Paonta Sahib Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh

Located at a height of 389 meters in Himachal Pradesh, to the south of Sirmour district, is a small town called Paonta Sahib, named after the famous Gurudwara Paonta Sahib. It is an important industrial town and holds great religious significance for the Sikhs. Gurudwara Paonta Sahib is located on the banks of river Yamuna, which forms a boundary between Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Climate

Paonta Sahib experiences a sub-tropical climate. The summers are hot and winters are slightly cold. It receives low to medium rainfall. One can visit Paonta Sahib throughout the year.

How to Reach

  • By Rail – Dehradun is the nearest railway station and it is 45 kms from Paonta Sahib. Yamunanagar is the other railway station which is 56 kms away from Paonta Sahib. Both railway stations are well-connected to all major cities of India.
  • By Air – Jolly Grant Airport and Jubbarhatti Airport are the nearby airports and they are 70 kms and 145 kms from Paonta Sahib and one can hire a cab from there. Both airports are well-connected to all major cities.
  • By Road – NH-72 passes through Paonta Sahib. One can get buses from Dehradun, Chandigarh and Rishikesh.

History

Paonta SahibGuru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, came here on his horse. The horse is believed to have stopped here and Guru Gobind Singh stayed here for some time. During his stay, he wrote religious books for Sikhs. After this he went to establish the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib. The name Paonta Sahib has also been derived from here, since ‘Paon’ means feet. There is a museum in the Gurudwara and one can find Guru Gobind Singh’s weapons in this museum.

Places Near Paonta Sahib

Places that can be visited near Paonta Sahib include Mussourie, Dehradun. Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kasuali, Chandigarh, Kufri and Shimla.

Manikaran – A Holy Spring

Situated at a height of 1737 meters, Manikaran is 85 Kms away from Manali and is a popular place of pilgrimage for Hindus and Sikhs. It is located on the bank of the Parvati River. Every year, thousands of pilgrims come to take a dip in the holy waters of Manikaran. There are some hot sulphur springs in Manikaran which are believed to cure all kinds of skin diseases. The food (langar) that is served here is cooked over the hot springs.

Manikaran Holy SpringThe legend of Manikaran states that while roaming around, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, once chanced upon a place that was surrounded by mountains and was lush green. Enamoured by the beauty of the place, they decided to spend some time there. It is believed that they actually spent eleven hundred years here.

According to the Sikhs, during third Udasi, his founder Guru Nanak came to this place in 15 Asu 1574 Bikrami with his disciple Bhai Mardana. Mardana felt hungry and they had no food. Nanak sent Mardana to collect food for the langar (the Community Kitchen). Many people donated atta (flour) to make Roti(bread). The one problem was that there was no fire to cook the food. Nanak asked Mardana to lift a stone and he complied and a hot spring appeared. As directed by Nanak, Mardana put the rolled chappatis in the spring to his despair the chappatis sank. Nanak then told him to pray to God saying that if his chappatis float back then he would donate one chappati in His name. When he prayed all the chappatis started floating duly baked. Nanak said that anyone who donates in the name of God, his drowned items float back.

Reaching Manikaran

  • By Air – Bhuntar is the nearest airport, at a distance of 44 Kms and has regular flights to and from Pathankot, Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla and Dharamshala. One can take a taxi from Bhuntar to Manikaran.
  • By Train – Pathankot and Chandigarh are the nearest rail heads, located at a distance of 150 Kms and 268 Kms respectively. Both stations are well-connected to major cities. One can get a taxi or bus from both the stations.
  • By Road – Taxis are available from major cities like Kullu, Chandigarh, Pathankot and Manali.

Climate

Winters are very cold and the minimum temperature is as low as -8°C. Summers are pleasant and the temperature is not very high. The ideal time to visit Manikaran is from April – October.

