Friday, July 8, 2011

Shri Brahma Mandir - Pushkar

Jagatpita Brahma Mandir is a Hindu temple situated at Pushkar in the Indian state of Rajasthan, close to the sacred Pushkar Lake to which its legend has an indelible link. The temple is one of very few existing temples dedicated to the Hindu creator-god Brahma in India and remains the most prominent among them Although the present temple structure dates to the 14th century, the temple is believed to be 2000 years old. The temple is mainly built of marble and stone stabs. It has a distinct red pinnacle ( shikhara ) and a hamsa bird motif. The temple sanctum sanctorum holds the central images of Brahma and his second consort Gayatri The temple is governed by the Sanyasi ( ascetic ) sect priesthood.[2] On Kartik Poornima, a festival dedicated to Brahma is held when large number of pilgrims visit the temple, after bathing in the sacred lake.
According to the Hindu scripture Padma Purana, Brahma saw the demon Vajranabha ( Vajranash in another version ) trying to kill his children and harassing people. He immediately slew the demon with his weapon, the lotus-flower. In this process, the lotus petals fell on the
ground at three places, creating 3 lakes: the Pushkar Lake or Jyeshta Pushkar (greatest or first Pushkar), the Madya Pushkar ( middle Pushkar ) Lake, and Kanishta Pushkar (lowest or youngest Pushkar) lake. When Brahma came down to the earth, he named the place where the flower ("pushpa") fell from Brahma's hand ( "kar" ) as "Pushkar". Brahma then decided to perform a yajna ( fire-sacrifice ) at the main Pushkar Lake. In order to perform his yajna peacefully without being attacked by the demons, he created the hills around the Pushkar – Ratnagiri in the south, Nilgiri in the north, Sanchoora in the west and Suryagiri in the east and positioned gods there to protect the yajna performance. However, while performing the yajna, his wife Savitri ( called Sarasvati in some versions ) could not be present at the designated time to perform the essential part of the yajna as she was waiting for her companion goddesses Lakshmi, Parvati and Indrani.
Pushkar is said to have over 500 temples ( 80 are large and the rest are small ); of these many are old that were destroyed or desecrated by Muslim depredations during Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's rule ( 1658–1707 ) but were re-built subsequently; of these the most important is the Brahma temple. Though the current structure dates to the 14th century, the original temple is believed to be 2000 years old.The temple is described to have been built by sage Vishwamitra after Brahma's yagna It is also believed that Brahma himself chose the location for his temple The 8th century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara renovated this temple, while the current medieval structure dates to Maharaja Jawat Raj of Ratlam, who made additions and repairs, though the original temple design is retained.Pushkar is often described in the scriptures as the only Brahma temple in the world, owing to the curse of Savitri, but also as the "King of the sacred places of the Hindus" Although now the Pushkar temple does not remain the only Brahma temple, it is still one of very few existing temples dedicated to Brahma in India and the most prominent one dedicated to Brahma International Business Times has identified Pushkar Lake and the Brahma temple as one of the ten most religious places in the world and one of the five sacred pilgrimage places for the Hindus, in India.
Brahma's central icon (murti) made of marble was deified in the garbhagriha in 718 AD by Adi Shankara. The icon depicts Brahma, seated in a crossed leg position in the aspect of creation of the universe ( the Vishvakarma form ). The central image is called the chaumurti ( "four-faced idol" ). It is of life size with four hands, four faces, each oriented in a cardinal direction. The four arms hold the akshamala (rosary), the pustaka ( book ), the kurka ( kusha grass ) and the kamandalu ( water pot ). Brahma is riding on his mount, the hamsa. The four symbols held by Brahma in his arms: the rosary, Kamandalu, book and the sacrificial implement kusha grass represent time, the causal waters from which the universe emerged, knowledge and the system of sacrifices to be adopted for sustenance of various life-forms in the universe. Gayatri's image sits along with Brahma's in centre to his left. Savatri alias Sarasvati sits to the right of Brahma, along with other deities of the Hindu pantheon. Images of the peacock, Sarasvati's mount, also decorate the temple walls. Images of the preserver-god Vishnu, life-sized dvarapalas ( gate-keepers ) and a gilded Garuda ( eagle-man, mount of Vishnu ) are also seen in the temple.
The temple is visited by pilgrims and also by the holy men and sages, after taking a ceremonial sacred bath in the Pushkar lake.It is also a practice that visit to the Brahma temple is followed by worship of his consort Gayatri, followed by visits to other temples as convenient The temple is open for worship between 6:30 am and 8:30 pm during winter and 6:00 am to 9:00 pm during summer, with an interval in afternoon between 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm when the temple is closed. Three aratis are held in the temple: Sandhya arati in the evening about 40 minutes after sunset, Ratri Shayan arati ( night-sleep arati ) about 5 hours past sunset and Mangala arati in the morning, about 2 hours before sunrise.
Numerous Ghats run down to the lake, and pilgrims are constantly bathing in the lake's holy waters. If you wish to join them, do it with respect - remove your shoes, don't smoke and don't take photographs. This is not Varanasi and the pilgrims here can be very touchy about insensitive instruction by non - Hindus.
Other related temples:
Brahma's two consorts Savitri and Gayatri mentioned in the legend also have separate temples erected for them in Pushkar, but on hills at opposite ends of the lake. The first consort Savitri, who cursed Brahma, is described to be still seating annoyed and enraged in her shrine on the highest hill in Pushkar, while Gayatri afraid of Savatri's wrath sits at a lower hill at the other end, the eastern side of the lake Savitri temple located on the top of Ratnagiri hill, behind the Brahma temple, overlooks the Pushkar Lake and the sand dunes on its western side. It is reached by one hour's trek over a series of steps on the hill. The temple ( also made of marble ) houses a statue of goddess Savitri. An early morning visit to the temple provides a good view of the lakeThe Gayatri temple or Pap Mochani temple is accessible by a 30-minute climb from a track behind Marwar bus stand Atpateshwar or Apteshwar temple The Atpateshwar temple, which is situated in a cave next to the Brahma temple, is dedicated to Shiva. This temple was built by Brahma after he found that Shiva attended the Yagna performed by him in the garb of a Tantric mendicant holding a skull. When Shiva was accosted for this appearance, he was piqued and filled the entire area of the yagna site with skulls. The agitated Brahma meditated to know the reason for such a situation, then he realised that the mendicant was none other than Shiva. Realising his folly, Brahma requested Shiva to attend the yagna. Shiva then attended the yagna holding the skull and Brahma in appreciation erected a temple in honour of Shiva as 'Atpateshwar', next to his own temple. The Linga of Shiva is large and is encircled by a snake made of copper. Shivaratri festival is a special occasion to visit this temple

1 comment:

  1. The present Brahma Temple is believed to have been built in the 14th century, though the origins of this temple are believed to date back to 2000 years. The temple is built in beautiful white marble, with steps leading to the main shrine. The central shikhara is a bright red with the figure of the 'hansa' over it. Pujas here are strictly performed by sanyasi pujaris. Check out more fact about Brahma Temple Pushkar.


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