Chandrabhag Beach – Sadly, not so famous beach of Orissa..

Before writing..I want to share a few pics, that attracted me to this place just 4 kms from the famous sun temple of (Odhisha)Konark..

Chandrabhaga-sea-beach-1

source : http://bit.ly/2nV6K6c

Source: http://bit.ly/2okWEIH

A pristine blue beach with less human dominance ,I read somewhere and was instantly attracted to the place…The beach has no doubt lesser human presence than the world famous -over crowded/Hyper commercialized Puri beach…but, what broke my heart was the place is like an open garbage..sadly /shockingly ! It was so dirty..my little one loves to explore everything and anything that comes her way..I was scared to let her even stand on the sand…( of-course she did not let my concerns bother her fun )

DSC03858

Beaches are fun…Blue water…the sound of waves, the cool breeze hitting your face, and yes the sun…I feel the sun looks sexy on a beach anytime of the day….Mentioning sun ( surya dev)..I remember a legend ( not so famous associated with him ).Once upon a time there was this damsel named chandrabhaga. She was a divine beauty and hence Surya dev( sun) was magnetized towards her…He wanted to express his love to her..But Chandrabhaga  was not impressed and she did not offer herself to god… Maddened by romantic pangs, the God chased behind a frightened Chandrabhaga who jumped into the river and killed herself, succeeded in protecting her chastity. As a mark of tribute to her sacrifice, every year on the 7th day of the full moon fortnight of Magha month, people from all over the state and outside gather to take a holy dip in the river that is reduced to a shallow pool, offer their prayers to the Sun God and enjoy the sunrise.  During this festival the trio trishambhu is assembled on an altar near the holy pond. the tishambhu comprises of (Triveniswar of Madhipur, Aishaneswar of Santhapur and Dakhineswar of Bang ) Many devotees and locals offer puja and bhog to the three deities.

source: http://www.orissapost.com/5-lakh-pilgrims-take-holy-dip-at-chandrabhaga/I could spot

I could spot a temple on the beach, few locals advised us not to go near…( I am still curious ,why were we stopped ) Moving further …I saw an army of trees lined up on one side of the beach( no one could tell me the name of those trees)…the path to the parking is lined up by small shops selling shells and shell related handicraft..( I loved the place no doubt !)

Before ending, I remember there is another legend associated with the beach, which  says… Sambha son of lord Krishna was once cursed of leprosy by none other than his father ! Sambha was very handsome and krishna felt his 16000 wives were getting more fond of Sambha than him ! Broken hearted ,Sambha was roaming in Chandrabhaga river,they say….He prayed to sun god ,with full devotion and was cured of his leprosy !!

Chandrabhaga River meets the sea ,but sadly over the years ..it has dried up..We could not locate even a small stream or something 😦

 

 

 

Advertisements

POLO FOREST…Archaeological paradise hidden inside a jungle full of secrets..so lets polo !

One of the lesser known Archaeological paradise of Gujarat, If you love adventure/Trekking ,flora ,fauna and are crazy for ancient architecture and history.. This is the place to be… Polo forest lies in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat. The (anokha) name  comes from ‘Pol’ which means housing complex in Gujarati…

The place is just 145 kms from Ahmadabad.. This Holi ( 2017), We chose Polo as our secret Hideout from our overenthusiastic Holi fanatic neighbors …..and yes we freaked out like mad….We savored different shades ( raang) of nature ( Site is rich in Flora and fauna) , relished local folk tales, got high on rustic architecture and archaic temples…We were treated with a lot of local cuisine, Full moon night, tent , bonfire and the temperature outside freezing cold…What more can you ask for ??

We had made our bookings with POLO SAFARI. I wanted to relax and luxuriate this Holi and Team POLO made this dream happen for me..complete trip was planned by them..We had to pay a total of 4700/- and rest was taken care of ( Boarding , Food , Guide). It was a relaxing /informative / venturesome two days trip……

polo 2

DAY 1:

We reached our destination early around 10:00 am..My baby had just woken up from her sweet sleep…We settled in our allotted room. We were informed that the trek starts at around 2:00, we had a good numbers of hours with us to rest and for me..complete all task related to my little devil( 2 year old daughter). We had our lunch and started our adventure with a big group ( Other residents/tourists of the resort).

and the fun begins..

