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Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarisvara

There is a concept of prakriti and purush in Hinduism. Its a bit tough to explain but let me try to explain you in short. (I will write a big post of prakriti and purush explaining each and every small details later)

Samkhya:  Samkhya or Sankhya is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. Samkhya is strongly dualist.
It regards the universe as consisting of two realities, Pursha (consciousness) and Prakriti (matter).
a living being or Jiva is that state in which purusha is bonded to prakriti in some form. This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi (“spiritual awareness”) and ahankara (individualized ego consciousness).

The universe is described by this school as one created by Purusha-Prakriti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind.

During the state of imbalance, one of more constituents overwhelm the others, creating a form of bondage, particularly of the mind. The end of this imbalance, bondage is called liberation, or moksha by Samkhya school of Hinduism.

Simplify:
Its a big topic, so i’ll just simplify it for you. Just learn this,
Prakriti = material reality and Purusha = spiritual reality

Material reality is to please our five senses.  Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell and touch are the five senses that we have. We work and do everything to please them. Every little and big thing you do in your life is to please one or all of these. From cleaning your house to visiting romantic places and to taste exotic foods.
Apart from this, material reality contains Art, Music, Sex, Pleasure, Prosperity, etc.

You will work hard, earn lot of money, your needs will increase, to keep up with them, you will work harder. It’s a loop. Human needs are unlimited, but the resources he have are always limited.
Material reality is impermanent; Sooner or later it withers away. Today you are eating the best food, tomorrow you may have a great financial loss and you won’t be able to afford what you can afford now. With this there comes a stage where you become restless, frustrated, pain, anxiety, stress, fear and all sorts of emotions.

So Now, Prakriti = material reality = Unstable

Purusha or spiritual growth is the ability to overpower these emotions so that one has the wisdom to appreciate and enjoy all things material without getting needy or clingy. One is happy when the material world favours us and not unhappy when it does not. This can only happen when material growth is accompanied by intellectual growth. Only intellectual growth can control emotional turmoil caused by dependence on material things.

So Now, Purusha = Spiritual reality = Stable

Prakriti Vs Purusha
Prakriti Vs Purusha

Ok i think you got the basic idea of Prakriti and Purusha. Now, Think of our human body. The heart is on the left side, so the side is unstable. and so that side i.e. the left side of a body is considered as Prakriti Side.
So eventually, the right side, being stable is Purusha Side.

Moving on, When any person wants to go to a temple, he want to go there to calm himself. Technically, to exit the material world and enter the Spiritual world.  So sit there, calm himself, to meditate, to pray. So if an individual wants to enter the spirituality i.e. the purusha, then why not to start from spiritual side of the body i.e. the purusha, the stable side, i.e the Right side..

Hope you got the answer.

Further info:

You can stop reading here. But if you are intrested in further understanding prakriti and purusha side, here is the small explaination.

Visit an temple or see any Hindu GOD’s photo. If the GOD’s right leg is on the ground, He or she represents the Purusha side.

Shiva and shakti are perfect blend of Purusha and Prakriti. SHIVA symbolises consciousness, the masculine principle.
SHAKTI symbolises the feminine principle, the activating power and energy.

Nataraja defines Purusha
Nataraja defines Purusha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha

In Ganesha’s Idol, even the tusk can tell you that that particular idol represents purusha side or Prakriti side.

This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha
This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha, as the tusk is on the right hand side of the idol’s body.

Likewise Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti

Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti
Saraswati and Lakshmi shows material reality which is Prakriti.

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha…

Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha
Vishnu shows perfect blend of Prakriti and Purusha.

and last but not the least, our Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.
Hindu Trinity, which shows Lord Brahma as Prakriti, Vishnu as master of both prakriti and Purusha and Shiva as Purusha.

Credits: Image credits to the real owners, Photographers, Artists, Pinterest and Google Images. The Hindu FAQs doesnot own any images.

siddhivinayak temple Mumbai

Not just huge skyscraper, shopping lanes, Food corners, and fast life. Mumbai have beautiful temples too. Mumbai is named after the local deity known as ‘Goddess Mumbadevi’, who is believed to protect the citizens of this city. So here are the 9 famous temples in Mumbai.

1) The South Indian Bhajana Samaj Matunga

South Indian Bhajana Samaj
South Indian Bhajana Samaj

2) Swaminarayan Mandir dadar

Swaminarayan Mandir dadar
Swaminarayan Mandir dadar

3) Siddhivinayak Temple Dadar, Prabhadevi.

The Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shri Ganesh. It is located in Prabhadevi, Mumbai. It was originally built in 1801. It is one of the richest temples in Mumbai.

siddhivinayak temple Mumbai
siddhivinayak temple Mumbai

4) ISKON teple – Radha Ras Bihari Temple, Juhu, Mumbai.

Radha Ras Bihari Temple, Juhu, Mumbai
Radha Ras Bihari Temple, Juhu, Mumbai

5)Mumbadevi Temple Mumbai – from where the city got its name..

Mumba Devi Mandir is an old Hindu temple in the city of Mumbai, dedicated to the goddess Mumba. Mumbai got its name from this temple. It was built in 6th century.

