Ramabhar Stupa,Kushinagar Lord Buddha’s Cremation site

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Ramabhar Stupa Kushinagar Lord Buddha’s Cremation site .

It is said that Lord Buddha died at the age of Eighty One years, on a full moon night . It is believed that  Lord  Buddha’s complexion became prodigiously brilliant both on eve of his Enlightenment and Nirvana. After the Mid night,Lord Buddha called up his disciples thrice, and asked if there were any confusions remaining with regard to the Buddhist doctrine. Receiving silence as reply, Buddha gave the famous advice “impermanence is inherent in all things. Work out your own salvation with diligence”. After this last sermon Lord Buddha entered Mahaparinirvana through meditation, the monks spent the rest of the night discussing the Dhamma. Over the next few days, the Mallas made elaborate preparations for the cremation of the Buddha’s body, and then on the seventh day the body was taken out of the town to the Makuta Bandhana Shrine and cremated.

Ramabhar Stupa , the Cremation site of Lord Buddha, Kushinagar

Ramabhar Stupa , the Cremation site of Lord Buddha, Kushinagar

It is said that the pyre was not burnt until Mahakashyapa, the great disciple of Lord Buddha, arrived and when he stepped into the cremation ground, the pyre burnt automatically. Surprisingly, only the skull bone, teeth and the inner and outer burial garment remained after the cremation,  the holy relics had to be divided into eight folds and eight great Stupas were built to house them. These relics were yet again subdivided, when Emperor Ashoka decided to build 84,000 Stupas,  the relics are contained in many Stupas.

Buddhist Monk at Ramabhar Stupa , Kushinagar

Buddhist MonkatRamabhar Stupa ,Kushinagar

Hirannavati River , near Ramabhar Stupa
Bank of Hirannavati River  near Ramabhar Stupa

Ramabhar Stupa, measuring a height of 49 feet, is the place where the Lord Buddha was cremated. This Stupa is mentioned as Mukut-Bandhan Vihar in ancient Buddhist transcripts.

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Matha Kuar Shrine, Kushinagar

Matha Kuar Shrine – by the side of the road is  a colossal statue of Buddha locally called Matha Kuar.  The statue measures 3.05 meter in height and this carved out one block of blue stone of Gaya region to represent Gautam  Buddha seated under the Bodhi Tree in a pose known as the Bhumsparsva Mudra   which symbolically expresses the supreme moment in the  Gautam’s  life just before his enlightenment to  become the Buddha , when He called upon the earth to bear witness to the pities performed by him in his previous birth.

Blue Stone Lord Buddha statue Bhumi Sparsh Mudra

Blue Stone Lord Buddha statue Bhumi Sparsh Mudra

During Buddha’s lifetime, Kushinara ( Kushinagar), as it was then called, was a small town in the kingdom of the Mallas, surrounded by a thick forest cover. It remained forgotten until the late nineteenth century, when archaeologists rediscovered the site, and began excavations.

The inscription at the base of statue is dates back to the 10th or 11th Century A.D. The name of the Stupa implies the “dead prince”. The statue was found by the Archaeologist Carlleyle in late 1870s, as broken pieces, after the statue  being restored the temple was built by Myanmar pilgrims in 1927 to shelter the statue.

 

Information on stone plate

Information on Stone Plate

This place is  is also believed to be the one where Lord Buddha delivered his last sermon.

 

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Kushinagar, Maha Parinirvana of Lord Buddha

The Kushinagar was founded by the Kusha the son of Lord Ram of epic Ramayana the king of Ayodhya , it was then known as Kushavati. It is located on the banks of river Hiranayavati , this place was also a capital of Malla Kings during the Lord Buddha’s time. This place can be reached from Varanasi or Gorakhpur by road

Lord Buddha prior to his death spent his days many times as most of the Malla’s Kings were his admirers.

Lord Buddha decided to spent his last days at Kushinagar because of many reasons (a) It was the proper venue for preaching of the Mahá-Sudassana Sutta  (b) Subahadra  a 120 year-old Brahmin who, after getting attracted to Buddha’s speech, expressed his desire to join the Sangha, and is believed to be the last monk to be ordained by the Buddha and became  an Arahant  (c) Brahaman Dona lived here who was respected a lot, sorted the dispute of distribution of relics after Lords cremation .

