Ready for a peek through the window or at the window? Let’s take the bus first 🙂
There’s something about mountains and water – I am irresistibly drawn to them. This is taken from the window of a bus.
Traveling by car, we stopped at this roadside restaurant at an unearthly hour. Windows were being washed – doesn’t it look as if the water is washing away the colors of the flowers too?
This is a double window view – through the (transparent) window of the dining hall and of the reflective windows. Let’s hop on to a flight now 😉
To see another type of window – the gorgeous stained windows at St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague.
A typical small town railway station – Deoli perhaps? 😀
A glimpse of the kanwariyas from the train window. Kanwariyas are devotees of Lord Shiva who undertake this annual pilgrimage to fetch holy water from the Ganga to bathe the Lord who resides in their hometowns. If you look carefully, you can make out a colorful and decorated ‘burden’ on the shoulder of the devotees. That’s the kanwar – a pole, usually bamboo, with two pots hanging on each side for ease of carrying.
There is an interesting story behind this custom – I find Indian mythology fascinating and can’t get enough of it 🙂
Briefly, once, the Devas and Asuras (supernatural beings who represent good and bad respectively and are incidentally half-brothers i.e share the same father and mothers are sisters – all this happened when the earth had just begun to be populated) joined hands to churn the ocean to extract its hidden treasures, including Amrit or ambrosia. [On a side note, the churning of the ocean is believed to represent the process of self-analysis to enable oneself to move from the darkness of ignorance to the light of self-realization. Only when we overcome the mental poisons (of anger, greed, lust, ego) that pollute our psyche can we reach the real treasures that lie within us – and that self-realization is equivalent to Amrit.]
Anyway, coming back to the topic, when the sea was churned (another captivating story!), the first to be released was poison, which threatened to destroy the three worlds. Lord Shiva (God of the gods),stepped in. He drank the poison to save the world. But he didn’t swallow it. Instead, he held the poison in his throat, which turned blue – and hence Shiva is also known as Neelkanth or the Blue-throated One.
So powerful was the poison that even the Shiva was not unaffected. To ease His pain, the ten-headed Asura King Ravan (the primary villain of the epic Ramayana), Shiva’s greatest devotee, brought water from the holy Ganga on a kanwar to cool the Lord’s brow. Since then, every year devotees of Shiva walk hundreds of kilometers to bring water from the holy Ganga to anoint Shiva’s resident idol in their respective hometowns.
I do have a bit of a doubt though – Lord Shiva holds Ganga in his locks and is called Gangadhar so why would He need water from Ganga? I think Ravan just wanted to show off his devotion and concern to Shiva 😀
Oops that wasn’t very brief was it?
Hope you enjoyed looking through the window, have a look at Cee’s Challenge for some stunning photos.