Jagdish Temple, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Deities: Lord Laxmi Narayan
Location: Udaipur, Rajasthan
Built by: Maharana Jagat Singh
Built in: 1651 A.D
Highlights: Intricate carvings on pillars
Best time to visit: September to March
STD Code: 0294

If you are looking for some unique vacation destination then you may simply go for Udaipur. It is considered as one of the most colourful and beautiful holiday destinations of Rajasthan. A major tourist attraction of Udaipur is Jagdish Temple.

The Jagdish Temple is located at a distance of 150 meters from the City Palace Complex in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. Maharana Jagat Singhji constructed this religious shrine in 1651. It took more than 1.5 million rupees to construct this stunning temple that dominates the Udaipur skyline.

The temple, 80 feet high, is on a 25 feet high platform accessible by a flight of 32 steps. The bold structure of the temple, representing the variety of scenes relating to the life on this Earth as well as the World beyond, is a delight to an architect who should minutely examine these figures engraved with all well-thought details. The ornamental decorum and the architectural beauty of the temple defies any description.

It is one of the largest Vishnu temples in the northern region of India. This elevated temple is easy to view from City Palace. The foothold of the Jagdish temple steps has two spotless white elephants on both the sides to greet you to the temple. The exterior wall of the holy temple is made up of local stone. The principal god in this pilgrimage center is lord Vishnu or Jagannath which is an idol of black stone.

A three-storied structure, the Jagdish Temple has three shrines. Spread across three storeys, Jagdish Temple has 50 pillars in both the first and second storeys. The main shrine dominates the center flanked by two smaller shrines. An excellent example of Indo-Aryan building styles, the Spire that is beautifully decorated with architectural ornaments of musicians, dancers, elephants and horses.

A huge brass image of Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu stands guard in front of the main shrine. It houses a bronze figure of the mythological half-man, half-eagle creature that transported Lord Vishnu. This huge brass icon is said to be the largest and heaviest in India.

Jagdish Temple also has a mandap and porch. The interiors look stunning with intricate carvings and friezes-adorned walls. A Sanskrit inscription in the porch written by Krishna Bhatt in the year 1651gives a detailed history of the reign of Maharana Jagat Singh.

Four smaller temples stand around the boundary of the main shrine and are dedicated to Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, Surya the Sun god, Amba (Ambika) the Mother Goddess, and Lord Shiva. A smaller temple dedicated to Krishna and his consort Radha is nearby.

Udaipur Temples:
Eklingji Temple
Jagat Temple
Jagdish Temple
Kankroli Temple
Nathdwara Temple
Ranakpur Temple
Rishabdeo Temple

How to reach:
by Air: Udaipur Airport namely Maharana Pratap Airport is located near Dabok at a distance of 22 kms from the city of Udaipur.
by Rail: Udaipur Railway Station is located at a comfortable distance from the city of Udaipur. Rajasthan Railways connects Udaipur station with all the other cities of Rajasthan as well as India.
by Road: Udaipur is well connected by road to major cities in India. Brilliant road network ensure people to enjoy a relaxed journey to and from Udaipur.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Birla Mandir, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

Deities: Venkateswara
Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Known As: Birla Mandir
Best time to Visit: All year around

This is a modern temple built of white marble on top of a hill, dominating the skyline of Hyderabad. The Birlas (industrialists who have also built several temples in India in this century) built this temple. The presiding deity here is Venkateswara (Vishnu).

This is a modern temple consecrated in 1976.

This temple displays a mixture of architectural styles. A Rajagopuram built in the South Indian style greets the visitors. The tower over the main shrine of Venkateswara called the Jagadananda Vimanam is built in the Orissan style while the towers over the shrines of the consorts are built in the South Indian style. The brass flagstaff rises to a height of 42 feet.

The granite image of the presiding deity is about 11 feet tall and a carved lotus forms an umbrella for this image. There are several carvings in marble, in the adjoining mukha Mandapam – depicting scenes from Indian mythology. The temple is floodlit at nights.

Other shrines in the temple:
The consorts of Venkateswara Padmavati and Andal are housed in separate shrines.

Worship and festivals:
Although modern in construction worship is carried out as per the traditional Agama rules, the Pancharatra Agama in particular.

