Showing posts with label Tirtha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tirtha. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor At Varanasi Or Benares In India?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi revealed the 400-meter-long Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi on Monday, the 13th of December 2021, which connects an ancient Shiva shrine to the Ganges' banks. 

"It was the Prime Minister's vision for a long time, to facilitate the pilgrims and devotees of Baba Vishwanath, who had to encounter congested streets and surroundings with poor upkeep, when they practiced the age-old custom of taking a dip in the holy river, collecting Gangajal, and offering it at the temple," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement on Sunday. 

Mr. Modi laid the foundation stone for the project on March 8, 2019, and it is nearing completion ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election in early 2022. 

According to the project's architect, Bimal Patel, although the first part of the project will open on Monday, the Ganges Gateway, the stairs leading down, and the ghat will take another two months to finish. 

On Sunday evening, the sacred site, which is in Mr. Modi's Lok Sabha seat, was bustling with activity, not just with preparations for Monday's celebration but also with ongoing building projects. 

Buildings along the winding lanes leading up to the shrine were freshly painted. 

According to Varanasi Divisional Commissioner Deepak Agrawal, the temple grounds had been decked to welcome the 3,000 visitors who had been invited to the inauguration. 

The celebration was attended by roughly 500 religious leaders and families whose homes — around 300 in all — were razed to make place for the corridor, he added. 

The Prime Minister "took a great and active interest at all levels of the initiative," according to the PMO. 

It was announced that twenty-three buildings will be opened, with ramps and escalators built to make the grounds more accessible. 

The first phase construction cost 339 crore, while the entire project cost was about 800 crore. 

According to the PMO, the temple's grounds have been increased from 3,000 square feet to 5 lakh square feet. 

The corridor, which is claimed to be the Prime Minister's dream project, spans 5,000 hectares and aims to not only decongest but also alter the temple complex. 

Varanasi's improved infrastructure is intended to enhance tourism in the holy city as well as the surrounding area, notably the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Sarnath. 

The Kashi Vishwanath Dham in Varanasi is lit up ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's inauguration. 

The Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, now connects Varanasi's historic Kashi Vishwanath Temple to the Ganga's ghats.

The Rs. 800-crore initiative was inaugurated in March 2019 by the Prime Minister in his parliamentary seat with the goal of restoring the spiritual center's "lost splendor." Officials said Modi has long wanted to improve circumstances for visitors and worshippers who had to suffer the temple's notoriously packed streets and surrounds. 

The Kashi Vishwanath temple lacked direct access to the Ganga, therefore a 20-foot-wide corridor between Lalita Ghat on the holy river and Mandir Chowk on the temple grounds was planned. 

"Shiva bhakts may take a morning bath in the river and worship the Lord in the temple, which will now be visible from the ghat," a Ministry of Culture official said. 

A Tourist Facilitation Centre, Mumukshu Bhavan, Bhogshala, City Museum, Viewing Gallery, and Food Court will be among the 23 structures to be opened. 

Some of these phase 1 projects may not be ready to open to the public for a few more weeks. 

The Prime Minister's event will take place ahead of the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections and the release of the voting schedule. 

The Rudraksh Convention Centre, which is shaped like a Shiva lingam and features divisible conference rooms, an art gallery, and multifunctional pre-function spaces, can accommodate 1,200 people. 

Tourists will be able to take Ganga cruises, road infrastructure will be improved, and the Banaras train station in the city's Manduadih neighborhood will be remodeled with the addition of an air-conditioned waiting lounge. 

LED displays will be placed across the city to provide travelers with information about Kashi's history, architecture, and art. 

On screens around the city, the iconic Ganga Aarti and the aarti at the Kashi Vishwanath temple will be shown. 

The Deen Dayal Hastkala Sankul, which opened in 2017 as a trade facilitation center for Varanasi's weavers, craftspeople, and artisans, serves as both a public space and a marketing platform for local artisans. 

Officials claim the PM insisted on preserving existing historic buildings while eliminating homes that were obstructing the designated path. 

