Bojjanakonda is near Anakapalle of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh

Lord Buddha

Lord Buddha

Although India is country where Hindus are in large number but in idol worship Buddhist are not behind. They have built many sculptures of Buddha in India. In India, Bodh Gaya is famous as the holiest place of Buddhists. This is the place where Lord Buddha planted the seed of Buddhism, through his teachings and preaching. Thus, it can be said that in Indian statues Buddha has large amount of sharing.

For two millions of people in the world, Buddhism is the religion. The word Buddhism is originated from the world “budhhi” that means “to wake up”. Buddhism was originated about 2500 years ago, when “Buddha”, also known as, Siddhartha Gotama was enlightened. Buddha got knowledge or awakened at the age of 35. Presently there are 8 million Buddhists in India. From which there are somewhere 58.3% people belong to Maharashtra, in Karnataka there are 3.9 lakh Buddhist, in Uttar Pradesh there are 3.0 lakh Buddhists and so on.

There are many large statues of God and Goddess in India but the statues of Buddha has covered a large place in India. There are several cities that have big statues of Buddha such as,

1)      Kagyu Monestry (Dehradun): A large statue of standing Lord Buddha is located in Kagyu Monestry in Dehradun. Height of this statue is 107ft.

2)      Rajgir (Bihar): A very beautiful statue of Buddha is located in Rajgir, Bihar. This statue of Buddha is in sitting posture. Buddha lived here for several years and spread his teaching.

3)      Bodhgaya (Bihar): This statue is of 80 ft, this statue is built by 120000 stone masons. This is another statue of Lord Buddha, which is in sitting posture. This sculpture took many years to get completed.

4)      Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh): This statue of Buddha is 18 metres high, and its weight is near about 350 tons, this is one of the tallest statues of Buddha. This statue is a single marble of white colour. This statue is the main source of attraction of tourist of Secunderabad and Hyderabad, because there is a common link between these two cities i.e. Hussain Sagar, where this statue is located.

5)      Belum Caves (Andhra Pradesh): Jains and Buddhists monks from many years live in the cave of Belam. Near the cave, there is a hillock, where a big statue of Buddha is located.

6)      Bojjanakonda (Andhra Pradesh): A very beautiful statue of Lord Buddha is in Andhra Pradesh, this is a rock cut image. Bojjanakonda is near Anakapalle of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh. In the district of Andhra Pradesh, it is one of the two hillocks near Anakapalle. Both of the places have fine-looking caves with stunning rock cuts. It has many monolithic stupas, these images are too old, and it is believed that it is built between 4th A.D to 9th A.D.

7)      Norbulingka (Himachal Pradesh): A stunning Norbulingka Institute in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. In Norbulingka Institute there is a spiritual centre- Deden Tsuglagkhang Temple, in which an image of Buddha Shakyamuni is located. This image is of golden colour, it is made up of copper statue.

 

 

 

 

Lord Hanuman Brass Statue Monkey God

Lord HanumanAccording to Hindu mythology, Lord Hanuman was the reincarnation of the Lord Shiva. Lord Hanuman helped the Lord Ram in his journey against evil. In Hindu mythology, Hanuman is one of the most idolised deities. Hanuman is always worshiped as an icon of physical potency, persistence and loyalty.

The monkey god, Hanuman is worshiped on Tuesdays (the most preferred day) but some time on Saturdays also. There are many disciples of Hanumana, who keep fast in his honour and give special offering to him. Hanumana is worshipped by those men who strictly follow celibacy, as he was a brahmachari (a person who follows celibacy). In Hindu culture, it is famous that, by chanting the name of Hanuman or by singing his hymn i.e. Hanuman Chalisa, one can easily get over his troubles and problems. Some of the people also start decreeing “Bajrang Bali ki jai” (Victory to thy thunderbolt strength) when they are in trouble, as it is believed that Hanuman helps the person in trouble and provides strength to fight. He is a perfect yogi, who has a lot of strengths. He has perfect strength and devotion power.