Places to Visit

  • Chandrakhani Pass – A great to see natural beauty with colorful flowers blossoming, this beautiful pass is located on the Eastern side of Katrain.
  • Khirganga – Khirganaga is also famous for hot springs which is believed to possess lot of medicinal value.
  • Malana Village – Located slightly beyond the Chdrakhani Pass is the unique Malan Village, which is famous for the Jamlu Devta Temple and its distinct culture.
  • Pulga – This place is ideal for those who like adventure. One needs to trek from Kasol to Pulga (16 Kms) and it is a pretty difficult stretch.
  • Shoja – Shoja is located 69 Kms from Manikaran. One can get some panoramic views of the beautiful Kullu valley from here.

Do’s & Don’ts in Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

Do’s & Don’ts in Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

This small list of do’s & don’ts for those devotees who are going for Rath Yatra to Jagannath Puri. I hope my & my friend’s last year experience will help you for flawless journey:

Do’s

1. For Gundicha Marjan buy a big pot – as big as you can for cleaning Gundicha Temple. If possible take bhoga’s pot.. Why big???

For cleaning you have to take water in pot from hand pump (that is outside of Temple) to inside Temple. So with small pot u have to do in-out-in-out many times. Means waste of time.
After 1-2 pm Pandas (Pujari of Temple) close the Temple.
(Note: People with medical condition, children should avoid big pots)

2. Try to book yr hotel nearby Temple. Just to save time of internal traveling in Puri dham.

3. On Rath Yatra day get up early like 5 am & try to get in Temple before 6-7 am. The ceremony call Pahandi in which Panda (Pujari of Lord) carry Jagannath from alter to Ratha,starts after 7 am. In this ceremony Jagannath wear nice Mukuta (TIARA) which is get removed inside of Temple only. Mainly Jagannath do dance in side of Temple. Its most beautiful scenes you will ever see. SO DON’T MISS IT. There will be ticket for entering inside the Temple, so book it one day before. It will be around 500 Rs. but its worth of paying it.

4. Make a group of 6-8 & book an auto (TamTam) to take a tour of all holy Gaudiya Vaishnavas spots in Puri. There are around 8 spots. Auto driver will take 200-250 per person & he will take you to all spots. At each spot wait for 10 mins & sit & chant 1 round. Take this tour on 2nd or 3rd day when most of roads are open for autos. This tour will take 5-6 hours with auto.

5. Check 7 Wonders of Jagannath Temples as follows (keep yr scientific brain aside & then read it. Still if you don’t believe this then check yrself in Jagannath Puri) –

a) Flag always flap in opposite direction of air
b) From any place in Puri you will find Sudarshan Charka (Charka at top of Temple) is facing to you only
c) Normally in day air comes from sea to land & at evening opposite way but in Puri it’s totally opposite
d) No bird or planes fly above the Temple
e) The shadow of the main dome is not visible at any time in any direction
f) The quantity of cooked food inside the Temple remains same for entire year. But same prasadam can feed few thousand people & 20 lac people also; still it won’t not get waste or never lag
g) In Jagannath Temple kitchen, 7 pots are kept on each other & cooked on wood fire. In this process top pot get cooked 1st & bottom one last. After entering from Singhadwara’s first step inside the Temple you can’t hear any voice of ocean & when you cross the same step outside you can hear it. Mostly we can notice this at even time clearly.

Prasadam is cooked by Laxmidevi herself every day; only pure devotees of Lord can see her inside the Temple kitchen.

Don’ts:

1. If you are going in group then don’t order or arrange food (prasadam) in particular hotel or Bhojanalya for entire group. Pay individual each time where ever you eat. Why not in group???

In Puri there are many hotels and bhojanalayas. Jagannath Puri is too big & during Yatra times mostly you have to travel by walking from hotel to Rath Yatra marg or any other spot. So if you order yr food at any particular hotel then you have to travel to that hotel from wherever you are every time, so again waste of time. Anyway you have to pay to for food then don’t waste yr time in traveling, just eat at nearest hotel or bhojanalaya every time.

2. Don’t carry money & mobile in bead-bag or money belt. Again Why????

Local thefts know that Gaudiya Vaishnavas are becoming more & more fashionable nowadays. They know we are using zipper pocket bead-bag so they just steal our bead-bags. Many of my friends lost their bead-bags & money like that.

