Huma Temple, Sambalpur, Orissa, India

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Sambalpur, Orissa
Built in: 1670Built by: Baliar Singh
Best time to visit: October to April
STD Code: 0663

Huma Temple:- World’s another Leaning Tower of Pisa

Sambalpur District is the westernmost district in the state of Orissa, India. Sambalpur is an illustrious place that is known for the Hirakud dam, the largest dam of not only India, but the whole world. Some of the features that best describe the district are its gorgeous waterfalls, rich cultural heritage; the historic city of Sambalpur is the district headquarters. As it does not stand upright and is tilted towards one side. Infect, almost everything within the temple complex is skewed.

The leaning temple of Huma about 25 km from Sambalpur. Located on the banks of the Mahanadi, the 17th century temple of Huma leans at an angle of 47 degrees to the west. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. One of the Gods forming the Hindu Trinity. The special type of fish found here is called as ‘Kudo’ fish. They are said to be so tame that they will eat sweets and other foods from the hands of devotee who bathe close to the temple. During auspicious days they are called by their names and given the ‘Prasad’ of the God. Here nobody tries to catch them as they are believed to be the assets of the God.

It was built in the reign of Baliar Singh, the fifth Raja of Sambalpur. The worship of Shiva is said to have been initiated by a milkman (Gauda), who daily crossed the Mahanadi to a place on the bank where the underlying rock croped out. Here he daily offered his dole of milk, which was at once drunk up by the rock, and this miraculous circumstance led to enquiries, which ended in the construction of the present temple. Huma is a place of pilgrimage, and is also visited by strangers out of curiosity to see the different kind of fish in the river.

Architecture:
Now about the main point of attraction i.e. the tilted structure of temple. The surprising thing is, the main temple tilted to one direction and other small temples tilted to some other direction. And within the temple complex i.e. within the boundaries of temple, everything found to be in tilted condition including the boundaries. Now again the angle of inclination is not changed since last 40/50 years as said by the villagers and priests. However the structure is tilted may be due to some geological reason, may be the earth crust is un-even in structure. About the inclination, it’s not possible to judge whether the angle is in an increasing trend or not. For that some sort of measurement mechanism should be given to analyse it very correctly as it is done in leaning tower of Pissa.The architecture in the district attracts the people of all over world because of its unique designs.

Festival:
A great fair takes place at the foothill in March every year on the occasion of Shivratri. The presiding diety is Bimaleswar Shiva.

Other holy places in Orissa:
Jagannath Temple
Sarala of Jhankad
Panchalingeswhar
Akhandalamani Temple
Charchika Banki
Dhavaleswar
Baladevjew
Vaidyanath
Kapilas
Nilamadhava Temple

How to reach:
by Air: the nearest airport is Bhubaneswar
by Rail: There are plenty of express trains that connect Sambalpur with major cities in Orissa
by Road: Buses and taxis are also easily available from Sambalpur for travelling to the neighbouring cities.

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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Saptakoteshwar Temple, Narve, Goa, India

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Narve, Goa
Significance: Lord Saptakoteshwar, an incarnation of Shiva
Legend: Lord Shiva appeared to sages after they prayed for seven crore (Sapt-seven, Kot-crore) years

Goa, a tiny emerald land, with its natural scenic beauty, attractive beaches and temples famous for its architecture. The Saptakoteshwar temple at Narve is considered to be one of the six great sites of temples of Lord Shiva in the Konkan area. The village of Narve is located about 35 kms from Panaji and can be reached via an interesting route which requires a ferryboat from the island of Divar. Bicholim taluka, North Goa district.

This is also an ancient temple, Saptakoteshwar having been the deity of the Kings of the Kadamba dynasty around the twelfth century. Coins found from this era mention the name of the deity along with that of the King Jayakeshi. The presiding deity is Lord Saptakoteshwar, an incarnation of Lord Shiva. The faceted shivling worshipped in this temple is known as ‘Dharalinga’. The original temple was situated on the Divar Island. It was destroyed by the Portuguese and the idol was shifted to the present site at Narve.

