Malai Mandir and festival of Skanda Sashti

Uttara Swaminatha at Malai Mandir

Malai Mandir

Malai Mandir is a place to experience divine feelings, peace. Situated at the heart of Delhi, This temple complex houses the temples of Shri Swaminatha Swami, Shri Karpaga Vinayakar, Shri Sundareswarar, Devi Meenakshi, The Navagraha Sannidhi, Shri Idumban Sannidhi, Shri Adi Sankara Hall and Silpa Kala Mandapam.

Malai Mandir at New Delhi
Malai Mandir at New Delhi

This temple was erected to celebrate the conquest of Lord Murugan over the demon kings (the triumph of good over evil) . Skand Sashthi is the most important event here.

Abhishekam’s for various temples

The Maha Kumbhabhishekam for Lord Swaminatha was performed on the 7th of June, 1973. Later on, temples of Shri Karpaga Vinayakar, Shri Sundareswarar and Devi Meenakshi were consecrated and the Maha Kumbhabhishekam performed on the 13th June 1990.

Uttara Swaminatha at Malai Mandir
Uttara Swaminatha at Malai Mandir

The Navagraha Sannidhi along with a Sannidhi of Idumban was consecrated on the 7th of July, 1995. Shri Adi Sankara Hall was inaugurated on the 9th of November, 1997.

The third Punarudharana,Ashtabhandhana, Swarna Rajathabhandana Mahakumbhabhishekam of the temple was performed on the 27th of June, 2001.

Lord Swaminatha Temple

The temple of Lord Swaminatha has several unique features. This is the only temple where Brahmasthana Prathista has been done. Deities delineated in human form are not normally house in the Brahmasthana or the very centre of the garbha graha. Lord Skanda is an exception.

The shrine has become famous as Sahasrara Kshetra and has been sung by poets as the seventh Padai Veedu. The six important shrines of Lord Subrahmanya at Tiruchendur, Tirupparankundram, Swami Malai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai and Tiruttani represent the six centres (chakras) Mooladhara, Swadisthana, Manipuraka, Anahata, Visudhi, and Agyaya. The Sahasrara of Brahmarandhra Kshetra was missing all these centuries and Uttara Swami Malai has filled the void.

Temple’s important feature

One important feature of this temple is that this temple of Lord Swaminatha is assembled and not constructed. The 900 massive stones, some of them weighing three to four tons each, stand assembled together without the use of cement or mortar. Only the crevices have been filled with the time-tested adhesive material made of lime and sand, ground to a paste with molasses and fruit juice.

The Story of Skanda Sashti

Skanda Sashti is observed on the sixth day of the bright fortnight of the Tamil month of Aippasi (October – November). This day is dedicated to the second son of Lord Shiva – Lord Subramanya, also known as Kartikeya, Kumaresa, Guha, Murugan, Shanmukha and Velayudhan. It is believed that on this day, Lord Kartikeya has annihilated the mythical demon Taraka.

Devas requested Lord Brahma

The Story of Skanda Shasti is the story of the birth of Skanda or Kumara and the fulfillment of the purpose of His divine incarnation. All Devtas were at great pain at the hands of Tarakasura, and went to Lord Brahma for help.

Lord Brahma told that only Lord Shiva can help here. Upon Brahma’s suggestion, they sought the help of Parvathi and Kama (the god of love). Parvathi agreed to help and engaged herself in severe penance to attract Shiva’s attention. Kama also agreed to help and engaged himself in the Kama also agreed to help and engaged himself in the suicidal mission of arousing Shiva from His state of Samadhi. Kama shot his arrows of love at Shiva who was eventually disturbed and the fire of anger from his third eye burnt Kama into ashes.

Birth of Skanda

The penance of Parvathi and the sacrifice of Kama paid off. Shiva was aroused from his Samadhi. However, none could bear the sparks of His fiery seed. It fell into the mouth of Agni, and afterwards received by Ganges, who in turn threw it into Sara Vana (forest of arrow like grass). Thus Saravanabava was born. He was also Skanda – Shiva’s power of chastity preserved through penance.

Skanda was raised by the six mothers of the divine constellation of Krithikai (pleiades) .Kartikeya divided himself into six babies to be nursed by six mothers. When Parvathi came and gathered all the six babies, He became Shanmukha – the one with the six faces and one body.

