Manikarnika & Harishchandra: My experience in the cremation ghats of Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat

Manikarnika Ghat is among the oldest and most revered ghats of Varanasi. This is one of the two cremation ghats in Varanasi and is believed to be the most auspicious place for a Hindu to be cremated which leads to attainment moksha. Legends mention that Lord Vishnu meditated at this ghat and also established a kunda where Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati is believed to have taken bath. Daily, over 300 bodies are cremated here round the clock and the fire of Manikarnika has never extinguished in thousands of years. So those who are cremated here are essentially cremated from the same fire that cremated their ancestors through generations. Read more

Prayagraj #2 – History lessons and a spiritual dip at the Sangam

Khusru Bagh, Prayagraj

Prayagraj, earlier known as Allahabad is a town in north India situated at the confluence of there revered rivers of Hinduism – the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati. This is also one of the four sites where Kumbh Mela, the largest religious congregation is organized once in every 12 years which witnesses millions of Hindu devotees and ascetics visit the town and take a dip at the holy confluence called the Sangam. The strategic location of the town between two gigantic rivers prompted Mughal emperor Akbar to build his fort here in the banks of river Yamuna close to the Sangam. Read more

Prayagraj #1 – My first impression of the town, its people and culture

Prayagraj

Year-end trips are always tricky to plan. Once you join the corporate world, the biggest hurdle in planning a trip is to get the requisite number of leaves. Not only that, all the effort and money you put in to plan a trip can fall apart with two dreaded words – “business requirement”; those who have been a part of Indian corporates need no explanation to this and those not a part of it – don’t bother. Read more

Exploring Fatehpur Sikri, the abandoned fort of Akbar the Great

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri is a desolate fort complex, originally built to serve as the residence and seat of power of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Unfortunately, a shortage of water forced the Mughals to shift their capital to Agra only after 14 years of completion of this fabulous fort. A desolate Akbar, in quest for an heir to the Mughal throne, undertook an arduous pilgrimage and walked barefooted to the revered Sufi saint Khwaja Moinnuddin Chishti of Ajmer. Read more

Walking on Krishna’s trail: Mathura and Vrindavan

Prem Mandir

Krishna, the supreme lord is seen, understood and experienced in different ways and emotions by different people. He is an irrepressible child, a terrible prankster, an enchanting flute player, a graceful dancer, an irresistible lover, a truly valiant warrior, a ruthless vanquisher of his foes, an astute statesman and kingmaker, a yogi of the highest order and the most colourful incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Read more