Dashashwamedh Ghat

Dashashwamedha_ghat_on_the_Ganga,_Varanasi

Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main ghat in Varanasi on the Ganga River. It is located close to Vishwanath Temple and is probably the most spectacular ghat. The literal meaning of the Dashashwamedh is the Ghat (river front) of the ten sacrificed horses. Brahma sacrificed 10 horses (aswa) here. Second mythologies surround the ghat, one being that Lord Brahma created it to welcome Lord Shiva when he came to Earth.

Visiting the ghat of Varanasi is the best thing to do in this city known for its religious significance to Hindus. Taking a dip in the Ganga at one of the ghat to wash away your sins is something you must do here to feel how thousands of pilgrims do all year round. Close to Ghat there are many Temples dedicated to Sulatankeshvara, Brahmeshvara, Varaheshvara, Abhaya Vinayaka, Ganga (the Ganges), and Bandi Devi which are part of important pilgrimage journeys. A large number of priests can be seen performing religious rituals on this Ghat. Close to Ghat there are many Temples dedicated to Sulatankeshvara, Brahmeshvara, Varaheshvara, Abhaya Vinayaka, Ganga (the Ganges), and Bandi Devi which are part of important pilgrimage journeys. A large number of priests can be seen performing religious rituals on this Ghat. 

Ganga aarti:

Ganga_Aarti_in_evening_at_Dashashwamedh_ghat,_Varanasi_03 It is great to see the real attraction of this ghat in the evening when Gange aarti is held here. This ghat has become the religious spot for the devotees and pilgrims for years and tourists as well.  It is great to see the real attraction of this ghat in the evening when Gange aarti is held here. Elaborate rituals are performed at this ghat every evening by a group of 8-10 priests standing atop a pedestal, who chant mantras and propitiate the river with thousands of diyas and torches, with bhajans playing loudly in the background. This ghat has become the religious spot for the devotees and pilgrims for years and tourists as well. The riverbank lights up with flaming lamps and the smell of sandalwood envelops the ghat. Special Aartis are held on Tuesdays and on religious festivals. A maha Gange aarti held at the ghat at Kartik Purnima which attracts an unbelievable crowd.

Nearby Attraction:

Kashi Vishwanath Temple:

Shri_Kashi_Vishwanath_Mandir,_BHU_03 The list of places to visit in Varanasi would be incomplete without including the famed Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and has also been referred to in the holy scriptures. The Kashi Vishwanath temple has been built and re-built several times over the past few centuries. The present temple was built in the 18th century by Rani Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore after Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the previous temple and built a mosque at the site. Five major aartis are held daily, but the temple is always abuzz with worshipers. Sadly, non-Hindus may not enter, but by taking a stroll through the Vishwanath Galli that runs the length of it, you can get a glimpse of the interior, which exudes pungent smells and constant noise. For a small donation, you can climb to one of the second floors or rooftops of the shops that line the lane and get a good view of the temple interiors.  It is located in the city of “Kas” or “Light” and is also known as the Golden temple due to the presence of 15.5m high golden spire. Every day, the temple is visited by about three thousand devotees, which go up to a lakh or more on special festive occasions. One of the most auspicious times to visit the temple is Shivaratri.

Ramnagar Fort:

Ramnagar_Fort,_Varanasi,_UP Located near Ganges river on its eastern bank, Ramnagar fort is a structure in Varanasi built in 1750 by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh. The fort is constructed in red sandstone and is made in a typical Mughal style of architecture with stunning carved out balconies and open patios. This old rampart is also home to a vintage museum that is famous for its rare collection of old American cars, ivory works, medieval costumes, and a huge astronomical clock. The architecture of this fort is a blend of Indian and Islamic style.The temple dedicated to Ved Vyasa is said to be the place, where the sage who wrote the Indian epic Mahabharata, spent some days of his life. Among other tourist attractions in Ramnagar are the Durga Temple, Chhinnamastika Temple, and Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman.During Dussehra, the fort and its surroundings are decorated magnificently and it’s certainly worth a visit.

Bharat Kala Bhavan:

Bharat_Kala_Bhavan_Museum,_Banaras_Hindu_University,_Varanasi Bharat Kala Bhavan is located inside the Banaras Hindu University campus. It was established on 1 January 1920 as an extension of Bharat Kala Parishad. It displays India’s heritage and preserves the past of the nation. It houses a wide collection of paintings, textiles and costumes, decorative art, Hindu and Buddhist sculptures and other materials of archaeological importance. There are some displays which date back to 1st to15th century. The total number of displays are 1,00000 plus. It also has an art gallery dedicated to the Russian artist, Nicholas Roerich. However, the main credit for creating the collection and establishment goes to Padmavibhushan Late Rai Krishnadasa, the renowned Hindi writer.

How To Reach:

By Air: Varanasi airport is well connected to all major city of India.  

By Rail: There two railway station Varanasi railway station and another one is Kashi railway station, Varanasi railway station is well connected to all  major city of India by regular train.

By Road: Varanasi is well connected by Road way from the near by city and near by states.

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Allahabad

On_the_banks_of_New_Yamuna_bridge,_Allahabad

Allahabad  also known as Prayag is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, It is also called the “Tirth Raj”, the king of all pilgrimage center.  And the administrative headquarters of Allahabad District, the most populous district in the state. It is a ‘tale of two cities’. The old city has a glorious past and the new city that is rubbing shoulders with modernity. The Kumbh held in every six years and Mahakumbh in every 12 years at Allahabad the largest religious fair in the world. It is located at the junction of the holy rivers the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Saraswati.

The city’s original name–Prayag, or “place of offerings”–comes from its position at the Sangam (confluence) of the GangaYamuna and mythical Sarasvati rivers. It is the second-oldest city in India, and plays a central role in Hindu scriptures. The place where river Ganga and river Yamuna meet is called Sangam (union). Sangam is the venue of many sacred fairs and rituals, and attracts thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. These rivers has played an important role in weaving the society and cultural fabric of the city which is which is visited by pilgrims from virtually every corner rom country during the month of Magh. It is the place of importance in the Hindu religion. It is a city which has the mixed culture of Hindus, Muslims, Jains and Christans.

History:

Allahabad_Montage_II_Dec_2014 The name Prayāga existed during the Vedic period, and is mentioned in the Veda as the location where Brahma (the Hindu creator of the universe) attended a ritual sacrifice. The city was once part of the Kuru dynasty, who made it their capital after the destruction of Hastinapur by floods. According to historian Badauni, the great Mughal Emperor Akbar also visited Prayag and founded the imperial city of Illahabad that later on came to be known as Allahabad. The construction of the Akbar Fort bears testimony to the importance of the city that was made the provincial capital during the Mughal period.According to historian Badauni, the great Mughal Emperor Akbar also visited Prayag and founded the imperial city of Illahabad that later on came to be known as Allahabad. The construction of the Akbar Fort bears testimony to the importance of the city that was made the provincial capital during the Mughal period.

Prayag is birth place of Som, Varuna and Prjapati. Prayag has been associated with mythological personalities in Brahmanical(Vedic) and Buddhist Literatures. It was the seat of the great sge Bhardwaj, sage Durvasa and Sage Pannas sage Bhardwaj lived here circa 5000BC and taught more than 10000 disciples. He was the greatest philospher of ancient world. Puranas pay a glowing tribute to the city of Prayag which is also illustrated in the beautiful verses of the great poet Kalidasa. The famous character of poet in the drama Raghuvansham, speaks of the great line which divided the clear blue stream of The Yamuna from the muddy stream of The Ganga. Allahabad is known as the “city of prime ministers” because seven out of 15 prime ministers of India since independence have connections to Allahabad (Jawaharlal NehruLal Bahadur ShastriIndira GandhiRajiv GandhiGulzarilal NandaVishwanath Pratap Singh and Chandra Shekhar). All seven leaders were either born there, were alumni of Allahabad University or were elected from an Allahabad constituency.

Climate & Culture :

Allahabad is blessed with a rich, artistic and cultural heritage. Every twelve years, the city hosts Kumbh Mela, which attracts tourists from all over the country. Other famous festivals that are keenly celebrated are Ardh Kumbh Mela and Magh Mela where devotees from different cities and states take a solemn dip in the holy rivers. Hindustani Classical Music and Kathak are popular classical music and dance forms. 

Allahabad has a humid subtropical climate common to cities in the plains of North India. The annual mean temperature is 26.1 °C (79.0 °F); monthly mean temperatures are 18–29 °C (64–84 °F). The month of March marks the start of summers in Allahabad and it lasts till June. Temperature ranges between 30°C to a mercurial 45°C during these months. July to September is when Allahabad experiences monsoon, which brings intermittent showers of rain. Winter runs from December to February, with temperatures rarely dropping to the freezing point. The daily average maximum temperature is about 22 °C (72 °F) and the minimum about 9 °C (48 °F). The best season to visit Allahabad is the winter season in the months of October to March. The temperature remains comfortable and is apt for sightseeing and other.

Tourist Attraction:

Triveni Sangam:

Triveni_Sangam Triveni Sangam, located at a distance of 7 km from the Civil Lines is one of the most famous tourist attractions of the city. Triveni Sangam also known as Sangam is the confluence of three rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. One can clearly identify the pale yellow waters of the Ganga and the blue waters of the Yanuma. It is believed that some drops of nectar fell from a pitcher in the hands of the Gods, which makes up Triveni Sangam. Therefore, a bath in the waters here is said to cleanse people off all their sins. The holy Sangam is the site for Annual Magha Mela/Ardh Kumbh/Kumbh Mela. It is during the Kumbh/Ardh Kumbh that the Sangam truly comes alive, attracting millions of devotees from all over the country. 

Anand Bhavan:

Anand_Bhawan The ancestral home of the illustrious Nehru first Prime-Minister of India family, Anand Bhawan has now been converted into a museum and displays the memorabilia of India s First Family, where many decisions and events related to the freedom struggle have been known to take place. Indira Gandhi, first lady Prime Minister of India was born there. Jawahar Planetarium is also located inside the Anand Bhawan. The exhibits inside the house highlight the events, which describes the participation of prestigious family in independence of India. The most beautiful parts of the museum are the bedroom of Nehru and his study. Here one is offered a glimpse of the lifestyle of the family that retained for a long time and even today the status of the most important political dynasty in India. It is a two storied building which has rooms including the one where Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi used to stay during his visits.

Allahabad Fort:

India_Bikaner_Junagarh_Fort Allahabad Fort stretched along the banks of River Yamuna narrates the heroic tale of Allahabad’s legendary past built by Emperor Akbar in 1583 AD. This huge, majestic fort has three magnificent galleries flanked by high towers. Presently, the army uses the Allahabad fort and only a limited area is open to visitors. The important monuments and buildings inside are the Zanana palace for the women, the Saraswati Koop which is considered as the source of the Saraswati River and a 3rd century BC Ashoka Pillar. In addition, the fort also has Ashoka Pillar which was built back in 232 B.C by Mauryan Empire. This gigantic pillar is a polished sandstone with an height of 10.6 metre. Visitors require a permit from the Ordnance Depot or the Tourist Office for visiting this Fort.

Khusro Bagh:

Tomb_of_Nithar_,_sister_of_Sultan_Khusro_01 Khusro Bagh was completed in 1622 AD and houses the tombs of Khusrau Mirza (eldest son of Emperor Jahangir), his mother Shah Begum, and his sister Sultan Nithar Begum. The three sandstone mausoleums within this walled garden, present an exquisite example of Mughal architecture. The most beautifully designed monument is of Prince Khusrau, hence the name. Enjoy the sight of Mughal architecture and go on a relaxing walk in the park. You can learn about the place from the boards put inside and from the localities of the city.  In addition, there is another tomb which was constructed for Khusro’s mother. She poisoned herself in despair as she was not able to handle Khusro’s opposition of his father Jahangir.

How To Reach:

By Air: Barmauli Airport (15 km) is connected to metro city of India. Delhi and Kolkata is nearest International airport.

By Rail: Allahabad have major rail head and its well connected to all major city of India.

By Road: Allahabad has a good connectivity of roads and highways from whole Country. 

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Thirupparamkunram Murugan temple

Tirupparamkunram_Murugan_Temple

Tirupparankunram Murugan Temple is a Hindu temple and one of the Six Abodes of Murugan, located at Tirupparankunram. this is the first temple. While Lord Muruga graces in a standing form in other five army camp temples, He graces in a sitting, wedding form with His consort Deivanai, the divine daughter of the king of heaven, Indra, and he is said to have worshipped Shiva here as Parangirinathar. The temple is built in rock-cut architecture and believed to have been built by the Pandyas during the 6th century.  This is a 2000 years old hillock temple beaming with the pride of being the pioneer of other five army camps.

It is carved in rock and is monstrous in size for such an architecture. There are number of cubical pillars with lotus medallions at the entrance of temple. The temple has innumerable cave shrines that are small and approached through narrow dark passages. The inscriptions on the chamber walls are believed to date back to the early medieval period. There are 11 famous ponds around the temple, out of which, Saravanapoigai and Lakshmi Theertham are very famous. A cave temple dedicated to the element of earth and mentioned in various classical Tamil texts as the ‘Southern Himalaya’ where the gods assemble, Tiruparankundram is also mentioned in legend as ‘the place where the sun and moon abide’.

