Saturday, December 19, 2015

Sri Sivalokanathar temple (Mundeeswaram)

Sri Sivalokanathar temple (Mundeeswaram)

A temple which is 1000-2000 years old. Situated in Gramam, Tamil Nadu. Dwarapalakas of Lord Shiva (securities) Thindi and Mundi had worshipped Lord in this temple, hence named Mundeeswaram., which later changed as Tirumundeeswaram. A king Chokkalingam by name came here in Dwapara Yuga for hunting and found a strange lotus flower in a tank. His men were not able to pick up the flower. It began to circle around the tank. The king shot an arrow on the flower. The tank became red. The king fainted. Then, he found a Shivalinga in the flower which still has the scar on the head. He immediately built a temple on the banks of the tank installing the Shivalinga. Hence, the Lord is praised as Mudeeswarar. Based on this event, the name of the place is shown in the epigraphy details as Mouli Gramam – Mouli-Head and also crown. In the days followed, Mouli disappeared and Gramam stayed.

Sri Sita Amman Temple and Ashoka Vatica, Sita Eliya

Sri Sita Amman Temple and Ashoka Vatica, Sita Eliya

The Sita Amman Temple, located halfway between the highland village Sita Eliya and the Hakgala Botanical Gardens, has become the most venerated of all Ramayana Trail sites in Sri Lanka, because it is believed to be the place where Sita lived most of the time of her captivity on the island of Lanka. After she refused to stay in Ravana's magnificent palace she was transferred to Ashoka Vatika or Ashoka Vana where she lived under Ashoka trees. It was here that Ravana's wife Mandodarim visited her and that Hanuman met her for the first time, identifying himself with the finger ring of Rama. Sita is said to have bathed in the nearby stream. There are remarkable holes in the rocks at the river bank believed to be footprints of Lord Hanuman

Gold Temples Of India

The temple in Amritsar for the Sikh people is of gold and is famous as Golden Temple. The roof of Nataraja temple in Chidambaram and the Vimanas -tower above the sanctum sanctorum- in the temples of Palani Murugan, Puducherry Manakkula Vinayaka and Tirupathi Venkatachalapathy are of gold. Beyond all these gold-claims of these temple, the Sripuram Lakshmi Narayani temple covering 5000 square feet is full of gold everywhere, all weighing 1500 kilograms at a cost of Rs. 350 crore.

Almost all presiding deities in temples of Tamilnadu are swayambumurthis. That means every particle of the state is divine. Tirukaruhavur Vinayaka and Nandhi, Lord Shiva in almost all temples, Karamadai Ranganathar in Coimbatore district, Mari Amman in places as Tiruverkadu near Chennai, Lord Muruga in Vruddhachalam Kolanchiappar temple are a few to mention. Mother Lakshmi Narayani in this Vellore Golden Temple is also a swayambumurthi. As a temple for Mother Lakshmi Narayani is rare, a swayambu of Mother is also equally rare.

This Mahalakshmi Temple-Sri Lakshmi Narayani Temple is built to have the direct aspect of Lord Venkatachalapathi in Tirupathi. Hence, it was named Tirumalaikodi, in early days. After the completion of the construction of the temple, the name of the place is changed as Sri Puram. It would be doubly beneficial for the devotees to complete their pilgrimage to Tirupathi at Sripuram Sri Lakshmi Narayani-Mahalakshmi temple.

Mahalakshmi is the authority-deity for prosperity. She graces the devotees dressed with precious jewels and a crown of diamond, pearls and other precious gems. She pours boons of 16 kinds of prosperity. There is tank around the temple filled with water for 10 feet width.

This is a temple covering 100 acres, every inch of land reminding the beauty of nature and the grace of Almighty and a spiritual environment. Indeed, it is a different world altogether. The mandap and the artificial fountains opposite welcome the devotee. Besides the two pathways to go in and come out, there are 18 entrances behind the mandap representing the 18 characters of the human mind. The temple is designed according to Sri Chakra star lines. The temple is in round shape. It looks as if a Sri Chakra when viewed from the upper side.