Mumbadevi Temple Mumbai
Mumbadevi Temple Mumbai

6) Mahalaxmi temple – Mahalaxmi, Mumbai

is one of the most famous temples of Mumbai situated on Bhulabhai Desai Road in Mahalaxmi area. The temple was built in 1831.

Mahalaxmi Temple Mumbai
Mahalaxmi Temple Mumbai

7) Global Vipassana Pagoda Mumbai.

The Global Vipassana Pagoda is a Meditation Hall near Gorai, North-west of Mumbai, India. The pagoda is to serve as a monument of peace and harmony.

Global Vipassana Pagoda Mumbai
Global Vipassana Pagoda Mumbai

8) Balaji Temple Rajagopuram Nerul, Navi Mumbai

Balaji Temple Rajagopuram Nerul,  Navi Mumbai
Balaji Temple Rajagopuram Nerul, Navi Mumbai

9)Babulnath temple Mumbai

Babulnath is an ancient Shiva temple in Mumbai, India. Situated on a small hillock near Girgaum Chowpatty, it is one of oldest temples in the city.

Babulnath temple Mumbai | Hindu FAQs
Babulnath temple Mumbai

Credits:
Image credits to the Original Photographers and Google Images. The hindu FAQs does not own any Images.

 

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments is a group of Hindu and Jain temples in Madhya Pradesh, India. They are one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India. The temples are famous for their Nagara-style architectural symbolism and their erotic sculptures.

Most Khajuraho temples were built between 950 and 1050 CE by the Chandela dynasty. Historical records note that Khajuraho temple site had 85 temples by 12th century, spread over 20 square kilometers. Of these, only about 20 temples have survived, spread over 6 square kilometers. Of the various surviving temples, the Kandariya temple is decorated with a profusion of sculptures with intricate details, symbolism and expressiveness of ancient Indian art.

1) Khajuraho Temple

Khajuraho Temple Madhya Pradesh
Khajuraho Temple Madhya Pradesh

2)  Erotic carvings on a wall of Khajuraho temple

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

3) More beautiful carvings

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

4) Detaile carvings showing body postures

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

5) Incredible detailed carvings on one of the wall

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

6) Some carvings are damaged with time

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

7) Carvings showing various position of intimacy

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

8) A visitor admiring the carvings

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

9) Carving showing love relation in a couple

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

10) Carving also shows some animals

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

11) one of the Kamasutra position

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

12) Beauty……

Khajuraho Temple's erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings
Khajuraho Temple’s erotic sculptures and Beautiful carvings

Credits:
Image credits to the Original Photographers and Google Images. The hindu FAQs does not own any Images.

Akshardham temple, delhi

This is the list of top 14 largest hindu temples.

1. Angkor Wat
Angkor, Cambodia – 820,000 Sq.Meter

Angkor Vat in Cambodia | Hindu FAQs
Angkor Vat in Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. It is the world’s largest religious building.

2) Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam
Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India – 631,000 Sq.Meters

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam | The Hindu FAQs
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world (the still larger Angkor Wat being the largest existing temple). The temple occupies an area of 156 acres (631,000 m²) with a perimeter of 4,116m (10,710 feet) making it the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The temple is enclosed by seven concentric walls (termed prakarams (outer courtyard) or mathil suvar) with a total length of 32,592 feet or over six miles. These walls are enclosed by 21 Gopurams. The Ranganathanswamy Temple complex with 49 shrines, all dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is so huge that it is like a city within itself. However, the entire temple is not used for the religious purpose, the first three out of seven concentric walls are used by private commercial establishments such as restaurants, hotels, flower market, and residential homes.

3) Akshardham Temple, Delhi
Delhi, India – 240,000 sq.meter

Akshardham temple, delhi
Akshardham temple, delhi

Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and moderated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans construct Akshardham.

4) Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India – 160,000 sq.Meter

Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram

Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram – Chidambaram Thillai Natarajar-Koothan Kovil or Chidambaram temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the centre of the temple town of Chidambaram, east-central Tamil Nadu, South India. Chidambaram is a temple complex spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city. It is truly a large temple which is completely used for religious purpose. The main complex to Lord Shiva Nataraja also contains shrines to deities such as Sivakami Amman, Ganesh, Murugan and Vishnu in the form Govindaraja Perumal.

5) Belur Math
Kolkata, West Bengal, India – 160,000 Sq.Meter

Belur Math, Kolkata India
Belur Math, Kolkata India

Belur Maṭh or Belur Mutt is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.

6) Annamalaiyar Temple
Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India – 101,171 Sq.Meter

Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai
Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai

Annamalaiyar Temple is a noted Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is the second largest temple (by the area used completely for religious purpose). It has got four stately towers on all the four sides and four high stone walls just like the rampart walls of a fort. The 11-tiered highest (217 feet (66 m)) Eastern Tower is called the Rajagopuram. The fortified walls pierced with four gopura entrances offer a formidable look to this vast complex.

7) Ekambareswarar Temple
Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India – 92,860 Sq.Meters

Ekambareswarar temple kanchipuram
Ekambareswarar temple kanchipuram

Ekambareswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams (each representing a natural element) representing the element Earth.

8) Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval
Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India – 72,843 Sq.Meter

Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval
Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval

Thiruvanaikaval (also Thiruvanaikal) is a famous Shiva temple in Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple was built by Kocengannan (Kochenga Chola), one of the Early Cholas, around 1,800 years ago.

