Navaratras: Nine days of festivity and fasting

“Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvaartha saadhike
Sharanye trayambake Gauri
Narayani namosthute”
(Meaning of the mantra: To auspiciousness of all auspiciousness, to the Good, to the accomplisher of all objectives, to the Source of Refuge; tryambake; to the Goddess who is Rays of Light; Exposer of consciousness; We bow to you again and again. We worship you.)
Ma sherawaliOne of the most auspicious and widely celebrated festivals in India, Navratri or Navratra or nine nights reminds us to rededicate our lives to the great spirit of Mother Goddess Durga.
Navratri, Navratra in North India, is a nine day holy festival, which is celebrated to propitiate Goddess of Shakti or Divine Mother. The common norm is to keep fast on all the nine days of the festival.
Devotees also visit temples dedicated to goddess all over India. The festival is observed very enthusiastically in the state of Gujarat where all nine nights of Navratras are spent in vibrant Garba and Rasa dance. In West Bengal Durga Puja is the most important festival and is celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm.
There are some important mantras to invoke the Goddess. During the Nine-day-long festival, chanting of these mantras gives us maximum benefits.
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shanti rupena sansitha
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, shakti rupena sansthita
Ya devi sarva bhutesu, matra rupena sansthita
Namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namaha!
(The goddess who is omnipresent as the personification of universal mother
The goddess who is omnipresent as the embodiment of power
The goddess who is omnipresent as the symbol of peace
I bow to her, I bow to her, I bow to her again & again.)
durgaAnother mantra to Goddess Durga: Yaa Devi Sarva Bhooteshu Buddhi Roopena Samsthita
Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namaha
(Meaning: OH Goddess (Devi) who resides everywhere in all living beings as intelligence and beauty
I salute to you. Take my salutations again and again.)
Namoh devyai mahadevyai shivayai satatam namah
Namah prakrutyai bhadraayai niyataah pranataahsma taam
Jagdamb Vichitramatra Kim Paripoorna Karunaasti Chenmayi I
Aparadha Parampara Param Na Hi Mata Samupekshate Sutam II
(O mother of the world Jagdamba, you are the one who looks after her children. Your love and kindness towards me is no surprise O mother goddess. Being a mother you forget all our sins and correct us without abandoning your children)
Navratras mark the onset of festive season in India. The festival is followed by Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Life is full of devotion and trust. People take this opportunity to rededicate their life for the cause of sacrifice and humanity.
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Durga is the Mother Goddess or Shakti, the divine female energy.
Legends say that Lord Brahma granted a boon to Mahishasur who was king of the demons. Armed with the prowess of the boon, Mahishasur wrought havoc in the universe, and no one could defeat him or kill him. He became so relentless that he didn’t even spare the god and started terrorizing the Gods (Devtas) as well.
Long time back, a demon (Asura) named Rambha was the King of the Asuras. One day he saw a beautiful she-buffalo, and was immediately fallen in her love. The son born of this union was Mahishasura. After Rambha, Mahisha became the King of the Asuras. Mahisha was very powerful and after a rigorous penance, he could satisfy Lord Brahma. He wanted immortality which was turned down by the Brahma.
durga-puja5330Mahishasura said, “Since it is not possible for me to be immortal, may I not die at the hands of Men. May I not die at the hands of my foes, the Devas. May I not die at the hands of the great Trinity. If death has to approach me, may it approach me only through a woman since woman is weak, woman is powerless. How can a woman kill all powerful Mahisha? If you grant me this boon, I shall be as good as immortal.”
The Lord said, “O best among the Asuras. You shall become all powerful among men and Gods. You shall lead a long life, but it shall come to an end, through the means of a woman. There is no escaping fate. You shall not die, except at the hands of a woman.”
Armed with the boon He one day reached Heaven to kill Indra (King of Gods). Totally helpless, Indra asked Lord Brahma to help him. Lord Brahma was enraged at such blatant misuse of his boon and the power associated with that boon, he along with Lord Vishnu and Lord Mahesh, released their energies and combined these shaktis (powers) and out of the combined energies of all the gods was born a magnificent Goddess with many arms. This form of Shakti was called “Durga”. Goddess Durga armed rode on a Lion (Singh) and fought a fierce and a bloody battle with the Mahishasur.
The legends further say that for nine days and nights, Goddess Durga fought a fierce battle with Mahishasur. In order to deceive the goddess, Mahishasur changed his form many times.
On the tenth day, Goddess ultimately overpowered him and trapped the demon and killed him and the world heaved a sigh of relief.
Her victory symbolizes the triumph of good over evil. During these nine days, the devotees are totally the propitiation of the Mother Goddess or Shakti . Hinduism is the only religion the world which has emphasized to such an extent the motherhood of God.