Lord Shanmukha
Lord Shanmukha

Killing of Tarakasura

Shanmukha became Kumara – the powerful virile adolescent who was also the beautiful and the handsome (Muruga) . He was made the General (Deva Senapathi) of the God’s army. “….Of the army generals I am Skanda.”..(The Gita). Skanda received from his mother Parasakthi an all powerful Vel (lance). Hence He is also Sakthi Velan. He engaged the armies of Simhamukha, Surapadman and Tarakasura on a six day battle and vanquished all of them on the sixth day. The Asuras were annihilated and the Devas were liberated. The sixth day (Sashti) of the waxing moon (sukhla) in the month of Ashada (Oct/Nov) is celebrated as Skanda Sashti.

Killing of Demon by Lord Subramanya
Killing of Demon by Lord Subramanya

Jyotirlinga : Somnath ( Temple of Lord Shiva )

Somnath Mandir at Night

Somnath : Foremost of the twelve Jyotirlinga

First among the twelve jyotirlinga, located at Prabhas Patan in Saurashtra – Gujrat.  Somnath means,  ‘The protector of Moon God’.  Somnath temple was destroyed many times by Islamic kings and rulers and recently was rebuilt in November 1947, by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patael.

Somnath Mandir at Night
Somnath Mandir at Night

Legend :

According to Skanda Puran, Moon God (Chandra) was married to 27 (stars) of Daksha. Moon was more affectionate to his wife Rohini, and  didn’t show any interest in rest of his wives. This arouse anger and feeling of insult among them. Dissappointed with the behaviour for their husband one they went to their father Daksha and complained his about Moon. Daksha was very sad to see his daughter’s suffering so he decided to convince Moon but all in vain. Out of anger he cursed Moon that he would be decreasing in size.

Somnath Temple
Somnath Temple

Devas were very sad at Chandra’s plight, and went to Brahama for help. Lord Brahma, the Creator advised them to pray to Lord Shiva.  Chandra went for a penance for six months after which Lord Shiva appeared and granted him a boon.

Lord Shiva said, that in every month for 15 days he would grow in size and in another 15 days, he would be loosing 1 kala per day and decrease in size. That is why this place is also known as Somnath, Protector of Moon ( Moon is also known as Som). Lord Shiva is known as Someshwar. Devas have established a Someshwar kund and it is believed that taking a holy dip in kund, a person is relieved from all sins.

Chandra or Moon looks bright here hence, this place is also known as Prabhashpattana.

Chandra was first one to receive benefit so he built the temple in gold. Later, it was rebuilt by Ravana, in silver; then by Krishna in wood and by Bhimdev in stone.

Somnath temple was subjected to series of attacks, it was destroyed and rebuilt several times. In  725, an Arab governor of Sindh, Junayad, destroyed the temple, in 815 it was reconstructed in red sand stone. In 1024, Muslim invader, Ghazini again destroyed the temple and looted the treasure. Once again n 1292, temple was destroyed by Allaudin Khilji’s army.

Somnath_temple_in_1869
Somnath_temple_in_1869

In 1701, temple was totally destroyed, plundered and looted in a horrible way, many people were killed and lots of money were stolen.

In 1783, the temple was rebuilt at a site adjacent to the ruined temple by Sadhvi Alalya Devi, Holar.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, renovated the temple on the advice of Kakasaheb Gadgil of Maharashtra. Jyotirlinga was reinstated on friday 1951 by Dr. Rajendra prasad(President).

Inspite  of destruction, the faith of devotees was never destroyed, and Somnath revived its grandeur.

 

Jyotirlinga – Mallikarjuna at Srisailam

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga temple

 

Sri Mallikarjuna is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva which is a very important pilgrim site for Hindu devotees. This Jyotirlinga is situated on hills at a place called Srisailam and has got an interesting legend. This temple has the looks of a fort and has got sculptures on walls which sometimes gives illusion of an art gallery.

Legend

Once Lord Shiva and Parvati decided to find suitable bride for their sons. Ganesha and Kartikeya argued as to who is to get wedded first.

Lord Shiva decided that one who complete his journey round the world first will will get married first. By the time lord Kartikeya could go round the world on his vahana, Lord Ganesha went round his parents seven times. In shastra going round one’s parent is equivalent to going round the world .

Lord Ganesha got married to shiddhi and Buddhi. When Kartikeya came back from his journey and heard about Ganesha’s married this angered him and despite being consoled by his parents and other Gods he left for Krounch mountain.