9) Meenakshi Amman Temple
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India – 70,050 Sq.Meter

Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple in the holy city of Madurai in India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva — who is known here as Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord — and his consort, Parvati who is known as Meenakshi. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500-year-old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities, that are elaborately sculptured and painted showing the architectural and sculpting skills of the ancient Indian sthapathis.

Also Read: 25 Amazing Facts about hinduism

10) Vaitheeswaran Koil
Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu, India – 60,780 Sq.Meters

Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu
Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu

Vaitheeswaran Temple is a Hindu temple located in Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to the god Shiva. In this temple, Lord Shiva is worshiped as “Vaitheeswaran” or the “God of medicine”; worshipers believe that prayers to Lord Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases.

11) Tiruvarur Thyagaraja swamy Temple
Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, India – 55,080 Sq.Meter

Tiruvarur Thyagaraja swamy Temple
Tiruvarur Thyagaraja swamy Temple

The ancient Sri Thyagaraja temple at Tiruvarur is dedicated to the Somaskanda aspect of Shiva. The temple complex has shrines dedicated to Vanmikanathar, Tyagarajar and the Kamalaamba, and covers an area of over 20 acres (81,000 m2). The Kamalalayam temple tank covers around 25 acres (100,000 m2), one of the largest in the country. The temple chariot is the largest of its kind in Tamil Nadu.

12) Sripuram Golden Temple
Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India – 55,000 Sq.Meter

Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore, Tamil Nadu

The golden temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foot of a small range of green hills in a place known as “Malaikodi” in the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is at the southern end of the city of Vellore, at Tirumalaikodi.
The salient feature of Sripuram is the Lakshmi Narayani temple or Mahalakshmi temple whose ‘Vimanam’ and ‘Ardha Mandapam’ have been coated with gold both in the interior and exterior.

13) Jagannath Temple, Puri
Puri, Odisha, India – 37,000 Sq.Meter

Jagannath Temple, Puri
Jagannath Temple, Puri

The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Vishnu) in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Odisha, India. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of).

14) Birla Mandir
Delhi, India – 30,000

Birla Mandir, Delhi
Birla Mandir, Delhi

The Laxminarayan Temple (also known as the Birla Mandir) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Laxminarayan in Delhi, India. The temple is built in honour of Lakshmi (Hindu goddess of wealth) and her consort Narayana (Vishnu, Preserver in the Trimurti). The temple was built in 1622 by Vir Singh Deo and renovated by Prithvi Singh in 1793. During 1933-39, Laxmi Narayan Temple was built by Baldeo Das Birla of Birla family. Thus, the temple is also known as Birla Mandir. The famous temple is accredited to have been inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939. At that time, Gandhi kept a condition that the temple would not be restricted to the Hindus and people from every caste would be allowed inside. Since then, funds for further renovations and support have come from the Birla family.

Credits:
Photo Credits: To Google Images and The Original Photographers.

Kids dressed as Shiva on Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival celebrated annually in reverence of the god Shiva. It is the day Shiva was married to the goddess Parvati. The Maha Shivaratri festival, also popularly known as ‘Shivaratri’ (spelt as Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri, and Shivarathri) or ‘Great Night of Shiva’, marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Chaturdashi Tithi during Krishna Paksha in month of Magha is known as Maha Shivaratri according to South Indian calendar. However according to North Indian calendar Masik Shivaratri in month of Phalguna is known as Maha Shivaratri. In both calendars it is naming convention of lunar month which differs. However both, North Indians and South Indians, celebrate Maha Shivaratri on same day.  Of the twelve Shivaratris in the year, the Maha Shivarathri is the most holy.

shankar Mahadev | Maha Shiv Ratri
shankar Mahadev

The legends signify that this day is the favorite of Lord Shiva and also throws light on his greatness and the supremacy of Lord Shiva over all other Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
Maha Shivaratri also celebrates the night when Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, the cosmic dance.

In honour of Siva, one of the Hindu Trinity, representing the destructive aspect in the universe.Though generally, the night time is considered sacred and suitable for the worship of the feminine aspect of’ the deity and the day time for that of’ the masculine, yet on this particular occasion Siva is worshipped during the night time, and as a matter of fact, it is specially enjoined to be observed then. The observance of the Vratha is believed to secure for the devotee immunity from the eftects of sin committed either wittingly or unwittingly. The night is divided into four quarters, each quarter going by the name of a Jama called also Yama and pious people keep awake during every one of it , worshipping Iswara.

The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael leaves to Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-vigil (jagaran). All through the day, devotees chant “Om Namah Shivaya”, the sacred mantra of Shiva. Penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life’s highest good steadily and swiftly. On this day, the planetary positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent catalysts to help a person raise his or her spiritual energy more easily. The benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra increase greatly on this night.

