Spiritual Soujourn in Govardhan
There’s more to Mathura than just the usual trip during Holi
 
This may be a tiny little town in the nondescript district of Mathura (Uttar Pradesh); but its religious significance goes back thousands of years, steeped in the Indian epics. Tourists and pilgrims, from all over India and abroad, flock to this holy town throughout the year, to offer their obeisance to Lord Krishna and his consort Radha. 
 
Situated around a wide hill, popularly known as Giriraj Parvat, Govardhan is one of the holiest places. Hindus believe that Lord Krishna came as a saviour of the people here and protected them from devastating rains caused by the wrath of Indra, the Lord of thunder and rain. He lifted the entire Giriraj Parvat on his index finger and sheltered the villagers under it. 
 
After saving them, Lord Krishna urged the villagers to worship Govardhan Parvat. Thus, inhabitants stated worshipping the hill, mainly by doing a parikrama (circumnavigation) around it. The village has since been celebrating this worship as Govardhan puja (worship) every year, a day after the festival of lights, Diwali. 
 
Govardhan is well-connected by air, road and rail. The nearest railway station is Mathura Junction; from there, one can hire autos or cabs to reach the town which is around 150km from Delhi. 
 
I hit the road from Delhi and took the expressway as soon as my car crossed Noida. It was May and the weather was mercilessly hot. The car sped along the highway at a comfortable speed. I just had to halt midway for lunch, two hours after starting from Delhi. 
 
After an hour, we took off from the highway and veered towards the town of Vrindavan. This is another holy place which completes the pilgrim circuit of Mathura, Vrindavan and Govardhan. Our car passed the narrow lanes of the town. The roads were flanked by temples and sadhus (sages) in saffron. Govardhan is about 20km from Vrindavan. Once we entered Govardhan, it was well past 3.30pm and I stopped by a roadside tea-stall. Many young and elderly people—families, students, couples, et al—were walking barefoot performing the parikrama along the perimeters of Giriraj Parvat. 
 

Soon, we reached Shri Brij Vasundhara Resort, a luxurious abode amidst the natural surroundings of the forests and verdant greens, my residence for the weekend. I spent the rest of the day in leisure within the resort and ventured out next morning. I woke up at 6.30am to catch the morning prayers—aarti. I sped past the sights of devotees doing their parikrama early in the morning with their families. It is this parikrama which attracts believers from far and beyond. 
 
The parikrama is an arduous form of walking barefoot around Govardhan Parvat and covers a distance of 21km. There is no fixed timing to complete it and you can start at any time. Walk at your own pace, take rest, and then begin again. But once you start, you have to finish the circumnavigation. There is another difficult form of the parikrama called dandavata (prostration) which takes weeks and months to finish. For this, a devotee offers obeisance by lying flat and then rolling round the hill. In fact, I saw many devotees doing the dandavata on the way to Radha Kund Temple. 
 
The parikrama usually starts from Mansi Ganga Lake and ends in the same place. The entire journey of 21km takes over five to six hours for many as they walk past shrines, tanks, lakes, shilas (stone sculptures) of gods or goddesses, such as Radha Kund, Shyam Kund, Mukharavinda, Kusum Sarovar, Panchari and Danghati. 
 
Next, I went to Shri Chaitanya Temple to offer my prayers to Lord Krishna. The 25-year-old temple looked resplendent in sunshine. Cast in red sandstone, there are intricate murals (of Radha and Krishna) on the exterior walls of the temple. Flowers were blooming in its premises which attracted hundreds of colourful butterflies. If you are in Govardhan, a visit to this Temple is a must. 
 
Next on my itinerary were Radha Kund, Mansi Ganga and Kusum Sarovar. Kusum Sarovar is a huge lake beautifully enclosed in a protected premise. It looks resplendent against the background of the rising sun or in sunset. There weren’t many tourists here but lot of locals who came with their families and friends. 
 
