Trimandir on the outskirts of Ahmedabad has three major deities – Simandhar swami, Shiva and Vishnu. Yes, Simandhar swami is from the Jain religion. Along with him there are a number of other Jain idols too – Mahavira, Parshavanath, Rushabh, Ajitnath and Padmaprabhu. Not sure how these Jinas from the Jain 24 + 20 tirthankars have been chosen. Traditionally in Jain temples the idols are chosen on basis of some astrological calculations done by Pujaris, as far as I know. Not sure if same method has been used here.
Shiva and Vishnu have dedicated temples on either side of the Jain pantheon. A lot of devi idols from Maa Amba near Vishnu to Chakreshwari devi, Parvati near Shiv and also others. Another side alcove has the idol of Sai Baba very soberly clad. A thought provoking place. Can finding unity & harmony in the Indian religious diversity be so simple? (Read more on why Trimandir)
Lately I have been thinking a lot of the place Jainism has as part of ‘Hinduism’. Jains haven’t been officially accorded a minority status so it is being considered a part of the Hindu group of people but the actual differences in the two paths are many. And there is some age old enmity that is still being passed on often unconciously within different paths alienating the Jains from Hindus. More on this later probably on my other blog where I write on these matters of spirituality more…. But the Trimandir was an interesting experience.
I was here in August and the weather was lovely. Full moon was a day away so the ambiance created with cool lovely winds, a bright moon and blossoming trees was ethereal.
The temple complex has different amenities to suit everyone – a restaurant (pure veg, no onion-garlic) with delicious foods including a semi-gourmet level pizza, French loaf, grilled sandwiches, a host of south Indian fast foods, pav bhaji and so on. A children’s play area just outside the temple called ‘Store of Happiness’ is a nice, satvic place for kids to let loose their inner demons 🙂 The parents could sit around on the grass lawns or the numerous benches. There is also a book store for the spiritually inclined. There are lifts to enter the temple for senior citizens, wheel chairs are also seen if needed. So overall it gives a feel of a place that is open for everyone.
The temple itself has number of sitting areas – lot of chairs, a carpet for folks looking to sit down and meditate (or whatever) inside the temple. There is a small museum on the story of Ambalal (fondly called ‘Dada Bhagwan’ by the followers) – who founded the path. A 10 minute movie show, as part of this museum makes it a family activity. In this way, kids can spend time within the temple without being forced to remain silent. The huge courtyard terrace outside the temple also has many benches and chairs to sit and spend time in solitude or even in groups.
Niru Maa’s Samadhi
Opposite the Trimandir is Niru Maa’s samadhi, she was a leading lady in the establishment of the organization. She passed away many years ago due to cancer. Now the organization is led by Deepakbhai. This samadhi area is another peaceful space with trees and quaint benches. One can meditate in the samadhi structure or sit in the lawns.
Overall the ashram is a peaceful, satvic place, good for some solitude but with ample amenities so that urban folks like us don’t feel like we are roughing it.
This is a good place to visit for a day if you are in Ahmedabad. Along with this temple you can also visit Adalaj Vav – an iconic step well. It is just 2km from the temple.
If looking for a few days of spiritual relaxation and solitude you can stay at the ‘Stop n Stay’ guest house. Room costs are around 800/-. AC – nonAC rooms are both available. And nearby is the ashram bhojnalaya which serves three meals a day at very reasonable costs.
Dada Bhagwan Foundation
The ashram of Dada Bhagwan foundation is fairly large. A chunk of the area consists of very aesthetically pleasing living homes for the followers. In fact a stroll through this area in the evenings can be delightful. With scenic seating, large footpaths, greenery and a plethora of lovely birds chirping away – it will calm the usual city life fatigue and probably bring a smile to your face. A lot of doves in the area – the first place in India where I have heard so much of their coo-ing.
There is also a Business Park where these followers can pursue some work – usually providing services to the fellow followers. So a lot of the services you get here – from the temple side restaurant to private cars for city excursions are run by the ashram followers. So that itself is an interesting experience.
There are also two huge halls in the premises – including Dadanagar hall which can accommodate 10,000 people. It is the only hall of this size in Ahmedabad.
Transport within the ashram and to and from the city are as follows,
City bus: there are two buses that frequent the ashram every hour or so. Check the timings though otherwise you may just be standing there for a long time.
Ashram bus: every 30 mins or so in the morning and evening. Not so much in the afternoon. This bus is for internal transport within the ashram not for outside city.
Rickshaws: they ply within the ashram and short distances would be ok with these. Longer distances becomes a bit of a problem as they are very expensive.
Private cars: this could be a more cost effective solution if you need a vehicle for at least few hours of the day.
Ola/Uber: both should be available. It seems that Ola is the preferred service in Ahmedabad over Uber.
PokemonGo players will find fairly fruitful gaming here with plenty of Sandshrews, Ponyta, Rattata and Geodudes. There is just one Pokestop – at the entrance of the Trimandir. But the lawns are lush with a myriad variey of Pokemon.
Let me know your experience if you landed here 🙂