Friday, December 25, 2015


The town is famous for its torans, a pair of 12th century columns supporting an arch, about 40 feet tall built in red and yellow sandstone, just north of the walled town. They stand majestically on the bank of Sharmistha Talav, on a road going down from Arjun Bari. They are among the few surviving examples of the entrance gates, once a regular feature of the architecture of Gujarat in Solanki period. The carving style is similar to the Rudra Mahalaya at Sidhpur.
Perhaps erected after a war victory, the architecture is embellished with carvings of battle and hunting scenes. The one to the east is in better condition and has been used as a symbol of Gujarat in recent times. The torans might have served as an entrance to a large temple complex, but there are no remains found here.
How to get there
By road: Mehsana (47km), Ahmedabad (111km). Local Transport: Non-metered auto rickshaws.
By rail: Siddhapur is a railway station on Ahmedabad – New Delhi railway line, 42 km from Vadnagar.
By air: Nearest airport is Ahmedabad (111k



Taranga Hills are located around 20 km from Vadnagar, on the Aravali range and harbours have the profound connections with Buddhism.
From the banks of the Saraswati, you start on the path that ascends up the Taranga hills. On your way you may see Jain monks striding barefoot. On the peaks above, you sight tiny white chhatris and a little shrine to Devi Taranamata from whom the village derives its name. The idols in the temples of Taranmata and Dharanmata are basically of Buddhist goddess Tara. There are a few images found from here and the broken terracotta images of Buddha, four carved images of Dhyani Buddha on a stone plate, stone and brick walls inside rock shelters are some of them.
As your footsteps ascend upward the Taranga Jain temple, suffused in the fresh air of the hill, welcomes you. This 12th century derasar, is one of the best preserved and least restored temples in Gujarat, and a testament to the devotion and dedication of the Solanki Rajputs. Though a less-frequent stop on the standard tourist trail, it is considered to be one of India’s most treasured works of architecture.
Entering the womb of this magnificent Jain temple, where a five-meter tall sculpture of the 2nd Jain tirthankar, Shri Ajitnath, sits peacefully, may be a portal, for some, into deep unspeakable inner stillness. The teacher, Ajitnath, having transcended action and suffering, transmits an intense and unmoving quiet, beyond the known.
The temple lingers mysteriously in the consciousness of its visitor. The almost absent gaze of the tirthankar inside contrasts with the overflow of fluid sensual movements of dancing maidens, gods and goddesses, lovingly detailed outside in stone. The voluptuous damsels in their intricately carved costumes, as though dancing, both graceful and arousing. In the words of travel writer Philip Ward, “If you thought Jainism would be too intellectual to appeal to you, let this riot of sculptural delights overwhelm you.”
Taranga is a three peaked hill in the Mehsana District of Gujarat. The river Rupen flows along the Taranga Hills; and to the east flows the river Sabarmati.
Taranga tirtha is considered one of the most important Shvetambar Jain temples, one of the five most important mahatirthas of the Jains. Of the 108 places known as Siddhachal, where holy people have attained enlightenment, one is called "Tarangir".
Temples of such magnitude as this one are generally built at a siddh kshetra, a holy place where saints are said to have attained enlightment. It is popularly believed that 35,000,000 munis, including Vardutt and Sagardutt, attained moksha here.
Under the guidance of renowned Jain scholar and poet Hemachandracharya, the Solanki King Kumarpala (1145-72), ruling from the capital in Patan, converted to Jainism and laid the foundation for this colossal temple, adding it to his growing legacy, along with the restoration of the ruined Somnath temple and the construction of the walls of Vadnagar. It was renovated on a large scale in the 16th century during the rule of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who supported diversity of religions.
How to get there
By road: Approx. 130 Kms from Ahmedabad, 50 Kms from Ambaji shrine and 56 Kms from Mehsana. Bus service and private vehicle rental are available from Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Patan, Siddhpur and Ambaji. Your bus will drop you off at Timba near Danta.
By rail: The nearest major railway stations are Visnagar (38 kms), Mehsana (52 kms), Unjha (54 kms) & Vijapur (60 kms) approx. A slow local train also travels from Mehsana to Taranga (2 hrs.) The temple is 5 km from the railway station.
By air: The nearest Airport is Ahmedabad, approx. 125 Kms from Taranga.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gor Gathri Peshawar, Pakistan

Gor Gathri Peshawar, Pakistan

Very old and celebrated by a Chinese pilgrim, Hiuen Tsang, who visited Gandhara in the early 7th Century AD, had paid glowing tribute to the city. The Gorakshanath (Lord Shiva) temple is situated in the centre of the building.

Mughal Emperor Babar, who recorded its importance in his autobiography, visited the place.

We had heard stories about Gor Khatri, a holy place of the yogis and Hindus who came from long distances for pilgrimage and got their head and beards shaved there. At once I headed for Bigram (or present day Peshawar), saw its famed, ancient tree and surrounding countryside. But much as we enquired about Gor Khatri, our guide Kamari said nothing about it. However, when we were almost back in our camp, he told Khwaja Muhammad Amin that Gor Khatri was in Bigram and that he had said nothing because of its confined cells and narrow passages. Khwaja Amin repeated his words to us. But we could not go back because the road was long and the day was spent

Hinduism in Burma (Myanmar)

Hinduism in Burma (Myanmar)

The Pali literature of Burma on law is based on the Dharamsastras of Manu, Narada and Yajnavalkya. The art of Burma was also influenced by the Indian art. 

In Burma, the finest temple is the Ananda at Pagan. It occupies the center of a spacious courtyard which is 564 ft square. There is no doubt of its derivation from Indian type. Temples of the same type existed in Bengal and most probably suggested the model of the Ananda temple.

