Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin)

Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin)
There were lots of great saints in India who worked for society and country during their lifetime and created a system for their followers to work for the welfare of society and country. Shri Guru Ram Rai was the great saint who worked their whole life for the human, society, and country. Today we popularly know them by various names such as Jhanda Sahib, Jhande Ji, Baba Ram Rai and the founder of Dehradun. Dehradun was the ‘Karmbhoomi’ of Shri Guru Ram Rai where the rest of life working for human and social welfare. He organizing popular Jhanda Mela and gave the message of blessing, harmony, goodwill and mutual brotherhood. Interestingly, if the flag was not present today, then perhaps Dehradun would not have happened.

History of Guru Ram Rai

History of Jhanda Mela Dehradun
History of Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
On the Chaitra Panchami of Phalguna month (5th day from Holi), Shri Guru Ram Rai was born in 1646 at Kiratpur, Ropar, Panjab. Guru Ram Rai was the son of the Seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai Ji. He had younger brothers Guru Harkrishan and elder sister Swaroop Kaur. The palace where he was born called Sheesh Mahal which was constructed on the model of Sheesh Mahal of Jaipur. He had superpowers since birth and acquired lots of knowledge in a very short life.

Guru Ram Rai Rejected by his father Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji

Once Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was accusing on Guru Har Rai for helping his brother Dara Shikoh. So Guru Har Rai Ji sent Guru Ram Rai as an emissary in Aurangzeb’s court for clarification. Due to misinterpreted Sri Guru Nanak’s writings and not obeying his father order exactly he was rejected by his father or Seventh Sikh Guru Har Rai Ji and also from the Sikh community. Guru Har Rai Ji ordered him to not return to home and in Punjab state for the lifetime. Guru Ram Rai was the very honorable member of Sikh community and now he was cast away for becoming a Sikh Guru. He had to face the social boycott by his own community.

Aurangzeb honored Guru Ram Rai as Hindu Pir

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb was very impressed with Guru Ram Rai's knowledge, cleverness and miraculous powers. So Aurangzeb honored him as Hindu Pir and asked him to remain associated with Aurangzeb's court and stay in Delhi with him for some time. Guru Ram Rai accepted Aurangzeb's request and stay for some time with Aurangzeb. After some time he decided to move in new place to establish himself as a Guru and do something for human and social welfare.

Founder of Dehradun- Sri Guru Ram Rai

In a very young age, Guru Ram Rai started his journey with his accompaniment. During his journey, he visited ‘Doon’ valley in the year 1676 and established his ‘Dera’ (camp) here which was popular later as ‘Deradoon’ and now known as Dehradun. As per order of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Garhwal’s Raja Fateh Shah granted six villages as Jagir (land grant) to Guru Ram Rai. Today these villages are now known as Panditwadi, Dhamawala, Rajpura, Khurbura, Lachchiwala etc. British also unable to come without permission taken from Darbar Sahib. Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib still have a large property in Dehradun.

Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin) Monument

Guru Rai Rai
Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
The peoples who don’t know about Guru Ram Rai think that Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib is a Gurudwara. It is the only misconception. Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib is a monument which is actually a philanthropic organization which follows Udasin tradition. It is considered here not to be a Sikh tradition but to have a nostalgic practice. Here you will find books of indifferent tradition.

Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
Murals on the building of Darbar Sahib
The present building of Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib was built in the year 1707. This monument is an example of Hindu and Islamic architecture style. This building having minarets, domes, murals. The murals on walls of monuments represent spiritual enlightenment and mixed culture. The walls of the building are carved with flowers and motifs. Paintings on walls reflecting different religious figures. For example, there is a mural of a woman whose dressing style is a mixture of Mughal and Garhwali. One the mural showing Hindu God Ram and Laxman with Hanuman wearing Mughal crowns. One of the murals in corridors depicted Janam Sakhis of Sikh Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Not only murals the text is written on them also in a various language such as Hindi, English, Persian, and Gurumukhi which represents the mixed culture of the Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib.

