Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Positano


Name : Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Positano

Location :
Aalfi beach, Positano, Italy

Legend :

The Byzantine icon is surrounded by many popular traditions in Positano, including the miraculous arrival of the icon in town. In the 12th-century, the icon was aboard a cargo ship that was stuck off the coast of Positano when the winds died. According to the legend, the sailors heard a voice calling, “Posa, posa!” (“Put me down, put me down!”) When the captain of the ship understood that the icon wanted to go to Positano, the winds picked up again immediately. The sailors brought the icon to shore and the people of Positano chose the Virgin Mary as their new patron saint. Inside the church to the right of the altar is a painting depicting the blessing of the icon, which you can also see through the arch to the left.

Another legend tells of the panel being stolen by pirates. When they tried to leave Positano's shores, a terrible sea arose preventing their passage.  From sea, they could hear the cry of "posa, posa," translating to "put it here."  The fearful pirates set the panel back on shore and the storm ceased, allowing them to flee the area.  The villagers built a church on the spot where the panel was returned and the town grew around it taking on the name Positano.

Description :

It is nearly impossible to descend to Positano's beach without landing first in front of the Santa Maria Assunta church.  The famously green tile domed church is the town's most famous icon and eagerly sought after by painters and photographers, as well as couples from all over the world seeking the perfect wedding photo backdrop.

The church's roots date back to the 10th century when it began as a Benedictine Abbey dedicated to San Vito.  It was later rededicated to the Virgin Mary in the 12th century when a Byzantine panel of the Virgin arrived and is seen placed above the church's altar.


The Positano landscape is mostly recognisable by this great shiny dome of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta e Cripta Medievale, it looks picturesque and is the historic landmark in the heart of the Positano. The Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta e Cripta Medievale probably dates back to the 10th century, the church is a typical example of the architecture found in this beautiful area, its interior is classical, white and gold, with a 13th century 'Black Madonna' icon above its altar with crypts below. During restoration works of the square and the crypt, a Roman villa was discovered; still under excavation, it is closed to the public. From the beach you can go up some stairs to the church and the views from the church are great. If you are coming from the main road by Sita bus then you have to walk down the hill for about 10-15 minutes.

Given its lovely setting right in the center of Positano, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the most popular locations for destination weddings on the Amalfi Coast. Couples travel from all over the world to marry in this beautiful church and have their wedding photos taken with Positano as a backdrop.



No visit to Amalfi can be considered complete without having enjoyed a stroll through the town's labyrinth of little lanes and alleyways or a trip to the Paper Museum, in Via delle Cartiere 24, in the historic Cartiera Milano.
The production of hand-crafted paper, known as bambagina, is one of the oldest of Amalfi's traditions and today remains part of the town's culture and identity.

Festivals :

During the festival for the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15th, the town of Positano celebrates their patron saint with processions recreating the arrival of the icon in town, special events in the church, celebrations for the Ferragosto holiday on the beach and a firework display after dark.

Websites :

http://www.charmingitaly.com/article/positano-santa-maria-assunta

https://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowUserReviews-g194863-d524955-r209711237-Chiesa_di_Santa_Maria_Assunta_e_Cripta_Medievale-Positano_Amalfi_Coast_Campania.html

Hill of Tara, Ireland

Name : Hill of Tara

Location :

The Hill of Tara (Irish: Cnoc na Teamhrach, Teamhair or Teamhair na Rí), located near the River Boyne, is an archaeological complex that runs between Navan and Dunshaughlin in County Meath, Ireland. It contains a number of ancient monuments and, according to tradition, was the seat of the High King of Ireland.

Legends :

1. In ancient Irish religion and mythlogy, Tara was revered as a dwelling of the gods and an entrance place to the otherworld of eternal joy and plenty where no mortal ever grew old. In the legends of St Patrick’s mission to Ireland he is said to have first come to Tara to confront the ancient religion in its most powerful sight.

2.  Atop the hill stands a stone pillar that was the Irish Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny) on which the High Kings of Ireland were crowned, the stone was required to roar three times if the chosen one was a true king.

3.  According to The Annals of the Four Masters, an ancient document written by Franciscan Monks between 1632-1636 AD, this stone was brought to Ireland by the Tuatha Dé Danann, a supernaturally gifted people. Some speculate it was they who brought the power to make bronze to Ireland. They were the main deities of pre-Christian Gaelic Ireland.

4.   The Stone of Destiny looks similar to Shiva Lingam and is estimated to be atleast 5500 years old.  Irish used to worship Tara Goddess in ancient days.

In Ireland Irish people use to worship tara goddess from long many times and there is a tara hill in ireland where temple of tara is also exist.
The Druids called their mother goddess Tara; Edain Echraidhe is her Irish name. Her home is the high valley between the Hill of Tara and Skryne in the Royal City of Celtic Ireland.

Whats surprising is, that if you do a little bit of research, you find out she is also featured in ancient Scandinavia, ancient Polynesia, ancient Rome, with the ancient Druids, and in ancient native America. When comparing mythologies from around the globe you soon figure out that they all tell similar stories featuring similar characters with similar activities.

Hinduism : A Mahavidya of Mahadevi, Kali or Parvati
Buddhism : tantric meditation deity in Tibetan Buddhism
Polynesian Mythology: Tara is a beautiful sea goddess
Latin: Terra, Mother Earth
Druids: called their mother goddess Tara.
Finland: An ancient legend speaks of Tar, the Women of Wisdom.
South America: indigenous tribe in the jungle call to their goddess, Tarahumara.
Native American: Cheyenne people tell of a Star Woman who fell from the heavens to the Earth. She sent her people to mate with the more primitive inhabitants of Earth, thereby giving them the capacity for wisdom.

Description :
Liathdroim was an ancient name of Tara. The Hill of Tara has been in use by people from the Neolithic era, although it is not known whether Tara was continuously used as a sacred and/or a political centre from the Neolithic period to the 12th century.

The central part of the site could not have housed a large permanent retinue, implying that it was instead used for occasional meetings. There were no large defensive structures. Earliest extant written records show that high kings were inaugurated there, and the "Seanchas Mor" legal text (written some time after 600AD) specified that the king must drink ale and symbolically marry the goddess Maeve (Medb) in order to qualify for high kingship.
Tara is one of the largest complexes of Celtic monuments in all of Europe. In reading its landscape we are transported back in time to when the first settlers came here 6000 years ago. They and the Celts who followed them chose Tara as a very special site.
When you enter the Hill of Tara site through the entrance gate the first structure you will come to a statue of St Patrick followed by the church and churchyard.  The present church building and churchyard wall date from 1822. There were 2 previous churches on the hill – the first one was built in the 13th century. A much larger church succeeded it. Part of this second church’s outer wall can still be seen near the top of the steps in the churchyard.  The earliest grave stones here date from the 17th century. A memorial stone of the local Dillan family in the church itself is dated 1595.
To the right at top of the stairs in the churchyard there are two stones – remnants of a time when there were many stone monuments on Tara.  The taller of these two remaining stones is thought to feature a figure of the celtic fertility god Cernunnos.

During the rebellion of 1798, United Irishmen formed a camp on the hill but were attacked and defeated by British troops on 26 May 1798 and the Lia Fáil was moved to mark the graves of the 400 rebels who died on the hill that day. In 1843, the Irish Member of Parliament Daniel O'Connell hosted a peaceful political demonstration on Hill of Tara in favour of repeal of the Act of Union which drew over 750,000 people, which indicates the enduring importance of the Hill of Tara

Websites :

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Eremo di Santa Maria a Cetrella, Capri Italy

Name :  Eremo di Santa Maria a Cetrella

Location :

Eremo di Santa Maria a Cetrella ("Hermitage of the Holy Mother of Cetrella") is a church in Anacapri on the island of Capri, Italy. It is located on Mount Solaro's Cetrella region.

Legend :

1. " Cetrella ": We do not know exactly what this name comes from but two versions are credited. The first, probably the most well-founded, claims to come from a Caprese plant: cedronella. The second assumes that there was a Pagan temple dedicated to the goddess Cetera in the place where the church rises today. 

2. An image of St. Maria is conserved within the church. The icon was of particular importance to the sailors of Anacapri who used to climb up to the tiny church in pilgrimage to ask for the Madonna's protection before embarking on their, often perilous, voyages in search of coral.


Description :

The hermitage is located on a steep hill to the south. The whole complex lies in a small rocky cove. The hermitage of Cetrella is comprised of a small church, bell tower and sacristy with a low dome, which was added in the seventeenth century. The path to Cetrella is a track through the woods, so walkers will need to wear comfortable shoes and to carry a supply of water.


The hermitage develops on two floors: on the ground floor is the church with the refectory, the kitchen with some small rooms that were used as cellars. On the first floor, along a corridor leading to a terrace with wisteria pergola, we have 4 small rooms that were the brothers' cells. From one of these cells you access a second terrace. From these there is a particularly impressive view of the island's caprese: M. Grande, Monte Tiberio, M. Piccola with the Faraglioni. Moreover, the Sorrento Coast and, on clear days, also the Gulf of Salerno and the Amalfi Coast. Having days with a special visibility you can come to see the Inner Mountains of Salernitan and all the coast to the south to the Punta Licosa Lighthouse.

The easiest way to get to Monte Solaro is by chairlift. The journey to the summit of Capri's mountain takes just 12 minutes. Take the chairlift from Piazza Vittoria in Anacapri. The chairs on the chairlift are made for a single passenger. There is a safety bar, but it is easily lifted, so we do not recommend riding with very young or very active children on your lap.

  The church is made up of two aisles, both with an altar. The first, adjacent to the entrance, is the main one and is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. This altar is marble and was made from the hermit. At the top there is a niche in which is housed the statue of the Virgin sitting with the Child in her arms. The work dates back to the '600 Neapolitan and is made up of mixed materials including paper, cork and plaster. Behind this altar lies the seventeenth-century burial sacristy with a picturesque window opening on the farways.

The second altar is in masonry surmounted by a representative painting of San Domenico, a testimony to this that here the Dominican Friars lived between 1600 and 1700. In this regard, it is not possible to clarify whether there have been before the Dominican brothers or those Franciscans.

According to the great archaeologist Maiuri, the church dates back to the first half of 1300. Later in 1500, thanks to a legacy, it was restored and expanded with what is today the refectory, the kitchen and the cells.

In 1983, the artist Domenico Gentile, known anacaprian ceramic, gave a gift to the majolica church overlooking the entrance of the church, depicting the vow of the Blessed Virgin with the Hymn's background.

Festivals & Celebrations :

The church is consecrated and during the year there are celebrations. There is a retreat for the children of first communion; There are the meetings of the various parish groups; A day of prayer with all the island groups in July; August 10th is celebrated the Mass SS for tourists. In September, then, the virgin's birthplace is celebrated: the eight of this month with celebrations in the morning and in the afternoon, and for all Sundays of the month there is an SS Mass in the early morning. This is a meeting that many faithful are always attending to fill the church and outer space. In mid-October, the SS Fishermen's Mass is celebrated on the island.

