Katarmal Sun Temple - Almora

Visit here is all joys and a curiosity that how such a mammoth construction took place at this place..

Lanes of Istanbul - Where civilizations merge

Being one of the oldest cities on this earth, Istanbul is a delight to history lovers...

Malana

A place which has been lying forbidden and disconnected from the mainland. Malana still follows their culture and traditions...

Temples at Batesara

Around 350 temples are estimated to have existed here. Excavation work is ongoing to restore temples of a lost era.

Murud Janjira Fort

In 15th century AD, this majestic structure was constructed inside the Arabian Sea to protect the kingdom from the pirates.

Seychelles

Untouched beauty, unbridled love, riot of colours the nature is here and how well the people add to it.

September 3, 2018

Shri Krauncha Giri, Kumar Swamy Temple - Forgotten Chalukya Legacy

Whether you are travelling on the road or off the road, you are never far off from a wonderful Offbeat Spot. Such is the beauty of Land called India. 

The era of Vijayanagara empire has been often called as the most prosperous region ever to have happened, on this earth. Other than the majestic Hampi Kingdom, this region also has some impressive monuments which are yet to be explored. While meandering in this region came to know about a panoramic temple on Krauncha Giri (Giri means Hill in hindi language), somewhere nearby.
Search for that exclusive temple took me to the Swamimalai Forest Range, wherein lies the legendary Krauncha Giri mountain. I had no idea that I was going to walk into a legendary chapter of our Mythology. Legendary…? 

Located 10 km away from Sandur in Bellary district, this mountain is the site of the famous Kumar Swamy temple (also spelled as Kumaraswamy/ Kumaraswami). The  Kumar Swamy Temple complex consists of 2 temples dedicated to Lord Karthikeya and Goddess Parvati (Mother of Lord Karthikeya). Lush green mountains in the backdrop make a perfect canvas for this temple.

Located inside the mountains, this beautiful temple complex was built during the reign of Chalukya Dynasty, around 7th century, almost 1200 years back. Chalukya rulers were great patrons of architecture. Cave temples at Badami is another notable construction by Chalukya Rulers. 
Originally the temple was dedicated to Goddess Parvati. Perfect ambience to pray to the Gods. 

Distinct dome of the temple is complimented by intricate carvings on the walls:

With the decline of Chalukyas in this part, Rashtrakuta dynasty (6th – 10th century) took over the Southern India. This temple was rebuilt by the Rashtrakutas and the present idol of Lord Karthikeya (Lord Subramanya) was put at the place, inside this beautiful temple. 

After the decline of Rashtrakutas, the area was taken over by the forests and the temple was lost for a substantial period of time. But such a jewel could not have remained lost for long. During 15th century Ghorpades (sub-clan of the Maratha Bhosale clan) discovered the temple. The Ghorpades who valued and respected the local cultures and were equally respected by the locals. Since then the temple has been a sacred place for worship by everyone.

The entrance of the sanctum is decorated with beautiful engravings on the Soapstone. This temple has some peculiar domes/ temple tops, very unusual composition, as compared to other temples in the country. Check out the domes of Karthikeya Temple, Lord Ganesha sitting at top:

Lord Krishna decorating the top of a small Lord Shiva Temple:

While walking around in the premises, saw something peculiar about the Karthikeya temple. After seeing carefully, noticed that the upper temple structure has been placed on the blocks. Check out- 
This is amazing, India had got such architectural techniques so long back.

Legend about the mountain
Word Krauncha looks strange. As per mythology, Krauncha was a demon who used to take the shape of mountain to kill the sages who used to pass through this way. Sage Agastya cursed him to turn into a mountain till being killed by Lord Karthikeya by ripping apart the mountain. 

The unique feature of mountain Krauncha Giri is that it is shaped like an ellipse, with a pass cutting across it. According to the legends, this gap in the mountain was made by Lord Karthikeya (Known as Lord Subramanya or Lord Murugan in South India) when he had ripped apart this mountain to kill the demon Taraka, who was hiding inside this mountain.

