Harsiddhi Mata Temple, Miyani, Gujarat

Harsiddhi Mata or Harshad Mata temple is situated in a village Miyani about 3 km from the Dwarka – Porbandar- Somnath highway about 65 Km. from Dwarka , 30 km before Porbandar and  aprox . 170 Km. from Somnath on a hilltop overlooking the Arabian Sea .

One is to climb 400 steps to reach the temple which was established by Lord Krishna for his Kul – Devi  at present no puja is performed here , the Puja is performed in a temple built at the foot hill in the market .

Harsiddhi Mata temple Dwarka-Somnath highway

The hill on which the temple is located is called Koylo Dungar , the legend is Lord Krishna prayed to Mata Amba Ji to give more powers to kill the Jarasandh and the other demons , after his success in war Lord Krishna built this temple himself and celebrated the victory with his Yadav community , since then Yadav community worship Harsiddhi Mata as their Kul- Devi.

Harsiddhi Mata temple at foot hill in the market

Around 1300 AD a Jain merchant Jagdu Shah visited the temple and prayed to the Harsiddhi  Mata to save his ships which were sinking when ever  they were crossing the sea near the temple, he constructed the new temple and requested the Mata to come down and stay at the foot of the hill , since then Harsiddhi Mata is Kul Devi for many Jain families  and puja is performed .

The Sri Yantra and right colours

King Vikramaditya of Ujjain also a devotee of Harsiddhi Mata  built one temple at Ujjain , visited at this place and said that he will worship her every day and requested that the day time she will stay at Ujjain and at night in Miyani. A Sri yantra is carved in the temple. Mata is also known as Vahanvati Mata ,  She is also known as Sindhoi Mata or Goddess of Sands .

Pilgrims walking Long distance reaching Harsiddhi Mata temple to pay their respect .

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Somnath Temple , Gujarat

The Somnath Temple , Gujarat also mentioned as Deo Pattan, Prabhas Pattan, or Somnath Pattan is situated in Prabhas Kshetra , of Viraval town on the South – West cost of Gujarat state  of India  , is one of the twelve Jotirlings Shrine of Lord Shiva , the location of this temple, Strange but fact , it lies in a straight line to South Pole, in between  there is only water. no land mass other than the Antarctica ice in between .

                                                      
Somnath Temple Gujarat

 The research done by the Vadic Shodh Sanatan Varanasi on ancient Hindu Puranas (classical text) Prabhas Khand of Skandh Puran. The first Jyotirling Pran Pratistha at Somnath Temple was performed on the third day of Shukla Paksha of Shravan month of the 10th Treta Yug of  Vaivaswati Manvantar i.e. over 70 million years ago .

 

Somnath Temple at night

The present temple structure was constructed over the ruins of the old temple, the reconstruction, the pran pratishtha was done on 11 May 1951 by the then President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad, it was completed and dedicated to the worshipers on 1st December 1995 by the then President of India Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma .

According to legends the first temple was built by Lord Chandra (Moon God) to be relieved from the curse of his father-in-law, Dakasha Prajapati, whose 27 daughter was married to Chandra. Because of curse, Lord Chandra had lost its luster. Then advice from Lord Brahma, Chandra  worship Lord Shiva at this place (Prabhas Tirtha). Pleased with the devotion and (penance) Tapasya Lord blessed him to be partly relieved from the curse , which resulted in fifteen days of reducing shine (Krishna Paksha) and fifteen days for increase in shine ( Shulka Paksha ) In praise , Lord Chandra built a temple in gold. It is said Ravana the king of Lanka and devotee of Lord Shiva built it in silver followed by Lord Krishna built the temple in sandalwood and in the 10th century it was rebuilt in stone by King Bhimdev Solanki.

