Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

I'll be grateful if you...

Dec 18, 2013

WANDERLUST: Tadkeshwar Temple - A Siddha Peetha of Lord Shiva in Uttrakhand

ANOTHER SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL ENERGY, FOUND IN HIMALAYA'S LAP....

Hidden in the thousands of valleys, surrounded by tall, serene and mysterious Himalayan peaks, one always find some secluded spot, where all the nature focuses its energy of creations to manifest the power of supreme consciousness, in physical things, which the mankind can feel if not see... And one such place, I came to be in last November, is Tadkeshwar Temple. There is a local story here that after killing Tadkeshwar Demon, Lord Shiva came here to rest and Goddess Parvati turned into 7 tall deodar trees to give Him shade. The valley is now surrounded by the same 7 trees, which is probably one of the rare places at 2000 Mts height at which this temple is located. The presiding deity of Garhwal Rifles of Indian Army, whose men always come to pay their respects to Lord Shiva after serving their posts on the front, is one of the most powerful temples for the 84 districts around (one of them is Lansdowne - 36 KMs away). For me, it was a place to spend some time, in meditation as well as sadhana, as its a Siddha Pitha (A Place where one can attain Siddhi, which for me means a connection with supreme consciousness... ) So walk with me and experience what I felt, through the images that I have captured during my stay in and around the temple...

The lamp within the temple, focuses all your sense to Shiva...
Along with my friend Parvendar Chauhan and Ashu, we started from the Dak Banglow, where I was staying in Dhampur for the 60 KMs trip to Tarkeshwar Temple....

At the Dak Bangla in Dhampur with Ashu... before we started...
The trip with friends, who are local is always the best way to know a place as it will give you insights that a traveler will not be able to know...  So on the way, I was lucky to visit almost all the temples, specially the one of Lord Hanuman "Siddha Bali Baba" who my friend Chauhan revers....

A SHIVA TEMPLE HIDDEN AWAY IN THE PLAIN SIGHT
After Kotdwar, when we were nearing Duggadda, I was asked by my friend to remove footwear as one of the most powerful temples of Shakti is coming ... He has been staying in the place and says that the stream that is flowing nearby, a local picnic attraction, has been his favorite haunt since childhood and have always made him feel the flow of happiness within... 

Some life remains

Empty of being
Just floating in sensual stream
As usual the Durga Devi Temple, my isht Devi, has always welcomed me with peace, strength and happiness and this temple, hidden in one of the caves, just off the road to Tadkeshwar Temple, got me into those sense of being one with Universal Consciousness... remembered reverently our own ancient Durga Temple and Kali Ma in our village...

Durga Ji at Dugadda is a swaymbhu i.e. natural idol, which is deep in
the cave behind me... 
And after visiting almost all the place of worship, we were finally on our way to higher ranges of mountains... and the weather changed dramatically. The road became a pathway to natural heaven,frequented more by mist and clouds....


Tapestry of life
A cosmic design; Living
Unraveling End
And finally we reached Tadkeshwar Temple... The temple where its believed that Goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva, worshiped to be married to Shiva.... The entrance has one of the powerful shloka in Sanskrit, praying to the virtue of this powerful temple...

Entrance to the Dev Bhoomi... God's Land Of Tadkeshwar
The walkway of around half a KM down into the bowl shape valley has interesting way of revealing the beauty of the place in slow motion... you find yourself slowly engulf in the beauty of the place, hidden far away from everything that you have been coming from.. just like one enters ones own self in introspection, the path leads you to the Shiva's heavenly adobe as if you are traveling deep within your heart....


The bathing Pool...
Well, finally it was time for our friend, Chauhan to pose... 

At the entrance of the temple ...
Its said that the original Shiva Linga, that came into the dreams of one of the Landlord around the place, to uncover from earth and establish a temple in Shiva's name, was sinking because of the water that is offered in daily rituals at the Lingam.. Hence the authorities decided to establish another Idol of Shiva, to be offered daily ritual....

Tadkeshwar Shiva Idol - Om Namah Shivaya.
In respect of Goddess Parvati, who is around here in the form of Tall Deodar Trees... a temple for Shakti was established ....

Shakti Ma... Jai Durga Ji
The view from the outside temple... within the valley is one of serenity and peace...

