Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sapta Shrungi Temple,Vani,Nashik

Sapta Shrungi Mata Devi Temple is at a place known as 'Vani' 60 km from Nashik City of Maharashtra State.It is in the Sahyadri hill range and is situated at a height of 4500 feet.The temple has much importance as it is one of the 'Shakti Peethas' of Indian Sub Continent.In Maharashtra state there are three more Shakti Peethas and they are 'Mahalakshmi temple at Kolhapur,Goddess Maha Saraswati of Tuljapur(Tulja Bhavani) and Goddess Mahakali of Mahur(Renuka Temple).The temple deity at Sapta Shrungi  is believed as 'Swayambhoo'(self manifested).The idol is about 10 feet tall and having 18 hands holding  various weapons and other articles like 'Shangha'.She is depicted as 'Mahishasura Mardini' who slayed the demon 'Mahishasura', a very powerful demon who could not be killed even by Gods as because of a boon he received.When Goddess 'Aadi Parashakti' determined to kill this demon who took the form of a buffalo, the Gods and semi Gods gifted her many weapons for that venture like 'Trishula (Trident),Sudarshana Chakra (Disc),Gada (Mace),Bow and arrow,Flames of fire,rays of Sun God,Sword and Shield,Parashu,Vajra and so on.She also holds articles such as 'Akshamala,Kamandalu,Flower,Shangha(conch) etc which are not weapons in her hands.This depiction is manifested at Sapta Shrungi Temple.
Sapta means seven and 'Shrungi' means 'peak' or mountain and seven mountains protect the Devi at this place which surrounds the temple and hence the name 'Sapta Shrungi Mata Devi Temple'.
Sati Devi, daughter of 'Daksha Prajapati' married Lord Shiva who was disliked by Daksha.When Daksha performed a big 'Yagna' he invited all dignitaries for the function except Lord Shiv and Sati Devi.Without the consent of Lord Shiva, Sati Devi attended the Yagna conducted by her father but he insulted her.Sati Devi because of the insult burnt herself by jumping into the sacred fire of the yagna.
Lord Shiva in his grief and sorrow became fierce and started to perform 'Thandava' carrying Sati Devi's body on his head.To bring him back to his normal form Lord Vishnu cut the body of Sati Devi with the 'Sudarshana Chakra' and the body scattered  all over the sub Continent in different places which all became 'Shakti Peethas'.Temples aroused in those places which are all famous Shakti Peetha temples.Sati Devi's right hand fell at 'Sapta Shrungi' temple's spot where the temple is existing at present.
Sapta Shringi and the other three Shakti peethas of Maharshtra manifest the parts of holy 'OM'.Sapta Shrungi temple is referred to as half Shakti peetha because it represents the smaller part of 'OM'. 
Sage Markhandeya composed 'Devi Mahatmya' a sacred book of the Goddess after performing penance on the hill opposite to this temple.
The Goddess is crowned and ornamented and is also decorated with colorful robes which are changed  everyday.Saffron color 'sindoor' is applied on the idol  which is considered auspicious here.
The most important festival is 'Chaitrotsav' which is celebrated  from Ram Navami to Chaitra Poornima.The last day will be the biggest day of celebration.There will be heavy rush on all these days and millions of devotees visit this temple during that festival period.Childless women seeking a child approaches the Goddess of this temple with prayers for her blessings  during this festival.
Navartri,Dussera etc are also well celebrated.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Famous Beaches in Maharashtra State

Arabian Sea provides 720 km long stretch of Coastline to the Maharashtra State which has large number of fantastic beaches which delights the visitors.
The Beaches of Mumbai City like 'Chowpatty,Marine Drive,Juhu etc are very popular and destinations for refreshing to the city dwellers.
Marine Drive is known as Queen's Necklace and is  very beautiful.It is also famous for ceremonies such as Nariel-Purnima,Ganesh Chaturthy immersions etc also.
Bassein Beach
Juhu Beach is also very crowded and it is a beautiful beach.The stalls selling Pani Puri,Bhel Puri etc at these beaches attracts the visitors.
Madh Island Beach near Mumbai is very attractive and surrounded by mangroves.It is one of the cleanest beach and is a destination to enjoy the scenic beauty which is a place normally not crowded.
Tarkali beach
The 'Madh Fort' also known as Versova Fort built by the Portuguese  attracts   the visitors.'St.Bonavanstare' Church also built by the Portuguese is another attraction here.
Shilpa Shetty at Juhu Beach
Alibaug Beach near Mumbai is very attractive and crowded also.
Ganapatipule Beach
This beach is one of the spectacular beaches in Maharashtra State and a nice destination for beach lovers and peace seekers.
Ganapatipule beach and the temple
The Ganapati Temple near the beach attracts large number of devotees and tourists.It has 'Syambhu Ganapati Idol'.(Self Originated).The deity of this temple is also called as 'Paschim Dwardevta.
Ratnagiri town and District Headquarters is nearby which is also the birth place of 'Lokmanya Tilak' a great freedom fighter of India.
Jugad Fort is 35 km away from Ganapatipule which is a 17th century Fort situated on a cliff.
Tarkali Beach
Dabholi beach
Tarkali is a popular beach known for its pristine water.The seabed up to 20 ft can be seen here.The long narrow stretch of the beach is beautiful.It is situated 546 km from Mumbai.Padmagarh Fort and Sindhudurgh forts are nearby.
Srivardhan Harihareshwar
This place is 230 km from Mumbai and the tranquil and picturesque beach attracts everyone.Harihareshwar temple is also famous.
The restaurants at this place is famous for its seafood varieties.
Marve, Manori and Gorai
These three beaches are not very far from Mumbai but situatd away from the crowd and pollution.Gorai and Manori are well known for all night beach parties.
Dahanu Bordi Beach
It is a coastal line of 'Thane' which is at 145 km from Mumbai and the beach is very beautiful.Chikoo orchards grow here in plenty.
Velneshwar Beach
This beach is also near Mumbai but away from the crowds giving a peaceful and pristine atmosphere.Maha Shivratri Fair takes place every year at this place.
Vengurla Malvan
It is one of the best places for weekend holidays in Maharashtra in the town of Malvan.It is surrounded by coconut palms,Mango,Cashew trees etc.Shri Devi Sateri Temple and Rameshwar temple here are visited by large number of people.
Bassein Beach
It is situated at 77 km from Mumbai and resembles beaches of Goa.The white sandy beach and  crystal clear blue waters attracts people for a weekend getaway.
Bhimeshwar temple,Vajreshwari temple (which is a very famous temple of Maharashtra)

