Golden Temple (Kashi Vishwanath)
Also known as just the Vishwanath Temple, this is the one temple around which the whole city partly revolves around. This is not only the most important place for Hindu pilgrimage but also one of the most important temples all round the world. The mention of kashi was even there during the Mahabharata but the temple was built during the 18th Century by the the Maratha queen named Rani Ahilyabai Holkar. This temple is also known as the Golden Temple because of the gold wrapped main spire of the temple. There are smaller shrines too inside the temple complex and the evening aarti here on the Dashashwamedh Ghat is a sight to behold.
This temple is one of the oldest temples in India and was built by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1724. The specialty of this temple is that the symbol on the top of it is not of a conventional swastika or OM instead it is of a crescent moon which is actually an Islamic symbol and is said to have saved the temple from being demolished during Mughal attacks. The main deity of this temple is a south facing statue of Lord Hanumana with a gada in one hand and the other on his chest highlighting the image of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. The ceiling of the temple is decorated with frescoes depicting parts of the Ramayana. The main festival celebrated here is the Hanumana Jayanti. Saturdays and Tuesdays experience a footfall of thousands of devotees.
Mauni Baba Mandir
I was wet till the waist and was forced to continue with the hike in my wet lowers.It was a 500 metres climb to Tapoban so we took it slow and reached at around 7.30 pm in the evening. As we entered Mauni babas ashram it started raining heavily with flecks of snow. We had maggi followed by dinner with rice roti and sabji.Babaji who was staying in Tapoban for last 7 yrs,was interacting only with signs as he had taken maunvrat (vow of silence).He lives throughout the year in Tapoban. He gets all his stuffs packed by travellers and porters from Gangotri.He has been captivated by the peaceful serenity of this dreamland ever since he came here.We headed to our small stone walled rooms which had basic mats and blankets and dozed off in a flash. The constant creaking and jumping of the rats (most probably) disturbed many times in the night. We woke up at 6.30 am and got ready for trek around tapoban and sunderban.It was a sunny day as we headed towards Sunderban along the ridge of Gangotri glacier. The view of stretch of the glacier with Bhagirathi peak on the background was a visual treat for every mountaineer.Mt Shivling and the Tapoban meadow with Akash Ganga flowing through it completed the 360 degree panoramic view. In around 20 mins our guide showed the trail heading towards Nandanban going down into the glacier moraines.Trails are identified by stack of stones piled up,otherwise its very easy to get lost out there. Gangotri glacier was a 27 kms long glacier ending in Gamukh giving rise to the holy Ganges. In 2 hours after crossing several stretch of snow fields we finally reached the viewpoint of Sundarban.The glacier here takes a V shaped turn and it this is where the Mt Kedardome and Sunderban peak are located.Campsite at Sunderban was 1 km ahead. Assessing the ruggedness of the terrain camping in Sunderban requires the best of equipments and camping skills. After a short photosession the weather started to turn bad,it started drizzling so we headed back to Mauni babas ashram and was served with lunch.Post lunch due to bad weather condition bad we dropped our idea to go to Neel taal instead we roamed around taking snaps. Mauni baba performed his daily rituals while we experienced the beauty of the sun setting in the mountains imparting them a fiery red colour. Some other trekkers had arrived in the evening .We exchanged our travel story with them. Next morning I woke up early for some sunrise clicks. After breakfast we started early at 7am.In around 40 mins we reached the Akash Ganga stream,which was flowing swiftly as usual.We successfully crossed it and headed downwards.Rockfalls and loose stones were making our trek difficult .In around 2.5 hours we came down the cliff. Crossing the glacieral moraines was tough during descent.Stack of stones being a guiding source for heading in the correct direction.In another 2 hours we finally descended down the glacier.We rested at a small temple for 30 mins gearing up for the remaining 4 kms of trek to Bhojbasa. We finally reached Bhojbasa at around 2pm and headed to GMVN guest house for a lunch later heading on to Ram babas ashram for night's stay.Early next morning around 7 am we headed back to Gangotri cherishing our memorable experiences. We reached Gangotri at around 12.30 pm.Post lunch we booked a cab for Harshil.GENERAL INFORMATION & SHORT ITINERARY -Day 1 - Gangotri to Bhojbasa (14kms) (Night halt Tent/Ashrams/GMVN), gradual incline , 6-8 hours for average trekker.Day 2 - Bhojbasa to Gaumukh to Tapoban (9kms) (Night Halt -Tent/Ashram) hike of 6-7 hours, steep climb from Gaumukh onwards through moraines & boulders. Need to cross a stream (Akash Ganga) 1 km before Tapoban. Must start very early morning.Day 3- Tapoban(4500m) to Sunderban (4700m) (6kms) and back 3-4 hours walking at gradual incline, Neel taal in afternoon Day 4 - Tapoban to Bhojbasa.Day 5 - Bhojbasa to Gangotri.Alternative routes -1. From Gamukh to Raktaban, 6kms 5-6 hours ,camping equipments needed .2. From Gamukh to Nandanban and Vasukital ,camping equipments needed 3. From Tapoban to Sunderban and Kirti glacier,camping equipments needed 4. Tapoban to Meru glacier and backGuide - Bhim Singh (contact number – 9557213252) – Charged Rs 1400 per day including food, he is an expert Nepali guide, very helpful. Porters are available at Rs 600-700 according to demandPermits – DFO office near Gangotri taxi stand makes the permit, it's a work of 10 mins, permits will be checked at entry and at Chirbasa.National Park entry charges separate.Local association charges – Rs 100This trip was originally published on MyTr@vel Diary.
Prem Mandir Vrindavan
Prem Mandir is a fairly new temple and looks marvelous due to the light effects. It is covered in LEDs which keep on changing its colors after every few seconds. The temple is spread across many acres and there is also a water fountain show in the evening which was truly delightful and something which I had never seen before.
ISKCON is the International Society for Krishna Conciousness and the temple in Bangalore is dedicated to Lord Krishna of course. The temple is situated on a hillock also known as the Hare Krishna Hill. The temple is built in a neo- classical style with typical South Indian temple Gopurams in it. There are 4 gopurams inside the temple which are joined by a glass canopy which looks spectacular. This temple was built to mark the birth anniversary of Sri Prabhupada, the founder of the whole community. The peaceful atmosphere and the continuous chanting of "Hare Rama, Hare Krishna" is extremely soothing. There is also a separate prayer hall, vedic theatre, vedic museum and lecture hall in the temple. There is an average footfall of around 8000- 10000 people everyday and this goes up to 15000 or even more on weekends. The main festival celebrated here is the Krishna Janmashtami.
Shree Pashupatinath Temple
Pashupatinath is the oldest Hindu temple in Nepal. The temple is an old architecture building and is surrounded by a big park. behind is a big lake. the temple says and ask only hindu to visit inside the main campus. the temple also has a lot of monkeys around. you will see many smaller shrines and the cremations on one side of the Bagmati Rivier, and priests ministering to the faithful on platforms on the other side. This was the highlight of our cultural tour of Kathmandu.