Thursday, 18 September 2014

Mata Lal Devi Mandir, Amritsar, India

A Small Paradise For God Lovers!

Mata Lal Devi Temple is another Hindu religious site near to the Golden Temple. However, before visiting this place you need to settle on definition of a temple itself. You need to decide what qualifies as temple for you. 

Mata Lal Devi Temple
Can a place with a center theme of representing a normal person like you and me as God and praying her as Goddess is OK with you? If yes, then it's a temple. 

However if you are like me with strict definition of God and Temple, this place is very hard to be considered as temple. At best, I might consider this place as temple because it houses all high profile Hindu god statues as well. 

Having said that, you will find this place is quite interesting in itself. You see it houses all major Hindu Gods at a single place which looks quite small from outside but once you walk upstairs it becomes a different place altogether. The 'temple' itself looks very inspired from the Vaishno Devi temple but on a small scale. 

Photos of Mata Lal Devi Mandir
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How To Go To Mata Lal Devi Mandir

It is location around 2 KM from the Golden Temple. You should be able to catch an auto rickshaw to the model town, Rani ka bagh area to reach to temple. 

All in all it's a reasonable place to visit, crocked stairs, low cellings, crawling, water hazards and everything you can expect to have fun! Oh! Yes I am talking about a temple :) but sometimes you are lost in the fun so much that you even forget it's a temple!  

Happy travelling...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Ram Tirth Temple, Amritsar, India

The Birth Place To Luv and Kush!

Ram Tirath Mandir is a Hindu religious site located in Amritsar. Just to highlight the importance, this temple is mentioned in Hindu epic "Ramayana". Ram Tirath Mandir used to be the Ashram of Saint Valmiki. At this very place he wrote 'Ramayana".

Ram Tirth Temple
Later on, Goddess Sita came to this place after being deserted by her husband Lord Ram.  And gave birth to her two sons named Lov and Kush who were later trained in warfare by Valmiki in the same temple compound as well. Temple complex also has a big pond which is said to dug by the Lord Hanuman himself. It's a common practice to circle the entire pond, which is around 3 KM, while chanting mantars. 

One can still find Luv and Kush class room and Valmiki hut in the temple complex. One of the prime attraction of Ram Tirath Temple is the annual four day fair which is organized in the month of November at the time of full moon. 

However, I don't know why beside being such a historical place it's not that well presented and maintained. Frankly speaking, Me and my wife didn't even know that the temple has such kind of history until we landed at its door step. Just to check whether we were ignorant, we asked our friends and family about this temple and to our surprise nobody knew! Checked tripadvisor only 4 people have something to say about this place. Government tourist website doesn't bother to give it proper recognition.

Photos of Ram Tirth Mandir
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I guess, we need learn from other countries to showcase our cultural heritage more prominently. Look at Combodia, Thailand or Indonesia they also have faith in Ramayana and I bet you know how prominently they highlight this piece of their history. We should be ashamed of ourselves! One side we have countries which values their heritage so much and at one side we are who don't even bother about maintaining it! Feels like either we are ashamed of our cultural heritage or we don't give a shit about it! 

Our temples are in ruined. They are dirty. All of them are overcrowded, no rule of law, no respect for people standing in queue next to them. People getting killed in stampede! What the heck is that? Is it a person going to temple should be ready for a fight of his life so that his family could see him alive once more. No police, no security. Mentally retarded assholes passing all kind of comments to your female companion. Looking ways to touch them! It just can't get pathetic than this seriously.  Although I have very low expectations but one should never lose hope that things can change in future for good! 

How To Go To Ram Tirath Temple

You can hire an auto from Golden Temple or elsewhere in Amritsar. It is situated around 12 KM from Golden Temple. There is a direct mini bus service from the main bus terminal to the Ram Mandir which is quite affordable also. But I would recommend using Auto instead of bus as the buses are small and tend to get really very crowded at times. 

Happy travelling...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Durgiana Mandir, Amritsar, India

Shri Durgiana Tirth

Durgiana Mandir or also known as Lakshmi Narayan Temple is one the famous hindu religious site located in Amritsar. The temple was constructed around 1908 on the lines of Golden Temple.

Durgiana Tirth Mandir
There is a saying, if you can't go to Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir you can come here and get the blessings of Goddess Durga. As the legend says she also resides here. 

Advisable timing to visit Durgiana temple is around the evening time when Aarti takes place. It's not the time to miss if you are religious kind of.