During the Navratri festival, every night is dedicated to one form of Goddess Durga. Thus Navratri corresponds to worship of different forms of Goddess Durga.
Maa Shailputri: The daughter of Parvatraj Himalaya (King of the Mountain Himalaya). She married Lord Shiva and is known as mother of Lord Ganesha (The Remover of obstacles) and Kartikeya (The God of War).
Maa Brahmachaarin: She gives the message of pure love to the world.
Maa Chandraghanta: She establishes Justice. She wears the crescent moon on her head.
Maa Kushmaanda: She provides the basic necessities, and every day sustenance to the world.
Skand Maa: She gives the gift of differentiation & discrimination of right from wrong to the world.
Maa Kaatyayini: She persistently & relentlessly battles against the evil and deceitful & devious entities.
Maa Kaalratri: She killed Raktabeeja (A demon who had the power to produce a demon from every drop of blood that fell from his body. Goddess & Divine Mother eventually licked the blood before it could reach the ground and hence conquered & over powered him).
Maa Chaamunda: She killed two demons–Chanda and Munda and restored tranquility & order in the world.
Maa MahaGauri: She also liberated the world from the evil forces.
Mata Sidhidaarti: She is a treasure house of Mystic Powers (Yantra Tantra) and Knowledge (Gyaan).
The nine days are also divided and devoted to the Trinity of Gods worshipped in a female form. First three days are dedicated to Maa Durga (Goddess of valour, power and energy). The next three days, Maa Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth & Prosperity) is invoked and the last three days for Maa Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge, Learning and Art).
Rituals during the nine days:
Rituals for first three days:
During the first three days of Navratri Maa Durga is worshiped in its manifestations as Kumari, Parvati and Kali. These three forms represent three different nature or classes of woman – as a young virgin girl, as a wife and mother and as an old mature woman respectively.
On the first day of Navratri, barley seeds are sown in a small pot in the Puja (worship) room.
On the tenth day when these seeds grow into small shoots these are pulled out and given to devotees as a blessing from god and are received as Prasad.
Rituals for Fourth – Sixth Days of Navratras:
During these three days, Mother Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshiped. This is done to rekindle divine qualities in a devotee’s mind. Prayers, kirtans and Jagratns are organized in various temples. On the fifth day which is known as Lalita Panchami, it is traditional, to gather and display all literature available in the house, light a lamp or ‘diya’ to invoke Saraswati Maa, the Goddess of knowledge and art.
Rituals for Seventh – Eighth Days of Navratras:
On the seventh and eighth day, Goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Knowledge, Learning and Art) is worshiped. It is believed that worshiping Maa Saraswati enhances the spiritual knowledge of a devotee and makes a person free of all bonds of the life. This in turn will free a devotee from all earthly bondages. On the eighth day of this colourful festival, Yagna or Homam (holy fire) is performed. Pure Desi Ghee (clarified pure butter), kheer (rice pudding) and sesame seeds form the holy offering to Goddess Durga Maa (Divine Mother). The eight day is also known as ashtami.
Rituals of the Ninth or Mahanavami Day:
The festival of Navratri culminates on Mahanavami, the most important day of the festival, when ‘Kanya Pujan’ is performed in Hindu households. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed and then they are offered new clothes as gifts by the worshiper. They are also treated with a Prasad of Puri, Black Chanas (Chhole) and Halwa, small token of money, red bangles and red scarf. On this day these girls usually move from house to house and enjoy and relish this special treat. This ritual is performed in most parts of the country.
During the Navratri days, people eat pure vegetarian food. Some people eat food without any form of cereal and some fast for all the eight days.
People also visit the world famous holy shrine of Maa Vaishnodevi, located on Trikoot Mountain near Jammu during this period. Lunches and Dinners are also organized in temples and community places which are known as bhandaras. In Gujrat and West Bengal, Navratras are celebrated with great pomp and show.
In West Bengal during Navratras, Goddess Durga is worshipped. The pujas are held over a five day period, which is viewed as the home coming of the married daughter, Durga, to her father, Parvatraj Himalaya’s (Mountain King Himalaya) home. Durga Puja is considered to be the most important festival of the Bengali people. During these days, Bengali people buy new clothes, exchange sweets and most of the new purchases are made.

