Mahalasa Narayani Devasthan, Goa

On every visit to Goa, in addition to visiting our kuladevata, Ramnathi Shanteri Kamakshi in Ponda, I visit a few other nearby temples as well. On this short visit to Goa, a kulavi of the Mahalasa Narayani Devasthan invited me to participate in the Palki on Sunday evening. I am so thankful for the invite and the visit to this beautiful temple. See also, Palki at the Ramnathi Devasthan.

This Sunday evening, the temple was packed with devotees and the Devi in her finery came out to tour the temple grounds. Beautiful experience. Devi Narayani getting ready in her palki.
pic of the Devi in palki at the Narayani Devasthan, Goa by Arun Shanbhag

Palki waiting for puja in front of the Shantadurga Devalaya
pics of the palki at the Mahalasa Narayani Devasthan, Goa by Arun Shanbhag

LaxmiNarayan and Shantadurga Devalaya on the grounds of the Narayani Devasthan.
picture of Shantadurga Temple at Narayani Devasthan, Mardol Goa by Arun Shanbhag

picture of the Laxminarayan Shantadurga Devalaya within the narayan i Devasthan Goa by Arun Shanbhag


A few of my Posts Related to Konkani Temples in Goa:


Venkateshwara Temple Coloring Pages

Ganesh Coloring Book
Nearly twenty years ago, I had picked up this free coloring book from the Sri Venkateshwara Temple in Pittsburgh, PA. It lay unused till I found it a few weeks ago. I am sharing here all the scanned pages, so you all can enjoy the sublime joy of coloring.

Download the PDF of SVT Coloring Book.

Coloring Books IS the new rage for grown-up gifts. Over the last year I have received beautiful coloring books, as well as collections of drawing pencils, pastels, gel pens and fine sketching markers. Oh, what joy! Give it a try and please share your works.

Consider perusing this Tirupati: A Walk Enlightens

Shriyah kāntāy kalyān nidhaye nidhayérthinām
Shri Venkatanivāsāy Shrīnivāsāy mangalam

Neelkanteshwar Mahadev Mandir, Panchavati, Nashik

Neelkanteshwar Mandir, Panchavati, Nashik
Panchavati is an amazing city with some very ancient and beautiful temples, and some very big problems of governance. The sacred temples get easily overshadowed by the trash everywhere and the lack of respect for the sanctity of this place. And it was not even the Kumbha mela. This tiny temple, the Neelkanteshwar Mahadev Mandir established in 1662 on the Ram Kund demonstrates the confluence of urban growth, apathy and the sacred. In dire need of the Swachh Bhārat Abhiyan. Continue reading “Neelkanteshwar Mahadev Mandir, Panchavati, Nashik”

Krishna Muth Udupi, Hanuman Shrine

Photos at Hanuman Shrine at the Shri Krishna Muth, Udupi, Karnataka by

Inside the Krishna Muth, Udupi, there are many shrines to different deities. One of the first along the corridor is the Hanuman Shrine. A small group of devotees were singing bhajans there. The light streaking through the door and tall windows lit the singers in a golden hue. I sat inside for a few minutes enjoying the music. Then bowed at the shrine and went to enjoy the rest of the temple. Continue reading “Krishna Muth Udupi, Hanuman Shrine”

Krishna Muth, Udupi

Photos of Main Gopuram of the Shri Krishna Muth, Udupi, Karnataka by Arun Shanbhag

After a long hiatus, I recently returned to the Shri Krishna Muth in Udupi, Karnataka. What a joyous, uplifting experience it was getting darshan of BālaKrishna (child Krishna). The temple and seminary were founded by Sant Madhavāchārya, in the late 13th century; it has since become the center of Krishna bhakti and Dvaita Philosophy. It is here that Krishna showed us his grace. One night as Kanak Dās sat outside the temple singing the glories of Krishna, the mischievously smiling child Krishna was overcome by the soul-stirring music and turned to listen to his devotee. Thus turned, he stands today. A tiny stone grill is cut in the granite side wall from which we get darshan. Continue reading “Krishna Muth, Udupi”

