Jharkhand is a very culturally rich state and there are numerous majestic archaeological monuments and temple strewn all over the state that draws tourists from all parts of the globe. The very first destination that I visited in Jharkhand was the Jagannath temple which is truly an archaeological delight for art and history lovers. Its close resemblance with the Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa makes it one of the most visited tourist attractions in the state.
Jagannath Temple Jharkhand | Image Resource : rebabeachresort.com
Pilgrims from all over the country come to visit this pious site I huge volumes every year. There is no fee for entrance in the temple and it remains open on all days of the week. The timings when you can visit the Jagannath temple are from 5 am in the morning to 12 noon and then from 3 pm in the afternoon to 6 pm in the evening. If you wish to explore every nook and corner of this magnificent structure you must have at least 1 or 2 hours in hand.
Like the famous place of pilgrimage i.e. the Jagannath temple in Puri this temple also organizes a ‘Rath Yatra’ during the month of June to July every year. Devotees in large numbers flock to this temple during June – July to be part of the Rath Yatra. The archaeological style of this temple shows close resemblance to the original one is Puri. The Jagannath temple in Jharkhand dates back to the 17th century when it was constructed under the reign of King Ani Nath Shahdeo.
The location of this temple also contributes to its charm. It is located on a hill top and hence one has to climb a fleet of stairs to offer his prayers to the presiding deity of the shrine i.e. Lord Jagannath. For those who draw fun in the toil prefer climbing the stairs to reach the shrine. The view of the city from the hill top is panoramic and breathtaking.
Jagannath Temple | Image Resource : flickr.com
For the convenience of devotees a motorway has also been built to take them to the top of the hill. The temple lies at a distance of about 10 kilometres from Ranchi and can be reached via public transport from all parts of the city.
Basically being a historic lover, I have a tremendous liking towards places that are associated with the Indian history. This is the reason I fell in love instantly with the Meenakshi Amman temple Madurai. It was convenient for me to reach the temple as I stayed very close to the temple. There was so much enthusiasm that poured inside me as soon as I entered the temple.
Meenakshi Amman temple Madurai | Image resource : flickr.com
Magnificence cannot even be associated with the beauty of this temple. No wonder, this temple was one of the nominees for the Wonders of the World! The huge towers of the temple looked like it was touching the sky. Harmony is what people seek in temples and I am no exception in that. I felt totally relaxed as soon as I entered the temple’s premises.
The aromatic jasmine flowers, fruits and other pooja items were available in every shop. I bought some flowers to offer to the gods and the goddess Meenakshi. The temple’s structure was painted here and there from floor to the ceilings. The mix of yellow, orange and scarlet reflected like blazing sun and the whole place was shining like a golden temple.
Goddess Meenakshi | Image resource : templesofsouthindia.files.wordpress.com
Everyone had to wait in long line to get the blessings of the goddess. So I did the same and it took me few hours to get to the goddess idol. There were special tickets available, but I did not want to pay a fee to get the blessings of beautiful goddess inside. The place was roaring with spiritual activities and my mind was completely occupied in divine thoughts.
I was wondering how these complex structures were constructed. In those days, technology were not so much thriving and like the huge machines available in the construction sites, in those days how the kings managed to build these huge temples! Well, this question always stays in my heart unanswered.
Even after days visiting this temple, the blazing jewels worn by the goddess and the crowd shouting the names of the gods and the spiritual vibrancy of the temple stayed in my memories afresh.
If I write a book about Madurai, then it’s starting and ending would be the words of glory about this temple!
Jain hillside temple Madurai | Image Resource : 3monthsinindia.wordpress.com
The first stop is a small pond where we have to feed the fish as per custom. The walk up the hill is a bit tiring but the view from up there is magnificent! There are many carvings of gods on the sides of the hill. We travelled to this location with a host who helped us understand the whole concept of Jainism much better!
Birla Mandir Hyderabad | Image Resource : flickr.com
I had heard a lot about the Birla Mandirs that are located at many parts of the country. One such temple is also built in Hyderabad. So I headed towards this place as I was in Hyderabad now. This temple is devoted to the Hindu gods and goddesses. It is built on a hillock called Naubath Pahad which is 280 feet in height. The temple premise is spread over an area of 13 acres of land.
View Of Mandir | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
The construction of the Birla mandir was undertaken by Swami Ranganathananda who belonged to the Ramakrishna mission. It took a long time span of 10 years to finally complete this temple in the year 1976. The temple has acquired its present form under the Birla Foundation, which has built many temples of similar type all across India. All these temples are known as Birla Mandir.
Idol in Birla Mandir | Image Resource : 3.bp.blogspot.com
The Birla mandir is a manifestation of various forms of architectures blended together, namely the Utkala, Rajasthani and Dravidian styles. The temple has been constructed out of 2000 tones of pure white marble rock. As I entered the temple premise I was awestruck by the beauty of this monument.
