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The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as “an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period”. Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District.
The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars’ location as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Each is a fixed and ‘focused’ tool. The Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.
Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.
An excursion through Jai Singh’s Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens.
A view of the smaller of two Giant sundials.
Jai Prakash Yantra at Jantar Mantar, Jaipur.
The instruments are in most cases huge structures. The scale to which they have been built has been alleged to increase their accuracy. However, the penumbra of the sun can be as wide as 30 mm, making the 1mm increments of the Samrat Yantra sundial devoid of any practical significance. Additionally, the masons constructing the instruments had insufficient experience with construction of this scale, and subsidence of the foundations has subsequently misaligned them. The samrat yantra, for instance, which is a sundial, can be used to tell the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in Jaipur local time. The Giant Sundial, known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument) is the world’s largest sundial, standing 27 meters tall. Its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second, or roughly a hand’s breadth (6 cm) every minute, which can be a profound experience.
Today the observatory is a popular tourist attraction. However, local astronomers still use it to predict the weather for farmers, although their authority is becoming increasingly questionable. Students of astronomy and Vedic astrology are required to take some of their lessons at the observatory, and it can be said that the observatory is the single most representative work of Vedic thought that still survives, apart from the texts. Many of the smaller instruments display remarkable innovation in architectural design and its relation to function, for instance – the Ram Yantra.
(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jantar_Mantar_%28Jaipur%29)The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (King) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities ...
Hindu religious literature is the large body of traditional narratives related to Hinduism, notably as contained in Sanskrit literature, such as the Sanskrit epics and the Puranas. As such, it is a subset of Indian culture.
Pandavas TemplePandavas are described in the Indian epic ‘Mahabharatha’. Pandavas includes five brothers Yudhishtira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. They are the sons of ‘Pandu’, by his two wives, ’Kunthi’ and ‘Madhri’. The word ‘Pandavas’ means the sons of ‘Pandu’. Yudhishtira, Bhima and Arjuna are the sons of Kunthi. Remaining are the sons of Madhri. It is described in Mahabharatha, that five brothers were married to ‘Draupathi’, a true Krishna devotee. Lord Krishna was closely related to Pandavas during Kurukshethra war by giving advices and help at right times. Friendship of Lord Krishna and Lord Arjuna is well known in that epic. Pandu has a brother named Dridhrashtra, who was blind by birth. The main enemies of Pandavas were Kauravas. Kauravas were 100 in numbers, the sons of Dridhrashtra . After the death of Pandu, Pandavas and Kauravas started quarrel for the kingdom. The kingdom was supposed to handover to Yudhishtira, the eldest son of Pandu. But Duryodhana, the eldest son of Kauravas did not like it and often trouble the Pandavas. Kauravas played dirty game against Pandavas and succeeded of pushing them away from the country. The battle of Kurukshethra was happened dispute of the kingdom.
Yudhishtira is the begotten son of ‘Yamadharma’ and known as Dharma puthra. Arjuna is the son of Indra. Bhima is the son of Pavanan. And Nakul and Sahadev are the sons of Aswini Kumars.
Shiva TempleLord Siva is an important God in Hinduism, including in the Trimurthis. In the ‘Trimurthis’, Siva has the duty of destroying or ‘Samhara’. Siva is believed as the supreme God. Siva is referred as consciousness as per Sakthisam. Siva has many more other names as Rudhra, Mahadeva, Parameswara, Neelakanda. Siva is worshipped mostly in the form of ‘Siva Linga’. Siva is usually portrayed as immersed in deep meditation or the famous Natraja form. His famous dance is known as ‘Thandava’. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Siva’ means kind or ‘The pure one’. The main feature of Lord Siva is his third eye, which situates in the middle of his forehead. He uses his third eye to burn desires to ashes. His appearance is also different from other devas. He is often shown garlanded with a snake around his throat. ‘Tri soola’ or trident is his main weapon. A small drum named as ‘Damaru’ is always attatched to his trident. Lord Siva and all attendants live in Mount Kailasa in Himalaya Hills.