Pālki at the Rāmnāthi Devasthān

photos of Ramnath and Kamakshi in Palki at Ramnathi Devasthan by Arun Shanbhag
Hindus believe that all things animate and in-animate (manifest or unmanifest) are part of the universal divine consciousness. We generally refer to this divine consciousness as “That”
, because any attribute you give it is limiting (see Sant Tulsidas’ beautiful verse describing “That” divine consciousness; also this post on Dwija). In common parlance, we refer to “That” as Paramātmā or eternal soul (1). It thus follows that all humans are part of this eternal soul or Paramātmā. The corollary then is that Paramātmā too includes human qualities, strengths and frailties, and expresses human emotions. Purān and itihās (history) are filled with their anthropomorphed lore. In our temples, we adore our divine just like we would our valued guests. In the common Hindu puja, we pamper our divine guest with 16 services (shodasho upchār) like if she was a valued friend, like cleaning her feet, helping her brush, bathe, providing new clothes, jewelry, sumptuous feasts, etc.

Completing this anthropomorphization our temple bound deities like to go out on the town and have fun. Wouldn’t you if you were couped up in a tiny garbha-griha? Thus in many communities, devotees take their temple deities out for a ride in a specially designed pālki (palanquin) (2).

Every Monday evening at the Rāmnāthi Devasthān, Rāmnāth Dev sits in a pālki and is carried around the grounds. It’s a festive occasion with a small band playing and devotees chanting bhajans. Following tradition, the pālki has designated stops where aarti is performed and verses of the Mangalāshtak are chanted. Pālki is followed by a sumptuous prasād (yaay).

On special occasions, Rāmnāth Dev is accompanied by Kāmākshi Devi on his jaunt around the temple grounds. These pictures are from the recent Mahā Shivrātri when Rāmnāth and Kāmākshi went around the temple in their respective pālki (3) . While Rāmnāth sits in his simple pālki, Kāmākshi, verily the Goddess of Desire and Sensuality, tours in style, high on an elephant pālki. How cool is she?


Notes:
1. The word God doesn’t exist in Hindu vocabulary and is a Western construct.
2. In Mumbai you commonly see Muslims take their sacred deity out on the town; recently in Kumta, I noticed the local christians in a procession with their deity in a pālki.
3. Plural of pālki remains pālki and not the anglicized pālkis.

Pyāsā – Soda at Rāmnāthi

Photos of the Soda store owner at the Neeta Canteen by the Ramnathi Devasthan Goa by Arun Shanbhag

During Maha Shivratri, as I waited for a rickshaw outside the Ramnathi Devasthan, I shot pics of colorful soda bottles arrayed in crates. The hovering owner felt neglected and offers, “Maegel bhī photo kād” (take a pic of me too). I obliged. I loved the confident pose he struck in front of the red wall. You can imagine him in a previous avatār, curling his handlebar mustache and astride a horse. Quintessential Goa. For that, he gets the opening pic. Continue reading “Pyāsā – Soda at Rāmnāthi”

Agniteertham in Rāmeshwaram

photos from Agniteertham in Rameshwaram by Arun Shanbhag
Devotees throng Rameshwaram to take a dip in the sanctifying waters of Agniteertham

Just in time for Ram Navami


Visiting the island of Rameshwaram is considered a most auspicious pilgrimage; here Hindus pay their respects to Ramnathaswamy (Shiva) and it is one of 12 sacred Jyotirlingams. Continue reading “Agniteertham in Rāmeshwaram”

MahāShivrātri at Rāmnāthi

Photos of MahaShivaratri Festival at Ramnathi Goa by Arun Shanbhag
Ramnath Dev being taken out on a Phalki

|| Om Namah Shivay ||
Wishing you all an auspicious Maha Shivratri


More on the Ramnathi Devasthan Goa:


Enjoy these pictures from the Maha Shivratri Utsav at Ramnathi Devasthan, Goa

Hanumant Devasthan, Bhatkal

pics from the Hanumant Devasthan temple in Bhatkal Karnataka by Arun Shanbhag

In a spotless white dhoti, a white jhabba and a topi covering his pate, my abbu (grandfather) would stride purposefully to his pharmacy store in the Bhatkal (in rural Karnataka) paent every morning. Clutched under his left arm was an old-fashioned, wood handled umbrella, the black fabric faded by the south indian sun. When he walked, he did NOT saunter, amble, or loiter; he strode, like every cell from his heel to his head were marching to a higher purpose. Fingers on his right hand would count as he mouthed this mantras. As a little boy following him in awe, I was fascinated by the surroundings. Those dragon flies flitting about were hypnotizing; perhaps that quietly munching cow would charge; a cat meows, jumps on a low wall and scurries; a tribe of monkeys screeched in the trees; those naga (snake) stone in the fields tilted as they stood guard over centuries. I’d follow quietly. Continue reading “Hanumant Devasthan, Bhatkal”

Shingnāpur Temple to Shani (Saturn)

pics of saturn and earth, article by Arun ShanbhagSaturn has an outsized effect on the Earth; screen grab from Sky Walk app on iPhone

The gravitational pull of the moon causes the seas and oceans to bulge outwards resulting in tides, which affect all life on earth in dramatic ways. (Note: Latest research shows Moon phases also affect sleep cycles in Humans.) Vedic astrology (Jyotish) asserts that the nearby nine celestial bodies and phenomena also have unique effects on humans on earth. Thus Hindus recognize and respect the nine celestial phenomena (Navagraha) at the beginning of all Hindu pujas (religious services).
Continue reading “Shingnāpur Temple to Shani (Saturn)”

Aśṭa Vināyak – Pilgrimage to Eight Gaṇeśa Temples – A Photo Essay

Pics from AstaVinayak Tirth Yatra Maharashtra by Arun Shanbhag 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. Continue reading “Aśṭa Vināyak – Pilgrimage to Eight Gaṇeśa Temples – A Photo Essay”

Krishna Janmashtami – Shri Krishna Muth Udupi

Murti of Udupi Shri Krishna with Alankar during Paryaya

Greetings for Krishna Janmashtami!

The Shri Krishna Muth in Udupi, Karnataka was founded by Sant Madhvāchārya, a Vaishnava Saint (1238-1317) who also propounded the Dvaita philosophy of Vedanta.
Continue reading “Krishna Janmashtami – Shri Krishna Muth Udupi”

Break at a Marathi Village

During our AstaVinayak (Eight Sacred Ganapati Temples) tour, we stopped at a roadside eatery in rural Maharashtra. After a simple meal (roti & sabzi for us, yogurt and rice for Meera), I ambled over to the village square. Continue reading “Break at a Marathi Village”

Monks at the Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal

In an ancient stone portico (bhojan mandap) outside the Pashupatinath Temple (Kathmandu, Nepal), several sanyasinis (female monks) were resting and enjoying meals. Here donors arrange free meals for monks and the needy. Loved the colors.
Continue reading “Monks at the Pashupatinath Temple, Nepal”

Visiting the Daulatabad Fort at Deogiri

Daulatabad Fort, India Arun ShanbhagDaulatabad, 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. Continue reading “Visiting the Daulatabad Fort at Deogiri”

Chinmaya Maruti; New Year Greetings 2011

Picture of Hanuman Maruti by Arun Shanbhag


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

Continue reading “Chinmaya Maruti; New Year Greetings 2011”

Diwali: Madurai Meenakshi Temple

photos of Lighting Oil Lamps at the Meenakshi Temple Madurai by Arun Shanbhag
Lighting Oil Lamps at the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai

On this joyous Diwali,
Wishing you and all your loved ones
God’s amazing grace.

Coz, with it comes
Peace, Good Health and Success!

Happy Diwali
Meera, M & A


Continue reading “Diwali: Madurai Meenakshi Temple”

Hindu Temple Chicago

Picture Hindu Temple Chicago Rama Temple Lemont

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!
Continue reading “Hindu Temple Chicago”

Chai Time Two

photo of Chai Time at Ramnath Devasthan Goa by Arun Shanbhag

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, lifted the saucer to his lips and slurped. Continue reading “Chai Time Two”

Goa: Visiting Ramnathi

Pictures of Rice fields at Ramnathi Devasthan, Goa by Arun Shanbhag
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 Continue reading “Goa: Visiting Ramnathi”

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