Architecture:

Thiruparamkundram_(14) There are several architectural features of interest, especially the temple is built rock-cut architecture dating back to the Pandya period of 6th century and the life sized sculptures in the mandapas of the Nayaka period during the 16th century. An Aasthaana Mandapa with several artistically carved pillars lead one to the towering 150 feet (46 m) high seven-tiered rajagopuram at the entrance.The granite hill behind the temple is 1,050 ft (320 m) has a shrine of Kasi Viswanatha at the top. The image of Vinayaka in the temple in the temple is sported holding sugarcane and fruits. The main shrine is an early rock cut temple which has cells that house the sanctums of Subramanya, Durga, Vinayakar, Shiva and Vishnu. All the statues are carved on the wall of the parankundram rock. A notable feature of this temple is that the Shiva and Vishnu face each other in the main shrine, considered a rare thing in ancient Hindu temples. Outside the temple there is tank, where according to the temple tradition, the fishes are served with salt and rice flakes by the devotees. There are five Theerthams, or divine water sources, in and around the temple, Saravana Poigai, Lakshmi Theertham, Saniyasi Kinaru (well), Kasi Sunai, and Sathiya Koopam.

Skanda Shashti festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (October – November) is the most prominent festival of the temple. Muruga are taken in procession to Madurai to celebrate Minakshi’s wedding (Chittirai festival), with residents of Madurai dressed in festive clothing. Nakkirar’s association with this temple is also celebrated as a festival. Since the image of Vishnu is in the temple, Vaikunta Ekadashi is also celebrated.

Those facing obstacles in marriage alliances, risk to the welfare of children pray here. They also light lamps in the Durga shrine during the Rahu Kala time each day. The Temple time is open from 5.00 am to 1.00 pm And 4.00 pm to 9.00 pm.

How to reach:

By Air: The nearest airport is Madurai Airport(10 km), which is well connected to all major city of India.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is madurai railway(08 km), which is well connected to all major city of India by daily train.

By Road: Buses from Madurai Periyar and Thirumangalam bus stands will aid you to reach the temple. From the bus stand temple is at a walkable distance.

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Brihadeeswarar Temple

Brihadeeswarar_Temple_Full_View

Brihadeeswarar Temple Big Temple (locally known as “Thanjai Periya Kovil”) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Siva Peruman located in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is also known as RajaRajeswara Temple Rajarajeswaram and Peruvudayar Temple. Thanjavur named after the legendry asura “Tanjan”, is one of the ancient temples in India. The 1000 year old temple was built by Raja Raja Chola I to grace the throne of the Chola Empire in 1 to grace the throne of the Chola Empire in 1010 AD and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. known as the “Great Living Chola Temples”, with the other two being the Peruvudaiyar Temple, Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Airavatesvara temple.

Nandi_of_The_Big_Temple- The vimanam (temple tower) is 198 ft (60 m) high and is one of the tallest in the world. The Kumbam (the apex or the bulbous structure on the top) weighs around 80 tons.There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock measuring about 16 ft (4.9 m) long and 13 ft (4.0 m) high at the entrance.  This is the second largest  Nandhi in India and is carved out of a single stone.  Everything about this temple is big, majestic.  No wonder it is referred  as The Big Temple.The structure is a proof of wealth, artistic expertise and power of the Chola kingdom. According to the inscriptions present in the temple, Kunjara Mallan Raja Raja Perumthachan was the engineer and architect of this famous temple.  The tower stands tall and one can see this fabulous structure even as one enters Tanjore.  The temple is entirely built of more than 130,000 tons of granite. 

History:

Brihadeeswarar_Temple,_Thanjavur The temple was built to grace the throne of the Chola empire by the Tamil emperor Arulmozhivarman, popularly called Rajaraja Chola I, in compliance to a command given to him in a dream. This is the Chola dynastys finest contribution to Dravidian art.  The Big Temple  was an expression of the success of Raja Raja Chola’s empire.  This temple is also called as  Brahadeeswara Temple or Peruvudaiyar Kovil or Rajarajeswaram. The emergence of such features as the multifaceted columns with projecting square capitals signal the arrival of the new Chola style. The style of construction of temple resembles the temple in Bhuvaneshwar. The temple is built over 29 square base and is surrounded by moat on two sides and Grand Anaicut river on the other side. The walls of the complex are adorned by beautiful paintings belonging to the Chola and Nayak period.  The temple is entirely built of more than 130,000 tons of granite. Intended to display the emperor’s vision of his power and his relationship to the universal order, the temple was the site of the major royal ceremonies such as anointing the emperor and linking him with its deity, Siva Peruman, and the daily rituals of the deities were mirrored by those of the king. The temple “testifies the brilliant achievements of the Chola in architecture, sculpture, painting and bronze casting.

Architecture:

Brihadeeswarar_Temple_3624 The architect and engineer of the temple was Raja Raja Rama as stated in inscriptions found at the temple.  The temple took 12 years to complete, and King Raja Raja Chola – I, performed the Kumbhabhishekam (consecration ceremony) in 1011 AD. The temple was built in honour of his victorious reign, during when the Chola kingdom (10th to 14th centuries AD) extended till Ceylon and some parts of the Malaya archipelago. The fresco painting can be seen in the ceilings of the corridors and also in the ceilings of the many sub-shrines. They are an invention of the Cholas and the painting, which are about 1000 years old are still brightly colourful. The Temple, like many others built during this period served many functions; the walls are very high and the entrance is built like a fort, along with a moat. On the inside, there are separate waiting areas for musicians, workers etc and the periphery served as a meeting place for the public.  Built towards 600AD, the architecture is considered ‘modern’ in the scale of Dravidian architecture. The temple is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tamil Nadu.

The day of the Ruling star, satabhishag is treated as a festival day every month as it symbolizes the ruling star at the time of birth of Rajaraja. The temple is also the venue of the annual festival that is celebrated here for the period of nine days in the month of Visaka according to the Hindu calendar. The deity is bathed with the water soaked with the fragrant Champaka flower.

How To Reach:

By Air: The nearest airport is at Trichy (45 km), which is well connected to all major city of India.

By Rail: Thanjavur railway station is well connected to all major city of India

By Road: Thanjavur is well connected to all major city of India, Regular buses to Thanjavur from other major cities of the country are always available.

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Haji Ali Dargah

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A tomb on an island in the middle of the Arabian Sea! Doesn’t that immediately sound enticing enough? But there is more to the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai than just its location. Such is the reverence that this Muslim saint commands that his final resting place draws the faithful from all communities who come here with the firm hope that their prayers will be answered. With a mosque located adjacent to the tomb complex, the edifice is also a brilliant specimen of the Indo-Islamic style of architecture.

Located about 500 meters from the coast off the Lala Lajpatrai Marg at Mahalaxmi in Mumbai, the Haji Ali Dargah was constructed in 1431 in memory of a wealthy Muslim merchant, Sayyed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who renounced all his worldly possessions before making a pilgrimage to Mecca. It is said that he had come to India from Bukhara in the ancient Persian Empire and had travelled around the world before deciding to settle down in Mumbai.

According to a legend, the saint once came upon a poor woman crying on the road with an empty vessel in her hands. Upon inquiring the reason for her sorrow, she said that the oil she was carrying in the vessel had been accidently spilled and that she was now afraid of being beaten by her husband. The saint asked her to lead him to the spot where the oil had been spilled. There, he jabbed a finger into the soil and the oil gushed out, which the woman filled into the vessel and went home.

However, this incident is reported to have led Haji Ali experiencing disturbing dreams about injuring the earth. Full of remorse, he soon fell ill and directed his followers that upon his death his coffin should be cast into the sea. Haji Ali left this world during his journey to Mecca and miraculously the casket carrying his body floated back to the Mumbai shore, getting stuck in the string of rocky islets just off Worli. And so it was that the ‘dargah’ was constructed here.

The tomb in itself is simple in design. On an elevated platform is the main structure with a white dome and minarets. Men and women enter the ‘dargah’ through different entrances to arrive on either side of the shrine. The main hall has marble pillars embellished with artistic mirror work: blue, green, yellow chips of glass arranged in kaleidoscopic patterns interspersed with Arabic patterns which spell the 99 names of Allah. The Kinara Masjid is behind the ‘dargah’ and an open Qawwal Khana chamber next to the tomb works as a stage for Sufi singers. There is a fountain within the complex lined with a few trees adjacent to which is a tea and snack vendor and a shop selling books and ‘chaddars’ that are bought for the shrine.

The pier and the promenade leading to the ‘dargah’ have several vendors along the way selling flowers, incense sticks, colourful shawls, imitation jewellery, dresses, picture postcards, toys and souvenirs. The ‘dargah’ is also a favourite with photographers because of the sheer beauty of the place, especially the view of the sunset that is best enjoyed from the rocky edge behind the tomb.

Things to Do

Explore the capital of Maharashtra

Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra. It has numerous attractions for a visitor ranging from the museum visits to roadside shopping. The city is a paradise for such visitors. It truly is a city that does not sleep so it is worth exploring in the night too.

Visit Esselworld

Have a Fun day at the Esselworld which is one of India’s largest amusement parks. From rib tickling crazy cups and copper choppers to scary monsters in the mist as well as adrenaline charging rocking alleys and zipper drippers, you can spend an exciting day and spend quality time with the family.

Explore the Sanjay Gandhi National Park

On the periphery of Mumbai, this is a beautiful park where tranquility prevails and the flora and fauna are allowed to have a free hand. It offers to the tourists, naturalists, bird-watchers and environment researchers a fascinating treasure of wildlife and innumerable plants and trees. In fact, almost a quarter of India’s avifauna has made their home here, including many mammals such as the elusive leopard. The park also offers various activities like boating, trekking, safaris and even a toy train ride.

Explore the Mumbai caves

The Kanheri caves have the earliest images of the Buddha in South India and were made famous across the world because Chinese monk traveller Hiuen Tsang had visited the monastery in 7th century CE and is reported to have carried a wooden image of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara to China along with numerous Sanskrit Buddhist manuscripts.

Known as Mandapeshvara, the caves at Borivali, are the final chapter in the history of cave architecture in Mumbai. Along with these, the caves at Mahakali, Magathne, Elephanta, Jogeshwari etc are the testimony of the city’s rich heritage.

Explore the Neighbourhood

Apart from the fact that there is the whole of Mumbai that you can enjoy during your visit to the Haji Ali Dargah, there are some places which are close by for a quick visit when you are in this area. One is the Mahalaxmi Temple dedicated to Mahalakshmi, the central deity of Devi Mahatmya. Built around 1785, the history of this temple is supposedly connected with the building of the Hornby Vellard. According to a legend, after portions of the sea wall of the Vellard collapsed twice, the chief engineer, Pathare Prabhu, dreamt of a goddess statue in the sea near Worli. A search recovered it, and he built a temple for it. The temple contains images of the goddesses Mahalakshmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati.

Also situated in this area is the Mahalaxmi Race Course which has been modelled on the Melbourne Race Course. The length of the track is 2,400 meters and it was built in 1883 on 225 acres of land facing the sea. And if your interest veers towards the skies and all that lies beyond earth, you must visit the Nehru Planetarium. Commissioned on March 3, 1977, it has grown into a centre for scientific study of astronomy and for meeting of scientists and scholars for discussions and lectures, arranged periodically on various stellar and astronomical events. The planetarium also has programmes aimed at inspiring students. These include special arrangements to watch, study, and photograph solar and lunar eclipses.

How to reach

Visitors can reach Haji Ali Dargah via the many modes of local transport available in Mumbai city – Metered taxies, B.E.S.T. city buses and Local trains are available. The nearest railway station is Mahalakshmi on the western line. Auto rickshaws ply in the suburbs of Mumbai only and will not come all the way to Haji Ali. One needs to take another mode of transport beyond Mahim / Sion when traveling into the city from the suburbs.

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Bhimashankar Temple

temple-bhimashankarc

A pristine natural environment with hills, waterfalls and forests; a wild life sanctuary and an ancient temple! Bhimashankar offers the ideal setting to find spirituality. It is also the perfect place for adventure lovers with a plethora of treks. Moreover this is where you can find the shekru the giant flying squirrel which is also the state animal of Maharashtra.

Nestled in dense forests, the Shiva temple in Bhimashankar is the sixth jyotirlinga and one of the most popular places for the worship of Lord Shiva. It is believed that the original temple of Bhimashankar was built in 12th century CE. However, no material remains dating to that period have been found since the temple has undergone many alterations over a period of time. The temple was renovated by Chimaji Antaji Bhide Naik in 1733 CE followed by some repair works by Dikhit Patwardhan in 1766 CE. A well was constructed in the complex by Raghunathrao Peshwa. The famous minister of the Peshwas, Nana Phadnavis carried out a lot of renovations, including the construction of the shikhara.

The present temple sanctum (garbhagriha) and the shikhara are built in the Nagara or Indo-Aryan style and have a strong influence of Rajasthan and Gujarat on the figurines and motifs of the temple. The exterior walls of the sanctum are adorned with scenes from the Ramayana, Krishna Leela, Shiv Leela and Dashavataras. Inscriptions in the courtyard give a record of grants given and a large bell confiscated from the Vasai fort by the Maratha Commander Chimaji Appa hangs in front of the sabhamandapa.

Bhimashankar is also the perfect place to combine adventure and trekking. Monsoon is a good season to enjoy the region’s stunning natural beauty.