His dress is the skin of cheetah. He usually applies bhasmam on his forehead and also wears half moon in his head. River Ganga devi is also resides in Siva’s hair, which has a shell like structure. Thus he got the name ‘Gangadhara’. Its believed that the blue color of Siva’s throat is because of the poison which he drank during the ‘Palazhimadhanam’. Thus he got the name ‘Neelakanda’. Devi Parvathi is the wife of Lord Siva. Their combination is usually known as ‘Ardhanareeswara’,half man and half woman. Lord Siva is easy to be pleased and easy to be angered. It is told that his anger is like a fire. Lord Siva’s vehicle is Nandhikeswara.
The main offering to Lors siva is Dhara. The main feature of siva temples is, one should not circumambulate in full inside the temple. It is because of “Somarekha” placed in the position.
Sreerama TempleRama or Sreerama Chandra is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Lord Rama is one of the popular deities in Hindhuism. He is considered as the perfect man in the world. He is called ‘Maryadha Purushothaman’ in this sense. Our famous epic ‘Ramayana’ describes the story of Sreerama from his birth. Devi Sita, the avathar of Mahalakshmi, is the wife of Sreerama. Sita is here represented as a concrete example of perfect woman. Dasaradha, the king of Ayodhya is the father of Rama. Dasaradha has three wives, Kausalya, kaikeyee and Sumithra. Kausalya’s son is Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana, Sathrughna are the brothers of Rama.For keeping the word of his father, Rama even decided to avoid his kingdom and live in forest for 14 years. His wife Sita and brother Lakshmana accompanied him through the way. On the way devi Sita was kidnapped by Ravana, the king of Lanka. Then Rama made an army with the help of Hanuman and the monkey king Sugriva. Then they killed Ravana and demolished his kingdom. Lanka then handed over to Vibhishana, brother of Ravana. After 14 years Rama came back to Ayodhya and became the king. This full story is written in our epic ‘Ramayana’. Even though he is incarnation of Lord Vishnu, he lived as a human, with all qualities of an ideal man. He thus showed others, how to live like an ideal man.
Vinayaka is one of the famous and greatly worshipped deities in Hinduism. Vinayakar is also known as Ganesh, Vinayaka Vigneswara, Ganapathy, Pillaiyar . The main identity of Vinayaka is his elephant like head. Its known that Vinayaka is the eldest son of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvathy. We believe that if we pray to Ganapathy, then all the obstacles in front of us will remove quickly. Because of that Vinayaka is known as the Lord of obstacles and the God of new beginnings. Thus got the name ‘Vighneswara’, the one who removes ‘Vighna’ from our path. For all new beginnings, Hindus do ‘Ganapathy Homam’ properly in temples and even at homes. Vehicle of Vinayaka is a mouse.
Many stories are there about the birth of Vinayaka. Once Devi Parvathy created a very powerful boy for preventing anybody from entering into her room, without her permission. Then Lord Siva came there for visiting Devi and asked that boy to allow him to enter. Devi was then having bath. But that boy didn’t allow Lord Siva to enter. Then the uncontrolled Lord Siva cut off that boy’s head. Hearing this news, Goddess Parvathy became furious and asked Siva to get back her son. Siva was helpless in returning his head. Then he cut the head of an elephant and placed it over his neck. Thus Lord Siva gave him a new birth and named him as Vinayaka. He is the God of art, music and prosperity. Devotees of Vinayaka offers him ‘Modhaka’ and laddus for getting his blessings.
Vishnu / Krishna Photo
Lord Mahavishnu is one of the deities in ‘Trimurthis’. The three functions of the world namely “Creation” , “Maintenance” and “Destruction” are being done by ‘Trimurthis’. Vishnu is known as the preserver in them. Mahavishnu is honored as the highest God in Hindhuism. The term ‘Dasavathara’ is related to Mahavishnu’s ten incarnations. Dasavatharas are Matsya, Koorma, Varaha, Narasimha, Parasurama, Vamana, Rama, Balrama, Krishna and Kalki. All these incarnations take place in all yugas in cosmic scales. In “Bhagavad Gita” and Vishnu SSahasranama, Vishnu is described as the master of the past, present and future, the creator and the destroyer of the world and all living and nonliving beings.
