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Legend of the Hidimba Temple (Built in 1553)

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The Hidimba Temple is located in Manali, famous resort town in Himachal Pradesh. This ancient temple situated at the foot of the Himalayas, in a forest of cedar trees is said to have been built in the year 1553.

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This is probably the sight you would see as you walked through the forest flanked by huge deciduous trees. A three-tiered structure that almost looks like a house. The deity is believed to be a part of a huge rock cut out of the ground around which this structure was built.

TRIVIA

The most surprising feature of the temple or what believers could call the most reassuring feature of the temple is the fact that inside the temple the imprint of the feet of the Godess carved on a block of stone are worshipped and if you go to Google Satellite and zoom into the area where the temple is located, you can clearly see the imprint of a giant foot spanning across the valley in the area near the temple. It’s thumb starts from where Google shows the Manali Heights hotel to be located and the rest of the foot goes all the way down the slope.” – Wikipedia

WHO IS HIDIMBA DEVI?

Hidimba Devi, is a character from the great epic Mahabharatha. Who was she? The mother of Gatothkacha (The Giant Asura – son of Bhima) and devoted wife to Bhima ( one of the five Pandavas, known for his extreme strength in combat.)

WHAT WAS THE LEGEND?

The Pandavas along with their mother, Kunti Devi Β and wife Draupadi were wandering through the forests during course of the exile. Having arrived at this very forest the women in the group felt very tired and decided to halt for the night. Having climbed one of the huge deodars, Bhima looked around and decided it was safe enough for them to spend the night there.

As was common – the brothers took turns at keeping vigil while the others slept. When it was Bhima’s turn to keep watch – he spotted a very attractive woman walking towards him in the middle of the night. While the gallant Pandava asked her if she required any help, the beautiful woman begged him no end to leave the place immediately, for fear of their safety.

Not being one to give in to fear – Bhima asked her to explain herself. The young woman Hidimba told him the truth ” I am a man-eating Rakshasi (demon) staying with my brother. My brother has decided to kill you all this night and devour you. Please do go away as soon as possible. I have come in guise of a mortal to warn you”.

The courageous Pandava replied ” Fair maiden, thank you for having warned us. But I assure you, it your brother who has to be warned against us and not the other way around. I refuse to disturb my tired mother and brothers as they sleep so peacefully in order to humor your brother”

By this time Hidimba’s brother had tracked her down, and was furious that she had sought to warn the humans, mere mortals. Needless to say – a huge battle ensued. Trees were uprooted, violence galore as man and demon met face to face.

Trees  of this size are believed to have been uprooted during the battle.
Trees of this size are believed to have been uprooted during the battle.

Finally Bhima overpowered the Asura and killed him. The gentle Hidimba, having fallen in love with the strong and brave Bhima asked him to marry her. Bhima agreed, on the one condition that he will stay with her until a son is born to her after which he will join his brothers to complete the 13-year exile. The son – who was born later on was the gigantic and gentle Gatothkacha. His is another story to be told later. Thus ends the legend of the Hidimba Devi temple.

THE TEMPLE UP CLOSE

Sculptures and carving show the level of intricacy in detail even as far back as the mid 1500’s.

The carvings are believed to be 400 years old!
The carvings are believed to be 400 years old!

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While some people just pray to the Godess as the “Hill Godess” a legend and a story woven into the history always makes it more memorable – I think. I leave you now, with a final view of the temple.

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Stained Beauty – yet Perfect !

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Stained glass paintings never fail to impress. They are vibrant yet not gaudy, silent and yet speak volumes…. I hope you all enjoy these beautiful works of art, snapped at the Met Museum, NY.

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Blue and Gold

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Caught her mid way as she was sliding gracefully within the space allotted for her… Almost looks diaphanous as though she might just disappear into the royal blue in a whiff of smoke!

Beauty in blue and gold!

The many faces of Lady Liberty

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A couple of months back I did get to visit Lady Liberty. And though denied the regular visit to the Island (Thanks to renovations due to Sandy), I still went on a ferry ride and went berserk with my camera. Β Here are some of them.

1. The sky, the clouds and she…

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2. A side profile you can see

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3. A bad day at New York maybe?Β 

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Β 4. This one focuses on just her and her individuality

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5. Symbol of freedom for eternity

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6. Did you take time to get to know her personally ?

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Do tell me, which one spoke to you at least slightly? πŸ™‚Β 

The Madras Market…

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The Madras Market is finally here! After days, nay weeks of constant reminders, vendor verifications and just the eager anticipation of the event – it has finally materialised! Yes , yes… click and portal to brick and mortar and all that jargon… but come take a virtual tour on day 1 of the Madras Market (initiative of the Chennai Shopping group – a group that has helped narrow the gap between many a shopper and vendor along with some good relations to boot )

Ample car parking.. thank god!
Ample car parking.. thank god!

Anyone who tries to venture into a mall or any other popular hangout over the weekend will shudder at the thought of parking. Definitely a point in favour of Madras Market.

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Safety and security :) what if your heart couldn't take the variety of goodies on sale :)
Safety and security πŸ™‚ what if your heart couldn’t take the variety of goodies on sale πŸ™‚
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I am entering the Market first paying obeisance to the remover of obstacles… help me find some good deals πŸ™‚ No obstacles there please!

The common theme at the Madras market was of course … errr… Madras / Chennai..duh! Chumbak, Chennai Gaga, and many more stalls which had souvenirs – read bags, stationery, T-shirts, magnets of ‘namma’ Chennai seemed to be popular with both the local crowd and the expats too!

You know you are Indian if...some witty stuff here
You know you are Indian if…some witty stuff here
T Shirts with an element of the local flavour
T Shirts with an element of the local flavour
Loved these quaint kettles...absolute old world charm
Loved these quaint kettles…absolute old world charm
Moving from clothes to more functional items... these woven muli utility baskets were a big hit with many
Moving to more functional items… these woven muli utility baskets were a big hit with many
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Functional.. yea.. but what is that? Absolutely gorgeous jewellery up for grabs at many stalls.. and worth its price too πŸ™‚ I loved these jhumkas a lot!
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Well if you got to look into your jewels in peace.. make sure junior is occupied! Board games and stalls for different hobbies galore…
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Angry birds and Chota Bheem were the next theme in rage… bags, stationery and even a suitcase!
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If just the souvenirs did not appeal to you – you could actually play the game live with the catapulting birds… no crazy sound effects though!
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For the more adventurous at heart – venture into the world of Zorbing!
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When it is glucose run down time – stick one of these kandy swirls to raise the energy levels πŸ™‚
or if you're looking to move away from the exotic and to something that has survived the test of time - fluorescent pink clouds of cotton candy... who could surpass that temptation!?
or if you’re looking to move away from the exotic and to something that has survived the test of time – fluorescent pink clouds of cotton candy… who could surpass that temptation!?
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Kids and adults give in to them equally and wind up on a sweet note…

I have to mention the patient artists who were doing their own creative thing by way of caricatures and mehndi – putting a smile on the face of many. Plus the stage that was being set up for the evening’s concert. The food court had a variety of items that would satiate your sweet tooth as well as your continental and spicy one too… What was lacking was maybe a juice stall… With the sun beating down the way it did today – even the humble lime soda would have made top biz… people who were thirsty gave in to ice golas or regular mineral water…As a stall had mentioned on its merchandise – Chennai “land of four summers”

Hopefully same time next year too! See ya…

 

Can you hear me?

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Can you hear meeee?

 

 

Flying high, feeling free

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Flying high in the bright blue sky

I took this picture at Pattaya, at the beach where one can go para-sailing. Though the parachutes looked quite dirty up close – the background of the clear skies, bright sunlight and the parachute puffed out to its full glory – made a wonderful picture.