Triveni Sarees, the Madhubani paintings Canvas!

If you have ever envied the look ethnic look of beautiful actresses Shabana Azmi or  Vidya Balan in their exquisite Handloom Sarees, big bindis, and heritage jewels…

 …Go for Triveni Sarees Madhubani collection to get the look! Now it’s your time to turn them green with envy!!

The latest offering from Triveni Stable is of Sarees based on beautiful Mithila imprints of Bihar, better known as – The Madhubani paintings.  Triveni’s exclusive collection in super soft blended cotton with delightful Madhubani designs is around to steal the limelight.

The effeminate saree collection is ideal for formal wear collection which is complemented with beautiful Art Silk borders and beautifully complementing blouse pieces. Sarees really look beautiful and flawless to adorn to get that classy look, which was possible only with steeply priced Handloom Sarees.

But this collection by Triveni is the answer to that which comes at highly affordable prices. Ladies, if you are going to be part of any Seminar, Conference, Workshop or any other official function, Madhubani Sarees are the best bet. These will surely give you the look of the likes of Shabana Azmi, Ila Arun or even Vidya Balan which you have always envied.

Madhubani – Mithila Painting (also called Madhubani art or Mithila painting) is practiced in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterized by eye-catching geometrical patterns. There is ritual content for particular occasions, such as birth or marriage, and festivals, such as Holi, Surya Shakti, Kali Puja, Upanayana, Durga Puja.

Madhubani painting/Mithila painting was traditionally created by the women of the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in Mithila region in India. It originated from Mithila region and Madhubani district of Bihar became the major export center of these paintings, hence, it is popularly called Mithila painting or Madhubani painting.  This painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas mainly originated among the villages around Madhubani, and it is these latter developments led to the name Madhubani art being used alongside the name “Mithila Painting.

The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, hand-made paper, and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice. Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same. And that is the reason for Madhubani painting being accorded the coveted GI (Geographical Indication) status. Madhubani paintings also use two-dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.

Madhubani paintings mostly depict the men & its association with nature and the scenes & deity from the ancient epics. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally, no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Traditionally, the painting was one of the skills that were passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women. It is still practiced and kept alive in the institutions spread across Mithila region. Kalakriti in Darbhanga, Vaidehi in Madhubani and Gram Vikas Parishad in Ranti are some of the major centers of Madhubani painting which has kept this ancient art form alive.

 

Mesmerising & Unexplored Arunachal Pradesh!

Since the time I have attended  Arré Outdoors  travel bloggers meet for showcasing & promoting tourism in Arunachal Pradesh, I can’t stop thinking about the place – the North East India’s jewel. It has been tickling in my mind what Arunachal Pradesh would be like. Though I had watched its splendour in the movie “Rangoon” which was actually shot in Arunachal Pradesh and was the only shining star of the otherwise unbearable movie. Taking a cue from there, my search began for Arunachal Pradesh and here are few interesting details for you to include AP on your wish list to travel.

Arunachal finds mention in the literature of Kalika Purana and Mahabharata. This place is supposed to be the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas. It was here that sage Parashuram washed away his sin, sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhishmaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini.

The widely scattered archeological remains at different places in Arunachal bears testimony to its rich cultural heritage. Arunachal Pradesh, a serene land tucked into the North Eastern tip of India, invites you to relax in its picturesque hills and valleys, enjoy its Salubrious climate and meet its simple and hospitable people, with their glorious heritage of arts and crafts and colourful festivals that reflect their ancient faith in the inexorable power of nature.

The visitor has a wide variety of options to pick from. There are places of worship and pilgrimage such as Parasuramkund and 400 years Old Tawang Monastery or the sites of archeological excavations like Malinithan and Itanagar, the serene beauty of lakes such as Ganga Lake or Sela lake or the numerous variations of the scenic beauty of the snowclad silver mountain peaks and lush green meadows where thousands of species of flora and fauna prosper. In addition, the state provides abundant scope for angling, boating, rafting, trekking, and hiking. Besides, there are a number of wild life sanctuaries and national parks where rare animals, birds, and plants will fascinate the visitor.

Nature has provided the people with a deep sense of beauty which finds delightful expression in their songs, dances, and crafts. The climate varies from hot and humid to heavy rainfall in the Shivalik range. It becomes progressively cold as one moves northwards to higher altitudes. Trees of great size, plentiful climbers, and abundance of cane and bamboo make Arunachal evergreen.

