Without a doubt India is a place to witness incredible facets of religion. From historic point of view to the enigmatic existences there is so much that this country has to offer when religion and faith is talked about. As a traveller, you may interest in exploring the diversity of the country but let me encourage you to delve deeper into religious section of the country which is indeed introduces one to a face of India that is not only interesting but truly incredible. Here are some of the tales and temples in India that can surely grab your attention in no time. Make sure you add them to your bucketlist of India tour.
Situated in the Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra is a village that has intrigued people from around the world. It is believed that the residents here, not even one, lock their houses even if they are going to away from home for days. Well this practice has a strong belief attached to it, according to the natives of the village; Lord Shani looks after the people and their belongings. The residents also say that Shani is reckoned to be the God of Justice, thus he treats every living being, be it man or animal according to his Karma. This belief has only led to the practice of keeping the houses open all the time as the villagers believe that if someone steals, he will be immediately punished by Lord Shani. The tourism of Shinganapur increases on two instances, one is definitely the fascination of sighting unlocked houses and the other is the unwavering faith in Lord Shani who is offered prayers and oil here. Shani is worshipped in the form of a blag stone here, which is placed out in the open, it is also believed that no one could succeed in establishing a roof or a temple here for the God, thus the deity stands under the sky without any shed.
On the bank of Tons River in the village called Hanol is situated a temple of Mahasu Dev where justice is said to be provided by the god himself. Mahasu Dev is believed to be form of Lord Shiva and God of Justice. Devotees visit here with an application for justice for themselves and the deity is said to provide just that. Some 19kms from Dehradun on the road to Chakrata, Mahasu Dev is an important temple where four forms of Shiva, namely, Baasik Mahasu, Pabaasik Mahasu, Buthiya Mahasu and Chalada Mahasu are worshipped. Through the temple flows a stream of which no one knows the source as well as the deposition point. Also, there is Akhand Jyot that has remains constant for several years. Devotees visit Mahasu Dev Temple with a belief that they will find justice in the divine presence of the god.
On the occasion of Makar Sankranti each year, in this temple in Bengaluru, God Sun is believed to consecrate Lord Shiva’s presided Linga. In an ancient temple of Gavi Gangadhareshwar situated in Gavipuram in Karnataka’s capital, thousands gather to witness this exclusive scenario where the rays of Sun fall over the Shivalinga of the temple only once a year. Those who have witnessed the scene say that it feels as if the Sun God consecrates the Lord Shiva in a way. It is said that the ray of sun enters through two windows of the temple and after passing through the middle of the Nandi’s horn, the ray falls on the Shivalinga.
Near Patnitop in Jammu is a place where Lord Shiva is said to have broken his trident and its parts can still be seen half buried in the ground. About 120kms from Jammu, Sudh Mahadev Temple is located, where according to a legend, Goddess Parvati used to practice meditation and so used to a demon named Sudhant. Once when the goddess was meditating here, the demon approached her to have a conversation with her. When she found the demon Sudhant standing in front of her, Goddess Parvati started screaming, hearing her scream, Lord Shiva threw his trident from Mt. Kailash that killed the demon. Shiva then felt guilty as Sudhant was a devotee of the God and offered his life back but he politely refused. Lord Shiva blessed him saying that this place would be famous by his name, and then he broke his trident and buried it here. Today, there is a temple with a name of Sudh Mahadev, where devotees pay homage and also witness the ashes of Sudhant Demon.
Situated close to Bengaluru is a unique called Nandi Theertha Kalyani temple where Nandi sanctifies a Shivalinga with water. Truly India is an incredible land of beliefs where unwavering faith makes an outline to every practice and ritual. A few kilometres away from Bengaluru in Karnataka, in the year 1997, an old sculpture of Nandi was excavated during some construction, later more excavation was performed by Archaeological Survey of India, in which a Shivlinga was found near the Nandi. It was estimated that the relics found here were 400 years old. A small pond is situated near the Nandi statue but the source of water that comes out of the mouth of the bull and pours on the Shivalinga is unknown. It is said that the water from Nandi’s mouth has never ceased to flow and that is why the extent of faith on Lord Shiva has increased manifolds.
Sacred for being the venue of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati’s wedding is a small place called Triyuginarayan in Uttarakhand. It is believed this small village is the place where the wedding was solemnized in front of Brahma, Vishnu and several eminent sages. It is said that there is an undying fire lit at this place (been lit since Treta Yug), which is famous by the name of Gaurikund. Shiva and Parvati were tied in the bond of marriage around this fire itself. It is also said that Vishnu played the role of the brother and Brahma was the priest who solemnized the wedding. Prior to the wedding the three (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) bathed in the water of three ponds that are now named after them. The temple situated here is reckoned to have been established by Shankaracharya and is an important Hindu pilgrimage that is frequented in the months between May and October. Gaurikund is situated en route Kedarnath Temple and is in fact the base camp for Kedarnath Pilgrimage.