Mahaparinivana temple and Stupa

Mahaparinivana temple and Stupa

According to a late tradition, one-eighth of the Buddha’s relics were deposited in a cairn in Kushinara  by the Mallas Travelling in stages via Pava where he ate his last meal, offered by the blacksmith Cunda, he reached the final resting-place at the Saala grove by the bank of river Hiranyawati  in Kushinagar, it was  the full moon day   (Vaisakh Purnima) in 543 BC. He told Ananda   to prepare a bed for him with its head turned towards the north between two Saal trees The Buddha was lying on his right side  with his head to the north when he breathed his last, his body was taken into the town by the northern gate and out through the eastern gate , After the cremation, the relics were divided into eight equal portions by the Brahmin Dona, who distributed them to eight clans. (1) King Ajatasattu of Magadha (2) The Licchavis of Veshali (3) The Sakyans of Kapilavatthu (4) The Bulians of Allakappa (5)  The Koliyans of Ramagama (6) The Mallas of Pava (7) The Brahman of Vethadipa (8) The Mallas of Kushinagar , the Urn was kept by the Dona himself ,by the time  the Mayurans of Pipphalavana  arrived the distribution was done so they took the ashes , these people on their way to respective place raised eight Stupas for the relics, a ninth for the Urn, and a tenth for the ashes.

Lord Buddha's Ashes were distributed under this tree

Lord Buddha’s Ashes were distributed under this tree

The place of lord Buddha’s death,  became one of the four holy places declared by the Buddha to be  places of pilgrimage for the pious.

The significance of this region is also due to being Link – route  of ancient highways, among them were important highways Ayodhya – Janakpur (Bihar), Rajgrih – Vaishali – Shrawasti, Maharshi Valmiki’s Ashram, Ashoka, the great Mauryas, Pillars routes, passing through this district.

The remains of the Parinirvana Stupa and Parinirvana Temple, when rediscovered, were covered in a 40 foot high mound of bricks surrounded by a dense thorny forest ,  around 1861–1862 it was suggested the site to be that of Gautama Buddha’s decease. Although no decisive evidence was found to prove  supposition that the site known at  Matha  Kuar Ka Kot  was Kushinara , a series of monastic seals with the Sanskrit legend Mahaparinivane caturdiso Bhiksumghah were taken to show that by the late Gupta period the site was understood to be that of the Buddha’s last breathed  .

Lord Buddha breathed his last at this place

Lord Buddha breathed his last at this place

Kushinagar was a capital city of the Malla kingdom of ancient India . Many of the ruined stupas and viharas at Kushinagar date back to 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD when  prosperity was at its peak.

This region was an ideal ‘Meditation Place’ for sages, saints hermits and Mahatamas who were attracted by its pious. tranquil and charming natural surroundings.  Archeological excavation has yielded rich collection of antiquities. Artistic artifacts and statues of various gods and goddesses.

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Kushinagar, Kushinara, Buddhist Temples city

Kushinagar , Kushinara as the Buddhists call it  or Kushawati as it was known in the ancient time , this city has mentions in the epic Ramayana as city established by one of  Lord Ram’s twin sons the Kusha , it  was also the seat of power of Malla’s kings .

Situated on the banks of river Hiranyavati the lord Gautam Buddha breathed his last ( the Parinirwana) and also deliver his last sermon.

Most of the ruined Stupas,Viharas were of a period 5th BC when its prosperity  use to be at peak .

 

Entrance Gate Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

Entrance Gate Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

The present Stupas and Vihars are constructed after the 1904-05 AD excavations carried out by British officers of Archaeological Survey of India and unearth rich wealth of Buddhist materials .

Maahaprinirvana Temple Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

Mahaprinirvana Temple Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

The Mahaparinirwana is the place where Lord Buddha breathed his last , lying between the two Saal trees , head towards North .

Thai Buddhist Temple at Kushinagar

Thai Buddhist Temple at Kushinagar

 

Myanmar Buddhist Temple Kushnagar

Myanmar Buddhist Temple Kushnagar

 

Beautiful gate at Myanmar Pagoda, Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

Beautiful gate at Myanmar Pagoda, Kushinagar , Kushinara , India

 

Lin Son Myanmar Buddhist Temple, Kushinagar, India

Lin Son Myanmar Buddhist Temple, Kushinagar, India

 

 

Chinese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar India

Chinese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar India

 

Japanese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar, India

Japanese Buddhist Temple , Kushinagar, India

 

Korean Buddhist Temple Kushinagar, Kushinara, India

Korean Buddhist Temple Kushinagar, Kushinara, India

 

Bell at Mahaprinivana Temple complex

Bell at Mahaprinivana Temple complex

 

Gold foils pasted by pilgrims at Ramabhar Stupa

Gold foils pasted by pilgrims at Ramabhar Stupa the cremation site of Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha was cremated on the banks of river  Hiranyavati

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Rani Rupmati’s Mosque|Ahemdabad

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Rani Rupmati’s Mosque was constructed during the period of 1430 to 1440 AD by Sultan Mohammad Begada, the princess of Dhar who married the Sultan of Ahmedabad , it is an oldest mosque of the city. The special features of this mosque represents a blend of Hindu and Muslim Popularly known as Masjid-e-Nagina .

