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Please Note – Ancient Ganesh Temple On Chhattisgarh Blog Cover picture source by timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Chhattisgarh was one of my travel list in 2020. But COVID 19 pandemic change all travel enthusiasm plan. If I will be allowed to going Chhattisgarh this year, then Dholkal hill Ganesh temple was one of my top list places. This temple not like that normal classic temple. The 1100 year old this small, mysterious shrine located atop a hill in the middle of a dense forest In Dantewada district, about 350 km from Raipur in Chhattisgarh. The small hill shape of which resembles a dhol (Indian drum), and hence, it became popularly known as Dholkal. I don’t know this temple is man-made or some mystery had happened. But this temple’s location and its scenic beauty attracted everyone. I am just eagerly waiting to visit this place

Also Read Shakuni temple -Mahabharat’s most cunning Uncle

Chhattisgarh the untouched melody

Sliced off from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh is one of the newest states of India, but one of the oldest enclaves, thriving with ancient tradition and customs. Weekly Haats (markets), ancient temples, dense and deep jungles, frothing waterfalls, a well-defined spiritual circuit and intriguing customs are some of the things that awaken travellers to a new but old era.

The myth

As per the mythology, folks belief, a battle occurred between Lord Ganesha and sage Parashurama on Dholkal hill a long time back. This was a fierce battle in which Parashurama attacked Ganesha with his farsa (axe) and cut one tooth of Ganesha. That’s why Ganesha is known as “Ekdant“. The village nearest to the hill named Faraspal (the name derived from Parshuram’s weapon). It is also saying that, because Parshuram’s farsa fell here, the Bailadila mountain range became rich in iron ore.

source by timesofindia.indiatims.com

11th century’s Temple

According to history, In memory of the battle between Parashurama and Ganesha, the kings of Chindak Nagvanshi dynasty set a stone idol of Lord Ganesha at the hilltop in the 11th century. The 2.5 to 3 ft idol has carved in the shape of a Dholak (musical instrument) hence, the hill has been named Dholkal. The idol depicts Ganesha seated in his typical Lalit asana or playful and easygoing posture. The local villager worships the idol of Ganesha throughout the year, and a special fair has held at this site in the month of Magha, between January-February.

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The Journey

The most interesting part about the ancient temple its journey. Raipur to Jagdalpur 300 km and Jagdalpur to Dantewada town another 80 km. Both private cabs and public buses are easily available from Raipur to Jagdalpur and Dantewada. Dantewada town to Faraspal village is 18 km away and Faraspal to Dholkar hill another 5 km trekking in the dense jungle it would help you immensely to hire the service of a local guide to make your way through the dense conifer forests. So definitely Dholkar Ganesh temple and Chhattisgarh is my bucket list. You also join me actually for this ancient city travel. Till then be safe.

In the world Bicycle one of the most useful vehicle. The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted demand for bicycles, with people using them to commute, for exercise instead of going to gyms and to get some fresh air. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released technical guidance on moving around during the Covid-19 outbreak, advocating cycling and walking overcrowded public transports to limit physical contact during the pandemic.

Bicycle -The way to Home

In the world Bicycle one of the most useful vehicle. Covid-19, the pandemic has given us a scope to consider cycling as an important mode of commute as its environment friendly and economical. During the National lockdown in India, we hear about lots of real and courageous incidents to travel thousands of kilometres by cycle to reach their hometowns.

Bihar girl who cycled 1,200km carrying injured father

A 15-year-old girl Joyti Kumari, who won praise for carrying her injured father hundreds of kilometres across India by cycle. During India’s strictest nationwide lockdown Joyti and her father stuck in Gurugram (outskirts Delhi). A tenacious Jyoti asked her father to sit on the rear side carrier of her cycle and took him to his native place (Bihar), covering 1200 km in seven days.

Mumbai to Odisha

Migrant labourer Mahesh Jena pedalled 1,700 km across India over seven days to reach home. His biggest challenge was keeping the wheels moving. Jena followed his usual pre-dawn routine, but with an unusual plan in mind. Usually every day, he would head for his factory, a little over 10 km away in the industrial zone of Sangli in Maharashtra. But this time, he was headed home — to a small village called Bhanra in Odisha, nearly 1700 km away.

