Monday, September 29, 2014

Mookambika Devi Temple

Mookambika Devi Temple, a perennial temple of South India is very famous and is visited by thousands and thousands  of devotees every day.It is situated at the foothills of 'Kudajadri' of the Western Ghats at Kollur,in Udupi District of Karnataka State and is 135 km from Mangalore.The temple is dedicated to 'Devi Mookambika' who is none other than Devi Parvati but Devi Saraswathi is also here or in other words the Trinity 'Brahma,Vishnu, Maheswara and Goddesses Lakshmi,Saraswathi and Parvathi' are present in this sacred temple bestowing the humble and genuine needs of the devotees.
Legend is that there was an Asura(Demon) by name 'Kaumasura' who tortured humans and Devas(divine beings) since he had received tremendous powers from Lord Shiva which he got by pleasing the Lord by performing penance.The Devas had to take refuge in the forests of Kollur and they pleaded to Lord Shiva and Parvathi to help them.Meanwhile from the Asura Guru 'Shukracharya'  Kaumasura gathered information that his end would be by the hands of a woman.Kaumasura determined to do penance again to please Lord Shiva and ask the boon to be immortal.The Devas were in utter fear about his  new intention that they prayed to Devi Parvathi for help.
When Lord Shiva appeared before the Asura, Devi Saraswathi made him dumb sothat he could not speak a word and could not ask the boon to become immortal.Thus the Asura was termed as 'Mookasura' since he could not speak.
In a short period Parvathi Devi slayed him and Devi was called as Mookambika Devi.He was slayed at Kollur and Devi assured that she would be present there and would bless all those who seek refuge and blessings.
Her divine energy then emerged into the 'Swayanbhu'(self originated) 'Jyothirlainga' worshiped by a Saint 'Kola Maharshi'.It is believed that this Jyothirlinga was consecrated by Lord Parasurama and Mookambika temple is the only Parvathi temple consecrated by Lord Parasurama.
This Jyothirlinga is the main deity of this temple which is located in front of the Idol of Mookambika Devi.A golden line devide the 'Linga' into two unequal parts and one part is represented by Brahma,Vishnu and Maheswara were as the other part represents Goddesses Parvathi,Lakshmi and Saraswathi.
Aadi Shankaracharya installed the idol of Mookambika Devi in this temple.The idol has three eyes and four hands and is made of 'Pancha Loha'(a compound of five different metals).Aadi Shankaracharya stayed at this temple and he only designed and composed the pooja rituals to be performed in the temple and they are followed as per the tradition even today.
Aadi Shankaracharya performed penance on the hills of 'Kudajadri' to please Saraswathi Devi and his wish was to start a Saraswathi Temple in Kerala.Devi Saraswathi appeared before him and he told her his ambition in this respect.Devi instructed him to walk by foot to Kerala and she would follow him and made a condition that he should not look back unless otherwise she would not follow.Aadi Shankaracharya started his journey and he could her the sound of her anklets and was sure that she was following him.But when they reached at the spot of Mookambika temple he could not hear the anklet's sound and felt suspicious so that he  looked  back.Saraswathi Devi told him that since he breached her condition she would stay in that place ,but when the sage pleaded guilty and requested again, she assured that she would be there at 'Chottanikkara Devi Temple' from morning 4 to 5. every day.At Chottanikkara Devi temple in the early mornings Devi would be adorned in white costumes and pooja rituals of Saraswathi Devi is performed.At Mookambika Temple even today the temple is opened only after 5'O clock in the morning.
'Sauparnika River' is flowing closely to the temple and the water for 'Abhishekam' is taken from this holy river.It is believed that Garuda Bird by name 'Suparna' performed penance on the banks of this river and got boon as the river would be known in its name and hence it is called as River Sauparnika.The cave where  Garuda Suparna performed penance is still there.
 The river originates on the Western ghats and flows over several rare medicinal plants,herbs and it is said that the water holds the power of 64 herbal plants and roots and by taking a bath in that cool water refreshes the mind and body.By taking bath in it for several days would heal many sorts of diseases is a fact.
'Kollur' is regarded as one of the seven 'Mukhtisala Pilgrimage sites'(salvation centres) in Karnataka State; which are Kollur,Udupi,Subramanya,Kumbasi,Kodeswara,Sankaranarayana and Gokarna.
Sree Chakra is consecrated inside the temple and believed to have  consecrated by Aadi Shankaracharya.There is an exquisite sculpture of 'Panchamukha Ganapathi' here in this temple.
'Vidyarambham'(Initiation of learning for small kids) can be done in this temple on any day since Saraswathi Devi, Goddess of Knowledge is always present here.Scholars of Arts and Literature,(Writers,Dancers,Actors,Singers etc etc) and those seek blessings of Saraswathi Devi for gaining exceptional skill in their respective fields visits this temple.Those who needs prosperity prays to Lakshmi Devi, those who needs strength prays to Parvathi Devi and those who needs to remove obstacles prays to Lord Ganesha.















