All posts by bienumv

Love to read, write, travel and talking to self & people!

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.

 

Siddhivinayak-Temple-In-Mumbai

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!!

Splendid, Spiritual & Musical Gangaji Maha Aarti, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

I would certainly like to visit, revisit & revisit the breathtakingly beautiful RISHIKESH, the religious abode of Himalayas, Ganga, Sadhus, Temples, Ghats, Truly religious and humble people, Maha aarti, Friendly Langoors, Ashrams, Yoga Centres, Adventure seekers, Students and Foreigners!

Read on to know, what all mesmerized me (A hardcore Urban Soul) in Rishikesh!

Our all of a sudden decision to visit Dehradun turned out to be a religious trip too, when as per plan on third day of our stay in Dehradun, we left for Rishikesh. We were super excited about visiting Rishikesh, particularly me as I had visited Rishikesh many years ago and had very feeble memories of the place. For the first time, I decided to move out of our comfort zone (read: hiring AC Cab) for our travel and decided to board State transport bus for Rishikesh from ISBT, Dehradun. It was a well-thought decision as I wanted to know how locals travel, think and behave in Uttarakhand. Believe me, my purpose was not defeated as I could see many college students, women and Government servants accompanying us on this ride. I wanted to touch the pulse of the people of UK who had voted so heavily in favour of BJP. People are happy about BJP rule and accepted that there was “Modi Wave” in the State. They accepted that since BJP is diligently moving on developmental agenda as many highways, flyovers, connecting roads in the vicinity witnessed fierce activity. But yes, to promote tourism in this naturally beautiful State, public transport needs to pull up its socks and provide better amenities to tourists. Buses are just the same as they were 50 years ago, AC buses need to be introduced with better access, but roads are better than any of the States in India. Believe me; it is not easy to make roads in the hilly terrain…

Hotel, where we were staying, owner told us that road work enroute Badrinath is on, so there is limited supply of electricity in the area. People are happy that their visit to the Shrine will be easier and happier now. & voila, next morning when I stepped out to enjoy the breeze across Ganga, I was surprised rather delighted to see, road nicely built on the route till where my vision could accompany me. This is good administration and governance, no wonder; Nitin Gadkari is the top choice for this coveted job. I am sure; Uttarakhand will be a changed State when I visit next.

Evening turned out as we had planned, we boarded Vikram (local means of transport) for Triveni Ghats from Laxman Jhula for the evening “Maha Aarti” which was truly Maha Aarti in letter & spirit. Believe me I had never seen anything so splendid, religious, musical & sentimental on any of my sojourns. Ghats were decked up nicely for all of us to sit and watch aarti comfortably where many foreigners too were awaiting keenly before we reached. The stage was set for aarti which started at 6:30 Sharp with the chanting of Ganga Aarti by Singers/ Pandits sitting on stage, before that Hanuman Chalisa was rendered. It was first day of auspicious Navratri so Vaishno Mata Mandir was decked up to the hilt with many pilgrims paying obeisance to the Goddess of Power.

I came to know that this Maha Aarti is major Tourist attraction taking place at this ghat.

This aarti is accompanied by chantings of bhajan, beating drums, bells and big diyas lighted all over the place. The devotees release small oil lamps placed on leaf boats in the water. These lamps float down the river and provide a beautiful view.

Ceremonies like “Pindha Shraddha” are also done at Triveni Ghat, which my husband Mukund also undertook for his recently demised father, late Shri Jamnadas Vaghela. We believe that we tearfully sent him on his final journey. The main Panditji performed this ritual for our forefather – our beloved “Pappa”.

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Triveni Ghat is the confluence of three holy important Rivers in Ganges, the Yamuna and Saraswathy which is most revered sacred bathing spot in Rishikesh and is situated on the banks of Ganges River.

It is a belief that holy dip here washes away all the ties and purifies the soul and will have salvation, a relief from sins carried out; the water has the power to purify them. It is very soothing to sit on the banks of the river and enjoy the cool breeze with many sentiments at a time at play.

Devotees make many offerings at Triveni Ghat; in the early morning at sunrise they offer milk to the river and happily feed the fishes in the Triveni Ghat.

Visit undertaken on March 28, 2017.

