Friday, 28 August 2015

Haridwar – A gateway to heaven (Part – 2)

In the last post of this series I had narreted how we arrival to Haridwar and performed Ganga Snan at Har Ki Pouri. Now we were free from Har ki Pouri and walked to our cab. Driver informed us that now he was taking us to Mansa mata temple.

Mansa Devi Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to goddess Mansa Devi in the holy city of Haridwar in the Uttarakhand state of India. The temple is located atop the Bilwa Parvat on the Sivalik Hills, the southernmost mountain chain of the Himalayas. Bilwa Tirth is one of the Panch Tirth (Five Pilgrimages) within Haridwar.

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Waiting for our turn at Cable car office
The temple is known for being the holy abode of Manasa, a form of Shakti and is said to have emerged from the mind of the sage (Rishi) Kashyapa. Mansa is regarded as the sister of the Naga (Viper) Vasuki. The term Mansa means wish and it is believed that the goddess fulfills all the wishes of her devotees. Devotees who want their wishes to be fulfilled by Mansadevi tie threads to the branches of a tree located in the temple campus. Once their wishes are fulfilled, people come back again to the temple to untie the thread from the tree. Mansadevi is also offered coconuts, fruits, garlands and incense sticks in order to appease her.

Mansa Devi Temple which is one of the three Siddh Peeths in Haridwar can be reached in two ways: on foot or by cable car. Cable-car(called as Udankhatola) service is one of its kind. Walking requires a one and a half kilometer hike uphill. The track is not much distant but the exertion can be draining during the summer months. Hence, many people prefer to take the cable car (also referred to as a rope way) up, and walk down. The first cable car starts running at 7 a.m. during April to October, and 8 a.m. the rest of the year. Tickets cost 140 rupees per person, return. The departure point is centrally located in town.

When you look down from that cable car all you experience is the joy and excitement of bonding with the eternity and the majestic beauty of Haridwar. As you go up and up you’ll see the whole route of Ganges which is heavenly.
For us may be it was willingness to have darshan of mata ji but for children it was the zeal and enthusiasm of boarding to a cable car/ Rope way (Udan Khatola) for the first time. Our driver had already taken the tickets of rope way in the morning itself so we needn’t to be in queue for the tickets, but we still had to wait for our turn to come as hundreds of pilgrims were in queue who already had tickets. After waiting for half an hour, we boarded the trolley of rope way. The authorities were not allowing to sit more than three people in one trolley so we couldn’t sit together. Within 5 minutes we reached the hilltop.

On this day both Ramnavami and Dashahara had fallen on he same day and we were so blessed and fortunate to have darshan of Godess on Navami. There was tremendous crowd uphill in the temple campus and we could returned back from there only after two hours. It takes only five minutes in trolley to reach on the hill but we had to spend 4 hours in total process to visit temple. Actually the waiting time for trolley is very high.
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Cable car ready with it’s passengers to take them to temple
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Cable car on it’s way to the temple

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Cable car on the way
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A view of Haridwar and Ganges from the cable car
Mansa Mata Temple
Mansa Mata Temple
Now after having great darshan of Goddess, we now headed towards Kankhal for Shri Daksh Mahadev Temple. Daksha Mahadev Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in the town of Kankhal, near Haridwar. It is named after King Daksha Prajapti , the father of Sati (Wife of Lord Shiva). Daksha is one of the fourteen Prajapatis, creator deities, who preside over procreation and are the protector of life in Hindu mythology. The Daksha Mahadev Temple is not that old but the yagyashala or place where yagyas (fire sacrifices) are conducted is very old and it has been confirmed as the place in which the original Sati gave up her life for the sake of her husband who had been insulted by her father. The present temple was built by Queen Dhankaur in 1810 and rebuilt in 1962. It is a place of pilgrimage for Shaivaite devotees on Maha Shivaratri.
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Inside the campus of Daksha Temple
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The Yagyakund where Sati jumped into fire (Yagya agnee)
 After having blissful darshan at Daksha temple we visited nearby Hari har ashram which is in front of Daksh temple. A parad shivling temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva is inside ashram. Shivling is made by mercury weighing around 150 kg, the shivling is visited by large number of devotees every year. Apart from this, the Rudraksha tree is the main attraction of this ashram.
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Parad Shivling Temple
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Rudraksh Tree
From here we moved to Chandi devi temple where we again had to board in rope way, but unfortunately it was the time of the closure of the rope way service. When we reached rope way office it was closed. We were very disappointed. I was furious on the cab driver blaming him that if he knew the time of closure of the rope way why he didn’t took us here on time, whereas he was blaming us for the happening on the ground that we had taken extra time at each point and that is the reason of our getting delayed in reaching here. I was forcing him to arrange for our entry anyhow. Being under pressure the cab driver made his efforts to persuade the rope way authorities through his settings and finally we got permission to board the cable car which was the last trip of the cable car. We were really fortunate to get an entry in such a tough situation.

Chandi Devi Temple, located on the top of Neel Parvat, is one of the most famous temples of India. This place is of great religious importance and is also considered as one of the Shakti peethas of North India. This temple is also known as Siddh peetha, as it is believed to have powers to fulfill the wishes of devotees. According to legend, it is believed that Goddess Chandika Devi rested for a short while on Neel Parvat. This happened after she killed demon kings, Shumbh and Nishumbha. This temple was constructed to welcome her back.