During the year, the church also offers hospitality to groups of Boy Scout, accompanied by a spiritual assistant. Of course this can be done by agreement with the Parish of Anacapri and the guardian of the Hermitage.

Punta Cannone View Point :

The Punta Cannone viewing point can be reached from Capri's Piazzetta. From Anacapri, rather than wait for the buses at the crowded Piazza Vittoria stop, it is a good idea to walk to the previous stop, near the cemetery, or even take a taxi.

Once in the Piazzetta, climb up the steps leading to the old Cathedral of Santo Stefano and, from the Piazzetta Cerio (home to one of the island's most fascinating museums) head to the right and the Via Madre Serafina. This ancient vaulted alleyway which runs beneath the houses, passes by the Convent of Santa Teresa and the historic Taverna O'Guarracino.

The cloisters of the Convent of Santa Teresa, dating back to the late 17th century and accessed by an old flight of steps, are open to the general public, although maximum quiet is requested. At the center of the cloisters there is a well, which provided a vital source of drinking water., and a small citrus grove, a reminder of the islanders' passion for growing fruit. Above the portone the remains of an ancient fresco can still be seen.

One of the wells where rainwater is collected. This, cleaned every year, is primarily used to collect water for cooking and drinking. Water is drawn through a manual pump. On the left you can see the sideboard. On the right is the door to the garden

Having visited the cloisters, continue along Via Castello, all the way to the Punta Cannone viewing point, which, in the 19th century, was armed with canon and used as a sentry post by the occupying British troops. From here, a splendid view over Marina Piccola, the Faraglioni and Via Krupp can be seen.


One of the most beautiful shows that can be seen from the Hermitage, given its location, is to see the sun rising up that illuminates the Faraglioni and the island.


How to get there :

From Capri: starting from the "Due Golfi" (so called because from here the two roads leading to the two 'gulfs' of the island: Marina Grande and Marina Piccola), there is a path that climbs to the wall of the Mount leads almost under the Hermit. A spectacular walk, but also not to do it yourself and if you are inexperienced. From this trail you can enjoy the panorama of Capri and Marina Piccola in particular, so also of the view on the Faraglioni.

From Anacapri: Via San Michele starts a dirt road that soon turns into a mountain trail , and in about twenty minutes leads to the Hermitage.

From Anacapri: from P.zza Vittoria takes the chairlift (15 minutes to a maximum of 8-9 meters from the ground) leading to Monte Solaro (the highest point of the island at almost 600 meters above sea level). Here, following the signs in a further 15 minutes on foot, crossing a pleasant pine and chestnut grove, you reach the hermitage.
 

On both routes departing from Anacapri you have a great view over Anacaprian old town.

Websites :

http://www.cetrella.it/

Monday, April 24, 2017

Yamai devi temple, Aundh


Name :  Yamai Devi , Aundh Maharashtra

Location :

The Yamai Devi Temple is situated in a hill complex in the town of Aundh, Satara district, Maharashtra, India. It is situated 44kms from Satara Bus station.

Legend :

The legend has it that the goddess Yamai got the name after Goddess Mahalaxmi of Kolhapur and Shri Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu addressed her as 'Ye Mai' in Marathi which literally translated into 'Come Mother' when said in English. Therefore, the goddess of Aundh became famous as Yamai Devi.

Description :

The Yamai Devi idol is made of black stone and is in a cross-legged seating position almost 2 meters high. It is the Devi Mahishasur Mardini Yamai goddess idol.

Interestingly, the Yamai Devi temple (aka. Sakhargadnivasini temple)  happens to be the family shrine (Kula daiwat (or) Kula deivam ) of several Marathi families, also known as Kula-Daiwat in the local language. There are several idols of Hindi gods and Goddesses at the top of the temple.  The town and the temple has been associated with the Pant family for many centuries. The present head of this former ruling family, Gayatreedevi Pantpratinidhi, has installed a 7 kilograms (15 lb) solid gold kalash or crown on the pinnacle of the Yamai temple on the hill.

You can reach the top of the hill either by using steps which start at the bottom of the hill or by car using a rather perilous road.

The temple complex also houses the Shri Bhavani Museum established from the private collection of the Maharajas of Aundh. The museum holds paintings by noted 19th and 20th century Indian artists such as M. V. Dhurandhar, Baburao Painter, Madhav Satwalekar and Raja Ravi Varma as well as the famous Mother and Child stone structure by the British artist Henry Moore.

No restaurant or hotel near temples so carry your own food

There is one more temple of Devi Yamai located in the town; apart from the one on the hill.

Festivals :

The annual Yatra to the Yamai Devi Temple attracts thousands of devotees. Yamai Devi Yatra is annually observed on Paush Purnima or full moon day in Paush month as per traditional Hindu lunar calendar followed in Maharashtra. This festival attracts large numbers of devotees.

Websites :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamai_Temple

http://trekbook.in/2014/07/yamai-devi-sakhargadnivasini-temple.html/ 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Nanzoin Temple, Japan


Name : Nanzo-in Temple (南蔵院?) is a Shingon sect Buddhist temple in Sasaguri, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. It notable for its bronze statue of a reclining Buddha, said to be the largest bronze statue in the world.

History :

Nanzo-in temple was originally located on Mt. Koyasan, but local anti-Buddhist authorities threatened to destroy the temple in 1886. Public outcry lead to a decade-long effort to have the temple transferred to Sasaguri. It was moved in 1899, under the leadership of Sasaguri priest, Hayashi Satoshiun. Nanzo-in temple is the main location among the 88 temples that make up the Sasaguri pilgrimage route, one of the three famous walking pilgrimages in Japan.

