Posts Tagged ‘Garhmukteshwar’

Ganga Yatra – Part 5

May 26, 2012

We are in the Nakka Kuan complex…

In there, a very short distance from the Nahush Koop, is the temple of Mukteshwar…

Lets recall a shloka that we saw in Ganga Mandir.

काश्याम्मरणान्मुक्तिः  , मुक्ति मुक्तीष दर्शनात्
गव्यति मात्रं तद्देवि क्षेत्रं , मुतिप्रदं नृणाम् ||

The verse (in the form of a conversation between Siva and Parvati)  says:

” (While) Dying in Kasi bestows salvation!
Just the sight of muktIshwar bestows salvation!
Spreading over a distance of two gavyuti
(two cow-calls, distance from which you can hear a cow),
This kshetra, O Devi,
Bestows liberation to humankind”.

**

Ready for Darshan?

Here is Mukteshwar Mahadev.

The shrine was first said to have been built by King Shibi. King Shibi was in the lineage of King Nahusha, six or seven generations down that line.

To quote from the Wikipedia entry on King shibi (Click here to read) :

The story of the King and the pigeon and the hawk is used to illustrate the compassion and generosity of the king. This story of Shibi appears in both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The story of Shibi in brief is as follows:

The Gods, wanting to test the compassionate nature of King Shibi, took the form of a hawk and a pigeon. The pigeon chased by the hawk fell on King Shibi’s lap seeking his protection. The hawk argued that the pigeon is its food. Shibi offered to compensate with his own flesh. Finally he offered himself to be eaten and the Gods showed him their true form and blessed him.

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The Shiva Linga itself was said to have been established here and worshiped by Parasu Rama…

Right behind the Mukteshwar temple, a covered walkway leads to a Parasurama kshetra,,,

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It was raining pretty hard when we walked, and we were thankful for the covered walkway.

At end was a small building… One entered a hall… With a picture of Parasu Rama…

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The red door above, opened to a shrine, half-open to the sky. At the center was an ancient tree… Next to the tree was a Siva Linga… This was said to have been worshiped by Parasurama… Maybe Mukteshwar was established by Shibi, and this one by Parasu Rama…

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Here’s another picture of the shrine..

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The quietness of the place, the Siva Linga, the ancient tree… A profound sense of sanctity…. We walk around the tree… Here’s a picture of the tree from the other side… Ancient roots…

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There is also said to be another Mukteshwar shiva linga in this village… Said to have been worshiped by Ravana… The presence of Ravana’s Siva Linga in Garhmuteshwar brings to mind a verse composed by him in the Siva Tandava Stotram:

कदा निलिम्पनिर्झरीनिकुञ्जकोटरे वसन्
विमुक्तदुर्मतिः सदा शिरः स्थमञ्जलिं वहन्
विमुक्तलोललोचनो ललामभाललग्नकः
शिवेति मंत्रमुच्चरन् कदा सुखी भवाम्यहम् ||

In this verse, Ravana says:

“When will I be happy, living in a cave near the celestial river, Ganga, my hands cupped above my head, with my bad thinking washed away, and uttering the mantra of Lord Siva, the great God of glorious forehead and vibrant eyes?

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We take leave of Nakka Kuan… Walk back in the rain… Reach the car…

Driving off from the village, we are back on the highway to Delhi… Time is well past 2 pm.. Somewhere along the way, we shall stop at a Dhaabaa and have some Paraatha, sabji, dahi, achaar….

So folks! Next time you visit Gad Ganga, do make a short detour and visit the village of Garhmukteshwar… Do walk up to Ganga Mandir… Visit Nakka Kuan…. And have darshan of Mukteshwar Mahadev…

Har Har Gange!

**Concluded**

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Ganga Yatra – Part 4

May 13, 2012

One more view, from the hillock of Ganga Devi Mandir, and then we shall go down….

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Let us now come down the stairs, and drive a km or so, back into the Garhmukteshwar village…

We arrive at an arch entrance of a place called Nakka Kuan.

Posters are stuck on the portal… Announcing a Bhaagavata Puraana Katha by Jagadguru Shankaracharya Divyananda Teerthji of Bhanpura Peeth…

Stepping inside the arch, one walks back in time…

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Walking down this path, leads us to a nice courtyard…. A holy tree, some shrines…. Peace….

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We notice an elderly Sanyaasi, cleaning the courtyard… We ask him which is Nakka Kuan…. He points to a small gate… We peer through the gate, and notice this well…

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This is Nakka Kuan, originally known as Nahusha Koop… King Nahusha of very ancient times, is said to have constructed this well, in the premises of Mukteshwar temple (which is also in this complex).

Who was King Nahusha? Ok… Time for stories…

The story of King Nahusha is given in detail in Mahabharata… Here’s a short version..