Access and Accommodation:

How to Reach:
Hyderabad is reachable by any means of transport. It is a biggest city of Andhra Pradesh state of India.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Swaminarayan Akshardham, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Location: Gandhinagar (Capital of Gujarat state, India)
Dedicated to: Lord Swaminarayan on His Birth Bicentenary (1781-1981 CE)
Inaugurated by: HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj
Inaugurated on: Monday, 2 November 1992 CE (during the Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj Centenary Celebrations)
Created by: The volunteers of Bochasanwasi Shree Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha. Akshardham is a unique Complex that combines art, architecture, education, research, exhibitions and devotion at one place.
Total Akshardham Complex area: 1,004,349 sq.ft (93,341 sq.m, 23 acres)
Cultural Complex area: 358,749 sq.ft (33,341 sq.m, 8.2 acres)
Cultural Garden area: 645,600 sq.ft (60,000 sq.m, 14.8 acres)

What to See in Akshardham:
Intricately carved, the majestic Monument made of 6,000 tons of pink sandstone is awash with spiritual stillness.

Height : 108 ft. (32.9 m)
Length : 240 ft. (73.1 m)
Width : 131 ft. (39.8 m)
Floor area : 32,427 sq.ft (3,013.7 sq.m )
Colonnade length: 1,751 ft. (534 m) long

Hari Mandapam:
7 ft. Gold-leafed Murti of Lord Swaminarayan. The Monument exudes warmth and peace, and serves as a fountain of peace.
Floor area : 12,997 sq.ft (1,207.9 sq.m)

Vibhuti Mandapam:
Revelations of the Lord, displayed in exquisitely-lit brass lotuses. Each revelation is a deep yet practical treatise on philosophy. Floor area: 8,033 sq.ft (7 46.6 sq.m).

Prasadi Mandapam:
Display of holy relics of Lord Swaminarayan.
Floor area: 11,397 sq.ft (1,059.2 sq.m).
Visitors to the Monument are requested to remove shoes and observe silence. Photography is discouraged.

Double-walled, air-cooled halls. A large area of walk-through displays create an unforgettable experience of Indian Culture. Total Floor area: 62,023 sq.ft (5,764.4 sq.m)

Hall 1 – Sahajanand: (60 Minutes)
The life of Lord Swaminarayan is experienced through amazing settings and shows.
Floor area: 21,817 sq.ft (2,027.7 sq.m).
Attractions: Travel in time through a video show, Fiber-optics cosmos, Mini Chhapiya village, Journey through India, 3 light & sound shows.

Hall 2 – Sat-Chit-Anand: (25 minutes, one show every hour)
First ever 14-screen Multimedia Presentation – Integrovision – reveals the Vedic truths of man’s search for eternal joy, through spectacular imagery.
Floor area: 9,421 sq.ft ( 875.6 sq.m ).
Attractions: 14-screen Multimedia Presentation, Tunnel of mirrors and glass mosaic, Dancing musical fountains

Hall 3 – Nityanand: (60 Minutes)
Walkthrough dioramas and fiberglass figures display the messages of Upanishads, Ramayan and Mahabharat.
Floor area: 30,785 sq.ft (2,861.1 sq.m )
Attractions: Audio-animatronics show, Palace of Hastinapur from the Mahabharat, Gurukul in nature’s lap, Songs of saint-poets, Harmony of world religions.

The Sahajanand Vun is a unique blend of contemplative garden and children’s park. Floor area: 645,600 sq.ft (60,000 sq.m, 14.8 acres).

Attractions: Cultural spots, Rides and games for children, Single-piece marble sculpture of Lord Swaminarayan, Lake and waterfalls, Herbal garden

Research Center:
AARSH – Akshardham-center for Applied Research in Social Harmony. A futuristic research center with a rich library, study stations and archives. Accessibility to the library has been reserved for enlisted scholars

Free wheelchairs are available on a need-based priority at the main reception counter. One assistant is expected to attend the disabled and return the wheelchair.

Other Tourist Sites:
Deer Park: On the outskirts of Gandhinagar, at Indroda village
Sarita Udyan: Ideal for picnickers. A well-developed garden in sector 9
Adalaj Stepwell: 15 km. from Gandhinagar. The best stepwell of Gujarat.