Arunachal Pradesh is considered to be the nature’s treasure trove and home to orchids, known for their exquisitely beautiful blooms, from one of the dominant taxa with more than six hundred species, occurring in varying elevations and climatic conditions throughout the state.

The area of the district is approximately 2085 sq. km. bordered by Tibet in the North, Bhutan in the Southwest and Sela ranges separate West Kameng district in the East.

The name TAWANG derives from some bearings on surroundings. But people’s interpretation is that the name TAWANG was given by Mera Lama in the 17th century. One can reach Tawang from other parts of the country via Guwahati and Tezpur in Assam. From Guwahati (Assam) or Tezpur (Assam), one has to go to Bhalukpong in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and from there via Bomdila and Sela Pass one can go to Tawang by road.

The inhabitants of the districts are all of Monpa tribes except Shyo village which is dominated by people of Tibetan origin. The Monpas belong to Mongoloid stock. They are well built, fair in complexion. Their houses are built with stones and timbers. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry is the fundamental means of the Monpas occupation.

Tawang Monastery is one of the most important elements in the Social and Religious life of the Monpas. This Monastery is known as “GOLDEN NAMGYEL LHATSE”. It is one of the largest Lamaseries of Mahayana sects in Asia. Lam series comprise of several sections ranging near about four hundred years, devoted to Love, Learning, and Purity of life.

This fortified complex covers an area of 135 sqm. meters enclosed by a compound wall of 610 meters long. Within the complex, there are 65 residential buildings and 10 other structures. The library has valuable old scriptures mainly Kanjur and Tanjur numbering 850 bundles.  It is dated back to 17th century A.D. There are two major religious festivals of the Monpas viz “LOSAR” and “TORGYA”. Both festivals are celebrated once annually. The LOSAR s celebrated to the commencement of New Year. Every third year of Torgya, the festival of Dungyur is celebrated. Both “Dungyur and Torgya” festivals are celebrated at the premises of the Tawang Monastery with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm.

There are beautiful lakes around Tawang. One is Pankang Teng Tso (P.T. Tso ) lake. It is a fetching heaven for tourist only 17 KM away from maddening crowd of the township. It is a beautiful natural site and provides tourist a lucky chance for deep communion with nature. Other eye-catching lakes are Sangetser lake, Banggachang lake.

When to visit: During the period, April to October.

How to reach: By bus from Tezpur (Assam) or Bomdila

Where to stay: Circuit House, Inspection Bungalow, Hotel Niche, Hotel Shangrila.

Clothing: Warm clothing throughout the year

Nearest Airport: Tezpur(Assam).

Nearest Bus stand: Bomdila.

Nearest Railway Stn: Rangapara (Assam).

Info courtesy: Arunachal Pradesh Tourism

“The Real High” by Arré Outdoors with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism launched on a “High Evening”

Arré has launched Arré Outdoors, a new vertical, focused on travel, adventure, and more. Arré Outdoors, like Arré, is a multimedia, multi-genre platform with content ranging from videos to text to audio to doodles and more.

The first property from the Arré Outdoors stable is a first-of-its-kind travel-and-adventure reality series – The Real High, in partnership with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Nissan Terrano, Woodland and O’cean Active.

A vibrant & studded evening was organized at Taj Lands End on May 31, 2017 to unfurl the details of  “The Real High”  amidst the presence of  Shri P. D. Sona, Honourable Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

Arré Outdoors is a call to city slickers to get out of their automated city lives and comfort zones and get real and raw in nature. Arré Outdoors will take viewers and readers in a series of interactive digital journeys to undiscovered places and experiences in their purest form, starting with Arunachal Pradesh.

The show is an eight-part series where leading youth icon Rannvijay Singha takes six ultra-urban city dwellers on an incredible journey to the forests of Arunachal Pradesh, to experience life without beds, baths, and phones. The participants are given a once-in-a-lifetime experience to rethink their life and choices and to discover “The Real High”

Shot in the breathtaking mountains, rivers, and forests of Arunachal Pradesh, the show is a visual delight blended with the fun experiences and wild adventures of the six participants along with Rannvijay, as they pitch their own tent, build their own raft, cook their own food, mingle with the locals, and experience life in a way unknown to any of them.