Community kitchen- Free food for all

At that time, Dehradun was a small village. So it was not an easy task to arrange food for those who arrived at the fair. In view of this, Shri Guru Ram Rai Maharaj made such an arrangement that no person who stepped in the door of the Darbar Sahib returned the hungry. The foundation stone of this shared stove was laid at Dehradun on the day of Chaitra Panchami in the year 1675 in the court of Darbar Sahib Shri Guru Ram Rai. This started the historic flag fair in Dehradun.

Since that time this community kitchen has not been cold. This stove never asked any person who came to Darbar Sahib Door to question what his religion was. It does not discriminate, knows how to erase distinctions. Even today, thousands of people take food every day under one roof. During the famous Flag Fair, this number reaches thousands, so ‘Langars’ are run at different places by the Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib.


Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
Jhanda Mela or Flag Fair of Dehradun
Jhanda Mela or Flag Fair of Dehradun is organized by Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib in respect and memory of Shri Shri Guru Ram Rai. Every year from the fifth day of Holi (Hindu festival) Jhanda Mela is organized at the Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib. Organizing Jhanda Mela on this day because of two reasons. First, this day is the birthday of Guru Ram Rai and after many years later on the same day, he comes first time in Dehradun. Lots of devotees of Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib come here from various states of India and abroad also for celebrating this ceremony. For the devotees of Guru Ram Rai, there are lots of facilities such as free food, free lodging, and stay facility.

Mahant Practice Started

In 1687 Sri Guru Ram Rai Ji left this earth and moved to heaven. Sri Guru Ram Rai Ji had four wives but not a single son from anyone. Sri Guru Ram Rai's fourth wife Panjab Kaur took charge of all responsibility but she never sat on Guru Ram Rai throne. Mata Panjab Kaur spent her whole life to helping poor and miserable persons. Mata Panjab Kaur started discipleship. The first Mahant was Shri Mahant Oud Das Ji. The rules for the become Mahant is very different. Only Garhwali Brahmins who not married in his entire life can be Mahant of Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib.

List of Mahants of Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin)

Till date, nine Mahant already successfully followed the responsibilities of Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib. Now the tenth Mahant Devendra Das has successfully handled the all responsibilities of Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib since June 25, 2000. The full list of Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib Mahant since starting is listed below.
  1. Mahant Oud Das (1687-1741)
  2. Mahant Har Prasad (1741-1766)
  3. Mahant Har Sevak (1766-1818)
  4. Mahant Swaroop Das (1818-1842)
  5. Mahant Pritam Das (1842-1854)
  6. Mahant Narayan Das (1854-1885)
  7. Mahant Prayag Das (1885-1896)
  8. Mahant Lakshman Das (1896-1945)
  9. Mahant Indiresh Charan Das (1945-2000)
  10. Mahant Devendra Das (Since June 25, 2000)

Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
Sarover (Water tank) Infront of Darbar Sahib
The ninth Mahant Shri Indresh Charan Das Ji during his period established Sri Guru Ram Rai Education Mission in 1952. For providing cheap and quality education for all he opens lots of schools and colleges. He completed many works during his period such as renovation and preservation of the Darbar Sahib building, restoration of ‘Sarover’ (water tank) of Darbar Sahib, for the devotees lodging facility etc. He ensured that all modern and latest facilities should be available in his schools, colleges, engineering institutes which is running under his mission.

Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
Inner view of Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib
Now since June 25, 2000, Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin) is under the supervision of Shri Mahant Devender Das Ji. He is successfully organizing yearly most popular Jhanda Mela. He added medical and pharmacy education institutes under Sri Guru Ram Rai Education Mission and now he is running Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital and Shri Guru Ram Rai Medical College successfully with all other responsibilities.

