Archive | May 2019

478. Maharashtra tour – Part IV

On 10th May evening we reached Pandharpur and since we made arrangements for our stay and dinner at Palijar Mutt, Ramdham  we went there straightaway. After keeping our luggages in the room, we asked our car driver to drop us before the temple. We booked for darshan through online, already.

There was heavy rush there in the temple but the queue moved quickly. The Vithoba Temple, Pandharpur is officially known as Shri Vitthal-Rukmini Mandir. All the devotees are allowed to touch the feet of the idol of Vithoba.  There is a legend about this temple.  Pundalik is a devoted son to his parents Janudev and Satyavati, who lived in a forest called Dandirvan. But after his wedding, Pundalik begins ill-treating his parents. Tired with their son’s misbehavior and ill treatment, the elderly couple decide to leave for Kashi. However, the elderly couple are not destined to escape their suffering so easily. Upon hearing his parents’ plans, Pundalik and his wife decide to join them on pilgrimage. The ill treatment continues. While the youthful son and his wife ride on horseback, the frail old couple walk in bad weather. Pundalik even makes his old parents work to make his own journey comfortable. Every evening, when the party camps for the night, the son forces his parents to groom the horses and do other jobs.

On the way to Kashi, the group reached the ashram  of a pious and venerable sage, Kukkutswami. Exhausted, the family decides to spend a few days there. That night, when all were asleep, Pundalik by chance is awake and sees a remarkable vision. Just before dawn, a group of beautiful young women, dressed in soiled clothes, enter the ashram; they clean the floor, fetch water and wash the venerable sage’s clothes. After finishing their chores, they go to the prayer-room. When they reappear after prayer, their clothes are spotlessly clean. Then, they vanish as inexplicably as they had appeared.

He approaches the beautiful women and asks details. They reply, they are the Ganga,  Yamuna and other holy rivers of India which are revered for their holiness. Pilgrims wish to take a dip in their holy waters to wash away their sins, which in fact are soiling their clothes. Then, the women say: “But O Pundalik, you, with your ill-treatment of your parents, are the greatest sinner of them all!” Pundalik is utterly shocked and his consciousness transforms. He realizes his misdeeds, becomes entirely devoted to his parents and ensures their comfort.

Impressed by Pundalik’s devotion to his parents, Lord Krishna planned to bless  Pundalik immediately. So, he left for Pundalik’s ashram. Krishna knocks at Pundalik’s door, when he is busy serving his parents food. Pundalik does realize God is at his door. But such was his devotion to his parents, he wants to complete his duties and only then attend the visitor. Then, Pundalik does something strange but out of real devotion. He throws a brick outside for God to stand on and wait for him until he finishes attending to his parents. It is the first day of monsoon so it is wet and muddy outside. If Lord Krishna stands upon a brick his feet will remain clean and dry.

Seeing this act, Krishna was extremely impressed and the ever-loving God waited for his devotee. When Pundalik came out, he begged for pardon but far from being displeased, Krishna was taken over by Pundalik’s love for his parents and granted a boon. Pundalik requested Krishna to stay back on Earth and bless all his true devotees. He agreed to take the form of Vithoba, or God who stood upon a brick, and a temple came up there. Along with Vithoba, Rukmini  is also worshipped here.

We all had very good darshan there and returned to our room peacefully.

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477. Maharashtra tour – Part III

In our Maharashtra tour on 9th May after having Baba darshan, we visited Thriambakeshwar and and went to Panchavati.  The place Panchavati has gained holy importance, as it is believed that Rama, Lakshman and Seetha had stayed here, during Ramayana period.

When  Rama and  Seetha were asked to leave Ayodhya by beloved Step-Mother Kaikeyi under the influenced of Manthara her maid, the two left. However, compelled by the love for his elder brother, Lakshman also left with the couple on exile for 14 years. Panchavati was the place where the trio made their home while serving the exile, the word literally meaning ‘Garden of five banyan trees‘. The trees could still be seen in the temple premises nearby Seetha Gufaa. With Godavari flowing nearby, even the scary forests with roving animals became heavenly sanctity.

Kalaram temple , Kapaleshwar temple, Ganga Godavari temple, Sunder Narayan temple, Talkuteshwar temple,temple, NilkantheshwarGoraram mandir Murlidhar Mandir,Tilbhandeshwar mandir, Balaji temple, Sandvyachi devi temple, Vitthal temple, Pataleshwar temple,Naroshankar temple, Ramkund, Karthikswami temple,Dutondya maruti , Katya maruti temple, Panchmukhi Hanuman temple , Bhadrakali temple,Katpurthala monuments are located in and around Panchavati area.

To visit the above places, we have to travel by auto only, as we have to go through narrow lanes. We gave rest to our taxi driver for 3 hours and visited all places. We came back to Shirdi by night and we stayed there that night.