Anchoring the event in his own inimitable style, Rannvijay Singha said, “I’m super excited about the launch of ‘The Real High’. It will be interesting for viewers to see how the participants adapt to life outside the city and without taken-for-granted comforts, apart from the breathtaking sights of Arunachal Pradesh. We had a lot of fun shooting the show and I hope the audience enjoys it as much.”

Saikumar, Founder, Arré, said, “Travel is no longer just a passion point pursued by some but is increasingly becoming a way of life, as places and people get closer in the digital age. We travel the world in 80 minutes or even 80 seconds through pictures, 360-degree videos, interactive maps, and every other technology at our disposal. Arré Outdoors is a fresh take on travel through stories and formats that will take our viewers and readers to places and nudge them to get out of their homes and journey these experiences themselves, one trip at a time. ‘The Real High’ is our first property from the Arré Outdoors stable and we are very thrilled to be partnering with Arunachal Pradesh Tourism, Nissan Terrano, Woodland, and O’cean Active to create this special show for our viewers”.

Shri P. D. Sona, Honourable Parliamentary Secretary Tourism, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, commented, “We are very focused on making Arunachal Pradesh the adventure and exotic tourism hub of India. We expect the number of tourist arrivals to grow exponentially this year, through many projects that engage with the youth. We are very delighted to partner with Arré on such an interesting initiative and believe that such initiatives will aid awareness and encourage travelers to visit Arunachal Pradesh to experience its many unique attractions.”

In an exclusive to travel-knots.com, Mr. Sona shared, “Ministry of Tourism Government of India is supporting the Infrastructure Development in Arunachal Pradesh in a big way. But the bottle neck is PAP and we are writing to Govt. To ease out the norms of this PAP regime, once the PAP is lifted, we will have a huge flow of international tourists. Arunachal Pradesh tourism department is looking at filing these critical gaps. The Bhupen Hazarika bridge which was inaugurated recently, which is actually in Assam but with this bridge Arunachal Pradesh is going to benefit more. Earlier travel was really difficult but now with this all-weather bridge, it will take hardly 15-20 minutes to cross over.  As far as domestic tourists are concerned if you talk in terms of percentage, in relation to the total population it is more than 20%, now with the relaxed regime of PAP we are expecting a lot of foreign tourists.”

Watch the trailor of “The Real High” to get the feel of “The Real High” 

Episode 1 of the series will be out on arre.co.in, the Arré app, and its partner platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, SonyLIV, Yupp TV, Jio Cinema, and Ola Prime Play on June 10.

 

Reliance Mutual Fund Day, Unleashing Mutual Fund Revolution in India!

Who does not want to prosper in life? Some may admit, some may not but the underlying theme of everyone’s life is to make enough money to lead a comfortable working life, followed by even more comfortable retired life. But we Indians are so busy with our routine that we don’t take our investments seriously. We leave our investments in auto – pilot mode, is this right thing to do? Will it lead to prosperity? Certainly not!

So how do you shed this lethargy rather reluctance and work towards making your money work actively for you and making it grow substantially to give you an empowered life? Yes, money is empowering!!

Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd. (formerly Reliance Capital Asset Management Limited)(RNLAM) is the asset manager of Reliance Mutual Fund (RMF) and RNLAM is a subsidiary of Reliance Capital Limited (RCL) which manages Investors money who want to have good returns on their investment but want to keep away from the hassle of buying & selling of stocks. Their expert guidance has enabled millions of investors realizing their dreams which would have been near impossible otherwise. So how do they do this? What are the initiatives they have taken? How do they generate trust of the investors? How do they create awareness about why Mutual Fund investments are important for your portfolio? Why is it important to invest systematically?   What is the significance of 7th day of every month for an investor?

To share this and much more Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd. hosted a Bloggers Meet on June 3, 2017, in which over 40 Bloggers participated from various streams and made it a very interactive and informative session.  The Meet was very well – structured where Mr. Sandeep Walunj, Chief Marketing Officer started with informing us about why it is important to invest in mutual funds and how it is being done.  Putting it very simplistically Mr. Walunj defined Mutual Fund to be a pool of money from numerous investors who wish to save or make money through mutual fund as investing in a mutual fund is a lot easier than buying and selling individual stocks and bonds on our own. This money of investor is managed by a Company which is called Asset Management Company and Reliance Nippon Life is one such Company.

What are the Seven Reasons to Invest in Mutual Funds: Expert Management, Tax Benefit, Diversification, Growth, Transparency, Adaptability, and Affordability.

How it is being done by the Fund Managers who chart out investments for your money invested?  