How to Reach:
Akshardham sits in the heart of one of the greenest cities of the world -Gandhinagar, which is located on National Highway 8c. Therefore, Akshardham is accessible from every direction. On your way to Jaipur or Udaipur, Dwarika or Somnath, Modhera or Mt. Abu.
by Road: Special buses and cars are provided by the tourism department, government authorities and private services. Distance by road from important locations: Ahmedabad – 25 km, Vadodara – 150 km, Jaipur – 604 km,Udaipur – 230 km, Mt. Abu – 190 km, Mumbai – 540 km, Delhi – 900 km
by Air:
23 km from national and international airports of Amdavad.
by Rail: 2 km from Gandhinagar railway station. 31 km from Amdavad railway station.

Shree Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS)
‘Akshardham’ Sector – 20 ‘J’ Road
Gujarat, INDIA
– 382020

Tel: 0091-79-2326-0001 / 2326-0002
Fax: 0091-79-2326-0336

Web Address: www.akshardham.com/gujarat/

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Srinathji, Nathdwara, Rajasthan, India

Deities: Lord Krishna
Location: Nathdwara, Udaipur
Built in: 17th century
Significance: One of the pilgrimages of the Hindus/ Vaishnavites
Best time to visit: September to March
STD Code: 02953

Jay Shree Krishna

Nathdwara is a popular Hindu pilgrimage site. This is one of the most celebrated pilgrimage shrines of India, enshrining Krishna as Govardhana Giridhari. Nathdwara is situated 48 km north east of Udaipur in Rajasthan, on the banks of the Banas River.

Nathdwara enshrines Shrinathji – an image of Krishna, which was originally, enshrined at the Vraja Bhoomi at Mount Govardhana near Mathura.The name Nathdwara means Gate of the Lord. The image was brought to Mewar, for the sake of protection during the period of Aurangazeb, the Moghul monarch.

It is the most renowned pilgrim of India.Nathdwara is also famous for the Pichhwai paintings – the most famous Rajasthani art. This art portrays the Lord Shrinathji & their activities.

This temple is the only major attraction Nathdwara. This 17th century temple houses the original statue of Shrinathji or Lord Krishna. According to history, the statue was brought to Mewar kingdom for the sake of safety in the period of Aurangazeb the Moghul monarch. The chariot shipping the statue was jammed here, and consequently a shrine was established with the permission of the then Rana of Mewar at Nathdwara.

In Shrinathji temple, worship (puja) is replaced by servitude (seva). The temple priests change the vestments and ornaments of Shrinathji daily with love and reverence. It is believed that he appears to his devotees in many forms: the divine child inspiring parental love, the flute playing good in the forests of Vrindavan luring maidens with the melody of his flute.

Darshans or glimpses of Srinathji can be sought 8 times in the day. Individually known as Ashtaya, the 8 darshans are as below:

Sandhaya Aarti

In each of them the leelas (divine manifestations) of the Lord are described and harmonized with His daily routine. Millions of devotees come here every year, to make there wish and pray to the almighty Lord Krishna.

In the temple, enshrined is a unique image of Lord Krishna, which has been sculptured from a single piece of black marble. One of the arms of the life size image is raised in a manner so as to give an impression of holding the Govardhan Mountain. The other arm rests at the waist which seems not only a dance posture but also as if God is blessing the devotees.

Shrinathji Temple is one amongst the richest temples of India. It receives millions of rupees as offering to the Lord. The temple authorities possess approximately 500 cows and the milk of these cows, is used for the preparation of sweets and milk products. Among these cows, there is one cow that is considered as Shrinathji’s cow.

Life in the town revolves around the “Haveli” term used for all the temples of the “Pushti Marga“. This is one of the most colourful sects within the devotional side of Hinduism.The Havali is the centre of attraction in the Town. Temple servants still wear the clothes and costumes of the bygone era, serving the Lord of Nathadwara as the beloved prince and darling of Nanadaraj and Yashodaji.

Various religious festivals are celebrated at the temple like Janmashtmi, Phooldol and Diwali. The Annakutta is famous worldwide where cooked rice is hurled at the devotees after the ceremony and is ‘looted’ by them. Non-Hindus are allowed to visit this temple, however with the exception of foreigners. Undoubtedly, Shrinathji Temple is a place worth-visiting and feeling the spiritual delight.

