Hindu Mythological Demons

Top 10 Hindu Mythological Demons

Top 10 Hindu Mythological Demons

One of the ancient religion in the history of human civilization is Hinduism and the evolution of it can be divided into three periods: Ancient (6500 BC-1000 AD), Medieval (1000-1800 AD) and Modern (1800 AD to present). According to the Hindu mythology, the demons have the same status as the humans and Gods. Gods, demons and humans are considered as the children of Brahma who is the creator of Universe according to the Hindu Mythology. The only difference between them is the way of thinking and understanding the teachings of the scholars in a different way. Some of the demons were considered as strong and intelligent while others were weak and stupid. In today’s world it is hard to believe in nonphysical beings without brains and bodies. But there are still many ancient scholars who took demons very seriously. Let’s take a look at the top 10 Hindu Mythological Demons.

Ravana

Ravana was a powerful king of demons with twenty hands and ten heads. He was considered as the most dreadful creature of the universe who can even change the planetary alignments. Ravana was one of the very intellectual demon who mastered all the holy scripts of Hindu mythology. He was killed by Rama as Ravana abducted Rama’s wife Sita to marry her. When Lord Rama killed Ravana, he was more than 12,00,000 years old.

Ravana was also the first astrologer of the whole world with immense knowledge of Spirituality, Warfare, Arts, Science and Music. It is also believed that once he made Veena (classical music instrument) and tied his own intestine as strings to praise the lord. He has the power to clone anyone and had 1 lakh sons out of which 99998 sons were cloned by him. Ravana was also never a teenager, when he was 8 years old his mother convinced his father to grow Ravana as an adult through a technique in which his father had expertise.

Putna 

Lord Krishna appeared as a Supreme personality on earth to kill all the demons and protect all his devotees. Putna was the demoness who knew the art of killing infants through black magic. Putna dressed herself as a beautiful girl and entered infant Krishna’s house to kill him. All the women in the village thought that the beautiful girl had come to meet baby Krishna. When Putna entered the room, she saw krishna lying on the small bed and took him to her lap. The wicked demoness has smeared poison on her breasts and pushed her nipple within his mouth. While she breastfed him, infant Krishna sucked the life out of her. She died of screaming and her body extended upto 12 miles which smashed all the trees and houses.

Mahabali 

Mahabali was one of the very generous demon king and everybody was very happy in his kingdom. He was a great worshipper of Lord and wanted people to be happy in his kingdom. Once Vamana came to his kingdom and asked for a piece of land that could be covered by his footsteps. Lord Vishnu has disguised himself as Vamana and when Mahabali promised to do so, Vamana increased his size. His footsteps covered the entire world and hence Mahabali asked Vamana to put his third step on his forehead and Mahabali eventually died. This day is celebrated as Onam in many parts of the world.

Surpanakha 

Surpanakha was a wicked demoness and was the sister of the demon king Ravana. She was very ugly and married to Dushtabudhi. Dushtabudhi was a very greedy person and wanted Ravana’s kingdom. Finally he was killed by Ravana and windowed Surpanakha stayed with her brother Ravana. Some years later she saw Rama and Lakshman in the forest and wanted to marry them. But both denied the proposal and she really got very angry. She even tried to attack Sita who was the sister in law of Lakshman, Lakshman got very angry and chopped her nose. There was an epic battle fought between them and Ram eventually won the battle. After few years Surpanakha died but the cause of her death is still unknown.

Tarakasura 

Tarakasura was an evil king who was very powerful demon who defeated all his challengers and employed them as his servants. He praised the creator and obtained my boons. Tarakasura killed all the kings and innocent people. According to his boon, he can only be defeated by Shiva’s son and Shiva had no child. Eventually Shiva married Parvati and was blessed with a son Kartikeya. Kartikeya fought with Tarakasura and killed him and also killed both his brothers. Kartikeya is also known as Murugan and  is worshipped in many parts of the world.

Kumbhakarna 

Kumbhakarna was a sleeping giant who could sleep constantly for six months. He had an enormous body size who could even eat the whole world. He was also a great philosopher and was never interested in committing any sin. Waking Kumbhakarna was considered as a tremendous task and no one dared to go near him. His brother Ravana who was a powerful demon had kidnapped Ram’s wife to marry her. To woke him up for the war, one thousand elephants walked over him and finally Kumbhakarna was awake for the battle.He knew that his brother was wrong but fought for his brother. He even tried to convince Ravana that what he was doing was wrong. He destroyed the army in the battle but was finally killed by Ram.

Narakasura 

Narakasura was a powerful demon who ruled Pradyoshapuram and even tortured the people of his kingdom. He kidnapped 16000 women and took pleasure in torturing them. He mercilessly killed sages and innocent people, unable to bear this torture people approached Krishna. Krishna wowed to fight for the people .Narakasura was cursed that only a woman can kill him. Hence Krishna along with his wife fought the battle and Krishna’s wife killed him in the battle. Naraka Chaturdashi is celebrated amongst the people from different parts of the world even today.

Raktabija 

Raktabija was a demon with great strength and also had a very strange boon. According to his boon, whenever a drop of his blood fell on the ground then a duplicate Raktabija would be born. So it was very difficult to defeat him, no one ever dared to challenge him. Also his power was increased to thousand times whenever a drop of his blood fell on the ground. But Raktabija was challenged by Durga.

During the battle, his blood spilled everywhere and thousands of Raktabija  were born. Finally Kali pierced the demon Raktabija and drank the flowing blood with her tongue. She drank every drop of blood before the army of Raktabija emerged.

Hiranyakashipu 

Hiranyakashipu was the demon king who was very egoistic and wanted all the people to praise and worship him like the almighty God. The demon king thought that he was the creator of the universe and there was no supreme power to control him. The whole kingdom worship him but his own son refused to worship his father. Hiranyakashipu even tried to kill his son but all his efforts failed. So he asked his sister Holika to set his own son on fire. But again his son came out of the fire unharmed.Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Narsingh and thus the evil got defeated. Hiranyakashipu who symbolised immortality and hatred came to an end and his son was the symbol of strong assurance and believer of God.

Mahishasura 

Mahishasura was a king who inherited the genes of both demon and a buffalo. His father was the king of demons who was attracted towards the beauty of a buffalo and eventually married her. They were blessed with a boy and named him Mahishasura (Mahisha means buffalo and Asura means demon in Hindi). He was given a boon by Lord Brahma that no man on this planet could kill him, he can only be killed by a woman. Mahishasura was very powerful and was confident that he is immortal. He thought that it is impossible for a woman to kill a man with so much of strength. Due to this he started war with the people and defeated them. Durga led a battle against him in order to stop Mahishasura. He met his death at the hands of a woman that fulfilled the prophecy.

Essentials of Lakshmi Pooja

Essentials of Lakshmi Pooja

Lakshmi Pooja is a devout festival that falls on Amavasya, the third day of Deepawali. Devotees show veneration to the Goddess Laxmi by placing small oil lamps or candles inside and outside their homes. They pray for prosperity and well-being for their families and businesses. According to legend, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Lord Vishnu’s  wife, visits her devotees and bestows gifts and blessings upon each of them. To welcome the Goddess, devotees clean their houses, decorate them with finery and lights, and prepare sweet treats and delicacies as offerings. They believe the happier the goddess is with the visit, the more she blesses the family with health, wealth and prosperity.

Hence, here are a few fundamentals of Lakshmi Pooja which needs to be followed in order to make the goddess happy.

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  • The pooja begins by laying down a piece of new cloth on a raised platform. A handful of grains are placed in the center of the cloth and a kalasha (vase) made of either of these metals i.e. gold, silver, or copper is placed over it. Three-quarters of the kalasha is filled with water and betel nut, a flower, a coin, and some rice grains are added to it. Leaves from a mango tree are used to decorate the vase. On top of which is kept a coconut.

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  • Another silver vase is kept filled with coins and beside it is placed the idols of Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. Beside this is kept the account books, in order to be worshipped.
  • A lamp is lit and the pooja initiates by offering turmeric, kumkum, and lotus flowers to the Goddess Lakshmi. Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped by reciting the Vedic mantras addressed to her:
  1. Aum Aing Saraswathye Namah Aum
  2. Saraswati Namasthubhyam Varade Kamarupini Vidhyarambam Karishyami Siddhir Bavathume Sadha
  3. Om Aing Mahasaraswatyai Namah
  4. Vad Vad Vaagwaadinee Swaha

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  • The idol of Lakshmi is placed in a plate and is bathed with water, panchamrita (a mixture of milk, curd, ghee, honey and sugar) and then with water containing a gold ornament or a pearl. The idol is cleaned and placed back on the kalasha. Alternately, flowers, water and panchamrita are sprinkled on the idol.
  • Also, drawing footprints of Lakshmi towards pooja house is said to bring in prosperity and happiness.

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  • Offerings such as sandal paste, garland of cotton beads, saffron paste, turmeric, kumkum are made to the Goddess. An offering of sweets, coconut, fruits, and tambul is also made later.
  • Towards the end of the ritual, Aarti  is performed which is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.

Free Ganesh Laxmi Saraswati 3D HD wallpapers for Happy Diwali

9 Must Know Rituals of Navratri

9 Must Know Rituals of Navratri

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Navratri (“nava” i.e. 9 + “ratri” i.e. nights) means “nine nights.” This ritual is observed twice a year, in spring and in autumn. During Navratri, Hindus undertake nine days of fasting and worshipping. The Divine Mother or Devi is worshipped by her own command for nine days and in different forms. This festival is celebrated with various rites and rituals as believed by the devotees and hence, commencement of all the rituals makes it more auspicious. Here is a list of some popular rituals undertaken for Navratri. 

Ritual 1 – Worshipping the 9 forms of Goddess Durga

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It is believed that Goddess Durga has 9 forms. All these nine manifestations of goddess are worshipped during the Navratri and each manifestation has its own significance. Each day of Navratri is dedicated to one goddess each and the devotees worship accordingly. These 9 forms of goddess are as follows-

  1. Shailputri Mata
  2. Brahmacharini Mata
  3. Chandraghanta Mata
  4. Kushmanda Mata
  5. Skanda Mata
  6. Katyayani Mata
  7. Kalratri Mata
  8. Mahagauri Mata
  9. Siddhatri Mata

Ritual 2 – Ghatsthapana

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During this religious festival, instalment of a pot in one’s pooja room is meant to be auspicious. This installation of a pot is termed as “Ghatsthapana”. This pot symbolises the universe and is filled with a mixture of seven kinds of grains and covered with a coconut.