Somnath Temple in the morning

This temple Somnath (the protector of Moon God) and “The shrine eternal” although the temple has been destroyed six times, it has been rebuilt every time. “The Somnath temple signifies that the power of reconstruction is always greater than the power of destruction”

It is said Lord Brahama installed a Bharama Shila and paved way for the construction of the temple. It is also said the Lord Chandra and the other Deva’s requested Lord Shiva to be known as Somchandra and reside in the form of Jotirlinga here eternally.

There are other significant places as per Hindu mythology to visit are Bhalka Tirath , here Lord Krishna was shot by an arrow in his foot, this place have a temple and a legendary tree under which Lord Krishna was taking rest .

Hiran , Kapila and Saraswati Triveni Ghat

Triveni Ghat where three rivers Hiran , Kapila and legendry Saraswati meets . The temple built by Devi Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore , The cave dedicated to Lord Krishna’s brother Balram , where he transformed into a snake and went to Patal Lok. A cave and a temple dedicated to  Adi Shankaracharya where he meditated more than thousand years ago .

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Rann Utsav , Kutch Gujarat

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The Great Rann of Kutch is in district of Kutch , Gujarat state of India , between the Gulf of Kutch and the Mouth of river Sindhu  ( Indus) in Pakistan , in between there is a vast flat land which is filled with sea water during the monsoons and when dried up around October a white sheet of salt gets deposit on the sea bed .

This festival or Utsav is organised to enjoy the  various colors of the Rann as well as get a taste of the local culture, cuisine and hospitality. Specially built local houses are also used to house tourists to give them a taste of Gujarat and Kutch to them.

                                              
Rann Kutch , the vast land of salt

 The beauty of Rann Kutch is enjoyed during the full moon nights when the wast land of salt sparkles like a white sheet all over up to where the eyes can see  .

Sun Rise at Great Rann of Kutch

The Sunrise and Sunset at Rann are equally beautiful when Sun shows its different colors and white salt sparkles  with the changing colors

Full Moon Night at Great Rann of Kutch

Best is to stay during  full moon and increasing moon nights when the sky with full moon light and  the Rann with white surface gives a magical glow appearance

Stay in tents near Rann Kutch

Accommodation are available at the venue in Swiss tents , Luxury tents and nearby villages are always ready to accommodate the guests with their huts called Bunga specially prepared keeping in view of the requirements of an urban tourist , they serve the ethnic Kutchi delicacies served with Chach ( butter milk) Rotra ( Milet bread) White butter with local available vegetables .

Stay in a Bunga ( Kutch hut)

The Bunga are the huts constructed by using the mud and thatched roof , the interior walls and floor are plastered with mud mixed with cow dung and walls are painted with geometrical and flowers designs with a use of vegetable colors and small mirrors.

Mud paintings on wall of a Bunga ( Kutch Hut )

From here one can have the sightseeing trips to Pacham the island within desert surrounded three side with saline water with the highest point   Kalo Dungar peak one can enjoy the vastness of Rann from here  , Pakistan Border , Mandvi Sea Beach , Kot Lakhpat along with the Wildlife Safaris , Rann Safaris , Kutch Villages Dhordo and Hodka , villages famous for their finest embroidery styles , leather crafts and beautiful Bungas , one can also see the  the ancient process of water harvesting in the Banni dry-lands  .

Kutch Embroidery

Kutch Embroidery

The Chhari Dhand, shallow water bodies are locally known as dhand, jheel or talav , these attract lots of migratory birds in winter, with an area of almost 10 sq km. at Chhari Dhand there are more than 30,000 birds species like Dalmatian Pelican (Pelicanuscrispus), Oriental Darter (Anhingiarufa), Black necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchusasiaticus) and Indian Skimmer (Rynchopsalbicollis) migrate through these wetlands every year  32 species of Raptors have been recorded here, together with a large number of Common Cranes.