Goddess Shailputri is worshipped on first day of Navratri

वंदे वाद्द्रिछतलाभाय चंद्रार्धकृतशेखराम |
वृषारूढां शूलधरां शैलपुत्री यशस्विनीम् ||
Vandē vāddrichatalābhāya candrārdhakr̥taśēkharāma |
vr̥ṣārūḍhāṁ śūladharāṁ śailaputrī yaśasvinīm ||

Durga MataOne of the most popular festivals in India, Navratri is celebrated with fervor and gaiety across the country. During Navratri, Goddess Durga is worshipped in nine forms. The first form of Goddess Durga – Maa Shailputri is worshipped on the first day of Navratri. Goddess Parvati took rebirth as the daughter of Lord Himalayas and was known as Shailputri. In Sanskrit, Shail means mountain and hence, Goddess Parvati was known as Shailputri (daughter of the mountain).
The festival holds tremendous significance for the devotees. While, Navratri is marked by celebrations, fasting as well as relishing on various delicacies, dance and prayers, this festival also includes certain myths and a number of do’s and don’ts.
According to legends, Lord Shiva allowed his wife Goddess Durga to visit her mother for nine days during this time and hence, Navratri is celebrated nine days; “nav” means nine and “ratri” means night.
During this auspicious festival, one should not get hair or nail cut; should not stitch clothes; should not consume alcohol, and non-vegetarian food items including onion and garlic and students should not study on the last day of the festival that is Dussehra.
durga-puja5330On the other hand, devotees must strictly follow some rituals during the festival. Some include offering milk and food to Goddess Durga, having a shower early in morning, reciting mantras related to the Goddess, among others.
According to legends, Goddess Durga fought a battle with demon Mahishashura during this time and killed him. Thus the festival is celebrated to show devotion towards the Goddess for protecting her devotees from evil forces.
Goddess Durga, who epitomizes power, has nine different forms; two of them are Laxmi and Saraswati. The nine-day-long festival also witnesses worship for Laxmi and Saraswati, who symbolise wealth and knowledge, respectively. The last day of Navratri, called Dussehra, ends with huge effigies of Ravana being burnt as it symbolises Lord Rama’s triumph over the lord of demons.
The Legend
According to legends, Ma Bhagwati in her previous birth was the daughter of Daksha Prajapati and was called Sati who was married to Lord Shiva but in a ceremony organised by Daksha, she self-immolated in the yogic fire as she couldn’t bear the insult meted out to her husband by her father. Lord Shiva was not invited to the ceremony but Sati went against the wishes of her husband.
Vaishno DeviLater Sati was reborn as Goddess Parvati, the daughter of the Parvat Raj Himalayas. She got married to Lord Shiva. She is the first and the most significant among the Nava Durgas worshipped during Navratri.
During the puja, one must place red cloth on a chowki where Goddess Shailputri’s picture is placed. Write ‘Sh’ with kesar on it and place Gutika there. One must take red flowers in the hand and pray to Goddess Shailputri while chanting this mantra: Om Aim Hreem Kleem Chamundaye Vichaye Om Shailputri Dewya Namah
While chanting the mantra, offer flowers and gutika to the Goddess and place them on her picture. After that, one must offer bhog and chant the mantra (Om Shan Shailputri Dewya) at least 108 times.
Pratham Durga Twahi BhavsagarTardeem Dhan Aishwarya Dayini Shailputri PranmabhyahumTrilojanani Twahi Paramanand PradiyamaanSaubhagyarogya Dayini Shailputri PranmabhyahumCharachareshwari Twahi Mahamohvinashin Mukti Bhukti Dayini Shailputri Pranmabhyahum.
One of all nine forms of Devi Durga is worshipped every day in Navaratri. The first form of Maa Durga is Shailputri, who was born to the King of Mountains. “Shail” means mountain and “putri” means daughter. So she is called Shailputri – the daughter of mountain. Maa Shailputri, an absolute form of Mother Nature, is worshipped on the first day of Navratri.
Maa Shailputri is shown as a divine lady, holding a trishul in her right hand and lotus flower in her left hand. She rides on Nandi, a bull.
Maa Shailputri is the goddess of the muladhara chakra or root chakra, and upon awakening this Shakti one begins their journey to spiritual awakening and to their purpose in life. Without energising the muladhara chakra one can’t have the power and strength to do anything worthwhile. One should worship Maa Shailputri to make full use of the precious human life.