The name ‘VISHNU’ means the one who can enter anywhere, as we usually says ‘Sarvavyapi’. Appearance of Vishnu is a little different from other Gods. His skin colour is in blue colour. It represents the infinite space color as the sky and the ocean having same blue colour. Vishnu’s appearance is picturised as a four armed male form, holding padhma (Lotus), gadha, Sankha (conch shell) or and Sudharsanachakra. There is a mark on his chest, named as ‘Srivalsam’. This mark indicates Lakshmi devi. Its believed that Devi resides on the chest of Vishnu. His famous jewel is named as ‘Kausthubham’. The main identity is his crown with peacock feather, which we can see in his ‘Krishna Avathar’. Anantha, the snake is always with him. He rests on Anantha and thus knows as ‘Ananthasaayee’. Vishnu’s consort is Mahalakshmi devi, the goddess of wealth. Vishnu is also honored as the deity of Santhi, the peaceful mood. Vishnu take five forms such as Para form, Vyuha form, Vybhava form, Antharyami form and Arcavathara form. In the Arcavathara form only the devotees can worship the Lord directly.
Bhagwan Vishnu Maya PhotoVishnu Maya is also referred as Chathan or Kuttichathan. His rides in buffalo and known for his Maya (illusions). Vishnu Maya (Kuttichathan) born in union of Lord Siva and a tribal girl called Koolivaka. Koolivaka was a tribal chandala (outcaste) girl and was forced by Lord siva to mate. Koolivaka, who was true devotee of goddess parvathy asked help from devi to escape from the embarrassment. Parvathy devi then advised her to stay away and took the form of her. The reason behind this was the pre-ordained fate of Koolivaka. She was one of the servants of Parvathy Devi in her previous birth. One day Devi happened to see her breast feeding vinayaka. Parvathy Devi could not control her anger and cursed that she would be born in earth as an out caste girl. In reply to her apology and request for getting out of this situation, goddess parvathy devi blessed her and told that she would be getting an opportunity to feed Lord Siva’s son in next birth.
Another intention behind Vishnu Maya’s birth was to kill the asura called “Jalandhara“. Once Narada revealed to Chathan the secret behind his birth and intention, chathan went to see his parents in Kailasam. He took form of Vishnu and bluffed Nandikeshwara while entering to Kailasam. Lord siva thus named Chathan as Vishnu Mayam the one who took the form of Vishnu as Maya (illusion).
(source : http://www.thekeralatemples.com/temple_index_vishnumaya.htm)Pandavas Temple Pandavas are described in the Indian epic ‘Mahabharatha’. Pandavas includes five brothers Yudhishtira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva. They are the sons of ‘Pandu’, by his two wives, ’Kunthi’ and ‘Madhri’. The word ‘Pandavas’ means the sons of ‘Pandu’. Yudhishtira, Bhima and Arjuna are the sons of Kunthi. Remaining are the sons of Madhri. ...
Great Photos – Winner of 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest
16,000 photographs submitted from 130 countries entered
National Geographic Photographs Contest 2010.
Some favourites were extracted for publishing. Scroll down to view the winning photograph.
Unexpected danger in Kanana Camp, Botswana
Snow Weasel, Minnesota USA
Oia Santorini, Greece
Piraputanga fish in Sucuri river, Brazil
The Louvre, Paris
The Pyramids, Egypt
Al-Saleh Mosque, Yemen
Thunderstorm in Montana, USA
A lightning bolt strikes the antenna of The Center building in Central, Hong Kong
River Bank in Zhenyuan, Guizhou Province, China
Herring Gull with Guillemot Chick
Heavy load – little fly on a small white flower
Great Blue Heron with fish
Suradita Village, West Java, Indonesia – children playing with their roosters
Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada
Mount Everest climber
Feeding Koi fish at Windows of the World, Shenzhen, China
Bee, purple flower
the Angolan Plateau
Buddhist Monastery of Ki, Himalayas
Grand Prize Winner of 2010 National Geographic Contest
Eruption of Gunung Rinjani, an active volcano in Indonesia
Winning photo taken by Aaron Lim Boon Teck of Singapore
Contest judge Joel Sartore said, “This image best represented the craft of photography.
