People, Travel

Human Experience

 

 

 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Himalayas, Indian Festivals, People, Travel

Magic Of Life !

**** STAR DUST ****

“When I look up at the sky, and I know that, yes, we are part of this Universe, we are in this Universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the Universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact, I look up — many people feel small, ’cause they’re small and the Universe is big, but I feel big, because my atoms came from those stars.” –Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Your thoughts do indeed create your reality. Thoughts are forms of energy that are sent ahead and eventually manifest as physical matter. The thoughts you think determine the outcome of your worldly experiences, from finances to health, relationships to environment. In fact, there is no aspect of your life that is not affected by your thoughts.

Picture taken : BORRA CAVES

Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

Stone WOnder ! –  The Brihadeshvara temple

 

During the times of the Cholas (900-1155 A.D.) temple arcitecture in the South reached its climax. The famous Chola temple built at Tanjavur (Tanjore) is known as the Brihadeshvara temple. It is also called the Rajarajeshwara temple after the name of king Rajaraja who built it in honour of Lord Shiva in about 1009 A.D.


This Temple is one of the most outstanding monuments of the Chola Period. It is composed of many interconnected structures such as the Nandi pavilion, a pillared portico and a large hall. Its vimana(a temple like structure having thee cella in which the deity is enshrined) is 66 metres high. The inner walls of the temple have extensive paintings and sculpture. The tower of the temple rises to a height of 57 metres, like a pyramid, in 13 successive storeys. Its top has a single block of stone, 25 feet high and weighs about 80 tonnes. The structural idea of constructing a Gopuram (or a fine gateway to the enclosed walls of the temple) was first conceived by the Chola kings.

The Temple stands in the middle of a rectangular enclosure entered from the east through a gateway, now dilapidated. The Double pilastered walls of the sanctuary are elevated on a moulded basement with lions. Those on the central niches, on both storeys depict – Dakshinamurti(south) ,Vishnu(west) and Brahma(north).

A massive linga on the central pedestal is enshrined within the sanctuary. A stone altar carved with a lotus on the top has the Navagrahas carved on to the sides. Another small structure in the south-west corner of the enclosure houses a Ganesha image. A large Nandi sculpture constructed of blocks is constructed in the front(east) of the principal temple.

The temple, especially its tower, is the finest example of Dravidian art. The Chola architecture is so executed that it is said that the Cholas conceived like giants and finished like jewelers. The Brihadeshwara temple combines the best in the tradition of temple building – architecture, sculpture, painting and other allied arts

Himalayas, Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

~ The Dance of SHIVA ~

The cosmic dance of Shiva symbolises the interplay of dynamic and static divine energy flow, containing the five principles of eternal energy – creation, preservation, destruction, illusion and emancipation.

 ~ The Dance of SHIVA ~

Shiva dances in ‘Rudra Tandava’ or the dance of destruction in an aureole of fire, creating wild thunder storms all around the universe, even shattering the Sun, the Moon and stellar bodies with his matted hair, marks of ash on the forehead, trident and drum, lifting his left leg and balancing over a demon of ignorance, with snakes crawling over his arms, legs and braided hair that depict egotism. His upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or ‘dumroo’ standing for the male-female vital principle, while the lower gestures us to ”Be fearless”. A skull on his head depicts conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, epitomising the holy river, sits on his hairdo. His third eye represents omniscience, insight and enlightenment.

‘Locks of matted hair/ Thick like luxuriant Amazon rain forest/ Spread all over/ Stirring never-ending cyclones, tsunamis! Ceaseless torrents/ Cascading cataracts/ Floodwater of the Ganga/ Caused holocaust, apocalypse/ Unprecedented obliteration in the Milky Way! Blazing inferno originated/ From his third eye raged like wild fire/ Blazed all over his forehead/ Engulfing everything in the aureole of fire!’

The ‘Lasya’ or the gentle form of his dance, known as ‘Ananda Tandavam’ or dance of bliss is associated with the creation of the world, after its total destruction. Shiva’s two different cosmic dances take place in one’s ‘Chidambaram’ or in the sky of the mind, portrayed as the centre of consciousness situated at the altar of one’s heart.

