Wednesday, 5 July 2017

THE OLDEST SHIVA TEMPLE OF INDIA

The Lad Khan Temple is one of the oldest temple in India. It is the oldest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in India. It is one of the temple that have stood in Ahole temple complex Karnatka.  

The Lad Khan Temple was built in the 5th century by the kings of the Chalukya dynasty. It was built around 450 AD. The temple also has other idols like Ganesha, Vishnu, Surya and Mother Goddess. This is small but interesting structure with stone carvings. This is one of the nice temples in Pattadakal temple complex. It is located to the south of the Durga Temple and is considered the oldest temple of Aihole.

About naming LADKHAN
The temple is named after a Muslim prince who turned this temple into his residence. Some british researchers recorded in his gazette that it was lad khans house ( he was staying in this abandoned place) and since then it is called as Lad Khan temple.


Panchayat hall style
It was built in a panchayat hall style and is indicative of early experiments in temple building. The main shrine houses a Shiva Linga with a Nandi. The temple's sloping two-tiered roof, which imitates wooden construction, is furnished with stone "logs" that cover the joints between the roofing slabs.
The temple's design contains other unusual features. The porch fronts a square mandapam. In the center of the mandapam, a Nandi faces the small interior shrine, which abuts the rear wall of the mandapam. Instead of the usual tower, a rooftop shrine is positioned over the center of the mandapam. Visualizing how Deccan architecture evolved 1600 yrs ago and how got influence by architecture styles from other part of India is an amazing experience

HOW TO REACH - This temple is in Ahole, Baglkot district in Karnatka. A village best accessed by own vehicle as public transport is at best infrequent. Aihole is aprox 35 km from Badami and the road condition is good now. You can plan to visit Ahole from Badami. Badami has good hotels to stay.
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Monday, 5 June 2017

THE OLDEST TEMPLE OF WORLD – MUNDESHWARI, KAIMUR, BIHAR

Do you know about the oldest temple of world? According to historical evidences The Mundeshwari Devi Temple in Kaimur district of Bihar is the oldest.

Temple is located on the Mundeshwari Hills in Kaimur district in the state of Bihar. It is an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of Shakti and Lord Shiva. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Bihar in India and World. It is also told as the 'oldest functional' temple of world. 

The inscription erected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at the site indicates the dating of the temple to 108 AD. However, there are other researches for the dating stating the Saka era, prior to Gupta dynasty rule (320 AD) in India. According to the Administrator of the Bihar Religious Trust Board dating is 105 AD. The temple is a protected monument under ASI since 1915.

Octagonal Plan of Temple  
The Stone made Mundeshwari temple, built on an octagonal plan which is rare. It is the earliest specimen of the Nagar style of temple architecture in Bihar. There are doors or windows on four sides. You can Also see some small niches for the reception of statues in the remaining four walls of temple.  
The temple shikhara or tower has been destroyed. However, a roof has been built, during renovation work. . A substantial part of this stone structure has been damaged, and many stone fragments are seen strewn around the temple. However, under the jurisdiction of ASI, it has been the subject of archaeological study for quite some time.


The interior walls have niches and bold mouldings which are carved with vase and foliage designs. At the entrance of the temple, the door jambs are seen with carved images of Dwarapalas (Gatekeepers) Ganga, Yamuna and many other statue of  Devis.  The main deities in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple are of the Devi Mundeshwari and Chaturmukh (four faced) Shiva linga. There are also two stone vessels of unusual design..The temple also has murtis of other popular gods such as Ganesha, Surya and Vishnu. Located on Kaimur plateau, there are many archaeological relics on the Mundeshwari Hill. 

Some of statues found from Mundeshwari temple area can be seen in Patna Museum. Daily thousands of visitors come to temple to pray the goddess Mundeshwari. But during navratra you can see huge crowd here.

