Sunday, December 14, 2008


The Jyotirlinga named Ghrushmeshwar, Ghurmeshwar or Ghushmeshwar is situated in a village called Verul which is 20 km away from Daulatabad and approximately 100 kms from Manmad station in Maharastra. This Jyotirlinga is located at Devagiri near Ellora caves in Maharashtra. The Lord is known by several names - Kusumeswarar, Ghushmeswara, Grushmeswara, Grishneswara.

Thousands and thousands of Devotees come to this Jyotirlinga Temple with a belief in their mind that on Offering Puja at this Temple is blessed with the fulfillment of their Desires and solving of all Problems.


The Temple of Lord Baijnath is situated in Bihar. On the rail route from Patna to Kolkata is a place called Kiul. About 100 kms south-east of this place is Devghar – where this ancient Temple is situated. By worshipping Vaijnath Jyotirlinga one can eliminate all his/her worries and miseries. It is also a giver of Moksha and all types of happiness. Devotees carry ‘Kanwars’ on their shoulders and complete their travel here. It is also said that by offering Puja at this Jyotirlinga Temple a devotee get relief from even all disease and premature death.


Temple of Lord Nageshwar is situated in Gujarat, and is about 12 kms on way from Gomti-Dwarka to Bhet-Dwarka. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlinga Shrines of Shiva. It is said that Lord Krishna Himself used to worship it and perform Rudrabhishekam. Lord Nageswar temple attracts thousands of pilgrims all round the year. This powerful Jyotirlinga symbolizes protection from all poisons ...from the effect of all evil forces around you. It is said that those who pray to the Nageshwar Linga become free of poison ...the poison of snakes ...poison of creatures ...poison of Evils.


Temple of Lord Bhimashankar is situated in a deep Forest around 128 kms. away from Pune. It is located at Bhuvanagiri village in Puna district of Maharashtra. River Bhimarati has been sourced from here. The holy jyotir Lingam is situated on top of the Sahyadri hill temple. Lord Siva is believed to be taking rest here after killing the Demon Tripurasura. The sweat drops fall of Lord Siva were converted into the river Bhimarati. The Bhimashankarar Lingam measures around one and a half feet & quite narrow. The Goddess is worshipped as Kamalaja. Shivaji, the Maratha ruler had made rich endowments for the maintenance of the temple. On the request of the Devas, Lord Siva resides here under the name of Bhimashankarar.


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Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas which is 28 kms. (18 miles) from Nashik. The most interesting feature of this Jyotirlinga is that it has three faces embodying Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu & Lord Shiva. All other JYOTIRLINGA have only Shiva as the main deity. The temple is situated at the foothills of a mountain called Brahmagiri. The holy river Godavari which is called the Ganga of South India originates from this Bramhagiri mountain. This is the only Jyotirlinga temple where the Holy Lingam is worshipped in the form of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma.

It is said that by offering Puja at this Jyotirlinga Temple with holy heart a devotee gets the blessings of all 3 Gods i.e. Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma and full prosperity comes in his life. He or she also get the peace from within and his or her all desires get fulfilled with the blessings of three Gods.


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Mallikarjuna is situated on the divine Shri Shaila Mountain on the banks of the river Patal Ganga, Krishna river in the state of Andhra Pradesh of Southern India. This is also known as Kailash of the south.

According to Shiva Purana, Lord Shri Ganesh was married off before Kartikeya and for this reason Kartikeya became very angry. Eventually he left his parents i.e. lord Shiva & Parvati and Kailas Parvat and started living on Shree Shaila Mountain of south India (presently in the state of andhra Pradesh). Lord Shiva and Parvati remained very sad for Kartikeya and both came to Shri Shaila mountain themselves where Kartikeya lives. Eventually Lord Shiva bestowed his eternal light i.e. Jyoti for the establishment of the Mallikarjuna Jyotir Lingam and resided on that mountain in the name of Mallikarjuna. Mallika is Parvati, while Arjuna is another name of Lord Shiva. In this way both Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati i.e. Durga reside in this lingam.

It is the belief of thousands of devotees that by offering Puja here at this temple, one become free from all his sins and worries. The person becomes free from the vicious cycle of life and death. Adjacent to the temple there is another holy shrine of Goddess Jagdamba i.e. Devi Durga. Here she is known as Bhramaramba.


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One of the most famous Jyotirlinga Temple Rameswar is situated in the state of Tamilnadu. The sanctification of the temple of Lord Rameshwar was done by Lord Rama himself, and thus this name. It is situated in a large island surrounded by sea. It is approached from Madurai, which by itslf is well connected by all means of transportation.

The legend is that Lord Rama started meditation of Lord Shiva for getting his blessings to get the victory over 'Lanka' and to defeat Ravana for rescuing his beloved wife Sita. Lord Shiva Blessed Lord Rama and conferred his eternal light i.e. Jyoti, which was the origin of the Rameswar Jyotir Lingam.

Offering Puja at Rameswar Shrine is extremely auspicious. This is the place where both lords (Lord Shiva and Lord Rama) met to each other. Lord Rama became successful and rescued his wife by defeating Ravana. Likewise it is said that if somebody with full devotion offer Pooja at this very temple he or she also get the success with the blessings of Lord Shiva and his or her Desires get fulfilled.


The Temple of Lord Omkareshwar is situated on the banks of River Narmada, in between Indore & Khandwa. The temple is situated on an island - Mandhata Island , which is 2 km long and 1 km wide, encircled with Holy Narmada River. The name Omkareshwar derives from the word Om, which signifies the most sacred Hindu symbol. Seen from the air, this island resembles to the shape of sacred 'OM' symbol. Omkareshwar is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. This is not Ordinary Shiva Lingam which is generally installed ritually with Mantra Shakti by several priests. There are two temples here one to Omkareshwar and one to Amareshwar. It is said that if someone offer Puja at both of these temples then his or her secret desires is fulfilled with blessings of Lord Shiva. People from different part of the country and even from abroad comes to these temples for fulfilling their Desires.


Mahakaleshwar Temple is one of the most lively Shiva Temples in India. This is one of the most holiest 12 Jyotirlinga Shiva Temples in India. Mahakaleshwara Temple is located at the bank of river Shipra, in the dense Mahakal forests in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

Mahakaleshwar is One of the 12 Jyothir linga temples. The temple is below the ground level. The lingam of the Mahakal at the Mahakaleswar Temple is believed to be swayambhu (born of itself), deriving currents of power (Shakti) from within itself as against the other images and lingams which are ritually established and invested with mantra-shakti. He is also known as Dakshina moorthy facing south. It is an important pilgrimage centre in India and is revered as one of the 12 Jyotilinga manifestations of Shiva.

The Mahakaleshwar Temple is one of the famous tantrik center too. Several impressive ceremonies are held here during the day. However, everyday morning one Tantrik ritualis performed in this temple and that is the "Bhasm Arti" that involves smearing (Bathing) the linga with hot ashes from the burning ghats (cremation grounds) of a corpse that has been cremated. Shiva is believed to dwell in cremation grounds, and the ash-smearing ceremony is a homage to the Destroyer of the Universe himself. This form of worship is symbolic of Death and Life being inseparable and the only one of its kind in the world.