Fund Managers consistently track the performance of about 3000-4000 companies, read & decipher the annual reports, churn market data, read secondary reports, even undertake factory visits and then they do a technical analysis to derive the conclusion which companies are going to do well in future. Accordingly, they invest in such companies. They manage these investments very actively.

This way we see that Mutual Funds investments are ideal to get lucrative returns on one’s money particularly if he is not very savvy or doesn’t have a huge amount of money, resources or algorithms to boot. Historical data reveals that equities have given the best possible returns to shareholder consistently. This way equity is the most important asset class and a common person can depend on Mutual Funds to invest in the equity, a route to the prosperity.

With all these merits, with the topping of ease of investment why mutual funds penetration has been so low – only 3% clogging Rs. 5.5 Lakh crore. The need of the hour is to take these 97% investors in the fold who have not kept pace with the times and have remained passive investors.

Mr. Himanshu Vyapak, Dy. CEO followed the unconventional style for his presentation and started with few basic questions to the bloggers. This led interaction to intricate levels and many important issues related to investments in mutual funds were addressed.

But million dollar question still remains, how to create awareness amongst Indians to make their investments generate great returns without any hassle.

Sanctity of SEVENTH of every month

Why 7th of every month is important? Tells Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management Ltd. who celebrate 7th of every month as a reminder tool for investment as a part of their investor education initiative directed by SEBI for increasing the penetration of mutual fund categories. Indeed, Reliance is doing it in a unique way which is driving investors to these categories. Started in February 2017 on a pan India level, this Mission Prosperity has moved leaps and bounds, so much so that almost 700 people attend their event which starts from 24th of every month and culminates on 7th.

Taking a tough call, this year Reliance Mutual Fund introduced this industry redefining initiative where the aim is to create strong awareness, not just about their own brand and services but create an expanse for the entire category. This is backed by 360-degree radio, TV, print and digital campaign – #MFDaysOn7th  and #FundForAFriend which is an extension of mutual fund day by way of which you can help your  friends work towards their financial goals this Mutual Fund Day by taking the #FundForAFriend quiz and find out what profile works best for them! This is very simple but would do wonders for your friend who is not savvy as far as his/ her investments are concerned.

So at the start of every month when we are reminded of our bills, EMIs, premiums, School Fees, Grocery Bills etc. we faithfully honour them but we don’t follow this approach when it comes to investing. Mutual Fund Day is an attempt to motivate people to invest regularly being celebrated in association with moneycontrol.com and enable investors to build wealth in a disciplined manner.

This initiative is being done in association with CNBC TV 18 and CNBC Awaaz which is a year-long initiative but they have already started witnessing people taking the first step in the direction.

Indeed the red carpet to prosperity has been rolled out!

 

 

 

Himalaya launches digital campaign #momsunplugged

The unscripted film delivers a refreshing take on what motherhood means and shows honest and candid conversations between moms

 

In 1930, a young visionary by the name of Mr. M. Manal foresaw the benefits of herbal remedies while riding through the forests of Burma. After diligently researching the science of the traditional field of Ayurveda, he decided to dedicate his life creating products that would improve millions of lives across the world. Today, with a history spanning more than eight decades of herbal research, Himalaya has positioned itself as a brand that cares about not only enrich people’s lives but also the environment. With their ‘head to heel’ range of products, Himalaya aims to provide a holistic solution to everyday ailments that affect our bodies.

Seeped in a legacy of researching nature, Himalaya has successfully been able to harness the science of Ayurveda through cutting-edge research to become a brand that is safe, gentle and trustworthy.

Now taking this legacy forward, and Turning the spotlight on mothers in a unique way, Himalaya FOR MOMS, India’s first natural mother care product range, launched their digital campaign, #momsunplugged. Captured in a series of unscripted films, the campaign features spontaneous and heartfelt conversations between real moms sharing their emotions, experiences of joy, fear, guilt, apprehensions, and efforts to create a new identity while exploring the world of motherhood.

“We launched Himalaya FOR MOMS to help mothers in their journey of motherhood. Through #momsunplugged, we wanted to feature them in their true sense. This is our first campaign that allows mothers to speak their hearts out in the most candid way. We hope to ignite these conversations among mothers to share their happiness, sadness, anxiety, and experiences that come with motherhood. We want mothers to believe that it is completely normal to feel anxious during this period. Unless we acknowledge their concerns, they will continue to feel stressed and imperfect”, said Mr. N.V Chakravarthi, General Manager Himalaya BabyCare.