Other important temples in Udaipur:
Eklingji Temple
Jagat Temple
Jagdish Temple
Kankroli Temple
Nathdwara Temple
Ranakpur Temple
Rishabdeo Temple

How to reach:
by Air: Air-Indian Airlines and Jet Air are having flights up to Udaipur, from where it is one hour drive in Taxi or Bus.
by Road: Nathdwara is well connected by Mumbai/ Surat/ Baroda/ Ahmedabad with good motorable roads.
by Rail: Mavli rail junction is the closest to Nathdwara. Road: Well connected by road with Udaipur.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Swaminarayan Akshardham, Delhi, India

Deities: Harikrishna Maharaj, Swaminarayan Bhagwan, Krishna, Radha, Rama, Shiva, Ganesh, Hanuman, Neelkanth
Location: Delhi, India
Best time to visit: All year around
Known as: Akshardham
Significant: Guinness world record as ‘World’s comprehensive Hindu temple’
Festival & Event: Janmashtami, Ram Navami, Maha Shivaratri, Hanuman Jayanti
STD Code: 0091-11

What is ‘Akshardham’:
Akshardham means the eternal, divine abode of the supreme God, the abode of eternal values and virtues of Akshar as defined in the Vedas and Upanishads where divine Bhakti, purity and peace forever pervades.

Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi epitomises 10,000 years of Indian culture in all its breathtaking grandeur, beauty, wisdom and bliss. It brilliantly showcases the essence of India’s ancient architecture, traditions and timeless spiritual messages. The Akshardham experience is an enlightening journey through India’s glorious art, values and contributions for the progress, happiness and harmony of mankind.

The grand, ancient-styled Swaminarayan Akshardham complex was built in only five years through the blessings of HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) and the colossal devotional efforts of 11,000 artisans and BAPS volunteers. The complex was inaugurated on 6 November, 2005.

For the first time ever in the world witness the heritage of India in all its facets, insights and beauty at the Swaminarayan Akshardham through its monument, exhibitions, verdant gardens and other attractions.

What to See:

The beautiful Mandir built without steel, consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikharas, spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India’s great sadhus, devotees, Acharyas and divine personalities.

The Mandir is a fusion of pink stone and pure white marble, where pink stone symbolizes Bhakti in eternal bloom and white marble that of absolute purity and eternal peace. Akshardham was created by HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj in fulfilment to the wish of his guru, Brahmaswarup Yogiji Maharaj, the fourth successor in the spiritual hierarchy of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. In only a short time span of five years Swaminarayan Akshardham became a reality through the blessings of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, 300 million man hours of epic services rendered by 11,000 volunteers, sadhus and artisans and the immense sacrifice, austerities, prayers of hundreds of thousands of young and old devotees of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.

Inauguration: 06 Nov 2005, Kartik Shukla Panchami, Labh Pancham, Vikram Samvat 2062
Height: 141.3 ft
Width: 316 ft
Length: 356 ft
Organizer: BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha.
Creator: HDH Pramukh Swami Maharaj

Garbhagriha (Inner Sanctum):
In the inner sanctum lies the 11 feet high beautiful and divine murti of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and the murtis of Guru Parampara, namely, Aksharbrahma Gunatitanand Swami, Bhagatji Maharaj, Shashtriji Maharaj, Yogiji Maharaj and Pramukh Swami Maharaj; where every sincere prayer is answered. One can also have the darshan of the deities of Sanatan Dharma: Shri Sita-Ram, Shri Radha-Krishna, Shri Lakshmi-Narayan, Shri Shiv-Parvati, avatars and twenty-four Chaturvyuh or Keshava murtis of God.

The divine serenity in the Garbhagriha inspires peace and divine happiness.

Mandapams (Ornate Domes):
The majestic Mandir has 9 magnificent domes, 234 intricately carved pillars, 20 quadrangle-shaped shikharas, 20,000 carvings of great sages, deities, celestial beings, 500 murtis of Paramhansa of Bhagwan Swaminarayan and many statues of devotees, birds and animals embellish the inside and outside walls of the Mandir.

The inside of the Mandir has 8 ornately carved Mandapams, each featuring the forms of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, avatars and the deities of Sanatan Dharma.

Vibhuti Mandovara (Ornate External Wall):
The ornate external wall of the Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir is known as the Mandovara.

In the last 800 years this is the only and largest, intricately carved Mandovara in India with dimensions of 611ft x 31ft. It comprises 200 sculptured stone figures of India’s great Rishis, sadhus, devotees, Acharyas and divine incarnations.