Ashu and Pravendar


The surrounding trees...
Its said here that there is one bird that visits every night and prays to Lord Shiva... and if you focus listening to it, you will find that she is repeating Shiva Mantra... Om Namah Shivaya... Well we were not so lucky to hear her... but I did get to take a picture.. though I am not sure she's the one... as she was busy working on her nest...

A beautiful wood pecker, too busy to pose for me... 
Somehow, after my mediation and rituals in the temple, I felt a deep sense of need to ask for something from Lord Shiva there... So I asked and promised to be back next year... and I am sure that I will be visiting this place again and again....

Temple's silence echoes
Within the deep forest
Bells keep chanting
The early morning if you wake and take the trip to the top of the mountain peak above the Dharmashala, that is there to provide shelter wishing to stay in the night there...; and if you are lucky, you will be able to see the top three Mountain tops of Himalaya... The view from the peak here is around 300 KM....

The panoramic view of Himalayas.. covered in the mist...
I hope you have enjoyed this walk with me... and if you are more interested in the Spiritual Treks like this... do look around in the blog or search for Jageshwar, Rishikesh, Dakshineshwar at my blog.. you are bound to come across some very interesting and powerful treks... Cheers!!!
__
Shashi
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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Lost in the Kingdom Of Bengal Tiger

STILL LIFE: Chennai Light House

From the very beginning, Light house's have fascinated me and when there was a talk of visiting Chennai Light house as it has been recently opened for public at our Chennai Bloggers Club, I was ready to join with my handy camera. It was looking to be one of the outings that seemed to be washed as by the time I reached there, it was cloudy and drizzling but ended up on a very informative and interactive note. As I reached the Light House at Marina beach, the serpentine que and the imminent threat of hurricane subdued my enthusiasm to view the city from an interesting vantage point. No one was there from the group and as I went back to my car, I spotted the friends from CBC and decided to wait for others to join us, as we sipped hot cup of Kaapi...

So here is some images from the trip, hope you will enjoy with me...


A BRIEF NOTE ON THE CHENNAI LIGHT HOUSE...


The present light house at Marina beach is the 4th light house of Chennai and one of the tallest light houses in India, which can be seen from 28 nautical miles. It was built by the East Coast Constructions and Industries in 1976 replacing the old lighthouse in the northern direction. The lighthouse was opened in January 1977. It also houses the meteorological department and was restricted to visitors. On 16 November 2013, it was reopened to visitors. It is one of the few lighthouses in the world and the only one in India with an elevator. It is also the only lighthouse in India within the city limits.
(Text Curtsy Wikipedia, click here to read more...)
The light houses of Colloseum and Alaxandria was prominently
displayed in Museum, at the Ground Floor.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was the Tallest manmade structure
in the world for centuries.

Finally, we decided to join in the long que in drizzling rain, hoping
to get the entry, before it closes at 5PM.

While there were others who focused on enjoying the sea...

Though, Chennai Light house is the only one in India with a lift, every one
decide to climb it

And the iconic view of Marina Beach...

After the visit to the Light House, a session of photography and
visit to the interesting museum, time for a group pic

And some of us headed towards the sea...

And enjoyed the beautiful weather .... 

Chennai Light House

__
Shashi
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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2nd Anniversary, CBC

Dec 17, 2013

WANDERLUST: Lost In Tiger's Kingdom - Jim Corbett Tiger Reserve

JIM CORBETT TIGER RESERVE


When you are in wilderness, and come across a signboard like the one below, that has a Tiger's fierce face and reads "This Is My Kingdom", be very very careful. It was an interesting journey last November on the trail of wild Tigers and here are some of my images from the adventure.... Come lets get lost in the Kingdom of Wild Tigers....



A brief note on Jim Corbett Park...

Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger. It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand and was named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment. The park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.

Corbett has been a haunt for tourists and wildlife lovers for a long time. Tourism activity is only allowed in selected areas of Corbett Tiger Reserve so that people get an opportunity to see its splendid landscape and the diverse wildlife. Corbett National Park comprises 520.8 km2. area of hills, riverine belts, marshy depressions, grass lands and large lake. The elevation ranges from 1,300 feet (400 m) to 4,000 feet (1,200 m). Winter nights in Corbett Park are cold but the days are bright and sunny. It rains from July to September.