Today, the temple and its surrounding grounds receive more than 1 million visitors annually.
Lottery

A chief priest of Nanzo-in temple once won the lottery after laying his ticket next to a statue of Daikoku. The temple claims that others who have made a similar effort have also won the lottery, bringing the temple associations with luck and lottery tickets.

Reclining Buddha

The reclining Buddha statue, known as either Nehanzo or Shaka Nehan ("Nirvana") is 41 meters long, 11 meters high, and weighs nearly 300 tons. The statue depicts Buddha at the moment of death, or entrance into nirvana.

The interior holds ashes of Buddha and two Buddhist adherents, Ananda and Maudgalyayana. Those relics were a gift from Myanmar as thanks for the sect's donations of medical supplies to children in both Nepal and Myanmar. In 1995, 1,300 monks from Myanmar and Nepal attended the unveiling of the reclining Buddha statue.

Inside the sculpture, sand from each of the 88 shrines that make up the Shikoku pilgrimage are stored below bricks within a narrow hallway.

Every year, hundreds of Buddhists come together to clean the statue using bamboo leaves tied to five-meter poles.

Funerals

Nanzo-in Temple has 4,315 nokotsudo, places where bones of the deceased are stored. The temple has a non-traditional fee structure for housing remains. First, it is open to all sects of Buddhism, and is even open to Shinto remains. Secondly, many Buddhist temples rely on a monthly fee for housing the bones of the deceased, which are then disposed of after a set period of time. Nanzo-in Temple has one fee, which covers 200 years.

Websites: 
 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanzoin_temple

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thap Ba, Po Nagar Cham Towers, Vietnam

Name :  Thap Ba, Po Nagar Cham Towers

Location :


The towers are situated on the hill top of Cù Lao, on the Cai river in the middle of what was the medieval principality of Kauthara, near modern day Nha Trang in the Khanh Hoa province. Before 774 AD wooden temple structures had long been located on the site, however these were raised to the ground by invading Javanese.

Description :

In 918, King Indravarman III placed a gold mukha-linga (carved phallus with a human face painted on it) in the North Tower, but it was taken by Khmer raiders. This pattern of statues being destroyed or stolen and then replaced continued until 965, when King Jaya Indravarman IV replaced the gold mukha-linga with the stone figure, Uma (Shakti, or female consort of Shiva), which remains to this day.


Mukha Linga was recovered from the complex of Cham temple ruins in Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam recently. It is now on display My Son Champa. http://www.hindu-blog.com/2013/11/a-7th-century-mukha-linga-on-display-in.html

The Shivling on display is made from a block of brownish gold sandstone. It is 1.46 meters high. The Shiva bust on the round head of the Shivling.

This is the first intact Mukha Linga discovered in Southeast Asia.

As part of the ancient Champa Kingdom, the towers were built to honour the Lady Mother of the Kingdom or Lady Thien Y-ana (also known as Po Nagar) who was said to be a great teacher of weaving and agricultural techniques. The largest tower is around 25m high and was built in 817 AD, inside is a statue dedicated to Po Nagar (said to have been made in 1050) alongside a linga. The remaining towers are dedicated to different gods; the North-West tower said to be for Sandhaka, Po Nagar’s father; the South tower to Ganeca, Po Nagar’s daughter and the Central tower (although less finely constructed) in honour of Cri Cambhu, believed to bless devotees with fertility, containing a linga (stylised phallus said to promote creative energy and fertility).

The stone pillars that remain on the lower section of the hill, lead to the original (now unused) stair case to the towers. These pillars are relics from a meditation temple and have undergone massive reconstruction over the years.


Above the entrance to the North Tower, two musicians, one of whose feet is on the head of the bull Nandin, flank a dancing four-armed Shiva. The sandstone doorposts are covered with inscriptions, as are parts of the walls of the vestibule. A gong and a drum stand under the pyramid-shaped ceiling of the antechamber. In the 28m-high pyramidal main chamber, there is a black-stone statue of the goddess Uma with 10 arms, two of which are hidden under her vest; she is seated and leaning back against a monstrous beast.

The Central Tower (Thap Nam) was built partly of recycled bricks in the 12th century on the site of a structure dating from the 7th century. It is less finely constructed than the other towers and has little ornamentation; the pyramidal roof lacks terracing or pilasters, although the interior altars were once covered with silver. There is a linga inside the main chamber.

The South Tower (Mieu Dong Nam), at one time dedicated to Sandhaka (Shiva), still shelters a linga, while the richly ornamented Northwest Tower (Thap Tay Bac) was originally dedicated to Ganesh. To the rear of the complex is a less-impressive museum with a few examples of Cham stonework.

This is a highly religious site and as such visitors are asked to remain respectful at all times. Shoes must be removed before entering any of the four towers. Dress appropriately with long skirts or trousers and definitely no bare shoulders, knees or excessive cleavage on show.

The entrance fee is 21,000 VND per person,the towers are open to visitors from 6am until 6pm and can be reached easily by car, motorbike, scooter, bicycle or on foot from the centre of Nha Trang. A taxi costs around 60,00 VND (metered price) from the main tourist area of Nha Trang. Stick to the reputable taxi companies such as Mai Linh, to avoid unreasonable fees or erratic meters.
The South Tower at Po Nagar Cham Towers, Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam



The Po Nagar cham towers are stunning in their own right, but the hill-top location also offers a good vantage point for photographers and sight-seers alike. The cafe based on the top of the hill serves a great Vietnamese coffee. A must-see on your list when staying in Nha Trang, or passing through.

