Sunday, 25 December 2016

Talk about India, from India with you



Good morning/Good afternoon/Good evening my friends, wherever you are! 😀
This is 2:00pm. 25th December, 2016, Sunday in India. After a long time I am able to blog; actually, I’m little busy in shifting to a new city. I will share about my new resident very soon.
Before I talk more, I want to wish you – 

💝 Merry Christmas 💝

Let the spirit of Christmas warm your home with love, joy and peace.


It is a very special day today! Jesus was born on the day. We all, wherever we live in the World, celebrate the day. In India, there are so many churches, where people go today. Not only Christian, but all the religions celebrate together with the same enthusiasm. I’m going to share about a very old church in West Bengal.


Bandel Churche


The Basilica of the Holy Rosary commonly known as Bandel Church, situated in a small town “Bandel”, in Hoogly district. It is one of the oldest Christian churches in West Bengal, India.  Bandel Church was dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Rosario or ‘Our Lady of the Happy Journey’, it is a memorial to the Portuguese settlement in West Bengal. Considered to be built by Gomez de Soto, it has the key stone of the old church bearing year 1559 over the gate of the monastery. It got burned down in 1632 but was rebuilt in 1660.




There are three altars, several tomb stones and a small organ in the church. It is one of the popular historical churches in West Bengal and is an ideal place for relaxation and prayer.


The existence of Bandel Church has got a Portuguese connection. A church was built on the banks of Hooghly almost a century after Vasco da Gama reached this state. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan attacked the Portuguese in 1632 which resulted in the collapse of many forts and churches of Portugal settlement. The attacks on the Portuguese witnessed several miracles which saved lives of many people and impressed the Mughal Emperor. In one such incident, a Portuguese ship is said to have encountered a storm and the Captain of the ship promised to provide the main mast of the ship to the first church he will see. ‘Bandel’ is the Portuguese word for mast and the old church which the captain had found was named ‘Bandel Church’.



On November 25, 1988, Pope John Paul II declared the Bandel Church as a minor Basilica.

Well’ that’s all for today! Hope you like today’s post. Take care of your family and yourself! Have a very good day/ afternoon/evening/night! Namaskar. 👩

 

 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Destination India



Ghats in Varanasi -The Ultimate destination of Pilgrims

(Part - II)




“Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.” - Mark Twain


 Manikarnika Ghat

 


Manikarnika Ghat has a great significance not only in Hindu mythology and way of life but also in the philosophies of life and death. Manikarnika is basically a cremation Ghat. It is the most important and main cremation Ghat of Varanasi. Usually, cremation Ghats are placed outside the main town, as they are considered inauspicious. It is most interesting in Varanasi that, this doesn't stand true in the case of Varanasi, where Manikarnika is situated quite in the middle of town itself. This is precisely because the entire city of Varanasi is considered a "Maha-Shmashan" or the Great Cremation Ground.




According to the Hindu mythology, being burned here provides an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths. Lying at the center of the five tirthas, Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes both creation and destruction. 



At Manikarnika Ghat, the mortal remains are consigned to flames with the prayers that the souls rest in eternal peace. There is a sacred well at the Manikarnika Ghat, called the Manikarnika Kund. Manikarnika Kund is said to be dug by Lord Vishnu at the time of creation while the hot ashes of the burnt bodies’ makes one remember the inevitable destruction of everything in the world. 

Lord Shiva's Temple at Manikarnika Ghat
 It is believed that Lord Shiva utters tarak mantra on the ear of the dead so that he immediately attains salvation.


Lalita Ghat



Lalita Ghat is one of the main ghats on the Ganges River in Varanasi. The ghat is named after Hindu Goddess Lalita and was built in early 19th century by King of Nepal, Rana Bahadur Shah. Lalita Ghat is famous for the Nepali Temple, dedicated to Pashupateswara Siva, which is a Nepali-type wooden temple with interesting sculptures.

 
Nepali Mandir

Also here is a Vishnu temple dedicated to Ganga Keshava.


Scindia Ghat

 



Scindia Ghat borders Manikarnika to the north, with its Shiva temple lying partially submerged in the river as a result of excessive weight of the ghat’s construction about 150 years ago. Above the ghat several of Kashi’s most influential shrines are located. According to tradition, Agni, the Hindu God of Fire was born here.

Pancha-ganga Ghat & Bindu Madhava Temple

 


 
Beneath this Ghat, the Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Kirana, and Dhutapapa Rivers are said to meet. It is one of the five main ghats in Varanasi. It is considered especially auspicious to bathe here dur­ing the month of Kartika (Oct-Nov), and even more so on the full moon day of Kartika.
 
