Tuesday, 31 May 2011

May 31, 2011

Vani Temple



Saptashrungi or Saptashringi is a site of pilgrimage situated 60 kilometers from Nashik. According to Hindu tradition, the goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini dwells within the seven mountain peaks. (Sapta means seven and shrung means peaks.). Devotees visit this place in large numbers every day.

The legend
This temple is one among the 51 Shakti peethas located on the Indian subcontinent. The Devi is said be swayambhu (self-manifested) on a rock on the sheer face of a mountain. She is surrounded by seven (sapta in Sanskrit) peaks (shrungain Sanskrit), hence the name: Sapta Shrungi Mata (mother of the seven peaks).

The image of the Devi is huge — about 10 feet tall with 18 hands, holding weapons like:
String of Beads Battle Axe, Mace, Arrow, Thunderbolt, Lotus, Bow, Water Pot, Cudgel, Lance, Sword, Shield, Conch, Bell, Wine Cup, Trident, Noose, Sudarsana Chakra.

The idol is always coated with sindoor, which is considered auspicious in this region. She is also known as Mahishasur Mardini, the slayer of the demon Mahishasur, who took the form of a buffalo. At the foot of the hill, from where one starts climbing the steps, there is the head of a buffalo, made in stone which is believed to be a demon.

Mahishasur Mandir
It is believed that the Devi Mahatmya, a sacred book which extols the greatness of Devi and her exploits, was composed at this place by the sage Markandeya. He performed rigorous penance on a hill opposite the one where the Devi resides; it is now named after him. The temple, which is on the side of the cliff, is 1230 meters above sea level. There is an old path with steps cut out of the mountain, which starts right at the foothills at Vani and goes all the way to the mountain.

How to Reach :
It is located in Nanduri, Tal:-Kalwan a small village near Nashik in India. A motorable road has been built, which goes up to an altitude of 1150 meters. From this place one has to climb around 500 steps to reach the shrine, which takes about 45 minutes.
May 31, 2011

Tryambakeshwar Temple




Trimbakeshwar or Trambakeshwar is an ancient Hindu temple in the town of Trimbak, in the Nashik District of Maharashtra, India, 28 km from the city of Nashik GPS Reference 20.021944 N, 73.729935 E. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.

It is located at the source of the Godavari River, the longest river in peninsular India. The Godavari River, which is considered sacred within Hinduism, originates from Bramhagiri mountains and meets the sea near Rajahmudry. Kusavarta, a kund is considered the symbolic origin of the river Godavari, and revered by Hindus as a sacred bathing place.

Jyotirlinga :
As per Shiv Mahapuran, once Brahma (the Hindu God of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu God of saving) had an argument in terms of supremacy of creation. To test them, Shiva pierced the three worlds as a huge endless pillar of light, the jyotirlinga. Vishnu and Brahma split their ways to downwards and upwards respectively to find the end of the light in either directions. Brahma lied that he found out the end, while Vishnu conceded his defeat. Shiva appeared as a second pillar of light and cursed Brahma that he would have no place in ceremonies while Vishnu would be worshipped till the end of eternity. The jyotirlinga is the supreme partless reality, out of which Shiva partly appears. The jyothirlinga shrines, thus are places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious and holy. Each of the twelve jyothirlinga sites take the name of the presiding deity - each considered different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva. The twelve jyothirlinga are Somnath in Gujarat, Mallikarjuna at Srisailam in Andra Pradesh, Mahakaleswar at Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh, Omkareshwar in Madhya Pradesh, Kedarnath in Himalayas, Bhimashankar in Maharastra, Viswanath at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Triambakeshwar in Maharastra, Vaidyanath at Deogarh in Jharkand, Nageswar at Dwarka in Gujarat, Rameshwar at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Grishneshwar at Aurangabad in Maharastra.

Shri Nilambika/Dattatreya/Matamba Temple
This temple is on top of the Neel mountain. All goddesses ('Matamba','Renuka','Mananmba') came here to see 'Parashuram' when he was performing penance (tapas). After his penance he requested all goddesses to stay there and the temple was formed for these goddesses. God Dattatreya दत्तात्रेय (Shripad Shrivallabh) stayed here for some years.

May 31, 2011

Shani Shingnapur Temple



Shani Shingnapur or Shani Shinganapur or Shingnapur or Sonai is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god of the planet (graha) Saturn. Shingnapur is 35 km from Ahmednagar city.

Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, no theft is reported in the village. Villagers never keep their valuables under lock and key. Villagers believe that the temple is a "jagrut devasthan" (lit. "alive temple"), meaning that the god here is very powerful. They believe that god Shani punishes anyone attempting theft.

The village has a post office and a high school known as Shri Shanishwar Vidya Mandir besides the primary schools run by the Zilla Parishad. The chief source of water supply in the villages is wells.

In January 2011, the United Commercial (UCO) Bank opened a 'lockless' branch in the village, the first of its kind in the country, taking note of the near-zero crime rate in the region. The local police were reported to be unhappy over this development and that it amounted to a breach of conditions, because the Central government of India has made it mandatory for all banks to have high security.The bank has doors,but they will always remain open. However, it was reported by the local legislator and the bank officials that adequate precautions were being taken for the safety of lockers and important documents. The shrine for Shani consists of a five and a half feet high black rock installed on an open-air platform, which symbolizes the god Shani. A Trishula (trident) is placed along the side of the image and a Nandi (bull) image is on the south side. In front are the small images of Shiva and Hanuman.

Generally, the temple has 30-40,000 visitors a day, which swells to around three lakh (i.e. three hundred thousand) on amavasya (the new moon day), believed to the most auspicious day to appease Lord Shani. The village holds a fair in honour of the deity on this day. A bigger festival is held on new moon days that fall on Saturdays. Devotees bathe Lord Shani's image with water and oil and offer flowers, and udid to him. A palanquin procession of Shani is held on the day of the fair. Other festivals include the birthday of Shani, Shani Jayanti.

How to Reach :
Shani Shingnapur is about 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Ahmadnagar city. About 160 kilometres (99 mi) northeast of Pune and 84 kilometres (52 mi) from Aurangabad. The nearest airport is at Aurangabad which is 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Shani Shingnapur. Nearest railway station is Srirampur. Distance from Mumbai is about 330 kilometres (210 mi) by road. It can also be accessed from Shirdi, another religious place in Maharashtra. It is about 65 km on road.

Be cautions of agents(of stalls) approaching you as you drive to the place. Their sole objective is to sell puja material worth Rs. 25 at Rs. 150-550

Monday, 30 May 2011

May 30, 2011

Shikhar Shingnapur


Located at Shingnapur near Satara on the niche of the Shikhar Shingnapur hills, is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Mahashivratri is a major festival celebrated here. Shivaji Maharaj used to visit the temple.

The beautiful temple lies atop a hill on the Satara-Akluj road and is about 90 km from Satara. Mahashivaratri is a major festival celebrated here. 

Sunday, 29 May 2011

May 29, 2011

Bhadrya Maruti Temple, Khultabad



Bhadra Maruti Temple, Khuldabad is a famous temple dedicated to Hanuman located at Khuldabad, near Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The temple is just four km from world famous Ellora caves.

