Christ the Redeemer is an Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ created by French-Polish sculptor, Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer, Heitor de Silva Costa. The Romanian artist, Georghe Leonida created the face of the statue. This colossal statue is 30 metres tall with a pedestal of 8 metres and the arms that stretch 28 metres wide. The statue weighs 635 metric tons and is situated at the peak of Corvocado mountain at 2300 ft. in the Tijuca Forest National Park. The statue, built between 1922 and 1931, has been listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World . It cost $ 250,000 to construct and has become a symbol of Christianity around the world. The initial idea for the statue came from some Brazilians who viewed and felt an apparent rush of Godlessness around them in the city and country around the beginning of World War I Heitor da Silva Costa looked at the angles of view from various points and along with designer Carlos Oswald, thought of Christ as the cross and his outstretched arms showing the redemption of mankind at the crucifixion. The structure itself had to be massive to be seen across the city. De Silva used soapstone for the statue of the Virgin Mary in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil and 120 years later, it was still standing. Six million stone tiles cover the statue of Jesus today. Even today it is more of a spectacle in the night overlooking the city with the lights on. During festivals and carnival, samba dancers and drummers go through the streets below with shirts of Christ in tribute to the statue. Lightning, wear and tear are problems the statue faces today with it receiving direct hits and chipping off fingernails and scraping off part of the back of the head. Its right arm points to the Ipanema Beach and the left arm points to Maracana, the largest football stadium in the world. There are 222 steps on the stairway to reach Christ the Redeemer. In October 2006, the Archbishop of Rio, Cardinal Eusebio Oscar Scheid opened a chapel to commemorate the 75th anniversary under the statue. The name was taken from the patron saint of Brazil Nossa Senhora Aparecida or ‘Our Lady of the Apparition”.
About 40 kilometers north of nasik is a stretch of the sahyadri mountains known as the ajantha satmala range . The average height of peaks here is about 4500 feet . The tallest ( around 4600 feet ) in the group is dhodap towards the centre of the range and saptashrungi towards the western side . Saptashrungi is well known because of temple àtop the hill dedicated to goddess saptashrungi .There are two routes to saptashrungi the first is via vani chandakpur on the nasik saputara road . The distance between nashik and vani via dindori is 39 kilometers while via pimpalgaon it is 51 kilometres .Going by this route means you have to climb up all the way to the top of the mountain . There are steps to reach the temple . An easier alternative is the road via nanduri village 14 kilometers after vani .Nanduri village is in the foothills of saptashrungi and a regular minibus service run by the state transport corporation plies from here to the top of the plateau .From the plateau it is a relatively easy half hour climb up 250 steps to the temple . The temple is situated within a slight hollow in the mountain and is not visible even from the plateau. The sight of hundreds of devotees from the very young to the very old making the long tiring climb up to this temple is very moving . The statue of the goddess is on top floor of this two storeyed temple . During the nine days leading up to dassera an annual festival is held and all routes to the temple are literally choked with devotees. Since the temple is at a height it affords a splendid view of the surrounding hills , While climbing down from saptashrungi near nanduri village the mohindri mountain with its gaping hole can be seen . Villagers say that after wining a fierce battle the goddess saptashrungi disappeared through the mountain leaving behind a gaping hole ! .The height of saptashrungi ensures that it has a cool climate through out the year . In winter it can get quite cold . It is possible to stay the night in the temple complex and arrangement for food can also be made here . This one place that is not only attractive to the devout but even to the ordinary tourist .