Due to security and maintenance concerns, the devotee has to deposit his/her cell phone, camera and other articles including eatables at the entrance office. Every corner and part of the temple speaks but beauty and serenity. Modern lights along with traditional stone lights make even night a day in the temple. There are more than 3,000 trees around. The wind blows soft. Loose talks are prohibited within the temple till the devotee comes out after worship.

Devotees are advised to maintain silence. The temple by itself built with gold, even the paintings in other parts as decorative arches and madaps are of golden colour making the temple glitter for ever. There is a 27 feet tall, 10 tier traditional lamp opposite to Mother’s shrine made of Panchaloka, an alloy of five metals. This has space for lighting thousand lamps. There are statues of Mothers Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi in the meadows of the temple with artificial hills and falls.

The Kohinoor Diamond in the British Crown Jewels was the Eye of Hindu Goddess of Warangal

The Kohinoor Diamond in the British Crown Jewels was the Eye of Hindu Goddess of Warangal

The Kohinoor diamond was originally installed as one of the eyes of the presiding goddess of Warangal by the Kakatiya kings. In 1323 Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq defeated the Kakatiya rulers and took the diamond from the temple. Due to this sin, Ghiyath al-Din Tughluq was murdered just one year latter in a conspiracy by his own son. The cursed jewel was passed on to various kings throughout history, always bringing great misfortune and death.

In 1839, on his deathbed, Maharaj Ranjit Singh of Punjab donated the
Koh-i-noor diamond to Lord Jagannath of the Puri Jagannath Temple in Orissa, but as he died the diamond was refused to be transferred to the temple by the British administrators. Thus for a second time the diamond had been stolen from a Hindu temple.

In 1850, the jewel was stolen from India and delivered to the British
monarchy by force. Due to the curse of the diamond, the British empire also began to collapse shortly after it acquired the Kohinoor diamond. Today this same Kohinoor diamond is the crown jewel of the British empire, to be worn by the Queen of England. There have been many suggestions that the diamond should be returned to India.

The Jewel in the Crown: The Curse of the Koh-i-Noor Diamond

Its 750-year history is peppered with tales of murder and treachery.
Now, secret papers recently released have added another twist to the
186-carat gem's colourful history.

Some 155 years ago, a nine-year-old boy carrying a silk cushion was
brought before Queen Victoria. His job was simple: to present Britain
with the most glittering and symbolic spoil of its war to subjugate the
Indian sub-continent.

The boy was Duleep Singh, the last Sikh ruler of the Punjab, and the
prize his new imperial masters had made him travel 4,200 miles to
deliver was the Koh-i-Noor diamond - the mysterious and terrible stone of emperors.

The 186-carat gem, whose name means Mountain of Light in Persian and was described by one Mughal emperor as being "worth half the daily expense of the whole world", carried with it a curse and a 750-year bloodstained history of murder, megalomania and treachery.

But its passage to Britain in 1851 carried a different meaning: it was a
carefully choreographed exercise in establishing the majesty of the Raj - and the one-way flow of riches from it.

Lord Dalhousie, the Governor General of India who was credited with
masterminding the subjugation of the Punjab in the Second Sikh War in 1849 and subsequent surrender of the diamond, ordered that Prince Duleep, London's new puppet Maharajah of Lahore, deliver the Koh-i-Noor in person.

The diamond was war booty and its delivery was to be a spectacle carried out in much the same manner as the tribute paid by defeated enemies of Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors. It was the centrepiece of the Great Exhibition of 1851, attracting thousands of visitors.

In a letter to a friend in 1849, the viceroy wrote: "My motive was
simply this: That it was more for the honour of the Queen that the
Koh-i-Noor should be surrendered directly from the hand of the conquered prince into the hands of the sovereign who was his conqueror, than it should be presented to her as a gift."

It was perhaps with these words echoing in their ears that 127 years
later, British diplomats began the delicate task of dealing with a
forceful request from Pakistan - on whose territory the Koh-i-Noor was
surrendered - that the diamond be returned.