Rani Rupmati's Mosque , Ahemdabad

Rani Rupmati’s Mosque , Ahemdabad

Its Architecturecmakes it stand out above all others. Its impressive domes, carved galleries and tall minarates. The three domes are duly supported by twelve pillars each, the one in the central position has openings for natural light which illuminates the mosque.The ceiling of the dome is beautified with the Hindu style patterns.

 

The combination of Hindu and Islamic patterns , Rupmati's Mosque

The combination of Hindu and Islamic patterns , Rupmati’s Mosque

The side entrances in the mosque open out in balcony windows on either side and end in a lattice window.

Rani Rupmati's mosque , Jali and Jharokha , Ahemdabad

Rani Rupmati’s mosque , Jali and Jharokha , Ahemdabad

Rani Rupvati's mosque , patterns of Hindu and Islamic designs

Rani Rupvati’s mosque , patterns of Hindu and Islamic designs

 

The mausoleum built to the northeast of the mosque, considered to be that of Rani Rupmati, has a higher central part supported by 12 pillars and lower corridors surrounding it. The mausoleum built to the northeast of the mosque, considered to be that of Rani Rupmati,  It is a building on a square plan , the four corners of the roofs of the corridors, there are four small domes.

Tomb of Rani Rupvati within the mosque complex

Tomb of Rani Rupvati within the mosque complex

One can visit any time except for the prayer time when only muslims for prayers gather here , parking is a problem here as it is located near a market and busy road .

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Adalaj Step Well | Vav | Ahmedabad

Adalaj Step well or Adalaj Ni Vav is an artistic intricately carved is five stories deep building at a water point in Ahmedabad, the construction was started by Waghela Chieftain Veer Singh of Dandai Desh but completed by Mohamad Begda in 1499 AD for Queen Rani Rupmati or Roop Ba wife of  Waghela  Veer Singh .

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step well, Three side entrance and Octagonal opening Ahmadabad

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step well, Three side entrance and Octagonal opening Ahmadabad

Western India has always suffered from scarcity of water. So, the local rulers used to protect the water reservoirs by building a large structure around them with steps to descend to the water source .

It is different from other step wells , it is the only one with three entrance stairs , all three stairs meet at the first level, underground in a big square platform, which has an octagonal opening on top. Pillars and beams at all five levels are beautifully carved , it is seventy five meters long built by using local available red sandstone in Hindu and Islamic style.

Adalaj Ni Wav, Supporting beams at first floor, Ahmadabad

Adalaj Ni Wav, Supporting beams at first floor, Ahmadabad

The legend is when Mohd. Begda defeated and killed the Waghela Veer Singh in a battle he took over the kingdom and send a marriage proposal to his Queen Rupmati , the queen accepted it and told him to wait until the Vav is completed , the day it was completed she circumambulated the step well with prayers and jumped into the well , before she died, Rani Roopba requested religious saints to take bath in this step well to get rid of her sins and the step well gets purified by these saints .

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step Well , Supporting beams and brackets, Ahmdabad

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step Well , Supporting beams and brackets, Ahmadabad

It is constructed in a way that there is good natural light and ventilation openings at different levels.

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step Well , carved stone beams and pillars

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step Well , carved stone beams and pillars

The water level keeps on changing with the rainfall in the surrounding area , the stairs at fifth level are chiseled out of the rock in a rectangular water tank . The temperature inside the well is about five degrees lower than the outside hot summer temperatures .

Adalaj Ni Wav, Step well , water point with chiseled stairs

Adalaj Ni Wav, Step well ,water point with chiseled stairs

Water here is still used for auspicious ceremonies by the villagers living near by and come here for religious rituals. There is enough space at each level to accommodate people in large number.

Adalaj Ni Wav, Step Well, Stone carved shelf , Ahmadabad

Adalaj Ni Wav, Step Well, Stone carved shelf , Ahmadabad

The motifs of flowers and graphics of Islamic architecture blend very well with the symbols of Hindu and Jain gods carved at various levels of the well. The dominant carvings on the upper floors are of elephants .

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step well, Stone carved Kalpvriksh , Ahmadabad

Adalaj Ni Wav , Step well, Stone carved Kalpvriksh , Ahmadabad

There is no entry fee and plenty of parking place available around it.

