Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Reclining Lord @ SriRangapatna

Eternal Reclining Lord

Part of the Pancharanga (litreally 5 Rangas) places, this is the first point of the pilgrimage to devout Vaishanavites. Hence the Lord is also known as Adi Ranga.

 About the temple
The temple is a delight to look. As you approach from the road, its imposing Gopuram welcomes you afar with a sense of Grandeur. As you go closer, the grandeur becomes more magnificient.

Said to have been constructed by local Ganga chieftan, Later, The Hoysala kings, Vijayanagar Emperors and Hyder Ali made additional expansions to the temple. The Hoysala kings, Mysore Wodeyar kings and the kings of Vijayanagara have contributed a lot towards the expansion of the temple structure., Tipu Sultan is also said to be a devotee of the Lord despite being a Muslim.He is said to have built secret tunnels from his palace to the temple. Archeological Survey Of India recently discovered four of them. 

The Lord

Here, Lord Vishnu gives darshan in his Ranganatha form. Shown sleeping upon the Adisesha(eternal serpent) with Cauvery at his feet rather than his usual consort Lakshmi and Bhoo devi.

Situated on the island formed by Kaveri river, this temple lies 15 kms north of Mysore city. Ranganathaswamy idol of this temple is the largest Ranganathaswamy idol in the entire state of Karnataka. The main entrance of the temple has four pillars sculpted with 24 forms of Lord Vishnu. It was constructed during Vijayanagara period. Apart from this, most of the pillars of this temple are in the unique Hoysala style. You know, the pillars of Hoysala kings are always unique and stylish. In front of the main shrine you can find the ancient monolithic Garuda stambha of Vijayanagara period. The temple tower (Rajagopura) which is visible from almost any part of the town has stunning figure and it is architecturally very beautiful.





The temple is big in size with big prakara (corridor surrounding the temple) and big complex wall surrounding the temple complex.The pillared hall inside the temple. Interesting fact is that there are two mandapas. The front one is plain one while the interior looks quite ornate.


The Sanctum Sanctorum was supposed to be constructed by a dancer named Ambi nearly 1000 years ago. However this story is not authenticated but you can hear from various people in the town.

The Lord Sri Rangatha is resting on the Adisesha in eternal Yoga state. the centerpiece is 4.5m-long reclining statue and carved in a single soap stone. Ranganayaki Thaayaar is enshrined in the north west corner of the temple



Reaching the Place

Cauvery in Spate during Monsoon
 Travel to Mysore by bus or trains from all parts of the country. few trains stop at the SriRangapatna Station which is at the backside of the temple. You can walk from the station. Its hardly 200 mts from the station

Srirangapatna as such does not have so many monuments / places of interest. So a couple of hours is enough to cover all the important places. Srirangapatna is actually an island, formed by the Cauvery, which splits into two and then rejoins at a place called Sangam. The western part of the island (divided by the Bangalore Mysore Highway) houses the Lord Rangatha, the eastern part houses the Goddess Nimishamba.I shall write about it soon.






Nadi Narasimha@ChikkaMallur...Break from Monotony


Coconut and Boon Giving Lord at Chennapatna



This is a nondescript temple situated in the paddy fields in village of Chikkaamallur. The temple is situated on the banks of Kanva River (though this is dried up now) and is dedicated to Lord Narasimha. Yes the temple is next to the village (DoddaMallur) where the famous BenneKrishna temple is located. I have written an article on this earlier. This is situated on the other side of the main road...towards the western side. You may have to walk or take a rickshaw to reach to this temple. The walk would be great as it is hardly 1 KM through the paddy and sugarcane fields.

We went to this temple on August 31st 2013, as it was saturday and shravan, we decided to do some pilgrimage for punya (Merit) and atoning of daily corporate sins.  