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Osiyan Group of Temples|Osiyan|Rajasthan

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Osiyan a temple town of Rajasthan is a very old city, also mentioned as Ukesa or Upkespur or Uvasisala in old texts books as old as 320 BC to 550 BC , founded by Utpaldeva a Rajput prince from Pratihara dynasty  it had trade relations with Afghanistan, Central Asia, Persia  Burma , Srilanka, it was a stop for Camel caravans, famous as pilgrimage center. Situated on Jodhpur -Phalodi highway about 69 kms. from Jodhpur,  It was a important city for Gurjar Pratihar rulers who won it from the Naga rulers and got the title Nagbhatt . People of Osiyan accepted Jainism from Acharya Ratnaprabhasuri Ji who impressed the people with his supernatural powers. Here Jainism is worshiped along with Hindu Goddess Sachiyan Mata and Nag Devta by the people .

Osiyan Group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

Osiyan Group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

Around the small city there are group of eleven temples namely Harihara temple, Surya temple,  Vishnu and Pipala Devi .

Kirtimukha at main entrance, Osiyan Group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

Kirtimukha at main entrance, Osiyan Group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

Main entrance is decorated with Lord Ganesh and Kirtimukha ( face of fame) are important sign of any Sanatan temple in Indian and South Asian temples, according to Skandha Puran , Lord Shiva created this monster and he ate willingly his body as per orders from Lord Shiva.

The Mandap , Osiyan Group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

The Mandap ,Garbha griha door, Osiyan Group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

Simple and well decorated mandap with dancing apsras, Nags (Snakes) coils and knots  and floral carvings all over the pillars and beams.

 

Beautiful carved Ceiling, Naglok, Osiyan Group of Temples

Beautiful carved Ceiling, Naglok, Osiyan Group of Temples

The ceiling is carved with snakes knotted with each other and hood with a human face and folding hands in praying position or welcoming the Gods , evidence of Naga worshiping in this area .

 

Naglok on walls near ceiling, Osiyan group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

Naglok on walls near ceiling, Osiyan group of Temples, Osiyan Rajasthan

The side inner wall is full of carvings with men and women playing music and dancing .

Dancing and playing musical instruments, Osiyan Group of Temple

Dancing and playing musical instruments, Osiyan Group of Temple

The outer wall of this small temple is full of carvings of Lord Ganesh, Riddhi, Siddhi, Lord Vishnu’s Vaman avtar taking his step to heavens , Raja Bali watching him.

Vaman Awatar step reaching the heavens, lord Ganesha, Ridhhi and Siddhi , Osiyan Group of Temples

Vaman Awatar step reaching the heavens, lord Ganesha, Ridhhi and Siddhi , Osiyan Group of Temples

On the side wall panels a beautiful carved Lord Vishnu’s avtar Narsimha killing Hirnakashap and one can see Bhak Prahlad bowing on ground in respect for the lord .

Narshimha awatar killing Hirnakashyap, Bhakt Prahlad bowing down to Lord, Osyian Group of Temples, Osiyan , Rajasthan

Narshimha awatar killing Hirnakashyap, Bhakt Prahlad bowing down to Lord, Osyian Group of Temples, Osiyan , Rajasthan

 

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Sahastra Baahu Temple|Nagda|Udaipur|Rajasthan

Sahastra Baahu Temple Nagda about 22 km from Udaipur is also known as  Saas Bahu Ka Mandir, a twin Vaishnav Mandir, here are group of temples of early 7th century, dedicated to lord Vishnu, there use to be a town in the East of this temple, in 15th Century the Gohila King Mokala constructed a lake ( Baghela Talav) after his brother’s name Bagh Singh and town was relocated . This temple is no more in use , it is in partial ruins, tourists  main attraction is of it’s architecture and rare artistic beauty of carvings of more than thousand years ago.

Makar Torna Gate, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Makar Torna Gate, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

The Twin temple are on a raised platform , The entrance use to be from east through a Makar Torna ( arched gate), there are ten small temples around the large temple The Vishnu Temple, built by Yasomati, wife of the commander in chief of the Mewar rulers ( Saas or Mother-in-Law) and five small temples around the small ( Bahu or Daughter-in-Law) temple.