In Barella village of Goelkera of Jharkhand as strange incident took place that further made a Shivalinga here quite popular. The legend has it that during the British era in India, the railway line had to be laid between Kolkata and Mumbai via Goelkera. It is said while the labourers were digging the ground, they found a Shivalinga. The workers ceased to dig in the area after the incident, however the British engineer, Robert Henry got furious and asked the labourers to resume to work, when the labourers told him the reason, his anger infused and taking the spade himself he split the Shivalinga into two. The same evening, Henry died under mysterious circumstances. This incident was then reported to other officials who decided not to dig at the particular place but let the villagers establish a temple here- Mahadevsal Dham. One part of the split Shivalinga was kept in this temple while the other half was placed on a hillock near the already existing temple of Ma Paudi. The two parts are worshipped equally ever since.
A temple in the Marauda village of Chhattisgarh is one place that is worth seeing in India. Situated amidst a forest, there is a special Shivlinga that is believed to increase in height each year. As per the devotees, every year the Shivlinga’s height increases between 6 and 8 inches. It is said that the land on which the Shivlinga stands belonged to a Zamindar named Shobha Singh, who was once strolling in the area and suddenly heard the roar of a lion and the bellow of a bull. Strangely there weren’t any lion and bull in that area, so Shobha Singh took few villagers along with him to the place where he heard the sounds and they discovered a rock in a form of Shivlinga. Convinced by the fact that this place has some divine powers, they started worshipping at the place. Ever since, the villagers and devotees have notice an annual increase in the height of the Shivlinga but mystery still remains as to how and why the size increases.
In Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh is found a Shivlinga with a difference. This particular Shivlinga is placed in Kathgarh Mahadev temple and is said to be in two parts half-man and half –woman. It is also believed that the distance between the two parts keep varying from time to time and on Shivratri, the distance minimizes prominently. The legend behind the establishment of the temple here goes like this that once Lord Brahma and Vishnu got into a discussion of who is eminent amongst the two. Hearing the discussion, Lord Shiva presented himself in the form of a long shaft and in order to find the end points of it Vishnu and Brahma journeyed through the heights of heaven and depths of the earth but could not found out that the light was infinite. It was believed that this long shaft of life was then converted to Kathgarh Mahadev Temple. Another prominent story with the tale related to the temple is attached to fames warrior Alexander the Great. It is said that Alexander saw a sage worshipping at the temple and he got impressed by his devotion. However, he tried to allure the sage and asked him to come with him to Greece where he promised to fill the sage with riches. The sage bluntly refused and asked Alexander to get out of the way as he was blocking his sunlight. This incident made even Alexander respect the Shivlinga present here, it is also said that he also helped in creating the even ground for the establishment of a temple.
Yes, this is one of the rarest temples where devotees do not come for worship. Situated in the Didihat of Pithoragarh region in Uttarakhand, a Shiva Temple has been built by a man who had only one hand. It is said; an artist decided to build a shrine for Shiva and was able to complete it with one hand in a single night. When the reigning King Katyuri saw the temple he was impressed, however out of his selfishness, he ordered for amputation of the hands of the artist so that he is unable to build such magnificent structure. This incident offended the locals who then decided not to worship in the temple ever. Another legend attached to the temple is that there was an artist who lost an arm in an accident, everyone in the village used to pester him questions as to how he will earn his living now. Annoyed with the questions, the artist decided to leave the village, while he was leaving, he carved out this beautiful structure overnight. The temple was undoubtedly very beautiful; however there was a glitch in the placement of the Shivlinga (it was facing in the wrong direction). Therefore, the local priests declared the temple unfit for worshipping. Since, the temple was fine-looking; people came to witness its beauty but never performed rituals mandatory rituals.
On the confluence of River Narmada and Tapti is located a Shiva Temple near Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh, is a Shiva temple, which is believed to be worshipped by Ashwathama from the epic Mahabharata. Yes, according to the locals and priests, on every New Moon and Full Moon, Ashwathama comes to the temple to pay homage to the Shivalinga presiding in the temple. However, no one has seen the presence of Ashwathama here but after each New Moon and Full Moon, the traces of the items used in the worship of Shiva are found by many here. It is believed that he performs the worship early in the morning when nobody can visit the temple. It is also said that Ashwathama first takes bath in the pond situated to the temple and then enter the premises for worshipping.
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