Festival · Food · gajak · Jaipur · Jaipur Beat · Lohri · Makar Sankranti

Unfolding-what’s behind the celebration called Sankranti | Jaipur Beat

Did you know- Our body is capable of getting its Vitamin D reserves full with 3 full days of sunlight and the best quality of sunlight is the end of winter and beginning of summer.? See how wise our sages were of ancient India, who introduced the concept of flying kites in winter so that sunbathing wouldn’t add any kind of boredom!  How exciting it is that along with the joy of flying kites, kids get direct sunlight and stock a good dose of Vitamin D for the whole year. Now you know, why we’re so enthusiastic about celebrating the festival of Lohri and Sankranti?

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On a religious note, the day of Sankranti is celebrated to venerate the ‘Sun’ god and the best way to do that is to rise with the morning sun and visit the 16th Century Galta Ji & the Sun temple located on the outskirts of the old city.

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On this day, the devouts trek up the small hill to the temple exiting the City through Surajpol & Galtaji gate and pay homage to the deities in the temple downhill.

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On Makar Sankranti, it is considered especially auspicious to take a dip in the 7 holy Kunds / water tanks located in this stunning Complex. While you are there, you might as well do some Surya Namaskars & get your quota of Vitamin D and all the other health benefits from the blessed rays of the Sun. Maybe just for today, you can go a little easy on the Sun-Block 🙂

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Makar Sankranti is also celebrated as the harvest festival of the country. The Rabi crop is harvested in the month of January and corn, mustard, peanuts, sesame etc. are the major crops harvested at this time. One day before Sankranti, i.e. on Lohri the new crop is offered to God through worshipping fire.

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Lastly, how can we miss the most important thing about any festival in the city-Food? Makar Sankranti food is all about pakode, moongfali, popcorn, khichadi, gajak, feeni, ladoo and papdi-chat.  Everyone loves to savour these special delicacies and the Children in the house go up and down the terrace for serving them. The youngsters become DJs playing the best songs the loudest on their rooftop.

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Take in the spirit of this exciting festival, Jaipur’s style, this is special to hold on to in your memories forever.

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Reliving The Amazing Memories At Kanak Ghati, Jaipur.

Kanak Ghati is one place where we all, at one point of our lives has been to. In retrospect, Kanak Ghati was the no. 1 picnic spot for the school picnics as well as family picnics. The maintenance of the historical garden has been kept up to date by the government and the café in the park’s premises still serves good food. The feel of Kanak Ghati still remains the same but, the people are so caught up in their own lives’, they hardly get any time to revisit this beautiful garden.

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Kanak Ghati is also famously called Kanak Vrindavan, it is named so as it was constructed based on the Lord Krishna’s Vrindavan. The picturesque idols of Lord Krishna and the Gopis, surrounded by the beautiful flowers at Kanak Ghati brings alive the spirit of the playful God in the truest form.

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There are various scenes recreated around Kanak Ghati with idols of Lord Krishna. The construction of the garden dates back to more than 300 years when the idol of Lord Govind Dev Ji had to be shifted from Vrindavan. The temples in Kanak Ghati area were constructed to house the idol of Govind Dev Ji, but in 1716, the idol was shifted to the now called Govind Dev Ji Temple in City Palace area in Jaipur.

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The particular spot that Kanak Ghati is at, the valley below Nahargarh was specially chosen for its construction as it adds special grace to the majestic Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, and the Jal Mahal Palace. If you are looking to explore the heritage of Jaipur, there’s no better place than the trio of palaces, Nahargarh, Jaigarh and Amer Palace.

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With very close proximity to the great palaces, Kanak Ghati is definitely a place to visit for a serene experience and the feel of Jaipur. The pools and fountains at the Ghati make sure the beauty of the Ghati remains extraordinary, and everyone in the family enjoys the getaway as much. As Jaipur is widely called, the Chotti Kashi, for the number of temples that it houses, Kanak Ghati adds another exciting layer of holiness and fun to the city of Jaipur.

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Kanak Ghati is a perfect full day escape from the hustle and bustle of daily lives we are so caught up in, the surrounding of Kanak Ghati make it the absolute serene garden in the city of Jaipur. The Ghati has a picturesque view of the great Aravalis and lies just below the valley of Nahargarh, there is certainly no other place with a view and location like this, in the entire world.

Jaipur

THE FERVOR OF MAHASHIVRATRI IN JAIPUR

Shiva being one of the 3 gods of the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh, Mahashivratri is a big festival in India. Shiva with a crescent on his head, the holy Ganga flowing out of his hair, snake around his neck, a Trishul in one hand and a Damru in the other, flying hair and dancing as ‘Natraja’ is a symbolic representation of the Universe or the 5 elements of Nature. In Shiva temples, it is depicted as a ‘ Shivalinga’ which is the ‘Shiva Tattva’ or the God particle.

Jaipur with its 3500 old temples (over at least 100 years old) is endearingly called ‘Choti Kashi’ & undoubtedly has its own tradition of celebrating Mahashivratri in the city.

Though the whole city would be celebrating the festival, If you happen to be in Jaipur on the 13th of February, we have a list of temples for you to visit on Mahashivratri and celebrate the day with Jaipur.

1. Eklingeshwar Temple, Moti Doongri:

bjbAtop the ‘Moti Dungri’ temple, it forms a beautiful skyline to the new Jaipur city. This beautiful temple located inside the Moti dungri hill is accessible to the public only once a year on Mahashivaratri. Be there early morning as the queue to reach the temple gets really long, really fast. The devotees will flock temples to bathe the Shivlinga with water, milk, and honey; offer bel-leaves, and take a vow for purification of the soul.

2. Gaiteshwar Temple, Bramhapuri near Gaitore ki Chattriyan

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image courtesy- google

Located in Gaitore ki Chattriyan, Gaiteshwar Mahadev is a popular Shiva Temple in Jaipur. During Mahashivratri a large crowd of devotees comes here to worship Lord Shiva. Also, a big classical Bhajan evening would be organized here by the Gaiteshwar Kala Sansthan on Mahashivartri, invoking lord Shiva.

3. Ambikeshwar Mahadev Temple, Amer, Jaipur

untitled-5This temple situated in the Amer Fort of Jaipur holds great religious importance in Jaipur. To reach the temple one has to climb down steps as this is one of the few temples situated below the ground level. It is believed that the Shivling here is a natural one which was founded buried 22ft under the earth.

untitled-4The legend has it the King Kankil Dev had a cow that gave milk only at this particular spot on the hill. The King then decided to get the place excavated. During the excavation a Shivling was found, the temple was thus constructed & the Shivling lies at the same place, devotees have to peek inside to see the Shivlinga which is now encased by a circular hole. It is believed during the monsoon season, the Shivlinga submerges in 10ft water.

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4. Tarkeshwar Mahadev, Temple, Chaura Rasta –

untitled-8One of the oldest temples in the pink city is Tarkeshwar Ji Temple Chora Rasta which was built in 1784 A.D with a Black stone of 9” diameter.

untitled-7One of the main attractions here includes an imposing statue of Shiva Lingam and golden pictographs along with huge bull statue made of brass, large bronze gongs and beautiful bells.

5. Pracheen Bhavya Dwadash Jyotirling Temple, Amer, Jaipur 

untitled-2One of the old temples of Jaipur, it is located ahead of Ambikeshwar temple in Amer, near the Jagat Shiromani Temple. As you walk up the ramp and then the steps to the temple, you enter a beautiful courtyard which houses a small marble shiva linga guarded by a copper snake, marble Nandi, and a Trishul-damru. A small dried tree almost fans over it in the shape of a snake.

untitled-3As you move inside the inner sanctum of the Temple, idols of goddess Parvati, lord Ganesha, and a beautiful marble Shivaling with chaturmukh Shiva is seen in the temple. A very peaceful temple to visit.

6. Kala Mahadev Temple, Jaipur – Surrounded by Aravalli Hills, Kala Mahadev Temple is unlike any other Shiva Temple in Jaipur, It is believed that Maharaja Man Singh ordered the construction of this temple following all the Tantric rituals. Open from all four sides, this holy shrine is known for offers a beautiful view of the Jaipur city. The Shivlinga is the presiding idol here along with a statue of Nandi, Goddess Parvati, God Ganesha and Kartikeya. The nearby Kanak Valley and Kanak Vrindavanmake the temple extremely peaceful & blissful to visit.

A large number of devotees observe a strict fast on the day sans food and water to absolve them of all the sins by penance. This festival is celebrated by both men & women of the Hindu community. After fasting for the whole day, they devotedly pray to the God. Married women perform the rituals for the well-being of their husbands. Unmarried girls perform these rituals to get a good husband like Lord Shiva. Few people fast without food or water, while others fast eating only bananas & milk.

Some of the Lord Shiva temples observe Jaagaran during the whole night of Mahashivaratri. Only after daybreak, the various foods offered to the Lord are eaten by the devotees as ‘Prasad’.

Here is hoping you all have a blissful Mahashivratri.

Jaipur

Galta Ji Jaipur – The Sacred Kund of Natural Water Springs, Ponds and Cluster of Temples

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Decades ago in the year 1726, the Maharaja of Jaipur established this kingdom of royal architecture. Within the unfolding lanes of Jaipur you’ll find many temples and holy halts But the most fascinating and intriguing among them all is Galta Ji- the magnificent campus of temples, yes you read it right, it’s not just one temple but a marvelous cluster of numerous beautiful temples spread amid the boundaries of Aravali Hills. Unlike any other tourist spot in Jaipur, Galta ji is rather more popular among locals and pilgrims from adjoining villages for its religious significance.

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Dated back to 16th century, Galta Ji temple was developed further by Sawai Jai Singh II’s companion Vaishnavite Ramanandi Diwan Rao Kriparam. The temple complex however is named after the Saint Galav who spent his whole life in search of truth and meditated for 100 years within this compound. Touched by his perseverance, the Gods appeared before him and blessed this place with abundant water. So as to honour the great Saint Galav; the temple was named after him. The gaumukh shaped structures (Cow’s mouth) secretes holy water and the water from these natural springs is further accumulated in the ‘kunds’.

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Of all the seven tanks, the holiest is the Galta Kund, which never goes dry. The pre historic temple is flocked by thousands of pilgrims every year who believe that taking holy dip in these natural springs of Galta ji would wash off all their sins. Holy months or dates like Makar Sankranti, Ekadashi, the revered month Kartik ,which is currently going on, Purnima (Full moon night of Kartik month) are the important dates when the crowd of pilgrims is at its peak.

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Located 10-11 kms from Jaipur in the sprawling expanses, the striking temple of Galta ji appears more of a mansion replete with temples, pavilions, natural springs and sacred kunds. The compound of pink sandstone with brilliant layout is primarily dedicated to the Sun God that rests on the top of the temple which is decked up with intricate gazebos, carved pillars and painted walls.

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Galta ji also houses the temple of RamGopal ji- an architecturally beautiful temple dedicated to lord Vishnu whose Idol in the temple is unique that appears like Lord Krishna and Rama both. As per the legends, lord Krishna appeared before Goswami Tulsidas ji in the form of lord Rama. Hence we see the image of both lord Ram and Krishna in the idol.

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Another major attraction is Hanuman temple that stands out for being surrounded by hundreds of monkeys. When you enter the temple you’ll find a mass of monkeys ranging from babies to adults all playing around, sleeping, feeding and taking care of each other by grooming them. It totally feels like an empire of monkeys where you can feed them with bananas or nuts; which is also another way of washing off sins according to local guides and hawkers.

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Nevertheless this lush green landscape of nature, where the sight of bathing pilgrims, praying women, meditating monks, decorated cows and makeshift shops of attractive souvenirs offer another kind of solace, on the other hand the compassing hills, lush green vegetation with breathtaking landscapes, offer a mind blowing panorama of the surroundings and the Pink City.

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Galtaji Temple is a treasure trove of heritage and a sacred pilgrimage where pilgrims would dive into the kunds with the idea that they would receive a good karma, and monkeys are treated as sacred animal and worshiped like Gods.  A visit to Galta ji that attracts people from far lands owing to its tranquility, temples, kunds, people and pilgrims is one in a lifetime experience that not just offers a travel story but also fills your soul with sacred sanctifying thoughts while returning home!

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Jaipur · Pilgrimage in Jaipur

Take a Spiritual Break at ‘Khole ke Hanumanji’ in Jaipur

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A Pilgrimage in Jaipur-Khole Ke Hanuman Ji

After months of hot days and nights we all just love the open skies ready for the downpours. Any Jaipurite would love to explore the city during this time. A ride to Nahargarh, Jaigarh or Amer Fort is the all time favourite. But there is one more place famous for its religious prominence since time immemorial- ‘Khole Ke Hanumanji’ which is preferred by locals especially during Monsoon months.

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Situated on Jaipur Delhi bypass ‘Khole Ke Hanuman ji’ dedicated to lord Hanuman is one of the oldest temples in the Pink city. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes the place is favorite amongst locals to host feasts on occasions. This soul-soothing destination which is sat on the hill offers natural beauty to delight your eyes.

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On one side chanting of hymns, ringing of temple bells and the serene sight makes way to your soul while on the other the tempting aroma of traditional Rajasthani dal Baati fills up your taste buds.

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The onset of Monsoon sets our mood to visit this place, where every local waits for the invite for ‘Goth’ (a sort of picnic) where people invite family and friends to celebrate any occasion or when their wish gets fulfilled.

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During this time the traditional cuisine of Rajasthan Dal Batti Churma is being served as Prasadi. Apart from Dal Bati Rajasthani Gatta Masala, Kadhi, Mirchi Ke Tapore and vareity of Choorma’s served on plate are relished with every bite.

Khole Ke Hanuman dal baati

In recent times there has been a lot of development catering to modern tastes. The traditional way of having Prasadi  was to sit on the floor but now it has been changed into table chair sitting arrangement. Also, the city  Development Authority have developed this place with market area, proper facilities of parking, drinking water, covered places for dining and around 20 plus kitchens inside the premises.

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Have you got your invite from your near and dear ones at Khole ke Hanumanji?

If not, don’t worry, you can book your kitchen and invite your friends and family to take the blessings from lord Hanuman 🙂