There is a shrine for Lord 'Veera Bhadraswamy' in this temple and well known deity as he who removes fear and provides courage.
Those who can trek the hill can visit sites where Aadi Shankaracharya performed penance which are known as 'Ambavanam' and 'Chitramoolam' which are considered as sacred.
In the Mookambika temple also  there is a room in Sankaracharya's memory where he meditated where devotees can also meditate for a while with prior consent from the temple authorities.
Navaratri is celebrated in a grand manner in this temple during which 'Rath Yathra'(Taking out the deity in chariot for procession) will be conducted and  large number of devotees takes place in all the spectacular events.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Shree Siddhi Vinayak Temple, Mumbai

The most popular and significant place of worship in Mumbai is 'The Shree Siddhivinayak Temple' which is situated in 'Prabhadevi' near Dadar.
The temple is devoted to Lord Ganesha and it was initially started by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil on November 19, 1801.The temple at those period was a small structure housing the 'Swayambhoo'(self originated) black stone idol of Siddhi Vinayak which is two and a half feet wide.From this minor spot of love the temple gradually advanced to 2550 sq m temple complex as we see  today and it is one of the richest temple in India.
The temple has a little Mandap(lobby) with the hallowed place for Siddhi Vinayak.The wooden avenues to the Sanctum are cut with pictures of





'Ashtavinayak'(Eight forms of Lord Ganapati).The internal top of the Sanctum is plated with gold.
The trunk of the idol is twisted to right side which is a rare  phenomenon of Ganesha idols,The idol has four hands (Chatur Bahu) which contains a lotus in the upper right, a small axe in upper left, holy beads in the lower right and a bowl of Modaks( delicacy which is a perennial favorite with Shree Ganesh).Flaking the deity on both sides are Riddhi and Siddhi, Goddesses signifying Sanctity,Fulfilment,Prosperity and Riches.Etched on the forefront of the dity is an eye which resembles the third eye of Lord Shiva.

According to Hindu belief propitiating Lord Ganesha is necessary for starting any thing new or any venture in our life.Lord Ganesha  is 'Vigneswara' who removes all obstacles on the way to success.
Lord Ganesha is also considered as the Lord who pleases without delay: if prayed with much devotion he bestows blessings soon and reasonable wishes of the devotees are fulfilled.
Siddhi Vinayak at Mumbai is well known as "Navasacha Ganapati" or Navasala Pavanra Ganapati"('Ganapati bestows whenever humbly genuinely prayed a wish' in Marathi).
Large flocks of all categories of people including common layman,Government and Private sector employees,Business People,Film personals including actors,Directors and Producers,Politicians etc frequently visit this holy shrine.   

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

Akshardham Temple Complex in New Delhi also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham is certified  that it is the Worlds Largest Comprehensive Hindu Temple Complex  but there are disputes from some other temple authorities about this claim.Anyhow it is a very large temple complex with astounding  temple monument constructed as per ancient style and architecture.
The temple building was inspired and dveloped by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose several thousand volunteers helped more than 11000 artisans to construct Akshardham Temple.
The temple measures 356 feet long, 316 feet wide and 141 feet high covering an area of 86, 342 sq.ft.The ornately carved stone temple has been built without  structural steel and concrete and it  took five years for completion.
The temple attracts approximately 70% of the tourists who visits Delhi.It is situated on the banks of the River Yamuna in eastern New Delhi.
The temple building is constructed according to 'Vasthu Shastra' and 'Pancharatra Shastra'.The temple is named after a belief in 'Swaminarayan Hinduism'.
The temple has from top to bottom carved details of flora fauna, dancers,musicians and deities.
It used Rajasthan Pink sand stones and Italian Carrara Marbles.The monument consists of 234 ornately carved pillars,nine domes,and 20000 murtis and statues of Hinduism's Sadhus,devotees,and Acharyas.The temple has main idol  of 'Swami Narayan' which is 11 feet high and other Hindu Gods deities such as 'Sita Ram, Radha Krishna, Shiv Parvati and Lakshmi Narayan'.
The temple complex has Delhi's largest screen theatre and spacious exhibition hall.
There is India's largest step well known as  'Yagnapurush Kund'. During day time visitors can take rest on those steps.During night time a musical fountain show is held there which is very beautiful and amusing.
There are other attractions like Yogi Hriday Kamal,Narayan Sarovar,Aarsh Centre,Premvati Ahargruh etc which delights the visitors.
The main entrance of Akshardham temple has ten gates which represents ten directions.
Gajendra pith of this temple is another attraction where hundreds of elephants in stone amazes the visitors and it is also very spectacular.