Things to Do

Visit the Chas Kaman Dam

This dam is a very important Hydel power projects in the country and one of the important dams of Maharashtra. Built on the Bhima river amidst picturesque settings, this place with the dam and it’s backwaters is an ideal monsoon retreat.

Explore the Wilderness

The Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary is part of the Western Ghats recognised as one of the 12 biodiversity hotspots of the world. It is home to a large diversity of endemic and specialised flora and fauna. It is also an important catchment area which feeds the rivers Bhima and Ghod that flow downstream. The Forest Interpretation Centre equipped with a library and nature-related guidance and interpretation, is a wonderful place for children and adults alike to learn about nature and adventure.

Go Trekking

Bhimashankar is a trekker’s delight. It is surrounded by innumerable forts of varying heights and varying degrees of difficulty. To name just a few of them – Shivneri, Kothaligad, Padargad, Siddhagad all provide for adventure and excitement to refresh yourself from the urban chaos.

Study About Sacred Groves

There are about 14 sacred groves or ‘Devrais’ as they are called in local parlance, in this area. Forest patches are earmarked as sacred in order to protect endemic species of flora and fauna and often for water security. They provide a rich environment for study of ecological and cultural heritage.

Discover Other Treasures

The entire region is a tourist’s delight. From the scenic Malshej ghat to the historic Junnar caves, there exist innumerable possibilities for a memorable holiday.

How to reach:

By Air and Rail:

Bhimashankar is 213 km from Mumbai and 110 kms from Pune. The nearest airport is Pune and so is the railway station.

By Road:

You can take the route of Pune-Rajgurunagar-Manchar- Ghodegaon–Pokhari Ghat Bhimashankar. State Transport buses are available at regular intervals from the Shivajinagar Bus Terminus and the last bus is at 5 pm. Private transport is more convenient if you would like to visit places around Bhimashankar.

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Siddhivinayak Temple

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With the firm belief that nothing new should ever be embarked upon without invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesh, the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple at Prabhadevi is understandably the most popular of places of worship in Mumbai. It was but a humble consecration by Mrs. Deubai Patil in early 19th century that is supposed to have started attracting hordes of worshippers soon after India’s independence to ‘Siddhivinayak’, as it is popularly known.

Located at Prabhadevi in central Mumbai, the temple’s idol of Shree Siddhivinayak was carved out of a single black stone with the trunk on the right. This is considered a rather unusual appearance of Lord Ganesh. The upper right and left hands hold a lotus and an axe respectively while the lower right and left hands hold a rosary (japmala) and a bowl full of ‘modak’ respectively. On the forehead of the deity is an eye, which almost looks like the third eye of Lord Shiva. On both sides of the Lord Ganesh idol are placed one idol each of goddesses Riddhi and Siddhi and it is because of these two deities along with that of Lord Ganesh that the temple is called the Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple. These goddesses signify sanctity, success, wealth and prosperity.

The wooden doors to the sanctum are carved with images of the Ashtavinayak (the eight manifestations of Ganesha in Maharashtra). The inner roof of the sanctum is plated with gold. Consecrated on November 19, 1801, the original structure of the Siddhivinayak Temple was a small 3.6 meter x 3.6 meter square brick structure with a dome-shaped brick ‘shikhara’. The temple was built by a contractor called Laxman Vithu Patil and was funded by Mrs. Deubai Patil so that Lord Ganesh should grant children to barren women.

An additional five-storied temple complex has been built over the years and special ‘pujas’ are performed on the mezzanine floor. The fourth floor houses a library and a reading room while the kitchen and dining area are on the top floor. A dedicated enclosure inside the temple is for Hanuman, whose statue was unearthed during a road construction project in 1952. It is believed that the two big silver mice statues in the main hall grant the wishes of the faithful if they whisper their requests into their ears.

Interestingly, the temple has adopted modern eco-friendly techniques of rainwater harvesting and is self-sufficient in energy with its own solar unit. The daily floral waste is recycled as compost. At the temple’s entrance are many shops that sell flowers, fruits and sweets that are bought as offerings to the god. Packets of ‘prasad’ containing ‘laddus’ and coconut ‘barfi’ are available at the temple’s outlet within the complex.

Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple
Prabhadevi,
Mumbai 400 028
Tel: +91 022 24373626
Email: eo@siddhivinayak.org

Siddhivinayak Temple e – mail Address:
svl@vsnl.com
info@siddivinayak.org
admin@siddivinayak.org

Tuesday is a special day to visit the temple but is also the most crowded. Saturdays and Sundays are crowded too. Call the temple reception office on + 91(022) 24373626 (10am to 5 pm) and find out about crowd status. There is a PRO office just inside the main gate where NRIs and foreigners will get assistance and guidance.

Things to Do

Visit the Neighborhood

In the vicinity of the temple are two interesting places that you could visit. One is the Shivaji Park, the city’s largest park that has historical and cultural value because of the political and social gatherings it has witnessed, both in pre- and post-independence Mumbai. The park is named after the legendary 17th century warrior king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and was created in 1925 by the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. The grand statue of Shivaji in the park is one of the very few statues in which the Maratha king is depicted without having drawn out his sword. Instead, Shivaji is shown simply leading the way with his arm outstretched. The other place of interest is the Ravindra Natya Mandir which is a preferred auditorium for drama and music groups to hold their shows.

Shop at the Dadar Market

A shopper’s paradise, the market at Dadar near the Plaza theatre is very famous for the purchase of day to day goods like the shopping bags, purses, clothes, sarees, dress materials, imitation jewelery and other such items

Explore Mumbai

If you are a first time visitor to Mumbai, the city has a lot to offer in terms of tourist attractions. From Caves dating to the first century BCE at Kanheri Borivali and Elephanta, a paradise of flora and fauna which is the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a long list of museums as also shopping centres, beaches, places of spiritual interest for people of all faiths and even a Bollywood tour; Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra will provide a mesmerizing experience

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Akal Takht

Akal_Takht_illuminated,_in_Harmandir_Sahib_complex,_Amritsar

The Akal Takht, meaning throne of the timeless one, is one of five takhts (seats of power) of the Sikh religion. It is located in the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) complex in Amritsar, Punjab. Akal Takht is situated exactly opposite to the Golden Temple within the temple complex. Akal Takht is a combination of Persian and Punjabi words, literally, it means “The seat of Timeless one” or “The seat of God”. The Akal Takht was built by Guru Hargobind as a place of justice and consideration of temporal issues; the highest seat of earthly authority of the Khalsa (the collective body of the Sikhs) and the place of the Jathedar, the highest spokesman of the Sikhs.

History :

Akal_takhat_amritsar Originally known as Akal Bunga, the building directly opposite the Harmandir Sahib was founded by sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind, as a symbol of political sovereignty and where spiritual and temporal concerns of the Sikh people could be addressed. The Akal Takhat was founded by Guru Hargobind on June 15, 1606 (now celebrated on 2 July) and was established as the place from which the spiritual and temporal concerns of the Sikh community could be acted upon. The original Takht was a simple platform, 3.5 meters (11 ft) high, on which Guru Hargobind would sit in court to receive petitions and administer justice. He was surrounded by the insignia of royalty such as the parasol and the flywhisk. Later, there was an open-air semi-circular structure built on marble pillars and a gilded interior section. The modern building is a five story structure with marble inlay and a gold-leafed dome. Three of the stories were added by Ranjit Singh in the 1700s. Contemporary restoration work found a layer of paint decorated lime plaster that might have been part of the original structure but later than the time of Harminder.

Architecture:

Harminder_Sahib_by_Night,_taken_from_the_east,_with_Akal_Takht_Sahib_in_the_background Interior_of_Akal_Takht Akal Takht is a great 5-storied modern structure (3 stores were built by Maharaja Ranjit Singh) with inlaid marble and a gilded dome, but that does not convey the Guru Hargobind’s design of simple Takht. The original Takht was a simple platform, 3.5 meters (11 ft) high, on which Guru Hargobind would sit in court to receive petitions and administer justice. He was surrounded by the insignia of royalty such as the parasol and the flywhisk. Later, there was an open-air semi-circular structure built on marble pillars and a gilded interior section. Contemporary restoration work found a layer of paint decorated lime plaster that might have been part of the original structure but later than the time of Harminder.

The best time to visit Amritsar is between November and March when the weather is comparatively pleasant and ideal for sightseeing and visiting the Golden Temple. However, sometimes the temperature can touch a freezing – 4 Degree Celsius.

How To Reach: 

By Air: Sri Guru Ram Das Jee International Airport Amritsar is 11 km away from the Akal Takht, Which is well connected to all major city of India.

By Rail: Amritsar Railway Station is well linked to other railheads in the state and also connected to most of the cities in India. 

By Road: There are bus services available that connect Amritsar with cities like Delhi, Dehradun, Shimla, Jammu and other towns in North India.

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Khajuraho Group of Monuments

Khajuraho_group_of_temple

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India, They are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. Khajuraho, through its architectural magnificence, displays the height of artistic excellence reached by the architects of a particular time in ancient India. The temples are famous for their nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures. Originally a group of 85, they are the largest group of Hindu and Jain temples in the world, although only about 25 of them remain today.

History : 

The Khajuraho group of monuments was built during the rule of the Rajput Chandela dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. It was the principal seat of authority of the Chandella rulers who adorned it with numerous tanks, scores of lofty temples of sculptural grace and architectural splendor. The local tradition lists eighty-five temples but now only twenty-five are standing examples in various stages of preservation. Most temples were built during the reigns of the Hindu kings Yashovarman and Dhanga. Yashovarman’s legacy is best exhibited by The Lakshmana Temple. Vishvanatha temple best highlights King Dhanga’s reign. 

There are three geographical divisions of temples at Khajuraho i.e. western, eastern and southern. Largest among these is the western group. This group consists of famous temples – Jagdambi Temple, Kandariya Mahadeva and Chitragupta Temples. The largest and currently most famous surviving temple is Kandariya Mahadeva built in the reign of King Vidyadhara. The temple inscriptions suggest many of the currently surviving temples were complete between 970 and 1030 CE, with further temples completed during the following decades. Central Indian region, where Khajuraho temples are, remained in the control of many different Muslim dynasties from 13th century through the 18th century. In this period, some temples were desecrated, followed by a long period when they were left in neglect. 

The vegetation and forest took over but in secret yogis and devotees visited the temples. In the 1830s, T.S. Burt, a British surveyor rediscovered the monuments. Apart from these temples, Khajuraho is also popular for its cultural festival of dance and music that is organized by Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad. Classical dancers from all across India come there to perform.

Description:

3=Devi_Jagdambi_Temple_Khajuraho_-_Outer_Wall_01 These temples, featured with erotic sculptures, have made the name of the town get mentioned in the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) list of the World Heritage Sites in the nation. Khajuraho Temples are among the most beautiful medieval monuments in the country. The layout, architecture, and construction are unrivaled. They are built of sandstone with unique mortise and tenon joints. Because of the sculptures, the temples are also referred as Kamasutra temples.  A few of the temples are dedicated to the Jain pantheon and the rest to Hindu deities — to God’s Trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and various Devi forms, such as the Devi Jagadambi. 

681px-Varaha_Sculpture_-_Khajuraho A few of the temples are dedicated to the Jain pantheon and the rest to Hindu deities — to God’s Trio, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and various Devi forms, such as the Devi Jagadambi. The artwork symbolically highlights the four goals of life considered necessary and proper in Hinduism – dharma, kama, artha and moksha. Of the surviving temples, 6 are dedicated to Shiva and his consorts, 8 to Vishnu and his affinities, 1 to Ganesha, 1 to Sun god, 3 to Jain Tirthankars. The temples have a rich display of intricately carved statues. While they are famous for their erotic sculpture, sexual themes cover less than 10% of the temple sculpture. The arts cover numerous aspects of human life and values considered important in Hindu pantheon. Further, the images are arranged in a configuration to express central ideas of Hinduism.

The Jain temples are located on east-southeast region of Khajuraho monuments.[37] Chausath jogini temple features 64 jogini, while Ghantai temple features bells sculptured on its pillars.

The temple complex hosts a very good sound-and-light show every evening and an annual dance festival in February. Some of the famous temples in the complex are the Lakshmana Temple, the Vishwanath Temple and the Kandariya Mahadev Temple.

Lakshmana Temple:

Lakshmana_temple Built by Chandela kings, Lakshmana Temple is one of the first magnificent structures established in Khajuraho. Known to be an architectural marvel, this beautiful shrine is amongst the largest temples set in the Western Wing of the Khajuraho complex. Constructed in 930-950 AD, the temple is one of the well-preserved temple having a full five-part floor plan and four subsidiary shrines. The temple is beautifully decorated with patterns of elephants and horsemen carrying out parade and there is a small idol in every corner. It also contains sculptures carved with the life of Lord Krishna like subjugation of the serpent Kaliya and the killing of demon Putana. The shrines also have a three-headed and four-armed image of Lord Vishnu known as Vaikuntha-Vishnu. 