Websites :

http://www.asiasoutheast.com/vietnam/nha-trang-vietnam/thap-ba-po-nagar-cham-towers/

Various types of Mukha Lingams worldwide 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Kalsubai Temple

Name : Kalsubai temple

Location :

The peak of Kalasubai is situated in Nagar district. This is apex, highest peak of the mountain range of Sahyadri. It is a dream of every sincere mountaineer to climb it at least once. Its height is almost 5,500 feet.

The Legend :


It is said, that in the ancient times, a lady named “Kalsu” came to nearby Indorey village to work. However, somebody forced her to clean utensils and clean up the residence by force. So she left the place and eventually died at this spot. So comes the name, Kalasubai. A small temple dedicated to Goddess Kalsubai is built at the peak and is worshipped by locals. A traditional pooja is performed at the summit temple every Tuesday and Thursday by local priest.



Festivals :

On occasion of Navratri, its a festive atmosphere as many people come to worship at the summit and Fair is organised during the nine days of Navratri.

About the Sanctuary :

The sanctuary area spreads from Kalasubai to Harischandragad in Akole Tehsil of Ahmednagar district. The area is part of Sahyadri hill ranges. The Kalsubai sanctuary is challenge to trekkers as it is most rugged, hilly area and difficult to get accessibility. Kalasubai is the highest (1646 m) peak of Western Ghats in Maharashtra. It is also a paradise for nature nad Flora lovers.

Trekking Experience :
 

The Trek is uphill climb and could take 3-4hrs climb and 2-3hrs descend from Base village Bari. After a climb of around 20minutes we came across temple of Kalsubai, which was the base temple at machi. Here we got the first glance of Diety Kalsubai.

At times we had to stop on the way as there would be long queue at certain points where it was important to climb slowly and also along with us there were other groups as well. The vegetation type is southern moist mixed deciduous. The part of Sahyadri that is close to West Coast is semi evergreen forest and semi deciduous shrub savanna. The main tree species that are seen in this area are Hirda, Jambhul, Chandawa, Bahava, Kumbhal, Gulchavi, Kudal, Siras, Kharvel, Karap, Avali, Aashind, Lokhandi, Beheda and character worth noticing.
After a climb of around 1hr one can reach first plateau, view from here of mountains covered with fogs and waterfalls was mesmerising. Trekkers can have some rest with group indulging in photo session at this point.
There are total of four ladders on the route and then there are carved steps on the rocks with railings on the side, this really make the route quite safe and easy.


Just before the last ladder, there is small hut or a shop where one could get hot kanda bhajia, tea and there was small well which was probably the only source of water in entire journey. From there we reach the fourth and final plateau.
Kalsubai Well On Top of Peak ! ! !
Best Time To Visit
August To December

Websites:
http://traveladventuresbyme.blogspot.in/2013/07/kalsubai-peak-mt-everest-of-sahyadris.html

Monday, February 6, 2017

BIjasan Mata Mandir, Indragarh

Name : Mandir Shri Bijasan Mata Ji

Location : On a high hill which is near about 1000 ft. high and 10 kms. Away from Indragarh Sumerganj Mandi. It is in Bundi District of Rajasthan which is 160kms from Jaipur.

God Worshipped : Goddess Beejasan (or the Goddess seated on Rakta Beeja demon)

Legend :

This ancient temple was built as the popular opinion goes, 2000 years ago in Vikram Samvat 103 by Kamal Nath who was a great devotee of Goddess Durga. His unflinching devotion to the Goddess propitiated the Goddess and she appeared before him. This idol of Beejasan Mata (Mother Goddess Durga) seated on the demon Rakta Beeja. In Markendeya Puran, the great exploits of Goddess Durga are narrated which are now known as Shri Gurga Shaptasati. In the eighth chapter of Shri Durga Shaptasati we read the Chivalrous shape of Durga when she waged her fierce battle against the demon Rakta Beeja. This demon had been blessed with an extraordinary kind of boon. Every drop of his blood falling from his body on earth would turn into a Rakta Beeja of the equal power and equal prowess.

The result was that there were millions of Rakta Beeja demons. Finally the Goddess decided not to let the blood of these demons fall on earth. She therefore, with burning torches either burnt the wounds or collected the falling blood in a bowl and drank it up. The goddess also took as many forms as the demon Rakta Beeja had. Thus the Goddess quelled and killed the demon Rakta Beeja and hence this name Beejasan was given to her.
Religious aspects of temple :

The Goddess is deemed to be very powerful and shows instant miracles. It is believed that the blind can regain their lost sight with the grace of the mother. Various people with various kinds of wishes come to the Goddess – have their wishes fulfilled because of the strong faith in the powers of the Goddess. Pilgrims, visitors etc. visit the temple throughout the year.

Festivals & Fairs in Temple (Main Events) :

Navratras are performed with great enthusiasm and devotion in the month of Chaitra and Ashwin. At this time, big fairs are held. Those whom whished are fulfilled offer artificial eyes to the goddess.

Timings :
Morning Time:     5.00 AM    
Evening Time:     7.00 PM

Custom & Traditions of Temple:

Like all other temples of Shri Durga, pooja is performed with full elaboration. Shri Durga Shaptasati is recited here. Four times in a day, Aaratis are performed viz., Mangala, Bhog, Sandhya and Shayan. Local people and people from outside come to this temple. Newly wedded couples pay their first visit and their newly borne babies are brought to the temple for the first time ritual shearing of their hair called Mundan Sanskar.

Websites :

http://devasthan.rajasthan.gov.in/images/bundi/bijasanmataji.htm

Bijasan Mata Mandir, Ujjain


Name : Bijasan Mata Mandir

Location :
This place is situated at dewas road 15 minutes drive from tawar and about 9 km from the Railway Station in village hamukhedi ujjain District of Madhya Pradesh.