Stories:
There are many incidents told about the greatness of this day. Once a hunter in a jungle after searching throughout the jungle, was quite tired and could not get any animal. In the nightfall a tiger started chasing him. to escape from that he climbed a tree. That was a Bilva tree. The tiger sat under the tree waiting for him to come down. The hunter who sat on a branch of the tree was quite tense and didn’t want to sleep. He was plucking the leaves and putting down as he was not able to be idle. Below the tree there was a Shiva lingam. The whole night went on like this. God was pleased with the Upavasa (hunger) and the Pooja the hunter and the tiger did even without knowledge. He is the peak of the grace. He gave the hunter and the tiger “Moksha”. The drenching rain constituted a bath and his action of throwing the bael leaves on the Shiva Lingam, the worship of Shiva on the Shivaratri night. Though his actions were not intentional to worship Shiva, yet he is said to have gained heaven as he had observed the Shivaratri Vratha unwittingly.

              Also read : Most Badass Hindu Gods : Shiva

Once Parvati asked Lord Shiva which devotees and rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of Phalgun, is his favorite day. Parvati repeated these words to Her friends, from whom the word spread to all creation.

Kids dressed as Shiva on Maha Shivratri
Kids dressed as Shiva on Maha Shivratri
Credits: theguardian.com

How is Maha Shivaratri celebrated

According to the Shiva Puran, six items are regarded precious to worship and offer Lord Shiva in Maha Shivaratri.
The six Items are Beal fruit, Vermilion Paste (Chandan), Food Items (Prasad), Incense, Lamp (Diyo), Betel Leaves.

1) Beal Leaf (Marmelos leaf) – offering of Beal Leaf represents purification of the soul.

2) Vermilion paste (Chandan) – Applying chandan on Shiva Linga after washing the Linga represents good feature. Chandan is inseparable part of Worshipping Lord Shiva.

3) Food items – Food items such as rice and fruits are offered to the Lord to ensure a long life and fulfillment of desires.

4) Incense (Dhoop batti) – Incense sticks are lit before Lord Shiva to be blessed with wealth and prosperity.

5) Lamp (Diyo) – The lighting of Cotton handmade batti , lamp or diyo is believed to be helpful to gain knowledge.

6) Betel leaves (Paan ko patta) – Beatle leaves or Pan ko pat represents satisfaction with maturity.

Also read: Why Shiva was always high on marijuana being a GOD?

Shiva Puran states, the beat of Damaru revealed the first seven letters of music. Those notes are source of language too. Shiva is inventor of notes of music Sa, Re, Ga, Ma Pa, Dha, Ni. He is worshiped as inventor of language on his birthday too.

The Shiva linga is washed with Pancha kavya (mixture of five products of cow) and Panchamatrit (mixture of five sweet things). Pancha kavya includes cow dung, cow urine, milk, Curd and Ghee. Panchamrit includes Cow milk, Yogurt, Honey, Sugar and Ghee.

In front of the Shiva Linga Kalash (Medium size vessel with small neck) filled with mixed water and milk is set. The neck of the Kalash is tied with white and red piece of cloth. Flower, mango leaves, peeple leaves, beal leaves are kept inside the kalash. Mantras are chanted to worship Lord Shiva.

Shiva idol | Maha Shivratri
Shiva idol

In Nepal, millions of Hindus attend Shivaratri together from different part of the world at the famous Pashupatinath Temple. Thousands of devotees also attend Mahasivaratri at the famous Shiva Shakti Peetham of Nepal.

The indian devotee visits many big and small shiva temples to do their offerings and pray. The 12 Jyotirlingas are the famous of them all.

In Trinidad and Tobago, thousands of Hindus spend the auspicious night in over 400 temples across the country, offering special jhalls to Lord Shiva.

Credits: Photo credits to the Original Photographer.

Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon - Ashtavinayaka

Here is the third Part of our series “Ashtavinayaka: The eight abodes of Lord Ganesha” Where we will discuss the final three Ganesha which are Girijatmak , Vighneshwar and Mahaganpati . So lets start…

6) Girijatmaj (गिरिजत्मज)

It is believed that Parvati (Shiva’s wife) performed penance to beget Ganesha at this point. Girija’s (Parvati’s) Atmaj (son) is Girijatmaj. This temple stands amidst a cave complex of 18 caves of Buddhist origin. This temple is the 8th cave. These are called Ganesh-leni as well. The temple is carved out of a single stone hill, which has 307 steps. The temple features a wide hall with no supporting pillars. The temple hall is 53feet long, 51feet wide and 7feet in height.

Girijatmaj Lenyadri  Ashtavinayaka
Girijatmaj Lenyadri Ashtavinayaka

The idol faces north with its trunk to the left, and has to be worshipped from the rear of the temple. The temple faces south. This idol seems to be little different from the rest of the Ashtavinayak idols in a sense that it appears to be not very well designed or carved like the other idols. This idol can be worshipped by anyone. There is no electric bulb in the temple. The temple is constructed such that during the day it is always lighted up by the sun-rays!

Girijatmaj Lenyadri  Ashtavinayaka
Girijatmaj Lenyadri Ashtavinayaka

7) Vighneshwar (विघ्नेश्वर):

The history encompassing this idol states that Vighnasur, a demon was created by the King of Gods, Indra to destroy the prayer organized by King Abhinandan. However, the demon went a step further and destroyed all vedic, religious acts and to answer the people’s prayers for protection, Ganesh defeated him. The story goes on to say that on being conquered, the demon begged and pleaded with Ganesha to show a mercy. Ganesha then granted in his plea, but on the condition that demon should not go to the place where Ganesha worshipping is going on. In return the demon asked a favour that his name should be taken before Ganesha’s name, thus the name of Ganesha became Vighnahar or Vighneshwar (Vighna in Sanskrit means a sudden interruption in the ongoing work due to some unforeseen, unwarranted event or cause). The Ganesha here is called Shri Vighneshwar Vinayak.

