Marathi Culture and Festivals

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Mahishmati : Maheshwar

A lot of people watching Bahubali movie. While everyone enjoying the movie and grand sets, the City of Mahishmati mentioned in the beginning of the movie got my attention, I did my research and found out today's Maheshwar situated on the banks of Narmada river near Indore, Madhya Pradesh was once “ Maheshmati”.  It is mentioned in several ancient texts, and may have flourished as late as until 13th century, as indicated by a Paramara inscription. Mahishmati was the most important city in the southern part of the Avanti kingdom, and later served as the capital of the Anupa Kingdom.


Present day Maheshwar:

The town lies on the north bank of the Holy River Narmada. The commercial capital of the state Indore is at the distance of 91 km from Maheshwar. Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore, who transformed this land into a land of tranquility and prosperity.

A city famous for its temple, bathing ghats [ wharfs], mighty fort complex which stand in quiet beauty and splendor mirrored in the river Narmada and obviously its exquisitely woven ‘Maheshwari sarees.  These hand loom sarees are famous throughout India.

The origin of Maheshwari sarees is traced to the establishment of Rehwa Society, an NGO founded by the Holkars, in 1979 to give women employment and revive the town's textiles. About 130 weavers associated with the society produce over 100,000 meters of fine fabrics a year. The weaving center is located in one of Maheshwar's historic buildings. Rehwa Society also provides a free school for weavers' children and runs a low-cost health scheme. There are few other small local organizations involved in weaving of sarees and other fabrics.

Ahilya Fort which is now converted into a heritage hotel, founded by 'Maharaj Shrimant Shivaji Rao Holkar' (Prince Richard Holkar of Indore), a descendant of both Ahilyabai Holkar and the only son of  HH Maharaja Shrimant Yeshwant Rao II Holkar of Indore.

A glorious city from a very old time, Maheshwar's temples and massive fort-complex presents an unusual charm of architectural grandeur. The city opts its name ‘Maheshwar’ from the great Lord ‘Shiva’, a grand lord in Hindu religion, which literally meant to be the abode of Lord Shiva. It sustained rich art and cultural heritage under it. Tourism and religion also hold immense significance in and around Maheshwar. Some of the ancient Temples here are Shiv Jyotirlingam Mandleshwar, Bawangaja and Mandav. Towards 65 kms east of Maheshwar is Omkareshwar temple, which is one of the 12 most popular Shiv Lingam temples in India. Charmed to its natural, spiritual & historical beauty, many Bollywood & Tamil movies have been shot here like Ashoka, Tulsi. The place witnessed some renowned names of Bollywood, the place also being visited by many foreign nationals round the year, those having strong interest in Indian art & spiritual values.

Aishwarya



Welcome To Tarkarli-  
To enjoy a beautiful beach and your own houseboat !

Warm white sands, a pristine beach and waters you can see through. That’s Tarkarli, the heart of Malvan hospitality. This undiscovered little alcove of sun, surf and sand is an idyllic getaway for every season. Whether you want to let the waves wash over your stress or get an adrenalin-rush with water-sports, Tarkarli, the lullaby of the ocean is the perfect vacation. A cool ocean breeze blowing through lush-green palm fronds and wet sand from gigantic waves, makes this a serene, secluded, seductive paradise.

Tarkarli has few hotels but several home-stays. The MTDC resort is best for location, food, cleanliness and access to water-sports. One of their premium properties, its sandy entrance lined with boats, it’s on the beach itself.

Konkani sloping-roofed villas with all the amenities are spread across the sands – each at a distance and an angle away from each other to ensure privacy. There are also two anchored beach house-boats with spiral staircases which children enjoy.

As the sun sets in vibrant hues, take a barefoot walk along the beach and watch the stars rise. The resort has a simple gazebo cafeteria that serves up home-style Malvan food. Try crab for dinner.

Distance from Mumbai: 493 kms.

How to reach:

By Air
The nearest airport is Dabolim at Goa.

By Road:
Mumbai Tarkarli is 493 km. Kolhapur-Tarkarli is 160 km.

By Rail:
Nine hours train journey from Mumbai. Kudal is 45 km. from Tarkarli.


Image source : By Anant Rohankar, wikipedia

Jejuri


Jejuri is one the popular pilgrim centre of Maharashtra, located 38-km from Pune and 60-km from Solapur. It houses a temple dedicated to Lord Khandoba. popularly known as Khandobachi Jejuri, is one of the important Gods worshipped by Dhangar, the oldest tribes in Maharashtra. It is believed that Khandoba, is a god of Sakamabhakti i.e. it God who fulfils all the desires of his devotees. Jejuri is popular for its old Deep Mala.. Jejuri can be reached  by Road or Rail from Pune. Number of State Transport buses run from Pune. It can be reached by Express trains from Pune Railway Station.


Jejuri has also been a historically important place as Shivaji met his father Shahaji here after a long period. The meeting is historically very important as both discussed the strategies against Mughals, here. At that period, Jejuri was one of the major hill forts in South region.

Khandoba,, also known as Khanderao, Khanderaya, Malhari Martand is a regional Hindu deity, worshipped as Mārtanda Bhairava, a form of Shiva, mainly in the Deccan plateau of India. He is the most popular family deity in Maharashtra, the patron deity of Deshastha brahmin, warrior, farming and herding castes, the hunters and gatherers of the hills and forests. The cult of Khandoba is connected  with Vaishnava and Jain traditions, and also assimilates all communities irrespective of caste, including Muslims. Khandoba is sometimes identified with Mallanna of Andhra Pradesh and Mailara of Karnataka. The worship of Khandoba developed during the 9th and 10th centuries from a folk deity into a composite god possessing the attributes of Shiva, Bhairava, Surya and Karttikeya Skanda. He is depicted either in the form of a Lingam, or as an image riding on a bull or a horse. The foremost centre of Khandoba worship is Jejuri in Maharashtra. The legends of Khandoba, found in the text Malhari Mahatmya and also narrated in folk songs, revolve around his victory over demons Mani-malla and his marriages. 


The biggest attraction of the this place is the ‘ Somvati Utsav “ in the month of April – May

Somvati Utsav is celebrated on Somvati amavasya (no moon's day that falls on Monday) at jejuri temple when the shepherd god-Khandoba comes out of the temple to bath at Karar River. The Palkhi procession is taken through temples in jejuri and khandoba is brought back to his temple before the end of amavasya. It is beautiful to witness the air filled with turmeric around the temple, people throw turmeric on the palkhi of God Khandoba.


Image Courtesy : Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation

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Hello to all our adventure loving and creative readers! We are starting this page as a platform to share your travel experiences and pictures so others get to see the world through your eyes. This will help when they plan a sightseeing trip or a relaxing vacation about what to see, what to expect, a good time to visit a particular destination, etc. It will also help to figure out where to stay, what to eat and other recommendations. This sort of info is always useful and makes difference if you hear about someone’s firsthand experience. And for the potential traveler, this page will help you get some new ideas for fun and beautiful vacation places. So let’s begin and enjoy the journey. Email us with your travel photographs (with captions) and a note about the destination to kokatayash@gmail.com

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Picture Source:

By Maharashtra_locator_map.svg: Cc-by-sa-3.0 derivative work: Abhijitsathe (Maharashtra_locator_map.svg) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

       Marleshwar Konkan picture credits Raje Vijay