saptashati also mentions the temple.

The art and architectural design resembles the design of temples of Tantrik importance. The temple is considered as notable as the tantrik site of Kamakhya Temple of Assam which has a similar architecture.

The ancient temple of Goddess was destroyed and later a new temple was constructed and the original idol of Goddess was placed in it. Animal sacrifice is still practiced in the temple.

We performed our pujas, prayed at the temple and sat there for some time. Then we left for our home in Ranchi in the afternoon after praying at other Dakshina-Kali and Mahavidya temples nearby.

The place attracts devotees from all parts of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Pilgrims come here throughout the year. The place also attracts many foreign tourists due to its natural and religious importance.

Jai Maa Chhinnamasta!

Somnath

We continued our pilgrimage to Somnath as planned. We reached Somnath yesterday in the afternoon. We checked in to the hotel. After taking our lunch, we went to the Somnath temple. The Somnath Temple located in the Prabhas Kshetra near Veraval in Saurashtra, on the western coast of Gujarat, India, is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of the God Shiva. Somnath means “The Protector of (the) Moon God”. The Somnath Temple is known as “the Shrine Eternal”.  It also has the sacred soil from where Bhagvan Shri Krishna took his last journey to his neejdham.

 As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of protection) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshiped till the end of eternity.

Somnath Temple

Ancient Indian traditions maintain a close relationship of Somnath with release of Chandra (Moon God) from the curse of his father-in-law Daksha Prajapati. Moon was married to Twenty-Seven daughters of Daksha. However, he favored Rohini and neglected other queens. The aggrieved Daksha cursed Moon and the Moon lost power of light. With the advice of Brahma, Moon arrived at the Prabhas Teerth and worshiped Bhagwan Shiva. Pleased with the great penance and devotion of Moon, Bhagwan Shiva blessed him and relieved him from the curse of darkness partially, thus causing the periodic waning of moon. Pauranic traditions maintain that Moon had built a golden temple, followed by a silver temple by Ravana, Bhagvan Shree Krishna is believed to have built Somnath temple with Sandalwood. Located as it is, it is widely believed that if one were to sail from here in a straight line, the end of the journey would be at the North Pole, without having to travel over land.

We reached Somnath temple after visting Bhalka Tirth – the legendary spot where Lord Krishna was mistakenly hit by the arrow of a hunter. We worshiped at the Krishna temple there.

No electronic item is allowed inside Somnath temple. We deposited our camera, mobile phones at the locker room and walked into the temple. We worshiped at the temple. Then we went to the famous Triveni Ghat.

Triveni Ghat in Somnath is the meeting point of three holy rivers – Kapil, Hiran and a mystical River Saraswati, which are believed to be flowing to their ultimate destination – Arabian Sea.

These stages of rivers where they meet and then flow together to the sea symbolizes human birth, life and death. Considered as a sacred location for taking a holy dip to get rid of all curses and diseases,

Triveni Ghat holds a significant place in the Hindu Mythology and Puranas and also finds a mention in the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. It is believed that Lord Krishna visited this holy spot when he was hurt by an arrow shot by Jara – a hunter.

I offered tarpana to my ancestors. Prabhash teertha is a holy place to offer tarpana to ancestors. Also, it’s the pitripaksh. After that, we returned to Somnath temple for Aarti scheduled at 7 PM. We also joined in the Aarti. After that we relaxed for sometime in the lawns and then returned to our hotel.

Today, we are leaving for Rajkot via Sasan Gir, Junagarh and Gondal. On the way, we will pay our respect to Jalaram in Veerpur.

Dwarka

Jaya was planning for pilgrimage to Dwarka, but it was getting deferred. We planned this time for our visit to Dwarka.

Located on the west coast of Gujarat, Dwarka is known as Lord Krishna’s adobe. Dwarka, the holy land surrounded with the legends of Lord Krishna, is a significant pilgrimage site for the Hindus. The city lies in the westernmost part of India. Dwaraka (also known as Dvaravati, both names meaning “the many-gated city” in Sanskrit.

We reached Jamnagar by air via Mumbai. From Jamnagar airport, we drove down to Dwarka. On the route we crossed the famous Reliance Industries Ltd and Essar oil Ltd. We had our stay arrangements at Govardhan Greens. It’s a nice, tiny resort just at the outskirt of Dwarka.