The Mandovara is made of different layers: Gajstar, Sinhstar, Vyalstar, Kumbhstar, Kalashstar, Gavakshstar, Jangha and Chhajja with a total of 4,287 carved stones. The Kumbhstar includes 48 ornately carved murtis of Shri Ganeshji.

Narayan Pith (Bronze Relief Work):
Beautiful bronze relief panels illustrate the divine incidents from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

Gajendra Pith (Elephant Plinth):
India’s legacy of love and reverence for nature is found in the Vedic mantras. Our great Rishis and ancestors lived in the lap of nature’s bounty. They coexisted with the forces of nature and all its wealth of animals and plants”.

The people of India, are nature lovers, preserving and offering respect to its denizens. Indian lore

vividly depicts this wonderful relationship, which is eloquently reflected in our culture and way of life.

The Gajendra Pith is a unique, captivating feature of Swaminarayan Akshardham Mandir. It pays tribute to elephants, symbolizing the entire animal kingdom. Sculptured according to the ancient Shilpa Shastras of India it is ornately carved in pink stone, stretching for 1,070 ft and featuring stories and legends of elephants with nature, man and God. Every panel reflects the messages of social harmony, peace and spiritual faith.

The Gajendra Pith, weighing 3,000 tons, has 148 full-sized elephants, 42 birds and animals, 125 human sculptures and decorative stone backdrops of trees, creepers and royal palaces.

Gajendra Pith is presented in three categories:

Elephant and Nature: In the lap of India’s lush jungles elephants frolic and live in their elements.
Elephant and Man: For thousands of years a unique relationship exists between man and elephant.
Elephant and the Divine: Wonderful stories illustrated in stone of elephants with God.

Narayan Sarovar (Sacred Water Lake):
Where there is pure water, there lies a pilgrim place and therein the gods sport”.
Rig Ved 4.9.3, Bhavishya Puran: 1.130. 15

From Vedic times India has a glorious tradition of water pilgrim places in the form of rivers, stepwells and lakes. Following this tradition, a sacred water lake, Narayan Sarovar, surrounds the main Akshardham Mandir. The lake contains holy waters from 151 rivers and lakes sanctified by Bhagwan Swaminarayan, including Mansarovar.

Surrounding the Narayan Sarovar are 108 Gaumukh, symbolizing 108 names of God, from which holy water issues forth. Fully-bloomed lotus flowers in the lake impart an inspiring message of purity and detachment.

Neelkanth Abhishek (Ritual Worship):
Devotees offer Abhishek (ritual pouring of water) to the murti of Neelkanth Varni and express their reverence and prayers for spiritual upliftment and fulfilment of wishes.

Parikramas (Colonnade):
From ancient times the Parikramas (circumambulatory path) of Mandirs are pathways to express reverence and devotion to the deities of Sanatan Dharma.

The Swaminarayan Akshardham Parikramas is made of red stone from Rajasthan, consisting of,152 pillars, 145 windows and 154 samvaran shikharas; amounting to a total of 53,956 stones. It surrounds Akshardham like a beautiful decorative garland. Every window and gallery in the lower Parikramas provides different views and insights to Akshardham Mandir. You can hear the soothing sound of water issuing from the 108 Gaumukh. The soft chanting of the holy names of God permeates the Parikramas, giving an experience of peace and divinity. The two-tiered Parikramas is the first of its kind in India.

Length: 3,000 ft.

Hall of Values::

Sahajanand Darshan (Audio Animatronics Shows)
Experience the timeless messages of Indian culture featured through the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

The principle theme of sculpting one’s life for happiness, success and peace of mind is portrayed in this exhibition. The exhibits portray the messages of ahimsa, endeavour, prayer, morality, vegetarianism, family harmony, etc. through fifteen 3-D dioramas and presentations from the life of Bhagwan Swaminarayan. Exquisite settings and statues in each diorama are brought to life through robotics, fibre optics, light and sound effects, dialogues and music; transporting the audience to 18th century India.
Unique 3-D dioramas and walk-through dioramas
Statues come to life through animatronic technology
A fresh experience, a new message and a novel presentation in every diorama

Neelkanth Darshan (Giant Screen Film)::
An epic period film featuring an exciting and inspiring pilgrimage of Neelkanth Varni, a child-yogi, of 18th century India. This unique period film, Neelkanth Darshan, was shot in the icy peaks of the Himalayas in the north to the pristine shores of Kerala in the south. The large format film depicts India’s holy places, festivals and spiritual traditions on a giant screen that is over six stories high. Neelkanth Darshan is the first ever wide format film filmed in India and produced by an Indian organisation.

