Konark Sun Temple – Essence of the Corners

Konark Sun Temple, also known as Black Pagoda was built in the 13th century in Orissa. The Eastern Dynasty King, King Narasimhadeva I constructed it using sandstone. The temple is a perfect example of Orissan architecture from the Ganga Dynasty. It has been declared as a World Heritage Site and also voted as one of the seven wonders of India. According to an old legend, the temple was built by Lord Krishna’s son, Samba when he was suffering from Leprosy due to a curse by his father.  He was ill for 12 years and thereafter the sun god, Surya cured him. Samba built the splendid Konark Sun Temple to honor him.

How to Reach

By Rail – Konark Railway station is well-connected to all major cities of India.

By Air – The nearest airport is Bhubaneshwar and it is well-connected to all major airports. One can hire a private taxi or take Volvo buses from Bhubaneshwar.

By Road – Konark is well-connected to all major cities through state and national highways.

Climate

In the summers it gets very hot and all tourists avoid this season. In the winters, it gets very cold and the temperature goes to as low as 12 °C. Konark receives medium rainfall during the monsoons. The best time to visit the city of Konark is from September to March.

Architecture of Konark temple Sun Temple

The temple is in the form of a chariot of the Sun God, Surya, which is drawn by seven horses on twelve pairs of wheels which are beautifully decorated. The temple has stone carvings all over it. The wheels of the chariot are a major attraction, since they serve as sundials. There are many erotic sculptures in this temple which remind one of Khajuraho. The famous Orissan architecture can be seen all over the temple.

The entrance of the temple has two huge lions which are shown as crushing a war elephant each. There is a Nata Temple at the entrance of the temple. It is believed that dancers used to dance here to please the sun god. There are lots of geometric and floral patterns all around the temple. Some sculptures of the temple are kept in the Sun Temple Museum. This museum is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. This beautiful temple is worth a visit.

History

The fall of the Konark temple is often linked to the Kalapahad, who was the general of Bengal Sultan Sulaiman Khan Karrani. Some legends state that Kalapahad was originally a Hindu Kayastha but had converted to Islam. He attacked Orissa in 1568 and demolished the Konark Temple, along with other Hindu Temples. After this Orissa was under the Muslim rule and Hindu Temples continued to be destroyed. The Priests of Konark buried the deity of the Sun Temple under sand for many years to save it. This image was moved to Puri later on and placed in the Indra Temple in the Jagannath Puri Temple Complex.

Since the image of the sun god was not present in the temple, people stopped worshipping there and the number of devotees who visited there, also reduced considerably. The city was deserted.

A Maratha Sadhu took away the Aruna Pillar in 1779 and placed it in the Jagannath Temple at Puri. The entire glory of Konark was lost and it became a shady city, where people feared to go.

Madurai – The Jewel of South India

Madurai – The Jewel of South India
Madurai, also referred to as Koodal, Thirualavai and Naanmadakoodal, is situated on the banks of Vaigai River in the state of Tamil Nadu. The name Madurai has been derived from Madhura, meaning sweetness, coming out of the sacred nectar sprinkled on the city by Lord Shiva. It has been ruled by many rulers such as the Pandyas, Cholas, Madurai Sultanate, Madurai Nayaks, Vijayanagar Empire, Carnatic Kingdom, Chanda Sahib and the Britishers. There are many famous temples in Madurai which include Tirumalai Nayak Palace and the Meenakshi Amman Temple. It is an important educational and industrial hub of Tamil Nadu. More than 9 crore tourists, including many foreigners, visit Madurai every year.

Climate of Madurai
Madurai is located at an average elevation of 101 meters. It is very hot during the summer months, the hottest being March-July. The climate is moderate from August-October. It experiences moderate rainfall. Winters are cool.

Reaching Madurai

  • By Rail – Madurai railway Station is one of the important railway junctions of the Southern Railway. It is well-connected to all major cities in India.
  • By Road – Many national and state highways pass through Madurai. The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation has its headquarters at Madurai and it has five major bus terminals. It is well-connected to all major cities. Auto rickshaws, local city buses and mini-buses are available for travel within the city.
  •  By Air – Madurai Airport is 12 Kms away from the city and it is an important airport of Tamil Nadu. Domestic flights to all major cities are available, along with international flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Architecture

The city of Madurai was redesigned by the first Madurai Nayak King – Vishwanatha Nayak, according to the Shilpa Shastras, meaning rules of architecture and so it is built using urban planning. The Meenakshi Amman Temple is the center of the city, both geographically and for performing all religious rituals. A number of festivals are celebrated here throughout the year. Huge processions are carried out and large chariots of the temple are used. The temple has four gateways. The elite class people had homes located near to the temple while the poor had their dwellings away. The British also made Madurai as the headquarters of a colonial complex as well as an industrial town. The social

Religious sites

 