In the temple complex there are few other temples as well which worth to pay a visit including Anjaneya and Shitala mata temple. Although the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir are very similar, but the Durgiana Mandir is not on that grand level. It's kind of a small replica of Golden Temple. Walking around the sarovar not bring you the exact feeling as of Golden Temple sarovar but it's kind a peaceful place to visit. During our visit to the temple, the main road to the temple was not in good shape but was under construction for good. 

Durgiana Mandir Photos 
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How To Reach Durgiana Mandir

It is situated quite close to the Golden Temple. If you are comfortable with the idea of walking you can tale a walk from Golden Temple to Durgiana Temple. Since, we were travelling with our one year old daughter we had to pick a auto rickshaw from Golden Temple to Durgiana Temple.

Happy travelling...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, India

Amritsar Massacre

Jallianwala Bagh, located a stone throw distance from the Golden Temple, is a site of massacre which took place during the British rule of India. On 13 April, 1919 a British army officer, General Reginald Dyer, later got infamous as Butcher of Amritsar ordered open fire on a peaceful civilian gathering including women and children.  

The soldiers, on his command, fired until their guns ran dry, killing hundreds of innocent people. Till date you can see the bullet holes in the park's wall. There is a martyrs well located in the park in which women jumped with their children to save them from the bullets but eventually died by drowning.
Jallianwala Bagh
Going to Jallianwala Bagh will definitely give you a better perspective about Indian independence struggle. All information about Amritsar massacre is very well documented.

Indian government efforts should be applauded for maintaining this piece of our history. The signs are extremely detailed and educational. You don't need any guide to tell you the painful story. Just walk around and you will have a very good understanding of it's horrible past. 

I never felt the pain related to this tragedy during my history classes but literally standing at this very place makes you feel bad about those who lost their lives here. You start to imagine the moment when women and children, which were gathered to celebrate Basakhi festival, jumped into the well. And it comes like shock to know that both Michael and Reginald Dyer, culprits of this mass homicide, walked away without any government punishment.

Jallianwala Bagh Images
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Although it is normal to hear that General Dyer was assassinated by an Indian revolutionary, Udham Singh, in order to take revenge for Amritsar Massacre. Well it was Lieutenant Governor Michael O'Dwyer, not General Reginald Dyer, who was killed by Udham Singh in the London. 

Michael O'Dwyer was the person who got the platform set for Reginald Dyer to kill people. And it feels great to hear that he was killed by Udham Singh else he would go unpunished like Reginald Dyer.

The current generation of Reginald Dyer family gathered at the Jallianwala Bagh and apologized for the wrong doing of their grandfather. They should be applauded for accepting that killing innocent people was a grave sin.

How To Reach Jallianwala Bagh

It is situated very close to the Golden Temple. Actually, the taxi will drop you at the police check post way before the Golden Temple and you will have to walk around 5 mins from the dropping point to reach Golden Temple. Jallianwala Bagh is on the way to Golden Temple from the dropping point. 

Happy travelling...

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Golden Temple, Amritsar, India

Magnificent Golden Temple

Golden Temple also known as Darbar Sahib or Harmandir Sahib is one of biggest and important religious site for the followers of the Sikhism. The main highlight of the trip to Amritsar is Golden Temple. It's really very difficult to put this place in words. I wont be exaggerating if I say it's a heavenly experience to be at Golden Temple. You can't compare this place with any other place of such kind in entire world. Just the sheer beauty of this place can leave you speechless!
Golden Temple
Amritsar city even got it's name from the pond of Golden temple. Although the temple would be crowded for most of the time but still it would be calm. There is this real sense of calmness and peacefulness about the surroundings which you can feel but can't describe. I guess places like Golden Temple and Taj Mahal make you addicted to travelling !

At Golden Temple, you get free food (Prasad) at the langar (a common kitchen). Surprising part of that kitchen is that the most of the people working inside the kitchen are visitor of the temple itself. So what you basically do is, you sit down at the floor with others take your food and once done you go to the kitchen to help other people working there that is if you wish to. It is not mandatory but this is how entire kitchen work gets done at the langar.

Images of Golden Temple
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How To Reach To Golden Temple 

To travel in the city itself, you can hire an auto or book a taxi, there are easily available every where. But make sure to bargain else they might charge you atleast 3 times more. Also take note of weather in Amritsar in day time during summer is quite hot.

I would say Golden Temple is one of the best religious places I ever visited. It was crowded but still clam, neat and clean which is kind of unique if you are in India itself:) Visiting this place may be one of the your most remembered religious place even after years. 

Just to clear some air that roof is really of GOLD :)

Happy travelling...