Timings
  • Open at 5 AM in the morning and closed at 9 PM in the evening.
  • On other days for visiting this place, you will need only 2-3 hours which is sufficient.
  • During Jhanda Mela you have to give full day here because Jhada Mela is full day ceremony. Then you have to come one day before the Jhanda Mela at Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib.
How to Reach

Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib is situated at Guru Ram Rai Market, Machi Gali, Jhanda Mohalla which is near to Saharanpur square. It is only half km far away from the Dehradun railway station and 5 km from the Dehradun ISBT bus stand. You will get an easy auto, taxi, city local buses from both places.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Jhanda Mela Dehradun


Jhande Ji ka Mela Dehradun
Jhanda Mela Dehradun
One of the popular fairs of Northern India is the Flag Fair of Dehradun which is more popularly as Jhanda Mela or Jhande Ji ka Mela. This Jhanda Mela starts on the fifth day of Chaitra (the fifth day from the Holi) which is the birthday of Shri Guru Ram Rai Ji. Other than being the birthday of Guru Ram Rai, it is the day he came to Dehradun in 1676 AD. So this Flag hosting ceremony is celebrated at Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib, Jhanda Bazar in Dehradun by his large number of devotees to remember Shri Guru Ram Rai Ji every year.

History of Jhanda Mela Dehradun

History of Jhanda Mela is directly connected with the Shri Guru Ram Rai who was the eldest son of the seventh Sikh Guru Shri Har Rai Ji. When Aurangzeb seated on The Mughal Emperor Throne, he blamed on Shri Guru Har Rai Ji for helping Dara Shikoh who was the Aurangzeb’s brother. Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh were fighting with each other for the power and Throne. So Aurangzeb called to Shri Guru Har Rai Ji in Delhi for explaining reasons. Shri Guru Har Rai Ji very wise and clearly understand the reasons behind this so he sent his eldest son Shri Guru Ram Rai.

Aurangzeb received Guru Ram Rai and asked about this matter. Then Guru Ram Rai Ji very cleverly satisfied to Aurangzeb with his answers and impressed him. So Aurangzeb requested to Guru Ram Rai for staying as a state guest for some periods. Once, Aurangzeb asked Guru Ram Rai why Sikh Guru Sri Guru Nanak criticized Islam as “Mitti Musalman Ki” then he replying that actually, it is “Mitti Baimaan Ki” not as “Mitti Musalman Ki”.

Guru Ram Rai’s father Guru Shri Har Rai Ji strictly instructed him to only explain to Aurangzeb Guru’s position but Guru Ram Rai misinterpreted Sri Guru Nanak’s writings which is completely banned for anyone. Also, Guru Ram Rai please to Aurangzeb by performing various miracles. So when Guru Shri Har Rai Ji knows about it he not allowed to Guru Ram Rai to return home for a lifetime. He was rejected by his own father or Guru, community and relatives and forced to leave his birthplace Panjab.

Then Guru Ram Rai remained associated with Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb’s court and Aurangzeb honored him as Hindu Pir. Aurangzeb asked Garhwal’s Raja Fateh Shah to do all possible support to Sri Guru Ram Ji. So for establishing himself as a Guru in another area, Guru Ram Rai Ji came in ‘Doon valley’ in the year 1676.

Dera Doon becomes Dehradun

During the tour in Doon valley, his horse’s foot hit in the ground and stick in it. So Sri Guru Har Rai order to all his accompaniment to stop here and then he shoots an arrow in all four directions and said to his accompaniment to use that area which was covered by all four arrows. Guru Ram Rai setup a Jhanda for mark the location of his camp or Dera which becomes very popular later. Then he and his accompaniment setup a ‘Dera’ (camp) there which was popularly called as ‘Deradoon’. This Deradoon later becomes Garhwal (Uttarakhand's) capital as now known as Dehradun. The place where the Guru Ram Rai Durbar Sahib is situated called as Dhamawala. As per order of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Garhwal’s Raja Fateh Shah give six villages as an estate to Guru Ram Rai.

