Thursday, February 19, 2015

'No Door No Lock Village' Of Maharashtra State

It is an unbelievable and amazing fact that all the houses of an entire village in Maharashtra State has only door frames and no doors for generations as per a custom and belief.The natives keep their valuable properties not under lock and key.Even Government establishments including Post Office,Telephone Exchange  etc has also no doors.Private firms and offices including shops are also not closed and locked.Shopkeepers leave their shops at night keeping them open.The protector and guardian of all properties and possessions of the village are the deity 'Shani Dev' of 'Shani Shingnapur Temple' at that place.
'Shani Shingnapur' is a village in Maharashtra State which is situated 350 km from Mumbai and 60 km from the popular pilgrim place 'Shirdi'.It is in Ahmednagar District near Nasik and is 35 km from Ahmednagar and 84 km from Aurangabad.The nearest railway station is 'Sriram Pur'.
The temple at this place 'Shani Shingnapur' is having the main deity 'Shaneeshwar' (Shani Bhagwan).He is the embodiment or personification of the planet Saturn.Shani Dev also denotes Saturday.
According to astrology Saturn and other planets have an influence on human life.Shani Dev is considered as a deity who stands for discipline and justice.He bestows those who are righteous and punish the sinful.
Saturn (Shani) takes around 30 years to revolve around the sun.There may be two or three transit period which extends for seven and a half years each in every ones life and some other periods which extends for two and a half years each which all usually provides adverse effects and miseries.But it is a belief that 'Shani Dev' punish the people as per their 'Karma'(deeds) and he tends people to become more pious and devoted.
Shani Dev at Shani Shingnapur Temple is believed as 'Swayambhu' which means self emerged.As per the belief Shani Bhagwan promised the protection of the village from  thefts,burglary etc.As per his wish there is no roof above the statue and it is kept in open.
Devotees in thousands visit the temple every day and there will be heavy rush on Saturdays and new moon days.
There are no thefts or any crimes in the village.People uses curtains only instead of doors for their houses.If the villagers want to go outside the village for some purpose, they do not ask the neighbors to have a vigil of their house.The protector is Shani Bhagwan himself.Nobody will dare to do any kind of crime or theft at this place including visitors from outside.

If snake bite happens in the village, the victim is brought to the temple and given sanctified water which is poured on the deity to drink.No other treatment will be needed.
People in large numbers visit this temple from far and near to get relief from their  ordeals and to get blessings for grandeur.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jyotirlinga Temples of Maharashtra


Sri Vaidyanath Temple is also known as 'Vaijnath Temple', and 'Vaijayanti Temple'.
It is situated in the Beed district of Maharashtra State, 26 km from Ambejogai and on the slopes of 'Meru' mountain which is also known as 'Naganarayana' mountain.Three rivers flows in this area, Brahma, Venu and Saraswathi.
The village is also known as 'Kantipur', 'Madhyarekha Vaijayanti' or 'Jayanti'.Medicinal herbs are found in abundance on the banks of the rivers,on the mountains and jungles here and that is also a reason to call Parali Jyotirlinga as 'Vaidyanatha'.
It is believed that at this place Lord Vishnu incarnated as 'Mohini' to help the 'Devas' to obtain the 'Amrit' back from the 'Asuras'(Demons).Therefore this place got the name 'Vaijayanti'.
It is also believed that 'Markhandeya' who was supposed to die at the age of 16  received the boon of longevity from Lord Shiva at this place.
The famous story of 'Sathyavan and Savitri' happened at Parali is another belief.


Bhimashankar Temple is situated 128 km from Pune  and the river 'Bhima' originates from the mountain near the temple and hence the name of the temple.There is dense forest near the temple and the place is blessed with natural beauty.Apart from a pilgrim centre, people love this place as a destination for trekking,bird watching,photography etc.The present temple building which dates back to 18th century is adorned with carvings of human figures, deities and scenes from religious texts.There is also a small shrine for 'Shani Dev'.Large number of devotees visit this temple everyday and on 'Maha Shivratri' day around 25000 devotees visit Bhimashankar temple.


The Nagnath Temple at 'Aundha' is also known as 'Nageshwar Temple' and it is the most ancient Jyotirlinga Temple of Maharashtra.It is believed that the temple was built by 'Yudhishtira'  the eldest of  Pandavas during their exile period.
The temple spreads over 60000 sq.ft area and there are many other Shiva temples other than the main temple in the temple complex.There is separate shrine for 'Nandi'  in this temple which is built beside the main temple.
There are shrines of Dattathreya,Ganapathi,Muralimanohar,Vedavyasa etc also.


Triyambakeshwar Temple (Triambakeshwar,Triumbakeshwar) is situated 28 km from Nashik.The unique feature of this  temple is that the Shivlinga here has three faces of the Almighty Trinity Gods 'Brahma,Vishnu and Maheswara'.It is considered   Triyambakeshar Temple as one of the most  holiest Hindu Shrine.It is believed that a devotee who visits Triambakeshwar could attain salvation.The temple has a magnificent architecture which pleases all visitors.


Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is visited by large number of devotees and it is situated near to the famous Ellora Caves.Grishneshwar  temple is only 11 km  from Aurangabad.

International Airport is at Mumbai and frequent train services are available from Mumbai to cities like  Pune,Nagpur,Aurangabad etc.Buses and taxis are available from these cities to all the Jyotirlinga Temples. 

Maha Shivratri and Jyotirlinga Temples

Maha Shivratri (The Great Night of Lord Shiva) which is also spelled as Sivaratri,Shivarathri,sivarathri is one of the most sacred Hindu festival and this year it is being celebrated on 17th February 2015,Tuesday.
Rather than a festival it is a day for prayer and reverence observed with strict  sanctity and penance.Most of the devotees will be fasting on that day  by avoiding any kinds of food and even water also.Some people may drink water only and some others consume fruits and water.
Fasting without food and water for 24 hours is mostly followed by large sector and they prefer to stay at Shiva temples which will be open day and night on Shivratri day.On Maha Shivratri night people are supposed to be awake for the whole night till dawn.At the Shiva temples they can join the congregation and take part in the special rituals and 'Poojas' which are conducted.People will chant the sacred Mantra 'Om Namah Shivaya' on that day and indulge in only godly activities on that day.
Maha Shivratri falls one day prior to the new moon in the month of 'Phalgunam' according to Indian Calendar,month of 'Kumbham' in Malayalam Calendar and usually in the month of February every year.The legend is  that it was on this day that Lord Shiva married Devi Parvathi.
According to another legend Lord Shiva revealed to Parvathi that it is his most favorite day and by praying and venerating him by observing the penance on Shivratri day,  he will bless the devotees.
In yet another story, it is considered as the day Lord Shiva consumed the disastrous poison emerged out of the sea when it was churned by Devas and Demons.Lord Shiva drank the poison and saved the earth.
The planetary positions on this day act as a catalyst to help the devotees to raise their spiritual energy more easily.
Lord Shiva is the God of destruction and transformation, and with Brahma the creator and Vishnu the preserver, they form the holy trinity or 'Trimurtis' in Sanskrit.
Lord Shiva helps us to destruct our negative traits, he helps us to break up from the old habits and attachments and open us new paths for more purified  higher opportunities and happiness.
On Shivratri day devotees visits Shiva temples far and near according to their wish and large number of people visits the Jyotirlinga temples which are the most sacred Shiva temples in India.
There are twelve Jyotirlinga temples in India where the idol 'Shiv Linga' are 'Swayambhu' which means they emerged out of the earth on its own and the temples were built later.It is believed that Lord Shiva revealed himself in the form of light to the devotees at the 'Jyotirlinga temples' and they came to be known as 'Jyotirlinga' temples.
The 12 Jyotirlinga Temples in India are:-
1) Somnath
2) Srisaila Mallikarjuna
3) Ujjain Mahakal
4) Omkar Mamaleshwar
5) Vaidyanath
6) Bhimashankar
7) Rameswaram
8) Nageshwar
9) Viswanath

