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Showing posts with label Hill Top Temples. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hill Top Temples. Show all posts

Trimbakeshwar Temple, Nasik

Western Ghats, the mountain ranges which is older than Himalayas stretches along the Western coast of India for approx. 1600 km. The mountain ranges are endowed with diverse ecosystems ranging from tropical wet evergreen forests to montane grasslands containing variety of flora, fauna and numerous medicinal plants.


However, in ancient times these lush green Western Ghats once had witnessed a severe and long spell of drought for more than 100 years. Then, Maharishi Gautam did a long meditation to please Lord Shiva and requested Lord Shiva to allow Goddess Ganga to appear at this place. Pleased by Maharishi Gautam, Lord Shiva happily agreed to the request and so did Goddess Ganga. But Goddess Ganga put a condition that she will appear here only if Lord Shiva also stays here in this region.


Lord Shiva agreed to this condition as well and released Goddess Ganga from his locks, “Jatas” at Brahmagiri mountains, which is adjacent to Trimbakeshwar temple. Ganga river which appeared here was initially known by the name Gautami River (after Maharishi Gautam) and is now called as “River Godavari”. And since then, Lord Shiva has been residing in the form of” Lord Trimbakeshwar”, meaning God with 3 eyes in this region, in fact Brahmagiri mountain is considered as a form of Lord Shiva. Subsequently a temple was built to worship Lord Shiva at the place. Trimbakeshwar Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Lord Shiva and is one of the holiest places for Hindu pilgrims and devotees.

Once you are in the temple premises after praying to the Lord Shiva, clicking the beautiful architecture will keep you occupied for reasonable time.

Since ancient times, the temple has been renovated and upgraded by various rulers of the region. The present Trimbakeshwar temple was constructed by 3rd Peshwa Balaji Bajirao during 1740-1761, at the site of old existing temple and subsequently renovated by Ahilyabai Holkar in 1789. The Jyotirlinga here in the temple is in the form of 3 faced Linga, symbolizing trinity of Gods - Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. 

From entry to the temple –

Till the exit from the sacred sanctum, exquisite carvings adorn the temple walls.


Architecture of temple is a lesson in symmetric geometry, you may spend a whole day to locate any flaw in the design:

Nasik is well connected by roads, trains and airways. Mumbai to Nasik takes around 5 hours by road and the road takes you on a refreshing journey from the valleys to the origin of river Godavari in Nasik. Since pilgrims and devotees from all over India come to this temple, be prepared to witness long ques for entry to the temple, irrespective of time of the day. Enjoy the experience of standing in the que, along with other devotees.

This is the skyline of Trimbakeshwar with Brahmagiri mountain sitting majestic atop-

# - Godavari river is the 2nd longest river in India, which flows for around 1450 km. and finally meets with Bay of Bengal.

# - Trimbakeshwar is located at the foot of Brahamagiri hill, about 3000 feet above sea level.


Trimbakeshwar town is an ancient Hindu Pilgrim centre located at the source of the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India. 

Keep exploring Folks…

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Triveni Dham, Shahpura

Whenever I used to drive to Jaipur from Delhi via NH48, I always used to thank government for the Smooth Ride. It was going on like this for ages, till one day I decided to explore what it is on right and left turns of this legendary highway. 

At one instant while driving from Delhi to Jaipur, one left turn had taken me to Bhangarh and ancient Neelkanth Mahadev Mandir. So, to explore what is there on the right side of NH48, I started Zooming-In the Google maps before Jaipur and I found one spot called “Triveni Dham”, approx. 12-13 km. from Shahpura.

It was the time to put to practice what I always tell - “Taking a couple of breaks to appreciate the beauty of the roads and surrounding spots will not delay your journey but will surely add the Magic to your spirits”. So, within half an hour from taking a right turn I was at Triveni Dham and in front of me was a grand temple premises at the bottom of a hill.

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Jatoli Shiv Temple, Solan

Solan is a small town in Himachal Pradesh, but has one of the oldest breweries in India, is popular as “Mushroom city of India” and is also known as “City of Red Gold”. First 2 are self explanatory, well the "Red Gold" is for the tomatoes production, almost highest in the country.
Solan once a cantonment settlement, is one of the secrets of Himachal to be explored with some beautiful temples and scenic landscapes. Not just temples, Solan is home to tallest Lord Shiva temple in Asia, Jatoli Shiv Temple.

