Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jvari monastery, Georgia

Name : Jvari monastery. The name is translated as the Monastery of the Cross.

Location :

Jvari or Jvari Monastery (Georgian: ჯვარი, ჯვრის მონასტერი) is a Georgian Orthodox monastery of the 6th century near Mtskheta (World Heritage site), Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, eastern Georgia.

Description :

Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountain top at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the village of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Iberia.

According to traditional accounts, on this location in the early 4th century Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. The cross was reportedly able to work miracles and therefore drew pilgrims from all over Caucasus. A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in c.545 named the “Small Church of Jvari”. As the name suggests there is a Big Wooden Cross inside the monastry.

The present building, or “Great Church of Jvari”, was built between 586 and 605 by Erismtavari Stepanoz I. The importance of Jvari complex increased over time and attracted many pilgrims. In the late Middle Ages, the complex was fortified by a stone wall and gate, remnants of which still survive. During the Soviet period, the structure was largely ignored, with access rendered difficult by tight security at a nearby military base. After the independence of Georgia, the building was restored to active religious use. Jvari was listed together with other monuments of Mtskheta in 1996 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

However, over the centuries the structures suffered damage from rain and wind erosion and inadequate maintenance. Jvari was listed in the 2004 World Monuments Watch list by the World Monuments Fund.

Architecture :

The Jvari church is a very early tetraconch (i.e. a four-apse domed building) structure. Between the apses there are three-quarter circular niches used as side chapels, which communicate with the central space. The transition from the square bay to the dome circle is effected through three rows of squinches. This design had a great impact on the further development of Georgian architecture and served as a model for many other churches not only in Georgia, but the whole region of South Caucasus.

Varied bas-relief sculptures with Hellenistic and Sasanian influences decorate its external façades, some of which are accompanied by explanatory inscriptions in old Georgian uncial script. The entrance’s tympanum on the southern façade, is adorned with a relief of the Glorification of the Cross, and the same façade also shows an Ascension of Christ. The church has an extra bell tower outside.

Websites :

Monday, February 14, 2011

Kotappa Konda (Trikutaparvatam)

Name : Kotappa Konda Also Known As Kondakavuru Or Trikutaparvatam

Location :

The temple is located on top of a hill. Original name of this village is Kondakavuru, but is more popularly known as "Kotappakonda" or "Trikutaparvatam" (three-peaked hill). The Kotappa Konda hill is 13-km From Narasaraopet, Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh. It is 12 km from Narsarao Pet, 13 km from Chilakaluri Pet (on NH 5), 90 km from Vijayawada and 350 km from Hyderabad.

Legend :

At this sacred place, Lord Shiva, as "Dakshana Murthy" imparted the divine knowledge of "Brahma" to Lord Brahma and other Gods. Since Lord Shiva who converted himself as a twelve years boy observing strict celibacy and known as Dakshana Murthy, devotees do not perform any marriages at these hills.

There is yet another folklore of Salankayya of Yellamandavillage who was a great devotee of Lord Siva and eking out his livelibhood by selling firewood. With the result of undivided devotion to the Lingam at Rudra hills he became rich. One day while performing prayers he sawJangama Devara.

In appreciation of the devotion of Salankayya Jangama Devara daily used to visit his house and consume milk. After some time Jangama Devara disappeared. Salankayya searched for him in every nook and corner of the region and could not find him anywhere. In a fit of disappointment, Salankayya stopped taking any food and water. As the matter stood thus, there lived a cowherd called Sundudu with his wife Kundiri in South side ofTrikoota hills.

They had a beautiful daughter called Anandavalli. Her parents became rich soon after herbirth. Anandavalli was deeply devoted to Lord Siva and was not interested in her wordly life.She always spent her time in singing the glory of Lord Siva and used to offer prayers at old Koteswara hills she declined to change her way of life and commenced penance for Sri Koteswara Swamy. Pleased with her penance Jangama Devara appeared before her. She came to know Jangama Devara was, none other than a person, who used to take milk in the house of Salankayya. From then onwards she daily visited Rudra hills and after performing celestial bath offered milk and part-took the balance.

Salankayya came to know the presence of Jangama Devara and appraoched Anandavalle and requested her to see that Jangama Devara showers the blessings on him. Anandavalle could not concede the request of Salankayya as she was engaged in her deep penance. After some time, in the hot summer Anandavalle used to visit Rudra hills to perform prayers. One day she collected a pot of water for celestial bath and after keeping it at a safe place proceeded to procure “Maredu leaves”. Then, a crow came and sat on the pot, and with its weight the pot fell down throwing out the entire water. Anandavalle became furious and cursed, that no crow should enter the area. Then onwards and till now no crow appears on the Rudra hill.Jangama Devara pleased with her penance appeared and imparted her the divine knowledge. This had in no way deviated her concentration and she further prayed him as God and as well as her Guru.

Jangama Devara, commisserated at her penance and wished her to lead a wordly life. With his divine power he made her pregnant though she was a spinster. Unmindful of her pregnancy she carried her daily prayers as usual.Aghasted at her deep devotion Jangama Devara again appeared and told that she need not take so many troubles in performing poojas and promised her that he would come to her house where she could do her supplication and asked her to proceed without turning her back.