Out of these twelve Jyotirlinga Temples, five are situated in the state of Maharashtra, and they are 'Vaidyanath, Bhimashankar,Nageshwar,Triambakeshwar,and Grishneshwar.There will be heavy flow of devotees to all Shiva Shrines and    especially to

  these Jyotirlinga Temples on Maha Shivratri day.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Shri Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi

The holy town of 'Shirdi' is located  at 296 km from Mumbai and has become one of the most visited places in Maharashtra State.People  from all over India and from abroad come here to have a glance and get the grace and blessings of 'Satguru Shri Sai Baba' at his 'Samadhi Temple'.Unless otherwise a common village town of this state, Shirdi  became very popular because of the 'Samadhi Temple of Shri Sai Baba' located here.The closest and highly connected place is 'Ahmednagar City'.
Shri Sai Baba of Shirdi commonly termed as 'Shirdi Sai Baba' and 'Shirdi Ke Sai Baba'  lived between 1838 and 1918 whose real name, birth place and date of birth are not known.He came to Shirdi when he was about sixteen years old, stayed there for three years, went away for one year and reappeared again.He continued to live in Shirdi ever after.Most of the time he would be meditating, did not mingle with anybody,and ate food only once in a day.His practice was to request for food from any of the homes in Shirdi and used to eat it and gave its share to dogs,birds etc also.Some of the Villagers thought he was mad and ignored him.He was staying alone in an old and abandoned Mosque which he used to call as 'Dwarkamayi'.Many years passed in such a routine and once a miracle happened when all the villagers were  struck with amazement.
Shri Sai Baba used to light earthen oil lamps with wicks at his dwelling place and the oil needed for this purpose was collected from oil sellers in the town every day.One day the sellers decided not to give him oil for free any further and denied his request for oil.But some of them eager to see what he would do were watching.Sai Baba reached 'Dwarkamayi' where he lived, filled his water bottle with water, drank a little from it, and poured that water from the bottle in all the  lamps an lit them.They all burnt that  whole night and this sight amazed all spectators.After this incident people used to gather at his dwelling place in reverence.They brought food,fruits,sweets and other offerings for him which Sai Baba distributed to the needy and poor.Sai Baba insisted that feeding the poor is a great and kind action and urged the rich people to perform this in their life.

Shirdi Sai Baba never preached any religion or talked for any particular religion.Even he did not disclose his real name.It is said that he was born to Brahmin parents and was brought up by a Muslim 'Fakir'.
When people used to gather everyday at his dwelling place he used to advice them better ways to lead a good life.As many other spiritual leaders he also preached to love each other and spread peace.He advised Muslims to stick to their religious beliefs and customs and to read their holy books everyday.He insisted Hindus to read Bhagawat Gita and other holy books and to chant God's names and to live as true Hindus.He asked to maintain harmony among all and to love and respect one another.
Shri Sai Baba loved his devotees and followers very much and he helped them in several ways.He used to remove their diseases and ailments of all sorts sometimes with a glance, sometimes with a touch, sometimes with a pinch of ash from a fire place which he kept, and so on.He blessed childless couples with children, etc.He took over the suffering and pain of his devotees himself.
Once when an epidemic was spreading in nearby villages, the people of Shirdi  pleaded to Sai Baba to save them from it.He gave them some wheat flour and asked to sprinkle it at the borders of the village and needless to say that the villagers were saved.
Shri Shirdi Sai Baba had assured that he would continue his services to his devotees even after his life in physical body.Shri Sai Baba left his physical body on 15th October 1918 and the Samadhi Temple was established in 1922.
Large number of devotees claim and believes that he still blesses his devotees and help them to achieve their humble needs and  goals in life.