Dense moist deciduous forest mainly consists of sal, haldu, pipal, rohini and mango trees, and these trees cover almost 73 per cent of the park. The 10 per cent of the area consists of grasslands.It houses around 110 tree species, 50 species of mammals, 580 bird species and 25 reptile species. The endangered Bengal tiger of India resides here.
(Text Curtsy Wikipedia, click here to read more...) 


One of the powerful Temple of Durga Ji on the way to Jim Corbett Park..
The powerful temple was located in riverbed itself...

The beautiful Riverside resort....

Where it feels like you are in the pristine wilderness and specially in the
nights, it has an eerie silence that heightens your senses...

The guide, the Gypsy driver and my friend Chauhan, on
the way to find wild tigers...

... and the Gypsy can almost go anywhere. The best part was it that you
are allowed to stand any where you can but strictly prohibited to
get down... I was wondering if it was ok to fall down.. :-)

The first sighting...

The Rest House within the Jim Corbett, where you are not allowed
to come out after the sunset... due to the wildlife around

But the day time, there's lot of sunshine and lovely walk within
the electric fences...

The trail is captivating...

And the innocent eyes... catch you off-guard

Theres vast expanse of grass land.. 

That hides every kind of wildlife ... including tigers

The dry river bed that flows through the park... 

Is overlooked by the wild foxes, in search of easy prey.

There is a huge variety of birds in the sanctuary ... but very hard to
capture...

By evening the trail ends in silence, as the spotted deer bids
farewell.

__
Shashi
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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THE PATH WITHIN - RISHIKESH                                   TADKESHWAR TEMPLE

Dec 4, 2013

READER: "Devotion Of Suspect X" by Keigo Higashino

I usually don’t read hard core fiction. Murder Plots are the last on my list of fun but when, in our last book club meeting at Apparao Galleries, it was decided to discuss “Devotion of Suspect X” by Keigo Higashino, I reluctantly gave in to read it. Well, as I did a little bit of research, felt a little relieved that there must be something more than blood and gore. The book seemed to be one of the biggest – selling Japanese thrillers ever and the inspiration for a cult film. And yes it took me by surprise and really enjoyed reading it. It was a good book, perfectly portraying the mind of a genius mathematician Ishigami and his college mate and kind of competitor, Physics Professor Yukawa in the back drop of the accidental murder of Togashi, ex Husband of the heroine Yasuko. (It was hard to find the book, but you can order it on the flipkart, Click here...)
Image from Wikipedia

The first pages that dealt with Ishigami’s walk to his school, bringing in the atmosphere, as P G Wodehouse would say, got me off to a bad start (though later it proved to be an integral part of the plot). But then as the Ex Husband Togashi, of the heroine, Yasuko; was lying dead in her room, the negative insight to Mathematician Ishigami’s mind by the author perked up my interest in the book. There’s got be something in the book, if the author is bringing up the thoughts of Ishigami, focused on his passion and lust for the Heroine, while the dead body is lying around her…

“I have to protect them, thought Ishigami. He would never be this close to so beautiful a woman ever again in his life. He was sure of that. He had to summon every last bit of his strength and knowledge to prevent any calamity from happening to her.
Yasuko sighed. To Ishigami it sounded sexual, almost like a moan and his heart fluttered. I won’t let you down, he thought steeling his resolve anew.” – From the book

But in the end, author gave more deeper insight to Ishigami’s mind…

“How beautiful their eyes are,’ Ishigami thought. Until that moment, he had never been carried away by beauty of any kind. He didn’t even understand art. But in that moment, he understood everything.”

The beauty of the book is the fact that the Author did not build up a crescendo like play up of  words, before slipping in quite crucial turns without waiting for a chapter to end or to start…  for example the turning point of the book was when Inspector casually asks if he, Ishigami, is from the University, as he noticed a letter in his hand. This simple fact, on which the whole mind game hinged, was just simply slipped in. A great style and form and I loved it. And the second important aspect that I loved about the book is the way he portrayed the minds.

Although, I am going to give you some of the Author’s take on the minds of Geniuses like Ishigami and Yukawa, at the end of this post for you to read, I will jump almost to the end of the book, giving you the desperation of the heroine, Yasuko because of a synchronicity that happened as the discussion in the book club ended. Somehow got it turned towards my Haiku (To know more about haiku, read my feature "Understanding Haiku - A beginner's Guide"). As I was asked to recite one of my Haiku, I recited an old one about "Pain"… but first I would like you to read what Yasuko has to say about her pleasure (relief), almost at the end of the book.