 

Chitrakoot Falls: India’s answer to the USA’s Niagra Falls!!!

oday I will write about beautiful & mesmerizing Chitrakoot Falls, beauty of which was narrated by my mother who had visited Chitrakoot few years ago but memory was still fresh in her mind of that trip. Chitrakoot originated in our conversation from the Ram Mandir of Ayodhya’s issue, which was being discussed on many television channels.  My mother insisted that I must visit Chitrakoot sometime and sooner the better.

Before planning a visit there, I started researching on Chitrakoot Falls, like I always do. The research revealed many interesting points which many of us wouldn’t know. I thought of sharing that with you.

The Chitrakoot is a waterfall located near Jagdalpur, in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. This river is a tributary of the Godavari River. Chitrakoot waterfall is the largest waterfall in India. The height of the falls is 100 feet. The breadth of the waterfall varies as the water level in the river changes drastically. However during a monsoon, the river flow touches both the banks of the river, and is filled with silt. During monsoon the waterfall turns wild and violent. In contrast, during summer the water carries no silt and looks different. The area around the falls is largely forested. Chitrakoot waterfall is best seen during and after the monsoon, between July and October.

People can spend hours just sitting here and enjoying the scenic beauty of the place. The loud noise during monsoon is breathtaking. During the rains, this waterfall widens upto 150 meters. During the rainy seasons, people don’t visit this waterfall, owing to its extreme form. But once, the winter season arrives, the water becomes lighter, and the atmosphere here is worth seeing.

The first time visitors are sure to fall in love with this place and they just can’t have enough in just one visit. If you want to enjoy the wildness of the waterfall then July to the month of October would be the best time, the waterfalls of Chitrakoot attain its best phase and widens up to 150 meter. But if you want to enjoy the calm white waterfall then best time to visit is during the winters which start from October to February.

Chitrakoot waterfalls, popularly known as Niagara falls of india,  this fall is situated in Vindhyachal Ranges, which are stretched between Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

Historical & Geographical facts about Chitrakoot Falls:

  • The Chitrakoot Falls is located on the Indravati River. The river originates in the kalahandi region of Odisha, in the Vindhya Range of hills, flows westward and then forms a fall at Chitrakoot, enters Andhra Pradesh and finally flows into the Godavari River, after traversing 240 miles (390 km) in the state, at Bhadrakali. The free drop of the falls is a sheer height of about 30 metres (98 ft). Because of its horseshoe shape, it is compared with the Niagara Falls and is given in the sobriquet ‘the Small Niagara Falls’. During the rainy season, from July and October, rainbows are created with sun rays reflecting on mist from the waterfall.
  • On the left bank of the Chitakote Falls, a small Hindu shrine dedicated to the god Shiva and several naturally created grottos named “Parvati caves” (named after Shiva’s wife Parvati) are located. The weather in the area is generally pleasant except in the summer season when it is hot due to absence of vegetation in the area. The river flows sluggishly on the upstream side of the falls due to its meandering nature as it drains through the plains of Jagdalpur. This reach of the river valley has very little forest cover. Below the falls the river traverses the Bodhghat forested area and the river regime undergoes drastic change in its flow conditions. Aeration process and the forest in the downstream area filters the silt in the river.
  • Chitakoot Falls is one of the two of the waterfalls located in the Kanger Valley National Park, the other is Tirathgarh falls.[

How to reach Chitrakoot Waterfall

Jagdalpur is a popular city of Chhattisgarh and is very well connected to the rest of the state. Frequent bus services and taxis are available to reach Chitrakoot waterfall or you can also heir a private car.

 

KNOW YOUR RELATIONSHIPS – Through Positive Intentions by Shilpi J Chawla

POETRY ON RELATIONSHIPS

The above title comes from the author of wonderful self help books, The Book of Intents and its sequel Love Your Life, with the power of intention and Dancing the Dance, a book about power and grace of the Woman.  Shilpi feels that life is inherently supplying us subtle messages, stillness is inevitable if you want to tap into them and yet in the midst of all that is palpable and real, there is something very unreal about living a life without intention.

The book in question is starkly different from other books of the author and many other authors for that matter, as it deals with most complex subject on the planet, Relationships. All of us are entangled in the web of relationships, irrespective of our age, gender, social status, financial status, place of stay, single, married, working, non working, self-employed…whatever! Not just one or two but into multiple relationships, some of which add lot of value to our existence, whereas others are not so pleasant and some, which can just be despised, but we can’t.   Being in a relationship is 24 hours 365 days business; hence lot of issues related to relationships impact our lives.