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Tiger Sighting in the Wild at Ranthambhore Rajasthan

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Planing a holiday to visit a Ranthambhore Wildlife Sanctuary?

Here are few simple steps which will help you to make sure you have a date with Tiger in wild .

Jogi Mahal Gate Ranthambhore Wildlife National Park

1. The Wildlife Sanctuary at Sawai Madhopur , Ranthambore , Rajasthan is among the high density in number of Tigers as compared to other 46 Tiger Sanctuaries spread all over India .

 

Canter & Jeeps in que at Ranthambhore Wildlife National Park

 2. The Ranthambore Tiger Reserve lies at the intersection of the Aravalis and the Vindhyan hill  Ranges  covered by Northern Tropical dry  forests ,  the trees shrubs shed their leaves at the end of the season in this region .

The Pug Mark , Foot Print of a Tiger

3. River Banas, a tributary of river Chambal divides this forest into two parts  one part is Kela Devi Sanctuary which is a dry Plateau and the Ranthnambore National Park, Sawai Madhopur Sanctuary and Sawai  Man Singh  Sanctuary covering approximately 530 Sq.Km. area rich in wild life  out of the 1334 Sq.Km. area The National Park  is home to over 40 species of Mammals, 300 species of Birds, 45 species of Reptiles and over 300 species of Plants .

Tiger at Ranthambhore Wildlife

4. Tigers keeps on moving in their marked area and tries to keep expanding it by leaving their scent on the tree barks and  rocks and keep protecting it from other tigers even at the cost of their life .

Female Tigress Cub , Ranthambhore Wildlife National Park

5. Register yourself online for the date and time you want to take the Jungle Safari  by Jeep or by Canter .

6. Book for minimum two or more visits in different Zones it is better to have  more than two to increases your chance in Tiger Sighting  .

7. Wear soft Green , Khaki or similar camouflage outfit , wear sunglasses and cap as there is lots of dust on the tracks .

8. Check with the driver about the route the vehicle is to take , if there were sighting in the previous day in the same or adjoining  Zone , drivers and guide follows the calls and pug marks in the direction of Tiger, listen to their instructions carefully .

9. When you sight a Tiger do not make any noise as Tiger is a shy animal it may run away in hiding, never use flash for taking a photo as it scares the animal , remain seated,  calm and give others also the opportunity to view and take photographs .

How to reach Sawai Madhopur Ranthambore 

Sawai Madhopur is a Railway Junction  on Delhi – Mumbai Western Railway main route all trains  passing on this route stops at this station as one track branches off for Jaipur from here .

It is well-connected by road State Highways from Jaipur , Agra , Kota , Bundi ,Tonk , Dausa , GangaPur City .

Nearest Airport is Jaipur , driving distance 160 km aprox 4 hrs.

Accommodation is available in form Budget category to any Star Category Hotels , Resorts and Swiss Camps .

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Aaina Mahal | Bhuj | Gujarat

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Aaina Mahal also known as Hall of Mirrors, built by Rao Lakhpat Ji in 1761 AD , it was constructed with white marble walls decorated with Gold lace and glass , mirrors are separated with gilded ornaments with shades of Venetian glass. This palace was damaged in 2001 AD earth quake but most of it is repaired and recovered .

Legend has it that the decorated architect Ram Singh Malam had devoted 17 years of his life in Europe but could not get any recognition and appreciation in there . He introduced himself  to the royal court of Bhuj and made a humble appeal to the king for work. Lakhpatji approved of his ideas and ordered the construction of the grand Aaina Mahal.

Single piece carved door arch of marble , Aaina Mahal Bhuj

Single piece carved door arch of marble , Aaina Mahal Bhuj

The erstwhile palace which belonged to Maharao Lakhpatji has now been converted into a Museum. Piece of art in itself and houses several rare paintings and collectibles from around the world. Designed in a mixed Indo-European style and made available the materials for the palace locally.

Roof support and glass doors, Aaina Mahal Bhuj

Roof support and glass doors, Aaina Mahal Bhuj

Aina Mahal Palace is a two storied building with Hall of Mirrors as the main attraction along with Darbar hall and suites for the royal family. Located on the second floor of the palace the interiors of the Hall of Mirrors will leave you spell bound.

Beautiful Chandelier , Balcony support and doors, Aaina Mahal Bhuj

Beautiful Chandelier , Balcony support and doors, Aaina Mahal Bhuj

The Aina Mahal also boasts of glass paintings of Chinese inspiration. The Palace, has an array of mirrors everywhere. Ranging from full-length to tiny half-inch circles, the mirrors promise to draw awe from people as soon they put their eyes on them.

