Badrinath and Others

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Jyotirmath is one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankara, the others being those at Shringeri, Puri and Dwarka. According to the tradition initiated by Adi Shankara. The presiding deity Lord Narasimha is believed to have been established by Adi Sankara. It is one of the “Divya Desams”, the 108 temples of Vishnu revered by the 12 Tamil poet-saints or Alvars.

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According to legend, Pandukeshwar was established by King Pandu, father of great Pandavas of Mahabharata epic. He was living with his wives Kunti and Madri in Pandukeshwar after giving his throne to his elder brother Dhritharashtra. One day Pandu went on hunting in the jungle and unintentionally killed a sage making love in deer form. While the sage was dying he cursed Pandu that he will not be able make love with anyone and if he does, he will die instantly. To get cleanse of sin of killing of the sage, Pandu installed the bronze image of Vishnu in the Yogadhyan Badri shrine and mediated. Meanwhile Kunti and Madri gave birth to Pandavas through yogadhyan. Once, Pandu got attracted towards Madri who was taking bath in Alakananda River, soon Pandu died due to curse of sage.

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An example of Himalayan housing

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As per Hindu legend, the temple is associated with the times of Ramayana. Raghunathji (Rama, an avatar of Vishnu) is believed to performed penance at this place to relieve himself off the curse committed by killing Ravana, a Brahmin demon king. Brahma, the Hindu god of creation, is once believed to have performed penance at this place and the place came to be known as Prayaga, meaning the best place to do penance. As per the same legend, the Vataka tree (Banyan tree) in the place would withstand all earthly disasters and would remain through ages. Vishnu is believed to reside in the leaves of the tree. The Pandavas performed penance at this place before the Mahabharat war. Sage Bharadwaja is also believed to have performed penance at this place and became of the seven sacred sages, the Saptarishis.

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The proposed new site for Joshimath temple

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Badrinath temple is located in Garhwal hill tracks in Chamoli district along the banks of Alaknanda River at an elevation of 3,133 m (10,279 ft) above the mean sea level. It is one of the most visited pilgrimage centres of India, having recorded 1,060,000 visits.

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The image of the presiding deity worshipped in the temple is a 1 m (3.3 ft) tall, black stone statue of Vishnu in the form of Badrinarayan. The statue is considered by many Hindus to be one of eight swayam vyakta kshetras, or self-manifested statues of Vishnu.

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he Nar Parbat mountain is located opposite to the temple, while the Narayana Parbat is located behind the Neelakanta peak.

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Rudraprayag is a town and a municipality in Rudraprayag district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Rudraprayag is one of the Panch Prayag (five confluences) of Alaknanda River, the point of confluence of rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. Kedarnath, a Hindu holy town is located 86 km from Rudraprayag. The man eating Leopard of Rudraprayag hunted and written about by Jim Corbett dwelled here.

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Calling Of The Energy

The decision to visit Divya Desams was not planned; it was by instinct. Though I was always fascinated by spirituality, I never had any goal of pursuing any specific yatra/journey. However, these things took a turn in the year 2016. April 3, 2016 to be
precise. Following my Darshan of Sri Ranganathan at Sri Rangam (This was my umpteen visit to this holy shrine), I was returning back to Chennai in train. I was allotted a side lower berth in the train, which was my favorite. Recalling the past, I have found out that all my life transforming decisions had sparked during a night train travel upon a side lower berth.

Coming back to the train travel on April 3, 2016. After getting the train ticket verified, I was gazing put through the window in a reclining position. Since the next day was the beginning of a week, I was mind-grinding my tasks and deliverable that needed to be accomplished. Somewhere during that process, the number 108 came into picture. I still have no idea why I thought of that number, It just popped out of nowhere. It was no way related to it. It has nothing to do with my desk telephone, issue request ID, employee ID or whatsoever. It stood in my mind for a solid 10 seconds. I wasn’t able to think about for that brief period. Then, it moved out. I was not able to get the significance of it for a while. Then it struck me. 108. The Divya Desams. The holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. Was it that ? I googled it and I had read about it immediately. Was it a calling from the Energy ?Was it asking me to pursue it ? I was clueless. However, I wanted to give it a shot. I thought of planning a visit to Divya Desams nearby Chennai and then see how it works out.

Once I initiated this journey, everything came into place. My parents, friends and relatives encouraged me to pursue this. They never asked me “Why?” “How?” “you cannot do it” or anything like that. Somehow, the relevant travel books caught my eye in the bookstores, even though I wasn’t planning to buy them. I was fortunate to find modes of transport easily to the places I needed to visit. Bus, train, flight, auto, bullock cart; I have been in all. Everything around me took me towards my journey. Here I am, writing this to you all after completing my visits to 101 Divya Desams. 5 more to go. (Though it is 108, visiting 106 is only possible in this world. The rest 2 are believed to be in the heavenly realms and it is said that the Lord himself would accompany you for visiting those)

Now, the most important part. Putting forward few questions which I have often encountered.

