A Drive to Hogenakkal Fall…

Hogenakkal fall is one the must visit place in India. A beautiful waterfall is on Cauvery river. Its 180 km drive Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri. Very nice road till you reach Dharmapuri once you reach Dharmapuri and take diversion ( You can’t miss sign)  the road is not so great still its fair enough. Drive to Hogenakkal from Dharmapuri is like picture perfect with lush mulberry fields and giant terracotta guardian deities as you approach Hogenakkal, the roar of the Cauvery river catches your attention.

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Hogenakkal is also described as the ‘Niagara’ of India, offer an exciting holiday destination for Indians and foreigners alike. Hogenakkal is located about 750 feet above sea level amidst the Melagiri Hills. Hogenakkal is considered as one of the most beautiful places in the state.

The river near the falls is a good place to try your swimming skills as the water has some current here. he hills near the falls have many trails where adventure seekers can go trekking in the Melagiri Hills. You can relax while getting a massage from the Hogenakkal masseurs who have an array of oils and powders to rejuvenate your body.

Taking a bath in the waterfalls of Hogenakkal is considered as extremely beneficial for the health. It is so because of the widely grown herbal plants in the nearby areas. The place is widely known for the curative power of its water.

A visit to the Hogenakkal waterfalls is incomplete without taking a ride in the waterproof basket boats covered in buffalo hide or plastic stretched over light-weight wicker frames. These boats are locally known as Teppa. These are among the oldest water crafts in the world.

During monsoon, the canyon is half full with water and watching water falling in from all directions is a magnificent sight to behold. The only problem was that, since the water level is too high, the coracles will not be able to go inside the canyon. But this time, it was just right. We took the steps down and a couple of coracles were waiting for their rides in to the canyon. We chose to take the whole coracle for the four of us – which can normally accommodate 6 people.

Where to eat: It is advisable to carry food and water when visiting the falls. Hogenakkal bus stand is nearest point from the falls where you can get snacks and refreshments.

Be Safe….

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The Story of Ganesh going Public….

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You would  be thinking what is this, what could be story behind Ganesh Chaturthi or Ganapati since it is related to sentiments of Indian and their religious belief.

If you are thinking same, You are right but I want to tell you story when this religious sentiment was not a wave but it was only limited to house hold celebration.

This story took shape with my recent visit to Mumbai and evidencing the feast . It took me by wave by seeing so many people coming together to celebrate it without asking who are you or where are you from. It tinkled me and I decided to know more about it and put it on paper.

So here is summation of all what I got and understood. Hope you will like it and love to know about it.

History

Ganesh Chaturthi is said to have been celebrated since the days of Maratha rulers: Satavahana, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta. This festival was celebrated by Peshwas to worship Ganapati as their family deity as a private affair. Chhatrapati Shivaji brought this event to public to promote traditions and nationalism. Mainly celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh with a lot of zeal and splendor, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular festival of Maharashtra.

Going  Public

The festivities remained a family affair until the festival was revitalized by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the late 19th Century, to take the message of freedom struggle to all Indians.

So why Bal Gangadhar Tilak want to take it to public? Before that let me tell you about Ganesh Chaturthi in zest.

It all started when Bal Gangadhar Tilak realized the actual power of this festival and understood how this festival helps to bring different class of people together. It was time of British Rule and Britisher never allowed any kind of public gathering. So he decided to bring Ganesh Chathurthi at Public forum so that he can bring all class of people on same platform and make them understand the actual power of unity which can be used to galvanize the mass against British Rule. Festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi that continued for ten days gave people of every religion the scope to interact and know each other. It was a unique move by this freedom fighter, which he achieved with the Ganpati Visarjana or immersion procession which is taken out on the final day of the ganesh festival.

Early Reason Celebration

Ganesh Chaturthi is festival were Idol of lord Ganesh is kept in Pandal ( Temporary Shrine) which is then worshiped for ten days with different kind of herbal leaf which is then immersed  with Idol of lord Ganesh in water. it is believed that these herbs helps in keeping water clean and thus helps people to drink water from these water bodies.

Celebration

Ganesh Chaturthi preparations commence from almost a month before the festival. The celebrations last for around ten days (from Bhadrapad Shudh Chaturthi to Ananta Chaturdashi). First day clay idol of Lord Ganesha is installed in home decorated with flowers. Temples witness the visit of large number of devotees. Pooja is performed and bhajans are chanted. Often, families gather together to celebrate the festival. Localities organize and arrange for pandals and install large idols of Lord Ganesha to celebrate the festival with friends and family. Festivities goes on for next nine days. On the final day of the celebrations, the idol of Lord Ganesha is taken on the streets. People exhibit their enthusiasm and joy in the form of dancing and singing on the streets along with the idol. The idol is finally immersed in the river or sea. The day witnesses a large number of devotees expressing their happiness and offering their prayers.

Vision of Bal Gangadhar Tilak work he brought people from all class and group together but there are several other reasons. Ganpati is after all a popular god. His blessings are invoked at most religious ceremonies as he is the god who can remove all obstacles to success. He is the giver of fortune and can help to avoid natural calamities. He is also the god who brings prosperity.

So next time you want to visit Mumbai or Pune make your schedule around Ganesh Chaturthi so that you can see the beautiful color of festivity on the street of these city to enjoy and live the moment.

Happy Travelling….