Shiva is the symbol of ‘Brahmn’, the universal consciousness. The cosmic serpent called ‘Kundalini’, draped by the Lord of all dance, is mythically present in every living form. Arousal of the ‘kundalini’ is a metaphor for the awakening of the seven energy centres or ‘chakras’ situated in the spine.

The sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita, interprets that the three basic gunas – sattvic, tamasic and rajasic – combine with each other to create life forms in the universe. The divine entity is divided into nine; but only eight of them are perceived by human intellect – earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intellect and pride. The ninth part of the divine entity is eternally shrouded in the mystery of creation.

Fritjof Capra, in his book The Tao of Physics, paid due tribute to the Hindu view of matter and established its linkage with modern physics with empirical research in 1972. He observed the linkage between ancient Vedic mythology, religious symbolism, art and modern physics: “Every subatomic particle not only does an energy dance, but is also an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction…without end…For the modern physicists, then, Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter.”

The European Centre for Research in Particle Physics in Geneva-CERN had unveiled in 2004 the two metre-tall statue of Nataraja, the form of Shiva depicted in the dance pose. The dancing Indian deity, representing the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, also depicts the dynamics of subatomic particles, the basis of creation of the universe that is being researched by physicists around the world.

 
 
 
Ref article : Cosmic Dance Of Shiva
People, Travel, Xpressions!

Pashupatinath temple (पशुपतिनाथ मन्दिर), Katmandu , NEPAL

 

Pashupatinath Temple – Shiva’s Home in Kathmandu Valley

The Pashupatinath temple in the east of Kathmandu has been a religious site for both Hindus and Buddhists for maybe over 2000 years. Daily thousends of pilgrims visit Pashupatinath, with a top day on Maha Shivaratri when hunderds of thousends of pilgrims come to pay their tribute to Shiva. The Pashupatinath temple complex is one of the Unesco world heritage sites of the Kathmandu Valley.

History of Pashupatinath :

Pashupati means “Lord of the animals” and it one form of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva has 1008 name and forms and as Pashupati he watches over the souls of men and is worshipped as the patron deity of Nepal. Though there is no proof when the temple originated the oldest evidence is data 477 A.D but the temple may have stood here nearly 1000 years before that.

One of the legend about Lord Shiva is that once Shiva took the form of an antelope being weary of throngs of worshipping demigods and wandered in the Mrigasthali Forest on the Bagmati river’s east bank. The Gods were looking for him and finally found him as an antelope and they grabbed him by horn and forced him to come back to his divine form. The broken horn was worshipped as a linga, and it was buried and lost. Centuries later an astonished farmer found him cows showering the milk on the earth. Digging deep in the site, the farmer is believed to uncover the divine linga of Pashupati.

Lord Pashupati is invoked on official treaties, pledges, political speeches and appears on coins and royal coat of arms. Pashupatinath is one of the great holy Shiva places of the Indian Subcontinent, and no pilgrimage is complete without a visit to it.

Where is Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu ?
Pashupatinath temple is in the banks of Bagmati river on the eastern side of Kathmandu. The place where Pashupatinath is located is called Gaurighat, Kathmandu. People often say the location as Gaushala, Jaya bageswori etc. So, when you reach near the intersection of Gaushala or Jaya Bageswori or Mitrapark then you will see the board where it is written “The Way to Pashupati”. The another easier way to figure out is “Bagmati river is flowing beside Pashupatinath“.

Travel

River Pampa and Pampapati

Picture Taken: Hampi, Karnataka, India

The ancient name of the river was Pampa. According to the legends, Pampa, the daughter of Brahma (the God of creation) did penance to please Lord Shiva. Impressed by her devotion Shiva married her and taken the name Pampapati (means husband of Pampa). The name Hampi has origin in Pampa. On the banks if the river, there are numerous shrines and idols associated with the worship of Lord Shiva

Travel, Xpressions!

Rowing down Rishimukh parvath,Hampi India

Picture Taken: Hampi, Karnataka, India

Rishimukh Hill and it’s environs fall within the traditionally laidback scene of Hampi. A few lodges and some seasonal restaurants are located nearby. Otherwise the main attraction of Rishimukh is the Chandramouliswara Temple that’s undergoing a vigorous restoration work. Also this is a vantage point to see the ruins of the ancient bridge built across the river. Close to this temple is an Ashram (hermitage) from where you can hear practically nonstop chanting of the sacred texts.