Lord shiva and Parvati decided to goto krounch mountain, but when kartikeya came to know that his parents are coming he went further away .

Lord Shiva and Kartikeya
Lord Shiva and Kartikeya

Eventually, Lord Shiva assumed his the form on linga and resided there in a quest to be close to Kartikeya. Mallika means Parvati and Arjun is another name of Shiva.

It is believed that Shiva and Parvati visit this palce on Amavasya (No moon day) and (full Moon day) Poornima, respectively. Visiting this Jyotirlinga not only blesses one with innumerable wealth, but also name and fame and fulfils all the desires.

Temple of Mallikarjuna

Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga
Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga

 

Mallikarjuna Shivlinga
Mallikarjuna Shivlinga

 

Bhramaramba Shrine

Located adjacent to the Mallikarjun Temple is a shrine dedicated to Goddess Jagdamba who is known as Bhramaramba here. The Bhramaramba shrine is considered to be of great significance. Legend has it that Durga is said to have assumed the shape of a bee and worshipped Shiva here, and chose this place as her abode. One can hear the buzzing of a bee through a tiny hole in the Brahmaramba temple, where Parvati, in the form of a bee, slayed the demon Mahisasura.

How to reach

Nearest airport is located at Hyderabad (175 km).

Nearest Railway stations: Markapur road, Ongole, Nandyal.

Hyderabad – Mahbubnagar (NH 7)- Srisailam temple / Ongole – Markapur – Srisailam temple / Gooty – Nandyal – Atmakur – Srisailam temple.

 

Sankat Mochan temple (mandir)

Sankat Mochan Temple

The Sankat Mochan mandir is situated in the holy city of Varanasi. The legend is that this temple was established by Tulsidas, the great poet, who wrote Ramcharitramanas.

This temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, whose other name is Sankar Mochak, which means reliever of troubles. As per the Vedic Astrology, Lord Hanuman defends and liberates human being from the wicked effects of ‘Shani’ (Planet Saturn). All those, who have ill-placed Saturn in their horoscope, should offer homage at this temple to get relief from the distress. In the earlier times, the temple was very small in its size. Later, the temple complex was extended attributable to the kind donations made by the devotees.

Sankat Mochan mandir
Sankat Mochan mandir

Every Tuesday and Saturday, thousands of devotees queue up in front of the Sankat Mochan temple to offer prayers to Lord Hanuman. According to Vedic Astrology, Hanuman protects human beings from the anger of planet Saturn and those who have ill placed Saturn in their horoscope visit the Sankat Mochan temple to get remedy. People put “Sindoor” on the statue and offer “laddoos” to Lord Hanuman. The “Sindoor” or Vermilion, from the statue of Lord Hanuman is put on the foreheads of devotees.

Festivals celebrated at Sankat Mochan Temple

On the day of  Kartik Krishna Chaturdashi, special prayers are made to the Lord Hanuman. An annual festival is also observed on the full moon night of the month of ‘Chaitra’, which is also known as Hanuman or Mahavir Jayanti. At this juncture, a procession is taken out in the streets of Varanasi. The festival too, attracts plenty of visitors to Sankat Mochan Temple.
Lord Hanuman
Lord Hanuman

Durga temple is very close to this temple and on the day of Mahavir Jayanti, a special procession which starts from the Sankat Mochan mandir ends at Durga mandir.

The current temple structure was built in early 1900s by the educationist and freedom fighter, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

 

Vishnupad mandir – temple at Gaya

The Gaya town is an important entity for Hindu religion followers. This is because of the fact that here Hindus worship their forefathers. But this town has great significance because Lord Buddha attained enlightenment here.  But few people know that this place has a great temple of Lord Vishnu, where the foot of the lord is seen. This place has a story behind where Lord Vishnu helped mankind. Another great temple in Gaya is Mangla Gauri temple.

 

Vishnupad Mandir (Temple)

This temple is in the town of gaya, bihar, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. There is an interesting story behind this temple. Once a demon known as Gayasura, did a heavy penance and sought a boon that whoever sees him should attain salvation (Moksham). Since salvation is achieved through being extreme orthodox and too good (committing no known or unknown mistakes) in one’s lifetime, people started obtaining it easily. Unable to withstand this, Lord Vishnu asked Gayasura to go under the earth and he put his right foot on demon’s head. After pushing Gayasura below the surface of earth, Lord Vishnu’s foot print remained on the rock which is seen even today.

