7 offbeat Temples of India
India and it's Temples
India, also known as Bharat or Hindustan, has a huge cultural and religious history which can date back to thousands of years.
The existence of temple in human history began from the day man began to socialise and started living in a community. Today temples are an integral part of daily life of a human. A person does visit a temple atleast once a week. India has millions of temples, picking up few out of these is very difficult. Here I am listing down few very offbeat, unusual and unique temples in terms of their location, occurance or the reasons why those temples were built which will astonish you for sure.
1. Mahalingeshwar - Swaymbhu Shiva Linga in middle of a stream
Google Mahalingeshwar and you will come across numerous temples named Mahalingeshwar across the whole India. But the Mahalingeshwar Temple that I am talking about is the most unique one of all. Actually there is no temple. I meant to say there is no temple building at the location of this temple. As the name suggests, Mahalingeshwar, is dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Shiva Linga here is concecrated not in any temple building but in open nature.
A swaymbhu Shiva linga i.e. one that has emerged on it’s own, carved out due to the continuous flow of water in the middle of a perennial water stream.
This Mahalingeshwar temple is located in a Village called Mahalunge. The village got it’s name Mahalunge from Mahalingeshwar and is their village deity.
The water flows throught the year in the stream though the flow is very less during summer. But in monsoon, the stream flows to it’s full capacity and It is believed, whatever the extent of rainfall is, the water in the stream never overflows the shiv linga. At least some part of the tip of the shiv linga is always above water.
Mahalingeshwar is situated in the Sindhudurga district of Maharashtra some 500 km distance from Mumbai. Goa is 120 km south to Sindhudurga. Nearest town from Mahalunge is Kankavli which is at 40km distance.
2. Stambheshwar Temple - Disappearing temple of Mahadev
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the God of destruction, this temple is located on a beach in Gulf of Cambay, Gujarat at a place called Kavi Kamboi. Major town near the shrine is Vadodara which is 40 km by road. The name signifies that the temple is standing rooted like a pillar. This is due to the fact that this temple disappears in to the Arabian Sea during high tide. It submerges during high tide and reappears during low tide.
Legend suggest that the shiva linga here was originally concecrated by his son Kartikeya after killing demon Tarakasur.
Visitors are allowed to seek blessings insided the temple only during low tide when the temple remerges from the Arabian sea.
Significance of Stambheshwar Mahadev
One of the most ancient shiva lingas
Concecrated by Kartikeya, elder son of Lord Shiva after killing the demon Tarakasur
Also known as Disappearing/submerging templeof Shiva
3. Vetoba Devasthan - Temple of King of Ghosts
Situated in a small hamlet of Aravali near Vengurla town in sindhudurga district, Vetoba is the main shrine of Aravali located along the main road between Vengurla-Shiroda.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Vetal, the king of Ghosts. He is a village deity of Aravali people, and is also called Agyavetal or pralayvetal.
The idol of Vetoba is a larger than life size and is made up of ‘Panchdhatu’ – 5 metals/elements. You must have never heard of people actually worshiping ghosts. But here in Aravali, people consider that when a person commits some sin or is prone to do negative, evil things, the power that moves them to path of righteousness is Vetoba. Hence the seek Vetoba’s blessings to keep them away from all evil and stop them from commiting any evil.
One unusual practice here at Vetoba temple is to provide a pair of Chappal (footwear) made from specific leather as an offering to Lord Vetoba. When one visits the temple of Vetoba, is astonished to see many pair of Footwear hanging around ever ywhere in the temple.
4. Chinese Kali Temple, Kolkata
There is a Kali Temple in Tangra, Kolkata. So what’s big deal, there are probably thousands of Kali temple in Kolkata. Well there are, but there is only one Kali temple which is managed by the residents of Hakka Chinese origin in Kolkata.
Yes, This Kali temple locatedin Tangra, Kolkata is managed by decendents of Chinese people which migrated to India and resided in Kolkata hundreds of years ago. Tangra is also known as China town is famous for it’s Tanneries, and people from Hakka Chinese origin.
It is said that before erecting a temple here, the place had a tree with few stones which attracted lots of people who use to worship these stones. Looking hindus worshipping the stones, local Chinese people also started praying and worhsipping. Actually there is a story of a 10 year Chinese boy who fell ill and couldn’t be cured by medical facilities. The parents of the child prayed and worshipped Goddess Kali and after few days the boy woke up as was never ill. After this the place became special for the local Chinese residents. Most of them are either Buddhist of Christian, but for them the temple is very integral part of their community.
On the auspicious day of Kali Puja, most of the Chinese residents take day off and gather at the temple. The temple serves Noodles, rice and choupsey as Prasad.
5. Karni Mata temple
Karni Mata was a female sage born in Charan caste in Rajasthan is worshipped as an incarnation of Goddess Durga. She is an official deity of royal families of Bikaner and Jodhpur.
The temple is located in Bikaner at Dehnoke . IT is also known as Templ of Rats. This temple is unique and is called Temple of Rats because of some 20000 rats that are fed, protected and worshipped within the premises of the temple. The temple is thronged by people who come to seek blessings and pay respects to these rats as well as curious tourists around the world who visit the temple just to have these magnanimous numbers of Rats within the temple.
Eating food that has been nibbled by rats is considered highly auspicious. If one is mistakenly killed, it is replaced by one made up of silver.
The temple appeared in the first season of US reality show ‘The Amazing Race’ in 2001.
6. Bullet Baba Temple
50 kms from Jodhpur, a village has a temple where people offer prayers and seek blessings for their safe journey. As a part of worship, they also offer ‘Liquor’ as offering to the temple deity. The temple is not dedicated to any godly deity, but is dedicated to a man called Om Singh Rathore who was killed when his Motorbike Bullet crashed in to a Tree.
After the accident, it is said that the Police confiscated the Bullet and kept it at the local police station. But people were surprised to see the bike in the morning at the same location of the Accident. The police again took the bike and this time they locked the Bullet with chains. But again the next morning people found the bike at the accident location. It is said that the Bullet kept returning to the accident site despite numerous efforts by the police to keep it at the local police station. Soon the local people considered this to as a miracle and started worshiping the Bullet bike.
As the news spread to other villages, people gathered and decided to build a temple at the site of the accident to worship the bike. Thus the temple was built and came to be known as “Bullet Baba’s temple”.
People also believe that Om Rathore also known as Om Banna, his spirit helps distressed and lost travellers. The tree that the bullet struck and caused Om Rathore’s death is also worshipped and ornamented with bangles and revered scarves.
Bramha Temple at Pushkar
7. Bramha Temple, Pushkar
Bramha, one of the three Hindu Super God, the Tridevas, is the creaor of Life. Though being a Creator of Life and one of the Tridevas, you will seldom find a Bramha temple. As per Hindu scriptures, Bramha is cursed not to be worshipped by his own wife Saraswati. Legend goes that, Bramha killed a demon and in doing so 3 petals of his lotus fell on earth near the present town of Pushkar creating 3 lakes.
Bramha came to Pushkar and decided to perform a yajna, a sacrificial ceremony to fire. For that he needed to be accompanied by his wife Saravati, but as Sarasvati could not reach the Yajna venue in time, Bramha married a local girl Gayatri and performed the ceremony. When Sarasvati reached Pushkar on seeing Gayatri seated at her place, she got enraged and cursed Lord Bramha that he will never be worshipped.
Later on Gayatri being purified by the auspices of the Yajna diluted the curse by stating that people will travel to Pushkar to worship Lord Bramha and Puskhar will be one of the most sacred pilgrimage.