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I am an ardent blogger and a web enthusiast. My blogs include varied topics from the picturesque details of my travelogue to theology and worldly facts. My passions are reading English and Tamil classics, Management Topics, Playing Tennis and taking long walks. I live with my wife in Bangalore. Visit regularly my children in Michigan and Colorado to spend time with them and three grandsons. Please brief your opinions there in when you read my blog :-

Monday, April 03, 2017

Vaishno Devi Yatra March 2017 ( Day 3, Part 3 )


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कृपासमुद्रं सुमुखं त्रिनेत्रं  जटाधरं पार्वतीवामभागं I
सदाशिवं रुद्रमनन्तरूपं  चिदंबरेशं हृदि भावयामि II

Thursday, 02 March 2017.

Day 3 involved travel to visit the temples situated in the Jammu region. We finished our breakfast by 8 am..Aloo paratha, butter, suji upma, chutney, bread toast, coffee/ tea were in the menu. By 8:30 am we left by four Tempo Traveller vans towards Patnipat in Jammu..
9:10 am-- We stopped at Baba  Bhairon Nath Ji Mandir located on the highway.  The temple looks grand with the  image of  the Sun God seated in the chariot on top of the temple..

Sri M. Das narrated the legend of Sri Shani Mahadev.  Sri Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita first to Sun God ( Vivasvan) who instructed it to Manu, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.-

श्री भगवानुवाच
इमं विवस्वते योगं प्रोक्तवानहमव्ययम्।
विवस्वान् मनवे प्राह मनुरिक्ष्वाकवेऽब्रवीत्।।    B.G.4.1।।

Surya Devata’s  (Vivasvan) wife Samjna, daughter of Daksha could not tolerate  the intense rays of Surya.. So she created Chaaya and requested her to take her place and  went to the forest to do tapasya.. Chaaya gave birth to Shani Mahadev.. After  sometime Samjna returned to Surya's abode and gave birth to the twins Yamaraj and Yamuna ((Yama and  Yami). Shani Mahadev is considered to be inauspicious and the bad influence of Shani Dev can be nullified by praying to Sri Maha Vishnu and Sri Hanuman ji.
Once Sri Parvati invited Shan Dev to attend her son Ganesha’s birthday party. Shani Dev did not look at Ganesha directly. Goddess Parvati insisted Shani Dev to look at her son in spite of his refusal. Finally Shani Dev looked at Ganesha directly. It is stated that is why Ganesha lost his head which was replaced by elephant’s head later.
After listening to the legend we did parikrama around the temple singing Bhajans.. We prayed to the black marble idols of Shani Dev, Durga Mata, Hanuman ji, and Shri Bhaironath ji.
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 Baba Bhaironath Ji Mandir                                Sri Sani Mahadev

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     Baba Bhaironath Ji                                            Sri  Durga Mata

Our next destination was Sudh Mahadev Temple  at Patnipat, 85 km from Katra. We travelled through a picturesque and scenic background. Range of mountains, green fields, waterfalls , small streams were pleasant to watch . We reached the place only by 1:00 pm as the roads were undergoing major repair.  After parking our vehicles on the main market road we walked to the temple through the side lane..The shrine is located in a quiet spot. A board  is kept  at the entrance of the temple describing the legend and history of the temple. We went to the sanctum to have darshan of Sri Sudh Mahadev also called as Shudh Mahadev. It is a unique place in the world / universe. The three faced idol of the main deity is a ‘ swayambu ‘ made of black marble found in the earlier yuga 2800 years ago. It was later found by a farmer while clearing  the field. Hence it got the name Shudh Mahadev. The swayambhu idols of  Lord Shiva and Parvati are  carved on the same marble piece. On the left side of Sudh Mahadev’s face is the face of Lord Vishnu and on the right side is Lord Brahma’s. There are also figures of Nandi, the bull and Ganesha. In one corner there is a Shiva Linga which was originally worshipped by Goddess Parvati. We offered our obeisance with  devotion.