Description :

There is an Tekri which is situted in gram Hamukhedi near Ujjain on Dewas road. On top approximately 1000ft above ground , there is a temple of Bijasan Mata. Bijasen Tekri: This hillock (tekri) has a small temple of Bijasen Mata, built in 1920. Mela is held here during Navaratri.

This Tekri has been given on lease to Dharma Vigyan Shodh Trust to devlop over 10 Lakh Plants and build nature temple where medication of various disease would be possible. Nakshtra Vatika would be build on this tekri for this purpose. This place is 11 km from  away from city.

That is also a sort of picnic spot where people used to come from all over the country. We can have a nice aerial view of Ujjain from the temple. The best thing about the temple is the huge  and marvelous statue of LION sitting in front of maa Bijasan. Lion was  looking extremely powerful and energetic. Mela is held here during Navratri.
Websites :

http://shashankshivhare.blogspot.in/2012/07/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-x-none.html




Saturday, January 21, 2017

St. Thomas Mount, Chennai

Name :  Church of Our Lady of the Mount

Location :

St. Thomas Mount (known in Tamil as Parangimalai) is a small hillock located in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, near the neighbourhood of Guindy and very close to Chennai International Airport.

The neighbourhood is served by the St. Thomas Mount railway station on the southern line of the Chennai Suburban Railway Network. Integration of the Metro and MRTS with the suburban station in the neighbourhood, is expected to make the suburb the city's largest transit hub after Chennai Central.

Legend :

According to tradition, the Cross chiselled on a stone of this hill by St Thomas himself and used by him for his personal prayer gave strength to him when he was pierced from behind with a lance as he was praying before it. It is believed that the Cross should have been stained with the blood of the Martyr. This Cross was accidentally discovered later by the Portuguese when they dug the foundations for the new Church in 1547.

According to ancient records, this Cross sweated blood during the Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Gasper Coelho on the 18th December 1558. In the early years, this Cross used to sweat blood every year, then every two or three years and, later, at longer intervals. The last occasion on which it was found sweating blood was in 1704.

Popular faith says that innumerable miracles of cures were attributed to this sacred stone cross through mere contact with it in faith and it has roused the conversion of many unbelievers. Even today the natural dampness on its surface is a perennial factor of surprise and devotion. The image of the Cross itself is unique

It was in 1908 after much disputation that the inscription around the cross was deciphered as: "Through the Cross, the Messiah borught salvation to the world".

As per tradition, the oil painting of the Madonna of the Blessed Virgin was painted by St Luke the Evangelist on wood and was brought here by St Thomas and used by him for prayer. Hence it is popularly known as the "Scapular of St Thomas.".

In "Tombs and Descriptions in the Madras Presidency" ( A Government Publication ), Mr. J. J. Cotton says : "This is a picture painted by St Luke who was an artist. The Virgin died when Thomas was away and on his return he had the tomb opened in order that he might once more look upon her. It was found that the body had been miraculously removed and Thomas was so disturbed that St. Luke offered to paint him a portrait of the Virgin as a consolation. This portrait St. Thomas carried with him on all his wanderings".

The first written account of this painting is made in 1559 when the King of Bisnaga took it to his Court in Chandragiri and later returned it in a palanquin to the Mount.

The wear and the warp of this sacred species are explained by the efforts of the people down the ages to bury and hide it in order to protect it from the onslaught of the invading enemies.
However the Madonna is considered to be one of the oldest and most venerated paintings in India and countless favors and blessings have been recorded by devotees who have stood and prayed before it.

Description :

The ancient Syrian Christian community of India trace the origin of their church to St. Thomas the Apostle, believed to have been martyred in St. Thomas Mount . The altar of this Shrine was built on the spot, where St.Thomas was martyred in 72 AD.  The St. Thomas Garrison Church is located at the bottom of St Thomas Mount. The St. Thomas Syro Malabar Catholic church is located east of the shrine at North Silver Street , foot holds of the mountain Shrine.

A shrine dedicated to "Our Lady of Expectation" (Mother Mary) was built in 1523 on top of the mount. An Arch inside the church bears the title in Portuguese: "Senhora da Expectacao" (Our Lady of Expectation) with the year of its construction 1523.   At the northern foot of the mount, is a gateway of four impressive arches surmounted by a cross bearing the inscribed date 1547. A flight of 160 steps leads up to the summit of the mount. There are 14 stations of the cross erected on the way to the summit.


History :

The Mount was a grant to the church by the Kings of Bisnaga, or Vijayanagar, who called the place in Telugu "Fringy Kondah" meaning "European Hill" The Portuguese called the place Monte Grande (Big Mountain)

St Thomas Mount is a Holy place of international prominence, historical eminence, religious glory and tourist attraction.The ancient Church on the top of St. Thomas Mount has served as the light house for the Portuguese and Armenian ships and vessels in the Bay of Bengal in the 16th and 17th centuries. Interestingly, it is said, when sailors sighted the Church they offered prayers for a safe Voyage and then discharged from their artillery in salutation.

The Mount of Saint Thomas is easily accessed by the devotees who make the vowed climb through the 134 granite steps as an act of penance and sacrifice. An ornate arch with an imposing elegance remains an attraction to all those who happen to glimpse it with a note of the year of its construction, 1726.

The Armenian merchants of old were great benefactors of many Catholic Churches in and near Madras. Petrus Uscan was the greatest among them. He built a brick paved road with granite steps at intervals flanked by a double wall leading from the road below to the top of the mount. In his foresightedness, he also left a sum of money with the Administrator-General of Madras for the upkeep of these steps.