3. Don’t carry Initiated beads for Rath Yatra. If you are carrying then keep it inside of yr room only, don’t bring them outwith you on Rath Yatra day. Why so???

In the crowd of around 25 lac people, it is possible that we may lose it or thieves may still it

4. Don’t dare to pull any of Rath on 1st day. Now this is big WHY??? We are going to pull Rath there so why not to pull it on 1st day????

A – 20 Lac people come for 1st day to pull Rath & many times new devotees have lost their life in stamped. So pull Rath on 2nd day, that time most of people leave Puri. Mainly all local Orissa people come for 1st day only, 2nd day it’s almost clear. Even on my 1st Rath Yatras 2nd day I got kicked by crowd several times, many punches on face & stomach. So be careful.

5. Don’t put yr step on Yamaraj step after completing Temple parikaram while going out from Temples Singhadwara (main gate exit side -east opening)
Why so??? And how to identify which step is Yamaraj step???

Jagannath Puri is holy Dham, if anyone does parikrama to Temple his/her liberation is confirmed. His/her all senses get clear, so in past Yamaraj saw that all people are visiting Puri & getting liberated & going back to godhead. As everyone was attaining Liberation by the Jagannath Puri kshetra, Yamraj was becoming ideal in his work so he complains to Jagannath. And as you know Jagannath is so kind he accepted request of Yamaraj & kept one step in exits side of main gate (Singhadwara). So if anyone keeps his/her feet on that step his/her all pious karma get nil & they will get back all old karmas.

Q – How to identify which step is Yamaraj step???
A – Before entering to Temple ask any panda (pujari of Temple). We made sure, we didn’t cross it as we were informed well in advance. The Yamraj step is the only black coloured step.

6. Don’t argue with Pandas (Pujari of Lord).
A – They are pure devotees of Lord. They are born in specific families which are appointed by Lord himself to worship him at the time of Indradumaya Maharaj. They born in such families & we are born in some city outside of Puri, that only shows that we are not qualified. While entering in Temple Pandas hit you by stick on yr head, accept that hit if they don’t do it then ask them to hit you. That hit represents yr ego to get crush before entering in Lords Temple. As per Vedas one should enter in Temple without ego if anyone has it then it must get crush before entering.

7. Don’t travel alone. Complete Big NOOOOO Why???
A – For yr safety purpose & you will easily get lost.

8. Don’t buy anything on M.R.P. or shoppers price; do bargain like – ask for half of a price. Why???
A – During Rath Yatra most off shopkeeper double the price of all things in shops so do bargain. And besides its fun to bargain especially for Matajis…

9. Don’t consider that all devotees around you in Yatra are normal human being.
Why???

A – Many times demigods come in form of human to serve Lord. Demigods are not allowed to take darshan or eat Lord’s mahaprasad in normal days. They are allowed in Rath Yatra time only. So be careful with other unknown devotees. Don’t do any vaishnava aparadha.

Have a wonderful yatra & chant the maha mantra !!!

Dwarka – The Swarna Nagari

Dwarka – The City Of God

Located on the western coast of Gujarat, is the city of Dwarka, which is a part of Jamnagar District. It is one of the oldest cities of India. The name Dwarka has been derives from dvar, which means door in sanskrit. It is considered as one of the Char Dham – the four most sacred places in India by the Hindus. The other three dhams are Rameshwaram, Puri and Badrinath. The Vaishnavas have great respect for the city.