The international large format version of Neelkanth Darshan film is Mystic India.
Filmed in 108 locations of India with 30 giant settings
45,000 cast in colourful costumes
A vivid experience of 18th century India presented on a giant screen
Giant screen: 85′ x 65′ ft

Neelkanth Varni:
A beautiful 27 ft. high bronze murti of Neelkanth Varni stands in a determined pose outside the large format film theatre.

Sanskruti Vihar (Boat Ride for India’s Glorious Heritage)::
A 12-minute spectacular boat-ride experience of the 10,000 year old India’s glorious heritage.

:- Savour the world’s oldest Vedic village life and bazaar
:- Sail through Takshshilla – the world’s first university
:- Journey through the labyrinth of ancient discoveries and inventions by the great rishi-scientists of India

Yagnapurush Kund (Musical Fountains)::
The fascinating web of life on earth is intricate, precise and beautiful. Its fragile network shows an uncompromising interdependency between man, nature and God. Therefore what we receive for sustenance by way of earth, water, fire, air and space, we need to repay and sacrifice with body, mind and heart.

To fulfil this function in life, India’s great sages and Rishis established the Yagna tradition. They chanted mantras, offered grains and ghee in a sacrificial fire (Yagna Kund) to appease the deities of earth, water, fire, air, etc. Yagna means to sacrifice or generously give in appreciation to others.

The Yagnapurush Kund is a fascinating combination of a Vedic Yagna Kund and a musical fountain. It is the world’s largest Yagna Kund measuring 300′ X 300′ with 2,870 steps and 108 small shrines. In its center lies an 8-petaled lotus shaped Yagna Kund designed according to the Jayaakhya Samhita of the Pancharatra scripture. Its perfect geometric forms testify to ancient India’s advanced knowledge in mathematics and geometry. At night the center comes to life with a colourful musical water fountain that echoes the Vedic sentiments of India.

Yagnapurush Kund has been so named after the founder of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha and the third successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, Swami Yagnapurushdasji (Brahmaswarup Shashtriji Maharaj).

Bharat Upavan (Garden of India)::
Through the millenniums people have always looked up to role models for inspiration, guidance, peace and courage. Their sterling lives radiate a perennial glow for the whole of mankind, regardless of all human, geographical and cultural distinctions.

India, which has the most ancient civilisation in the world, that hosts one sixth of humanity and has the largest democracy in the world, has produced from its vast cultural matrix a legion of role models for the world to emulate.

Bharat Upavan exudes a magnificent natural and cultural ambience through its manicured lawns, lush gardens and wonderful bronze statues of the great role models of India. India’s child gems, valorous warriors, freedom fighters, national figures and great women personalities inspire visitors with values and pride for our great nation.

Yogihriday Kamal:
This is a special lotus of auspicious sentiments.

Yogiji Maharaj, the who dreamed of Akshardham, always prayed, “May God do good of all”. He had infinite faith in God and man.

Every petal of Yogihriday Kamal reflects the auspicious sentiments of Yogiji Maharaj.

Ever since time immemorial great thinkers, scientists, writers, international personalities, saints and sages from every corner of our earth have expressed their prolific faith in the religious scriptures, God and man. Here, every petal inspires with messages from internationally renowned personages about faith in God and faith in man.

An iota of this faith can
Transform the face of our world,
And also one’s own life

Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (BAPS)
‘Swaminarayan Akshardham’
National Highway 24
Near Noida Mor
New Delhi
INDIA – 110092
Tel: 0091-11-2201-6688, 2202-6688
Fax: 0091-11-2201-5757

Web: www.akshardham.com

Iskcon Temple, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Deities: Radha-Krishna
Location: On West of Chord Road, Bangalore
Built in: 1997
Also known as: Sri Sri Radha Krishna Chandra Temple
Attraction: Neo-classical style of architecture
Significance: Iskcon’s largest temple complex across the World
Best time to visit: October to February

ISKCON, an abbreviation for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, popularly called Hare Krishna after the mantra that they chant, is a worldwide religious organization founded by Prabhupada in 1966 in New York and is based on the Gaudiya Vaishnavism sect of Hinduism inspired by Chaitanya’s life and teachings in the 16th century. The organization has the stated aim to foster bhakti (devotion) towards Krishna that it considers a personal God and the supreme Godhead.