On way to Shimla from Kasauli, via Solan take a right turn on Rajgarh Road and drive for 8 km. to reach the scenic hilltop grand temple. Jatoli Shiv Temple is one of the sacred destinations in Solan, which attracts devotees from all over the country. Jatoli Shiv temple is the tallest temple of Lord Shiva in Asia and is also one of the very ancient temples. It is believed that Lord Shiva had visited this place and stayed for some time and reason behind the 112 ft. height of this temple is the Jatas (Hairs) of Lord Shiva.
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VarahNarsimha Simhachalam Temple

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Situated near to Vizag (around 18 Km.) on a hill top, Simhachalam temple, known as "Simhachalam Devasthanam" is believed to be as the oldest temples in the world. The word Simhachalam means the hill of the lion and this temple is a true portrait of rich heritage of Vizag.

Bhakt Prahlad needs no introduction and probably is the most told story to every kid in our country. This is the hill where Lord Vishnu had appeared to save Prahlada who was dropped from top of the hill, by the demon Hiranyakshipu into  the sea. Later on after demon Hiranyakashipu was killed by Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Narsimha, Prahlad had built the first temple at this site. Lord Vishnu is worshipped as Lord VarahaNarasimha (वराह नरसिंह ) here.

The present structure of temple was constructed by King Sri Krishna Devaraya. However a few scripts found here dates to 9th century, Chola Empire and 13th century AD as well.

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Anjaneya Parvat - Birth place of Lord Hanuman

Off late Vijaynagar had become a 2nd home, have been visiting it almost every 2nd week. While one of these visits got 3-4 hours break from my schedule, so thought of making use of these 3-4 hours. I knew of a hill top temple at Anjaneya Parvat, place believed to be birth place of Lord Hanuman.  So called up the taxi driver and asked if can do Anjaneya Parvat in 3-4 hours? Driver told yes, but slightly tough, Vow decision was taken and I was on my way to Anjaneya temple well before the first ray of sunlight.


Locally known as Anjaneyadri hill, this place is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Hanuman (the most powerful of the Gods). Nearby attractions like Pampa Lake, Rishimukh Parvat reinforces the connection of this place with the time of Ramayana. Lord Hanuman is also known as Anjaneya, that’s why the name of the hill as Anjaneya Parvat. 

Hanuman temple at the top of the hill is the main attraction here. However, you need to climb 575 stairs in order to reach the summit. Check out the way to hilltop temple.

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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.
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Forts, Beaches and Alibaug in the Incredible Western Ghats

Older than the Himalaya mountains, is the Western Ghats ranges that runs parallel to the western coast of the India through the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. A drivable road from inside the lush green forests and alongside the coastline will take you on a journey to a different world.


What is Western Ghats? A world set aside in the serenity of the green mountains, where music of chirping birds and where streams of flowing water play a perfect symphony to the tired souls. Well known for their rich and unique flora and fauna, Western Ghats is one of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological diversity in the world and UNESCO has declared Western Ghats, a world heritage site.


As per the studies, Western Ghats are sustaining around 7402 species of flowering plants, 1814 species of non-flowering plants, 139 mammals' species, 508 bird species, 179 amphibian species, 6000 insect species and 290 freshwater fish species. This is not all, many may get discovered tomorrow. Over and above these, Western Ghats provides shelter to at least 325 globally threatened flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species.

A small welcome break from the business schedule opened a window to explore the incredible Land of Western Ghats, its biodiversity, nearby a small coastal town of Alibaug. Alibaug is much popular for its neat and clean beaches. It was the time to enjoy attractions near Alibaug.


We started early morning for our first destination, Korlai Fort which is approx. 25 Km. (75 minutes) from Alibaug. Though now in ruins, Korlai Fort is an old Portuguese structure situated on a hill top. Built in the year 1521, Korlai Fort originally meant as a watch point for the invaders and was used to be a house of 7,000 people including horses and Portugese army men. The Korlai Fort is surrounded by Arabian Sea on three sides and has a beautiful lighthouse as major attraction.