The Dwarakadhish Temple

King Vajra, Krishna’s great grandson built the temple but it was rebuilt during the 6th and 7th century. The temple has five storeys. Sand and limestone has been used for its construction. It has two gateways – the Swarg dwar from which the pilgrims enter and the Moksha Dwar, which is used by the pilgrims to exit the temple. The confluence of the River Gomati into the sea can be viewed from the temple. The shrines for Devaki, Vasudeva, Subhadra, Balaramavand Revati, Jambavati Devi, Rukmini Devi an Satyabhama are also located in Dwarka. The Chalukya style of art can be seen in the Dwarkadheesh temple. This temple id dedicated to Lord Krishna while there are other shrines also, such as Vasudeva, Devaki, Revathy, Subhadra and Balarama etc. The deity of Lord Krishna is in black and it looks splendid. There are rich carvings and designs in the temple.
It is mandatory for each devotee to take a dip in the Gomti River. The temple is decorated beautifully on the occasion of Janmashtmi. The Kingdom of Dwarka has also been mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Harivansha, Skanda Purana, the Mahabharata and the Vishnu Purana. It is believed that Dwarka was earlier situated near the current city but it was deserted and gradually it submerged into the sea. Vishwakarma built the city of Dwarka after being ordered by Lord Krishna. The city has a hall by the name ’Sudharma Sabha’, where public meetings are held. There are 70000 palaces in Dwarka, which are made of silver and gold and are decorated with precious stones. It is believed that each wife of Lord Krishna had a palace of her own. There are beautiful gardens and lakes in the city. Around the year 3138 BC, 36 years after the end of the Mahabharata War, Lord Krishna left the earth for Vaikuntha, and the Yadava leaders fought among themselves and got killed. Arjuna went to Dwarka so that he could bring the Yadava wives and Lord Krishna’s grandsons to Hastinapur. After he left, the city of Dwarka got submerged into the sea.

Bet Dwarka

Bet Dwarka is a coastal site which is of great significance to Hindus and it has various temples devoted to Lord Krishna. Archeologists’ findings suggest that a lot of overseas trade used to be carried out from here in the ancient times.

How to Reach

  • By Air – The Jamnagar Airport is the nearest Airport to Dwarka and it is 137 Kms from Dwarka. One can hire a taxi from Jamnagar to Dwarka.
  • By Rail – Dwarka Railway station is well-connected to all major cities in India.
  • By Road – Dwarka is well-connected to all major cities in India through the Gujarat State Road Transport buses.

Climate of Dwarka

Dwarka enjoys a pleasant climate throughout the year. In the winters, it is cool and pleasant. It gets very hot during the summers. Dwarka gets medium rainfall during the monsoon season. The best time to go to Dwarka is from October – June.

Aadi Jyotirling Shri Somnath Mahadev Temple

Aadi Jyotirling Shree Somnath Mahadev Temple

Located on the western coast of Gujarat in the Prabhas Kshetra in Saurashtra near Veraval, is the Somnath Mahadev Temple. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of God Shiva. The name Somnath literally means protector of the moon. Sine this temple has been attacked by Muslim invaders more tan sixteen times, it is often referred to as “the Shrine Eternal”.

Climate

Somnath has a temperate climate almost throughout the year. The summers are hot with the maximum temperature going up to 42 °C. Winters are pleasant and cool. Somnath gets heavy rainfall during the monsoon season. The best time to visit Somnath is from October-March.

History of Somnath Temple

According to the Shiv Mahapuran, Brahma had an argument with Vishnu regarding supremacy of creation. Lord Shiva pricked the three worlds as a giant pillar of light – the jyotirlinga. Both Brahma and Vishnu went to search for the end of the light. Brahma wrongly said that he had found the end and Vishnu admitted his defeat. At this point, Shiva placed a curse on Brahma that he would not be worshipped during any ceremonies while Vishnu would always be worshipped. Since then the Jyotirlinga is the ultimate unparsed reality and Lord Shiva appears out of it partly. Formerly it was believed that there were 64 jyotirlingas and 12 out of them are said to be very auspicious and sacred.
The 12 jyotirlinga are Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Somnath and Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain and Omkareshwar in MP, Kedarnath in the Himalayas, Viswanath at Varanasi in UP, Vaidyanath Jyotirlinga, Bhimashankar, Grishneshwar at Aurangabad and Triambakeshwar in Maharastra, Jharkhand, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Deogarh in Deoghar.

