Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples and is dedicated
to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, the holiest existing
place of Hindus. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges,
and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. The main deity
is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe.
The temple town, which claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500
years of documented history, is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly
called Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The temple has been referred to in Hindu scriptures
for a very long time and as a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosophy.
It has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in the history. The last
structure was demolished by Aurganzeb, who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its
site. The current structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha monarch,
Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780. Since 1983, the temple has been managed
by the government of Uttar Pradesh. During the religious occasion of Shivratri,
Kashi Naresh (King of Kashi) is the chief officiating priest and no other person
or priest is allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum. It is only after he performs
his religious functions that others are allowed to enter.
Makar Sankranti is one of the most auspicious day for the Hindus, and is celebrated
in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, with great devotion,
fervor & gaiety. Lakhs of people take a dip in places like Ganga Sagar &
Prayag and pray to Lord Sun. It is celebrated with pomp in southern parts of the
country as Pongal, and in Punjab is celebrated as Lohri & Maghi. Gujarati's
not only look reverentially up to the sun, but also offer thousands of their colorful
oblations in the form of beautiful kites all over the skyline. They may be trying
to reach upto their glorious God or bring about greater proximity with the one who
represents the best. It is a day for which Bhishma Pitamah kept waiting to leave
his mortal coil.
Makar Sankranti is the day when the glorious Sun-God of Hindus begins its ascendancy
and entry into the Northern Hemisphere. Sun for the Hindus stands for Pratyaksha-Brahman
- the manifest God, who symbolizes, the one, non-dual, self-effulgent, glorious
divinity blessing one & all tirelessly. Sun is the one who transcends time and
also the one who rotates the proverbial Wheel of Time. The famous Gayatri Mantra,
which is chanted everyday by every faithful Hindu, is directed to Sun God to bless
them with intelligence & wisdom. Sun not only represents God but also stands
for an embodiment of knowledge & wisdom. Lord Krishna reveals in Gita that this
manifested divinity was his first disciple, and we all know it to be indeed a worthy
one too. No Sundays for the Sun, may be because one who revels in its very 'being',
the very essence of his own Self, is always in the Sunday mood.
The co-relation of cosmic events with individual life and values is one of the most
astounding traits of Hindu Masters. Once this co-relation is brought about thereafter
these cosmic events become instrumental to remind us the best which we cherish &
value. Of all the cosmic bodies Sun is the most glorious & important, thus every
sun-centric cosmic event became very important spiritual, religious & cultural
events. On Makar Sankranti day the Sun begins its ascendancy and journey into the
Northern Hemisphere, and thus it signifies an event wherein the Gods seem to remind
their children that 'Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya'. May you go higher & higher -
to more & more Light and never to darkness.
Shivaratri is celebrated on the 6th night of the dark Phalgun (Feb or March) every
year. On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. Mahashivaratri
marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the 'Tandava'. It is also believed that
on this day Lord Shiva was married to Parvati Ma. On this day Shiva devotees observe
fast and offer fruits, flowers and bel leaves on Shiva Linga. At our temple this
festival celebrated with great spritualism.
Shrawan Maah is highly auspicious month for the lord Shiva devotees. Special decoration
is been done on every Monday of the month. On first Monday of the month lord Shiva’s
decoration is being performed, on second Monday lord Bhagwa Shankar and mother Parvati’s
moveable statues are being decorated. On third and fourth Monday , shri Ardhyanarishwar
and Shri Rudrakshay , decoration is being performed respectively.
The whole month of Shrawan Maah is celebrated with great enthusiasm, it is highly
auspicious as every member of Lord Shiva’s family are decorated and special 'Jhoola
Sringar' is being performed.
The Dev Deepavali ("the Diwali of the Gods" or "Festival of Lights of the Gods")
is the festival of Kartik Poornima celebrated in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
It falls on the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartika (November - December) and
takes place fifteen days after Diwali. The steps of all the ghats on the riverfront
of the Ganges River, from Ravidas Ghat at the southern end to Rajghat, are lit with
more than a million earthen lamps (diyas) in honour of Ganga, the Ganges, and its
presiding goddess. The gods are believed to descend to Earth to bathe in the Ganges
on this day. The festival is also observed as Tripura Purnima Snan. The tradition
of lighting the lamps on the Dev Deepawali festival day was first started at the
Panchganga Ghat in 1985. During Dev Deepawali, houses are decorated with oil
lamps and colored designs on their front doors. Firecrackers are burnt at night,
processions of decorated deities are taken out into the streets of Varanasi, and
oil lamps are set afloat on the river.
Annakoot is celebrated in observance of the episode in Sri Krishna's childhood,
in which He gave protection to the cowherd clan of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra
and humbled Indra in that process. The cowherds, their wives, children and cattle
jubilantly surrounded Sri Krishna. They were awed by His superhuman accomplishment
and celebrated Sri Krishna's feat with a sumptuous feast. Thus began the tradition
of Annakoot. After the prayers, traditional worship & Aarti, innumerable varieties
of delicious sweets/ all cookings / 56 bhogs were ceremoniously raised in the form
of a mountain before the deity as "Bhog" and after Lord had it full ,
now it was citizens turn to approach the Mountain of Food and take Prasad from it.
It was a Great Feast for residents of Goverdhan & they all enjoyed it thoroughly
Rangbhari ( Aamlaki) Ekadashi
Once, in the month of Phalguna (February - March), the holy fast of Amalakii Ekadasii
arrived, conjoined with Dvadasi. This particular fast would bestow especially great
benefit. Amalakii is offspring of Lord BrahmA, who can destroy all kinds of sinful
reactions. Amalakii, is actually the form of Brahman, and was once worshiped by
Lord Ramachandra Himself. Whoever circumambulates her is therefore immediately freed
of all his sins.
After having bath offered Amalakii tree a pot filled with water, as well as garland
and aromatic incense. Then worship Lord Parashurama with these prayers: 'Oh Lord
ParashurAma, Oh son of Renuka, Oh all-pleasing one, Oh liberator of the worlds,
kindly come beneath this holy Amalakii tree and accept our humble obeisances.'
If the Amarlaki tree isn't available then worship the sacred Tulasi tree. Also plant
the sacred Tulasi seeds, and offer lamps to her.
Akshya Tritiiya is considered one of the four most auspicious days of the Vedic
Calendar. It is the third day of the new moon of Vaishakh month (April-May).