Mallikarjun Temple, Goa, India

Deity: Lord Shiva
Location: Shristhal village, Goa
Built in: 16th century
Built by: Kshatriya Samaj
Significance: Dedicated to Lord Mallikarjun, an incarnation of Lord Shiva
Best time to visit: October & February

The ancient temple of Shri Mallikarjun is located near the small village of Sristhal, in the southernmost taluka of Canacona. Sristhal is about 5 km drive away from the taluka headquarters of Chaudi which is about 75 kms from Panaji.

The temple lies in an enchanting location in a valley, completely surrounded by blue mountains and greenery. The temple itself is at least 200 years old, as per the writing on a plaque near the temple dome. The temple is believed to have been constructed during the Middle of the 16th century by ancestors of the Kshatriya Samaj. It was renovated in the year 1778.

There are some extremely beautiful carved wooden pillars inside the temple building the likes of which are not found in any other temple in Goa. The carving has been done by skilled craftsmen who were brought here from the southern Indian states.

The six pillars in the mandap (hall) have scenes from the Puranas and Mahabharat carved on them. There are beautifully carved profiles of dwarpal (doorkeeper) on either side of the door leading to the inner sanctum.

The temple is dedicated to Shri Mallikarjun Jyotirlinga, who is yet another incarnation of Lord Shiva and he is also known as Adavat Sinhasanadhishwar Mahapati Canacona among the locals.

Legend:
As the legend goes, Vrishabha, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva performed penance here. Shiva and Parvati apeared in the form of Mallikharjuna and Bhramaramba. A massive fort, with six meter high walls encloses the temple. A cluster of minor shrines within the temple compound include the Sahasra Linga, Panchapandava temples and Vatavriksha.

Hiranyakashipu of Kretayuga is believed to have conducted pujas here. It is said that Srirama and Sita visited the shrine and installed Sahasra Lingas (thousand lingas). The place is also associated with Pandavas who installed idols of Shiva. Several devotees have attained salvation by performing pujas here while several saints have sanctified the place by doing penance. The greatness of the place has been described in “Srisaila Kandam” of Skanda Puranam.

Festival:
Annual Jatra, Veeramel festival held during the month of April. The annual festival or Jatra held at the temple is quite unique among the temple festivals of Goa. Early morning on the day of the festival, the idol of the deity is taken out in a procession which travels for almost 2-3 hours to reach the nearby Kindle bag beach. A number of rituals including a special bath for the deity are held at the beach, after which the deity returns to the temple. Hundreds of devotees have a holy bath at the same time on the seashore.

Besides the annual Jatra, the temple is also famous for some unique occasions on which some special rituals are held.

How to reach:
The Mallikarjun Temple is located 5 km from Chaudi, the headquarters of Canacona taluka. You can hire taxis or autos to reach the temple.

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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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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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Lingaraj Mandir, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, IN

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: Bhubaneshwar, Orissa
Built in: 11th century
Significance: Self-Originated Lingam

Lingaraj Temple is believed to be the oldest and largest temple of Bhubaneshwar. The temple of Lingaraja is highly revered by the followers of Hinduism. Lingraj Mandir is easily accessible from the city. The term ‘Lingaraj’ suggests ‘the king of Lingas’, where ‘linga’ is the phallic form of Lord Shiva. In the 11th century, Lingaraj Temple was built by the King Jajati Keshari, who belonged to Soma Vansh. It is thought that when the King shifted his capital from Jaipur to Bhubaneshwar, he started the construction of Lingaraj Temple.

This ancient temple has also been referred in the Brahma Purana, a Hindu scripture. Not less than 1000 years old. However, there are many parts that are acknowledged to date back the 6th century. It is said that when the construction of Lingaraj Temple was about to complete, the Jagannath cult started growing. This belief is further empowered with the fact that Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are worshipped here.

Lingaraj Temple depicts the rich legacy of Indian culture and traditions. The colossal temple attracts thousands of devotees and pilgrims to its doorstep every year. The spiritual ecstasy offered by the temple is worth feeling for once.