Thereafter Krauncha Giri became the first residence of Lord Karthikeya in the South India. This story is told in Mahabharatha Salya Parva and in Skanda Purana. This gap in the mountain has also been mentioned in Kalidasa’s lyric poem Meghdutam. 

Walking around and chatting with the priests about the  past of this place, came across a small complex of Shivalingas and statues:
  
Now in the Swamimalai forest range, trees like rosewood, sandalwood, teak wood, etc. flourish in their full glory. 
According to geologists, this peculiar mountain is made of volcanic eruptions and is very rich in mineral deposits. The soil and lake here is red marshy that owes to presence of rich ferrous and manganese deposits. Check the panoramic road to Kumar Swamy temple. 

Tigers used to roam freely here till 1960’s. But not anymore, due to hunting and habitat loss resulting out of mindless mining, they were swept away. Peacocks are also a very common sight here. The forest range is also a very good habitat of leopards.

Krauncha Giri is just 10 km away from Sandur. Karnataka State highway (SH-40) pass through the gap in the mountain, connecting Sandur to rest of the State. The temple complex is located on south-west corner and is connected to Sandur by road. Road condition is reasonable good albeit some rough patches. However heavy vehicles carrying mines are regular on this route so caution is required while driving. 

Nearest Rail Heads are: Hospet, Bellary & Toranagallu (24 km) on Guntakal-Hubli line.
The temple is open from 9:30 AM to 1:30 PM and from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Location and route to Kumar Swamy temple from nearby landmark points like Hyatt Hampi (17 km.), Toranagallu Junction and Hampi (57 km.):

Keep Exploring Guys…

August 8, 2018

Hawaii for the First Timers: How to Plan the Perfect Getaway


It is only plausible that you have kept Hawaii in your list of must-visit destinations for quite some time, because duh! It’s Hawaii! It has been a dream destination for all of us 90’s kids who have grown up watching every favourite character on television or films going to Hawaii for a dream vacation, relaxing in the beach, indulging in a fair share of water sports and enjoying the Hawaiian coastal weather to the fullest.
However, whenever these characters used to visit the beaches it was given that they know their way around, putting up at the best of places, enjoying the best of cuisines and making the most out of a short trip in general (Cinematic Liberty anyone?). The scenario IS possible though, given that there aren’t many places in Hawaii where you would be completely disappointed with the experience but the truth is that Hawaii has a lot to offer in terms of its islands. Each of the islands has its distinctive culture and diverse things to offer to a person who is visiting for the first time.
Though accommodation is seldom a problem with comfortable Hawaii rentals available at affordable prices with stunning views (since every place in Hawaii is a breathtaking locale in its own) and each morsel of the Hawaiian cuisine is delectable, the true challenge when visiting Hawaii for the first time is deciding which all places to visit and more importantly which places to leave out.  The most popular destinations, namely, the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Molokai, each with a completely different set of characteristics, different flavours and different things in store for people who visit them. Confused? Don’t worry, we have come up with a list that you can consider as your guide if you are visiting Hawaii for the first time.

Visit O’ahu for the Best of Good Times and Good Life: 
Does a vacation for you truly equate to the most relaxing time of the year? Then no questions asked, O’ahu is your pick of the trip. O’ahu has got the best of the beaches, food and culture to offer. Almost 75 per cent of the native people call ‘the Gathering place’ their home. The city is crowded in general and it might look a bit too crowded at the bus stations or at the sidewalks since it is here that the all the amenities of a city life can be enjoyed, but beautiful beaches and amazing forest hike trails are just a few miles away, if you are looking for a quick and tranquil getaway. Not to mention the historical museums that you might catch a sight of while putting up here.
Another one of the major attractions of O’ahu is the amazing food that is available here. All of Hawaii’s A-list chefs with their A-list preparations have chosen O’ahu as their base, and fusion menus find their own, sweet way into your tables. Not only that, there are food trucks spotted and the Farmers Island Market in here at O’ahu and if a trip for you translates into passing out into a food coma, then this is the place for you. 