Chandi Devi Temple can be reached in two ways: on foot or by cable car. Though it is a wonderful experience to trek up to the temple, visitors also have the option of using the rope way to reach there. If you enjoy steep climbs, you will take 45 minutes to reach the temple of Chandi Devi. However, you can cut the travelling time short as you choose the ropeway; reaching the temple by ropeway takes up just 5-10 minutes. Its only 06 km far from Haridwar.

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Cable cars on the way
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Bird’s eye view of Ganga from the cable car
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Entry to Cable car was closed by the time we reached there
In the campus of Chandi Devi temple.
In the campus of Chandi Devi temple.
After having darshan at Chandi devi now it was approximately 8 PM when we returned back to our hotel. It was very tiring, tedious and exhausting day for us. Having darshan of both the uphill temples and other places has drained us completely. My mother has problem in her knees and is not able to walk much distances but today she managed to walk long distances in queues of both the temples due to her strong will but now she was feeling very tired and her knees were aching badly. Even we were not willing to go to restaurant for the dinner, so I brought some food packed from the restaurant and we had it at our room only. Because of the lack of time we were not able to see today the remaining attractions of Haridwar like Bharat Mata Temple, Vaishnodevi Temple, Pawan Dham, Shantikunj etc. so we gone to bed with a planning to see these places in the morning before heading to Rishikesh. Our next days plan was Rishikesh.

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In hotel room
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Self explanatory
In the morning the cab driver arrived at approx 7.00 AM. We were ready by the time and boarded to the vehicle and instructed the cab man to first show us the remaining sightseeing spots of Haridwar. He first took us to shantikunj.

Shantikunj is a pilgrim center of millions of Gayatri Pariwar members. It is situated a midst serene beautiful location, in the shadow of the Himalayas and at the lap of Holy Ganga. It is at a distance of 6 km from Haridwar Railway Station on Rishikesh Road in Saptasarover Area. This Ashram, imbued with spiritual power generated by the mighty Tap-Sadhana (Penance) performed by Yug Rishi Pandit ShriRam Sharma Acharyaji and Mata Bhagwati Devi Sharma.

A magnificent temple of Gayatri-Mata and idols of Sapt-Rishis (Ancient seven eminent saints) are located here. In the presence of Akhand-Deep (Uninterruptedly lighted ghrit lamp) lit in year 1926 by the Patron-founder Pandit ShriRam Sharma Acharya. It is the origin of all-important achievements of Gayatri Pariwar. The mere sight (darshan) of this Holy Deepak emancipates one from wordily bonds.

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Main Gate of Shantikunj
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Inside the Shantikunj
After having visited the entire shanti kunj campus on foot, we returned back to our cab and moved to our next destination Paawan Dham. Paawan Dham, located at a distance of around 2 km from the main town of Haridwar, is one of the ancient temples of Haridwar. Situated at a distance of 3 km from Har ki Pauri, the temple is known for its ornamental idols. In addition, the glass work, which is designed on the temple walls, makes it one of the most famous tourist spots. The temple is famed for it’s fantastic glass and mirror work and it’s elaborately garbed idols. The temple is noted for the exquisite mirror and glasswork. The elaborately decorated idols in the temple are worth visiting.

We were mesmerized as we entered this grand and most beautiful temple of Haridwar. My special request to the prospective visitors of Haridwar, Please don’t miss this temple. It’s awesome, It’s mind blowing and worth visited at least once.

Photography was strictly prohibited inside the temple but somehow I could manage to take my camera in the temple and captured some snaps sneakily with trembling hands, with a strong fear of being caught by the temple authorities.

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A work of art inside Paawan Dham Temple – Captured furtively
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Inside Paawan Dham Temple
Then we moved to the famous Vaishno devi temple. Vaishno Devi Temple is much more than just a temple, for it seems to be the mirror image of the Vaishno Devi Shrine of Jammu. This temple is not much old, but has gained a lot of popularity, owing to its architecture. The temple, like the original temple in Katra, has a lot of tunnels and caves that lead to the idol of the Goddess. This temple gives a little experience of the Vaisno Devi temple in Jammu. There are dark caves inside the temple. It is not very comfortable for elderly people with knee problems or small kids. Very dark patches to cross.

We have not yet been to the original Vaishno devi temple in Katra so I can’t compare both but yes we enjoyed the temple and the caves inside it. Since it was not suitable for my mother to see this temple due to it’s tough passages, we decided not to take parents inside the temple considering their physical capabilities.

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Vaishnodevi Temple
Our next destination was Bharat Mata Mandir, on the way to this temple we saw many colorful temples with the huge sculptures of demons and deities. These sculptures and carvings were so attractive that we couldn’t stop ourselves to visit them. Kids were very excited to each of them but it was not possible due to the limited time as we had to visit Rishikesh too.

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No fear in the mouth of devil.

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India Temple.
Finally we reached our last destination in haridwar, the famous Bharat Mata Temple. It is located near Sapt Sarovar ashram in Haridwar, It’s a holy place of its own kind. It was inaugurated by Late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi on 15th May 1983.

This eight-storied temple is tall to the approximate height of 180 feet. Elevators are installed in the temple to aid the pilgrims. Each storey of the temple is based on a particular theme, housing figures of many mythological legends, religious deities, freedom fighters and leaders. It is a kind of reverence to all those, who played a vital role in the formation of the country.

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Bharat Mata Temple
After visiting this beautiful temple, we moved to Rishikesh which I will bring to you my next post. Please wait for the next post.

9 comments:

  1. Good narrating and good pics... Waiting for Rishikesh...

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