To make possible for modern vehicular traffic fully asphalted road laid by the military from the south- western base of the hill right upto the top in 1962.

The fifteen Stations of the Cross adorn the sides of the steps. The minute precision with which the figures have been moulded and the heaviness of the rare metal used in them add colour and life to the scenes of the Stations of the Cross along the steps of the Mount.They are spots of inspiration and they spiritually dispose the pilgrims who climb the steps for an eventual spiritual experience on the hill top Every year during Lent thousands of people flock the hill to make their Stations of the Cross with the help of these depictions. The annual mammoth gathering of people for the Mass celebrated by the Bishop on the Palm Sunday evening is the culmination of their Lenten pilgrimage.

Fr.Gaspar Coelho, Vicar of the Church in Mylapore in 1545 records that one Diego Fernandes, a Portuguese, built a small oratory on top of the hill over the foundation of a very ancient church in 1523 AD. The spot was already a place of pilgrimage.

Since this oratory dedicated to the Mother of God was very small and since the number of pilgrimage was increasing, Fr. Coelho laid the foundation for a bigger church on March 23, 1547 and completed the existing church within a year. It was then known as the Church of Our Lady of the Mount.

 Fr. Gaspar Coelho, who had built the church was buried in it and there is an inscription over his grave at the very entrance of the church.

The welcoming gate of the Hill Shrine with its Indian lamp conveys the message that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. The two lampstands with seven wicks each symbolize the witnessing life and death (Rev 11:4) of the Prophet Martyrs like StThomas. An osmosis of light at the entrance reminds us that a city built on the hill top cannot be hidden (Mt 5:14) but that it will shine.

The shrine church entombs a piece of the Bone of St Thomas casketed in a beautifully ornamented monstrance. People have witnessed to many miracles that have been effected through the efficacy of this holy relic.

This Sanctuary is said to be the spot where St Thomas was martyred. Any one standing on this surface will certainly feel the vibrations of the hidden current that floods this main altar area. The excellent artistic background elevates the inner soul.

The framed oil painting of St Thomas being pierced with a lance from behind in his praying posture on the wall behind the high altar is the high point of awe and devotion for all who climb the hill to reach this sanctuary.

The artistic finale exhibited in the attractive wooden podium of the fifteenth century is a monumental piece of ancient art. It bespeaks the importance attached to the Breaking of the Word in the liturgy of the early centuries. The ornamental wood carving in unison with the main altar is a banquet for the eyes of the beholder. This is another gift of Petrus Uscan. The Italian marble laying, the dim lighting effects, the antique hanging lamp, and the Portuguese styled ancient altar add to the serenity of the place and the sanctity of the Chapel.

The votive shrine that shelters the colourful Statue of Our Lady in the sitting posture is of a later fashioning and it exhibits a graceful look and maternal benevolence.

The huge framed paintings of antiquity screening before us the images of the twelve Apostles and that of Christ and of St. Paul are marvelous treasures of art and faith. They not only adorn the church but they also elevate our spirits. Though such pictures of the Apostles are common in the great Basilicas of the West, the uniqueness of these consists in their miniature picturesque information about the way in which each of the Apostles glorified their Master in their final offering.

The open air stage meant for public worship and the grilled open space provide an exquisite sight of the whole city of Chennai. The presence of a huge banyan tree and a green peepul/ pipal tree on the Hill is a natural gift to the seekers since both the trees are a rare sacred species in the Indian context.


Festivals :

+Every year the 18th December has become the Annual Feast Day of this Shrine Chapel, which is celebrated with function and devotion.

Timings :
This Adoration Chapel is kept open everyday from 7.00 a.m to 7.00 p.m

Websites :

http://www.stthomasmount.org/

Anuvavi Subramania Swami Temple

Name : Anuvavi Subramania Swami Temple

Location :
 
Anubhavi Subramaniar Temple is an ancient temple situated in the outskirts of Coimbatore & it is located on the Anaikatty highway.

Legend :

While passing through this hill with the Sanjeevi mount, Sri Anjaneya felt thirsty.  He prayed to Lord Muruga here for water.  Lord punched a place here with His Vel from where water sprang up and flowed as a river. This shows that Muruga worship was n vogue even during Valmiki’s period.  There are also 2 mentions about the velocity of the arrow of Rama as that of Muruga’s Vel.

The word Hanu stands for Sri Anjaneya.  Vavi in Tamil means water resource.  Hanuvavi means a water source that appeared for Hanuman-Anjaneya.  In days that followed the name changed as Anuvavi.  As Kumara-Muruga helped Hanuman, the hill is also praised as Hanumakumaran Malai.  Malai in Tamil means hill.

Description :

Lord Subramania in the temple is a swayambumurthy and Lord Murugan is worshipped as Anubhavi Subramaniar here. Presiding deity Muruga blesses devotees in His standing posture with consorts Valli and Deivanai. Lord Vinayaka and Muruga’s army chief Veerabagu are in the front Mandap. Sri Anjaneya is facing north. There is a shrine for Navagrahas the nine planets. Lord Shiva blesses in the name Sri Arunachaleswara. Till now, the origin of the spring in the temple could not be discovered. It is noteworthy that the famous Marudamalai Murugan temple is on the southern side.

The beautiful scenery of Western Ghats makes the devotees to love this temple. Devotees believed that the natural spring at this temple has healing powers. Hence they take a dip and then worship this lord.

You have to climb a thousand steep steps to get to the temple. The temple is 1 km far from the foot hills. Idumban shrine is before the hill temple. This Anubhavi Subramaniar temple has a natural water outflow, which spouts water all through the year. The spring in the hill is mentioned as Kaanachunai – meaning not discoverable – in a document by a king of Mysore. It is perennial. People use to place a flower on the head of the deity seeking his approval before starting any new work.