Go on an Adventure Tour in the Big Islands:
If you want your fair share of adrenaline pumping activities, then you must make your itinerary keeping the Big Islands as your focal point. Hawaii is technically a volcanic archipelago and some say, in spite of the multicoloured sand beaches and the impressive lush forest ranges present, the main attraction of Hawaii is the lava tour you get to experience here. Kilauea in Hawaii is the world’s most active volcano and for hikers, it is a dream come true to travel through the barren surroundings of the volcanic mountain. You can even spot volcanic eruptions, hot and slick lava and other dried up remains that will make your hike a thrilling experience.
Emerald valleys, ice cold waterfalls merging into pools, lava flows colliding against lush rainforests and the loftiest summits are the things these places are made up off. Also, extra points if you are a wildlife lover because the Big Islands is the place where you can spot spinner dolphins and sea turtles along with some awe-inspiring coral gardens that are packed with vibrant coloured fish. However, the best rare animal spotting can be done in the winters, where you can catch a glimpse of the humpback whale in all its glory. 

Surf and Surf in Maui:
For some of us, beaches mean endlessly indulging in water sports. It is a truly rejuvenating experience when you can let go and become a total water baby. Maui provides you with that opportunity. Surf and surf in the well diminutive waters of the Maui and experience an adrenaline rush like never before. There are a lot of surfing schools which help you train so that your surfing experience is safe and sound. Apart from that, Maui like O’ahu offers you a good eating experience too. Maui is home to a lot of upcountry pastures where the beef is grass-fed and thus you can have a meaty affair to remember for your lifetime. Apart from that, Maui also provides you with an opportunity to hike with the bamboo forest and lofty ridgetops. 
Though there are a lot of other places you could very well visit in Hawaii, these places form the crux of the Hawaiian heaven. The choice of your places also completely depends on your choices as an individual and what you are looking to get out of a trip. However, rest assured, you can never be disappointed when you visit the Aloha state. 

So lets pack your bags and book your tickets to Hawaii.  

August 3, 2018

Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, Alwar

1.      One Man who brought the Rolls Royce company to its knees and
2.      One of most haunted place in the world.
What is the relation?
The man was King Jai Singh, who bought entire available fleet of Rolls Royce (6 cars) on one day in year 1920 and ordered the municipality to use the Rolls Royce cars for garbage collection at his kingdom. Those were the times when Rolls Royce were used to sweep the streets in India.
The haunted place is “Bhangarh Fort” where entry before sunrise and after sunset is prohibited by law. Still not making sense. Let’s add one more point in the list;
3.      A temple dating back to the time of Mahabharata, that is approx. 5000 years back.

Thread all the 3 points and we land in the city of Alwar. Not so known, but a quiet place popular with tourists seeking some adventures/ quiet moments.
Leaving apart the desert areas of Rajasthan, Alwar is one of the most arid and scorching places in India. Nestled in the Aravali Ranges, Alwar has a preserved a secret from the times of Mahabharata. The secret is the “Neelkanth Temple”, dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Pandavas carried the Shivlinga of Lord Shiva all the way from Kashi (Varanasi) and positioned at this place and a temple was erected for the Shivalinga. The engraved carvings on the temple walls are unique, in fact looks like statues glued to the walls:

Some of the carvings here are double layered. Check out the carved around main temple door and another door:




Have not come across such type of carvings, with so much depth at any other place in India. So probably this temple is much much older than many of the temples in India which are approx. 1000 or 2000 years old. Check out:

Excavations by Archaeological Survey of India have revealed existence of around 1000 temples in this place. 1000 temples in one place, probably the place must have been a grand establishment in its prime days.
More than 1000 temples used to exist at this sacred place. Why only one is standing now? What happened to other temples?
These temples were desecrated and destroyed by the attackers. However, when the attackers tried to damage the still standing Neelkanth temple, a huge fire erupted from the temple sanctum. Fire was so harsh that the soldiers had to surrender to the all mighty Lord Shiva and the king of the attackers had to ask for forgiveness from the Lord Shiva in order to safely retreat. That is why this Neelkanth temple is still standing to this day. Can clearly see the damage on the beautiful carvings:


The temple was constructed with 2 more connected shrines like structures. However, except the main temple, other 2 have got flat roofs. 