Dwarka is a relatively flat region at sea level, having an average elevation of 0 metres. It is one of the seven most ancient cities in the country.  it is considered to be one of the holiest cities in Hinduism and one of the Char Dham along with Badrinath, Puri, Rameswaram. The city is especially respected by Vaishnavas. Adi Shankaracharya had visited Dvarakadisha Shrine and had established the Dwaraka Pitha. The others are at Shringeri, Puri and Jyotirmath.

This legendary town is well-visited by religious travellers world-wide for its famous Jagatmandir temple that houses the Dwarkadhish (Lord Krishna) and dates back to 2500 years. The Lord here is dressed in Kalyana Kolam where he appears to be in a Royal Wedding costume. It is one of the 108 Divya desams.

The present temple was built from 6th to 7th century, while the original temple was believed to have been built by Krishna’s great grandson, King Vajra. The 5-storied temple is made of limestone and sand. A flag is hoisted in the temple tower five times each day. There are two gateways – Swarga Dwar, where pilgrims enter, and Moksha Dwar, where pilgrims exit. From the temple one can view the Sangam (confluence) of River Gomati flowing towards the sea.

The temple opens at 5 PM. So, we had some tea after checking in at the resort and then went to the temple. Cameras, phones are not allowed there and therefore we left our mobiles and cameras in the car. It’s a nice temple. We worshiped at the temple. There is divinity at the temple and one can feel the divine vibrations.

We returned home in the night. Next day, we planned to visit Bet Dwarka. This is the place where Krishna used to reside and this is the place where Lord Krishna met his friend Sudama and blessed him, there is a Peetha (seat) where Lord Krishna met Sudama. The temple also has the main Dwarkadish deity which was believed to have been made by Krishna’s chief Queen Rukmini and in which Meera bai merged and disappeared from the material world.

Bet Dwarka Island, also known as Bet Shankhodhara, is situated in the Gulf of Kutch. Early historic settlement remains have been located on the island which may be dated back to 3rd century BC on the basis of a potsherd inscribed with ‘Nandakasa’ in the Mauryan Brahmi script.

We drove to Okha jetty, which is around 30 km from Dwarka. There are boats available from Okha Jetty from where people are ferried to the Island. It was quite a sunny morning, but when we reached Okha, it was quite cloudy. We boarded a boat to reach Bet Dwarka.

We then went to Dwarkadheesh temple after reaching the island. We then had bhog there in the temple premises. The temple and other coastal sites have ample antiquities, mainly potsherds, suggesting maritime trade and commerce with the Mediterranean countries around the Christian era. As we walked out of the temple, it started raining. We hired an autorickshaw to take us to Hanuman temple. This is the place where Hanuman fought with his son Makaradhwaja. From here we rushed to the jetty as it was raining heavily then. On reaching the jetty, we found a boat ready to leave. We managed to get Jaya’s father inside the cabin. We were on the deck of the boat. As we returned to Okha jetty, we were completely drenched.

We then went on to see Gopi Talav. This is the place where Lord Krishna used to play with his Gopikas. There is a small pond where it is said that Lord Krishna used to play with the Gopika Strees (Gopika Women). From here, we went to Nageshwar Temple – this is also one of the prominent Jyotirlingas. We performed Rudrabhishek here.

We returned to Dwarka after visiting Rukmini temple. This temple is situated at 8 Kms from Dwarka. This is in the outskirts of the city and this is a lonely temple and there is an interesting story of Rukmini being cursed by sage Durvasa because of which the temple is situated outside the city and it’s because of this curse only that the water in Dwarka city is salty.

We then visited Bhadkeshwar Mahadev Temple. It is set right in the middle of the Arabian sea near Dwarka.

We then returned back to our resort. Today we spent moving around completely drenched in rain.

The call of eternal Ganges

In Hindu tradition Triveni Sangam is the “confluence” of three rivers. Sangam is the Sanskrit word for confluence. The point of confluence is a sacred place for Hindus.

Boats anchored at Sangam

A bath here is said to wash away all of one’s sins and free one from the cycle of rebirth. One such Triveni Sangam, in Prayag (Allahabad) has two physical rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and the invisible or mythic Saraswati River. The site is in Prayag (Allahabad). This is also the place we visited in February 2013 for Maha Kumbh Mela.