The idol of Hanuman, here is in reclining or sleeping posture. It is one of the only two places where you will find Hanuman in a sleeping posture, the second known place being at Allahabad.

It is one of the known tourist attractions near Aurangabad and people gather in lakhs during auspicious occasions like Hanuman Jayanti and Ram Navami. Further, people come from Aurangabad and nearby places come walking for offering puja also on Saturdays in Marathi calendar month "Shravan"

The folk fare attached to this temple is that in ancient times the Khuldabad was known as Bhadravati. The ruler of the place was a noble king named Bhadrasena, who was an ardent devotee of Sri Rama and used to sing songs in His praise. One day Hanumanji descended in the place, listening to the devotional songs sung in praise of Rama. He was mesmerized and without his knowledge took a reclining posture – called ‘Bhava-samadhi’ (Bhava samadhi is a yogic posture). King Bhadrasen, when finished his song, was astonished to find Hanuman in Samadhi before him. He requested Hanuman to reside here forever and bless his and Lord Rama's devotees

Saturday, 28 May 2011

May 28, 2011

Shri Hazur Sahib, Nanded



Hazūr Sāhib hazūrī sāhib ("presence of the master"), also spelled Hazoor Sahib, more called as Takht Sri Hazur Sahib and also known as Abchal Nagar, is one of the five takhts ("thrones", seats of temporal authority) in Sikhism. It is located on the banks of the River Godavari at the city of Nanded in the state of Maharashtra, Western India. It is where the 10th guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji completed his last breath. The gurudwara within the complex is known Sach-Khand "Realm of Truth".

The structure is built at the place of death of Guru Gobind Singh. The inner room of the gurdwara is called the Angitha Sahib and is built over the place where Guru Gobind Singh was cremated in 1708. The construction of the gurdwara was done from 1832 to 1837 by order of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780–1839).

Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib is the principthe Indian state Deccan region. It marks the site where Guru Gobind Singh had his camp in 1708, after the departure of the Emperor Bahadur Shah and where, in October 2008, the 300th anniversary celebration of the Guruship of Guru Granth Sahib took place. The tenth Guru held his court and congregation here. It is the site of his own tent where he was convalescing after he was attacked by assassins and the place at which Guru Gobind Singh ji 's light rose to rejoin the light of the Creator. This site is now one of five Takhats which are places of primary importance to the Sikhs. The other four takhats are: Akal Takhat at Amritsar, Takhat Keshgarh Sahib at Anandpur, Takhat Patna Sahib in Bihar District and Takhat Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo, Bhatinda, Punjab.

In 1708 being prescient of the end of his earthly role, the Guru had dispatched Banda Singh with five of his Sikhs to Punjab and Mata Sahib Devan under a separate escort to Delhi before the stabbing incident. He told the rest of his retinue to retire to their homes if they so wished, but he made one Bhai Santokh Singh to stay on here and keep Guru ka Langar going. However, many others also chose to remain. Together they built a room over the platform where Guru Gobind Singh would sit while holding his court and installed the Guru Granth Sahib on it. They called it Takhat Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh, while conferring Guruship on the holy Book, had himself named Nanded as "Abchalnagar" (literally "Steadfast city") after the first word of a hymn read at random on the occasion.

Sachkhand (literally "region of Truth") had been used by Guru Nanak Dev to mean the abode of God. Maharaja Ranjit Singh Sher-e-Panjab had the present building of the Takhat Sahib constructed with money, artisans and labor sent from the Punjab during the early 1830s. Around the same time the Nizam of Hyderabad State a Muslim Ruler of the Deccan Region raised a contingent of Northern Sikhs as part of his army. Most of these men settled permanently in Hyderabad State and also Many militant and righteous Hindus of the Deccan embraced Sikhism in the 19th century. The control of Takhat Sachkhand Sri Hazoor Sahib, which had formerly passed into the hands of Udasi Sikh priests was regained by the Sikhs under the influence of the Singh Sabha Movement of the late nineteenth century. Some of the 'rituals and ceremonies connected with working' are peculiar to this Takhat Sahib. In 1956 an Act was passed by the legislature of Hyderabad under which the management of the Takhat Sahib and other historical Gurdwaras was legally placed under a 17 member Gurudwaras Board and a five member Managing Committee.

The Takht houses both the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and the Sri Dasam Granth. This follows the pattern of Takht Sri Patna Sahib.

In 2008, the 300'th Gurudomship Ceremony of Shri Guru Granth Sahibji and 300'th Death Anniversary of Shri Guru Gobind Singhji were celebrated on a grand scale at Hazoor Sahib, Nanded. Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh also addressed to the Sad-Sangat on the main event function. To publicize the event the "Jagriti Yatra" was arranged which travelled through different cities across the country and also some places in abroad.
May 28, 2011

Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai



The Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ganesh. It is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, Maharashtra. It was originally built by Laxman Vithu and Deubai Patil on November 19, 1801. Though it is one of the richest temples in Mumbai, the current generation of Patil is staying in state of despair near the temple.

The temple has a small mandap (hall) with the shrine for Siddhi Vinayak ("Ganesh who grants your wish"). The wooden doors to the sanctum are carved with images of the Ashtavinayak (the eight manifestations of Ganesh in Maharashtra). The inner roof of the sanctum is plated with gold, and the central statue is of Ganesh. In the periphery, there is a Hanuman temple as well. The Siddhivinayak Mandir evolved from a small, tiny place of worship to the Grand Temple that stands today in the later half of the twentieth century. Temple glory was bought not only by the politicians who frequented the temple but also Bollywood film stars who continuously visit to seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha.

Siddhivinayak is well known as “Navasacha Ganapati” or “Navasala Pavanara Ganapati” ('Ganapati bestows whenever humbly genuinely prayed a wish' in Marathi) among devotees.

Consecrated on 19 November 1801, the original structure of the Siddhivinayak Temple was a small 3.6 m x 3.6 m square brick structure with a dome-shaped brick sikhara. The temple was built by the contractor Laxman Vithu Patil. The building was funded by a rich Agri woman named Deubai Patil. Childless, Deaubai built the temple so that the Lord should grant children to other barren women. Ramakrishna Jambhekar Maharaj, a disciple of the Hindu saint Akkalkot Swami Samarth, buried two divine idols in the front of the presiding deity of the temple on the orders on his guru. As prophesied by Swami Samarth, after 21 years after the burial of the icons, a mandar tree grew at that spot with a svayambhu Ganesha in its branches.

The 2550 sq m temple complex had two 3.6 m Deepamalas, a rest house and living quarters for the caretaker. It had an adjoining lake 30 x 40 sq. m. in size on the eastern and southern side of the temple. The lake, dug by Nardulla in the early 19th century to counter the scarcity of water, was filled up in the later years and the land is now not part of the temple complex. Around 1952, a small Hanuman shrine was built in the temple complex for the Hanuman icon that was found during the road extension project of Sayani Road near Elphinstone Road. In the 1950s and 60s, the fame of the temple spread and a significant number of devotees began visiting. However, in the same period, the owner of the plot sold some of the temple land, reducing the complex area. After 1975, the number of devotees increased dramatically
May 28, 2011

Travel Resources

Weather
The winter months ( November-February) are the coolest, while the rest of the year is hot. The monsoon months (June-September) though cooler are hampered on occasion by heavy rainfall.