Vishwanath Temple:

Visvanatha_Temple_-_Flickr_-_archer10_(Dennis) Vishwanath Temple is located on the north-eastern corner of the western group complex. Vishwanath temple in Khajuraho is famous for the beautifully carved sculptures of Shivlinga and idol of Lord Brahma. This temple is considered to be a UNESCO world heritage site constructed in the 11th century. The word Vishvanatha means “Lord of the Universe“. The wall of the temples contains carvings of couples making love and various mythical creatures. Adding beauty to the shrine, images of lions and elephants can be seen on the southern as well as northern steps of the temple. The beautifully carved exteriors of the temple are decorated with images of Apsaras to enhance the charm and beauty of this huge temple.

Kandariya Mahadev Temple: 

Kandariya_Mahadeva_Temple,_Khajuraho_(side) Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is the largest, tallest and most beautiful Hindu Temple of the Khajuraho Group of Temples. This is one of the most imposing structures in the Western group of Khajuraho, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Depicting the Chandela art, the huge shrine was constructed in 1025–1050. The mesmerizing looks of the temple and 900 awesomely carved sculptures imply the rich culture of Madhya Pradesh to the visitors. This temple is dedicated to Hindu Lord Shiva, and has a Shiva Linga made of marble, as its sanctum. About 646 statues are installed in its boundary that looks even more appealing. The façade of this temple is east facing.  The beautifully sculpted ceilings and the outer walls with three horizontal panels featuring deities of the Hindu pantheon illustrate the eternal glory of Khajuraho. 

Best Time To Visit:

The beautifully sculpted ceilings and the outer walls with three horizontal panels featuring deities of the Hindu pantheon illustrate the eternal glory of Khajuraho. The ideal time to visit Khajuraho is between the months of October and March. The average temperature remains close to 20°C (68 °F) during the month of October till February making it ideal for outdoor activities like temple visit.

How To Reach:

By Air: Khajuraho has its own Domestic Airport, which is well-connected to most of the Indian cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Varanasi, Allahabad, and Bhopal.

By Rail: Khajuraho has a railway station, but only a few trains halt there. Mahoba is the nearest major railhead, 63 km away. Trains from Mumbai, Mathura,Allahabad, Varanasi, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Kolkata, etc. run regularly to Mahoba.

By Road: Khajuraho is well connected with a good bus network. The highways connect Khajuraho with every city in Madhya Pradesh.

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Bodh Gaya

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Bodh Gaya is a religious site and place of pilgrimage associated with the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. As the site of the Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, Bodh Gaya is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites. Bodh Gaya is the most revered of all Buddhist sacred sites. Bodhgaya (also written Bodh Gaya) is the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment and the holiest of four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. Known as Uruvela in the Buddha’s time, the city of Bodhgaya is now a town of about 30,000 permanent residents. For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The history of this town can be traced back to 500 BC. History mentions Bodhgaya as Bodhimanda and the main monastery as the Bodhimanda-vihara. 

History :

Bodh Gaya is the holiest place for the followers of the Buddhist faith all over the world. Situated by the bank of river Neranjana the place was then known as Uruwela.  In the 6th century B.C. Prince Siddhartha Gautama attained Supreme Enlightenment at this Holy place and became the Buddha. As Siddhartha, he renounced his family at the age of 29 in 534 BC  and traveled and meditated in search of truth. The disciples of Gautama Siddhartha began to visit the place during the full moon in the month of Vaisakh (April–May), as per the Hindu calendar. Over time, the place became known as Bodh Gaya, the day of enlightenment as Buddha Purnima, and the tree as the Bodhi Tree. 

After gaining Enlightenment, Gautam became Buddha (The Enlightened One) and spread his message of love and peace. To mark the spot where Gautam Buddha had attained Enlightenment, the great Mauryan ruler King Ashoka built a small shrine here in the 3rd century BC. Subsequent rulers left their mark on this shrine, which finally took the shape of the Mahabodhi temple that still stands.

Tourist Attraction:

Mahabodhi Temple:

Mahabodhi_temple._The_Mahabodhi_temple,_Bodh_Gaya,_India One of India’s prime spiritual places, Mahabodhi Temple is not just a temple but Buddha’s actual enlightenment place, which is declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. It contains the Mahabodhi Temple with the diamond throne (called the Vajrasana) and the holy Bodhi tree. This tree was originally a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Sri Lanka, itself grew from a sapling of the original Bodhi tree. Inside the Mahabodhi templecomplex, you can also enjoy the Lotus Pond or the meditation garden. Though the temple was constructed in 7th century AD, it has been repeatedly repaired and renovated, the last being in late 19th century by the Burmese King and Archeological Survey of India. It has a very calm and serene ambiance, which people from all walks of life can appreciate.

Bodhi Tree:

Bodhgaya_3639641913_f4c5f73689_t It is believed that this tree is a direct descendant of the one under which the Buddha Sakyamuni attained enlightenment, inside the Mahabodhi complex. Buddha meditated below this tree for the first seven days of enlightenment. The original tree was burned down and destroyed by many Kings. Emperor Ashoka was in fact so depressed that he ordered a branch of the tree in Sri Lanka and planted it and took so much care that the jealous queen ordered its destruction. The current tree is the descendant of the original. Devotees circle around the tree and gather fallen tree leaves and seeds as blessings from the lord.

80_feet_buddha_statue Great Buddha Statue:

The gorgeous idol stands tall at a height of 80 ft and is made of sandstone blocks and red granite and was instated by the XIV Dalai Lama in 1989. This huge figurine depicts Lord Buddha meditating (dhyana mudra) while he is seated on a giant lotus in open air. Bordered by 10 smaller sculptures of Buddha’s disciples in the passageway leading to the Great Buddha Statue, the entire visual is a breathtaking sight.

Best time to visit:

October to March is ideal for a visit according to the weather conditions, but tourists flock here throughout the year. 

How  To Reach:

By Air: The nearest Airport is Gaya (17 km), It is connected to Kolkata by flights; however, the frequency is less. Kolkata is the nearest international airport, around 485 km away.

By Rail: The nearest Railway station is Gaya (14 km), It is well-connected to major Indian cities. 

By Road: Bodhgaya is well connected to many cities of India through roads. The Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation provides deluxe buses for tourists twice a day.

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Thousand Pillar Temple

Thousand_Pillars_Temple

The Thousand Pillar Temple or Rudreshwara Swamy Temple is a historic Hindu temple located in the town of Hanamakonda, Telangana State, India. It is dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. Thousand Pillar Temple is a popular pilgrimage center, where thousands of devotees of all faith come here to pay their homage. The temple has an old and long history and dates back to the Chalukyan era. Thousand Pillar Temple, along with “Warangal Fort” and “Ramappa Temple” are added to the tentative list of World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO.

An outstanding example of architectural brilliance during the reign of Kakatiya rule, Thousand Pillar temple is a place not only for devotees but for every history enthusiast and architecture lover. As the name suggests, the temple has a thousand pillars and is designed in the Kakatiya style of architecture. 

History : 

The Thousand Pillar Temple was believed to be constructed during the period between 1175–1324 CE by order of the king, Rudra Deva. The temple depicts the typical Chalukyan style of architecture. Constructed for almost 72 years, the Thousand pillar temple also finds mention in the accounts of Marco Polo. The Kakatiyas dedicated the Thousand pillar temple to Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya as well. Its rock-cut elephant sculpture, massive monolith of Nandi (Lord Shiva’s divine vehicle), intricate carvings will leave you mesmerized. The spiritual aura of Thousand Pillar Temple makes the experience even more enriching. It stands out to be a masterpiece and achieved major heights in terms of architectural skills by the ancient Kakatiyavishwakarma sthapathis.  The temple was destroyed by the Mughal Empire after the invasion of southern India. Massive renovation works have been undertaken to conserve and preserve the heritage of the temple.

Architecture : 

The temple is star-shaped with several shrines and lingams. Though Shaivisam (devotion to lord Shiva) continued to be the religion of masses of kakatiya dynasty still intellectuals preferred the revival of Vedic rituals. They sought to reconcile the Vaishnavites (followers of lord Vishnu) and the Shaivites (followers of lord Shiva) through the worship of Harihara (combination of lord Vishnu and lord Shiva). There are 1,000 pillars in the structure, but no pillar obstructs a person in any point of the temple to see the God. The temple is supported by the richly carved out pillars. The screens and the beautiful sculptures which adorn the walls of the temple add to the magnificence of the structure. This temple is constructed by using an unique technique called sandbox technique for strengthening the foundation. The temple is surrounded by a big garden in which many small lingam shrines can be seen. There is a carving of a Nandi bull in the form of a highly polished black basalt monolith. 

Thousand_pillar_temple_arch_sculpture Roof-Thousand_pillar_temple Middle_View_of_Thousand_Pillar_Temple

The Thousand Pillar Temple is constructed on a platform that is raised to a height of 1metre (3.3 ft) from ground level. Rock-cut elephants and perforated screens in the temple are characteristic of the then prevailing dynasty. This discovery has led some archaeologists to believe that the foundations of the temple might have been built upon water.

The best time to visit the Thousand Pillar Temple is during the winter months of October to March when the weather is pleasant in Warangal. Thousand pillar temple timings are from 6 AM to 8 PM.

How To Reach: 

By Air: The nearest Airport is Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad (150 km), Which is well connected to all major city of India. 

By Rail: Warangal has well-established railway station, which connects all India and lies on South Central Railway zone. 

By Road: Regular buses ply on the roads from Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Karimnagar, Khammam and other districts of Andhra Pradesh.

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Shirdi

Shirdi_Sai_Mandir_side_view_2,_Namchi,_Sikkim

Shirdi is a small village in Kopargam Taluk, in Ahmadnagar, Maharastra, Shirdi is one of the most significant religious destinations in India. Shirdi is best known as the late 19th century home of the popular guru Shirdi Sai Baba. It is one of the richest temple organisations. Though the real name and birthplace of Sai Baba is not known, he is believed to have arrived at Shirdi when he was around 16 years old and started living in the Khandoba temple. Nobody knew from where this stranger had come who hardly spoke a word and stayed there. Revered by both Hindus and Muslims, it is unclear which religion he belonged to, is known as one of the greatest saints to have walked on earth. This saint lived in Shirdi for most of his life-50 years or more preaching his famed saying ‘ Sabka Maalik Ek’. Sai Baba transformed this small village into a holy pilgrimage site for his devotees. Today, all places, persons, and possessions connected with him have become objects of veneration by millions of devotees who throng to Shirdi every year from all parts of the world. 

Dwarkamayee Masjid is the place where Baba lived for almost for 60 years. There is also a place called Chavadi where Sai Baba used to visit every alternate night. Gurusthan is the place where Sai Baba used to sit under a neem (Margo) tree. Many tales of the renowned Sai Baba are associated with this village. His selfless love and dedication to the poor, earned him respect for which he is deified even now. It was in this consecrated place where he attained his ‘Samadhi’ or final abode. All activities performed here are associated to the large temple complex of Sai Baba. The town of Shirdi receives thousands of visitors who come to visit the shrine of Sri Sai Baba and the other attractions like the Dixit Wada Museum, Adul Baba Cottage, Dwarkamai and more. The town of is full of kindness, warmth and friendliness.

Tourist Attraction :

Shri Saibaba Sansthan Temple :

Sai_gold_full It is the main attraction of Shirdi as the temple houses the last remains of Sai Baba. Dedicated to Sai baba, Devotees can avail all facilities of a holy place from darshan lines, donation counters, prasad lines, railway booking counters to dinning halls. They even provide accommodation facilities to the needy. The temple is a massive complex consisting of the Khandoba temple, Gurusthan, Samadhi Mandir, Chavadi, Dwarka Mai, Lendi garden and other temples. The layout of the entire temple signifies Sai Baba’s pursuits and residence over the years in Shirdi. Sai Baba left his body on 15th October 1918 and since then that place holds great reverence for Baba’s followers from all over the world.

Dwarkamayee Masjid :

Shirdi_sai5 Dwarkamayee Masjid is located on the right side of the entrance of the Samadhi Mandir. The saint stayed in this place till his end. The place has many oil paintings of the saint. These paintings are the main attraction. Dwarkamai is one of the treasures of Shirdi for the devotees. The spirit of tolerance, acceptance and welcome is very much alive here. On entering the mosque you will be struck by its powerful atmosphere. Dwarkamai is divided into two levels. The first level contains a portrait of Baba and a big stone on which the saint used to sit. The level has two rooms. One room has a chariot and the other has a palkhi. Dwarkamai is a simple, unadorned structure, locally called as the home of ‘God on earth.’ Sai Baba’s devotees wanted to refurnish the mosque, but he resisted as according to him it was not necessary. Main attraction of this place attractions of this place areis oil paintings of Sai Baba.

Chavadi :

chavadi_4 During his last years, Sai baba used to spend alternate nights at Chavadi. The place is located near Dwarkamai mosque from where the procession of Sai baba along with his followers was carried out in a palki.  Located near the Masjid is a small two room house called chavadi. A large portrait of Sai Baba painted by Amabaram from Gujarat is placed inside the Chavadi Temple. The temple also has a bed wherein the saint was given his last bath after he passed. Every Thursday evening, at 7:30 PM a large procession bearing Baba’s palanquin with his image in it is carried out from the Samadhi temple to Dwarak Mai and finally to Chavadi, where the image is set on a silver throne follwowed with the Sej Aarti. The Chavadi is divided into two parts, one has a wooden bed with a large portrait of Sai Baba, while the other possesses a white chair belonging to him.