 

 

 

Travel

An after life story still told,Hampi, India

After seeing its golden reign during King Krishna Deva Raya (AD 1509 – 1529), Hampi fell down to the attacks of the five Sultans of Deccan – Bidar, Bijapur, Golconda, Ahmednagar and Berar in the year 1565. The city was looted for a period of 6 months. The temples were destroyed and the markets were plundered. The golden empire had come to an end.

Travel, Xpressions!

Stone chariot,Hampi, India

Location: Vittala Temple ,Hampi

The stone chariot in this temple is of great fame. Its stone wheels, each shaped in the form of a lotus, are capable of revolving. It represents the sprakling creativity of the artistes of the fifteenth century. Temple chariots are often mobile reproductions of a temple. The stone chariot here is in turn a static version of the mobile temple chariot.

Travel, Xpressions!

Avatar of Lord Vishnu
This is the largest statue in Hampi. Narasimha is sitting on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake called Sesha. The heads of the snake acts as the hood above his head. The god sits in a cross-legged Yoga position with a belt supporting the knees. Sometimes this is referred as Ugra Narasimha (i.e. Narasimha in its terrifying form). The protruding eyes and the facial expression are the basis for this name.Narasimha (means half-man’half-lion in local the languages) is on of the ten incarnations (avatar) of Lord Vishnu. The original statue contained the image of goddess Lakshmi, consort of the god, sitting on his lap. But this statue has been damaged seriously during the raid leading to the fall of Vijayanagara. Even the damaged portion of such a large statue of Lakshmi carved on his lap is missing. Probably it may be laying around in tiny pieces. But the goddess’s hand is visible resting on his back in embracing posture. If you get a chance to go inside this enclosure, it is possible to see the hand of the goddess. Even the nails & the rings on her fingers are so perfectly executed.
Somehow this single statue alone can demonstrate at the same time how creative and destructive the human mind can be.

Location: Hampi,  India

This is the largest statue in Hampi. Narasimha is sitting on the coil of a giant seven-headed snake called Sesha. The heads of the snake acts as the hood above his head. The god sits in a cross-legged Yoga position with a belt supporting the knees. Sometimes this is referred as Ugra Narasimha (i.e. Narasimha in its terrifying form). The protruding eyes and the facial expression are the basis for this name.Narasimha (means half-man’half-lion in local the languages) is on of the ten incarnations (avatar) of Lord Vishnu. The original statue contained the image of goddess Lakshmi, consort of the god, sitting on his lap. But this statue has been damaged seriously during the raid leading to the fall of Vijayanagara. Even the damaged portion of such a large statue of Lakshmi carved on his lap is missing. Probably it may be laying around in tiny pieces. But the goddess’s hand is visible resting on his back in embracing posture. If you get a chance to go inside this enclosure, it is possible to see the hand of the goddess. Even the nails & the rings on her fingers are so perfectly executed.

Somehow this single statue alone can demonstrate at the same time how creative and destructive the human mind can be.

Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

The Prayer Wheel : Spiritual Technology
Tibetan prayer wheels (called Mani wheels by the Tibetans) are devices for
spreading spiritual blessings and well being. Rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of the mantra (prayer) Om Mani Padme Hum, printed in an ancient Indian script or in Tibetan script, are wound around an axle in a protective container, and spun around and around. Typically, larger decorative versions of the syllables of the mantra are also carved on the outside cover of the wheel.
Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying this mantra, out loud or silently to
oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.
Viewing a written copy of the mantra is said to have the same effect — and the mantra is carved into stones left in piles near paths where travelers will see them. Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel is also supposed to have the same effect; the more copies of the mantra, the more the benefit.

Location :Manali,Himachal Pradesh

Tibetan prayer wheels (called Mani wheels by the Tibetans) are devices for spreading spiritual blessings and well being. Rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of the mantra (prayer) Om Mani Padme Hum, printed in an ancient Indian script or in Tibetan script, are wound around an axle in a protective container, and spun around and around. Typically, larger decorative versions of the syllables of the mantra are also carved on the outside cover of the wheel.

Tibetan Buddhists believe that saying this mantra, out loud or silently to oneself, invokes the powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig, the embodiment of compassion.