Ritual 3 – Lightening of Akhand Jyoti

akhandjyoti

As the name suggests “Akhand” means uninterrupted and “Jyoti” means light. During this festival a lamp is lit for nine days continuously and taken care so that it doesn’t go off. Burning of it for all nine days non-stop is said to put an end to negative energies and make the devotees aware of their consciousness. It is also believed that this akhand jyoti is the medium through which one worships “Adi Shakti” i.e. Godess Durga.

Ritual 4 – Sowing of Barley

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In a pot of sand or copper, barley seeds are sown. Barley is the symbol of first fruit and signifies growth, affluence and abundance. Hence, it is worshipped as well as taken care for all nine days. It is believed that the length of the barley shoots determines the quantum of income and prosperity that a family will have.

Ritual 5 – Offerings to Goddess Durga

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Different kinds of offerings are made to Goddess during 9 days of Navratri as a token of thanksgiving from the devotees for listening to their prayers and keeping them away from ill happenings. The offerings are in the form of fruits, food, clothes, jewellery, etc.

Ritual 6 – Enchanting of Durga Sapshatti Paath

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Reciting of the Durga Sapshatti Paath during Navratri is considered to be extremely auspicious. If not completely one can choose to recite particular Adhyayas as each adhyaya has its own significance. Enchanting the same, sanctions the devotee with peace, tranquillity, wealth and prosperity in life.

Ritual 7 – 9 Colours for 9 Days

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All the nine days of Navratri have a colour in their name. All these colours hold certain significance and devotees prefer wearing those nine colours accordingly or as per the day. Those nine colours are as follows – Green, Blue, Red, Orange, Yellow, Indigo, Violet, Pink and clothes with hues of golden.

Ritual 8 – Singing and Dancing

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Singing and dancing during Navratri is now a part of festivity and fun and also a reason to dress up and catch up with your friends. But generations back it was believed and is still believed that singing and dancing in front of the idols of Goddess is auspicious and brings good luck. When goddess observes you to be happy and praising her in this form bestows you with more joy and happiness in life.

Ritual 9 – Kanya Bhoj

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In Hindu Religion girls from the age group of 1-12 are termed to be as the little goddesses. Hence, on the ninth day small girls are called over to various people’s houses and then first worshipped and later served with food. Further, they are offered with sweet beetle leaves, chunari, gifts, etc as we offer the goddesses.

Follow all these rituals and your navratri’s will be all the more fun, perfect and filled with happiness and prosperity.

Shravan Month – Everything you want to Know

Shravan Month – Most divine month of the year

Shravan Month 2016

What is Shravan Month?

The Shravan month is the fifth month of the Hindu calendar which begins in late July and is considered a highly blessed month. This month is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This period has a lot of significance in the lives of the people of the Shaiva sect (the followers of Lord Shiva). So as to seek the blessings of their Lord, devotees keep special fasts throughout the month.

Importance of Shravan Month

The month of Shravan is especially significant to worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Therefore 3 major types of fasts are observed during this period which is as follows:

  • Mondays: The weekday that is most favorite to Lord Shiva is Monday. It is known that offering Pooja to Lord Shiva on a Monday gets you great results.
  • Soulah Somvar or 16 Mondays: People offer Pooja to Lord Shiva and keep fast till 16 Mondays starting from the first Monday of Shravan month. This fast is known to be especially beneficial for single women who are seeking a groom.
  • Som Pradosh (Shravan + Monday + Pradosh): This is the combination of three durations that are most favorite of Lord Shiva. The month of Shravan, Monday and the thirteenth day of the Hindu month (Trayodashi or Pradosh). Thus the combination of these three is known to be an extremely important event to worship the Lord and gain unlimited results through the Pooja.

All these fasts follow the same guidelines and are generally auspicious if begun during Shravan.

How to Observe the Fast?

The guidelines of this fast are simple and similar for almost all the above mentioned fasts.

It starts with getting up with sunrise. Though the Pooja can be done till anytime before noon.

To keep the fast and perform the Pooja, the house is cleaned first and then a bath is taken. Gangajal (the water of the Holy River Ganges) is spread in the house to purify it. Then the idol of Lord Shiva is duly cleaned and readied for the Pooja.

The Pooja consists of offering the favorite ingredients of Lord Shiva (Milk, Water, Ghee, Gangajal, Rose Water, Itra etc.) in the ceremony known as the Rudra Abhishek to the Lord and chanting the holy mantra of ‘Om Namah Shivay’ while meditating upon him followed by listening to the story and performing the Aarti.

This fast is known to please Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It brings all the good fortune and luck helping the devotee gets rid of all bad effects of his natal chart.

On this day, only Falahaar (fruit diet) is taken. People sing songs in Lord Shiva’s praise throughout the day. Many Bhajan gatherings are observed at various temples during this time. This also marks the occasion of some other prominent Hindu festivals including the Naga Panchmi.

Spiritual Activities during Shravan Month

Each day of the week during Shravan carries special significance and their importance is described as follows:

  • Monday: Dedication to Lord Shiva.
  • Tuesday: Dedication to Goddess Gauri.
  • Wednesday: Dedicated to Lord Vithala who is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
  • Thursday: Dedicated to Lord Budh and Guru.
  • Friday: Dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi/ Goddess Tulsi.
  • Saturday: Dedicated to Shani Dev and these days are also known as Sampat Shanivara.
  • Sunday: Dedicated to the Sun God.

Other Fasts: The Tuesdays during Shravan are also significant as they are dedicated to Goddess Parvati. Many other fasts like the Mangal Gauri Vrat, Hariyali Amavasya and Sawan Shivaratri are also observed during the period.

When is the Shravan Month?

The calculation of the Shravan month varies in North Indian and the South Indian calendar. The South Indian calendar follows the Amavasyant Lunar Calendar and is followed in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. The North Indian calendar is followed in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.

The Sun entering the Zodiac Leo marks the onset of Shravan month according to Vedic Astrology and it starts in a New Moon Day.

2016 Shravan Dates

Shravan Somwar Vrat Dates for Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar
20 July (Wednesday) First day of Shravan Month
25 July (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
01 August (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
08 August (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
15 August (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
18 August (Thursday) Last day of Shravan Month
Shravan Somwar Vrat Dates for Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
03 August (Wednesday) First day of Shravan Month
08 August (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
15 August (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
22 August (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
29 August (Monday) Shravan Somwar Vrat
01 September (Thursday) Last day of Shravan Month

Kanwad Yatra

This is an annual pilgrimage that is undertaken by devotees of Lord Shiva on foot and these devotees are also known as Kanvaris in the Hindu mythology. These devotees travel to the four important pilgrimage places of Gaumukh, Haridwar, Gangotri and Sultanganj to fetch the holy waters of the River Ganges. This holy water is then offered to Baba Baidyanath in Devgarh by the Kanvaris.   

The Kanvaris throughout the country also visit the special rivers based on their accessibility like the River Narmada, River Kshipra and other holy rivers of Southern India and offer the water to the special Jyotir Lingas of the country.

The Beginning and End of the Kanwad Yatra

The Kanvaris wear saffron clothes during the Yatra and they start travelling from the source of the river like the Gangotri or Gaumukh in Uttarakhand and move throughout the course of the River and offer their water at Baidyanath. Similar Abhisheks are also conducted at places like Allahabad and Varanasi. Shravani Melas or fairs are conducted in Deogarh in Jharkhand where thousands of devotees bring the holy water.

The total distance is about 110 kms and after reaching their hometown, the Kanvaris also perform a special Abhishek at their home after bathing in the Ganges water.

Thus, it is no surprise that Hindus hold the month of Shravan with utmost respect and devotion given the massive amount of blessings and good fortune this brings in to their lives and gives them a chance to appease their most favorite Lord Shiva.

Shravan Month

Top 50 Famous Temples in India

Top 50 Famous Temples in India

Top 50 Famous Temples in India

“In religion, all other countries are paupers. India is the only millionaire”  – Mark Twain

India has been a subject of wonder for the entire world due to its ancient, unique and rich heritage. It has over 1000 rationalised mother tongues, an array of religions and mystic number of traditions, practices, foods and attires. Temples of India display the variety in architectural styles the country has contained to date.

Out of its more than 6 lakh temples, here is a crisp list of top 50 famous temples in India revered as the most popular and prominent (in no particular order).

1. Badrinath Temple

Badrinath Temple FI

Badrinath temple is a part of both Chota Char Dham and Char Dham yatra. Hindu devotees have considered this temple of Uttarakhand a pious pilgrimage by Hindu devotees since ages. Badrinath is a small temple town located in Garhwal, Uttarakhand. Furthermore, the majestic River Alaknanda flows beside the temple. Two peaks surround the temple – Nar and Narayan. Apart from the immense religious importance associated with this temple, the scenic beauty of its location also attracts overwhelming number of pilgrims each year.

2. Rameshwaram Ramanathaswamy Temple

Ramanathaswamy

This beautiful temple makes an easy entry into top 50 famous temples in India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is believed to have been constructed in the era of Lord Rama. Centuries ago the rulers of the Pandya Dynasty expanded it. Furthermore, its prominence derives from the fact that it is a part of Charm Dham as well as the 12 Jyotirlingas. While it is an ancient temple, it has such a beautiful architectural style that it stands at par with the beauty of modern architecture.

3. Vaishno Devi Temple

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In the beautiful land of Jammu Kashmir is this famous temple of Vaishno Devi. Since it is on the peak of a Trikuta mountain, most pilgrims trek 13 km to reach the temple. This temple is in the form of a cave. Many believe that Vaishno Devi is the most prominent Shakti Peetha. It is the most visited shrine in Northern India which definitely makes it one of top 50 famous temples in India.

4. Kedarnath Temple

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Kedarnath Temple is a part of Chota Char Dham. It is also one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and devotees worship Sri Kedareshwar avatar of Lord Shiva here.  Also one of the Paadal Petra Sthalams, the temple is close to the holy river Mandakini. According to belief, the establishment of this temple dates back to the era of Mahabharat.

5. Golden Temple

Golden Temple, also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib is very famous, stunningly beautiful and the holiest Sikh shrine. Since it is one of the very few monuments built with something as precious as gold, the beauty of this temple is legendary. The golden dome of the temple weighs 750 kg. Sikh gurus built this temple for a message of peace and acceptance to all religions.

