The story of young Dhruva sitting all alone in the dense forest meditating on Lord Vishnu has been narrated to us a million times while growing up. How a boy of five years found solace in Lord Vishnu and sought His blessings with a single-minded goal is truly an inspirational story described in the Hindu scriptures.
His entire body resonated the sacred mantra imparted to him by Narada Devarshi and he sat engrossed in the contemplation of Lord Vishnu for six months with no water, no food, uncaring if it was cold, raining or hot. Such was his devotion, that Dhruva had become an epitome of renunciation (tyāga) and when the Lord gave him sakshatkara, he was in a state of ecstatic bliss with tears of joy pouring down his eyes.
The eternal Sapta Rishis who in ancient Indian and modern astronomy are the asterism of the Big Dipper called Saptarishi mandalam were in awe of his tapas (penance and austerities) and along with Lord Vishnu gave him the most exalted position of Dhruva-Pada (Pole Star) in the wide expansive space. They offered their prostrations and circumambulated Dhruva who is deemed to be immortal and imperishable even at the time of the great deluge.
Dhruva is believed to have been born in Bithoor and the spot where he sat for meditation is a small mound named Dhruva Tila. This serene place full of trees, sweet-smelling flowers, birds and monkeys overlooks the holy Ganga River. Archaeological excavations conducted here uncovered rare copper coins, copper spear, axe, knife, figurines, copper circular rings and others that are said to be of the 2500 – 250 BCE period. Historians opine that Dhruva Tila is of great antiquity and most likely of the pre-Vedic period.
The temples seen today have been built by the Marathas under the leadership of Nana Saheb Peshwa II in the typical Maratha style of architecture. There is an old Durga Temple next to Dhruva Tila as well as a shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman. An ashram in honour of Sant Ramdas, the Guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has also been built.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
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