Millions of devotees of this Temple believes that offering Puja at this Jyotirlinga Shiva Temple will not only fulfill all of their desires but also protect them from every chance of premature death and eradicate all blockages in life which hinders prosperity.


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Viswanath Temple of Varanashi i.e. Kashi is regarded as one of the most lively and auspicious Shiva temple in the entire world. Viswanath Temple of Kashi (Varanasi) is very famous and very auspicious temple to all Hindus. This is Jyotirling Shiva. It is said that the person who offer Puja to Lord Shiva with 'Bel Pallab' ( the sacred Wood-apple leaves ), all his desires get fulfilled. The person who have lost everything of his/ her mental peace (Shanti), gets back everything with the blessings of Lord Shiva. He (Lord Shiva) is open handed to all ...very very kind hearted you everything which is beneficial for you.

It's said that People never come back with empty hands from Viswanath Temple after offering Puja to Lord Shiva. It sounds like a mere story but true as millions of devotees say that if somebody offer Puja with a holy mind to Lord Shiva of Kashi Viswanath with Ganga Water , Billa Patra, Akanda or Dhutra, Lord shiva get immensely satisfied with him / her and blessed for fulfilling his / her secret desire. Lord Shiva sets him/her free from all distress and give Shanti ...peace in mind.

Varanasi is very very holy city. Very auspicious city. Its said that Bhagwan Sri Ram came here and stayed. Panch Pandava also came here and established SHIVLING. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitannya came here. This is the place where so many noble men stayed for long time like – Vaskar Rao, Tailang Swami, Katia Baba, Swami Avdhoot, Sant Kinaram, Swami Bisudhyananda, Shyama charan Lahiri etc.

Even sitting at a long distant place offer your Special online Puja to Lord Shiva at the holiest temple i.e. Kashi Viswnath Temple of Varanasi - for getting your secret desires fulfilled and getting a peace in your life.


Temple of Lord Kedarnath is situated on the banks of River Mandakini which is on the west side of Kedar mountain in Himalayas. It is situated at an altitude of 3,581 metre i.e. around 11630 ft. and it is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund. This place is reached by road via Rishikesh, from where it is more than 200 kms. The last phase is completed by a steep walk of about 3-4 hours through a very cold climate in a low oxygen atmoshphere.

Lord Shiva manifested here in the form of Jyotirlingam or the cosmic light. Kedarnath is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This temple, over a thousand years old

Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devouts. It is set amidst the stunning mountainscape of the Garhwal Himalayas at the head of the Mandakini River. Kedar is another name of lord Shiva, the protector & the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions - love, hatred, fear, death & mysticism which are expressed through his various forms.


Somnath Temple Jyotirlinga is situated at Somnath Patan (the south coast of Saurashtra), near Veraval in (Prabhas Kshetra) Kathaiwad district in Gujarat. Somnath is considered to be the first of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Shiva and is a revered pilgrimage center in India. The temple of Somnath, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is situated 79 Kms. from Junagadh and 25 Kms. from Chorwad. According to the legend, Somnath is as old as creation, built by none other than the Moon God himself. The Mahabharata also refers to the Prabhasa Kshetra and the legend of the moon worshipping Shiva.

Somnath JyotirlingaTemple has been destroyed and rebuilt a number of times in the history: It withstood Shocks and attacks of destroyers several times but still survives. The temple has wonderful architectural beauty with sight facing the blue Arabian Sea. A short distance from the Somnath temple is Bakhla Tirth, where Lord Krishna was said to have been struck by the stray arrow of a Bhil tribal.


The temple of Somnath, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva is situated 79 Kms. from Junagadh and 25 Kms. from Chorwad. According to the legend, Somnath is as old as creation, built by none other than the Moon God himself. The remains of the temple of Somanath "withstood the shocks of time and survived the attacks of destroyers. The temple has imposing architecture and is a beautiful sight facing the blue expanse of the Arabian Sea. A short distance from the Somnath temple is Bakhla Tirth, where Lord Krishna was said to have been struck by the stray arrow of a Bhil tribal. The Present Temple, Kailash Mahameru Prasada is built in the chalukya style of temple architecture and reflects the inherent skill of Sompuras, Gujarat's master masons.

Soma is the name for the moon, the son in-law of Daksha. Once Soma disobeyed a certain instruction of his father-in-law. Daksha was so angry that he cursed him, saying, "Thou shalt wane!" The moon, who used to shine in full splendor every night till then, started to shrink. However, before the curse brought about an absolute end to the moon, many a god requested Daksha to revoke his curse. Daksha asked Soma to take a bath in the sea at the mouth of the river Saraswati and then to pray to Lord Shiva. Hence at Prabhasa, Shiva came to be known as Somanath, the Lord of the moon.


Situated on the banks of the Narmada, Omkareshwar is one of the 12 revered Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is located at a distance of about 12 miles from Mortakka in Madhya Pradesh. The river Narmada spits into two and forms an island Mandhata or Shivapuri in the center. The shape of the island resembles that of the visual representation of the Omkara sound, Om. There are two temples here, one to Omkareshwar and one to Amareshwar.

Legend has it that the Vindhya mountain prayed to Shiva - Omkareshwara and was blessed here. Legend also has it that upon the request of the Devas, the Shivalinga split into two, one half being Omkareshwara and the other Amaleshwara or Amareshwar. King Mandhatha of the Ishvaku clan is believed to have worshiped Shiva here. The Omkareshawar temple is built in the North Indian style of architecture, with high spires. Devotees consider worship to Panchamuga Ganesha, to be very auspicious.


No text can do justice to the Meenakshi temple. The gigantic temple complex, the statues exploring the entire range of human emotions, everything here is larger than life. The Meenakshi temple complex is a city temple - one of the largest and certainly one of the most ancient. According to legend Madurai is the actual site where the wedding between Shiva and Meenakshi took place. The soaring and exquisitely carved towers enclose the temple dedicated to Meenakashi. The south gateway contains the twin temples of Shiva and Meenakshi and is about nine storeys high.

Meenakshi TempleThe Sri Meenakshi Sundareswara temple and Madurai city originated together. According to tradition, Indra once committed sin when he killed a demon, who was then performing penance. He could find no relief from remorse in his own kingdom. He came down to earth. While passing through a forest of Kadamba trees in Pandya land, he felt relieved of his burden. His servitors told him that there was a Shivalinga under a Kadamba tree and beside a lake. Certain that it was the Linga that had helped him; he worshipped it and built a small temple around it. It is believed that it is this Linga, which is till under worship in the Madurai temple. The shrine is called the "Indra Vimana".

Once Dhananjaya, a merchant of Manavur, where the Pandyas had arrived after the second deluge in Kumari Kandam, having been overtaken by nightfall in Kadamba forest, spent the night in the Indra Vimana. When next morning he woke up, he was surprised to see signs of worship. Thinking that it must be the work of the Devas, he told the Pandya, Kulasekhara, in Manavur, of this. Meanwhile Lord Shiva had instructed Pandya in a dream to build a temple and a city at the spot Dhananjaya would indicate. Kulasekhara did so. Thus originated the temple and city.