Hanuman is among the most famous Gods, there are millions of his disciples. He is worshiped by several people. His statutes are world famous. Some of the beautiful and famous images of Hanuman are mentioned below:

1)      Hyderabad: In India the tallest image of Hanuman is made by a foreign sculptor. Rio De Janeiro made the tallest statue of Hanuman. This is the tallest statue in the world. This statue is 135 feet tall and this statue is located in Paritala which is located somewhere 240 km away from the city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. This statue is famous by the name of Veera Abhaya Anjaneya.

2)      Nandura: In the town of Maharashtra, Nandura, a very famous image of Hanuman is located, which is 105 ft high. This town is close to the national highway, this can be seen from there also because of its magnificent height. It feels gigantic to look at the sculpture, which is 32 metres tall.

3)      Shimla: Image of Hanuman in Shimla is built recently; this image was completed in 2010. This statue is of 108 ft high. This beautiful image of Hanuman can be seen from various hill parts of Shimla, this statue boosts tourism in Himachal Pradesh. This place is famous in legends, as it is believed that Acharya Drona asked about the magical herb i.e. Sanjiveeni Buti.

4)      Shahjahanpur: A famous Murti of Hanuman is in Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh. This image is 32 meters high i.e. 104 ft high. This is a standing image of Hanuman.

5)      Amritsar: In the Ram Tirath Temple of Hanuman of magnificent and big statue of Hanuman is beautifully carved. This statue is in the state of Punjab, India. Hanuman’s statue in this temple is 80 ft high (24.5 metres).

6)      Rourkela: Hanuman Vatika is in Rourkela, in the state of Orissa, India. Here, image of hanuman is 23 metres high (75 feet).

Raja Ravi Verma & His Pretty Women

Born in the state of Travancore way back in 1848, Raja Ravi Verma was an artist who was known for his exemplary pieces of art not only throughout India, but internationally too! Most popularly known for his portrayal of a series of Sari-clad graceful Indian women, he was one of the first Indian painters to have won an award at the Vienna Art Exhibition.

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Mostly based on Hindu epics & mythology, Raja Ravi Verma’s classic oil paintings depict various characters like Hindu Gods & Goddesses in realistic settings, following styles of European academic art. Important portrait commissions from noble members of the Indian aristocracy & British officials have proved his worth as one of the most famed portrait artists of India. His fluid portrayal of characters unmistakably added grace & elegance to the personality of the subject, while lending vibrant warmth to the painting as a whole. He worked widely with various impactful & touching stories from the Ramayana, Mahabharata & other Indian classics and created pieces that were ripe with expressions, rich in textures & throbbing with life!

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Raja Ravi Verma’s women are one of the most iconic & popular characters of art even in the 21st century. He painted South Indian women in a form so elegant, graceful & pretty, that the emotions & beauty in the paintings were almost tangible. The Ravi Verma women, whom the artist had lovingly & diligently created through his brush & oils, have been depicted, filled with emotions, sentimentality & a surrounding so real, yet full of stories. The quintessential sari-clad Ravi Verma heroine can be seen gracing framed wall art, calendars, souvenirs, books, bags and many other products all around us even today.

Raja Ravi Verma was one of the foremost pioneers to have held the shining beacon of Indian art high even outside the country and his works have been successful in keeping him alive in the heart of every art-loving Indian.

Story of Kamakhya Temple

Kamakhya Temple in GuwahatiAlso known as Shakti Peeth, Kamakhya Temple located in Guwahati, Assam in northeastern part of India, is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for the Hindus, especially for Tantric worshipers. It is believed that if someone visits Assam, he must pay a vist to this temple.

Nestled in the Nilachal Hill of the Capital of Assam, the temple houses the primary deity Kamakhya, in stone architecture. There are altogether six stone temples here. The temple can be dated back to thousands of years back but the current stone sculpture was re-built during 1564-63 by Chilarai, a great warrior of eastern India.