Significance of Somnath Temple

According to some ancient Indian traditions, the Moon had married 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati, but he neglected 26 of them and liked only one – Rohini. An angry Daksha put a curse on the Moon and the Moon’s power of light got lost. The Moon took advice from Prajapita Brahma, and in order to get released from his father-in-law’s curse, the Moon went to Prabhas Teerth and built a Shivlinga there. He worshipped Lord Shiva and tried to please him. Lord Shiva was impressed and blessed the Moon. The Moon got relieved partially. Since then, Lord Shiva has rested in that Lingam and therefore it is called Jyotirlingam. Pauranic traditions also believe that the Moon also built a golden temple and a silver temple was built by Ravana. Lord Krishna then built the Somnath Mahadev Temple with Sandalwood.

Damage suffered by the Temple

There is a second temple, which is believed to have been built by Yadava Kings of Vallabhi in Gujarat and they replaced the first temple around 649 CE. The Arab governor of Sind, Junayad tried to destroy the temple in 725 CE and so a third temple was constructed in red sandstone by Nagabhata II, the Gurjara Pratihara King. Mahmud of Ghazni attacked the temple in 1024 and it was rebuilt by Solanki king Bhimadev I of Anhilwara, Gujrat and Gujjar Paramara King Bhoj of Malwa, with wood during 1026-1042. Allauddin Khilji destroyed the temple in 1296 and Mahipala Dev, the Chudasama King of Saurashtra rebuilt it in the year 1308. Mahipala’s son Khengar installed the Lingam later. The Sultans of Gujarat, Muzaffar Shah I destroyed the temple in 1375 and Mahmud Begda destroyed the temple in 1451. The Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb also destroyed the temple in 1701 and constructed on Mosque with the columns from the temple. A little later, in the year 1783, Raja Bhonsle of Nagpur, the Peshwa of Pune, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore, Chhatrapati Bhonsle of Kolhapur and Shrimant Patilbuwa Shinde of Gwalior built the temple again, adjacent to the mosque.

Restoration of the Temple

After independence, the restoration work of the temple was taken up by the Nehru Government under the guidance of the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies – K. M. Munshi. The mosque was shifted from its site and planted few miles away. The Installation ceremony of the temple was performed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad in the year 1951. Shree Somnath Trust is responsible for the maintenance of the temple.
The Somnath Mahadev Temple is a work of art displaying the Chalukya style of architecture and it really is an eternal shrine.

How to reach Somnath

  • By Road – Somnath is connected to various cities through the State transport buses.
  • By Air – Koshed is the nearest airport and it is 55 Kms away, however one can also go to Somnath via Diu Airport, which is 90 Kms away from Somnath. International visitors come to Ahmadabad or Mumbai and hire a taxi from there.
  •  By Rail – Veraval is the nearest railway station to Somnath and it 5 Kms from Somnath. Veraval is connected to major cities like Vadodara, Mumbai and Ahmadabad.

Bodh Gaya – Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples

Bodh Gaya – Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples

Located 12 Kms away from Gaya City, in the Gaya district of Bihar, Bodh Gaya is known for the Vishnupad and Mahabodhi Temples, where Lord Buddha is believed to have obtained awakening (Bodhimandala). Earlier the main monastery of Bodh Gaya was called Bodhimanda – Vihara but later it came to be known as Mahabodhi Temple Complex. The name Bodh Gaya came into use after the 18th century, before which it used to be called Mahabodhi, Sambodhi, Uruvela or Vajrasana. The best of the year to visit Bodh Gaya is from October – February.

How to Reach

Travel facilities are provided by the Bihar State Tourism Development from Patna to Bodh Gaya. Buses going to Bodh Gaya are available from Kolkata and Varanasi. One can also take a train from Kolkata. The Gaya International Airport is 7kms away from Bodh gaya. It is also referred to as the Bodh Gaya International Airport.

Climate

Bodh Gaya experiences a hot summer season with the maximum temperature reaching 41-44 °C. It experiences plenty of rainfall and the climate becomes pleasant but also humid. The winters are cool and pleasant.

Bodh Gaya History

It is said that in the year 500 BC, in Circa, Prince Gautam Siddhartha was wandering and reached the banks of the river Phaglu, which is near Gaya city. He sat under a tree (Bodhi) and meditated. After meditating for three nights and three days, he said that he had obtained an enlightenment and he had the answers to all the questions which were disturbing him. He spent seven weeks in neighbouring areas at different places and meditated. After this period, he went to Sarnath and started preaching Buddhism.
Gautam Siddhartha’s followers started visiting him during Vaisakh (April- May) on full moon days. Gradually, the place was known as Bodh Gaya, the day of awakening – Budha Poornima and the tree under which Gautam sat, as Bodhi Tree.
Many pilgrims have documented the history of Bodh Gaya through inscriptions. The accounts prepared by Chinese Pilgrim Faxian and Xuanzang in the 5th and 7th century provide significant information. The Turkic army conquered the place in the 13th century.

The Mahabodhi Temple

The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is located 110kms away from Patna and it contains the famous diamond throne (Vajrasana) and the sacred Bodhi Tree. This tree was grown from a sapling of Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Sri Lanka, which has also been grown from a sapling of the first Bodhi Tree.
Emperor Ashoka visited Bodh Gaya, 250 years after the awakening of the Buddha. Th original Mahabodhi Temple is considered to be founded by him. There is an elongated spire covered by a very small statue and a chhatri on an elevated platform. One needs to climb two flights of stairs to reach the platform. Historians also believe that the temple was renovated during the period of the Kushans in the 1st Century. The temple was buried under many layers of soil and forgotten after the decline of Buddhism in India. It is believed that Sir Alexander Cunningham restored the temple in the 19th century. Sir Cunningham excavated the site with the help of Dr Rajendralal Mitra and J.D.Beglar with great difficulty in the year 1883. They started the renovation and restored the temple.
Bodh Gaya is one of the four most significant places of worship for the Buddhists. This is so because there are four important places associated with the life of Gautam Buddha. They are Lumbini, Kushinagar, Sarnath and Bodh Gaya. The Mahabodhi Temple of Bodh Gaya was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2002.

The Vishnupad Temple

The Vishnupad temple is located near Bodh Gaya, on the banks of Falgu river. It is believed that the temple is built on the footprints of Lord Vishnu. The footprints of Lord Vishnu are 40 cms long and it is imprinted over a solid piece of rock. This rock is called Dhrama Shiela. The temple displays the Shikhara style of architecture. It was built by Queen Ahilya Bai from Indore. The temple is not open to non-hindus. Many devotees visit the temple and worship the deity of Vishnu with flowers and milk. It is believed that by doing this one secures a place for themselves in spiritual world.

Hampi – A delight for Pilgrims

Hampi – A delight for Pilgrims

The Hampi village is located in Vijayanagara in the state of Karnataka. It is a religious city and has many temples and old monuments which belong to the old city. UNESCO has declared the ruins of the city, a World Heritage Site and it appears as ‘Group of Monuments at Hampi’ in the list. The name Hampi has been derived from the old name of the Tungabhadra River – Pampa, since the city is built on the banks of this river. At times it is also referred to as Virupakshapura and Vijayanagara. Hampi is 353 Kms away from Bangalore and only 74 Kms from Bellary. The nearest railway station is Hosapete, also called Hospet which is 13 Kms from Hampi. Mantralayam city, which is also built on the banks of the Tungabhadra River is in AP and 150 Kms from Hampi. Thousands of pilgrims and tourists visit Hampi every year. There are more than 500 monuments around the valleys and hills, which include remains of aquatic structures, palaces, beautiful temples, ancient markets, bastions, royal pavilions and so on… Hampi is a delight for pilgrims and a great holiday spot for backpackers as well.

The History Of Hampi

In Hampi, the first settlements were as old as 1 CE. Hampi served as one of the most important areas of the capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire between 1336 – 1565, after which the Deccan Muslim Confederacy captured it. Since the city was protected by hills on three sides and the Tungabhadra River on the fourth side, it proved to be of strategic importance.
Both architecturally and historically, the city is of great significance. Several large stones have been found in the city, which might have been used to make idols of the Hindu gods and goddesses. Excavations are frequently conducted in the area by The Archeological Survey of India, in order to find temples and artifacts.