Vajreshwari temple

,Churches built by the Portuguese etc are added attractions.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Kumbh Mela - A Magnificent Event

Kumbh Mela is a congregation of millions of people gathering together for a peaceful religious cause and belief at four places in India at different dates in a rotation  once in 12 years.
This Hindu ritual is celebrated at 'Prayag (Allahabad).Haridwar,Ujjain and Nashik and the dates vary according to the planetary movements and astrological calculations.Usually normal Kumbh Mela is held once in every three years at these places and 'Ardh Kumbh Mela' which is celebrated once in six years has some more importance than the normal usual one,  but the 'Purna Kumbh Mela' which is held once in 12 years is very auspicious, important and will be attended by millions of people irrespective of cast and creed from all over India and abroad.
'Maha Kumbh Mela' is a 'Mega Event' held once in 144 years (after 12 Purna Kumbh Mela) at Prayag in Allahabad and it is the World's largest gathering of humanity any where on the  Earth for a peaceful cause.Last Maha Kumbh Mela was held at Prayag in Allahabad in the year  2013 and started on 27th January and continued till 25th February  in which more than 12 crore (120 million) people participated.
The legend of this great event 'Kumbh Mela'  is as follows.
The demigods (Devas) lost their youthfulness, vigor and vitality because of a curse and  they got   advise  that by drinking the divine Elixir of Immortality  ('Amrit' in Sanskrit,Hindi,Malayalam etc) only they could regain their youth and vigor as well as they would become immortal also.'Trimurthis'(The trinity) Lords Brahma,Vishnu and Shiva were there  to help the Devas in this regard to obtain the elixir.The problem was that it could be obtained by churning the 'Sea of Milk'(Palazhy).The Devas were frustrated about this task and had to request the help of 'Asuras'(Demons) and offered a portion of the 'Amrit' for them also.Thus the churning was done using 'Mount Mandhara' as the churning rod and the great serpent 'Devaki' as the coir.At last the elixir was aroused which was collected in a pot (which is a  'Kalasam' or 'Kumbh' in Sanskrit)  but as planned by the Devas previously, four Devas  ran away with the 'Amrit Kalasam'.Devas did not want to give even a drop of the divine  immortal elixir to the sinful and cruel Demons.
The Demons chased the Devas who ran away with the pot and the Devas had to run with the pot for 12 continuous days before getting help from Lord Vishnu.Meanwhile during this plight some of the elixir spilt and fell at four places which are 'Allahabad,Ujjain,Haridwar and Nashik'.The Purna Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years at these places to commemorate this event   and the belief and promise is that by taking bath during Kumbh Mela at the holy bathing ghats of these places where the divine 'Amrit' was spilt,  one can attain salvation.The participants  will be freed from their sins and relieved

from the life and death cycles here on the  earth.The participants will move towards a heavenly realm, free from all sorrows and could attain an  eternal life of happiness.People belonging to all cast and creed try to  participate in this magnificent event of 'Purna Kumbh Mela' at any of these places at least once in their life time because of this expectation and belief.
In the Kumbha Mela event large number of people from the respective states and from other parts of India as well as from abroad participates.Large number of 'Sanyasis'(Hermits) belonging to mainly their  four sectors used to attend the 'Kumbh Mela' events.A particular group of 'Sanyasis' which are known as 'Naga Sanyasis' that  do not wear any clothes also come for the Kumbh Mela.Unless otherwise they are not seen in public places but stay in their dwelling places only.
Purna Kumbh Melas will be celebrated once in 12 years at these four  places in rotation according to the planetary movements  in a great grandeur manner.
At 'Nashik' 'Poorna Kumbh Mela' will be held  this year in 2015.
At Nashik the bathing ghats are in the City itself and Nashik City is situated in Maharashtra State, 171 km from Mumbai and 210 km from Pune.It is the third largest city in Maharashtra State.
At Nashik Purna Kumbh Mela is celebrated when Sun and Jupiter are in Leo and in the Hindu month of 'Bhadrapada'.This year in 2015, the Purna Kumbh Mela will be held in Nashik from 15th August to 13th September.