Lord Shiva’s holiest 12 Jyotiralingas

'Shiv Ling' The abstract form of Lord Shiva

‘Shiv Ling’ The abstract form of Lord Shiva

ONE of the most prominent deities in Hindusim, Lord Shiva is worshipped by tens of millions of devotees for His sheer power and benevolence. He is also one the Trinity Gods in Hinduism after Lord Brahma and Vishnu. The Nataraj is worshipped primarily in the form of shivalinga. The Shivalinga is the resplendent light (flame) form of the supreme which represents the real nature of God – formless essentially and taking various forms as it wills.
The ultimate manifestation of Lord Shiva can be found in shivalinga forms. There are prominent abodes across the country where the lingam is a splendid form. These are renowned as 12 jyotir lingas. Jyoti lingam means Lord Shiva appears in the form of light (Jyoti) lingam. These are held in great esteem since time immemorial. Puranas talk in detail about the glory of these abodes. Devotees visit these places due to the highly benevolent divine presence in these abodes, since ancient times.
Originally there were believed to be 64 jyothirlingas while 12 of them are considered to be very auspicious. Other famous temples of Lord Shiva are Amarnath, Bhojpur Shiva Linga Temple, Amareshwar temple Amarkantak, Murudeshwara, Shankaracharya temple Kashmiri, Lingaraj temple Bhubaneswar, Mukteswara temple, and great Kailasanathar Temple.
A Sanskrit shloka lists all the 12 jyotirlinga temples.
“Saurashtre Somanathamcha Srisaile Mallikarjunam|
Ujjayinya Mahakalam Omkaramamaleswaram ||
Paralyam Vaidyanathancha Dakinyam Bheema Shankaram |
Setu Bandhethu Ramesam, Nagesam Darukavane||
Varanasyantu Vishwesam Tryambakam Gautameethate|
Himalayetu Kedaaram, Ghrishnesamcha shivaalaye||
Etani jyotirlingani, Saayam Praatah Patennarah|
Sapta Janma Kritam pApam, Smaranena Vinashyati||”
Shiva Dwadasha Jyotirlinga Stotram
This is a very potent devotional hymn used to worship of Shiva. This stotra is recited to worship those 12 jyotirlinga of lord shiva.
OM2One who recites these Jyotirlingas every evening and morning, gets relieved of all sins committed in past seven lives and one, who visits these, gets all his wishes fulfilled by Shiva grace and one’s karma gets eliminated as Maheshwara (Shiva) gets satisfied to the worship.
The Somnath Temple is located in the Saurashtra, Gujarat and the temple (shrine eternal) is considered to be the most significant and revered among the 12 Jyotirlinga temples. The temple is destroyed six times and rebuilt six times. In modern time, it was rebuilt in 1947. The Aadi Jyotirling Shree Somnath Mahadev temple is dedicated to Someshwara, the Lord Shiva, with moon on his head.
Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple is located at Srisailam in Nallamala hills of Andhra Pradesh near the banks of Krishna River. Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga is one of the greatest shrines in India. The temple in hill looks like a great fort and is also known for its treasure of sculptures. There are number of sculptures on the walls appear as a gallery.
Mahakaleshwar- Jyotirlinga
The most famous Mahakaleshwar Hindu temples is situated in the holy and ancient city of Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. The Shiva temple of India is located on the side of the Rudra Sagar Lake in heart of Ujjain city. Mahakaleshwar idol is also known as dakshinamurti, as its facing the south. The holy temple which is credited with citations in the great works of Poet Kalidasa.