Kailash Temple is situated at Ellora and is believed that it was constructed by excavating approx. 200,000 tones of rock and is possible the world's largest monolithic structure. Representing Shiva's Himalayan home, the temple is exquisitely sculpted and is considered as one of the most astonishing 'buildings' in the history of architecture. A crowning glory of the art, Kailash temple at Ellora is indeed unique. Instead of carving down into the face of a cliff and creating underground halls which had been the practice, the sculptors/architects set aside all convention and created a full temple, identical in every detail to a structural, 'built-up' example, by carving vertically down into the living rock.

The scheme of the Kailash temple is basically divided into four main parts: the body of the temple itself, the entrance gateway, an intermediate nandi shrine and the cloisters surrounding the courtyard. Much of the imposing character of the main shrine is due to its substantial plinth, which on first examination seems to be a floor by itself. Above and below this, the sub-structure is heavily molded, while the central space is occupied by a frieze of elephants and lions.

The Kailash temple is not only the single largest work of art executed in India, but as an example of rock-cut architecture it stands unrivaled. One gradually becomes aware of the stupendous labor that it involved (over a hundred years), and finally, the sculpture that adorns it. Standing within its walls, one cannot help but be aware of the spiritual energy that went into its creation - a jewel hewn out of the rock itself.


One of the most remarkable monuments of the Bias valley is the temple of Baijnath. The village of that name is situated 23 miles east of Nagarkot, as the crow flies, close to the Mandi border and on the main road which leads from the Punjab plains through Kangra, Kulu, Lahul, and Ladakh to Central Asia.

Baijnath is in reality the appellation of the chief temple dedicated to SivaVaidyanatha ("Lord of Physicians") which has know the Village itself. The original name of the village was Kiragrama.The Baijnath temple is orientated due west. It consists of a puri or adytum, 8 feet square inside and 18 feet outside, surmounted by a spire of the usual conical shape, and cf a mandapa or front hall, 20 feet square inside, covered with a low pyramid shaped roof.

Both the south and north wall of the mandapa are adorned with a graceful balcony window. The four corners are strengthened by means of massive buttress-like projections in the shape of half-engaged - miniature sikhara temples, each containing two niches in which image slabs are placed. Smaller niches in slightly projecting chapels are found between the corner projections and the entrance and balcony windows.


Built in the year of AD 950, Mukteswara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is carved with figures of ascetics in several poses of meditation. The highlight of the temple, is the magnificent torana - the decorative gateway, an arched masterpiece, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Orissa. Mukteswara Temple

This temple is considered to be the gem of Orissan architecture. The sculptured gateway, the Jagamohana with diamond shaped latticed windows and decorated interiors and the plethora of sculptural work all deserve mention in this temple dedicated to Shiva Although it is only a small monument rising to a height of 35 feet. Literally every inch of its surface is carved. This temple has also been described as a dream realized in sandstone and it is a monument where it is said sculpture and architecture are in complete harmony with one another. This temple dates back to the 10th century.

The sculptural decoration of the Mukteswara is exquisitely executed. The beautiful sculptures eloquently speak of the sense of proportion and perspective of the sculptor and their unique ability in the exact depiction of the minutest objects. The builders of Mukteswara Temple introduced new architectural designs, new art motifs and new conceptions about the icnography of the cult images. There are a number of depictions of skeletal ascetics among the sculptural images, most of them shown in teaching or meditation poses, which seems appropriate as the name Mukteswara means "Lord who gives freedom through Yoga".


Situated in the ancient capital of the Kalinga empire, Bhubaneswar's, the Lingaraja Temple is probably one of India's most remarkable ancient, architectural achievements, with a 54-meter tower dominating the landscape. Encapsuled by high walls on all sides, the Lingaraja temple or the Bhubaneshwar is one of the most well known temples in Orissa. Lingaraja TempleIt is one of the best and splendoured examples of the architectural excellence which the artists had achieved during the 11th century.

The outer walls of the temple exhibit unparalled carvings. The beautifully carved and sculpted images of various God and Goddess are unrivalled. The temple complex has three compartments and each one has a temple each. Towards south of the entrance to main temple is image of Lord Ganesha, at the back is the image of Goddess Parvati and to north is Lord Kartikya. The Lingaraja temple has got various pillars and halls which add to its beauty.

The vast Bindu Sagar lake is the center around which are located the multitude of temples of Bhubaneshwar. The Lingaraja temple is located in a spacious courtyard covering over 250000 sq feet and is bounded by fortified walls. Its tower rises up to 180 feet and is elaborately carved.


Rameshwaram is an island situated in the gulf of manner at the very tip of the Indian peninsula. A very important pilgrim centre of the Indians. Rameshwaram is the place from where Lord Rama, built a bridge across the sea to rescue his consort Sita, from her abductor, Ravana. This is also the place where Rama worshipped Lord Shiva to cleanse away the sin of killing Ravana. Both the Vaishnavites and Shaivites visit this pilgrimage which is known as the Varanasi of the south.
Rameshwaram Temple
Rameshwaram is significant for the Hindus as a pilgrimage to Benaras is incomplete without a Pilgrimage to Rameshwaram. The presiding deity is the Linga Of Sri Ranganatha, which happens to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of India. Rameshwaram is also popularly referred to as the 'Benaras of the south'. In order to attain Moksha it is believed that the visit to Rameshwaram is mandatory.

Mythological History
According to the Hindu mythology i.e. the story of Ramayana Lord Rama performed thanksgiving rituals to Lord Rama after the battle at Sri Lanka and his triumph over the demon king Ravana. Owing to this Rameshwaram attracts Vaishnavites (worshippers of Lord Vishnu) and Saivites (worshippers of Lord Shiva) alike. Sri Lanka is at a distance of 24 kilometers from Rameshwaram. In fact the entire area of Rameshwaram is associated with various incidents from the Ramayana. Rameshwaram happens to one of the most visited pilgrim sites in India.

Location and Area
The religious island is spread in an area of 61.8 square kilometers and happens to be in the shape of a conch. The Ramanatha Swamy Temple occupies major area of Rameshwaram. The masterpiece of Dravidian architecture boasts of the largest temple corridor in India. Different rulers built the Ramanatha Swamy Temple over a period of time starting from the 12th century. The temple comprises of twenty-two wells where the taste of the water of each well is different from the other.


Amarnath is 145 km east of Srinagar in Kashmir. There is an ice Silva-linga here that changes size with the seasons, and also as the moon waxes and wanes it becomes bigger and smaller. On the full moon day the linga is about 6 ft high. Each year on the full moon day of July-August (Sravana) when the Siva-linga attains its maximum height there is a festival at this cave temple. It is said that Lord Siva first appeared on this day.

It is located in a glacial valley at 4,175m (13,700 ft.). The cave is about 150 feet high and 90 feet long. Within the cave there are four or five ice formations that resemble the figures of different gods. The biggest figures of different gods. The biggest figure is regarded as Siva (Amarnath). On the left side of the linga is an ice formation called Ganesh, and on the right side is one of Parvati and Bhairava.

The area is covered with snow from September to June. The cave opens only in July and August. This is the rainy season, so pilgrims have to brave the rain to get there. About 25,000 people make this pilgrimage each year. You can also hire ponies and dandies for the trip. It is very crowded during the annual Sravana festival. There is a yearly pilgrimage starting from Srinagar that is led by the Chhari Saheb, the holy seepter.