HOW TO REACH – The Temple located on the Mundeshwari Hill at an elevation of 608 feet (185 m) is in Kaimur district of Bihar. It can be reached by road Sasaram  or Varanasi. The nearest railway station is is Bhabua Road ( Mohania ). From Mohania market the temple is 22 km by road. You can go Bhabua and stay here in any hotel and then plan to Mundeshwari temple. From Mughal Sarai Jn major rail head of Indian railway Bhabua Road railway station is just 54 km. You can get so many trains from Mughal sarai and also from Gaya jn. Distance from Bhabua, headquarter of Kaimur district to Mundeshwari Temple is around 12 km.
-      Vidyut Prakash Maurya


Friday, 5 May 2017

MAJULI THE LARGEST RIVER ISLAND OF WORLD

MAJULI is a sweet name and sweet place to visit. Do you know every day so many foreign tourist use to visit Majuli. Majuli is a river island in Brahamputra river falls in Assam a north eastern Indian state. In 2016 Guinness World Record has declared Majuli as the largest river island in the world. Majuli is now a district of Assam state. It is also constituency of chief minister Mr. Srabanand Sonowal.

Cultural capital of the Assam
Majuli has been the cultural capital of the Assamese civilization since the 16th century. Majuli is formed by Brahmaputra in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti joined by the river Subansiri in the north. Making you feel at peace with nature, Located 1100 km away from the mouth of the Brahmaputra, Majuli had an area of 1256 sq km in 1991 but due to soil erosion, it has now reduced to 875 sq km.


SATRAS OF MAJULI
Majuli is a good learning center for neo-Vaishnavite philosophy. There are 22 Vaishnava Satras in Majuli, the first of which was established in the 15th century by Sankaradeva, the father of Assamese culture. 

In 15th century the first Satra was founded in Majuli. Since then sixty five Satras have come up for the propagation of ethics and socio-cultural ideals. However, at present there are only twenty two Satras exists in Majuli. The others had to be shifted to safer places due to the devastation of flood and erosion.
Some of the satras worth visiting are Auni-ati, Kamalabari, Natun Kamalabari. Uttar Kamalabari.  Dakhinpat, Garamur, Samaguri satra etc.  

MASK MAKING IN SATRAS OF MAJULI
Mask making is one of the most famous traditional crafts still practiced in Majuli. It is mainly practiced by the Sattras.  Samaguri Satra is famous for mask making.  It is worldwide acclaimed in making exquisite masks. Satradhikar Hemchandra Goswami heads Samagauri satra. He is a great artist of maskmaking field, but not a product of in any art school. Goswami’s family has been making masks for over a century.  Traditionally, masks were used for religious dance and drama in satras. They were conceptualized as a tool by Shri Shankaradeva to make and depict the characters of Srimad Bhagwat to the devotees. Masks also helped to provide a physical form to the puranic characters.


HOME OF MIGRATORY BIRDS
it is home to many migratory birds. If you visit in winter you can see so many migratory birds. The Majuli with its fertile floodplains and highly productive wetlands forms the ideal habitat for birds. It not only supports the resident birds but also attracts a large number of migratory birds including some uncommon species. More than 250 species of birds have been recorded on island.If you want to see migratory birds here try to visit Majuli in the month of December and January.

PADDY is TRADITION
Majuli has a rich and diverse agricultural tradition. Here people grow as many as 100 varieties  of paddy. paddy being the chief crop of island. Assam is enriched with a number of indigenous rice varieties rich in high nutrient value. Majuli has a rich tradition of cultivating particular bao-dhaan rice paddy with nearly 1000 hectares of land under this cultivation. Farming in Majuli is traditionally organic as villagers never allow us to spray the chemicals in the paddy fields.


Handmade Pottery Of Majuli
Majuli river-island has kept persevered the oldest craft on the earth- handmade pottery. The Kumhars of Salmora area in the upper region of Majuli have kept this ancient craft alive. The tradition of handmade pottery has been kept preserved only in three villages of Majuli – Barboka, Kamjan Elengi and Besamora of Salmora. The artisans’ families have also kept alive the ancient barter trade system.  Dr. Brojen Ch. Neog of Majuli college writes traditional Pottery has two methods– handmade and the potter’s wheel. Artisans of Salmora still practice handmade pottery. Despite various challenges this ancient craft is still considered as an important  income generating cottage industry of the river island. Over 600 families are dependent on this nature-friendly craft tradition. Majuli's ancient art of pottery is as old as used in ancient time at Mohanjodaro and Harappa it is not in practice anywhere in India or else where, methods suggest a historic origin of this activity.