Dixit Wada Museum :

dixit_wada_museum_1 The Wada museum is located in the vicinity of the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan trust that showcases vintage pictures of Sai baba with his followers. The museum contains rare black and white photographs of Sai Baba. It was established by Kakasaheb Dixit in the year 1911 on Ram Navami with Baba’s permission. Other articles like Baba’s ‘Kafni’ (long robes) and his leather Padukas, gramophone records, smoking pipe, water tumblers, bathing stone and cooking utensils which were used by Sai Baba are on display. The locals claim that the author of ‘Sat Sai Charitra’, Hemadpant, always stayed here, whenever he visited Shirdi. The museum served as a canteen till the mid 1990s, and got converted into a museum fairly recently. The temple committee plans to expand on the collection of museum artifacts.

How To Reach :

By Air : Nearest Airport is Aurangabad (98 km) from Shirdi, which is well connected all major city of India. And Aurangabad is also well connected to shirdi by road.

By Rail : Shirdi railway station is well connected to all major city of India.

By Road : Shirdi is well connected to all neighboring cities by Government owned buses. Private A/C and non A/C deluxe buses are also available from Nasik, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune to Shirdi.

Image copyright by commons.wikimedia.org, holidayplans.co.in

Rameswaram

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Rameswaram, (also spelt as Ramesvaram, Rameshwaram) is a town and a second grade municipality in the Ramanathapuram district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located on Pamban Island separated from mainland India by the Pamban channeland is about 50 kilometres from Mannar Island, Sri Lanka. It is situated in the Gulf of Mannar, at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. Rameswaram is known for one of India’s most venerated and most visited Shiva shrines, dedicated to Sri Ramanathaswamy. It is so intimately associated with the life of Sri Rama, the hero of the epic Ramayana, that both Saivites and Vaishnavites consider every grain of Rameswaram’s sand very sacred. The religious island is spread in an area of 61.8 square kms. and happens to be in the shape of a conch. This island was the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva in order to cleanse away the sins after he killed the Ravana, king of Lanka and also built the bridge across the sea to bring his consort, Sita back from Ravana.

Rameswaram is the closest point from which to reach Sri Lanka from India, and geological evidence suggests that the Rama Sethuwas a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. As a result both the Shaivites and Vaishnavaites sects of Hinduism visit this holy place. Rameshwaram is an important year round pilgrim destination. The renowned Ramanathaswamy Temple stands in the heart of the Rameshwaram city. This is one of the most popular temples in India. It represents the real essence of culture and religion of people of India in form of a small miniature. Rameshwaram is the abode of one of the 12 Jyothirlingas of India. It is also considered one among four most sacred pilgrim centers of India. They are Rameswaram in the South, Badrinath in the North, Puri in the East and Dwaraka in the West. Among these, Rameswaram is dedicated to Shiva, while the other three are dedicated to Vishnu.

Tourist Attractions in Rameshwaram :

Ramanathaswamy Temple : 

Rameswaram_temple_(11) Rameswaram_Temple_Inside One of the twelve Jyotirlinga Temples dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple of Ramanathaswamy is an architectural excellence built in the 17th century. A must visit pilgrimage for both the Vaishnavite as well as the Shaiva sect of Hinduism the temple constitutes a major part of the popular spiritual tourism destinations in India. the Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple is a part of the Char Dham pilgrimage of the Hindus.  Ramanathaswamy Temple, lies on the eastern side of the island, having different types of corridors and sculptured pillars on both the sides. This corridor is quite long and measures around 197 metres from east to west. It is also 133 m wide, measuring south to north, which is built in the Dravidian style architecture. Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple is famous for its collection of Lingas, which were made up of sand, salt, stone and other elements. According to stories, there were around 112 ponds here out of which only 12 are left. This popular tourist attraction in Rameshwaram with the second largest pillared corridor in the world is one of the must visit tourist places in Rameshwaram. This temple is believed to have been built on the site where Rama worshipped Shiva in order to do penance for killing the Ravana, king of Lanka. There are twenty-two wells in the temple and the taste of the water in each well is different from each other. 

Five Faced Hanuman Temple : 

12490246024_560e94cb02_b The temple is famous for its unique incarnation of the mighty monkey god Lord Hanuman. Highly revered by the Hindus, the temple of Five Faced Hanuman is only 2 km from the Ramanathaswamy Temple. It is believed that Hanumana revealed his five-faced form for the first time in this place.  These five faces were that of Lord Hanuman, Lord Adivaraha, Lord Narashima, Lord Hayagriva and Lord Garuda. It is believed that after revealing His secret, Hanuman was decorated with senthooram by the saints and is listed among the most prestigious places to see in Rameshwaram. This famous idol is carved out of a large Senthooram Stone which was considered very precious in ancient times.  The temple here enshrines the statues of Rama, Laxman and Sita. There is a floating stone in the temple which is believed to have been used during Sethu Bandhanam as mentioned in the Ramayana. 

Agnitheertham : 

Agni_theerth,_Rameshwaram Agnitheertham is a sacred water body, which lies just 100 metres away from the very famous Ramanathaswamy Temple. This is the place where Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva, to cleanse away the sins after killing the Ravana. This is one of the 64  sacred baths in Rameswaram , Every day thousands of pilgrims took bath in this holy sea. The Agnitheertham, are a collection of 22 such spots at the shores which the pilgrims bath in. according to Hindu mythology Lord Ram took a bath at the shores to absolve him from the sin of the killings in the war against Ravana. 

Jada Tirtham : 

Rames5 Around 3.5km from Ramanathaswamy Temple, on the way to Dhanushkodi Village, Jada Tirtham is known among the Hindu devotees for the sacred pond. After killing Ravana, Lord Rama visited this place and installed Sri Rama lingam in the temple. Before installing the lingam, Lord Rama washed his Jada (hair) with water in this temple to purify himself from the sins. It is basically a water tank that is surrounded by trees from all sides. Jada Theertham temple is a small temple, located within the Kaveri Tirtham. The Kaveri Theertham is the only place in India where Lord Kapardishvara is worshipped. It is also believed that Jatayu, the king of birds, who fought with Ravana, fell down in this theertham after he was killed by the latter.

Dhanushkodi : 

Dhanushkodi_by_ArunElectra Dhanushkodi is a small town situated near the holy town of Rameshwaram. This small town lies along the eastern coast of the state of Tamil Nadu and is situated south-east of Pamban.  A famous picnic spot on the island, Dhanushkodi is also an important pilgrim spot. This place is popular for its two attractions, namely the Dhanushkodi Beach and Dhanushkodi Temple, which attract people from places near and far. The name Dhanushkodi literally means the end of the bow and is spot where Lord Ram built the famous bridge with floating stones. Lined with shallow beaches, historical remnants and vast horizons of azure sea, this South Indian tourist spot is a must-see in Rameshwaram. Today’s Dhanushkodi Temple is nothing but a ruin of the temple described in different versions of the Ramayana. In case you are curious enough to discover the plot of Ram Sethu, do not forget to explore Dhanushkodi.

Gandhamadhana Parvatham : 

Temples_in_Hanuman_Dhara Gandhamathana Parvatham is a small hill, located 3 km north of the Ramanathswamy Temple. Gandamadana Parvatham is considered to house a foot print of Lord Rama on a Chakra. The hill lies at an amazing location and one can get the panoramic views of the entire island from this point. It is Gandhamadana Parvatham which was carried by Lord Hanuman on his shoulders. It is famous for its beautiful sunrise and sunset. It is a holy place for the pilgrims. On their way to Gandhamadana Parvatam, tourists can visit Sugreevar Temple and Theertham. It is even considered the highest point of the island of Rameswaram. Tourists can hire taxi or take a tourist coach from the nearest city of Madurai to reach this point.

Adam’s Bridge : 

Pamban_Rail_Bridge Adam’s Bridge or Rama Setu is a debatable historic bridge that connects Rameshwaram island of India to the north-western coast of Sri Lanka. It is popularly believed that this bridge was constructed by Lord Rama, with the help of Hanuman and his Sena, for rescuing his wife Sita from Ravana. This bridge got its name from an Islamic legend, who said that Adam used this bridge to reach ‘Adam’s Peak’ in Sri Lanka. The bridge is a network of limestone shoals that start from Dhanuskodi, the tip of India’s Pamban Island, which in turn is connected to the Indian mainland by a 2 km long bridge. Always a topic of hot debate among historians and archeologists, the bridge is among the most preferred tourist places in rameshwaram.

Water Bird Sanctuary : 

Bird_Sanctuary_06 Rameshwaram isn’t solely a religious spot. For all visitors who wish to explore something other than the temples, they can go to the Water Bird Sanctuary that is home to a lot of native as well as migratory water birds. There are around 500 water tanks in the region, due to which birds flock here in huge numbers. Most of the water tanks are happy hunting grounds for water birds, during the monsoon season. Between October and January, the sanctuary turns into a battalion of migratory birds who flock here to breed and feed their offsprings. The best thing is you can see a lot of native as well as migratory water birds in this sanctuary. It is during the months of October to January when flocks of migratory birds fly to this land for breeding and feeding their off springs. The bird sanctuary is located in Ramanathapuram District and indeed one of the most popular tourist places in Rameshwaram.

Best time to visit :

The best time to visit Rameshwaram will be from October to April, when the weather is pleasant enough with temperature ranging from 17°C to 32°C for you to enjoy sightseeing and other outdoor activities. During the summer months, from March to June, you can experience moderately hot temperature with temperature varying a minimum of 25°C to a maximum of 38°C. Rameshwaram experiences an average temperature of 35°C. avoid visiting in the rainy season between July and September, as it tends to get humid thus making it difficult to enjoy sightseeing or outdoor activities.

How To Reach :

By Air : The nearest airports from Rameshwaram is Madurai Airport 167 km) and Tuticorin Airport (TCR). Cabs are available for hire from the airport to reach Rameshwaram. Which is well connected to all major city

By Rail : The railway station receives meter gauge trains from Coimbatore, Trichy, Madurai, Thanjavur and Chennai, which in turn are connected to the rest of the country.

By Road : A bus journey to Rameswaram is quite comfortable and safe. Daily bus services by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) have routes to nearby cities like Kanyakumari, Thiruvallur, Pondicherry, Trichy and Chennai. You can choose from a regular, semi-deluxe or a deluxe coach. 

Image Copyright by flickr.com, commons.wikimidia.org, hi.wikipedia.org

Panch Badri

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Lord Vishnu is worshipped at Panch Badri in different forms. THE SEARCH of man for God has led him to various vicissitudes for discovery-the hope remains unquenched and pines for ever eternal. It has done so far for countless centuries and will do so till God’s world and his creation last. The quest begins and leads through the shrines put up by man for his creator’s glorification. In Badrikeshwar, lord Badrinath is worshipped at five different places and under five different names-

Vishal Badri (Badrinath)
Yogdhyan Badri
Bhavishya Badri
Vridha Badri
Adi Badri

Vishal Badri (Badrinath)

badrinath2 Badrinath is one of the holiest towns of the Hindus located at Chamoli District. It is the most important of all the four dhams in India. The town of Badrinath lies between Nar and Naryana mountain ranges and in the shadow of Nilkantha peak, 301 km north of Rishikesh. The town is located at an elevation of 3,133 m above sea level on the left bank of Alakananda River.

The main attraction of Badrinath is the Badrinath temple also known as the Badrinarayan temple. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is also one of the 108 Divya Desams or holy shrines of Vaishnavities. The present temple is conical in shape, built two centuries ago by the kings of Garhwal. 15 idols are seated in the temple complex, each built in black stone. Lord Vishnu is represented here in a meditative posture and is flanked by Nar and Narayan. According to legend, the temple was originally established by Adi Shankaracharya and was renovated several times after its establishment. Badrinath is also one of the Panch Badris. The other four badris are Yogadhyan Badri, Bhavishya Badri, Bridha Badri or the ‘Old Badri’ and Adi Badri.

Some of the other attractions of Badrinath include the Tapt Kund, a natural thermal spring on the banks of the Alakananda. It is believed that the water of this pond have medicinal properties. An important pilgrimage destination of both the Hindus and the Sikhs is Hemkund Sahib located at a distance of 43 km from Badrinath. Neelkanth is another prime attraction of Badrinath which is a snow-covered peak. You can also visit the Panch Prayag i.e. Devprayag, Rudraprayag, Nandprayag, Karnaprayag, Vishnuprayag; from Badrinath and the Mata Murthi temple too, which is dedicated to the mother of Sri Badrinathji. 3 km from Badrinath is Mana village inhabited by an Indo-Mongolian tribe.

Yogdhyan Badri

yogdhyan_badri_0 Pretty often in the Garhwal Himalayas, tales from the Mahabharata, spring to life magically. Yogdhyan Badri, at 1,920 m, is located at Pandukeshwar, named after the Pandva’s King. It is said that the Pandavas, the victorious though emotionally scarred after their battle against the Kauravas, , came to the Himalayas. And it was here that they handed over their capital, Hastinapur, to Raja Parikshit and took up penance before seeking out the highway to heaven. The importance of the Yogdhyan Badri is immense and the sanctum has an image of the lord in a meditative posture.

Named after Pandu, who meditated at this place, 23 km from Sadrinath to lift the curses of a sage, and was blessed by the Lord, Pandukeshwar is the home of the Yogdhyan Badri. The village, as old as the Badrinath Temple has Copper Plates which authenticate the history of the temples as well as the Katyuri Chand rulers of Garhwal and Kumaon who issued them as far back as the fourth or fifth century A.D. The Temples are all dedicated to the Yogdhyan Badri, who blessed the meditation of the kings.