6. Amarnath Temple

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Amarnath Yatra is one of the most difficult and yet it is one of the most famous temples in India. Amarnath cave is at an altitude of 3888 meters (12760 feet) in the Himalayan mountain range known as the Chandanwari Hills. The shrine receives more than 4 lakh pilgrims in a 45-day visiting period during the month of Shravan and the Shravani Mela.

7. Jagannath Puri Temple

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Situated in Odisha, the Jagannath Puri temple is a very celebrated temple. It is also a part of Char Dham shrines. It is one of the most sacred Vaishnavite Pilgrimage sites. The temple’s deities are Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra. The idol of Lord Jagannath is wooden, which is unconventional. Another feather in the cap of this temple is that its kitchen is the largest kitchen in the world!

8. Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple

Meenakshi Temple of Goddess Parvati and Lord Sundareshwara has an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple. An ancient masterpiece of Dravidian architectural style, it is one of most famous temples in India. The Linga of Lord Sundareshwara is one of the 68 Swayambhu Lingas in India.

9. Gangotri Temple

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In the town where the holiest of the rivers- the river Ganga- originates, Gangotri is one of the most famous temples in India. The temple is also dedicated to the river Ganga and is at an elevation of 3048 meters above the sea level. While the location makes the journey to this revered temple difficult, it is always worth it. The beautiful scenic beauty adds to its significance.

10. Yamunotri Temple

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Another temple in Devbhumi (Land of the Gods) Uttaranchal is Yamunotri Temple. Often cited in close association with Yamunotri, it is the origin of a sacred river too- Yamuna. The Temple of Goddess Yamuna is at an altitude of 3291 meters. Dense forests of the Himalayan ranges surround the temple. It is one of the 4 temples that constitute the Chota Char Dham.

11. Tirupati Balaji

tirupati balaji famous temples in India

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is one of the most popular and sacred Vaishnavite temple in the world. Devotees worship Lord Venkateshwara in this temple. The Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is at the peak of Tirumala hill also known as Venkatadri. It is a beautiful, ancient temple and one of the most famous temples in India.

12. Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho famous temples in India

Khajuraho temples are a group of Hindu and Jain temples- exhibiting India’s cultural diversity. They are precious UNESCO World Heritage sites. Once spread over an area of 20 square kilometers, they are now a group of 20 surviving temples. The temples are extremely beautiful. Some of the notable ones are Matangeshwar, Devi Jagdambi and Kandariya Mahadeva.

13. Dwarkadhish Temple

dwarkadhish temple

The stunning architecture of this temple 2000-2200 years old, as the archaeological findings suggest. Hence, it is one of the oldest and most famous temples in India. Hindus believe that Sri Krishna’s grandson Vajranabha constructed the temple. Dwarka is composed of two words – “Dwar” meaning the Gate and “Ka” meaning Brahma or Moksh.

14. Akshardham

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The internationally famous Swaminarayan Akshardham temple was established on 2nd November 1992. There is a 7 feet gold leafed idol of Lord Swaminarayan in this temple. In addition, there are three exhibitions about Indian culture with light and sound shows. The temple is at the center of a beautiful 23 acre complex.

15. Siddhivinayak Temple

siddhivinayak temple one of the most famous temples in India

Siddhivinayak means “one who grants wishes”. It is situated in Mumbai and is very popular all over India. Like the word Vinayak in its name suggests, it is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The Temple was constructed in late 1801. The Temple is one of the richest temple complexes in Mumbai city, receiving patronage from politicians, Bollywood and businessmen.

16. Lingaraj Temple

Lingaraj Temple

This ancient temple is preserved by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the temple’s Trust Board. The temple is one of the most famous temples in India and has 150 smaller shrines inside its huge courtyard. It has a captivating ancient architectural style. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva but Lord Vishnu is also worshiped here.

17. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

Shirdi one of the most famous temples in India

Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is one of the richest temples of India owing to the offerings bestowed by Sai Baba’s followers. A great personality loved by all religions, Sai Baba continues to be popular in the nation. Many stories of him performing miracles are known. The Shirdi Sai Baba Temple Complex also has Khandoba Temple, Gurusthan, Samadhi Mandir, Dwarkamai, Chavadi and The Lendi Gardens.

18. Iskcon Temple

Iskcon Temple has two more names – ‘Sri Sri Radha Parthasarathy Temple’ also known as ‘Hare Krishna Temple’. The temple is built to inspire people about Sri Krishna and his teachings. Since its establishment in the year 1998, the temple has become one of the most famous temples in India.

19. Har ki Pauri, Haridwar

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According to the Garuda Purana, Haridwar is one of the seven holiest places or Moksha Sthalas. Next to the holy river Ganga, this temple sees numerous devotees from all over the country. Moreover, the city is also the gateway of the famed Chhota Char Dham pilgrimage. Haridwar also hosts other famous temples.

20. Konark Temple

Konark Temple

Konark Temple is a jewel in the crown of Indian architecture. As a result, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its name forms from kon” meaning “angle” and “Ark” meaning “the sun”. King Narsimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty constructed it in 13th century.

21. Sabarimala Temple

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This temple is not only one of the most famous temples in India but also one of the most visited pilgrimage sites in the world. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Sastha, popularly known as Lord Ayyapan. The Sabarimala Temple is located at the peak of a hilltop named Sabarimala. It is believed that the installation of the deity Lord Ayyapan was done by Parashurama himself on orders of Lord Dharmasastha.

22. Arunachalam Temple

arunachalam

This temple is one of the Pancha Bhoota Stalas- the five Shiva temples, each dedicated to the five elements. The Tiruvannamalai Arunachalam Temple construction dates back to 9th century AD, by Chola Kings. It is the largest Shiva temple in India.  The area is concentrated with several ashrams and samadhis dedicated to saints and spiritual leaders from all over India.

23. Pashupatinath Temple

pashupatinath

A World Heritage Site, the Pashupatinath Temple is not only a sacred temple, but also an attraction for tourists. The Shivalinga of this holy place of worship consists of eight faces. Thousands of pilgrims pay a visit to this temple every day.

24. Durga Temple Aihole

aihole

Although its name suggests Durga as the deity, the word in the temple name means “Durg” or “fortress”. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Durga Temple Aihole came into existence between the 7th and 8th century by the Chalukya dynasty. It is well maintained and visiting this temple is like a beautiful time travel.

25. Lepakshi Veerabhadra Temple

lepakshi

Lepakshi Veerabhadra Temple has three shrines of Hindu Gods Shiva, Vishnu and Veerabhadra. There are about 70 pillars at this fabulous 16th-century temple of stone in Vijayanagar style. Its shiva linga has a unique design. Many believe that it is the largest Nagalinga in India.

26. Kamakhya Temple

kamakhya

Kamakhya Temple is a Shakti Peeth. Furthermore, there are ten small sized temples around the premise of the main shrine. These are with respect to the ten avatars of Maa Kali. Many stories about this temple are popular. The devotees call the goddess as ‘Kameshwari’ who is also called as the ‘Great goddess of illusion’.

27. Kalkaji Mandir

kalka ji

Maa Kalka, an avatar of Goddess Durga, is the main deity of Kalkaji Mandir. This temple is made up of marble and black pumic stones. This temple is always crowded with devotees but the apex point is during the festival Navratri. The temple has been in existence since  1764.

28. Somnath Temple

Somnath-Temple

The beautiful Somnath Temple is one of the most famous temples in India. Its history dates back to 649 BC. However, it was attacked and rebuilt several times before reaching its present state. It is the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva.

29. Naina Devi Temple

Naina-Devi-temple

Naina Devi Temple is a Shakti Peeth. It is based on the mythological story of Godess Sati. Shri Naina Devi Temple is the place where eyes of Goddess Sati fell down. Famous land marks of Bhakra Dam,Anadpur  Sahib and Govind Sagar lake surround the temple. The temple is on a triangular hill which offers a great view of the foothills.

30. Lakshmi Narayan Temple

Laxmi Narayan temple complex, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh

Sahil Varman built the Lakshmi Narayana Temple in 10th century AD. It is the main temple of Chamba town, and has Shikhara style architecture. The ‘garbhagriha’ or the innermost shrine houses a mandapa (altar) but it is not for public access. In conclusion, it is a great experience to visit this temple.

31. Baijnath Temple

baijnath

Two regional merchants of Himanchal Pradesh constructed Baijnath Temple in early 13th century. It is an architectural marvel and its shiva linga and Himalayan location attract thousands of devotees. According to legends Lanka Ravana wanted to take away the lingam with him. Since it is a fine example of extremely attractive ancient architecture, it is one of the most famous temples in India.

32. Hoysaleswara Temple

Hoysaleswara-Temple-1

The Hoysaleswara Temple of Halebeedu is another masterpiece of Indian temple architecture. The temple worships Lord Shiva and exhibits Hoysala style of architecture. While built in the 12th century, it has beautiful intricate carvings. There is also a museum within the temple complex.

33. Prati Balaji Temple

prati balaji

The Prati Balaji Temple Narayanpur is a replica of the original Tirupati Temple. Its construction completed in 2003 after decades of work. It occupies 10 acres of land and Sahyadri hills enclose the beautiful complex. The entrance of the shrine is huge and has beautifully stone-crafts.

34. Ekvira Aai Temple

ekvira

Ekvira Aai Temple is not only a beautiful cave temple, but also one the country’s most popular ones. As per the legend, the Pandavas constructed the temple during their banishment period in the forest. The presiding deity of the temple Goddess Ekvira Aai is the family deity for the Agar Koli people.

35. Ozar Ganpati

ozar

Ozar Ganpati is an Ashtavinayak Temple. Furthermore, its construction dates back to the period of the Peshwa reign. Since Lord Ganesh defeated demon Vighnasur at this place, the Lord is called Vighneswar Vinayak – one who removes obstacles. Also, people believe that the Vighneshwar Vinayak idol is self-manifested and is covered in vermillion.

36. Saptashrungi

Saptashrungi

Saptashrungi is a Shakti Peeth and one of the most popular and religious places for pilgrims. In addition, the image of the Devi is huge-about 10 feet tall with 18 hands, holding various weapons. Since the temple is on a mountain, one has to climb around 500 steps to reach the shrine. Moreover, there are several other shrines close to it.

