Thursday, 17 July 2014

"HAR-I" DWAR

             Haridwar is a holy city which is situated in Uttra Khand. It is one of the significant religious sites of India. Haridwar means door way to Lord Hari (lord Vishnu). It is located on the banks of river Ganga. Haridwar is considered as the city of religion. In the ancient years, Haridwar came to be known as Mayapuri, Gangadwar and Tapovan. Haridwar is among the four places where once after every twelve years Kumbh mela is celebrated. According to the Hindu mythology, Haridwar is the holy spot where Amrit (nectar), the drink of gods that grants immortality fell.



               Origin of sacred practice of Kumbh Mela is probably as old as the time of Samudra Manthan, when the Gods and the asuras were busy in collection of Amrit (nectar). To prevent the amrit vessel from going into the hands of the asuras, the devtas handled it to the four Gods, namely Brahaspati, Surya, Chandra and Shani. After understanding the conspiracy of the Devtas, the Asuras chased the four devtas for pursuing the Amrit Kalash. This continued until twelve days and nights, in the process the Lords ran round the Earth and hided the Amrit Kalash in four different places namely Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nasik. 



                According to the Mythological legends, the actual fight that took place between the Lords and the Asuras, Amrit (nectar) vessel broke down and dripped at these four places. To memorialize this event, Kumbh Mela is organized after every twelve years. The four spots where nectar (Amrit) fell are today the celestial places wherein Kumbh Mela is held. Millions of pilgrims and devotees assemble together to be a part of this holy event. They perform ritualistic bathing on the banks of the River Ganga.
It is designated as Saptpuri which means it is one of the 7 greatest holy places. Muni Kapil came here for performing meditation, hence, this place is called Kapil and Kapilsthan.




Kumbh Mela – Haridwar

              Kumbh fair is organised turn wise at each place. Every 12th year when Sun and Moon come in Aries sign and Jupiter is in Aquarius sign then Kumbh Mela is organised at Haridwar. Lakhs of devotees come here during this celebration. They perform systematic bath and rituals on the banks of river Ganga.



                In Haridwar, maximum people have bath on Hari ki Pauri. It is believed that Amrit had fell at this place. This place is considered among the purest Ghat of India. This Ghat is also known as Brahma Kund. It is said that king Shuwait had worshipped Lord Brahma at Har ki Paudi. Pleased by the devotion, lord appeared and since then the place is known as Brahma Kund. All sins of a person are removed by bathing in Har ki paudi. This sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya (1st century BC) in memory of his brother Bhrithari. It is believed that Bhrithari came to Haridwar (Hara Dwar) and meditated on the banks of holy Ganga (Ganges). When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later came to be known as Hari-Ki-Pauri.Every evening, Aarti of river Ganga is performed here. People perform Deep Dhyan in the river, during this time. Lamps in the river present a pleasing scene. The hue of light coming from countless lamps creates a delightful scene.



          There are 5 major spots in Haridwar for Pilgrimage, they are known as Panch theertha. They are :-
Gangadwara( Har Ki Pauri) ,Kushwart ( Ghat in Khankal),Bilwa teerth ( Manasa Devi temple) and
Neel Parvat ( Chandi Devi temple),Kankhal.



Har Ki Pauri is believed that Lord Vishnu left his foot prints on the stone that is set in the Upper wall and hence Holy Ganga river touches it in all times.
Kankhal is the winter capital of Shiva. It have Daksheswara Mahadev Temple, father of Sati. Click here for story. Sati is the wife of Lord Shiva who gave up her life due to insult of her father. Sati Kund is another place to visit and it is believed that Sati laid down her life in this Kund.




Both Shaivism and vaishnavisim consider this place as sacred as they believe that this is gate way to Har(Shiva) and Hari ( Vishnu). So this place is called as Hardwar and Haridwar respectively. Visiting to this holy city is an achievement of satisfaction to the Hindu pilgrims.