Spot 1 : SARNESHWAR TEMPLE -Where Nandi is greater than Shiva….

DSC03905.JPG

A concept very unknown to the world…According to Mr Chirag from POLO SAFARI.. The temple was made in 4th century….It was made by parihar kings from Idar.

DSC03900

The outer wall or the main gate /fort like gate of the temple…can you spot Nandi…What is unusual ? Nandi is placed on a pillar..That is Nandi is placed above his lord Shiva….very peculiar ain’t it ?

sarneshwar.jpg

Source: https://www.facebook.com/polosafari.in/

Who is Nandi ? He is Shiva’s gate keeper…He is Shiva’s Main attendant.. He was born to Sage Shilada from a Yagna performed by the sage. Nandi’s Bhakti and Penance earned him a place in Kailash..He is the gate keeper and the Mount(Vahan) of Shiva. Nandi is depicted as a seated bull in almost all of the Shiva temples..At Sarneshwar , Nandi is seated on a pillar.If we try to decipher this ancient mystery ( why the butler is placed above the master)..There is a lot that can be said..One theory is..The time at which the temple was made..worship of Nandi was of greater importance than that of Shiva…This is quite possible , as they say, worship of Nandi and Shiva is as old as Indus Valley Civilization….Nandi or Bull is a symbol of male untamed Virility and being and agrarian society worship of fertility/virility was and still is a common practice in India.

DSC03907.JPG

To your extreme right, Notice the statue of (Kali) like god, She is locally known as Rakht Chamundi…She loves to quench her thirst by drinking human blood, She is draped in minimal clothes and has a garland of skull around her neck…After even resorting to cannibalism, Torso of Rakht Chamundi is depicted malnourished…This is basically a symbolic figure and points out the political scenario of Polo Forest during 4th century..The place belonged to tribals or Bhils..There was not much education around, food must have been a big problem . There was a lot of chaos and dispute within locals.Taking advantage of the situation and following the famous principle of ‘Divide and Rule’…Kings of Idar , then Mewar and finally the Mughals invaded the place..

 

Spot 2: SURYA MANDIR

Not much history is known about this Surya Mandir. I could spot sculptures of Aditiyas around the outer walls of temple…( There are a total of 8 Aditiyas or solar deities according to Vedic traditions)

Spot 3 CROSSING HARNAV RIVER…

polo harnav river bridge

Locals say, Maharana Pratap was somewhere near Harnav River, when he was hiding out and preparing for a come back against Mughals…He had sparred a baby Fawn Hiran(deer) his life after seeing his innocent eyes and that is how, the River got its name..

After crossing Harnav river and trekking for a bit, We were bombarded with a truck load of age old temples to our delight…

Spot 4 : SERIES OF ANCIENT TEMPLES.

DSC03958.JPG

 

Sadly,the temple is in complete ruins…

DSC03967.JPG

MINI CHANDBAORI OF GUJARAT…..

Kund- Placed behind the Shiva temple…Wont you agree with me , if I dare say ,this kund is a micro mini sized ChandBaori – Step well ?This is what I felt…You may have a different opinion….That’s okay..let me know..Some more snaps of the kund (akka) Stepwell..

(Stepwells, also called bawdi or baori, are unique to India. These wells acted as the reservoirs or the storage tanks that can store large amount of water and keep it cool as well.)

In both the pictures, Chambers are visible, According to Mr. Chirag, These were used by the pilgrims to rest and change clothes after holy dip in the kund( abolition) , before visiting the temple ! If you watch closely it is a four storied step-well, pyramid shaped steps lead to each storey…Moving ahead, I am sharing a downloaded of ChandBaori and will highlight few observations that I believe is true….

ChandBaori

Source :Chandbaori Step well – The largest and oldest step well of India and probably most famous !