“Yasuko let the motion of the vehicle rock her gently in her seat as she stared out the window. The sun had set. Night had come to the city. How easy it would be if everything went dark, and the world ended right here, right now. What a relief it would be”

Now here is my Haiku on Pain…
Pain is
When you feel like
Stopping the sunrise

A Brief Note on “Devotion Of Suspect X”
_________________________________




The Devotion of Suspect X is a 2005 novel by Keigo Higashino, the third in his Detective Galileo series and is his most acclaimed work thus far. The novel won him numerous awards, including the 134th Naoki Prize, which is a highly regarded award in Japan. The novel also won the 6th Honkaku Mystery Grand Prize, which is one of the most prestigious awards in the mystery novels category in Japan. 2006 Honkaku Mystery Best 10 and Kono Mystery ga Sugoi! 2006, annual mystery fiction guide books published in Japan, ranked the novel as the number one.
The Hindi language Bollywood film adaptation rights has been acquired by Balaji Telefilms and Sujoy Ghosh the noted director of Kahaani fame has been roped in to direct it.The film may see the return of Vidya Balan as the single mother (Yasuko).Other actors rumored to star includes Naseeruddin Shah,Parambrata Chatterjee and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
The English translation was nominated for the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Novel and the 2012 Barry Award for Best First Novel.
________________
Some of the thoughts and passages from the book, which I loved. Hope you will enjoy it too. Don’t worry, I am not going to let you in on the secret…
(In the bracket is the character who is saying or thinking those words)

It had been her (Yasuko) true face, he thought. A woman’s face. A face she wore for this man, and would never wear for Ishigami… (Ishigami)

The solutions He looks for in his work are always the simplest. He doesn’t start a problem by looking for many answers at once. And he always chooses simple approach to get where he’s going. That’s why he is so good at what he does. There is no indecision, and he doesn’t give up over trifling obstacles. Its great for mathematics, but no so great for day-to-day life. You can’t always shoot for one result, for all or nothing. And yet he is constantly doing just that, and winding up with nothing to show for all his efforts. (Yukawa)

Which is harder: devising an unsolvable problem, or solving that problem?’ (Yukawa)
It’s more difficult to create the problem than to solve it. All the person trying to solve the problem has to do is always respect the problem’s creator.’ (Ishigami)

Maybe you are over thinking this. That guy might be a genius mathematician, but he’s certainly a novice murderer. (Inspector) They’re the same thing,’ Yukawa stated simply. Murder probably comes even easier to him.’ (Yukawa)

“Murder isn’t the most logical way to escape a difficult situation. It only leads to a different difficult situation. … ‘the converse is also true. That is, he is quite capable of committing an atrocity, provided that it’s the most logical course of action.’ (Yukawa)

He’s simple. Ishigami I mean. I don’t mean stupid – I mean he’s straight forward, direct. The solutions he looks for in his work are the simplest. He doesn’t start a problem by looking for many answers at once. And he always chooses simple approach to get where he is going. That’s why he is so good at what he does. There is no indecision, and he does not give up over trifling obstacles. It’s great for mathematics but not so great for day-to-day life. You can’t always shoot for one result, for all or nothing. And yet he’s constantly doing just that, and winding up with nothing to show for all his efforts.’ (Yukawa)

They (exam questions) are not tough, though. I merely take advantage of the blind spots created when students assume too much. And they usually assume too much. For example, I give them a question that looks like a geometry problem, but is I fact an algebra problem. (Ishigami)

How wonderful it would be to forget everything else, all other considerations, all the time sinks of daily life, and just work on that problem! (Ishigami was working on a mathematical theory from his student days and thought it would probably take another 20 years or more to solve it..)

The genius does something far simpler, yet something no normal person would even dream of, the last thing a normal person would think of doing. And from this simplicity, immense complexity is created. (Yukawa)

 … that man is made of logic. Emotions come a distant second.’ (Yukawa)

How short is a life time, he (Ishigami) thought, compared to the time it will take human kind to find all the rich veins of mathematical ore where they lie sleeping and tease them forth into the world. Nor, he reflected, did he need anyone to acknowledge his work. Certainly he would have liked to publish his theories, to be recognized and reviewed; but that was not the true essence of mathematics. (Ishigami)

__
Shashi
नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya
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Tao Te Ching                           The Gypsy Goddess - Meena Kandasamy
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