Amarnath Cave Temple Amarnath Yatra
The of the most important event during July/ August, is Amarnath Yatra to the Holy Pilgrimage. This is an annual event when thousands of Hindus from different corners of the Globe visit Amarnath caves. The pilgrims trek from Pahalgam to these caves and worship the great ice Lingam. Legend has it that Shiva recounted to Parvati the secret of creation in a cave in Amarnath. Unknow to them, a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this conversation and having learned the secret, are reborn again and again, and have made the cave their eternal abode. Many pilgrims report seeing the doves-pair when they trek the arduous route to pay obeisance before the ice-lingam (the phallic symbol of Shiva). This is an event you certainly will talk about for the rest of your life.

The Legend
There is famous Rigvedic Verse that says "Ekam Sat " that is "There is one Being ,the sages call Him by many names." The God (Parmeshwar) has three deities who carry on the world .This is Known as Holy Trinity. Brahma- the creator, Vishnu - the perpetuator of life and Shiva (Mahesh ) -the purifier and perpetuator of good and destroyer of evil. Rig Veda refer Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse . "We Worship Tryambaka (Rudra) , Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment , May He release me ,like the cucumber from its stem , From Mortal Life , But not From Immorality . "(Rig Veda Mandal VII Sukta 59 and Mantra 12)


Known as the protector deity of Mewar, Eklingji Temple is located about twelve miles to the North of Udaipur in Rajasthan. This deity was regarded as the pragmatic ruler by the Maharajas of Mewar - who considered themselves to be regents (Dewans) under Eklingji. A beautiful town, Eklingji attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year. This temple is said to have been founded by Acharya Viswaroopa a contemporary of Adi Sankaracharya and is linked with the Sharada Math at Dwaraka founded again by Adi Sankaracharya.

The temple occupies an area of about 2500 sq. feet and is about 65 feet in height. The temple area is fortified and a strong wall runs around it. The main entrance to the temple on the Western side welcomes visitors into a big hall resting on profusely carved pillars. In this hall, is a silver image of Nandi. There are two more Nandis in the temple, one made of black stone and the other of brass.

Other deities housed in the temple complex include Parvati, Ganesh, Ganga, Kartikeya, Yamuna and Saraswathi. There are also small temples dedicated to Ambamata, Kalka Mata and Ganesh in the temple complex. There is another temple called Nathon Ka Mandir in the temple complex with inscriptions dating back to the 10th century CE. No worship is offered here.


About 150 kms. from Hyderabad lies the ancient city of Warangal. Noted today for its beautiful lakes, magnificent temples and wildlife, Warangal possess the marvelous thousand pillared temple, built by King Rudra Deva in the 12th century. The famous Thousand Pillar Temple, built in 1163 AD, by king Rudra Deva is an important monument situated near the Hanamkonda-Warangal highway. One thousand richly carved pillars and a magnificent black basalt Nandi bull are unique to this temple which is dedicated to Lords Shiva, Vishnu and Surya.

The temple is in shape of a star and has three shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Surya. The temple is built on a 1m high platform on the slopes of the Hanumakonda hill, and has a majestic monolithic Nandi. The black basalt Nandi, a monolith, has a lovely polished finish. There are many small lingam shrines surrounding the gardens. The temple is famous for its richly carved pillars, screens and detailed sculpture.


Set along the western coast of Maharashtra, is a small little village, called Ganapatipule. It is known for its serene beach and the 400-year old Swayambhu Ganapati temple. Ganapatipule offers itself as an ancient pilgrim centre bearing a Swayambhoo, a naturally formed idol of Ganapati. The Temple is at the foot of a hill adjacent to a glorious beach. The hill itself is considered sacred and a perennial spring flows from the hill to a pond besides the Temple.

During 16th Century AD, a villager, fed up with frequent quarrels in his village, escaped to the Kerda jungles. On his way there, he stumbled upon a naturally formed Ganapati idol. Seeing this as a good omen, he built a temple there. As the word spread, people gathered and gradually even settled there. They worshiped the idol, performed prayers and made additions to the shrine. The Temple becomes the hub of grand activity for five days celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi. Villager's and pilgrims join enthusiastically in a procession honoring Ganapati. A taller idol is placed in an ornate palanquin and carried on the shoulders of the devotees through the village. The idol in the sanctum is placed in a way that also makes it visible.

Swayambhu Ganapati Temple is known for its unique idol of Ganapati built on pule (white sand). It is swayambhu (self-originated) and not man made. The idol of Ganapati is made out of copper and depicts the God astride a lion. It is placed in the Sanctum Sanctorum and at sunrise and sunset, a shaft of golden light penetrates and illuminates the idol. Early in the morning, the rhythmic beat of the nagaras can be heard from the Temple.


The Vijayanagar Empire caused a number of monuments to be built and patronized in the State of Andhra Pradesh. The ornate Lepakshi temples being one of the popular temples of that era. Lepakshi is a small village, which lies nine miles east of Hindupur in Anantapur District of Andhra and is famous for its temple of Veerabhadra, and is also a renowned place where the best specimens of the mural paintings of the Vijayanagar kings are available.

The flat stuccoed granite ceilings of the Vijayanagar Empire provided a suitable background for frescoes as seen at Lepakshi. This temple is a notable example of the Vijayanagar style of architecture, and is built on a low rocky hill, which is called Kurmasaila so called because the bill is like a tortoise, in shape. An inscription on the exit of the outer wall of the temple records that one Virupanna constructed it in the 16th century.

The beautiful sculptures on the prakaram attract the pilgrims' attention. These include 14 forms of Siva, like Dakshinamurthi, Ardhanareeswara, Tripurantaka etc. The hall of creepers is another excellent work of art, which has provided perennial inspiration to textile designers over the years. About 500m, North-East of the temple stands India's largest monolithic Nandhi, measuring about 8.25m long and 4,60m high.


Situated in North Karnataka, Badami was founded by Pulakesin I in the 6th century A.D and was once the capital of the Chalukya empire. The Chalukyas are to be acknowledged with path-finding a new architectural style, examples of which can be seen in Badami, Aihole, Pattadakal and other neighboring areas. They built a number of temples, and other monuments that marked the beginning of the Hindu style of architecture. This new style combined the best of two distinct styles - the North Indian, Indo-Aryan Nagara style and the South Indian Dravidian style. Known as the Chalukyan style, this style is manifested in many cave temples, dedicated to Brahmanical deities, as well as the many Buddhist and Jain monasteries in the region.

The caves found here are as follows
Cave 1 : The first cave made of red sandstone, dates back to 578 A.D. and was probably the first to be carved. One has to climb up 40 odd steps to reach the colonnaded verandah, a hall with numerous pillars and a square shaped sanctum hollowed in the control back wall.

Cave 2 : Dedicated to lord Vishnu depicted here as a dwarf or 'Trivikrama' of awesome dimensions with one foot mastering the Earth and the other the sky, the second cave is atop a sandstone hill.

Cave 3 : Still going higher up one comes across this cave antedating 578 A.D. The facade of the cave is nearly 70 feet wide, on the plinth one can see the carvings of ganas. The sheer artistry and sculptural genius makes this cave the highlight of Deccan art.