Secret government papers released under the 30-year rule today at the National Archives in Kew, west London, detail how in 1976 officials at the Foreign Office formulated a firm rebuttal to the Pakistani claim on what had literally become a jewel of the British Crown.

Prince Albert, Victoria's husband, spent £8,000 on having the Koh-i-Noor re-cut - at a cost of 40 per of its weight, slimming it down to 105 carats - after complaints at the Great Exhibition that the imperial prize was lacking in lustre.

It was set into the Imperial Crown and since 1911 the diamond has been worn in crowns worn by the female consort to the monarch, including the late Queen Mother, who wore it for her husband's coronation in 1937 and for her daughter's coronation in 1953.

The demand for the restoration of the diamond came from the Pakistani Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in a letter to his British
counterpart, James Callaghan. Dated 13 August 1976, the letter began: "I am writing to you shortly before our annual Independence Day. This occasion never fails to bring to mind Pakistan's historic grievances about the disposition of territories and assets to which we were entitled upon the termination of British rule."

Evoking the "immense sentimental value" of the diamond to Pakistan, Mr Bhutto continued: "Its return to Pakistan would be a convincing
demonstration of the spirit that moved Britain voluntarily to shed its
imperial encumbrances and lead the process of decolonisation."

But a memo from one senior civil servant made it clear that Britain
considered possession to be nine-tenths of the law. It read: "The stark
facts are these: i) We have the Koh-i-Noor diamond, whether or not our possession of it is legally justified. ii) We have made it clear that we are keeping the diamond, adducing the best arguments to support our contention."

The final response was expressed in more diplomatic language and made use of the fact that, such is the allure and mystique of the diamond, at least a dozen emperors, maharajahs, sultans and governments had been prepared to indulge in rare savagery and deceit to obtain it.

Advisers to Mr Callaghan pointed out that the 1849 Treaty of Lahore,
drawn up by Lord Dalhousie to formalise British rule in Punjab,
contained a clause formally surrendering the Koh-i-Noor to "the Queen of England".

They also suggested that its passage over the centuries through owners from the Delhi sultanate to the Persian shah meant there would be competing claims for ownership from Iran, Pakistan and India.

In response to Mr Bhutto, Mr Callaghan said: "I need not remind you of the various hands through which the stone has passed over the past two centuries, nor that explicit provision for its transfer to the British Crown was made in the peace treaty with the Maharajah of Lahore which concluded the war of 1849. I could not advise Her Majesty the Queen that it should be surrendered."

Islamabad responded to the rejection by immediately releasing the
letters between Mr Bhutto and Mr Callaghan to the Pakistani press, but drew only a muted public response.

The spat was only the latest in a bloody succession of battles for a
gemstone which has been the embodiment of the supremacy of force, and a harbinger of ill fortune throughout its history.

The Koh-i-Noor was mined in India in around 1100 and probably originated from Golconda in the southern region of Andhra Pradesh. The shape and size of a small hen's egg, the diamond attained a sinister mystique.

It is probably not entirely coincidental that the Koh-i-Noor is reserved
for use in crowns used by a female member of the British Royal Family. A Hindu text from the time of Koh-i-Noor's first authenticated appearance in 1306 states that the stone carries a curse lethal to male owners. It read: "Only God or a woman can wear it with impunity."

By the 16th century, the stone had fallen into the hands of the first
Mughal emperor, Babur, whose son was the first to fall foul of the
"curse" by being driven from his kingdom into exile.

The later Mughal ruler, Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal, had the
diamond placed into the famous Peacock Throne of the dynasty but spent his last days watching its reflection through a barred window after being imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb.

It was only after the mughals had been deposed and control of the
diamond passed to the Persians that the Koh-i-Noor received its present day name.

The story has it that Nadir Shah, the conqueror of the mughals, was
preparing to return home after sacking Delhi in 1736 when he realised
the diamond was missing from his booty.

He was supposedly tipped off by a disenchanted member of the mughal emperor's harem that his enemy kept it hidden in his turban. Using an old war custom, Nadir Shah proposed an exchange of turbans. As the gem fell to the ground from the unfurling cloth and caught the light, Nadir Shah is said to have proclaimed: "koh i noor."

