Devi Jagadambi Temple of Love Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

Devi Jagadambi Temple also known as Jagadambika Temple , built by the Chandela rulers between 1000 AD to 1025. AD  originally it was dedicated to Lord Vishnu as the East facing door, the prominence given to the Lord Vishnu on the doorway to the sanctum.

Devi Jagdambika at Temple of Love Khajuraho

 

Few believe it a Parvati Temple and that Ma Kali image  ( Jagadamba) is actually an image of Parvati, painted black . The temple is on the same platform  the Kandariya  Mahadev but  small in height . The Garbhagriha is having a huge image of the Goddess (Devi) of the Universe (Jagdambi),

 

Devi Jagdambika with Kandaria Mahadev Temple , Temple of Love Khajuraho

It has  only one set of balconies, only one Mandap and no inner Pradakshina , It has some of the beautiful images in sculptures  . Apart from the normal female figures applying make-up and preening themselves, there are a number of lovers embracing and assigned to honor love and conjugal harmony, with figures of the divine couples and others depicting every mood of love , a mischievous woman tugging at lover’s beard .

Lady wearing thin skirt and body decorated jewels , gazing into a mirror

A woman with her beautiful back turned to the onlooker she is preoccupied in gazing at her beauty in the mirror, her scarf falling over her  shoulder most provocatively.  Images of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord  Brahma embracing their consorts. The south side has an image of Varaha, depicted with a human body and a Boar head, emerging from the primeval waters carrying the earth Goddess Bhudevi on his arm. She has placed her hand affectionately on his snout as if to pat the Boar and thank him for rescuing her.

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Chaturbhuj Temple of Love Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

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Chaturbhuj Temple is situated in village Jatakari ,Khajuraho, built in 1100AD , the Chaturbhuj (Lord Vishnu ) means the one with four arms . It is peculiar temple in three distinct characters which differentiate it from other temples of Khajuraho .  It houses the tallest stone carved idol among all the Temples in Khajuraho , only temple in Khajuraho with no Erotic figures, it is also the only important temple in Khajuraho that faces west . 

Chaturbhuj Temple of Love Khajuraho

Standing over a platform with entrance from the West , it is normally  not seen in the Hindu temples but rest all the architecture needs are taken care of like the Mandapa , Garbhagriha and the Shikhara , there are images of Ganga can be identified with the presence of Crocodile and Yamuna can be identified with Turtle , there is a beautiful image of Lord Shiva in his Ardhnarishwar ( half man , half woman) carvings along with the heavenly life .

Main entrance , tallest statue among all the temples at Khajuraho

The main idol is suppose to be of Lord Vishnu but the close observation gives impression of three bodies in one , head with Jata ( hairs) of Lord Shiva , the four arms carrying Lotus, Conch , one arm showering the blessings and the other is giving the Abhay ( fearlessness ) , the standing pasture with one leg resting on toe is a Lord Krishna dancing style ( Incarnation of Lord Vishnu) , near the main idol there are images of Sura – Sundari .

Lord Chaturbhuj , Features of Lord Shiva and Lord Krishana

Beauty of this temple is seen  at sunset the sun comes streaming in and falls on the figure, lighting it in such a way that it appears to be full with life.

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Vishwanath Temple of Love Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

Vishwanath Temple at Khajuraho built by the Chandela King Dhanga Deva  in 999 AD to 1002 AD . It was a panchayatana  shrine however of the four subsidiary shrines only two in the northeast and southwest corners have survived. The structure shows all the elements of a developed temple. The beauty of the temple lies in the depiction of the exquisite figures of women on the rock blocks  walls. The temple depicts more than 600 rock-images

Vishwanath Temple of Love Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

Raised over a platform . This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, has an exquisite marble Shivalinga    (it originally housed an emerald lingam)  as the main deity.  It is  believed that the temple celebrates the celestial marriage of Lord Shiva with Parvati.

Vishwanath Temple of Love Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

An imposing  image of the three-headed Lord Brahma  also is enshrined in this temple. With lions adjoining the northern and elephants the southern steps , human figures are also depicted on both side of elephant  the exterior of temple walls are with Apsaras writing letters, playing music and a lovely one plucking a thorn from her foot, women are seen to caress a baby .

