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Top 10 Perplexing Places Related to Hinduism
Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in world and is most notably followed in India and Nepal. It is the world’s third largest religion and has been described as complex and multi-layered. This is due to the fact that it contains a broad range of philosophies. Western scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion of various Indian traditions and cultures.
1. Jwala Ji
‘Jwala’ is the Sanskrit word for ‘flame’. ‘Jwala ji’ is the name of a Hindu goddess. The major Jwala ji Temple is located in the Jwalamukhi town of Kangra district in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. The astonishing thing about the temple is a flame that burns naturally since unknown time. The flame burns blue in color continuously without any support. According to an ancient legend, there was a time when demons extorted over the Himalayas and harassed the gods. Lord Vishnu decided to get rid of them along with other gods. They attacked the demons. Huge gigantic flames rose from the ground as a result, and a young girl was born from this phenomenon.
She was brought up by Prajapati Daksha and she was known as 'Parvati' or 'Sati'. She later became Lord Shiva's spouse. Once her father insulted Lord Shiva. Unable to bear the humiliation, she killed herself. Lord Shiva became immensely infuriated after learning of her wife's demise. He held Parvati's body and began stalking the three worlds. All the other gods were afraid of his wrath and appealed to Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu launched a volley of arrows that hit Parvati's body disintegrating it into pieces.
Parvati's tongue fell at Jwala ji where where the flame burns even to this day. The Mughal emperor Akbar tried to extinguish the flame but all his efforts failed. Science has long been trying to solve the mystery of this place. Various theories have been put forward like presence of natural gases but none of it is proved. Geologists have also tried but have not been able to find the source of this flame.
2. Amarnath Temple
Amarnath temple is a Hindu shrine that is dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is situated at an altitude of 12,756 ft from sea level. The temple is one of the most significant pilgrimages of the hindu culture with millions of devotees paying visit every year. The annual journey to the place is called 'Amarnath Yatra' that takes place in the period between July to August.
The legendary importance of Amarnath is related to a tale about Lord Shiva reciting the secret of immortality to her wife, Goddess Parvati. He didn't want the secret to be overheard by anyone. So, he came to the cave with Parvati in isolation. When he was having the conversation with his wife, there was nobody in there except a pigeon's eggs. It is said that the pair of pigeons born from those eggs became immortal and can be seen in the cave even now.
Each year inside the cave, an ice formation occurs naturally called 'Shiva Linga' or ‘Lingam’. It is 40 meter in height approximately. It is believed as representation of Lord Shiva. According to religious beliefs, the Lingam grows and shrinks in sync with the phases of the moon. It reaches its maximum height during the summer festival. Two more ice formations occur each one representing Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesh. The ice formations are totally natural and hold a great importance amongst the devotees of Lord Shiva.
3. Brihadeeswarar Temple
Brihadeeswarar temple was built by King Chola-I in 1010 CE, so it is a thousand years old. It is called ‘Peruvudaiyal Aalayam’ in the native language. This hindu temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is situated in Thanjavur in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is one of the largest temples of the country and exudes beauty with its architecture and ancient design. Most of the body of the temple is carved out of pure granite which is amazing in itself as the nearest granite source is 60 kilometers from it.
The big bull ‘Nandi’ representing Lord Shiva's Mount weighs around 20 tonnes, is made up of a single stone and is 2 meters tall, 6 meters in length and 2.5 wide. The temple's apex called the 'Gopuram' is also constructed out of a single stone weighing 80 tonnes.
Considering the granite reserves were so far away, how the builders managed to mount the stones in place is worth pondering. Some mind baffling theories have been put forward but historians. Some suggest that the ancient architects has techniques and powers that enables them to move ultra heavy objects from one place to another. But no solid explanation is present thus far.
4. Rama Setu
In the Sanskrit epic 'Ramayana', the story of Lord Rama is told who was one of the ten avatars of Lord Vishnu. Rama's Bridge or Rama Setu or Adam's bridge is a chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island, off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island, off the North - western coast of Sri Lanka. As one of the transcripts in Ramayana tells, Lord Rama had reached the southern most shore of India. He had to reach Lanka to rescue his wife 'Sita' from the evil king 'Ravana'. But there was no means for Lord Rama to pass the ocean. So Rama Setu was constructed by Vanara Sena(Monkey army) with the help of stones. It was the belief of the army of Lord rama that if the name 'Rama' is inscribed on the stones, they would float and it happened.
Surprisingly, such floating stones are found across Rameshwaram even to this day. The bridge is visible from upper view. It is 50 kilometers long. Even though it has gone underwater, the ships cannot sail over it because of the shallowness of water in the surrounding region. Geological evidence tells that the bridge is a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. Oceanography studies have calculated the time of its presence and interestingly, the carbon dating of beaches in this region sync perfectly with the time of Ramayana. Some studies clearly suggest that the bridge is man-made and that strengthens its relationship with the Ramayana.
5. Sugali Mata Temple
The Sugali mata temple is dedicated to a hindu sage called 'Sugali Mata'. The temple can be found in the town called Auwa in Marwar district in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The place seems pretty normal from all perspectives with common worship practices as in other similar temples and devotees visiting everyday. But all is not so normal in here. It has its fair share of mysteries encircling its existence.
It is not difficult to notice that idols of the deities inside have tilted necks. They remain tilted no matter what. People have tried several times to change the deity idols with a perfect one, but even the perfect idols tilt their necks after a certain period of time. The person who tries to change the idols falls sick. The background story of this weird happening dates back to pre-independence period of India. It goes like this, many freedom fighters used to visit the temple. Once, the deity was shot by a British officer while avenging an attack on the freedom fighters, this giving the idol a tilted neck.
