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India’s ‘Mythical’ Sarasvati River: Find out what the Research Reveals about the Lost River

Recent discoveries say that the Ghaggar-Hakra was not a glacially fed river but probably a monsoon-fed river like all the rivers of central and peninsular India.

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Sarasvati River. Image source: indiafacts.org
  • Vedic Sanskrit and the first part of the Rig Veda are regarded to have originated along the banks of Saraswati in the 2nd millennium BCE
  • The new government launched efforts to trace the lost river as soon after coming to power in May 2014
  • The Ghaggar-Hakra was a much bigger river but it was well before the supposed arrival of the Indo-Aryans about 4,000 years ago

Praised by the Rig-Veda as ámbitame nádītame dévitame sárasvati, “best mother, best river, best goddess,” the great Saraswati river holds a very important place in the history of our land. Vedic Sanskrit and the first part of the Rig Veda are regarded to have originated along its banks in the 2nd millennium BCE . The Rig-Veda, and later Vedic and post-Vedic texts glorify this mighty river that flowed between Yamuna in the east and the Sutlej in the west. The Mahabharata mentions that the Sarasvati dried up in a desert.

While many believe that the river is just a myth, there are those who believe in the existence of the Sarasvati. They say that the river is represented by the Ghaggar and its tributaries in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, and the Cholistan region in Pakistan. Some suggest that the Helmand river of southern Afghanistan corresponds to the Vedic Sarasvati .The truth about the Vedic Sarasvati is crucial in figuring out whether there was an Aryan invasion around 2000-1500 BCE, after the decline of the “native” Indus Valley Civilisation.

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The new government launched efforts to trace the lost river as soon after coming to power in May 2014. With millions spend, the dried-up palaeochannel of the Ghaggar is being explored and is being excavated. The recent discovery finds the river  in the Ghaggar-Hakra basin to be a monsoon-fed river like all the rivers of the central and peninsular region and not a glacial-fed river like the Indus, Ganga,  and their tributaries.

Anil Kumar Suri of Swarajya.com shares his viewpoint and understanding in light of the recent findings-

The Swarajya article discusses the recent findings of a team of geologists led by Peter Clift. Using a geochemical technique called uranium-lead (U-Pb) zircon dating, the team able to establish that the sediments from the various rivers – Indus, Beas, Sutlej, Hakra and Yamuna – could be distinguished from each other and that they were matched to that of the dry channels. They were also able to determine that no sediment from the Yamuna, Sutlej or Beas in the main channel of the Ghaggar that could be said to be less than 5,000 years old. All this implies that the Ghaggar-Hakra was a much bigger river but this would have been well before the supposed arrival of the Indo-Aryans around 4,000 years ago.

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The team discovered that the Ghaggar-Hakra was not a glacially fed river, unlike the Indus, Ganga and their tributaries, but probably a monsoon-fed river like all the rivers of central and peninsular India.

The shift in the cultivation pattern to adapt to the declining monsoon lead to the vanishing of the Sarasvati, suggests that the natives migrated to new lands and that there was no new population and no invasion

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. We should definitely make efforts to find out this river. According to Hindu mythology, the river is invisible.

  2. There was no Aryan invasion as there is no way that the migrants from another land would know the landscape of Bharath from top to bottom and glorify them in an entirely new language. There is no reference of an invasion in the Rig Veda.

  3. If you go to Allahabad, there is a holy place known as ‘triveni sangam’ this is where 3 rivers, the Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati intersect at a point. The course of Ganga and Yamuna are quite distinct but Sarasvati is said to flow secretly.

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7 Most Beautiful Goddess Lakshmi Temples of India

On this Diwali Day, aware yourself of the most beautiful Goddess Laxmi Temples ensembled in India and keep up your beliefs on the almighty

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Sripuram Golden Temple.
Sripuram Golden Temple. Wikimedia

Goddess Laxmi is one of the principal deities of Hindu religion. She is the goddess of destiny, wealth, and prosperity. The goddess is also worshipped by Jains and Buddhists.

On the eve of Diwali, we bring you the most beautiful Goddess Lakshmi Temples situated all over the India.

Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore

Goddess Lakshmi
Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore. Wikimedia.

Sripuram Golden Temple is one of the biggest temples in India, this Lakshmi temple is dedicated to the worship of the goddess. It is situated on a hill called Malaikodi, located in Vellore of Tamil Nadu.

Lakshmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir), Delhi

Goddess Lakshmi
Lakshmi Narayan Temple (Birla Mandir), Delhi. Wikimedia.

