September 23, 2014

Ayodhya

Site Name: Ayodhya
Site Type: Hindu religious town; sacred site
Location:  Uttar Pradesh state, India
Highlights: The birth place of Lord Ram
Nearest Railway Station: Faizabad, 6 kms from Ayodhya; there is also a very small train station in Ayodhya
Nearest Airport: Faizabad; the nearest popular airport is Lucknow
How to reach: Well connected by road from Faizabad 
Hotel: A lot of options including low cost hotels/ashrams and free accommodations
Restaurants: Varieties of options in Ayodhya but mostly vegetarian

Ayodhya is one of the seven most sacred sites for Hindus. It is located near Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh state of India. It is famous as Ram Janma Bhoomi. Many of the temples and sites in this small town are associated with the birth and other events in the life of Lord Ram of the great epic Ramayana. Let us briefly explore various sites in this town.

Swarg Dwar:

Ayodhya town, which was much bigger once and the capital city of Raghu dynasty kings, is situated on the banks of the river Sarayu. The Naya Ghat and the surrounding areas are called as Swarg Dwar. It is the place where Lord Ram and his three brothers left this world and reached Vaikuntha. Taking a dip in this place is considered as sacred for the Hindus.

Sarayu Temple:

All the holy rivers are worshipped as the deities by the Hindus. The legend associated with the holiest river Ganga is very popular. There are so many temples found for Ganga across the country. Similar to Ganga temple, there are temples dedicated to other rivers too which are not very common. There is a temple for the river Sarayu located in Ayodhya on the way to Nageshwarnath temple.

Nageshwaranath Temple:

There is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the birthplace of Ram, who is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva is called as Nageshwaranath in this temple. As per the legend, Kush, the son of Lord Ram, started destroying the Nagas mistaking them for stealing his amulet. After the intervention of Lord Shiva, he stopped this and then he built this temple of Lord Shiva. As per another legend, he built this temple to get of his sin of killing the Nagas by mistake. There is also another version which states that the lost amulet was found by a Naga girl; she fell in love with Kush and made him to build this temple. One common factor in all these legends is that this temple was built by Kush. This is a small temple but is considered as very important. The temple tank is very big and is called as Ram Paundi. 

Kale Ram Temple:

Kale Ram Temple is also called as Treta Ke Thakur Temple. It is situate at the place where Lord Ram performed Ashwamedha yagna. Around 300 years ago, the King of Kulu built the current structure of the temple. The main deity Ram is found with Sita and his brothers in the pattabhishek posture. The idols are carved out of a single block of black sandstone. The belief is that these idols resemble the form of the idols in the original Ram temple that was destroyed many years ago. These are the oldest idols of Ram, Sita and his brothers that are found in Ayodhya today.

The holy books such as Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Vedas are kept in a separate shrine and are worshipped.

    Valmiki Bhavan Temple:

    Valmiki Bhavan Temple is very big with a lot of small sculptures throughout the temple. The main deities are Valmiki rishi along with Luv and Kush, the sons of Lord Ram.

    Hanuman Garhi:

    Hanuman Garhi is one of the most important temples in Ayodhya. Although everyone believes that the main deity of the temple is Hanuman, it is not the case. The main deity is Anjana Devi carrying the baby Hanuman on her lap. The temple is built on top of a small hill and the structure is surrounded by fort like walls. 

    Ram Janma Bhoomi:

    Ram Janma Bhoomi is the place which is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram. Today, the metal idols of Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna as infants are kept in this temple. This is a highly secured and controversial site.

    Lakshman Ghat:

    Lakshman Ghat is the ghat on the river Sarayu where Lakshman voluntarily gave up his life.

    Ratna Sinhasan Temple:

    The idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman along with Hanuman are the main deities of Ratna Sinhasan temple. There is another pair of Ram and Sita idols plated with gold. It is the place where the pattabhishek of Ram took place.

    Dasharat Bhavan:

    The metal idols of Ram, Bharat, Lakshman and Shatrughna along with their consorts are the main deities of Ratna Sinhasan temple. Three pairs of Ram and Sita idols are also located in this temple. It is the place where Dashrat's palace was located in those days.

    Kanak Bhavan:

    Kanak Bhavan aka Sone Ke Ghar has two pairs of Ram and Sita idols. They have golden crowns on their heads.