King Nahusha was one of the forefathers of the five Pandavas. He was a very great King and performed ever so many Ashvamedha Yagya. At that time, Indra, the Ruler of Devaloka, lost his position because of some circumstances.  The Devas then approached Nahusha to take up the position of Indra, for he had accumulated so much merit that he was eligible for taking up the position of Indra. Nahusha wanted to decline the offer, but was persuaded by the celestial deities (Devas) to accept. He then took up that position.

As he got comfortable in that position, the power of that post started going to his head… He started behaving with great arrogance… Finally, he decided that as he was now the King of Devaloka, he has a right to Indrani, the wife of Indra. He sent word to her to come to him, as he was now the Lord of Devaloka. In fright, she sought the refuge of Brahma… Nahusha was pressurizing her and threatened all with dire consequences if she did not agree to his demand… She pleaded with Brahma, and then on his advice, she also took some steps to get advice from Indra who was in hiding, and then she sent word to Nahusha, that she was in-principle not in disagreement… She would accept him, provided he came to her in regal glory, carried in a palanquin by the Seven great Rshis (Saptarshis)… He was in seventh heaven and ordered the Seven Rshis to carry him… Thus it is that by the trick of Indrani, Nahusha was made to commit this great blunder of asking the Saptarshis to carry  his palanquin…

The Sapta-Rshis agreed… One of the Rshis was the great sage Agastya…In Agastya’s matted locks, Bhrgu Rshi was hiding… Nahusha found that Agastya being clumsy, and kicked him, urging him to go faster… The sage and Rshi Bhrigu then cursed him to fall from his position and become a serpent and languish on earth.

No sooner did Agastya utter the curse, Nahusha fell… Even as he fell, he realized his folly, and pleaded with Agastya for mercy. Agastya was all compassion, and told him that he would be relieved of this curse one day, when the great King Yudhisttira would come and answer all his questions on Dharma… He also blessed Nahusha with continued memory, and the ability to overcome any prey.. By Agastya’s boon, any creature that would be caught by Nahusha would lose all its strength of body and mind….

So it is that Nahusha fell on earth and became a massive Python…. And lived on the chance creatures that came his way…

Many, many years later… The Pandavas, who were of his lineage, were on their forest exile period…. 12th year or so… Having spent a month in Badarikashrama (Badrinath), they went to other parts of Himalaya and then came down…. One day, Bheema went hunting… And as destiny would have it, he came to the region of Nahusha, the snake… Nahusha had seen no prey for a long time, and was famished… Seeing the well endowed Bheema, Nahusha grabbed him, and in a second, Bheema was caught in his coils, and  also lost all his strength… Stunned, he asked the snake who he was, and the snake told him all about himself…

Meanwhile, Yuddhisttira found that Bheema was missing… He also saw many evil omens.. Asking Arjuna to guard Draupadi, he left, searching for Bheema. Following Bheema’s trail was not difficult, ahd he soon found him in the cage of a python’s coils… Then follows a dialog between Nahusha and Yuddhisstira… Yuddhisttira replies to all the complex questions of Nahusha… Yuddhittira realizes the great sagacity and knowledge of Nahusha and in turn asks him many questions.. Nahusha clarifies all his questions… As a part of the dialog Nahusha tells Yuddhisttira:

सत्यं दमस्तपो दानं अहिंसा धर्मनित्यता |
साधकानि सदा पुंसां न जातिर्न कुलं नृप ||

“O King! It is Truth, Control of mind and senses, penance / austerity, charity, abstention from doing injury to any creature, and constancy in virtue, that are the means by which man achieves success / salvation, and not his race or lineage!”

At the end of his conversation with Yudhisttira, Nahusha is pleased and releases Bheema.

By the boon of Agastya, Nahusha is also released from his curse upon meeting Yudhittira, regains his lustrous form and leaves for higher regions….

The story is long and fascinating…

It is this King Nahusha who is supposed to have built this well, the Nahush Koop, or Nakka Kuan… The waters are from Ganga that flows nearby… A holy well, as ancient as time….

Lets have one more look at Nahush Koop…

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If only the Government Authorities took some interest… So much tourism potential in India…. Sigh….

There has been a constant drizzle…. Starts becoming heavier…

Next stop, the mandir of Mukteshwar….

**** To be continued ***

Ganga Yatra – Part 3

May 3, 2012

We are at the temple of Goddess Ganga, in the village of Garhmuketheshwar (gaNmuktishwar)…

Here is a close up of the idol of Ma Ganga.

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The young priest then guides us to a shrine that’s on the right of the Ganga Sanctum, on the pradakshina path inside the temple….

The sign on the shrine reads…

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Yes! It reads ‘The Temple of Brahma and Siva’!

Brahma temple is an absolute rarity… There is one in Pushkar…. That’s the only famous one, and many would say that that’s the only shrine of Brahma in India… Well that’s not strictly true… One has seen small shrines of Brahma in a few temples…. And there is one, right here, in Garhmukteshwar… A lovely, white, stone idol….

Ok, ready for Darshan of Pitaamaha Brahma, the Creator?

