In the Indian state of Maharashtra, a tīrth yātra (pilgrimage) to visit eight ancient temples to Gaṇeśa (Aśṭa Vināyak) is mentioned in the puranas and considered very sacred. These eight temples, each with exquisitely beautiful Gaṇeśa murtīs, are in tiny villages, scattered around the mountainous terrain between Mumbai and Pune. After much procrastination, last February we were called on this short, beautiful and spiritually uplifting tīrth yātrā. [Read more...]
Daulatabad, previously known as Deogiri (Hill of Gods), was founded by Raja Bhillama of the Yadava dynasty in the 11th century of the current era. Raja Bhillama renounced his allegiance to the Chalukyas, and after victorious campaigns against neighbors, retained control of the strategic Deccan with his capital at Deogiri.
Having heard of the wealth of the land, Alauddin Khilji marched down, destroyed the town and laid siege to the fort in 1294. After a 3-week stand-off, Raja Ramachandra Deva surrendered on payment of a record tribute which had to be carted off on elephants and camels. The tribute was believed to include 54,000 lbs of gold, 560 lbs of pearls, 160 lbs of precious stones, silver, silk and adjacent towns. This was the first time Muslims had penetrated as far south as the Deccan. Fresh with booty, Alauddin schemed and murdered his uncle Jalauddin Khilji and ascended the throne in Delhi in 1296. And a few years later Alauddin would lust after Padmini, ending tragically in the massacre at Chittor. [Read more...]
Jai Hanuman Gyan Guna Sagar
Jai Kapis Tihun Lok Ujaagar
Glory to Hanuman
Limitless ocean of wisdom and virtue,
Glory to leader of primates
Whose fame lights the three worlds
In the New Year!
May the gracious Hanuman guide you
To overcome weakness, and
Use your strength to serve the Divine!
Meera, M & A
Hanuman murthy from the Chinmaya Mission, Andover, MA
Our Bharat trips are planned around visits to popular temples. Meera too loves temples and has figured out what is required, and promptly removes her sandals on entering. She gazes at the murthy in awe, speaks in hushed tones and respectfully bows. She delightfully receives the aarti, looks forward to prasad and asks me for money to place in the Hundi (donation box). She is fascinated by the different animals and birds carved in relief, painted on murals or on calendars inside, and points to each of them. As she leaves, she even turns back for a last glance. Meera’s fascination with temples makes it easy for us to visit our favorite temples.
On this joyous Diwali,
Wishing you and all your loved ones
God’s amazing grace.
Coz, with it comes
For a friend’s wedding I recently traveled to Chicago. Since that’s where I did my doctoral work, we have many friends there and love the city. I have previously posted on the architectural wonders of Chicago, the Balaji Temple and have run the Chicago Marathon!
On this visit, I additionally got darshan at the exquisitely maintained Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago! Was surprised at their calendar of activities including Yoga, Meditation, Gita Recitation, Discourses and Sunday School. And importantly a cafeteria serving dosas, idli sambar, yogurt rice and else. Reason enough to go!
After Dhool Bhaet at the Shanteri Kamakshi Ramnath Devasthan, I walked around heavenly rice fields and stopped by the canteen outside the temple for a cup of Chai. Next to me, this gentleman savored his morning cup. He poured it in the saucer and slurped. [Read more...]
After celebrating Meera’s birthday, I make a quick, day trip to visit our Kuladevata (family temple) at the Ramnathi Devasthan in Goa.
The early morning flight brought me to Ramnathi at the crack of dawn. The temple was open and I paid my respects to Ramnath as “Dhool bhaet”.
From my earlier post on the Ramnathi Devasthan
It is the tradition at Ramnathi and other Konkani temples, for kulavis to visit the deity as soon as we arrive – even before we wash our feet. We leave our footwear at the door and with dusty feet rush inside to pay homage to our father protector, guardian and closest confidant. Akin to the return of a prodigal son (or daughter); our father wants to see us ASAP, even before we wash our feet. This first visit is thus called “dhool bhaet” (dusty meeting). Only after we have visited the temple, do we visit the office, rent a room, freshen up and come back into the temple for a proper service.
This early, the office was still closed. So camera in hand, I walked across the road to a series of rice fields (see picture above). The early morning light bathed them in an ethereal glow. I felt my burdens lifted: This is the life! I could spend the rest of our days here, and Meera and M would love it here [Read more...]
Wishing you all a Wonderful Dassara
May you and your loved ones
Be blessed by
M&M & A
The Mahamandap (Great Hall) at the Mahalakshmi Temple in Bandivade, Goa provides a therapeutic escape from many of Goa busy attractions. It is a perfect place to sit undisturbed and commune with the divine. On this early morning, regular devotees went about their prayers silently and tourist laden buses had not yet arrived.
In front of the Deul (Konkani for Temple, also Devasthan), notice the Deepa Stamba (Light tower), a characteristic of Goa Konkani temples. Around the temple are guest rooms for traveling devotees at nominal costs.
History of the Temple: [Read more...]