The Government of Karnataka organizes the annual Vijayanagara Festival in the month of November, every year. Agriculture and tourism are the two key industries in the village apart from the endorsements from the Virupaksha Temple and other temples in the neighbourhood of the city.

Several mineral deposits are present in the region, iron-ore and manganese being the principal ones. Mining is done in the region since the past many years. But recently, the mining of iron-ore has been increased due to a boom in the international market. This is a threat to the Tungabhadra dam and the World Heritage Site Hampi.

Significant Places Near Hampi -:

  1. Achyutaraya Temple/ Tiruvengalanatha Temple
  2. Anegondi
  3. Anjeyanadri Hill
  4. Aqueducts and Canals
  5. Archaeological Museum at Kamalapura
  6. Badava Linga
  7. Chandramauleshwar Temple
  8. Elephant stables
  9. Hazara Rama Temple
  10. Hemakuta Group of Temples
  11. Lake(Near sanapur)
  12. Lotus temple
  13. Preksha temple and groups
  14. Sasivekalu Ganesha
  15. Sri Lakshmi Narasimha
  16. The Kings’ balance
  17. The Underground Temple
  18. Tungabhadra River
  19. Uddana Veerabhadra temple
  20. Virupaksha Temple
  21. Virupapura
  22. Vitthal temple
  23. Yantrodharaka Anjaneya temple
  24. Yeduru Basavanna
  25. Zenana enclosure

Temples at Hampi

There are various temples at Hindu which depict vedanta mythology and many people still go there to worship. Some of the important places are:

  1. Virupaksha Temple – Situated in the Bazaar of Hampi, this is the most ancient temple and it is also referred to as Pampapathi Temple. At the entranc e of this temple, there is tower which is 160 ft high. There is a statue of Lord Shiva in the temple. Also, there are many erotic statues of Pampa and Bhuvaneshwari in the temple complex.
  2. Malyavanta Raghunathaswamy Temple – This temple is located three kilometres across the road and depicts the architectural style of the ancient times. Engrossing motifs of fishes and other marine creatures can be seen on the inner walls of this temple.
  3. Hazara Rama Temple Complex– This temple complex is in ruins now. It has a huge courtyard with beautigul gardens. It is best known for the intricate frescos of the Hindu religion. There are over thousand inscriptions and carvings in this temple and these carvings depict the story of the great epic – Ramayana. This is why it is called the Hazara – (Thousand ) Rama temple.
  4. Vitthal Temple Complex – The Vitthala Temple complex is the most famous temple of Hampi. Floodlights have been positioned in the temple to light it up and they enhance the beauty of this architectural masterpiece. There is a stone chariot in the area surrounding the temple, which is the logo of Karnataka Tourism. Many musical pillars are installed in the temple. There are two pillars which are cut. These pillars were cut down by the Britishers, since they wanted to find out the source of the sound but all their efforts were in vain. All they could find was hollow pillars.
  5. Krishna Temple Complex – The Krishna Temple Complex has been excavated in the last decade and efforts are being made for its restoration.

Global Heritage Fund, a non-profit organization, in collaboration with the Hampi Foundation, the State of Karnataka and Cornell University are making all possible efforts to preserve the rich cultural heritage of Hampi.

Darbar Sahib – The Golden Temple ,Amritsar

Darbar Sahib – The Golden Temple Complex

The Golden Temple, also known as Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib is a spectacular Sikh Gurudwara. It is situated in the city of Amritsar in Punjab. The Darbar Sahib was constructed as a central place of worship for the Sikhs and it is open to all people, irrespective of any caste, creed or religion. More than one lakh people come to pay homage in this holy gurudwara every day. The holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib is kept in the temple at all times.

History of the temple

The fifth Sikh guru. Guru Arjan Dev, constructed it in the 16th century. In 1604, he also compiled and placed the Adi Granth, the holy book of Sikhs, in the Gurdwara  People of all religions are welcome to visit and pay homage at Harmandir sahib. This is represented by its four entry points. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia, with the help of other Sikhs, rebuilt the gurudwara in the year  1764 and gave it the look it has today. The upper floors of the gurudwara were covered with gold by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, when he captured Punjab in the nineteenth century.

