5 of the most divine and rich Shrines of India

Hinduism is the most prevalent religion in India. Being one of the oldest religions it has a significant influence on Indian history and culture. Indian Mythologies are filled with stories of Goddesses and Gods that walked the land eons ago. They played a vital role in shaping the beliefs of man during those time. Today these are the beliefs that have led to the creation of glorious temples across the country. The devotees from all over the world visit these temples and shower offerings of flowers, cash, silver and gold even. The prominent temples of the country are:

The affluence of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba

The affluence of Sri Shirdi Sai Baba

The miracles of Sai Baba are a thing of legends. The faith that people have in his devotion is uncanny. The stories of Sai Baba’s marvels have made the temple of Shirdi Sai Baba both a place of worship and abundance. The recorded investments in the temple are stated at Rs. 427 crores. The money is parked in various bonds and Trust Corpus Fund. The ornaments in the temple are said to be worth Rs. 32 crore.

The Shrine of Goddess Vaishno Devi

The Shrine of Goddess Vaishno Devi

It is one of the oldest temple structures situated in the north of India in the scared valleys of Jammu. Scaling to this place of worship is not for the faint hearted as it is an uphill climb of almost 6 hours and during day time the situation is worse. Even so, the Goddess has devotees lined-up for her worship every single day. The annual income of the temple is estimated at Rs. 500 crores.

The Pride of Mumbai- Siddhivinayak Temple

The Pride of Mumbai- Siddhivinayak Temple

You can only imagine the amount of wealth this temple must be amassing during a year. Lord Ganesha being the scared deity of the Hindu’s especially Maharashtrians this temple holds no bar for the religion of the devotees. On Tuesdays, there is mega rush in the temple. Moreover, during the festival of ‘Ganpati’ the temple is bussing with people and prayers. The annual income is said to range from anywhere between 50 crores to 125 crores. The dome inside the temple where the statue of Lord Siddhivinayak presides is said to be coated with 3.7 kgs of pure gold.

Also Read: Siddhivinayak – The Shire of the God of Happiness

The temple of Padmanabhaswamy

The temple of Padmanabhaswamy

Located in W Nada, East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala this temple is said to hold around $20 Million worth of gold which takes about 6 different vaults to store. 5 out of 6 vaults were opened in 2011 by a team approved by the Apex Court of India. The treasures of the mysterious vault B (6th vault) are said to be guarded by 2 giant cobras and is rumoured to have been opened at least 9 times but no damage to anyone has been reported.

The principle Idol in this shrine of Lord Vishnu is valued at approximately Rs. 500 crore. Further, the temple’s abundant wealth includes Golden crowns, Gold bow, antique gold jewellery studded with different gems.

The Golden Temple of Amritsar

The Golden Temple of Amritsar

The name itself says it all! One of the holy places for the Sikhs in India, this temple is a sight to behold. Its breath-taking beauty is the reason of its lavish Indo-Islamic design. The temple dome is adorned with gold and silver giving it a majestic appeal. Inside in the Altar lies the holy book Guru Granth Sahib which is a one-of-a-kind scripture that is decorated with scared gems and diamonds.

Also Read: Golden Temple: one of the most unique Sikh architectures

These temples may give a lavish and glam demeanour to the Indian divinities but all the plush has less meaning when it comes to the knowledge and teachings that these places have to offer, which is sacrosanct. The mental tranquillity that a person receives after basking in the peace of these places can only be experience first-hand.

The temple of ‘Adi Shakti’ Mahalaxmi

Regulars must be knowing how diverse India is in every domain, be it food, culture, or religion. Every Indian including Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, and Christian, every single human under these religions have their own spiritual sentiments and their own holy idols and places to worship. So, from temples to Gurudwaras, to Dargas, and Churches, we have them all. Speaking of Hindu temples, here is one of the prime worship places of Mumbai that you should know about.

Mahalaxmi Temple is one of the most famous temples of Mumbai. It situated on Bhulabhai Desai Road in Mahalaxmi area. It is dedicated to Mahalakshmi the central deity of Devi Mahatmyam.

The Mahalaxmi Temple in Mumbai is managed by the ‘Shree Mahalaxmi Temple Charities’ Trust. They look after the temple so that devotees can benefit from the ‘Darshan’ of the idols of the three Goddesses viz. Shri Mahalakshmi, Shree Mahakali and Shree Mahasaraswati placed in the shrine.

Also Read: Siddhivinayak – The Shire of the God of Happiness

Legend:

  • To protect the idols of the three Goddesses from the Muslim invaders a cult of Hindus immersed them into the Arabian sea, near the Worli creek. Years later during the British rule, Lord Horneby ordered for the connection of Worli-Malabar Hill creek. The work was to be carried out under the supervision of Shri Ramji Shivji Prabhu, a Government Engineer serving under the British Empire.
  • Even after immense hard work it was impossible for the engineer to accomplish the task. Then, it is said, one day the Goddess Mahalaxmi herself visited him in his dream and told him to recover the immersed idols from the creek. Upon doing so the connecting of the creeks was made possible.
  • Captivated by his efforts Ramji Prabhu was awarded a piece of land, by the English rules, on the hillock where the Mandir (temple) now stands.