 How to reach: Take the road opposite to Krishna Temple and reach till you get an T intersection. Take to your right and at the far end the temple is visible. The walk is really good for your lungs as fresh air floats around and for your legs also. We decided to walk to this temple and chanced upon few juicy sugarcane's to munch...ouch my teeth. I a city bump, used to eating all junk food. Well, i ignored my pain and munched through the cane. Yep..it was delicious. My wife laughed all the way to temple at my ordeal.Thanks to her, she was carrying a pain killer. Pop goes the medicine and the pain.

I left my city nuisance behind and in this quiet nature trove, i enjoyed my walk upto the temple. This was the month of Shravan( August - September 2013) and fortunately it was the last Saturday of the Month. The village feast was in its last stages and we arrived a bit late as locals were serving sumptuous lunch and almost cleaning up. we were offered with the holy prasad which we said we will partake later. Immense patience the village folks have. They waited we returned from darshan of the Lord.

Serving Lunch...
About the Temple.

The temple is a small and is dedicated to Lord Narasimha. 

The pic is shown below. It was a pleasing Lord who grants boons to people. As per available records, the temple is dated to the 11th century which makes it 1000 years old. Renovated about hundred years ago, this temple as it stands on the river, hence the name Nadi(River) Narasimha. The temple has a single canopy or Mukuta and the main door faces the river. you will have to take the side door to enter. An underground passage is said to existed which is now unfortunately closed. This passage leads to the town of Abbur where formerly Kings used to live. They used the underground passages during turmoil periods to have darshan of the Lord.


 

Lord Narasimha with his Consort

Local says that the Lord will grant boons and blessings after visiting and tying a unhusked coconut to the temple. Childless couples, Unmarried folks are said to have been blessed by the Lord. Locals believe that if you tie the coconut, one should wait for 18 days and daily pray to Lord Narasimha. After 18 days, you should revisit and remove your coconut. One should make coconut prasadam after obtaining blessings from the priest


We circumbulated the temple and decided to partake the sumptuous food that was awaiting us. We were happy and astonished that Lord made efforts to give us prasadam. Having taken the darshan of the Lord and had the tasty BisiBele Bath, we started our way back to main road. This time, the Lord took pity on us and arranged transport. A fellow devotee had come in a car offered to drop us back to Chennapatna. We thanked him (Lord Narasimha in disguise..my wife would say) for his gesture. We then impromptu decided to visit Lord at Sringrangapatna in his Reclining form...(wait for my post) 

Benne Krsina Temple in a distance can be seen while coming back. NH7 is close to the temple.




Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Jyotirling Darshan of Vaidyanath @ Parli Maharashtra


History


Rebuilt by the Great Lady of Indian Temples, Ahilyabai Holkar, Parli Vaidyanath is home to India’s 12 Jyotirlings. 

A simple non discreet town away from the hustle and bustle in the middle of Beed district, lies this famous Jyotirling dedicated to Lord Shiv in form of Lord Vaidyanath.  This Interior region of Maharashtra lies this beautiful temple, simple, calm and does not get crowded. Tucked from Parbhani at 120 kms away, Parli Vaijnath is a circuitry  path of Jyotirlings in Maharashtra. 

This is a highly disputed and contested Jyotirling. The other claimants are Baba Dham at Deogarh and Baidyanath at Himachal Pradesh. Each has its own arguments for its claims. I thought of using a simple logic to find out which is the correct one.

However, I am planning to visit the other two also when time and Lord Shiv permits. Ahilyabai Holkar rebuilt many Jyotirling Temples after the Aurangzeb’s scourge. She rebuilt the temples at Somnath, Kasi, Srisailam, Grishneshwar, this Parli temple, nearby Nagnath Jyotirling, the Tryambakesh, Ujjain, etc. 

Kedarnath and Rameshwaram did not bear the brute of Aurangzeb. 

Using this method, the two claimants are not to be seen. However, to be fair to people’s sentiments and beliefs, we can also considering visiting the other Jyotirlings. Lord Shiv is not limited to these numbers of Jyotirlings. He who is all pervasive and omnipresent, is not confined to the above places.