Bhavishya Badri

bhavishya_badri_0 The Bhavishya Badri is located at 2,744 m, amidst the thick forests surrounding Tapovan. According to a divination, it is here that all devotees will throng once Badrinath is no more. While there can be no conceivable reason why this should happen, scientists agree that Joshimath, the entry point into the area before the final, most strenuous climb, is sited on an ancient landslide and has been sinking, and with a barrage coming up close by, may actually see the fulfillment of the divine prophecy. But whatever happens.

Bhavishya Badri is popular even now; enshrined here is the lion-headed image of Narsingh. Visitors pass the serene Tapovan a place known for its hot water springs en route the banks of the Dhauliganga, and on to the shrine.

Vridha Badri

vridha_badri_0 Before Badrinath was designated one of the four Char Dhams of Hindu worship by Adi Shankaracharya, the idol of Badrinath carved by the divine Vishwakarma was enshrined and worshipped at Vriddh Badri.

Interestingly, the image was found by Adi Shankaracharya at Naradkund, and restored, though part of it remains damaged. This, the first Badri, is located at a height of 1,380 m at Animath. While Badrinath closes during winter, the idol and priests hibernating at Joshimath, Vridha Badri remains open throughout the year.

Adi Badri

17 kilometres from Karnprayag on the Karnprayag – Ranikhet road, are a group of sixteen temples, belonging to the Gupta period. Among them is the Narayan temple, where a black stone idol of Vishnu, three feet high is enshrined. This place is within the Badrikshetra, and Badrinath being the name for Vishnu, the temple is known as the Adi Badri.

It is believed that Adi Guru Shankaracharya had initiated the construction of these temples. The main temple of Narayan is distinguished by a raised platform in the pyramidal form, where the black stone idol of lord Vishnu is enshrined.

How to Reach Here

By air: The nearest airport is the Jolly Grant Airport near Dehradun, around 317 km from Badrinath.

By road: There are regular buses operating to Panch Badri from Delhi, Haridwar and Rishikesh.

By rail: The nearest railway stations to Badrinath are at Rishikesh and Kotdwar, which are at distances of 297 km and 327 km respectively.

Image & Information copyright by uttarakhandtourism.gov.in

Kailash Mansarovar

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Even before the Himalayas rose into existence, Mount Kailash towered above them. The Kailash Range is 30 million years old and its supreme peak, the 6,675 meter high Mount Kailash was formed of shining granite with its white glacial crest, was already a huge, structure even when the Himalayas were just beginning to protrude out of the Tethys Sea. Hindus and Tibetans seem to have been aware of the uniqueness of this mountain from the most ancient times. To Hindus it is the earthy embodiment of the dominant mountain of heaven, Meru, and the residence of Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. To Tibetans it is Sumeru, the cosmic centre of the universe. Consequently Mount Kailash has held a great charm for pilgrims for centuries.

As might have been expected, most of the Himalayan passes in Kumaun and Garhwal provide access to this sacred mountain. Today, however, pilgrims from India are allowed to journey to Mount Kailash only through the Lipulekh pass in Kaumaun. Moreover, the pilgrimage to Kailash, and to the sacred Mansarover lake that lies 30 Km to its south, is run exclusively by a government organization, the Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN). The organization works in collaboration with the Government of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, and the Government of China. Kailash – Mansarovar lies in Chinese-occupied Tibet.

City Facts

State: Uttarakhand
Famous for/as: Pilgrim
Languages: Tibetan, Hindi and English
Best Season: May – Oct
Weather: Summer 15 to 30°C,
Winter: -5 to 24°C
Altitude: 5750 m

Best Season / Best time to visit

Kailash Mansarovar is generally cool during nights and warm during days.

Summers (May to August) are very pleasant with moderate climate, with average around 15°C. Summers is ideal for all outdoor activities, temple visit, dip in holy waters and also for visiting nearby attractions.

Monsoons (September to November) are accompanied with little rain falls and also temperature drops down to 10°C.

Winters (December to April) are chilly days with average minimum touching near 5°C. Minimum can touch sub zero levels to -15°C. Snow falls often during winters.

The best season to visit Kailash Mansarovar is from May to November.

May to November offers cool and pleasant climate and the right period to spend meditation and also good for visiting temples in and around.
December to April is snow bound and chilly. Tourists typically keep off chilly snow bound days in winters.

How to Reach Here

By air: To Kathmandu and further by road to Lake Mansarovar. Land cruisers then take one to Mansarovar via Lhasa to Mount Kailash.
9 & 12-day helicopter tours of Kailash for those who are short of time or cannot take the rigours of a grueling high altitude road journey. The tour uses fixed wing aircrafts for the flight from Kathmandu to Nepalganj and from there to Simikot.

By road: From India – the Government of India organizes tours to Lake Mansarovar. This is a 26 days trek but you need to book your tickets well in advance, because the number of seats is limited. About 500 people make it out of the nearly 6000 that apply each year.

By rail:

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Haridwar

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Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttarakhand. It’s also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna. According to legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapil’s curse. The penance was answered and the river

Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva’s locks and its bountiful water revived the sons of King Sagara. In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their ancestors.

City Facts

Population: 14,44,213 (2001 census).
Area: 12,302 sq km.
Altitude: 294.7 m.
Summers: 40.9°-15.6°C.
Winters: 16.6°-06°C.
Season: Round the year. Clothing:
Summers: Cottons and tropical.
Winters: Woollens.
Languages: Hindi and English.

Distances

Chandigarh to Haridwar 205 km

Delhi to Haridwar 210 km

Shimla Manali to Haridwar 320 km

Lucknow to Haridwar 492 km

Jaipur to Haridwar 505 km

Best Season / Best time to visit

The climate of this holy religious place is temperate all through the year, but the best time is from October to April.

Winter (October-February) is little chilly with minimum night temperature of about 6°C. The day temperature in winter never crosses 30°C, making the season pleasant and sunny. Karthik Poornima is celebrated in November.

Summer (March-May) has a temperature band of 18°C to 40°C. This is a good time for enjoying festivals like Ramnavmi and Buddha Purnima

Monsoon (June-September) receives moderate rainfall and humidity increases, making day activities a challenge. Haridwar hosts many religious festivals as a place of religious significance. Kanwar Mela (July) and Diwali (October) are some festivals celebrated here with much festivities. It is estimated that nearly 3 million people attends Kanwar Mela in July. It can be visited anytime of the year, monsoon can make commuting difficult.

Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Haridwar

Hari Ki Pauri

hari_ki_pauri Hari ki pauri ghat was built by King Vikramaditya to commemorate the descending of Ganga after years of difficult prayers and fasting done by his ancestor Bhagirathi. Lord Vishnu is believed to have left his foot prints on a rock at this ghat. Everyday at twilight the Har ki pauri ghat comes to life with singing prayers and lit up lamps along the Ganges where people in hundreds and thousands view this mesmerizing and cleansing ritual. It is believed that the one who bathes at Har ki pauri gets rid of all sins and completely cleanses their soul. Floral tributes and lit up diyas floating on the Ganges is the most enchanting sight one gets at this ghat.

Chandi Devi

Standing atop the Neel Parvat, the Chandi Devi temple was built in 1929 AD by the king of Kashmir Suchat Singh. It is believed that the main statue of goddess Chandi devi, who killed the demon brothers Shumbh-Nishumbh, was laid here in the 8th century AD by Adi Shankracharya. The Chandi Devi temple can now be reached by a ropeway as well.

Mansa Devi

mansa_devi Situated on the southernmost hill of the Shivalik ranges is the Durga temple called Mansa Devi. One can reach this temple either on foot or by a cable car. Perched on Bilwa Parvat, the temple provides a panoramic view of the Haridwar city with the Ganges flowing in its middle.

Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Sarovar

It is at this place that Ganges is believed to have divided itself into seven small streams to not to disturb the Sapt (seven) Rishis meditating and worshipping here.

Bharat Mata Mandir

bharat_mata_mandir It is one of its kind temples in Haridwar and is dedicated to Mother India, tracing its history from the times of Ramayana to present day. This eight storied temple houses the pictures and idols of some of the great Indian men from ancient to present times and pictures of the cities of the country. A must visit to get a sneak preview in to the history and culture of India.

Sati Kund

This is the holy place where the wife of Lord Shiva, Mata Sati is believed to have done the ritual of self-immolation. The ghat here is thus famous today as Sati Kund.

Rajaji National Park / Chila Wildlife Sanctuary

rajaji_national_park The Rajaji National Park, spread over an area of 240 sq km, houses the Chila wildlife Sanctuary and is situated at a distance of 10 km from Haridwar. Situated on the banks of River Ganges, the sanctuary is a haven for a large number of animals. This biodiversity park boasts of nearly 23 mammals and about 315 fauna species. The river in the park houses large number of fishes and fauna in the water. At Chila you can have the pleasure of spotting leopard, tigers, jungle cat, herd of elephants, wild boar, stags, spotted deer, sloth bear, langur, monkeys, woodpecker, king cobra etc. During the monsoons the park remains closed and otherwise it is open after sunrise and closed after dusk.

How to Reach Here

By air: The nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Bhaniawala, Dehradun, 41 km. Deccan Airlines services from Delhi. Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi (220 km)

By road: Haridwar on National Highway no. 45 is well connected to all major cities and other parts of the state viz. Delhi (214 km), Agra (386 km), Ambala (168 km), Badrinath (325 km), Dehradun (52 km), Kedarnath (250 km), Saharanpur (81 km), Nainital (286 km).
Local Transport Services :
Private bus services, tempos (vikrams), auto rickshaws, tongas, cycle-rickshaws and taxis.

By rail: Connected with all important cities of India viz., Bombay, Delhi, Agra, Howrah, Varanasi, Allahabad, Ujjain, Amritsar, Dehradun, Lucknow, etc..
Major trains are:
4309 / 4310 Ujjain-Haridwar-Dehradun.
2019 / 2020 Bombay-Haridwar-Dehradun.
4041 / 4042 Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun.
4265 / 4266 Varanasi-Haridwar-Dehradun.
3009 / 3010 Howrah-Haridwar-Dehradun.
2017 / 2018 Delhi-Haridwar-Dehradun.

Image & Information copyright by uttarakhandtourism.gov.in

Panch Kedar

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Madhmaheshwar, Tungnath, Rudranath and Kalpnath with Kedarnath form the Panch Kedar, the five most important temples of Lord Shiva in Garhwal Himalayas.

Madhmaheshwar

madhmaheshwar One of Panch Kedars, the temple of Madhmaheshwar is located at an altitude of 3,289 m above sea level, on the slope of a ridge, 25 km northeast of Guptkashi. There is a motorable road from Guptkashi to Kalimath. The best statue of Har Gauri in India measuring over a metre high is found in the Kali temple.

The trek from Kalimath to Madhmaheshwar is distinguished by wild unparalleled scenic beauty and engulfed by Chaukhamba, Kedarnath and Neelkanth peaks. Gaundar at the confluence of Madhmaheshwar Ganga and Markanga Ganga, is the last settlement before one reaches Madhmaheshwar, the place where Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of belly.

Tungnath

tungnath3 The arms of Lord Shiva came out as per the Kedarnath myth at Tungnath. He is worshipped here as one of the Panch Kedars. Tungnath Temple at an altitude of 3,680 m, is the highest Shiva shrine among the Panch Kedars but the easiest to reach from Chopta, the nearest road head.

Rudranath

rudranath2 Situated amidst thick woods, here the ‘mukh’ or the Lord’s face appeared and Shiva is worshipped as Neelkanth Mahadev. Situated at a height of 2,286 m, all around the shrine are fragrant flower-laden meadows where herbs grow in profusion. In the background, in all their glory, are the glittering snow-covered peaks of Trishul, Nanda Devi, Devasthan etc. Near the temple is a stream of sparkling water known as Vaitarini – the ‘Water of Salvation’. Passing through the glorious mountain scenery, the 17 km trek passes on its way through Anusuyadevi. At a height of 2,439 m.

Nandikund is a place where the people worship some rusty old historic swords thrust into the rocks. The local populace earnestly believe that the swords belonged originally to the Pandavas. The temple is surrounded by a number of pools – Surya Kund, Chandra Kund, Tara Kund, Manas Kund – while the great peaks of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Nanda Ghunti form a fabulous background.

Kalpnath

kalpnath1 This small rock temple to be entered through a cave, 2km from Urgam and 11 km from Helang, bear the manifestation is of the Shiva’s hair or Jata. The 14 km distance from Joshimath to Helang is motorable and the rest 11 km is a bridle path via Urgam, that begins with the crossing of the Alaknanda at Helang.

Most of the trek is a gradual climb. Just 2 km before Kalpheshwar is the friendly village of Urgam (2134 m.) set amidst mesmerizing natural surroundings.

Kedarnath

kedarnath1 The Kedarnath Temple is situated at an altitude of 3580 m amidst the background of snow covered mountain peaks and forests. The temple is built of large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones and is considered more than 1000 years old. The temple has a garbha griha (inner sanctum) where a conical rock formation is situated and a Mandapam for seating of pilgrims and visitors. A large statue of the Nandi Bull is situated outside the temple door. The nearest motorable road reaches Gaurikund . The pilgrims have to trek 14 km to reach the temple.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely carved and sculpted Kedarnath temple is built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs were handled in those ancient days! The present temple, built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard.

Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Panch Kedar

Vasuki Tal(6 Km)

vasuki_tal_0 A picturesque lake, 4,135 m above sea level is surrounded by lofty mountains and offers a commanding view of the Chaukhamba peaks.

Chorabari (Gandhi Sarovar)

Only a 2 km trek from Kedarnath. Floating-ice on the crystal clear waters of the lake fascinates the visitors.

Ukimath

Winter home of the deity at Kedarnath temple and the seat of the Rawals of Kedarnath. Ukhimath is connected by bus services to Rudraprayag and other major centres.

Trijuginarayan

trijugi_narayan According to legend, this was the place where the wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati was solemnized. In front of Shiva temple, is an eternal flame, which is said to be witness of the marriage. It can be reached after a 12 km drive from Sonprayag.

How to Reach Here

By air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 239 km.

By road: Kedarnath is approachable on foot, 14 km from Gaurikund, which is connected by road with Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon hills.

By rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh, 221 km.

Image & Information copyright by uttarakhandtourism.gov.in

Panch Prayag

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Panch Prayag means “Five Confluences”. It refers to the five confluences which takes place at Vishnu Prayag, NandaPrayag, KarnPrayag, Rudraprayag and Devprayag respectively to form river Ganga. Ganga, the most sacred of Indian rivers, is worshipped as the life-giving goddess, which brings salvation to this land. This great river, emerges from the icy glaciers of the Himalayas. Pilgrims bathe in the Ganga on various auspicious days and the water of Ganga is used for purification rituals.

According to the Hindu Mythology when Goddess Ganga started descending to earth, to cherish the mankind, Earth was not able to face the force which Ganga had. To temper her force Ganga was splitted into 12 channels. The siblings again gets unite into single stream after Devaprayag. After the confluence of Alaknanda with Bhagirathi at Devprayag, the river is known as Ganga (Ganges). Four other confluences higher up add up to form the five holy confluences or Panch prayag, which pilgrims visit for worship.

Attractions

Karnaprayag

karanprayag Karnaprayag is located on the way to Badrinath, on the confluence of two holy rivers Alaknanda and Pindar. It is said that Karna of Mahabharata meditated here for many years to acquire the impregnable shield, which made him a formidable warrior in the battlefield. Swami Vivekananda meditated here for eighteen days with his Guru Bhai, Guru Turianand ji and Akharanand ji. It is the sub-divisional head-quarter of district Chamoli. Roads from here go to Almora, Nainital and Jim Corbet National Park.

Nandaprayag

nandprayag 21 km from Karnaprayag, on the main route to Badrinath, where the Alaknanda and Mandakani rivers meet, is a destination which has become a major tourist halting point. Named Nandaprayag, it honours the pious and truthful King Nanda, who had performed a ‘Yajna’ and gave donations to the Brahmins to win the love and blessings of God. The famous Gopalji temple is also situated here.

Devprayag

devprayag One of the Panch Prayag (five confluences) of Alaknanda River, Devprayag is a pilgrimage town in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers merge to form the holy River Ganga at Devprayag. The small town is situated on the route from Rishikesh to Badrinath and is about 71 km from Rishikesh.

Devprayag literally means the ‘holy confluence’. It is an extremely important religious site for Hindus. Ganga, the biggest and the holiest river in India, starts its journey to the plains and further towards Bay of Bengal from Devprayag.

Situated at an altitude of over 850 metres, Devprayag is the last prayag or confluence of Alaknanda River. Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag and Rudraprayag are the other four confluences of the river. The entire town was destroyed in 1803 by an earthquake. Nonetheless, the heritage structures of Devprayag were restored soon and the ancient charm of the holy town has been retained.

Rudraprayag

rudraprayag Named after Lord Shiva (Rudra), Rudraprayag is a small pilgrim town located on the holy confluence of river Alaknanda and Mandakini which is venerated as one of the five sacred confluences or the ‘Panch Prayag’. at a distance of about 40 kms. from Kalimath. The meeting of the Mandakini and Alaknanda rivers has a unique beauty of its own and it seems as if two sisters were embracing each other. It is believed that to master the mysteries of music, Narad Muni worshipped Lord Shiva, who appeared in his Rudra Avtaar (incarnation) to bless Narad.

The Shiva and Jagdamba temples are of great religious importance. Till recently, Rudraprayag was a part of district Chamoli and Tehri. In 1997, the Kedarnath Valley and parts of district Tehri & Pauri were conjoined to form Rudraprayag as a new district. it is the junction for visiting Badrinath and Kedarnath Dham.

There are several temples worth visiting in Rudraprayag one of the most prominent being the Koteshwar Mahadev Temple on the shores of the Alaknanda River. Covered with lush foliage, this beautiful cave-temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is believed to have stopped and meditated here.

Vishnuprayag

vishnuprayag Hormed by the confluence of the impetuous Vishnu Ganga (known after this point, as the Alaknanda) and the Dhauliganga river, Vishnu Prayag, 1372m, has an ancient temple called Vishnu Kund. It is said that the sage Narad worshipped Vishnu at this sanctified spot. Visitors will find the Kagbhusandi Lake bewitching with its emerald green depths giving it a still surface, while on the banks, blossoms evoke the colours of nature in all her glory. The lake can also be approached from Vishnuprayag beside from Bhundhar village near Ghangaria.

How to Reach Here

By air: Nearest airport is Jolly Grant, Dehradun, 239 km

By road: All five Prayag are well connected by road with Rishikesh, Kotdwar, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon hills.

By rail: Nearest railway station is Rishikesh.

Image & Information copyright by uttarakhandtourism.gov.in

Kurukshetra City

festivals-4 Kurukshetra is a city in the state of Haryana, India. It is also known as Dharmakshetra(“Holy Place”). Kurukshetra About this sound pronunciation is a land of historical. According to the Puranas, Kurukshetra is named after King Kuru, the ancestor of Kauravas and Pandavas, as depicted in epic Mahabharata. The importance of the place is attributed to the fact that the Kurukshetra War of the Mahabharata was fought on this land and the Bhagavad Gita was preached on this land during the war when Lord Krishna found Arjuna in a terrible dilemma.

Venue of the epic battle Mahabharata, Kurukshetra occupies pride of place in Indian religious mythology and literature.For thousands of years, from the days of the Mahabharata, people have been congregating at Kurukshetra for salvation. A dip in the holy tanks of the Brahma Sarovar or Sannihit Sarovar here, is said to do the trick, which makes it one of the holiest pilgrimage centres in India. Kurukshetra is the land between the holy rivers Saraswati and Dhrihaswadi where the Vedic civilization was born. A place of myths, legends, great battles, empires and the canvas of the epic Mahabharata, It is a city of holy tanks and lakes and though it is a modern, well-developed town, its character is unmistakably religious.  The climate of the district is very hot in summer (up to 47 °C) and cold in winter (down to 1 °C) with rains in July and August.

There are about 360 Tirthas of religious and historic importance. The foremost among the Kurukshetra tirthas are Brahmsarovar or Kurukshetra Tank, Sannihit Tank, Sthanesvra Mahadev Mandir, Jyotisar, Baan-ganga, Bhisam Kund (Narkatari) Chandrakupa, Nabhi Kamal, Bhadarkali Mandir, Arnai Temple, Prachi Tirath Pehowa, Saraswati Tirath Pehowa, Prithduk Tirath Pehowa, Rantuk Yaksh Bir pipli, Karan Ka Tila,etc. Major attractions of this city include Kalpana Chawla Planetarium, Bhor Crocodile Park and Krishna Museum that attracts large number of travelers from all over the country. December-January is considered as a vibrant time when many visitors coming to the city just to celebrate Kurukshetra festival and Lohri. It is one of the amazing tourist destinations where one can explore the ancient history of India.

Kurukshetra Attraction : 

Brahma Sarovar : 

Brahma_Sarovar_Kurukshetra Hinduism stresses on having a bath in the sarovar for internal and external sanctity, purity and bliss forever. Most religious places have water tanks or sarovars in the vicinity of temple or gurdwara. Every year lakhs of people come to take a holy bath at Brahma Sarovar on the occasion of “Somavati Amavasya” (Sacred No-Moon Day that happens on a Monday). Brahma sarovar, as the name suggests, is associated with lord Brahma, the creator of the Universe. It is supposed to be the world’s largest man-made pond. The world’s largest chariot of bronze is placed in purushotam bagh in the center of Brahma Sarovar. It is believed that when Duryodhan lost Mahabharta war, he tried to hide in this lake. The northern bank of the Sarovar nestles a shrine to Lord Shiva and legend has it, that the Linga at the shrine was placed by Lord Brahma himself. Truly historic, this water tank is mentioned throughout various ancient texts, making it a must see destination.

Shri Krishna Museum : 

Shri-krishna Founded in 1987, Krishna Museum houses various artifacts of Lord Krishna and Krishna’s incarnations from 1st Century AD to 11th Century AD. Situated near Brahma Sarovar and set up by the Kurukshetra Development Board, it is one of the finest museums on the theme of Krishna. It has a collection of wide variety of beautiful sculptures, paintings and other artistic creations relating to the legend of Krishna. The museum housing six galleries also showcases the statues in the forms as described in the Bhagavata Purana and Mahabharata. The exhibits in the galleries consist of exquisite woodcarvings, wooden panels, bronze casting, ivory works, palm- leaf etchings, stone sculptures, archaeological artifacts and miniature paintings. There is also a tableaux made from Papier-mache and clay, based on Bhagavata and Mahabharata. It has some historical artifacts and paintings depicting the Mahabharata war.

Jyotisar : 

Jyotisar-Kurukshetra Jyotisar is a town on the Kurukshetra-Pehowa road, 5 km west of Thanesar in the Kurukshetra. Jyotisar is an important place of religious tourism. The holy land of Jyotisar is believed to be the cradle of Hindu civilisation and culture. The famous site where Bhagavad Gita was delivered to Arjuna. A beautiful marble chariot depicting Lord Krishna delivered the eternal message of Gita to Arjuna, canopied by a Banyan tree exists at the site. A mango shaped lake has been constructed here with covered bathing ghats for ladies. Cement parapets and enclosures have been built for protection. A light and music show is organized by the tourism department at the site, on a regular basis, which recreates episodes from Mahabharta.

Sannihit Sarovar : 

Sannihit_Sarovar One of the most venerated sites in Kurushekthra is the Sannihit Sarovar, which is believed to be the meeting point of seven sacred Saraswathies. It is believed to be the abode of Lord Vishnu. Devotees seldom spare a chance to get a dip here since it holds the myth that a dip in the holy waters of this Sarovar takes away all their sins. Sarovar spreads to a large expansion of 550 ft in breadth and 1500 ft in length. Devotees gather here to offer their reverence and prayers to their departed souls. Kumbha Mela in the Sarovar attracts thousands of devotees and visitors each time. Amidst chanting of Vedic mantras, the pilgrims take a dip in the Sarovar when the eclipse starts. Many people come here for salvation on such occasions. Kurukshetra has been the germinating ground of the essence of Hinduism. It is one of the holy towns that have borne the imprint of Lord Krishna`s footsteps.

Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb : 

download (2) Charming in stature and instilled with delicate Persian overtones, this tomb consists of the mortal remains of the great sufi saint, Sheikh Chilli.  Sheikh Chilli’s Tomb is located in Thanesar , This beautiful tomb and the madarasa (school) are associated with the Sufi saint Abdu’r-Rahim alias Aabd-ul-Razak, popularly known as Shaikh Chehli (also pronounced Chilli) believed to be the spiritual teacher of the Mughal Prince Dara Shikoh, the eldest son of Emperor Shahjahan. The tomb, overlooking the madarasa and standing on an artificial terrace, is octagonal in shape with the entrance in the south. There is a mosque called Pather Masjid (Stone Mosque) that was built in red sandstone. On the north side are the Mughal Gardens, there is also a second smaller tomb said to be dedicated to the saint’s wife. The museum within the complex contains some rare artefacts from nearby archaeological sites from various eras of civilization and is truly fascinating to explore.

Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple : 

Sthaneswar_Mahadev It is said that the Pandavas obtained the blessings of Lord Shiva in Sthaneshwar Mahadev Temple situated in Thanesar. It is also believed that the sacred waters of the tank cured Banasura’s long-term leprosy. Hence a visit to Lord Shiva’s temple here at Sthaneshwar tops pilgrim’s itinerary. Archeologists trace the architecture of the temple to Sthaneshwar, an ancient capital of Harsha Vardhana. One can see the roof of the temple shaped like an amla dome with lofty pinnacles. The temple houses an ancient statue of the Shiva Linga which is believed to be the first idol of Shiva in the phallic form. 

How to Reach :

By Air : The nearest airport to the city is Chandigarh airport which is located at a distance of 91 km from Kurukshetra. 

By Rail : Kurukshetra has its own Junction which is well connected with all major cities of India.

By Road : There are regular buses from all major city of India.

Image copyright by kurukshetraonline.in, Commonwikimidia.org

Joshimath

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Joshimath is a town that is located in the state of Uttarakhand in the District of Chamoli. The place is highly revered by Hindus and it is an important pilgrimage center in the country. Many devotees and travelers can be seen in the area during the pilgrim season. There are many temples and other religious sites that are located in the town as well.

