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BY- JAYA CHOUDHARY
It is not incorrect to refer to India as a “country of temples.” It is the only place on the planet where people believe in the presence of 33 million gods and goddesses. Among the numerous temples, there are some strange temples in India as well. These mysterious temples are famous for their unusual deities, some for their bizarre disappearance stories, and others for unique offerings.
Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple
The Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple falls under this list since it is the only shrine where followers disrespect the goddess during a celebration. The Kodungallur Bhagavathy Temple in Kerala’s Thrissur region is devoted to the Bhadrakali deity, a manifestation of Goddess Kali. During the Bharani festival, which takes place in March or April each year, worshipers yell obscene, disrespectful, and abusive shouts at the goddess. This rite is meant to delight the deity. The process of cleansing, however, begins the very following day. As a form of worship, hundreds of worshippers angrily storm at their goddess.
Kamakhya Devi Temple
The Maa Kamakhya Devi Temple, one of India’s most prominent shrines, is located on top of the Nilachal Hill in Guwahati, Assam. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas on the Indian subcontinent also one of the oldest. The temple does not have a sculpture to worship, but it does feature the yoni (vagina) of Devi Sati, Lord Shiva’s wife, draped in a silk sari. The goddess menstruates every year during the monsoon season, and the temple is shut for three days. It is also the time when the Tantric fertility festival, or Ambubachi Mela, is held here, lasting until the fourth day, when the temple reopens.
Karni Mata Temple
This temple, located near Bikaner, is famed for the hundreds of rats that swarm around it. This marble and Mughal-style shrine must be visited before sunrise or after nightfall to watch the rats at work! Devotees gather to give the rats milk, grains, candies, and coconut shells that are stored on huge plates. They store the offerings in the shrine’s corners, where the rats congregate. It’s considered holy to eat the leftovers of the rats. It is also sacred if a white rat crawls up your leg.
Stambheshwar Mahadev Temple
Gujarat is a popular tourist destination in India with a lot of intriguing sites to visit. One such site is the Stambheswar temple, located near Vadodara, which is famous for the enigma of vanishing and reappearing. The Mahadev temple on the Arabian Sea’s coasts, dedicated to Lord Shiva, may only be visited when the tides are low because it has been observed that during high tides, the temple is totally swallowed up by the sea, leaving no sign of the shrine until the water recedes. It’s interesting how the temple emerges after only a few hours.
Kal Bhairav Nath Temple
Lord Kal Bhairav Nath, a reincarnation of Lord Shiva, lives in the holy city of Varanasi. Believe it or not, the only offerings presented to God here are alcoholic beverages, such as whiskey or wine. Alcohol is poured straight into the deity’s open mouth and served as Prasad to worshipers. Contrasting to other businesses outside shrines in Varanasi that sell flowers and sweets as offerings, the stalls outside the Kal Bhairav Nath temple solely sell booze.
ALSO READ: Know About World’s First Granite Temple
Om Banna or Bullet Baba’s Temple
One of the strangest and mysterious temples of all is the Bullet Baba’s Temple which is linked with yet another mystery. According to the residents of Pali, Rajasthan, the Bullet Baba temple was built in memory of Om Singh Rathore, who died in a terrible accident in the area. The Bullet bike he was riding on was brought into police custody, but the next morning it was weirdly located near the scene of the collision. The police on duty thought it was a hoax and drained the petrol tank and locked the bike, but the next day it was found parked at the same spot again. Travelers who are aware of this strange narrative pay their respects to the shrine that houses the Bullet Enfield bike and the statue of Om Banna.
NEW DELHI - India Navy sending four ships for exercises and port visits with the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, its navy said Wednesday, as China's maritime power grows in the area.
The Indian ships will spend more than two months in the region, the navy said in a statement.
Commander Vivek Madhwal, the Indian navy spokesman, said four ships will take part.
The ships will also participate in a multilateral exercise, MALABAR-21, along with the Japanese, Australian and U.S. navies, the statement said.
It said the exercises will enhance coordination with friendly countries, based on common maritime interests and a commitment to freedom of navigation.
"Besides regular port calls, the task group will operate in conjunction with friendly navies to build military relations and develop interoperability in the conduct of maritime operations," the statement said.