The Triveni Sangam is believed to be the same place where drops of Nectar fell from the pitcher, from the hands of the Gods. So it is believed that a bath in the Sangam will wash away all one’s sins and will clear the way to heaven. Devout Hindus from all over India come to this sacred pilgrimage point to offer prayers and take a dip in the holy waters.The three rivers maintain their identity and are visibly different as they merge. While the Yamuna is deep but calm and greenish in colour, the Ganga is shallow, but forceful and clear. The Saraswati remains hidden, but the faithful believe that she makes her presence felt underwater. The distinct colours can be seen at the confluence.

As the monsoon has started, the rivers are in full flow, the confluence of the rivers is seen clearly due to the force of the water, but the same force makes having a dip at the confluence difficult. The river banks are muddy and slippery. Also, it was raining then.

We went to Triveni Sangam in the morning for some rituals on the river bank a day before the Shraaddha for Jaya’s mother.

In the Hindu religion, Shraaddha is the ritual that one performs to pay homage to one’s ancestors, especially to one’s dead parents. Conceptually, it is a way for people to express heartfelt gratitude and thanks towards their parents and ancestors, for having helped them to be what they are and praying for their peace.

After that we went to sangam for bath. As the river is around 40 feet deep there, some boats are anchored there and they put a wooden platform tied to the boats to enable the pilgrims to take dip in the river at the sangam.

It’s a holy experience. This was my second occasion that I took a dip at the sangam.

Siddhesvara Dham, Namchi

My mother has come to see me on the occasion of Holi. In this holy day of Holi, we decided to go for pilgrimage to Chardham in Namchi, which is at a distance of circa 75 km from Gangtok. Namchi is the headquarters of the South Sikkim district. Namchi means Sky (Nam) High (Chi) in Bhutia. Namchi is situated at an altitude of 1,675 m (5,500 feet) above mean sea level.

We hired a cab and started from our hotel soon after our breakfast. We had tea on the way near the beautiful tea garden near Temi Bazar.

Temi Tea Garden

Char Dham is a popular pilgrimage destination of Sikkim, which also has some interesting history connected to it. The principle deity here is Lord Shiva. It is believed that during the Kurukshetra war between the Kauravas and Pandavas, this place was where Arjuna worshipped Lord Shiva. It is also believed that Lord Shiva, pleased with Arjuna, appeared before him as a hunter and blessed him which helped Pandavas in winning the war.

In Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Shiva, after losing Sati in Agnikund, had gone into seclusion and became a hunter in the forests of Sikkim. There is also a famous Kirateshwar Mahadev Temple at Legship, in West Sikkim along the banks of River Rangeet.

Chardham is a unique pilgrim centre with a 108 feet tall statue of Lord Shiva , this pilgrim centre also has replicas of the twelve Jyotirlingas to offer one platform for Shiva devotees. The four most revered Dhams of the Hindus – Jagannath, Dwarika, Rameshawaram, Badrinath have been replicated in this fantastic complex to benefit the devotees visiting this place.

Chardham temples

The temple complex is divided into 4 parts – the statue of Lord Shiva along with 12 jyothirlingas, four dhams, a Sai Baba Mandir and the Kirateshwar Statue besides the Nandi bull.

Lord Kirateshwar

We returned to Gangtok via Ravongla and saw the Buddha Park there.

Lord Buddha

After visiting the temples, we returned back to Gangtok. It’s a nice trip and we enjoyed a lot.

Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad

Maha Kumbh mela is considered as the biggest festival of Hindus in the entire world. This was amply proved by observing a sea of more than 30 million Hindu devotees gathered at the confluence of 3 rivers (Triveni Sangam) at Allahabad (Prayagraj) on 10 February. The tithi (Auspicious day) of Mauni Amavasya began from 3.15 p.m. on 9 February. Since then, a sea of devotees had gathered on the 22 ghats (banks) of river Ganga and confluence to take a Holy bath.

People going for bath and also coming out of Kumbh mela

Mauni Amavasya is considered the holiest of the 56-day festival. Millions of Hindu holy men and pilgrims descend at the Kumbh mela site for a bracing plunge in Ganges to what they feel will wash away sins; many of them walked miles before they reached the river bank.

Devotees waiting for their free food being organized by many camps and bhandaras.