37. Aundha Nagnath Temple

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aundha Nagnath Temple in Maharashtra is dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known as Lord Nagnath in this region. Most of all, it is the first Jyotirlinga on Earth. Mythology says that Yudhistra first built this majestic temple during exile of the Pandavas. A stone called Dwaraka Shila is used for the Shiva Linga.

38. Brahma Temple Pushkar

Brahma-Temple-Pushkar

Pushkar temple is the not only a legendary temple, but also most prominent of the few dedicated to Lord Brahma. Pushkar city is also famous for yearly Pushkar camel fair in Kartik Poornima. Pilgrims visiting this temple have a lot to see in nearby regions of Rajasthan.

39. Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Varadharaja-Perumal-Temple

Kanchipuram’s Varadharaja Perumal Temple is a popular shrine of Lord Vishnu. The Cholas built it in 1053; however, the great Chola kings Kulottunga Chola I and Vikrama Chola expanded it. As a result, it is spread on a 23 acres complex. Furthermore, this popular shrine is famous for its sculptures.

40. Deo Krishna Mandir

deo krishna

Deo Krishna Mandir is one of the most sacred sites as per the beliefs of Hinduism. The site on which the shrine has been constructed is believed to be the exact spot where Lord Vishnu manifested himself as the eighth avatar of Lord Krishna. The oldest mention of Mathura can be traced back to the age of the epic Ramayana.

41. Annavaram Temple

Annavaram-Temple

Annavaram is the second most popular pilgrimage after the Tirupati Temple in Andhra Pradesh. Annavaram temple’s presiding deity is Lord Satyadeva who sits with his consort Shri Anantha Lakshmi on a side and Lord Siva sits on the other side. The main temple is in the form of a chariot that has four wheels at each corner.

42. Draksharamam Bhimeswara Swamy Temple

Draksharamam

This is one the Five Powerful Temples of Lord Shiva which are known as “Pancharamas” in Andhra Pradesh. The literal translation of Draksharamam is ‘Abode of Daksha Prajapathi’, the father of Sati and the father in law of Lord Shiva. Furthermore, there are many smaller shrines inside the main temple.

43. Srisailam Mallikarjuna Temple

 

Srisailam Temple FIThe Mallikarjuna Linga is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. He is supposed to have appeared in a fiery column of light. The Linga is also supposed to be self-born in nature. The Brahmaramba temple is one of the eighteen Shakti Peethas in India. It is believed that the neck of the Sati Devi fell here when her corpse was cut through by the Sudarshana Chakra in the Daksha Yoga episode.

44. Chattarpur Mandir

chattarpur

The Chattarpur Mandir is spread over 70 acres of sprawling greens and comprises over 20 small and large temples. The sixth avatar of Durga, Katyayani was the one who slayed the evil demon Mahishasur. Also, The stunning white marble architecture with serene surroundings makes the Chattarpur Mandir all the more divine and admirable.

45. Sarangpur Hanuman Temple

Sarangpur Hanuman Temple

Sarangpur Hanuman Temple is one of the sacred and holy temples in Swaminarayan Sampraday.  It is a belief that the statue of Lord Hanuman was found in this well before about 350 years and the temple was constructed at the same place. This temple is the place to get rid of the evils and is one of the most famous temples in India.

46. Sheetla Mata Mandir

sheetla mata

Sheetala Devi Mandir, Gurugram is in the suburb of Guru Dronacharya’s birth place in the state of Haryana. During the month of Chaitra (March-April), this place looks like a Kumbh-Mela. Also, Sheetala is a sanskrit term which means ‘one who cools’. Tantric and Puranic literature have clear mentions of Goddess Sheetala. Since people from not only India but various other countries visit it, it is one f the most famous temples in India.

47. Jwalamukhi Temple

Jwalamukhi-Temple-

Jwalamukhi Temple is a famous Shakti Peetha where Goddess Sati’s tongue fell. The temple consists of a copper pipe from where natural gas emits. Then, priests of this temple lit it to produce a flawless blue flame where worshipers pay respects to this flame- a menifestation of Goddess Sati.

48. Lakshmi Narasimhalakshmi narasimha

The presiding deity of Lakshmi Narasimha Temple of Bhadravathi is Lord Narasimha. He is the protector of humankind and destroyer of demons and evil spirits. The temple has Hoysala architecture style. Soapstone makes up this temple; hence, there is a soapy feeling upon touching its walls.

49. Badami Cave Temples

badami cavesThe Chalukya dynasty constructed the Badami Cave Temples during the 6th to the 8th century. There are four primary caves, namely, Cave 1, Cave 2, Cave 3 and Cave 4. Furthermore, two more caves were discovered. The 5th cave is a Buddhist cave. Each cave tells a different concept and story and is a precious Indian heritage.

50. Pandharpur Vitthal Temple

Pandharpur

Pandharpur Temple receives the largest number of devotees in Maharashtra. Lord Vitthal or Vithoba (form of Lord Krishna) along with his consort Rakhumai or Rukmini preside the holy shrine. Furthermore, the earliest inscriptions of the Temple are the era of the Yadava dynasty in the 12th & 13th century. The Dindi Yatra is a unique feature of the Temple.

Read about other famous temples in India here

6 amazing facts about Shiva

6 Amazing Facts About Lord Shiva You Must Know

Lord Shiva, needless to say, has a special place in the hearts of Hindu worshipers. From his life and clothing to his distinct powers, there are a lot of fascinating facts about this deity.

Fact 1 – The most powerful

shiva

 

The Hindu God Shiva is believed to be the most powerful. His name in itself translates to “Shakti” or power. He is also one of the three most prominent gods along with Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu among the 33 crore Hindu gods.

Fact 2 – Jyotirlinga: The radiant sign of Shiva

jyotirlinga

There are 12 Jyotirlinga temples in India all dedicated to Lord Shiva. The word actually translates to the meaning “The Radiant Sign of The Almighty Siva”. These temples are believed to have come into existence in places where Shiva appeared to settle a debate going on between Brahma and Vishnu over supremacy of creation.

Fact 3 – His 108 names

shiva

Shiva has 108 names to himself as written in Shiva Purana. All these names have different meanings and describe Shiva’s personality and traits. For example, Ardhnarishwar – the Lord who is half woman, Aashutosh- one who fulfills wishes instantly, and Akshayaguna- God with limitless attributes.

Fact 4 – Extremely Powerful

point 4

It is believed that the reason Shiva is the most powerful is because once he tricked all the other Gods of their power. Once the gods had approached him to assist in fighting demonic powers. Shiva asked them to lend him their powers for a while to fight the demons, but never returned them back.

Fact 5 – Destroyer who protects

Shiva, unlike any other God, is a destroyer rather than a creator or protector. However, in Hindu mythology it is seen as a medium to new life since death is the path to recreation. However, contradictory to the nature of destruction portrayed for Shiva, he had drunk deadly poison to protect the universe. This incident is the reason of his blue throat; hence the name Neelkanth which means “the one with the blue throat”.

Fact 6 – Not worshipped in original form

Shiva

Shiva is the only God who is not worshiped in his original form. There are tall statues of Shiva in places like Murudeshwara but he is not worshiped inside temples in that form. The reason is his superiority over other Gods. Shiva, known as the God of the Gods (devon ke Dev) emerges from the linga which is “the cosmic pillar of fire” and is the only God to do so.

Krishna Pushkaralu

Krishna Pushkaralu 2016

Krishna Pushkaralu marks the time during which water from the 12 holy rivers is divinely mixed with River Krishna. Among the several hundreds of rivers flowing throughout the length and breadth of our country, River Krishna holds a prominent place in our hearts and minds.

River Krishna is the fourth largest river in India. The delta region of the river is one of the most fertile areas in our country and a site for prosperous agriculture. The river is the lifeline for states like Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. It also supports an indispensable variety of flora and fauna that survive on the water from the River. Modern man depends on this river, not only for water but also for electricity, as there are about 13 hydroelectric power projects and dams built on this river.

The origins of River Krishna have been traced to the hills and plateaus of Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra. The Panchganga Temple is the site of the origin where the river drops out of a “Gaumukh” or a Cow’s mouth.

The beginnings of the Pushkaralu can be traced back to a legend. As per the story, a Brahmin in a village performed severe penance dedicated to Lord Shiva. He was granted a boon by the Lord that he will have the power to purify the holy rivers. As a result of this power, his name eventually became Pushkar meaning “the one who nourishes and purifies”. The God of Planets and Guru, Brihaspati requested Pushkar to purify the 12 holy rivers when he travels from one zodiac sign to another every year.

As per the beliefs, the first 12 days when the Jupiter (Brihaspati) enters the zodiac sign Virgo (Kanya Rasi) is celebrated as the Krishna Pushkaralu. It is believed that on the first 12 days and the last 12 days of Jupiter in any zodiac sign, Pushkar travels with Brihaspati and purifies the holy rivers.

Krishna Pushkaram 2016

The festival of Krishna Pushkaralu is celebrated once every 12 years to honour River Krishna and seek her blessings. Although the occasion is celebrated all over Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the focal point of the festivities is the city of Vijayawada.

The festivities of Krishna Pushkaralu held in 2004, attracted over 30 million visitors to the city and ghats of Vijayawada. This year, the sacred 12 days festival of Krishna Pushkaralu begins on 12 August 2016 till 23 August 2016 in Vijayawada. Large crowds of visitors, tourists, saints, and priests are expected to attend the festival with great enthusiasm and thankfulness to our mother nature.

Krishna Pushkaralu Dates

The grand festival of Krishna Pushkaralu will be held from 12 August, 2016 – 23 August, 2016.

Krishna Pushkaram Ghats

Although theoretically one can take a holy dip anywhere along the length of River Krishna during Krishna Pushkaralu, the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have organised and constructed several bathing ghats with facilities like changing rooms and guards in Vijayawada.

