Monday 4 March 2013

The Trinity who protect this town

Indian mythology says that this town is protected by the holy trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara. The river that flows by this town is known as Yami or Yamuna, the daughter of Sun and the sister of Yama, the God of Death.
This town is sacred to the Hindus as Veda Vyasa, the first scribe of the world, who wrote the Mahabharata, was born here. During the Mughal rule, this town was an important place as it had a huge mint which was set up by Akbar. There is unfortunately, little or no trace of the mint. It was also here that the British managed to defeat Rani of Jhansi, Laxambai, and her 10,000 troops during the war of Indian Independence in 1857. Subsequently, the British wrested control of this town and its surroundings and held it on till 1947.
A few decades ago, this town was the centre of dacoits the most famous among whom as Phoolan Devi.
Phoolan and her gang operated in and around the town before she surrendered and subsequently became a Member of Parliament on a Samajawadi part ticket. She was shot dead in front of her official quarters in Delhi in 2001.    
Coming back to Kalpi, it was on an artificial island here that Veda Vyasa was born to Sage Parashara and Kali, the fisherwoman. Kali is also known as Satyavati, who later married Shantanu.
The story of Veda Vyasa’s birth goes as follows. Sage Parashara wanted to cross Yamuna and he took the help of a young beautiful woman named Kali, who was the daughter of a fisherman.
The beautiful Kali aroused passion in Sage Parashara who created a thick fog around the boat and created an artificial island. The couple had sexual union on the island.
Sage Parashara then told Kali that as soon as he leaves, a son will be born to her. He predicted that his son would become the teacher of the world and divide the Vedas. He also blessed Kali, saying that after the birth of a son, she will remain a virgin.
Soon Kali gave birth to a male child. As soon as the child was born, he grew up and told Kali that she had played her part in the divine mission by giving birth to him and that she need not worry about him. He also said that he will come to her aid whenever she so desires.
As a child, Vyasa was referred as Krishna and as he was born on an island he was also known as Krishnadwaipayana. When he divides the versa into Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana, he came to be known as Veda Vyasa.
There is a temple dedicated to Veda Vyasa in Kalpi. In ancient times, the town was known as Kalpriya Nagari.
Akbar set up a mint here a mint for manufacturing copper coins. In the middle of 18th century, Kalpi fell into the hands of Marathas. In 1858, Lord Strathnairn defeated 10,000 freedom fighters under Rani of Jhansi.
The Vishnu Purana itself says that Vyasa Vyasa was born here 5000 years ago. Besides Veda Vyasa, other eminent sages like Uddalakor or Aruni, Vamiki, Parasara and Vamdeo were born here.
Birbal, the great wit and a minister of Akbar, was also born in Kalpi. When he was born in 1528, Birbal was known as Maheshdas Brahmbhatt. He was a Chaurasia Brahmin.
Kalpi fell to the Muslims in 1196 when Qutb-ud-din-Aibak, the viceroy of Muhammad Ghori conquered it.
Kalpi was one of the places in India where total solar eclipse was witnessed on October 24, 1995. The sky is very clear here and, therefore, it gives a very good sighting of the eclipse. It is also known for handmade papers which are very smooth and very delicate.
The Kalapriyanath temple here was one of the biggest structures dedicated to the Sun God. It was believed to have been constructed by Shamba, sons of Krishna, as he sought a cure from leprosy.
Varahamihira, the astrologer, astronomer and one of the Nava Ratnas of  the legendary King Vikramaditya, took his astronomical observations from this temple.
Varahamihira, in his book Brihat Jataka, also called Brihat Jatakam or Brihajjatakam, himself refers to this town saying that he was taught astrology here. This is one of the four principle texts of Varahamihira.
The Sun Temple had a such a huge auditorium that the plays of Bhavabhuti, the 8th century Sanskrit scholar, such as Mahavircharitram, Malti Madhava and Uttar Ramacharitrami were enacted.
The courtyard of the temple was so huge that when the Rashtrakuta King Indra the third invaded Kannauj in 915 AD, his army including elephants, horses and soldiers stayed within its confines. These elephants are supposed to have battered down the huge walls of the temple.
The seven queens of Lahariya king Srichand performed sati near the Sun temple at a place called Satmathia. There are seven small temples to mark their sacrifice.
The location of the Kalpriyanath and Satmathia temples have been traced to a small village called Gulloli. The village is six kilometers from Kalpi and is on the right bank of  Yamuna.
The embankment (Ghat) of the Sun Temple is known as Suryaghat. The original Sun Temple with the deity is believed to be beneath a huge mound here.
Kanpur is 78 kms from Kalpi and Lucknow is 158 kms away.

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