More than 40 'lost' temples were uncovered during the destruction of the structures, including the Gangeshwar Mahadev temple, the Manokameshwar Mahadev temple, the Jauvinayak temple, and the Shri Kumbha Mahadev temple. 

Each of these temples has a long and illustrious history. 

At the National Museum in New Delhi, a gallery has been dedicated to displaying some of the unearthed bones, as well as running a narrative on their history on screens. 

Smart signage has been installed in Varanasi to give information on the cultural value of historic monuments and the city's 84 ghats, which are noted for their antiquity and architectural significance. 

The effort to renovate and rebuild the Kashi Vishwanath complex is in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious plans for temples around the nation. 

He lay the foundation stone for the Ram temple in Ayodhya and advocated for renovation and rebuilding initiatives at the Somnath complex and the Kedarnath Dham, both of which were devastated by floods in 2013. 

He's called these initiatives "nation-building endeavors," the successful culmination of an old land's attempts to rediscover and commemorate its past greatness.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Yamunotri Tirtha In India?


Sacred location (tirtha) in the Himalayas near the Yamuna River's sources.

Yamunotri is regarded the Yamuna's ritual source, despite the fact that the real source is farther upstream, at the foot of the Bandarpunch Mountain.

Because of its great altitude, it is only accessible from late April to October, after which it closes for the winter months, as are the other three main Himalayan pilgrimage sites of Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.

The river itself is a sacred site in Yamunotri, where pilgrims wash (snana) in the freezing waters.

There are numerous temples, the oldest of which was erected by one of Nepal's monarchs, but they are small in comparison to those at Gangotri, and the sole significant one was completed in the 1980s.

Aside from the holy river and its tributaries, Yamunotri is known for many hot springs, some of which have been diverted into a tank, and many pilgrims take use of the hot baths.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - How Is Hindu Worship Practiced Or Expressed?


Hindu devotion may be described using two different terms, each with two different sets of assumptions.

Darshan ("seeing") is the original and most prevalent form of devotion, in which devotees (bhakta) stare at the god's image and think that the deity is also gazing at them.

Darshan is therefore an exchange of looks between the god and the devotee that conveys comprehension.

Puja ("homage") is the term used to describe worship with offerings and artifacts.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Rudranath Tirtha In India?


Temple and holy location (tirtha) in the Garhwal area of the Himalayas, some thirty miles from the district headquarters at Chamoli, in the valley between the Mandakini and the Alakananda rivers.

The god Shiva manifested as "Lord Rudra" is the temple's presiding deity.

Rudranath is part of the Panchkedar, a network of five holy places in the Garhwal area; the other four are Kedarnath, Kalpeshvar, Tungnath, and Madmaheshvar.

Since Shiva is said to reside in the Himalayas, this network of five locations is seen as a symbolic representation of Shiva's body.

Rudranath is Shiva's visage, according to legend.

Himalayan settlement and holy location (tirtha) at the confluence of the Mandakini and Alakananda rivers, two Himalayan tributaries of the Ganges River.

Rudraprayag, like all the other river crossings in the Garhwal area, is regarded a particularly sacred spot for bathing (snana), despite the dangers posed by the rushing currents.

A shrine dedicated to Shiva in his Rudra avatar stands above the river's confluence.

According to legend, here is where the sage Narada practiced physical austerity (tapas) in order to improve his bardic skills.

Shiva, happy with Narada's efforts, gave him music lessons and stayed at the location.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is Pushkar In India?


Pushkar ("blue lotus") is a Hindi word that refers to a specific genus of blue colored lotus. Pushkar is the name of a Shakthi Pitha and Hindu tirtha in Ajmer.

Ajmer is a city and a prominent religious place (tirtha) located a few kilometers north and west of Ajmer in Rajasthan.

Pushkar's core is a natural lake, and its primary function is as a bathing (snana) destination—its lake is so holy, according to legend, that Pushkar is the religious preceptor (guru) of all other sacred locations.

The lake at Pushkar is encircled by temples.

The most well-known of them is devoted to the deity Brahma, and it is his solitary temple in India.

