Monday, April 9, 2018

'Visit to Chattushringi Temple, Pune, India' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

During my last visit to Pune, I had the privilege of visiting Chattushringi Temple. It is a Hindu temple in the city of Pune in Maharashtra state of India. The temple is located on the slope of a hill on Senapati Bapat Road. It is said to have been built during the reign of the Maratha king Shivaji.

Chattushringi (Chattu means four) is a mountain with four peaks. The Chattushringi temple is 90 feet high and 125 feet wide and is a symbol of power and faith. One has to climb more than 100 steps to reach the shrine of Goddess Chattushringi. In the temple premises there are also temples of Goddess Durga and Lord Ganesh. This includes eight miniature idols of Ashtavinayaka. These small temples are located on the four separate hillocks.Also includes the temple of Vetal Maharaj at the baner pashan end.
 The legend associated with the temple is that, once there was a rich and prosperous merchant named Durlabhsheth Pitambardas Mahajan who was an ardent believer of Goddess Saptashrungi devi and visited all Her temples everywhere. But as he grew older, he could no longer travel and this hindered him from visiting the temples. Then one night the Goddess Saptashrungi devi appeared in his dream and told him, "if you can not come to me, I will come to you & stay near you." She told him to come to a mountain situated in the North-West of Pune & dig there. The place as described by the goddess was traced out and miracle happened as he found a natural statue of goddess (swayambhu devi). He constructed the temple at that place and this is the same temple which was renovated time to time, which is the present temple.

The presiding deity of the temple is Goddess Chattushringi, also known as Goddess Ambareshwari. She is also considered as the presiding deity of the city of Pune. The temple is maintained by the Chattushringi Devasthan Trust. Every year a fair is held at the foothills on the eve of Navratri. Thousands of people gather to worship the Goddess Chattushringi.

(Text source: Wikipedia)

Thursday, March 8, 2018

'Ratha construction at Suchindram Temple, Tamil Nadu, India' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

Suchindram is a temple town situated in the southernmost district of Kanya Kumari in Tamil Nadu State, India. It is 11 km from Kanyakumari city and 7 km from Nagarcoil town and approximately 81 km from Trivandrum city. The town of Suchindrum is renowned for the Thanumalayan  temple in Suchindram.

This temple  is unique in the whole of India in that it is dedicated to three different deities represented by one image in the sanctum and is called Sthanumalayan (Sthanu-Shiva; Maal-Vishnu and Ayan-Brahma) kovil. The temple is rich in sculpture and architecture.

When I visited this town in January 2018, work on construction of Rathas or chariots of the temple was under way. I just stood spell bound there watching it all.

Take a look: 



Saturday, March 3, 2018

Hemkund Sahib- by K.J.S.Chatrath

I went to Hemkund Sahib last in 2012. That was my fourth and the last visit to Hemkund Sahib.  Now I am too old to take that strenuous journey especially when I do not have the backing of inner faith- I am an atheist. However that does not stop me from respectfully visiting the religious places of various religions.

Hemkund Sahib is a Sikh place of worship and pilgrimage site in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India. It is devoted to Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), the tenth Sikh Guru, and finds mention in Dasam Granth, a work dictated by the Tenth Guru himself. Hemkund is the breathtaking Lokpal lake located at an altitude of 4329 m or 14,200 feet above sea level.

The lake or kund or the sarovar. There are seven mountains around it. They all get snow and then the snow melts and water comes in to this sarovar. The reflection of those seven snow clad mountains in the sarovar is a memorable sight. On the day of my visit there was no snow left on this mountain.

On reaching the top one is greeted with hot cups of tea, biscuits and parshada of khichri.
There is a Lakshman Temple on one side. Surprisingly there are very, very few temples dedicated to Lakshman in India. This is one of the rare ones.

The pony stand quite near the top. Believe you me, it is easier to climb up on foot rather than take a pony. A pony ride to Hemkund Sahib is painful and risky. The elevation one has to reach is 14,200 feet, the climb is very steep, narrow and the same for pilgrims and the horses.

Please take a closer look after enlarging the photo. I saw the rare sight of a field full of 'Bramh Kamals'
A 'Bramh Kamal'.

Close up of a Bramh Kamal. Source of this photo only is internet.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

'Statues of Goddess Kali in Government Museum, Chennai, India' - by K.J.S.Chatrath

India has such a rich cultural heritage. Only a small portion of the ancient sculptures lie protected in various museums across India.

Indian museums are quite unlike museums in Europe,UK and USA where many of the museums display artifacts which do not belong to the country displaying them. A number of these artifacts were brought from the countries of origin illegally/stolen or brought "for safe keeping", as some of them would like the world to believe.

India's incredible wealth on display in its museums is all its own. However it is sad that our museums are not frequented by visitors, both Indian and foreign, in numbers that they deserve to receive. Having visited some museums in the countries mentioned above and in some of the Latin American countries, one can say easily  that the entrance fee to Indian museums is one of the lowest in the world.

One of the large and very rich museums in India is the museum at Egmore. Whenever I go to Chennai, I spend a few hours there. I was there last month and this time I greatly admired two sculptures of Goddess Kali.

‘The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Since Shiva is called Kāla—the eternal time—Kālī, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" (as in time has come). Hence, Kāli is the Goddess of Time and Change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnation as a figure of annihilator of evil forces still has some influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well as Shākta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality or Brahman. She is also revered as Bhavatārini (literally "redeemer of the universe"). Comparatively recent devotional movements largely conceive Kāli as a benevolent mother goddess. Kālī is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. Shiva lies in the path of Kali, whose foot on Shiva subdues her anger. She is the fierce aspect of the goddess Durga (Parvati)’.(Source:

Take a look:

 Kali, Nerkundram, Tamil Nadu. About 12th Century A.D.

 Kali, Nolamba, Hemavati, Snantpur Dt., About 9th Century A.D. 

 The Government Museum is located in the neighbourhood of Egmore in Chennai, India. Started in 1851, it is the second oldest museum in India after the Indian Museum in Kolkata. The National Art Gallery is also located in the museum premises. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, it houses rare works of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. It comprises six independent buildings in this Museum campus  and has 46 galleries.

Entrance fees:
·  15 per person for Adults (Indians)
·  10 per person for Children (Indians)
·  3 per person for School Children
·  250 per person for Foreign Tourists
·  200 for Still Camera / Video Camera (Indians)
·  500 for Still Camera / Video Camera (Foreigners)

(Write up with inputs from the internet)

Drone photo of Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri, India by unknown photographer' - K.J.S.Chatrath

Grateful thanks to my friend Pratip Mohanty for sharing this amazing photo- Jai Jagannath!