Omkareshwar Jyotirlinga
Omkareshwar is a famous Jyotirlinga temple located is a holy island of Shivpuri in Maheshwar, Madhay Pradesh. This shrine of Lord Shiva is located at the convergence of Kaveri and holy river Narmada. One of the Dwadasa jyotirlingas is spread on the Mandhata hills in Vindhya Mountains. Shape of the holy island looks like the holy symbol of Shiva “the Om”. There are two temples Omkareshwar and other one is Amareshwar. The Mamleshwar jyotirling is situated on other side of Narmada River.
Kedarnath Jyotirlinga
omThe Kedarnath jyotirlinga temple is located in Uttarakhand. The holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu is situated at the head end of the River Mandakini in the Garhwal Himalayas. Kedarnath temple is not directly accessible by road. A 14-km uphill trek from Gaurikund has to be cross to be reached here. The Temple is one of the four major sites in India’s known as Chota Char Dham, other three are Yamunotri,Gangotri and and Badrinath.

Bhimashankar Temple Jyotirlinga is situated in the Sahyadri ranges near Pune. The ancient shrine of Lord Shiva is one of the most famous pilgrim places in Maharashtra. Bhimashankar jyotirlinga temple is far away from the hustle bustle of the city life and wrapped in the ambiance of the majestic Western Ghats. Bhimashankar, one of the oldest Shiva temple is surrounded by Buddha style carvings, dense forests of high hill ranges and home to rare species of flora and fauna.
Vishwanath JyotirLinga
Kashi Vishwanath JyotirLinga temple is located in Banaras, Uttar Pradesh. The city is situated on the bank of holy river the Ganges and considered the most sacred place for Hindus. The Aarti is held in the temple five times in a day, the evening Aarti is called Ganga Aarti held every evening at Dasashwamedha Ghat.

Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga
The Trimbakeshwar Jyotirlinga is located at the source of the holy Godavari River in the town of Trimbak, in the Nashik, Maharashtra. The Trimbakeshwar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Triambakeshwar owns spectacular distinction of the Jyotirlinga having three faces exemplifying Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara (Shiva). All other 11 Jyotirlingas have only Shiva lingam.
Tens of millions of people congregated at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar for the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2015, aptly described as one of the largest religious event on the Earth. The mega event was held once every 12 years when the Sun and Jupiter come together in Leo zodiac sign in the month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar.
According to legends, the drops of Amrita or nectar fell at the Godavari River in Nasik when Lord Vishnu flew from earth to heaven after Samudra Manthan. This makes the place so sacred and is of great importance for the Hindus. In the lunar month of Magh when Sun and Jupiter are in Leo (Singh Rashi) zodiac sign Kumbh Mela is held at Trimbakeshwar in Nasik. Millions of pilgrims come here to wash away their sins in the holy river, Godavari. The two bathing ghats, Ramkund and Kushavarta holy reservoirs appreciate faith and belief of thousands of sadhus, holy men and millions of pilgrims as they take dips in holy River Godavari on the specific date and at specific time.
The Baidyanath dham also known as Baba dham is one of the most sacred abodes of Shiva. Located in Deoghar in Jharkhand, Baba Dham temple is located where the heart of Bhagwati Sati had fallen, so this place is also referred as Mahashakti peeth. It is believed that the Baidynath (Vaidyanath) Jyotirlingam in Deogarh is associated with legendary stories of Ravana and Lord Shiva. This shrine is very famous since Kanwariyas offer holy water of river Ganges to the Lord Shiva during the holy month of Shravan.
Nageshwar Jyotirlinga
The Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is believed as the first Jyotirlinga on the earth. The great Nageshwar Jyotirlinga is located near Dwarka, in Gujarat. This Nagaeshwara Jyotirlingam is facing south with the Gomugham facing east. There are three major shrines in India which are believed as identical to this Jyotirlinga, Those are the Jageshwar temple near Almora in Uttarakhand, the Nageshwara temple near Dwaraka in Gujarat, and the Nagnath temple in Aundha in Maharashtra.

Rameshwaram Jyotirlinga
Rameshwaram is a religious town located in Tamil Nadu and the temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Amongst the 12 Lord Shiva Jyotirlinga, Rameshwaram is one of the most sacred shrines of Hindus in India. Rameswara means Lord of Rama, who is believed to have prayed to Shiva here. So this place is considered holy pilgrimage site for both Shaivites and Vaishnavites. The Pamban Bridge of Rameshwaram on the Palk Strait connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to mainland India.

Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga
The Grishneshwar Jyotirlinga temple is located in Aurangabad in Maharashtra. Grishneshwar temple is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and near to rock-cut Ajanta Ellora caves. The holy month of Shrawan is filled with devotional fervours for the devotees of Lord Shiva at all Jyotirlinga shrines across India.