Charles Duroiselle, pioneer of Burmese Studies in France, who composed the Epigraphia Birmanica, says on the Ananda temple:

" There can be no doubt that the architects who planned and built the Ananda temple were Indians. Everything in this temple from Sikhara to the basement as well as the numerous stone sculptures found in its corridors and the terra-cotta...adoring its basement and terraces, bear the indubitable stamp of Indian genius and craftsmanship...In this sense, we may take it, therefore, that the Ananda, though built in the Burmese capital, is an Indian temple."

(source: Ancient India - By R. C. Majumdar p. 497).



STHALA MAHIMA - Kathirkamam

In the south of Sri Lanka, there is a place called Kathirkamam which enshrines a temple of Subrahmanya. According to the Skanda Purana, this is the place commemorating the Emakudam or the Base Camp of Lord Skanda, which he had pitched upon the outskirts of the capital of Surapadma, Veeramahendrapuri. And it is said that it is the place where the form of Lord Subrahmanya attained Oneness with Lord Siva in the form of a Jyotis or Light.

Other important places of worship are Thirupporur, a coastal town 30 miles off Madras; Vayalur, near Thiruchirapally; Thiruvannamalai, and Udipi in the west Coast of South India, near Mangalore.
STHALA MAHIMA - Achaleswar

In the Punjab, near Batala, there is a temple called Achaleswar. The story of this place is that, when Lord Skanda was coming around the world on His peacock for getting the fruit, he alighted at this place to rest for a while, when on hearing that Ganesha had already won the prize, remained there without proceeding further.
STHALA MAHIMA - Palamuthirsolai

Mother Nature expresses herself in all her beauty in places abounding in hills and dales decked with various wild flowers. As worship of Skanda was to commemorate the worship of Nature and its Creator, the Almighty, one can find temples of Skanda in every dale, valley and plain which abound in gardens and brooks. Amongst such places, Ilanchi, a place in South India near the
Curtallam water falls and three miles from Shencottah, and Alagar Koil, a place some 10 miles East of Madurai, are famous for Skanda worship.

STHALA MAHIMA - Kundruthoradal

Mountains and Valleys even today present a charming and pleasant scenery by which the human mind gets delighted and inspired. As the landscape abounds with natural beauties unsullied by human habitation, these mountains and dales are resorted to for gaining peace and calmness of mind and also for health. Such being the case, it is no wonder that the creator of these natural surroundings is enshrined in temples in such places. Everything that is of eternal beauty is a thing of everlasting joy. Thus the ancients have enshrined the Lord in temples on the top of such hills; Thiruthanigai is one of the most famous. It is in South India, about 40 miles East of Madras, on the Madras-Renigunta line. It is told in the Puranas that Lord Skanda, after the war with the Asuras, settled down in Thiruthanigai Hill with his consorts Valli and Deivayanai. The temple is situated upon a hill with a beautiful landscape around it


Swami Malai is the name of a hill near the town of Kumbakonam, in South India. It is about 200 miles south of Madras, on the Madras-Thiruchirapally main line. The Sthala Mahima of this temple is as follows:

When Brahma was imprisoned by Skanda, Lord Siva approached His son and asked him to release Brahma. After Brahma was released, Siva, Himself desirous of hearing about the significance of Pranava, came to this place Skanda as a Guru imparted unto his Father, who, as a disciple, heard the secret discourse, the Pranava Rahasya. Hence the Lord of this place is known by the name of Swaminathan or Sivagurunathan, the Guru of Lord Siva.

STHALA MAHIMA - Palani Hills

Next comes Palani, another famous place of pilgrimage, where the temple of Lord Skanda is built on the top of a hill. The station itself, Palani by name, is about 20 miles from Dindigul junction, which is on the Southern Railway, between Thiruchirapally and Madurai. A view from the top of the Hill will at once elevate the minds of pilgrims who approach the Lord with faith and love. In the Puranas the story of this place is narrated as follows:

When Lord Skanda and Lord Ganesha were at Kailasa with their Father and Mother, Narada brought a fruit and offered it to Lord Siva. Now, Lord Siva made an offer to His sons to give the fruit
to the one who would go round the whole world and return first. At this, Lord Skanda, riding on his Peacock-Vahana, flew round the world and came back to Kailasa anxious to win the prize offered
by his Father. But to his great disappointment, when he approached his Father after his round-the-globe flight, he saw the much coveted fruit in the hands of Lord Ganesha, who was calmly eating it, with a mischievous extra relish.

To add injury to insult, Lord Ganesha laughed at the grand flight of his brother. Skanda enquired of his Father and Mother how Ganesha, who was unable to move about due to his pot-belly, could go round the world as he had done and win the race from him. The parents replied that Ganesha, taking his parents (Lord Siva and Parvati) as the world, had come around them and won the prize. Ganesha explained how the whole world was nothing but their dear Father and Mother in whom everything existed. Thrown into a rage by all this, Lord Skanda threw away all his decorations and, clad only in a Kaupeena and with a stick in his hand, left Kailasa in a huff.

It is told in the Purana that, after travelling for a long time, he settled down on the top of a hill now known as Palani. To pacify their son, Lord Siva and Parvati, with the other Devas, came over to Palani Hills and glorified him. Parvati Devi informed Skanda that, he being himself the sweetest of the sweet fruits to them, there was no reason for him to get annoyed over an ordinary fruit. Pacified by the sweet and winning words of his Mother, Lord Skanda returned along with
them to Kailasa.

The temple has also got another significance—of having been the abode of the Great Siddhas of South India. It was one amongst them, Bohar by name, a devotee of Skanda, that had made the image of Skanda now worshipped there, out of Nava Pashanas

STHALA MAHIMA - Thiruchendur

Thiruchendur is situated on the southern seashore, about 35 miles from Tirunelvelly. According to the Puranas, Lord Skanda with his army of Devas had his Base Camp pitched at Thiruchendur. From here he sent his messenger Veerabahu Devar to Surapadma at his capital, Veera Mahendrapuri. After vanquishing Surapadma, the Lord returned to Thiruchendur and settled down there. The festival of Skanda Shashthi is celebrated in this temple with great éclat. Many devotees of Lord Skanda stay in the temple during the six days, observing the six days Skanda Shashthi Vrata with great faith and austerity

STHALA MAHIMA - Thirupparankundram

Thirupparankundram, a railway station in South India, is situated on the way from Madurai to Trivandrum. It is about 4 miles from the town of Madurai. 

