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Uttarakhand: Temples devoted to Duryodhana and Karna of Epic Mahabharata

The residents of both the villages are more than happy to be associated with the eldest of the Kauravas and the abandoned son of Kunti

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Gada Yuddha in Mahabharata. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
  • The temple in Jakholi was built by local inhabitants Saur, who worship the Kauravas as their ancestors
  • The picture is completely different in Netwar, the residents are honoured of their lineage associated to Karna
  • Other temples of the Kaurava prince can be seen at Osla, Gangar and Datmir

Ever heard of a temple dedicated to someone who is widely regarded as a villain? Well, even if you haven’t, the land of gods, Uttarakhand is full of such surprises. The state has a temple dedicated to chief antagonist Duryodhana and anti-hero Karna from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

The temples are nestled in the remote corner of Uttarakhand and both have an inimitable story attached to their establishment.

It is almost intriguing, the way people of Netwar village in Tons valley of Uttarkashi take pride in the Karna temple located in their village.

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Jakholi is only a few kilometres from Netwar and the residents of both the villages are more than happy to be associated with the eldest of the Kauravas and the abandoned son of Kunti.

Duryodhana on battlefield Image Source: New Indian Express

The temple in Jakholi was built by local inhabitants Saur, who worship the Kauravas as their ancestors. Legends have it that the local people wept so much at the death of Duryodhana in the battle of Kurukshetra that their tears became a river named Tamas (meaning sorrow).

Tamas also known as Tons, is still not used for drinking purposes as the local belief goes that the tear still continues to flow.

Duryodhana Temple is located 13 km from Sankri. He is worshipped in the upper valleys of the rivers Tons, Yamuna, Bhagirathi, Balganga and Bhilangna.

To the disappointment of some, it is now converted into a Shiva temple, but it has still managed to retain a gold-plated axe, which is believed to have once belonged to the Kaurava prince.

While Janak Singh Rawat, head of the temple committee, rejected any association with the Kaurava and claimed, “Our deity has always been Lord Shiva.”

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A villager on speaking to Times of India confirmed that the temple once had strong roots attached to Duryodhana and revealed, “almost nine years ago, the villagers decided to distance themselves from Duryodhana as they believed that any association with this Mahabharata character was only giving them a bad name.”

Duryodhana temple in Uttarakhand Image Source: Speaking Tree
Duryodhana temple in Uttarakhand. Image Source: Speaking Tree

It is interesting to note that there are other temples in the country as well where the Kaurava prince is worshipped, which can be seen at Osla, Gangar and Datmir.

The picture is completely different in Netwar, the residents are honoured of their lineage with ‘daan veer’(sacrificing) Karna.

The village is regularly engaged in philanthropic and charitable activities that are carried out by the funds donated by each family.

Manmohan Prasad Nautiyal, the village pradhan, told, “Karna is our ideal and our deity. We try to follow his charitable and philanthropic ideals fully. The dowry system has been officially abolished by the village committee. He said animal sacrifice was also banned.”

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  • Aparna Gupta

    There is also a temple in Kerala which is dedicated to Shakuni of Mahabharata. Its amazing that we have temples dedicated to villains.

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Holy Hindu Shrine Gangotri Closes for Six Months

Gangotri is part of the four shrines where the 'Chaar Dhaam' annual pilgrimage takes place in the hill state of Uttarakhand that draws millions every year.

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Gangotri temple. Wikimedia

Dehradun, October 20, 2017 : The gates of the Gangotri shrine in Uttarakhand were closed for a six-month winter break on Friday.

Amid fanfare and chanting of vedic hymns, locals shifted a statue of the Goddess Ganga to Mukhwa where, from Saturday, puja will be performed for the next six months. Jawans of the Mahal regiment of the Army played music during the ceremony.

Gangotri is part of the four shrines where the ‘Chaar Dhaam’ annual pilgrimage takes place in the hill state of Uttarakhand that draws millions every year.

The Kedarnath and Yamunotri shrines will be closed for the winter break from Saturday. (IANS)

 

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Hafeez Jalandhari: The Man behind Pakistan’s National Anthem also Wrote Urdu Poem-Krishn Kanhaiya to Praise the Hindu God Krishna

Decoding Hafeez Jalandhari's 'Krishn Kanhaiya'

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Hafeez Jalandhari wrote Krishn Kanhaiya, praising Hindu God Krishna
Hafeez Jalandhari wrote Krishn Kanhaiya, praising Hindu God Krishna. Pixabay
  • Hafeez Jalandhari weaved a poem that has a political and devotional angle to it
  • Hinduism uses sight as a way to connect with the almighty
  • The poet doesn’t refer to Krishna as a God but he says that Krishna represents glory and majesty of God

New Delhi, August 31, 2017: This year, Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day coincided with Hindu Festival Janmashtami (a festival to celebrate Krishna’s birth). Both were on 14th August. The famous Urdu poet Hafeez Jalandhari wrote the Qaumi Taranah, Pakistan’s national anthem. But not many people know that the same poet penned Krishn Kanhaiya, a unique Urdu poem beautifully describes the greatness of the Hindu Deity.

The idea of a Muslim poet in today’s time writing on a Hindu God raises all sorts of reactions (some of which are negative) coming from different ethnic groups in South Asia: suspicion, anger, surprise, joy or mere curiosity.

There is much more nuance to the poem Krishn Kanhaiya than what the reader thinks on its first reading. This is not just a devotional poem. Jalandhari had a political bend of mind be it him as a thinker or a writer. So, even this poem of his is not an ordinary one, it talks about Krishna’s grand persona, Hindu idol worship, what makes him different, his righteousness, describing the role he played in a Hindu epic Mahabharata.

He weaved a poem that has a political and devotional angle to it. The hidden meaning of it, when compared with Qaumi Taranah, is that it tells about the cultural politics of South Asia- in the 20th Century and has relevance today.

Decoding the poem:

Idol Worship

In the first line of the poem, the poet says “O, onlooker”- he might be saying this as he’s talking about a Hindu God and Hinduism gives importance to seeing a God, they believe in Idol worshipping, Hindu Gods have a form, a face. Thus, Hinduism uses sight as a way to connect with the almighty. The poet wants the readers to have mental darshan of Lord Krishna by saying, onlookers. Jalandhari wants the readers to have a mental image of Krishna in their minds.

Krishna is a form of light

The opening lines of the poem are a bit abstract and don’t talk of Krishna; in further lines, the poet asks whether Krishna is a reality or a representation. He refers to him as a “form of light” and then asks is he fire or light. Referring to Krishna as light might indicate to Islamic scholars who said that “Krishna was a righteous prophet sent to the people of the subcontinent.”

Jalandhari finally gives a description of Krishna that we are more familiar with- him being a “flute player” and a “cowherd of Gokul.” The poet doesn’t refer to Krishna as a God but he says that Krishna represents glory and majesty of God.

In the tenth stanza, the poet says that – “Inside the temple / the sculptor of beauty himself / entered and became the idol”. He is talking about Idol Worship done by Hindus who pray to their God in a temple, having a belief that the deity resides in the temple in the idol itself.

ALSO READ: Hindu Temple in Aldenham (UK) Hosts Global Visitors for Largest ‘Hare-Krishna’ celebrations in the world

Krishna Leela

Then we get a glimpse of ‘Krishna Leela’ as the poet talks of Krishna’s playing and dancing around with gopis (cowherd girls), on Yamuna river bank that he describes as a “rare happenings”. He is youthful and charming, to set the tone of the scene, phrases like “intoxicated winds” and “waves of love” are used that there was something heavenly in the atmosphere.

The sound of Krishna’s flute is described as “neither intoxication nor wine / it’s something beyond.”  Such phrases transport the readers into Braj (Krishna spent his childhood and adolescence years here) and they get blissfully lost in the divine sound of Krishna’s flute.

Cheer-Haran of Draupadi and Krishna being her savior

The poem from here takes a serious transition into a serious mood. Here the poet talks of a famous Cheer-Haran (disrobing) scene from Mahabharata as the five Pandavas have lost their kingdom and Draupadi in the dice game. Draupadi is dragged into the court by Duryodhana, the eldest Kaurava, she prays to Krishna to help her.

It is said that Lord Krishna came to her rescue and due to God’s grace, her sari turned into a never ending piece of cloth as when the Kauravas tried pulling it off, more fabric draped her body and saved her dignity.

With this scene, Jalandhari begins to bring a political angle to the poem as Draupadi says, “These beloved princes (her husbands), have all become cowards!” It seems that Jalandhari is accusing India’s rulers, monarchs who behaved like cowards at the time of British Rule.

Some even argue that the poet is referring to all Indians who worked under British Rule as cowards. The poet uses the phrase “the light of India” for Krishna, this seems more of a political symbolism.