In 1352, when the Kadamba kingdom was conquered by the Bahamani Sultan Allauddin Hasan Gangu and Goa was under the rule of the Sultan for about fourteen years. A number of temples were destroyed during this period and the linga (symbol of Lord Shiva) at the Saptakoteshwar temple was also dug up by the troops. In 1367, the army of Vijayanagar King Hariharraya defeated the Bahamani Sultan’s troops in Goa and managed to restore most of the temples to their former glory including that of Saptakoteshwar. After the Portuguese conquest, in the year 1540 during the years of the Inquisition, once again the linga at the temple was removed and misused. Soon afterwards, it was smuggled away by one of the locals named Narayan Shenvi Suryarao and taken to a place called Latambarsem where it remained for 3 years. In 1543, it was installed in a temple near the island of Divar. The Maratha King Shivaji conquered the area in 1664. On one of his many expeditions to Goa against the Portuguese in 1668, he gave the order for the Saptakoteshwar temple at Narve to be rebuilt and the linga installed in its proper place. The stone plaque mentioning this order can still be seen near the temple entrance today.
Legend:The legend behind the name Saptakoteshwar is also quite interesting. According to the legend, seven holy sages once set out to pray to Lord Shiva near the place where five holy rivers met the sea. They prayed for seven crore years at the end of which, Lord Shiva appeared to grant their wishes and agreed to stay at the place in one of his incarnations. This incarnation is known as Saptakoteshwar (sapt means seven and koteshwar means lord of crores).

Festival:
The most important festival celebrated at the temple, attended by thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India, is Gokulashtami which is considered to be the day on which Lord Shiva appeared in this incarnation to grant the wishes of the seven holy sages. Attended by thousands of devotees from Goa and other parts of India, is Gokulashtami which is considered to be the day on which Lord Shiva appeared in this incarnation to grant the wishes of the seven holy sages.

How to reach:
by Air: Dabolim is the nearest airport to Bicholim.
by Rail: The nearest railway station is the Mayem railway station.
by Road: A number of government and private-operated buses run from Mapusa and Panaji to Bicholim. The nearest interstate bus station is at Mapusa, the KTC bus station.

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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Hoysaleswara Temple, Halebid, Karnataka, India

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Halebid, Karnataka
Built in: 12th century
Attraction: Exquisite architecture
Best time to visit: November to April
Significance: One of the largest temples dedicated to Lord Shiva in South India
STD Code: 08177

Halebid (16 kms from Belur, 149 kms from Mysore and 31 kms from Hassan), once the capital of the Hoysala rulers is situated on the banks of an artificial lake Dwarasamudra.

The Hoysaleswara temple dedicated to Lord Shiva has two shrines connected by pillared walls. In each shrine is a Lingam Hoysaleshwara and Shanthaleshwara. It was built by Ketumalla, the chief of staff of Vishnuvardhana (the Hoysala king who had commissioned the construction of the Belur Chennakesava temple) during 1121 A.D. In front of the shrines, is a mandapam with a huge Nandi. Behind this is an idol of Surya with his seven horses.

The exterior walls are intricately carved with horizontal friezes depicting stories from the Epics, Mythology, animals and birds such as elephants, lions, horses, makaras, hamsas, creepers, floral designs, etc. At the time of construction, a tough competition held between Hoysaleswara Temple and Chennakesava Temple at Belur.

The Hoysaleswara temple is regarded a masterpiece for the profusion splendid carvings and friezes. The temple walls are studded with richly sculptured friezes of naturalistic and fanciful scenes from the epics of Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Intricate wall panels depicting Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraja and Lord Krishna holding up Mount Govardhan adorn the northern and southern sanctuaries.

There is a Museum managed by Archeology Department of Karnataka. Near the Hoysaleshwara temple are Jain temples dedicated to Parshwanatha Swamy (a 14 feet idol of Tirthankara Parsavanth with a seven hooded cobra over his head), Adinatha Swamy & Shanthinatha Swamy.
Legend:
From records it is known that the temple derives its name from the Hoysala ruler at that time, Vishnuvardhana Hoysaleswara, though interestingly the construction of the temple was initiated and financed by wealthy Shaiva citizens of the city, prominent among whom were Ketamalla and Kesarasetti. The temple building activity was taken up in competition to the construction of the Chennakesava Temple at Belur, a Vaishnava temple. The temple faces a large tank which was built in the middle of the 11th century and received water through channels from an ancient anecut (dam) built over the Yagachi river. The tank preceded the temple by nearly seventy five years. It is one of the largest temples dedicated to lord Shiva in South India.

Garuda Pillar:
Garuda Stambha (Pillar) is an attention-grabbing structure of Hoysaleswara Temple. Garudas were known to be the selected bodyguards of the kings and queens. They used to live and move with the Royalty with the sole aim to defend their master. At the death of their master, they committed suicide. In the southern side, the pillar demonstrates heroes flanking knives and cutting their own heads. The inscription on the pillar commemorates Kuruva Lakshma (bodyguard of Veera Ballala II).

Sculptures:
The Hoysaleswara temple is most famous for its wall sculptures that run all along the outer wall starting with an image of dancing Ganesha on the left hand side of the south entrance and ending with another image of Ganesha on the right hand side of the north entrance. In all there are 240 such images. Perhaps no other Hoysala temple is as articulate as this is in depicting the sculptures and these sculptures are second to none in all of India. The most intricate of all sculptures are found in the lintels over two of the doorways, one on the south side doorway and the other on one of the eastern doorways.

The superstructure on the shrines is known as ‘Sunakasi‘, which used to be a row of ornamented miniature roofs on top of the attics of the hall, are all gone astray. Even the towers of the shrines are not there. The temple was constructed at a height to grant adequate horizontal and vertical space to illustrate large and small sculptures. The great temple of Halebidu has been described as an outstanding example of Hindu architecture and as the ‘supreme climax of Indian architecture’.

How to reach:
by Air: The nearest airports are Mangalore 148 km and Bangalore 216 km.
by Rail: The nearest railway stations are Hassan 31 km and Banavar 31 km.
by Road: Halebid is connected by road with major cities. One can easily reach Hoysaleswara Temple by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Karnataka.

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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Mukteswara Temple, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, IN

Deity: Lord Shiva
Location: Bhubaneshwar, Orissa
Built in: 950 A.D
Attraction: Gem of Orissan Architecture
Best time to visit: October to March

This temple is considered to be the gem of Orissan architecture. The sculptured gateway, the Jagamohana with diamond shaped latticed windows and decorated interiors and the plethora of sculptural work all deserve mention in this temple. Although it is only a small monument rising to a height of 35 feet. Literally every inch of its surface is carved. This temple has also been described as a dream realized in sandstone and it is a monument where it is said sculpture and architecture are in complete harmony with one another. This temple dates back to the 10th century.

ROMANCING THE stone…. if anyone understood the joyous meaning of the phrase, it was the Oriyas. Orissa’s temple architecture is a heady display of the most exotic delineations of religious architecture in the world. Bhubaneswar, also known as the Cathedral city, had thousands of temples once upon a time, but only a few hundreds remain now. Of these a few are perfection personified.

About the Deity:
Mukteswara temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, and is carved with figures of ascetics in several poses of meditation. The highlight of the temple is the magnificent torana – the decorative gateway, an arched masterpiece, reminiscent of Buddhist influence in Orissa.

On the outer face of the compound wall are niches containing a variety of divinities. These include Saraswati (sitting on a lotus with two female attendants by her side), Ganesha (with his attendant mouse), and Lakulisha (the fifth century founder of the Pashupata sect of tantric Shaivism), who is portrayed sitting cross-legged, with two miniature ascetic figures in the triangular side panels. The fact that these wall niches include Buddhist and Jain images as well as Shaivite (Hindu) ones attests once again to the synthesis which was so much a part of Orissan religious life. It’s extraordinarily beautiful sculpture includes elaborate scrolls, graceful female figures, monkeys, peacocks, and a wealth of delicate and lovely decorative detail. On the eastern side of the temple compound is a sacred tank, and in the south west corner is a well which is said to cure fertility problems. Several small shrines will be noticed within the compound, many with lingam inside. These were offering shrines depicting utmost faith in God for all purposes during that era. One more interesting feature about the temple is that it has got a well in its eastern part. It is believed that a dip in this holy well cures the problem of infertility.

On the exteriors of compound wall, one can see variety of divinities in the alcoves. On the convoluted horseshoe shaped ‘chaitya’ arch, there is an image of fabled lion head with open jaws, served by attendants. Later, this type of image was imprinted in various temples of Orissa. Mukteswara Temple is a site of Indian Heritage and this exotic shrine attracts many devotees & tourists to its doorway round the year.

Architectural Wonder:
The sculptured gateway, the Jagamohana with diamond shaped latticed windows and decorated interiors and the plethora of sculptural work all deserve mention in this temple dedicated to Shiva The sculptural decoration of the Mukteswara is exquisitely executed. The beautiful sculptures eloquently speak of the sense of proportion and perspective of the sculptor and their unique ability in the exact depiction of the minute’s objects. The builders of Mukteswara Temple introduced new architectural designs, new art motifs and new conceptions about the iconography of the cult images. There are a number of depictions of skeletal ascetics among the sculptural images, most of them shown in teaching or meditation poses, which seems appropriate as the name Mukteswara means “Lord who gives freedom through Yoga”.