The U.S., India, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad regional alliance created in response to China's growing economic and military strength. Washington has long viewed New Delhi as a key partner in efforts to blunt increasing Chinese assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region.
India is also in a continuing standoff with China over their disputed border in the eastern Ladakh region. The countries have stationed tens of thousands of soldiers backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets along their de facto border, called the Line of Actual Control.
Last year, 20 Indian troops died in a clash with Chinese soldiers involving clubs, stones and fists in a portion of the disputed border. China said it lost four soldiers.(VOA/HP)
The UK government on Thursday announced that it will move India from the red to the amber list on Sunday, in the country's latest update to the 'Red-Amber-Green' traffic light ratings for arrivals into England amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
This means the visit visas for the UK from India are open, in addition to other long-term visas that have remained open. But travellers from India arriving in England can complete a 10-day quarantine at home or in the place they are staying (not mandatorily quarantine in a managed hotel).
The UK government also announced that arrivals from France to England will no longer need to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated. The step aligns France with the rest of the amber list now that the proportion of beta variant cases has fallen, where those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, the US or Europe do not need to quarantine when arriving in England.
This move also simplifies the system to three categories, as well as the green watch list to give travellers notice where green status is at risk.
To continue cautiously reopening international travel, Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will be added to the government's green list, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.
Besides India, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE will also be moved from the red to the amber list, as the situation in these countries has improved.
The data for all countries will be kept under review and the government will not hesitate to take action where a country's epidemiological picture changes, a statement by the UK government said.
Following an assessment of the latest data, Georgia, La Reunion, Mayotte and Mexico will be added to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.
Arrivals from Spain and all its islands are advised to use a PCR test as their pre-departure test wherever possible, as a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We are committed to opening up international travel safely, taking advantage of the gains we've made through our successful vaccination programme, helping connect families, friends and businesses around the world.
"While we must continue to be cautious, today's changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public."
Since February, anyone who arrives in the UK from a red list country has been required by law to book a stay in a managed quarantine facility for 10 days.
In order to ensure taxpayers are not subsidising the costs of staying in these facilities, which have gone up, the cost will increase from August 12. Alternative payment arrangements remain available to those who genuinely cannot afford to pay and rates remain the same for children up to 12.(IANS/HP)
A Hindu temple in Pakistan's Punjab province was reportedly vandalized by hundreds of people after a nine-year-old Hindu boy, who allegedly urinated at a local seminary, received bail, a media report said on Thursday.
According to the Dawn news report, the incident took place on Wednesday in Bhong town, about 60 km from Rahim Yar Khan city.
Besides the vandalization, the mob also blocked the Sukkur-Multan Motorway (M-5), the report added.
Citing sources, Dawn news said that a case was registered against the minor on July 24 based on a complaint filed by a cleric, Hafiz Muhammad Ibrahim, of the Darul Uloom Arabia Taleemul Quran.
The sources said that "some Hindu elders did tender an apology to the seminary administration saying the accused was a minor and mentally challenged".
But, when a lower court granted him bail a few days ago, some people incited the public in the town on Wednesday and got all shops there closed in protest, the report quoted the sources as further saying.
A video clip showing people wielding clubs and rods storming the temple and smashing its glass doors, windows, lights, and damaging the ceiling fans went viral on social media.
In response, one Twitter user said: "Ganesh Temple, village Bhong in Rahim Yar Khan, Punjab has been ravaged. Another day, another attack on Hindus in Pakistan."
Another said: "Yesterday, the mob ran amok at Temple over minor boy issue who allegedly urinated, the boy said to be mentally handicapped. Hindu community made an apology for the boy — a case registered against the nine-year-old boy. Those vandalized temples, no FIR registered against them."
District police spokesman Ahmed Nawaz Cheema said Rangers had been deployed in the troubled area and the situation was under control.
A small town close to the River Indus and Sindh-Punjab border, Bhong houses a number of gold traders who originally hail from Ghotki and Dehrki (Sindh), according to the Dawn news report.
A ruling PTI member representing the minority said he had been in touch with the local Hindu community and influential Rais family of Bhong since the issue surfaced.