The temple is built on a hillock. The Puranas relate the following story about the place.

After the fall of Surapadma and his Asura followers, Lord Skanda, with the Devas, moved from Tiruchendur to Thirupparankundram. Here, at the request of Indra, Lord Skanda’s marriage with Deivayanai (daughter of Indra) took place. It is here that the six sons of Parasara Muni got redemption from the curse of remaining as fishes. By the grace of Lord Skanda the sons of the sage
assumed their original human form

Skanda Purana - The Weddings


Lord Shanmukha after His victory over the Asuras released all the Devas, who had been groaning as prisoners under the tyranny of the Asuras. To the great joy of the Devas, Subrahmanya returned to Tiruchendur with His victorious army and stayed there for a while. The Devas, along with Indra now released and at ease, worshipped the Lord there for all His mercy and goodness to them. Then they arranged a grand Puja for the Lord and glorified Him in a befitting manner.

In the early days of His residence in Kailasa with His Father, the Lord had met the daughters of Lord Vishnu, Amrutavalli and Sundaravalli by name. At first sight of the glorious son of Lord
Siva, of whose Bala Lilas they had already heard, they both fell in love with Him. On being acquainted with this, the Lord graciously ordained that they should be born again—one as the daughter of Indra and the other of Nambirajan, a king of the hill tribes in South India.

Accordingly, Amrutavalli had been born as the daughter of Devendra and had grown up to be of marriageable age. Availing himself of the golden opportunity at Tiruchendur, Indra humbly
reminded the Lord of His promise and requested Him to accept the hand of Amritavalli, his daughter now known as Deivayanai, in marriage. Other Devas who were assembled there also supported his petition to the Lord. Lord Shanmukha consented and camped with His party at Tiruparankundram, a place north of Tiruchendur, near Madurai. Arrangements were immediately in full swing for a fitting celebration of the marriage. Invitations were sent out to all Devas to attend the function. Lavish preparations were made for their reception and comfort. Everyone invited had arrived and the ceremony was due to commence. Lord Shanmukha felt sore at the absence of His dear Father and Mother, when at the mere thought of them, Lord Shanmukha saw before Him His father Lord Siva with his consort, and Lord Ganesa. Everybody’s joy at this reunion knew no bounds; and with heavenly pomp and magnificence the marriage of Lord Skanda with Deivayanai took place. After the marriage, all the Devas, with the permission of Lord Skanda and Lord Siva,
retired to their respective worlds and joyously resumed their activities.

Upendra, one of the Avataras of Lord Vishnu, once went to Vaikuntha to have Darshan of the Adimurti, Lord Vishnu, and Maha Lakshmi. When the three were in the hall, a great sage, Kanva Rishi, came in. To the great disappointment and chagrin of the sage, he was neither welcomed nor paid the usual respects by any one of the three who were there. In a rage he cursed them as follows:

Lord Vishnu was to be born as a dumb sage devoted to Lord Siva for many births; Lakshmi Devi was to be born as a deer roaming in deserted forests; and Upendra was to be born as a hunter of
wild game. To mitigate the severity of the curse, Vishnu did rigorous Tapas on Lord Siva. Siva appeared before him and, knowing the purpose for which his devotee was performing the Tapas, called Kanva Rishi and asked him to reduce the period of his curse from ‘many births’ to one birth.

This was duly done; all the three were to be restored to their original states on the marriage between Skanda and Valli in the fullness of time.

Lord Vishnu thereafter came to the world as Sivamuni, a dumb saint, and was living in a forest. In the same forest, Upendra wandered about as a hunter. And Lakshmi in her life as deer was roaming about in the same forest. As preordained, the sage Sivamuni saw the beautiful deer and, strangely enough, felt passionate and agitated. The deer returned the love which the sage had evinced to her at sight. The sequel was that the deer was delivered of a human child, a girl. Seeing the child so different from herself, the deer abandoned the child to its fate and quitted the forest. Upendra, now in the form of a hunter, happened to arrive at the spot where the child was crying in a cluster of Valli kodi (a sort of creeper). He took up the child and, calling her Valli as she was found in a Valli kodi,
brought her up in a manner befitting his station in life.


Devarshi Narada now reminded Skanda about His meeting with Sundaravalli in Kailasa and informed Him that she had been born as Valli, daughter to Nambirajan, the king of a hill tribe in South India. From the Rishi, Skanda also came to know that Valli was doing Tapas with the sole object of marrying Him. Desirous of bestowing His grace on her without delay, Skanda left for the hills, Valli’s home. Disguised as a hunter, he saw the maid who was driving off the birds that were destroying the corn in the fields. He presented himself before her in the field and enquired of her whether any deer had come that way. The maid replied in the negative and took him to task for violating the proprieties by talking to a stranger maid in the manner in which he had done, when she was unchaperoned. But the hunter replied to her only by a contemptuous and defiant laugh!
Enraged at this rude behaviour of the hunter, Valli cried out to her brothers for help. The unabashed hunter, however, proceeded to ask her to marry him on the spot and added that the main purpose of
his coming to her was only to do so. In response to the cry of Valli, her seven brothers came running to the spot with their retinue where the hunter and Valli were. To the mystification and amazement
of Valli and to the disappointment of the brothers, the mischievous hunter transformed himself into a big tree. Thinking that it was only a childish prank of Valli, they all went back, as they were unable
to find any person in the vicinity except an innocent tree! As soon as their backs were turned, the tree reassumed the shape of the hunter, but he was unceremoniously driven out at the point of a stick
by Valli. After a while Valli saw a tired and tottering old man coming towards her. Taking pity on him and on his helplessness, she offered him some fruits and water. The old man, while partaking of the offerings, made a proposal of marriage to her! This only provoked an amused and contemptuous smile from Valli! But she informed the old man politely that she had taken a vow to marry none but Lord Shanmukha. At this juncture, to the terror of Valli who had a dread of elephants, an elephant came rushing towards where they were standing in the field. Frightened out of her wits, she ran towards the old man and fell into his arms for protection and safety. The old man, however, when he had got Valli’s assurance that she would marry him, mysteriously sent the elephant away. Now that all danger was over, Valli treated the whole matter lightly and refused to keep up her promise: she argued that to frighten a girl and get a promise out of her in that condition was unfair and that morally she was not bound by such a promise at all. No sooner were these words out of her mouth than the dreaded elephant came charging again. Her terror was so acute that she willingly and solemnly promised to marry the old man, if only he would send the awful elephant away out of her sight. At the same moment, to her great astonishment and joy, she saw before her Lord Skanda with the Vel in His hand, exactly where the old man had stood courting her in such a strange fashion. Valli apologised to Him for her silly conduct and begged for His grace. Very much pleased with the intensity of her devotion, the Lord accepted her as His consort.

