Auspicious Neelkanth Birds: Ram Devotees Flock to Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary Ahead of Ram Mandir Opening

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Introduction: As the nation eagerly awaits the consecration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on Monday, devotees are finding unique ways to celebrate the joyous occasion. In Agra, a significant number of Ram devotees are flocking to the Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary to catch a glimpse of the Neelkanth birds, believed to have played a symbolic role in Lord Ram’s conquest of Ravana’s Lanka.

The Significance of Neelkanth Birds: The enthusiasm surrounding the Ram Mandir opening has led devotees to explore various facets of Ramayana, and in Agra, the focus is on the Indian roller birds, affectionately referred to as Neelkanth birds in the epic tale. Legend has it that Lord Ram conquered Ravana’s Lanka after encountering these birds.

Population Surge in Chambal: Environmentalists and wildlife enthusiasts, including Devashish Bhattacharya, note that the population of Neelkanth birds in the Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary has seen a significant increase of approximately 4 percent compared to previous counts.

The Connection to Lord Shri Ram: According to social worker Vijay Upadhyay, the belief is deeply rooted in the Ramayana narrative. It is said that before Lord Shri Ram’s conquest of Lanka, he touched the leaves of the ‘Shami’ tree, and after witnessing the Neelkanth bird, he achieved victory. Additionally, the Neelkanth is considered a form of Lord Shiva.

Lord Ram’s Atonement and Neelkanth: Vishal Sharma, Vice Chairman of Hindustani Biradari, elaborated on the connection between Lord Ram’s atonement for killing Ravana and the appearance of Neelkanth. When accused of the sin of killing a Brahmin, Lord Ram sought penance from Lord Shiva, who appeared in the form of Neelkanth. This association adds another layer of divine significance to the Neelkanth bird.

Auspicious Darshan: As the Hindu holy book mentions the Neelkanth bird, people are visiting places where these birds are found for an ‘auspicious darshan.’ The Neelkanth birds, abundant in tropical regions, are visible in large numbers in Chambal and its surrounding areas, contributing to the sacred atmosphere leading up to the Ram Mandir opening.

Distinctive Characteristics of Neelkanth: Clarifying misconceptions, it’s important to note that Neelkanth birds, often mistaken for Kingfishers, are morphologically distinct. Their brown neck with white streaks, blue head and belly, and pale blue primary feathers with purple-blue tinges set them apart from other avian species.

Conclusion: As devotees make their way to the Chambal Wildlife Sanctuary for an ‘auspicious darshan’ of the Neelkanth birds, the unique blend of spirituality, wildlife, and tradition adds a captivating dimension to the celebrations surrounding the much-anticipated Ram Mandir opening. The convergence of legend and nature creates a truly enriching experience for all those seeking to connect with the divine on this historic occasion.

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