Existence of nearby places like Viratnagar (then known as kingdom of King Virat), where Pandavas stayed in disguise for one year further reinforces the fact that this Neelkanth Temple dates back to that age. 
As per records the temples were further re-beautified in around 1010 AD by king Ajaypal Rajorgarh (the place where Neelkanth temple is situated comes under Rajgarh. Word Rajorgarh changed to Rajgarh during course of time. Found inscriptions, dated 961 AD also refer to temples being built by King Mathanadeva, a related to local Pratihara dynasty. Other temples are in a dilapidated situation, crying desperately for refurbishment.
The place and this temple is revered and visited by large of devotees in the month of July/ August (Shravan, श्रावण). As per Hindu calendar month of Shravan, श्रावण is considered as most auspicious month of the year.
Where roads end, adventure begins. Last mile is in extremely bad shape; one has to literally wage an uphill battle. On reaching, once again realised that a journey of thousand steps makes the view from top so exhilarating. For explorers, travelling is like “Meditation” which keeps you cool even in temperature > 500 Celsius. That’s how the way to Neelkanth looks from the top.

Found remains from the excavations indicate number of step wells, one palace with 360 steps under the ground and a number of small temples dedicated to Lord Hanuman and others. Check out this step well in front of Neelkanth temple. 


Keep travelling Guys. And here is the route to the legendary "Bhangarh Fort" from Neelkanth Temple.

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August 1, 2018

7 destinations in Europe that will make you go OMG

Who is to ask if you want to spend your evening sipping tasty wine at Florence, catch some opera action at Vienna, or say, just settle for a high-tea in Liverpool? With so many lovely things to do, a trip to Europe will constantly have you on your toes. But to make the best of it whilst touring the continent, you have to be prepared. Take a glimpse through the list of top 7 destinations to visit in Europe that will make you go OMG. Once done, start packing your goodies, and strap your feet into comfortable walking shoes to embark on the greatest European venture.

1. Paris
Image credit - https://pixabay.com/en/eiffel-tower-lights-fountains-1280022/

Paris has the eyes of an ample number of tourists every year. Majorly because of the delicious cuisine and the eye-captivating art collections it holds. It's always a good time to take a stroll by River Seine which flows through the city. The river is fringed with museums, churches, and buildings sporting a Neoclassical architecture. A visit to Musée d'Orsay is a must and for designer clothes shopping there's no better place than Champs Élysées. The boutiques in the Le Marais lane also houses nice collections. A selfie from the top of Eiffel Tower doesn't require second thoughts, does it?

2. Greece
Image credit - https://pixabay.com/en/beautiful-landscape-sea-summer-1927327/

With absolutely no limits for white-coated hillside towns, hidden caves with small pools - Greece is a stunner for real. The cities of Mykonos and Santorini in Greece with their pristine beaches and nightlife clubs are bound to entertain you to the fullest. The islands of Pano Koufonisi, Paros and Antiparos have their own share of bliss, thanks to the coastal terrain. History buffs can take a tour of the Acropolis where they can marvel at the ancient architecture and later check out Hephaestus Temple.

3. Rome
Image credit - https://pixabay.com/en/rome-the-vatican-italy-1945033/

Rome is a city of seven hills and it has multiple scenic hubs which will bring out the good feels in you. The mystery buzzing about the Vatican City and the leftovers of the Colosseum will get you curious for real. Enjoying the ever-delicious pizza at a cafe on Piazza Navona, and later visiting the Pantheon & the Roman Forum will complete your Rome tour.