Lady early morning got up from bed

Couple in love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On one of the walls there is a four-armed dancing Lord Ganesh, holding an Axe and broken tusk , in his right hands, and with his left hands holding a laddu (sweet) and extended in a boon-granting gesture. The sculpture of Lord Shiva ( with Trishula on right shoulder  and snake on left shoulder ) can also be seen on outer  wall .

Lord Shiva with Parvati and Lord Brhama with three heads

 

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Kandariya Mahadev Temple of Love Khajuraho Madhya Pradesh

The Kandariya Mahadev Temple built-in 1050 AD by the Chandela King Vidydhara  to celebrate his victory over Mahmud of Ghazni, is dedicated to Lord Shiva it  is  the most impressive and refined temple among all the temples in the Khajuraho , with over 900 sculptures carved into sandstone stacked without mortar the Kandariya Mahadev temple is a fine example of the craftsmanship of the medieval times. Kandra in Sanskrit or Hindi means Cave .

Kandharia Mahadev Temple Khajuraho

The east-facing Shiva temple is a culmination of the design , Shikara rises about 30 meters (100 feet) above the platform which it shares with the older Devi Jagadambi temple. 84 smaller  replicas adorn the main tower in a soaring, mountainous profusion. The Carvings on the temples portray a wide variety of sexual acts( Mithuna), in different styles and moods – refinement and vulgarity, tenderness and lust, calculation and spontaneity, can all be found here, in a seemingly endless number of configurations and positions.

On the South wall the first statue is of  the lord Ganesha and then the Chamunda one of the sacred Seven Mothers or the Matrikas slayer of two demons the Chanda and the Munda , this statue is damaged but brilliantly captures the goddess’ terrifying image. Next is the image of Bhairav  the lord of death and cremation grounds  is a fierce manifestation of lord Shiva shown here bearing a skull, hand drum, headdress of stylized flames, and accompanied by a Dog Vahan ( carrier) followed by  other sacred Matrikas namely Ma Aindri, Ma Varahi, Ma Vaishnavi, Ma Kaumari, Ma Mahesvari, Ma Brahmani ( or first sacred Matrika) and Ma goddess Virabhadra.

Makara Toran at Kandharia Mahadev Temple

The Temple has the main entrance a cave  ( Kandra ) like opening the Mukha Mandapa,  with a  Makara Torana (an arch in the form of the makara  Crocodile, a mythical water creature with the jaws of a crocodile, ears of a lion, horns of a ram and tail of a fishhas been carved out of a single stone and draped with loops from one side of the doorway to the other, leading the passage  two halls the Mandapa with two balcony the Bhadravalokna , the inner roofs of the porch and mandap are  created like great upside down pools with flower and leaf motifs, the main room where the white marble Shivaling is established is the Garbahgriha and a space between the Mandapa and Garbhagriha is Antralaya .

Multi spire shikhara , Kandharia Mahdev Temple

The great multi spire tower of the sekhari type, the most important conspicuous feature of the North India ( Nagara) temple , is characterized by an ascending cluster of spires reflecting the idea of the temple as a mountain .

Kandharia Mahadev Temple outer wall

On the southeast wall a woman plays with a ball, another stretches her love-tired limbs, another gazes into a mirror, one engaged in writing a letter. On the South side the couples are kissing, their bodies entwined in such a perfect union that one can cannot tell the arms and legs of one partner apart from the other. The love making scenes on the north side wall are more elaborate, often acrobatic and symbolic.