The Popular ‘Jhanda’ of Jhanda Mela

Flag Fair Dehradun
Famous Jhanda of Jhanda Mela Dehradun
The popular Jhanda of the Jhanda Mela is made from a ‘Sal tree’ trunk. The length of this huge Jhanda is about 27 meter or 100 feet. After 5-6 years this Sal tree trunk changed and new Sal tree trunk used for the Jhanda.  This Jhanda is wrapped with 63 layers of cloths or called as ‘Gilaaf’. The starting 41 layers of Gilaaf is simple plain cloth called ‘Jhanda Ji’ then followed 21 layers of velvet cloth called ‘Shaneel’  and the final outer covering of ‘Darshani cloth’. The cloths of the Jhanda of Jhanda Mela every year changed. The cloth used for wrapping on Jhanda is very long. Peoples said that Jhanda inside the ground and above the ground is in the same length.

Before starting the famous Jhanda Mela, preparation of Gilaafs for the Jhanda started by devotee women who started the stitching work of Gilaafs’ (cover) for the Jhanda by using sewing machines. It is believed that the women who get this opportunity will be free from their sins so every year, women wait for when they are invited and they get involved in the service.

Preparations for the Jhanda Mela or Flag Fair

Jhanda Mela celebration started on the fifth day of Holi and continues for a month. A large number of Guru Ram Rai devotees started to arrive at Sahaspur in Dehradun before the Flag fair starting. Devotees come mainly from the Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and other parts of the country and also from the abroad who want to be witness and part of the Jhanda Mela. These crowd of men, women, and children of different age groups called ‘Sangat’ (accompaniment). There is very well arrangements for the all devotees for staying here in Shri Guru Ram Rai Public Schools various branches and Dharamshalas of Dehradun.

Jhanda Mela
Ram and Shiv Temple with a water tank at Jhanda Mela area
As per tradition prior to the Flag fair, the Mahant of Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib goes to Sahaspur on foot to take the ‘Sangat’. Then Sangat moves from Kanwali area to Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib. Before joining this holy flag hosting ceremony devotees takes a bath (dip) in the Holy tank situated at the Darbar Sahib. The fair begins in the early morning around 8 o'clock with lowing the flag (Jhanda) and removing old cloths covering. Then this flag pole (Sal tree trunk) is washed with water of Holi Ganga River, milk, curd, honey, Ghee and Panchamrita. Then started to cover (wrapping) this with Gilaafs, in which 41 layers of ‘Jhande Ji’ cloth, 21 layers of ‘Shaneel’ and last and very decorative one ‘Darshani Gilaaf’.

During this whole procedure, Jhanda never kept on the ground for a single second. After completing this whole procedure in 4-5 hours Jhanda ready to fix and with the help of devotees Jhanda is hosted at its place. Devotees are so excited and happy and making joyful sounds during this time. After the flag is hosted devotees started to offer their handkerchiefs or scarves in prayer for blessings and fulfilling their wishes.

Old Gilaafs distributed as Prasad

Each and every year the old Gilaafs (Jhanda cloths) distributed among all Guru Ram Rai devotees as a Prasad. The old pieces of the Gilaaf are taken by all accompaniment. There is also a very long list of devotees who want to sew a cover for the flag. The main long waiting list is for the ‘Darshani Gilaaf’ for offering to Jhanda during Jhanda Mela is reached to the year 2116 and for the Saneel Gilaaf, it is the year 2043.

Flag Fair is a message of mutual brotherhood, harmony, joy, and peace

Jhanda Mela Dehradun
Flag Fair of Dehradun
Guru Ram Rai Darbar is not a Gurdwara it is actually a monument which follows the Udasin tradition. Jhanda Mela is organized by the Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin) every year which is open to all religion’s followers who believe in Guru Ram Rai Ji. As per present Mahant of Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin), Jhanda Mela is a message of harmony, goodwill, mutual brotherhood, joy, and peace. For the hosting Jhanda Ji peoples come from different religions, castes, and states every year which promotes communal harmony among peoples.

Each and every year devotees come from every part of India and also from abroad jointly celebrated this Jhanda Mela. There is no one poor, rich, lower level or upper-level person each and every jointly with mutual harmony and supporting each other organized this festival. That’s why till date devotees of all classes, community, castes, and creed visit Jhanda Mela every year and every year number of devotee’s increases from the previous year.