Cave 4 : The only Jain cave, the construction of Cave four started in the 6th century and completed after nearly 100 years later then the earlier three caves.


Mount Kailash - The abode of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati
Koppa Temple at mansarovarMt. Kailash is claimed to be the apex of the Hindu religious axis, is also one of the highest mountains in Tibet at 22,022 feet. Lord Shiva resides over here among the peaceful Himalayas. A mythological story says that Lord Shiva once built a house for himself but gave it away to a devotee who asked for it. Thus without changing his residence he settled in the mountain of Kailash. This is his abode where he stays with his whole family including his wife Goddess Parvati and children Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikiya and the other Shiv Ganas (group of Shiva Devotees) like Nandi and others. According to ancient religious texts, the abode of Lord Vishnu is called Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Bhrama is called Bhramaloka and the abode of Lord Shiva is called Kailash. Of the three, one can only go bodily and return in this life from Kailash having experienced divinity. The Hindus, Bons and Jains all alike travel to this place as pilgrims. A journey to Kailash is considered as once in a lifetime achievement.

Legends, Myths & Beliefs
It is because of Kailash - Mansarovar, which is 865-kms from Delhi, that Kumaon is sometimes called "Manaskhand". Many myths are associated with this unusual mountain and lake. The Buddhists, the Jains and the Bonpas of Tibet too, all revere this spot with great fervour and devotion. Therefore, it is not surprising for a devotee to come across the worlds "Om Mani Padme Hum" ("Hail to the jewel (of Creation) in the Lotus) written on stones and taken from Buddhist scriptures. The Bonpas make an anti-clockwise pilgrimage around Mt. Kailash whereas the believers of the jain faith specially visit astpaad near the southern face of Kailash in the Kailash --mansarovar region.

Among the thousands of deities of Hinduism, Lord Shiva is the most beloved and the most sort after lord. Lord Shiva finds a great place in the heart of all devotees be it the Human beings, the Devataas or the Rakshasaas. He is even called Bhola Baba because of his uniqueness of being simple and he grants whatever the devotee asks for. This is the reason why he is having a large following in all the 3 worlds of Akash, Bhumi, & Patal. Bhola Baba filled with Vairagya (dispassion) is a joy of all spiritual seekers.


Thanjavur was the royal city of the Cholas, Nayaks and the Mahrattas. Thanjavur derives its name from Tanjan-an asura (giant), who according to local legend devastated the neighbourhood and was killed by Sri Anandavalli Amman and Vishnu, Sri Neelamegapperumal. Tanjan's last request that the city might be named after him was granted.

Thanjavur TempleThanjavur rose to glory during the later Chola reign between the 10th and the 14th Centuries and became a centre of learning and culture. It is the headquarters of the disrict of the same name. Thanjavur district, the ' Rice Bowl ' of Tamil Nadu, is also known for its exquisite handicrafts, bronzes and South Indian Musical Instruments.

A brief introduction to the Later Cholas or the Thanjavur Cholas. Rajaraja Cholan the Great, occupies the foremost place in the history of the later Cholas. Vijayalaya Chola was the founder of the later Chola dynasty. He conquered the country from a vassal chief of the pallavas, and established Thanjavur as the capital of the dynasty. His son and successor Aditya I conquered the pallavas and the Kongu country; and his son Parantakan I (AD 907-953), under his leadership, the cholas acquired a dominion which foreshadowed the greater empire Rajarajan and Kulotungan.
Pilgrimage Attraction of Thanjavur
  • Bragatheeswarar Temple
    Bragatheeswarar Temple, ThanjavurThe Big Temple. Rajaraja Cholan, the Great Chola king built Bragatheeswarar Temple. Big Temple is an example for the Indian sculptural architecture greatness. Temple is surrounded by moat on two sides and Grand Anaicut river on the other side. This temple is unique to have the tallest tower over the sanctum sanctorum unlike the other temples. It is 216 feet tall. The stupa at the top is made of bronze.The walls of the sanctum are covered, with the wall paintings of Chola and Nayak periods, comparable to the famous Ajanta cave frescoes.

    Guarding the inner shrine of the temple, is the gigantic statue of Nandi, the Bull. The Nandi is 12 feet tall, 191/2 feet long and 81/4 feet wide. And it weighs around 25 tons. Nayaka kings constructed a Mandapam for the Nandi to protect it from sun and rain.
  • Puliyur Vyagrapureeswarar Temple
    Around 80 Kms from Thanjavur, situated 3/4 Km North of Ramarmadam Busstop in Nagapattinam - Tiruvarur Main Road. The ancient history says Kamadhenu, the devalogha cow prayed to Lord shiva in this shrine to get rid of its sabam. One more speciality about this temple, on evenings, Nataraja is worshipped first prior to all other gods. This is also referred as Dhakshina Chidambaram. chidambaram is where famous temple of lord Nataraja located. This village is also called as Vyagrapuri named after the lord.
  • Sikkal Singaravelavar Temple
    Around 80 Kms from Thanjavur situated in Nagapattinam Tiruvarur Main Road. The ancient history says here only Lord Murugan got the 'Sakthi Vel' from Parvathi (refered as Velnedunkanni amman in this temple ) and killed Suran. This temple is one of the few temples in Tamilnadu which has both Siva and Vishnu in the same campus. The 'Vel vankuthal' festival in the Tamil month of Iyappasi is very famous here.


Kashmir has produced a galaxy of great saints, seers and savants who have enriched, elevated and refined life and helped the people at large in distress. This is perfectly showcased in the

Shankracharya TempleShankracharya Temple. The temple shows the early Kashmiri style. It tries to introduce the early Sihara style and has still one-storeyed gable pediment which is evident even now. Here we find the early specimen of the horse shoe arch, prominent in the final stages of this architecture, as, for example, in Martand.

It was first built by Jalauka, the son of great Emperor Ashoka, about 200 B.C. The temple was later rebuilt and dedicated to Jyesthesvara by Gopaditya, who ruled from 253 A.D. to 328. The hill was called Gopadri and the village at its foot on the south is still called Gopkar. It is also said that once Shankaracharya, a famous Hindu saint, came to Kashmir from South India to revive Hinduism. He stayed on the top of the hill for sometime and the hill thus came to be known as Shankaracharya hill.

This temple stands on a solid rock and consists of an octagonal basement of 13 layers. Each of the four sides has two projections which terminate in pediment and agable, the latter intersecting the main roof half way up its slope. The body of the temple is surrounded by a terrace enclosed by a stone wall or parapet, 3.5 feet high. This in following the outline of the basement, preserves its octagonal shape. From the terrace another flight often steps leads to the door of the temple. The interior is a chamber, circular in plan, with a basin containing a lingam. The whole of the building is of stone, which is laid throughout in horizontal courses, no cement appearing to have been used.


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

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

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

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


The oldest living city in the world, Varanasi is the ultimate destination of all Hindu pilgrims searching for moksha from the cycle of birth and re-birth. The word 'Kashi' originated from the word 'Kas' which means to shine. Kashi is mentioned repeatedly in the scriptures - the Brahmanas, Upanishads and the Puranas. It is the oldest center of learning and the University here is still widely respected for its Sanskrit, Philosophy, and Arts faculties. Hyuen Tsang, the Chinese traveler visited Varanasi in the 7th century.