Anandavalle accordingly proceeded towards her home and Jangama Devara came down from Rudra mountain and followed her. After reaching Brahma hill, Anandavalle lost her patience and turned back. Immediately Jangama Devara reminded of her promise and stopped at Brahma hills and entered the cave of the hill and turned himself into a Lingam. The same sacred place is now called Kotha Koteswara Temple. Anandavalle also stayed there and, in the meanwhile, she delivered a boy. She repented of her action in seeing back inspite of caution given by Jangama Devara and decided to end her life. Within a moment of above thought, assailing her mind the newly born boy disappeared from the scene.

She then realised that her pregnancy and delivery of a boy were of the creation of Jangama Devara to test her reverence towards him. She felt very happy as she got through all the critical trails and became one in the God.

Description :

A Three Peaked Hill :
It has got a three-peaked hill nearby. The Kotappa Konda or hill is at a height of 1587ft. The three hills, also known by the names of "Trikutachalam" or "Trikutadri", can be distinctly seen from a distance from any direction. These three peaks are called Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra peaks.

Gods on the three peaks are known by different names Brahma Sikaramu (Trikoteswarudu) Rudra Sikaramu(Papa Koteswarudu) Vishnu Sikaramu (PapaVishnu Saneswarudu).

Sri Trikoteswara Swami Temple was in existence even before 1000 AD. A steep flight of steps leads to the hill at the height of 600ft, where the Temple of Sri Trikoteswara Swami is situated. The main deity is established in the shape of Shiva Linga known as 'Trikuteswara' or 'Trikoteswara'.

Other Attractions :

View Point:
A number of ponds are found on the hill of which eight are located in front of the temple. A "View Point" is erected on the corner of the hill to provide a breathtaking overall view of the surroundings. To enable the pilgrims take in and enjoy nature's bounty in its full splendour and also to accommodate the growing number of visitors a 'ghat' road was constructed.

Deer Park & Kaleeya Mardana:
A Deer Park is also developed on the way. A small lake called "Kaleeya Mardana" is created, with the statue of Lord Krishna dancing on the head of 'Kaleeya' (a venomous snake). It is placed with special lighting effects in the middle of the lake. An artificial Jurassic park with mobile dinosaurs of monstrous size is another attraction of this place.

The Sanctuary:
Another attraction for the tourists is the Sanctuaries for peacocks, doves, and parrots developed by the Forest Department.

Yaga Shala:
A meditation center called "Yaga Shala" is constructed on the lines of the Mount Abu, on the top of the hill and is exclusive used for conducting 'homam' (holy fire) with a sprawling dining hall.

On the anvil are a ropeway to provide a view of the various tourist spots and a museum to house the artefacts that were discovered in the excavations.

Festival :

Maha Shivaratri is the important festival celebrated here with great devotion and fervour. Kotappa Konda comes alive on this eve, which falls during February-March every year.

'Prabhas', rectangular frames tapering at the top made of bamboo and decorated with colored cloth and paper, of different sizes are taken in procession as part of the festival. Most of them are 60 to 70 feet high and are carried by the devotees. But the giant prabhas, rising to a height of over 100 feet, are carried on decorated and lighted bullock carts accompanied by a large following. They are placed on a meadow at the foot of the hill.

Website :

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Harishankar Temple

Name : Harishankar Temple

Location :
Sri Sri Harishankar Devasthana in the slope of the beautiful Gandhamardhan hills , Orissa. It is located in the district of Balangir, Orissa about 45 km from Bhubaneswar city.

Description :

Harishankar Temple is popular for its scenic of nature and presence of two Hindu lords, Vishnu and Shiva. As a holy place along with a beautiful stream passing on the granite bed give the visitor feeling of natures peace.

The deity of Harishankar was discovered by a Chauhan dynasty king of Western Orissa during the 14th century. From then the deity has been worshipped. A dancing Ganesha image is found which can be traced to the early 12th century. The temple was constructed by the order of then queen Durlabha Devi of Maharaja Vaijjal Dev Chauhan.

On its opposite of side of the Gandhamardhan hills is the temple of Nrusinghanath. The plateau between the two temples is found with ancient Buddhist ruins. Which are considered to be remnants of the ancient Parimalgiri University.

Festivals :

All Ekadashi,Sankranti
Makar Sankranti
Maagha Mela

Website :

Nrusinghanath Temple

Name : Nrusinghanath Temple

Location :

Sri Nrusinghanath Temple is situated in the slope of Gandhamardhan hills in the district of Baragarh, Orissa. Situated about 300 kilometers from the famous temple of Lord Jagannath in Puri, the Nrusinghnath temple is on top of the famous GandhamadanHill. It is about 110 km west of Baragarh and 64 km from Sambalpur. Khariar Road Railway Station is the nearest railhead.