Vighneshwar, ozhar - Ashtavinayaka
Vighneshwar, ozhar – Ashtavinayaka

The temple faces east and is surrounded by a thick stone wall. One can walk on the wall. The main hall of the temple is 20feet long and the inner hall is 10feet long. This idol, facing the east, has its trunk towards the left and rubies in its eyes. There is a diamond on the forehead and some jewel in the navel. Idols of Riddhi and Siddhi are placed on the two sides of the Ganesha idol. The temple top is Golden and is possibly built by Chimaji Appa after defeating the Portuguese rulers of Vasai and Sashti. The temple is probably built around 1785AD.

Vighneshwar, ozhar - Ashtavinayaka
Vighneshwar, ozhar – Ashtavinayaka

8) Mahaganpati (महागणपति)
Shiva is believed to have worshipped Ganesha before fighting the demon Tripurasura here. The temple was built by Shiva where he worshipped Ganesha, and the town he set up was called Manipur which is now known as Ranjangaon.

The idol faces the east, is seated in a cross-legged position with a broad forehead, with its trunk pointing to the left. It is said that the original idol is hidden in the basement, having 10 trunks and 20 hands and is called Mahotkat, however, the temple authorities deny existence of any such idol.

Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon - Ashtavinayaka
Mahaganpati, Ranjangaon – Ashtavinayaka

Constructed so that the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol (during the Southward movement of the sun), the temple bears a distinct resemblance to the architecture reminiscent of the 9th and 10th Centuries and faces the east. Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa used to visit this temple very often and built the stone sanctum around the idol and in 1790AD Mr. Anyaba Dev was authorised to worship the idol.

Ranjangaoncha Mahaganapati is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha.

Legend has it that when a sage had once sneezed he gave out a child; since being with the sage the child learnt many good stuff about lord ganesha, however had inherited many evil thoughts within; when he grew he developed in to a demon by name Tripurasura; thereafter he prayed to Lord Shiva and got three powerful citadels (the evil Tripuram forts) of Gold, Silver and Bronze with a boon of invincibility until all the three are in linear; with the boon to his side he caused suffering to all beings in the heavens and on earth. Upon hearing the fervent appeals of the Gods, Shiva intervened, and realized that he could not defeat the demon. It was upon hearing Narada Muni’s advice that Shiva saluted Ganesha and then shot a single arrow that pierced through the citadels, bringing an end to the demon.

Shiva, the slayer of the Tripura citadels is enshrined at Bhimashankaram nearby.
A variation of this legend is commonly known in South India. Ganesha is said to have caused the axle in Shiva’s chariot to break, as the latter headed to battle the demon without saluting Ganesha before he set out. Upon realizing his act of omission, Shiva saluted his son Ganesha, and then proceeded victoriously to a short battle against the powerful demon.

Mahaganapati is portrayed, seated on a lotus, flanked by his consorts Siddhi and Ridhi. The temple dates back to the period of Peshwa Madhav Rao. The temple was erected during the rule of the Peshwas. Peshwa Madhavrao had constructed the Garbhagriha, the sanctum to house the swayambhoo statue.

The temple faces east. It has an imposing main gate which is guarded by two statues of Jay and Vijay. The temple is designed in such away that during Dakshinayan[ the apparent movement of the sun to the south] the rays of the sun fall directly on the deity.

The deity is seated and flanked on both sides by Riddhi and Siddhi. The trunk of the deity turns to the left. There is a local belief that the real statue of Mahaganpati is hidden in some vault and this statue has ten trunks and twenty arms. But there is nothing to substantiate this belief.

Credits: To the original photos and the photographers!

Varad Vinayak - Ashtavinayaka

Here is the second Part of our series “Ashtavinayaka: The eight abodes of Lord Ganesha” Where we will discuss the next three Ganesha which are Ballaleshwar, Varadavinayak and Chintamani. So lets start…

3) Ballaleshwar (बल्लाळेश्वर) :

Like a few other murtis, this one has diamonds embedded in the eyes and navel, and with His trunk pointing to the left. One speciality of this temple is that the prasad offered to this Ganapati at Pali is Besan Laadu instead of Modak that is normally offered to other Ganapatis. The shape of the idol itself bears a striking remblance with the mountain which forms the backdrop of this temple. This is more prominently felt if one views the photograph of the mountain and then sees the idol.

Ballaleshwar, pali - Ashtavinayaka
Ballaleshwar, pali – Ashtavinayaka

The original wooden temple was reconstructed in to a stone temple by Nana Phadanavis in 1760. There are two small lakes constructed on two sides of the temple. One of them is reserved for the puja (worship) of the Deity. This Temple faces the east and has two sanctums. The inner one houses the murti and has a Mushika (Ganesha’s mouse vahana) with modaka in his forepaws in front of it. The hall, supported by eight exquisitely carved pillars demands as much attention as the idol, sitting on throne carved like a Cyprus tree. The eight pillars depict the eight directions. Inner sanctum is 15 feet tall and outer one is 12 feet tall. The temple is constructed in such a way that after the winter (dakshinayan : southward movement of the sun) solstice, the sun rays fall on the Ganesha murti at sunrise. The temple is built with stones which are stuck together very tight using melted lead.