State : uttar pradesh . Important Temples : hanuman garhi , dashrath bhavan , kanak bhavan , ramjanmabhoomi , nageshwarnath mandir . Location: On the banks of the saryu river in the indo gangetic plain .Distances : 134 km east of lucknow , 209 km north west of varanasi , 166 km north of allahabad , 9 km east of faizabad . Route From Lucknow : NH28 to ayodhya via bara banki , ramsanehighat , rauzagaon , ronahi , and faizabad . Revered as the birthplace of lord ram the ramayana the brahmanda purana considers ayodhya one of hinduism’s six holiest cities . According to ramayana ayodhya was founded by manu who received it as a gift from vishnu . For centuries it was the capital of raghuvanshis believed to be descendants of the sun god . Lord ram was the dynasty’s most celebrated king . The buddha is said to have spent many summers here . Ayutthaya the ancient capital of siam ( thailand ) gets its name from ayodhya. The five jain thirthankaras were born here . Once the capital of the kingdom of koshala ayodhya glory had waned by 5th century ce . The temple to nageshwarnath the only one to shiva in ram’s city alone survived till the time of chandragupta vikramaditya ( 376 – 415 ce ) and helped him locate ayodhya .With the advent of mughal rule in india . Ayodhya retreated into anonymity. Many believe that when babar conquered north india in 1528 he issued firman ( order ) for construction of mosque here . In the 18th century the nawabs of awadh created a kingdom here and the founder of the dynasty sadat khan burhan – ul – mulk made ayodhya his capital. Later the nawabs shifted their capital to lucknow and ayodhya fell into neglect and ruin .Post independence politics brought ayodhya into limelight again . Sites of pilgrim interest are spread out all over ayodhya. Most places of interest can be covered on foot . To get to some of the ghats which are further off an auto is best but they usually run on fixed routes . You could also hire a cycle rickshaw or a car .
Hanuman Garhi Temple : The most popular temple in ayodhya has an impressive exterior . The entrance is through an ornate gateway which is accessed by a gentle flight of 76 steps . The main temple contains the statue of anjani devi with bal hanuman seated on her lap . It is believed that all wishes if uttered before the shrine are fulfilled.
Dashrath Bhavan : Located 100 m up the road west of hanuman garhi . This is a small peaceful temple to ram sita and lakshman. Next to the main shrine an enclosure houses a supine idol of hanuman . It is considered disrespectful to leave the temple without sitting down in front of the shrine for a few minutes .
Kanak Bhavan : Located 70 m north west of dashrath bhavan . An impressive palace temple dating back to 1891 this white ornate building is part of a huge complex which has shops an office a park and a dharmashala . Inside there are three pairs of idols of varying heights of ram and sita . People bring newly purchased goods for blessings here . During the shravan jhula festival ( mid june to mid july ) the deities are taken to the top of maniparvat serenaded in jhulas ( swings ) and later brought back to the temple .
Nageshwarnath Mandir : A small temple this is the only shrine in ayodhya dedicated to lord shiva . The story goes that kush lost his armlet while bathing in the saryu. It was retrieved by a nag kanya who fell in love with him . As she was a shiva devotee kush erected temple for her .
Ram Ka Paidi : Ayodhya’s magnificent ghats he ram ka paidi are its most impressive vista’s. The well laid out gardens on the embankments and the shimmering waters of saryu allow us a glimpse of how ayodhya must have been once . The clean waters beckon one to take a dip in them .Ram is said to have entered the river on his final journey to heaven at guptar ghat . His last rites are believed to have been performed at the swargadwar ghat . Boating in the river and strolling along the promenade are recommended.
UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992 the ankor wat was built by suryavarman 2 between 1113 & 1150 over an area of 500 acres . Khmwr is the official language of cambodia & the temple is the expression of the highest order of the country & its genius in architecture. This temple is not only stunning but also incredible in detail. The towers the decorations and the refinements are hard to describe with a pen according to the first visitor there ( antonio de madelena ) . The temple was dedicated to the hindu god vishnu & later shifted to buddhism . It was intially drawn to represent mount meru which was the home of devas according to hindu lore . There is a huge moat covering the entire temple and its precise 90 degree angle for the entire site are nothing short of remarkable. Legends say that 300, 000 workers with 6000 elephants toiled for 37 years to build it and millions of slabs of sandstone were floated down the phnom kulen mountain range .
A scenic religious town jejuri is largely visited by pilgrims from neighborhood towns on most weekends and festive occasions associated with shiva . A lovely drive on a smooth road through lush countryside and small towns ideal for a tea break or an early breakfast of wada pav then a halt at a colorful bazar that marks the town .Shops essentially stock what pilgrims seek puja baskets , fresh flowers and heaps of turmeric the main offering to the presiding deity lord khandoba. It’s almost as if the entire town and its inhabitants are engulfed by a haze of haldi ( turmeric ) every deity stone sculpture the temple floor the pujaris dhoti , people clothes. As part of the offering devotees throw handful of turmeric powder into the air accompanied by loud chanting . According to legend shiva appeared as a turmeric plant to a group of shepherds and hence it is considered as an offering . Again the residing deity khandoba is often described as shining like gold and the sun covered in turmeric. A popular family deity in maharashtra, khandoba also finds mention in folk songs . His wives mhalsa and banai are also identified with shivas wife parvati and ganga . A flight of 350 steps lined with stone deepmala ( tall stone oil lamp holders ) lead up to the temple . It is a good idea to take a break during your ascent to enjoy the views of surrounding hills . Once at the top the vibrant yellow of turmeric everywhere and the deep red of kumkum will greet you as you enter the temple premises. The main doorway has a nagarkhana superimposed on it . There are long queues along the large courtyard of people waiting for darshan for those disinclined there are panoramic views and an opportunity to picnic outside the temple complex . A fortress like structure the shrine has 18 kamani ( arches ) and 350 deepmalas , a deepstambha in front of the temple and a rather imposing mandap an ornate devali styled nagara shikara is decorated with motifs , figurines of animals , deities and demi gods . The garbhagriha has two lingas one of khandoba and another of mhalsabai . The older of the two shrines in jejuri the ancient temple of kadepathar is peculiar for its two lingas . Getting to the temple involves a steep climb but you will be rewarded by breathtaking vista’s of the yellow flowers that dot the landscape. A few dhabas in the temple premises cater to tired visitors serving tea and snacks .
The golden cave temple or the royal rock temple complex has five separate caves that contain about 157 stunning buddha statues and mural paintings covering 2100 sq meters some of srilankas most important and evocative religious art . Created over 2,000 years ago they have been embellished over centuries by subsequent kings . The early paintings of dambulla are believed by some to belong to the 8th century AC . A sacred pilgrimage site of 22 centuries it is the largest best preserved cave temple in srilanka . The site is insulated and vast in size with its perpendicular height about six hundred feet . Few parts of the complex are covered with wood and the surface is largely bare and black . Dating back to the first century BC , this temple was designated a unesco world heritage site in 1991 .
Location : On eastern coast of orissa a bear shaped littoral strip of land overlooking the bay of bengal with fertile alluvial plains to the northwest the stunning lagoon of chilika to the south west and the state capital bhubaneshwar to the north .
Distances : 478 km SW of kolkatta , 56 km of bhubaneshwar , 81 km S of cuttack , 32 km sw of konark .
Route From Bhuneshwar : NH 203 to Puri
As the sun rises over the boundless bay of bengal the massive stretch of sea by the sacred city of puri vest clad fisherman toss their study dinghies onto the choppy waters . The radiant star , unburdened by the tasks of the day spares a red smile for you . Patitapaban the sacred flag atop teh jaganath temple flutters in the robust morning breeze . The wide bada danda the road which leads uoto the majestic temple provides a view of the grandness of scale and proportion that typifies puri . This is also the path by nirvana where the chariots of the much loved divine sibling jagannath , subhadra and balabhadra roil down in the famous annual rath yatra which inspires awe and draws tumultuous crowds . Central to the town the old lanes near jaganath temple give an indication of how everything grew around this magnificient edifice . In puri everything has to be big . The main road is called bada danda or grand road , the sea is called mahodadhi or the widest ocean the bhog is called mahaprasad or the great prasad . Is it any wonder then that the lord of the universe jagannath presides here ?
An orissa style temple of awesome grandeur the shrine to jaganath stands on raised platform and soars to a height of 65 m dominating the landscape for miles around . The temple is surrounded by two enclosures the first of which is 20 ft high and measures 652 ft by 630 ft . In front of the main gate is a majestic 11 m high 16 sided monolithic pillar . Originally this pillar stood in front of the famous sun temple at konark and was bought here in 18th century. This is part of aruna stambh ( 34 ft high ) a pillar of black granite that forms the base of garuda , lord vishnu ‘s carrier . The main gate guarded by two lions is known as singha dwar ( the lions gate ) . Towards the eastern side connecting the outer enclosures to the inner enclosure is the baisi pahach a sacred flight of 22 steps ( only 17 are left now ) . Parents bring their children and make them roll slowly over the steps from top to bottom in the expectation of spiritual bliss . At the 16 pillared mukti mandap located in front of the southern gate of the temple priests of puri 24 sasanas ( a collective regional authority divided into ancient administrative divisions hold theological discussions. At the end of the steps turn left to the ganesha temple situated at the foot of kalpavat a very old banyan tree . Behind it is the rohini kund a water trough. Legend has it that a crow which was a great devotee of jaganath would sit on a branch above the water and devotees noticed the suddenly had four feet instead of two . Her devotion was acknowledged and she was named kaka bhusundi the rohini kund is also known by this name . Visitors usually throw a coin into the water as homage to her. There are nearly 30 shrines around the main temple seen when according to established practice the pilgrims circumambulates the main temple . There is no escaping the pandas who try to persuade pilgrims to engage them for various services along the way . If the visitor has very little time he may visit at least the three temple’s to ganesha vimala and lakshmi. The tantric shrine of goddess vimala is located in south western corner of the inner compound. The four armed lac deity holds a rosary and a kalasa ( jar ) .There is some controversy over what she holds in her upper hand . It is variously stated to be a human figure a naga woman a noose or none of these . After offering bhog to jaganath it is again offered to vimala . The goddess sleeps after the supreme lord does . When jaganath remains away from the temple during rath yatra it is vimala who remains sleepless guarding his abode . In the garbgriha seated upon the ratna simhasan a 4 foot high throne are the enchanting wooden images of jaganath his sister subhadra and brother balabhadra and the goddess lakshmi and saraswati. There are many times during the day after the bhog has been offered and the deities are being decked with flowers when devotees are allowed to go up to right up to seat of the deities. It is blessed to be here when this is happening which is not always possible as the ritual timings are not all that fixed . Jaganath sits on the right up to the seat of deities. It is blessed to be here when this is happening which is not always possible as the rituals timings are not fixed. Jaganath sits on the right with elder brother balabhadra to the left and little sister subhadra in the middle . They are like human siblings- balabhadra is a stickler for principles, subhadra is pampered sister having a way and jaganath in krishna avatar is the loving manipulator and all knowing guide. There is an immediacy about their divinity they are not sacred to the point of being out of reach and their half finished less than perfect physical appearance and humanised rituals make devotees feel an immediate communion . Swargadwar ( gateway to heaven ) is the stretch of sea to the south of the temple where a dip in sacred waters is said to open doors to heaven . It is believed that the wood from which the three main deities at the temple have been carved floated to the beach at swargadwar . And it is here that shri chaitanya mahaprabhu merged into the sea and into brahma . On the second day of the bright fortnight of asadha ( jun -jul ) nearly a million devotees gather to participate in jaganath rath yatra one of the grandest festivals in the world. Three separate chariots are built every year for lord jaganath hid brother balabhadra and sister subhadra . Jaganath car is the largest with 16 wheels and is called nandigosh . Subhadra comes next riding in her 12 wheeled padmadhwaja driven by her husband arjuna himself . Balabhadra’s 14 wheeled chariot is called taladgwaja .Since only hindus are allowed inside the temple to jaganath it is believed that the nine days of the rath yatra are an opportunity for people of other faiths to come close and even touch the lord when he is in the chariot. The rath yatra is also known as gundicha yatra after the queen who interrupted the making of deities. The chariots remain at the gundicha temple a kilometer away away from the jaganath temple for seven days . This is a golden opportunity for devotees to clamber up the huge chariots see the gods at close quarters and even touch them . The fortunate are even able to see the deities in suna bhesa ( covered in exquisite gold jewelry ) The fervor of the millions of the faithful is almost a physical force . It is as as the gods have happily and indulgently given themselves over completely to their devotees. The best place to see the chariots is from the roof of the raghunandan library in front of the temple or by buying tickets from any of the monasteries or maths around the temple they make seating arrangements on their balconies . Location : At one end of the arterial bada danda that bisects the city 2 kms north of the railway station Timings : 5:30 am -10 pm except between 3 and 4 pm when the deities are offered bhog . Related Info : Devotees who arrive at 5:30 am can hear the loud call of the temple priest to inform the lord of their ( the devotees ) arrival. The ideal time to visit is between 6 and 7 am when deities are dressed up by priests and the astrologer reads out the position of the stars and planets to arrive at the auspicious moments for the days ritual . Pilgrims have close access to the images and can touch the bejeweled throne though not the deities. The temple remains open but main sanctum is closed during rath yatra ( jun jul ) when the deities make their annual sojourn to mausi ma temple . The bhog in jaganath temple is without parallel. Only hindus are allowed inside the temple . However non hindus can have a fair view of the inside of the temple from the roof of the nearby raghunandan library opposite the main gate of the shrine ( ₹ 20 ) Cameras , caps mobile phones and leather items like belts are not allowed inside the temple.
Gundicha Temple : A major part of this temple associated with queen gundicha was built during the 16th and 17th centuries. It is set in a compound with two encircling walls which are adorned with murals and paintings .Unusually it is crowned by a structure akin to a dome and vishnu sudarshan chakra rests on the top . A beautiful garuda idol adorns the eastern most corner of the temple . The jaganath rath yatra arrives and stays here for seven days . The pious believe that a sight of the lord here is equal to a thousand visits to the main temple . This is also considered to be the birthplace of sita consort of rama . The gundicha temple has two gateaways one for jaganath’s entry and the other for his exit . In front of the temple is a stretch of land known as saradhabali or the sand of divine love . It is so named because devotees flock around jaganath out of sheer love and devotion. Location : 1.5 km north east of jaganath temple . Timing : 6am -3 pm , 4 -10 pm .
Mausi Ma Temple : On his way back from the gundicha temple at the end of the rath yatra jaganath is offered podapitha a fire baked delicious at this small white washed temple for goddess ardhasani or mausi ma . The legend goes that the goddess drank half the waters of the pralaya ( the apocalyptic deluge ) thus saving other temple’s. Location: At the opposite end of the bada danda Timing : 6am -3 pm , 4 -10 pm .
Narendra Tank : A bath in this tank ( 254 m by 266 m ) is said to purify one’s soul . An island in the middle has a small temple . It is connected to the south Bank by a bridge. During the annual chandan yatra ( apr may ) , madana mohan the representative deity of lord jaganath is bought to the temple for 21 days and a beautiful float festival is organized then .Location : Just over a kilometer to the north of the jaganath temple Timing : 6am -3 pm , 4 -10 pm .
Loknath Temple : The lingam of loknath remains under water in a small square vat at this shrine. It is fed by a natural spring from the nearby parvati tank . On the night of shivaratri all the water is bailed out to make the top of the lingam visible to worshippers. Location: Approx 3 kms from main temple on puris western outskirts. Timing : Timing : 6am -3 pm , 4 -10 pm .
The northern most jyotirlinga traditionally the third stop in the char dham yatra after yamunotri and gangotri is located at 11746 ft above sea level close to the source of the river mandakini . The experience of offering holy water from gangotri to he who held the holy ganga in his locks can only be described as divine . From gaurikund the roadhead kedarnath is a 14 km trek northwards which can be negotiated on foot or on ponies or palanquins hoisted by four men . The trek to kedarnath is along the river mandakini . It is an uplifting experience to walk by stark mountain faces , snow peaks , spectacular waters , flowers and floating clouds . The trek is steady ascent along a stone paved path in large parts through a thick forests of himalayan oak , rhododendron and a profusion of ferns . It is steep until garuda chatti ( about 10 kms from gaurikund ) one can spot the snow covered sumeru peak the spectacular backdrop of kedarnath temple – in all its majesty . According to the vayu purana , vishnu as narayan came down to the earth for the good of mankind . He landed at badrinath which was then the abode of shiva . On narayan’s request shiva accepted kedar as his permanent abode . Kedarnath is also part of panch kedar yatra . Adi shankaracharya attained samadhi at the age of 32 in the shrine behind kedarnath temple . He appointed veera shaiva priest as the rawals ( chief priest of kedarnath. At present the 337 th rawal is holding the seat governed from ukhimath which is also the abode of deity during winter . There are also local priests from the villages around guptkashi and ukhimath. They are not part of the temple committee but they take care of the pilgrims on the basis of their origin having divided the country between themselves into 360 districts for administrative purposes . The katyuri style temple stands againist the back drop of lofty , snow covered peaks . It is built with extremely large , heavy , and evenly cut grey slabs of stones and has a wooden ceiling topped by a golden kalash . Outside the temple door a massive stone idol of nandi stands guard. The temple has 3 parts the garbhagriha the darshan mandap where pujas are been conducted and the sabha mandap where devotees assemble. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of deities and scenes of mythology. Pilgrims also worship idols of ganesh with riddhi and siddhi , parvati , vishnu and lakshmi , krishna , kunti , draupadi , yudhisthir , bhim , arjun , nakul and shadev . Pilgrims offer butter and ghee to the jyotirlinga and then embrace it touching it with their forehead. In the month of july august september the rare brahma kamal flowers bloom in the area . Timings : 6 am – 2 pm , 5 -8 pm Season : The opening date of kedarnath is not fixed . It is decided every year on shivratri ( mid feb ) by panch purohits ( five priests) in ukhimath and then announced and cummunicated through various agencies . It usually falls around mid may. The closing date is however fixed and falls on yama dwitya or bhai duj . The temple’s of temple’s of yamunotri and gangotri close on the same day . The main rush of pilgrims takes place in may jun. Nobody lives in kedarnath after temple gates are closed for winter . The pandas return to guptkashi and the rawals live in ukhimath the winter abode of kedarnath. Pilgrims offer silver plated bilvapatras ( leaves of bilva tree ) which are available outside the temple and also in gaurikund to the lord . Holy water from gangotri is also part of the offering . Bhog is offered by priests at 4 pm . Pilgrim can assemble for it in the mandap but are not allowed in the garbgriha. The shravani annakoot mela is celebrated on the day of raksha bandhan ( mid aug) . On that day the jyotirlinga is covered with cooked rice which is distributed as prasad . On the day the temple closes for winter a special samadhi puja is held. There is no special or vip darshan . However pilgrims who visit by helicopter which has to return as soon as possible due to changing weather conditions can have darshan immediately. Shringhar darshan is from 5 pm onwards aarti is performed at 6:45 pm . During the peak may jun season devotees may have to wait 3 – 4 hours for darshan . They start queuing up from 2 am . The temple’s committee office ( opens 6 am – 8 pm ) closed 4 -5 pm undertakes bookings for special pujas which are performed between 4 and 6 am , that is before the temple opens for general darshan . But when the rush is greater special pujas during the visit devotees can also arrange for special puja to be performed on fixed days during the year for a period of 20 years .
High up in a deep cleft on the western face of the banderponch peak is yamunotri traditionally the first destination on the chardham yatra . The picturesque journey to yamunotri is along the river yamuna itself . The main temple here is dedicated to goddess yamuna who is represented by a black marble idol . The other deity is a white image of goddess ganga . Just outside the main temple is the divya shila a dark rock from which springs a stream of very hot water . This is a most holy area the origin of yamuna and pilgrims offer puja here before going to the temple . Technically the cold stream source of the river is on the champasar glacier near saptarishi kund a trek of 1 km above the shrine beyond yamunotri . But at 14,500 ft above sea level across very difficult terrain it is not accessible to the average yatri . According to legend surya dev the sun god married married sandhya daughter of vishwakarma .They had twins yama and yamuna. But sandhya could not bear the fierce heat of sun . She created her clone chhaya and begged her to take her place. Without telling anyone the truth sangya then left surya dev’s home . Chhaya agreed to keep the secret but said she would reveal the truth if ever surya dev punished her by pulling her hair . One day the child yama tried to strike chhaya with his leg .An affronted chhaya cursed him that his leg would rot and fall off .Surya dev was very surprised and angered by the severity of curse that too from mother againist her own child . In anger he pulled her hair . Chhaya then revealed that she was not his true wife and only a stepmother to yama and yamuna . It is said that yamuna came down to earth and did severe penance to save her brother from the effects of the curse and succeeded in her efforts . Yama the god of death then offered her a boon .She asked that her devotees be protected from akaalmrityu ( untimely death ) .It is believed that a bath in the holy waters of yamunotri will protect the devotee from an untimely death and lead to the attainment of moksha. It is believed that the hot spring at divya shila is the blessing of surya dev for his daughter the tank next to the divya shila is named after him Pilgrims take a holy dip in the hot waters of the taptkund next to the main temple of yamunotri which gets its water from suryakund nearby. There are separate bathing tanks and enclosures for men and women. Then puja is offered at the divya shila. This is of great significance and is done before visiting the main temple. After this a small offering of rice and potatoes is cooked in the suryakund. This is offered to the deity in the main temple and returned to the pilgrim as prasad . Pilgrims carry water from yamunotri to offer it to krishna in their homes during janmashtami or on other special occasions related to krishna. It is believed that yamuna was one of lord krishna’s eight queen. In 1816 james frazer a british army officer reached yamunotri. He found a 3 foot high temple built of stone and a priest performing worship there . There were some tridents to show that other devotees had also been visiting . A record of his visit is available. Subsequently local kings contributed to the setting up of the temple . Around 1850 sudarshan shah king of tehri had a wooden structure built and the deity consecrated. Later pratap shah rebuilt the temple in stone . But heavy snow in the region periodically damages the temple ( this happened last in 1982 ) and reconstruction has been done many times . The surajmal jain trust renovated the temple and this work was completed in 1994 . The temple is run by the panch panda samiti of about 200 priests .When the temple closes in winter the deity is taken to kharsali village ( 2 km from janki chatti across the river ) its winter abode . The yamuna valley called rawaai ghaati is decidedly most spectacular for its scenic beauty. The mountain roads are very narrow with frequent twists and the view is a surprise around every bend . The yamuna flows wild all along the journey because the dark mountain ranges are close to each other and there is no long straight stretch of water . The vegetation is lush but does not restrict the view one gets across the ranges . En route barkot is an interesting and very scenic halt . This is an area where the mountains range open up . Stepped rice field and red topped choulai ( a variant of spinach) field seem to be arranged for the pleasure of the visitor. The drive from barkot to janki chatti should be done at a leisurely pace if time permits that is. The flowers in the phul chatti area present several charming photo opportunities.
The greatly loved siddhi vinayak temple was constructed in 1801 by rani ahilyabhai holkar of indore as a replica of the temple in siddhatek ( 98 kms east of pune ) where river bhima once flowed . The idol earlier installed under a tree today resides in a large structure that combines tradition with modernity . The present temple though multi storyed has a small main mandapam or hall with the shrine of siddhivinayak . The inner roof of the sanctum is plated with gold and wooden doors to it are carved with image of ashtvinayaka. Most icons of ganapati depict the elephant faced god and wooden doors to it are carved with images of ashtvinayaka. Most icons of ganpati depict the elephant faced god with his trunk curled towards the left . But here the lord is depicted with four arms bearing a lotus , an axe , modakas , and a garland of beads. This unusual blackstone idol has a third eye on the forehead and a serpent tied around the shoulders in place of sacred thread . Every tuesday devotees throng the temple in the firm belief that their wishes and prayers will be fulfilled. In fact they walk to the temple from flung corners of the city often barefoot everyone including film stars , industrialists , politicians have done the tuesday morning barefoot walk . Queues of worshippers stretch upto 2 km .