Travel.

September 14th 2013 we decided to go this temple. Having planned to visit it for some time, we  finally made it
From Hyderabad we took the Aurangabad Passenger at 8.30 in night from Nampally Station. Me, my wife Aparna and Parents decided to go to Parli Vaidyanath as this could be covered over in an overnight journey. We dilly dallied between Srisailam and Parli Vaidyanath. As Srisailam was often visited spot, we decided to opt for the latter. We booked trains in very short notice and left on Friday night. We reached Parli next day morning at 8.00 am.
The town is very small and there are hardly any lodges in town, let alone hotels. after quick tea at the station, we took a rick to the temple. The temple is situated on a hillock and my wife was surprised to see the massive growth of this sleepy town. Last time she was here a decade ago, it was a falling apart village. It was now transformed into a small town. We quickly took the rooms of the Devasthan provided rooms. Clean and tidy but not very great. We fortunately had hot water and beds looked rickety. We were to return back in evening, we did not mind the same.

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The Temple.


IMG_20130914_110554The temple is situated on a hillock and accessible from south and north gates. The pictures show the temple entrance and flight of steps. The temple is small but has a very nice calm and cool atmosphere. The temple was in ruins before Ahilyabai Holkar had it repaired and reconstructed. Constructed of black granite, this imposing structure had its own magnitude to it.Smaller than Tryambekeshwar but very serene, calm soothing atmosphere prevails.

  

The Rudra Abhishekam and the Priest.

In all Jyotirlingam temples, you can perform abhishekam except the Rameshwaram. In Rameshwaran due to south’s typical agama shastra principles, they do not allow to do the Abhishekam. Rest of Jyotirling temples, one can do dhuli abhishek to Lord Shiva.
A small entrance warning us to remove the footwear and soon we were confronted by a temple priest offering us to perform Abhishek to the Jyotirling. This is a perennial problem across temples in most of Indian Temples. In south you do not find this problem of priests accosting you and also cheating. The temple authorities were in cahoots with the priests. The ticket counter fellow made it quite clear about the things. We decided to go with the flow and fortunately we negotiated a good deal with the panda who bought tickets for abhishekam and brought rest of the pooja items form nearby shop (its a racket out there, but a decent one(pun intended) unlike other places) . We were usherd in the main courtyard of the temple. The temple main hall had a very nice wooden Mantap constructed and nice nandi’s gauarding the door 

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We entered the main sanctum sanctorum and our priest led us to one extreme corner so that we could perform the abhishek in a very nice manner. The main idol is as shown above. When our turn came, our priest recited the shuddhi pooja and then started the Rudra Abhishekam. I chanted the namakam along with him while doing the Abhishekam. In a slow and easy manner, he performed the pooja and what a joy it was. After the Srisalam where were rushed out in few minutes, I felt heaven here. We spent nearly half an hour inside the sanctum sanctorum doing the pooja unmindful of other devotees.
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Me, my wife and parents performed the Abhishekam to our utmost satisfaction. After chanting the Rudra Chamakam, I chanted the Shiv Manas Pooja. Aarti followed after coconut prasadam and soon we had to leave our beloved spot. The Lord in all his mercy granted us a very good opportunity. 
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We came out and rested for a while, posed for few photo opps and took free food coupons at the counter before we returned to our rooms. Our pooja was finished in hour and half. we returned to rooms for sound sleep before venturing out for a very delicious and sumptuous meal offered by the temple authorities.

The Prasadam


After resting for approx two hours, we left to have lunch. I was very hungry and quickly reached a simple hall kept for serving lunch. There was no much crowd for Lunch as many piligrims do the darshan of Aundh Naganth in same itinerary. Aundh Nagnath is around 120 kms from Parli.