Markets during Jhanda Mela

Jhanda Mela Dehradun
Jhoola for kids at Jhanda Mela
There are lots of shopkeepers install their temporary shops in this area during these periods. The shops include kid’s toys item, food stalls, ladies cosmetic items, grocery and many more with lots of Jhoola for kids. There are also lots of Prasad selling shops near the famous Jhanda of JhandaMela. There is a huge crowd in the market so be careful during the shopping in the market and keep kids with you.

The Timing of Jhanda Mela Dehradun
  • Every year on the fifth day from Holi or Chaitra Krishna 5 day in Phalguna month of Hindi calendar.
  • Function timing: Morning 05:00 am to Evening at 09:00 pm.
  • Jhanda Mela is the full day ceremony so you have to plan accordingly.
  • Jhanda Mela celebrated for fifteen days starting from Holi fifth day.
How to Reach

Jhanda Mela is celebrated at Flag Market, Akhara Bazar, Saharanpur Chowk in Dehradun where the Shri Guru Ram Rai Darbar Sahib (Udasin) is situated. It is at walkable distance from the Dehradun railway station and about 1 km. The distance from the Dehradun Bus stand (ISBT) is only 5 km. You can get the easy auto, taxi and local bus from both places railway station and ISBT. Dehradun Airport is 25 km far away from this place so you take a taxi, auto or cab which is easily available.

Dehradun is well connected from the other cities by railway, state roadways buses, and airplanes. For Delhi, to Dehradun, there are lots of trains and AC and non-AC buses, Volvo services for Dehradun is available at every hour basis. By bus and train, it is only a 5-6 hour journey from Delhi to Dehradun. There are many Aeroplanes for Delhi to Dehradun.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Chandrika Devi Temple Lucknow

Chandrika Devi
Chandrika Devi Temple Lucknow
Chandrika Devi temple is a very famous spiritual place in Lucknow where Maa Chandrika Devi is prayed in the ‘Pindis Roop’ (a rock having three Pindis or heads). This temple is dedicated to Hindu Goddess Chandi a form of Hindu Goddess Maa Durga. During the Navratri days, it is very crowded and lots of peoples come here from nearby cities to visit Maa Chandrika Devi. 

The Chandrika Devi Temple and its nearby areas have very significance religious relevance with Ramayana and are called as Mahi Sagar Teerth. There are details of this temple in the blessed books of Skand and Karma Puran.

Temple is approximately 300 years old and it is about 28 km from Lucknow. About 6 km away from the main road on Sitapur Road Chandrika Devi Temple, established between distant forests. The temple site is surrounded by river Gomti from three sides. This place can also be called a small island.

Mythologies of Chandrika Devi Temple

It is also believed that the moon, which was affected by the curse of Dakshaprajapati, had to come to Chandrika Devi Dham to take bath in the water of this Mahisagar Sangam Tirth to take relief from the curse of Dakshaprajapati.

In the Treta era, Chandrika Devi Temple history related to Lord Ram’s younger brother Laxman’s elder son Rajkumar Chandraketu. Once he was going with Ashwamegh horse through Gomti River. In the way, it wound up dull or dark and thus he decided to take rest in the very dense forest. Then he prayed to Goddess Durga for his wellbeing. Instantly there was cool moonlight and the Goddess Durga appeared before him for assuring to Rajkumar Chandraketu. After this, the grateful Prince established this temple There was a grand temple which was established at that time was later destroyed by the foreign invaders in the 12th century.

In the Mahabharata time, the five Pandavas' son with mother Draupadi came here to this shrine during his exile. Maharaja Yudhishthar performed Ashwamedh Yagya Yajna, whose horse was stopped by the then King Hanshdhwaj. Then near to Chandrika Devi Dham, he had to fight with the army of Yudhisthira, in which his son Surath joined.