Getting Around
The local suburban railway network along the Western and Central corridors together with the BEST buses provide commuters with an efficient transportation network. Trains leave every few minutes from stations in both directions from 4.30 am to 1.30 am although the frequency is less in the nighttime and early morning. Taxis, cars for hire (along with drivers), and auto-rickshaws allow for easy travel within the city. Mumbai's yellow and black taxis are a convenient way to travel around the city. A tariff card converting the meter reading into rupees fixes payment. Auto-rickshaws are also metered but are only confined to the outer limits of the city, around the northern suburbs. The Mumbai train map can be found Click here.

Tourist Offices
The Government of India Tourist Office is situated at 123 Maharshi Karve Road, opposite Churchgate station and open Monday through Friday from 8.30 am to 6 pm, and on Saturday from 8.30 am to 2 pm. It brings out a free brochure on Mumbai and guide covering Mumbai's major entertainment events every two weeks. It also runs a 24-hour counter at the International airport and a counter at the domestic airport that stays open till the last flight.

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is another useful center with its head office at the Nariman Point (Express Towers, 9th Floor). Close by is its Tours Division and Reservation Office at CDO Hutments, Madame Cama Road, open from 8 am to 8 pm, where bookings can be made for all tours around the city, long-distance buses and MTDC hotels throughout Maharashtra. The MTDC also has a counter near the Gateway of India, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and the airports.

Changing Money
Several international banks provide cash advances on Visa and MasterCard. The American Express Travel Services office near the Regal Cinema in Colaba is a good place to exchange foreign money. Thomas Cook on D N Road near Flora Fountain also exchanges money. There are a number of foreign exchange counters at the international airport as well.

Emergency Services
For Police Dial 100, 
Fire 101 and 
Ambulance 102. 
Most hotels can provide a physician for a medical emergency and will guide you to the nearest pharmacy around the area.

Dress Code
To combat the heat and humidity wear informal loose clothes. It is recommended not to wear skimpy clothing.

Beggars
Even though you'll come across beggars and street children, it is advisable to avoid giving money

Tipping
Tip at your discretion. In restaurants, 10 % of the bill is fine.

Domestic Airlines
Indian Airlines:  612 7391/ 611 2850 (Santacruz Airport)
Enq - 140,(Arrival - 142), (Departure -143). 
JetAirways:    838 6111 / 619 3333
Sahara India Airlines:  Airport -611 9375 / 9402
International Airlines
Sahara Airlines: 836 6700 
Air India International: 287 6464
British Airways: 282 1424/ 0888 
Cathay Pacific: 202 9112/9113
Gulf Air: 202 1626
Lufthansa:   202 3430  http://www.mumbainet.com/travel/airlines.htm

Railways 
Enquiry : 265 9135  
Central General Enquiry : 134 
Western General Enquiry : 131
http://www.mumbai-central.com/imp_info/

Friday, 27 May 2011

May 27, 2011

Shirdi



Shirdi is a town and falls under the jurisdiction of municipal council popularly known as Shirdi Nagar Panchayat, located in Rahata Tahasil (i.e. taluka) in Ahmednagar District in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is accessible via the Ahmednagar - Manmad State Highway No.10, approximately 83 km from Ahmednagar and 15 km from Kopargaon. It is located 185 km east of the Western Seashore line (the Ahmednagar - Manmad road), which is a very busy route. Shirdi is best known as the late 19th century home of the popular guru Shirdi Sai Baba.
Shirdi is located approximately 296 km from Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra in India. It is called the Land of Sai. Shirdi now has a new railway station called "Sainagar Shirdi", which became operational in March 2009.

As of 2010, there are trains from Chennai (Tamil Nadu), Mumbai (Maharashtra), Visakhapatnam via Secunderabad (Andhra Pradesh) and other cities/states that have Shirdi railway station as their terminal stop. Trains also run from Manmad station which is 87 km from the heart of Shirdi, alternatively from Kopargaon station which is 15 km from Shirdi, or Nashik city, which is 119 km from Shirdi or Nagarsol. Daund railway station is 200 km from Shirdi. Buses and taxis ply from these railway stations and locations to and from Shirdi. Shirdi can be reached by bus from any of the following cities in Maharashtra State (India): Mumbai, Pune, Vashi, Panvel, Thane, Nashik, Akluj, Dhule, Nagpur and Aurangabad. Currently, four-laning of State highway Nagar-Manmad highway is in progress on BOT basis and should be completed by Mid-2013. Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has been assigned to execute the works of internal roads in Shirdi. Soon, Shirdi will have its own airport by 2013. It is to be located at Kakdi (Kopargaon Tahasil), some 14 km towards south-east of Shirdi.

May 27, 2011

Pandharpur



Pandharpur is an important pilgrimage city on the banks of Bhimā river in Solāpur district, Maharashtra, India. Pandharpur is situated on the 1711 north axis and 7511 the east longitude in Solapur District. The Vithoba temple attracts about half a million Hindu pilgrims during the major yātrā (pilgrimage) in the month of Ashadh (June–July).
Pandharpur is one of the most prominent pilgrimage sites in Maharashtra. It is located on the banks of the Bhimā river, which is alternatively known as Chandrabhāgā because of its half-moon-like shape. The city is named after a merchant, Pandarika, who achieved self-realization there.

Pandharpur, also known as Pandhari, hosts the renowned Vitthal temple on the banks of Bhimā. "Vithoba", "Pāndurang", and "Pandharināth" are the popular alternate names of the deity, Viththal, who is regarded in Hinduism as a form of Lord Krishna, who, in turn, is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rakhumāi or Rukmini is Viththal's consort in the temple.

The worship of Vitthal in the Pandharpur temple is based mainly on the contents of the Puranas, and the contributions of the Vaishnav saints of Maharashtra and Karnataka during the 13th through the 17th centuries, namely, Dnyaneshwar, Namdev, Eknath, Tukaram, Purandara Dasa, Vijaya Dasa, Gopala Dasa, and Jagannatha Dasa, have augmented the worship.

The Pandharpur temple covers a large area, and has six gates. The eastern gate is known as the "Namdev Gate".

Pandharpur hosts four annual pilgrimages ("yātrās") of Hindu devotees. Among them, the pilgrimage in the month of Āshādh (June–July) in the Hindu calendar attracts the largest number of pilgrims—around 0.5 to 0.7 million people. The pilgrimages in the months of Kārtik (October–November), Māgh(January–February) and Shrāvan(July–August) attract the second, third and fourth largest numbers of pilgrims respectively.

This has been a great place to visit for devotees all over India. There are some other important holy places around Pandharpur. The deities include Goddess Tulja Bhavani (Goddess of family - KulDevata of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj) at Tuljapur, Saint Shri Swami Samarth (God Form of Dattatreya) at Shri Kshetra Akkalkot, Lord Dattatreya at Ganagapur etc. All these places are located in or near Solapur District. Famous Devi Temples in Pandharpur include Padmavati , Emayi –Tukai, Ambabai, and Lakhubai.