Mahalaxmi-Temple-Mumbai

Today the temple is designated as a heritage sight due its architectural and archaeological significance. It has a modest structural design which gives it it’s unique quality. Also it is surrounded by low rise buildings, flower and sweet shops that gives it a proper cultural vibe.

During the time of ‘Deepawali Laxmi poojan’ there is a lot of pomp and show here. Devotees gather from all around the city. A special Pooja is held in the honour of the ever giving Goddess Mahalaxmi.

The temple is open to devotees of all casts and backgrounds. There is a great faith among individuals that Mahalaxmi grants boons which deliver them from poverty and other financial problems.

The church of Mount Mary

Flip through our pages and you will find us talking all about the sacred and beautiful worship places of India. India is a melting pot of religions from around the world and has a rich collection of spiritual places. India’s business lifeline, Mumbai, alone boasts a variety of religious architectures that have gained an immovable place in the heart of the locals as well as visitors. Let us tell you about one such amazing place in the heart of Mumbai, known as Mount Mary.

Mount Mary Basilica, Bandra is a Christian Church located at the hilltop near the coastlines of Western Mumbai. Looking over the Arabian sea this complex has been standing for over hundred years.

It is a majestic complex of stone that stands as a symbol of peace, tranquillity, and hope for all. It is a place of worship for all and the mother does not differentiate between her children. The doors of the Church are open for devotees of all religions and backgrounds. The location and ambiance of the place is so divine that it takes your heart and soul to a peaceful place where all you want to do is pray and be in the grace of the divinity.

Once a simple shrine today it has transformed into a regal structure. Over the year many devotees have strived for its development.

Also Read: The temple of ‘Adi Shakti’ Mahalaxmi

Mount Mary

The principal front of the building facing the gates is about 67.5 feet long. The entire foundation of the edifice is entrenched in rock. The entire construction has total four floors. The ground floor is where the beautiful statue of Mother Mary holding baby Jesus is placed in a large indentation. There are benches with kneeling space where the devotees can offer their prayers. Candles and other offerings can be placed below the statue of Mother Mary on the white marble floor.

The most popular event of Mount Mary is the Bandra Fair which is connected to the annual Feast of ‘Our Lady of the Mount’. This event is conducted each year on 8th September. The feast is celebrated over 8 days. Before the feast a fasting period of 9 days is followed called the ‘Novena’.

Masses are conducted in the morning and evening during the ‘Novena’ while during the feast the masses are conducted only in the mornings. There are stalls of delicious savouries and sweets lined up outside the Church during this time for the famished devotees.

Image Credit : mountmarybasilicabandra.in

The sacred tomb – Haji Ali

Mumbai is a hub of all religions that come together and form our impeccable India. This city has a space for each and every religion and its followers and keeps them safe in its heart. Flip through our pages and you will find information about almost all the famous religious places that are in and around Mumbai. We have talked about the super famous Siddhivinayak temple, Mount Mary, and etc. For today’s edition of information, we shall take you to the south side of the city to one of the most beautiful spiritual places of Mumbai – Haji Ali Dargah. It is one of a kind place in Mumbai that has been loved and avidly visited by humans around the world.

Haji Ali Dargah’, Mumbai or ‘Haji Ali’ as it is fondly known, is the tomb of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari (R.A.) and is one of the most prominent religious places in India. It has been a prestigious landmark of the Mumbai shoreline since inception. It is located 500 yards away from the coast in the middle of the Arabian sea off Lala Lajpatrai Marg.

The structure was constructed in the 19th century on an isle made of high rising rocks. The ‘Haji Ali Dargah Trust’ was formed in 1916 to look after the monument.

Along with the tomb of the great Muslim saint the Dargah also houses a Masjid (Place of worship for the Muslims). The architecture of the entire complex has been inspired by Mughal designs.

haji ali shrine

Even today the structure stands tall like a sacred sentinel upon the seas of Mumbai. Through it’s a renowned site for Muslim devotees the Dargah’s doors are open for people of all casts and creeds. Many non-Muslim devotees have great faith in this sacred ossuary. This is the reason it attracts individuals from all over.

Around 15,000 visitors come to offer their prayers here each day. This number increases to about 30,000 during Fridays and Sundays. The human stream in the Dargah during the second day of Ramadhan Eid and Bakri Eid (Eid-ul-Uzha) is breath-taking. The pathway to the crypt looks like a river of men.