But the second son Sudhnava was busy in the worship of Goddess Nav Durga. Due to the absence in war, he was treated by putting him into a pan of boiling oil in this Mahisagar area. Due to the grace of Maa Chandrika Devi, there was no effect on his body. From then on, this shrine started to be called Sudhwanva Kunda. The army of Maharaja Yudhishthira lived here, then this village was called Katkavasa. Today this place is called as Kathwara.

There is one more legend of the period of Dwaper Yug or Mahabharata time. Lord Shri Krishna advised to Barbreek who was the son of Ghatotkach or grandson of the Bheem for the worship of Maa Chandrika Devi for acquiring powers. So Barbreek worshiped continuously 3 years to Maa Chandrika Devi at this place.

Lord Shiva at Chandrika Devi
Lord Shiva at Chandrika Devi 
As per saying there is no shortage of water in the Mahisagar Sangam Tirtha and it is directly related to the river. Even today, crores of devotees came here for the worship Lord Maharathi Barbarik.

The rebuilding of Chandrika Devi Temple

Approximately 250 years back some nearby villagers during walking in the forests found this beautiful place and locate the statue of Devi. It is said that near the Gomti River, on the banks of the Mahisagar Sangam Tirtha, there is a very ancient tree of Neem in which Maa Durga with their nine forms and the Vediya kept safe from immemorial time. Later on, the landlord of Kathwara village saw a dream of Maa Chandrika Devi so he decided to build the temple at this place. Since then peoples continuously visit this temple and arranged a huge fair on each Amavasya.

Chandrika Devi Mandir Lucknow
Chandrika Devi Mandir Lucknow
Every Amawasya and Navratras lots of Maa Chandrika Devi devotees came here from the nearby cities for the various types of religious activities such as Mundan Sanskar (full hair cutting), Janeu Sanskar, Hawan or Yagya etc. During the Navratri days, there is a huge fair organized by the temple and Mela committee so at that time it is very tough to visit Maa Chandrika Devi due there is a very long queue so it is better to go in Morning time for better experience.

At that time lots of cultural and religious activities also organized by the committee such as Kirtans, Satsang. Last year in 2017 there was under the Swachh Bharat Mission a cultural activity organized in which very famous singer Malini Awasthi came here to aware peoples about the cleanliness in the people through the singing various beautiful songs of Maa Chandrika Devi in her melodious voice.

Facilities at Chandrika Devi Temple

There are lots of facilities developed by the committee for the devotees. There are lots of shops for taking sweets or dry fruits for offering to Maa Chandrika Devi with other items such as such as Sindoor, churi (bangles) Bindi, Chunri (cloth). There is a facility to take breakfast, lunch, and dinner also. You can purchase here CDs, cassettes, religious books, and other many items. There is also CCTV facility so no one can involve in wrong activities like pocket picking, misbehaving etc.

Visiting Time

During summer: From 04:00 am to 11:00 pm
During winter: From 5:00 am to 10:00 pm
Aarti Time: From 07:00 am in the morning and from 08:00 pm in the evening every day.
During Amawasya: From 11:00 pm in summer and from 10:00 pm in winter.
Closing Time: Daily in the afternoon from 01:00 pm to 02:00 pm and half an hour before the Aarti starting.

How to Reach

Chandrika Devi Temple is situated on the bank of waterway Gomti River at the north-west of National Highway No.24 which popularly called as Lucknow-Sitapur road in Lucknow, in the Katwara town. It is approximately 28km from the main city and 45 km from Lucknow Airport. The distance from the Sitapur road after the Bakshi ka Talab (BKT) where a gate of Chandrika Devi temple is there are only 11 km.

You will get easily prepaid Taxi, auto, cab and Buses from the Lucknow railway and bus station. You can go there by private or own vehicles which is a better option, it will be 40 to 45 minutes journey which ends up at the calm and peaceful environment.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Alai Minar : An Unfinished Minar

During the visit of world-famous Qutub Minar in Delhi, you will find the Alai Minar inside the Qutub Complex archaeological area. Alai Minar is an unfinished monument whose projected height was twice to the Qutub Minar.