Since then, the diamond has been lusted after by its owners, who have been hypnotised by its value and status. As one of Nadir Shah's
courtiers put it: "If a strong man should take five stones and throw one
north, one south, one east and one west, and the last straight up in the air, and then the space between filled with gold and gems, that would equal the value of the Koh-i-Noor."

After the assassination of Nadir Shah, another victim of the curse, the
diamond passed through the hands of his successors, each dethroned and ritually blinded, until it was passed in return for sanctuary to Ranjit Singh, the Lion of Lahore, self-declared ruler of Punjab and father of Duleep Singh.

Within 40 years, the stone had passed into the possession of Lord
Dalhousie after a military campaign every bit as ruthless and
blood-soaked as those which had previously been fought for possession of the Koh-i-Noor. What followed was a process of the Anglicisation of the diamond.

After Prince Albert had it trimmed it was mounted in a tiara, while
Prince Duleep was made a ward of the British Crown complete with an annual stipend of £50,000. He converted to Christianity and became a member of the racy circle of the young Edward VII, but died in poverty in Paris in 1893.

Some historians have pointed out that, after 155 years in the possession of British monarchy, the present Queen can claim be one of the longest-standing owners of the Koh-i-Noor. It is kept in the Tower of London as part of the Crown Jewels collection which is worth an estimated £13bn.

But despite Mr Callaghan's rebuttal to Pakistan 30 years ago, the
attraction of the diamond remains undimmed. The Indian High Commissioner to London accused Britain of "flaunting" the riches of empire when the Queen Mother's 1937 Coronation Crown was carried atop her coffin in 2002.

The mere suggestion last year that the same crown may pass to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, should her husband become king, was enough for New Delhi to renew its request.

A spokesman for the High Commission in London said: "The Indian
government has a legitimate claim. We hope to resolve the issue as soon as possible."

But behind closed doors in Whitehall, it is unlikely that the position
outlined 30 years ago has changed.

Epilogue: On 21 February 2013, while visiting India, David Cameron, the UK Prime Minister, stated that it would be illogical to return the
diamond to India. He further stated, "I certainly don't believe in
returnism, as it were. I don't think that's sensible." We should
remember that his country forced India to hand over this priceless
diamond during the colonial era. Cameron is keen to tap into India's
economic rise, but says he is "anxious to focus on the present and
future rather than reach back into the past".

Anjaneya Mountains

Anjaneya Mountains

Hanuman, is a strong devotee of Lord Rama highly revered monkey God. Hanuman is loved and worshiped all over India because of his qualities as being the best, most sincere and strongest devotee ever.

Trimbak, 33 km west of Nasik in Maharashtra, is revered as the city of one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva. In coming from Nasik and going to the Triyambakeswara Jyotir Linga Temple, you pass through the Anjaneya Mountains.

In the Anjaneya Mountains you also find the offspring of the Godavari River, one of the seven most holy rivers in India*. From here the Godavari flows east, right across India, down and out in the Bay of Bengal. The Godavari River is called "Ganga" in these parts of the country