Saturday, September 13, 2014

WATERFALLS OF KANNUR DISTRICT

Kannur  is one among northernmost Districts of Kerala State and the old name which was called  by the British was 'Cannannore'. The name 'Kannur' derived from the famous  'Kadalayi Sree Krishna Temple' and the deity Sree Krishna's childhood form is fondly known as 'Kannan'.  'Ur' means place and the meaning of 'Kannur' is Lord Krishna's place.
There are several tourist spots in and around Kannur District which are all frequently visited by large number of tourists.
House of Gundert:- The first Malayalam English Dictionary was composed by Herman Gundert and his residence is a tourist attraction.
Madayi Mosque:-This Mosque which was constructed in 1124 using marble brought from Mecca is visited by devotees and tourists in large numbers.
St.Angelos fort:- The Fort which is historically important was rebuilt by the British and made an important station in Malabar.It was made by Portuguese Viceroy Don Francesco de Aimeida in 1505 and Dutch captured it later and finally came under British.It is now a protected monument under Archaeological Survey of India.The view of Mappila Bay and Dharmadam island from here is very exotic.
Mappila Bay:- It is a natural fishing harbour at present.
Parassinikadavu Snake park:- Many varieties of poisonous and non poisonous snakes can be witnessed in this park.
Parassinakadavu Muthappan Temple:- This Temple is on the banks of Valapatanam River.This temple is famous for the Muthappan Theyyam which is performed here every morning and evening and the only temple where Theyyam is performed every day.
Pazhassi Dam:- Pazhassi Dam 37 km east of Kannur is a treat for the eyes and mind.Pleasure boating facilities are available in the reservoir.
Kawayi Kayal(Backwaters):-Kawayi Kayal which is the backwaters located 50kms from Kannur  and near to Payyannur is the third largest backwaters in Kerala and the largest in north Kerala.Several large and small islands are found in this 'Kayal' and the largest is 'Valia Paramba' having 16 sq. km area.
Thalassery Fort:- 21 Km from Kannur and was constructed in 1708 A.D.The square fort with its massive walls,secret tunnels,huge doors etc are worth seeing.
Malayala Kala Gramam:-This Kala Gramam offers part time and full time courses in sculpture,music,dance,pottery etc.
Aralam Wild Life Sanctuary:-85 kms from Kannur Aralam wild life sanctuary on the Karnataka State border attracts many tourists.
Pythal Mala/Vaithal Mala:- An enchanting hill station in Kannur district.It is situated 4500 feet above sea level. 
Ezhimala:=55 kms from Kannur.It is surrounded by sea on three sides.A bautiful beach is nearby.It is believed that Lord Budha had visited Ezhimala.The hill is noted for medicinal herbs.Naval Academy is functioning here.
Muzhappilangad Drive in Beach:- 15 Kms from Kannur.It is the only drive in beach in India.One can drive the entire 4km length of the beach.This is a beautiful beach with shallow waters and it is swimmers paradise.
Payyambalam Beach, which is 2 km from Kannur,Meen Kunnu beach which is 10km from Kannur,Kizhunna Ezhara Beach is 11 km from Kannur,Thottada Beach 7 km from Kannur  are all nice beaches in Kannur.
There are many other places of interest in this district.
The main waterfall of this district is 'Alakapuri Waterfalls'
It is near Kanjirakolly which is situatd 18 km from Payyannur town.The distance from Kannur Railway Station to the waterfall area is 68 km.This waterfall has three phases.
The first phase is known as 'Elappara Waterfalls' second phase is known as 'Alakapuri Waterfalls'.The third phase will be the biggest one in monsoon times.In summer season the visitors like the 'Alakapuri Waterfalls' of the second phase and is 500 feet high.The waterfalls is located between the foothills of western ghats bordering the Coorg area of Karnataka evergreen forests.The Alakapuri waterfalls have seven stages and the area filled with 'Neela Kurinji' wild herbal plants is very beautiful.
4km from the waterfall is a view point known as 'Sasi Para' from where the beauty of  kanjorakolly valley can be viewed.It is at a height of 4000 feet above sea level.