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Exploring Kumaun... Almora & Pithoragarh (Day 1&2)

Almora is a hill station in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand. Unlike many other hill stations in India, Almora remained unknown to British. It has been preserved and developed solely by natives of Kumaun region and as a result, it is totally devoid of usual crowds at other hill stations. Almora district offers an ideal option to those looking for solitude in the arms of mighty Himalayas. Almora is also called as land of temples and the temples are located in some of the most stunning landscapes.

To enjoy the spiritual vibes along with unspoiled beauty of the undiscovered Kumaun region, we took early morning train from Delhi and landed at Kathgodam railway station at 11:40 AM. The objective was to explore the road to Almora to Jageshwar and Patal Bhubaneshwar.

 
Our Itinerary:
Day 1: Delhi - Kathgodam - Kainchi Dham - Chitai Golu Devta Temple - Almora-Lakhudiyar-Jageshwar Dham
Day 2: Jageshwar – Pithoragarh (Gangolihat – Patal Bhubaneshwar) – Jageshwar
Day 3: Jageshwar Dham and nearby temples
Day 4: Jageshwar – Almora – Katarmal Sun Temple – Bhimtal–Kathgodam -Delhi

Outside the Kathgodam railway station there were many taxis available for Nainital, few to Jageshwar (120 km. from Kathgodam) but very less if Patal Bhubaneshwar is also included in the itinerary as well. Some negotiation and we were on the way to Jageshwar Dham. Estimated time for the drive was approx. 5 hours including halt at enroute attractions in order to attend the 6 PM “AARTI” at Jageshwar Dham. This started our Day 1.

First spot in the way is Bhimtal (21 km. from kathgodam), but we skipped to cover during return as we had to reach Jageshwar by evening.

Next spot in the way is Neem Karoli Kainchi Dham, which is 37 km. from Kathgodam and is dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Kainchi Dham was established in 1962 by the sage Shri Poornanand Ji of Kainchi village. Devotees can stay in the ashram and practice meditation.

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Katarmal Sun Temple, Almora

Call of the blue skies and sight of mighty mountains makes a thrilling combination for an Explorer’s heart beats. Enjoying on the mountainous snaky roads and sometimes making the way out of non-existent roads to uncover hidden spots truly justifies the explorer spirit of a vagabond.


Where the first ray of sun falling on temple enlightens statue of Sun God in the temple! This phenomenon happens once in a year and attracts thousands of devotees from the nearby places. Let’s unearth one of the perfect offbeat destinations in Uttarakhand. In the picturesque Almora district of Kumaon region is the hidden Katarmal Sun temple. Despite being one of the biggest and tallest temples in the Kumaon region, Katarmal Sun temple is relatively unknown in the tourist circles.

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Sonagiri, the Milky Hill...

By now we have explored almost every road in ChambalRavines, to further extend our safari beyond Gwalior we started our drive towards Orchha on road from Gwalior. While exploring the roads and asking for the directions, some locales advised us to visit the milky mountain of Sonagiri. Milky Mountain…? The name Sonagiri actually means mountain of gold. We too were surprised by this, till the locales told us that 77 beautiful temples, all in white colour is the reason behind milky Sonagiri Hill. Locales are the best guides.


Sonagiri is a place sacred to Digambar Jains. It is situated 60 km. from Gwalior and has a chain of temples of 9th - 10th century on this hill since the time from Chandraprabhu. As we were approaching towards the hill, we could clearly see an umbrella of white temples covering the hill.
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Kullu, the valley of Gods...

A wandering soul searching for a nest can get numerous excuses to surely settle in Kullu, Valley of Gods.


Stunning landscapes coupled with hospitality of people, their distinct lifestyle and rich culture have made Kullu valleys popular as “Valley of Gods”. Kullu is renowned around the world for the woollen Shawls and the Dussehra festival. However, to explore it also has some amazing spots, which despite the popularity of Kullu are surprisingly not so known. When coming from Shimla, spending one day to explore Kullu Valleys shall be a great choice before proceeding to Manali...


Nearest to Kullu is Bijlee Mahadev temple, which is approx. 25 km. from Kullu town by road. Cherish the beautiful Beas River while crossing over the Kullu Bridge on the way to Bijlee Mahadev. You may park your car at a side and click the fabulous bridge and pleasing landscapes...
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Coimbatore, Gateway to the Bliss...

