Saturday 29 April 2017

Narsobawadi – Purna avatar of Lord Dattatreya



Narsobawadi commonly known as Narsobawadi or Narsobachi Wadi is a small quiet town on the banks of the river Krishna in Shirol Tehsil in Kolhapur district in Maharashtra. Narsobawadi gets its name from the presence of Shri Narasimha Saraswati, the Purna avatar of Lord Dattatreya......

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I have been to Narsobawadi a few times to attend and participate in the thread ceremonies as per tradition of the young boys, my relatives in the close and extended family. And I would always wonder why come all the way and perform the ceremony here. And again on an invitation, few weeks ago, I visited the place for another thread ceremony. The place is popular venue for thread ceremony and other rituals because of its location, spiritual atmosphere and traditionally considered auspicious. Besides, even Jains too consider this place spiritually important, and visit the place as they have an old temple and other facilities here for their devotees.

The temple
If you are travelling by train, from Mumbai to Kolhapur; about two-three stations before Kolhapur is a small, traditional  station called Jaysinghpur. Few people alight here unless they need to travel to nearby areas.  Devotees coming to visit Narsobawadi by train, Jaysinghpur is the nearest station. Narsobawadi is about 17 km from here. Autos, private vehicles, Jeeps are available to drop you at Narsobawadi.

Once you reach this quiet town, you feel time has stood still, untouched by modernity. However now, some traditional houses have given way to ground plus one and two storey small structures and buildings in the bylanes, with family residences for the occupants, the priests and his family who perform the various ceremonies, including thread ceremonies. Besides they have a couple of rooms, a small hall, common kitchen for cooking and catering meals for the functions and guests. Mainly populated by traditional Maharastrian Brahmin families; priests who are involved in arranging and conducting ceremonies and rituals for families and people coming from different parts of Maharashtra and elsewhere.


Narsobawadi commonly known as Narsobawadi or Narsobachi Wadi is a small town on the banks of the river Krishna in Shirol Tehsil in Kolhapur district in Maharashtra. Narsobawadi gets its name from the presence of Shri Narasimha Saraswati, the Purna avatar of Lord Dattatreya. This has become a major pilgrim spot for many Shri Dattatrey devotees. Also, here is the confluence of two rivers – Panchganga and Krishna. 

Narsobawadi is famous for the temple of Shri Narasimha Saraswati (1378-1458). Shri Dattatreya in Narasimha Saraswati incarnation is believed to have lived here for as long as 12 years. The life story, his philosophy and related incidents are described in Shri Guru Charitra. There are no images or idols here  to show his presence, but there are two padukas or slippers which immortalize his avatar.

The following festivals are celebrated in the temple – Datta Jayanthi, Narasimha Jayanthi is celebrated as per the Hindu calendar Pushya month, Gopal Kala Utsav is celebrated from Magha Poornima to Phalguna Panchami, Sripada Srivallabh Jayanthi is celebrated in Badrapada Masa on Ganesh Chaturthi day and Dakshin dwar Sohla in which Krishna river water flows from North gate to South gate through the temple.

Normally I would attend the traditional ceremony and return. This time I got an opportunity to spend some time around the temple and nearby areas which now has a line of shops, small hotels, small eateries and hawkers. We were keen to have a cup of hot tea and were on the lookout for a tea shop, preferring to have it at a local chaiwalla rather than at a restaurant. While walking down, I noticed a well-laid out handcart with a charming young woman busy making dosas. Going closer, noticed she was serving various types of dosas and snacks. And she also offered tea and coffee. We ordered a dosa along with tea. Standing and having crisp paper dosa, noticed that behind the handcart, she also ran a restaurant – Shri Dattatreya Caterers offering Karnataka style cuisine. There were many patrons sitting and enjoying the meals and snacks. It is run by the young couple, the woman, her husband and an elderly woman, who must be the husband’s mother, with a small child playing around with a cell phone.

Since they were all busy, I couldn’t talk much with anyone, except exchanging a few words with the charming lady, and taking her business card. But what struck me was the hardworking and multi-tasking woman - taking orders, making dosas and snacks all the time, serving tea and coffee around, handling the cash. And all this she did adeptly with a smile on her face. If you visit Narsobawadi, do visit this place – Shri Dattatreya Caterers and taste the tea and delicacies made by her. You too will be impressed by her preparation and deft handling of many things.





 
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Suez Canal – 150 years of operations

Most of us have heard about Suez Canal during the middle-east conflict between Egypt and Israel. Its 150 years since the inauguration of the Suez Canal. It’s an artificial waterway in Egypt connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez, and then to the Red sea. Suez Canal took 10 years to build. The canal is 193 km long, 24 meter deep and its width varies, 60 meters at its narrowest. Nearly 60,000 workers were hired to remove about 74 million cubic meters of earth. The canal was completed at a cost of 433 million Francs. Before the Suez Canal was constructed, the ships had to take much longer route via Cape of Good Hope to reach middle east and Asia.

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Picture Post:
Murdeswar Temple, Karnataka, India
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Friday 7 April 2017

What is special about USS New York?







Made from the World Trade Center

A US Navy assault ship built with steel from the fallen World Trade Center and named in honour of the city and state that were home to the twin towers. A ship with a lot of sentiments and memories......


USS New York (LPD-21) is a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock and the fifth ship of same name. A symbolic amount of steel salvaged from the World Trade Centre after it was destroyed in the September 11 terrorist attacks was used in the construction of this ship. USS New York is named in honour of New York city where the attacks on the World Trade Center occurred.




It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. The $ 1 billion ship was built in Louisiana with about 7.5 tons of World Trade Center steel melted down and used in the bow. It is the fifth in a new class warship – designed for mission, that include special operations against terrorists. It carries a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft.

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, LA to cast the ship’s bow section. When it was poured into the moulds on September 9, 2003, ‘those big rough steelworkers treated it total reverence,’ recalled Navy Captain Kevin Wensing, who was there. ‘It was a spiritual moment for everybody there.’

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the World Trade Center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the ‘hair on my neck stood up.’ ‘It had a big meaning to it for all of us,’ he said. ‘They knocked us down. They can’t keep us down. We are going to be back.’

The ship’s motto? ‘Never Forget.’

Also read: Americans in Aghanistan










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Indonesia has world’s largest Buddhist temple


The Borobudur Temple, located on the Indonesian island of Java, is the largest Buddhist temple. Built in the 9th century during the reign of Syailendra dynasty, the temple was constructed with approximately 56,000 cubic meters of volcanic stone, has around 504 Buddha statues and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels. It was restored with UNESCO’s help in the 1970's.

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Picture Post:
Mumbai Municipal Corporation office
building, Mumbai
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Anil Naik

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