    Birla Mandir:

    Birla Mandir is a modern day temple dedicated to Lord Ram. Ram is found with Sita and Lakshman in this temple.

    Mani Parbat:

    It is formerly a Buddhisht vihara which was converted into a Hindu temple. The temple has Ram and Sita as the main deities. The idol of Mani Bhagavan is also found. There is a small shrine for Hanuman. From this hilltop temple, one can get the aerial view of the entire Ayodhya town.

    Beware of monkeys. You can find hundreds of monkeys everywhere in Ayodhya.

    Happy travelling.


    September 22, 2014

    Jaipur

    Site Name: Jaipur
    Site Type: Historical City
    Location:  Rajasthan state, India
    Highlights: Called as 'the pink city'
    Nearest Railway Station: Jaipur
    Nearest Airport: Jaipur
    How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
    Hotel: A lot of options in Jaipur
    Restaurants: Varieties of options in Jaipur

    Jaipur is the first planned city in India. Located in Rajasthan state of India, this city was formed by Raja Jai Singh in the 18th century CE. This city is also called as the Pink City. All the buildings in the old city of Jaipur are painted in pink color. Let us explore the important tourist sites in Jaipur briefly in this article.

    City Palace:

    City Palace is the most important tourist site in Jaipur city. It is located inside the old city. The architecture of this beautiful palace is a blend of traditional Rajput and Mughal architecture. The vast palace complex occupies around one seventh of the old city of Jaipur (Pink city). The palace has many courtyards, gardens and various other buildings. Some of the important buildings in the palace include Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-e-Khas, Diwan-e-Aam and Ridhi Sidhi Pol. The two largest silver vessels in the entire world are kept in Diwan-e-Khas. They are one of the major highlights of this palace. 

    Jal Mahal:

    Jal Mahal, which literally means the Water Palace, is a Rajput style palace located in the center of the Man Sagar lake. 

    Govind Deo Temple:

    Govind Deo Temple also written as Govind Devji Temple is the most important temple of Jaipur city. It is believed that the presiding idol of the temple, Lord Kirshna, was brought from Vrindavan during the Mughal rule. As per the popular belief, it looks exactly like Lord Krishna's original form. The temple is located in the City Palace complex. 

    Hawa Mahal:

    Hawa Mahal which literally means the Palace of Breeze was built by Maharaj Sawai Singh in 1799CE. It was used as the women chamber as an extension of the City Palace. The royal women could watch the people from this building without being seen. It is a red sandstone building and has five storeys and about 950 windows. 

    Amber Fort:

    Amber Fort is the second most important tourist site in Jaipur. It is located at a distance of about 11km from Jaipur in Amber. This is a massive palace located within the fort and was built by Raja Man Singh in the early 18th century CE. The Sheesh Mahal which literally means the Palace of Mirrors is the major attraction in this palace. It has thousands of small and big pieces of mirrors on the ceilings, walls and tiles. This place has been featured in many Indian cinemas. 

    Some of the other important tourist sites of Jaipur include Maharani Market, Tibet Market, Sheela Devi Temple, Kanak Vrindavan Park, Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Moti Doongari Temple, Marble Temple, the Sun Temple, the Monkey Temple and Jantar Mantar.

    Happy travelling.



        September 21, 2014

        Karol Bagh Lakshmi Narasimha Temple

        Site Name: Lakshmi Narasimha Temple
        Site Type: Temple
        Location:  Karol Bagh, New Delhi, India
        Highlights: An important Hindu temple in the capital city of India
        Nearest Railway Station: New Delhi
        Nearest Airport: New Delhi
        How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
        Hotel: A lot of options in Delhi
        Restaurants: Varieties of options in Delhi

        New Delhi is the capital city of India. There are varieties of tourist sites in this city which include forts, monuments, memorials, mosques, heritage sites and temples. Let us explore the temple of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha located here in this article.

        Lakshmi Narasimha temple is a small temple built based on the South Indian temple architecture style. It is located on the busy road of Guru Ravidas Marg of Karol Bagh area which is dominated by South Indians. It is the only temple dedicated to Narasimha in New Delhi. The temple is managed by Ahobila math.

        The main shrine enshrines Lakshmi Narasimha. The idols of Ashta Lakshmi are found in the prakara. Vishnu is found in the niche. There are Sudarshan, Garuda and Hanuman idols too found in the temple.

        Happy travelling.