Know your relationships is an interesting take on Relationships which takes you a wave forward one day at a time, one emotion at a time,  one letter at a time. Beautifully interpreted through 26 Alphabets of English Language, each letter presents a different shade, hue and colour of relationship. She has re-written A, B, C, D of relationships especially for those adults who are struggling with relationship to reach X, Y, Z of life.  The adults have been taught A B C D of relationships, like a child has been taught ABCD just when he starts understanding relationships. The book talks to that child in us in an empowering way, encouraging them to look at relationships in their life through the first 26 letters of English Language.

Ever considered A= Allow rather than Apple? Or B=Bliss rather than Ball? Asks Shilpi. The answer is clear no as we have been living with clichés around us. The complex relationships of the world are integrated through ABCs in the book. Ideal for young parents who can learn ABCD of relationships from “Know Your Relationships” which can be beautifully transcended to their young children or whosoever touches them during life’s journey. After reading this book, I am sure all of you would be able to find a new meaning to your relationships through the journey of life ahead. While putting all emotions surrounding human heart in perspective, finally you feel positive about all relationships around you, howsoever bitter or unpleasant these have been.

Without reading the tips on How to use this Book, it will be difficult to comprehend the book, and without proper comprehension, you will not be able to transcend its essence to your life’s relationships. The book not only guides you through various relationships, but through two most important relationships which is with SELF and POWER ABOVE.  If you are honest and meaningful here, you will catch the essence of the book. You will feel a sense of spaciousness within, almost leading to expansion of your heart.  Indeed you need to read between the lines, in fact I read the book twice, once to read the verses and second time to absorb the essence. The book is beautifully rendered through verses where your spirit is blessing you through out, through various renditions for ABCDs…

It is always a pleasure & treasure Shilpi’s books who pours her heart out to prove her point that every relationship is poignant and a blessing to cherish. The book has lot of space which is soothing for the eyes and attractive illustrations on left hand side of each chapter, which shows that author is not only creative in her thinking  & writing, but also in its rendition too. The cover is creatively illustrated too, which spells out many relationships surrounding us. Opening of the book as many meaningful credentials by illustrious people, which speaks volumes about the book.

I would like share some pearls from the book here to give you the glimpse of what this Jewel holds for you:

  • May you only know bliss as your true identity
  • Stay grounded in your highs
  • Dust off the doubts
  • For, you are always home in your heart
  • You are a living miracle
  • You came from Nothingness, and that’s your ultimate destination
  • Give it rest when it needs

In the end, Shilpi has not forgotten to thank her readers, expressing:

Knowing that in me – is YOU!

 

 

 

#Colgate Magical Stories: Thrilling ride in space with Colgate!

Toothpaste matlab Colgate!

Colgate has been integral part of our growing up years when every day began with Colgate and concluded with Colgate and everything fell in between. Colgate has been a complete solution provider for Oral hygiene and I am sure, our generation only knew Colgate for toothpaste. It has been integral part of our morning chores – No wonder so many ladies trust Colgate for their children’s pearly whites – Colgate hai to bharosa hai!

 So when I came know about #ColgateMagical Stories by Colgate mailed to us by Blogadda, my mind just went back to my childhood when we use to indulge in such activities. Probably this is not the case with youngsters of today who have all the sophisticated gadgets to their disposal. I told Blogadda, that though I want to participate but I my child has outgrown to take part in this activity, to this Blogadda told me that you can do this activity with any children around you. This is how “My Story” began with #ColgateMagical Stories.

In a short span of time, I received packs in attractive packaging from Blogadda for which I had already chosen my cooperative and attractive colleague Reena Noronha, who is mother of two – Joshua (8) and Judith (5)intelligent, inquisitive, creative & naughty to the core! For third story, I chose my young & exuberant colleague Bhagyashree Kanade’s Cute & Curious daughter, Abha (7).

I shared, the details with about the #ColgateMagicalStories with Reena, who reluctantly agreed to take part in the activity, but as I was confident her children were very excited to take part in the activity. Reena took lot of trouble in handling the kids who helped them with cutting, pasting and explaining them. The scene resembling nothing short from the comic strip – Denise the Menace. Excellent Manager that Reena is, she could take best out of the kids.