(contributed by: Mohan Rao on 28.02.2012)Great Photos – Winner of 2010 National Geographic Photography Contest 16,000 photographs submitted from 130 countries entered National Geographic Photographs Contest 2010. Some favourites were extracted for publishing. Scroll down to view the winning photograph. Unexpected danger in Kanana Camp, Botswana Snow Weasel, Minnesota USA Oia Santorini, Greece Piraputanga fish in Sucuri river, Brazil The Louvre, Paris The Pyramids, Egypt Al-Saleh Mosque, Yemen Praying Mantis Thunderstorm ...
The beauty of being a Hindu lies in your freedom to be who you want to be. Nobody can tell you what to do, or what not to do. There is no central authority, no single leader of the faith. No one can pass an order to excommunicate you, or like in some countries, pass a decree that orders your death by stoning for walking with a strange man.
We don’t appreciate our freedom because we can’t feel the plight of others who aren’t free. Many religions have a central authority with awesome power over the individual. They have a clear chain of command, from the lowliest local priest to the highest central leader. Hinduism somehow escaped from such central authority and the Hindu has miraculously managed to hold on to his freedom through the ages. How did this happen?
Vedanta is the answer. When the writers of Vedanta emerged, around 1500 BC, they faced an organised religion of orthodox Hinduism. This was the post Vedic age, where ritualism was practiced, and the masses had no choice but to follow. It was a coercive atmosphere.
The writers of Vedanta rebelled against this authority and moved away from society into forests. This was how the ‘Aranyakas’ were written, literally meaning ‘writings from the forest’. These later paved the way for the Upanishads and Vedanta eventually caught the imagination of the masses. It emerged triumphant, bearing with it the clear voice of personal freedom.
This democracy of religious thought, so intrinsic to Vedantic intelligence, sank into the mindset of every Indian. Most couldn’t fathom the deep wisdom it contained, but this much was very clear. They understood that faith was an expression of personal freedom and one could believe at will. That’s why Hinduism saw an explosion of Gods. There was a God for every need and every creed. If you wanted to build your muscles, you worshiped a God with fabulous muscles. If you wanted to pursue education, there was a Goddess of Learning. If it was wealth you were looking for, then you looked up to the Goddess of wealth — with gold coins coming out of her hands. If you wanted to live happily as a family, you worshiped Gods who specially blessed families. When you grew old and faced oncoming death, you spent time in contemplating a God whose business it was to dissolve everything — from an individual to the entire Universe.
Everywhere, divinity appeared in the manner and form you wanted it to appear, and when its use was over, you quietly discarded that form of divinity and looked at new forms of the divine that was currently of use to you. ‘Yad Bhavam, tad Bhavati’… what you choose to believe becomes your personal truth, and freedom to believe is always more important than belief itself.
Behind all this — was the silent Vedantic wisdom that Gods are but figments of human imagination. As the Kena Upanishad says, “Brahma ha devebhyo vijigye…” — All Gods are mere subjects of the Self. It implies that it is far better that God serves Man than Men serve God. Because Men never really serve God — they only obey the dictates of a religious head who speaks for that God, who can turn them into slaves in God’s name.
Hindus have therefore never tried to convert anyone. Never waged war in the name of religion. The average Hindu happily makes Gods serve him as per his needs. He discards Gods when he has no use for them. And new Gods emerge all the time — in response to market needs. In this tumult, no central authority could survive. No single prophet could emerge and hold sway, no chain of command could be established.
Vedanta had injected an organised chaos into Hinduism and that’s the way it has been from the last thirty five centuries. Vedanta is also responsible, by default, for sustaining democracy. When the British left India, it was assumed that the nation would soon break up. Nothing of that kind has happened. The pundits of doom forgot that the Indian had been used to religious freedom from thousands of years. When he got political freedom, he grabbed it naturally. After all, when you can discard Gods why can’t you discard leaders? Leaders like Gods are completely em xpendable to the Indian mindset. They are tolerated as long as they serve the people, and are replaced when needs change. It’s the triumph of people over their leaders, and in this tumult, no dictator can ever take over and rule us. Strange how the thoughts of a few men living in forests, thirty five centuries ago, can still echo inside the hearts of Indians.
(source : user A Mohan Rao on 17.10.2012)The beauty of being a Hindu lies in your freedom to be who you want to be. Nobody can tell you what to do, or what not to do. There is no central authority, no single leader of the faith. No one can pass an order to excommunicate you, or like in some countries, pass a ...