श्री रामलिङ्गेश्वरस्वामि देवालयम्

IMG_20160925_095912.jpgLocation: Map (17.633879, 78.470714). Sri Ramalingeshwara Temple, Medchal, Secunderabad.

Highlights:

  1. Ancient Swayambhu lingam, believed to be worshipped by Shri Raama.
  2. This is a cave temple on a hillock and is around 1200 years old.
  3. Another ancient cave temple of Ranga-Naayaka-Swaamy (map) is just beside this temple.

Timings: Pujari visits the temple once in a day, but there are some Saadhus who open the doors on request.

Details of the Temple: This temple is on a small hillock. Once needs to ascend around 50 steps to reach the Temple. The garbhalayam is a cave in which Lord appears as Swayambhu lingam. The main mandapam has a beautiful idol of Dakshinamurty. The surroundings are very scenic. On a hillock adjacent to this one, there is an ancient Ranganaayaka Swamy temple.

Logistic Tips (as of 2016): Being an ancient structure, water leaks into the temple during rains and portions are water-logged. Hence best time to visit is during day in summer. Also, the approach to the adjacent Ranganayaka temple (17.633116, 78.470946) is essentially walking on the hillock itself. So it is also difficult to approach it in rainy season. Here’s a video on this temple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckn5jKfXM1E.

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काशी विश्वेश्वर देवस्थानम्

KASHI VISHWESHWARA TEMPLE.

Location: Map (17.644975,78.065205). Kalpagur village (Kalbagur), Near Manjeera Dam, Sangareddi Mandal, Medak District.

Timings: All Day?

Highlights:

  1. Very ancient temple built in 11th century.
  2. Very rich sculptural architecture, resembling the 1000 pillar temple of Warangal.
  3. This is a Trikutaalayam, i.e., the Garbhalayam houses 3 dieties: Kashi Vishweshwara, Ananta Padmanabha Swamy and Venugopala Swamy.

Details of the Temple: This temple was built in 11th century by Ontimitta Obalayya, the Army commander of Kakatiya king, Prataparudra. The sculpture and architecture of this temple are really outstanding. One gets reminded of the 1000 pillar temple in Warangal on seeing this glorious temple. Just in front of the garbhalayam, there is a mandapam for a huge Nandi. This mandapam also has nicely carved pillars.

On the south side (left while facing the temple) resides Kashi Vishweshara in a great Linga form. In the front (West side) is Anatha Padmanabha swamy in Yoga-nidra on Sesha, performing in-interrupted Shiva-abhishekam. Various our dieties like Lakshmi, Brahma, Dikpalakas, Dashavatarams give darshan along with PadmanabhaSwamy. On the North side (right) Rukmini-Satyabhama-sahita-VenuGopala Swamy resides. He gives darshan with shankham and chakram.

When sunrays touch the murti of PadmanabhaSwamy, the entire temple glows with light! Ganga (Manjeera) flows beneath the Shiva Lingam into the nearby sacred Pushkarini of the Temple!! Here is a video of the temple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdpQ0adSzpY

वीराञ्जनेय देवस्थानम्

IMG_20161015_115054.jpgLocation: Map (17.120613, 78.394742) 40kms from Hyderabad. In Gattupalli (Ghatpally) village, in Kandukur.

Timings: Closes in afternoon.

Highlights:

  1. Swayambhu murti of Lord Hanuman.
  2. Around 500 year old temple.

Khetra Purāam: The swayambhu murti of Veeraanjaneya was found by some locals around 500 years back. When they wanted to move the murti to Maheshwaram, a near by well-populated area, and consecrate it, they could not move the murti. Then Lord Hanuman appeared in the dream of the locals and said that He wished to stay in the place as the current temple.

Details of the Temple: The current temple structure is renovated and is well-maintained. The temple attracts huge number of devotees everyday and is quite popular in the surrounding villages. The Swayambhu murti of Veeraanjaneya is very large and is covered with Sindhur. There are new temples of Lord Rama, Shiva and Navagrahas inside the premises. The temple is under endowments department and hence sells archana/pooja and Prasadam (Tamarind rice, laddu) tickets. Here is a video on the temple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24ETpSU5oo0IMG_20161015_115054.jpg

चेन्नकेशव भ्रमराम्बामल्लिकार्जुन देवस्थानम्

IMG_20160918_101707.jpgLocation: Map (17.323697, 78.479184) in Hyderabad.

Timings: Closes in afternoon (Pujari resides on the same Keshava hill. contact no.: 9849796057)

Highlights:

1) 5000 year old ancient, and once glorious, temple.

  1. 2) Locality goes by Lord’s name as “Chenna-raayani-gutta”, meaning the hillock of Lord Chennakeshava. Now Chennaraayanigutta is being called as Chandrayangutta.
  2. 3) Temple houses both Vishnu and Shiva in Swayambhu-murti forms, which is quite unique and supports Advaita philosophy.

 

Khetra Purāam: Once a great Rushi performed severe Tapas in a cave on Keshavagiri. Pleased with his Tapas, Lord appeared and accepted to stay on Keshavagiri as a Swayambhu-murti to bless the devotees. This is the ChennaKeshava murti we now see in the main Temple. To the left of the murti, there is the cave passage where the Rushi performed his Tapas. Owing to the Tapas-shakti of the rushi, the waters in the Swami’s Pushkarini has medicinal value and poison cannot harm the living creatures on this Hillock.