My stomach was now crying for food and about 20 minutes it was served. What a lunch it was! Simple, maharshtrian food of Chapathi, brinjal curry and dal. I  missed my days spent in Solapur when i was working there. Good food, simple people of this hard region is what i a city bred was left in awe. Perhaps Lord Vaidyanath’s parting message was the simplicity of life he expected every one to follow.

The departure

Friday, August 16, 2013

Jyothirling Darshan of Tryambeskeshwar @ Nasik.

 

….tryambaakaya tripuranatikaya trikalaagni kaleshwaraya neelakantaya digambaraya sadashivayya sriman mahadevaya namah….

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So goes the famous line at the end of the 1st anuvakam of Sri Rudram. The lord mentioned at the start of the line is enshrined at Trayambekshwar. Legends of it being a Jyothirling is found elsewhere across the web.

Nested among the green hills of Sahaydri Mountains on the eastern face, the temple is washed by the River Godavari. It originates at Brahmagiri hill at back of the temple. The temple has a pristine calmness to it.

(The visit to this place was in 2010 January..I am posting this after a very long time)

Our route

Nasik is quite well-known place. We boarded Udayan express from Bangalore and landed next day at Pune. We were enroute to Shirdi to have Saibaba. We were to meet my in-laws there the next day. That night from Pune I took a bus to Nasik. The Maharashtra bus service was difficult to digest due to the condition of their buses. We were lucky to board the KSRTC bus coming from Belgaum in Karnataka to Nasik. The driver was great and good to chat around. Enroute 25 kms from Pune, if you take the off beaten track, one can reach another Jyotirling bheemshankar. It wasn’t part of our present itinerary; we took the info from friendly bus companions who explained about its lore and legends. We reached quite late to nasik and indebted for my friend’s family for waiting and cooking food at 12.00 am in the night. Ashtosh’s wife was a beautiful cook and her food was eaten in jiffy due to our massive hunger. Next day morning we left by bus to Tryambekeshwar. A regular bus plies between Nasik and the tryambeskhwar temple. The drive takes an hour to reach amidst the green belt of Nasik numerous school urchins made their way into the bus for morning school. With full of local lingo cacophony, it was hard for me to concentrate on Mahadev. Soon the swarm alighted at their respective schools and we reached the holy town.

Temple


It was a old Nagara style architecture rebuilt by Nanasaheb Peshwa in 17th Century. The temple is a grand design and situated at the foot hills of Brahmagiri hills The temple has main shrine enclosed in a large courtyard. the sanctum has a graceful amalaka and a golden kalasha. The Shivalingam is in a depression inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. Water usually oozes out of the depression. There are eyes to the depression. You can view it in the pic below. 

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(The above pic is the shot taken inside the temple where Nandi is kept and the holy Jyotirling)

Like many holy towns, it was dirty and unorganised…exceptions are very few…(Tirupathi for example) and soon changed from my jeans and t-shirt to dhoti and shalya.

 


Abhishekam inside the Sanctum Sanctorum

For performing abhishekam and pooja, I caught hold of the many a panda’s visible around. They ran around us for doing pooja. I caught hold of one Panda and requested him to make me perform abhishekam inside the jyotirling. He did the sankalpa outside and took me inside the sanctum sanctorum after changing into Dhoti. I chanted Sri Rudram and concluded by doing the abhishekam. The poojari was in a hurry as 12 noon was approaching and they had to have naivedya (food offering) for the Lord. The three holes represent, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar. You have to put all your fingers in each hole to feel the lingam.

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soon after the Abhishekam was performed we went by walk to Kushwati Pond where the Godavri emerges out from the hills.