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Tungnath on way to Sri Badrinath

Tungnath  temple situated at the highest spot at the height of 3680 meters from the sea at Chandranath Parbat , 3 km trek from Chopta 2700 meters from sea,  it is dedicated to lord Shiva it is more than one thousand years old and of high importance of being at the highest elevation in the world and one of the Panch Kedars of lord Shiva, legend is when Pandva brothers were searching lord Shiva who went in hiding at Guptkashi and when Bhim recognized him among the bulls , lord Shiva dived in the earth , at Kedarnath his back in the form of hump is worshiped , here at Tungnath  lord Shiva’s arms appeared and are worshiped in that form it  is a swambhu limgam ( self manifest). Head appeared at Rudranath , naval at Madhayamaheswar and Jata (hair) at Kalpeshwer. 1.5 km from here Lord Ram meditated  at Chandrashila peak and Demon King Ravana also meditated here. From Chandrashila peak one can have a beautiful view of Trishul , Chaukhamba and Nanda Devi peaks

Tungnath Temple

The Lingam here is in form of a black rock tilted slightly on left , other idols are of Ma Parvati, The Nandi bull idol is facing the lord Shiva at the entrance , Lord Ganesha idol is on the right side of the entrance , the other idols are of Rishi Vyas and Kal Bhairav . There are also images of five Pandva brothers, the temple is said to be built by one of the Pandva brother Arjun who worshiped here. The temple style is similar to Kedarnath and Guptkashi temple.

This temple was discovered by Adi Guru Shankracharya in eight century. In winters the temple is closed and symbolic of the main deity is shifted to Mukunath near Ukhimath .

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Rudraprayag on way to Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath

Rudraprayag is 34 km from Srinagar and 142 km from Rishikesh  situated at a height of 610 meters from sea level surrounded by the Himalayan  mountains it is not only one of the Panch Prayag  ( Five confluence ) or Sangam  with the holy river Alaknanda in Garhwal region of Uttarkhand in Himalayas , the river Mandakini meets the Alaknanda here but also got the religious importance  for the pilgrims travelling to Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath on Yatra Chardham. It is from here the road bifurcate and one goes to Guptkashi then to Gaurikund from here the trek to Sri Kedarnath starts while the other road goes to Joshimath then to Sri Badrinath, in between is Gobind Ghat from here trek to Ghangharia , Valley of Flowers and Hemkund / Lokpal starts

Rudra Prayag

This place is named after the Lord Shiva who appeared here in form of “Rudra” after the Rishi Narad worshiped him and asked for his teachings to learn and master the Music on Rudra Veena ,  the rock where he learned music is called the Narad Shila. Legend is that Lord Shiva meditated here before leaving for Sri Kedarnath the Koteshwar temple on the banks of Alaknanda are the cave temples where the images of Lord are in natural formations of rock (Koti is 10 million, Koteshwar means God of 10 million). It is also said that the  Sati consort of Lord Shiva reborn as Parvati daughter of Himalaya  after she immolated her self in the Yagnakund performed by her father and she could not tolerate the disrespect to her husband the Lord Shiva , Parvati dedicated herself  to be his wife again and to achieve this she performed Tapasya ( Penance ) here. There is a temple dedicated to Ma Chamunda  wife of lord Rudra is worshiped here. It is also said that the Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya  the source of the cycle of creation, preservation and dissolution.

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Harsil and The Maha Prayag at Bhagirathi River

Harsil is a small sleepy village and important Cantonment of Indian Army situated at a height of 8300 ft. on main road to Gangotri, 73 kms from Uttarkashi, it was once on the old caravan route of India to Tibet most of the people are of Bhutia origin and use Harsil as winter base, more importance is due to village Mukhwas where the statue of Goddess Ganga is brought and worshiped during the winters when Gangotri’s main temple is inacceseble due to snow, it is on the left banks of river Bhagirathi and the Mayank Shikhar. Importance of this place is due to less known fact  that it is a confluance of Seven rivers and a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, many Saints and Sanayasis preferred to meditate here

Harsil is a small sleepy village and important Cantonment of Indian Army situated at a height of 8300 ft. on main route to Gangotri, 73 kms from Uttarkashi, it was once on the old caravan route of India to Tibet most of the people are of Bhutia origin and use Harsil as winter base, more importance is due to village Mukhwas where the statue of Goddess Ganga is brought and worshiped during the winters when Gangotri’s main temple is inaccessible due to snow, it is on the left banks of river Bhagirathi and the Mayank Shikhar. Importance of this place is due to less known fact  that it is a confluence of Seven rivers and a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, many Saints and Sanayasis preferred to meditate here, Godess Ganga’s temlpe the Gangotri is further ahead 23 Kms. from here.