Weaving on Looms

There are weaving looms where women can be seen weaving material for sarees and dhoties. You can see couple of people were weaving fabulous Assamese cloth with beautiful designs...you could buy pieces if you wanted to do so. Here you can see the making the meghla saree with handmade art. These sarees are supplied to different shops. 

Mishing tribe of Majuli use to work on looms and they make weave cotton jackets, towels, endi (shawls), thick loincloths and sometimes shirts for their men folk. Weaving is the exclusive preserve of the Mising women who start their training in this craft before they reach their teens. They also have a good knowledge of natural dyes

Where to stay –  In Majuli some Vaishnav satras also offers guest accommodation where devotees and visitors can stay. There are some hotel and government accommodation also found in island. But the best place to stay at Majuli is  La Maison De Ananda. You can spend here a lovely time. 

With Monjit at Majuli ( OCT 2016 ) 
It is a homestay, located at the edge of Garamur village ( contact – Monjit Risong Ph:+91-9957186356,9435205539 )  Monjit wiil be a good friend and guide for you at Majuli. You can also hire scooty and bike from him. 

La Maison De Ananda  means the house of happiness, promises to provide the best tourist accommodation on the island, which is not only an unspoilt paradise but also a treasure trove of Vaishnavite culture. A young French architect named Jim Chauvin  built his dream project ' a cane and bamboo tourist resort with the right mix of modernity and tradition ' on the river island of Majuli.  
The guest house is built in the traditional Mising style of stilt huts made primarily of bamboo. The stilt hut has been built in such a manner that they are permanent structures. It gives the local essence of the place.


BEST TIME TO VISIT
You can go Majuli around the year, but avoid going during rainy days. Some time ferry service closes in Brahmaputra river due to heavy rain in July and august. The best time to visit Majuli is during the Raas festival in November.

How to reach – Majuli can be reached from Jorhat town. Nearest railway station is Jorhat.  From Jorhat town you have to come Nimati Ghat by Tata magic. From Nimati Ghat take a ferry ride for Majuli, It takes around two hours. You can also reach Majuli by bus directly from Guwahati, capital of Assam state.

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Monday, 5 December 2016

BRANDING BIHARI FOOD LITTI CHOKHA

Mr Devendra kumar on his stall in IITF 2016 
Every state has some special dishes that have become his trademark. So what about Bihar, yes Litti Chokha is to identify Bihar.

But Litti is just has not been that kind of brand in like Dosa of Tamil Nadu or Khamman Dhokla of Gujrat. Over the past few years, the international trade fair held in November in Delhi you can find Litti in food courts. However, the fair became the finale of this dish. But a person associated with Bihar determined that they will sharpen the brand Litti Chokha. Devendra Kumar is one such name. He studied hotel management and catering from a reputed institution. After graduating from IISM Ranchi he worked 14 years  in country's reputed hotel chains. But in his mind Litti Chokha was running. Some years ago he launched brand Mr. Littiwala from East Delhi.


He started with the brand name Mr Littiwala in Laxmi Nagar, east Delhi. Gradually began to recognize the brand. Today, the brand beyond Laxmi Nagar area has reached Indirapuram and Kingajve camp. Today, his brand reached on Zomato and Brp food websites. But the journey is still going on. 

Just INR 20 for two Litti. Chokha made from Potato, onion with brinjal and  tomato. Try with mustard sauce. Litti is sunk in ghee. If you eat two Litti it is brunch, if you eat five it is your lunch. In Laxmi nagar  Littiwala Litti stall is not popular among people of Bihar but rather large number of people from other states have also started to taste.
Amazing Slow flame - The best thing of Litti is that it is baked over charcoal on low flame, so it is not contain all the losses like other oil recipes. It's fantastic for health and a digestible dish.

