Char Dham [Siddhesvara Dham]

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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. Namchi is the headquarters of the South Sikkim district. Namchi means Sky (Nam) High (Chi) in […]

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Chhinnamasta Temple

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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 […]

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Dwaraka

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 stopped at motel on the way for some tea and snacks. Only humans are allowed in. A photo posted by I.RoyChoudhury (@iroychoudhury) on Sep 30, 2013 at 9:48am PDT 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 […]

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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. 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 […]

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Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad

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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 […]

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Going for Maha Kumbh

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. 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. 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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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Shani Shringanapur

Shringanapur is famous for the the shrine of Lord Shani. It is believed that Lord Shani is staying here since centuries. Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft is reported in the village. Villagers never keep their valuables under lock and key. Villagers believe that the temple is a “jagrut devasthan” (lit. “alive temple”), meaning that the god here is very powerful. They believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft. Such strong is the faith that there has not yet been an incident of theft as told by the local people. Also, a Kolkata based nationalized bank – UCO Bank has opened a branch here with no locks! The shrine for Shani consists of a five and a half feet high black rock installed on an open-air platform, which symbolizes the god Shani. A Trishula (trident) is placed along the side of the image and a Nandi (bull) image is on the south side. In front are the small images of Shiva and Hanuman. About 350 years ago, there was heavy rain in this area, and in the rain water this huge black slab (5 1/2 feet high and 1 1/2 feet wide) came floating. As the water flowed, the stone got stuck in the roots of a large berry tree. Once the water drained, some cattle grazers saw the stone, When they tried […]

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