Those seeking child boon worship here for five Tuesdays. Bathing in the spring before sunrise continuously for some days offers an effective cure for mental and skin diseases, it is said. Those facing delay in marriages use to offer mangal sutras, vastras and perform wedding festival for Lord Muruga.

Temple Timings :

Devotees can worship this lord on Monday - Friday: 6.00 AM - 8.30 PM, Saturday: 6.00 AM - 8.30 PM, Sunday: 6.00 AM - 8.30 PM, Public Holidays: 6.00 AM - 8.30 PM

Festivals :

Aipasi Sura Samharam in October-November; Krithika star days and Karthigai in November-December; Panguni Uthiram in March-April and Vaikasi Visakham in May-June are the festivals celebrated in the temple with special abishekam and pujas.

Contact :

Sri Subramania Swami Temple,
Anuvavi, Coimbatore district
Phone: +91-94434 77295, 98432 84842,

Connectivity :

By Road: This Place is well connected to Coimbatore by Road
By Airport: The Nearest Airport to Anubhavi Subramaniar Temple is Coimbatore Airport, Coimbatore which is 16 Kilometers away from Anubhavi Subramaniar Temple.
By Railway: The Nearest Railway Station to Anubhavi Subramaniar Temple is Coimbatore Railway Junction which is 7 Kilometers away from Anubhavi Subramaniar Temple.

Websites :

http://tamilnadu-favtourism.blogspot.in/2015/10/anubhavi-subramaniar-temple-coimbatore.html

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Sri Prasanna Venketasar temple, Thiru vaiyavoor


Name : Sri Pranna Venkatesar Perumal Temple

Location :
Sri Prasanna Venkatesar Temple, Tirumalai Vaiyavur, Chengalpat, Kancheepuram district.

Legend :

Prasannam means that which appears in the mind.  There are staunch devotees who attain darshan of Lord in their mind though they could not have it with physical eyes.   King Tirumalai Naicker had such a darshan of Lord Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal and built a temple at Tallakulam in Madurai.  Similarly, a king of the Thondaiman dynasty in Thirumalayavur prayed to Lord Venkatachalapathi for safety to his land.  Lord protected his land.  When the king expressed his gratitude to the Lord, He came to this hill with His scepter and granted darshan.  Thondaiman king built this temple and named the Lord Prasanna Venkatesar.

Description : 

According to rules of worship in Tirupathi, the first worship should be dedicated to Lord Aadi Varahaswami before reaching Lord Srinivasa-Venkatachalapathi.  The same system is followed in this temple too.  There is a separate shrine for Lord.  When Perumal took Varaha Avatar, Garuda Bhagwan could not have this darshan.  Hence, this Varaha darshan was granted to Garuda in this temple.

Lord Prasanna Venkateswara in the sanctum sanctorum looks majestically holding the scepter-Sengole.  Two Mahalakshmis are on His broad chest on both sides.  Divine serpent Adi Sesha has his place in the Tiruvasi frame.   Lord is wearing Ashalakshmi-Sahasranama malas and Dasavatara Odyanam the belt around the waist.  Lord grants Netra darshan (Darshan of eyes only) without any special Alankaras on Thursday mornings.  The view of Lord falls on the devotees.  Of the Dwarapalakas, Jayan is wearing the Simha design ear ring and Vijayan is wearing the Gaja –elephant designed ear rings.  This is a different feature in this temple.  There is a separate shrine for Mother Alarmelmangai Thayar.

Lord Lakshmi Varaha is in a separate shrine with His own Kodimaram-flag post.   He has his right leg on Adisesha’s tail and the left on head head, holding Mother Mahalakshmi on His lap.  The first Deepa Aradhana is dedicated to Him as He is the pradhan murthi in the temple.  Even during festivals to Lord Prasanna Venkateswara, the flag hoisting is done in this shrine only.

Each month on the Tiruvonam Star day, Ona Dheepam is lighted in the temple.  It is said that Emperor Mahabali was a rat in one of his previous births and lived in a Shiva temple.  When a lamp in the temple was about to extinct, the rat incidentally fell on the lamp rekindling the wick of the lamp.  The lamp continued to burn.   This rewarded him with a royal birth as Emperor Mahabali.  He was graced by Lord Vishnu on a Onam Star day.  Remembering the event, a big lamp (Aganda Dheepam) is lit in the temple on each Tiruvonam star day.

Lord Srinivasa offers Darshan on the day in the front mandap.  Yajnas, Tirumanjanam and wedding pujas are performed here.  The Aganda Dheepa is placed at the feet of the Lord.  Those facing problems about marriage, concerned about children offer ghee to the lamp for relief.

There are two procession deities, Srinivasa and Kallarpiran.  The former comes in car procession during the Purattasi festival and later in Chithirai festival.  There are shrines for Chakarathazhwar, Venugopalar and Lord Sri Rama in the temple.  Sri Veera Anjaneya is at the foot of the temple in a flying posture.  Devotees submit their prayers in writing to Sri Anjaneya, cover it in a yellow cloth along with an unstripped coconut.  Lord Lakshmi Ganapathi shrine is nearby.

Moolavar    : Prasanna Venketasar
Urchavar    : Srinivasar, Kallapiran
Amman / Thayar    : Alarmel Mangai
Theertham    : Varaha Theertham
Agamam / Pooja     : Vaikanasam
Old year    : 500 years old

Websites :

http://temple.dinamalar.com/en/new_en.php?id=405


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