“This is the first leg of the campaign that will be promoted on digital platforms. Our intention is to create a community for mothers to support each other by openly sharing their experiences and advice,” added Mr Chakravarthi.

This campaign will be accessible on various digital platforms including Himalaya BabyCare’s Facebook Page, Blog and YouTube.

#momsunplugged films can be watched on

http://himalayawellness.com/products/himalayaformoms/momsunplugged/index.html

Siddharth Bhavnani, Managing Partner, ShotReady says, “Our goal was to give moms a platform to have a conversation about motherhood. To address topics like guilt, expectations and things we wouldn’t normally discuss or hear about, unless in a closed circle. We asked real mothers to participate, it brings genuineness and honesty which we felt was the best approach to creating relatable content.”

In the video, Jharna, mother of twin boys, mentioned that while she completely loves and adores her sons now, initially she felt slightly overwhelmed about being a new mother. She felt a huge burden of responsibility on her shoulders and couldn’t believe that she was in charge of two human lives.

Sumita, a mother of two-year-old baby girl added, “I found that maternal instincts were initially dormant. It took time for it to evolve within me and I was unable to express it. But, over a period of time, you learn to trust your instinct and let the smaller things slide”

 

 

Kedarnath: Holy abode of Lord Shiva – The Protector, the Destroyer!

Recently PM Narendra Modi offered prayers at Kedarnath temple, the sacred Himalayan Shrine located on Garhwal Himalayan Range near Mandakini River in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand in India. You must be wondering am I following PM? Ah! Yes, though unintentional. His trips are as exceptional as he himself is. His visits take us to various unthinkable destinations which are great enough to generate big curiosity. I personally like to explore places, but it is not possible most of the times, so the best thing is to follow PM and write and spread awareness about those places. The destination of this is week is Kedarnath – where PM paid obeisance as soon as its doors opened after six-month-long winter break.

Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindus. 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, and the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions – love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through various forms. The shrine of Kedarnath is very scenically placed and is surrounded by lofty, snow – covered mountains, and during summer grassy meadows covering the valleys. Immediately behind the temple, is the high Kedar dome peak, which can be sighted from great distances. The sight of the temple and the peak with its perpetual snows is simply enthralling.

Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritiya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshiped there for six months. Lord Shiva is worshiped as Kedarnath, the ‘Lord of Kedar Khand’, the historical name of the region.

All of us remember Kedarnath to be the worst affected area during the 2013 flash floods in North India. The temple complex, surrounding areas, and Kedarnath town suffered extensive damage, but the temple structure did not suffer any “major” damage, apart from a few cracks on one side of the four walls which was caused by the flowing debris from the higher mountains. A large rock among the debris acted as a barrier, protecting the temple from the flood. The surrounding premises and other buildings in the market area were heavily damaged.

The unstable temple is not directly accessible by road and has to be reached by 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) uphill trek from Gaurikund. Pony and manchan service are available to reach the structure. The temple was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Sankaracharya and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest Hindu shrines of Shiva. It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, expounded in Tevaram.

Pandavas were supposed to have pleased Shiva by doing penance in Kedarnath. The temple is one of the four major sites in India’s Chota Char Dham pilgrimage of Northern Himalayas. This temple is the highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas.

The presiding image of Kedarnath in the form of lingam is or irregular shape with a pedestal 3.6 m (12 ft) in circumference and 3.6 m (12 ft) in height. There is a small pillared hall in front of the temple, that has images of Parvathi and of the five Pandava princes. There are five temples around namely Badari-year, Madhya Maheswara, Tunganatha, Rudra Nath and Kallesvara. The first hall inside Kedarnath Temple contains statues of the five Pandava brothers, Lord Krishna, Nandi, the vehicle of Shiva and Virabhadra, one of the guards of Shiva. Statue of Draupadi and other deities are also installed in the main hall.  An unusual feature of the temple is the head of a man carved in the triangular stone fascia. Such a head is seen carved in another temple nearby constructed on the site where the marriage of Shiva and Parvati was held. Adi Shankara was believed to have revived this temple, along with Badrinath and other temples of Uttarakhand; he is believed to have attained Mahasamadhi at Kedarnath. Behind the temple is the samādhi mandir of Adi Sankara.