A visit to these 12 abodes of the Lord is a matter of immense glory and accomplishment. Those who chant the Dwadasa Jyotir Linga Stotram or prayer will attain salvation and enlightenment and be released from this cycle of human existence with all its travails. By worshipping the Lingas, people of all castes, creeds and colour would be salvaged from all difficulties. By eating the holy offering made to these Lingas (Naivedyam) one would be rid of all the sins instantly. In fact people do the darshan of the JyotirLingas as a part of their daily life. Sun, Fire and Light etc., are indeed a part of that great Light. “Om tatsavituvarenye” these magical words of the Gayatri mantra or chant invoke this Supreme light only. By chanting this powerful Mantra, humans can obtain divine power to their life-light or Atmajyothi.
Deepajyoti or light and its greatness, is known to all of us, and we offer our prayers. Let us celebrate the glory of light. Light is offered a place of pride at welcome celebrations and on all auspicious occasions.
“Shubham karoti kalyanam Arogyam Dhanasampada|
Shatru buddhi vinashaya Deepa Jyoti namostute||”
This light removes the darkness from the lives of one and all. Darkness means ignorance and it is destroyed by this light. The natured light of God makes all our wishes come true, when we take a Darshan of it. Thus, by taking a Darshan of these twelve JyotirLingas, the auspicious air surrounding them and the holy pilgrimage, will bring happiness, peace and satisfaction to all.

Fulfill your wishes at Jayanthi Devi temple

PixOne of the oldest temples in Haryana, Jayanthi Devi temple in Jind district attracts devotees every year due to its serenity and sheer devotion. In fact, the city itself is derived its name from the temple. The huge building of the temple is located on a beautiful hillock of the Shiwalik ranges and surrounded by rich greenery all over. Surrounded by beautiful fields on either side of the road leading to the temple, the entrance of the temple is a huge gate with a water tank right in front of the gate and a small park.

Adorned by the quaint beauty of the Shivalik Hills, the Jayanti Devi Temple of Haryana is just a 13 km driveway from Chandigarh. The origin of the Temple is quite interesting. It is believed that the actual Temple of Jayanti Devi was in Himachal Pradesh whereas the Pindi of Devi was found in Chandigarh.

The ever flowing Jayanti River on the bank of the temple adds a serene aura of magnificence to the spiritual surroundings. The original Jayanti Devi Temple located in Himachal Pradesh was considered one of the most sacred pilgrimage places.

According to one anecdote, inspired by the bliss of Goddess Jayanti, the devotees in Punjab decided to build a similar shrine in the state. Accordingly, few enthusiastic followers went to Himachal Pradesh and brought back the holy Pindi of the Devi to Chandigarh. Subsequently, the famous Jayanti Devi Temple was built near Chandigarh to worship the sacred Pindi.

Jayanti Devi is a very sensitive and benevolent goddess who fulfills the wishes of her devotees. She is one of the seven sisters, the seven goddesses of the Kangra Valley — Naina Devi, Jwalaji, Chintpurni, Mansa Devi, Brajeshwari, Chamunda Devi and Jayanti Devi.

As a mark of reverence to Mata Jayanti Devi, the people in Jayanti Majri restrict the construction of their houses to only a single storey. An ancient well at the base of the temple provides sweet water throughout the year, which is also the source of water for the temple. The breathtaking view of the valley from the temple will keep you spell bound.

Presently, the temple is located 15 km from Chandigarh in Ropar district of Punjab. At the foothill lies the village Jayanti Majri that owes its existence and name to the temple, on the left bank of a seasonal stream Jayanti Rao.

Devotees visit the temple in large number during a grand fair held here on full moon day in February and a small fair in August with a gathering of approximately 1.5 lakh people from across the country and abroad.

During Navratri, tens of thousands of devotees gather in the temple to participate in the grand celebration of the temple. The temple is managed by the priest’s family and the native villagers. The only source of aid to the temple is the contributions offered by the devotees.

The Jayanthi Devi temple was originally built by the Pandavas dedicated to the Goddess Jayanthi (the Goddess of victory) and the place was known as Jaintapuri.

In due course of time, Jaintapuri became Jind. The present temple is believed to have been built about 550 years ago during the Mughal era.