The statute of the presiding deity Lord Venkateswara is made of granite and is about 11 feet in height. A carved lotus on the top of the idol serves as an umbrella. There is also a 42 feet high flag staff in the temple premises. To keep the temple environment conducive for meditation there are no traditional bells in the temple.
Lord Venkateswara | Image Resource : upload.wikimedia.org
The temple houses shrines of various Hindu gods and goddesses apart from Lord Venkateswara. It has separate shrines for Hanuman, Shiva, Shakti, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Brahma, Ganesha and Saibaba. The temple walls portray selected teachings of holy saints and sages and excerpts from Gurbani are also inscribed on the temple walls.
This temple is very easily accessible from all parts of the city via road transport. Several TSRTC buses and MMTS keep the Birla Mandir well connected. The Lakdi ka Pul is the nearest MMTS station from the temple. I had a very serene and spiritual experience from my visit to the Birla temple, which is a kaleidoscope of religious cultures.
This was our third day in Mumbai city and we were enjoying our vacation to the fullest. The culture, language and cuisines, all was very different but fascinating. Mumbai is also a hub of temples and one such famous temple is the Mahalaxshmi temple.
Though it is located at a considerable distance from our place of stay, we decided to visit the place by leaving early from the hotel. On the third day of our vacation, we had our breakfast early and kept some snacks with us, and headed towards the destination in the pre-booked taxi.We reached the temple at the expected time. It was early in the morning and still many people were there offering prayers. The environment was filled with serenity and fragrance of flowers and incandescent sticks.
Mahalaxshmi Temple Mumbai | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
We entered the temple and realized that three deities are worshipped inside the Mahalaxmi temple – Kali, Saraswati and Lakshmi. The temple authorities have embellished the idols of these goddesses with gold ornaments, pearl necklaces and precious nose rings.However, the temple is named after the Goddess Lakshmi, whose main idol is installed on the far side of an ornamented gate. Goddess Lakshmi is seen sitting on a tiger, unlike the other places where goddess is seated on a lotus flower.
The temple is considered sacred and is always visited by locals and tourists to offer their prayers to the goddesses. In the temple premises and outside are present numerous stalls that sell the things that are needed for offering prayers to the Devis. These prove to be immense help to the tourists who don’t know about the rituals or don’t have prior plans to offer ‘pooja’. All the things like garlands, flowers, incandescent sticks are available at these shops.
We also bought the necessary things required and offered pooja to the Goddess Mahalaxmi.We were told that during the festival of Navratries, the temple gets packed up with devotees who wait in long queues to offer their prayers. India is undoubtedly a place full of faith and devotion. Every part of our country has place for worship and devotion. That is the power that keeps us moving.
The food, the sightseeing and the experiences, everything had been perfect about Kolkata. The rich culture of the land, its influences and the historical significance of places since the early times and more so during the British period had made Kolkata vary important and interesting. This day I had plans to make the trip to the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, Kolkata. It would take close to one hour from my hotel to the Hindu Temple which is famous for the Bhavatarini avatar of Maa Kali along the banks of River Hoogly.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple Kolkata | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
The car conveyance had arrived right on time and I had also showered and eaten by then. It seemed that I was taking a similar route through the Bypass and then through some heavy traffic areas on to a road called Shyam Bazaar and then eventually to the Temple which is really famous in this part of the country. The temple entrance is thronged by vendors selling items needed for the Puja, the flowers and other important articles of offering. I had asked the driver of my car to fetch me all the things because it seemed intimidating speaking to native Bengalis for the wares. I entered the premise and serenity engulfed me completely.
Dakshineswar Kali Temple | Image Resource : panoramio.com
There was a huge open courtyard in front of me with temples on both sides. The temple had been built by Rani Rashmoni and she purchased the land from an Englishman to fulfill her dream that she supposedly saw where Goddess Kali herself inspired her to have the temple constructed. There is the south facing temple of Goddess Kali and twelve temples opposite it of Lord Shiva. I also came across the temple of Radha Krishna and the shrines of Ramakrishna and his wife Sharada who have had long associations with the temple.
Bhavatarini avatar of Maa Kali | Image Resource : wikipedia.org
Devotees also take a dip in the holy riverbank close by and can take boats to enjoy the rural unpolluted atmosphere. It was indeed a great experience through the boat near the Dakshineswar Kali Temple Kolkata and my driver had promised me that he would take me to the Howrah Bridge while returning. I exited after offering my prayers and proceeded to my journey back.
Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar Jammu & Kashmir | Image Resource : commons.wikimedia.org
Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar :- Jammu and Kashmir is well known for its blend of Islam and Hinduism. The existence of shrines and temples is worth the praise. After paying a spiritual visit to the Hazratbal Dargah, I made my way to Shankaracharya Temple Srinagar Jammu and Kashmir. Located on a tall mountain, the temple has its own charm and uniqueness. Its a must-visit.