Monday, June 1, 2015

Basar and Chilkur Temples.

Courtesy:Sri.PP.Ramachandran

This comprises two Temples—Basar and Chilkur Temples.

 

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                                                   BASAR TEMPLE


                                                       


                                                                        

 

                                       The Gnana Saraswati Temple  is located on the banks of Godavari River at Basar,  It is one of the two famous Saraswati temples in India, the other being in Jammu and Kashmir. Saraswati is the  Goddess of knowledge and learning. Children are brought to the temple for the learning ceremony -- Akshara abyasam. Built at the confluence of the rivers Mangira and Godavari this temple is adorned by the goddess of knowledge and wisdom. The presiding deity, 'Gnana Saraswati Devi', is in a seated position with a 'Veena' in hand and bedecked with turmeric. Adjacent is the shrine of Goddess Mahalakshmi and a little distance away, on the eastern side is the Maha Kali temple.

 

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                              According to myth, Maharishi Vyasa and his disciples and Sage Viswamitra decided to settle down in a cool and serene atmosphere after the Kurukshetra War. In the quest for a peaceful abode, he came to the Dandaka forest and, pleased with serenity of the region, selected this place. Since Maharishi Vyasa spent considerable time in prayers, the place was then called "Vasara" and turned into Basara due to the influence of the Marathi language in the region. It is also believed that this temple is one of the three temples constructed near the confluence of the Manjira and Godavari rivers.

 

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                                                  Historically, 'Bijialudu' a Karnataka king, who ruled the province of Nandagiri with Nanded as his capital in the sixth century, constructed the temple at Basara. Pilgrims come to Basara to perform the "Akshara abhyasam" ceremony for the children before they start formal school education. The Puja at the temple starts at 4 am in morning with Abhishekam which carries on for an hour. At 5 o'clock they start the Alankarana whereby the new sarees are adorned on the goddesses. The whole atmosphere is very pious and pure. At 6 am, in the rays of the morning sun, the aarti starts at the temple after which the prasadam is given to the devotees.

 

                                                 The temple also has a Mahakali idol situated on the 1st floor very near to the main temple. Devotees often go to the nearby mountain which has an Idol of Goddess Saraswati on the top of the rock. The image of Lakshmi stands besides the Goddess Saraswati in the sanctum sanctorum. Due to the presence of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Kali, Basara is considered as the abode of the Divine Trinity. It is believed that every day after his morning bath in the Godavari Sage Vyasa used to bring three handfuls of sand and in good time these accumulated piles became the " Divine Trinity"—Saraswati—Lakshmi and Kali.

 

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                                You can go to the cave in which Vyasa lived. You have to crawl in and crawl out. It is called "Vyasa Guha". I did not dare to do it!.

 

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The Temple resounds with the verses

 

Saraswathi Namasthubyam, 
Varadey Kaamarupinee! 
Vidhyarambham Karishyami, 
Sidhir bhavathu mey sada !


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                                                  CHILKUR BALAJI TEMPLE


                                                                  

                                                                     

 

                          Chilkur Balaji Temple popularly known as Visa Balaji Temple or Visa God is an ancient Hindu temple of Lord Balaji on the banks of Osmansagar Lake near Hyderabad. This temple does not accept any money, does not have a hundi and there are  no green channel or privileges for VVIPs. Everyone is considered equal and has to be in the same queue This temple fought and won the right to stay out of government control.


                        From the style, structure and appearance, it can be inferred that the temple was built half a millennium ago. Set in sylvan surroundings, Chilkur Balaji Temple attracts millions of pilgrims every year and is an ideal place for sequestered retreat and meditation. It enjoyed in the past, great days of pomp and glory.


                               The temple is one of the oldest in Hyderabad, having been built during the time of Akkanna and Madanna, the uncles of Bhakta Ramdas. According to tradition, a devotee who used to visit Tirupati every year could not do so on one occasion owing to serious ill health. Lord Venkateshwara appeared in his dream and said, "I am right here in the jungle nearby. You don't have to worry." The devotee at once moved to the place indicated by the Lord in the dream and saw a molehill there, which he dug up. Accidentally, the axe struck Lord Balaji's idol (covered by the molehill) below the chin and on the chest. Surprisingly blood started flowing profusely from the "wounds", flooding the ground and turning it scarlet. The devotee could not believe his eyes. He could not believe his ears when he heard a voice from the air saying, "Flood the molehill with cow's milk." When the devotee did so, a Swayambhu idol of Lord Balaji accompanied by Sridevi and Bhoodevi (a rare combination) was found, and this idol was installed with the due rites and a temple built for it.


                                    Sri Balaji Venkateshwara, the Pratyaksha Daiva in Kaliyuga, is thus available at Chilkur to shower blessings on His devotees who for any reason are unable to go to Tirupati. Many devout worshippers flock to the temple to receive the blessings of the Lord and his consorts throughout the year.


                                  With the earnest desire to revive the former glory and importance of the temple, the idol of Ammavaru was installed in 1963, the year after the Sino-Indian War. After the unilateral withdrawal of Chinese troops, Ammavaru was given the name of Rajya Lakshmi, signifying this welcome event. The unique feature of this idol is that lotus flowers are held in three hands and the fourth hand is in a position towards the lotus feet which signifies the doctrine of Saranagathi.


                                      During a visit the devotee goes through the usual rituals of prayer, including 11  circumambulations of the inner shrine, and makes a vow. Once the wish is fulfilled devotees then walk 108 times around the sanctum sanctorum. The majority of wishes by devotees are visa related, thus Chilkur Balaji is also referred to as 'Visa' Balaji.


                                    The Chanting of following names of Lord Vishnu, immensely helps us in overcoming the obstacles in our daily life.


"Om Vashatkaaraaya Namaha" : For Success in Business.

"Om Aksharaaya Namaha" : For Success in Studies.

"Om Bhuthabhavanaya Namaha" : For Good Health.

"Om Paramaathmane Namaha" : For Self Confidence.

 

Every devotee has to keep eyes open while doing darshan of God idol in the temple.


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                                                              GOD OF " VISA"

 

Are you applying for US visa? You can't miss visiting "Visa Balaji" temple in Chilkur. This temple was featured in 'Mano ya mano' series of reality show.   Since few years this place has become one of the top pilgrimage destination for truly aspiring US-visa candidates. It has been said that during 1980′s few of the students who faced rejection at the Chennai US visa consulate came here, prayed and then their wishes were fulfilled. Since then the temple has acquired the reputation of granting the elite American Visa.


How Does It Work?


Typically, the visa aspirant visits the Chilkur Visa Balaji temple before the visa interview. There the visa aspirant goes through the usual ritual of prayer, she takes 3 rounds of pradakshina, which means walking in circles around the temple, and then makes a vow that after getting the visa she would come back to the temple and make 108 rounds around the temple as part of her gratitude to the visa God. Once, the visa is successfully granted, people come back to the temple and fulfill the vows. For all these years, it's been the usual drill at Chilkur temple. Since Hyderabad is a Hitech city, meaning several IT professionals working for US based firms, there are many aspirants who go to USA for higher studies, jobs etc. and with the strengthening of the belief  in the visa God, the temple is almost crowded all the time.

 

This temple is a classic example of God's belief in the 21st century of modernized era, clearly a blend of old world religion with globalization!