Catoctin Mountain Range of Maryland …
Falls Area of Cunningham Falls State Park
Click to see one of these opportunities for hiking in the Falls Area of the Cunningham Falls State Park
Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington
The Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington was established as a place of worship in 1988. Its purpose has always been both to provide an avenue for prayer in the traditional manner of the Hindu faith and also to be a site for the Hindu community to come together to strengthen Hindu cultural bonds and values. This picture shows the sikhara of the temple, a symbolic holy mountain over the most holy shrine of the temple. This temple was among the first of the Hindu temples in the area, and has grown along with the growing Hindu population. Originally, members met for services in a single-family home, but this majestic temple was built in 2006.
The Hindu religion is among the oldest of all religions, having roots going far back into even the pre-history of India. Over the millennia, it has been influenced by outside forces and in turn has been the inspirational seed for newer religions. In spite of its ancient roots, it has kept itself fresh and current for modern Hindus. Additionally, it is worth noting that Hinduism has not constrained itself over much with regard to beliefs, and the local Hinduism of different localities has been incorporated into the larger religion. This has resulted in a cultural mindset that is both flexible and accepting of other religious beliefs. Also, the multitude of beliefs has contributed the notion that Hinduism is polytheistic religion, but that is a simplistic view, since most Hindus do believe in a single god, but that god can be approached from different view points.
The Hindu diaspora in America has grown dramatically, increasing ten-fold from 1980 to 2013. This has been a blessing for the individual Hindu, but also a challenge for maintaining cultural continuity in the next generation, many of whom seem ready to reject their own culture and identity. The Hindu Temple of Metropolitan Washington has a role to play in making Hindu faith and culture relevant to the next generation.
This shrine to Lord Hanuman is outside next to the Hindu Temple. Hanuman is an important and beloved chiranjivi (immortal) in Hinduism, whose first impression is that of being a monkey. He exemplifies many virtues and is a symbol of nationalism and resistance to persecution. He was a central character in support of Rama, one of the incarnations of Vishnu, in the epic tale Ramayana, the story of struggle against evil.
The sign below him shows a transliteration of a popular aarti prayer to Hanuman, which would be sung while holding a tray with oil lamps. On the wall behind him is a contributer acknowledgement board honoring those who have contributed to the building of the temple, who thus demonstrated virtues of Hanuman.
This closeup of Lord Hanuman allows you to see him in greater detail. The installation of an image such as this requires great learning and care and reverence to ensure the successful infusion of the image with the holy presence of G-d, which is then worshipped by Hindus to help them attain greater spiritual energy in their lives. Worship of course includes prayers, but also sacrifices such as the fruit at the feet of Hanuman. No one imagines that Hanuman actually eats the sacrifices, but the sacrifice itself shows reverence to G-d as represented in the image. The good looking clothes on the image of Lord Hanuman also show respect.
The Catoctin Mountain Range in Maryland, which is one of the most wonderful recreational treasures within driving distance of Washington, DC. People in the area of course use it for hiking, but also in certain places for camping, for trail-biking, for fishing, and even for boating and swimming. The southern end of this mountain range begins in the south just west of Frederick, MD, and runs about 30 miles north, roughly parallel to South Mountain, which is more to the west, and roughly parallel to MD-15, which is just east of it. On both sides it is surrounded by productive farm land. Over its length, it comprises a ridge that dips a few times into passes. It runs through four parks, as follows from north to south:
Strictly speaking, this mountain range does continue south into Virginia, but at much lower elevations and with fewer notable hiking opportunities to explore.
The Catoctin Trail … Each of the four separate parks include many hiking trails. Additionally, there is one long trail, which is a wonderful resource, the Catoctin Trail, maintained by the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC). This trail is 26.6 miles long, and the northern end is just three miles from the Appalachian Trail on South Mountain. In addition to hiking and mountain biking, the trail is also the site for the annual 50K Catoctin Trail Run, which runs out-and-back from the Gambrill Tea Room to the Manor Area Visitors Center.
This photo journey provides you with an opportunity to virtually “hike” this trail in either direction.
[Click here to see the sites and virtually hike the Catoctin Trail].
Maryland is sometimes called “America in Miniature,” because nearly every sort of geography found in America, except deserts, can also be found in Maryland, although not always on the same scale. There are many historic sites, and some very pleasant hiking opportunities. Come join me on some Maryland photo journeys not far from our Nation’s Capital, Washington, DC.
Click to see one of these opportunities for hiking in nature in Maryland
Overview and Map Guide to the Catoctin Mountain Range of Maryland
Overview and guide to the Catoctin Trail
Overview and guide to Catoctin Mountain Park, NPS
Overview and guide to Falls Area of Cunningham Falls State Park
Overview and guide to Manor Area of Cunningham Falls State Park
Overview and guide to Frederick Municipal Forest
Overview and guide to Gambrill State Park
Appalachian Trail Maryland Challenge
Click to see one of these opportunities for exploring history in Maryland
Check out the Historic Gaithersburg Community Museum at the old Railroad Station and Freight Building right next to today's Gaithersburg station. Then you can visit the historic Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory, where we learn more about our world.
See the Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory, designated a National Historic Landmark. The observatory was part of an international scientific cooperative effort that laid the groundwork for modern navigation and GPS. Now there are nighttime learning events on the grounds.
Maryland Has Three Historic Covered Bridges North of Frederick.
Appalachian Trail on South Mountain Crosses Four Sites of the Civil War.
View this map to find location of above sites.