Pushkar Ghats in Andhra Pradesh

Ghat Location
Vijayawada
Bhavani Ghat Bhanipuram, Vijayawada
Durga Ghat Near Prakasam Barrage, Beside Model Guest House, Vijayawada
Krishnaveni Ghat
Padmavathi Ghat Opp.PNBS, Krishna Lanka, Vijayawada
Punnami Ghat Bhavanipuram, Near Punnami Hotel, Vijayawada
Vijaya Krishna Ghat Kanakadurgamma Varadhi, Vijayawada (Urban)
Gollapudi Main Ghat Gollapudi, Vijayawada
Surayapalem Ghat Suraypalem, Gollapudi, Vijayawada
Ibrahimpatnam
Ferry Ghat
Sangamam Ghat
Guntupalli Ghat Guntupalli, Ibrahimpatnam Mandal
Tummalapalem-1 Ghat Tummalapalem, Ibrahimpatnam Mandal
Tummalapalem-2 Ghat Tummalapalem, Ibrahimpatnam Mandal
Damuluru Ghats-1 & 2 Damuluru, Ibrahimpatnam Mandal
Avanigadda
Vekanuru-1 Ghat Vekanuru, Avanigadda
Vekanuru-2 Ghat Vekanuru, Avanigadda
Edlanka Ghat Edlalanka, Avanigadda
South Chiruvolu Lanka Ghat Chiruvolu Lanka, Avanigadda
Kothapeta Ghat Kothapeta Village, Avanigadda
Puligadda Ghat Puligadda Village, Avanigadda
Mopidevi
K.Kothapalem Ghat Kokkiligadda Kothapalem, Mopidevi
Bobbarlanka Ghat Bobbarlanka, Mopidevi
Mopidevi Warf Ghat Mopidevi
Kosuruvaripalem Ghat Kosuruvaripalem, Mopidevi
Pedakallepalli Ghat Pedakallepalli, Mopidevi Mandal
Pedakallepalli Ghat-1 Pedakallepalli, Mopidevi Mandal
Pedakallepalli Ghat – 2 Pedakallepalli, Mopidevi Mandal
Koduru
Hamsaladeevi Ghat Hamsaladeevi, Koduru Mandal
Ullipalem Ghat Ullipalem, Koduru Mandal
Salempalem Harijanawada Ghat Salempalem, Koduru Mandal
Pittalanka Padavalarevu Ghat Pittalanka, Koduru Mandal
Kummaripalem Ghat Kummaripalem, Koduru Mandal
V.Kothapalem Ghat V.kothapalem, Koduru Mandal
Thotlavalluru
Royyuru Ghat Royyuru, Thotlavalluru Mandal
Vallurupalem Ghat Vallurupalem, Thotlavalluru Mandal
Thotlavalluru Ghat Thotlavalluru
Chagantipadu Ghat Chagantipadu, Thotlavalluru Mandal
Devarapalli Ghat Devarapalli, Thotlavalluru Mandal
Illuru -1 Ghat Illuru, Thotlavalluru Mandal
Illuru – 2 Ghat Illuru, Thotlavalluru Mandal
Illuru – 3 Ghat Illuru, Thotlavalluru Mandal
Penamaluru
Yanamalakuduru Ghat Yanamalakuduru, Penamaluru mandal
Pedapulipaka Ghat Pedapulipaka, Penamaluru mandal
Chodavarm Ghat Chodavarm, Penamaluru mandal
Kasaranenivaripalem Ghat Kasaranenivaripalem, Penamaluru mandal
Kanchikacherla
Gani Atkuru Pushkar Ghat Gani Atkuru, Kanchikacherla Mandal
Chevitikallu Pushkar Ghat Chevitikallu, Kanchikacherla Mandal
Kunikinapadu Pushkar Ghat Kunikinapadu, Kanchikacherla Mandal
Munnaluru Pushkar Ghat Munnaluru, Kanchikacherla Mandal
Chandarlapadu
Punnavalli Ghat Punnavalli, Chandarlapadu Mandal
Kasarabada Ghat Kasarabada, Chandarlapadu Mandal
Ustepalli Ghat Ustepalli, Chandarlapadu Mandal
Gudimetla Ghat Gudimetla, Chandarlapadu Mandal
Gudimetla – 2 Ghat Gudimetla, Chandarlapadu Mandal
Popuru Ghat Popuru, Chandarlapadu Mandal
Jaggaiahpeta
Sri Vedadri Village Ghat Vedadri, Jaggaiahpeta Mandal
Sri Yogananda Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Vari Ghat Vedadri, Jaggaiahpeta Mandal   Directions
Sri Ravirala Village Ghat Ravirala, Jaggaiahpeta Mandal
Sri Bhavani Muktheswara Swamy Vari Ghat Mukteswarapuram, Jaggaiahpeta Mandal   Directions
Uttaravahini Ghat Mukteswarapuram, Jaggaiahpeta Mandal
Machilipatnam
Vadapalem Ghat Vadapalem, Machilipatnam Mandal
China Yadara Ghat China Yadara, Machilipatnam Mandal
Bhogireddy palle Ghat Bhogireddy palle, Machilipatnam Mandal
Ghantasala
Papavinasama Ghat Ghantasala
Srikakulam Ghat Srikakulam, Ghantasala Mandal
Challapalli
Ramudupalem Ghat Ramudupalem, Challapalli Mandal
Pamidimukkala
Inapuru Ghat Inapuru, Pamidimukkala Mandal
Nagayalanka
T.Kothapalem Village Ghat T.Kothapalem Village, Nagayalanka
Sri RamaPada Kshetram Ghat Nagayalanka
Nagayalanka 7th Ward Ghat Nagayalanka
Brahmananda Puram Ghat Nagayalanka
Gullalamoda Ghat Gullalamoda, Etimoga Village, Nagayalanka

Pushkar Ghats in Telangana

In Telangana, following areas have been developed to receive visitors for the Krishna Pushkaralu 2016:

  • In Mahboobnagar District – Beechupalli, Rangapur, Alampur, Nadi Agraharam, Chintarevula, Nandimalla (Narayanpet), Krishna, Pasupula and Panchadev Padu (Maktal), Chellepad (Weepanagandla), Jataprole (Weepanagandla), Somasila (Kollapur), Malleswaram, Manchalakatta and Lingala.
  • In Nalgonda District – Wadapally in Damaracharla mandal, Mattapally in Mattampally mandal and Nagarjunasagar in Peddavura mandal, Mellacheruvu mandal, Utlapally in Peddavura mandal, Adavidevulapally in Damaracharla, Mahankaligudem in Nereducharla are locations for Pushkaram

Poojas conducted at Krishna Pushkaralu

  • Pindapradanam – This is a unique ritual in which the devotee offers Pindas (leaf with offerings to the departed souls is set afloat in water) to ancestors who were deceased. It is done with the belief that their souls will be set free and attain salvation.
  • Mahasankalpam – The Pooja is performed by priests on the banks of River Krishna for removing one’s bad karma and sins.
  • Laghusankalpam – This ritual involves taking a holy dip in the River during Krishna Pushkaralu by uttering the names and gotras to appease God and fulfill your wishes in this life.
  • Sariganga Snanam – This ritual is performed for a better family life, especially better relations with children and spouse.
  • Prayaschittam – This ritual means that men and women accept their mistakes and misdeeds to God and seek forgiveness.
  • Gouri Pooja – Kumkum Archana and Gouri Pooja are performed to appease Goddess Gouri (Goddess Parvati) and seek her blessings during Krishna Pushkaralu.
  • Ganga Pooja – It is believed that during the Krishna Pushkaralu period, water from the 12 holy rivers is divinely mixed with River Krishna. The Ganga Pooja is performed to seek the blessings of all the Rivers at once.
  • Musivayanam – It is a tradition in which a married woman is respected and treated with gifts. These gifts can also be offered to the husband when the wife dies. It is believed that by doing this Pooja, the wife’s soul can attain salvation.

Do’s and Don’ts at Krishna Pushkaram Ghats

Do’s

  • Take a dip in the River Krishna only at the authorised Bathing Ghats mentioned in the list above.
  • Pilgrims should take a dip at the bathing Ghat that is nearest to them to avoid traffic hassles during Krishna Pushkaralu.
  • Pilgrims must follow rules and regulations imposed at the Bathing Ghats as well as in and around the city to enable the smooth organisation and conduction of the festival.
  • It is imperative that people visiting the city and the sacred Ghats remain alert and vigilant. Unidentified and unaccompanied baggage must be reported immediately to the nearest police official or security booth.
  • Cleanliness and sanctity of the place should be maintained at all costs. Garbage and other kinds of refuse must be disposed off ONLY in dustbins.
  • Pilgrims should arrive at the bathing Ghats with minimum baggage. It is the pilgrims’ responsibility to take care of their belongings.

Don’ts

  • Do not throw litter, bottles, clothes, flowers etc. into the river. Remember that you are worshiping the River as a goddess. It is a lifeline to our civilisation and hence must be given utmost respect.
  • Use of plastic bags and soaps is prohibited for bathing in the Ghats during Krishna Pushkaralu.
  • Washing of clothes or relieving yourself openly in and around the bathing Ghats is prohibited during Krishna Pushkaralu.
  • Since the number of people visiting the venues will be large, it is better to be patient and wait for one’s turn to bathe than just pushing and shoving for a chance.

Krishna Pushkaralu Emergency numbers

LandLine Numbers : 0866-2474700 ; 0866-2474701

Mobile Numbers : 7702201597;7702201598;9000705973;9866449521

Gangotri

Gangotri – A Journey and a Revelation

By Bhagyalakshmi Krishnamurthy

The religiosity of the convent-educated, city-bred Hindu is unique. With limited exposure to rituals when compared to their ilk in the native place and  the presence of other faiths in the foreground of their consciousness alongside a tacit yet mute acceptance of Hinduism by their parents, the city-bred Hindus like myself, straddle a chasm between blind faith and enlightened belief. Therefore, when the environmentalists said that the Gangotri glacier was receding by at least 30 metres every year, I sat up because the Ganga is part of the very basic psyche of every Indian. The ultimate cleanser of all sins, it is mandatory in most Hindu households, even today, to sprinkle its water, on the lips of the dying.  I had seen the Gaumukh (the source of the Ganga) and Gangotri in William Dalrymple’s documentary on his trek to glacier. It looked quite healthy! Now, environmentalists were saying that it would probably melt away in my lifetime. Suddenly, it became important that I see her. I decided to follow the river from Gangotri to Haridwar, the point where she enters the plains. Would it be a spiritual journey resulting in an awakening of sorts? Would my rational and sceptical mind feel different when I stepped into Mother Ganga, so as to start worrying about her survival? I could not tell, but I definitely felt the need to make the journey.