Should not make too much frills in Litti. Sattu is filled inside of Litti. Makuni made from sattu of gram increases its flavor. It is similar to the Bati of Rajasthan. But Bati has no filling like litti. Besides Delhi now you can find many litti stalls in Noida also.  
Bring it anywhere - Litti's biggest feature is that you can go with Litti in travel also like a fast food. you can simply eat it anytime. It is a great fast food. The big advantage is It is cholesterol free also. 
So next time try something different, try healthy, try Litti Chokha. 
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Visit website - http://www.mrlittiwala.com/

( LITTI CHOKHA, BIHAR, GOOD FOOD , MR. LITTIWALA - http://www.mrlittiwala.com/ ) 

Saturday, 5 November 2016

SONPUR FAIR- BIG, BRIGHT AND VIBRANT

Fairs are integral part of Indian lifestyle from the ancient periods of history. Sonpur fair of north Bihar is one of the oldest fair of India. Now Sonpur fair is going on. (24 Nov 2015 to 24 Dec 2015). It is also the biggest cattle fair of Asia.  Fair starts every year from Kartik Poornima (full moon, according to Hindu calendar)  in the month of November.

Every year in month of November and December I miss the colors of Sonpur fair, because I am far away from that temple town called Harihar Kshetra. From 1987 to 2008 my family use to live very near to sonpur. We were living at SDO road, Hajipur. Our house was just half kilometers from mela ground. So we enjoy much during mela period.

On the day of Kartika Purnima people from different locations comes for holy bath in river Narayani and Ganga. Actually at Sonpur river Naryani (Gandak) meets to Ganga. Hindu epic Vishnu Purana tells about importance of this place. Here a fight for survival held between Gaj (Elephant) and Grah (Crocodile). Gaj called lord Vishnu to save his life and lord came to help him. The place of sangam of Gandak and ganga called Konhara Ghat. More than three lakh of people takes holy bath in river on the day of Kartika Purnima. One this day all banks of river looks filled with devotees. Sidhi Ghat, Janani Ghat, Hajuri Math, Kaushlya Ghat, Konhara Ghat every where you can see the huge gathering. Journalist and Historian Late Tej Pratap Chauhan says, Konhara ghat area of Hajipur was a great center of Hindu saints in Gupta period. There are so many Maths and ashram situated in Hajipur. Still we see here Hajuri Math, Ramchaura and Baithak of Mahaprbhu Vallabhachara, a great saint of 15th century.

History of Sonpur fair starts from Mauryan period, 3rd century BC. Mauryan kings bought elephants and horses from this fair. Historically fair was held on Hajipur are, on east banks of Gandak. We still see names like Nakhas, Hela bazaar, Magarhatta, Katra, Pandariba like names in old city area of Hajipur. Actually these are mela grounds. But during the period of mughal king Aurnganjeb mela sifted to west bank of Gnadak river in Sonpur.

In Sonpur there is a great Hindu temple, called Hariharnath temple. It is a temple of lord Vishnu and lord Shiva both the Gods. After taking holy bath in river people use to go for worship of Hariharnath.

Now come to the fair.  It is not only a cattle fair, but you can buy everything of your need from mela, wooden furniture, agriculture goods, spices, woolen clothes, shoes, garments, cosmetic products, religious books etc. Shopkeepers and sellers from all over India comes to Sonpur fair. The Sonpur Fair once used to attract traders from places as distant as Central Asia

Sonpur fair is also filled with entertainment, dance shows, theaters; cultural programs are attraction of fair. Nautanki show of fair is very famous. Now Bihar tourism and public relation department of state government use to organize cultural program daily. Famous folk singers use to entertain here. Are you asking about timing of fair?  Don’t worry. Entertainment never ends, fair is open 24*7.

No sell or purchase but donation -  Although Sonpur fair is famous as a cattle fair. You can find here elephant, horse, camel, ass, ox, cow, buffalo and also so many types of birds. On part of mela is known as Chidia bazaar. ( Market of birds). It is said that Hero of Indian freedom movement Veer Kunwar Singh also bought horses for his need from Sonpur mela. Now rules changed and government of India banned selling of elephants. But every year more than 40 elephants come to Sonpur fair. Noted journalist of Sonpur Mr. Surendra Manpuri tells, Now no sell or purchase of elephants done in fair, but it goes with process with donation. You can see here elephants bathing in river Gandak. Mahawat of elephant make colorful designs on back of elephant to attract people.