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Sudh Mahadev Legend                  Temple View

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Sudh Mahadev with Parvati Mata    Shiv Linga worshipped by Devi

We assembled in the shrine mantap to listen to Sri M. Das who outlined the mythological references/ legend connected with this sacred place..He began with a comparison between Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. If Lord Vishnu is like milk, Lord Shiva can be compared to curds. Both are worshipped in high faith though they discharge different roles. Lord Lakshmi Narayana is in charge of the spiritual world and as special requirement Lord Vishnu assumes the role of Lord Shiva also for the management of the material world. Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva are the ‘Jagat Mata and Pita-- जगतः पितरौ वन्दे पार्वतीपरमेश्वरौ II ‘

Parvati  first appeared as Sati, daughter of Daksha and Prasuti. After Daksha Yagna she immolated herself unable to bear her father’s insult. Since she is ‘anapayini’ -  inseparable from her Lord, she again appeared as the daughter of King Himavan and Mena who did penance to get a daughter.  Her birthplace was Mantalai, the capital of Himavan situated at 7 Km from Sudh Mahadev. From childhood she had fixed her mind to marry only Lord Shiva and was performing severe penance to achieve her objective.

Lord Shiva had become detached after Sati’s death.. The Devas  wanted to obtain a son from Lord Shiva.. Kama Deva (Manmatha)’s effort to change the  Lord’s mind also failed and he was reduced to ashes. Goddess Parvati used to take bath in Gaurikund before worshipping  the Shiva Linga at this place. There was a wise and intelligent demon by name Sudheet who was  a great devotee of Lord Shiva. He  was doing severe penance to get the blessings of Lord Shiva. He started harassing Goddess Parvati. Looking at his demonic face Parvati got scared and prayed  to Lord Shiva for help. The Lord immediately threw the Trishul in rage at Sudheet which wounded him mortally. Sudheet uttered Shiva’s name and told that he acted in such a way to get the grace of his Lord. Shiva felt sorry and offered to revive Sudheet which the latter refused saying  that he preferred death in the hands of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva set him free from his demonic existence. Pleased with Sudheet's devotion to him Lord Shiva named this place after both Sudheet and Mahadev as Sudh Mahadev.  
About 80 years back the present temple was built by Chaudhari Ramdas of Chanhani and his son Chaudhari Parag Mahajan.. There is a small temple for Lord Ganesha, and Gorakhnath with big idols of Kal Bhairav and Bhayanak Bhairav.. The holy Trishul in local dialect called ‘Gaja’  which broke into three pieces when Lord Shiva hurled it at Sudheet is kept in the premises for worship. Two parts only are seen here.

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                                Two parts of Trishul

The Trishul is made of  a special combination of metals not the ones among the known elements having  inscriptions from ancient manuscript. There is  also a mace used by Bhima as an exhibit.. It is believed any one who crawls under the statue of Gomata (Garba Jun) in this temple will  not have a Punarjanma..(rebirth)

We chanted in chorus the Uma Maheswara Stotra ( composed by Adi Sankaracharya) led by Sri Madhavananda Das..
नमः शिवाभ्यां नवयौवनाभ्यां परस्पराश्लिष्टवपुर्धराभ्याम् ।
नगॆन्द्रकन्यावृषकॆतनाभ्यां नमॊ नमः शङ्करपार्वतीभ्याम् ॥
नमः शिवाभ्यां परमौषधाभ्यां पञ्चाक्षरीपञ्जररञ्जिताभ्याम् ।
प्रपञ्चसृष्टिस्थितिसंहृताभ्यां नमॊ नमः शङ्करपार्वतीभ्याम्  ॥

There is a  sacred fire ‘Dhunistarted by Baba Roopnath (whose samadhi is found in the temple site) which has been burning for the past 2300 years.  The quantity of ash has neither increased nor decreased but remained the same all these years. . We also saw a Spatika Linga.