Shakti Pithas, a network of holy locations distributed over the subcontinent, are claimed to have two neighboring temples devoted to the Goddess.

Each Shakti Pitha represents the spot where a piece of the goddess Sati's severed body fell to earth.

The two temples in Pushkar commemorate the locations where Sati's wrists were severed.

Kartik Purnima (October–November), Pushkar's biggest festival, takes place on a full moon (generally associated with enhancing the sanctity of bathing places).

This festival is noted by the hosting of a massive animal market, mainly for camels and horses, in addition to bathing.

This is presently being promoted as a tourism destination by the state government, and it has attracted over 200,000 visitors in recent years.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - What Is The Palani Tirtha?


Palani is a town and holy location (tirtha) in Tamil Nadu's eastern region, some 60 miles northwest of Madurai.

Palani is one of six temples devoted to Murugan in Tamil Nadu.

Murugan is a hill deity who has been absorbed into the greater pantheon as a version of the god Skanda, Shiva's son.

Five of these temples have been reliably identified, and each is linked to a certain place, ecology, and event in Murugan's legendary career—in the instance of Palani, Murugan spent time there as a young monk.

In Tamil Nadu, every other shrine to Murugan might be regarded the sixth of these temples.

Murugan's worship is therefore a symbol of Tamil pride and identity, and since the number six connotes completeness—as in the six directions or the six chakras in the subtle body—it also implies that nothing more is required.

See Fred Clothey's article "Pilgrimage Centers in the Tamil Cultus of Murukan" in Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 40, No. 1 for more details (1972).

~Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is Nageshvar Tirtha In India?


In the eastern state of Gujarat, some fifteen miles northeast of the holy city of Dwaraka is a temple and sacred location (tirtha).

The temple is named after the god Shiva as the "Lord of Serpents," who is the temple's principal deity.

At Nageshvar, Shiva is represented with a linga, a pillar-shaped figure.

The Nageshvar linga is one of the twelve jyotirlingas, or Shiva's special places on the planet.

The narrative of the demon Daruk and his wife Daruka is the basis for Nageshvar's charter myth.

Daruka is Shiva's wife Parvati's ardent follower (bhakta), and with Parvati's favour, Daruka secures protection for all the other demons.

This power is used by the devils to oppress the righteous.

Shiva arrives and kills the demons as they are ready to murder one of Shiva's disciples.

Parvati has accompanied Shiva to safeguard Daruka, her devotee.

As a demonstration of their grace, Daruka persuades Shiva and Parvati to stay in Nageshvar.

Some academics think the Nageshvar linga was fostered to preserve a Shaivite presence in an important Vaishnava territory since Dwaraka is also associated with the deity Krishna.

~Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Manikarnika Tirtha In India?


("Jeweled earring") Manikarnika - Sacred location (tirtha) in the city of Benares, Uttar Pradesh, on the Ganges River.

The place is named after the Manikarnika Kund, a bathing (snana) pond allegedly built by the deity Vishnu and into which a god Shiva's earring fell, sanctifying the tank by its presence.

In current times, the place is primarily known for the Manikarnika Ghat cremation ground.

The cremation site is located on the outskirts of most Indian cities, since its association with death makes it an inauspicious location.

The Manikarnika cremation site, on the other hand, is located in the heart of Benares.

Despite the natural human tendency to avoid and reject death, it is paraded in broad view in Benares—not to upset or depress people, but to force them to face it.

Death has long been seen to be a powerful motivator for religious practice.

Because Benares is one of the Seven Sacred Cities, dying there brings with it the promise of ultimate liberty.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Sacred Hindu Tirtha Of Manasarovar?


Manasarovar is a Tibetan lake and holy place (tirtha) at the foot of Mount Kailas.

Pilgrims who are trekking around Mt. Kailas are customarily bathed in the lake before advancing to the peak.

The lake is supposed to be part of the Shakti Pithas, a network of holy locations dedicated to the Goddess that stretches throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Each Shakti Pitha commemorates the location where a piece of the goddess Sati's severed corpse fell to earth and reincarnated as a different goddess; Manasarovar was Sati's right hand's palm.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is Madurai In India?