Stepped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the 'original ground' created by Lord Shiva and Parvati. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple was destroyed in the various invasions and was rebuilt in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Hundreds and thousands of pilgrims flock to Varanasi to offer homage and wash away their sins.

Vishweshwara jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Shiva is called Om which represents the five elements of the process of a life-cycle. Om has three sound elements which give the sounds of vowels, such as 'A', 'Ou' and 'Ma', and two physical elements, such as a 'dot' and a 'crescent'. 'A' represents birth, 'Ou' life, 'Ma' death, 'dot' disintegration of the body into original five elements and 'crescent' the soul moving to another physical body or returning to merge with the Supersoul. In the human form, each element of this life-cycle process also represents one face each of the five faces of Shiva. Therefore, Om also stands for Shiva and denotes the Universe.

Shiva is depicted as a five-facad form to represent these five elements that support life on earth. Each face has three eyes, which also represent birth, life and death.

Shiva appears as a luminous lingam. Although it has a special form, the Lingam is considered as a formless and infinite object representing the Lord as the universe. The base of the object representing 'Ou' is considered to be 'Om' which depicts the Lord and the Universe. Such a set is worshipped as Shiva everywhere in the Hindu world. The lingam also is believed to have five faces. Four faces are usually carved on all four directions and the fifth, which is not carved, is believed to be facing upwards.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


After taking bath, wearing neat and clean clothes, the worshipper should make oneself sanctified. All the things for Shiv-poojan, as given before in the list of substantial material required, should be kept ready. The CHAUKI, on which the Shiv-Diety is to be throned should be covered by the white cloth and then the phallus-deity be enthroned after giving it a bath in milk, then in GANGAAJAL (water of river Gangaa) in full devotion.

In the same way, the SHIV-TALISMAN should also be placed on the CHAUKI. Shiv-Deity, may be of any metal, stone, wood or clay. It is convenient to have an inscribed Talisman on a copper-plate, otherwise it can be drawn on a bark of birch tree by white sandal.

After giving throne to Lord Shiva, incense stick and the clay-lamp be lighted. The KALASH should also be placed on the right side, filled with water. The leaves of the wood-apple should be sanctified by giving them wash in clean water. It is the assumption that ‘Raam’ ‘Raam’ is also written on these leaves by white sandal, it is more pleasing to God Shiva.

To begin with Pooja after having seat on the Aasan infront of the Diety.


Red Marble Nandi Statue

Lord Shiva's guardian is Nandi (the white bull), whose statue can often be seen watching over the main shrine. The bull is said to embody sexual energy, fertility. Riding on its back Lord Shiva is in control of these impulses.


Shiva Dancing

Thiruvalangadu, north of Madras, is associated with the dance contest between Lord Shiva and his consort in the form of Kali.

According to legend Lord Shiva danced vigorously,and to subdue Kali , threw up his leg in the rhythm of the dance. Being a lady Kali could not repeat this feat and stood dismayed.

This dance and the subjugation of Kali, are described in the hymns of the female saint-poet Karaikkal Ammai.


Shiv shravan



Shiva Nataraj's dance represents both the destruction and the creation of the universe and reveals the cycles of death, birth and rebirth. His Dance of Bliss is for the welfare of the world. In the pose of Nataraj, the King of Dance is giving darshan to his beloved devotees within the "Hall of Consciousness", which is the heart of man. Under his feet, Shiva crushes the demon of ignorance called Apasmara Purusha, caused by forgetfulness. One hand is stretched across his chest and points towards the uplifted foot, indicating the release from earthly bondage of the devotee. The fire represents the final destruction of creation, but the dance of the Nataraj is also an act of creation, which arouses dormant energies and scatters the ashes of the universe in a pattern that will be the design of the ensuing creation.




Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva, the third in the trinity is Shiva, also known as Maheshwar (the great Lord), Mahadeva (the great God), Shambhu, Harihara (in union with Vishnu), Pinaakdhari (bearer of the axe), Mritunjaya (conquerer of death), and represents destruction, austerity & the malignant forces of life.

He is also represented as Mahakala & Bhairava, the terrible as well as many other forms including Rudra (howler). In ancient vedic hymns. Rudra is the malignant God of storm and wind, & is also considered the god of death. Rudra fires arrows of sickness at gods. men and animals. He is the father of Maruts, who were occasionally called Rudras.

As Rudra, he is identified with the star Sirius (Sothis), and is a supreme hunter. His appearance and nature changed with the emergence of Hiduism, when he became a beneficent and beautiful God, the Lord of animals and the patron of the hunters.

His name changed to Shiva, and is since then one of the most prominent deities of Hinduism. Shiva is also the master of all beings of the underworld including demons (bhutas ), ghosts (pretas), and pishachas (flesh eaters) but his destructive activities are compensated by his attitude of favors to his devotees.

He is originator of music and dance (Nataraja - the Dancing Shiva is the symbolism of the dance called Tandava), creator of grammar (vyaakrana), inventor of Yoga & a perfect householder as well as ascetic.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This cosmic dance of Shiva is called 'Anandatandava,' meaning the Dance of Bliss, and symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy — creation, destruction, preservation, salvation, and illusion. According to Coomerswamy, the dance of Shiva also represents his five activities: 'Shrishti' (creation, evolution); 'Sthiti' (preservation, support); 'Samhara' (destruction, evolution); 'Tirobhava' (illusion); and 'Anugraha' (release, emancipation, grace).The overall temper of the image is paradoxical, uniting the inner tranquility, and outside activity of Shiva.


In a marvelously unified and dynamic composition expressing the rhythm and harmony of life, Nataraj is shown with four hands represent the cardinal directions. He is dancing, with his left foot elegantly raised and the right foot on a prostrate figure — 'Apasmara Purusha', the personification of illusion and ignorance over whom Shiva triumphs. The upper left hand holds a flame, the lower left hand points down to the dwarf, who is shown holding a cobra. The upper right hand holds an hourglass drum or 'dumroo' that stands for the male-female vital principle, the lower shows the gesture of assertion: "Be without fear."Snakes that stand for egotism, are seen uncoiling from his arms, legs, and hair, which is braided and bejeweled. His matted locks are whirling as he dances within an arch of flames representing the endless cycle of birth and death. On his head is a skull, which symbolizes his conquest over death. Goddess Ganga, the epitome of the holy river Ganges, also sits on his hairdo. His third eye is symbolic of his omniscience, insight, and enlightenment. The whole idol rests on a lotus pedestal, the symbol of the creative forces of the universe.


An extraordinary iconographic representation of the rich and diverse cultural heritage of India, it was developed in southern India by 9th and 10th century artists during the Chola period (880-1279 CE) in a series of beautiful bronze sculptures. By the 12th century AD, it achieved canonical stature and soon the Chola Nataraja became the supreme statement of Hindu art.