The Alamgir Mosque at Pancha-ganga Ghat

The famous Alamgir Mosque was built at this ghat by Aurangzeb in the 17th century, after he destroyed the major Bindu Madhava Temple that used to be here. The present Deity of Bindu Madhava is in a small temple by the mosque. It is located just above the Pancha-ganga Ghat. There is a boat stop here, one can go by boat and walk up to the temple.

Other Ghats

Beside the main Ghats there are more Ghats there to be specified... The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn, when the river is lined with bathers and worshipers; it is very peaceful.


Dandi Ghat

Dandi Ghat is the ghat of the Dandi Panths holy men. At Hanuman Ghat there is a temple dedicated to Hanuman. Hanuman Ghat is where Vallabha Acharya, who was a Vaishnava saint; spread the glories of Sri Krishna, is said to have been born in the 16th century.


Kedar Ghat

At Kedar Ghat there is a well half-way up the ghat called Gauri Kund, which is named after Lord Siva’s wife, which is said to have healing properties. At this ghat is the Kedareswara Siva-linga Temple.


Manasarovar Ghat

Manasarovar Ghat is named after the holy lake which is found at the foot of Mt Kailash in Tibet. Man Singh of Jaipur built it. 


Chausatti Ghat

At Chausatti Ghat is the temple dedicated to the Chaumsathi (64) Yoginis, which has deities of Durga and Kali.


The distinctive looking Bhosale Ghat was built by the Maratha ruling family of Nagpur, who belonged to the Bhosale family. It's a substantial stone building with small artistic windows at the top. 

Bhosale Ghat
At Mir Ghat there is the Vishalakshi (“Wide-eyed Goddess”) Temple. This temple is a shakti pitha and is said to mark the place where a part of the body of Sati, the wife of Lord Siva, fell.

At Someswara Ghat there is a temple of the moon, and every kind of disease is supposed to be healed here. 

Munshi Ghat
Munshi Ghat is an interesting ghat to look at. 

Darbhanga Ghat is one of the most visually appealing, and architecturally impressive ghats. It features an imposing palace built in the early 1900s by the royal family of Bihar.  Adjoining it is Munshi Ghat, constructed in 1912 by Sridhara Narayana Munshi, finance minister of the State of Darbhanga.

Darbhanga Ghat


At Dattatreya Ghat, there are the footprints of a sadhu of the same name.


Ahalya Bai Ghat is named after the Maratha queen of Indore.

Ahalya Bai Ghat
At Rama and Laksman Ghat there is a Rama and Laksman Temple. The king of Jaipur built it. 

Next is Gai Ghat; has a cow made of stone on it.
 
Gai Ghat

Trilochan Ghat, where is located the Siva temple of Tri (“three”) Lochana (“eye”), who has three eyes. Also in this temple Varanasi Devi is worshiped, the city-goddess of Varanasi.

Raj Ghat

The important Raj Ghat (also called Adi Keshava Ghat) is the northern most ghat. Located here is the Adi Keshava Vishnu Temple, which is located where the Varuna River flows into the Ganges. Lord Vishnu is said to have first put his feet here when he came to Varanasi.

That's all for today. I shall come with more stories of Varanasi and other destinations of India very soon. Till then, good bye! Take care of yourself and your family. 
Namaskar.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Destination India



Ghats in Varanasi - The Ultimate destination of Pilgrims

(Part - I)





“Varanasi is one of the most ancient cities of learning. This was a place where hundreds of enlightened beings lived at a time. In every street, you had an enlightened being to meet.”

Varanasi or Kashi, which has been standing the tests of time for over 5,000 years is said to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. Varanasi, the holy city of India, the city of Moksha for Hindus since centuries, is known for its fine-quality silks, 'paan' and Benares Hindu University. 



Varanasi is the most popular pilgrimage point for the Hindus. One of the seven holiest cities, Varanasi city is also one the Shakti Peethas and one of the twelve Jyotir Linga sites in India. In Hinduism it is believed that those who die and are cremated here get an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and re-births.



Considered as the abode of Lord Shiva, Varanasi is situated on the banks of River Ganges, which is believed to have the power of washing away all of one's sins. Varanasi is symbolized by its ‘Ghats’. There are 87 ‘Ghats’ in the Varanasi city. Some of them are related to particular deity while others are simply to bathe. The famous and oldest ghats of all these are the Dashashwamegha, Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghat. Some of the ghats are made there by Hindu rulers such as Ahilya Bai Holkar of Malwa region, Peshwa’s of Gwalior, Man Singh of Amber, Jai Singh of Jaipur etc. 



