A family on the road to self discovery
 

Chandragiri Hill and the spread of Jainism in South India

Chandragiri Hills at Shravanabelagola is associated with the revival of Jainism in South India. This place was known to the Jain devotees as early as third century BC. It was a popular destination for doing santhara, an arduous tapasaya done mainly by ill and aged devotees giving up food, water and all pleasures of life, accomplishing a desire-less death. It is believed that hundred and six such deaths happened here, out of which sixty-four were monks, eleven Jain sadhvis, twenty-three male disciples and the rest were female disciples.

Chandragiri Hills, Shravanabelagola

Chandragiri Hills, Shravanabelagola


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The Nawabs of Junagadh

In a previous article, I wrote about the victory of Mahmud Begada over Raja Mandlik III in AD 1473. This victory brought Junagadh under the rule of Ahmadshahi Sultanate. It was then the turn of Muslim rulers to contribute and enrich Junagadh’s cultural heritage. Subsequently, in late sixteenth century Junagadh became part of the powerful Mughal Empire. By mid-eighteenth century the Mughal Empire weakened and Sher Khan Babi, who owed allegiance to the Sultan of Ahmedabad, expelled Mughal governor, declared independence of Junagadh and founded the Babi dynasty. Junagadh was then ruled by nawabs of Babi dynasty till India’s independence.

Babi dynasty – Did the name catch your attention? Yes, the gorgeous and sensuous Parveen Babi, who was the first Indian actress to adorn Time magazines front cover, was born in Junagadh and belonged to this dynasty.

Kalwa Chowk, Junagadh

Kalwa Chowk, Junagadh

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Sin and Sinners

During our June 2012 sojourn in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, almost everywhere, apple trees were flowering. Younger kid, who was only four then, wondered “All these flowers will become apples! How tasty the tree will be?”
“I will eat all the apples – gap-gapa-gap-gap” gestured he, with his small hands.

Apples of Himachal

Apples of Himachal

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Buddhist cave complex and the Step-wells of the Junagarh Fort

We descended out of Ranakdevi’s palace on an eastward slope leading towards Adi-Kadi Vav and reached an old Buddhist cave complex on the way. These caves were dug into a hillside in second century and were used by the Buddhist monks for meditation. The cave complex contains exquisitely carved pillars, entrances almost of the size of the modern doors, windows, assembly hall, and cells for meditation; it should be an ideal place for learning and self-reflection in solitude.

The three-tiered Buddhist cave complex, Uparkot, Junagarh

The three-tiered Buddhist cave complex, Uparkot, Junagarh


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Junagadh – A walk through history and folklores at Uparkot Fort

Junagadh is an exciting town to explore for the tourists with an eye for architecture and a taste for history. It was an important city during the regimes of Mauryean and Gupta dynasties in 300 to 200 BC and early AD. Post-independence, it was again in prominence and tested the skills of ‘Iron-will’ Sardar Patel, when its eccentric nawab refused to merge his small state with India and insisted to be part of Pakistan. Pages after pages of Indian history books are filled with references to this town as it refused to fade out from the memories of both the time and the history.

Junagadh’s places of tourist interest are all in a fairly compact busy market area. It is fun to amble through its narrow streets that reveal their hidden pan-Indian treasure at every corner – the sight of the skyline broken by domes, Disneylandish spiraling minarets, old Buddhist caves, Jain and Hindu temples, bold gothic archways, an old fort, the mansion of the nawab and many intricately carved wooden doors and windows. The rich cultural heritage of Junagadh is evident in its landmarks that have the political and the religious influence of its various rulers.

A peaceful place enroute, from Sasan-Gir to Junagarh

A peaceful place enroute, from Sasan-Gir to Junagarh


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Girnar Rock-Book Inscriptions

Junagadh city is the headquarter of Junagadh district in Gujarat. It is three hundred and twenty seven km from Ahmedabad and is about fifty-eight Km from Sasan Gir. It is situated at the base of mount Girnar – a gigantic five-peaked mountain of volcanic origin that rises steeply to a height of 1117 m. The name Girnar is an aberration of Giri-Nagar – meaning a town on the hill. Girnar has been considered sacred and was on pilgrimage route of both the Jains and the Hindus, since before third century BC. There is also a mosque dedicated to Jaismal Shah Peer that attracts Muslim pilgrims. This small city of Junagadh is so rich in myths-legends and has such an eventful past that it almost breathes history.

Mount Girnar as seen from Uparkot Fort, Junagarh

Mount Girnar as seen from Uparkot Fort, Junagarh

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