Nataraj, the dancing form of Lord Shiva is a symbolic synthesis of the most important aspects of Hinduism, and the summary of the central tenets of this Vedic religion. The term 'Nataraj' means 'King of Dancers' (Sanskrit nata = dance; raja = king). In the words of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Nataraj is the "clearest image of the activity of God which any art or religion can boast of…A more fluid and energetic representation of a moving figure than the dancing figure of Shiva can scarcely be found anywhere,


According to another legend, once Brahma and Vishnu, two other deities of the holy Trinity, had an argument as to their supremacy. Brahma being the Creator declared himself to be more revered, while Vishnu, the Preserver, pronounced that he commanded more respect. Just then a colossal lingam, known as Jyotirlinga, blanketed in flames, appeared before them. Both Brahma and Vishnu were awestruck by its rapidly increasing size. They forgot their quarrel and decided to determine its size. Vishnu assuming the form of a boar went to the netherworld and Brahma as a swan flew to the skies. But both of them failed to accomplish the self- assumed tasks. Then, Shiva appeared out of the lingam and stated that he was the progenitor of them both and that henceforth he should be worshipped in his phallic form, the lingam, and not in his anthropomorphic form.


Once a hunter while chasing a deer wandered into a dense forest and found himself on the banks of river Kolidum when he heard the growl of a tiger. To protect himself from the beast he climbed up a tree nearby. The tiger pitched itself on the ground below the tree fostering no intention to leave. The hunter stayed up in the tree all night and to keep himself from falling asleep, he gently plucked one leaf after another from the tree and threw it down. Under the tree was a Shiva Linga and the tree blessedly turned out to be a bilva tree. Unknowingly the man had pleased the deity with bilva leaves. At sunrise, the hunter looked down to find the tiger gone, and in its place stood Lord Shiva. He prostrated before the Lord and attained salvation from the cycle of birth and death.


All through the day the devotees keep severe fast, chant the sacred Panchakshara mantra "Om Namah Shivaya", make offerings of flowers and incense to the Lord amidst ringing of temple bells. They maintain long vigils during the night, keeping awake to listen to stories, hymns and songs. The fast is broken only the next morning, after the nightlong worship. In Kashmir, the festival is held for 15 days. The 13th day is observed as a day of fast followed by a family feast.


The phallus symbol representing Shiva is called the lingam. It is usually made of granite, soapstone, quartz, marble or metal, and has a yoni or vagina as its base representing the union of the male and female sexual organs. Devotees circumambulate the lingam and worship it throughout the night. It is bathed every three hours with the five sacred offerings of a cow, called the panchagavya - milk, sour milk, urine, butter and dung. Then the five foods of immortality - milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar are placed before the lingam. Dhatura and jati, though poisonous fruits, are believed to be sacred to Shiva and thus offered to him.


On the day of Shivratri, a three-tiered platform is built around a fire. The topmost plank represents swargaloka (heaven), the middle one antarikshaloka (space) and the bottom one bhuloka (earth). Eleven urns or kalash, are kept on the swargaloka plank symbolising the eleven manifestations of the Rudra Shiva. These are decorated with bilva (woodapple leaves) and mango leaves atop a coconut representing the head of Shiva. The uncut shank of the coconut symbolises his tangled hair and the three spots on the fruit Shiva's three eyes.


Shivratri is considered especially auspicious for women. Married women pray for the well being of their husbands and sons, while unmarried women pray for an ideal husband like Shiva, who is the spouse of Kali, Parvati and Durga. But generally it is believed that anyone who utters the name of Shiva during Shivratri with pure devotion is freed from all sins. He or she reaches the abode of Shiva and is liberated from the cycle of birth and death.


According to the Puranas, during the great mythical churning of the ocean called Samudra Manthan, a pot of poison emerged from the ocean. The gods and the demons were terrified as it could destroy the entire world. When they ran to Shiva for help, he in order to protect the world, drank the deadly poison but held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This turned his throat blue, and since then he came to be known as Nilkantha, the blue-throated one. Shivratri celebrates this event by which Shiva saved the world.


Maha Shivratri, the night of the worship of Shiva, occurs on the 14th night of the new moon during the dark half of the month of Phalguna. It falls on a moonless February night, when Hindus offer special prayer to the lord of destruction. Shivratri (Sanskrit 'ratri' = night) is the night when he is said to have performed the Tandava Nritya or the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction. The festival is observed for one day and one night only.


Since Shiva is regarded as a mighty destructive power, to numb his negative potentials he is fed with opium and is also termed as Bhole Shankar, one who is oblivious of the world. Therefore, on Maha Shivratri, the night of Shiva worship, devotees, especially the menfolk, prepare an intoxicating drink called Thandai (made from cannabis, almonds, and milk) sing songs in praise of the Lord and dance to the rhythm of the drums.


Shiva is believed to be at the core of the centrifugal force of the universe, because of his responsibility for death and destruction. Unlike the godhead Brahma, the Creator, Shiva is the dissolving force in life. But Shiva dissolves in order to create, since death is the medium for rebirth into a new life. So the opposites of life and death and creation and destruction both reside in his character.


The actual image of Shiva is also distinct from other deities: his hair piled high on the top of his head, with a crescent tucked into it and the river Ganges tumbling from his hairs. Around his neck is a coiled serpent representing Kundalini or the spiritual energy within life. He holds a trident in his left hand in which is bound the 'damroo' (small leather drum). He sits on a tiger skin and on his right is a water pot. He wears the 'Rudraksha' beads and his whole body is smeared with ash.


Shiva, in temples is usually found as a phallic symbol of the linga, which represents the energies necessary for life on both the microcosmic and the macrocosmic levels, that is, the world in which we live and the world which constitutes the whole of the universe. In a Shaivite temple, the linga is placed in the centre underneath the spire, where it symbolises the naval of the earth.


Shiva is 'Shakti', Shiva is power, Shiva is the destroyer, the most powerful god of the Hindu pantheon and one of the godheads in the Hindu Trinity. Known by many names - Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Bhairava, Vishwanath, Bhava, Bhole Nath - Lord Shiva is perhaps the most complex of Hindu deities. Hindus recognise this by putting his shrine in the temple separate from those of other deities.

Friday, July 4, 2008


Bhagirahta was the well acclaimed fore father of Rama of Raghu Vamsa and as folklore goes his forefathers were known as sagaras and they had been burnt down due to a curse in the past . And it was for the elevation of these ancestors from the curses to a state of being transported to heaven, is it that Bhagiratha was very keen on bringing the holy river Ganga to the Earth.

This intention was with the belief that the moment h holy waters of the river Ganga were to touch the ashes of the sagaras, they would immediately be released from the curse on them for their sins.

With this in mind Bhagiratha did very severe penance with the sole objective of getting the blessings of Lord Indra for this, and indeed this permission was granted but with the condition that although he was permitted to bring the river Ganga down from Heaven to the Earth, the actual decision of coming down to the arth would be that of Ganga.

Therefore BhagIrahta again started his austerities and prayed to the goddess Ganga., to which she agreed but at the same time clarified that he should locate a person who could withstand the force with which she will descend to earth Bhagiratha agreed to this and zeroed down to the refuge- i.e. the most powerful Lord Shiva !

Having decided on this he did severe austerities for pleasing Lord Shiva., who on appreciating his devotion and efforts, agreed to hold the Ganga on it's downward trip from Heaven to the Earth . On hearing of this Ganga out of her sheer ignorance and pride thought that Lord Shiva would not be able to withstand her force !