Gangotri 2

I chose to go to Gangotri via Mussoorie as Mussoorie is positioned as the Gateway to Gangotri, although  they are almost 200 kilometres apart. The locals at Musoorie told me that the journey that would take a day and a half.  I hired a car through the hotel, with the hope that the driver would be safe and experienced. Satish Rawat, my driver, looked all that and more – he was a cheerful, devil-may-care, yet, deeply religious Garhwali. “We must halt overnight somewhere”, he said, “and proceed to Gangotri the next day”. Uttarkashi, a hundred kilometres away, was the most familiar place en route. We decided to halt there overnight .The hotels in Uttarkashi seemed low on cleanliness and thoroughly wanting in facilities. Yet, most of them were full, thanks to the bus loads of pilgrims who were on the Chardham (Four destinations or four of the holiest Hindu shrines of North India) Yatra. I zeroed in on a riverside resort with tented accommodation.

Satish Rawat’s Omni van did not inspire confidence. It had to climb 12,313 feet and I started praying.  It was a long drive to Uttarkashi as the roads cut through the Tehri Garhwal hills – a drive that was uninspiring as there was not much scenery to speak of. The van, contrary to appearances, passed muster admirably! I decided to pass the time of the day with Rawat. I was a South Indian and the north, though not alien, was still unfamiliar. To the North Indian every South Indian is a Madrasi from Madras: it does not matter if they are from any one of the other three southern states! Rawat decided that it was time we Madrasis knew something about the state of Uttarakhand and its co ordinates. Water, he said, was difficult to come by and it was not an unusual sight to see women trudge up the difficult, rocky terrain with toddlers tied to their backs, to get two pots of water.

“No rains here and many forest fires,” he said, “due to the continuous deforestation, there isn’t enough vegetation to ensure normal healthy monsoons.”

By the time I reached Uttarkashi, I was an authority on Uttarakhand and her problems. I had also learnt a lesson on water conservation, when Rawat simply positioned the van under a small waterfall on our way up and got it washed thoroughly, without even getting down!

We entered a crowded and thoroughly abused Uttarkashi at six o clock, that rainy evening after an eight hour drive. Under a big board of the Uttarakhand District Board which read” Plastic is not bio-degradable. Avoid plastic”, there was a mountain of garbage with all forms of plastic containers. I did not feel spiritual or religious, I just felt dispirited.

Bisht, the resort manager had said that the resort was just 5 kilometres into the Uttarkashi-Gangotri Road. After the prescribed 5 kilometres, we stopped to check with a passerby, only to have him point to a small clearing in the ground near the van.  Rawat inched the van carefully down the clearing and there before us were 18 neatly laid out Swiss tents and  it was here, a mere two hundred feet from my tent, that I had my first view of the Ganga as Bhagirathi. She seemed to hurry along happily yet purposefully over smooth, round rocks and boulders, surrounded by lofty mountains. I dipped my hand into the river. The water was cold, utterly clean and the current strong.

I remembered my mother recounting the story from the Bhagavath Purana which said that Ganga flows across all three worlds, Swarga (Heaven), Prithvi (Earth) and Patala (Nether world). In his Vamana Avatara, Vishnu asked for three feet of land as measured by his tiny dwarf -like feet. His first step measured the universe and to demarcate a boundary, he pierced a hole in it and sought to cover it with the nail of his big toe. The Divine Ocean is said to have poured through this hole as Ganga and washed the feet of Vishnu. She came to rest at Brahma Loka in heaven till King Baghiratha prayed for her to come down to wash away the ashes of his ancestors – the 60,00 sons of King Sagara. King Sagara performed the Ashwamedha Yaga much to the envy of Indra. Consumed with jealousy, Indra stole the horse and left it near Sage Kapila who was meditating in the nether world. King Sagara sent his 60,000 sons to search for the horse. Their jubilation on finding it, disturbed Sage Kapila and he burnt them to ashes. Sagara, his son Anshuman and Dilip further down that lineage tried to cleanse the sins of these 60,000 but were not successful. Bhagirath took this task upon himself and performed penance till Brahma asked Ganga to leave Brahma Loka and cleanse their souls. Ganga, known to be vain, felt insulted by what she considered to be a menial task and roared down towards earth, with a force that threatened to destroy Earth. It was then that Shiva trapped her in his locks and released her through small rivulets. A suitably chastened Ganga came on to earth at Gomukh and flowed down Gangotri to the plains. She also flowed down to the netherworld and washed away the sins of the 60,000 sons of Sagara. That evening, on the banks of the Bhagirathi, all this seemed very real!

We started the ascent to Gangotri the next morning after a very tasty and cholesterol-laden Indian breakfast. Within minutes Rawat pointed out the Ganga to me – a narrow strip of water running to our right and from here she travelled with us,  sometimes just as wide as a ribbon and at other times no broader than a strip.  As we climbed higher, on treacherous roads that seemed to have been chiselled into the mountains, both, the air and inhabitation became rarer. The hills became more verdant and  snow covered mountains appeared in the horizon.  Rawat stopped when the milestone showed Gangotri to be only a kilometre away, stating that all vehicular traffic was stopped a kilometre away from Gangotri, so that the area does not bear the brunt of vehicular pollution. Trekking up this last kilometre, I came to the Gangotri temple, from where another trek of 18 kilometres over three days would lead me to the Gaumukh glacier, but that would have to be another time.

I picked my way up to the river and there she was, raging down so powerfully, that it became necessary to hold on to the ropes to maintain one’s balance. A silent prayer of thanks went up to Shiva for having reigned in her power by trapping her in his matted locks! Clean and clear, the water chilled me to the bone as I stepped in. I looked around at the snow capped mountains – the sky seemed so close and the air was so clean. I felt the presence of a power, a force and understood why the Hindu philosophy defined God as being manifested in the five natural elements: air, water, earth fire and ether.

Then I turned my attention to the other devotees. They threw in flowers and holy ash, which was fine, but I was mortified to find them chucking in the plastic covers in which they had brought the flowers. I was angry to see some of them wash themselves with soap in the icy cold waters when all they were required to do was to take a dip. I remembered my elders telling me that one of the major sins in the Hindu philosophy was the pollution of the river water and wanted to tell them to collect the water in mud pots rather than in plastic bottles, which got. washed away in the current, only to get bunched up downhill and choke the flow of the river.

That sight at Gangotri led me to the revelation –  that the Ganga was more than just a river, she symbolizes an effort – an effort to cleanse the dirt and pollutants heaped on Mother Earth by man. It was also a sad realization that every Indian is happy cursing the government for not keeping the Ganga clean but continues to sully her at the individual level. I did not bring back cans of Ganga water like my fellow pilgrims did. I brought back the spirit of the Ganga in the form of a pledge to do my bit to keep my surroundings clean.

Top Ten Richest Temples

Top Ten Richest Temples

Take a walk along any inconspicuous lane of any inconspicuous village or town of this extremely conspicuous country called India. If you chance upon a Peepal tree, chances are you might find threads tied on its myriad branches and maybe a stone figurine strategically placed at the base of the tree. The stone might have a ‘tilak’ on it and if it has, then offerings in the form of money or prasad will be kept in front of it. Deifying of certain trees and stones with particular shapes and markings is accepted in Hinduism – the oldest known religion to mankind as in this great religion divinity exists in every aspect of life. Hinduism is a religion that boasts of having over 300 million gods, although the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva remains the most important and of these Vishnu and Shiva are basically the ones to be worshipped, either as themselves or in the form of their ‘avataars’. Going and paying obeisance to the God closest to your heart is something every Hindu aspires to do in his lifetime. The temples in which the Gods are housed can be popular owing either to their antiquity or to the miracles attributed to visiting the shrine of a particular God. In a country that is home to atleast a billion Hindus, a million at any point of time, would be visiting these temples. And when faith and charity come together then you can imagine the staggering amount of wealth that would be in the treasuries of these temples? Here then is a compilation of the Top Ten Richest Temple of India.

Anantha Padmanabhawamy Temple

Padmanabhawamy - Top Ten Richest Temple

Topping the list is the Anantha Padmanabhawamy Temple located in Thiruvanathapuram, the capital city of God’s own country, Kerela. With the discovery of more than one lakh crore rupees worth of treasures found in its underground rooms, it has become the richest temple of India. Dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu, the temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams. A Divya Desam, as mentioned in Hindu scriptures, is a temple of Lord Vishnu that is considered holy and sacred. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india

Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Swamy Temple

Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Swamy Temple - Top Ten Richest Temple

Till very recently the Tirumala Tirupati Venkateswara Swamy Temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh was topping this list but now comes at a close second. Dedicated again to Lord Vishnu, here the reigning deity is Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On an average 30-40 million devouts visit the Tirupati temple making it the most visited holy place in the world. The Tirupati Balaji temple reportedly has nearly 50,000 crore rupees worth of properties all over the world. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india

Shrine of Sai Baba of Shirdi

Shrine of Sai Baba of Shirdi - Top Ten Richest Temple

The Shrine of Sai Baba of Shirdi in Maharashtra is third in this list. Baba in his message to his devotees had said that anyone with faith who steps onto the sacred ground of Shiridi will become free of his troubles. On any given day and more particularly on Thursday, Shiridi is packed with the devouts. The trust in his name has roughly 30 crore rupees in ornaments and jewellery and investments that are to the tune of over 4000 crores. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india

Siddhivinayak Temple

Siddhivinayak Temple - Top Ten Richest Temple

The next temple in our list is the Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai. Dedicated to the worship of the elephant headed God, Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati, this temple sees around 50,000 visitors every day. A devout businessman from Kolkata donated the gold coated dome over Lord Ganesha that weighs over 3.7 kilos. The temple receives donations to the tune of 10-15 crore rupees every year. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india.

Meenakshi Amman Temple

Meenakshi Amman Temple- Top Ten Richest Temple

The Meenakshi Amman Temple located in the temple city of Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu is fifth in our list. This temple was amongst the 30 nominees for the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’. The reigning deity of this temple is Goddess Parvati, known here as Meenakshi. The annual ten day festival called the Meenakshi Tirukalyanam attracts almost a million devotees. The temple has two golden sculptured vimanas and more than 30,000 sculptures and has estimated annual revenue of approximately 6 crore rupees. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india.