4. Salzburg
Image credit - https://pixabay.com/en/mountain-alpine-wild-emperor-2444712/

Salzburg is the birthplace of the ever famous composer Mozart. It's also known for Alstadt where explorations can be done. Adding more josh is the fact, the movie "Sound of Music" was shot here and a special tour of this place is a must. Make sure to add Salt mine trek and underground lake cruise to your Austrian vacation.

5. Amsterdam
Image credit - https://pixabay.com/en/amsterdam-night-canals-evening-1150319/

Just be very sure of grabbing a pack of cheese fries and a can of Heineken beer when you are in Amsterdam. The buildings here have vibrantly shaded ceilings and gorgeous interiors. Head to the Museum district where you can spot the Van Gogh Museum. An alternate to this is the Rijksmuseum, which houses the best works of Vermeer and Rembrandt. De Pijp is famous for fancy restaurants and Vondelpark erupts with multiple attraction spots. Theatre addicts can enjoya show at the Royal Theatre Carré and later party scenes at its best can be witnessed at Leidseplein.

6. London
Image credit - https://pixabay.com/en/london-eye-ferris-wheel-london-945497/

A trip to London will never ever disappoint you. History tales and modern day happenings join hands at this wonder of a city. Gawk at the historic Tower of London and Tate Modern. A visit to Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye Ferris wheel and the Tower Bridge doesn't require special callouts. Head to Cabinet War Rooms if you are looking to check out what the English army had in store during the war times.

7. Barcelona
Image credit - https://pixabay.com/en/barcelona-railway-station-680182/

Fondly referred to as the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona is where you will drown in amazing art and architecture. You can find energetic life at Las Ramblas with a series of narrow streets and alleys packed with cosy restaurants. A tour of Antoni Gaudí's masterpieces is also suggested followed by a stadium tour of Camp Nou where football legends like Xavi, Iniesta have played.

With just the right list to tour Europe, you can squeeze the best out of the vacation. It only gets better when you have the experts recommending you with where to go and the top activities to try out. With the travel experts at Pickyourtrail, get the best out of Europe. Based in Chennai, the tech-travel startup specializes in personalized international vacations and is a great place to quench your thirst for travel.

July 4, 2018

Chang-Gyeong-Gung Palace, Seoul..

Changgyeonggung Palace is one of the major attraction for heritage lovers in Seoul. It was built in 1483 by King Seongjong (the 9th king of the Joseon Dynasty) dedicated to his father and also to take care of the wives of the preceding kings.

It is one of the "Five Grand Palaces" built by the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1897). Majestic Myeongjeongmun Gate for welcoming the visitors and leading to  Myeongjeongjeon Hall. 

Myeongjeongjeon is the main hall of the palace, where state affairs were held, such as meetings with officials and the reception of foreign envoys. In particular, Myeongjeongjeon represents an outstanding example of 17th century Joseon architectural style and is the oldest main hall of this palace. The Royal feeling of addressing the kingdom from the dais...

However as compared to other palaces constructed by Joseon dynasty, the Changgyeonggung palace is considered as very compact, but going around the beautiful buildings in this beautiful palace on foot left me with no energy to explore any other place that day. "Compact is too big"... 


Exploring the secrets hidden inside the fabulous palaces...

There is also a pond in the premises, I was lucky to witness Frozen Daechundangji Pond. Must have been a witness of many romantic encounters...

While visiting Changgyeonggung palace, you may also visit nearby/ connected Changdeokgung as well, which is also referred to as "Donggwol," the "East Palace."

Most of the palace buildings were destroyed during the wars and invasion of Korea in 1592. The main buildings such as Myeongjeongjeon, Munjeongjeon (council hall), Hwangyeongjeon (Hall), Inyangjeon (Hall), Gongsacheong, and Honghwamun (Gate) were rebuilt by King Gwanghaegun (the 15th king of the Joseon Dynasty). Further additions to this palace like Geongeukdang, Jagyeongjeon, Wolgeunmun were done subsequently by the Joseon Dynasty.