Another fascinating thing that I noticed, Location of both the place has a striking similarity…Chand Baori is located in a place called Abhaneri ( city of brightness) and The step well at Polo forest is located in a village called Abhapur( city of brightness).. If you still don’t agree on their (rishta) relation with each other… Both the step wells have chambers for people to change clothes and rest ! The basic plan is same…(I am no historian ,but I am an Indian and I love to explore and analyse my heritage.)

Moving ahead…we reached Spot 5..

The grand Parshvanatha temple….The temple, from the top ( helicopter ) looks like a human body we were told !

DSC03973.JPG

Parshavanath  is 23rd Tirthankar of Jainism.

parshavnath  Source: http://bit.ly/2nMLmjx

A major default in the architecture of this temple is…The mul swami or the main deity at the Garbha Griha is not visible from the entrance.. This is very typical and a prime requirement for a Jain temple….

They say this is the reason why the city perished( local superstition)…Nevertheless the architecture is worth a mention..Delicate detailing has been done, but due to lack of care and erosion over the years…our past is fading /washing out….

We were shown a secret door, (surang) in the assembly hall of the Derasar..

This Surang we were informed was mighty 45kms long! This was a secret escape route in case of attacks..and connected Idar to polo forest…The main idol is missing and few of the idols kept in the temple complex are in a very heartbreaking /dilapidated condition…The place has seen many Invaders including Mughals…

Spot 6: Lakhena Temple..

Interesting fact about this temple is.The architecture of the temple is a unique blend of Hindu, Muslim and Jain architecture…The amalgamation of cultures ,visible in the craftsmanship, is delightful to watch…

DSC04011.JPG

DSC04014.JPG

A photo tour of this Derasar…

Geometric /symmetric Jali work – a typical feature of Muslim architecture, Gomukh – a must for Hindu Shiv temples, We were even shown an idol of Krishna on one of the walls…If you are a history maniac like us ( My husband , me and my lil baby)..you will love the place..(The moment she( My baby) enters a temple..she says namho namho with all due respect and bhav . She even gestures namaskar mudra..)

we moved ahead and reached the final destination of this Ancient temple complex and thus our Spot 7: Jain temples ( 15th century)

The first temple is made of marble and the second one made of bricks…Both the temples are in complete ruins …

The last destination for day one was Vanaj Dam…

DSC04038.JPG

DSC04044

DSC04046

DSC04042

Water was leaking from the Dam….People around were murmuring.. MohenJo Daro..( the last scene from the Bollywood movie flashed in my filmy brain ).!

It was end of Day one and we returned back to our resort…It was a moonlight night…The resort and the place around was looking heavenly…I have never seen such darkness in city….( The resort is placed in the  middle of a farm and circumferenced by hills…

We ended the day by enjoying, Gujarati meal..There was Bhakri, Tamater ni sev, Khechri, Kadi and some sweet…(Shudh) vegetarian food…

Day 2 of my journey in polo forest in my next blog…

To be continued…

 

POLO SAFARI DETAILS

facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/polosafari.in/

Call – Mr Chirag Shah – 9408510911

 

 

Tara Tarini – Shakti peeth of Orissa

According to Hindu religion, If one is blessed /lucky enough to visit Char Dham,then the ladder to heaven becomes shorter and the route to Moksha becomes easy  !The Char Dham’s are Rameshwaram ,Jagganath,Badrinath and Dwarka .I got to read a very interesting article , where the author says ” According to Sankaracharya (8th century).Lord vishnu takes a holy dip in Rameshwaram,then moves to Jagannath for Lunch ,enjoys 56(chappan) bhog served at the temple. After satiating his palate ,it is meditation time for the lord at Badrinath and the final retreat is Dwarka ,where Vishnuji retires and rests…This cyclic explanation of Char Dham highlights the nature of the primal householder LORD VISHNU !