My evening schedule started with a visit to Danghati Temple where I saw hundreds of devotees performing their parikrama. The evening aarti was going on inside Lord Krishna’s temple in Danghati. The sounds of the bells and aarti are mesmerising and touch your soul! 
 
The Temple is flanked by four or five shops selling offerings for worship. You can buy small packets of red rose and yellow sunflowers, a glass of milk and sweets to offer to the Lord. Tej Veer, a young lad, said: “I have been in this business for many years now. It was started by my forefathers. This place becomes all the more colourful during the Adhik Maasa (extra month in the Hindu calendar which comes every three years) or Guru Purnima in June/July.” There were a few who traded in loose coins. Shyam Sundar, a vendor, said: “These are small packets of one or two rupee coins which we sell to devotees, especially those who do the parikrama. They buy it and donate it to homeless people on the way.” I also made a quick trip to Mansi Ganga and Radha Kund, completing my list of visits in this auspicious town of Govardhan. 
 
Amit Sengupta is the founder-editor of travelflat.in. He has travelled in India’s Northeast, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Jharkhand and currently lives in New Delhi with his wife and son. He tweetsfrom @lifeon140 and can be reached at [email protected]
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3 years ago

Adharam Madhuram Vadanam Madhuram Nayanam Madhuram Hasitam Madhuram |
Hrdayam Madhuram Gamanam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Vacanam Madhuram Caritam Madhuram Vasanam Madhuram Valitam Madhuram |
Calitam Madhuram Bhramitam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Vennur-Madhuro Rennur-Madhurah Paannir-Madhurah Paadau Madhurau |
Nrtyam Madhuram Sakhyam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Giitam Madhuram Piitam Madhuram Bhuktam Madhuram Suptam Madhuram |
Ruupam Madhuram Tilakam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Karannam Madhuram Tarannam Madhuram Harannam Madhuram Ramannam Madhuram |
Vamitam Madhuram Shamitam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipater-Akhilam Madhuram ||
Gun.jaa Madhuraa Maalaa Madhuraa Yamunaa Madhuraa Viicii Madhuraa |
Salilam Madhuram Kamalam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipaterakhilam Madhuram ||
Gopii Madhuraa Liilaa Madhuraa Yuktam Madhuram Muktam Madhuram |
Drssttam Madhuram Shissttam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipaterakhilam Madhuram ||
Gopaa Madhuraa Gaavo Madhuraa Yassttir-Madhuraa Srssttir-Madhuraa |
Dalitam Madhuram Phalitam Madhuram Madhura-Adhipaterakhilam Madhuram ||

Jazzing Up the Jazz
The new version of Honda Jazz will attempt to ride on the City’s brand value
 
If there was one car which started the trend of beginning with a high price and then reducing it drastically, thus building up a reputation for itself, it had to be the Honda Jazz, currently waiting to be launched, again, in India. Pushed as a ‘premium’ product in the sub-four-metre hatchback range, the original Jazz had an engine similar to the Honda City—which made it good value for money as well as a star performer.
 
The newer version of the Honda Jazz is expected to come with the same engine as the Honda Brio and the Honda Amaze. Nothing wrong with the size, which is in the 1,200cc range for petrol-engine cars, but certainly it leaves a lot to say about the refinement and seamless delivery as well as fuel efficiency that the Honda City's engine is well known for.
 
So is the Honda Jazz going to be a hatchback version of the Honda City? Not likely; though it will attempt to ride on the City’s brand value. So, initially, we can expect a price which will be way above that of the Brio and probably higher than that of the Amaze as well. Once the dust settles, we can expect Honda to reduce prices. Thereby admirably leaving space for people who bought this ‘premium’ product to say ‘we told you so’ once again.
 

Capturing Road Rage

 
The last fortnight has been full of road-related issues: whether it is the controversy following the judgement in an accident case involving Bollywood actor Salman Khan from over a dozen years ago, or the more recent episodes in Delhi of a bus-driver being killed by a biker egged on by his mother or that of an angry woman being hit by a policeman with a brick (new evidence has surfaced that the woman was also at fault). All these incidents of road rage bring out the pressing need to have some sort of digital recording equipment handy—be it a video camera, mobile phone or any other form of audio-video recording equipment.
 