Children are at their creative best when they are given something colourful to look (painting), interesting to cut & paste (Craft) and weave a story (Story Telling) around it. Colgate with Magical Stories had just caught the pulse of the children with this activity where a child’s all creative faculties are at play.  Joshua & Judith were super-excited to be involved in the activity where they could cut & paste and weave a story around it. First and foremost – Joshua gave attractive names to the characters & Judith was no less, she also came up with attractive names, taking burden of naming ceremony from Reena’s shoulders.

First Pack: 1646636 SL: Joshua Noronha Narrates:

 I like all things about space and want to be in a space station. I think the Boy in space –suit is me, but not me, I will call him Capt. Shijin who wants to live in Space station and work in Earth’s orbit. Shijin is very happy in his space suit which weighs 127 kgs with 13 layers of material. The cute looking girl is Shijin’s sister, DORA who wants to go with his brother. Brother and Sister both are happy that will be in space.

They tell their parents about the space, who get very scared but allow them. Excitedly, mom of Capt. Shijin and Purser Dora pack them with lot of stuff. Starting from Packs of Colgate to brush their teeth in the morning, eatables during the day and brush again in the night. Shijin also takes Chocolates and Cookies for her sister.  Always they had seen the Space Stations on TV and Movies, for the first time they were going there. They were very excited when Rocket zoomed with loud noise and placed them in station.  The ride was thrilling but scary, but Capt. Shijin and Dora loved it.  They were going be in the sky amidst stars.

Capt. Shijin asked Dora to write everything from space, so that they can tell them all about it in school, in return he gave Dora a chocolate. She was very very happy!

Second Pack: P1646636 AP : Ms.Judith Noronha Narrates:  

 I am Judy, I love to be in Space, as seen in movies. The girl on the Alien Planet is Me, Judy who is in her space suit and gun like thing. I love to hold guns, so I love holding this also. I am glad that space suits give Oxygen to breathe in outer space. I set out in cute train to reach the Satellite and I am very happy with the ride. I am more happy because I am carrying my Colgate with me so that I don’t miss brushing my teeth which makes my mom happy. On the way I see UFO which is very wonderful. I have not seen anything before like this.

As I am reaching space, I see Alien, who is very cute and looked and cuddly, I called him Jaadu, who was from some other planet. I told Jaadu, I want to visit your planet and want to know how aliens live, eat and sleep. Jaadu happily agreed to take along cute little Judy in his Rover, which easily moved around planet. Judy was very happy to visit another planet with Jaadu. When she returned from planet, Jaadu’s mom gave her many dresses, chocolates, cookies, comics, flowers…all things Judy loved.

Judy happily came back loaded with present which she happily shared with her brother Joshua. She told all stories to her friends in school who enjoyed it very much.

Third Pack: P1646636 : Ms. Abha Khedkar Narrates (7)

The cute little girl is Doreme as she resembles the famous cartoon character, Doreme who wants to go to Space, like me. I am making my friend Doreme ready for going to Space. I dress her up in Space Suit made for astronauts with Oxygen to breathe in outer space. I give her a gun also so that she is saved from attacks. As she starts her engine like space vehicle, Doreme shouts, UFO…

…UFO scares her and she takes out her gun to shoot. But it flies high and she missed her aim.

 

On her way, she sees an alien who has a gadget in hand. Doreme takes her gun out to shoot, but Alien shouts, “ I am your brother Doremon”. I will take you around in Space so that you enjoy your trip. I will call my other Alien friends who will love you and give you gifts.  Doreme did not believe him at once, but he came close, she liked him.  His eyes looked as if had two bulbs in them which were showing way in the dark. Doremon walks with heavy head and heavy feet. I smiled at him when he walked which made him angry. Doreme took out her gun to shoot but gun fire did not work on Doremon. He had thick shield on his body. Doreme said sorry to Doremon and brother sister moved for their space walk. When Doreme came back to earth, she had many gifts given by her brother and she loved them all. In return Doreme gave them packs of Magical Colgate toothpaste to all friends of Doremon who loved them a lot. How she wished she had brother like Doremon!