The temple, at a height of 3,583 m (11,755 ft), 223 km from Rishikesh, on the shores of Mandakini river, a tributary of Ganga, is an impressive stone edifice of unknown date. The structure is believed to have been constructed in the 8th century CE when Adi Shankara visited. The present structure is on a site adjacent to where Pandavas are believed to have built the temple. It has one Garbhagriha and a Mandapa and stands on a plateau surrounded by snow clad mountain and glaciers. In front of the temple, directly opposite to the inner shrine, is a Nandi statue carved out of the rock.

You can reach Kedarnath from Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun which is located 260 Km, whereas nearest railhead is at Rishikesh 243 km. Kedarnath is well connected to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and Delhi.

The ideal time or peak season to go to Char Dham Yatra is from May – October, except monsoons, this is because all the four sacred sites are parched in Garhwal Himalaya, which is prone to heavy rainfall.

 

Ambaji Temple, Gujarat – Our next spiritual sojourn!

Mata Ne Bulaya hai!

This year when we decided to spend some part of our summer vacation in Rajasthan Hill Station, Mount Abu, I was driven by the drive of visiting and paying obeisance to one of the 51 Shakti Peeth’s – Ambaji temple. Ambaji ( Gujarati: અંબાજી, Hindi: अम्बाजी, Ambājī) is a census town in Banaskantha district in the state of Gujarat, India. It is known for its historical and mythological connections with sites of cultural heritage. The research on Ambaji town brought to the fore some important revelations, which I would like to share with my readers. You must be wondering that my year 2017 is taking me on a spiritual journey, believe me, it is just not by design, it is happening on its own. From many years, I have been planning to visit Ambaji temple, without knowing much about it, now I am looking forward to it.

Ambaji is an important temple town with millions of devotees visiting the Ambaji temple every year. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. Ambaji Mata temple is a major Shakti Peeth of India. It is situated at a distance of approximately 65 kilometers from Palanpur, 45 kilometers from Mount Abu, and 20 kilometers from Abu Road, and 185 kilometers from Ahmedabad, 50 kilometers from Kadiyadra near the Gujarat and Rajasthan border.

In the holy temple of “Arasuri Ambaji”, there is no image or statue of goddess the holy “Shree Visa Yantra” is worshiped as the main deity. No one can see the Yantra with the naked eye. The photography of the Yantra is prohibited.

The original seat of Ambaji Mata is on Gabbar hilltop in the town. A large number of devotees visit the temple every year, especially on Purnima days. A large mela on Bhadarvi Poornima (full moon day) is held. Every Year from all over the country people come here walking all over from their native place just to worship MAA AMBE in September. The whole Ambaji town is lit up as the nation celebrates the festive time of Diwali.

The temple is open from 7.00 am to 11.30 am, 12.30 pm to 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm.

The shrine of hi Amba is regarded as a revered shrine by the Shakta Shaktism sect of Hinduism. It is believed that the Heart of Sati Devi has fallen here. The origin of the Shakti Peetha status temple is from the mythology of Daksha Yaga and Sati’s self-immolation. Shakti Peethas were believed to have been formed when the body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi fell into different regions when Lord Shiva carried her corpse in sorrow after her death. The shrines are considered as highly revered by Shaivist (Shaivism) sect in Hinduism. The Shakti Peethas are mostly worshiped by tantra practitioners. Each Shakti Peetha has a Kalabhairava shrine associated with it the Kalabhairava of The Amba Matha Temple is Batuk Bhairav.

PM Narendra Modi performing puja at Ambaji Temple

Mythical History

Ambaji is one of the 51 ancient Shakti Peetha Tirth in India. There are 12 main Shakti Pith Tirth, significant places of pilgrimage for the worship of Shakti, namely, Ma Bhagwati Mahakali Maha Shakti at Ujjain, Ma Kamakshi at Kanchipuram, Mata Bramaramba at Srisailam, Shri Kumarika at Kanyakumari, Mataji Ambaji at AnarGujarat, Mata Mahalaxmidevi at Kolhapur, Devi Lalita at Prayag, Vindhya Vasini at Vindhya, Vishalakshi at Varanasi, Mangalavati at Gaya and Sundari at Bengal & Guhyeshwari Temple in Nepal.

There is no idol or picture in the temple but a simple cave like Gokh in the inner wall, in which A Gold Plated Holy Shakti Visa Shree Yantra having kurma back convex shape and 51 Bij letters therein, connected with that of the original Yantras of Nepal and Ujjain Shakti Piths, is also ritually installed in such a way it can be visible for devotion, but never photographed in past nor can be so done in future. The worship of this Visa Shree Yantra is done only after tying a bandage on the eyes.