The trust holds special ceremonies / rituals and makes the necessary offering during the Death Anniversary of Pir Haji Ali. Niyaaz (Offerings of sweets and food) is distributed during this time to the devotees present.

The trust also organises the display of the ancient and sacred relics of Prophet Mohamed (S.A.W.S.) during his birth Anniversaries at which time prayers are conducted followed by the distribution of Niyaaz.

Siddhivinayak – The Shire of the God of Happiness

A Mumbaikar who has still not visited the Siddhivinayak Temple in the city, practically, does not exist. Almost every God-believing human of Mumbai has been to this monumental temple to get blessed by the almighty – Lord Ganesha. Lord Ganesha is known to have many forms and Siddhivinayak is one of his avatars that is believed to be the tough cookie out of all. They say, pleasing this form of Lord Ganesha is very difficult.It takes a lot to make Siddhivinayak happy, and in turn, bless you.

The Siddhivinayak Temple is the most popular place of worship for all masses in Mumbai. It is home to the Siddhivinayak Idol a form of Lord Ganesh that is known to grant all the wishes of his devotees. There are stories of people getting (instantly) blessed by Siddhivinayak just by visiting once.

Located at Prabhadevi, Mumbai it is one of the prominent Ganesh temples in India. The temple attracts people of all casts and creeds including celebrities.

 

The idol placed in the temple is made from a single black stone and is approximately 2.5 feet high. Placed on each side of this idol are the Goddesses Riddhi and Siddhi, the wives of Lord Ganesh.

Siddhivinayak - PrabhadeviThe temple was built in 1801. Today the architecture displays beautiful blends of Hindu structures marked with a Kalash and flag on top of the temple. The atmosphere and ambience of the Mandir is such that it will take anyone into a captivating divine bliss. Prayers and offering are presented to the Lord each day in the midst of devotional chants. The temple has about 25,000 visitors every day.

The temple is flanked by a phool gali (Flower Market) where visitors can buy sweets and flowers that they wish to offer to the Lord Ganesha. The Hibiscus flower and ‘Durva’ (a kind of grass) which are dearest to Ganesha are available here in plenty. There are special Hibiscus flower garlands that are also available.

Within the Mandir, there is also a shrine of Lord Hanuman an avatar of Lord Shiva who is the father of Lord Ganesha. Also, there is a black statue of a large mouse which is the vehicle of Lord Ganesha. It is believed that if you whisper your wishes into his ear he will take them to Lord Ganesha himself.

The mantra here is there is no limit to devotion. As long as you ask with a clean heart, ‘Bappa’ as Ganeshji is fondly called, will answer.

Image Credit: www.siddhivinayak.org

The Divinity of Kolhapur Mahalaxmi

The prominent tourist destination of Kolhapur in Maharashtra is famous among tourists for two main reasons, first it is the residence of the Divine Mahalaxmi and second the spicy food.

It is said that this residence of Goddess Mahalaxmi who delivers desires and salvation is one amongst the 108 destinations according to the puran where Shakti manifests. It is one of the most prominent Shakti Peethas i.e. a place associated with Goddess of Power. Shakti literally translates as ‘Power’.

ALSO READ: Golden Temple: one of the most unique Sikh architectures

Legend:

mahalaxmi-MAHARASHTRAThe demon Kolha was the original ruler of then Karaveera pura, named after his son, as a boon from Lord Shiva who killed him in battle. This enraged Kolha who went on to perform a great penance to goddess Mahalaxmi and as a reward sought a boon from her that she would not enter Karaveera pura for 100 years. Thereafter Kolha reigned terror over the region as well as upon the gods while he hid safely in the absence of Shakti in the area. The gods prayed to Mahalaxmi who asked them to wait for 100 years in light of the boon granted to Kolha. After completion of 100 years she defeated Kolha who realised his mistake and was granted three boons by the goddess. One that the region would be named after him, second Mahalaxmi would reside in Kolhapur permanently and the third that this would become a Siddhi Kshestra (a gateway to enlightenment).

The temple is situated on the banks of river Pancha Ganga in the Sahyadri Mountain Range of the Kolhapur district. It is said to be the oldest temple built during the Chalukya Dynasty in the 12th century.

The Idol of the four armed goddess, placed in the shrine, is considered to be at least 5000-6000 years old weighing about 40 kilograms and made out of gemstones. There is also an image of Mahalaxmi carved in black stone that stands 3 feet high. The sanctuary made in the ‘Hemandpanthi’ style of architecture is a beautiful construct.

Every year a Rathotsav is organised in the month of April when a silver representation of the goddess’s idol is taken out in procession. Its path is lit with beautiful rangolies accompanied by fireworks. It takes place between 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.

Daily 5 pooja services are offered to the treasured goddess, the first one starting at 5am. Each Friday and on full moon days the procession of a festive image of the goddess is taken around the court yard of the temple.