Colgate, Thanks you very much providing this opportunity of bringing out creativity in the children around me, who enjoyed the activity very much and their mothers Reena and Bhagyashree came to know about their story-telling skills. Their journey to the space was exciting through throw away pack of Colgate. Well Said: आम के आम गुठलियों के दाम

A big thank you to Blogadda team for hosting this activity for me.

“I’m blogging my #ColgateMagicalstories at BlogAdda in association with Colgate.

 

 

Open Eyed Meditations: Distillation of ancient wisdom for Modern Lives

TAG LINE: Practical Wisdom for Everyday Life

 

COME FROM: Author of the Bestselling Ramayana – The Game of Life Series

PUBLISHED BY: FINGERPRINT BELIEF

All of us supposedly know the term: Meditation but have we ever tried to explore the true rather deep meaning of the term? Not really! We are convinced all this is not for us, the lesser mortals of the land, but only for those who want to explore higher realms of life. We are happy the way we are. But are we? Not really, till I read: Open Eyed Meditations by famed author & motivational speaker Shubha Vilas.

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Other terms to understand with open eyes when all our faculties are at their functional best subject to so much distraction from all quarters. So for all of us lesser mortals, there is Shubha Vilas, author of best-seller Ramayana: The Game of Life Series, who very effectively takes us through the process of Meditation with Open Eyes! Hence the title: Open Eyed Meditations.

The book is another Gem from the author which is very practical and functional in its approach. The interpretations are so apt that in many chapters that we would be  compelled to think that: This is ME, The Thought is MINE, the struggle is MINE, the example is MINE, the success is MINE, the failure is MINE, the dilemma is MINE…it completely immersed ME. There is so many take-aways from this rare gem that your JEWEL BOX would be full, but not your heart. For many books, in the end I have taken sigh of relief, thank God, it’s over but for Open Eyed Meditation, the feeling was: Oh! Got Over!! Yeh Dil Maange More!!!

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The book has 64 chapters which run through 278 pages having attractive Cover Page and appropriate credentials on the Back Cover. Book is attractive to receive and engrossing to read. Every chapter is summarized in the end thus making each chapter more meaningful to the reader.  Many chapters just leave you mesmerized and you start self-questioning yourself: How would have I reacted in such a situation?  The answer is in the book.

I would like list few pearls of wisdom here:

  • Is decision making a feeling based art, or a logic-based Science?
  • Comparison is a systematic way of insulting your uniqueness and gifting yourself with misery.
  • Dealing with negativity does not need good aptitude but good attitude.
  • Your happiness quotient lies in how much joy you give others.
  • Our mind, like the lion in a zoo, needs to be confined within the boundaries of discipline.
  • Ravana exists not outside us but within. And he attacks in multiple ways
  • The bug of discontent has spread like an epidemic to destroy the healthy mind.
  • Greatness comes from dealing with imperfections
  • While ordinary people complain of life’s harshness, extraordinary people are busy dealing with them as lifetime opportunities.
  • Quantitative growth or qualitative growth, this marks the difference between good leaders and great ones.

In fact all of us must inculcate meditation to release stress from our daily lives, which is not happening though. But reading rather possessing this book would enable you to do meditation with open eyes where you can choose the chapter which suits your state of mind. The examples have been drawn from Epics Ramayana and Mahabharata which we have grown up reading, however I feel you will enjoy the book to the hilt if you know these epics and their characters well. The generation which has not been fed by these epics may not be able to draw inferences well. The book needs to be read not only with Open Eyes but with Open Minds, Hearts & Souls too, it will do wonders to your existence. You would be able to add so much more value to this invaluable life.

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A beautiful journey through 64 chapters, the book is life a verse which you would like to recite in every stage of your life: Young, Old, Not-so-old, Career, Children, Marriage, Relationships, Solitude, Education, Interactions, Indecisions, Leaderships and Distractions…

…it effectively addresses your anxieties.

Ideally the book should be read at a stretch but it is difficult for its 278 pages and I read many pages twice to get the clear understanding of the ideology discussed. The book simply brings out the essence of deeper realms of life which we cannot explore with closed eyed meditations, what to say of open eyed meditation. The book is a self-help book which should be your prized possession for all your life.

Keep it and gift it to spread the AROMA!

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers.