Volume: 6, No: 02 ; February-2012
Parijaat Tree (Adansonia Digitata) – The only one
Mahadeva (A Shiva Temple) – The water that cures
This time we bring you a story about a unique tree, Parijaat and about a temple that comes to life every year with only men and not a single woman in the district of Barabanki, just 60 to 70 km (1 hour) away from Lucknow. Most of us in Lucknow too do not know about the existence of this unique botanical and religious treasures so close to us.
Parijaat Tree ( Adansonia Digitata) – The only one….
Village Kintur, about 38 Kms. east of district headquarters Barabanki was named after Kunti, mother of the Pandavas. There are a number of ancient temples and their remains around this place. Near a temple established by Kunti herself, is a special tree called Parijaat. There are a number of sayings about this tree, which have popular acceptance too. One being, Arjun brought this tree from heavens and Kunti used to offer and crown Shivji with its flowers. The other saying being, that Lord Krishna brought this tree for his beloved queen Satyabhama.
Historically, these sayings may or may not have any bearing, but it is true that this tree has a very ancient background. The following is written in the Harivansh Puraan (a sacred book) about Parijaat tree. “Parijaat is a type of Kalpvraksh, it is said to be found only in the heavens and, whosoever makes a wish under this tree, his wishes are granted”. In the Religious and ancient literature, we find a number of references to the Kalpvraksh, but no description whatsoever is found about its existence anywhere else in the world, except for at Kintur (in Barabanki). This unique Parijaat tree of Kintur holds a special place in the world. In botanical terms, PARIJAAT is known as Adansonia digitata and has been kept in a special category, because it does not produce either its fruit or its seeds, neither can its cuttings be planted to reproduce a second Parijaat tree. This is a unisex male tree, the botanist say, that there is no such tree anywhere else to be found.
The leaves of this tree in the lower portion have five tips like the fingers of a hand, while at the upper reaches it has seven. Its flower is very beautiful and white in colour, on drying out it takes on golden tinge. This flower has five petals. This tree blossoms very occasionally, with very few flowers, but when it does, that is after the ‘Ganga Dashehra’, it spreads its fragrance far and wide. The age of this tree is said to be 5000 years. The perimeter of the trunk of this tree is about 50 feet and the height is about 45 feet. There is another popular saying that, its branches do not break or dry out but shrink and disappear into the original trunk. The locals consider it to be their protector and thus they protect its leaves and flowers at all costs. Local people hold it in high esteem, in addition to the large number of tourists who visit to see this unique tree.
Mahadeva (A Shiva Temple) – The water that cures….
Bam-bhole, bam-bam-bhole resounding with the devotees moving in groups through Lucknow with a Kanwar (a stick with some essentials dangling on both ends and resting on the shoulders) heading to the famous Lord Shiva’s Lodheshwar temple where the wishes of the devotees are said to be fulfilled since times immemorial and the belief continues even today. People numbering more than 200,000 flock this place in the month of Phalgun (the twelfth month of the year in the Hindu/lunar calendar, usually beginning around 20 February and ending on 21 March). every year i.e. on the occasion of Mahashivratri to worship and offer water to the famous shivling.
This ancient Shiva temple is situated at village Mahadeva in the district of Barabanki on the banks of river Ghaghra. Lodheshwar Mahadev has an ancient history to its credit. The Shivling in this temple is one of the exotic and rarest of the 52 shivlings on earth. It is said that, prior to the Mahabharat period, Lord Shiva wished to reappear on the earth once again. Pandit Lodheram Awasthi was a learned Brahmin, simple, kind and good natured villager. One night Lord Shiva appeared in his dreams. Next day, Lodheram who was childless, while irrigating his farmland, saw a pit from where the water was getting drained into the earth. He tried hard to plug it, but failed and returned home. In the night, again he dreamt about same statue, and heard whispers saying “The pit where water is getting drained is my place, establish me there and I would be known by your name.” It is said that, next day when Lodheram was digging the same pit, his spade struck a hard rock, and he saw the same statue that he had seen in his dreams with blood oozing out from where his tool had hit the statue, this mark can be seen even today on the statue. Lodheram was terrified by this sight, but he continued to digging, though he failed to get to the other end of the statue, so he left it as that, and built the temple at the same place with half of his name ‘Lodhe’ and the Lord Shiva’s ‘Ishwar’, thereby this place became famous by the name i.e. Lodheshwar. The Brahmin was then blessed with four sons, Mahadeva, Lodhaura, Gobarha and Rajnapur, villages named after them exist even today.
There are several instances in Mahabharat where this ancient temple has been referred to. Pandavas after the Mahabharat had performed the Mahayagya at this place, a well exists even today by the name Pandava-Koop. It is said that the water of the well is has spiritual qualities can cure a number of ailments if drunk.
In the history of the fairs and festivals the world over, the fair held here on the occasion of Mahashivratri (Shivaratri literally means the great night of Shiva or the night of Shiva. It is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar.) at Mahadeva is unique. As among the millions of devotees thronging the place, there is not a single woman devotee to be found during this fair.
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