The Temple Architecture:
The Lingaraj temple is divided into four distinct chambers interconnected to each other; the external part (Jagamohana), the inner sanctum sanctorum (Garbhagriha), and a conical beehive shaped tower forming the third part (Natay mandap and the Bhoga Mandap). The temple complex has a planned drainage system and is designed well to keep monsoon rains off the walls. The fact is endorsed by the use of completely different type of sandstones and the architectural style followed, which relates to a much later period of history.

Other attraction near by:
Ananta-Vasudeva Temple
Bindusagar
Bhaskareswar Temple

Festival:
During the month of March-April, the whole city unites to celebrate the four-day Chariot festival. Dazzling in its own way, the fiesta is celebrated with great pomp and show. Major attractions include drawing Lord Lingaraj on his chariot to Rameswara temple and fairs organized by the state government. Plan your trip during this season to enjoy the joyous festive moment.

How to reach:
One can easily reach Lingaraj Temple by taking local buses or by hiring Taxis from the city of Bhubaneshwar; the Biju Patnaik Airport can help you to reach the temple.

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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Eklingji Temple, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India

Deities: Lord Shiva
Location: On National Highway No.8, In Kailashpuri, Udaipur, Rajasthan
Built by: Bappa Rawal
Highlights: 50 feet high image of Lord Shiva

Importance:
One of the legends relating to Ekilngil is that after killing Vrakshasur, Indra had meditated and prayed to eklingji in repentance and to be free of the curse. According to another legend, Bapparawal had seen the Shivlinga in his dream when he was in trouble and when the problem was solved; he constructed the temple and later build Mewar.

Eklingji is located about twelve miles to the North of Udaipur in Rajasthan. This deity was regarded as the virtual ruler, by the Maharajas of Mewar – who considered them to be regents (Dewans) under Eklingji. Ekligji (Kailashpuri) is a town situated in a beautiful valley and it attracts multitudes of visitors throughout the year.

The existing structure is one built out of the ruins of a previously destroyed structure and it dates back to the 15th century CE. The architecture resembles that of the Jain temples of Gujarat Shiva is worshipped here as a four faced black marble image, the four faces representing Brahma facing west, Vishnu facing North, Maheshwar facing South and Surya (Sun) facing the east. The flat top of the composite idol is covered with a Yantra, a mystic symbolic drawing, standing for the ultimate reality. Shiva here is worshipped as the Ultimate Reality, the supreme power, and the wholesome one – Parabrahma.

The temple occupies an area of about 2500 sq. feet and is about 65 feet in height. The temple area is fortified and a strong wall runs around it. The main entrance to the temple on the Western side welcomes visitors into a big hall resting on profusely carved pillars. In this hall, is a silver image of Nandi. There are two more Nandis in the temple, one made of black stone and the other of brass.

Other deities housed in the temple complex include Parvati, Ganesh, Ganga, Kartikeya, Yamuna and Saraswati. There are also small temples dedicated to Ambamata, Kalka Mata and Ganesh in the temple complex. There is another temple called Nathon Ka Mandir. There are two tanks situated on the Northern side of the temple Karz Kund and Tulsi Kund. Water from these tanks is utilized for temple services. Temple services are performed in a very elaborate manner in the Vedic and Tantric styles.

The town of Eklingji is full of temples. There are about 70 temples in all. Mention must be made of the Sas-Bahu marble temple, dating back to the 11th century. It is a fine specimen of ancient art with sculptural details. The Adbhudji Jain temple is of black marble and it dates back to the 15th century CE. Other temples in Kailashpuri include those of Pataleshwar Mahadeo, Arbada Mata, Rathasan Devi, and Vindhyavasini Devi.

Festival:
Shivratri
is an important religious event, when the image of the deity is decked with jewellery.

How to reach:
One can easily reach Eklingji Temple by taking regular buses or by hiring taxis from anywhere in Rajasthan.

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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