The Mukteswara is important as a transition point between the early and later phases of the ‘Kalinga’ School of Temple Architecture. The builder has successfully combined many elements of the old with new designs and conceptions. Many of the innovations took root, and became essential features of all later temples. Because of this, one scholar has described the Mukteswara as “harbinger of the new culture”.

Other Attractions Around:
Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, Chilika Lake, Cuttack, Gopalpur on Sea.

How to reach:
One can easily reach Mukteswara Temple by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Bhubaneshwar. Air links to Delhi-Calcutta. Rail links to Calcutta, Madras, and Delhi.

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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Baijnath Mandir, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, IN

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: At a distance of 16 km from Palampur in the Beas valley, Himachal Pradesh
Built by: Ahuka and Manyuka
Built in: 1204 A.D
Significance: Water of this temple has medicinal properties.

Baijnath Temple is a revered shrine of Himachal Pradesh. Baijnath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. According to the inscriptions on the walls, Baijnath Mandir was built by the two native merchants by the name of Ahuka and Manyuka in 1204 A.D. In the porch of the temple, the two long inscriptions state that before the present temple, there was a shrine of Lord Shiva at the same spot.

The structure of this temple gives the hints of the early medieval North Indian style of architecture. This type of structure used to be known as ‘Nagara’ style of temple. The architectural style has been imbibed from Orissan style, which is very much unique in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The exterior walls of the temple have numerous alcoves with images of gods and Goddesses from the Hindu pantheon.In order to enter the temple, one has to cross the vestibule that has a large ‘Mandap’ in the centre and two huge balconies on either side. The temple has fortifications, leaving space for two entrances in the north and the south. Just before the Mandapam, there is small porch placed on four columns. Here, a huge image of Nandi (the bull of Lord Shiva) is placed. The door leading to the sanctum is speckled with many images of artistic nature.

Legend:
Lord Shiva is commemorated here as Vaidyanath (the Lord of Physician) and is placed in the form of ‘Lingam’ (phallic form of Lord Shiva). The main sanctum comprises five projections on every side and a tall curved Shikhar (spire). The history of Baijnath temple is inscribed on the stone slabs inside the complex. As per the beliefs, Ravana (King of Lanka) had worshipped Lord Shiva in this temple.

According to the legend, it is believed that during the Treta Yuga, Ravana in order to have invincible powers worshiped Lord Shiva in the Kailash. In the same process, to please the almighty he offered his ten heads in the Havan Kund. Influenced by this extra ordinary deed of the Ravana, the Lord Shiva not only restored his heads but also bestowed him with powers of invincibility and immortality.

On attaining this incomparable boon, Ravana also requested the Lord Shiva to accompany him to Lanka. Shiva consented to the request of Ravana and converted himself into ling. The Lord Shiva asked him to carry the ling and told him that he should not place the ling down on the ground on his way. Ravana started moving in south direction and reached Baijnath where he felt the need to answer the nature’s call. On seeing a shepherd, Ravana handed over the ling to him and went away to get himself relieved. On finding the linga very heavy, shepherd kept the ling on the ground and the ling got established there and the same is in the form of Ardhnarishwar.

In the town of Baijnath, Dusshera festival in which traditionally the effigy of the Ravana is consigned to flames is not celebrated as a mark of respect to the devotion of Ravana towards Lord Shiva. Another interesting thing about the town of Baijnath is that there is no shop of goldsmiths.

The water of this temple is believed to contain medicinal properties, which can cure diseases of people. Due to this reason too, Baijnath Temple receives thousands of people every year. Shivaratri is the major festival that is observed at this temple with full gusto and fervour. Devotees visit the temple during this time to seek the blessings from the God.

Besides the shrine of Lord Shiva, there are many other small shrines dedicated to Gods and Goddesses. In the early 20th century, the temple was suffered from an earthquake. Raja Sansar Chand made an effort to renovate the temple after the calamity. The temple complex acquires lush green gardens, which makes a perfect foreground to the ancient and unique structure of this temple. Baijnath temple is considered as a part of Indian Heritage, so security arrangements are made here to avoid any unwanted element.

How to reach:
One can easily reach Baijnath Temple by taking regular Buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Himachal Pradesh.

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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