The main temple is dedicated to Kamakhya Devi and the whole structure it is a complex of individual temples dedicated to ten Mahavidyas: Bhuvaneshvari, Bagalamukhi, Chinnamasta, Tripura Sundari and Tara, Kali, Bhairavi, Dhumavati, Matangi and Kamala. Among them Tripurasundari, Matangi and Kamala reside inside the main temple whereas the other seven reside in individual temples.

The most sacred part of the temple is the inner sanctorum, the garbhagriha. It is a cave below ground level and is small, dark and reached by narrow steep stone steps. Inside the cave there is a piece of stone that slopes downwards from both sides meeting in a yoni-like depression some 10 inches deep. This hallow is constantly filled with water from an underground perennial spring. It is the vulva-shaped depression that is worshiped as the goddess Kamakhya herself and considered as most important pitha (abode) of the Devi.

The garbhaghrihas of the other temples also follow the same structure—a yoni-shaped stone, filled with water and below ground Garbhaghrihaslevel.

It is not possible to trace the original structure of the temple. But the present structure was built during the rule of Ahom dynasty. Remnants of the earlier Koch temple were also preserved.

Temple was destroyed during the middle of second millennium and revised temple structure was constructed in 1565 by Chilarai of the Koch dynasty.

The current structure has a beehive-like shikhara with sculptured panels and images of Ganesha and other Hindu gods and goddesses.

Out of the three major chambers of the temple, the western chamber is large and rectangular and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a square, with a small idol of the Goddess, which is a later addition. The walls of this chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other gods.

The middle chamber leads to the sanctum sanctorum.

Ambubachi Mela is the most prominent festival celebrated in the temple, when the menstruation of the Goddess Kamakhya is celebrated. During this time, (in July) the water in the main shrine runs red with iron oxide resembling menstrual fluid.

The Kalika Purana, an ancient work in Sanskrit describes Kamakhya as the yielder of all desires, the young bride of Shiva, and the giver of salvation. Shakti is also known as Kamakhya.

Vatsayana, a Sage in Varanasi during the first Century was approached by the King in the Himalayan region (now Nepal) to find a solution to convert the tribal population and their rituals of human sacrifice to a more socially-accepted worship. Vatsayana suggested the worship of Tara, a tantric goddess.

According to the Kalika Purana, Kamakhya Temple denotes the spot where Sati used to retire in secret to satisfy her amour with Shiva, and it was also the place where her yoni fell after Shiva danced with the corpse of Sati.

This is not corroborated in the Devi Bhagavata, which lists 108 places associated with Sati’s body, though Kamakhya finds a mention in a supplementary list. The Yogini Tantra, a latter work, ignores the origin of Kamakhya given in Kalika Purana and associates Kamakhya with the goddess Kali and emphasizes the creative symbolism of the yoni.

Festivals

Kamakhya Temple festivalAs a key centre for Tantra worship, Kamakhya temple attracts tens of thousands of tantra devotees during the Ambubachi Mela. Another annual celebration is the Manasha Puja. Durga Puja is also celebrated annually at Kamakhya during Navaratri in the autumn. This five-day festival attracts several thousand visitors. Pilgrims from all over South Asia pay their visit to the temple.

According to the legend, this is actually place where the female genitals, uterus, of Sati dropped when the Almighty Vishnu dissected her human body to force grief-stricken the Almighty Shiva in order to come out and about of the pain as well as carry out his celestial responsibilities.

Up to date Kamakhya Temple timings are as follows

5:30 AM: Snana of the Pithasthana.

6:00 AM: Nitya puja.

8:00 AM: Temple door open for devotees.

1:00 PM:  Temple door closed for cooked offerings to the goddess followed by distribution among the devotees.

2:30 PM: Temple door reopens for the devotees.

5:30 PM: Aarati of Goddess followed by closing of the temple door for the night.