Viewing a written copy of the mantra is said to have the same effect — and the mantra is carved into stones left in piles near paths where travelers will see them. Spinning the written form of the mantra around in a Mani wheel is also supposed to have the same effect; the more copies of the mantra, the more the benefit.

‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ in Sanskrit or ‘Om Mani Peme Hung’ as in Tibetan Buddhism is known to contain the essence of all of Buddha’s teachings in this magical six syllable mantra of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteshvara .

OM MANI PADME HUM purifies us at 3 levels Mind, Body & Speech and in this way liberates us from all negative karma. This Mantra is popularly known as ” The Jewel in the Lotus ” or ” The Diamond in the Lotus ” ( “mani” means Diamond , a precious jewel and Padma means Lotus flower which is the spiritual symbol of consciousness )

OM MANI PADME HUM

People, Travel

Location: Chirala Andra Pradesh,India

What is it to be a child? It is to look out at the world and see it as a series of great, dancing, phantasmagorical, kaleidoscopic magical vistas, all of which exist prior to the adult-erated compartmentalization and stultification of the singular, bewildering show.

“The more you know, the more you feel how ignorant you are.

And those who are really wise, they become ignorant.

They become as simple as children or as simple as idiots.”

-Osho

Travel

Mahout and his Elephant!

Location : Bandipur Forest,India

Usually, a mahout starts as a boy in the ‘family business’ when he is assigned an elephant early in its life and they would be attached to each other throughout the elephant’s life.

The most common tool used by mahouts is a goad called anlius, or ankusha – a sharp hook used to guide a tamed elephant by prodding on the back of its head.

Sanskrit language distinguishes three types: Reghawaan, who use love to control their elephants, Yuktimaan, who use ingenuity to outsmart them and Balwaan, those who control elephants with strength and cruelty.

Travel, Xpressions!

Tuskarr….

Location : Bandipur Forest,India

A tusker is an elephant that wear tusks. All African elephants, of both sexes, are tusksers. In India (before the poaching during the seventies) about 50% were tusker´s, the others are refered to as Maknas.

Indian Festivals, People, Travel, Xpressions!

Age of Kali!

Kali’s four arms represent the complete cycle of Creation/ Destruction/ Creation/Destruction, contained within her. She represents the creative and destructive rhythms of the cosmos. Her sword is the sword of knowledge, that slices through ignorance and destroys false consciousness. She is said to open the gates of freedom with this sword, having cut the bonds that bind human beings.

Travel, Xpressions!

Pyramid Of Faith!

Maitreya-Buddha Pyramid, is the World’s Largest Pyramid built solely for practicing intensive meditation. It has a base area of 160ft. x 160ft. and is as tall as a ten stroreyed building at 104ft. height. The exterior surface of the Pyramid is covered by beautiful murals depicting various elements of nature.

This Pyramid is constructed on the principles of Giza Pyramid, oriented exactly in the North – South direction, having the golden angle of inclination at 52° 51’ on all sides and the King’s Chamber located at the center to 1/3rd the height of the Pyramid.

Over 640 natural Himalayan crystals are fitted inside the Pyramid meditation hall to amplify the Pyramid energy and help in more profound meditational experiences.

Pyramid Power

Pyramids are store-houses of energy. Their geometric design collects, radiates, and stores Cosmic Energy. Pyramids help to reduce the level of stress and tension in the physical body.

Meditation done inside a pyramid or underneath a Pyramid is called Pyramid Meditation and it is thrice more powerful. Most people who have experimented with Pyramid Meditation, describe as experiencing a total relaxation of their body, shutting out of irrelevant thoughts and finally achieving an altered state of consciousness.

Location: Pyramid Valley,Kanakapura Road, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Himalayas, Travel, Xpressions!

Shri Badrinath Temple!

The Abode Of Lord Vishnu
Cradled in the twin mountain ranges of Nar and Narayan is the holiest of the four main shrines, Badrinath along the left bank river Alaknanda. With the splendid Neelkanth mountains as the backdrop, it is an important destination on the scared itinerary of every devour Hindu. Once the spot was carpeted with ‘badris’ or wild berries and hence was famous as ‘Badri Van’.