Once a zoo has been constructed on this site by the invaders and the palace turned into "Changgyeong Garden". However since 1987, the palace has been reconstructed and now resembles its original form.

To reach here: Take subway line 4 to Hyehwa Station. Come out from exit 4 and walk about 300 m. or you can also enjoy 20 minutes walking from Namdaemun Market.

Keep exploring the Land of Morning Calm...


June 1, 2018

Mystical Caves of Patal Bhuvaneshwar

After snaking around for most part of the day, travelling from Jageshwar in search of that coveted mysterious limestone cave temple, we were about to reach the place from where we would have got a chance to go under the earth.
14 km from Gangolihat in the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand is the mysterious place known as Patal Bhuvaneshwar, (पाताल भुवनेश्वर). The meaning of “Patal” is place under the earth. Small walk of 5 minutes and we were at the entrance of this cave, which is 160 m long and 90 feet deep from the point of entrance. But we had to wait as entry to the cave is permitted only in batches along with a dedicated guide. Those suffering from high Blood Pressure and breathing problems (Asthma) are advised not to go down.




World of Caves at Patal Bhuvaneshwar is an encyclopaedia into our mythology and has reference to various Eras of time, Sagar Manthan (Ocean churning), Lord Ganesh beheading, Pandavas, River Ganga in Lord Shiva’s hairs and many more. Reference about this cave is found in ‘Manaskhand’ and ‘Skandpuran’ whose 800 verses tells about Patal Bhuvneshwar. Cave is spread upto 160 kms long, however exploration is allowed only till a small distance. Cave is all natural, not constructed or carved by any human.
From the entrance we were seeing that this cave has a narrow tunnel-like opening, however this leads to a number of caves. We have to get down 90 feet on some very steep and slippery stairs. I got some tremendous workout, by holding on just to a chain in one hand and carrying my 4-year-old kid in other hand.
Built by the flow of water, Patal Bhuvaneshwar is not just one cave, rather a series of caves within caves. At some point we have to just lie down flat to get down inside the cave. Stairs’ stones have got some natural carvings as well. You need not fear the darkness as the cave is fully electrically illuminated. Photography is strictly prohibited and cameras, mobile phones have to be deposited outside the cave. The below pictures were clicked from one of the outside shops, selling the pictures of this legendary cave.
As soon as we enter the cave, the first formation visible on our left hand side is stone carving of Sheshnaag (King of All Serpents) holding the earth on his head.

Few steps ahead, is a small havankund (small enclosure to perform rituals), where once a havan (ritual) was performed by the gods to burn all the snakes. It is believed that one snake hid inside the fruit to save his life we can see the snake like carving on the wall of the cave.






Moving forward we came across a structure, resembling the lower part of the body below the head of a human. It is believed that at this place the head of Lord Ganesh was cut by his father Lord Shiva. Furious by this act of Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati took a terrifying form (avatar). Scared by this Lord Brahma put a flower on top of the lower body of the Ganesha, nectar was flowing out from this flower to preserve the body of Ganesh for the time Gods arranged to replace the head with head of Elephant. That is how Lord Ganesh came in the form of Elephant God. The nectar dripping down from the petal of the flower would have preserve this head for ever.


The place where devotees worship Lord Shiva. This Shivalinga was placed here by Shankaracharya. Suddenly we came across a stream with many pebbles in it. Those pebbles were giving an impression of many people standing in an assembly. The guide revered them as thirty-three Koti (type) devi-devta of Hinduism. Practically with in these 33 types referred to as Gods, all the forms of life existing on Earth are covered. That is why Hinduism lay so special emphasis on preserving and respecting all forms of lives.

