๐Ÿ’ซRaksha Bandhan!!๐Ÿ’ซ

It’s that time of the year when sisters tie Rakhi around their brother’s wrists and pray for their well being and in return get gifts too..๐Ÿ˜

This year is special as my daughter has a little brother…my brother’s son.. Isn’t it awesome!!! Now along with me she will also tie Rakhi to little Laksh( that’s what we have named the newborn)..Oh by the way Laksh is debuting on WordPress for the first time!!!

May he grow up to be the most awesome brother ever, as of now I pray that both the little ones eat, sleep, play, repeat and enjoy their childhood..

The Rakhi Thali…

Rhea applying Tilak to Laksh..

Rhea tying Rakhi to Laksh ( being helped by the mumma’s)

Brothers are just awesome!!

Have a fab week ahead everyone..๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž

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BANARAS #8

The Ganga Arti

So continuing with Benares, the mystic city filled with tales of spirituality and wisdom..

After a view of all the Ghats via a boat ride, we finally arrived at where we started off, the Dashashwamedh ghat,to witness the Ganga Arti..

Ganga Arti is performed daily in the evening by a group of priests at the Dashashwamedh ghat..

It was around 6.30 in the evening.. preparations for the Ganga Arti were on full swing..There were huge crowds gathered to witness this beauty which takes place everyday, at different few selected ghats along which the Ganges flows..

The decked up ghats 

I was privileged to watch this spectacle twice…

Huge crowds gather around the place, few witness it from the Ghats seated on the steps, while few want to enjoy it from the boats, from the river front…

People gathering to watch the arti at dusk

And as the sun goes down..

I was lucky to witness it from  both ends but I prefered the steps cause it is much closer and the view, while seated on the boats was not good enough for me, as you have people all standing up to take pictures and the fun is gone..

Ganga Arti is an event which cannot be explained in words!! You should be there to watch it live, to experience and feel it.. So hopefully rather than me explaining things, my pics will do the talking..

It all starts off with the priests who have to perform the Arti dressed in the same traditional attire, the dhoti and kurta..

The priests who perform the arti…

First they make preparation for the Arti by offering puja to the Goddess Ganga and then they go take their respective places on the platforms meant for each person, where beforehand all the arrangements for the Arti would have been made, like the decked elevated planks, multi tiered oil lamps, an idol of the Goddess Ganga, flowers, incense sticks, a conch shell, a big and heavy brass lamp having a snake hood, all are kept ready and amidst the chime of bells and Shlokas( hymns) the Arti starts..

The decked planks..where the arti is performed..

With the puja essentialsโ€‹..

The snake hooded brass lamp..

Offering prayers to Goddess Ganga

Offering prayers to Nataraja(Lord Shiva)

The whole event takes around 45 minutes..

An announcement at 7.00 pm  indicates the beginning of the aarti…Music in the form of chants and Shlokas is played.. Devotees present there sing along,in between you have the Priests blowing the conch shells,the atmosphere is filled with chants and smells of incense sticks..After completing the chants, the priests do aarti with the multi-tiered brass lamps using burning camphor..

Blowing of the Conch shell marking the beginning of the arti..

Scent of Incense sticks everywhere..

The Arti begins amidst the chanting of Shlokas..

Offeringsโ€‹ of Dhoop..

Offerings with multi tiered oil lamps..

Perfomed uniformly,in order..

A sight to behold!!!

Perfomed in the four directions of North, West, South and East..

Arti with camphor..

People enjoying the spectacle from the river edge as it comesโ€‹ to an end..

You should watch it Live for you to feel it..I was all bumpy with goose flesh๐Ÿ™ˆ

Until next time feel away..๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

The Better Half #3๐Ÿ‘น

Hey everyone๐Ÿ™‹

Happy Sunday..continuing with the husband bashing, here are some messages I received..

Distress Call by a Husband engulfed in Dilemma…

“Guys need your help….

In the middle of an argument, my wife told me I was right!

What the hell do I do next?”๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

Nee: Ever visualised yourself in Such a scenario???Ha ha ha I do that!!!

I agree my husband is right and I am wrong( don’t swoon away) only when I have some work to be done by him!!๐Ÿ˜œor when I have messed up real bad..๐Ÿ™ˆ

The next one is hilarious..

