Posts Tagged ‘Hindu’

Anand Nagri Mandu is a perfect holiday destination for nature lovers, history/architecture fans and honeymoon couples alike!

If you plan to head to the hills, with a feel of romance and happiness, Mandu is the place to be. It is a celebration in stone, of life and joy, after all one of its most famous legends is the love story of Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati. The locals, even today, sing of the romance of these royal lovers and high up on the peak of a hill, Roopmati’s Pavilion still gazes down at Baz Bahadur’s Palace, a magnificent expression of Afghan architecture.

LOCATION AND HISTORY

Also called Mandavgad, Mandu is a city of ruins, situated at a distance of about 90 km from Indore, a city in Madhya Pradesh. Balanced along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 2000 feet, Mandu was originally the fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa. Towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the control of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom named it Shadiabad – ‘city of joy’.
The famous fort of Mandu is separated from the surrounding plateau by a deep ravine called Kakra Khoh, which encircles it on the east, west and north. The ruins are spread over an area of 21 sq km and are surrounded by lush undergrowth and crystal clear lakes and ponds.
With its natural defenses, no wonder Mandu is named a city of joy!

FUSION OF HINDUS AND AFGHAN ARCHITECTURE 

Mandu has a rich and varied heritage and history. It is known for its marvelous fort, 82 km in perimeter. The fort is considered the biggest in India. As a witness to Mandu’s military past, stands the battlemented wall, which is nearly 37 km and is punctuated by 12 gateways. Mandu has over 40 monuments, which are divided into 3 broad categories: the Central Village Group, the Royal Enclave Group and the Rewa Kund Group.

NOT-TO-MISS PLACES


The Darwazas

Most notable of the gateways of Mandu is Delhi Darwaza, the main entrance to the fortress city. The approach is made through a series of gateways with walled enclosures and strengthened by bastions such as the Alamgir and Bhangi Darwaza, through which the present road passes. Rampol Darwaza, Jehangir Gate and Tarapur Gate are some of the other main gateways.

The Royal Jahaz Mahal

Also called Ship Palace, this two-storied architectural marvel is so named as it appears like a ship floating in water. It is built between the two artificial lakes, Munj Talao and Kapur Talao. With its open pavilions, Jahaz Mahal is an imaginative recreation in stone of a royal pleasure craft. The domes of the building present an unforgettable spectacle, as a silhouette, on a moonlit night, when viewed from the adjoining Taveli Mahal.

Hindola Mahal

Hindola Mahal, meaning Swing palace is so named due to its sloping sidewalls. Superb and innovative techniques are evident from the architecture of this palace. To the West of Hindola Mahal, there are several unidentified buildings which still bear traces of their past grandeur. Amidst these is an elaborately constructed well, named Champa Baoli. Other places of interest in this enclave are Dilawar Khan’s Mosque, the Nahar Jharokha (tiger balcony), Taveli Mahal, the two large wells called the Ujali (bright) and Andheri (dark) Baolis and Gada Shah’s Shop and House, all worth a visit.

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb

India’s first marble structure, it is one of the most refined examples of Afghan architecture. It served as a template for the construction of the beauty, Taj Mahal.
Apart from these, Jami Masjid, the gorgeous palace of Baz BahadurRewa KundRoopmati’s Pavilion and others are some of the fascinating monuments of Mandu. There is also the Echo Point, the ‘Delphic Oracle’ of Mandu. A shout from here reverberates far below and is heard clearly back. The Lohani Caves and Temple Ruins, not far from the royal enclave area also deserve a visit due to their association with Mandu’s history. Sunset Point, in front of the caves affords a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

THE STRONGEST CALL

The call of Mandu is strongest when it turns lush green, with the dark monsoon clouds hovering and showering over. The mystical beauty of the monuments, amidst this green landscape and purple sunset sky, paints the live picture of the bygone era. The effect is completed by the rich surroundings of mango, tamarind and banyan trees. Mandu is also famous for the mouth-watering ‘Khusrani Imli’, tamarind trees that bear fruits only in the rainy season and for the juicy custard apples. Apart from these, Mandu is known for the attractive Chanderi and Rewa (Maheshwari) saris as well as medicinal herbs and local handicrafts.
The glory of the architectural gem Mandu lives on, in legends and songs, recorded for the generations to come.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=The%20City%20Of%20Joy:%20Mandu_738

A SHORT ACCOUNT ON THE LIFE OF MORARI BAPU – THE MOST SOUGHT AFTER ‘KATHAKAR’ AND ONE OF THE BEST ORATORS OF GUJARAT

Gujarat has been adorned from time to time by various leaders, saints and preachers. One such blessing is the preacher without a cult – Morari Bapu. An orator par excellence, Bapu has a multitude of followers, not only from India but also from all over the world.

What makes Morari Bapu different from other preachers is that he consciously avoids any cult culture. He is neither a conventional Hindu leader nor does he believe he has followers. Quite unlike the other religious leaders who are out to create empires of Godmen, Bapu remains a welcomed exception. This is evident from the fact that his secretary is Dilavar Khan, a Muslim. Also, his Ram Kathas have a notable number of Muslims in the audience. And his preaching has a fair share of qawwalis and Urdu couplets as well.

THE FORMATIVE YEARS

Morari Bapu (Moraridas Hariyani) was born on 25th September, 1946 in Talgajarda, a small village near the port of Mahuva, Gujarat, to Prabhudas Bapu and Savitri Ma. Born on the auspicious day of Shivratri, Bapu showed signs of excellence since childhood. He spent most of his time with his grand-parents. His paternal grandmother, Amrit Ma, often narrated folk tales of traditional India to Bapu.

Tribhovandas Bapu, affectionately called Dadaji, was Bapu’s grandfather and his only Guru. Dadaji was a learned scholar of the Ram Charit Manas. He would teach Bapu five couplets (chaupais) with its meaning each day. While walking to and from school, Bapu would recite and memorize these couplets and often sing them to the plants and trees on the path! Even today, Bapu cites this journey in many of his Kathas.

The study of the Ram Charit Manas would take place on the site that is today known as Chitrakut Dham. It has become a place of pilgrimage for thousands of people. Bapu’s grandparents were the guiding force behind his upbringing and the most influential persons of his life in his formative years.

THE JOURNEY WITH THE RAM CHARIT MANAS

Morari Bapu has high regards for cultural and religious values that he received from his family. At the age of 12, Bapu began to recite the Ram Charit Manas by heart. The first recital was for a few herdsmen who had come to quench their thirst in the evening. Bapu had made a small platform out of mud and placed a portrait of Lord Ram. That shrine, today, is home to a temple of Hanumanji named Ram Vaadi.

With the passage of time, more and more people were stunned by the bountiful knowledge that Morari Bapu possessed. They used to gather to listen to young Bapu’s Kathas.

THE TRAINING COURSE

On completing secondary school, Bapu started a teachers’ training course at Shahpur College in Junagadh. Upon completion, he returned to Mahuva where he became a teacher at the J. Parekh High School and taught various subjects including English.

Today, in his Kathas, Bapu mentions how he would sit with his mala (rosary) for hours at a stretch and his roommate being concerned would complete the work on his behalf. He spent his free time to attend discourses by well-known speakers and reading scriptures or singing chaupais of the Ram Charit Manas with music.

During his ten years as a teacher in Mahuva, Bapu often took time off to listen to prominent speakers and meeting some of India’s most respected spiritual leaders, among them were Vinobha Bhave, Dongreji Maharaj, Punit Maharaj and Krishna Murti. At the same time, Bapu’s interest in Indian Literature and Poetry grew fonder and he regularly attended sessions on various literary subjects by high ranking orators.

The teachers’ training course actually became his period of training as a preacher!

THE PREACHING

Morari Bapu’s thirst for knowledge of the Ram Charit Manas kept on increasing. And so did the number of his followers. His first Ram Katha was held at the Ram Mandir in Talgajarda in 1960. The first Navaan Parayan (nine day discourse) was held in Gaandilaa in Gujarat in the presence of Pujya Ramfardasji Maharaj (a respected and revered saint from Gujarat) in May 1966. Bapu’s name, command on the Ram Charit Manas and his heart rending narrations brought people from all over India in thousands to listen to his Ram Katha, often overwhelming listeners and organizers alike.

Today, Bapu has preached people in India, US, UK, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda. His first Ram Katha outside India was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 1976 when he was merely 30 years old. Also, he has held a Katha on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean Sea, and on an airplane travelling the world. Be they the pilgrims at the heights of Kedarnath, Badrinath and Gangotri in the Himalayas or the prisoners and prison authorities of Bhavnagar, Morari Bapu resides in the hearts of all.

Overall, Bapu is credited to have conducted more than 600 Kathas. On Full Moon in July every year comes ‘Guru Purnima’, the most important day for all shishyas (disciples) to pay homage to their respective Guru (teacher). And, every year on this day, thousands gather to listen to and pay their respects to Morari Bapu in Talgajarda.

A CONGLOMERATE OF IDEALS

Bapu has some strong beliefs that bring the people from different strata of the society to a ground of undivided understanding. He shows a way of uniting not just one nation, but the whole of human race, while, at the same time preserving their individual fragrances. He expressly calls out to the humanity to love and respect each other, because that is the only way to save the whole world from disaster and complete ruin.

His is not just a Katha, but actual, applicable and livable solutions. Love and unity is his medium of teaching and preaching. Even without indulging in a conversation with him, one can feel peace and calmness of an inner joy.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Kathakar%20Ki%20Katha_570