MAGICAL & MYSTERIOUS

ATOP A HILL, DIVINE SHADOWS & FRAGRANT FIELDS are three previous blogs which will help the readers appreciate the wonderous location of the Mystical Bhuleshwar Temple near Pune, Maharshtra, India.

Nature is a creative expression of the Divine and all Living Beings are a proof of the Existence of the Supreme.

Even the Doorways leading to the  unusual Bhuleshwar  Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva are symbolic expressions of the Enchanting World we inhabit.

The  Doorways  or main Entrance leading to the sanctum sanctorum of the  Bhuleshwar Temple. 

main-entrance
Doorways Atop a Hill

As you enter the Front Doorway and look to your Right you see Light and  Trees ( Banyan and Peepul trees both belong to Genus Ficus ) while you stand in darkness. Walk through and you would be privileged to see a breathtaking view of the surroundings.

The Featured image showcases the Oversized Temple Bell which one sees through the Main Doorway.

I may mention this is an extremely Unusual and Mysterious entry into a Hindu Temple.

light-and-nature
Light, Nature and  Ficus Trees 

The Ornate Carved  Doorway made of Stone is  Intentionally small compelling the Pilgrim to Bow down as you cross the threshold of the Temple.

Lord Ganesha  ( Elephant headed Lord who removes all obstacles)  can be seen in saffron at the Top Centre of the doorway.

small-doorway-into-temple
Carved Doorway or Entry to The Shiva Temple

The Mystery and Magic of the Temple is enhanced as it is Pitch Dark and there is a Stone Wall  in front with a near invisible engraved Statue of Lord Hanuman ( the Monkey headed Lord who dispels darkness ) in the centre.

hanumanji
Dead End and Pitch Dark

Thus far there  is no obvious symbol of Lord Shiva or the Sanctum Sanctorum and one has been through multiple doorways. All is dark, and it is a dead end….or is it??

Please see the picture  above carefully and do read the blogs to follow to fully  appreciate the Mystery and Marvel of the Temple Atop a Hill  which is wrapped in layers of  Nature.

CHERRIES nay BERRIES

These Dark Green Shrubs were hiding a Cheerful Wonder revealed only by their Cherry Red Tubular Blossoms.

bushes
DENSE FOLIAGE HIDES THE “CHERRIES”

A Bunch of Joy glistens in the Himalayan Hillside at Gangtok, Sikkim.

The Red Cestrum ( English), Cestrum “newellii” ( Scientific Name) belongs to the Night Shade Family, Solanaceae.

tubular flowers
SCARLET CLUSTER

These Cherry Like Fruits turn into a Lovely Wine Red Hue on Maturity.( do compare the picture below to the featured image).

However as is characteristic of the Night Shade Family , every part of the plant is poisonous. Thus stay away from the these “Cherries” if you know what is best for your well being.

mature
MATURE BERRIES

The Marvels of Nature never cease to Enchant.

THE ENCHANTING “GHOST”

 

The pictures that unfold capture fascinating moments after Sunset on the Banks of the River Kshipra during the month long Mahakumbh held in Ujjain , Madhya Pradesh, India.

“The Naga Sadhus” usually do not wear any clothes and cover their entire body with Bhasm or Ashes.

The Ashen or Ghostly look symbolizes their proximity to the Supreme Being and a break from all Worldly Interests.

The pictures below were a stroke of luck for me, taken on the banks of the gently flowing River Kshipra in which millions would take a ceremonial Bath called “Snan” during the month long “Simhastha MahaKumbh”.

( Do check out previous blogs titled Colour me saffron, Divine Flowers, A River Worshipped and Trinity ,to know more )

the sadhu
The  Ghostly Naga Sadhu and his Entourage in Saffron Robes

A Vast and Beautiful Oil Lamp is brought forth as the Ghostly Sadhu beckons and conducts the entire Ceremony that unfolds before my eyes stretched in wonder . Lucky me!!!

The backdrop is of ancient and beautiful temples that adorn the banks of the Kshipra River. The mythological  fables and tales that surround each go back to thousands of years.

ghost beckons
PUT THE LAMP HERE IS THE GHOSTLY COMMAND

Hands outstretched to  the Skies , all the Sadhus chant and Prayer to the Almighty as the Oil Lamp is lit and the God of Fire, “Agni ” is invited to join the communal prayers.

the lamp is lit
THE PRAYERS BEGINS

The  Lit Oil lamp is help in both hands by the Ashen Sadhu and the Aarti or prayers are offered to  the Goddess of the River Kshipra.

People set forth small boats with Diyas or Lamps into the River Praying for the well being of their families and friends.

the sadhu aarti
Evening “Aarti” or Prayers

All Elements of Nature are held in high esteem and a request is made  during the Aarti for Peace to spread it’s wing Far and Beyond.

The Heavy headgear of the Naga Sadhu consists of Seeds of the Tree Rudraksha, which when roughly translated mean  “Tears of Lord Shiva” .

“Enchanting Ghost” is he not?

 

TRINITY

The Trishul or Trident with three points is symbolic  of the Trinity  of Hinduism as well as the symbol of Lord Shiva, the ruling deity of the ancient city of Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India.

AS you follow the stem of the “Trishul”, in the picture below, you will see another Enchanting Trinity of  “Three Trees”.

the trees
The Trinity

Have a closer look at the crown of the Three Trees or the Trinity as I call them.