According to ancient religious scriptures, Mauni Amavasya is the day on which Manu sage appeared in this world, millions of years ago. It is believed to be the day when the universe was created. On this day, the Sun and the Moon enters into the Capricorn sign.

Millions going for bath

Practising austerities is believed to purify an individual’s existence and observing the vow of silence is apparently the simplest way to do so.

The day holds extreme religious importance and taking bath on this day in the holy waters is deemed significant and auspicious.

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A sadhu doing satsang for his followers and other visitors. There are many such satsang camps in the mela area

Besides the bath, meeting so many sages and sanyasis in one place is a great experience. One can listen to so many satsangs being organized at different camps and akharas.

Sadhus seeking bhiksha

An auspicious coincidence occurring after 147 years

On this Mauni Amavasya, the planets Shani (Saturn) and Rahu have come together. This is a rare occurrence and happened after the lapse of 147 years. During this period, the sun and the moon will travel together in their orbit. It last happened in 1865. Therefore, this period is considered as very beneficial for taking a bath, donation, and shraddha (Special rituals performed for the departed ancestors). This special occasion also caused the rush of devotees in an increased proportion.

One yogi sadhu practising his tapasya with one hand lifted upward!

I along with my wife, Jaya and son, Babai have come to Allahabad for taking bath in river Ganga on the auspicious occasion of Mauni Amabasya. We reached Allahabad by train via Kolkata on 6 February. It was Kumbh flavor everywhere – from Howrah station to the train journey. There were some women singing kirtans. Jaya also joined them briefly.

A Naga sanyasi with his followers

Our Guruji also reached Allahabad on the nights of 8 February from Varanasi for the bath with us. He had to walk around 16kms to reach our home due to stoppage of traffic in the city. In fact, we were privileged to have bath with our Guruji. We started our journey for the bath from the home of Jaya’s parents at 11.30am of 9 February. We joined the sea of humanity walking slowly towards the Triveni sangam. We reached the ghat at around 2.30am of 10 February. At first, Jaya, Boudi, Guttu and I took our dips with Guruji, while Babai & Prasanta was guarding the clothes. Then Guruji and I took them to the ghat for their bath. It was quite a cold night with temperature dropping below 8°C. But the sheer excitement of the event did not make us feel that the night and the water were so cold! We jumped into the river Ganga in search of “Amrit” at the Amrit Muhurt of Mauni Amabasya 10 February 2013.

Millions have assembled at the mela area for days

We walked back to home with huge mass of people around on every road and corner. People were coming in and moving out. The police was doing a good job there and I found them very polite, to my surprise! We reached home at around 5am.

Huge crowd on Mauni Amabasya day seen outside Gaudiya Math

It was a really out of the world, divine experience. It can just be experienced and not be defined by any logic or knowledge based explanation. Clearly, the world’s biggest religious gathering happens when faith meets the collective.

Har Har Gangay! Har Har Mahadev!

Going for Maha Kumbh mela

We have been planning for attending the Maha Kumbh Mela this year. It’s of great religious importance for the Hindus. Tens of millions of people from India and abroad attends this festival. The Maha Kumbh festival is held at Triveni Sangam, in Allahabad. It’s the confluence of three great rivers of India – Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.

Luckily my 3rd semester finished on 31 January followed by 2-week holidays before commencement of the 4th semester. Dad also managed to get his 2-week holidays during the same period. Dad had planned and booked the journey more than 2 months before, in anticipation. It’s needed as there is a huge rush for the mela.

To avoid any travail during travel, Dad booked the tickets via Kolkata. We left Ranchi for Kolkata on 5 February by air and then for Allahabad by Poorva Express on the morning of 6 February 2013.

Our coach

We were booked in AC First class coach. We arrived at Howrah station in the morning at around 7am. There was quite a rush for people boarding the train. Also, there was a huge queue of people for boarding the general compartments as they did not manage to get the reservation.

Passengers queued up to board the general unreserved compartments

The train left on schedule. We took our break fasts that we carried with us. Also we ordered some light snacks from Railway pantry car. Poorva Express is one of the prestigious trains in India and is hence well served by pantry car. We were getting regular supply of drinks and foods inside the coach.