 

Journey of A Monk From Stanford University to Ashram, Rishikesh

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This Story is about Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati who came to India as traveller from United State of America.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati was born & brought up in Los Angeles (America),  a place very close to Universal Studio in a Jewish family. She was only child of her parent .

This Story is about what brings her to India the land which she never visited before and never thought of visiting as she was not interested at all about India.

She accept that she came to India because she was strict vegetarian and she liked Indian food. She came to Rishikesh, India in year 1996 and took official Sanyas diksha (vows of renunciation) in June, 2000, from her guru His Holiness Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji Maharaj, marking her pledge to a life of service, renunciation, purity and devotion.

She Says the first thing which she wanted to do after reaching Rishikesh, and dropping her luggage was to go at bank of river and put her feet in River (Ganga) not because of any tradition but she wanted to relax. As soon as She reached river bank and had Darshan of Mother Ganga she burst into tears and she made it clear to herself she is here to stay and nothing else matters. She knew she is Home.

So what was in Ganga that pulled her and she decided to live rest of her life in India at bank of river Ganga. She believes Ganga is  not only river but giver of life, it is the soul of India and its culture.

People from all walk of life from whole world come here to take dip into river with lots of hope on their Shoulders and to flush out their sins in this holy river. People of India are connected to each other on both side of bank from it point of origin. The mother Ganga cares her child without any expectation some do Arti on it while some throw thrash but she keeps flowing and carrying all till the end. It’s the mother who just know how to give and give without expectation or hesitation.  Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati realized  the motherhood of Ganga  and started worshipping her and stayed here.

Sadhviji when first reached the  Ashram her feet was glued to floor of Ashram and she can only move towards Ashram, there was no way to go back. That was time when she meet her Guru who said her “Welcome Home”.

Sadhviji teaches meditation to seekers from every corner of the globe who travel to the Himalayas to learn the divine practice. She also counsels people who come looking for answers and guidance. She leads discourses and question-answer sessions on topics ranging from Indian spirituality to the bridge between science and spirituality to the keys of true happiness and meaning in daily life. She travels across the world, in the seva of His Holiness Pujya Swamiji, giving lectures and question-answer sessions and teaching meditation. Her talks blend the knowledge and logic of the West with the insights, spirituality and wisdom of the East. 

Life give you clue what you are born to do, its only  you who has to realize and make your life worthy and fruitful. This was a short story on Traveler who found Spirituality and stayed here at bank of Mother Ganga.

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Sunset at Hooghly River

History says civilization started at bank of river and all great city grown around river. Cities  like  London developed around the Thames. Rome was built on Tiber as did Paris around Siene.

India is not different. Delhi was built around Yamuna , Banaras the oldest city was built on Ganges and Kolkata next to Hooghly.

My Journey from Bangalore to Kolkata was coming to end. I was supposed to meet one of my friend after long time and my next train from Howrah  to Patna was after 6 hours. So I was having lot of time to hang around with my old friend. But before reaching Howrah  I got call from my friend that he will be late. It was quite irritating for me.

When I reached station I was clueless what to do. I moved towards waiting lounge of Howrah  station and thought to park myself for couple of hours. Howrah  is a big and Old Railway station built in 1854, has huge lobby in waiting area. I was walking along the lobby with tea in my hand, watching the wonderful view of Howrah  Bridge and Hooghly  River when it struck to me why to waste time when I can explore something beautiful and great.

I kept my luggage at clock room and moved out of station. Just opposite  of Howrah station there is ticket counter for ferry which will take you across Hooghly  from Howrah  to Kolkata. The beauty of the Hooghly  can be enjoyed from the ferry ghat.

Hooghly  is distributary of the Ganges  in West Bengal. Just before entering the twin cities of Kolkata (Calcutta) and Howrah, it turns to the southwest. At Nurpur it enters an old channel of the Ganges and turns south to empty into the Bay of Bengal.

Hooghly  is broad river which changes its color with change in time and color of sky. It looks beautiful at evening when sun changes its color frequently form white to yellow to orange to pink. The image of sun forms a beautiful strip of rays on river which gives it beautiful color. Slowly as sun goes down the view of river is breath taking.

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From the ferry you can see the two beautiful  suspended giant like cable structure on Hooghly, these are Iconic Howrah Bridge and Vidyasagar Setu, a marvel of Old day Engineering and Modern Engineering . Howrah  Bridge was open for public on 3 Feb 1943, 71 years ago  while Vidyasagar Setu was open on 10 October 1992. Slowly as darkness comes down the lightning on these bridge and bank of river gives an amazing portrait view to river.

The Beautiful Sunset can also be seen from Millennium park . Millennium Park is a public park in Kolkata, situated along the Strand Road on eastern shore of Hooghly River for a stretch of 2.5 km near Babughat and opposite to Koilaghat. The park is open from 11am-8pm.

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Along the side of river there are there are many Ghats some of famous Ghats to Visit are

Princep Ghat
The Princep Ghat was built in the everlasting memory of James Princep who was an extraordinarily brilliant research and at one point of time served as the honorable Secretary of the hallowed Asiatic Society.

Outram Ghat
The quaint looking Outram ghat located to the south of Babughat is one of Kolkata’s premier riverside entertainment spots. In many ways, the Outram Ghat is a multipurpose ghat. You can bathe, can conduct ceremonies of birth and death and during the festive season, idols can also be immersed at Outram Ghat.

Two of the most popular bathing ghats are the Babughat and Armenian ghat.

It’s worth to travel along Hooghly River and understand how this great river has helped a civilization to grow and flourish on the bank of river.

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