The town serves as a base for travelers who are looking to take a trek to some of the higher regions. One can reach the Valley of Flowers by taking a trek from the town of Joshimath. There are many hotels and dharamshalas that are located in the town as well and these cater to the visitors.

There is an 8th century matt called the Adi Guru Sri Sankaracharya and this is one of the most popular places in the town. There are many temples that are located here as well and one can see them all around the town.

For the ones among you who are interested in adventure sports, there is a place called Auli that is located around 16 km from the town. This is one of the few places where you can experience sports such as ice skiing. The Nanda Devi Park is also another tourist spot in the region.

City Facts

State: Uttarakhand
District: Chamoli
Famous for/as: Pilgrim
Languages: Hindi
Best Season: Apr – May, Sep – Nov
Weather: Summer 3 to 23°C, Winter -14 to -2°C
Altitude: 1875 m
Pincode: 246443
STD code: 01389

Distances

Jaipur to Joshimath 758 km

Kolkata to Joshimath 1642 km

Best Season / Best time to visit

The climate in the town of Joshimath is cold throughout the year and one has to bring heavy protective clothing while travelling to the place. Even the summers are mildly cold in the town of Joshimath. Heavy rainfall can be expected during the monsoon season and extensive showers can be witnessed through the day. Winters are extremely chilly with temperatures touching the freezing point. Snowfall can also be expected in this area during the winter season.

The temperatures during the summer season are mild and they can rise up to a maximum of around 34°C. However the average day temperatures are usually in the mid twenties for the most part. The months of April, May and June form the summer season.

The monsoon season is from July to September. The place receives rainfall from the South West Monsoon and travelling during this time is difficult. Conditions can be cold during the nights as well.

The winter season starts in December and ends in the month of February. Temperatures can drop down to around 0°C during the winter months and snowfall can be seen from the month of December. The temperatures rarely exceed 8°C during the winter months.

Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Joshimath

Kalpavriksha

kalpavriksha It is a forgotten tree which holds unsurpassed and unparalleled significance. Kalpavriksha is the oldest tree of India with an age of more than 1200 years. The great 8th century explorer Adi Shankaracharya used to meditate in the shades of this comely tree and the cave where he lived is also situated here. The circumference of this mulberry tree is 21.5mts. This historic tree is now only able to bear flowers and not fruits, but the leaves are still young and fresh. Millions of people visit Badrinath every year unknowingly that the tree they pass through has same age as the Badrinath temple.

Auli

Auli is the most popular skiing and paragliding spot of Uttarakhand situated at an elevation of 3050mts above sea level. Auli affords astounding and celestial views of the enchanting snow laden Himalayan range. Asia’s highest and longest cable car is situated in Auli connecting it with Joshimath. Auli will be hosting SAF winter games in 2010. Auli – The Ski Resort of Uttarakhand is also connected with motorable roads, situated 14kms from Joshimath.

Narsingh Temple

narsingh_temple This is an ancient temple dedicated to Nasringh Devta at Joshimath which is the home of Shri Badrinathji in winters. The statue of God Narsingh is shrinking day by day and it is said that the day when it will fall, the route to Badrinath will get closed permanently by a major land slide. Narsingh is one of the several avatars’ of Lord Vishnu.

How to Reach Here

By air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Joshimath situated at a distance of 272kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to Delhi with daily flights. Joshimath is well connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are available from Jolly Grant Airport to Joshimath.

By road: Joshimath is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand state. Buses to Rishikesh and Srinagar are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Buses and Taxis to Joshimath are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand state like Rishikesh, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag, Ukhimath, Srinagar, Chamoli etc. Joshimath is situated on NH58.

You can get to Joshimath from haridwar by bus or hiring a taxi. The drive is very scenic and runs along the ganges and its tributaries. The buses are mostly private run and generally in poor condition. The buses leave from haridwar in the morning starting at 4:30. The last bus leaves by around 7 AM. The journey is long, takes about 11 hours depending on the number of stops your bus is making on the trip.

You can also take a taxi to Joshimath, that will be more comfortable and the time it takes is about 8-9 hours.

By rail: The nearest railway station to Joshimath is Rishikesh. Rishikesh railway station is situated 250kms before Joshimath on NH58. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. Trains to Rishikesh are frequent. Joshimath is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Taxis and buses are available from Rishikesh, Srinagar, Rudraprayag, Chamoli and many other destinations to Joshimath.

Image & Information copyright by uttarakhandtourism.gov.in

Deoprayag

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Deoprayag is a beautiful showcase of traditions, myths and mysticism. This is the place where the holy rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda meet, making it a unique pilgrimage like the Prayag of Allahabad.From here onward two rivers merge into one and take the name ‘Ganga’.

Deoprayag though situated, at an altitude of 618 m, is endowed with abundant natural beauty. According to a belief, Lord Ram and his father King Dasharath did penance here. The main temple of the town is the ‘Raghunath Temple’, dedicated to Lord Rama.

The bathing ghat at Deoprayag is built with multiple levels to accommodate different water levels during the monsoon. It is also the winter home of the priests of Badrinath.Deoprayag is a pilgrimage centre of great significance. In Treta-yuga, Lord Ram and Lakshman performed a yajna here to atone for killing Ravan, who was a Brahmin. The ancient Raghunath Temple here with a 15-foot tall statue of Sri Ram (Sri Raghunath) is one of the 108 most important temples in India. In front of the temple is a statue of Garuda. Behind the temple and slightly up a hill is Vamana’s cave and nearby is Lord Ram’s stone throne.

City Facts

State: Uttarakhand
District: Tehri Garhwal
Famous for/as: Pilgrim
Languages: Garhwali, Hindi
Best Season: Throughout the year
Weather: Summer 18 to 31°C,
Winter: 0 to 15°C
Altitude: 830 m
Pincode: 246186
STD code: 01378

Best Season / Best time to visit

The region of Devprayag enjoys a sub tropical climate, and the basic seasons are those of summer, winter and monsoon. Summers in the town of Devprayag are mild, and the weather is very inviting during this time. Winters are very cold, and the monsoon season brings good rainfall. Devprayag can be visited throughout the year, as the weather is pleasant generally.

Summers in the town of Devprayag are very mild, when compared to the rest of the subcontinent. The maximum temperature that the region experiences during the summer months will range around thirty one degrees (31°C) and the minimum temperature will range around seven degrees (7°C). March, April and May are the summer months.

Monsoon in Devprayag is during the months of July, August and September. These months experience good rainfall, and temperatures are brought down further during this time.

Winters in the town of Devprayag are quite cold, and they extend through the months of October, November, December, January and February. These months will experience a maximum temperature of around seven degrees (7°C) and a minimum temperature of around one degree (1°C). This is also a good time to visit Devprayag, provided you carry proper winter clothing along with you.

Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Deoprayag

Raghunathji Temple

raghunathji_temple It is one of the oldest temples of Lord Rama situated in India as it is more than 10,000 years old. The temple is made up of huge rocks placed slightly above the confluence of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi Rivers. The special aarti of the temple is sung on special occasions and even a non believer of god rhymes to its tune. The temple is visited by many devotees all around the year.

The shrine of Rama was shattered by an earthquake in 1803 but was subsequently repaired by Daulat Rao Scindia. According to myths and legends, when Lord Rama came back to Ayodhya after his victory over Lanka he did penance here. The temple compound also hosts Annapurna Devi temple, Hanuman temple, Shankaracharya temple and Garud temple.

Dashrathshila

dashrathshila This is the place where Raja Dashratha, father of Lord Rama performed penance. There is a small water stream here named after Raja Dashrath’s daughter, Shanta. The seat of Dashrath is one a small hillock called Dashrathachal Peak.

How to Reach Here

By air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Devprayag situated at a distance of 91kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to Delhi with daily flights. Devprayag is well connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are easily available from Jolly Grant Airport to Devprayag.

By road: Devprayag is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand and northern states of India. Buses to Devprayag and Rishikesh are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate at regular intervals. Buses and Taxis to Devprayag are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand like Dehradun, Rishikesh, Haridwar, Srinagar, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag etc. Devprayag lies on National Highway 58 making it easy and familiar to reach.

By rail: The nearest railway station to Devprayag is situated in Rishikesh. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. Trains to Rishikesh Railway station are frequent. Devprayag is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Taxis and buses are easily available from Rishikesh to Devprayag. Rishikesh Railway station is situated 72kms before Devprayag.

Image & Information copyright by uttarakhandtourism.gov.in

Gangotri

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One of the main religious places among the four Char Dham pilgrimage areas, Gangotri, situated in Uttarkashi, is closely related to Goddess Ganga, the river that we know as Ganges. The history of Gangotri dates back to centuries when Goddess Ganga transformed herself into a river to dissolve the sins of King Bhagirath’s forefathers, following his penance. In order to reduce the impact of her fall, Lord Shiva gathered Ganga into his matted locks and has ever since been associated with Goddess Ganga. Gangotri is a popular pilgrim place in India and tourists should not miss booking Nainital packages when holidaying here.

The Gangotri Temple was built by a Gorkha Commander in the early years of the 18th century. This temple stands at an altitude of 3042m and emits a highly pious aura. Religious rituals are in full swing in the Gangotri temple with the Arti ceremony performed by the pujaris of the Semwal family.

The river Ganga originates from the Gangotri glacier and is known as Bhagirathi. The name Ganga picks up later on after the river passes Devaprayag and merges into the river Alaknanda.

Just the perfect destination to breath in a serene and pious atmosphere, Gangotri has the charm to attract people from all over. The striking presence of the snow-clad mountains in the vicinity and the pure crystal clear water of the Ganges flowing around add to the sanctity of the place. One feels close to God in the high altitude of Gangotri. Vegan food dominates the culture and is available in the local food joints or dhabas. Non-vegetarian food and alcoholic drinks are a strict no-no.

City Facts

State: Uttarakhand
District: Uttarkashi
Famous for/as: Pilgrim
Languages: Hindi, Garhwali
Best Season: April to Jun, Sep to Nov
Weather: Summer 10 to 15°C,
Winter: 0 to 10°C
Altitude: 3415 m
Pincode: 249137
STD code: 01381

Distances

Chandigarh to Gangotri 427 km

Delhi to Gangotri 452 km

Bangalore to Gangotri 2562 km

Chennai to Gangotri 2604 km

Rishikesh to Gangotri 229 km

Best Season / Best time to visit

The best time to visit the holy city of Gangotri is from April to June and September to November.

Winter (November to March) is freezing cold with heavy snowfall which can disrupt your journey.

Summer (April to May) is very pleasant with observed maximum never crossing 30°C and can get very cold at night. This is the best season for pilgrimage and sightseeing trips.

Monsoon (late July – August) is accompanied by very heavy rainfall that makes it difficult to reach the temple.

The mystical hill station of Gangotri is famous for the Shivalinga, which lies submerged in river Gangotri, during summer and visible only when winter comes. The temple is open from last week of April to second week of November. Snowfall can be enjoyed during winters, especially from end of November till mid of March.

Attractions & Places to Visit and Explore in Gangotri

Gangotri Temple

gangotri2 Gangotri is the highest temple of Goddess Ganga and one of the four dhams of Uttarakhand state. Gangotri is situated at an altitude of 3,048mts above sea level. Gangotri offers scenic splendors of rugged terrains, gushing water of Bhagirathi River and snow clad peaks. The place holds great importance amongst Hindus. Gangotri remains opened from May and get closed on the day of Diwali festival.

Tapovan

You can proceed to Tapovan and Nandanvan after reaching Gaumukh Glacier. Astounding views of Shivling and other major peaks of the Garhwal Himalayas are distinctly visible from Tapovan.

Bhairon Ghati

bhairon_ghati Near the confluence of Jat Ganga and Bhagirathi River lies a scenic Bhairon Ghati. It is located 10kms from Gangotri. The temple of Bhairav Nath is surrounded by dense forest. Bhairon Temple can be reached after traveling by road from Lanka to Bhaironghati andby crossing the Jahanvi River on foot.

Submerged Shivling

A natural rock Shivling submerged under water is an attractive tourist spot of Gangotri. It can be easily seen when winters are on their way because the water level decreases during this period. According to myths and legends this was the place where Lord Shiva was sitting when he received Ganga in his matted locks.

How to Reach Here

By air: Jolly Grant Airport is the nearest Airport to Gangotri situated at a distance of 250kms. Jolly Grant Airport is well connected to Delhi with daily flights. Gangotri is well connected by motorable roads with Jolly Grant Airport. Taxis are available from Jolly Grant Airport to Gangotri

By road: Gangotri is well connected by motorable roads with major destinations of Uttarakhand state. Gangotri is situated at the end of NH108. Buses to Rishikesh are available from ISBT Kashmiri Gate. Buses and Taxis to Gangotri are easily available from major destinations of Uttarakhand state like Rishikesh, Dehradoon, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkashi etc.

By rail: The nearest railway station to Gangotri is Rishikesh. Rishikesh railway station is situated 234kms before Gangotri on NH58. Rishikesh is well connected by railway networks with major destinations of India. Trains to Rishikesh are frequent. Gangotri is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Taxis and buses are available from Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarkashi and many other destinations to Gangotri.

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