Jagannath Puri Temple

Jagannath Puri Temple- Top Ten Richest Temple

The Jagannath Puri Temple situated in the coastal city of Puri in Odisha is sixth in the list. Devoted to the worship of the effervescent ruler of hearts, Lord Krishna, his brother Balarama and sister Subhadra, the temple is famous for its annual Rath Yatra that takes place in the month of June. Being one of the Hindu Char dhams, the temple gets a staggering number of pilgrims daily. With its huge collection of gold ornaments, diamonds and other jewels, it is considered to be the richest temple in the north eastern part of the country and the temple trust has properties to the tune of more than a thousand crores. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india.

Shrine of  Vaishno Devi

Vaishno Devi- Top Ten Richest Temple

The Shrine of Vaishno Devi located in the state Jammu and Kashmir is a cave temple and is next in our list. Every year roughly 10 million pilgrims visit the shrine to get the blessing of Mata Vaishno Devi, the incarnation of Goddess Mahalakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Rich donations and offerings made by her million devotees has made this shrine extremely wealthy and magnificent. The temple receives nearly 500 crores in donations annually. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india.

Somnath Temple

Somnath Temple- Top Ten Richest Temple

The Somnath Temple located at Prabhas Patan at Saurashtra in Gujarat is the first among the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva. An important pilgrimage site since ancient times, the temple continues to attract devouts in huge numbers. The temple has a tumultuous history and has been plundered and demolished around 17 times for its gold and silver but it still possesses enough to remain in the top ten list. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india.

Guruvayurappan Temple

Guruvayurappan Temple-Top Ten Richest Temple

The Guruvayurappan Temple at Guruvayur in Kerela is the ninth richest temple and Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped here. The temple sees a million devotees every year. It has total assets worth Rs. 2,500 crore and receives donations to the tune of 400 crore rupees in both cash and gold every year. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath Temple-Top Ten Richest Temple

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi is tenth in the list. The temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva and is yet another Jyotirlinga. The temple receives roughly 5 million devotees annually and the annual donations come to around 5 crores. Hence this temple is counted as the top ten richest temple in india.

Ashtavinayak Temples

The Ashtavinayak Temples

Often called the God of Success and Prosperity, Lord Ganapathi or Ganesha is one of the most beloved Gods worshiped in Hinduism. He is known by various names like Ganesha, Vinayaka, Gajaraja, Vigneshwara, Vignahartha and Lambodara. He is regarded as the “Remover of Obstacles in one’s life”. As per tradition, the Lord is worshiped by all sects of Hinduism. He is also considered as the patron God of Arts and Sciences. The Ashtavinayak Temples are a group of eight holy temples situated in the state of Maharashtra. Each of these temples is associated with legends of Lord Ganesha and is considered as a part of pilgrimage dedicated to the Lord. The Ashtavinayak Temples should be visited in a pre-determined sequence. It should begin with Sri Moreshwar Temple followed by the Siddhivinayak Temple, Ballaleshwar Temple, Varadvinayak Temple, Chintamani Temple, Girijatmaj Temple and the Vignahar Temple. The last temple in the list is the Mahaganapathi Temple at Ranjangaon, Pune. It is believed that the pilgrimage is complete only when the devotee visits the first temple again after visiting all the other seven temples.

Ashtavinayak TemplesMoreshwar or the Mayureshwar Ashtavinayak Temple

The primary temple that one must visit during the Ashtavinayak pilgrimage is the Mayureshwar Ashtavinayak Temples situated at Morgaon near Pune. This is the starting point as well as the ending of the journey. The temple is a black stone structure built during the reign of the Bahmani Sultanate (14th – 16th century).

The Temple has four gates built with a slight Islamic architectural influence. The four corners have minarets giving it an appearance of a mosque. Eight idols of Lord Ganesha grace the eight directions or corners of the Temple. They are of the form of Ekadanta, Mahodar, Gajanana, Lambodar, Vikata, Vignaraja, Dhumravarna and Vakratunda.

Legend of the Mayureshwar Ashtavinayak Temples

The King of Mithila, Chakrapani and his wife Ugra were childless for a long time. They prayed to Lord Surya for a child. He was appeased and blessed him with a child named Sindhu. He was blessed with the full bowl of Amrit as a boon and was reminded that he will remain immortal as long as the bowl remains unbroken. Sindhu swallowed the bowl to protect it. He turned into a corrupt demon that terrorized and kept even the Gods as captives. The Gods approached Lord Ganesha for help. He descended to Earth on a peacock and slayed the demon, took out the bowl from his stomach and broke it. Morgaon is believed to be the place where the head of the demon Sindhu fell on Earth.

Significance of the Mayureshwar Ashtavinayak Temples

  • The Ganesha Purana mentions the legends and the significance of Morgaon in as much as 22 chapters. It is believed that Morgaon is one of the three highly sacred sites for Lord Ganesha, the other two being Mount Kailash in the Swargaloka and Adishesha’s abode in the Pataala Loka. It is also believed that at the time of Pralaya or the End of the World, Lord Ganesha will appear and take abode here.
  • It is believed that the original idol of Lord Ganesha was consecrated here by Lord Brahma himself. The idol was small and made of sand, iron and diamonds. Eventually, the Pandavas enclosed this idol in a copper sheet and placed it behind the currently worshiped idol for safekeeping.
  • The idol of Lord Ganesha is unique. He is represented in a sitting posture with three eyes and the trunk facing the left side. The eyes and the navel are decorated with diamonds. The King of Snakes (Nagaraj) can be seen on top along with Buddhi and Siddhi on either side.

Mayureshwar Ashtavinayak Temples Timings

The Temple is open to devotees from 5 AM till 10 PM. The Prakshal Pooja, Shodashopachar Pooja, Panchopachar Pooja and the Shej Aarti are some of the rituals that are performed every day.

Siddhivinayak Ashtavinayak Temple

The second temple in the Ashtavinayak series of Temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha is the Siddhivinayak Temple situated at Siddhatek in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. The Temple is located on a hillock besides River Bhima.

Legend of the Siddhivinayak Ashtavinayak Temple

According to the legend, the demons Madhu and Kaitabha originated from the ears of Lord Vishnu during his Yoganidra (a state of consciousness between waking up and sleeping). The two demons obtained a boon from Goddess Shakti as per which they cannot be killed by any Deva or Asura unless they want to die willingly. At that time, Lord Brahma was contemplating the creation of the universe and for which he required the Vedas. The demons stole the Vedas from Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma requested Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu woke up from his deep sleep and took the form of a Hayagriva (a horse faced creature). The battle between the Hayagriva and the two demons lasted five thousand years. Lord Vishnu realized that these demons were invincible until they were relieved of the boon granted by Goddess Shakti. He was also advised by Lord Shiva to see the blessings of Lord Ganesha before slaying the demons.

It is believed that Siddhatek was the place where Lord Vishnu asked for Lord Ganesha’s blessings which the later granted happily.

Significance of the Siddhivinayak Ashtavinayak Temple

  • It is believed that Lord Vishnu himself constructed the original unique four-door temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha. However, due to natural reasons, the temple perished. Under the Peshwa rule, the temple was reconstructed and consecrated with the original idol.
  • The idol of the deity is Swayambhu in nature, 3 feet tall and 2.5 feet wide. The trunk is turned towards right representing the fierce form of Lord Ganesha. The idols of Riddhi and Siddhi are placed on one lap. The idols of Jaya and Vijaya, who are the gatekeepers of Lord Vishnu’s abode Vaikuntam flank the Lord on both the sides.
  • This is the only temple among the eight Ashtavinayak Temples where the trunk of Lord Ganesha’s idol is turned towards the right. It is a belief that this Lord is difficult to please but grants Siddhi (Success) to the devotee.

Siddhivinayak Ashtavinayak Temple  Timings

The Temple opens at 4:15 AM and closes at 9 PM daily.

Ballaleshwar Ashtavinayak Temple

The Ballaleshwar Temple situated at Pali Village in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The Temple is the third in sequence of which the Ashtavinayak Temples must be visited. The Temple was renovated and extended by Baburao Phadnavis and his son Morobo Dada Phadnavis in 1770.

The architecture of the Temple is exemplary. The Peshwas built the shrine in the shape of “Shri”. Two lakes are situated on the two sides of the Temple.

Legend of the Ballaleshwar Ashtavinayak Temple

According to the legend, in the Treta Yuga,  a boy named Ballal was born to a businessman named Kalyan and his wife Indumati. The boy was an ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha and usually worshiped stones as the Lord along with his friends. One day, when he was roaming in the forests, he saw a huge stone. He decorated the stone and worshiped the stone after idolizing it as Lord Ganesha. Ballal and his friends were so engrossed in the devotion that they forgot to return to their homes. The parents complained to Kalyan about Ballal. Kalyan in his anger caught hold of Ballal and tied him to a tree. He was also beaten up badly. However, Ballal continued his worship. Lord Ganesha was impressed and gave him darshan as a Brahmin. Since then, the Lord came to be known as Ballal Vinayak or the Eeshwar (Lord) of Ballal.

Significance of the Ballaleshwar Ashtavinayak Temple

  • The idol of the main deity, Lord Ballaleshwar is believed to be Swayambhu in nature. The idol sits on a stone platform. The trunk is turned towards left. The eyes and the navel of the deity are studded with diamonds.
  • The idol is dressed up as a Brahmin. This is the only idol of Lord Ganesha to be dressed up in such a way in the world.
  • The Dhundi Vinayak Temple situated just behind the Temple is extremely unique as it is believed that this is the stone that was broken partially by Kalyan in his anger.
  • The Temple is built in such a way that on the day of Winter Solstice (December 21), the rising sun’s rays fall directly on the idol illuminating it.

Ballaleshwar Ashtavinayak Temples Timings

The Temple is opened daily from 5:30 AM to 10 PM.

Varadvinayak Ashtavinayak Temples

The Temple of Varadvinayak is one of the sacred Ashtavinayak Temples situated in the village of Mahad belonging to the Raigarh district of Maharashtra. Lord Ganesha is worshiped here as Varadvinayaka, meaning the giver of success and wealth.

The Temple is small, 8 feet by 8 feet long with a gold plated dome. The Temple is surrounded by intricately carved statues of Elephants on four sides. A Gomukh ar a Cow’s mouth can be seen emanating water on the Northern side of the Temple. The original temple is believed to have been constructed by Gritsamada in the Treta Yuga. However, the Ganesha idol was found submerged in a lake near the Temple by Dhondu Paudkar in 1690 AD. In 1725, Subedar of Kalyan, Ramji Mahadev Biwalkar built the Temple again.

