Skip to main content

Featured Post

2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Navaratri 2015 - Matrikas of Masroor

This group of seven figures caught my eye as I wandered around the ruins of the rock cut temples at Masroor. “Sapta Matrika!” I exclaimed, surprised to see them here.

Then, after a closer look, I wondered – “Are they Sapta Matrikas, or simply seven figures? I can hardly make out if they are women. Besides, they are seated on lotuses.” They were certainly important figures, going by the detailed carvings above and below them, though the figures themselves are too ruined to identify. 

We moved on, and stopped once more, at the sight of this panel…

Another group of delicate, standing figures, certainly feminine this time. The first was almost certainly Indrani – going by her vehicle, the elephant; and the third must be Maheshwari, mounted on her bull. So, are they Sapta Matrikas too? Well, there were more than seven figures here, so they couldn’t be. Could they be Ashta Matrikas? No, there were more. Nava Durgas? By now, we were confused.

This group, once again seated on lotuses, was the last panel we saw. At first, we thought they were just three. Then, we noticed the almost completely ruined figures on the left and right. So, five goddesses… who could they be?

The central one was surely Gajalakshmi – see the elephants by her side? Could this have been part of an Ashta Lakshmi panel? The gods only know. The archaeologists certainly don’t seem to, there is so little information on these temples available!  

There were other panels, with other groups of deities, but they were certainly male. I was more fascinated by these panels, depicting the goddesses.However, I shouldn’t have been so surprised. The Kangra Valley is associated with a number of temples dedicated to the Goddess, prominently among them, Jwalaji, Chitpurni, Bagalamukhi, Vajreshwari, and Chamunda. Many of these shrines are considered the most sacred to the goddess, and counted among the Shakti Peethas. No wonder so many of her forms are depicted at the Masroor Temple, which is also in the Kangra valley.


Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

Rama Temple, Gokarna

To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.

Review of Executive Lounges at New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS)

During my recent trip to Uttarakhand , I was faced with a problem I had never encountered before. We were passing through Delhi, but we had hardly any time in the city. On earlier visits when I have had to change trains/flights at Delhi, I have always arrived in the morning and left again at night, visiting relatives in between. This time, I was arriving in the city at night, and leaving again early in the morning. There was hardly any time to visit people. I would only have a couple of hours with them before I’d have to leave again. For the first time, we considered booking a hotel, but there again, we were hesitant about the actual hotels, the costs involved, and the logistics of getting from the airport to the railway station and then back again from the station to the airport.  That’s when we remembered reading something about a corporate-managed lounge at Delhi station. We soon figured out that we could book online and pay by the hour. Besides, we also learnt that there wasn’t ju