On the Vygai River in Tamil Nadu, India, there is a temple town and a holy spot (tirtha).

The enormous temple devoted to Minakshi, the goddess, and her husband Sundareshvara is the most prominent attraction in Madurai.

Sundareshvara is a form of the god Shiva, while Minakshi is a local goddess who has grown into an important regional goddess.

The Nayak dynasty controlled southern India after the collapse of the Vijayanagar empire in the late sixteenth century, with the capital at Madurai.

Tirumalai Nayak (r. 1623-1659) erected most of the Minakshi temple, and his palace is another of the city's attractions.

The streets around the temple are divided into four circular processional loops, with the temple in the center.

The village was designed to resemble a lotus with layers of petals, with Minakshi's image at its core, around which everything revolved.

In terms of symbolism, the Minakshi temple was not only the heart of the city, but also the heart of the world.

Vijayanagar dynasty is another name for the Vijayanagar dynasty.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - What Is The Lakshman Jhula?


Lakshman Jhula is a sacred location (tirtha) along the Ganges in the Tehri district of Uttar Pradesh, about five miles upriver from Rishikesh.

The site's current name comes from a jhula (swinging footbridge) that crosses the Ganges.

According to local legend, Lakshman Jhula is where Rama and Lakshmana spend their latter years as ascetics, atoning for the sin of brahminicide that they committed by slaying Ravana and his siblings (who are considered brahmin demons).

Today, the region is known for Swami Shivananda's Svargashrama, which is part of a network of ashrams that run along the river's banks. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Kalpeshvar Temple And Tirtha In India?

Temple and holy location (tirtha) in the Garhwal Himalayan area, some ten miles downstream from Joshimath on the Alakananda River.

The god Shiva manifested as Kalpeshvar, the "Lord of the Cosmic Age," is the temple's presiding deity.

The Kalpeshvar temple is part of the Panchkedar, a network of five Shiva-related shrines in the Garhwal area, including Kedarnath, Rudranath, Tungnath, and Madmaheshvar.

The Himalayas are said to be Shiva's home.

This five-site network is seen as a symbolic representation of his body.

Shiva's matted locks are represented as Kalpeshvar (jatas). 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Kataragama Tirtha?

Sacred shrine (tirtha) devoted to the deity Skanda in his southern Indian avatar as Murugan, situated in the extreme southeastern portion of Sri Lanka.

The location is famous for being outside of India's mainland and for being a significant Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage destination.

According to legend, the site was founded when Skanda went hunting in the Sri Lankan forests, fell in love with a native lady called Valli, and pledged to stay in her house forever.

Skanda, the Hindu pantheon's mighty deity, is the son of the god Shiva.

His friendship with Valli demonstrates his openness and devotion to his devo shirts (bhakta).

The yearly Kataragama pilgrimage, which takes place in July–August, serves as a stage for demonstrating these qualities: Many individuals come to seek medical cure or release from suffering, while others come to fulfill promises made in exchange for advantages previously gained.

Carrying the kavadi, a yoke kept in place by hooks piercing the skin; piercing the mouth or cheeks with small arrows, one of Skanda's emblems; or hanging from hooks inserted in the back and thighs are all examples of severe self-mortification.

These devout followers are said to be rewarded for their suffering with a state of euphoria in which they are free of pain and bleeding.

Devotees are also said to be mouthpieces for the deity Skanda when in this state of ecstasy.

Other pilgrims seek them guidance on every possible situation, believing that Skanda will provide them with the best appropriate solution.

For further detail, read Paul Wirz's Kataragama: Ceylon's Holiest Place, published in 1966, and Bryan Pfaffenberger's "The Kataragama Pilgrimage," published in Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1979. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is The Karnaprayag Tirtha In India?

Karnaprayag is a Himalayan town and holy place (tirtha) at the confluence of the Alakananda and Pindara rivers in Uttar Pradesh's Chamoli district.