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Rishikesh

Rishikesh( Land of Rishi’s), a sacred city where I have seen the greatest flow of Ganges. A Place where our gods(Lord Lakshman and Bharath) made penance. It is located near the foot hills of Himalayas in the beautiful Uttarkhand. It is the gateway to the upper Garhwal region and the starting point for the Char Dham pilgrimage (Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath) and an ideal destination not only for pilgrims but also for the people who are interested in adventure, meditation, yoga and other aspects of Hinduism. The name of the city is taken from Hrishikesh, which was another name of Lord Vishnu. The sacred river Ganga flows through this state. Rishikesh is situated on the right bank of river Ganga and surrounded on three sides by Himalayan ranges.



As per the mythology of Rishikesh, sage Raibhya Rishi sat on the banks of the Ganga and performed severe penance. Finally, he was rewarded for his penance and God appeared in front of him in the form of Lord Rishikesh. Since then the place came to be known as Rishikesh. Rishikesh is a place filled with serenity and tranquility and as a result it was a peaceful spot for sages and rishis to meditate. It is said that in 9th century AD, Adi Shankaracharya, visited this land. 



                 From the medieval times, the place is known as the celestial abode. It is believed that in Rishikesh, Bharat, brother of Lord Rama gave himself severe self-punishment. A temple known as Bharat temple was later constructed at this site and the town of Rishikesh sprang up around the temple. It has since been the habitat of saints and sages from where they halt before undertaking the laborious pilgrimage that lay ahead on the distant Himalayan peaks.


Shatrugnamandir, Bharat Mandir, Lakshman Mandir are the ancient temples established by Adi Shankaracharya.



Ganga Aarti is the most famous and sacred event performed on the banks of river Ganga. Every tourist will enjoy their moments and I am sure every ones heart will fill with joy and an satisfication of piligrimage.



Ram Jhula

Ram Jhula connects Swargashram with Shivanand Ashram. It is bigger than Laxman Jhula.




Laxman Jhula 

Laxman Jhula is a major attraction which has enriched the quality of Rishikesh. This bridge is the main attraction amongst the tourists. Till 1889, there was a hanging jute rope bridge, it is said that Laxman crossed Ganga on this jute ropes. This bridge was re-constructed with iron ropes by the length of 240 metres in the year 1939 on the River Ganges. This bridge is located nearly at a distance of 3km from North of Rishikesh. It offers splendid scenic views of the surrounding.  As per the Hindu traditions, it is believed that Lakshmana (Rama's brother; Rama is the hero of epic Ramayana) crossed the river here with the help of a jute rope. Apart from for its mythological significance, the bridge is also visited to soak up the panoramic views of the surroundings.




Triveni Ghat
Triveni Ghat is the spot where the three streams of River Ganga, Saraswati and Yamuna are said to flow together. This is a bathing ghat where thousands of devotees take bath and enjoy the Maha Aarti. This is a sacred place where Pind shraddha is performed, there are temples situated adjacent to these Rivers.

Trayambakeshwar Temple
Trayambakeshwar temple is thirteen-storey high with different deities residing in it.

Swarga Ashram
This ashram is situated on the left bank of river Ganga opposite the Shivananda Ashrama. This is a tranquil and serene place and is positioned 1.5 km away beyond the thirteen-storey temple. This place is accessible easily as there is frequent taxi service available during day time.

Gita Bhavan
The temple and the group of buildings have the mythological epics Gita and the Ramayana installed on the walls. This place is situated in between the forests at the foot of the hills on the left bank of Ganges near the Swarga Ashram.


Neelkanth Mahadev Temple
This temple is perched at an altitude of 1,550m, in Neelkanth which is 14km far from Rishikesh. This temple is devoted to Neelkanth Mahadev. This place offers beautiful panoramic views and healthy climate which provides a lot of comfort and soothe.

Rishikund and Raghunath temple
According to popular legend, it is believed that Lord Ram took bath in the tank, which is now a main bathing spot and place of attraction for pilgrims.