Coimbatore is 2nd largest city in Tamil Nadu and one of the major industrial centers in this state. With these statistics any hopes of good sightseeing should have been effectively dropped. However, smoke filled environment and traffic jams were not in my destiny as I came across a well-planned beautiful city.
 
During my stay here, I came to know about lot of beautiful temples in and around Coimbatore and therefore a real temple run was on the cards.

15 km. from Coimbatore and situated in lush green hilly surroundings is the Marudhamalai temple, dedicated to Lord Murugan. It was twilight when I reached the temple, which is actually the best time to see the hazy ambience created by the blue skies and the hills. Situated on a hilltop, temple rises like a mirage to surround over the landscapes.

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Vizag or Vishakhapatnam

Vishakhapatnam”, formerly known as “Vizag”; the name in itself is sufficient to flood the memory with the pictures of ships, lighthouses and ports. Apart from being the largest port by volumes in India, Vizag has also been blessed with picturesque beaches and numerous tourist attractions. No wonder it is one of the hot favourite tourist destinations in southern part of India.

"Kailasgiri" park is one such spot. Facing the sea, sitting atop a cliff, as the name suggests, the mere look of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati's giant statues provides a rich nutrition for a devout's soul.

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On the Road: Ranchi to Jamshedpur

They say Every person is special, I say Every trip is special and different from others. I had such an exciting trip when I travelled from Ranchi to Jamshedpur, in the Indian state of Jharkhand. It was a business trip so expectations were pretty low from this trip. I was in for a surprise...


The distance is 130 km. and it takes around 3 hours. Well maintained road, less traffic and surrounding mountains make sure that the time passes just by a flick of second. Nature has been extravagant on this road. Keep the batteries of your camera charged, so that you do not miss any such views...

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Romancing the Wilds "JIM Corbett"

How many times we long for cool breezes, a walk in the woods, sitting alongside a river, hearing birds' chirping  and watching animals in their natural self and finally adoring the blue skies and counting stars at night...

To be honest we all crave for such delicacies of lives. What a life it will be if I get a chance to say at such a place. However our cities have become a concrete jungle, where even getting fresh air is a luxury. In the race to achievement we become so occupied that we miss out the charming aspects of the life.

A well know saying - "No matter how much you are busy, one can still take out a few minutes for a BEER with Friends". Same way -
"No matter how much we are occupied with our hectic schedules, we should try for taking out a few days out of our busy lives to spend some time in the arms of Mother Nature". 

But the multi million question - Where to find such a place to spend the weekend and rejuvenate ourselves. Since I stay in Delhi, my choice for such a place is obviously around Delhi only. One such places is Jim Corbett National Park. Situated at a distance of 290 Km. from Delhi, Jim Corbett is an ideal resort to unleash yourself in the arms of mother nature.
Isn't it enticing...
A picture is worth 100 words. However this is just a trailer, in reality the place is much more spectacular than what it looks in the pics. No camera can capture the grandeur of this place. That's why wise people say - "Seeing is Believing". 

The beauty of Corbett National Park draws thousands of visitors from all over the world. It did not left me untouched even, to soak myself in cool breezes and rain soaked mountains, I started on 16th September, 530 AM from Delhi. Within in 40 minutes I was on NH 24 and moving towards Corbett. The route is easy and even first timers can drive without any hassles. In between you will come across Garh Mukteshwar, where if you wish can have a bath in river Ganges. Roads are in fairly good condition, except for a few small hitches. 

There is also a drive through MacD to take care of your taste buds (around 45 km. before Moradabad). Drive straight till Moradabad bypass, turn left after crossing Moradabad bypass (Landmark - 2 toll collection points within 2-3 Km.) and you are 90 Kms. away from Jim Corbett Park. 

Thakurdwara - Kashipur - Ramnagar and 10km. further you are in the Corbett Reserve Area. You will notice river Kosi, Himalayas and a number of resorts/ hotels on your right hand side.

By 1:30 PM, we were inside the resort. If this was the indication for the things to come, the "Club Mahindra" resort was as beautiful as anything.
 A swimming pool and a well equipped Gym was like icing on the cake. I was imagining the extent of enjoyment I will be having for the next 2 days.