The colossal shrine sprawls on seven-acres of ‘Hare Krishna HillJust like all other Iskcon temples, Bangalore Iskcon temple is also dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is situated to the west of the Chord Road, on a seven-acre hillock. The Iskcon temple of Bangalore was built to commemorate the birth centenary of the founder of ISKCON, Sri Prabhupada. It is built in the Neo-Classical style, which combines the conventional elements of temple architecture with modern high-tech amenities.

One enters the beautifully decorated Rajagopuram through patterned arches and brilliantly illuminated artificial waterfalls. There are four ‘Gopurams’ inside the temple, each of them connected to the other by a striking glazed-glass canopy. This entire complex forms the ‘Hari Naam Kirtan’, a 10,000 square feet hall adorned with magnificent ceiling-paintings.This temple was established in Bangalore in 1997. The temple spans across the length of 4-5 football grounds and is quite the sight to see. Massive pillars, very flamboyant idol for worship, laser shows and living quarters, class rooms, yoga centers, dance studios, gift shops and restaurants signify this place of worship. All lot of foreign visitors attend workshops and spiritual programs here.
The temple offers a bowl of ‘Kichri’ (made of rice and pulse) to its each visitor. The vast kitchen of the shrine is equipped with modern equipments and has the capacity to provide food for two thousand visitors per hour. Besides prasadam, the kitchen is also used to prepare variety of delicacies that are offered to the Lord.

Following the knowledge of the Vedas, the temple also promotes protection of cows. Being the primary element, Cows are essential for a prosperous and healthy society. Bangalore Iskcon ‘Gaushala’ retains not less than 40 cows. The milk of these cows is used in the making of various dishes and delicacies. The other attractions of the Bangalore Iskcon temple include ISKCON Vedic Theatre, Vedic museums and exhibit areas, a lecture hall and beautifully landscaped gardens. Multivision Cinema, Dakshinakriti, Srila Prabhupada Museum, Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Goloka Seva Trust. There is also a unique open-air amphitheatre, where concerts and festivals are organized.

The huge shrine was started under the global project of ISKCON to memorialize the birthday of its founder, Sri Prabhupada. In May 1997, Bangalore Iskcon Temple was inaugurated by Mr. Shankar Dayal Sharma (former President of India). Ever since, the temple has been visited by far more than 5.1 million visitors. In the vein of other Iskcon Temples round the World, the shrine is mainly dedicated to Radha-Krishna.

The festival of ‘Janmashtami’ is the major festival that is celebrated here with loads of enthusiasm and devotion. The annual Rath Yathra, (Chariot Procession) of Krishna and Balrama is attended by thousands of devotees.

The beautifully ornamental arches and illuminated water jets escort to the richly decorated Rajagopuram (main shrine). The main shrine comprises the stunningly beautiful idols of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Apart from the main shrine, the temple also comprises four additional shrines dedicated to Sri Krishna Balrama, Sri Nitai Gauranga, Sri Prahlada Narasimha and Sri Srinivasa Govinda respectively. The main hall that embraces the three shrines, including the main one, is a huge hall of 10,000 sq feet. The ceiling of the hall is festooned with remarkable paintings made by the Russian painters.

ArchitectureBuilt in neo-classical style of architecture, the temple bands together conventional architecture with ultra-modern services. The ardent devotees like Madhu Pandit Dasa (President and Project director) and Jagat Chandra Dasa designed the structure of this remarkable shrine, mingling the elements of traditional South-Indian with contemporary style of architecture. The elaborate temple complex is divided into various sections and sub-sections. The splendid structure of the temple is worth-seeing because the celestial grandeur cannot be bounded in words. Lush green gardens in the campus appear mesmerizing to the onlooker. The temple complex also has an open amphitheatre, where various festivals and concerts are observed.

Shata Koti Nama Japa Yajna In 2000, this religious program was started to promote world peace and harmony with an intention to chant 1 Billion holy names of Rama and Krishna. The venue for this ‘Nama Japa’ is ‘Harinama Mandapa’, which can be found ahead of the first temple of Prahlada Narasimha. Here, one can see two sets of 108 granite steps, where the devotee can chant the ‘Hare Krishna Mahamantra’ at each step. Following the chant of ‘Mahamantra’ for 108 times, the devotee can enter the Narsimha Temple.