  • In this modern age, do you still believe in all this temple, God and stuffs ?

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Yeah. I do. I have always believed that there is a power above us. You can call it as Vishnu, Allah or Jesus. But, I strongly believe that it exists among and above us. Keeping it scientific, cosmos, energy, matter. They all are interconnected. They are linked to us in many ways and I feel that religion is something that mankind had develop to establish that link with the Energy above. Just like the “The Secret“. The Law of Attraction.

  • Does it mean that you only believe in Hinduism alone?

No. Definitely not. Energy is common. Religions are ways to tap into that eternal space. Since, I was brought up as a practicing Hindu, I pursued it. To keep it on a lighter side, it doesnt matter having a Android, Windows or iOS, unless you get the CALLING right. Simple. Choose what you are comfortable it.

  • Does these trips make you a more religious person ?

A small correction. It made me a more spiritual one. Religion and spiritual are too different things, though interconnected. Being more religious makes one believe in one religion alone and it nullifies others.Spiritual, on the other other hand, shows that the paths are different and anything is acceptable until you reach the right place. Well, this is my personal opinion.

  • Did you pursue this journey in order to realization of any of your dreams ?

No. Not at all. I believe in going with the flow. With the intuitions. The thought had occurred to me in a flash. There has to be a reason for it. But, rather than waiting for the reason, I first felt that the intuition must be acknowledged. Hence, the journey.

sherlock-seo

எண்ணம் போல் வாழ்க்கை | Thoughts become your destiny

Mandagapattu – The forgotten legacy of first ever rock-cut cave temple of Tamil Kingdom

Whispers from my beautiful past....

Tamil Nadu is rightly called the ‘Land of Temples’ with thousands of temples of various Tamil dynasties adding to the beauty of the land. A trip down south takes us down the memory lane of the great Tamil rulers who have built the magnificent stone structures, brick temples and cave temples across Tamil Nadu that have stood the test of time and survived thousands of years. If stones could talk, the carvings of the great temples of Tamil Nadu would reveal the secrets of the ancestral past. As we admire the Tamil kings for their creativity, architecture, urban planning, administration and their practices, their farsightedness to inscribe valuable information in the temples for the future generations, requires a special mention.

IMG_20170423_222932 Sasi from “Walkwithus” sharing details on the evolution of temples in Tamil Nadu

In March 2017, around 20 of us in CTC (Chennai Trekking Club) signed up for…

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Sangla – A hidden gem of Kinnaur

Whispers from my beautiful past....

Visiting Kinnaur and spending some time with locals was high on my bucket list for a long time. Finally, I got a chance to check out Sangla valley before our Lamkhaga Pass trek in May 2017, thanks to the impeccable planning of Gautam Baliga ji. On 18th of May, Gautam, Aashish and I boarded the only Shimla to Sangla direct bus to reach our destination for the day – the Sangla valley.

IMG_20170705_184353 Mesmerizing views on the way to Sangla

After an 8 to 9-hour journey in the HRTC bus, we reached Sangla at 5 pm. Tucked in the lower Himalayas in the district of Kinnaur, the Sangla valley is one of the most picturesque valleys in Himachal, located around 25 kms away from the Indo-Tibet border. Sangla derives it names from a Tibetan word Sangala which means “passage of light”.

IMG_20170705_184704 Sangla – A blend of culture and natural beauty

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Exploring the ancient Kamru village

Whispers from my beautiful past....

Nestled in the hills of lesser Himalayas and about a 2 km hike from Sangla, Kamru is a blend of heritage and natural beauty. While, we get to see the most beautiful landscapes in Sangla valley, the best view of its splendour could be seen from the top of the Kamru fort. After a night stay in Sangla valley, Gautham, Aashish and I started early the next day to explore Kamru.

IMG_20170707_224350 Kamru village and Kamru fort as seen Sangla valley

IMG_20170707_224922 Stepping into the historic Kamru village

As we ascended up slowly and reached the Kamru Badhri Vishal mandir, we met Hariram ji, an elderly locallite of Kamru village, serving as the postmaster there. After getting to know that we were heading to Harshil via Lamkhaga pass, he couldn’t resist sharing his experience of crossing the pass way back in 1980s/1990s with me and Aashish.

IMG_20170519_070746253 Entry to Badri Vishal Mandir in…

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