Deodar Forest in Harsil

 Deodar Forest in Harsil

 

Mayank Peak, Harsil

Mayank Peak, Harsil

The Story and History

According to the  Kedarkhand, a chapter in Skandha Puran, it was here Lord Shiva was helped by Lord Vishnu to kill the demon Jalandhar who was brother of Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu’s wife, Demon Jalandhar’s wife Vrinda went into the deep forest and started praying to protect her husband but Lord Vishnu followed her and disguised himself as Jalandhar started living with Vrinda, when Vrinda recognized him she cursed Lord Vishnu that someone deceitfully abduct his wife in his next incarnation, she entered the pyre after this, Lord Vishnu was so obsessed with the beauty of Vrinda that he painted the ashes from the pyre and started roaming all over the Lokas, then his worried Devatas were guided by Godess Parvati with the assistance of Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati, they gave some seeds to them and directed them to  spray those seeds on the ashes of  pyre, on which Vrinda had given up her life.

Three holy plants manifested from that pyre  Amla, Tulsi and Malti. Later on Tulsi and Malti attained to the  Vishnuloka, by the virtue of their respective penance. Later Tulsi became the wife of demon Shankhachuda, he wanted conquer the Indraloka which resulted in a war with lord Shiva who was finding it difficult in wining over him due to the Tapasya of Tulsi. On being instructed by goddess Parvati, Lord Vishnu met Tulsi in the guise of her husband  Shankhachuda, so that the breach of Tulsi chastity could help lord Shiva to kill Shankhachuda, who derived his power from Tulsi’s chastity and virtuosity. When Tulsi recognized Vishnu she became very angry and cursed lord Vishnu to become a stone. She was crying inconsolably. Lord Vishnu contemplated on Shiva as a result of which he appeared. Lord Shiva blessed Tulsi that she would become the beloved of Lord Vishnu. Due to Tulsi’s curse, Lord Vishnu attained the form of Shaligram which is a stone and because of lord Shiva’s blessings. Tulsi leaves started being offered to the Shaligram in the process of its worship. Vishnu also known as Hari who is lying as stone (Shila), This place is called Harsil, this black Shaligram is visible in winters when there is less water in Bhagirathi because of snow.

Jalandhari is sister of goddess Lakshmi and demon Jalandhar, was on her way to meet her sister  Lakshmi and brother-in-law Vishnu, upon reaching here when she came to know about Visnu becoming Shaligram, she melted and met Lord Vishnu in form of a river who was lying in Bhagirathi.

There is a temple of Lord Vishnu on the banks of river Bhagirathi built by Raja Ram Brhamchari in the year 1921 AD (Shaka Samvat 1978), to the east is Lord Shiva’s temple and in the north is Maa Bhagvati’s temple, the rituals of puja are being performed since then by his family, at present Dr. Nagendra Ravat performing it for the last 35 years every day without fail it starts with a holy dip at Bhagirathi river and until puja is over which takes about 4-5 hrs. not a single word is uttered other than the mantras / shlokas until the first meal of the day is taken.

Lord Vishnu Temple at Harsil

Lord Vishnu Temple at Harsil

 

Lord Shiva Temple, Harsil

Lord Shiva Temple, Harsil

The Confluence of 10 Rivers

The Seven rivers are Tilangana, Jalandhari (demon Jalandhar’s sister), Vishnu Ganga or Kakora, Lakshmi Ganga, Him Ganga and Pawan Ganga pour their water in Bhagirathi at this place, little up stream 3 kms is a place called Dharali where Bhim Ganga, Kheer Ganga and Hatya Harini rivers join the Bhagirathi in all there are ten rivers which join and form Bhagirathi in this area hence it is called the Maha Prayag.

According to legend when one of the Pandva’s brother Bhim was bringing the Chaman Rishi to light the holy fire at Aswamegh Yagna on his way to quench the thirst of Rishi he hit his Mace (Gada) at a place from where the water came out, this stream is called Bhim Ganga, bathing in  the river Hatya Harini absolves the sins of killing some one by mistake or otherwise (Barham Hatya Dosh).