FOLK Program:
This is an unusual program in which, bachelors between the age group of 19 and 29 can take part. The “Friends of Lord Krishna” (FOLK) has been organized to create an understanding of the Vedic culture among the youth of Bangalore. It is held on Saturdays and Sundays, where classes, discussions and practical sessions on Vedic philosophy and lifestyle are undertaken.

Other Attraction in Bangalore:
Attara Kacheri
Bangalore Aquarium
Bal Bhavan
Bangalore Palace
Cubbon Park
Gandhi Bhavan
Government Museum
Lalbagh Gardens
Nehru Planetarium
Tipu Sultan Fort
Ulsoor Lake
Visvesvaraya Museum

How to reach:
by Air: Bangalore airport is serviced by almost all the domestic airlines as well as a few international airlines. It is well connected with all the major cities of India.
by Rail: Bangalore City Railway Station has direct trains connecting it with all the key cities in the country. It is also serviced by a number of fast trains and daily express trains.
by Road: Bangalore is linked with the other cities through a number of National Highways. One can easily reach Iskcon Temple by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from Bangalore.

Harikrishna Hill
1st R Block
West of Chord Road
Bangalore 560 010

Tel: 0091-80-2347-1956

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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Gundicha Temple, Puri, Orissa, India

Deity: Lord Krishna
Location: Northeastern side of the Jagannath temple, Puri, Orissa
Founded In: 16th century
Significance: Believed to be the dwelling place of Lord Krishna’s aunt
Best time to visit: October to April

Puri as known to the Hindus all over the world as a religious center and for the good stretch of the white sand beaches on the banks of Bay of Bengal. Puri is dominated by two great forces, one created by God, and the other by man.

Gundicha Temple was built by Gundicha Devi to commemorate the birth of his son Niladri Singh. A colossal statue of Lord Narasimhanath, installed in the sanctum of the temple, was built by King Prithiraj Singhdeo. Gundicha Temple is considered to be the home of the aunt of Lord Krishna. However, the temple has been named after the King Indradyumna, who was also known by the name ‘Gundicha’. This is because he was the one who laid the foundation for establishment of this temple.

The distance between the gates of Jagannath temple and the Gundicha temple, is exactly 2,688.0696 meters (8327 feet). The temple is surrounded by a wall and stands in the middle of garden. The compound has two walls, one outer and another inner in the middle of which stands the main shrine. Unlike any other Orissan temple design it is almost a dome with Vishnu’s wheel on the top.

The inner and parts of the outer walls are full of murals and paintings belonging to the sixteenth century. A beautiful Garuda idol adorns the eastern most corner of the temple.

The images of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are annually taken in a chariot procession to the place. The Jagannath triad stay here for seven days. The pious believe that a sight of the Lord here is equal to thousand visits to the main Jagannath temple.

This Temple is known otherwise as ‘Janak puri’ because, here according to Puranic legend the King Indradyaumna performed the sacrifices and the Lords, Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarsana appeared on the altar.

During the Car-festival the Lords spend seven days and there after they go back to their own Temple .

The people believe according to tradition that these tortoises were human beings in their past life and had carried huge stones on their backs for the construction of the Temple of Jagannath (Bada deula). Therefore they became tortoises since them. So they are only the living witnesses of the building of Jagannath Temple by the legendary King Indrayaumna.

Other important Attraction:
Jagannath Temple:
Puri Beach
Temple of Child Krishna at Indradyumna Tank
Atharnala Bridge

How to Reach:
by Air: The nearest airport is in 56 km away, in Bhubaneswar, which has domestic flights to and from Bombay.
by Rail: Puri railway station is a major railway station and is well connected with almost all the major cities of India. The railway station is easily accessible from the main town area.
by Road: Well-connected to all the major cities of Orissa and surrounding areas through extensive network of roads.

Visit www.eTirth.com for more information on Temples, Ashrams, Gurus, Festival and Daily Panchangam (Hindu ephemeris).

If you love to read visit www.KathaVarta.org for Religious stories.

Last but not least, if you want to visit above Holy Pilgrimage, please contact and visit our associate partner www.YatraKhoj.com and e-mail at yatrakhoj@yahoo.com.
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