Today is Maha Shivaratri (Great Night of Shiva). The day is celebrated with rituals, prayers and festivity around Lord Shiva’s wedding with Goddess Parvati. I think this is also the right opportunity to share my impressions from a recent trip to
, the Lord Shiva’s abode. I hope you will be able to feel the powerful positive energy that this holy land emanates all around… through the impressions that I have had gathered there and sharing at this blog. Varanasi
Till recently, there were no direct flight to
from Chennai, where I currently stay, hence my all other trips to the place has been a combination of all kinds of transports, including bullock carts. But this time, I could get direct flight and the Varanasi was a nice surprise. From Airport to the city was a 15 KMs drive towards history and spirituality started making its presence felt on the way. But before I take you further on my journey, let me give you a back ground on this city. Varanasi Airport
The city is also known for its belief that any one leaving his / her mortal body here, goes to heaven in after life. So many of the old folks from country side, come to this city, to live off their last years as well as bathing every day in the holy river
Ganges to cleanse off their sins.
My first stop in
Varanasi was to the Holy River Ganges for a ritual of bath at Dashashwamedh Ghat which is the most famous with people visiting . As I had plans to come back to this place again, I started for my trip to Sarnath, 13 KMs away, through the narrow roadways of Varanasi Varanasi, to spend some time in the peaceful environment of . Buddha Temple
Sarnath is the
where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna. The Buddha went from Bodhgaya to Sarnath about 5 weeks after his enlightenment. Here he found his five former companions and taught them the way of Buddha and they became enlightened too. At that time the Sangha, the community of the enlightened ones, was founded. The sermon Buddha gave to the five monks was his first sermon, Isipatana is mentioned by the Buddha as one of the four places of pilgrimage which his devout followers should visit. deer park
After spending some time here, I had to leave for a village, 40 KMs away for a private ritual. This village is known for its fertile lands and as a result its called Rice Bowl. The evening there was dazzling and the morning mist refreshed me with its icy cold breeze and dew drops.
|Image from Wikipedia|
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. This is the Holiest existing Place of Hindus, where at least once in life time, a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage, and if possible, also pour the remains (ashes) of cremated ancestors here on the River Ganges. The temple is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga’s, the holiest of Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning the Ruler of the universe. The temple town that claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history.
There is Annapoorna (Goddess of Food) temple nearby which is famous for the belief that because Her being in
, no one in the town goes hungry. After walking the narrow lanes of Varanasi , we came across Lalita Ghat. Here we spend some time in Varanasi Pashupati Nath Temple, constructed on the lines of the famous Pashupati Nath . In front of the temple, there were lots of devotees along with one of the Swami Ji, in kind of discourse as well as savoring the warmth of afternoon sun. The view from this temple is one of the best for the whole of the town along the banks of river temple of Nepal Ganges. So after some time for meditation, I took lots of pictures of Ganges in her pristine glory.
Then it was time for my favorite spot at Dashashwamedh Ghat to sit. There is a famous Hath Yogi who never sits. He is believed to be standing for decades. He was quite nonchalant to get his pictures taken as I believe he is the most photographed person on this Ghat. After some time, I crossed the river in a boat to the beach on the other side. It was less crowded and perfect place to soak in the vibes of positivity coming from simple folks involved in various activities. Some were bathing, some dancing to the drum beats, to celebrate a new wedding in the family. With a cup of tea for company, I watched the life softly flowing along the river side.
In and around the city there are many temples and I visited few which I believed to be having strong spiritual vibes. First on this journey was the
of Lord Hanuman. He is believed to be remover of all difficulties and its here, where Tulsi Das wrote the Epic Ramayana. It’s a popular belief that Lord hanuman – the most devout of all followers of Rama, himself completed the epic Ramayana. Sankat Mochan Temple
There is another powerful
’s Angry form – Bhairav. It’s believed that most of the Aghori sects are devotees of this form and when we were there, there was a Yagna being performed. By sun down, the temple looked quite mystifying and beautiful. temple of Lord Shiva
The other famous part of
is its evening prayers at Dashashwamedh Ghat. It attracts a large gathering in the evening and many of the priests join in to pray to Varanasi Ganges with lights, Conch sounds and bell ringing with Vedic chants. Many of the nights around this Ghat is always full of peace with serene river flowing by.
After few days of spending time, there I had to leave for Chennai and this time, it was difficult to get the direct flight ticket so had to catch a train from Mughal Sarai 20KMs away. And the station was in the stark contrast with the first impression I have had of
airport. Fully crowded, no place to sit, with many of the visitors waiting in the hall to buy tickets to go their respective destinations. Varanasi
Finally caught my train to
Delhi, delayed as usual by 6 hours in total journey time of 12 hours to . And having said that, it was refreshing to have this time extra time, to reflect about the visit as well as soak in the positivity that the city fills you in, without you ever actually realizing it. Delhi
Wish you all have the blessing of Lord Shiva on His most favored day of Maha Shivaratri. To see more images and my impressions of the city and the visitors, please click here…
ॐ नमः शिवाय
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