The shining sun

My husband and I are doing a long road trip in our car, moving from the north of India to the south. We are relocating and decided to take in a few sights en route.

Photo essays on the beautiful places to follow soon.

Today, I used my phone to capture the road in front and the sun decided to shine bright and nice. Not very clear because of the motion of the vehicle.IMG_20161022_153336.jpg

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This is a click of the setting sun caught on the side mirror of the car with my phone again.

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Shine

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Naina Devi

According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Sati aka Dakshayani, was the wife of  Lord Siva, the Destroyer. She jumped into the Yagya (the Holy Fire) performed by her father King Daksha to avenge the insult to her husband. Lord Siva enraged at this slung her body over his shoulder and started performing the Rudra Tandav or the Cosmic Dance. It is believed that the earth and the heavens started shaking. Fearing catastrophe and to avoid it, Lord Vishnu, the Protector unleashed his weapon, the Chakra or the wheel. The Chakra sliced Sati’s body into 51 pieces which fell across the breadth of India. Siva stopped his dance when the weight disappeared from his shoulders.

Naina Devi in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh is the place where her eyes are believed to have fallen. Naina in Hindi refers to eyes. The temple is situated at an altitude of around 1180 metres above sea level.

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A view of the temple
Taking a picture of the Goddess in the sanctum sanctorum is not permitted.

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The lions outside the sanctum sanctorum

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Bells to call out to the Goddess
The temple can be reached by road or by a ropeway from the base of the hills. From the ropeway stop, one needs to climb around 120 steps to reach the temple.

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The ropeway car
Surrounded by beautiful mountains with a view of the river Sutlej, it was a beautiful experience.

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A view of the river Sutlej from the hill top
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Kiratpur Sahib

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Built on the banks of the river Sutlej, Gurdwara Patalpuri Sahib is situated at Kiratpur Sahib in district Rupnagar aka Ropar in the state of Punjab in India.

Kiratpur Sahib was founded by the sixth Guru Sri Hargobind Sahib. It was here that Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs along with his followers received the sacred head of the ninth Guru Sri Tegh Bahadur, brought from Delhi with great devotion and respect in 1675.

Guru Sri Tegh Bahadur was executed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb.

It is the place where many Sikhs take the ashes of their dead to be immersed in the river. img_1439_edited

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The Holy City of Bliss

One of the episodes in the series on Mega kitchens of India on the National Geographic channel featured the festival of Hola Mohalla celebrated at Anandpur Sahib. Ever since I watched it, I have wanted to see the place since we lived about 120 kms from there. My husband does not like to go to crowded places as a result making a trip during the festival was out of the question. I decided to settle for a visit to the place during the off season. I have included the link to the episode in this blog.

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Anandpur Sahib in Rupnagar district (aka Ropar) of Punjab, India is also known as “the holy City of Bliss”.  Located on the lower ranges of the Himalayas, it is one of the Sikhs’ most important sacred places replete with their religious traditions and history.It is surrounded by picturesque natural beauty near the river Sutlej.

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The Sanctum Santorum
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The community kitchen feeds all visitors/pilgrims and no one is turned away hungry. It was a simple meal of chapattis, vegetables and dal.

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Plates stacked for the visitors
The place is continuously cleaned using a big mop/ wiper. People sit on mats on the floor to eat. The food is hot and fresh.

Water and tea was dispensed not using kettles or jugs but from a big drum mounted on wheels with a tap. The tap was opened and closed using a handle similar to the brake system of a bicycle.

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Tea being dispensed
Anandpur Sahib comes to life every year on the occasion of Hola Mohalla. Celebrated during the festival of colours, Holi ,this tradition dates back to the times of the 10th SikhGuru,Guru Gobind Singh. This festival showcases the martial spirit of the Sikh.  Each year Hola Mohalla marks the congregation of up to 5000000 devotees from all over the country for a festival of colour and gaiety.The fair lasts for three days.

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Rainbows for the wrist

My friends and I visited the Naina Devi Temple in Himachal Pradesh today. There are stores lining the approach to the temple offering local artifacts. After offering prayers on our way out, we were attracted by a rainbow of colours on display in the stores. It was a treat to the eye to see bangles in myriad hues, patterns and designs. Made of glass, plastic, shell, metals, studded with stones, hand painted…. the array and varieties available was mind boggling. I couldn’t resist clicking a few pictures while my friend couldn’t resist the bangles…

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There was a lady who offered to apply a temporary mehendi or henna design using blocks and some dyes. My friends decided to get the designs done. Ahhhh… a painless, temporary tattoo by a local artist done in a few seconds.

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#Bangles #IndianCulture #NainaDevi #HPTourism #Mehndi

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The Step Wells of Adalaj

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The Adalaj Stepwell or Rudabai Stepwell is a stepwell located in the village of Adalaj, near the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India. It is a beautiful example of Indo-Islam fusion architecture work.

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The Adalaj step well or ‘Vav’, as it is called in Gujarati, is intricately carved and is five stories deep and has served as a resting place for hundreds of years for many pilgrims and caravans along their trade routes. Built in 1499 by Queen Rudabai, wife of the Vaghela chief, Veersinh, this five-storey stepwell is a beautiful example of Indo-Islam fusion architecture work.IMG_1505.jpgIMG_1510.jpgIMG_1513.jpg

Light and air enters the step well through an opening in the ceilings above the landing. The temperature inside the well is supposed to be six degrees cooler than the outside.

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It is said that people would come to the step well in the mornings to fill their pots and carry water home. It was therefore a place for the villagers to get together and spend sometime chatting and gossiping.

Step wells were integral to the semi arid regions of Western Indid, especially Gujarat, providing water for drinking, bathing and washing. These Vavs as they are called in Gujarati also acted as venues for festivals and rituals.

#Gujarat #Stepwells #Adalaj #Tourism #Travel #GujaratTourism

 

 

H2O