Milk and all other cow products for Pooja in Pandharpur temple are supplied from Shri kesavgoshala of Pandharpur, which belongs to Nagoriya Math.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

May 26, 2011

Osho Ashram, Pune



The Osho Ashram 
Years after the death of Osho, the Osho Ashram at Pune continues to attract people from the farthest corners of the world. The ashram, spread over an area of 40 acres, was founded by Bhagwan Rajneesh himself. Osho Rajneesh Dham is the perfect place, not only for spiritual development, but also for rejuvenation and relaxation after being frustrated by the tensions of everyday life. People, from as many as 100 countries, are staying at this ashram, each with a different purpose. You can choose to do anything here, from resting, swimming, meditating and so on. Six different meditations take place at the Osho Ashram of India, on a daily basis and extend for a period of one hour.

The Osho Commune
Individuals who join the Osho Commune are assigned new names. Titles are also attached to them; men are called 'Swami', while women are given the title of 'Ma'. After a person joins the commune, he/she is expected to severe the family bonds. The followers of Osho wear maroon robes for meditation and white robes for the discourses. You will also find them wearing a necklace of 108 rudraksha beads with an attached picture of Bhagwan Rajneesh.

Osho 
Osho was born as Rajneesh Chandra Mohan Jain on 11th December 1931. One of the most renowned as well as the most controversial spiritual leaders of India, Osho always came across as a rebellious, but an extremely intelligent individual. As per Osho himself, he received Enlightenment at the young age of 21. Thereafter, he completed his graduation and post graduation. For a brief period in his life, he worked as a professor of philosophy. In the year 1964, he organized his first meditation camp and from then onwards began his spiritual journey. He completed his journey in this world on 19th January 1990.

Osho Philosophy 
Osho believed that awareness, love, meditation and laughter are the greatest values in life. As per him, enlightenment is a normal state of being. However, human thought and emotional ties to societal expectations and the consequent fears and inhibitions that a person experiences distract him from attaining this normal state.

Osho on Meditation 
Meditation is nothing that is to be taught or learnt, it is inherent in every human being. Meditation is just to be, not do anything - no action, no thought, no emotion. Just being is what will give you pure happiness. He recognized that it is difficult for most of the people to just sit and meditate. So, he devised a new kind of mediation techniques, known as 'Active Meditation Techniques'.

How to Reach Osho Ashram, Pune

By Air
Pune airport is lies at a distance of almost 12-km from the main city. It is well connected to most of the major cities in India.

By Rail
Pune has excellent train services, linking it with almost all the cities in the country. 

By Road
A good road network links Pune with the other parts of India. Direct bus services are available between Pune and Mumbai.
May 26, 2011

Nageshwar Temple, Pune


Nageshwar Temple is one of the oldest temples of Pune, Maharashtra. It has been there since the times of Sant Jnaneshwar and Tukaram. It is a common belief that there was once a reservoir near the temple. The water of this reservoir can cure leprosy. The main holy place has the usual Yadava structure with a stone roof. Several renovations and additions have been made the temple over the years. 

Pune is one of the major commercial cities of Maharashtra. So, it is well connected by air, rail and road with all the places in Maharashtra and other parts of the country. 
May 26, 2011

Manas Mandir, Shahapur



A marvelous Jain temple, located at the base of the Mahuli hill is popularly known as shri Bhuvan Bhanu Jain Manas Mandir Tirtha. An awesome panchaloha (5 metals) idol of Aadeshwar Bhagwan adorns the garbha griha (sanctum) of the temple, and it makes the devotee think that the deity will speak at the very moment. 

A large temple complex at the top of a hill and a river flowing beneath is indeed a stunning scenario. The 76 feet pillar less dome and its superb ceilings, tremendous carvings reveal the architectural brilliance of the makers of this fabulous shrine.

Another important attraction of this incredible shrine is that, the old temple excavated from Gujarat is located a few meters away and it houses marble statues of 500-700 years old. In the backyard of the old temple, there is a 100 years old banyan tree, which is a habitat for so many rare snakes. 

All these wonderful structures and its surrounding lush greenery, makes Manas Mandir, a must seen holy place.   Old Mahuli Fort stands guard behind this beautiful temple making it a very good one day picnic spot for revelers from and around Mumbai.

How to Reach :
Board any Local Train towards Kasara and alight at Asangaon Station. Catch any auto from Asangaon Station (West) and ask them to take you to Manas Mandir. Auto Fare is around Rs.70/-

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

May 25, 2011

Mahalaxmi Temple, Kolhapur


The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple of Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India, is one of the Shakti Peethas listed in various puranas of Hinduism. According to these writings, a Shakti Peetha is a place associated with Shakti, the goddess of power. The Kolhapur Shakti Peetha is of special religious significance being one of the six places where it is believed that one can either obtain salvation from desires or have them fulfilled. The temple takes its name from Mahalakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, and it is believed that the divine couple reside in the area.

The temple belongs architecturally to the Kannada Chalukya empire and may have been first built in circa 700 AD. Mounted on a stone platform, the image of the four armed and crowned goddess is made of gemstone and weighs about 40 kilograms. The image of Mahalakshmi carved in black stone is 3 feet in height. The Shri Yantra is carved on one of the walls in the temple. A stone lion, the vahana of the goddess, stands behind the statue. The crown contains an image of the Sheshnag — the serpent of Vishnu. In Her four hands, the deity of Mahalakshmi holds objects of symbolic value. The lower right hand holds a mhalunga (a citrus fruit), in the upper right, a large mace (kaumodaki) with its head touching the ground, in the upper left a shield (khetaka), and in the lower left, a bowl (panpatra). Unlike most Hindu sacred images, which face north or east, the image of this deity looks west (Pashchim). There is a small open window on the western wall, through which the light of the setting sun falls on the face of the image for three days around the 21st of each March and September. There are a number of other shrines in the courtyard to the Navagrahas, Surya, Mahishasuramardini, Vitthal-Rakhmai, Shiva, Vishnu, Tulja Bhavani and others. Some of these images date back to the 11th century, while some are of recent origin. Also located in the courtyard is the temple tank Manikarnika Kund, on whose bank is a shrine to Visweshwar Mahadev.

Worship Structure: Five worship services are offered each day. The first one is at 5 am, and it involves the waking of the deity with a Kakada - torch, to the accompaniment of hymns. The second worship service at 8 am involves the offeirng of the Shodashopachara pooja consisting of 16 elements. The afternoon and evening services and the Shejaarati pooja constitute the three other services.

Special Events: A festival image of the deity is taken out in procession around the temple courtyard each Friday, and on full moon days. 

It is said that both Shri Lakshmi and Shri Vishnu reside in the Karveer area eternally and shall not leave even at the time of Mahaprayakala. This region is therefore also referred to as an avimuktakshetra. Karveer region is eternally blessed and is believed to be held by Mother Jagdambe in her right hand, and so this region is protected from all destruction. Lord Vishnu himself adores this region more than Vaikiuntha or the Kshirsagar since it is the home of his consort Lakshmi. The greatness of this region has therefore attracted many sages and devotees, the blessings and affections showered by this region on its devotees are immeasurable. It is believed that Prabhu Shri Dattatreya still comes here every noon to seek alms.