News of her meeting with a hunter and an old man spread far and wide in the neighboring villages. Taking the hunter to be a vagabond, her father and brothers came up to Valli’s abode, in
order, they said, to knock some sense into that impudent scoundrel. Lord Skanda, who had again taken the form of a hunter, by a flourish of his Vel, burnt them all to ashes. But at the request of
Valli, they were again brought back to life. Realising the fact that he was none but Lord Subrahmanya (the guardian angel of their family), they all prostrated themselves before Him and begged for His mercy.

To the great joy of Nambirajan and the Devas and in the presence of Devarshi Narada, the wedding of Valli was celebrated. With Valli and Deivayanai as His consorts, the Lord retired to the Skanda Hills near Kailasa, where He has His abode.

“Thus, to protect the good and to punish the wicked, the Supreme Lord came down taking the form and name of Skanda. With the peacock as His Vahana, the cock for the emblem on His banner and with Vel in His hand, Lord Skanda took His abode in the Skanda Hills, where He lived with His consorts Valli and Deivayanai.”

Glory to Lord Subrahmanya! Glory to His consorts Valli and Deivayanai! Glory to the Divine Weapon Velayudha! Glory to the peacock, the Vahana of Skanda! Glory to the cock on his banner! Glory to Lord Siva by whose grace everything is done! Glory to all who read and hear this story of Lord Subrahmanya and His Lilas!

Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple (Achalgarh)

Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple (Achalgarh)

The temple was built in satya yuga. It is the only place on earth where the great toe of Lord Shiva is worshiped, that is estimated to be going to the centre of the earth. It is the proud possessor of the glory of rich mythology, theology, folklore and even history. Miracles happened in its hallowed precincts. It is none other than the Achaleshwar Mahadev Temple! Its Nandi, made of an alloy of five different metals, is credited with the marvel of repulsing the Muslim invaders by releasing millions of bumble bees to attack the Muslim marauders. They were the lessons learned by those in charge to preserve and protect the sanctity of the pristine temple that they devised a very injurious, albeit ingenious method of camouflaging the prominence and the eminence of the great temple.

This age-old temple is situated just opposite to the Gurdwara Shri Achal Sahib on the fringes of Chahal and Salho villages. Based on the writings on the board of the temple it is believed that this temple is devoted to Lord Kartik, the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva

Hindu Temple in Myyanmar

Nathlaung Kyaung: Hindu Temple in Myyanmar

Located in the city walls of Old Bagan, Nathlaung Kyaung is only surviving Hindu temple in Bagan. Dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Vishnu, the square brick temple was built in the 10th or 11th century, making it one of the earliest temples at Bagan. 

The Nathlaung Kyaung (or Nat-hlaung-kyaung), located slightly to the west of Thatbyinnyu and inside the old city walls, is the only remaining Hindu temple in Bagan. It was possibly built by legendary King Taungthugyi (r. 931-964) about a century before King Anawrahta (r. 1044-1077) brought Theravada Buddhism to Pagan with the conquest of Thaton.

Whenever it was built, the fact that it was not destroyed indicates a tolerance of Hinduism in Buddhist Bagan. Nathlaung was dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and served as the temple of the Indian merchant community at Bagan and brahmins in the service of the king. It may have been built by Indian artisans.

Only the main hall and superstructure of Nathlaung Kyaung still stand. The square temple is made of brick and has steep upper terraces, a dome and crumbling gopuram/sikhara (Indian-style finial). Originally there were Gupta-style statues of 10 incarnations of Vishnu housed in niches in the outer walls; seven of these survive. Badly damaged brick and stucco reliefs of Vishnu can be seen on each of the four walls.

The high mandapa (porch that extends from the temple) was given by a Malabar Vaishnavite saint in the 13th century. The only mandapa in Bagan, it was originally covered by a wooden awning.

In the 1890s, a German oil engineer took the large Vishnu statue from the temple; it can now be seen in the Dahlem Museum in Berlin. The temple was badly damaged in the 1975 earthquake, and considerable repairs were made in 1976, especially to the second story.

(source: Nathlaung Kyaung: Hindu Temple in Myyanmar).

Anantheshwara in Rajathapeetha Pura

Anantheshwara in Rajathapeetha Pura

Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Linga and occupied the silver pedestal is known as ANANTHESHWARA. It is believed that it was on the request of Lord Shiva that Lord Parashurama also enshrined in the Linga in the form Lord Anantha and hence the name Anantheshwara.The king Ramabhoja also built four Durgalayas (Durga temple) and Nagalayas (Subramanya temple) one each in each direction.