A good dash-cam costs about Rs3,000 and can be installed in such a way that it can have not only a front view but also be swung around to either side or to get a rear view. Likewise, there are few digital cameras which do not have audio-video recording capacities—learn how to use them.
This may save your life someday. It may, or may not, stand legal scrutiny; it may or may not be evidence in a court of law; but it will help in more ways than one—as the episode of woman and the policeman throwing bricks at each other shows. And having experienced the power of just politely telling a policeman that the dash-cam is on, is more than enough for me to recommend this low-cost electronic product to everybody.
 
No specific brand name; but many varieties are available. Go for one. I have written on this before and am glad to note that taxi and auto-drivers in and around Delhi have increasingly got some fitted; now, it’s time for the rest of us too. 
 
(Veeresh Malik started and sold a couple of companies, is now back to his first love—writing. He is also involved in helping small and midsize family-run businesses re-invent themselves.)
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13 things to remember about Mobile shopping Apps
Mobile shopping apps give you the choice to shop at your convenience but be careful with them
 
As our mobile devices become more and more a part of our everyday lives, we are increasingly using them for shopping, working and communication. No wonder, during 2014, sessions in shopping apps on iOS and Android increased by a whopping 174% year-on-year. On Android alone, the shopping category increased by 220%, says a research report from Flurry which tracks mobile app usage trends.
 
In India too, we are witnessing the uptrend in shopping through mobile apps from Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Jabong and so on. The response for shopping with a mobile device is so massive that Myntra, the fashion portal from Flipkart, decided to exit from the web and is now exclusively available as mobile app from 15 May 2015. “The best fashion experience is a truly personalised and engaging one that is only possible through the device that is closest to you. A device that understands you—your mobile,” Myntra says.
 
Almost all shopping portals are now offering some items at special price or with an additional discount if the order is placed from the mobile app. There are some apps only offers as well.  
 
What to watch out for…
  1. Buy only if there are ‘real’ money saving offers
  2. Do not fall prey for lowest price offer as it may be excluding delivery charges
  3. Do not get lured by the good-looking images of the product; always check product specifications
  4. Always try to read comments/views of other buyers. Check ratings as well
  5. Opt for well-known brand, but do a double-check with the brand’s official portal, or authorised dealer about price and warranty
  6. Do not fall prey to fancy, foreign-sounding brand names
  7. Check the credibility of the seller. Ratings do help in such matters 
  8. Check the delivery charges per item before placing the order
  9. Do check the refund/replacement policy. This is important, in case something goes wrong
  10. Be aware of the terms & conditions of the mobile app and the product seller 
  11. Place an order only if you can get delivery as promised at your location and the delivery charges are reasonable
  12. Keep an eye on your wallet while placing an order
  13. Check if the ‘cash-on-order’ option is available (and pay the delivery boy only when you have opened and checked the item in his presence)
 
Security
 
Use an app that is downloaded from the authentic store only. Before installing the app, double-check the permissions and access it can have. For example, 
 
I fail to understand why the Flipkart mobile app needs access to the contents on my device’s SD card or requires control of flashlight. 
 
 
Log in to the app only when you are placing an order. It will prevent the app being misused by children and friends. As applicable for all such transactions, do not share your shopping apps login details and password with anyone. For added security, use apps lock feature or use an app that provides app locking facility.
 
Another interesting thing is the size (after installation) of the app and the data it consumes. Keep an eye on this, especially if your mobile handset had a low RAM and internal memory and you are worried about higher bills. Most shopping apps available today, in India, tend to generate cache and data larger than the app size. Do clean the cache and stored data periodically to ensure smooth functioning of your mobile device and the app. Android users can go to Settings>Apps>, find the app name, open it and then touch ‘clear data’ and ‘clear cache’.
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