Sunday, April 27, 2014

Narasimha Jharani the cave temple in Bidar

Standing in chest deep muddy water in the narrow cave  surrounded by 1000s of people, I wondered am  I going to succeed in reaching  back home or will I be in next day’s  newspaper as a victim of stampede! I was inside the Narasimha Jharani   temple in Bidar.
For me, Bidar was an unexciting place  with unbearable heat. Bidar is a  district located in northern part of Karnataka with Bidar city as its headquarters.  I wouldn’t have visited Bidar but for my colleague's wedding.Sometimes few things happen for good.Once I entered Bidar, it didn’t take much time to realize that I was wrong about my opinion on Bidar.

Bidar has got so much to offer to a wandering soul.Forts,Tombs, Domes,Temples and more. Narasimha Jharani  temple is an interesting unique place. Jharani means stream of water. I was told that it is a temple inside the cave. That is not something new in India.

The world itself is a dark cave resting in the womb of the lord, is an old Hindu mythological saying.It is called deva garbha. But again the creative human mind made its own concept of deva and devis to give many manifestations with different stories. Similarly, the temple structures have many architectural manifestations and wonderful legends.

Narasimha Jharani is just not a temple inside the cave but you need to wade through the water for little over 400 meters to get darshana of  Narasimhaswamy.  He is accompanied by  Shiva Linga.
Starting point of the cave. Crowd started after few steps
 As expected there is a legend behind this. Narasimha is an avatara of Lord Vishnu. He  killed  Hiranyakashipu, to fulfill the purpose of his avatara. After killing Hiranyakashipu, he had another duty to complete to kill demon Jalasura. Jalasura was a devotee of Shiva and he went inside the cave where he was killed by Narasimha. Jalasura took the form of  jala(water) and started flowing out of the cave. Just before taking his last breath Jalasura requested  Narasimha to stay inside the cave. Narasimha agreed. Hence you find both the deities here. The water originates from the unknown spring and flows throughout the year.
It is a symbolic story.Where there is godliness there can’t be asuric forces.So jalasura the asuric energy has to go out is what I interpret.

Along with the wedding ceremony to attend,  we had kept one day for sightseeing. When we heard about this place we were enthusiastic to see the cave.
When we reached there by 11 am, it was crowded. That was a special day of chaitrapoornima ( Special full moon day in spring). It was supposed to be very auspicious day to visit this temple. There was a big queue before entering the cave. We were wondering whether to get in or go back. Finally, decided to enter as we were curious to see the cave.

It was a hot midday.Least we knew what was  waiting for us inside. It took a while to get in. Cave starts here. Width of the cave is about 1.8mt. Height is also less. Bats were  hanging in the roof.. Very  few tube lights to throw some light. There were ducts laid to bring fresh air in. Within few seconds we were walking in chest deep water. It was a  brown muddy water. As we waded through water for few steps it was chaotic. That 1.8 mt path was the only way to come in and go out of the cave. 
Bats hanging to the roof of the cave

We were trapped. Couldn’t go back nor could go inside. After few minutes  we started moving inch by inch for couple of  hours standing in the queue. There was no network to call anyone. There was tension in the air.We could see mob psychology which could burst any time.As always it is clueless.  I realized  how stampede happens  in religious places. Most of us were not carrying our cell phones and camera. Hence all the pictures posted here were taken by my colleague Vittal. He managed to carry his camera.
Devotees...Look at the width of the tunnel cave .
We finally reached the end of the cave where the swayambhu idol of lord Narasimha is worshipped. It is believed to be not a creation of an artist. But self manifested one. We find such deities all over India.People believe that such places have positive vibrations and are more powerful than man made temples. It took 2.5 hours  to reach 300-350 mts. We just got a glimpse of the deity and started to go back as there was no space even to stand and people from behind were pushing. Crowd towards the exit was thinning down. Hence, while coming back it was not so difficult to walk through the tunnel cave.
I was told that in normal days hardly  any people come to Narasimha Jharani. 
Outside the temple..Shelters for  devotees
Overall, it was a good adventurous and awesome experience. I would have missed important slice of experience in life  if I had not visited this place. Thanks to Narasimha :-) !!!!

Travel Tips –
1.Avoid visiting during  festival days and summer. You can relaxingly enjoy the nature around the temple on  normal days
2. You can reach Bidar by Train or by bus from Bangalore. It is just 145 kms from Hyderabad
3.There are few hide outs for changing. But not so clean. We can just manage.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sydney, Sky writing and Picturesque beaches.

It was a lazy sunny Friday in Sydney.All shops were closed due to holiday for Good Friday. All roads were leading to beaches.
  When we reached Manly beach, it was a delightful view to watch skywriting in the sky. I was witnessing  skywriting for the first time. There was a big heart symbol in the sky along with few more symbols. aircraft was rewriting on it. Somebody was proposing I think… 

For those who are new to Skywriting – It is an aerial advertisement. An Aircraft would be hired to write in the sky using some form of smoke. Generally it is used for advertising .Romantic people with deep pockets use it  to express their love or even to ask sorry.  Imagine your beloved proposing to you right above your head in the sky !!!! Isn’t it a Wow moment !!

Manly beach is 10 -11 kms from Harbour bridge. It  is Sydney’s popular destination and surfer’s paradise. It was a holiday. Beach was packed with locals and tourists. Locals taking sun bath on a nice sunny day after a week of gloomy weather.

Prince William and Kate’s visit was scheduled for that afternoon to Manly beach.Beach was already full of  people  waiting with excitement to meet Duke and duchess of Cambridge.Some were carrying teddy bear to give it to baby prince. There were  cut outs of William and Kate,  wedding souveniers, collages of their married life. Excitement was there in the air and people were busy in reserving their place. They had come with food and  even seating arrangements.

Took a walk along the beach. It was a fantastic  view with shades of blue hitting the shore. I appreciate the way they maintain the beaches. I was told that everyday they clean their beaches. Its is worth paying  heavy taxes.
Police were increasing minute by minute. I was afraid I might miss my flight if I stay there for long with the increasing traffic. Hence, we left to another beautiful beach called Balmoral beach.

Balmoral beach is located in an expensive suburb Mosman. Posh houses amidst greenery overlooking blue beach. No wonder real estate value is so high in the sky. It is a calm beach. Unlike Manly it was not crowded with tourists. Yachts were spread across the shore like  ornaments to the sea All owned by rich localities’.

Probably it is not a major tourist place. But locals were enjoying   their weekend with barbeque picnic  in the garden next to the beach.
This beach was not good for surfing  but a great swimming location. Even kids were diving in this safe beach. There is  a small esplanade adjacent to this beach. I could have sat there for hours enjoying the spectacular view and soothing blue water. But it was time up to reach airport.  Had to leave blue water, yachts and white sand behind to fly  back home.

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