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Brahma, the four faced God, the Creator…. Circumambulating around the idol of Brahma, we come to the back… Here’s the back view, the back-face of Brahma…

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Nice view, Brahma with a nice, long, beard…

In the same shrine, on the other side is the shrine of Shiva….

I ask the priest the name of Shiva here…

He tells me that He is Narmadeshwar, the Lord of River Narmada… That’s the Shiva Linga in the centre of the altar above, the one with the snake-hood crown, which the bull Nandi is facing.

I ask of the other Shiva linga, the one this side of the altar… The priest tells me that this is the old Narmadeshwar, and that it had become ‘khandit’ (broken / defaced, rendered unsuitable for worship), and was just kept here….

We do pradakshina of the Ganga temple, and then come out… On the left of Ganga Mandir, is another shrine, that of Lord Rama, and his family… I walk into the shrine…. It’s dark and there is no one in… I take a quick photograph… And then I hear a snore… There is someone asleep somewhere in this shrine… Afternoon in an Indian village…. God is in His heaven, and all is well below, and a snooze is certainly in order…

The shrine of Rama…

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It is quite appropriate to have a Rama shrine here… The Ramayana has many references of Ganga… The story of Bhageeratha, Ganga’s descent, the liberation of the sons of Sagara are all portrayed graphically in Ramayana…

The priest asks us to come again, preferably in the morning time… He promises to show us some ‘adbhut’ (wondrous) aspects of Garhmukteshwar… That would be wonderful…

We now have to start the descent from the temple… Here’s a view from the top… Ramey’s car can be seen down below….

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Ganga used to flow right by these steps. 101 steps led up from the  river to the temple…

Now time has moved Ganga away, added some earth and subtracted some steps… There are 85 steps now….

Imagine Ganga flowing by this temple… Imagine coming here by boat, alighting on the steps, to ascend and have Darshan of Ganga Ma in this unique temple…. How wonderful that would have been….

We go down to the car… A villager walks over and asks us for Parking Fee… Hmmm… A car and its karma! Well, no sweat… A tenner makes the villager happy, and us too…

Next stop, Nakka Kuan…

*** To be continued ***

A Ganga Snaan

April 10, 2010

As good fortune would have it, one was in Delhi during the long weekend of Easter Friday. And on Saturday, one took off for Gad Ganga, the nearest point of Ganga to Delhi. This is at Garhmukteshwar, some two to three hours from Delhi. Started around 6:30 am. Driving past Noida, Hapur, one reached Brij Ghat of Ganga sometime around 9 am. Saturday Apr 3rd..

This is the time of Maha Kumbha Mela in the banks of the river Ganga, celebrated at Haridvar.  The festival commenced on Jan 14th 2010 and goes on to 28 April, 2010…

There was not much crowd in Gad Ganga though… One could park the car right near the ghat. The river beckoned…

Oh what joy being in the presence of timeless Ganga!

Taking a boat, one starts off for the other side of the river…

**

Shankara Bhagavatpada says in Gangashtakam:

आदावादिपितामहस्य नियमव्यापारपात्रे जलम्
पश्चात्पन्नगशायिनो भगवतः पादोदकं पावनम्
भूयः शम्भुजटाविभूषणमणिजह्नोरमहर्षेरियम्
कन्या कल्मषनाशिनी भगवती भागीरथी पातु माम्

‘In the beginning, starting as the water of ceremonial worship in the vessel of Brahma, the grand-sire;  Thereafter, becoming the most holy and pure of waters having touched the feet of Narayana, who reclines on the great serpent; And then after that, becoming an ornament  adorning the matted locks of Shiva: May Ganga, this daughter of Maharshi Janhu, the destroyer of the dirt of Kali Yuga, ever protect me…’

Joining this prayer, one dips into the Ganga… The all-cleansing mighty river flows gently… Time is forgotten, all cares are forgotten… Space alone remains… And all space is pervaded by Ganga…

Standing in the Ganges, hands folded, chanting Sri Rudram… How can one describe the joy…

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An hour or so later, reluctantly, one gets back to the boat, to return to the world of transactions…

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Signing off the post with a few verses from Mahabharata:

पुनाति कीर्तिता पापं द्रष्टा भद्रं प्रयच्छति
अवगाढा च पीता च पुनात्यासप्तमं कुलम्

यत्र गङ्गा महाराज स देशस्तत् तपोवनम्
सिद्धिक्षेत्रं च तज्ज्ञेयं गङ्गातीरसमाश्रितम्

Pulastya tells Yudhisttira:

“By praising Ganga, one is cleansed of all stain. By seeing Ganga, one is bestowed with all that is auspicious. By immersing oneself in Ganga, and drinking the waters of Ganga, seven generations of one’s lineage is purified.

Where Ganga flows, O King, that region is indeed a tapovana, a land of sacred merit. And know, that the banks of Ganga is the land of Siddhi, where one attains all success in one’s spiritual effort.