Preparations for the Mahabharata war

In the next scene, the poet takes us to the preparations for the great Mahabharata war, where he writes worryingly, “Duryodhana seems victorious.” Duryodhana (eldest kaurava) symbolizes British Rule over India which continued for a pretty long time, like the Mahabharata war.

The irony is that Kaurava army was much larger in number than Pandavas whereas Britishers were very less in number than Indians. But with Krishna’s arrival on the battlefield (from Pandavas side) and how he preached Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, changes the anxiety and sorrow to much-needed enthusiasm: “the divine decree has been pronounced, the sword has been swung!”

This Krishna is very different from the young playful one which the poet has described earlier. Here, he symbolizes great strength and power: on his “face shines a bright gaze” also his “virtues burn enemies.”  He is so powerful that when he is angry, he can shower lightning. Thus, this Krishna can easily be an icon used for anti-colonial nationalism.

ALSO READ: If you are a Devotee of Lord Krishna, these 10 Lesser Known Facts Will Surprise You!

Relating Mahabharata with British Rule

After this, Jalandhari paints a picture of India suffering under colonial rule, using Vrindavan as a symbol for India. He says that once the joyful Yamuna is now silent, the waves are weak now. The gardens which were earlier beautiful are now ruined and the gopis symbolizing people of India are feeling helpless without their Krishna, their savior.

So, Jalandhari makes a personal plea to Krishna: “Oh king of India, come just once more.” He begs Krishna to return to Mathura (Mathura symbolizes India) and become the King again: “If you come, glory will come, if you come, life will come” With his plea to Krishna asking him to liberate India from British rule, Jalandhari ends his nazm.

If we compare Krishn Kanhaiya to Jalandhari’s more famous work (Pakistan’s National Anthem), we can learn a lot about the cultural politics which has influenced South Asia over the 20th century and continues to do so even today.


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TLC Premiers New Season Of Duster Adventures: Thrilling Journey to the Mountain State of Uttarakhand

Shibani will cover the terrain of Uttarakhand and indulge in adventure sports like paragliding, off-roading, and cliff-jumping amongst many more

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Uttarakhand
Shibani Dandekar on a thrilling journey to the mountain state of Uttarakhand on TLC’s brand new season of DUSTER ADVENTURES

New Delhi, August 27, 2017: Starting Sunday, August 27- Join Shibani Dandekar on a thrilling journey to the mountain state of Uttarakhand on TLC’s brand new season of DUSTER ADVENTURES. Airing every Sunday at 8:30 pm, the series features Shibani on an exploration of Uttarakhand through its mountains, rivers, and plains with adventure and excitement at every step of the way.

Cruising around in a RENAULT DUSTER, Shibani will cover the terrain of Uttarakhand and indulge in adventure sports like paragliding, off-roading, and cliff-jumping amongst many more.

Join Shibani on an epic journey around Uttarakhand, on TLC’s DUSTER ADVENTURES 2, every Sunday at 8:30 PM

The 5-part series will introduce viewers to Uttarakhand’s amazing landscape, culture, people and their heart-warming stories as the host takes you on the journey of a lifetime. One of India’s youngest states, Uttarakhand lies in the lap of nature with beautiful mountains, vistas and a diversity of flora and fauna. From Nainital to Rishikesh and Ramnagar to Devprayag, the state has something for every kind of traveler.

Talking about her adventure, Shibani Dandekar said, “DUSTER ADVENTURES has been a thrilling journey that captures the essence of Uttarakhand. The series encapsulates the beauty of the state and brought me closer to nature. I am sure viewers will enjoy watching my journey as much as I enjoyed traveling across this beautiful state.”

Mr. Virat Khullar, Head of Marketing, Renault India said, “Renault Duster is a cult brand in the automotive space, like TLC is, in the realm of travel and lifestyle television, and is equated with exploration, adventure, and unmatched passion. We are young in India and Renault Duster has firmly established the Renault brand here.

When we launched Renault Duster in India, we created an all new segment in the Indian automotive industry. As a forward-looking company, we have kept Renault Duster fresh and contemporary, and it continues to be India’s preferred SUV. This association will be a thrilling journey for fans of Renault Duster and TLC, and will take the excitement to an all new high.”

Catch all the adventure with Shibani Dandekar in DUSTER ADVENTURES starting 27th August, every Sunday at 8:30 pm, only on TLC!