The statue of the Goddess Mahalakshmi is made of gemstone and is considered to be at least 5000 to 6000 years old. It weighs about 40 kilos. The precious stones that adorn the deity indicate the antiquity of the idol. The platform of the Goddess Mahalakshmi is made of stone. The statue of the Goddess has four arms. In the lower right hand she holds the matulinga, (a fruit similar to and ordinary lemon but much larger in size). In the upper right hand she holds large mace, kaumodaks, its head touching the ground. In the upper left hand she holds the shield or khetaka, and while in the lower one she holds a bowl, panpatra.

On the crown of the Goddess Mahalakshmi are a cobra-hood and a Shiva-ling with a Yoni around it. Standing behind is the Goddess' vahana-a lion. Almost all the idols of the God face the north or the east directions, whereas here the Idol faces the west. The small window on the western wall which is open. Once a year, the rays of the Sun during sunset falls on the face of the image through this window. This period lasts for three days, each time, the 21st, of the months of March and September. This period is considered extremely auspicious, the Devotees throng the temple on all the three evenings the temple for a glimpse of the beautiful image bathing in the golden rays of the setting sun.

Kirnotsav Ceremony:
Kirnotsav in Mahalakshmi Temple Kolhapur (festival of Sun rays) is celebrated when the sun rays fall directly on the deity's Mahalakshmi idol at the time of sunset on the following days :

31 January & 9 November : Sun rays fall directly on the feet of the deity. 1 February & 10 November : Sun rays fall directly on the chest of the deity. 2 February & 11 November : Sun rays fall directly on the entire body of the deity.

Festivals :
It is not surprising that even the rays of a setting sun pay homage to Goddess Mahalakshmi as the life of human being revolves around illumination and prosperity. But it is the wonder of wise architects who built the temple of Mahalakshmi at kolhapur that the rays of the setting Sun, bow at the feet of the Goddess through a window, for a while before vanishing. This special event is celebrated by thousands of people as ‘KiranUtsav’. Every year this festival is celebrated on the following days at evening: 31 January 1 February 2 February 9 November 10 November 11 November

It is said that Sun god gives respect to Mahalaxmi for three days in a year. This will be on the occasion of RathaSaptami (which will be somewhere in January every year). This will be for 3 days. The first day, ray falls on the feet, on second day, on the middle portion of the deity and on the third day on the face. Its the architect's excellence, which is been done more than 1000years ago, can still be observed. Later during the time of Peshwas, the temple was repaired. Though, many invasions over this part of India has caused some damages of the beautiful idols, which are all around the temple.

History :
The city is referred to in many Puranas, 500 years back. Research guesses that it was in existence in the times of Parashuram. The time is.considered parallel to that of Mata peeth (Mahurgad), Sapta Shringi (Nasik) and Bhavani Peetha, in the Ramayana times. Karveer washes off great sins. There are many ancient, rich temples, holy places and gardens.

There is evidence to show that the Konkan king Kamadeo, Chalukya, Shilahar, Yadav dynasties visited this city. Adya Shankaracharya also visited. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj & Sambhaji reigned. The idol of Mahalaxmi is made of jewel - stone, approximately weighing 40 kg. The size is like Salunki. Sand & diamond are found in it. It stands on a stony stage with a lion behind it. In the middle there is natural lotus. It is four-handed, having Vetak, shield, Mhalung & Water-Pot. There is crown on the head and a snake holds shade.

In 109 A. D. Karnadeo cut off the jungle and brought the temple to light. The existence goes back to 8 th century, according to Dr. Bhandarkar & Mr. Khare. In the 8 th century, the temple sank down due to earth­quake. In the 9 th century Gandavadix (King) extended the temple by building Mahakali Mandir. During 1178 -1209, in the reigo of Raja Jaysing & Sindhava, South gate & Atibaleshwar Temple were built. In 1218 Yadav king Tolum built Mahadwar, and offered jewels to Devi. Further, Shilahar built Maha Sarasvati Mandir. He being a gain, got 64 idols carved. It is possible that new idol called Padmavati was installed at that time. Further, in Chalukya times, Ganapati before the temple was installed. It seems that the original temple was of the Hindus. In the 13 th century, Shankaracharya built Nagar Khana & Office, Deepmalas.

During 1712 - 1760 (Sambhaje Reign) Narhar Bhat Shastree had a dream which he told to Sambhajee. In the Mogal reign, the worshippers had hidden the idol for protection. Believing Sangavakar's dream, Sambhajee started a search. This idol was found in a house in Kapil Teerth Market. According to Sambhaji's letter dated 8 Nov. 1723, Sindhoji Hindurao Ghorpade of Panhala installed the idol again on 26 Sept. 1712 (Monday, Ashwin Vijiya Dashami). The number of devotees grew, and in due course of time, the Devi became the Deity of Maharashtra. The idol began to denude due to Abhishekas. So Sankeshwar Shankaracharya got it repaired. After Vajralep & sacrifices, it was again installed at the hands of Kolhapur Shahajee Raje in 1954.In 1960, there was transformation under the supervision of Mr. Lohiya. As a result, the premises seemed extensive. There are 5 main temples and 7 Deepamalas now. Around are 35 small - big temples and 20 shops. There are 5 Hemad-style tops. Adjoining is Garud Mandap, built by Mr. Harshe.

How to Reach :
The Shri Mahalakshmi Temple is situated in the city Kolhapur in Maharashtra. Kolhapur is an important and significant city lying in the ancient Karveer region which is a treasure trove of ancient religious monuments in Western Maharashtra. Kolhapur is well connected by rail and road with the major cities of India. Trains ply between Kolhapur and Mumbai, Bangalore, New Delhi and other important cities of Maharashtra like Pune,Sangli, Miraj. The city is also well connected by a road network. Within the city public transport is conveniently available.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

May 24, 2011

Mumba Devi Temple

Mumba Devi Mandir, or Mumba Devi Temple, is an old Hindu temple in the city of Mumbai, dedicated to the goddess Mumbā, the local incarnation of the Devi (Mother Goddess). Marathi Mumbā derives from Sanskrit Mahā-Ambā "Great Mother", and Mumbaī combines the name with aī, the Marathi for "mother".

While Hindu sects devoted to the goddess Mumbadevi are attested to as far back as the 15th century, it is said that the temple was built in 1675 near the main landing site of the former Bori Bunder creek against the north wall of the English Fort Saint George by a Hindu woman also named Mumba. The creek and fort are now deteriorated to a point at which they are but derelict reminders of the city's past. The temple, on the other hand, is still active.

The goddess Mumba was patron of the agri (salt collectors) and kolis (fisherfolk), the original inhabitants of the seven islands of Bombay. She is depicted as a black stone sculpture in the temple. An etymology of Mumba that is popular is "Maha Amba," or "Great Mother," one of the many of India's more well-known names for the Hindu Mother Goddess (Devi). Located in Bhuleshwar area in South Mumbai, the temple is in the heart of the steel and clothing markets. It is a sacred pilgrimage spot and place of worship for Hindus and is thus visited daily by hundreds of people. It is not uncommon for visitors of Mumbai to pay their respects at the temple and is one of the popular tourist destinations in the city.