The twin temples view from West Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

The twin temples view from West Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

The Saas temple is large and Bahu temple is small , The Bahu temple has the Octagon ceiling, there are eight female figures, the Saas temple has the Torna , the walls are not much decorated but pillars , roof and projections are full of carvings.

Kirtimukha at the entrance, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Kirtimukha at the entrance, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Temples are constructed on “Pancharatha” plan , The Garbhagriha, Antryalaya, Ardhmandapm, Mandapam and Varandha ( Sanctum, Vestibule, Hall and Porch ). Kirtimukha is at the main entrance of temple.

Sahastrabahu Temple, Saasbahu Mandir, Nagda, Udaipur

Sahastrabahu Temple, Saasbahu Mandir, Nagda, Udaipur

The outer walls are decorated with carvings of people in their daily life work, inlaid work are remarkable , lady playing with child, churning curd, potter making pots, elephant punishing a culprit etc.

Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu incarnations, Lord Brahma, Lord Ram, Balram, Parshuram, epics from Mahabharat, Ramayana  and Lord Krishna’s life are very well preserved .

Lord Vishnu riding Garuda's sholders, Sahatrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Lord Vishnu riding Garuda’s sholders, Sahatrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

 

Lord Shiva and above is Parshuram, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Lord Shiva and above is Parshuram, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Lord Shiva and Parsuram in meditation are on the west wall ( rear ) of Sahastrabahu temple

Carved Torna Mandap , Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Carved Torna Mandap , Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

The mandap of Sahastrabahu temple is beautiful carved pillars and Toranas , the carvings are of Lord Shiva with Parvati, Godess Chamamunda , Godess Ma Kali, Godess Ma Mahishasur Mardani .

Carvings in Mandap above Torna , Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Carvings in Mandap above Torna , Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

The walls above the Tornas are carved with epics from Ramayana and Mahabharat.

Butifull carved lotus, ceiling of Mandap, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipr

Butifull carved lotus, ceiling of Mandap, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipr

The ceiling above in the Mandap is beautifully carved lotus flower floating  in a water pool .

Mahishasur Mardan, pillar of Mandap, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Mahishasur Mardan, pillar of Mandap, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

One of the Mandap pillar carved to show Ma Mahishasur Mardani .

 

Lord Krishna taking away Rukmani on his chariot , Sahstrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Lord Krishna and Arjun on chariot scene from Mahabharat , Sahstrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

The projections of the roof plate ( chajja) depicting the Lord Krishna and Arjun on a chariot at Mahabharat battle field.

Lord Shiva with scaled snake skin, skull in one hand, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Lord Shiva with scaled snake skin, skull in one hand, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

One of the rare carving of Lord Shiva with four hands one of the left hand is carrying a skull trident in right hand and other two arms are carrying flowers , it is showing lord Shiva’s body skin of a snake with scales .

Balram in medation with club and Plough, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Balram in medation with club and Plough, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Just above the lord Shiva statue is the Balram , lord Krishna’s brother carrying a club and a plough in his hands, sitting  in deep meditation .

Ma Kali with skull in hand and Lord Shiva lying on ground, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Ma Kali with skull in hand and Lord Shiva lying on ground, Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

One of the outer wall is having Ma Kali with a skull in one hand a trishool in another hand and lord Shiva is lying on the ground with Ma Kali above the lord.

Carving Hindu Mythology Kalpavirksha a divine tree , Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Carving Hindu Mythology Kalpavirksha a divine tree , Sahastrabahu Temple, Nagda, Udaipur

Kalpavirksha or Kalpa padap is a divine tree as per the Hindu mythology , it is carved in the inner wall of the temple, it is said it is a wish fulfilling tree.

Ravaged and plundered by the invading Muslim armies in the 14th century, this temple has survived the turns of history gracefully. Worth visiting for its architectural beauty .

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