Namaskar!

Many people do not know it, but India is one of the world's oldest civilisations. It has been the birthplace of many fundamentals recognised by today's society, in science and in the arts. After traveling tirelessly around India and immersing myself in its flavours and traditions, I wanted to bear witness to its incredibly rich cultural and spiritual heritage. If this website sparks a desire to pack your bags and set off for an Indian adventure, it will have achieved its purpose. Have a good trip around the website and pleasant wanderings in the sacred land of Bharat!

Mahuva is a small town by the Gulf of Khambhat, 95km from Bhavnagar. It is appreciated for its mild climate and lush vegetation in an otherwise semi-arid region. It’s off the beaten track and the perfect place for those is quest of intriguing little temples, unspoilt countryside and traditional rural life.

Bhavnagar, near the Gulf of Khambhat, is the fifth largest town in the State of Gujarat. Though mainly an industrial town it is a worthwhile stopping point on the way to Palitana or Mahuva.

Bhavnagar was founded in 1724 and named after its founder and ruler Bhavsinhji Gohil (1703-1764). For many years it was a major port for trade with Africa and the Arabian Gulf. It is still an important town for small and medium industry.

And now, let’s visit Bhavnagar!


Takhteshwar Temple


Temple Takhteswar dédié à Shiva

A flight of white marble steps surrounded by trees and greenery lead you to the Takhteshwar temple courtyard.

The Takhteshwar Temple made of white marble is located on a hillock, offering a panoramic view of Bhavnagar.

The temple construction was finished in 1893 AD and was named after Maharaja Takhatsihnji who was one of the influential rulers of Bhavnagar, and the one who had ordered the temple to be built.

Takhteshwar Temple has a shrine with the three eyed Lord Shiva. It is one of the oldest temples of the Gujarat state.

Le temple est l’un des plus anciens de l’état du Gujarat

Nilambag Palace


Le palais reconverti en hôtel de luxe


This former royal residence standing in a vast 4ha estate is now a luxury hotel.

It was built in 1894 by British architect William Emerson, who also designed the memorial to Queen Victoria in Kolkata.

The palace combines elements of European and Indian architecture in the style known as Indo-Saracenic.

Non-guests can only visit the outside of the building.

L’entrée réservée aux clients seulement

Niklam Beach & Sitokar Mata temple


Beau banian près du temple Sitokar Mata

Niklam is a pretty little beach near the better-known Gogha beach. There is a small temple to Durga beside an ancient banyan tree.

L’idole du temple, Sitokar Mata

Gaurishankar Lake


This vast 381ha lake is also known locally as Bor Talav.

It was designed and built in 1872 as a drinking water reservoir. It is a natural refuge for many species of flora and fauna.


Palitana (56 kms)


This incredible temple complex perched on Shatrunjaya Hill seems to touch the sky.

Shatrunjaya means “place of victory against inner enemies”.

Along with Mount Abu, Girnar and Chandragiri, Shatrunjaya is one of the four most holy places of the Jain faith… MORE + [/section]


Gopnath Beach (75 kms)


Gopnath beach, 75km from Bhavnagar, is best known for its Shiva temple.

It is in this temple that the devotional poet Narsinh Mehta is said to have had a spiritual revelation 500 years ago.


Champaner is a unique place, way out in the countryside, where you’ll find the vestiges of a town that was the capital of Gujarat state in the 15th century and a number of older archaeological remains. Much is still buried. Champaner is now listed as a World Heritage site. It is also one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, and the life of the place today is centred on Pavagadh Hill to which thousands of pilgrims flock each year to pay homage to the goddess Kali.

The temple to Shri Ghantakarna Mahavir, protector of the unfortunate, in Mahudi town, is considered one of the most holy Jain pilgrimage sites.

Becharaji town is famous for its temple to Bahuchara Mata, goddess of fertility and patron saint of hijras (transgenders). It is also one of the highly revered Siddha Shakti Peethas, a place where Sati’s hands are said to have fallen and a place where the sincere wishes of the faithful are fulfilled.


Bahuchara Mata


Becharaji
The goddess Bahuchar Mata, one of the forms of Durga

The town of Becharaji is named after its temple to Bahuchara Mata.

Bahuchara Mata is a Hindu goddess, one of the many forms of Durga, a warrior’s daughter of the Charan caste. According to the legend, she and her sisters has set off on a journey when a marauder called Bapiya attacked their caravan. It was the Charan custom, for men and women, never to surrender to the enemy. in response to the attack, Bahuchara and her sisters cut off their breasts and cursed Bapiya, who became impotent. The curse was lifted only when he worshipped Bahuchara Mata by dressing and acting like a woman. That is why Bahuchara Mata is considered the patron saint of India’s hijra community.

Bahuchara Mata’s symbols are a sword, sacred scriptures, the hand gesture of blessing (mudra abhay hasta) and a trident. She is seated on a cock, symbol of innocence.


The Hijras


Hijra at the Jaisalmer Desert Festival (Rajasthan)

In Indian culture the hijras are transgenders. The word hijra also refers to the cast or community they live in. Usually It is hard for hijras to form a real family, or even to find work. They mostly live by begging or prostitution.

Koothandavar idols  – Photo : Swamy-Koothandavar-Thirukkoil

India’s hijras are both respected and mistrusted. They are respected because they are believed to confer fertility. They are paid to attend weddings, where they sing, dance and bless the newlyweds to make sure the marriage will be fertile. But they are also mistrusted because they are believed to be able to cast the evil eye.

Every year the hijras from all India gather for the Koothandavar festival where they relive an episode of the Mahabharata. The festival takes place in the village of Koovagam, 200km south of Madras in Tamil Nadu. It starts at full moon and lasts 18 days in April and May.

Becharaji
Hijras at the Koothandavar festival – Photo : Ashit Desai 

In April 2014 the country’s supreme court recognised the existence of a “third gender”, neither male nor female, and ordered the government to respect transsexuals’ rights. In so doing, the Supreme Court forced the central government and State governments to identify transgender people and give them the same social welfare rights and access to work and education as the rest of the population.


Becharaji, Sidha Shakti Peetha


Becharaji
The idol of the Becharaji temple | Photo : @todabahuchar.in

The Bahuchara Mata temple is considered especially holy because it is a Shakti Peetha: Sati’s hands are said to have fallen here. It is one of three Shakti Peethas in Gujarat, the others being Ambaji and Kalika in Pavagadh.

The Bahuchara Mata temple is also a Siddha Peetha, a place where the sincere wishes of the faithful are fulfilled. Childless couples and parents of handicapped newborns come to make offerings and pray to the goddess.

From a religious standpoint, this temple is of equal importance to other famous places of worship in Gujarat such as Ambaji, Pavagadh, Dwarka, Somnath, Palitana, Girnar and Dakor.

Becharaji
Becharaji temple after the evening arati

[Arati du soir au temple de Becharaji ]


Vadnagar was once home to the celebrated sage Yagyavalkya, “knower of the Vedas”. Its rich history goes back over 4000 years, with some remarkable vestiges to tell the tale. The finest is the Hatkeshwar Mahadev temple.

Patan is a fortified town dating from the 8th century CE. It was the capital of Gujarat until 1411, when the sultan Ahmed Shah moved his capital to Ahmedabad. It now owes its fame to its magnificent Rani-Ki-Vav stepwell, a Unesco World Heritage site, built under the Solanki period. It is also renowned for making much-sought-after saris in hand-woven patola fabric.

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