Gold plated ceiling, floor and pillars , Aaina Mahal ,Bhuj

Gold plated ceiling, floor and pillars , Aaina Mahal ,Bhuj

The interiors of the palace exhibit the ceiling, doors and pillars which are glittered with work of mirrors and exquisite wood carvings. To add to the grandeur, there are beds with legs of gold surrounded by numerous mirrors in Baroque -style frames. The doors too were crafted from elephant tusk which boldly exclaim of the royalty of the king. The exteriors of the palace cum museum has carved doorways and extended window blocks.

Gold plated ceiling design and colored hanging lamps , Aaina Mahal Bhuj

Gold plated ceiling design and colored hanging lamps , Aaina Mahal Bhuj

 

Ivory carved door , Aaina Mahal Bhuj

Ivory carved door , Aaina Mahal Bhuj

The museum is closed on Thursday and visiting hrs. are 9:00am – 11:45am & 3:00pm – 5:45pm.

Entry ticket is Rs.10/- and Photography charges Rs.30/-

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Mandavi Beach, Vijay Vilas Palace, Kutch

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Mandavi is situated about 56 km from Bhuj  is about 400 years old city on the banks of Rukmavati river and touches the Gulf of Kutch established by the first Jadeja ruler Rao Khengar Ji , city got its name after  legendary Rishi ( Sage) Mandavya of Mahabharata  who lived here.  It was once a major port of the region and  has a very pleasant climate throughout the year it was a  summer retreat for Maharao (King) of the Kutch. Mandvi is a unique town which captures the true Gujrati – Kutch culture .

Vijay Vilas Palace, Mandavi, Kutch, Gujarat

Vijay Vilas Palace – Constructed in 1920 the palace is of Rajput architecture and plan is similar to Orcha and Datia palaces , set in the middle of well-laid gardens with water channels and marble fountains. This palace has been used in many Hindi films .

Tented Accommodation safe and close to nature

 

Natural surrounding , private and secure

The Vijay Vilas Palace owned and operated by the family of erstwhile Maharaja of Kutch  has its own private beach which offers air-conditioned tented accommodation. Being private with conditional access it is a must visit for all beach lovers who want to enjoy their privacy and admire its Eco-friendly layout , can have a barbecue on the beach yards away from the sea.

Private Beach shallow blue water

 

On the beach bar-be-que and restaurant

The beach is  with a difference, it is huge,clean and empty and one can walk for miles. The water here is very shallow, one can walk into the waters for quite a distance, and the water will still be below the waist, this makes it wonderful and safe for the kids , they can be left to play by themselves.

Cost effective and still virgin area as far as tourism is concerned one enjoys the royal luxuries away from the noise and fast moving metro life .

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Shalabhanjika , Monalisa in Stone , Museum , Gwalior Fort

Shalabhanjika  is a price less  stone statue of a lady of World fame Ancient India art work recovered from Gyaraspur near Sanchi and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh now kept in the museum of Gwalior Fort under high security , special permission is required from the Archaeological Survey of India to visit this particular  chamber.

There were two such sculpted statues installed at the entrance of Sanchi Stupa , during the raids of Mugal King Aurangzeb’s army  one of it was destroyed and this one was thrown in the forests of Gyaraspur, later to be recovered in 19th Century . In early 1980 a  Visitor French Tourist Group named it Monalisa in Stone

Shalabhanjika , Museum , Gwalior Fort

The beauty of this stone statue is the creation of very clear strange smile on a face by the sculpture , it is probably sculpted during 10 – 11 th  AD , the waist holds lower garment across her broad hips and her full bloomed body which  has a bare torso  with a  pearl necklace around her neck , a long necklace falling between her breasts and then one chain going down up to her naval . Eyes and bowed eyebrows , sharp nose , ear rings , her hair with bun decorated with jewelry and precious stones . The lady seems to be standing under a Saal tree holding a branch . She is also known as the Tree Goddess . The Sanskrit name Shalabhanjika means “A lady breaking Saal branch”

Shalabhanjika

Shalabhanjika are found mostly at the entrances of Stupa . The sandstone beams across the gateways were held up by bracket figures like this, representing female tree spirits called Yakshika . In an ancient  Indian fertility rite, beautiful young girls were said to usher in spring by kicking a tree trunk while breaking off a branch, so as to arouse it into blossoming. the Shalabhanjika Yakshika serves as a fertility symbol associated with the spirit of the tree and earth to ensure the auspiciousness of the site where the Stupa is built.

 

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