Whenever any new idol is placed along with the older idol, it automatically tilts its neck to sideways. There hasn't been any evidence of it. No body has been able to state the reason behind this strange phenomenon.
6. Lepakshi Temple
The Lepakshi temple is located in the Anantapur district of Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple was constructed in 1530 under the Vijayanagar empire. According to Skanda Purana of hinduism, the temple is one of the ‘divyakshetras’(divine area) of Lord Shiva. Apart from the exceptional art and extraordinary architecture of the temple, one piece of building stands out.
Out of the 70 structured and carved pillars inside the temple, one does not touch the ground. It is an architectural marvel as it hangs in the air with considerable space between the base of the pillar and ground. There is enough space to pass thin objects such as cloth, paper or other small objects from one side to another.
Devotees believe that passing things under the pillar brings good luck and prosperity. The astonishing thing is the weight of the pillar is suspended in the air from the top without any support. It is a real mystery to people. The Archaeological Survey of India has proven that this particular pillar was not built by mistake. Whatever be the reason, it is a spectacle to witness.
7. Krishna's Butter Ball
Also known as Vaan Irai Kal (meaning 'Stone of the sky' in Tamil), Krishna's Butter Ball is a huge granite boulder sitting on a tiny incline in the town of Mahabalipuram, India. It is approximately 6 meter high and 5 meter wide and weighs around 250 tons. It is estimated that it has been in the same position for almost 1200 to 1300 years.
The traditional Hindu folklore suggests, diety Lord Krishna would often steal butter from his mother's utensil, and this natural boulder is attributed to the mass of the butter he pinched. The surprising fact it resides on a 45 degree slope despite such a behemoth structure.
Mystery has surrounded its existence for a very long time. Some believe that it was planted by God, others by aliens and geologists argue that it's a natural formation. This rock defies the laws of physics and gravity. All the attempts to move it have been in vain. It is a popular tourist attraction. People pose for photographs under it, and is listed as a historical monument by the Archaeological Survey of India.
8. Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Temple
The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is located at Thiruvananthapuram in the state of Kerala, India. It is devoted to worship 'Lord Krishna' as the principal deity. However, there are a few different reasons this temple is world renowned and mysterious. Firstly, it is the wealthiest place of worship of any kind in the recorded history of the world, with an estimated $22 billion worth of gold, jewels, ornaments, precious stones and assets that are stored in its underground vaults.
The vaults aren't just ordinary, these are highly confidential and only a select few privileged people have access to them. There are a total of seven vaults known.
On the request of the Indian Supreme Court, the committee overseeing the temple has opened six of the vaults until now unveiling the wealth that lies there. The biggest mystery surrounds the seventh vault that is unopened. It has steel doors with no latches and bolts. It has artistic carvings that depict two cobra serpents. It is believed that the door can only be opened by a secret ‘mantra’ or chant. If any other forceful means to open it is used, it would cause serious consequences including disasters or even the Apocalypse. Nobody is given the permission to open it and it remains an unsolved mystery.
9. Karni Mata Temple
Karni mata temple, more commonly known as The Rat Temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, a female hindu warrior sage. It is situated at Deshnoke in the state of Rajasthan, India. Innumerable pilgrims visit the temple every year. It attracts visitors from in as well as outside the country. The primary reason for its world fame is the housing of more than 25000 rats that dwell inside the temple. These rats are considered divine and holy and worshiped with full faith.
According to an ancient legend, Goddess Karni Mata lived upto 150 years and remained young and beautiful. After her death, she became a rat. The followers believe that once they die, they will be reincarnated as rats too and subsequently, when a rat dies, it will be reborn as a human. And so the cycle continues.
The rats are offered milk, holy prasad and many delicacies. It is believed to be an honor to eat in the same plate as the rats. Eating food that has already been nibbled on by the rats is considered auspicious. The rats are also healed if they suffer from any ailment. If any rat is killed, it must be replaced with one made of solid silver.
It is considered extremely lucky if a rat touches you. The most common rats found are the black rats. Out of thousands of rats, there are a few white rats which are regarded as especially holy. They are believed to be the manifestations of Mata Karni herself and her four sons. Catching a glimpse of these white rats is a special blessing according to devotees. Truly, this temple is one of a kind place in the world.
10. Jagganath Temple of Puri
The Jagganath temple of puri is located in the state of Odisha, India. It is a sacred temple dedicated to Lord Jagganath whose name literally means 'The Lord of the Universe'. The temple is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations of Hinduism. It is one of the ‘Char Dham’(four dhams) that anyone is expected to visit and pay respect in a lifetime. There are numerous happenings associated with the place that are truly amazing.
One of the most famous of these happenings is that the flag on the top of the temple has been observed to flap in the opposite direction of the wind. There is a Sudarshan Chakra sign related to Lord Vishnu on temple's top. But, irrespective of where you stand in Puri, it seems like it is always facing you. The shadow of the main dome is not visible whatever be the time of the day. There is a divine place inside the temple. After entering the temple from Singha Dwara entrance, right after the first step inside, one is unable to hear any sound made from the oceanic waves. But, when one exits, it can be clearly heard. It is a magical serenity about the place.
No matter how much food or prasad is cooked inside the temple kitchen on a daily basis, neither the food goes waste nor it falls short. No bird flies above the temple. Usually in coastal areas during the day time, the breeze flows from the sea towards the lane and in the evening, it is the opposite. But in case of Puri, it is the exact reverse. All these incidents have no scientific or logical explanation and remain a mystery.
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