Mumbadevi Temple Maharashtra, Maa Mumbadevi temple is another Sakthi temple situated in Bombay. The name of the city Bombay (now called Mumbai) is derived from Maa Mumbadevi. Mumbai ; of Portuguese words and Bom Bahia, meaning "good harbor" .This temple is dedicated to city's patron Goddess Mumbadevi. The temple of Mumbadevi, once stood on the site of the present Victoria Terminus in the central island which was called Mumbai. The temple was built in honour of Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the Koli fishermen believed to be the original inhabitants of Mumbai. The original temple was built in 1737 was demolished and a new temple erected in its place at Bhuleshwar. The nearest station is Marine Lines. Although the Mumbadevi Temple is not as striking as others are in the city, its resident deity, Mumbadevi, is the city's patron Goddess. The structure is about six centuries old, believed to be the handiwork of Mumbaraka, a sadistic giant who frequently plundered the city at the time.

This temple was built in honour of the Goddess Mumba. The Mumbadevi temple is six centuries old. The first Mumbadevi temple was situated at Bori Bunder, and is believed to have been destroyed between 1739 and 1770. After the destruction a new temple was erected at the same place at Bhuleshwar. The Goddess personifies Mother Earth and is still worshipped by the descendants of the Dravidian population of western and southern India. The original temple built at the site where the Victoria Terminus station earlier was by Koli fishermen was demolished around 1737 and a new temple was erected in its place at Phansi Talao. The modern shrine contains an image of the Goddess Mumbadevi dressed in a robe with a silver crown, a nose stud and a golden necklace. To the left is a stone figure of Annapurna seated on a peacock. In front of the shrine is a tiger, the carrier of the Goddess.

Mumbadevi Temple dedicated to city's patron Goddess Mumbadevi is located in Bhuleshwar, Mumbai. She is considered as Mumbai's resident deity. The temple of Mumbadevi once stood on the site of the present Victoria Terminus in the central island. The present name of the city is derived from the Goddess Mumbadevi. The temple itself is not impressive but is an important landmark as it is dedicated to MumbaDevi, the city's patron deity. It is from her that Bombay gets its local name Mumbai. According to a popular legend the structure of the temple is about six centuries old and it is believed be the handiwork of Mumbaraka, a sadistic giant who frequently plundered the city at the time. Terrorized by these unwelcome visits, the locals pleaded with Lord Brahma, Creator of all things to protect them. Brahma then "pulled out of his own body", an eight armed goddess who vanquished the Mumbaraka. Brought to his knees, Mumbaraka implored Her Holiness to take his name and built a temple in her honour. She still stands there, an orange faced goddess on an altar strewn with marigolds: devotees believe that those who seek her divine favour are never disappointed. Dressed in silver robes and adorned with nose studs sits Mumba, the presiding goddess of Mumbai, inside this temple at Phansi Talao. Mumba is a goddess without a mouth and is a local representation of Mother Earth, and is worshipped by the Koli fisherfolk. Beside the statue of the orange faced goddess Mumbadevi also reside idols of Indra, Ganesh and Hanuman. It is common belief that the goddess does not disappoint any of her devotees if they pray to her sincerely. The temple is closed on Mondays. Just outside the temple, the stalls sell flowers: garlands of sweet smelling jasmine, orange marigolds and pink lotuses -an offering, which is considered auspicious by the worshippers.



May 24, 2011

Mount Mary Church, Mumbai



The Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount, more commonly known as Mount Mary Church, is a Roman Catholic church located in Bandra, Mumbai. The church is one of the most visited churches in the city. Every September, the feast of St. Mary is celebrated on the first Sunday after 8 September, the birthday of the Virgin Mary. This is a week long celebration known as the Bandra Fair and is visited by thousands of people. The church stands on a hillock, about 80 metres above sea level overlooking the Arabian Sea. It draws lakhs of devotees and pilgrims annually. Many of the faithful attest to the miraculous powers of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The shrine attracts people from all faiths who pray to Virgin Mary for expressing their gratitude or requesting favours.

During the Bandra Fair, the entire area is decorated with festoons and buntings. Many pitch up stalls selling religious articles, roasted grams, snacks and sweets. Wax figures of the Virgin Mary, along with an assortment of candles shaped like hands, feet and various other parts of the body are sold at kiosks. The sick and the suffering choose a candle or wax figure that corresponds to their ailment and light it in Church, with the pious hope that Mother Mary will consider their appeals for help. Although the current church edifice is just 100 years old, the history behind the current statue of Our Lady goes back to the 16th century when Jesuit priests from Portugal brought the statue to the current location and constructed a chapel. In 1700 Arab pirates interested in the gilt-lined object held in the hand disfigured the statue by cutting off the right hand.

In 1760, the church was rebuilt and the statue was substituted with a statue of Our Lady of Navigators in St. Andrew's church nearby. This statue has an interesting legend. It goes that a Koli fisherman dreamt that he would find a statue in the sea. The statue was found floating in the sea between 1700 and 1760. A Jesuit Annual Letter dated to 1669 and published in the book St. Andrew's Church, Bandra (1616–1966) supports this claim. The Koli Fishermen call the statue as Mot Mauli, literally meaning The Pearl Mother (Mot= Moti= pearl and Mauli= Mother).however the pervious statue is now restored and now enjoys the place of honour in the bascilica. Both Hindu and Christian Kolis visit this shrine often giving it a kind of syncretic nature.

Monday, 23 May 2011

May 23, 2011

Jejuri



Jejuri is one of the famous temples in Maharashtra. Popularly known as ' Khandobachi Jejuri ' - it is one of the major Gods in Maharashtra. The God of Jejuri - Mhalsakant or Malhari Martand - is popular amongst the Dhangars. Dhangar is one of the oldest tribes in Maharashtra. Khandoba is known to be their god. Jejuri is to the South - East of Pune towards Phaltan. But the temples of Khandoba is situated on a small hill , so can be seen from the approaching road.

As the temple is on the hill, one has to climb almost 200 steps. But the climbing is not so tough and the wonderful view of Jejuri town is marvelous. One can easily see the view of Saswad and Dive Ghat if weather permits. One can enjoy number of ' Deep Mala ' ( Light Stands of Stones ) while climbing the hill. Jejuri is really popular for its old Deep Mala. The temple over the hill is pretty. Though a simple one, still looks beautiful. The temple can be divided into Mandap and Gabhara. The two bells and idols in the temple are good looking.

The idol of Khandoba in the temple is beautiful. Various weapons like Sword , Damaru and Paral are of historic remembrance. The competition of handling the sword on Dasera Day is very popular , as one has to lift the sword high for maximum time. The other idols of Khandoba , Mhalsa and Manimalla looks beautiful. Jejuri is historically an important place as Shivaji meet his father Shahaji here after a long period. The meeting is historically very important as both discussed the strategies against Mughals , here. At that period , Jejuri was one of the major hill forts in South region.

One must visit Jejuri to see the crystal stands. Jejuri is one of the important temples in Maharashtra with historical importance. ' Kandobacha Yelkot '..' Jay Malhar ' are some of the popular terms here. One can find many sculptures in and nearby the Jejuri temple.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

May 22, 2011

Dagduseth Halwai Ganesh Temple, Pune



Dagduseth Halwai Ganpati Temple is one of the oldest Ganpati temples in Pune,Maharashtra.Dagduseth Temple was Established in the year 1893. The temple is located close to Shaniwarwada in the heart of Pune city.