Some of the famous personalities of Benaras have named the ghats on their own name. Munshi Ghat is after Hindi poet the Munshi Premchand, Tulsi ghat is after Hindu poet the Tulsidas who has written Ramcharitmanas. Many ghats are associated with the legends in Varanasi like the former Kashi Naresh owns Shivala or Kali ghat. Another historically important Ghat is Panch-Ganga Ghat. Panch -Ganga Ghat as its name indicates, is where five rivers are supposed to meet.


Following are some famous Ghats in Varanasi according to my view and camera!


Assi Ghat



Assi is a clay-banked Ghat that stands at the southernmost part of Varanasi where river Assi meets Ganges. This Ghat is the first when one starts walking from South towards the Manikarnika. It is mandatory for the pilgrims to bathe at this Ghat before worshipping of huge ‘Lingam’ under a Peepal tree. Another ‘Lingam’ Asisangameshvara or the "Lord of the Confluence of the Assi River" has been placed in a small marble temple just off the Assi Ghat. It is a must-visit. 




The Assi Ghat is also considered one of the five special ghats that pilgrims are supposed to bathe at in sequence during the ritual route called Panch-tirthi Yatra.



Harish Chandra Ghat



Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the oldest Ghats of Varanasi. Harish Chandra Ghat is name after a mythological King Harish Chandra, who once worked at the cremation ground here for the perseverance of truth and charity.




It is believed that the Gods rewarded him for his resolve, charity and truthfulness and restored his lost throne and his dead son to him. Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the two cremation Ghats (the other being Manikarnika Ghat) and is sometimes referred as Adi Manikarnika (the original creation ground).


Hindus from distant places bring the dead bodies of their near and dear ones to the Harish Chandra Ghat for cremation. In Hindu mythology it is believed that if a person is cremated at the Harish Chandra Ghat, that person gets salvation or "moksha". The Harish Chandra Ghat was somewhat modernized in late 1980's, when an electric crematorium was opened here.



Tulsi Ghat



Tulsi Ghat is another important Ghat of Varanasi. Tulsi Ghat is named after the great Hindu poet of the 16th century, Tulsidas. This Ghat is important in the Hindu mythology. Tulsi Das composed the great Indian epic, Ramcharitmanas at Varanasi. According to mythology, when the manuscript of Ramcharitmanas fell into the River Ganga it did not sink and kept floating instead.


It is also believed that the Ramlila (story of Lord Rama's life) was staged here for the first time and to memorialize this; a temple of Lord Ram was built on the Tulsi Ghat. Many of the relics of Tulsi Das are preserved at the Tulsi Ghat. The house in which Tulsidas died has been preserved and his samadhi, wooden clogs, pillow and the idol of Hanuman, which Tulsi worshipped, are all still intact here.


Tulsi Ghat is associated with a number of important activities such as bath of Lolarkkunda (to be blessed with sons and their long life) and the sacred bath to get rid of leprosy. Tulsi Ghat is also a center of cultural activities. During Hindu lunar month of Kartika (Oct/Nov), Krishna Lila is staged here with great fanfare and devotion.



Dasaswamedh Ghat




Dashashwamedh ghat is one of the oldest, most spectacular and important ghat, located at the bank of the river Gange near to the old Vishwanath Temple in the Kashi. The literal meaning of the Dashashwamedh is the Ghat (river front) of the ten sacrificed horses (dash means 10, ashwa means horse, medh means sacrifice).

There are two mythologies about the ghat is that the Lord Brahma was created the  Dashashwamedh ghat in order to welcome the Lord Shiva, and the second one is the Lord Brahma was sacrificed the ten horses in a yajna here. The Dashashwamedh ghat was reconstructed by the Bajirao Pesava I in the year 1740 AD. It was later reconstructed by the Queen of the Indore (the princess Ahilyabai Holkar) in the year 1774. Historically, it is considered as the most favorite and main ghat among the Hindu devotees.

  

The ghat has retained its beauty with the various Hindu God temples and religious sites. Pilgrims come here to perform a variety of rituals and religious activities. The evening Aarti of the Gange at this ghat attracts huge crowd from every corner of the city. Some of the devotees come here daily in the morning to pay homage to their Lord after having a holy bath in the Gange water.




Man Mandir Ghat


Maharajah Man Singh of Jaipur built Man Mandir Ghat in 1600. Man Mandir Ghat has an Observatory built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh in 1710, the founder of the city of Jaipur. The observatory is made up of stone instruments and is very small compared to the ones in Jaipur or Delhi. It is a little hard to find.



A Siva-linga temple is located near this ghat, where the linga is immersed in water. The house of the Dom Raja, who is in charge of the cremation grounds, is nearby and has tigers painted on it. Dom Raja is a hereditary title.



To be continued..............