Urbanization of rural India has changed the picture of traditional fairs, Sonpur fair has also witnessed so many changes, but it is still one of the largest fair of India. The official duration of fair is 30 days.

How to reach – From state capital Patna sonpur is just 25 kilometers. You may book hotel in Patna and visit sonpur fair, or you can choose to live in Hajipur. From Hajipur (HJP) railway station fair is just four Km and from Sonpur railway station distance in two kilometers. Do come to enjoy colors of real India.
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Hotels @HAJIPUR
Hotel Vaishali, Cinema Road, Hajipur-844101 (Bihar) 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

ROHTAS INDUSTRIES LOCO AT MUZAFFARPUR RAILWAY STATION

A man who born after 2000 in India has never seen a steam locomotive on railway tracks. Because all trains are now running with diesel or electric locomotive. But you can see some of old locomotives standing alone on some places revealing history of railway in India.

An old steam locomotive of Dehri Rohtas Light Railway (DRLR) now can be seen outside railway station of Muzaffarpur (Bihar).It is a good initiative of East Central Railway a zone of Indian Railway.

The loco RIL-06 is on display from 05 December 2015, as heritage property of East Central Railway of Indian Railways. General Manager Anant Kumar Mittal of ECR inaugurated this Loco for public display.  In its naming RIL stands for Rohtas Industries Limited. This loco was manufactured in 1908 by Vulcan Foundry Limited having 0-6-4 tank. It was originally purchased by East Indian Railway. EIR bought total 10 locomotives from Vulcan. 

This loco served East Indian Railway for a long time. But in 1967 DRLR purchased this old loco from EIR it for its operational needs. Since 1984 after closer of DRLR network this loco was laying in BG shed at Dehri on Sone. But Indian Railway purchased all scrap of DRLR from Rohtas Industries, between the year2005 to 2009. Among these scraps loco RIL 06 become property of ECR.

Actually it was BG locomotive. It was in use till 1984 for transport fo goods wagons of Rohtas Industries. The Vulcan Foundry Limited was a British locomotive builder company at Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire. Now it is a part of Merseyside. Now this locomotive is showing heritage of Indian railway to the people of north Bihar. You can’t see a running steam loco but you can see here standing with pride.


( All Photo - Santosh Sarang, Muz) 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

SARAS MELA - COLORS OF REAL INDIA

If you can’t move around India, must come to India international trade fair in Delhi. You can see here all states of India in on campus. Here you can visit pavilions of remote states of India like, Tripura, Meghalya, Arunachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Andman Nicobar etc.

But the best part of fair is handicraft items by artists of various states. You can go to handicraft pavilion or visit to SARAS MELA. Saras Mela organized by ministry of rural development ( Govt of India). Here more than 300 stalls offering specialities from different parts of the country.

You can get here Phulkari from Punjab. cotton apparels from Bengal, Silks from South India, 'Banjara work' accessories from Rajasthan and also designer footwear from Punjab, Pochampally cloths from Telangna and many more. Here sellers are artists so you can interact with them and enjoy handmade art of real India.

You can find here not only cloths but so many food materials also. Saras Mela offers a pan-Indian handicraft and handloom. The mela is a haven for silk lovers. art silk, Kanchipuram (Kanjivaram) and other variants of the fabric available here. You can find here leather handbags, clutches, beads necklaces, trinkets, bracelets etc. More than 20 states participate in SARAS Mela. It is a Sale of Articles of Rural Artisans Society. It is a window to the Indian culture and heritage.

You can enjoy cultural programmes here daily. You can see here folk dances of UP, HP, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttrakhand and Punjab.

Remember Saras mela is an initiative of the Union Rural Development Ministry. Ministry organizes Saras Mela every month around the year in so many parts of India to promote rural artists. Fairs like SARAS also provide rural entrepreneurs opportunity for direct sale, without involvement of middlemen. The consumers also get benefited by buying products at much lower cost.