As my sasural ( Place where In Laws live) is in Odisha ( Adobe of LORD). I am lucky to have visited lord quite a few times now.  Jagat(world) + Nath(lord or Master), Jagannath literally means master of the world. This highly revered temple, One of the four Dhams is very popular Dharmic and tourist spot. Fame and Bane go hand in hand it seems…The Dinning Venue of Jagannath has a slang to its name…’Juggernaut’. Thanks to some (meherban) foreigner , google the word and you will be shocked !

My concern is ..Is Orissa all about Jagannath ? As usual the other half of the society is ignored..This International women’s day I got a galore of Messages on my cell ! Why only a single day out of the 365 days ? Today is not any special day for women of this world…I still want to celebrate it ,in my own way by highlighting two female forces of Orissa… Two Shakipeeths have been identified in Orissa..Maa Bimla Devi and Maa Taratarini…I have been to Jagganath thrice or may be more, I had no Idea ,that Maa Bimla( One of the four Adi Shakti peeth’s ) is located inside the Jagannath temple !

The Astashakti and Kalika Purana says (in Sanskrit):

“Bimala Pada khandancha,
Sthana khandancha Tarini (Tara Tarini),
Kamakshya Yoni khandancha,
Mukha khandancha Kalika (Dakshina Kalika)
Anga pratyanga sanghena
Vishnu Chakra Kshyta nacha”

This simply means that Bimala temple is the place ,where the foot ( Pada)of Ma sati fell , Breast ( sthana) fell at Taratarini ,Vagina or (Yoni ) fell and Mouth( Mukha) fell at Dakshia kali temple . In this blog I bring to you ma Tara Tarini…

Around 180 kms from Bhubnehwar, near behrampur city,nestling in the midst of beautiful kumari hills in Ganjam district. Maa Tararaini resides on top of a hillock .The ride to the place is a therapy believe me..Greenery all around, We crossed the mighty chilka..Kumari hills as the names suggest is literally virgin beauty…soaked in green , we reached our destination…Sadly , not much history is known by the locals around…Tara tarini temple is one of the Adi Shaktipeetha suggesting its long long past….

Tara Tarini Hills Breast Shrine of Mata Sati

source:http://taratarinitemple.blogspot.in/2011_04_01_archive.html

I found ,this image on  a blog, It is the satellite image of kumari hills,where the temple is located. Tara Tarini is Sthna (breast) peetha, two distinct cups can be seen in the pics, Looking at this pic. I feel may be the legend of Shakti and Tandav by shiva and falling of her body parts on earth is true !

DSC03733.JPG

First darshan of the temple revealed that the temple was not very old ! I got to know from locals that the original temple ,has been renovated and a new bigger /grander temple has been erected on the same site!

DSC03747.JPG

Rushikuliya River -(Jyesht Bhagini ) elder sister of river ganga according to puranas garlands around the temple hill.

DSC03744

Rushikulya river is also the breeding site of Olive Ridley turtles in India.

olive ridley turtle

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive_ridley_sea_turtle#/media/File:Turtle_golfina_escobilla_oaxaca_mexico_claudio_giovenzana_2010.jpg

 

The temple complex is a photographers paradise..According to one reference, Vasu Praharaja, a learned Brahmin of Kharida Vira, Jagannathpur Sasan near Purushotampur was a great devotee of Mother Goddess. He was childless. The two sisters, Tara and Tarini stayed at Vasu Praharaja’s house for some years. But one day, both the sisters disappeared from Vasu Praharaja’s house. It is believed that the sisters went upto Tarini Parvat and disappeared there. Vasu Praharaja went about searching for the girls but in vain. He was distraught with grief. That night he saw a dream in which Tara and Tarini informed him that they were not his daughters but were the incarnations of Adi Shakti- Tara and Tarini. The goddess instructed Vasu Praharaja to renovate the temple on the hill top and consecrate the deities.

Daily seva puja is being performed in the temple as per the following established programmes.