History of Temple
The legendary story of Shri Ballaleshwar is covered in Upasana Khand Section -22 occurred in Pali the old name Pallipur.

Kalyansheth was a merchant in Pallipur and was married to Indumati. The couple was childless for quite some time but later was blessed with a son known as Ballal. As Ballal grew, he spent much of his time in worshiping and praying. He was devotee of Lord Ganesha and used to worship stone idol of Shri Ganesha in the forest along with his friends and companions. As it used to take time, the friends would reach home late. Regular delay in returning house used to irritate the parents of the friends of Ballal who complained to his father saying that Ballal was responsible for spoiling the kids. Already unhappy with Ballal for not concentrating on his studies, Kalyansheth was boiling with anger when he heard the complaint. Immediately he reached the place of worship in the forest and devastated Pooja arrangements organized by Ballal and his friends. He threw away the Stone Idol of Shri Ganesh and broke the pandal. All the kids got frightened but Ballal who was engrossed in Pooja and japa, did not even know what was happening around. Kalayan beat Ballal mercilessly and tied him to the tree saying to get fed and freed by Shri Ganesha. He left for home thereafter.

Ballaleshwar, pali - Ashtavinayaka
Ballaleshwar, pali – Ashtavinayaka

Ballal semiconscious and tied to the tree in the forest was lying as that with severe pain all over, started calling his beloved God, Shri Ganesha. “O Lord, Shri Ganesha, I was busy in praying you, I was right and humble but my cruel father has spoiled my act of devotion and hence I am unable to perform Pooja.” Shri Ganesha was pleased and responded quickly. Ballal was freed. He blessed Ballal to be superior devotee with larger lifespan. Shri Ganesha hugged Ballal and said that his father would suffer for his wrongdoings.

Ballal insisted that Lord Ganesha should continue to stay there at Pali. Nodding His head Shri Ganesha made his permanent stay at Pali as Ballal Vinayak and disappeared in a large stone. This is famous as Shri Ballaleshwar.

Shri Dhundi Vinayak
In the above mentioned story the stone idol which Ballal used to worship and which was thrown away by Kalyan Sheth is known as Dhundi Vinayak. The idol is facing west. The birth celebration of Dhundi Vinayak takes place from Jeshtha Pratipada to Panchami. From ancient time, it is a practice to take darshan of Dhundi Vinayak before proceeding to main idol Shree Ballaleshwar.

4) Varad Vinayak (वरदविनायक)

Ganesha is said to reside here in the form of Varada Vinayaka, the giver of bounty and success. The idol was found in the adjoining lake (to Mr. Dhondu Paudkar in 1690AD), in an immersed position and hence its weathered look. In 1725AD the then Kalyan subhedar, Mr. Ramji Mahadev Biwalkar built the Varadavinayak temple and the village of Mahad.

Varad Vinayak - Ashtavinayaka
Varad Vinayak – Ashtavinayaka

Mahad is a pretty village set in the hilly region of Konkan in the Raigarh district and the Khalapur Taluka of Maharastra.Lord Ganesha as Varad Vinayak fulfills all desires and grants all boons. This region was known as Bhadrak or Madhak in ancient times. The Original Idol of Varad Vinayak can be seen outside the sanctum. Both Idols are located in two corners- the Idol on the left is smeared in vermillion with its trunk turned left, and the idol on the right is made of white marble with its trunk turned to the right . The sanctum is made of stone and is surronded by beautiful stone elephant carving which house the idol. There are 4 elephant idols on 4 sides of the temple. Two stone idols of Riddhi & Siddhi can also be seen in the sanctum.

This is the only temple where devotees are allowed to personally pay their homage and respects to the idol. They are allowed in the immediate vicinity of this idol to perform their prayers.

5) Chintamani (चिंतामणि)

Ganesha is believed to have got back the precious Chinatamani jewel from the greedy Guna for sage Kapila at this spot. However, after bringing back the jewel, sage Kapila put it in Vinayaka’s (Ganesha’s) neck. Thus the name Chintamani Vinayak. This happened under the Kadamb tree, therefore Theur is known as Kadambanagar in old times.

Known to be one of the larger and more famous of the eight revered shrines, the temple is situated in the village of Theur, 25 km from Pune. The hall has a black stone water fountain in it.  Beside the central shrine dedicated to Ganesha, there are three smaller shrines in the temple complex dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu-Lakshmi and Hanuman. Lord Ganesha is worshipped by the name ‘Chintamani’ in this temple as it is believed he provides deliverance from worries.

Chintamani - Ashtavinayaka
Chintamani – Ashtavinayaka

The lake behind the temple is called Kadambteertha. The temple entrance is North facing. The outer wooden hall was built by Peshwas. The main temple is supposed to have been built by Dharanidhar Maharaj Dev from the family-lineage of Shri Moraya Gosavi. He must have built this around 100 years before Senior Shrimant Madhavrao Peshwa built the outer wooden hall.

This idol also has a left trunk, with carbuncle and diamonds as its eyes. The idol faces the East side.