There was a small estate called Hathnaur (a part of Chandigarh now). The king of the small kingdom had 22 brothers. One of them was married to the daughter of the king of Kangra. The princess was a great devotee of Mata Jayanti Devi — the mother goddess of the clan — since her childhood. The princess used to worship the goddess every morning before performing her other activities.

When her marriage was fixed she was upset fearing separation from her deity. She prayed and conveyed her grief and remorse to the goddess. Mata Jayanti Devi was moved by the deep devotion of the princess. She appeared in her dreams and promised to accompany her wherever she went.

When the marriage party started back from Hathnaur with the bride’s doli, a miracle happened. Suddenly the doli turned so heavy that neither the traditional kahars nor the king’s men could move it. Then, the bride told her father about her dream. The king arranged for another doli, kept the idol in it and sent the goddess with his daughter. The pujari and his family followed the goddess.

The king of Hathnaur established a temple for the Devi on a hillock in his estate. First, the princess and later succeeding generations of the family worshipped the deity for 200 years.

At that time, a robber called Garibu extended his influence on this part of the region, including Mullanpur (now in Ropar). In due course, Garibu captured the Hathnaur estate and started his reign. But, Garibu was a friend of the poor and a great devotee of Mata. He renovated the temple and extended the premises to the present state. The metalled road leading to the temple is lined with wheat or rice fields, keekar, peepal and mango groves. The entrance to the temple is through a huge gate at the base of the hillock. From here about 100 or so easy steps lead up to the temple premises.

Accommodation near Jayanthi Devi Temple

The attraction is located within Jind main town where one can avail many local hotels/guest houses that provide deluxe and economy accommodation.

Goddess Lakshmi

Goddess Lakshmi, who is one of the most prominent and widely-worshipped Hindu female deities, is depicted as a beautiful woman of golden complexion, with four hands, sitting or standing on a full-bloomed lotus and holding a lotus bud, which stands for beauty, purity and fertility.

Lakshmi’s four hands represent the four ends of human life: dharma or righteousness, “kama” or desires, “artha” or wealth, and “moksha” or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Cascades of gold coins are seen flowing from her hands, suggesting that those who worship her gain wealth.

Lakshmi invariably wears gold embroidered red clothes. Red symbolizes activity and the golden lining indicates prosperity. Lakshmi is the active energy of Vishnu, and also appears as Lakshmi-Narayan – Lakshmi accompanying Vishnu.

Two elephants are often shown standing next to the goddess and spraying water. This denotes that ceaseless effort, in accordance with one’s dharma and governed by wisdom and purity, leads to both material and spiritual prosperity.

The importance attached to the presence of Lakshmi in every household makes her an essentially domestic deity. Householders worship Lakshmi for the well being and prosperity of the family. Businessmen and women also regard her equally and offer her daily prayers.

On the full moon night following Dusshera or Durga Puja, Hindus worship Lakshmi ceremonially at home, pray for her blessings, and invite neighbors to attend the puja. It is believed that on this full moon night the goddess herself visits the homes and replenishes the inhabitants with wealth. A special worship is also offered to Lakshmi on the auspicious Diwali night.

Large Statues of Buddha in India

Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha

Although India is country where Hindus are in large number but in idol worship Buddhist are not behind. They have built many sculptures of Buddha in India. In India, Bodh Gaya is famous as the holiest place of Buddhists. This is the place where Lord Buddha planted the seed of Buddhism, through his teachings and preaching. Thus, it can be said that in Indian statues Buddha has large amount of sharing.

For two millions of people in the world, Buddhism is the religion. The word Buddhism is originated from the world “budhhi” that means “to wake up”. Buddhism was originated about 2500 years ago, when “Buddha”, also known as, Siddhartha Gotama was enlightened. Buddha got knowledge or awakened at the age of 35. Presently there are 8 million Buddhists in India. From which there are somewhere 58.3% people belong to Maharashtra, in Karnataka there are 3.9 lakh Buddhist, in Uttar Pradesh there are 3.0 lakh Buddhists and so on.

There are many large statues of God and Goddess in India but the statues of Buddha has covered a large place in India. There are several cities that have big statues of Buddha such as,

1)      Kagyu Monestry (Dehradun): A large statue of standing Lord Buddha is located in Kagyu Monestry in Dehradun. Height of this statue is 107ft.