Our guide then drew our attention towards three Stalagmite formations that looked like three heads. He told that these heads represent the trinity of Hinduism – Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Those three heads had three corresponding Stalactite over them. Out of these three, water was dripping over the heads of Shiva and Vishnu, but had dried over the head of Brahma. Guide explained that once Brahma and Vishnu started argument on which one is greater. Lord Shiva intervened on request from Lord Vishnu and Mahesh and took a form of giant Lingam (Avatar of Lord Shiva). Winner will be the one who will locate the end of this lingam. Vishnu soon realised that there is no end to this lingam and indeed Lord Shiva is the greatest. However, Brahma decided to lie to Lord Shiva and asked flower Ketaki to testify in his support. This lie turned fatal to Brahma, as infuriated Shiva cut his fifth head (which lied) and also cursed Brahma for not to be worshipped by anyone. So Brahma lost his devotees and the falling water had dried over Brahmas head. Perhaps this is the reason why Lord Brahma, despite being hailed as creator of Earth is not worshipped like Lord Shiva and Vishnu.
Also flower Ketaki was cursed that it will not be used in any ritual henceforth. Though Ketaki flower (known as Screw Pine) is highly fragrant and is used for preparation of perfumes and fragrant Oils.
We saw a small tunnel like opening was there which looked like open mouth of a dog and drops of water were drippling down from the tongue. The guide told us the story about it is that if someone goes inside his mouth and travel till the tail, will attain Moksh.
Moving ahead further inside the caves, we saw 4 doors type structures out of which 3 were closed and one was open for walking through. Guide informed that the 4 doors are door of sin and crime, the door of war, the door of righteousness, and the door of duty (पाप द्वार, युध द्वार, धर्म द्वार और कर्तव्य द्वार). These doors associated with important events in the past were open in the beginning - door of sin and crime (पाप द्वार) closed after the death of Ravana, door of war (युध द्वार) was closed after battle of Mahabharata and the door of righteousness (धर्म द्वार) was closed after Yudhishthir (eldest of the Pandavas) attained nirvana. Today only the door of duty is open, highlighting the fact that humans should only focus towards righteous duty in this age.  To convince us about the closed doors, the guide flashed his torch in the directions of closed doors and we were able to see closed paths, which looked like closed with time with landslides.

And there is also a Crane, face of which was pointing to the other side. Once the legendary Swan was assigned duty to keep a watch over the heavenly nectar pond. However, the Swan got greedy and decided to drink the nectar. Furious Gods cursed the Swan with neck turned to another side. 





Every step here was unravelling our rich and resourceful mythology. In one corner we noticed a stream of water and some white impression looking like the Jatas (rolled hairs) of a yogi. This time the connection was about coming of river Ganga on Earth. King Bhagirath who pleased Goddess Ganga (River Ganga is considered as river from heaven) to come on earth and liberate his ancestors who were cursed by the fury of sage Kapil.  However, Goddess Ganga told that Earth is incapable to hold the weight of her descent on Earth.  So King Bhagirath prayed and requested Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva agreed to hold the descent of Ganga from heaven in his hairs and allowed to flow thereafter. That is why river Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi. My goodness, what this trip is turning out to be.

The Jatas like structure actually are the Jatas of Lord Shiva, below which there is a kund (small enclosure for water) filled with that Ganga water and was made by Vishvakarma. As told by the guide no one knows the end point of his kund.
Moving forward the guide drew our attention towards a stone which was growing up vertically from bottom. This stone represents the present time era of Kalyug, it is said that once the stone will grow upto the top it will be the end of this world.








Guide pointed towards the dark corner of the cave and said this is the place where the Pandavas stayed while enroute to the heaven.
While coming out the guide told about Kalpwriksh, Kaamdhenu (the sacred cow) and Airawat (the mighty white elephant that carries Indra, the lord of rains), treasures from churning of ocean. And showed stone formation resembling the Kalpwriksh, udders of Kaamdhenu and legs of Airawat.
This was the end of our exploration of this amazing place and the journey we covered on our bare feet or on our knees. A journey which as per the mythology gives significance equivalent to Badrinath, Kedarnath and Amarnth travel.

PS - Photography is strictly prohibited and cameras, mobile phones have to be deposited outside the cave. The above pictures were clicked from one of the outside shops, selling the pictures of this legendary cave..