सहस्त्रलिंग: नदी की तेज धार से होता है शिवलिंगों का अभिषेक - sahastralinga

कर्नाटक के एक छोटे से शहर सिरसी किनारे बहने वाली शलमाला नदी में एक साथ सैकड़ों शिवलिंग बने हुए हैं। इन सभी शिवलिंगों की एक खासियत है कि ये नदी के बीचों बीच बने हुए हैं। नदी के बीच में उभरी हर चट्टान पर शिवलिंग बना हुआ है। इसके साथ ही आस-पास की चट्टानों पर भी शिवपरिवार, नंदी तथा सांप की मूर्तियां बनी हुई हैं। इस स्थान को सहस्त्रलिंग के नाम से भी जाना जाता है।
घने जंगलों के बीच से होकर बहने वाली शलमाला नदी दूर से बिल्कुल शांत सी बहती दिखाई देती है। जब नदी के पास जाते हैं तो पानी की धारा के बीच मौजूद चट्टानों पर बने हुए ये शिवलिंग दिखाई देते हैं। माना जाता है कि इनका निर्माण सोलहवीं सदी में सिरसी के राजा सदाशिवाराया ने करवाया था।
महाशिवरात्रि पर इन नदी किनारें हजारों शिवभक्त यहां पूजा-अर्चना करने के लिए एकत्रित होते हैं और भगवान शिव का आर्शीवाद प्राप्त करते हैं। आसपास हरियाली और शांति होने के कारण यह कर्नाटक घूमने आने वाले वाले पर्यटकों के भी आकर्षण का केन्द्र है।
माना जाता है कि राजा सदाशिवराया ने यहां पर एक हजार शिवलिंग का निर्माण कराया था जिनका नदी की धारा प्रतिदिन अभिषेक किया करती थी। समय के प्रभाव से इनमें से अधिकांश अतीत की यादों में खो गए। अब कुछ ही बचे हैं, परन्तु जो हैं वे भी दर्शकों को अंचभित कर देते हैं कि किस प्रकार पानी के तेज बहाव में स्थिर रहकर इनको बनाया गया होगा।

सोमेश्वर महादेव मंदिरः जहां औरंगजेब ने भी झुकाया था अपना सिर, someshwar mahadev-temple where muslim aurangzeb had to offer prey

भारतीय इतिहास में मुगल शासक औरंगजेब को एक क्रूर और हिंदू विरोधी शासक के रूप में याद किया जाता है। औरंगजेब द्वारा हिंदुओं के कत्लेआम और मंदिरों को तहस-नहस करने की भी काफी सारी कहानियां प्रचलित है। परन्तु यह सोमेश्वर महादेव की ही महिमा थी कि उसे न केवल अपने हिंदू विरोधी अभियान को रोकना पड़ा वरन भगवान शिव के आगे सिर भी झुकाना पड़ा।
चंद्रदेव ने कि थी मंदिर की स्थापना
प्रयाग के सोमतीर्थ स्थित सोमेश्वर महादेव मंदिर भारत के प्रमुख शिवालयों में माना जाता है। पद्मपुराण के अनुसार इस मंदिर की स्थापना चंद्रदेव ने की थी। पौराणिक मान्यता है कि चन्द्रदेव को ऋषि गौतम द्वारा कुष्ठ रोगी होने का शाप दिया गया था। चंद्रदेव ने इस शाप से मुक्ति के लिए यहीं बैठ कर भगवान शिव की आराधना की। चंद्रदेव का कुष्ठ रोग दूर करने के साथ ही भोलेनाथ ने आर्शीवाद दिया कि जो भी इस मंदिर में दर्शन करेगा उसके समस्त कष्ट दूर हो जाएंगे। चंद्रदेव के लाम पर ही इस मंदिर का नाम सोमेश्वर महादेव पड़ा। सावन के महीने में यहां पर हजारों की संख्या में शिवभक्त दर्शन के लिए आते हैं।
औरंगजेब ने भी झुकाया था सिर
औरंगजेब ने अपने राज में सभी हिंदू मंदिरों को तोड़ने की आज्ञा दी थी। ऐसे ही एक अभियान के दौरान उसकी सेना सोमेश्वर महादेव मंदिर पहुंची परन्तु यहां पर भगवान शिव के चमत्कार को देख वह नतमस्तक हो गया। उसने मंदिर को तोड़ने का फैसला टाल दिया और एक बडी जागीर मंदिर के रख-रखाव के लिए दान में दे दी। इसका उल्लेख मंदिर के बाहर लगे एक धर्मदंड और फरमान में भी है।
क्या लिखा है मंदिर के बाहर धर्मदंड में
सोमेश्वर महादेव मंदिर में हनुमान प्रतिमा के सामने एक धर्मदंड है। एक शिला के रूप में स्थापित इस धर्मदंड में संवत् 1674 के श्रावण मास में औरंगजेब की ओर से मंदिर को जागीर दिए जाने का उल्लेख है। परन्तु प्रतिदिन सिंदूर का लेप होने के कारण यह लेख एकदम से स्पष्ट नहीं दिखाई देता।