Badrinath is considered the holiest of the four important shrines in Garhwal. The town is at an altitude of 3,133 m. above sea level, situated on the left bank of river Alaknanda and exactly between the two mountains Nara and Narayan. The shrine is dedicated to Vishnu, the preserver and falls in the religious itinerary of every devout Hindu.

The present temple was built about two centuries ago by Garhwal Kings. It is a conical structure, 15 m. tall and has small cupola of a gilt bull and spire. There are 15 idols in the temple complex, each sculpted in black stone. The principal idol represents Vishnu in a meditative posture and is flanked by Nara-Narayan. Legend dates it prior to the Vedic age though it is believed to have been re-established by Adi Shankaracharya, an important Hindu saint in 8th century A.D. Some of the other images include Laxmi (Vishnu’s consort), Garud (Vishnu’s mount), Shiva & Parvati and Ganesha.

The temple has been renovated several times due to damages by avalanches. It looks fairly modern now due to the colourful “Singh Dwara” or the main entrance gate. It has three parts- Garbha Griha (the sanctum sanctorum), Darshan Mandap (for pujas) and Shobha Mandap (for devotees to assemble). The revered shrine is still alive with myriad legends from mythology. Its sanctity is emphasised in the ancient scriptures as “There are many sacred spots of pilgrimage in the heavens, earth and the nether world, but there has been none equal to Badri, nor shall there be”.

Best Time to visit: The ideal time or peak season to go for a Char Dham Yatra is from May to October, except monsoons. This is because; all the four sacred sites are perched in Garhwal Himalayas, which is prone to heavy snowfall. As a result, all the passage leading to the shrines are blocked. Moreover, during the monsoon season, there is undue threat of having landslides, which can further disrupt the journey. For safety reasons, the gates of the temples are also closed for this period of time and the idols are shifted to nearby pilgrim points.

Accessibility

  • Airport
    Jolly Grant (317 kms.)
  • Railhead
    Rishikesh (300 kms.), Kotdwar (327 kms.)
  • Road
    Well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun, Kotdwar and other hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region
Himalayas, People, Travel

A View Of Kedarnath!

The Celestial Jyotirlingam
Amidst the dramatic mountainscapes of the majestic Kedarnath range stands one of the twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’ of Kedar or Lord Shiva. Lying at an altitude of 3584 mts. on the head of river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the Hindus.

Kedarnath is a majestic sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is said to be more than a 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut gray slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs were handled in the earlier days. The temple has a ” Garbha Griha” for worship and a Mandap apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

Location
Kedarnath is situated in the Uttar Kashi district of the northern state of Uttaranchal. Very close to the Indo-Chinese border, it is the source of the Mandakini River. It is couched in the scenic locales of the Garhwal Himalayas at 3583 meters above sea level. It is very cold in the winters with the ground being covered with snow. In the summers, the mercury barely crosses the 20°C mark. The place experiences about 150 cm of rainfall during the monsoons and so the best time to visit is between May and October. Kedarnath is near to Rishikesh (234 km) and Dehradun (250 km).

History
According to legend, Lord Shiva wished to elude the Pandavas, who had come to seek penitence for having killed their kin in the battle of Kurukshetra. He took refuge in Kedarnath in the form of a bull. Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers, found Shiva amongst a herd of cattle. Having identified the meanest and most arrogant of the herd as Shiva, Bhima is said to have grabbed him by the hindquarters. What remains at the shrine in Kedarnath is the rear end of the bull, with the rest of its body scattered throughout the Garhwal. Shiva dived into the ground leaving behind him a hump on the surface. This conical protrusion is worshipped as the idol. It is the main site of the Panch Kedar temples.
Accessibility

  • Airport
    Jolly Grant, Dehradun (251 kms.)
  • Rail
    Rishikesh (234 kms.)
    Kotdwar (260 kms.)
  • Road
    Approachable on foot from Gaurikund, which is connected by road to Rishikesh, Kotwar, Dehradun, Haridwar and other important hill stations of Garhwal and Kumaon region.
Travel

Agamaarthamtu devaanaam Gamanaarthamtu rakshasaam
Kurve ghantaaravam tatra Devataahvaahna lakshanam

Means:
I ring this bell indicating the invocation of divinity, So that virtuous and noble forces enter (my home and heart); And the demonic and evil forces from within and without, depart.