Kusawati PondMe and my wifeKuswati Pond. I am having a Dip

The Kushavarta thirtha is a tank with flights of steps on all sides, with pillared aisles with highly ornate arches. This is considered to be the holiest of all the thirthas here, and is believed to be the spot where Gowtama Rishi finally secured Ganga on earth by spreading the Kusha or the Darba grass around her. after having a dip in the temple we decided to head back to the main temple. On the way we decided not to climb the Brahmagiri Hill as we had to head back to Shirdi( i shall post this in my next post)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Benne Krishna (Navneetha Krishna) @ Dodamallur

'Jagadodharana maganendu thiliyutha Sugunatha rangana adisidalesode...
nigamakE silukada agaNita mahimana magugaLa mANikyana ADisidaLa yashOde
aNOraNIyana mahatO mahImana apramEyana ADisidaLa yashOde  '




  This famous composition by Saint Bard Purandaradasa is said to be have sung by the great Singer at this temple. The Lord's name here at the temple is literally mentioned by Purandaradasa in his second charana as i have highlighted.
Ahoy... Lord Aprameya


The original temple is originally thought being constructed by Cholas (which i have some doubts? but later highly modified by Hoyasala and Vijayanagara Kings. This is because the image of Vishnu in Ramapreya pose is distictly Hoysala style with richly decorated Prabhavali, conch and shankh. The Main Gopuram however resembles the Vijayanagar style. The temple Shikaram is in early Chola Style. This shows how the land passed between successive rulers who have added to the beauty of the place.

There is a main hall from gopuram shown below here and the various other dieties to your right. As with every Vishnu Temple, you would find few Alvars also here. As you enter, you would find the main hall with pillars and to you left the above alwars.

It was Saturday of 2nd August 2013 when we visited this famous temple. Situated about 62 km from Bangalore on road to Mysore. We left Konanakunte at 7.00 am and took the nice road and touched Mysore road at 7.20 am. A good refill of petrol tank on the way ensured we reached our destination. A major accident near Bidadi slowed us down. Once the traffic begun to move, we decided to speed up a bit to recover lost ground as we had to travel to Srinrangapatna also. we reached at 8.45 am to the  temple. The crowds were few and we were told that if we could wait longer, we could have special darshan of the Navneetha Krishna covered in butter. This seva is very rare and the Krishna is specially decorated if there are any donors for the seva. It costs about Rs 750.
The idol of Krishna is very enchanting.
after having done our seva to Lord Ramapreya, we had darshan of Goddess Anandavalli. Ananadavalli was truly anada. Pleasantly smiling as ever, we had our share of blessings before moving to have the Darshan of Navneetha Krishna. The temple is popularly known as Navneetha Krishna or Benne Krishna(Butter in Kannada is Benne). We waited for deep breath to have darshan of the lord. We waited with anticipated breath to have the darshan of the Lord. The idol of Navneetha Krishna is like crawling baby holding butter. The priest told us that this a very good and auspicious occasion to have the darshan as it is very rarely done. This seva is not performed during Dhanur Mas as the month is reserved for abhishekms etc. I could hardly capture the lord quickly with the priest not noticing. Altough photography of the lord is not allowed, i could not help but take a small pic with my mobile phone of this enchanting idol. Soon as the doors were opened.

Benne Krishna
Behold the lord covered in Butter (made of cow,s milk) and also holding one. He was looking at us very graciously and immediately i hummed the Purandardasa's above  kirthi 'Jagadhodharana' in my own style.

After spending and contemplating on the beautiful alankara, we decided to come back during Janmashtami for darshan.

I made my own song impromptu to him and sang a few lines. It was mix of telugu and kannada and few sining few stanzas which I hope he likes, I left further to his Seshasayana Place...Sringapatna. I will write on Sringapatna in my next Blog.





Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Yoga Narasimha - Lord in eternal Pleasant form @ Melukote

Yoga Narasimha Temple
Even today, take the name of Shiva in this town and people would stare at you with frightening glare. This is a Vaishnavite town, made famous by none other than the great Philosopher Saint Ramanujacharya. This was the place he found refuge from the Shaivite Kings of the Tamil Nadu..particularly the Cholas. The Hoyasala Kings gave him protection here. Those were the days when Savism and Vasishnavism were two separate religions and not joined as today. There are some stupid fellows around who would still fight around, especially folk from my Brahmin Community. The Seer however sought no difference between the observing deities, it was common people who fell to political intrigue and chauvinism.