Sri Harmandir Sahib derives its name from Hari (God) and it means the temple of hari or house of god. Guru Ram Das Ji, the fourth sikh guru, dug up a tank in the year 1577, and called it Amrut Sarovar, which later got the name – ‘Amritsar’ which means Pool of Nectar. The Darbar Sahib is built in the centre of this tank.

Construction of The Darbar

In 1574, when the gurudwara was first built, there was a small lake around it in a thin forest. The Great Mughal Emperor Akbar once visited the third Sikh Guru, Guru Amar Das in a town called Goindval and he was impressed by the guru’s simplicity. He gifted a piece of land as a marriage gift to Guru Amar Das’s Daughter Bhani during her marriage to Bhai Jetha, who subsequently became the fourth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Ram Das. Guru Ram Das ji expanded the lake and built a township there. This town was called Ramdas Pur after the name of the Guru.

The complete Gurudwara was built under the guidance of the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev. In 1588, Guru Arjan Dev laid down the foundation stone. Many people believe that a Sufi Saint of Lahore, Mian Mir laid the foundation stone.

The construction was finished in 1604 and Guru Arjan Dev placed the Adi Granth inside it. However it had to be rebuilt in the 1760s after it was attacked by Jahan Khan, who was a general of Ahmed Shah Abdali from Afghan. A sikh army also went to fight Jahan Khan’s army five miles outside Amritsar and defeated Jahan Khan’s troops.

The Beauty of the Temple

The entire structure is decorated with verses from the Adi Granth. The magnificent golden structure is also studied with beautiful precious stones which are arranged in floral patterns of Islamic style.It has white marble walls and copper cupolas. It is a wonder to look at the Darbar Sahib, a splendid construction surrounded by water.

This pool of sacred water – the Amrut Sarovar is believed to have lots of powers. One must take a walk around the pool – Parikrama in clockwise direction. The pathway which leads from the sarovar to the temple is called Guru’s bridge and is made of marble. It depicts the journey of one’s soul after death. The Darshani Deorhi, which is the path to the bridge has spectacular silver doors.

In the year 1984, the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs Indira Gandhi passed orders to mutilate some  militants, who were believed to be hiding in Darbar Sahib. More than 500 people got killed and the temple suffered a lot of damage. Sikhs all over the world were enraged at this attack the holiest shrine. Mrs Gandhi was killed by her Sikh bodyguards, which lead to a massacre and many Sikhs were killed. The central government was debarred from repairing the temple, and the Sikhs took to the task on their own.

Rules of the Temple

There are some rules which one must follow in the gurudwara:

  • Consuming alcohol, cigarette smoking and eating non-vegetarian food is prohibited.
  • Footwear should be removed while entering the temple.
  • Devotess must keep their head covered. (Scarves are also provided).
  • Devotees must wash their feet before entering the temple.

The Famous Guru Ka Langar

The Guru-Ka-Langar is another highlight of the temple, where more than 35000 people are fed by volunteers free of charge. This is called sewa. Rich or poor, all devotees serve the food to the visitors. All devotees sit on the floor and enjoy the holy food.

The Palki Sahib

Palki Sahib is a ceremony that is carried out every night. The Adi Granth is carried in a procession along the bridge to the temple in the Akal Takht, the seat of Sikh Parliament. All male devotees participate in this procession actively.

A visit to the temple complex and a dip in Amrut Sarovar makes one blessed!

Vrindavan – Abode of God

Vrindavan – Abode of God

Vrindavan is considered to be a holy place.

Vrindavan is considered to be a holy place by all traditions of Hinduism. The major tradition followed in the area is Vaisnavism, and it is a center of learning with many Vrindavan Ashrams operating. Its a center of Krishna worship and the area includes places like Govardhana and Gokul that are associated with Krishna. Many millions of bhaktas or devotees of Radha Krishna visit these places of pilgrimage every year and participate in a number of festivals that relate to the scenes from Krishna’s life on Earth.