Lamayuru Gompa , Monastery, Ladakh

 Lamayuru is one of the largest and oldest gompa in Ladakh, situated in Kargil district on Srinagar- Leh highway at a height of 3510 meters,127 km from Leh about 15 Km from Fotu-La, it was originally the Bonpo Monastery   called gYung-drung Monastery, a Swastika symbol and  gYung drung bon  is the name of the Bon religion , The Maha Sidhachrya Naropa founded the Lamayuru Monastery , he was a Buddhist scholar from Nalanda University who came here in search for his guru Tilopa, a master of Tantra,  the oldest temple  Seng-ge-sgang  was built by Monk Rinchen Zangpo who came from Tibet , great translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan, he under the patronage  from  King of Ladakh founded 108 Gompas in Ladakh, Spiti , Kinaur and Zanskar region.

Lamayuru Gompa ( Monastery)

The monastery is made up of a number of shrines and also has a very rich collection of thankas and magnificent wall paintings.

The Dukhang (Assembly hall) is on the right side of the courtyard  with a colourful depiction of the Guardians of the Four Directions. The mural on the left wall of the verandah depicts the proper way for a lama to live ,The temple has an image of Vairocana or the Teaching Buddha is seated on a lion serving as a throne and a Garuda (mythical bird) and sea monsters surround his head . In the wall on the right side of the Dukhang is a small cave with three statues known as Naropa’s cave, where he is supposed to have meditated ,  other two statues are of Marpa (Naropa’s student who became a translator of religious texts and famous poet) and Mila Ras-pa (Marpa’s student and a spiritual head of the red-hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism). The right side of the Dukhang has three complete sets of the Kandshur (the 108 volumes of Buddha’s teachings)

Lamayuru Gompa Assembly hall

 

Stupas at Lamayuru Gompa

Legend is that this valley there use to be a lake  at the time of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha). Nags (holy serpents) used to reside in the lake. Bodhisattva Madhyantaka pridicted that  the lake would eventually be dried, making way for the construction of a Buddhist monastery.  Maha Siddhacharya Naropa,  meditated for years in one of the caves  , a crack developed in the hillside surrounding the lake. When the lake dried out he found a dead  tiger, he constructed the first temple at this site , known as the Singhe Ghang (Lion Mound).  Later, Dharmaraja Jamyang Namgial offered the monastery to Chosje Danma and started  observance of the rituals of the Digung Kargyud School, the monastery was  renamed as Yungdrung Tharpaling. At present the Lamayuru Monastery is served by the successive reincarnations of Skyabsje Toldan Rinpoche.

Mahasidhacharya Naropa meditated in this cave

Lamayuru Gompa plays host a masked dance, The Yundrung Kabgyad festival which takes place on the 17th and 18th day of the 5th month of Tibetan lunar calendar which falls in the month of July. The monks from the monasteries of the nearby areas also come to take part in the celebrations.

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Garhi Padawali Temple , Morena ,Gwalior

Garhi Padavali temple Morena, Gwalior built in 10th  AD it is  in a village called Padhavali  situated in Distt. Morena 45 km. from Gwalior , old name of Padhavali is Dharon with neighboring towns were Kutwar ( Kantipur ) and Suhaniaya ( Simphania) originally they collectively formed one large city. The Kutwar  is associated with Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas

Garhi Padhvali Temple Entrance

In the early 19th century, the Rana ( Jat ruler ), of Dholpur, converted a ruined temple atop a mound, into a small fort or Garhi. He used stones, said to be the remains of the old town of Dharon, to construct defensive towers for his fort, A flight of stone steps, guarded by two stone lions, lead up to the ruins of the temple within the walls of the Garhi.

Garhi Padhavali Temple , Gwalior

The remains of the old structure stand atop a carved plinth rise sixteen sculpted pillars supporting a flat roof. The terrace, the courtyard and the assembly hall of this temple are the ‘epitome’ of ancient culture . There are intricately carved panels on the stone beams between the pillars. They depict the divinities Surya, Kali, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma,

Plate depicting Lord Ram & Sita wedding , Garhi Padhavali temple Gwalior

The temple abounds in the depictions of Ram Leela, Krishna Leela, Mahabharat, the 10 incarnations of God Vishnu, Samudra Manthan, Marriage of Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva dancing in the cremation ground in Preta ( Ghost) form and hundreds of other Sanatan gods and goddesses .

Lord Brhama , Shiva and Vishnu in old age and at bottom plate depicting celebration at Nand Gaon the birth of Lord Krishna

Lord Shiva flanked by four-headed Brahma and Vishnu holding a conch, a Chakra, a Gada (club) and a Padma (lotus) in his four hands  and Vishnu seated on Garuda

 

Lord Shiva with Ma Parvati and Nandi , bottom plate depicting war scene of Mahabharata killing of Abhimanyu .