Do see the trunks at the base  carefully.

the peepul
Three Trees form a Single Unit

The Trunks of Three Trees have symbolically merged together forming a “Unified Trinity”.

The Base of the “Trinity of Trees” is also home to a very sweet  but busy Open Air Temple.

The Shivling with the  Earthen Pot suspended over it is another Symbol of Lord Shiva.

the trunks of the three
The three Tree Trunks and the Temples below

The First Tree with Broad leaves and tiny green berries is of an unidentified tree unknown to me thus far.

tree tops
Broad Leaves and Small Green Berries of One of the Three

The Second Tree  of the Trinity is the Tamarind Tree ( English) , Imli ( Hindi) , Tamarindus indica ( Scientific name)  bears small leaves and grows tall and straight as if to touch the Blue Skies.

tamarind tree
Small Leaves of the Towering Tamarind Tree is the Second

The Third of the Trinity is the Revered and Auspicious Peepal Tree ( English & Hindi), Ficus religiosa ( Scientific name) .

The Tree is also called Sacred Fig and is protected by all Religions that originated from the Indian Subcontinent. It is forbidden to cut this Revered Tree.

The tell tale leaves with a central extended Point is also called “Bodhi Tree” under which Lord Buddha himself attained Enlightenment.

peepul leaves
Tell tale Leaves of the Third , “The Peepal Tree”

The Featured Image shows up the Enchanting Green Trinity under Lights after Sunset when Prayers are offered to the River Kshipra on whose banks the Trinity Resides.

GOLDEN MYSTERIES OF SHEY

The DU-KHANG is the mystery that is shielded and protected by the SHEY PALACE.

The view from the Shey Monastery cum Shey Palace, once the capital of Ladakh.

eyes on stupa
A view of Stupa at Ground Level

The Highest  Stupa or Chorten in Ladakh is masked by the Shey Palace.

golden top
Golden Chorten Spire

The  DU-KHANG is  enshrined here and houses one of the largest  revered statues of Lord Buddha  in Gilded Gold in all of Ladakh.

Many folklores and fables of faith wrap this Gorgeous Statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha .

golden buddha
Lord Buddha Smiles

Do have a look at previous blogs titled“HIMLAYAN PALACE” &  “HOLY LAKE” as well.

The following Apt Mantra was shared by my dear friend Nia  from Turkey on reviewing the pictures and post.

“Oṃ muni muni mahāmuni śākyamuni svāhā, Om muni muni mahamuni shakyamuni svaha”

HIMALAYAN PALACE

The Shey Palace, Shey, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, India.

through trees
Through a Screen of Poplars

Holds a Wonder.

stupa 1
Stupas and Prayer Flags

A Mysterious Wonder shielded by Royalty over Centuries.

shrey palace
The Palace

Be Glued on and of course, Enchanted, for the next post to discover the mystery behind the Shey Palace.

DONKEYS OR ASSES

The high altitude cold deserts of Ladakh ( Jammu & Kashmir, India) have ensured all animals mutate or adapt to their natural environment.

The Donkeys or Asses (English), Gadha (Hindi), Bung bu ( Ladhaki) , Equus asinus ( scientific name) are no exception to this rule.

I first saw the Donkey at close hand in the Animal Rescue Centre , near Shrey ( home to the Rancho School)  ,  Ladakh .

The Rescue Centre is a wonderful Home for unwanted Dogs, Donkeys, Goats, Cattle and even Chicken managed under the aegis of the Hemis Monastery ( do read my blog titled THE HIMALAYAN MONASTERY in http://.www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com).

The Hemis Monastery is headed by His Holiness G. Drukpa of the Drukpa or Dragon lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. ( do see the red and blue flag fluttering over the rescue van in the picture below)

live to rescue
The Rescue Ambulance and the Buddhist Monks

This homeless Donkey pushes his nose through the Mesh at the Rescue Centre which protects him from predators in the harsh landscape of Ladakh.

Observe the Gregarious Fur as compared to Donkeys seen in the plains.

This Sweet little Ass opened my  eyes to the World of Bung bu (Donkey) in Ladakh. Magically I saw many of his brethren thereafter.

through the mesh
Homeless he reaches out for affection

I was wondering Why  someone would abandon a Donkey when I came an unusual sight, a herd of  Horses and  Donkeys on the Highway to the Hemis Monastery.

An inquisite White Mare looks at the Camera over the shoulder of  a healthy Dark Brown Donkey.

donkeys and horses
The Beautiful All White Mare and the Glistening Donkey

Snow is the source of water for these Donkeys at a height of 4000 metres ( 13000 feet) .

The Featured image and the one below were taken while approaching the Hemis Monastery.

The Wild Tibetan Ass or Khiang  ( scientific Name Equus kiang kiang) or the King Ass is the largest of Asses and found exclusively in the high Himalayan Tibetan Plateau and Ladakh.

all alone
Equipped to handle the Sub Zero temperatures

The endearing Nose of the Donkey at the Rescue Centre had me Enchanted. It had cast a spell as I saw Donkeys repeatedly on my trip to Leh in Ladakh.

 

nose only
Cuddly Nose of the Homeless Ass in Ladakh

Strange are the Ways of Nature or was I merely Enchanted ?

Please do no not chuckle, imagine being Enchanted by an Ass.