The Shri Anantheshwara Temple has been a seat of learning since time immemorial for the study of Veda, Vedanta, Upanishads. It was this place where Shri Madhwacharya obtained lessons from his Guru Shri Achyuthaprekshacharya. The details of Anantheshwara appear in the Shri Skandapurana

Nara Nag temple of Kashmir

Nara Nag temple of Kashmir- evokes awe and is a devotee's delight.

The Valley of Kashmir is known not only for its lush green meadows, snow-capped mountains but also for its historical and religious places. There is a temple complex called Nara Nag which evokes awe and is a devotee's delight.

The moonlight in the valley of the Nara Nag is a mesmerizing experience in the month of November as the snow on the higher peaks reflects the full moonlight in the sky, beauty is further added by the tortuous course of the Kanka River torrent whose white and foaming water epitomize the moon silver light on the earth. The fast gale, silver moon light and sound of the gushing water of the Kanka River is a commemorative sight for the Nara Nag group of temples.

The small tank with perennial water of Nara Nag has refreshing, digestive properties. At a further distance there is a temple dedicated to Bhairva. The western group identified with the temple is dedicated to Lord Siva. Lalitaditya Muktapida eighth century King of Kashmir erected a temple of Lord Shiva here. The King Avantivarman paid a visit and and donated a pedestal with a silver conduct for bathing at Bhutsher. These temples are built of grayish granite found in abundance in neighborhood and their different architectural entities as evidently prove that they are of a different era.

The Sodaratirtha referred in the Nilamata Purana is among the scared tiratha in Kashmir Valley presently known as Nara Nag. Till the last quarter of 20th century, out of religious beliefs, local Kashmir Pandits after consecrating the ashes of their relatives in the Gangabal Lake come to perform the last rites for the peace of departed soul.

The first group consists of seven temples, the largest temple of the group has two entrances opposite to each other in north-east and south-west direction. The temple is built of huge rectangular stones laid in dry masonry with inter locking system. The interior is square and ceiling is domical built of horizontal kanjur stones and the apex stone crowned by a full blown lotus. The galvanized sheets roofing is of later addition. All the temples had conical stone roof of a single stone, the evidence of which are available on the site. The center is an unpaved square space for missing image of principle diety in the interior.

The closed doors embellished with trefoil arches and pediment reflect the Greco-Roman influence on the Kashmiri Temple architecture. The closed arches decorated with square topped arches meant to carry sculptures. Besides the main temple, there are six other miniature shrines placed in an unsymmetrical manner in the compound intended as subsidiary shrines. These subsidiary shrines were probably erected by various groups of pilgrims as a mark of reverence after returning from Gangabal Lake in form of "votive offering" after successful accomplishment of the hazardous ascent to Gangabal Lake.

About one hundred meters below towards the River Bed , the second group of temples is enclosed by two chambered huge gateway of similar size and shape as of Avantipur temple.

The roofless two chambered gateway were once supported by four pillars, the base of which are in situ. In this group there are about six small roofless temples with high plinths. The main shrine has only huge arched entrance and other three sides have closed doors with trefoil arches encased in triangular encasing. The ceiling of the grabha-griha or the Cella rounded off with rubble lime motar, probably of the later period, converting the square into a circle originally the triangular slabs springs the domical roof by corners of Kanjur stones. The three exterior trefoil niches once had a large image which is no more extant. A huge rectangular tank scooped out from a single rock into a water tank exists on the south face of the principal temple. The whole group encircled is by the remains of rectangular wall of huge stones of which the foundation could be traced, together with several base of pillars and fluted pillars similar to the Avantiswamin Temple , just opposite to the main entrance. There is a large platform with evidence of twelve pedestals of pillars, eight in number four on the longer side and four on the shorter side.

The flight of stairs is built between the central pair of columns facing the first group of temple. The 100` ft long by 67` broad pillared hall is a remarkable architecture feat of the whole group of temples.

The temples were plundered in the days of Jyasimha in Kalhana's time. The temple of Naranag suffered many misfortunes as mentioned in Khalhana's Rajatarangani during the reign of Sangramaraja (11th century). The temple- was plundered by Bhandesvara, a Minister of the King. For the period of the reign of Uchchala (12th century) a conflagration caused much damage to the building and during the reign of Jayasimha Hayavadava(12th century), a rebel minister also attacked these temples. Nara Nag is the base camp of the Gangabal Lake it takes 8-10 hour on foot or on horse back to reach the lake.

(source: Nara Nag

Sri Sri Villeeswarar Temple

Sri Sri Villeeswarar Temple

The presiding deity, got from the earth appears with three straight lines on the forehead. Sun God by spreading his rays on the presiding deity on 14, 15 and 16 in the month of Panguni (March-April) worships the Lord. The Navagrahas – 9 planets - are installed just above a foot from the ground. Devotees submit their grievances in a paper before the planets, wonderfully, their grievances are redressed within 30 days. This is a very ancient temple. Many epigraphic evidences are found in this temple.

Shri Vinayaka graces in the temple with the name Shantha Vinayaka. Idigarai is situated in between the banks of two canals fed by the rains from Kurudi hills, Pala hills and Ponnuthu hills. So, the ancient name of the place was Iru Karai – two banks - which in later days changed as Idikarai.

Sri Villeeswarar graces from the sanctum sanctorum with a small Nandhi-the bull vehicle. Mother Vedanayaki, Balasubramaniar graces from their respective shrines. There is a banyan tree without hanging stems (Vizhudhu) with Lord Dakshinamurthy gracing under the tree.

Worship of Villeeswarar removes obstacles in marriage talks. Evil aspects on children disappear. Diseases are cured. Prosperity improves in families. Litigants win legal battles.

Devotees perform abishek to Lord with rose water, green coconuts, sacred ashes-vibhuti - sandal etc. with vastras. Abishek is performed to Lord Dakshinamurthy with a pulse called Kondaikadalai.

The Lord of the temple is praised as Villeeswarar as Sri Rama got his Vil (bow) from Lord Shiva. (Villeeswarar means the Lord who gifted the bow). The name also represents the Vilwa trees surrounding the temple and because the Lord was worshipped by a hunting community holding Vil the bow. The visit of Sri Rama to the place is supported by a temple – Sri Kodandaramar temple – in Govindanaickenpalayam near Idikarai.

The presiding deity is got from the earth with three straight lines on forehead. Sun God worships the Lord through His rays on Panguni (March-April) 14, 15 and 16. The temple was constructed by a king. This temple is linked with Kalakaleswar temple in Kovilpalayam and Vadamadurai Vruddesswar temple on a straight stretch. There was also an underground passage connecting the temples, used by the king to worship Lord Shiva during war times.

As advised by a women soothsayer (Kurathi), King Karikal Chola, to make his kingdom prosperous and free his sons from evil aspects, decided to build as many as 36 Shiva temples. While building the 29th temple in the Kongu region, he cured the land by axing the Vilwa trees, the guardian deity Durga demanded the king to offer her sacrifices before proceeding with the construction. The king promised to build a temple for her after building the Shiva temple. He did so as promised and offered three sacrifices, a cock, goat and a swine.



Hanuman Garhi, the temple dedicated to Hanuman, is one of the important temples of Ayodhya situated in the centre on a mound visible from a long distance and is approached by seventy six step. The present temple built in 10th century, has rectangular shape with four bastions on each corner 

On the western gate of Ramkot Vikramaditya got a temple constructed which later on came to be known as Hanuman Tila and than became famous as Hanuman Garhi. Legend has it that Lord Hanuman lived here and guarded the Ramkot. This temple was built by the Nawab of Awadh with the help of Saint Abhyaramdas. Hanuman Garhi is also known for its spectacular views of the setting sun.

Lepakshi Temple


When Sita was abducted by Raavan, they bumped into Jatayu, a demi-god in vulture form, who tried his best to stop Raavan. Lepakshi, in Andhra Pradesh, is said to be the place where Jatayu fell.

This was the famed Hanging Column or Pillar of Lepakshi temple, located in Anantapur district in southern Andhra Pradesh. “This is the pillar which does not rest on the ground fully,” the guide said, rising to stand beside us, and beaming triumphantly, almost as if he were the architect of this marvel. There are about 70 pillars at this fabulous 16th-century temple of stone in Vijayanagar style, but this one is the best known and a tribute to the engineering genius of ancient and medieval India’s temple builders. However, it is a bit dislodged from its original position — it is said that during the British era, a British engineer tried to move it in an unsuccessful attempt to uncover the secret of its support.

Much of the temple is built on a low, rocky hill called Kurmasailam — which translates to tortoise hill in Telugu, after the shape of the hill. The temple dates back to 1583 and was built by the brothers, Virupanna and Veeranna, who were initially in the service of the Vijayangar kings. However, Puranic lore has it that the Veerabhadra temple was built by the sage Agastya. It has idols of Ganesha, Nandi, Veerabhadra, Shiva, Bhadrakali, Vishnu and Lakshmi.

Another legend gives the town a significant place in the Ramayana — this was where the bird Jatayu fell, wounded after a futile battle against Ravana who was carrying away Sita. When Sri Rama reached the spot, he saw the bird and said compassionately, “Le Pakshi” — ‘rise, bird’ in Telugu.

Besides the Hanging Pillar, another draw is the spectacular Nandi, located almost a mile before the main temple — the first structure you will encounter. At 27ft in length and 15ft in height, it is a colossal structure, reputedly India’s biggest monolithic Nandi. Besides the record size, the perfectly proportioned body, finely-carved ornaments, and smooth contours add to its grandeur and make it a popular photo-op with visitors.

Once you reach the temple’s outer enclosure, you will see a mammoth Ganesha — hewn in stone and leaning against a rock. Perpendicular to it is a massive Naga with three coils and seven hoods. It forms a sheltering canopy over a black granite Shivalingam. It’s reckoned by many as the largest Nagalinga in India.

There are two red blotches on the western wall of the inner enclosure, explained by a gory story. Virupanna, the royal treasurer, was accused of drawing funds without the king’s permission from the state treasury to build these shrines. However, he forestalled the enraged king’s punishment by blinding himself, and those maroon spots are said to be the marks left by his bleeding eyes!

The temple’s main deity is Veerabhadra, the fiery god created by Shiva in his rage after the Daksha Yagna and the immolation of Parvathi. There are several forms of Shiva here — a majestic Kankala Murthi, Dakshinamurthi (Guru of Gurus), Tripuranthaka or Tripurasurasamhara (vanquisher of demon Tripura); Ardhanareeshwara (the half-female, half-male form, where Shiva and Parvati are equally represented in one body), etc. Another shrine has the fiery goddess Bhadrakali, though bearing an uncharacteristically serene expression.

The Lepakshi temple also has the finest specimens of mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings. We were informed that the 24 by 14 ft fresco of Veerabhadra on the ceiling before the main sanctum sanctorum is the largest in India of any single figure. The rest of the frescoes are also beautiful and show an impressive attention to detail with colours strikingly contrasted — black limework against an orange-red background with some green, white, black, and shades of ochre-gold and brown mostly applied to a stucco surface specially treated with lime. The Shiva-Parvathi kalyanam — an enduringly popular subject with traditional Indian artists — finds expression here. However, these frescoes are peeling off in many places and in need of better maintenance and expert restoration.

After the ache in the neck from gazing upwards at these alluring frescoes, we sat down for a while, rubbing our necks, in the splendid Natya Mandapam or dance hall with its superbly sculpted pillars. The Kalyana Mandapam is another hall known for its artistic beauty. Among the many eye-catchers in this temple, the frieze of geese with lotus stalks in their beaks stands out.