2)      Rajgir (Bihar): A very beautiful statue of Buddha is located in Rajgir, Bihar. This statue of Buddha is in sitting posture. Buddha lived here for several years and spread his teaching.

3)      Bodhgaya (Bihar): This statue is of 80 ft, this statue is built by 120000 stone masons. This is another statue of Lord Buddha, which is in sitting posture. This sculpture took many years to get completed.

4)      Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh): This statue of Buddha is 18 metres high, and its weight is near about 350 tons, this is one of the tallest statues of Buddha. This statue is a single marble of white colour. This statue is the main source of attraction of tourist of Secunderabad and Hyderabad, because there is a common link between these two cities i.e. Hussain Sagar, where this statue is located.

5)      Belum Caves (Andhra Pradesh): Jains and Buddhists monks from many years live in the cave of Belam. Near the cave, there is a hillock, where a big statue of Buddha is located.

6)      Bojjanakonda (Andhra Pradesh): A very beautiful statue of Lord Buddha is in Andhra Pradesh, this is a rock cut image. Bojjanakonda is near Anakapalle of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh. In the district of Andhra Pradesh, it is one of the two hillocks near Anakapalle. Both of the places have fine-looking caves with stunning rock cuts. It has many monolithic stupas, these images are too old, and it is believed that it is built between 4th A.D to 9th A.D.

7)      Norbulingka (Himachal Pradesh): A stunning Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. In Norbulingka Institute there is a spiritual centre- Deden Tsuglagkhang Temple, in which an image of Buddha Shakyamuni is located. This image is of golden colour, it is made up of copper statue.

This entry was posted on December 26, 2013. 1 Comment

Large Sculptures of The Monkey God Hanuman

Lord HanumanAccording to Hindu mythology, Lord Hanuman was the reincarnation of the Lord Shiva. Lord Hanuman helped the Lord Ram in his journey against evil. In Hindu mythology, Hanuman is one of the most idolised deities. Hanuman is always worshiped as an icon of physical potency, persistence and loyalty.

The monkey god, Hanuman is worshiped on Tuesdays (the most preferred day) but some time on Saturdays also. There are many disciples of Hanumana, who keep fast in his honour and give special offering to him. Hanuman is worshipped by those men who strictly follow celibacy, as he was a brahmachari (a person who follows celibacy). In Hindu culture, it is famous that, by chanting the name of Hanuman or by singing his hymn i.e. Hanuman Chalisa, one can easily get over his troubles and problems. Some of the people also start decreeing “Bajrang Bali ki jai” (Victory to thy thunderbolt strength) when they are in trouble, as it is believed that Hanuman helps the person in trouble and provides strength to fight. He is a perfect yogi, who has a lot of strengths. He has perfect strength and devotion power.

Hanuman is among the most famous Gods, there are millions of his disciples. He is worshiped by several people. His statutes are world famous. Some of the beautiful and famous images of Hanuman are mentioned below:

1)      Hyderabad: In India the tallest image of Hanuman is made by a foreign sculptor. Rio De Janeiro made the tallest statue of Hanuman. This is the tallest statue in the world. This statue is 135 feet tall and this statue is located in Paritala which is located somewhere 240 km away from the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. This statue is famous by the name of Veera Abhaya Anjaneya.

2)      Nandura: In the town of Maharashtra, Nandura, a very famous image of Hanuman is located, which is 105 ft high. This town is close to the national highway, this can be seen from there also because of its magnificent height. It feels gigantic to look at the sculpture, which is 32 metres tall.

3)      Shimla: Image of Hanuman in Shimla is built recently; this image was completed in 2010. This statue is of 108 ft high. This beautiful image of Hanuman can be seen from various hill parts of Shimla, this statue boosts tourism in Himachal Pradesh. This place is famous in legends, as it is believed that Acharya Drona asked about the magical herb i.e. Sanjiveeni Buti.

4)      Shahjahanpur: A famous Murti of Hanuman is in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. This image is 32 meters high i.e. 104 ft high. This is a standing image of Hanuman.

5)      Amritsar: In the Ram Tirath Temple of Hanuman of magnificent and big statue of Hanuman is beautifully carved. This statue is in the state of Punjab, India. Hanuman’s statue in this temple is 80 ft high (24.5 metres).

6)      Rourkela: Hanuman Vatika is in Rourkela, in the state of Orissa, India. Here, image of hanuman is 23 metres high (75 feet).