A halwai or sweetmaker called Dagdusheth is credited for constructing this temple. It is believed that he lost his son in a plague outbreak which plunged him and his wife in a state of depression. To bring him out of this state, his Guru advised him to make idols of Lord Ganesha and Shree Datta Maharaj and take care of them like he would father his son. It was then that the very first idol of Ganesha was made.

Dagdusheth's good friends, Lokmanya Balgandharva Tilak- associated with the independence movement in the late 1800s, came up with the idea of transforming Ganesh Chaturthi into a public festival. The main ideology behind this decision was to bring the people together and unite them against the British. In this way this festival came to be celebrated at a community level every year rather than being restricted to a household affair.

The simple construction of the Ganpati temple allows the devotees to catch a glimpse of the Ganesh idol even from outside the temple.The Dagduset Ganpati temple is visited by hundreds of devotees on a daily basis, this simple yet beautiful architectural design of the temple helps people watch the daily proceedings like the aarti and thepooja from well outside the entrance of the temple.

The beautifull idol of Ganesha is adorned with gold and precious jewellery which have been offered to the Elephant God by the devotees as a token of their love and affection. The idol of Ganpati has a solid gold ear and is decorated with nearly 8 kilos of gold

Pooja is performed twice everyday and people visit the temple in large numbers to pray. Heaps of coconuts are offered to the Hindu God on a daily basis. Especially during the Ganesh Chaturthi the demand of coconut reaches nearly five lakhs per day

The best time to visit the temple during the morning hours because of less traffic. But there is no escaping the crowd if you wish to pay your homage to Ganesha during Ganesh Chaturthi festival when lakhs of people from all over Maharashtra and other part of India flock down to the city to catch a glimpse of their favourite Ganesh idol.
May 22, 2011

Gajanan Maharaj Temple, Shegaon



Shegaon has acquired fame as a pilgrimage center because Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj lived there. Hindus consider Gajanan Maharaj a saint with miraculous powers. The origins of Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj are untraceable in history. Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj took "Samadhi" at Shegaon. Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj Temple is built on the Samadhi of Gajanan Maharaj at Shegaon. Sant Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan is the biggest temple trust in the Vidarbha region and is so called as "Pandharpur of Vidarbha". It attracts pilgrims from all over Maharashtra.

The Gajanan Maharaj Sansthan (Institution) Temple Trust runs the day to day affairs of the Temple; is headed by the Managing Trustees who normally comes from the line of Patil's. Trust runs many services in the spiritual, religious, medical and educational fields. In particular, it runs Shri Sant Gajanan Maharaj College of Engineering a famous Engineering College in Vidarbha region.

How to Reach :
Shegaon is located around 550 km east of the city of Mumbai and 300 km west from the city of Nagpur. It is located on Mumbai-Bhusawal-Nagpur route of the Central Railway of Indian Railways. It has direct train connectivity to Mumbai CST, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Jamshedpur, Ahmedabad, Okha, Kolhapur, Amravati, Wardha, Nagpur, Gondia, Bilaspur, Howrah-Kolkata, Shalimar-Kolkata, Ballarshah, Chennai Central. From Mumbai several trains halt at Shegaon. Prominent being Vidarbha Express, Amravati Superfast Express, Mumbai Howrah mail and express, Sewagram express, Nagpur-Pune express, Navjivan Express, Gondwana Express, Maharashtra Express, Okha-Puri Express and Gitanjali express.

By road it is well connecting by neighbouring cities like Khamgaon, Balapur, Malkapur and Akola which are located on Hajira (Surat)- Dhule - Howrah (Kolkatta) National Highway 6. It is quite close to the industrial cities of Aurangabad, Pune and Nagpur.

The nearest airports are at Akola, Aurangabad and Nagpur.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

May 21, 2011

Ganesh Temple Chichwad



Chinchwad is about 15 km away from Pune, Maharashtra. It is an old town, and one can find its references in Shivaji's and Peshwa's periods. The Ganesh Temple in Chinchwad is very famous place, and a Yatra takes place in the month of 'Shravan'. The 'Moraya Gosavi' temple is pride for Chinchwad. It is associated with the 14th century Saint Moravi Gosavi. 

The temple is a well maintained and is very old, and but it is known as Moraya Gosavi Temple. Chinchwad Ganesh Temple is situated on the banks of river 'Pawana'. The small ghat on the backside of the temple is very pretty and the quiet atmosphere here pleases the mind. 

Nearest airport is at Pune, while there is also rail connection. Pune being a major commercial city of Maharashtra is well connected by road with all the places in Maharashtra and other parts of the country.
May 21, 2011

Akkalkot



Akkalkot  pronunciation (help·info)(Marathi: अक्कलकोट) |ಅಕ್ಕಲಕೋಟೆ is a city and a municipal council in Solapur district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is situated 40 km southeast of Solapur and very close to the border between Maharashtra and Karnataka states. Akkalkot was the home to Shri Swami Samarth Maharaj, a 19th century saint who is believed by his devotees to be an incarnation of God Dattatreya. Akkalkot is widely known for its association with Shri Swami Samarth Maharaj, held by some to be a reincarnation of Lord Dattatreya. Swami Maharaj lived for over two decades at Akkalkot, mainly at the residence of his disciple Cholappa, where his samadhi and shrine are now located. The shrine complex, which is known the Vatavruksh Mandir since it encloses the banyan tree beneath which the swami would preach his message, is the hub of devotions for his followers.it is said that the tree speaks and some sound comes from the tree. Free accommodation and meals are provided to pilgrims by the Shri Swami Samarth Annachhatra Mandal. The other local shrine is the samadhi of Akkalkoth Swami located some distance from the main shrine, but still within the city limits. Akkalkot is also famous for Gajanan Maharaj's Shivpuri, where Ancient Vedic Therapy Agnihotra is performed.

Important Places near Akkalkot :

•Shri Swami Samarth Maharaj Temple :- 1.5 km away from MSRTC bus stop.

•Ballappa Math :- 1 km away from MSRTC bus stop.

•Raje Rayan Math :-2 km away from MSRTC bus stop.

•Joshi Buwa Math :- 1.5km away from MSRTC bus stop.

•Khandoba Temple :- This temple is to the north direction of MSRTC bus stop.

•Mallikarjun Temple :- This temple is located between shri. Swami samarth Samadhi math & MSRTC bus stop.

•New Palace & Armory Museum :- Just near the MSRTC bus stop.

•Shivpuri :- 2.5 km away from MSRTC bus stop.

•Hatti Tank :- 1 km. away from MSRTC bus stop.

•Kashi Vishweshwar, Jeur:- 12 km away from Akkalkot MSRTC bus stop.

•Hydra:- 30 km away from Akkalkot MSRTC bus stop.

•Burhanpur :-15 km away from Akkalkot MSRTC bus stop.

•Kurnur :- 14 km away from Akkakot MSRTC bus stop.

Friday, 20 May 2011

May 20, 2011

Chakreshwar Temple



Chakreshwar Temple is located at Titte, near Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Lord Chakreswar is worshipped in the temple. The temple is towards the south of Kolhapur. Visiting Chakreshwar Temple is regarded as a part of pilgrimage while visiting the Mahalakshmi temple at Kolhapur. 