 

 

Ma Chamunda and bottom plate depicting Lord Ram and his army of Vanaras performing Shivalingam puja before the war with Ravana

 

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Yatra Chardham – Hardwar

Yatra Chardham pilgrimage in Gharwal Himalayas Uttrakhand is a devout wish of a Sanatan Hindu since 8th century the establishment of temples or Dhams by the Adi Shankarcharya to make the Sanatan Dharma more strong which was loosing its prominence because of influence from the Jainism and Buddhism which originated from India and had patronage from many kingdoms in the Indian sub continent also because of the strict disciplined form of Sanatan Dharma described by the Brahamins, all these places were rediscovered and reconstructed  by him  which we see as on today, one wonders as to how a man could have reached here and these temples were constructed at  the places with limited resources and the area which are accessible only for about 5 months in a year . Most of the pilgrims visits the main shrines and ignore the other places which are equally important and part of our Purans and Mythology, I will be introducing my readers to these places and associated legends with it.

Hardwar – Har Ki Pauri

Hardwar Har-ki Pauri

This is the place visited by all the pilgrims , a holy dip in the river Ganges here is considered to be absolving of all the sins, legend is, as a result of Churning of Sea by the Asuras and Devs, the Amrit ( Ambrosia) came out and there was a dispute as to who should have it, in between the Garuda took the urn  from the battle field and flew away, the four drops fell on earth at places Ujjain, Nasik, Prayag (Allahabad) and Hardwar , it is at this place in Hardwar the devotes take a bath on the banks of holy river Ma Ganga.

Chandi Devi Temple

It is the most ancient temple of India didicated to Chandi or Chandika , it is said that Ma Parvati assumed the  form of Chandi as a attractive beautiful women to attract the Demon brothers Shumbh and Nishumbh who wanted to marry her, she had to kill the demon chieftains Chanda and Munda before killing the two brothers, after the battle was over the Ma Chandi took rest at this place known as Neel Parvat , near by there are two peaks known as the Demons Shumbha and Nishumbha peaks, here  is another  temple dedicated to Ma Anjana mother of lord Hanuman .

Mansa Devi Temple

It is said that Chandi Devi and Mansa Devi are two forms of Ma Parvati and the temples didicated to each one is always be in close vicinity . The Mansa Devi ( Wish) temple is across the river Ganga on a Bilwa Parvat , Mansa Devi is sister of Nag devta Vasuki and it is a form of Shakti emerged out of the Muni (Sage) Kashapya. It is a Sidh Peeth and people tie a thread to get their wishes fulfilled and return to untie it .

Maya Devi Temple

The ancient name of Hardwar is Mayapuri , the Maya Devi is the Adhisthatri deity of Hardwar , it is said that the Naval and heart of godess Sati fell here and it is a Shakti peeth. It is one of the oldest temple built about one thousand years ago, The goddes Maya with three heads and four arms is in the center the other deites are Ma Kamakhya on the right and Ma Kali on the left .

Saptrishi Ashram

It is said that seven Rishis (sages)  Kashyapa, Vashisht, Atri, Vishwamitra, Jamadagi, Bharadwaja and Gautam. meditated here , the river Ganga never wanted to distrub the meditating Rishis thus splited into seven streams .

It is from here the Yatra Chardham starts with a holy dip at river Ma Ganga and ends with the Aarti at Har Ki Pauri.

 

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Teli Ka Mandir , Telang Mandir , Gwalior

Teli Ka Mandir or Telang Mandir was built in 8th Century during the period of King Mihir Bhoj  .The structure of the temple presents a perfect fusion of the Northern and Southern architectural styles of India. The ‘Shikhar’ (spire) of the temple is  Dravidian in its style, whereas the ornamentation is done in the Nagara style (specific to North India). Teli Ka mandir  doesn’t have any ‘Mandap’ or pillared hall. The temple comprises a Garbha Griha  a porch and a doorway.

Teli Ka Mandir , Telang Mandir Gwalior Fort

Teli Ka Mandir is 100 feet  the tallest and most stunning temple in the  Gwalior Fort. The temple is actually dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the form of his mount, Garuda. A  honeycomb design with a series of receding pointed arches within an arch. The entrance door has a Toran or archway with  images of river goddesses Yamuna and Ganga, romantic couples, foliation decoration and a Garuda . Diamond and lotus designs are seen on the horizontal band at the top of the arch

Entrance to the Garbha Griha , Teli Ka Mandir

Within the rectangular structure is a shrine with no pillared pavilions   with a Barrel Vaulted or  Valabhi roof 25 meters (82 ft) in height. Figures of amorous couples, coiled serpents, on the doorway one can see the ladies from a royal family sailing in a decorated  boat , one  of the maid having an umbrella for shade , above it are coiled snakes   .  At the  The central position on the doorway is dominated by the figure of flying Garuda.

Torana or Arched door way at Teli Ka mandir

There are legends about the name of this temple . One says  it was made from donation of a Oil merchant who locally called Teli, given its name Teli’s Temple. The other story says as it was built form princes from Telengana (region in South India) it is called Teli Ka Mandir. One more  story says, “Teli Ka Mandir” term came as this Rajput Temple according to some legends, Rashtrakuta Govinda III conquered the Fort in 794 AD . He then handled the rites of religious ceremonies and rituals to Telang Brahmins , it seems to be true because of its fusion of Indo Aryan and Dravidian architecture from the Telangana region .

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