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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

Which are the popular religious sites in Alwar?

Reet Cheema DEC 10 2012
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For a trip way back in time and one that will have you reaffirming your faith, a visit to the religious sites of Alwar is a must. History and mythology laden, some of the religious sites of Alwar are:

Jagannath temple


Dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the temple’s presiding deity is actually the personified form of Lord Jagannath, a deity worshipped primarily by Hindus and Buddhists in the temple city of Puri. Here too the deity is worshipped as a part of a triad, called Ratnabedi, along with Sitaramji and Jankiji. Visited year round by a throng of devotees, the temple is at its highpoint during the Rath Yatra festival, when Lord Jagannath and Jankiji are taken out around the city in a chariot called Indra Vimana. The festival is actually the annual wedding celebration of Lord Jagannath and Jankiji and those who are familiar with Puri’s Jagannath rath yatra will find it different in tone and nature from that celebrated in Puri. In the wake of the chariot and leading it are lakhs of devotees, with festivities and drums splitting the sky well into the night.

Karni Mata Temple
Dedicated to Karni Mata, one of the more fierce incarnation of Goddess Kali, the temple has been built in the late Mughal style. You will cross walls, doors, arcades as well as the shaded pathway (pergola) that you take, all intricately decorated and carved. As you take your steps in, you will very soon come across rats surrounding a trough, drinking milk out of it and no this not the time to give in to your fear of rodents and jump and shriek. The rats are revered residents of the temple and taken care of by the temple staff. Very comfortable around the gaggle of visitors that visit daily, they very happily climb on to visitors’ laps who are kind enough to feed them bananas and other temple food stuff. Once you enter the main shrine with the deity’s idol and image, the mystery of rats will be solved-the image shows the Goddess holding a Trishul, surrounded by rats. Karni Mata was actually a Hindu sage born in the Charan caste and according to folklore these rodents are incarnations of the caste to which the Karni Mata belonged. If you peer closely at the temple walls and nooks, you can see fissures, made to enable the rats to wander around freely. In fact, if you come across a white rat, consider yourself blessed as according to temple belief, it is considered a sign of Karni Mata blessing you.

Additionally, the ancient Mahadeva temple in incredibly beautiful Naldeshwar, a village located 24 km south of Alwar, is another popular religious site of Alwar. Dedicated to Lord Shiva and famous for its naturally formed Shivaling, the temple is surrounded by 2 natural bunds (water ponds) that receive water from the stream that flows through the hills that surround this serene place. Your drive to Naldeshwar, enroute to Sariska Tiger Reserve, will be as scenic, teeming with natural beauty, as the destination itself.

Throw all preconceived notions aside and hotfoot to the fascinating city of Alwar, where crumbling buildings, ornate carvings, doorways and pillars filled with stories of old kingdoms await your arrival. There are some equally fascinating places to visit in Alwar, that you should definitely check out.

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