Though the origins of the temple are unknown, Ahilya Bai Holkar, the ruler of Indore, had rebuilt the present octagonal shrine with Lord Vishnu’s footprints at the centre in 1787. The 40 cm long footprint of Lord Vishnu is imprinted in solid rock and surrounded by a silver plated basin.

Vishnupad Mandir at Gaya
Vishnupad Mandir at Gaya

 This temple is situated in a huge complex along with about 24 other temples. The main temple is 30 metres tall and has a mandap attached to it. The temple has the footprints of Vishnu in an octagonal enclosure. The footprint has a silver umbrella above it. The temple is built of large gray granite blocks jointed with iron clamps. The octagonal shrine faces east. Its pyramidal tower rises up a 100 feet.

Lord Vishnu's feet imprint
Lord Vishnu’s feet imprint

This place is also believed to be the one under which the Lord Buddha meditated for six years.

Gaya is situated about 92 kms. south of Patna and 15 kms. north of Bodh Gaya. Gaya is one of the most important pilgrimage places for the Hindus and Buddhists as at bodh gaya, Bhagwan Buddha has attained enlightenment.

Durvasa’s boons

Boons granted by Durvasa

Though Durvasa is notorious for his flying temper and curses, there are few boons which had a great impact in indian mythology. For example, the pandavas, who are at the centre of the epic Mahabharat were born due to a boon from Durvasa to Kunti.

Boon to Kunti

Durvasa was a sage who blessed liberally when happy. This is evident when Kunti got the boon from him. This boon gave the power to summon any god she wished. This boon became helpful when she was unable to give birth to babies and summoned Surya, Pawan and Indra for herself and Ashwini kumars for Madri. Thus they conceived sons who were later known as Pandavas.

Promise to Duryodhana

Once Duryodhana did great service to sage Durvasa. He became very happy and asked Duryodhana for a boon. Duryodhana thought of a plan to do something so that pandavas get to face the wrath of sage. He asked him to visit pandavas when everyone has eaten. Thus he thought that Pandavas will not be able to serve him with food and out of anger, sage durvasa will curse his enemies. Durvasa visited Pandavas but with the help of Shri Krishna, pandavas were saved.

Duryodhana and Durvasa – Indian mythology

Pandavas saved from curse – Duryodhana’s plan

Pandavas were once in a situation where Durvasa may have cursed them. As per the advice of Duryodhana, Durvasa with his ten thousand disciples reached panadavas. they reached at a time, when everyone had taken their meal. Draupadi has an akshaypatra which was able to feed anyone till the time she has not eaten from it.  That day, unfortunately, she ate from the patra. Durvasa demanded food for himself and devotees. Draupadi sought help from Krishna. Krishna found a grain in the patra and ate that. After that Durvasa and his disciples were not hungry.

Saving Draupadi from cheer haran

Contrary to the general Mahābhārata version, the Shiva Purana attributes her miraculous rescue to a boon granted by Durvasa. The story goes that the sage’s loincloth was once carried away by the Ganges’s currents. Draupadi quickly tore a piece of her garment to cover him. The sage was pleased with her. He granted Draupadi a boon which caused an unending stream of cloth to cover her when Dushasana was trying to strip her in Hastinapura’s royal dice-hall.

Birth of Swaminarayan – by curse of Durvasa

Narayana took birth as the saint Swaminarayan due to a curse by Durvasa. A great debate had been held in Badrikashram, the divine abode of the deity Nar-Narayan. They were discussing the great pain, the good and honest souls were suffering at the hands of the evil demons on earth. Durvasa Rishi stood at the back of the assembly. Several hours passed, but none noticed him. Durvasa Rishi got very angry and cursed the assembly, “May you all take birth on the earth. Let those evil demons harass you and make you suffer.”  On behalf of the entire assembly, Dharmadev and Bhaktidevi asked for forgiveness and pleaded with Durvasa Rishi to take back his curse. Durvasa Rishi replied, “The curse cannot be withdrawn. However, the supreme Lord will come with you onto the Earth. The Lord will destroy the evil demons and save you from your troubles.” This mythological episode has been stated in the scriptures to describe the reason why the supreme Lord Swaminarayan manifested upon this Earth.  The Akshardham temple houses Swaminarayan.

Durvasa curse and birth of Swaminarayan
Durvasa curse and birth of Swaminarayan