She therefore came down with the intention of pushing the Almighty Lord , creator of the entire universe down with her heavy force, not realising that she was insignificant in front of the Lord ! The Lord arrested the flow of the Ganga in His matted hair, and even though she tried her level best to rush out of His matted hair, it was all in vain. since not even a single drop of water could escape !

Bhagiratha got very worried by these developments as it had been his initial intention to bring down the Ganga to planet Earth, and he therefore again prayed to the Lord to show mercy on her. and to this the Lord readily agreed by allowing the Ganga to pass through a strand of His matted hair.

Now, the visibly humbled Ganga flowed very humbly and with tremendous grace, extending ample prosperity on her way to Patala, and it was in this way that the antcestors of BhagIratha were brought to heaven by the holy water of the Ganga !


There is an interesting story about a demon who was in the form of an elephant (gajasura) , who did severe penance and by virtue of the same got several powerful boons from the Gods. But, this elephant demon, did not try to use these gifted powers for good and constructive things, but rather started using them for destructive activities .

He ventured to do all possible to disturb, destroy and cause harm to others. In fact the situation had become such that even the Devas were not able to take him on on account of the powers that he had acquired through his extreme penance !

As happens with all evil forces, this demon elephant was also doomed to be destroyed on account of his actions, which would eventually lead him to his own death. It so happened that when he started to attack the devotees of Lord Shiva who were completely immersed in worship of God at the holy abode Kashi, his ego and mad rage came in the way of his coming to realize whom he is taking on into battle.

Eventually, Lord Shiva, the supreme power of the universe, on seeing his devoteest being harmed , took things into his own hands and immediately destroyed the demon by ripping its body apart , the loud cries of the demon in pain could be heard all over, and in this way he lost his life, since evil cannot survive for very long !


The story goes something like this that for the protection of the world Lord Vishnu wanted to have in his possession a weapon which is all powerful. With this in mind he went on to commence the worship of Lord Shiva with a thousand flowers so as to get the sudarshana chakra as a boon from the Lord Almighty., This had been created by Lord Shiva for jalandhara samhara.

Therefore Maha Vishnu collected the required flowers and started the worship. of Lord Shiva , but during the worship, Lord Vishnu found that he fell short of one flower to thousand, and since he did not want to stop his prayer to Lord Shiva at any cost whatsoever, he did not hesitate a single moment , and went on to pluck out and offered one of this eyes as a substitute for the missing thousandth flower.

Lord Shiva was overwhelmed by this extreme devotion, and immediately gave the Sudarshan Chakra to Maha Vishnu, and thenceforth Maha Vishnu got the name "lotus eyed" (padmaksha) due to the devotion in offering the eye to make up for a lotus.


Have you per chance ever heard of this story of ancient times, wherein several thousands of years ago as the folklore goes, there was a demon king by the name of Jalandhara, who through his harsh austerities and penance had obtained several boons from the Gods, and it was on account of these boons he had become so powerful that had gone on to capture all the worlds and rule over them !

Since he went unchallenged it came into his head one day that he should take on the might of the Devas , and so he went on to challenge them to fight against him.Since none of the Devas was prepared to fight against him since he was very powerful, everybody gave in to him without much resistance.

Further encouraged by this, Jalandhara went on to take on the more powerful worlds of Satya loka and Vaikuntha where again nobody was prepared to do battle with him, but he was informed that only Lord Shiva can fight against him.

Being stupid enough to take on the might of Lord Shiva, he went to Mount Kailash the abode of Lord Shiva, to fight with the God ! Lord Shiva wanted to teach the demon a lesson and therefore took the form of an old man and stood on his way. The old man asked Jalandhara where he was going. to which he got the reply that he was going to fight against Lord Shiva.

On hearing this the old man smiled and asked him to lift a disc (chakra) lying on the ground so as to check his strength by lifting the same above his head, prior to his fighting with the All Powerful Lord Shiva . "

On hearing these words Jalandhara was quite amused since he felt that the old man twas not aware of Jalandhara's strength, and just to show him his strength , he started lifting it and realized that it was not an easy job., and it was then that he realised that it was not an easy task. It was therefore with great diffculty that he took the disc and put it on his head.

Immediately he did so, the disc not only cut off his head but also decimated his entire body into small pieces ! This was the end of the so called invincible demon who had ventured to conquer the entire world , but he had overestimated his strength in taking on the might of the Almighty Lord Shiva.


This is a narration of how Parvati came to get married to Lord Shiva . As most of you must already be aware, Shakthi was born as Parvati, the daughter of the king of Himalayas. Unlike other children her age , as a young child, she was not very keen in playing like the other children. Rather, she was more interested in keeping herself absorbed in the meditation and prayer of Lord Shiva in the mountains. She also had a burning desire to marry Lord Shiva , and it was for that she wanted to perform austerity in the snow covered Himalayas.

Although her parents had shown an initial hesitation , they but finally had to bow down in the face of sheer determination displayed by Parvati., who was performing all her austerities from an ashram. In fact the reality was that Lord Shiva was very happy with Her worship and devotion, and came to her place disguised as an old devotee.Parvati gave due respect to the Old devotee of Her beloved Lord Shiva.This old devotee tried to dissuade her from wasting her youth in meditation and prayer of Lord Shiva, and that instead she should enjoy life by getting married to some one else !

He also went on to make the remarkable suggestion that She could get married to Him, instead of desiring for Lord Shiva who spends his time dancing away in the cemeteries and wearing on his body an attire which includes skulls and bones ! On hearing these words Parvati, not realising that it is the Lord Himself before her , got very angry at him, and informed him that she gave due respect to him only since he appeared to be a devotee and she would not want to hear anything of disregard to her Lord !.

She also immediately asked him to leave the place, on seeing which the Lord was extremely pleased with her determination and devotion, and went on to disclose his identity. Parvati was really astonished on coming to know the reality and pleaded for forgiveness from her Lord. On the contrary, Lord Shiva had taken her scolding in the right spirit and took it to signify the great love she had for Him ! He there and then granted her the wish that she had been aspiring for all along i.e. Her getting married to Him.

On hearing of this grand news, the Parvati's family was delighted beyond measure, and in celebration of the same proceeded to decorated the region in the most wonderful manner one could ever imagine. They were indeed very happy to learn of their beloved daughter's wedding to the Lord Himself ! And in preparation for the same, the young and most beautiful Parvati was decorated with the choicest ornaments, and the best of attire .

And the Groom - Lord shiva - came to the wedding place - astride an old bull, with skull and bone ornaments, with the skin of the tiger as the clothing, accompanied by the roar of the Buta Ganas ! On seeing this, Parvati's mother fainted immediately since she could not imagine to see the groom in such a form for her sweet daughter, softer than the flowers. Now the Lord changed to the form, glittering in a beautiful wedding robe - with golden ornaments and splendid clothing!

When Menai woke up and saw the Groom she was thrilled to see such a beautiful form and was very pleased that He is "the suitable" groom for her daughter. The play of the Lord has no bounds ! Menai saw only the external appearance of the Groom. Other than the great Parvati who knows the glory of that Groom ?! The enchanting Lord in the wedding robe got married to the Daughter of the mountains and this form of God is called Kalyana Sundharar.