More on return from Ambaji temple!! Watch this space for more!!!

 

 

PM’s visit to Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha

On Saturday, April 14 almost all the News Channels were running clippings of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The detour of Lingaraja temple by Modiji along with temple priests and his entourage generated my excitement in the temple, though I am not a temple person per se, but Lingaraja temple looked very unique and antique. The architecture is timeless and feeling of being there…just divine!  Honestly, I had never heard about this temple before… but if Modiji is visiting the place, then it must be truly special & indeed it is special!

To curb my curiosity about the temple, I dug deep into it to know more about the Lingraj temple which I would like to share with the readers.

Lingaraja Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Harihara, a form of Shiva and Vishnu and is one of the oldest temples in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the East Indian state of Odisha. The temple is the most prominent landmark of the Bhubaneswar city and one of the major tourist attractions of the state.

The Lingaraja temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. The central tower of the temple is 180 ft (55 m) tall. The temple represents the quintessence of the Kalinga Architecture and culminating the medieval stages of the architectural tradition at Bhubaneswar. The temple is believed to be built by the kings of the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers. The temple is built in the Deula style that has four components namelyVimana (a structure containing the sanctum), Jagamohana (assembly hall), Natamandira (festival hall) and Boga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor. The temple complex has 50 other shrines and is enclosed by a large compound wall.

Bhubaneswar is called the Ekamra Kshetra as the deity of Lingaraj was originally under a mango tree (Ekamra) as noted in Ekamra Purana, a 13th-century Sanskrit treatise. The temple is active in worship practices, unlike most other temples in Bhubaneswar and Shiva is worshiped as Harihara, a combined form of Vishnu and Shiva. The temple has images of Vishnu, possibly because of the rising prominence of Jagannath sect emanating from the Ganga rulers who built the Jagannath Temple in Puri in the 12th century.

Lingaraja temple is maintained by the Temple Trust Board and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The temple has an average of 6,000 visitors per day and receives lakhs of visitors during festivals. Shivaratri festival is the major festival celebrated in the temple and event during 2012 witnessed 200,000 visitors.

The Lingaraj temple is the largest temple in Bhubaneswar. James Fergusson (1808–86), a noted critic and historian rated the temple as “one of the finest examples of purely Hindu temple in India”. It is enshrined within a spacious compound wall of laterite measuring 520 ft (160 m) by 465 ft (142 m). The wall is 7.5 ft (2.3 m) thick and surmounted by a plain slant coping. Alongside the inner face of the boundary wall, there is a terrace to protect the compound wall against outside aggression. The tower is 45.11 m (148.0 ft) high and the complex has 150 smaller shrines in its spacious courtyard. Each inch of the 55 m (180 ft) tall tower is sculpted. The door at the gate of the entrance porch is made of sandalwood.

PM also visited the temple of Goddess Bhubaneswari and Parbati before interacting with sevayats and asked about the temple’s history, rituals and architecture. The Prime Minister emphasized the need to keep the temple premises clean and ensure ‘swachhata’ all around.

 

CM Declares 2017 as “Visit Maharashtra” Year!

The government entered into a formal tie-up with the app-based cab aggregator recently to promote tourism in the state and boost “Mumbai Darshan”.

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Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal, Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture, and Pranay Jivrajka, founding partner, Ola, signed the MoU. Ganesh Shirsekar

 

Now, book an Ola cab and avail “special” treatment at the Siddhivinayak temple.

 

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The government entered into a formal tie-up with the app-based cab aggregator Wednesday to promote tourism in the state and boost “Mumbai Darshan”. State Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal said: “Mumbai Darshan started with a bus, which is doing alright as more marketing needs to be done and now, we have a cab aggregator (Ola) on your palm … the tourism department will plan your experience.”

He added that from now, a tourist who wants to go to Siddhivinayak temple would get a special offer. “The tourist will be in the special list or special row. It would be the same in case of the museum and the zoo, which we can leverage for Ola,” Rawal said.

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The deal is not only expected to boost tourism but also produce “skilled” drivers who will double up “as guides” for passengers, he said. The minister added there would be “no discrimination among those selected as guides for the city”.