Husband and wife went shopping to get new sarees for the wife.

After seeing numerous sarees, she shortlisted around 100 and further brought it down to 25.

Out of these she asked her husband to choose 5 sarees among them.

Then she finally picked up one saree.

It took 5 hours to finalise one saree.

The husband settled the bill and commented :”Adam was very lucky because he and Eve used to wear only leaves. He need not have wasted too much of time.

Ultimate comment of wife:- Who knows how many trees Adam had to climb and finally choose the leaves as per the wish of Eve. You are lucky u have to just sit in AC shop …

Moral

Never argue with woman while shopping.๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ

Nee: Yes been there done that!!! The poor hub tags along with the shopping bags and thanks to clash of clans, he is engrossed in that stupid game and is all happy happy while I  fret and cry over which to choose!! And finally when I ask him which one??!!

He says blue but I retort back nahh pink looks good!!!

He says ok take pink and I go noooo blue I guess would look better!!! Finally I go back with both pink and blue in my bag..happy happy as can be..!!!!๐Ÿคท๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ๐Ÿ’ƒ

And the last one..๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

Guruji, how do I learn about my mistakes.

Guru: Identify one mistake in your wife and tell her to correct it. In response she will help identify all your mistakes along with your family’s and your friends as well. It’s that easy.

Nee: Awesome and I agree

( Experience speaks)๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜†

Have a great week ahead all๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

BANARAS #7

Hey everyone..๐Ÿ™‹

The Leaning temple

The Leaning temple

 

So after a view of the Ghats,while boating around in the river just adjacent to Manikarnika Ghat ( The Burning Ghat) I came upon a temple half submerged in the water..It is the Ratneshwar Mahadev temple popularly called as The Leaning Temple..

This temple is among the iconic structures of Varanasi!!

It’s like tilted!!

The temple is also popularly known as โ€˜Kashi Karvatโ€™ due to the tilt/leaning.. โ€˜Karvatโ€™ is a Hindi word that means leaning..
Only when  the water levels decrease in summer it’s said that the entire temple can be seen..

The mystery of this temple is that no puja has ever been done here and there is an interesting story to it..(as told to me by the boatman)
Long ago…

The temple was built by a king named Man Singh for his mother โ€˜Ratna Baiโ€™ as repayment for everything his mother had done for him.
He came to Kashi and made this Shiv Parvathi temple..

He then took back a drawing and showed her and told her “I have repayed back your debt!!” for giving him birth and bringing him up ( In hindi they say ..Doodh ka karz chukana) the mom was so upset in hearing that, Cause no one can ever repay a mom’s love and her sacrifices!!

So…She cursed the temple saying nothing could repay what a mother does for her children!!

Due the curse, the temple leaned to eventually sink.
She told him to go back and see the temple, just about that time the Temple tilted..

It has never sunk completely or ever rose fully again..

It is always submerged and no puja was ever done here again and no one prays there either..
Whoaaa I was spellbound listening to this!!

My first memory of this temple was in a music video..if you up for some music and a glimpse of Benares here it is..

Euphoria

So,when I visited Benares for the first time,on reaching the Ghats I asked my husband where is that structure from where children jump into the Ganges for a swim and when he showed me this temple I was like whoaaa,same to same !!!๐Ÿ˜›

Truly at Benares, the mystic city, it is like a treasure of tales and learning, every monument, temple, ghats have their own stories of evolution..

Wait up for the famous Ganga Arti in the next post!!

Until then have a great week ahead..๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

BANARAS #6

Hey everyone..๐Ÿ™‹

THE BURNING GHATS

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BANARAS #5

Todays post is about exploring the Famous ghats of Benares

As the boat goes along the Ghats, (we started at the Dashashwamedh ghat)  you get a glimpse of the various ghats, the most famous being Harishchandra ghat..

HARISHCHANDRA GHAT..

Now this is the place where they burn the dead (in Hindus again, the dead are burnt not buried) 

In age old days, they used to do it the traditional way using logs and fire…Nowadays an incinerator is used and the ashes are strewn into the Ganges..

 As I mentioned earlier Hindus consider dying at Benares as a path of attaining salvation, people come here in their last days so they can spend time meditating and breathe their last in this holy place, sometimes people travel here with the dead person’s ashes to be strewn into the Ganges , all to attain moksha/ salvation…

Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the oldest Ghats of Varanasi. Harish Chandra Ghat is name after a mythological King Raja Harishchandra, who once worked at the cremation ground here for the perseverance of truth and charity.

It is believed that the Gods rewarded him for his resolve, charity and truthfulness and restored his lost throne and his dead son to him.

Even today when someone speaks only the truth come wat may we joke saying he is Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra..๐Ÿ˜†

Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the two cremation Ghats, the other being Manikarnika Ghat..

MANIKARNIKA GHAT

The story behind the origin of Manikarnika is interesting..

I will retell the story as I have understood it..

There was this king, Raja Daksh Prajapati (one of the sons of Lord Brahma) who had a daughter named SATI,( who was an incarnation of Godess Durga/Parvathi)  who was in love with Lord Shiva,which was opposed by her father the king, as according to him Lord Shiva was an ascetic with no Kingdom or home of his own..Who lived on the ice capped Kailash mountains and who had no family, and for whom the crematorium and the ashes were dear…But Mother SATI was deeply in love with Lord Shiva and she refused to listen to her father which angered  the king even more, he held a yagna ( sacrificial fire) but did not invite lord Shiva and when the Lord finally did come,the king  insulted him..Mother SATI could not bear this and sacrificed her life by jumping into the sacrificial fire and set her body ablaze, Lord Shiva, angered by this took her burning body to the Himalayas..

 On seeing the unending sorrow of Lord shiva, Vishnu sent the Divine chakra to cut the body into 51 parts which fell on earth. They are called “Ekannya Shaktipeeth”. Shaktipeeths

Lord Shiva established Shakti Peeths wherever Sati’s body had fallen.

At Manikarnika ghat, Mata Sati’s Ear’s ornament had fallen, hence the name Mani Karnika..Manikarna in Sanskrit means Ear Rings

THE BURNING PYRE

BODIES LINED UP FOR CREMATION

Another interesting story in the next post..until then have a great week ahead..๐Ÿค—

๐Ÿ™†The Better Half #2 ๐Ÿ‘น

Hey everyone๐Ÿ™‹

Happy July..๐ŸŽฐ

Don’t you think , June went by a tad bit too fast…No gyaans for the day!!!Me in one of the following ๐Ÿ‘ฟ๐Ÿ‘น๐Ÿ˜ค๐Ÿค•moods!!! So, here it is..Husband  bashing continues… Can you relate to it???๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜

And that is how the fight starts…๐Ÿ™‰

And fuelled by all๐Ÿ™„

Hilarious or Grrrrr??!!!

๐Ÿค

Sounds familiar???๐Ÿ˜‘

Finallyโ€‹ revenge ๐Ÿ˜›

๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ™ˆ
Have a great week ahead all…๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•while I plot my revenge…๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

BANARAS # 5

Tags

โ€‹Exploring the Ghats via boat ride..

Hey everyone..๐Ÿ™‹

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So after visiting the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple we set off to the river Ganges, for a boat ride and the famous Ganga arti..

So off we went, with me clicking away pictures as I did not want to miss out on any memories..

( Note to those who wish to visit Benares ..if you  have a tight schedule..complete the darshan in the morning and then about 4 or 5 p.m go  for a boat  ride depending on the weather)

So we always start off at Dashashwamedh ghat…

At Dashashwamedh Ghat

So I saw the place decked up for the Ganga Arti..which is normally held at 7 .p.m everyday..

Decked up for the Ganga arti

We hired a boat, This was my second boat ride on the Ganges..Had a similar routine when I had visited this place 3 years back..

We payed to have the entire boat to ourselves and off we went about boating and exploring the Ghats..

I put my hand into the water to feel the Ganga..The most famous of all rivers in India!!You can say the mother river!! The most sacred one..!!!

That’s me Nee!! Enjoying away๐Ÿ˜

So it’s like you go towards one side of the river along the Ghats and turn around and come in a ‘U’  turn fashion facing the Ghats..

Off we go along the Ghats๐Ÿ˜Š

Opposite side of the ghats ..an island kind…

An Aghori Baba or a sanyasi bathed in Ash???

Why should humans have all the fun?!! #beating the summer heat

Sadly, I heard the Ganges is receding..Once upon a time apparently it was over flowing and was sparkling and clean, now with pollution and waste being dumped, it is sad to see such a mighty river running dry and dirty..

Measures are on by the government to clean the Ganges..

Until about a few years ago,as told by my husband who is a native of Benares, that as a child, they used to see river dolphins in the Ganges..now that’s new to me!!!

Oh! how I would have loved  to see  one..๐Ÿ˜ช

I feel bad about the state of this mighty river..What can be done about it..?? I did my part by not dumping any flowers or candles that were being sold..

I collected a bottle of the Ganga water mid stream to be taken back to my home..( as I told you Ganga water is like all soo auspicious for hindus..)

Benares has soo many interesting tales so more about the ghats in the next post..Until then have a great week ahead. ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’• 

Happy Father’s Day๐Ÿ‘จ

Hey everyone..๐Ÿ™‹

On occasion of fatherโ€™s day today just a small post..

Obviously all love their parents and we donโ€™t need any special day to celebrate it but since we have a day dedicated to dads why not make the most of it..

Today my dad will be celebrating his first year of  being a grandfather and my hubby his first father’s day..๐Ÿ˜

Now that’s soo typically Meee๐Ÿ™ˆ

So wishing all the dad’s out there a very Happy Father’s Day and if you are a first time dad have a merrier one and loads of fun..

Speaking of fun, here is a funny mesg I received..

*The Art of dealing ….*

A retired old couple returned to a Mercedes dealership where the salesman promised to hold a car for them.

But they found the car was just sold to a beautiful, leggy, busty blonde in a mini skirt and a halter top. 

The old man was visibly upset. He spoke to the salesman sharply, “Young man, you said you will hold that car till we raised the $95,000 asking price, yet you closed the deal for $75,000 to the young lady there. And if I remember right, you had insisted there was no discount for this model !”

The salesman took a deep breath, cleared his throat and reached for a large glass of water.

“Well, what can I tell you? She had the cash ready, didn’t need any financing help, and, Sir, just look at her, how could I resist?”, replied the grinning salesman sheepishly.

Just then the young woman walked over to the senior couple and gave the car keys to the old man.

*_”There you go,” she said. “I told you I could get him to lower the price. See you later Dad, Happy Father’s day.”_*

๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ˜›

Few more laughs..๐Ÿ˜

True isn’t it??!!!

NOTE TO SELF!!๐Ÿ™ˆ

Have a great week ahead everyone..๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•

BANARAS #4

Tags

Hey everyone..๐Ÿ™‹

Continuing my Benares tales..

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On a fine Sunny day (Summer was just starting at the time I visited benares) about 3 o clock in the noon we set out to the market area again, To visit the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple..
Ohh you should google and read about the origin of the temple in detail, soo many fascinating stories surrounding it…

I will share a few as told to me and what I have read..

This famous Vishwanath Temple has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in history.

The famous Kashi Vishwanath temple..

The old temple was demolished during the Mughal invasion by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor, who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site..

The present structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also popularly known as the โ€ฒGolden Templeโ€ฒ due the gold plating done on its 15.5-meter high domes apparently  donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh..

The gold plated domes of the temple..

The Jyotirlinga present in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India..

However, the original Jyotirlinga of Kashi Vishwanath, as was told to me, lies buried in a well situated inside the campus of the temple called Jnana Vapi or Wisdom well.. 

The story is that during the Mughal invasion the main priest of the temple jumped into the well along with the original jyotirlinga to protect it from the invaders..so I guess it lies there buried inside the well even today..

The temple is situated in the market area where in from the main market you enter a lane called Vishwanath galli and keep walking and walking..

Entrance to Vishwanath Galli

You have shops on either side selling stuff ranging from puja articles , curios to bangles article sarees..

Photography is strictly prohibited inside the temple..So we had to leave our cellphones, cameras and footwear at shops which have lockers..

After collecting our Puja thali..( Plate with puja items like flowers, sweetmeats, a glass of milk) we set out for our darshan..

Boy, you have heavy duty security checks there…

We waded through to have a darshan of the Annapurna devi (Goddess of food), the original statue made of gold ( or so i was told) is actually not on display  and taken out only on a festive day when they feed 100s of people..

Inside the courtyard is the temple of Vishwanatha( Lord Shiva) surrounded by many subsidiary shrines.

With a quick darshan of all the other gods we made our way to the main temple..

The Vishwanatha temple consists of a mandapa and a sanctum.

Inside the sanctum a Lingam is set into the center of the floor in a square silver altar..The Lingam is of black stone..

Pic from google images as photography inside the temple is prohibited..

Though the interior of the temple is not large and elaborate, it presents a peaceful atmosphere ideal for worship

It being a Thursday and an off season we were lucky as it wasn’t much crowded..

Oh this was my second visit to this shrine and yet I was feeling nostalgic..A feeling which can’t be explained..

We had to form a queue and wait for our turn..

When my turn came, I poured the glass of milk on the Shiv ling and offered flowers, the garland went right around the idol, I was all ecstatic..

We had to keep moving a tad bit too soon..

I again joined the queue and this time I got a huge garland taken from around the idol and some flowers in return..

I just could not have enough of gazing at the Shiv ling, So I again went around and got my chance to pray..

I stood far away and kept gazing and thinking..All these years so many poets, sages, sanyasis, great personalities and soooo many people came here just to have a darshan of this Shiv ling and here I was standing at the same spot staring away as the same famous Shiv ling..I was going all wheeeee at the thought…

Photo of a painting of Varanasi taken at Taj Ganges

So after having an heartfull and eyefull darshan , I walked away happy  and satisfied with the holy Prasadam in my hand..ahhh happy happy as can be..

Soo many stories and mythology surrounding this place..

People especially from South India do make it a point to travel so far just to have a darshan of Lord Shiva and m here today at the same place..Really the feeling was great..

Hindus consider that they attain Moksha( Liberation) by visiting this holy place followed by a bath in the river Ganges..

Hence every Hindu atleast once during their lifetime makes it a point to visit this place…

Many legends also state that a true devotee achieves freedom from death and worldly ties by the worship of Lord Shiva..

Shiva’s devotees on death being directly taken to his abode on Mount Kailasa by his messengers and not by Yama (The Lord of Death)

It is also said that Lord Shiva himself blows the mantra of salvation into the ears of people who die naturally at benares, hence you find many people in their last days wanting to come to Kashi and attain Moksha here..

So much for the legends and stories of Kashi..giving me  goose flesh even as I type away..

More in the next post until  then have a great weekendโ€‹ all…๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—

SHAPE OF YOU!! VARIATIONS!!

Hey everyone..๐Ÿ™‹

A quick mid week post!!! Couldn’t resist sharing it!!

I am sure all the music lovers here have heard of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of you”


How about giving it a desi twist…here’s to Aditya Rao and team!!!


Whoaaa simply couldn’t stop hitting the replay button and hear it again and again..

Adding to the glory is an amazing classical dance by the Mohan sisters, Shakti and Mukti Mohan, both are famous dancers, have watched them on dance shows on TV..


I really am amused at how much variations one song can have..

How people are crazy about it..just you tube it and you will find a zillion variations of the same song..

( One more such song is “Cheap thrills” by Sia, maybe a post on it some other time)
I loved this mother daughter duo( someday hope to nail it with my daughter๐Ÿ˜ )


Check out this one with amazing Body percussion!!


Boy this song really has it going..
And I can go on and on..I found a Punjabi remix version..


God!!Just add Bhangra beats and make any song Punjabi..๐Ÿ™„
Any Biriyani ( No veg!! Only Non veg Biriyani is Biriyani ๐Ÿ˜œ) lovers in the house??? ( Me me me me ๐Ÿ™‹)

I went all gaga watching this..๐Ÿ˜‹


For those of you who loveeee Biriyani like me, a must watch and it’s an anthem for us Biriyani lovers indeed!!๐Ÿ˜

Soo much for one song..๐Ÿ˜‡

Ed Sheeran you have it going man!!๐Ÿ˜Ž

( Ringing in my ears: ย Like he cares or needs your approval!!๐Ÿ™„ Neeย your too much!!Just sit back and enjoy na!!!)

I can go on and on with the variations you tube has to offer but I better stop here๐Ÿ™‰

Hope you all enjoyed it.. ๐Ÿ‘ปย (I still ย am humming my Biriyani anthem..๐ŸŽถ)

๐Ÿ’žHave a fab musical week ahead..๐Ÿ’ž