  1. Meenakshi Amman Temple– This historic temple is the most important landmark of the city. It is devoted to Goddess Parvati, also known as Meenakshi and Shiva as Sundareshwar, who is her consort. The temple has 14 gateway towers (Gopurams) and two shrines which are golden. This temple has also been mentioned in Tamil literature, since it holds lot of religious significance for the Tamilians. More than 15000 devotees come here every day. There are more than 33000 sculptures in the temple.
  2. Koodal Azhagar Temple – This Vishnu temple has the idols of the nine planet deities, unlike any other Vishnu temple.
  3. Alagar Koyil – Located 21 Kms from Madurai is another Vishnu Temple – Alagar Koyil. The deity in this temple is Azhagar, and it is believed that he is Goddess Meenakshi’s brother.
  4. Kazimar Big Mosque – It is the oldest mosque in Madurai. It was built under the guidance of Kazi Syed Tajuddin, who came from Oman and was a descendant of Islamic Prophet Mohammed. He had received this land as a gift from Kulasekara Pandiyan, a Pandya ruler, in the 13th century. The Madurai Maqbara which contains the dargah of the Madurai Hazrats is placed inside the mosque.
  5. Thiruparankundram – Located 8 kms from Madurai is the Thiruparankundram hill, where the marriage of the Hindu god Murugan and Deivanai had taken place. It is a very popular tourist spot. There are carvings of many Hindu gods on the walls of the temple.
  6. Goripalayam Mosque – This mosque situated in Gorippalayam houses the graves of Hazrat Sulthan Shamsuddeen Badhusha, Hazrat Sulthan Alauddin Badhusha and Hazrat Sulthan Habibuddin (Ghaibuddin) Badhusha.
  7. St. Mary’s Cathedral – The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Madurai is seated in this cathedral.

Other Places to Visit in Madurai

  1. Thirumalai Nayak Palace – This palace complex displays the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. It was built by Thirumalai Nayakar. It has been declared as a national monument and the Tamil Nadu Archaeological Department is responsible for maintaining it. A sound and light show is organized here every day.
  2. Palace of Rani Mangamma – It is used as Gandhi Memorial Museum and it has Gandhiji’s blood stained garment, which he had worn at the time of his assassination by Nathuram Godse.
  3. The Eco Park – The Eco Park is located in Tallakulam. The main feature of this park is the lighting in trees and fountains.
  4. Rajaji children’s park – It is located between Tamukkam grounds and Gandhi museum. More than 5000 visitors come here every day.
  5. MGR Race Course Stadium – This stadium is mainly used for athletic meets. It also has a swimming pool. Many national meets have been hosted here. Many national and international level Kabbadi Championships are also held here.

Festivals

Numerous festivals are celebrated by the people of Madurai. The important ones are the Car Festival, Chittirai Festival, and Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam.

  1.  The Meenakshi Tirukkalyanam is a 10-day long festival which is celebrated every year in the months of April and May. More than a million people come to see it. The idols of Goddess Meenakshi and Sundareshwar are taken in a beautiful procession during the Cradle Festival.
  2. Another festival celebrated in September is the Avanimoolam, wherein the thiruvilayadal(64 sacred names of Lord Shiva) are recited.
  3. The Float Festival, also known as Thepporchavam is celebrated to mark the birth of King Thirumalai Nayak, on a full moon day of the Tamil Month – Thai in the months of January and February. The icons of Meenakshi and Siva are decorated and floated in a tank on a raft, which has glittering lamps and flowers.
  4. Jallikattu is the most famous sport of Tamil Nadu. It is celebrated in January during the festival of Pongal. It is the popular bull taming festival held every year.
  5. Santhanakoodu – These festivals are celebrated according to the Islamic Calender to commemorate the Islamic saints.

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.

Ram Raja Temple – Orchha

raja-ram-palace-temple-at-orchhaHow Ram Raja is Served.

This is the only temple where Lord Ram is worshipped as a king and that also in a palace. A Guard of Honour is held everyday, police personnel have been designated as Guards at the temple, much in the manner of a king. Armed salutation is provided to Lord Ram everyday three times.. Even today the very first invitation card of any Hindu wedding in the region is sent to Raja Ram.

Story Behind Temple.

The King of Orchha King Madhukar Shah Ju Dev (1554 to 1592) (मधुकर शाह जू देव) was a devotee of Banke Bhihari (Lord Krishna) of  Vrindavan while his wife Ganesh Kunwari (गणेश कुंवरि), also called Kamla Devi, was a devotee of Lord Ram.

Due to some misunderstanding King asked his wife to bring Lord Ram in child form then only he believe that she is ture devotee of Lord Ram. At the end she prove it that she is.Ram raja temple

Birla Mandir – Delhi’s famous Vishnu Temple

Birla Mandir – Delhi’s famous Vishnu Temple.

Located to the west of Connaught Place, Birla Mandir, also known as The Laxmi Narayan Mandir is a famous hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is also refered to as Laxminarayan. One can easily reach the temple through local city buses, autorickshaws and taxis. The R.K. Ashram metro station is only 2kms from the temple. It attracts lots of tourists from all over the world. On Janmasthmi and Diwali, many devotees come here. It is considered to be one of the most popular Vaishnavite temples of India.

The Making

It was built by B.D. Birla, an industrialist in the late 1930s. Maharaj Udaybhanu Singh laid the foundation stone of the temple. Swami Keshwa Nandji performed the Yagna.  It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi and he wanted it to be open to people of all castes.

Architectural Styles Used

The temple has three storeys and the Nagara style of architecture has been used to build it. Carvings showing Hindu mythological scenes beautify the walls of the temple. The deities of this temple were carved by artisans who came from Benaras and worked under the expert guidance of Acharya Vishvanath Shastri. Fresco Paintings adorn the shrine. The temple has been constructed using Kota stone from Jaisalmer and Kota. It is built on a high platform facing the east. The icons kept in the temple are made of marble and have been ordered from Jaipur. The complex is spread over an area of thirty thousand square metres. It has a beautiful garden with fountains. The temple has been beautified using artificial landscaping.

The deity of Lord Narayan and Goddess Lakshmi are kept in the main temples. There are temples of Shiva, Budhha and Krishna on the sides. This magnificent temple houses many sculptures and deities  Located to the north of the temple is the Geeta Bhawan which houses the deity of Lord Krishna and is also used for giving religious discourses. The dome on the left houses the deity of Goddess Durga.