“The first batch of tourist guides has been sanctioned, 100 in Mumbai and 400 in Maharashtra,” Rawal claimed. He said more integrated tourist plans were in the pipeline for Mumbai and Maharashtra.

CM Devendra Fadnavis has declared 2017 as ‘Visit Maharashtra’ year and according to officials, this is the first MoU signed by the MTDC this year. Ola launched a special category in its interface called ‘Mumbai Darshan’. Each customisable package has a 10-hour or 100-km ride to Mumbai’s hotspots. The tours start at Rs 1,799.

Ola operates in nine cities in Maharashtra, and there are plans to introduce such tours there too. “There will be tie-ups with various destinations … take an Ola to an MTDC resort or Elephanta caves and avail of discounts … it is a win-win situation. In these taxis, special reading material will be available for travelers to read. For instance, where to eat good Maharashtrian food in the city,” said Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture.

 

Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh!

Lakshman Jhula, Rishikesh!

Absolutely clueless about what we would visit in Rishikesh, we landed in Rishikesh by Rishikesh Tourism bus boarded from Dehradun. After alighting at Rishikesh, I realized…now what next? Where do we go?  I must admit that it was the first trip of its kind where we had no plans in place like which hotel to embark, which places to visit and in what order. Suddenly it occurred to me that Lakshman Jhula is a famous destination, and we should go there first. We boarded an auto from the Stand, after a minor altercation with the auto driver but finally, he dropped as Lakshman Jhula Auto Stand. We asked him, “Where is Lakshman Jhula”. He showed us a tree on the right side of the road and said, “Take right from the tree.” Happily, we started moving, suddenly Mukund spotted a hotel and we decided to park our luggage there and then move on towards Lakshman Jhula. It was the bright sunny day but we decided to move because we wanted to attend “Maha Aarti” at Triveni Ghat in the evening. We started moving towards Lakshman Jhula from our hotel which was ideally located near our destination, which is probably in the center of the city. No sooner we realized that Lakshman Jhula is not that close as we were told. Voila, what a walk and the distance it turned out to be. We enjoyed our walk on the downward slope but when I realized how we will take an uphill walk, I became very jittery. There was hardly any transport available from Jhula till our hotel, so we had no option but to walk and just walk.

After walking for nearly 30 minutes, we reached our destination about which we were very curious since we had planned our trip. Lakshman Jhula is a famous landmark of Rishikesh where almost all tourists come to enjoy. Friendly Langoors and monkeys welcome you as soon as you enter the Jhula and I must say Ganges – in all its glory and splendor descending from the Himalayas looks just amazing. I forgot all my pain and was just enjoying the sight. The sight will not go off my mind for long! We walked Lakshman Jhula, which lies suspended over River Ganges, is 450 ft long and connects Tehri and Pauri district.

But do you know the story behind its name? Legend has it that Rama’s younger brother Lakshman crossed the Ganga using just two jute ropes. To honor his feat, a 284 ft long hanging Rope Bridge was built at the same place and named Lakshman. Until 1889, it was this very rope bridge that was used to cross the river but it was washed away during the floods of October 1924. After this, another bridge was built which opened to public use in 1930.

This is still in use but its name remains the same in honor of Lakshman. After crossing the bridge, we treated ourselves with chilled Jaljeera and Bunta (Soda) and then I and Tanya set out for some window shopping. The market here stocks stuff which appeals to foreigners mainly like idols, junk jewelry, dresses, Ramnami Jholas, stoles, kurtas, jackets, skirts, semi-precious stones, Rudraksha and other knick-knacks. We had a great time in the market while picking some stuff for us, whereas Mukund passed time with Langoors. We also saw the famous 13-storey Trayambakeshwar Temple which is on the other side of the Lakshman Jhula.

Indeed, it was great fun being on Lakshman Jhula, the suspension bridge in Rishikesh, where I felt like a child.

I must note here that to encourage tourism in the State and Rishikesh in particular, it is very important to keep Jhula spic and span. Many two-wheeler riders were freely crossing the bridge which made the movement of tourists difficult on the bridge and I could notice many tourists complaining about the same. It is high time Rishikesh Tourism paid attention to these things and made use of the amount we tax-payers are giving as “Swachh Bharat Cess” and bring alive the dream of PM Modi of “Swachh Bharat”.

Also, some signages at prominent destinations in Hindi & English should be displayed as I could notice some foreigners struggling with ways. It will certainly help all tourists and pilgrims alike. Hope Uttarakhand Governance is listening!!

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