Monday, November 21, 2011

Sidhpur

Sidhpur
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Sidhpur

Sidhpur is a sacred town, around 103 kms. north of Ahmedabad. It is situated on the left bank of the River Saraswati, around 24 kms upstream of Anhilwad Patan, the old capital of Gujarat before Ahmedabad was founded in the first quarter of the fifteenth century. The town is a revered destination, flanked by temples, kunds, ashrams and other sacred structures. Around the 10th century, under the Solanki rulers, this town was at the pinnacle of prominence and glory. It derived its name from the great ruler of Gujarat, Siddhraj Jaisinh from the Solanki dynasty.

Raja Siddhraj built a magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called as the ‘Rudra Mahalaya’ in 12th century AD. The temple was an architectural wonder with a three-storeyed 'shikhara', 1600 pillars, 12 entrance doors, central 'mandapa' and porches on east, north and south and sanctum in west. Around the temple, there were 11 shrines of Rudra. The eastern gate was adorned with beautifully carved 'Toran', with a flight of steps leading to the Saraswati River. The ornamentation of the temple was exuberant as shown by the elaborate and detailed carvings of the pillars and the beautiful Toran, which are the only remains of the temple today.

In Vedas, this modern day Sidhpur is mentioned as ‘Shristhal’ or a ‘pious place’. Of the five most holy and ancient lakes in India is the Bindu Sarovar, which lies here in Siddpur. According to the Hindu religion, it is said that as the obsequies offerings to the paternal ancestors must be made at Gaya, so corresponding offerings to the maternal ancestors have to be performed at Sidhpur. Thus Sidhpur has the importance of ‘Martu Gaya’ or ‘Matru Shraddh’, a place where people come annually to perform the rituals for their mothers who are in heavenly abode. These ceremonies are presided over by the Brahmins, who are treated with high regard. They are performed at Kapilamuni Ashram, where 3 sacred water kunds: the Gyan Vapika, Alpa Sarovar and Bindu Sarovar are present. It is also said that Lord Parshuram performed ‘Matru Shraddh’ at the Bindu Sarovar and his temple is also created here for darshan (worship).

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