Migrants On The Road

There is lakh of migrants people are travel by walk or cycling to reach their home during the lockdown, the cycle has also come to the rescue of people in an emergency. On social media, a short video of a batch of migrant workers from Bengal starting for their home on bicycle from Chennai, embarking on a nearly 1,700 km journey. New Delhi to West Bengal, two Bengal youth are travelling 1600 km. 45 years old man travelled 1486 km with his cycle to reach his home. There are so many real travel incidents happen across India, during the lockdown.

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India is turning to cycles again

As workplaces start reopening, some are choosing cycles to avoid the risk of contamination on packed public transport, while others improve fitness levels. Many people in India have decided to ride a bicycle. People repaired there old cycle or buy a new one. Some Intelligent people of India prefer to waiting a long line of cycle shop instead of a liquor shop. Across all over India people are preferring this mode of transport to move about, whether it’s to go to work, do chores, or exercise.
Cycling is one of the greatest medication of anti-depression. Many people say during this quarantine days they are stuck and depressed but when lockdown over they start cycling regularly and this work out are removed all kind of depression.

Why should you Cycling

Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels and lungs all get a workout. You will breathe deeper, perspire and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level. And the end of the list you are Happy..

The health benefits of regular cycling include:

  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • decreased stress levels
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones
  • decreased body fat levels
  • prevention or management of disease
  • reduced anxiety and depression.

Please Note -Cover Picture source by cooktube.in

To the people of India I have met on my travel. Thank you all for all sharing yourselves so generously and welcoming rather intimidating looking stranger with so much warmth and such awesome food.

Indian cuisine dates back over 5000 years. Each region has its own traditions, religions and cultures that influence its food. Indian food has been influenced by Mongolian, Persian and Chinese cuisine, among others. The common thread throughout the centuries remains the distinct mixing of spices that invariably give Indian cuisine its flavor and aroma. Today I will talk about the famous Kashmiri dish which travel to Persia to India with a rich history.

Food Connection

When I was at Kufri in Himachal Pradesh, one fine night in dinner buffet menu, I found Mutton Rogan Josh. Before that I filled my plate with prawn, chicken, paneer, fish and probably one or two more dishes. But Rogan Josh made me feel like this was it. I did not need anything. I cleared my plate for it by placing all the dishes back to its utensils. Then I took more than a decent amount of Rogan Josh rice and sat in a table alone. I was about to start when a man came and sat in front of me. He was a complete stranger. I looked at the dining hall, it was quite empty. still he chose my table.

He looked at me and said “please don’t bother and enjoy your meal”. I started. He asked again, “how is it?” I said, “the best” and I put another morsel. He laughed. And I felt humiliated. My reaction made him realise that he is an evader in my peace. “I am Amitabh” he said. “Until you are Bachchan too, I have no interest” I said mockingly. he laughed again. “My friend you can’t name it the best, until you taste the best”, Mr. Amitabh said. ” I am telling you all this, because you are a foodie. The way you returned all the dishes for Mutton Rogan Josh, I connected with you. Being a foodie, I know it is prime duty to tell you about Mutton Rogan Josh. My friend you must taste the original Kashmiri Mutton Rogan josh. And you will able to find that when you know the history”.

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Story of Kashmiriyat

In Kashmir the amalgamation of hindu and Muslim culture gave birth to Kashmiriyat. Kashmiriyat was bred during Zain nanak and Akbar’s time and evolved through the local language art lifestyle and food. Kashmiriyat means people of different religions, different sects are living together amicably as a group. Here Hindu Pandits also celebrate Eid and Muslims wish them on Ram navami and they eat from each other’s utensils at home.There is no strict provision. So this is a beautiful and wonderful thing about Kashmir about Kashmiri culture and Kashmiriyat.

But unfortunately , this secular Kashmiriyat was butchered due to the political games played in the name of religion. And this difficult time Kashmiri pandits who have been expelled from their own land. Without Kashmiri pandits Kashmir remains incomplete. But few Pandits live in kashmir and even today they have kept kashmiri culture alive.

The actual hometown of Kashmiri Pandit is Kashmir valley. Kashmiri Pandits are Brahmins but since they lived in the Kashmir Valley there is a custom of eating meat and fish. And they are the people who make perfect Mutton Rogan Juice.

Kashmir valley(Google Image)

Mutton Rogan Josh

This mutton dish which kashmiri pandits cook and eat with relish, called ‘Rogan josh’. All Over the country in novice Mughal restaurants you find a substandard version of Rogan Josh containing insipid curry and colors.The real Rogan Josh cooked in the homes of Kashmiri Pandits contain less gravy.

