Saturday, May 20, 2017

Soulie Saturday #5: She Flows (Sunset Over The Rameshwaram Sea)



Look at her -- unafraid
dons the color of the sky
blue, green, yellow - it's a color, a dye.

In the washing machine of time
twisting and turning - she flows
waves -- gentle, roaring -
ebbing and low.

From where she comes
where she goes
what mysteries lie beyond her veil
no one knows

Except that --

with goodness on her mind
love in her heart
unafraid of the colors donned

she flows.

Like a precious jewel
polished by her father
she glows.

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Captured this scene while taking a boat ride during sunset in Rameshwaram. Away from the chaotic hustle bustle one comes across as part of a pilgrim place that is hugely frequented by the believers - this sunset boat ride offered a tranquil respite with the ever so elegant nature.


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Be a part of #Soulie!

A Soul Selfie series or “#Soulie” series aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (you can choose to call Him by any name you like as long as the reference is maintained and more importantly the essence) by peeping within my own heart — collecting your prayers and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts.

Here is what you can do if you wish to join in.

1. Send me one picture clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Soulie Saturday #4: Sunset with Mother Ganga, Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh.

There was still some time for the evening arti to begin; I sat on the ghats of Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh as close to her waters as I could. The atmosphere was abuzz with activity and one could hear incomprehensible murmurs all around. I focused my attention on the soft gurgling sound sound of River Ganga instead...

Serene and calm, ah ...

Mother Ganga suring sunset Arti, Parmarth Niketan Ashram Rishikesh

Ganga Maiyya!
She looked beautiful.

Gushes of wind danced and swirled around her, making her look even more ethereal and other worldly. I simply sat in awe; letting my hand in, into her icy cold waters and felt like a child being taken into her mother’s arms to be held gently against her breasts.

As the last rays of the sun fell on her, illuminating through the mountains, I closed my eyes and prayed for her loving benediction and inner strength and power. Those moments, with Mother… they were assuring, her gaze which constantly told me that Lord Shiva was guiding over me in all my trials and tribulations so there wasn’t any room for worry.

As the sun’s light dimmed with each passing moment and the intensity of the night increased, I was overwhelmed with a profusion of balming serenity and a comforting guidance never experienced before. Even the setting sun became the veil, the aanchal, which she was drawing over all of her children present there, including me, to shield us from the noisy and frightening world outside.

In her arms, I felt safe.

I felt one with Mother, my own nature.

My reverie was soon broken by the loud sound of the bells, the arti had just begun… my heart was flooded in tears of joy and happiness.

Today, I salute and pay my respects to her in spirit, for I know I may be miles apart in Mumbai, but I always have a mighty divine force of Mother to protect me no matter where I am.

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This post is inspired by the highly talented travel blogger and photographer desi Traveler’s series on Mothers day titled #MerePaasMaanHai (मेरे पास माँ है) celebrating and honoring the unique essence of a mother-daughter bond. Do check his Instagram account to know more.

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Be a part of #Soulie!

A Soul Selfie series or “#Soulie” series aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (call Him by any name you like)  by peeping within my own heart —  collecting your experiences and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a experiential and spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts.

Here is what you can do if you want to join in.

Send me / blog about / instagram one picture clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rooted in Simplicity: Shree Kasba Ganpati Temple, Pune's Gram Daivait.

A window near Kasba Ganpati Temple, Pune
Kasba Peth, Pune
Old parts in a city resonate with their own unique charm of an era gone by. Etched on them are marvels – not always and often less than what some of us might generally consider perfect and faultless but almost always warm, devoid-of-any-pretence and shining in its own beauty of unconscious simplicity – that give us a sneak peek into the way of life and living of our forefathers and ancestors who have walked the earth.

One finds such a charm in Pune disguised as peths and wadas – there are about 17 of them (Sadashiv Peth, Narayan Peth, Rasta Peth, Nana Pet, Navi Peth, Ganj Peth (now renamed Mahatma Phule Peth), Budhvar peth, Somwar peth, etc.) all built and developed during the Maratha rule under the Peshwa administration. These peths are some of the oldest inhabited places of the city which still regale visitors with its narrow lanes and dilapidated structures painting a vintage picture of antiquity and a firm rootedness to traditions and culture.


Entrance to Kasba Ganpati Temple in Pune
Pune's Gram Davait - Shree Kasba Ganpati Mandir Devsthan in Pune.
I have been to a few peths in the past but my visit to Kasba Peth this time was the first. Kasba Peth is the oldest residential peth in Pune established during the fifth century. Located beside the Shaniwar Wada palace-fort, Kasba Peth is also referred as the 'Heart of Pune City'. Not only because of its location but metaphorically speaking too – Kasba Peth houses Kasba Ganpati, Pune's Gram Davait or the presiding deity Ganesha who looks after the well being of the people of Pune.


Famous Ganesha Temple Kasba Ganpati, Pune
Kasba Ganpati Temple from the outside.
One look at the Kasba Ganpati temple and I stood mesmerised by its natural appeal - its stark minimalism devoid of any lavish adornment - outdoor as well as interiors - and I couldn’t help but be reminded of the simple straightforward nature of the people of those times, including the valiant, strong and heroic Jijamata who is credited with establishing the temple. Built in the typical Puneri Wada style, entering the temple felt very human as if it were the house of a friend - so earthy and in tune with nature was its appeal!

Kasba Ganesh Mandir in Pune
Remove your footwear and step in!
The temple hall was small in size and pictures of all Ashtavinayaka Ganesha's adorned the sides of the wall. Colourful lanterns hung from the ceiling while festive lights dangle criss-crossly through the arches. The vibe was calm, intimate and peaceful making it easier to have a conversation with Him, to seek clarity, to reflect in the solitude minus the outside chaos or the lure of things and possessions (wi-fi!) or to simply find assurance in His comforting gaze.

Premises of Kasba Ganpati Temple in Pune
Photo's of syambhu Ashta vinayak's in Pune.
Kasba Ganpati Temple room, Pune
Lord Ganesha, in solid silver, sits regally in the sanctum...

The story of the establishment dates back to as far as the 16th century when the Maratha queen Jijabai Bhosale had just arrived in Pune with her 12 year old son Shivaji. A young, energetic Shivaji was determined to fight against the Mughal empire and set the Maratha kingdom on a path of freedom and glory. During those times, an idol of Lord Ganesha was found by some boys residing nearby. Queen Jijabai started worshipping this Ganesha which prompted Dadaji Konddeo (a nobleman who oversaw the training of young Shivaji) to build a temple, which is today known as the famous Shri Kasba Ganpati Mandir in Kasba Peth.

Courtyard of Kasba Ganpati Temple in Pune
In the courtyard...
Since then, Pune has seen an unprecedented growth in its character.  No wonder then, it is also called the city of Lord Ganesh and the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with great aplomb and fervour, a tradition initiated by Lokmanya Gangadhar Tilak in 1893 with an aim of bringing people together during the freedom struggle.

Image of Ganesha at Kasba Ganpati Mandir, Pune


When a conflict arose between the different Ganesha mandals as to which mandal shall lead the Ganesh Visarjan (Immersion) process, Lokmanya Tilak solved it by according the premier status among all Ganeshas to Kasba Ganpati in the ten day long Ganeshotsav or Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

How dear is Kasba Ganpati to Punekars or the people of Pune can be gauged from the fact that Kasba Ganpati is 'Manacha Pahila Ganpati' (Honoured as the leader) among all other Ganesha's in the city. And why only Punekars? One visit to Kasba Ganpati left me spellbound by its sheer perfection - beautiful in its flawless simplicity and mystery; steeped in history and tradition - reminding me that in a world obsessed with fleeting trends and pursuit of perfection... true style and classic elegance still lay in rooting ourselves to simplicity... in getting back to our basic nature of sincerity so that from it could grow the tree of value and significance.

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What are the timings of Kasba Ganpati?

6 AM - 10.30 PM

How to reach Kasba Ganpati?

Google address is 158, Kasba Peth, Pune, Maharashtra 411011. But ask anyone, really!

Phone Number: 09881907150

Best time to visit? Kasba Ganpati is during the 10 day Ganesh Chaturthi Festival. Celebrations are purely traditional and one of it's kind.

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Previous posts from Pune-Pandharpur travel diary:


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Soulie Saturday #3: With Every Breath I Take (Dwarka beach).


Dwarka beach and the Dwarka temple

With very breath I take
a new bond we make
ripples of sadness, disappointment washed away
waves of hope, trust and devotion
create a better, brighter day.

With very breath I take
a cake of freedom I bake
life can toss me – scatter or sweep
that me is not for mine to keep

No matter what season or reason
I trust your sight and vision
for in it,
I see my own reflection
pristine and pure
sacred and deep.

With every breath I take,
I see a dream wide and awake.
there is a land afar
calling out my name
there happiness is for real,
laughter is a door ajar.

It’s the call of the heart
A journey into the unknown,
I must now depart
for my own survival sake.

With every breath I take,
I ask for your loving hand
come with me and hold me close
in your light
I now finally see ~
A forgotten me
And my long lost friend.


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Captured this while wandering aimlessly around the Dwarka beach. Though Dwarka is a major place of pilgrimage and remains crowded most of the year, you can find many quiet spots for yourself all around the area. The best thing about this particular area was not only its solitude and quiet but the intricate tapestry in nature ... that trail of light (see it?) leading right up to the temple standing majestically in the distance and as if the beaming waves were dancing in delight!

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Be a part of #Soulie!

A Soul Selfie series or '#Soulie' aiming to meaningfully strengthen my personal connect with my Father, God (you may choose to call Him by any name you like, as long as the reference and more importantly, the essence is retained) by peeping within my own heart — collecting your prayers and feelings too as you discover the world – and jotting them down on paper. It’s a spiritual exploration of that which is Unseen and a celebration of that Ultimate sacred space we yearn for - within and without - and the riches we carry in our own hearts. Do take part and share with My Yatra Diary... a piece of your heart.

Here are things you can do if you want to join in.

1. Send me one picture clicked by you and a few lines by your heart on how that captured moment makes you relate with that Someone Higher in your life in a more meaningful and healthy way.

2. Follow along with the hashtag #soulie on Instagram.

3. Key in your suggestions if you have any and share the idea in any way you like!

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