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Recognized as one of the Shakti Peethas, Ma Vaishno Devi Temple is situated in the folds of the Trikuta Hill, in Jammu and Kashmir. This abode of Goddess Durga is supposed to be one of the wish fulfilling places, where lakhs of devotees from India and abroad gather for Ma Vaishno Devi’s blessings.
The cave according to geological studies is a million years old. Rigveda does mention Trikuta but has no reference to worship of Mother Goddess. The worship of Shakti started only in the Puranic period.The Total length of the holy cave is about ninety eight feet. The symbols of a large number of Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu Pantheon can be seen in the holy Cave. At the mouth of the original tunnel to the holy cave can be seen the Vakra Tunda Ganesha on the left hand side of the rock face.
The first mention to the Mother Goddess is in the Mahabharat during the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjun is said to have invoked the blessings of Mother. He calls her as Jambookatak Chityaishu Nityam Sannihitalaye – you who always dwell in the temple on the slope of the mountain in Jamboo. It is also believed that the Pandavs were the first to build the temples at Kol Kandoli and Bhawan in gratitude. Here there are five stone structures believed to represent the five Pandavs.
The oldest historical reference is of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru of the Sikhs visit to the Holy Cave via Purmandal. The old foot track to the Holy Cave passed through this well-known pilgrimage center.
Some traditions believe this Shrine to be the holiest of all since the skull of Mata Sati fell here. Others believe her right arm had fallen here. A place called Gandarbal in Kashmir is seen in the records where the right arm of Sati is said to have fallen. Inside the holy cave there is the remains of a stone hand called Varad Hast (the hand that grants boons and blessings).
The Devis (Mother Goddesses) pooled their collective power and created a beautiful young girl. They had created her so she would live on earth and spend her time in upholding righteousness. She was ordered to be born in the house of Ratankar and his wife who resided in the south India and a devotee of theirs. They told her to live on earth, uphold righteousness and to evolve herself spiritually. “Once you have attained the level of consciousness you will merge into Vishnu and become one with him.” Soon a girl was born to Ratankar, they named her Vaishnavi. The girl hungered for knowledge since an early age and nothing could satisfy her. So Vaishnavi started to look at her inner self for knowledge, through meditation and penance. She gave up all comforts and went into deep meditation. At the same time Lord Rama was in exile and visited Vaishnavi one day. Recognizing him she requested him to merge her into himself.
Lord Rama dissuaded her by saying he would visit her again after his exile, and if she recognized him, he would fulfill her wish. He is said to have visited her but as an old man, whom she failed to recognize. Lord Rama consoled her that the time would come for to merge with the creator in Kaliyug and he would incarnate as Kalki. He directed to meditate at the base of Trikuta hills so she could elevate herself and also bless mankind and remove their sufferings. She immediately set out and installed herself at Trikuta. Her glory spread and people flocked for her blessings.
After sometime tantrik Gorakh Nath curious about the incident between Lord Rama and Vaishnavi and whether she had reached the high level of spirituality. He sent able disciple Bhairon Nath. Bhairon Nath located the ashram and observed secretly, and although a Sadhvi she carried a bow and arrows with her, and was surrounded by langoors (apes) and a ferocious looking lion. Her beauty soon enamored him, and he began to pester Vaishnavi to marry him. Once Vaiashnavi organized a Bhandara (Community meal) for the whole village and Gorakh Nath was invited with his followers including Bhairon. During the Bhandara, Bhairon Nath tried to grab Vaishnavi, she decided to flee into the mountains and remain there undisturbed. But Bhairon Nath chased her.
The goddess halted at (present day) Banganga, Charan Paduka, and Adhkwari, reached the holy cave. When Bhairon Nath continued to follow her, she beheaded him. The head fell on a distant hilltop. On his death Bhairon Nath realized his futility, he prayed to Vaishnavi to forgive him. Mata had mercy on him and granted gave him a boon that devotees of the goddess would pay obeisance after the darshan of the Goddess. Vaishnavi then shed her human form became a rock and immersed her self in meditation forever. This rock form is five and a half feet tall with three heads or Pindies as they are called. This is the center of the Sanctum Sanctorum of the holy cave.
(source: http://www.indianetzone.com/10/history_vaishnodevi_temple.htm)Recognized as one of the Shakti Peethas, Ma Vaishno Devi Temple is situated in the folds of the Trikuta Hill, in Jammu and Kashmir. This abode of Goddess Durga is supposed to be one of the wish fulfilling places, where lakhs of devotees from India and abroad gather for Ma Vaishno Devi’s blessings. The cave according ...
Hawa Mahal (Hindi: हवा महल, translation: “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”), is a palace in Jaipur, India. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Usta in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework. The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict “purdah” (face cover).
Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre. It forms part of the City Palace, and extends to the Zenana or women’s chambers, the chambers of the harem. It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise.
HistoryView of Hawa Mahal in 1875
Maharaja Sawai Jai singh, the ruler of Rajasthan of the Kachwaha clan, was the original planner and builder who built the Jaipur city in 1727. However, it was his grandson Sawai ujjawal Singh, son of Maharaja Sawai Madhosingh I, who built the Hawa Mahal in 1799 as a continuation of the Royal City Palace. Pratap Singh’s deep devotion to the Hindu god Lord Krishna is inferred to have prompted him to build it as a dedication, in the form of a Mukuta or headgear, adorning the Lord. Though no historical record is available to its exact history, it is conjectured that Royal family ladies, who were under strict observance of purdah (the practice of preventing women from being seen by men), had to be given opportunity to witness proceedings in the market centre and watch the royal processions and festivities sitting behind the stone carved screens. Hawa Mahal did just that in style, amidst its luxurious comforts and behind strict screened exclusivity, unseen by outsiders.
Royal family of Jaipur, during their reign, also used the palace as a hot weather retreat, during the suffocating summer season of Jaipur, for several years, since the unusually designed window screens provided the much needed cool breeze and ventilation.
Views of Hawa Mahal façade the rear side The complete view of facade from the main road Full rear view of the Hawa Mahal
The palace is a five-story pyramidal shaped monument that rises to a height of 50 feet (15 m) from its high base. The top three floors of the structure have a dimension of one room width while the first and second floors have patios in front of them, on the rear side of the structure. The front elevation, as seen from the street, is like a honeycomb web of a beehive built with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and has carved sandstone grills, finials and domes. It is a veritable mass of semi-octagonal bays, which gives the monument its unique façade. The inner face on the back side of the building consists of need-based chambers built with pillars and corridors with least ornamentation, and reach up to the top floor. The interior of the Mahal has been described as “having rooms of different coloured marbles, relieved by inlaid panels or gilding; while fountains adorn the centre of the courtyard”.Walls
Lal Chand Usta was the architect of this unique structure who also planned Jaipur city, considered then as one of the best-planned cities in India. Built in red and pink coloured sand stone, in keeping with the décor of the other monuments in the city, its colour is a full testimony to the epithet of “Pink City” given to Jaipur. Its façade depicts 953 niches with intricately carved Jharokhas (some are made of wood) is a stark contrast to the plain looking rear side of the structure. Its cultural and architectural heritage is a true reflection of a fusion of Hindu Rajput architecture and the Islamic Mughal architecture; the Rajput style is seen in the form of domed canopies, fluted pillars, lotus and floral patterns, and the Islamic style is evident in its stone inlay filigree work and arches (as distinguished from its similarity with the Panch Mahal – the palace of winds – at Fatehpur Sikri).
The entry to the Hawa Mahal from the city palace side is through an imperial door. It opens into a large courtyard, which has double storeyed buildings on three sides, with the Hawa Mahal enclosing it on the east side. An archaeological museum is also housed in this courtyard.
Hawa Mahal was also known as the chef-d’œuvre of Maharaja Jai Singh as it was his favourite resort because of the elegance and built-in interior of the Mahal. The cooling effect in the chambers, provided by the breeze passing through the small windows of the façade, was enhanced by the fountains provided at the centre of each of the chambers.
The panoramic view from the roof of the Mahal is stunning. The bazaar (the Seredeori Bazaar or market) on the east resembles avenues of Paris. Green valleys and mountains and the Amer Fort form the scenario to the west and north. The Thar desert’s “interminable line of undulating vapour” lies to the east and south. All this transformation of the landscape, from a stark and desolate land of the past, occurred because of the concerted efforts of the Maharajas of Jaipur. So much so that the Mahal has been stated to be a counterpart of Versailles.Views of the Jantar Mantar and the City Palace can also be witnessed from the top floor of the monument.
The top two floors of the Hawa Mahal are accessed only through ramps. The Mahal is maintained by the archaeological department of the Government of Rajasthan.
(source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawa_Mahal)Hawa Mahal (Hindi: हवा महल, translation: “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”), is a palace in Jaipur, India. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Usta in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to ...
Haridwar is the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttaranchal. It’s also your starting point on the journey to the sacred sources of the rivers Ganga and the Yamuna. According to legend, Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to sage Kapil’s curse. The penance was answered and the river
One of the most famous and most visited sites of Haridwar, Har ki Pauri is considered as one of its five main holy sites. It is believed to be the sacred place where Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, two great Hindu Gods, appeared in the Vedic era. This place is considered equivalent to the Dashashwamedh Ghat in Banaras, in religious terms. It is also said that Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation, performed a yagna at the Har ki Pauri. The ghat is also said to have the holy footprints of Lord Vishnu.
Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva’s locks and its bountiful water revived the sons of King Sagara. In the tradition of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their ancestors.
Prince Bhagirath in penance for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors.
A paradise for nature lovers, Haridwar presents a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization. In the scriptures it has been variously mentioned as Kapilsthan, Gangadwar and Mayapuri.
It is also an entry point to the Char Dham (the four main centers of pilgrimage in Uttarakhand viz, Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri), hence, Shaivaites (followers of Lord Shiva) and Vaishnavites (followers of Lord Vishnu) call this place Hardwar and Haridwar respectively, corresponding to Har being Shiv and Hari being Vishnu.
Gangadhara, Shiva bearing the Descent of the Ganges River as Parvati and Bhagiratha, and the bull Nandi look on. circa 1740
“ “O Yudhishthira, the spot where Ganga rusheth past, cleaving the foremost of mountains which is frequented by Gandharvas and Yakshas and Rakshasas and Apsaras, and inhabited by hunters, and Kinnaras, is called Gangadwara (Haridwar). O King, Sanatkumara regardeth that spot visited by Brahmarshis, as also the Tirtha Kanakhala (that is near to it), as sacred.
— The Mahabharata, Vana Parva: Tirtha-yatra Parva: Section XC.
Head of the Ganges Canal, Haridwar, ca 1894-1898.
In the Vanaparva of the Mahabharat, where sage Dhaumya tells Yudhisthira about the tirthas of India, Gangadwar, i.e., Haridwar and Kankhal, have been referred to, the text also mentions that Agastya Rishi did penance here, with the help of his wife, Lopamudra (the princess of Vidharba).
Sage Kapila is said to have an ashram here giving it, its ancient name, Kapila or Kapilastan.
The legendary King, Bhagirath, the great-grandson of the Suryavanshi King Sagar (an ancestor of Rama), is said to have brought the river Ganges down from heaven, through years of penance in Satya Yuga, for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors from the curse of the saint Kapila, a tradition continued by thousands of devout Hindus, who brings the ashes of their departed family members, in hope of their salvation. Lord Vishnu is said to have left his footprint on the stone that is set in the upper wall of Har-Ki-Pauri, where the Holy Ganges touches it at all times.
Haridwar from opposite bank of the Ganges, 1866
Haridwar came under the rule of the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), and later under the Kushan Empire (c. 1st–3rd centuries). Archaeological findings have proved that terra cotta culture dating between 1700 BCE and 1200 BCE existed in this region. First modern era written evidence of Haridwar is found in the accounts of a Chinese traveller, Huan Tsang, who visited India in 629 AD. during the reign of King Harshavardhan (590–647) records Haridwar as ‘Mo-yu-lo’, the remains of which still exist at Mayapur, a little to the south of the modern town. Among the ruins are a fort and three temples, decorated with broken stone sculptures, he also mentions the presence of a temple, north of Mo-yu-lo called ‘Gangadwara’, Gateway of the Ganges.
The city was also invaded by Timur Lang (1336–1405), a Mongol invader on January 13, 1399.
During his visit to Haridwar, first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak (1469–1539) bathed at ‘Kushwan Ghat’, wherein the famous, ‘watering the crops’ episode took place, his visit is today commemorated by a gurudwara (Gurudwara Nanakwara), according to two Sikh Janamsakhis, this visit took place on the Baisakhi day in 1504 AD, he later also visited Kankhal enroute to Kotdwara in Garhwal. Pandas of the Haridwar have been known to keep genealogy records of most of the Hindu population. Known as vahis, these records are updated on each visit to the city, and are a repository of vast family trees of family in North India.
Ain-e-Akbari, written by Abul Fazal in the 16th century during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar, refers to it as Maya (Mayapur), known as Hardwar on the Ganges”, as seven sacred cities of Hindus. It further mentions it is eighteen kos (each approx. 2 km) in length, and large numbers of pilgrims assemble on the 10th of Chaitra. It also mentions that during his travels and also while at home, Mughal Emperor, Akbar drank water from the Ganges river, which he called ‘the water of immortality’. Special people were stationed at Sorun and later Haridwar to dispatch water, in sealed jars, to wherever he was stationed.
During the Mughal period, there was mint for Akbar’s copper coinage at Haridwar. It is said that Raja Man Singh of Amber, laid that foundation of the present day city of Haridwar and also renovated the ghats at Har-ki-pauri. After his death, his ashes are also said to have been immersed at Brahma Kund by Mughal emperor Akbar himself. Thomas Coryat, an English traveller, who visited the city in the reign of Emperor Jahangir (1596–1627) mentions it as ‘Haridwara’, the capital of Shiva.