The nearest airport is situated at Kolhapur, while nearest railway station is at Tette. The town is well connected by road as well. Accommodation is available at the hotels in Kolhapur.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

May 19, 2011

Bahubali Hill Temples



Bahubali Hill Temples are located 27 km south of Kolhapur, Maharashtra on the Bahubali Hills. Huge devotees thronged the temple to worship the 28-feet tall marble statue of Bahubali and visit the temples of the 24 Tirthankaras or saints. These hills are popularly known as 'Kumbhojgiri'. A Celibacy Resort was established in 1935 and named after the sage Bahubali who mediated here about 300 years before. 

This temple looks very beautiful and splendid. The scene of the forest and the village farms looks full of delight and beauty. People visiting these temples have to climb about 400 steps. A fair is held here on the 15th day of the bright half of the month of Kartak, on the 15th day of the bright half of the month Chaitra and on the 10th of day the dark half of the month of Magasar 

Visitors can take a train from the nearest railway station at Hathkalangad, about 8 km away, on Kolhapur - Miraj railway line. This temple is at a distance of 31 km from Kolhapur. There are steps for climbing the hill. Bus service and private vehicles are available. They go to the foot of the hill. The Swetambar Jain Trust provides accommodation for the devotees.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

May 14, 2011

Afghan Church Mumbai


The Church of St John the Evangelist, better known as the Afghan Church (Marathi: अफ़ग़ान चर्च) is a Presbyterian Church in South Mumbai, India, built by the British to commemorate the dead of the disastrous defeat in the First Afghan War of 1838. The church is located in Navy Nagar in the Colaba area of Mumbai (Bombay).

As well as British soldiers, it also commemorates different Indian regiments, such as the Bombay Army, the Madras Army, and Ranjit Singh's army from Lahore. Records also mention that only one person, one Surgeon William Brydon - a medical officer - out of 16,000 men, returned safely to Jalalabad to tell the tale of a war in which the British suffered their heaviest defeat yet.

The church began as a small thatched chapel a kilometre south in what was then known as the "Sick Bungalows" (now the INHS Asvini, the Indian naval hospital). There were no chairs, and patrons had to bring their own. Later, the government released a new patch of land for the setting up the church on the condition that the spire be seen from miles away and serve as a landmark for ships in the harbour.

In March 1843, the Oxford Society for Promoting the Study of Gothic Architecture (later the Oxford Architectural and Historical Society) received a request from the Chaplain to the Honourable East India Company, asking for a design for the new church. The English architect John Macduff Derick presented his designs to the Society in November of the same year, and they met with the Society's approval. But in June 1845 word came from India that the designs were unfit for purpose and the building would cost too much.[1] Eventually, plans for the quintessentially English Gothic Revival architecture of the church were submitted in 1847 by city engineer Henry Conybeare and approved. The well-known architect William Butterfield designed the reredos, the Afghan War Memorial mosaics, and the tiles, pews and screen.[2] The church was consecrated on January 7, 1858 by Bishop Harding. The spire cost a sum of Rs 5,65,000 and was finished on June 10, 1865. Much of the cost of this was paid by Sir Cowasji Jehangir who contributed a sum of Rs 7,500. He also placed an illuminated clock in the tower.

The imposing edifice was constructed using locally available buff-coloured basalt and limestone. Inside it is known for its wide gothic arches and beautiful stained glass windows. The chapel has a nave and aisle with a chancel 50 ft (15 m) in length and 27 ft (7 m) in width. Butterfield's tiles used for the geometric floor pattern were imported from England. The east and west windows were designed by William Wailes, a nineteenth century stained glass expert. The stained glass used is superior to that in the Rajabai Tower and Victoria Terminus. Eight large bells in the bell tower came from the Taylor bellfoundry of England in 1904, and are acknowledged to be the best in western India. The tower and spire are 198 ft (60 m) high.

In the chancel a stone inscription reads:

"This church was built in memory of the officers and private soldiers, too many to be recorded who fell mindful of their duty, by sickness or by sword on the campaign of Scinde (Sindh) and Afghanistan, A.D. 1838-43."

Another brass panel set in the chancel commemorates its founder Rev. G Piggot.




May 14, 2011

Dosdonts



Do 


- Make research about the place you are visiting.
- Maintain the sanctity of the place, especially, religious places.
- In Rome try to be Romans.
- Carry plastic cash. In interiors however, one might face problems with availability of ATMs.
- Carry Traveler Cheques if the stay is long.
- Carry all medications if you are allergic. Note down the medicines which are allergic to you.
- Follow local rules & traditions.

Do Not


- Mingle too much with strangers.
- Try to be over adventerous.
- Do not enter religious places wearing footwear.
- Do not photograph strangers, without their permission.
- Do not carry too much cash or jewellery.
- Do not entertain beggars.
- Do not write, scribble or create graffitis on walls of historical places.

May 14, 2011

Religious Places




Maharashtra is often called as the land of Saints. This is a place of confluence of many ethnicity, many religions. For Centuries together, many religions amicably grew here and supported each others. Therefore, even today we find places like Shirdi, Haji Ali, Mount Mary etc where people of all religion mingle together and pray.


The prominent places of worship are given below. There are hundreds of other places which might have been left out here.  Maharashtra also boasts of Ashta Vinayak, the eight places of pilgrimage of Lord Ganesha. It also hosts five of the twelve Jyotirlingas.


Some places of import in terms of Religious places in Maharashtra are as under :


Ashta Vinayak
Jyotirlingas


Afghan Church

Akkalkot
Ambadevi Temple
Ambarnath Shiv Temple
Alandi
Anwa Temple
Ayappa Temple

Banganga
Bahubali Hill Temples
Balaji Temple Nerul 

Bhadrya Maruti Temple
Chakreshwar Temple
Chinchwad Ganesh Temple

Dagduseth Halwai Ganpati Pune
Gajanan Maharaj Temple Shegaon,
Jejuri
Kopeshwar Mahadev Temple
Mahalaxmi Mandir, Kolhapur

Mount Mary Church
Mumbadevi Temple
Manas Mandir, Asangaon
Nageshwar Temple

Nemgiri Digambar Jain Temple
Osho Ashram, Pune
Pandharpur
Shirdi
Siddhi Vinayak Temple

Shani Shingnapur
Shirad Shahapur Jain Temple
Shri Hazur Sahib
Shikhar Shingnapur

Tryambakeshwar Temple
Vani



more to come...

Thursday, 12 May 2011

May 12, 2011

Travel Sites

Here are some of the travel sites which may help you to plan your travel.

www.maharashtratourism.gov.in
www.indiamike.com
www.mustseeindia.com
www.maharashtratourism.net
www.wikipedia.org
www.wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page
www.travelmazza.com
www.indianbeachesportal.com

Sites for Trekkers & Fort Lovers
http://trekshitiz.com/
www.raanvata.com
www.chakramhikers.com
http://mumbaihikers.com/
http://younghikers.mumbaihikers.net/
http://sahyadritreks.mumbaihikers.com
www.punetrekkers.com
www.trekdi.com
http://shailbhramar.blogspot.in/