This, like all the other river intersections in the Garhwal area, is revered as a sacred site.

According to local legend, the spot was named after the Mahabharata hero Karna, who is said to have worshipped the sun here.

In exchange, he was given a coat of armor that could not be penetrated and an endless quiver of arrows. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - What Is A Jatra? What Is The Difference Between Yatra And Jatra?

 Jatra and Yatra is a vernacular variant of the Sanskrit word yatra, which means "travel." 

The term yatra is most often used to refer to travels to distant locations, while jatra refers to visits to locations within the immediate vicinity.


In Sanskrit, yatra signifies 'journey' or 'procession.' 

Yatra is a pilgrimage to holy locations such as confluences of sacred rivers, sacred mountains, places linked with Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred destinations in numerous Indian-origin faiths such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

Pilgrims believe that visiting a holy site purifies them and brings them closer to the divine. 

  • The trip is as significant as the goal, and the difficulties of travel are an act of dedication in and of themselves. 
  • A tirtha-yatra is a pilgrimage to a holy spot that is usually done in a group. 

Anyone who participates in the yatra is referred to as a yatri. 

According to the Vedic Hindu Dharma Shastras, a Yatri should do padayatra, or pilgrimage on foot, preferably barefoot, as a type of tapasya in which the pilgrim should go without umbrellas or cars; nevertheless, many yatris do not observe these niyamas.

Yatras have become highly organized occurrences in recent years, with professional tourist organizations catering to yatris. 

  • State governments are sometimes engaged in organizing yearly yatras, assigning numbers, registering yatris, and controlling yatri traffic. 
  • Haridwar attracted 55 lakh (5.5 million) pilgrims in 2003. 

The term Jatra also refers to a journey or a trip but has a different origin of usage derived from traditional Jatra performances. 

The advent of Sri Chaitanya's Bhakti movement, where Chaitanya himself portrayed Rukmini in the performance of Rukmini Haran ("The kidnapping of the Charming Rukmini") from Krishna's life narrative, is often attributed with the genesis of jatra, which is essentially a musical theatre genre. 

The concert, which took place in 1507 AD and lasted all night, is detailed in Chaitanya Bhagavata, Chaitanya's hagiography written by a disciple named Vrindavana Dasa Thakura. 

Though there are evidences of the presence of a type of singing known as 'Carya', which was popular in Bengal between the 9th and 12th centuries and existed in Orissa at the same time as the famous 'Carya Padas' style. 

Jatra performances are similar to Uttar Pradesh's Nautanki, Maharashtra's Tamasha, and Gujarat's Bhavai.

Though it originated in a religious setting abounding with diverse Bhakti Hinduism groups, it was superseded by morally didactic material towards the end of the 19th century, and finally became secular when it gained access into urban proscenium theatres during the Bengal Renaissance

The Jatra form's longevity in a fast changing social environment, while catering to a diverse audience, has been attributed to its inherent malleability and ability to adapt to shifting social dynamics, keeping it not just current and alive, but also flourishing.

Kiran Atma

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.

Hinduism - Where Is Gangotri?


Gangotri is a sacred location (tirtha) in the Himalayas, located near the headwaters of the Bhagirathi River, one of the Ganges' Himalayan tributaries.

Although the river's real source is the glacier at Gaumukh, some twelve miles upstream, Gangotri is considered the Ganges' rite of passage.

Due to its high elevation, it is only accessible from late April to October, after which it closes for the winter months.

The river itself is a sacred site in Gangotri, where pilgrims wash (snana) in the freezing waters.

The temple to the goddess Ganga, erected around 250 years ago by the Gurkha ruler Amar Singh Thapa and rebuilt by the royal line of Jaipur in the late nineteenth century, is the other focal point.

A big stone slab beside the riverside is claimed to be where the sage Bhagirath undertook his austerities to bring the Ganges down to earth.

Gangotri is regarded extremely sacred, as are other spots where the Ganges makes a changeover.

Its sacredness is enhanced by the fact that it is difficult to reach and only open during the summer months. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.