Rogan Josh arrived in kashmir along with the Mughals around 400 years ago when Jahangir used to come to Kashmir. But Rogan Josh can be traced back to Persia, where Rogan means Ghee (clarified butter) and Josh means cooking on heat. Traditionally the dish is prepared in pure ghee, with the spices fried in fat to stimulate aromas and infuse the fat with the essence before adding other ingredients.

Yogurt is the base for the sauce. It gives a lovely tang with tomatoes while almonds add texture. It also thicken the sauce. Chillies and peppers mild heat are needed to complement the dish. with a die for taste, this dish complements with rice, chapati, paratha, naan. The choice will help you to mop up the rich gravy.

“Food is an emotion. It should not be cheated. Now you know the difference, it depends on you to find yourself the best.” Amitabh left me alone there. I finished that Rogan Josh and still waiting to taste the best.

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The main image source by Google and influence by Kari .Kari is the name of a make-up in Kathakali. It literally means black and is donned by cruel characters.

Everybody is a villain until their story is told. Generally temples are for Gods. But not all the time it is true. India is an unique country. It celebrates god, heroes and epic characters as well. Mayamkottu Malancharuvu Malanada temple in Kollam district, Kerala, is an unique temple. Shakuni (Mahabharata’s most cunning uncle) is worshiped here. Kuravar community runs this temple mainly.

Kuravar worships Shakuni as a God and believes he is not a villain in the real sense! They believe it is the circumstances that changed Shakuni to take revenge.

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Mahabharat’s most cunning Uncle’s temple:

The temple houses Shakuni’s shrine. According to the popular lore, Shakuni performed austerities at this site to please Lord Shiva, and subsequently, attained Moksha. In the temple a granite is installed. Interestingly, it is believed that, Shakuni had used it as a seat for his ritual. The folklore also suggests that the Kauravas divided their weapons amongst themselves at this place. They took shelter here after travelling miles in search of the Pandavas. 

Another intriguing belief is that a community claims to be the descendants of the Kauravas. And they worship Shakuni’s determination, perseverance and passion towards his goals. Shakuni is also believed to be a personification of the Dwapara Yuga. This is one of the four cyclical yugas, or eras, of the Hindu mythology.

The making of villain:

There are many stories about Shakuni and his family. Many of us know about the story that Shakuni was very close to his sister Gandhari. He could not accept the fact that she had to marry a blind man and Gandhari blindfold herself for her entire life.

But there is another story, which wrenched my heart. In many folk traditions narrate the story of explaining his hatred for the Kuru household. Astrologers had foretold about newborn Gandhari that she would be a widow soon as her first husband would have a short life. Her father, therefore, got her married to a goat, and sacrificed it soon after. Technically, that made Gandhari a widow. Later Bhishma came to know about that got furious. He could not bear the fact that a widow entered his great noble household.

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The great injustice:

An enraged Bhishma locked Suvala and his sons in a dungeon to punish them. He ordered to feed them a fistful of rice each day. Suvala knew that the rice was not enough for everyone. It was Bhishma’s plan to kill them starving. He came up with an idea, “let the most intelligent one among us eat only. He will live and avenge the great wrong done to the family”. Shakuni, the youngest, the sharpest, was the chosen one. He was fed regularly. While the rest of them starved to death. Shakuni witnessed their pain and great sacrifice. Before dying, Suvala broke Shakuni’s ankle, so he would remember the great crime every time he limped.

After his family’s death, Sahkuni came to live in Hastinapur with the Kauravas. He pleaded them for shelter, pretended to be a great relative, but plotted their downfall all along. Though Bhishma never liked Shakuni’s presence but never disrespected Dhritarastra’s decision. Some variants had held Duryodhan responsible for killing Shakuni’s father and brothers. Also in some variants Dhritarashtra was the main culprit, as Suvala refused his marriage proposal for Gandhari.

Shakuni’s story is a reminder to everyone not to judge people without knowing their story. even the worst of villains have a story that might explain their actions, without condoning them. The story of Gandhari marrying a goat came from a Jain retellings of the Mahabharata.

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Kuravar Community and Shakuni:

There is one similarity between them. This community was placed under Criminal Tribes Act 1871 during the British rule India. As they used to trade salt and crops. They were denotified after independence in 1952. But the stigma still continues. They are best known as Gypsy community in Tamilnadu. They were been oppressed for ages by their own people. This has led to protests and resentment from the community.