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              Dhuni                                         Spatika Linga     

a small stream known as Mitra Vavli or Papnash Vavli is inside the temple..
Devaki, ( the sister of Ganga ), a small river emerges from the Sudh Mahadev Temple and vanishes mysteriously after some distance. This is considered as a holy stream by devotees..
Pilgrims visit this shrine in large numbers during Sudh Mahadev festival (3 day Mela)) on the full moon night of ‘Sawan’ (June-July) specially to worship the Trishul and the Mace. (10).jpg         download (9).jpg                               
  Nandi in front of the Sanctum            Water tank outside the Shrine

After spending  nearly an hour at Sudh Mahadev we left for Mantalai ..Mantalai is a hill resort surrounded by tall Devadaru (Deodar) trees which act as a source for fresh and cool air. The temple called Aparneshwar Mahadev Mandir has an enchanting look amidst blue green Himalayan Mountains . There is a tank at the side of the temple..
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                            Mantalai  Temple Front View

Mantalai Water Tank                                                                     Under the Deodar Tree
As per legend the tank was the place where the Homa Kund was erected during  the wedding of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. .After many years when people started clearing the silt they removed  a huge quantity of ash from this site. Later this place got filled with water .’ Mantalai’’ stands for ‘Manya’ ’revered  and Talai’ for tank. We climbed a few steps to reach the Temple.. This is the place where Goddess Parvati was born and got married to Lord Shiva. The main shrine is very small and having an idol of Parvati as kanya. Another set of idols of  Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati seen together. Also found are idols of Parvati and Ganesha, riding on Nandi. The main deity is Lord Shiva, known as Aparneshwar Mahadev. There are two more idols of Nandi, the bull facing the shrine. One divine rock related to the wedding of Parvati and Shiva  is also in the view. There is an old  measure like the ‘Pav’ kept inside the shrine which was used for distributing grains to the people.
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Beautiful Backdrop                                     The  Priest narrating the  Legend
                             Aparneshwar Mahadev Temple

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   Parvati as Kanya and                              Sri Aparneshwar Mahadev
Shiva and Parvati as couple

According to Puranas Goddess Parvati was doing severe penance to attain Lord Shiva as her husband. Initially she was feeding on fruits and root vegetables, later only on leaves but ultimately she stopped eating leaves also.
(अ+पर्णा-without leaves).  Hence she got the name Aparna. .Lord Shiva was pleased with her devotion and gave his consent to marry her. The temple view is majestic surrounded by hills on all sides. . During festivals and fairs people throng this place just to listen to the songs sung by the revered saints. These songs depict the love shared between Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. There are steps on all  four sides going down to the tank. We sprinkled the holy water on our heads as ‘prokshanam’ to purify ourselves..The tank is fairly clean and the water reflects the blue sky above.

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       Bulls @ the entrance

After paying homage to Shitala Mata idol we returned to Sudh Mahadev area by 3 pm to have lunch at a dhaba. Rice, roti, cauliflower- aloo subji, dal, were served hot. Pickle, curds, cucumber slices  made the menu sumptuous and delicious. .

After lunch we left for Udhampur by 4:30 pm. On the way we stopped to visit Gaurikund. It was drizzling as we started our climb uphill. Only a few among us made it to the top trekking 1.5km. There is a cave inside which Goddess Parvati used to bathe.before starting the prayers daily at Sudh Mahadev temple.. A spring is seen with water oozing out in small quantities. An idol of Gowri is seen near the spring. Above the spring there is a cave temple with the idols of Lord Shiva and Parvati Mata. A naturally formed rock in the shape of Ganesha is also seen here.
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                               Cave temple at Gauri Kund

There is a tomb of a saint outside the cave temple.  An idol of Parvati with four hands is seen here. Renovation work was going on when we visited Gowri kund. We collected the holy water from the kund.
There were puddles of muddy water in the road  enroute and we presumed it had rained for some time. We had to go slow as it was getting dark and also due to repair works on the way. We reached ISKCON temple at Udhampur by 7:30 pm and went straight to the dining hall and had poori, dal, rice and milk kheer for dinner which were served with great hospitality.

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                               ISKCON Temple at Udhampur  
We went upstairs to the Mandir and had arati darshan of Sri  Radha and Krishna. Left Udhampur by 9:00 pm - on the way we could see the Trikuta Parvat fully illuminated - a beautiful sight to behold !!  It was around 10.30 pm when we returned to Ginger Hotel in Katra. We wished everyone ‘Hare Krishna’ and retired to our room with an utmost feeling of happiness for having visited important holy shrines on Day 3 .


(To be continued)




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