Being one of the oldest living cities, Haridwar finds its mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures as it weaves through the life and time stretching from the period of the Buddha, to the more recent British advent. Haridwar has a rich and ancient religious and cultural heritage. It still has many old havelis and mansions bearing exquisite murals and intricate stonework.
One of the two major dams on the river Ganges, the Bhimgoda, is situated here. Built in 1840s, it diverts the waters of the Ganges to the Upper Ganges Canal, which irrigated the surrounding lands. Though this caused severe deterioration to the Ganges water flow, and is a major cause for the decay of the Ganges as an inland waterway, which till 18th century was used heavily by the ships of the East India Company, and a town as high up as Tehri, was considered a port city The headworks of the Ganges Canal system are located in Haridwar. The Upper Ganges Canal was opened in 1854 after the work began in April 1842, prompted by the famine of 1837-38. The unique feature of the canal is the half-kilometre-long aqueduct over Solani river at Roorkee, which raises the canal 25 metres above the original river.
Haridwar as a part of the United Province, 1903
‘Haridwar Union Municipality’ was constituted in 1868, which included the then villages of Mayapur and Kankhal. Haridwar was first connected with railways, via Laksar, through branch line in 1886, when the Awadh and Rohilakhand Railway line was extended through Roorkee to Saharanpur, this was later extended to Dehradun in 1900.
In 1901, it had a population of 25,597 and was a part of the Roorkee tehsil, in Saharanpur district of the United Province, and remained so till the creation of Uttar Pradesh in 1947.
Haridwar has been an abode of the weary in body, mind and spirit. It has also been a centre of attraction for learning various arts, science, and culture. The city has a long-standing position as a great source of Ayurvedic medicines and herbal remedies and is home to the unique Gurukul (school of traditional education), including the Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, which has a vast campus, and has been providing traditional education of its own kind, since 1902. Development of Haridwar took an upturn in the 1960s, with the setting up of a temple of modern civilization, BHEL, a ‘Navratna PSU’ in 1962, which brought along not just a its own township of BHEL, Ranipur, close to the existing Ranipur village, but also a set of ancillaries in the region. The University of Roorkee, now IIT Roorkee, is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutes of learning in the fields of science and engineering.
Places of interest
In Hindu traditions, the ‘Panch Tirth’ (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar, are Gangadwara (Har ki Pauri), Kushwart (Ghat in Kankhal), Bilwa Teerth (Mansa Devi Temple) and Neel Parvat (Chandi Devi Temple).There are several other temples and ashrams located in and around the city. Also, alcohol and non-vegetarian food is not permitted in Haridwar.
Har ki Pauri
This sacred Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya (1st century BC) in memory of his brother Bhrithari. It is believed that Bhrithari came to Haridwar and meditated on the banks of the holy Ganges. When he died, his brother constructed a Ghat in his name, which later came to be known as Har-Ki-Pauri. The most sacred ghat within Har-ki-Pauri is Brahmakund. The evening prayer(Aarti) at dusk offered to Goddess Ganga at Har-Ki-Pauri (steps of God Hara or Shiva) is an enchanting experience for any visitor. A spectacle of sound and colour is seen when, after the ceremony, pilgrims float diyas (floral floats with lamps) and incense on the river, commemorating their deceased ancestors. Thousands of people from all round the world do make a point to attend this prayer on their visit to Haridwar. A majority of present ghats were largely developed in the 1800s.The Clock Tower on the Malviya Dwipa at Har-ki-Pauri.View of the ‘Evening Aarti’ at Har-ki-Pauri
Mansa Devi Temple
Situated at the top of Bilwa Parwat, the temple of Goddess Mansa Devi, literally meaning the Goddess who fulfills desires (Mansa), is a popular tourist destination, especially because of the cable cars, which offer a picturesque view of the entire city. The main temple houses two idols of the Goddess, one with three mouths and five arms, while the other one has eight arms.Ariel view of Haridwar which can be viewable while traveling on Cable Car to Manasa Devi Temple.
Ropeway to Mansa Devi Temple, Haridwar.
Chandi Devi Temple
Maa Chandi Devi Temple
Maa Chandi Devi
The temple is dedicated to Goddess Chandi, who sits atop the ‘Neel Parvat’ on the eastern bank of the river Ganges. It was constructed in 1929 A.D. by the king of Kashmir, Suchat Singh. Skanda Purana mentions a legend, in which Chanda-Munda, the Army Chief of a local Demon Kings Shumbh and Nishumbha were killed by goddess Chandi here, after which the place got the name Chandi Devi. It is believed that the main statue was established by the Adi Shankracharya in 8th century A.D. The temple is a 3 km trek from Chandighat and can also be reached through a ropeway.