Theur’s Chintamani was the family deity of Shrimant Madhavrao I Peshwa. He suffered from tuberculosis and died at a very young age (27years). He is supposed to have died in this temple. His wife, Ramabai committed Sati with him on 18 November 1772.

Credits:
Photo credits to Original photos and the respective photographers
ashtavinayaktemples.com

A decor showing all Ashtavinayaka

Ashtavinayaka , also pronounced as Asthavinayaka, Ashthavinayaka (अष्टविनायक) literally means “eight Ganeshas” in Sanskrit. Ganesh is the Hindu deity of unity, prosperity & learning and removes obstacles. The term Ashtavinayaka refers to eight Ganeshas. Ashtavinayaka yatra trip refers to a pilgrimage to the eight Hindu temples in Maharashtra state of India that house eight distinct idols of Ganesha, in a pre-ascertained sequence.

A decor showing all Ashtavinayaka
A decor showing all Ashtavinayaka

The Ashtavinayaka yatra or pilgrimage covers the eight ancient holy temples of Ganesha which are situated around Maharashtra, A state of India. Each of these temples has its own individual legend and history, as distinct from each other as the murtis (Idos) in each temple. The form of each murti of Ganesha and His trunk are distinct from one another. All the Eight  Ashtavinayak Temples are Swayambhu (self-originated) and Jagrut.
The eight names of Ashtavinayaka are:
1. Moreshwar (मोरेश्वर) from Morgaon
2. Mahaganpati (महागणपति) from Ranjangaon
3. Chintamani (चिंतामणि) from Theur
4. Girijatmak (गिरिजत्मज) from Lenyadri
5. Vighneshwar (विघ्नेश्वर) from Ojhar
6. Siddhivinayak (सिद्धिविनायक ) from Siddhatek
7. Ballaleshwar (बल्लाळेश्वर) from Pali
8. Varad Vinayak (वरदविनायक) from Mahad

1) Moreshwara (मोरेश्वर):
This is the most important temple on this tour. The temple, built from black-stone during the Bahamani reign, has four gates (It is supposed to have been built by one of the knights named Mr. Gole, from the court of Bidar’s Sultan). The temple is situated in the centre of the village. The temple is covered from all sides by four minarets and gives feeling of a mosque if seen from a distance. This was done to prevent attacks on the temple during Mughal periods. The temple has 50 feet tall wall around it.

Morgaon temple - Ashtavinayaka
Morgaon temple – Ashtavinayaka

There is a Nandi (Shiva’s bull mount) sitting in front of this temple entrance, which is unique, as Nandi is normally in front of only Shiva temples. However, the story says that this statue was being carried to some Shivamandir during which the vehicle carrying it broke down and the Nandi statue could not be removed from its current place.

The murti of Lord Ganesha  is three eyed, seated, and his trunk is turned towards the left, riding a peacock, in the form of Mayureshwara is believed to have slain the demon Sindhu at this spot. The idol, with its trunk turned to the left, has a cobra (Nagaraja) poised over it protecting it. This form of Ganesha also has two other murtis of Siddhi (Capability) and Riddhi (Intelligence).

Morgaon Ganpati - Ashtavinayaka
Morgaon Ganpati – Ashtavinayaka

However, this is not the original murti -which is said to have been consecrated twice by Brahma, once before and once after being destroyed by the asura Sindhurasur. The original murti, smaller in size and made of atoms of sand, iron, and diamonds, was supposedly enclosed in a copper sheet by the Pandavas and placed behind the one that is currently worshiped.

2) Siddhivinayak (सिद्धिविनायक ):

Siddhatek is a remote little village along the river Bhima in the Ahmednagar district and Karjat tehsil in Maharashtra. The Siddhivinayak Ashtavinayak Temple at Siddhtek is considered an especially powerful deity. God Vishnu is supposed to have vanquished the asuras Madhu and Kaitabh after propitiating Ganesha here. This is the only murti of these eight with the trunk positioned to the right. It is believed that the two saints Shri Morya Gosavi and Shri Narayan Maharaj of Kedgaon received their enlightenment here.

Siddhivinayak Siddhatek temple - Ashtavinayak
Siddhivinayak Siddhatek temple – Ashtavinayak

The Mudgala Purana narrates that at the beginning of Creation, the creator-god Brahma emerges from a lotus, that rises the god Vishnu’s navel as Vishnu sleeps in his yoganidra. While Brahma starts creating the universe, two demons Madhu and Kaitabha rise from the dirt in Vishnu’s ear. The demons disturb Brahma’s process of creation, thereby compelling Vishnu to awake. Vishnu battles the battle, but cannot defeat them. He asks the god Shiva the reason for this. Shiva informs Vishnu that he cannot succeed as he had forgotten to invoke Ganesha – the god of beginning and obstacle removal – before the fight. Therefore Vishnu performs penance at Siddhatek, invoking Ganesha with his mantra  “Om Sri Ganeshaya Namah”. Pleased, Ganesha bestows his blessings and various siddhis (“powers”) on Vishnu, returns to his fight and slays the demons. The place where Vishnu acquired siddhis was thereafter known as Siddhatek.