How to Reach: The Kamakhya temple is about 20km from the Guwahati airport and is about 6km from the railway station. From the airport as well as from the railway station cars are easily available for rent. So, devotees can hire cars for a trip to Kamakhya.

Shivkhori: Where nature meets spiritualism

In many ways, a darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi shrine is incomplete without paying a visit to the popular Shivkhori shrine located in Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir where you can feast your eyes with a natural spectacle in the form of a Shivlingum. One of the most venerated cave shrines of Lord Shiva in the region, the Holy cave is more than 150 metres long and houses four feet high Svayambhu Lingam. There are stalactites and stalagmites dripping milky limestone water. Shivkhori is considered second only to the shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi.shivkhori-1

To the left of Shivling, Parvati is symbolized by impression of Her Holy feet. Kartikeya is also seen in left of Shivlingam. At nearly 2.5 feet above, five headed Ganesha is standing. There are some natural impression and images of various Hindu gods and goddesses. That is why Shivkhori is known as “Home of Gods”.

The cave is located in Ransoo village of Tehsil Reasi in Udhampur District in Jammu region. Vehicles go up to village Ransoo, surrounded by lush green mountains. Pilgrims have to negotiate about 3-km track from Ransoo on foot. The Shivkhori Shrine can be approached by road from Katra, Udhampur and Jammu. The village is around 130 km from Jammu and 80 km from Katra, the latter incidently being the base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi.

For a tourist, the route from Jammu to Shiv Khori is full of breathtaking mountains, waterfalls and some cool lakes. Your tired soul will automatically get rejuvenated and refreshed by the picturesque beauty of nature. Your heart will swim in the holy water of spiritualism at Shivkhori.

shiv-khori-2 The roof of the cave is engraved with snake like formations with water dripping through these in the cave. ‘Three pronged lance’ depicting the Trident (Trishul) of Lord Shiva and ‘Six Mouthed Sheshnaga’ are also manifest on the roof of the cave. Devotees believe that the main part of that cave roof has round cutting mark reflecting the construction of cave by Sudarshan Chakra of Lord Vishnu.

Shiv Khori festival is celebrated on the eve of Maha Shivratri every year. Lakhs of pilgrims from different parts of the country visit this Cave Shrine to seek blessings of Lord Shiva.

In view of the growing number of pilgrims visiting the cave during Maha Shivratri Mela, the Shiv Khori Shrine Board has taken up a slew of measures to provide better amenities for them.

The state government also keeps a regular check on the langers operating during the festival days for ensuring better eating facilities to the pilgrims and proper security arrangements for the pilgrims coming to take part in Shiv Khori Festival.

The Legend

There is an interesting legend about the cave. Thousands of years ago, a demon called Bhashmasur was in deep and rigorous meditation on Lord Shiv and finally he got a boon from the Lord that he would possess the power to end anybody’s life by keeping his hand on his head. Once he received such a powerful boon, the demon became so ambitious that he wanted to kill Lord Shiva. The Lord Shiva had to escape along with Parvati and Nandi cow to safety.

While on the move, Shiva halted at a place near Shivkhori for rest. But the demon was following him closely and started fighting with Lord Shiva. Even after a dreadful battle the Lord Shiva decided not to kill Bhashmasur so as to keep dignity of his own blessings.

Then Shiva threw his trident (Trishul) to create the famous Cave of Shiv Khori. The design of the entrance allowed only Lord Shiva and Parvati and Nandi cow to enter this cave leaving the demon out side.shivkhori

Following this, Lord Vishnu in the guise of a lady, came and seduce the demon to dance to her steps. An intoxicated Bhashmasur started following each move of the dance as dictated by Lord Vishnu. Then Lord Vishnu made an ultimate move by keeping one hand on the head. The demon also did likewise. And the end came fast and quick. Lord Vishnu along with other deities then entered the Holy cave.

Legends say that 33 crores deities have manifested in this Holy cave in shape of pindies. The views of natural impression & images of Hindu Deities is a fascinating sight inside the cave.