Alai Minar
Alai Minar: An Unfinished Minar
History

Ala-Ud-Din Khilji was over ambitious so after the doubling the size of Quwwat ul-Islam mosque he decided to make a new tower of victory whose size must be double to Qutub Minar. Then the Alai Minar was built by the Ala-Ud-Din Khilji during his ruling period (1296 – 1316 AD). After the death of Ala-ud-din Khalji, the construction of the tower could not be completed. The intention behind the building of minar by Ala-ud-din Khilji is mentioned by the Sufi poet Amir Khusro in “Tareekh-i-Alai” to increase the area of mosque and construction of another minar.

Architecture

It is not complete so there is not much to say for its architecture. The full height of the Alai Minar tower is only 24.5 meter or 80 feet and it is just a base which looks like a red rubble core. The circumference of the tower is 77.72 meter or 255 feet. The diameter of the Alai Minar is approx. 40 feet less than the Qutub Minar tower whose diameter is 47 feet.  The thickness of the outer wall of the Alai Minar is 19 feet and divided into 32 faces. The interior central column is 26 feet in diameter and around it stairs for reaching to the top.


Notice Board on Alai Minar
Notice Board on Alai Minar 
How to Reach

For visiting the Alai Minar you have to go Qutub Minar which is situated in Mehrauli in South Delhi. New Delhi is well connected to other cities by railway, bus services and by airplanes. For reaching to Mehrauli from Delhi you can take Metro, DTC bus or you can book cab also.

Visiting Time

It opens for 10:00 am to 06:00 pm daily. When I visit this place the entry fee was Rs. 30/- per head for Indians and for foreign tourists it was Rs. 500. Entry was free for children’s up to 15 years.

Maa Bala Sundari Mandir Suddhowala Dehradun

Mahamaya Bala Sundari
Maa Bala Sundari Mandir Suddhowala Dehradun
Hindu Goddess Maa Vaishno Devi’s ‘Baal Roop’ called as Maa Bala Sundari. There are lots of temples of Maa Bala Sundari Devi in India and the most famous Maa Bala Sundari Mandir is situated in Tirlokpur, Himachal Pradesh. One of the popular temples of Maa Bala Sundari is situated at Sudhowala in Dehradun. This temple is situated inside the forest which is approximately 3.5 km from Sudhowala in South-West direction.

Mahamaya Bala Sundari
Mahamaya Bala Sundari
Mahamaya Bala Sundari is an infant state of Goddess Vaishno Devi. This Maa Devi has three main ‘Roops’ which are Maa Lalita Devi, Maa Bala Sundari Devi, and Maa Tribhavini Devi. During the Hindu festival Navaratri every year there is a very big function is organized by the Maa Bala Sundari Trust, Sudhowala. Lots of devotees Maa Bala Sundari of came here to celebrate and participate in this function.

Maa Bala Sundari Mandir Suddhowala Dehradun
The long queue of devotees of Maa Bala Sundari at Suddhowala
Temple has good space for the organizing functions so both Sharada Navaratri and Vasanta Navaratri celebrated here annually. During the festival lots of cultural activities organized by the Maa Bala Sundari Trust and students who study here in nearby place of Sudhowala. There is also the arrangement of the feast for all devotees who come here during this period.



Dehradun is the capital of Uttarakhand so reaching to Dehradun is very easy by Railway, Bus and by Aeroplanes. Maa Bala Sundari Mandir is situated at Sudhowala which is approximately 11 to 12 km from Dehradun Bus stand ISBT and railway station. You can go there by private auto, taxi or car as per your choice.

Bala Sundari Mandir taxi stand
Jai Maa Balasundari Yatayat Sahkari Samiti Ltd
There is also direct service from Premnagar to Maa Bala Sundari Mandir Suddhowala. There is a stand called Jai Maa Bala Sundari Yatayat Sahkari Samiti Ltd. taxi stand in Prem Nagar stoppage where you can get direct vehicle Tata Magic at the nominal charge of Rs. 20/- per person which will drop you in front of the temple.