River Jalandhri at Harsil

River Jalandhri at Harsil

Around Harsil

Just below the Mukhwa Village is Maharishi Markandeya ashram who created the Maha Mritunjay Mantra it is here he created the Durga Saptashati, there are 700 shlokas (verses) in thirteen chapters, in the praise of Maa Durga and killing of demons, here there is a white temple of Maa Annapurna and Lord Shankar, 1 km ahead is Maa Durga’s temple.

Dense Deodar forest, apple orchards, Waulnut, Chestnut and Wild Flowers are in abundance in this area, Harsil is connected to Baspa Valley by Lamkhaga Pass which opens into Chitkul, Kinnaur of Himachal, one can have a views of peak Bander Punch 6316 mtr.  and peak Srikanth from Dharali village.

A View of Banderpunch Range from Harsil

A View of Banderpunch Range from Harsil

 

Maharishi Markandaey Ashram in White and banks of River Bhagirathi near Harsil

Maharishi Markandaey Ashram in White at banks of River Bhagirathi near Harsil

Harsil is well-connected by a road and there are regular helicopter landings during the months of May , June  Late September till mid October , land slides are common in monsoons otherwise one can reach here throughout the year.

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Char Dham Yatra, Holiest Pilgrimage in Himalayas

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Char Dham Yatra is the holiest of journey for Hindus  in Uttarakhand  Himalayas, this pilgrimage starts with the opening of the doors (Kapat) of four temples,  are closed during the winters due to heavy snow , normally opening of doors is announced on Shivaratri.  This year 2016  journey starts from 8th May with opening of Kapats (Doors) 09 May Sri Yamunotri, Sri Gangotri 09 May, Sri Kedarnath and Sri Badrinath on 11May.

The Starting point Yamunotri
The journey starts from Rishikesh full day road journey passing through Dharsu, Sayanachatti and Barkot, entire route is full of beautiful view of snow capped Banderpunch Range, Pine forests and water falls, pilgrims stay at  Hanuman Chatti or Barkot, where most of the hotels, guest houses and dharamshalas are situated, it is also confluence of river Hanuman Ganga and river Yamuna . Next day one is to cover 6 Kms by Jeeps/SUVs up to Janki Chatti , there are guest houses with basic facilities at Janki Chatti the trek 6 Kms . to the Yamunotri Temple starts from here it is on the left bank of the river, a  hot water spring is near the temple the Surya Kund” ,  pilgrims tie potatoes and rice in cloth  dip in boiling hot water of Surya Kund , so cooked rice is taken as prasad back home, pilgrims take bath at  “Gauri Kund  which has hot water suitable for bathing. Prayers are offered first at the Divya Shila a Black stone slab   then in the Temple. The actual source of river  is further ahead 1 Km at  Champasar Glacier on Kalind Mountain, it is very difficult to reach there, people offer the prayers at the temple situated at the foot hill . Pilgrims return  same day and take rest for the next day onward journey to the Gangotri.

The next stop Gangotri

To reach Gangotri we have to returned to Dharsu and then drive to Uttarkashi to reach Harsil a 250 Kms drive, it is a small town famous for its natural beauty, apple orchards, trekking routes to lakes and undiscovered stretches of grassy meadows. One can reach Gangotri by road from here distance 23 Kms passing through pine forests ,  transport is available till the Temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga, on the banks of River Bhagirathi, the glacier mouth is further ahead 18 kms trek, towards Gaumukh, The Ganges is known as Bhagirathi here, it unites with Alaknanda at Devprayag to form Ganges. Temple is at a very picturesque location amidst high mountains , towards east is the Gaumukh Glacier. It is here  the  Bhagirath shila where King Bhagirath performed the tapasya to bring Ganga from the heavens to earth, water is ice cold here , it is difficult to stay in water for even half a minute. This place is at a height of 3142 meters . Those who want to trek to Gaumukh can spend two more days, which needs clearance from the local authorities, the trek passes through Chirwasa and Bhojwasa, Gaumukh is one of the Largest Glacier in the World, on the way one can find the Ibexes(Snow Goat) grazing on high mountains, the opening of glacier to from where it releases water to form Bhagirathi is a shape of Cows mouth that is why it is called Gaumukh. From here one can have a panoramic view of mountains, Shivaling (6540 meters), Meru (6660 meters) and Bhagirathi (6500 meters).