Legend of the Varadvinayak Ashtavinayak Temples

According to the legend, Prince Rukmangada of Kaudinya was a handsome and virtous Prince, loved by all. Once during hunting, he stopped to rest at Sage Vachaknavi’s home. The Sage’s wife Mukunda fell in love with him and made physical advances to him, which he deftly refused. Mukunda became sad and Lord Indra, taking pity on her came to her home disguised as Rukmangada and fulfilled her wishes. A son named Gritsamada was born to them. When the son grew up, he came to know about the truth of him being an illegitimate son of his parents. He grew sad and wandered into the forests praying all the time to Lord Ganesha to grant him inner solace and peace. Lord Ganesha appeared to him and granted him his wish. Gritsamada requested the Lord to make the forest as his abode and bless the people who visit him. Lord Ganesha agreed and took form as Varadvinayak.

Significance of the Varadvinayak Ashtavinayak Temples

  • The idol of Sri Varadvinayak is believed to be Swayambhu in nature. The deity appears in a seated position with the trunk turned left. The Temple worships two idols, the old and the original one covered with Sindur and the new one made of Marble.
  • The Varadvinayak Temple is the only Ganesh Temple where the devotees are allowed to enter the Sanctum and pay respects to the Lord himself at proximity.
  • According to the local belief, devotees who eat the Coconut Prasad during the Maghi Chaturthi are blessed with a son.
  • The Nandadeep that burns at the Temple has been continuously burning since 1892.

Varadvinayak Ashtavinayak Temple Timings

The Temple opens at 6 AM and closes at 9 PM every day.

Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple

The Chintamani Temple is situated in the village of Theur, also known as Kadambapur in Maharashtra. Theur is situated at the confluence of three small rivers named Bhima, Mula and Mutha. The exact date of construction of the Temple is unknown but it is suspected that Sri Daharnidhar Maharaj Devji, descendent of Saint Morya Gosavji built the Temple. Madhavrao Peshwa erected a Sabhamandap during his reign.

Legend of the Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple

As per the legend, King Abhijeet and his wife Gunavati had a son named Ganasura. He was a strong but greedy prince. Once, Ganasura visited the Ashram of Sage Kapila. The Sage showed great hospitality with the help of the Chintamani stone that he possessed. Ganasura came to know about the stone and wanted to acquire it. However, Sage Kapila refused his offer. Enraged, Ganasura forcibly took away the stone. Sage Kapila took advice from Goddess Durga and requested Lord Ganesha’s help. The Lord fought a battle with Ganasura under a Kadamba tree and defeated him. He took back the Chintamani to the Sage, who gifted the stone back to Lord Ganesha as an honor. The precious stone was hung around the neck of Ganesha and hence, he came to be known as Lord Chintamani.

Significance of the Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple

  • The idol of the presiding deity, Lord Chintamani is Swayambhu in nature. The idol faces east and has a Mani or a precious stone in the neck region of the Lord. The eyes of the deity are studded with diamonds.
  • It is believed that by obtaining a darshan of Lord Chintamani, one can get peace of mind and spiritual satisfaction in his or her life.
  • Historically, the idol is the family deity of Shri Madhavrao Peshwa. The famous ruler is believed to have spent his last days at the Temple.
  • The village of Theur is also believed to be the place where Saint Morya Gosavji performed penance and was given darshan by Lord Ganesha appearing as two tigers.

Chintamani Ashtavinayak Temple Timings

The Temple opens at 6 AM and closes at 10 PM daily.

Girijatmaj Ashtavinayak Temple

The Temple of Lord Ganesha, known as Girijatmaj is situated at Lenyadri hills in the Pune district of Maharashtra. The Lord Girijatmaj shrine is dated back to 1st century AD. One has to climb 283 steps to reach the entrance of the cave. During the conversion of the cave from a Buddhist shrine to a Hindu shrine, several paintings depicting Ganesha’s childhood, Marriage and battles were done on the stone walls.

The name of Girijatmaj is unique and can be interpreted in two ways. Girija is the other name of Goddess Parvati whereas Atmaja means Son. So the word Girijatmaj would mean “The Son of Parvati” referring to Lord Ganesha. Alternatively, it can also mean “Mountain born”.

Legend of the Girijatmaj Ashtavinayak Temple

The Temple’s legend is controversial and based on the belief that Lord Ganesha is the supreme power. According to it, Goddess Parvati performed penance here to become the mother of Lord Ganesha. Appeased, Lord Ganesha grants her wish and states that he will be born as her son. Eventually on the day of Bhadrapada Shuddha Chaturthi, the Goddess created an idol of Lord Ganesha with dirt from her body. Lord Ganesha fused his life into the idol and came to be known as Girijatmaj.

Significance of the Girijatmaj Ashtavinayak Temple

  • The Temple is only one among the Ashtavinayak Temples to be located on a hillock and inside an earlier Buddhist shrine.
  • The Temple is carved out of a single stone and has no pillars supporting the entire structure. The Temple faces south which is rare. The shrine was built in such a way that no room remains dark throughout the day even though it is a closed cave complex.
  • The idol of Lord Ganesha is believed to be in an infant form and is carved in a simple manner on a rock. One cannot circumambulate the deity.

Girijatmaj Ashtavinayak Temple Timings

The Temple is a part of the site that is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Hence, the devotees are allowed to visit the shrine only from sunrise till sunset.

Vigneshwara Ashtavinayak Temple

The Vigneshwara Temple is situated in the village of Ozar in the Pune district of Maharashtra. The form of Ganesh worshiped here is Vigneshwara,meaning “Remover of Obstacles”. The Temple is seventh in the pre-determined sequence in visiting the Ashtavinayak Temples.

The Temple faces east and has a spacious courtyard. The entrance of the Temple is flanked by sculptures of two Dvarapalakas (Gatekeepers). The central Temple structure has three entrances, the eastern entrance being the main one. It is believed by historians and the locals that the Temple was built by the Peshwa ruler Chimaji Appa after defeating the Portuguese in late 1700’s. The spire or Shikhar of the Temple is covered with Gold.

Legend of the Vigneshwara Ashtavinayak Temple

According to the legend associated with the Temple, King Abhinandan conducted a Yagna with the objective of overthrowing the kingdom of heaven. Alarmed Lord Indra sent the demon Kalapurush to destroy the Yagna. Kalapurush successfully destroyed the Yagna. However, he got carried away with his power and assumed the title of Vignasura, meaning the Creator of Obstacles. He systematically destroyed all Vedic rituals and Poojas that were performed by several sages and created havoc. The Gods approached Lord Ganesha for help, who defeated Vignasura. The demon realized his arrogance and surrendered to Lord Ganesha asking for mercy. Lord Ganesha promised retribution on the condition that he will not interrupt whenever Lord Ganesha is worshiped. Thus, Lord Ganesha came to be known as Vigneshwara.

Significance of the Vigneshwara Ashtavinayak Temple

  • The idol of the deity is believed to be Swayambhu in nature. The Lord faces east with his trunk towards left. The deity is flanked by Riddhi and Siddhi on his either side.
  • The idol of the deity possesses precious stones. The eyes are studded with Rubies, the forehead is embellished with diamonds and navel is studded with semi-precious stones.

Vigneshwara Ashtavinayak Temple Timings

The Temple is open to devotees from 5 AM to 11 PM. However, darshan is closed between 11 AM to 4 PM in the afternoon.

Mahaganapathi Ashtavinayak Temple

The Temple dedicated to Lord Mahaganapathi is situated at Ranjangaon, 50 km from Pune. The Temple is the last in the sequence of the Ashtavinayak Temples to be visited. The representation of Lord Ganesh as Mahaganapathi is believed to be the most powerful and fierce form of the Lord.

The Temple is believed to have been constructed during the 9th century AD. The idol that is worshiped currently has been donated by the Khollam family in Ranjangaon. The idol faces east in a cross-legged position with the trunk pointing left. Both Riddhi and Siddhi flank the deity on either sides.

Legend of the Mahaganapathi Ashtavinayak Temple

  • The legend associated with the Temple has two distinct versions. According to one version, Sage Gritsamad’s son Tripurasur was a well-learned young boy and a devotee of Lord Ganesha. Pleased by his devotion and prayers, Lord Ganesha blessed the boy and presented him with three pura’s made of precious metals, which can be destroyed only by Lord Shiva. Over a period of time, Tripurasur grew to be vain and created chaos in the world. Even Lord Brahma and Vishnu were disturbed by his atrocities and were forced to go into hiding. Sage Narada advised the frightened gods that they should take the help of Lord Ganesh. The Gods decided to invoke Lord Ganesh, who appeared and accepted to help them.
  • Lord Ganesh disguised as a Brahmin and met Tripurasur under the pretext of creating three flying planes. In return, he ordered Tripurasur to bring the Chintamani idol from Mount Kailash. The greedy Tripurasur went to Mount Kailash and fought with Lord Shiva for the idol. Lord Shiva realized that he had not offered his prayers to Lord Ganesh first, and hence was unable to destroy the pura’s or defeat him. He recited the Sadaakshar Mantra and invoked Lord Ganesh, who emerged and gave him the instructions for defeating Tripurasur. Lord Shiva followed the directions and defeated the greedy Tripurasur at also created a temple for Lord Ganesh at that spot.
  • As per another legend, when proceeding to the war against the demon Tripurasur, Lord Shiva fails to seek the blessing of Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha breaks the axle of the chariot that Lord Shiva was traveling in. Realizing his mistake, Lord Shiva pays respect to Lord Shiva and then proceeds to a victorious battle against the demon. In honor of his son, he is supposed to have consecrated the idol at the site.

Significance of the Mahaganapathi Ashtavinayak Temple

  • The idol of the deity is Swayambhu in nature that is Lord Ganesha is believed to have appeared himself in the form of Mahaganapathi at Ranjangaon.
  • The architecture of the Temple is such that at sunset, the sun rays fall on the idol of the deity directly illuminating him.
  • It is a belief that the original idol of the Lord is hidden in the basement of the Temple. The idol is supposed to have 10 trunks and 20 hands. The idol is called Mahotkat. However, the Temple priests deny the existence of the Idol.

Mahaganapathi Ashtavinayak Temple Timings

The Temple opens at 5:30 AM and closes at 10