Also I got the rare chance to stand on the riverside, watch the mountains out of the balcony and see the falling rains. What more you need for a weekend trip...? The resort is strictly for families.




Day 1: Hopping around

After taking the breath and our lunch, we started looking out for nearby spots. Hardly 100 m. from our resort, we were in for a surprise in form of a signboard in right hand side, pointing towards a Lord Shiva Temple. Without a second thought our feet started following the direction.

In store for us was an out of the world trekking adventure. We were going up the stoned way, which used to get constricted  too much and at places it we had to cross the falling waters. It was like a walk in the woods at places and at some places we used to use our hands to move ahead. Well, Manual trekking is indeed enthralling.



If this was good enough, you have to reconsider your thoughts. The small but graceful temple of Lord Shiva was a sheer pleasure to eyes. This was a very ancient temple, dating back to the days of Pandavas. A sight of antique statues, was enough to captivate you. After performing the rituals and thanking god for providing us with such an opportunity, we started back to our resort.






By the time we returned back, it was all dark. Since the swimming pool had closed by then, we decided to hit the Gym. After sweating out for an hour we went back to our apartment. By then our stomachs had started craving for food, food food....Dining under the skies was our moment which we will cherish for rest of our lives. Thanks to Club Mahindra for the memories

Day 2: Visit to Girija Devi Temple. 4 Km. from our resort was the Temple of Girija Devi. 

What a morning it was "We got up to the pouring rains". Quickly served delicious breakfast at the resort ensured that we can go out for adventures at the earliest. Also resort has number of activities to indulge, if you prefer to stay indoors. As soon as our batteries were charged to the full, we were sketching the our route for further exploration in the Corbett Park.

The best way to explore the place is by foot. We too started our quest, on feet to see the magnificent sights. The road was too captivating and the scenic grandeur was beyond comparison. Check out yourself:
Amazing Natural beauty at this place


One could have come by car, but the thrill of crossing the roads when water is rushing down will be certainly missed. Embracing chilling waters with bare feet...Vow... who need shoes...
 
Crossing several turns, bridges and trekking from the forests, meandering the wilds for 4 km. we were at the Girija Devi temple. The history of this temple goes back to the days of Mahabharata.







If the history is not enough tempting, it is situated on a hilltop, surrounded by river Kosi amidst gorgeous mountains on three sides.


Walking over the bridge to cross Kosi river to reach the temple presents you with a panorama par excellence. It is easy to get carried away, but please keep our concentration intact. I would not give too much efforts in describing in words the Magnificence of this pace. Check out for yourself:



Feeling the chilled waters of river Kosi bestow you with a heavenly experience. However I was unable to enjoy it for long as the temple personnel asked me to come out as the river was flooded at that time. Well big things come in small packages.

I failed to notice that it had started to rain. What can be more amazing than having the snacks in a make shift dhaba (hotel). Chowmein and Tea never ever had or will taste better.

I might have returned back without shopping, but with my wife alongside me, I had to loosen my purse strings for some souvenirs. I am still working on the Rubik Cube puzzle, I purchased from there.

While returning, it had started to rain, this time in tandems. So evenings were reserved for the Gym for the second time in second day. Food looked tastier after sweating out for an hour or so.

Day 3Return Journey

All good things have to end, so was it. Since it was raining heavily for the last 2 days, we decided to start early on Saturday.
I was thinking that it was too early to end our tryst with adventures. Looks like GOD was listening as I got a chance to drive through such falling waters. We were fortunate as NH-24 got closed for traffic the following day.  


"To summarize I would like to thank the weather GODS for making this visit a truly memorable one." So what are thinking guys pack your bags and VROOM...to Jim Corbett.
"Jim Corbett park is one of the favorite tourist spots of people from all over India and people from across the world. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas Corbett National Park is the Home to a variety of flora and fauna, it is famous for its wild population of Tigers, Leopards and Elephants. Corbett national park was established in 1936, as the Hailey National Park.
This 201 square mile park was renamed in honor of the late Jim Corbett, the legendary hunter-naturalist turned author and photographer who spent most of his years in this area and contributed in setting up the this park. With the help of the World Wildlife Fund, Project Tiger was launched in Corbett National Park in 1973 and this park was one of the first such tiger reserves in the country."
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