Shani Shingnapur – The lockless village

14.11.2016:

06.05 hrs – We were on the road trying to get an auto-rickshaw which can take us to the famous nearby village Shani Shingnapur. Our auto-driver earlier who dropped us at the temple told us that the auto-wala would charge a sum of Rs. 120/- for a to and fro journey from Shirdi to Shani Shingnapur. I think that was the first auto which was ready for it’s first trip of the day 🙂 And there we were telling them the same old story that we don’t have any money left with us, but want to visit the other temple 🙂 😀 . Thanks to demonetization once again 🙂

The auto was getting filled infront of us, but we were still struggling to convince the auto-driver to find out ways to take us there. Finally, we came with our brilliant idea of swiping our debit cards at any petrol pumps 🙂 . The old driver thought of it for a moment and told us that he would be getting his tank filled by swiping our card and would return the balance amount after our ticket-charges. It seemed to us like hitting a jack-pot. Hurrah! He is gonna give us some hot ready cash in our hands which is very much essential to carry on with our forward journey from Shirdi 🙂

At last, we settled down at the rear end of the auto-rickshaw and the driver brought the engine to life. It was still dark outside and Mythri and I started eating the prasad. Once finished, we dozed off, but couldn’t get a nice lap, as the condition of the road was too bad and there were bumps all the way. It took us almost 1.5 hrs to reach our destination. 08.00 hrs – Our auto stopped infront of a shop from where we can buy the things like oil and flowers to offer at the temple.

Hinduism considers that the planets in our solar system have an impact upon our physiology, psychological structure and the context of our lives. Hence, Hindus consider these planets as forms of different energies and had constructed temples for them. Shani or Saturn, son of the Lord Surya, is considered to be the lord of dominance, distress, depression, disease and disaster. The Indian astrologers, based upon the birth place and time of birth and some other facts calculate when the impact of Saturn can be more in our lives which is known as ‘Saade Saati’ or ‘Yellanati Shani’ (in Telugu), which will last for seven and a half years.

In this phase, one may become more susceptible to depression or distress and in order to bridge those pits, various processes and rituals are associated with Shani temples. These are the temples where Saturn is personified as a God. And Shani Shingnapur is one such temples in India. This temple is not of the regular architecture which one can see throughout India, but the deity is in open space. The deity here is a 5’9” idol made of black stone, mounted on a raised platform in an open place. Usually in every other temples which I visited so far, Lord Shani would be in a sculpt form, but here it is in the form of a stone.

According to Hindu tradition, oil is poured onto the idol of Lord Shani in any temple. Here, there is a large bin in which we can empty the oil packets or bottles and the oil would be poured directly on top of the idol as it passes through the pipes that are connected to the bin. We went around the temple complex after the aarti. Legend is that the idol flowed along with the flood waters and struck in the bushes and a local shepherd tried to release it, and when he tried poking it, the idol started bleeding and the villagers left the idol at the same place after this incident. Later that night, Lord Shani Dev appeared in a villager’s dream and told that it was he and the other morning, the villagers cleared off the bushes and erected the idol and started offering pujas.

But why a lockless village? Coz, the houses in this village doesn’t have any doors and latches, except that they hold some curtains. It is believed that Lord Shani Dev protects the village and no theft will occur here. They villagers also say that if ever a thief attempts to stole something, he goes blind and the things would be intact at the same place as they were placed before. The most astonishing thing is that even the bank and the police station in this village keep up with the tradition and has no locks. It is also a zero-crime village!

Interesting, isn’t it??

 

Draksharamam – Dakshina Kasi (South Kasi)

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Located at a distance of 50 kms from Rajahmundry, East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh and on the banks of the mighty river Godavari. The history of this sacred pilgrimage is dealt with in the ‘Skanda Purana’ of Hindu mythology (Bheemesaatha uttahmam daivam sapta Godavaraata shrestam theertham, chana maheetate) which means that there is no other temple greater than Draksharama in Dhakinapadam (South India).

Draksharamam is a Shivite shrine. The deity Shiva is thought as the Bhimeshwara Swamy here and his consort is the Goddess Manikyamba. This holy pilgrimage is one of the rare, where the God and Goddess are equally important. In India, some of the other temples where God and Goddess are equally important are the Varanasi in North India and Sirsailam in South India.

Legend behind Manikyamba Devi:

                The Goddess is an incarnation of Shakti (the Mother God). The popular belief is that the left cheek of the Goddess Sati Devi, wife of Lord Shiva has fallen here after her death. This is the 12th  peetah among the Ashta Dasa Shakti Peetahs. Another important aspect of this temple is the idol of Manikyamba Devi being placed on the Shree Chakra and the tilting of the idol to left side. And the belief is that earlier she was worshipped in Vama Marga (Left route).

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Legend behind Bheemeshwara Swamy:

                According to the Hindu mythology, a demon king “Tarakaasura” was killed by Shanmuka, the son of Lord Shiva and during the battle, the Shiva linga in the throat of the demon king was broken into five pieces and had fallen in five distinct locations, which are currently known as “Pancharamas”. One of them is Draksharamam. As per the local narrations, this temple was constructed by the Sun God.

Interesting facts:

                According to the local legends, the temple as built by angels in one night. Unfortunately, the construction of the perimeter wall couldn’t be completed before sunrise and still stands incomplete. Several attempts have been made to construct the uncompleted part of the wall, but all these efforts have failed with the constructed wall collapsing within a few months.

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                The specialty of this Shiva Linga is that, the early morning Sun rays fall on the Linga in the sanctum and probably this is also one of the tallest lingas (10 feet)  in India. The Sanctum is two storied. There are some 800 odd inscriptions on the temple walls.  The other interesting fact is that there are eight other shiva temples around this temple. Legend is that Lord Chandra (Moon God) enshrined these eight shiva lingas in all the 8 directions around the main temple to absorb the powerful rays emanating from the main linga.

                The temple is noted not only for its sanctity and holiness, but also for its architectural beauty and historical importance.

Most of the terms like linga, shakti peetah, puranas might not be very familiar to many of us. Stay tuned as I am going to explain these things at detail in my upcoming posts.. 🙂

HOLY ABODES – ANOTHER FASCINATION

 

Fascination.. Fascination.. Fascination everywhere..

But what fascinates me?? It’s none other than my mother nation “INDIA”. Yes, India fascinates me in every possible way. It might be her topography, it might be her diversity. Every minutest thing of her fascinates me.

But what is the reason behind this fascination? What else could be the reason other than this beautiful land? Yes.. the snow capped Himalayas in the North and the mighty sea waters in the south.. The beautiful Sunderbans on the east and the arid dry Thar Desert in the west.. The Evergreen forests in the North East, the beautiful beaches on the South West.. The beautiful corals in the Lakshadweeps and the mud volcanoes in the Andamans.. Everything fascinates me..

The Carnatic music of the South and the Hindustani of the North.. The Bharatnatyam of Tamilnadu.. The Kathak of Uttar Pradesh.. The Chahau dance of Odisha and the Kalbella of Rajasthan.. The Kuchipudi of Andhra and the Bihu of Assam.. The Gatka of Punjab and the Thang Ta of Manipur.. The Tamashaa of Maharashtra and the Swang of Haryana.. Everything fascinates me..

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But why am I saying all these things.. Coz there is another integral part of India which fascinates me equally like the above. It’s the diverse traditions and customs of Indians. Importantly, mythology which is one of the key ingredients of this diversity. And this very mythology of India fascinates me to the hilt. And this is what this series of my blog gonna be..

Hope some of u too will be fascinated along with me 🙂