The Lepakshi temple is close to the famed pilgrim town of Puttaparthi, where the nearest decent accommodation is available — whether in the ashram or in the Andhra Pradesh government-run Sai Aaramam. From here, it is an hour’s drive to the temple. From Hyderabad it is about 480 km and about 130 km from Bangalore. The climate is hot for most of the year and early mornings are the best time to visit. If you have time, check out nearby Dharmavaram, the well-known silk weaving centre, and Hindupur and surrounding villages where, elegant cottons are woven

Sri Veerattaneswarar temple

Sri Veerattaneswarar temple

The temple is praised in the Thevaram and Thiruvasagam hymns of celebrated Saivite saints Gnanasambandar, Tirunavukkarasar, Sundar and Manicka Vasagar. “Presiding over the Vedas, clad in tiger skin Many worshipping with raised hands Surrounded by Bhooda Ganas, Mother Uma singing My Lord Veerattaneswarar on the north of Kedila River Stands majestically] dancing.”-Gnanasambandar This is the 7th Shiva temple in Nadunaadu region praised in Thevaram hymns.

10 day Vasanth Utsav festival during Panguni-Chithirai Tamil months covering English March to May with Lord gracing from the Mandap; Chithirai (April-May) Sadayam star festival on Saint Appar Salvation event; 10 day Vaikasi Brahmmotsavam in May-June with Panchamurthi procession on silver vahan; 10 day Aadi Pooram; 10 day Manickavasagar utsav in Margazhi, 1 day Margazhi Tiruvadhirai with Theerthavari etc.

Lord Shiva is a swayambumurthi, large in size with 16 stripes on.

The place and the temple are closely linked with the history of Saint Tirunavukkarasar. Though born to Saivite parents and brought up by his Shiva devotee sister Thilagavathy, Marul Neekiar – that was his baptism name – embraced Jainism and rose to Guruhood there with the name Dharumasenar. His sister, a staunch Shiva devotee, dedicated herself to the service of Lord Shiva by maintaining the temple, prayed to the Lord seeking her brother’s home coming to Saivism.

Lord Shiva caused a severe stomach pain to Appar. None in the Jain camp could cure him. He came to sister Thilagavathy, fell at her feet for relief. The affectionate sister took the brother to Veerattaneswarar shrine, chanted the Panchakshara-five letters-Na Ma Shi Vaa Ya – and put the sacred ash on his forehead. Appar also consumed the ash and was miraculously cured instantly of his deadly stomach pain. Out came spontaneously Appar’s first hymn called Kodhil Neediya Tirupathigam beginning with the line “Kootru Aayinavaru Vilakka hileer”. Pleased with his poetic skill, Lord Shiva honoured Appar with the title Tiru Navukku Arasar-Tirunavukkarasar meaning king of tongues.

Devotees seeking the grace of Lord Veerattaneswarar are relieved from the three basic evils glued with humans – viz. Aanavam-arrogance, Kanma, that which follows birth after birth and illusion. Devotee visiting this temple reaps the benefit of seeing the Lord in His abode Kailash. Saint Arunagiriar had praised Lord Muruga of the temple in his Tirupugazh hymns. 

Lord Shiva of this temple is also praised as Sri Samharamurthi (Tirukedilavanar). It is also believed that Lord Ammai Appar is praying Himself in the sanctum sanctorum. Mother is also praised as Sri Tirupurasundari. Lord Vinayaka is worshipped as Siddhi Vinayaka.

Other Sacred springs of the temple are Shoola theertham, the well in the temple, Chakkara Theertham, a tank and River Kedila.

The immense benefit the devotee derives here is total peace of mind. Every disease will be cured by prayer, stomach related pains and ulcers in particular by applying the sacred ash and consuming it, freedom from enemies, disappearance of any curse following the family generation after generation, releasing the ancestors too from their sins ensuring total salvation are the benefits awaiting the devotee in this temple. Those seeking child boon consume the milk used in the abishek of Lord.

Devotees also pray for job opportunities, family prosperity also.

Devotees decorate the entrance of sanctum sanctorum with garlands (Nilamalai) and do traditional offers as Pottu Kattudhal, offer Mangal Sutra to Mother, perform Trishadi archana containing 300 or Sahasranama archana with 1008 names of the Lord, break coconuts, perform abishek to Lord with curd, fruit juices, green coconut, panchamirta a mixture of five ingredients, scented powders, gingely oil, sandal, rosewater sacred ash vilwa leaves etc. and abishek with conches and Kalasas. Abishek is performed to Mother with turmeric powder. Devotees offer vastras to Mother and Lord. They also feed the visiting devotees.

Indira the king of Devas, Lords Brahmma and Vishnu, Pandavas the five brothers, Saptha Rishis (seven sages), Vayu the God of Wind, Varuna the God of Rain, Yama the God of Death came to this temple in their chariots to worship Lord Veerattaneswarar. Hence, the temple is designed as Rath. Thanjavur Peria Koil (Big Temple) Vimana was designed after this temple by Rajaraja in the temple he built at Thanjavur. The temple is designed with such mathematical accuracy by the Pallavas that the shade of the temple does not fall on the ground. This is the place from where Lord Shiva destroyed the three lokas-Tripuras - simply by His boisterous laughter, without the aide of any weapon or army.

The temple has many firsts. It is here that the Lord destroyed the three great evils – arrogance, fate and illusion. Thevaram hymns were uttered first here. All Shivagama puja codes were formulated from this temple. Car festival and design of cars were drafted from this place. This is the only temple that is adored in great number of Thevaram hyms, the divine Tamil hymns of three saints-Gananasambandar, Appar and Sundarar- came to delight the devotees and taken as scriptures by later scholars from this place. The sculpture depicting the wedding of Shiva-Parvathi is behind the presiding deity. The sanctum sanctorum and the Mandap are in Rath (Ther in Tamil) shape.