Place :
Melkote is situated in Mandya district. Its very close to Mysore. around 60 kms from Mysore, this temple is in serene environment. far from maddening crowd of Bangalore.

Melkote is famous for its twin temples. One is the famous Yoga Narasimha temple on the hill. Narasimha another form of Lord Vishnu. The second is the CheluvaNarayana temple within the temple town. A ancient temple of roughly 500 years old, this temple has some of the wonderful architecture.

 The temple is small and you have to take a flight of 100 odd irregular steps to hill. you will find fruit sellers, flower vendors doing brisk business by the day.




We went early in morning at 9.00 am the crowds were less and steps were very precarious. It was raining and it made it more slippery to climb. There are railings to catch on when you climb. it is not the climb i am terrified of but the climb down. As you climb, the gopuram becomes more and more magnificent. from afar, it looks as if you are walking into a lion's mouth. such has been the design that as you reach near the temple door, you feel safe and welcomed. Lord Narasimha in his belevont grace has sat in yogic position here. You take a turn at the gopuram, where flight of steps take into the temple, couple of turns around the garbha grihs, you face the Lord.

For me, it was absolute delight to have darshan of the lord. A small token of respect (of course little bit of dakshina in monetary form) to priest will make you richer. he will take you closer to lords inner sanctum and have special prayers said for you. After the darshan, i took a flight of steps to see the cave where Prahalad did his tapas.

The stone hill on which the temple stands, is quite huge. Its breezy always and you can catch the breathtaking panaromic view of the village and farm fields. from the top you look at the Kalyani or official pond of the temple. it is near the flight of steps to the temple.

The CheluvaNarayana Temple is in the midst of the town. ChelvaNarayana was the chief diety of the Hoysala Kings and Saint Ramanuja spent nearly 15 years at this temple before returning to Srirangam after the atrocities by Cholas declined. The Wodeyar kings gifted a golden crown to the diety and Tipu Sultan gifted elephants to the temple. Unlike who say Tipu Sultan being hatred towards Hindus and temples, here is the classic example of that being refuted. (you can read details about the Lord and his crown elsewhere in the internet)
Lord Cheluvu Narayana
 In one of the pillars of the  temple, is the exact replica miniature sculpture of Lord Yoganarasimha. people who could not have darshan of the Lord on the hill,can have it here.there wold be around 50 pillars and each pillar is differently carved in design and wonder.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

MadhyaRanga @ Shimisha.





Cavery cuts herself to form the island at Simisha. This is island of temples.  This river island at boasts of the famous Madhya Ranganathswamy Temple part of the Trinity of Ranagatha Swamy temples.
This is the smallest of the three Ranga Temples. Part of 108 divya desams of staunch Vaishnavities, the three on three different islands form the holy trinity of Ranganatha Temples. All three reside on Islands. The first one is at Srirangapatna called Adi Ranganatha and the last and famous one at Srirangam Island again on Kaveri river called the Antya Ranganatha temple. 




Since this temple sits in between the two, its also known as Madhay ranga. Less ornate and looks like the least visited temple’s of the trio. It’s a simple basic  temple with large hall and the main diety.
The local priest was on his siesta evening and had to literally shake him up to perform pooja for the idol.
With fellow devotees around, I found this to be the best darshan of Lord Ranganatha Swamy in his eternal nidra mudra pose.

Flanked by Bhudevi and Laksmi ever serving at his feet, the Lord gives blessing to this sleepy temple village.

 Another  small but Shiva Temple is just ahead of this temple. Both of them were quite serene and very peaceful. A very old structure, it boasts of being 2000 year old (doubtful). 



The Nandi here is quite strange. Normally Nandi sits in front of the Shivalinga, here it sits at a side facing him like any other devotee. When asked why, the priest had no logical explanation. He said, it has been so for many centuries.