Legend :

1) Mushika Daitya Legend :

Nrusinghnath, also known as Bidala Nrusingha, Marjara Kesari, and Marjara Nrusingha. (In Oriya language, bidala and marjara mean “cat”, and kesari means “lion”. Also, Oriyas pronounce “Nrsimha” with a distinct “u” sound, hence the different spelling.)

The local tradition about this deity was compiled in the middle of the 18th century by the poet Yuga Das Kondh in his Nrsimha-charita. It is said that in Treta-yuga there was a rishi named Uttanka who was performing austerities on the bank of the Godavari River. He had an attractive young daughter named Malati. Oneday, Ravan came by that place and saw the beauty of the young girl. Ravan raped her and threw her into the Godavari River. The Godavari took compassion on her and brought her to the shore. When Malati came to her senses, she began searching for her father and crying. Indura, the mouse carrier of Ganesh, heard her cries and offered to help her reach her parents if she would agree to enjoy with him.

From Indura, a demon was born named Mushika Daitya (literally, “mouse demon”). The new-born baby was so ferocious that as soon as he came from the womb he immediately devoured his mother. Then he began to perform austerities to please Lord Shiva. Shiva was pleased with him and gave him the boon that he would have no cause of fear from anyone except for Lord Nrisinghadev from Satya-yuga.

Seeing his power, the devas became frightened and appealed to Lord Ramachandra to rescue the universe. Accordingly, Lord Ramachandra manifested the form of Nrisinghadev to catch the demon. Mushika Daitya became fearful and ran from place to place seeking shelter, until finally he appealed to Gandhamadan Hill. The personified Gandhamadan granted shelter to Mushika Daitya, who then entered within a crack in the hill. When Lord Ramachandra later arrived, Gandhamadan requested him not to enter inside of the hill to seek out the demon. Lord Ramachandra then assumed the form of marjara-kesari, with the head of a cat and the body of a lion, and began guarding the area by the sudanga, or inner door of Gandhamardan. Just as a cat sits quietly by a hole, waiting for a mouse, similarly, Lord Marjara Kesari is said to still be sitting and waiting for the demon Mushika to come out.

2) Some literatures say that Gandhamadan Hill was originally in the Himalayas, but a part of it fell down in this place when Hanuman was carrying it to Lanka with the herbs required to heal Lakshman.

3) Gandhamadan Hill is also said to be one of the places where the Pandavas visited during their exile.

History :

According to Huen Tsang, the Chinese traveler, this place was a centre of Buddhist scriptural learning. According to Oriya and Devnagari inscriptions, the temple was built by Baijal Dev in early 15th century AD. The temple is constructed in Orissan style of architecture.

Description :

This temple is situated at the foot of the Gandhamardana Mountain, which in ancient times was called parimalagiri.

The Vidala-Nrusimha Temple stands amidst the verdant beauty of the picturesque Gandhamardan hills. Nrusinghanath is a popular and attractive pilgrim point.

Coupled with a series of beautiful waterfalls and some sculptures, its location offers an air of serenity and visual delight, making the trip worthwhile. Harishankar Temple, another pilgrimage place is situated on the southern slopes of Gandhamardhan hills just 10-15kms. from Nrushinganath temple. But there is no direct road connecting these two temples. The plateau between the two temples is found with ancient Buddhist ruins. Which are considered to be remnants of the ancient Parimalgiri University.

Festivals :

Lord Nrushinghanath is a much-adored deity of Orissa a a great fair is held in his honour on Nrusimha-chatrurdasi day during Vaishakha shukla chaturdashi(in May) on the 14th day of bright fortnight in the month of Vaisakha.

The fair held on Nrusimha-chatrurdasi day attracts thousan of pilgrims from far and near.

Website :

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Budharaja Temple

Name : Budharaja Temple

Location :

Budharaja Temple is perched atop the Budharaja hill in Sambalpur. Sambalpur is 321 km from Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Sambalpur is ancient centre for the diamond trade is famous for its internationally renowned textiles (Sambalpuri textiles), rich tribal heritage and fabulous forestlands.

Description :

The Budharaja Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Budharaja as the name signifies "Old King" is a hill somewhat off center of the Town. Prior to the Chowhans ruler of Sambalpur the name Budharaja existed. No one for sure knows who that old king was. However it can be attributed to Indrabuthi the founder of Brajajana Buddhism and the Lama cult. On top of the Budharaja hill there is a old Siva Temple. 108 stairs lead the way to the temple. The climb is tiring though the view from the hill is wonderful. During the Mahasivaratri the area becomes crowded with thousands of devotees and visitors. Recently the Public Health Department is constructing a huge water storage for distribution.

Budharaja Pahad played a mojor role in the freedom struggle of Veer Surendra Sai. A well behind Budharaja temple, on the top of the hill, has a secret tunnel that connects to Raja Bakhri, Rani Bakhri, Gopalji Math, Rampad, etc on the other ends. Now you can find the well fenced with iron bars but full with the wastes generating from the Budharaja temple. Earlier one could see the stairs going down to the secret passage which was cemented with a big stone now.

Later a Shahid Stambh is erected in the memory of the freedom fighters in front of the well and their names are imprinted on it.

Website :


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