Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shree Ashapura temple - Nadol (Rajasthan)

Shree Ashapura Mataji is goddess worshipped mainly in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Its also a family deity for many in Gujarat and Rajasthan. One of the temple of the goddess is located in Nadol - Pali district and Modran in Rajasthan. There are other famous temples of the goddess at Matanamadh near Bhuj - Kutch, Jasdan - Rajkot, Morbi, Gondal, Jamnagar, Ghumli all in Gujarat.

Shree Ashapura mata is kuldevi of some of the gotras in Brahmin swarnakar samaj clans like Kala, Bhajud, Bhucha, Kathdiya, Kumbhalmera, Paldiwal, Solanki, Duhada, Kulmand, Lakhpal, Gugsa, Parkhavat, Ratanpal. She is also personal deity of Jadejas rulers of Kutch (Gujarat) and many other castes.

Shree Ashapura temple - Nadol

Reconstruction in progress

Gate of temple complex on Highway
Kuldevi : Every Hindu family has its own family deity which can be god or goddess and the families make a visit to obtain blessings of the deity especially on auspicious occasions like wedding, or new born in family. This tradition of having a kuldevi is similar to Tutelary deity worship which was practised in ancient Greece,Rome even in Native American religion, Asia and still practised today in Christianity.

Nadol - A sleepy small town in Desuri tehsil in Pali district on way to Jodhpur by bus from Udaipur. The town is famous for two important temples, one of Shree Ashapura mata which is also kuldevi (family deity) of people from Gujarat and Rajasthan, and Nadol Tirth which is Jain temple.

How to reach Nadol - Take a bus from Udaipur - Nathdwara which passes through towns of Gomti, Desuri, forest reserves of Khumbhalghar to reach Nadol. Takes 3 hours to reach from Nathdwara and buses are available in morning and evening. Nearest railway station is Rani junction which is 10kms from Nadol.

Lodging facility: Lodging facility is available in temple complex which also runs a Bhojnalay.

My visit: I had been planning a trip to get blessings of our Kuldevi - Shree Ashapura Mata since couple of months. After some research about Nadol, I decided to visit Rajasthan, Since it was my first visit and also first from anyone in my family so I decided to stay at Nathdwara which has better lodging facility and also it is 3hours bus drive to Nadol, bus & taxi service available from here. So it can be day trip.

Marble blocks

I boarded a Jodhpur bound bus from Nathdwara in the morning which stops at Nadol. The journey was not that exciting except for some eye popping marble and granite workshops along the route as Aravali mountains and Rajsamand in Rajasthan are famous for marble / granite mines. The bus also passed through the serpentine roads and picturesque forest reserve of Kumbhalgarh which is last green patch after which the barren desert starts. On reaching Nadol, found it to be small sleepy town which hardly would have a population of around 10000 and main highway to Jodhpur passes right in middle of the town. The temple complex which is a walk of 5-7 minutes from main highway is nice little temple which is being renovated and reconstructed with better facility for devotees. The idol of mata is quite unique and more mesmerising is to watch devotees who come here to seek blessings of the deity. The atmosphere is all charged with religious fervor. After performing puja, saw the temple complex also has lodging facility as well ;as Bhojnalay. After puja it was time for petpuja. The food served here is complete meal with roti, sabji, dal, rice, unlimited with charge of Rs 10/- per person.

After my darshan, I decided to return back to Nathdwara without doing any other adventures as October heat was taking its toll on me. On enquiring found that bus back to Udaipur had already left at 11.30am and next bus would be only in the evening. haha ... I was so !!!!!!!!!!!
Sitting on a stone arranged like a sitting bench on lone shop which was cycle repair shop on the highway, I decided to click pictures of Rajasthani folks passing by without offending them. With sun at its peak in mid afternoon, shop owner noticing that I was a novice or first timer in the village advised me to take a bus to Desuri village from where I would get other mode of transport to my destination. And I saw of bus to Desuri just pass by and I could only look at it as people were sitting on the roof of the bus !!!!!!!!