Siddhivinayak, Siddhatek Ganpati - Ashtavinayaka
Siddhivinayak, Siddhatek Ganpati – Ashtavinayaka

The temple is North-facing and is on a small hillock. The main road towards the temple was believed to be built by Peshwa’s general Haripant Phadake. The inner sanctum, 15 feet high and 10 feet wide is built by Punyashloka Ahilyabai Holkar. The idol is 3feet tall and 2.5feet wide. The idol faces North-direction. The stomach of the murti is not wide, but Riddhi and Siddhi murtis are sitting on one thigh. This murti’s trunk is turning to the right. The right-sided-trunk Ganesha is supposed to be very strict for the devotees. To make one round (pradakshina) around the temple one has to make the round trip of the hillock. This takes about 30 minutes with moderate speed.

Peshwa general Haripant Phadake lost his General’s position and did 21 Pradakshina around the temple. On the 21st day Peshwa’s court-man came and took him to the court with royal honor. Haripant promised the God that he will bring the stones of the castle which he will win from the first war he will fight as the general. The stone pathway is built from the Badami-Castle which was attacked by Haripant soon after he became the general.

Credits:
Photo credits to the original uploaders and Photographers

The Sundial at Konark Sun temple in India built in 1250 A.D is a treasure trove of secrets of ancient India. People still use it today to tell time. We know how the sundial works and shows time accurate to the minute. What is interesting is what is missing from the picture!
konark Sun temple
For the uninitiated the sundial has 8 major spokes that divide 24 hours into 8 equal parts, which means that the time between two major spokes is 3 hours.

8 Major spokes. Distance between 2 spokes is 3 hours.
8 Major spokes. Distance between 2 spokes is 3 hours.


There are 8 minor spokes as well. Each minor spoke runs exactly in the middle of 2 major spokes. This means that the minor spoke divides the 3 hours in half, so the time between a major spoke and a minor spoke is an hour and half or 90 minutes.

8 Minor spokes between 2 major spokes dividing 3 hours, i.e. 180 minutes into 90 minutes each
8 Minor spokes between 2 major spokes dividing 3 hours, i.e. 180 minutes into 90 minutes each


The edge of the wheel has a lot of beads. There are 30 beads between a minor and a major spoke. So, the 90 minutes are further divided by 30 beads. This means that each bead carries a value of 3 minutes.

There are 30 beads between a minor and a major spoke
There are 30 beads between a minor and a major spoke


The beads are large enough, so you can also see if the shadow falls in the center of the bead or on one of the ends of the bead. This way we can further calculate time accurately to the minute.

The beads are large enough, so you can also see if the shadow falls in the center of the bead or on one of the ends of the bead.
The beads are large enough,to check the shadow position.


Imagine how much time and coordination would have happened between the astronomers, engineers and sculptors to create something like this, 750 years ago.

There are 2 questions that one would get in their mind. The first question would be, what happens when the sun moves from east to west. Since the wheel is carved on a wall, the sun would not shine on this wheel at all. How can we tell time in the afternoons? Now, the Konark sun temple has another wheel or sundial, located on the west side of the temple as well. You can just use the other sundial that will work perfectly from afternoon, until sunset.

The second and the most interesting question about the Konark sun temple. How do you tell time after sunset? There would be no sun, and hence no shadows from sunset till the next morning’s sunrise. After all, we have 2 sundials in the temple which work only when the sun shines. Well, actually, the Konark sun temple does not have just 2 wheels like this. The temple has a total of 24 wheels, all accurately carved just like the sundials. Have you heard of the Moondial? Do you know that the moondials can work just like sun dials during night time? What if the other wheels in the temple could be used as moondials?

Some of the other wheels
Some of the other wheels


Many people think that the other 22 wheels were carved for decorative or religious purposes and do not have an actual use. This is what people thought about the 2 sundials as well. Believe it or not, people thought that all the 24 wheels were just carved for beauty and as Hindu symbols. About 100 years ago, it became known that this was a sundial when an old yogi was seen calculating time secretly. Apparently selected people were using these wheels for generations and for 650 years no one else knew about it. They say that when they asked him about the purpose of the other 22 wheels, the yogi refused to talk and simply walked away.

And our knowledge of just these 2 sundials themselves is actually very limited. There are multiple circles of beads. There are carvings and markings all over these sundials, and we don’t know the meaning of most of them. For example, this carving on a major spoke has exactly 60 beads. Some carving you can see leaves and flowers which may mean Spring or Summer. Some carvings you can see monkeys mating, which only happens during winter. So, these sundials could have even been used as an almanac for a variety of different things. Now you can understand how limited our knowledge is about the rest of the 22 wheels.

There are clues on these wheels that people have overlooked for centuries. Notice how a woman wakes up and looks at a mirror in the morning. Notice how she is stretching, being tired and ready to go to sleep. And you can also see that she is engaging in sexual activity during night. For centuries, people have ignored these hints and thought that these were carvings of Hindu Goddesses.

woman wakes up and looks at a mirror in the morning and doing her daily chores
woman wakes up and looks at a mirror in the morning and doing her daily chores


This is also a perfect example of how people think ancient unexplained carvings are just for beauty or religious purposes. If ancient people spent a lot of time creating something, there is a very good chance that it was done for a valuable, scientific purpose.

Credits

Post Credits:Ancien Indian UFO
Photo Credits: Bikertony
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