Details of the Temple: The current Temple structure is quite old and built as per agama-shastras. It is built around the cave where the Swayambhu-murti appeared. The garbhaalayam also has another consecrated murti of Chennakeshava just in front of the Swayambhu murti. Both the murtis have Lord Chennakeshava with a mustache. Aandal Devi is His consort who is in the left-side mandir whose gates open only on Vaikuntha-Ekadashi. Lord Hanuman is the Kshetra-paalaka of the Temple. Hanuman here appears with four hands, which is quite unique. Swami’s pushkarini (pond) is located almost at the highest point of the Hillock, which the locals have experienced to have medicinal powers. Another interesting feature of this great Kshetram is that it also has a Swayambhu murti of Bhramaraamba-Mallikarjuna Swamy (not to be confused with the new Shiva temple built beside Chennakeshava Temple). It is quite unique that Mallikarjuna appears here in murti form rather than Lingam form. Also, there seems to be a secret cave passage between these two temples. It is also interesting that Lord Ganesha appears here on the branch of the Kshetra-Vruksham, located beside the main sanctum. In the olden days, this was a very glorious temple having huge area of land and directing multiple other temples. Infact, the Temple area was once so big that the four Gates and corresponding Temples (which themselves are quite old) are located kilometres away. Unfortunately, because of the agnostic nature of Hindus, the temple is now barely known even to the locals residing near Keshava-giri. Here are videos related to this temple: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYCE6I9KEBGvd-1zd4BELkldtjpLaqfK5 .

Logistic Tips (as of 2016): Though the location of the Temple shared above is exact, there are atleast six different ways of reaching the top of Hillock (where Temple is situated). It is unfortunate that many locals are not aware of the greatness of the Temple and will hence not be themselves capable of giving you the best directions. The easiest route is a tar road that reaches the very front entrance of the Temple, starting at the bottom of the hillock in the same direction (front-side of the temple). However, the road is very narrow and can barely allow two cars side-by-side.

 

Bhānḍupeśvar Mahādev Mandir (Bhandup, Mumbai)

Location: Near Bhandup (West) Station, Mumbai (map).

 Timings: All Day.

About the Temple: This is a very ancient temple of Lord Śiva, from times unknown. The area derived its name as Bhandup from the name of this God. The temple is very beautiful with high Gopurams. Surrounding the main temple there are smaller temples of: Śītalā Devi, Santoshi Mātā, Hanumān, Navagrahās, Mahākālī, Mahāsarasvatī, Mahālakṣhmī, Vagheśvarī Devi, Gāyatrī Devi, Rāma Parivār. Thanks to the efforts of the management, this temple is maintained very well and is very neat. One experiences great solitude and peace in this temple though its surroundings are extremely busy with the near-by railway station. The puṣhkariṇī of the Lord, known as Bhānḍupeśvar Kuṇḍ is at a distance of around 1.5kms from the temple.  This suggests that perhaps in the ancient times, a large surrounding area belonged to the temple.

Śrī Devī Padmāvatī Temple (IIT-Powai, Mumbai)

  Location: Inside the IIT Campus in Powai, Mumbai (map).

  Timings: 6am-12pm and 4pm-9pm.

About the Temple: This is an ancient temple dating back to around 10th century, according to śilāśasanās (stone inscriptions) retrieved from the near-by Powai lake. The main deity of the temple was Lord Śiva, in the name of Nagajeśvara Svāmi (Lord of daughter of Himalayas). The temple was later maintained by Simhappa, a mahāsāmant under the Silhara kings. An agricultural land (the present IIT campus) was also donated by him to the Temple. Chattrapati Śivāji, later installed Goddess Padmāvatī‘s idol and from then the temple became famous after Her name. Padmāvatī Devi, though an incarnation of Goddess Lakṣhmī, has many striking resemblances with Mumbādevi: Devi does not have a mouth and the idol is covered with sindhūr. Also, the Devi’s chālīsa mentions Her name as Pavaīsvarī, based on which the locality is known as Powai. Perhaps this shows that Mātā Śakti is the same whether called as Pārvatī or Lakṣhmī or Sarasvatī. Currently, inside the temple premises there are three temples: Padmāvatī Devi, Nagajeśvara Svāmi and a new temple of Lord Ganeśa.

Links: Temple website.

Bābulnāth Mandir (Malabar Hill, Mumbai)

  Location: Near Chowpati beach, Mumbai (map).

  Timings: All day.

  Kṣhetra Purāṇam: Around two hundred years ago there lived a rich and modest goldsmith by name Pāṇḍurang, who owned the portion of the Malabar hill on which the temple is now located. For Indians of ancient and medieval ages, cows were very sacred and every gṛuhastha used to have a cow. Pāṇḍurang, being rich, had many cows and employed a bābul (care-taker) for them. Bābul used to take the cows for grazing to the very location of the current temple. While this was the routine, once Pāṇḍurang observed that one of the Kapila cows (brown-coloured) was not giving milk. On inquiring, Bābul said that since few days, the Kapila cow stops at a particular place on the hill while grazing and by itself delivers milk. Thus by end of day no milk was left with her. Surprised by Bābul‘s words, Pāṇḍurang inspected the Kapila cow’s changed routine himself. He was awe-struck to see the cow delivering milk by itself. On a little excavation, a Śiva lingam was found at this very place. This is the swayambhū lingam which is now worshipped as Bābulnāth.

  About the Temple: This majestic and spacious temple structure was built by Pāṇḍurang in 1780. There are beautiful idols of Lord Śiva and other deities on the temple walls. The most attractive is that of Śivaparivār, where Lord Śiva appears as a vṛuddha (old man), depicting that He is ancient (He is a sanātana). There are small temples of Ganeśa and Hanumān in the temple premises. One has to climb around 100 steps in order to reach the main temple. An elevator arrangement is made for the elderly pilgrims. The temple is very famous and is visited by many all throughout the year. There is extremely huge rush on the day of Mahāśivarātri.

Links: Temple website.

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