How to reach

You can reach this holy cave by train, road and also by air. The most convenient option for pilgrims would be to reach Katara railway station in Jammu. Taxis and buses are available from Jammu to reach Ransoo. Another option is to reach Udhampur by Train and then take road journey from Udhamur to Ransoo. Ransoo is located on the Reasi-Rajouri Road and is well connected with Katra, Jammu and other cities of Jammu & Kashmir.

Contemporary Blouse For Your Traditional Lehenga

Now that the festive & wedding seasons are knocking on our festooned doors, Indian women are bringing out their lehengas for their special & rare outings. Lehengas are those coveted outfits that we reserve for the most special of occasions! Gone are the days when lehengas had to be worn only with cholis & dupattas – now the lehenga blouse ranges from bikini tops to long coats – so take your pick & turn heads at the next family wedding!

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For the modern Indian diva who doesn’t care to bare, bikini tops or itsy-bitsy cholis are the hottest picks for jazzing up the typical traditional lehengas. Give your old lehenga a makeover by pairing it with a tiny choli in a contrast color or a daring cut, pile on some chunky jewellery, blow dry your curls, layer on the mascara & step out in style! If your family consists of conservative members, then show a bit less midriff & go for a traditional length blouse with a well-cut, deep back. Add on a heavily embellished dupatta that’ll provide some cover, while decking up the look. However much of a middle you bare, just make sure your abs are toned enough to be flaunted!

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Apprehensive of skin-show? Not the baring type? Ditch the traditional cropped lehenga blouse and go for a modest waist length one instead. Keep the blouse simple & plain and jazz it up with statement jewellery or drape on a gorgeous dupatta. You can even pair your heirloom lehenga with a smart jacket – short or long – to give it a contemporary twist. Get rid of the necklace & even the dupatta and let shoulder-duster earrings give your embellished jacket some sparkling company. Not only that, even long kurtas can be teamed up with lehengas now for the ultimate style statement!

So choose the right lehenga blouse as per your body type & style and give a contemporary twist to the traditional ensemble!

The Trending Art Of Ikat

A traditional art of yarn-dyeing, which had originated as far back as the 10th century, is making waves as one of the biggest fashion trends internationally for the past few years. The term Ikat, originating from Malaysian “megikat” meaning ‘to tie’, refers to this intricate & difficult method of resist-dyeing yarns as per conceptualized designs before weaving & creating patterns out of them on the loom. This art has given birth to one of the most prominent traditional textiles of India, Andhra Pradesh & Orissa being the major hubs of the country’s Ikat weavers.

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Ikat is said to have originated simultaneously at different locations across the world, specially in South America, India, Japan & South-East Asian countries. This technique can be explored & utilized in various ways to create uniquely stunning patterns – like Warp Ikat, Weft Ikat & Double Ikat. Warp Ikat is the simplest form where the warp is tie-dyed before weaving & the pattern is decided & formed mainly while tying the warp on the loom. Weft Ikat is slightly more complicated as the weft yarns, which are dyed before weaving, has to be arranged on the loom very precisely to get the desired result. Double Ikat is the most difficult form of this art which requires both the warp & the weft yarns to be dyed before weaving. Hence, the actual process of weaving needs an utmost level of skill & a long time, making this style the most premier & expensive form of Ikat.

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People with interest & knowledge of traditional textiles have always held the art if Ikat in high esteem. But, Ikat suddenly rose to the fame of an international trend in the Summer of 2010 and it’s still showing no sign of decline. From fashion to home décor, Ikat has inspired many designers all over the world to embrace this exquisite technique and create beautiful pieces of art. We have also been awed by Ikat-inspired prints & even Ikat patterned nail art that are giving sartorial company to the original art form.

This beautiful & classic art form is a proof of the skill & craftsmanship of the weavers who excel in this technique, thus making it worthy of appreciation, encouragement & support.