Ma Gangotri Temple

Sri Kedarnath – Lord Shiva’s Abode

Next place in Chardham Yatra is Sri Kedarnath,  Harsil to Uttarkashi is 69 Kms, then to Guptkashi is 230 kms, Total journey time is about 10 hrs. Passing through Srinagar, Uttarakhand, This route is followed by River Mandakini. Hotels, camps and guest houses at Guptkashi are available at a very reasonable price. Morning starts by a travel upto Gauri Kund , a motor able road or to Phata from where Helicopter Service is available to Kedarnath. Gauri Kund the starting point of Kedarnath trek is a hot water spring, here the Goddess Parvathi lived and performed sadhna to please Lord Shiva to finally got married to him. It is also the place where Lord Ganesha acquired the elephant head. 15 kms trek from here is very tough and takes about 4-5 hours.  Rambara . From Rambara the Yatris cross the River Mandakini to reach Limchuli and then to Kedarnath temple . It is at the height of 3585 meters situated near the head of river Mandakini, surrounded by snow capped mountains, it’s name is derived from the King Kedar in the Satya Yuga, his daughter Vrinda who is also an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, this temple existed in the Mahabharata period, when Pandavas performed tapasya (prayers) to please Lord Shiva. It was here the Adi Shankaracharya took samadhi at the age of 32 years,  soon after establishing the four sacred dhams, it is considered a must visit place, there is a small hot water spring which gives relief to the pilgrims from the tiredness of hard journey, there are dharamsalas, camps and small guest houses, the temple opens at 6 o’clock in the morning and closes in the evening, Kedarnath is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlings, it is built of massive stone slabs over a rectangular platform, here Lord Shiva who was evading the Pandavas hide himself as a bull, on being followed, he dived in the ground leaving behind the hump, the conical rock inside the temple is worshiped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form, outside the temple there is a large statue of Nandi Bull as a guard. After the floods of year 2013 a big boulder named as Divya Shila is also worshiped as it saved the temple by obstructing the flow of flood water to cause any damage to the temple.

One has to be careful while staying at night here because of low oxygen concentration at this altitude. Pilgrims are advised not to exert themselves too much and breathe normal. 
Staying overnight and performing poojas in the morning one returns to Gauri Kund and drive to Joshimath, there are two routes, one is which normally pilgrims take is driving through Rudrapryag, second is through Chopta which is the most beautiful, passing through dense forests of Mandal and Gopeshwar, from Chopta one can take a trek to Tungnath, it is Lord Shiva’s temple situated at about 4 kms trek from Chopta. Drive to Joshimath is about 7 hrs. It is better to stay night in Joshimath and take a morning drive to Sri Badrinath  a 44 kms distance is very rough  and takes about 4 hrs drive , on the way is Gobind Ghat from where trek for The Hemkund Sahib, Laxman Temple and Valley of Flowers starts.

Sri Kedarnath Temple Aug 2015

Sri Badrinath The Lord Vishnu Dham

Shri Badrinath Dham is the temple dedicated to lord Vishnu’s dual form Nara-Naryana, the temple is 15 meters tall with top covered with gold gilt roof, it is built of stone with arched windows, the main entrance is a arched gate, inside is mandapa a large pillared hall leading to the Garbha Griha. It is surrounded by Nara-Narayan peaks and in the backdrop is the Neelkanth peak. Legends says that to reduce the impact of Ganga on earth it was split into twelve rivers and one of them is river Alaknanda, the other legend is that the Pandavas passed through Badridham and to Mana village to ended their life by climbing the heights of peak Swargarohini, there is a cave near the village Mana where the Vyas Rishi complied  the Mahabharata. Before entering the temple, pilgrims must take bath in hot water spring at the Tapta Kund and Surya Kund fed by thermal sulphar springs, the boiling hot water falls into ice cold water of Alaknanda creates the steam over the water surface. North of the temple is a Bharama Kapal where Lord Bharama is said to reside, here the last rites of departed souls are performed. There are lots of other places around like foot prints of Lord Narayana on rock is about 3 kms called Charan Paduka, over a kilometer  on the other side of river is Shesh Netra, the eye of Shesh Nag on which the Lord Vishnu rests is seen on a rock, about 8 km. is the source of Alaknanda the Bhagirath Kharak and Satopantha Glaciers this place is called Alka Puri. One can return same day to Joshimath or stay one night to visit all these places. Sri Badri Dham is also referred as Badri Vishal thus giving the supreme status among the all Dhams.