Our train stopped at Koderma station

The train was only stopping at important stations on the way. It was running on schedule. I bought a small Ludo game at Howrah railway station. We also played a few Ludo games to pass the time on the train.

I am playing Ludo with Mom

In another coach nearby some women were signing kirtans and bhajans. They were also going to Allahabad for Kumbh mela. Mom also joined them briefly. We were all in holy kumbh mood!

Mom joining the kirtan group singing “Hare Rama! Hare Krishna!”

The train reached Allahabad station with a small delay. My grandpa and cousin were at the platform to receive us.

Maha Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is the greatest pilgrimage and festival in the Hindu religion. The event is a religious and cultural spectacle which occurs once in 12 years attracting participants from around the globe to take a dip in the holy waters of Ganga, Yamuna and the mystical Saraswati.

As per the legend, in the mythological times, during a waging war between the demigods and demons for the possession of elixir of eternal life, a few drops of it had fallen on to four places that are today known as Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik. It is believed that these drops gave mystical powers to these places. It is to make oneself gain on those powers that Kumbh Mela has been celebrated in each of the four places since long as one can remember. The normal Kumbh Mela is held every 3 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is held every six years at Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag) while the Purna (complete) Kumbh mela takes place every twelve years, at four places Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik, based on planetary movements. The Maha Kumbh Mela is celebrated at Prayag after 144 years (after 12 ‘Purna Kumbh Melas’).

Depending on what position the Sun, Moon, and Jupiter hold in that period in different zodiac signs, the venue for Kumbh Mela is decided. The next Maha Kumbh Mela is set to be held in the city of Allahabad (Prayag) in the year 2013. It will commence from 27 January 2013 and will continue till 25 February 2013.

The Kumbh Mela is a life changing experience where a person can fill the spiritual void he or she experiences in the humdrum of busy urban life. Kumbh Mela is a platform where ordinary men can interact with saints and priests and imbibe the knowledge possessed by the latter. It is an opportunity for everyone to dissolve the worldly stresses and flow in the cultural and religious effervescence of the festival. Visiting the Kumbh Mela to take a dip in the holy waters and cleaning the sins committed in a lifetime is, in fact, a very superficial motive to attend the Kumbh Mela.

Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 is speculated to be one of the biggest congregations in the history of civilization. Last Kumbh Mela witnessed the participation of 70 million people. After visiting Kumbh Mela in 1895, Mark Twain wrote:

It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites.

I am also planning to attend the Maha Kumbh Mela with my wife and son this time in February 2013. Also, Jaya’s parents stay in the holy city of Allahabad. So, we can visit them while attending the Maha Kumbh Mela.

Shirdi Sai Baba temple

Shirdi Sai temple is a beautiful shrine that was built over the Samadhi of Shri Sai Baba. Shirdi is the famous temple of Shri Sai Baba. It was established in 1922 to carry out the services of Shri Sai Baba.

At age of 16 years Shri Saibaba arrived at the village of Shirdi in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra and remained there till his death. Saibaba found shelter in Khandoba temple, where a villager Mahalsapathi in the temple addressed him as Sai or Saint Sai Baba.

Shri Saibaba of Shirdi lived between 1838 and 1918, whose real name, birthplace and date of birth are not known. An Indian spiritual guru and a fakir, Shri Shirdi Saibaba in Shirdi was regarded with great reverence by both Hindu and Muslim followers. Lord Sai lived in a mosque and after death his body was cremated in a temple.

Sri Shirdi Sai philosophy ingrained ‘Shraddha’ meaning faith and ‘Saburi’ meaning compassion. According to Lord Sai, Shraddha and Saburi were the supreme attributes to reach the state of godliness.

Yesterday evening, we walked from our hotel to the temple. It’s about 1 km in distance. We watched the aarti and prayed at the temple.

This morning, we walked down to the temple to offer our prayers. There was a big queue of devotees standing in great patience to have a glimpse of the Baba and to offer prayers at his feet. There is a nice system and everybody is following the discipline and peace at the temple. After a few hours of waiting, we also got our chance. The atmosphere there was tranquil and devotion, bhakti was in the air.

I liked the atmosphere, the temple, surroundings. Anybody can feel the presence of Baba there. I wish to visit Shirdi again. We will return tomorrow. I wish dad was also with us in this trip. He is coming home on Thursday, the 16th August, 2012.