Next day(10th May)  morning, we started by 4.30 AM and went to Shani Shinganapur, after vacating room in Shirdi.  Shingnapur is 35 km from Ahmednagar city.  Shingnapur is also famous for the fact that no house in the village has doors, only door frames. Despite this, officially no theft was reported in the village, as Shani bhagvan won’t allow any thief to enter the place. The temple is believed to be a “Jeet devasthan” ,  “alive temple”, meaning that a deity still resides in the temple icon. Villagers believe that God Shani punishes anyone attempting theft. The deity here is “Swayambhu” that is self emerged from earth in form of black, imposing stone. After having darshan of Shani Baghvan in the pleasant morning, we started our journey to Pandharpur.

I will continue the details in my next blog.

476. Maharashtra tour – Part II

We started our journey to Maharashtra from Chennai, by catching flight to Pune from Chennai on 08-05-2019 night by 11.55. We reached Pune airport by 1.30 AM. The taxi booked by us was waiting for us in Pune airport. It took 4 hours by road to reach Shirdi. Since we have booked room there in Dwaravathi, we reached there straightaway.

Actually we booked one AC room for the first day ie from 4 PM of 8th to next day evening. Since we reached the room by 6 AM on 9th May, we had little time for refreshing. We had bath quickly and started to walk for darshan. It took about 10 minutes to reach the temple. Since, we missed Kakda darshan due to cancellation of flight, we were given special darshan. The special darshan queue joined the darma darshan queue within 5 minutes. Since, it was a thursday, there was heavy rush. But, we could have the drshan of Baba for a minute.

With peace of mind, we came outside the temple to have tiffin.  The tiffin in Maharashtra was OK for us but lunch was not at all suitable. We somehow managed for 3 days. We came to room and immediately started for Thriambakeshwar. It was a big and old Shiva temple. Considered as the holiest temple of India, the Trimbakeshwar Temple houses one of the most important twelve Jyotirlingas, a form of Lord Shiva. Perched on the foot of Brahmagiri Hills, the temple is situated in the pious city of Trimbak  in the  Nasik district which finds its mention in the powerful Mrityunjaya Mantra that bestows immortality and longevity. Built in the 18th century by Maratha ruler, Peshwa Nana Saheb, the temple is a perfect epitome of classic architecture. The sacred river Godhavari originates near Trimbak. There is a kunda in temple premises that is considered to be the source of river Godhavari. Amidst the hustling and bustling market of the town, the shikhara of the Trimbakeshwar Temple rises above and witnesses lakhs of devotees every year. The fascinating feature of the Jyotirlinga is its three faces symbolizing Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra. The Trimbak town is like a heaven on earth. We will not be able to resist soaking ourselves in the holiness and purity of the place which washes away all our regrets and sins. A trip to this sacred place will make us taste freedom, wisdom and spirituality.

From Thriambakeshwar, we started our journey to Panchavadi by car. I will continue my narration in my next blog.

 

 

 

 

475. Maharashtra tour – Part I

We were dreaming for a long time to make a pilgrimage tour in Maharashtra. Our dream came true this year. We planned to start the tour from Chennai, as my sister and her husband wished to join with us. We wished to visit Shirdi first by flight which starts by 12 PM  on 08-05-2019, so that we can reach Shrdi by 4 PM. After having Baba’s darshan on 8th evening and Kakda darshan on 9th morning, we decided to make one day trip to Panchavadi and Thriambakeshwar temple on the same day. So, we booked room for 2 days in Shirdi, online. Then, from Shirdi, we planned to visit Shani Singanapur, Pandharpur, Kohlapur and to Pune, to catch our return flight to Chennai. We booked room in Pandharpur also.

When we sat in the train for Chennai, we got a message from Spice Jet that our flight from Chennai to Shirdi has been cancelled, due to operational reasons. We were shocked as we have made arrangment for room and vehicle, for the whole trip. Moreover, we were longing to visit the above places. We didn’t want to disappoint my sister and her husband also. We tried to contact Spice Jet authorities over phone. We tried for more than an hour but we could hear the IVRS voice only saying that the line is busy. We got fed up and tried to make alternate attangement to visit some other place. But, within a short notice, that too, during summer vacation we didn’t get flight/train ticket to any other place.

Suddenly, we got a call from Spice Jet office asking whether we want to get full refund, as the flight had been cancelled. Controlling our anger, we requested them to book flight ticket by alternate flight, at the earliest to Shirdi or Pune. They finally agreed to give us ticket in flight to Pune, which will start by 11.55 PM from Chennai on 08-05-2019. We conveyed the news to my sister’s family and went to sleep in the train.

I will continue the journey details in my next blog.