Sri Badrinath Ji Temple

Returning Home

One may stay a full day at Joshimath , take an excursion to Auli which is at the height of 3050 meters, there are Taxis available to reach a famous winter sports destination for Skiing, there is a rare medicinal plants nursery and little above one can trek to Gorson, Tali, Kauri Pass, Khulara and Tapovan. One can have a panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range of Nanda Devi (7818 meters), Mana (7272 meters), Kamet (7728 meters), Mount Neelkanth, Mount Chaukhamba (6874 meters), Mount Hathi Ghora Palki. One can also visit Vishnu Pryag, the confluence of River Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga from Joshimath .

Return journey starts from Joshimath passing through Rudraprayag and Srinagar, Dev Prayag  and reaching Rishikesh/Hardwar  a 250/275 km. journey for a night stay, participating at Aarti at Ganga Ghats and to leave for home next day.

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Guptkashi on way to Sri Kedarnath

Guptkashi is a village situated at the height of 1319 meters above sea level famous for its Vishwanath temple. The Guptkashi means the Hidden Kashi , it is on the way to Sri Kedarnath, legend is after the Mahabharat war was over the Pandava brothers wanted to wash their sin of killing their own relatives in the war , they were searching the Lord Shiva , Lord Shiva hide himself at this place . It is also said that Lord Shiva proposed to  Parvati here at the confluence of river Son Ganga and Mandakini at Triyuginarayan ( 48 kms) . It is also said that during the Mughal King Aurangzeb period when he ordered to construct the mosque at Vishwanath temple at Varanasi ( Kashi) or Kashi Vishwanath, the original Shiva Lingam was removed from there and brought here to be in safe hiding .

According to the old texts the Purans of Hindus the Kashi and Kanchi are the two eyes of Lord Shiva and there are six more Kashi  sacred and of equal importance as main Kashi the Varanasi or Kashi Vishvanath , those who can’t travel to main Kashi can reach the nearest one , these are Uttarkashi and Guptkashi in Uttrakhand , The Dakshin Kashi in South India, the Bhubneshwar in East of India , Nashik in Western India ( also called Paithan) and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

Vishvanath Temple Guptkashi

Vishwanath Temple

It is built of stone with high tower and a wooden frame with sloping roof , at the entrance there are two guards and walls are painted with flowers , main entrance is also guarded by the Bhairov, on the one side is a temple of Ardhnarishvar the half man and half woman form of lord Shiva , outside this temple is the Nandi bull statue made of metal.

Ukhimath

It is the temple across the river Mandakini at Guptkashi , it is the winter seat of the Sri Kedarnath  , there is a small water pond the Manikarnik Kund two water sources the water is coming out of a mouth of cow  is called Ganga  the water is coming out of a elephant trunk  is called Yamuna , the water falls on the Lingam. There is a Stupa which according to the local legends is a grave of Nala one of the characters in Ramayana , The legend also says that the Anirudha the grandson of Lord Krishna  and Usha the daughter of demon King Banasur had affair at Ramgarh ( Ronitpur) this affair led to the war between Banasur and lord Krishna  which resulted in as  end of the Banasur dynasty.

Guptkashi is becoming more important for a night stay on trip to Sri Kedarnath as there are good hotels, guest houses and camps , it is also because of the Phata , Sita Puri and Sirsi helipad ,  people prefer to stay here.

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Tanot Rai Mata Temple Jaisalmer Rajasthan

Tanot Rai Mata Temple is situated very close to the India Pakistan border about 120 km from Jaisalmer . In Vikram Samvat 847 (792 AD) the City and Fort of Tanot was made capital by the Bhati King Tanu Rao and the Goddess Mata Tanot Rai , the incarnation of The Mata Hinglaj whose main temple is in Baluchistan now in Pakistan,  was established as a Siddha Peetha in Vikram Samvat 888 ( 832AD)  , since then the generations of Bhati Rajputs , people of Jaisalmer and surrounding areas pay respect to Mata Tanot Rai as their Kul – Devi . In 12th Centenary the Bhati King Maha Rawal Jaisal, shifted their capital to Loduvra, Jaisalmer for strategic reasons but the temple of Mata Tanot Rai remained here .

Mata Tanot Rai , Tanot , Jaisalmer

The main Idol is the yellow mud colored rectangular slab,  it is a Siddha Sthanm established in Vikram Samvat 888 (832 AD) , the Idol of Mata ji which we see in front is installed by the Border Security Force of India (BSF) , this temple has earned a undisputed respect and special place from the Armed Forces and the BSF because of the miracles in 1965 AD and then in 1971 AD war with Pakistan  . There are temples of Lord Hanuman Ji , Lord Shiva , Ma Mansa Devi where pilgrims tie their handkerchief as a prayer to get the wishes fulfilled ,  Bhairo and a Mazar of a Pir Baba

The legend is that the Hinglaj Mata is a Shakti Peetha of Ma Sati worshiped in the form of Ma Durga or Devi , the main temple is in Baluchistan now in Pakistan , pleased with the worship of a person name Mamadia from village Chelak in Jaisalmer , gave him a Boon that she will take birth as his daughter,  in the year Vikram Samvat 808 Chaitra Sudi 9th day on a Tuesday ( 752 AD) took birth , daughter was named as Avad Devi  and then the other six sisters named Ashi , Seti , Gehli , Hol , Roop and Lang were born , Mata Avad Devi showed her miracles in due course of time and also came to be known as Nagrenchi , Kale Dungar Rai , Bhojaseri , Deg Rai , Tebher Rai and then the Tanot Rai .

The miracles shown during the war with Pakistan , in October 1965 the Pakistani Army entered  into Indian territory from  two places Kishen Garh and Sadewala but could not reach this place in spite of heavy Artillery Shelling and fierce gun battle . Locals claimed that Ma Tanot Rai appeared in the dreams of few Indian Soldiers and said she will protect them until they remain  in the temple area.  It is said that out of more than Three Thousand bombs fired , Four hundred and Fifty bombs fell within the temple complex  but either went blind or could not explode, encouraged by this miracle , Indian soldiers retaliated with Two Companies of BSF and One Battalion of Grenadiers with the blessings of Ma Tanot Rai repulsed and broke the backbone of One Brigade of Pakistani Army who retreated back leaving behind hundreds of their dead soldiers , Tanks and trucks .

Unexploded bombs fired by Pakistan army at Ma Tanot Rai Temple

Unexploded bombs fired by Pakistan army at Ma Tanot Rai Temple

After the 1965 War the Border Security Force established a regular post and took over the management and perform  the daily two time Aarti at Mata Tanot Rai Temple . Mata Tanot Rai is considered to be the guardian of all the sons of the motherland who are posted in this sector.  Any armed Forces personal, who joins for duty in this sector, irrespective of his religion he belongs to, first  pays respects at this holy shrine.

Again on the night of 4th December 1971 Pakistan army attacked from Longewala side with One Infantry Brigade and one Armour Regiment , the Indian army of One Company strength of Punjab Regiment and One Company of BSF with small weapons repulsed the attack with the blessings of Ma Tanot Rai , Pakistani army retreated , leaving behind the 34 destroyed tanks and over 100 other vehicles many killed soldiers , only two of the Indian soldiers got martyrdom in this battle.

War Victory Memorial at the entrance of Ma Tanot Rai Temple

War Victory Memorial at the entrance of Ma Tanot Rai Temple

Every year on 16 December Vijay Divas  is celebrated at the Memorial Pillar at entrance of Ma Tanot Temple to remember the heroic deeds of our soldiers . Twice a year during the Navratras ( April and September )  nine days Langar (community free kitchen ) and celebrations are organised by the Border Security Force .  

For More Information and packages contact + 91 9810506646

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