Time                            Nature of puja

5.05 A.M                   Majana

6.15 A.M                   Mangala Alati & Pahili Bhog

12.15 P.M                   Raja Bhog

12.35 P.M                   Pahada

2.15 P.M                   Reopening

5.15 P.M                   Evening Majana

6.15 P.M                   Sandhya Alati

9.45 P.M                   Bhog & Pahada

Official website: http://taratarini.nic.in/

Tara Tarini shakti peethas Maa Tara Tarini @ the Garbha griha of temple.

Tara tarini Shakthi peeth is an ancient temple. The temple built in 17th century has 999 steps leading to the temple. The deities at the temple are made of stone and adorned with gold and silver ornaments. The deities are shaped as human faces. In between these deities are placed the utsav murthis (chalanti Pratima) used during rath yatra made of brass. Goddess Taratarini is the presiding deity of most of the households in Southern Orissa. Goddess Taratarini was the presiding deity of the rulers of Kalinga kingdom. The temple has been built in the Rekha style of architecture. source: http://www.indianscriptures.com/sacred-places/shakti-peethas/maa-tara-tarini

If you notice, the char Dham belong to vishuji .  Masculine energy , virility, strength ,power is worshiped. The feminine force ‘Shakti’ is more highlighted in Tantric Hinduism. The word ‘tantric’or ‘tantrisim’ is a tabbo for some! For me,  in this patriarchal world ,where women have to fight, even to retain their name after marriage….I appreciate /applaud and salute tantric ideology ! Tantrsim worship’s fertility, wild feminine force,creativity,freedom  , nature (prakriti) and TARA TARINI is one of the Tantra peetha’s .

DSC03787.JPG  Varahi Devi and the legend associated with Tara Tarini and Shiva…..

I found these two statues outside the garbha griha ,in the temple complex, A local informed that,this statue was part of original temple. The first life size statue( on your left), around 6 feet high belongs to Varahi. She is one of the seven MATRIKAS. She has a head of wild boar and is feminie energy/part from vishnu’s Varha avtaar.

The second image, what I deciphered believe belongs to goddess Tara, As I came across a legend,where Goddess Tara took the form of mother and suckled Shiva to reduce the effect of Halahal(poison) that shiva had in his throat extracted from churning of ocean( Samudra Manthan).

Varaha and Varahi Avtaar of Vishnu..

She is usually worshiped at night, and according to secretive Tantric practices. The Buddhist goddesses Vajravārāhī and Marichi are believed to have their origins in the Hindu goddess Varahi.

DSC03791.JPG Narsimhi : has a face of lion. She is the female form of narsimha,avataar of vishu.

Matrikas as a mentioned earlier are a group of seven goddesses, who assist Shakti in her fights with demons. Matrikas are highlighted in tantrisim and shakti sects. The groups of seven mothers or matrikas are  Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, Chamunda and Narasimhi.Sadly I could locate only two out of the seven matrikas…

Before entering the temple, One has to buy a ticket( 5 rs), very typical, as I have visited many temples in my life, but never paid… We reached there around 2:30, we did our pooja’s and prayers and left the place content…

As we were moving back home…the whole Tara Tarini episode was replaying in my mind…The concept of Shaktipeeth , the power of Matrikas..all have a lot to teach if think deep…Women are self sufficient… Women are no minority….Women do not need any concession for being what they are……No one special day is required to celebrate feminine power….Lets stop the gender war and learn from SHIVSHAKTI…THE ART OF COEXISTENCE….

lets create a world where there is no superior /subordinate…..BOTH MAN AND WOMAN ARE EQUALS…….

 

HOTELS NEARBY

Hotel Nirupama..It is just 3 kms from the temple, a great place to rest /night stay. food is tasty ! The manager informed us that he could take us for a night safari in the protected forest area, where the Olive Ridley turtles come and lay their eggs ! It did not happen for us as we were on a tight schedule…

Food : Non Veg

NOTE: To reach the top of the hill, choose any of the following…

  1. Four wheeler are allowed to the top.
  2. IF you wish , you can choose a rope way to the top.
  3. 999 steps lead to the temple from the base…

If you want a quick visit, avoid Tuesdays as lakhs of devotees flock on this day…