Gomti Village square
I started thinking that may be since I had not visited the kuldevi before, it was her way of punishing me for coming so late for her blessings.......But that was not the case as I saw a Maruti Omni which stopped in front of me and driver confirming if anyone would want to come to Desuri for a charge. I just hopped in the front seat without thinking twice. In Rajasthan, this is also one mode of transport as someone who is travelling to one location in a car, wants to make some money, would carry passengers for a charge. The driver dropped me to a village called Charbhuja which again is famous for some ancient temple of lord Vishnu. He also advised me to take bus to Gomti, from where I would get another mode of easy transport to Nathdwara. So here I was on a state transport bus to Gomti - town famous for Gurjar agitation and another important junction as buses going towards Jaipur and Jodhpur passes through it. Having reached Gomti, I was little more relaxed as it was only an hour drive to my destination so I decided to stop for a small tea break on highway tea stall all lined with "Khatiyas". Sipping hot ginger tea and watching the vehicles zooming past on national highway. It was first time for me to have tea on road side dhaba on a national highway. My journey back to Nathdwara from Gomti in state transport bus more reminded me of local train journey in Mumbai as it was a standing bus journey which got me back to Nathdwara.

This post is mainly for folks of Brahmin Swarnakar Samaj.

Rajasthani men & women multi coloured dressings.

Tribal women
Orange Pagdi

Red Pagdi

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Eklingji - Architectural marvel of Princely state of Mewar

Eklingji is Hindu temple complex 22kms north of Udaipur on way to Nathdwara on NH8. Kailashpuri the modern name of town Eklingji houses total of 108 temples enclosed in high fortified walls. Built in 734 AD by Bappa Rawal and dedicated to lord Shiva, the temple complex is architectural marvel in itself.

The temple has been rebuilt and refurbished by several Maharanas of Mewar dynasty. Shri Parameshwaraji Maharaj, the principal deity of Shri Eklingji temple is the personal family deity of Maharanas of Mewar, Maharana of Udaipur still pays a personal visit to the temple every Monday evening. Part of temple complex is not accessible to general public and is only dedicated to family of Sisodiyas, former rulers of Mewar.

How to reach: Buses and taxis are available from across Rajasthan for Kailashpuri (modern name of Eklingji), Its 22 kms north of Udaipur on way to Nathdwara or Jaipur on NH-8.

Temple complex: The temple complex considered to be among the top 50 temples in India is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The magnificent architecture of the temple is simply remarkable, the double storied temple looks awesome with its pyramidal style roofs and distinctly carved towers. The temple boasts of four faced idol of Eklingji that is made out of black marble. Outside the temple is small silver statue of Shiva's sacred bull - NANDI.

The main temple has heavy silver doors and to the north of the temple, there are two kunds (ponds) namely Karz kund and Tulsi kunds, the water of which is consumed during the services to the Lord. The festival of Shivratri is time when the temple complex comes in its full glory and galore.The sleepy town has total of 108 small and large temples around it.  he temple by the name of "Nathon Ka Mandir" that dates back to the 10th century catches attraction. There is also another temple by the name of "Sas-Bahu" that is all raised in marble. The temples of Pataleswar Mahadeo, Arbada Mata, Rathasan devi, Vindhyavasini devi are worth mentioning. The wonderful architecture of these temples makes the onlooker to ponder over the artistry of those times.

Rulers of Mewar: The Sisodiyas, the rulers of Mewar are Chattri Rajputs of Suryavanshi lineage. Notable among the clans of Mewar rulers were Rani Padmini, Rani Karnavati, Rana Pratap Singh, Rana Raimal.

Jauhar and Saka: The ancient Indian tradition of honorary self immolation of women of Royal family to avoid capture and dishonour at the hands of their enemies in times of certain defeat or death of men folks in battlefield. The upset caused by the knowledge of their women were dead, filled the men in battlefield with rage in the fight to death called "SAKA"This tradition was followed mainly by Rajputs and three famous Jauhars in history was committed by the royal female folks of Mewar family.

Pics from my clicks: