Alandi: Photo tour of the village where Sant Dnyaneshwar and Jalaram Bapa reside

Alandi is a small village situated around 27 kilometers from Pune and around 147 kilometers from Mumbai.

When a person generally thinks about India, he or she ends up thinking about Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, etc. But we tend to forget that a large portion of India stays in villages. As the saying in Hindi goes, ‘Bharat gaon mein basa hai (India lies in the villages).’

Therefore, there are countless little villages in the country, which are unknown even to those who have been staying in India since more than 50 years. These places never come in the mainstream. Alandi is one among the thousands of such small villages in India.

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River Indrayani at Alandi. 

It falls on the banks of river Indrayani, which is a pleasant sight when in full flow. It’s dry during summers for obvious reasons.

Alandi is mostly known for being the Samadhi of Sant Dnyaneshwar. Also known as Dnyandev or Mauli, he was a poet, saint and philosopher who was born in Apegaon in 1275 and passed away in 1296 in Alandi. It is believed that he went into Samadhi after writing a commentary on the Bhagavad Gita. His Samadhi is visited by a large number of his followers who belong to the Varkari sect.

A sacred temple of Jalaram Bapa is also situated in Alandi, which is also famous among his devotees. Jalaram Bapa was also a saint, who is highly regarded by his followers, mostly from Gujarat. He was born on November 14, 1799 in Virpur and passed away on February 23, 1881. A temple in his honour is built in his hometown Virpur. An exact replica of it was built in Alandi in 1960s.

There are chances that you would find Alandi peaceful, more so if you have always been a city-dweller like me. The best time to visit here is winter. The roadside food over here is very tasty, especially Misal and Vada Pav.

Since last decade or so, a lot of buildings and hotels have cropped up in the village and around. But the village-like feel still remains.

By: Keyur Seta

Here are some more pictures of Alandi (The first picture above is clicked during the winter of 2011. Others during summer of 2017):

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Sant Dnyaneshwar
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Jalaram Bapa
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Lord Vishnu with his 10 avatars inside the premises of Jalaram temple.

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Group of Varkari singers performing inside the premises of Jalaram temple.

Difficult to say if Mcleodganj is more peaceful or Tibetans: See photos

Our trip to Mcleodganj was a part of our November tour which also included Amritsar and Dalhousie. Although I had a memorable time in the other two places, the feeling after entering Mcleodganj was unexplainable. It was like suddenly switching over to a TV channel hugely different from what you have been watching since long.

mcleodganj-monks-monasterySuddenly I was surrounded with the most serene atmosphere I have ever experienced. The Himalayas provided the enchanting visuals of nature. The buildings and architecture in the town oozed not only colours but also calmness.

But the most pleasant sight was the presence of Tibetans in the entire town, especially the monks. It’s a sheer pleasure to talk to them. They appear unreal for their peaceful demeanor they carry. In fact, just to see them go about their daily, everyday routine calms you like nothing else can.

Mcleodganj has two monasteries. The main one is also a place of residence of the great Dalai Lama. It is quite an experience to be there. But it is the other one in the market area that is easily more beautiful and vibrant.

The Tibetans have been living in India as refugees ever since China occupied Tibet in the 1950s. They still have a glimmer of hope of returning to their homeland, although the chances are very bleak.

But, more importantly, after seeing the way they have nurtured Mcleodganj like their own baby, will Indians like me be happy if and when they return?

Needless to say, after such an experience I would love to visit next time and stay for a much longer duration.

P.S:– I was pleasantly surprised to not see a single political banner or poster in the entire town. Later on, I realized that Tibetans have no voting rights as they are refugees. That explains it all.

By Keyur Seta

More pictures from Mcleodganj:

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Golden Temple Pictures: Where peace and kindness reside

By: Keyur Seta

Over the years, I must have heard umpteen number of times that the Golden Temple in Amritsar (Punjab), also known as Sri Harmandir Sahib, is one of the most beautiful places in India. I got some idea of it by watching its sight in numerous images and movies (Rang De Basanti, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi etc).

But I came to know its sheer brilliance only when I visited it for the first time a week ago. The manner in which it is radiating such enormous beauty since centuries can even make an atheist into a believer, even if it is just temporarily.

This is because one can’t ignore the immense peace the golden monument generates into you. The kind behavior of the staff and their commitment towards cleanliness adds on to the impressiveness.

This automatically gets passed on to the devotees. They might quarrel or do various kinds of mischief outside. But once inside, a sense of responsibility and sanskaar takes over them.

Golden Temple is one place that shows its different shades of beauty during day and night. So, it is mandatory to visit it during both phases of the day, like we did. The results are seen in the pictures.

Like all Gurudwaras, Golden Temple too offers langar (meals) to devotees daily irrespective of their religion, caste, language, nationality and what not. And being the biggest Gurudwara in the country, the number of people fed daily goes into lakhs.

All in all, the Golden Temple is a must visit for those craving for peace and hope.

Timings of the Golden Temple: 3 am to 10 pm.

More information or history: The Golden Temple was built in 1577 by the fourth holy Sikh guru, Guru Ram Das. It was turned into gold 200 years later by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. For complete info, click HERE.

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Devotees served langar.
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Preparation of langar.

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Banganga Tank Photos (Mumbai)

By: Keyur Seta

Banganga Tank is one of the few serene places in Mumbai. In fact, as soon as you go anywhere near it, you don’t feel as if you are in the same city. But unfortunately, a lot of people, who have been living in Mumbai since many years, haven’t visited it.

So here is a photo tour of a photo walk I recently had at the Banganga Tank. It’s located at Walkeshwar Road, near the bus depot. To know everything about Banganga, click HERE.

(Click on the pictures for a much larger view.)

 

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Banganga

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Banganga Tank

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Banganga Walkeshwar

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One of the few very old temples. This one is more than 200 years old. 

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This beautiful video will force you to question everything around you!

It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words. Going by this logic, a moving picture should speak many more than thousand words. This holds true at least for the video below. It is a fusion footage from movies Samsara (2011) and Baraka (1992). It will force you to question everything that the world and we ourselves are doing in our lives.

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See it for yourself:-

Pictures: Buddhist Japanese Temple, Mumbai

By: Keyur Seta

Not many people are aware that a beautiful Japanese Buddhist Temple is situated at Worli Naka in Mumbai (India). It is known as Nipponzan Myohoji temple. One visit to the temple brings a lot of serenity. What is also noteworthy is the beautiful interiors, paintings and idols.

Have a look at the pictures taken in and around the temple:

(Click to enlarge)

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