Banyan Tree at Sitā Cave, Panchavati

Panchavati gets its name from the five giant banyan trees making up the forested area where Shri Rām, Sitā and Lakshman spent a large portion of their exile. This is the first of the five banyan trees situated in front of the Sitā Gufa (Sitā cave) where she spent a lot of time during her exile.

There is a tiny cave where you can slither along, but I wimped out and waited outside while the rest of the family did the honors.

Ram Navami – battle against terror continues

Frieze of Shri Ram killing Ravana at the Khetapai Narayana Temple in Bhatkal by Arun Shanbhag

Wishing All
A Wonderful Rām Navamī
Bliss in Śri Rām’s Grace

M&m and A


The frieze above is from the outer wall of Khetapai Narayan Temple in Bhatkal, which I recently visited. This tiny stone temple was built ca 1546 when Konkani traders escaped Portuguese persecution in Goa and settled in Bhatkal. The Bhatkal port had become the primary port for trade by the Vijayanagar empire with its capital in Hampi. Continue reading “Ram Navami – battle against terror continues”

Celebrating Rām Navami

photo of 13th century Chola Bronze at Arthur Sackler Museum, Harvard by Arun Shanbhag
Gosvami Tulsidas Ramcharitamanas Ramayana Śri Rām Navami


The Divine Consciousness – manifest or unmanifest, there is no difference
So chant Sages, Puranas, Buddha and Veda.

That which has no attributes, is formless, unseen and unborn
Manifests itself (as Sri Ram) purely out of love for his devotees.


Wishing All
Bliss in Śri Rām’s Grace

M&m and A


Continue reading “Celebrating Rām Navami”

Shri Rām: The Holy Name

Shri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram japa mantra by Arun Shanbhag
For city bred siblings, summering at our grand parents’ home in Bhatkal was essential nirvana. In the orchard we tied strings to dragon flies and watched them jet away. We foraged for bird eggs in old trees. With sling shots we brought down mangoes, not because our aim was any good, but because the trees were laden with fruit. Listening to abbu (grandpa) in his pharmacy store, we learnt a smattering of Kannada and many more swear words. On dark nights without power, gazillion fireflies flickering on mud walls, guided us home. Continue reading “Shri Rām: The Holy Name”

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”

Rām Navami: A Tribute to Rām

Frieze of Hanuman paying tribute to Ram, Lakshman & Sita in Hampi by Arun Shanbhag
Frieze of Hanuman paying tribute to Ram, Lakshman & Sita on Hemakuta, Hampi

shri ramachandra charanau manasa smaraami
shri ramachandra charanau vachasa gruNaami
shri ramachandra charanau SHirasa namaami
shri ramachandra charanau SHaranam prapadhyae

On Rama’s feet I meditate
With words I praise
With lowered head I pray
At Rama’s feet I seek refuge!

Continue reading “Rām Navami: A Tribute to Rām”

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