10 day festival for Appar-Tirunavukkarasar is very devotionally celebrated in April-May. 10 day Vaikasi (May-June) Visakam Brahmmotsavam includes car festival and Tripura Samhara. Saint Tirunavukkarasar made his Uzhavaram, an instrument with a sharp edge fixed with a stick for removing the bushes on the way to Shiva temples in this sacred land. It is also noteworthy that the Thevaram hymns of the three saints contain more mention about Tripura Samhara episode. Lord of the temple purifies all His devotees from the three great basic evils polluting the human mind. This is also the land where Lord granted darshan to Appar in Wedding form, hence weddings are conducted in the temple.

Mother Periyanayaki shrine is in right of that of Lord. Those facing delays in wedding pray here for early good results. The devotee should bow down while wearing the vibhuti-sacred ash.

Three wicked demons, Tharukakshan, Kamalakshan and Vidyunmali performed severe penance on Lord Brahmma and obtained powerful boons that would keep them ever alive without death. With this boon, they began to harass the Devas and others. All of them appealed to Lord Shiva for protection. Lord Shiva made earth His Rath, Sun and Moon the wheels, Brahmma the charioteer and the Devas His army. He made a bow of the Meru Mount, Vasuki the serpent the chord, Vishnu the bow with Agni (fire) the sharp point and mounted on the Rahth. Suddenly, the axis of the Rath broke. Immediately, prayers were offered to Lord Vinayaka for the remedy. Lord began the March

Devas accompanying the Lord thought that Lord would win the war with their help only. Realizing their pride, Shiva used no weapons on the enemies. He simply laughed at them. A fire ball came out of His laughter and reduced the demons to ashes. Realizing their folly, Devas bowed down their heads in shame. The arrogance of both the demons and the Devas were destroyed simultaneously by the Lord.

Lord pardoned two demons and made them His security guards-dwarapalakas. One became player of his Kudamuzha instrument. This is the story celebrated as Tiripura Samharam.

Thiru Koneshvaram

Thiru Koneshvaram

Thiru Koneshwaram, lovely located on a rock promontory of Trincomalee, was built by Rishi Agastya on the instructions of Lord Shiva who was impressed by the devotion of King Ravana. This place is unique in this respect, the Lord building a temple for his devotee as a reward for his devotion. Lord Rama is believed to have offered his prayers here, too, in order to get rid of the malediction of killing Ravana who was a Brahmin, meaning Brahmahasthi Dosham. The famous temple built here during the glorious era of the Tamil Pallava and Chola and Pandya empires, was destructed by bigoted Portuguese Christians between 1622 and 1624

Kiriteswari temple, Bangladesh

Kiriteswari temple

Ruins of original Kiriteswari Temple. It is one of the 52 Piths, as one part of “Kirit” (means Fore head) of Sati was dropped here. Beside the new temple is this the old Kiriteswari temple named as adi mandir. Kiriteswari Temple was rebuilt by Rani Bhabani of Natore ( now in Bangladesh). Kiriteswari Temple situated in kiritkona village. Devi/deities's name is Devi Vimala & Bhairav is Samvarta. The construction of the the temple is more than 1000 years old and this place was considered to be the sleeping place of Mahamaya. Local people call this temple as "Mahish Mardini" and this is the oldest mark of Architecture.

Sri Rajadi Raja Srinivasa Govinda temple

ISKCON Bangalore has initiated the construction of Sri Rajadi Raja Srinivasa Govinda temple on Vaikuntha Hill. The total built area of the temple is 70000 square feet and it is estimated that the rate per square feet is approximately Rs. 5000/- You can also be part of this glorious project by contributing towards as many square feet as possible. Visit

Thanrhondrishwarar-The temple in Kokkattichcholai in Tamil Nadu,India


The temple in Kokkattichcholai is a so called Tamil "Thanrhondrishwarar". This means a Shiva-Lingam "self manifested deity". It is therefore a "Swayambhu-Lingam". Hindus believe this Shiva-Lingam to be more than 10,000 years old. Kokkattichalai likes to be counted as the 5th Ishwaram temple of Sri Lanka. But the real 5th Ishvaram temple was located at the southern shores of the island and destroyed be the Portuguese.

Lord Sri Venkateshwara

Tirumala Srivari Brahmotsava 

Lord Sri Venkateshwara enjoys festivals (utsavams), and therefore, every moment in Tirumala is considered a festive occasion. The most important festival is the Brahmotsavam. This year the nine day Annual Brahmotsava of Srivari Temple Tirumala is being conducted from September 26th to October 4th, 2014. 

Srivari Brahmotsava is the grandest, and the annual festival celebrated in Tirumala during the Navaratri/Dusshera Festival (beginning of Ashwina Month) and is one of the most important and auspicious festivals celebrated in this ancient shrine. The origin of this festival is traced to the time when Lord Brahma himself worshiped Lord Venkateshwara on the banks of the river Pushkarini. Brahmotsava literally means the festival of Lord Brahma. 

As the festival approaches, the whole temple is bedecked with colorful decorations of flowers and lights. The temple is thoroughly cleaned and all the streets on which the Lord would go in procession also get a festive look. Paste made of sandalwood, refined camphor, saffron and other spices is smeared all over the temple. Lakhs of devotees from all over the world visit the temple during the Srivari Brahmotsava. 

Isurumuniya Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Isurumuniya Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The Isurumuniya Viharaya, a rock temple in the southern outskirts of Anuradhapura, probably was a place of worship already before the advent of Buddhism on the island. Isurumuniya is well-known for its variety of stone carvings and their quality. One enigmatic rock-cut sculpture depicts a resting person with the head of a horse behind his shoulder, a unique subject in Sri Lanka's art. It is commonly called "Man and Horse" because of the uncertainty of its interpretation. Some regard it as the South Indian god Ayanar, others as Parjanya, a personification of the rain cloud. The Ramayana Trail interpretation of this rock carving identifies the depicted man as Ravana's father, Rishi Visravasmuni with his white horse, and Isurumuniya as a temple built by Ravana in commemoration of his beloved parents.