Birla Mandir situated in New Delhi is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi and Vishnu. One popular fact about this temple is that it was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. Hundreds of devotees visit Birla Mandir during festive occasions including Diwali.

Mahalakshmi Temple, Mumbai

Goddess Lakshmi
Mahalakshmi Temple, Mumbai. Wikimedia.

Mahalakshmi Temple is an ancient temple of the goddess Lakshmi. It is situated in Mumbai. and has an interesting story behind it. After the wall of Hornby Vellard collapsed twice, the engineer dreamed of the goddess of wealth. On this very, location a statue of the goddess Lakshmi was found. Hence, the statue was put up and a temple was built.

ALSO READ: Hinduism: The Nine Basic Beliefs that you need to know

Lakshmi Devi Temple, Hassan

Goddess Lakshmi
Lakshmi Devi Temple at Hassan. Wikimedia.

Goddess Lakshmi temple in Doddagaddavalli relates the period of Hoysalas in Karnataka. It is one of the earliest architectural temples of Hoysala style.

Ashtalakshmi Temple, Chennai

 

Goddess Lakshmi
Ashtalakshmi Temple Chennai. Wikimedia.

Ashtalakshmi Temple is famous for various shrines of goddess Laksmi which depict all 8  forms of Lakshmi Devi. The temple is located near Elliot’s beach of Chennai.

Kaila Devi Temple, Karauli, Rajasthan

Wikimedia
Kailadevi Temple Rajasthan. Wikimedia.

Kaila Devi is regarded as an incarnation of Mahalakshmi or the Wealth Goddess. This temple situated in Karauli District of Rajasthan.

Goravanahalli Mahalakshmi Temple

Goddess Lakshmi
Goravanahalli Mahalakshmi Temple.Wikimedia.

Goravanahalli Mahalakshmi Temple is an extremely popular Mahalakshmi temple built up in Tumkur District, Karnataka. The worshipped idol of Mahalakshmi is believed to have originated on its own.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana

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Seven Wonders of the World : Ancient and Modern

The Seven Wonders of the World are a set of monuments which show the artistic and architectural excellence of humanity from history to the present times. Read more to find out about the ancient and the modern seven wonders of the world

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FILE - The silhouette of the statue of Christ the Redeemer atop Corcovado hill stands out against the full moon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on July 19, 2016. VOA

The Seven Wonders of the World in the ancient times was a list made by the Greeks in order to honor the most magnificent piece of architecture in their known world. Sadly today other than the Pyramid of Giza, none of the other wonders have been able to survive the test of time. Since then a new list has been made in order to acknowledge the modern Seven Wonders of the World.

The Original Seven Wonders of the World as per the Greeks: 

  • The Great Pyramid of Giza – The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only wonder of the ancient wonder which has survived. This pyramid erected in the year 2560 BC, is known to be the tomb of the Pharaoh Khufu. It is the oldest of all ancient wonders.

Pixabay
The Pyramids of Giza – Pixabay

  • The Hanging Garden of Babylon – There is not much to say about this wonder because of the fact that there is very little historical documentation about these gardens. They were built by King Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife in 600 BC because she was missing her hometown in the hills.

A Painting of Hanging Garden of Babylon – Wikimedia Common

  • The Lighthouse of Alexandria – The Lighthouse of Alexandria was 400ft tall in length and had kept its record for being the tallest building in the world for centuries. This was built around 280 BC. This magnificent structure was destroyed by several earthquakes. In 1480, its ruins were used to construct the Citadel of Qaitbay, which till date stands on Pharos Island.
  • The Colossus of Rhodes – The Colossus of Rhodes is a nearly 100 feet tall statue of the Greek sun god Helios. Built in the city of Rhodes in 280 BC, it was destroyed in an earthquake in 226 BC.
  • The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus – The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was built as the tomb of Mausoleum around 350BC. The structure was demolished by a series of earthquakes which occurred between the 12th and 15th centuries.
  • The Statue of Zeus at Olympia – The statue was made by the Greek sculptor Phidias, it represented Zeus seated on his golden throne. The statue itself is 40ft tall and is adorned with gold and ivory. The cause of the destruction of the statue is not clearly known but it was destroyed sometime in the  5th century.

A Painting of the Statue of Zeus at Olympia – Pixabay

  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus – The temple is located in Eastern Turkey. It has been rebuilt several times following its destruction every time. One memorable incident related to the temple is the fact it once burnt down the same night when Alexander the Great was born. The third temple was acknowledged by the Greeks as a wonder. It was finally destroyed for good by the Goths in 268AD.

The Temple of Artemis Ruins – Wikimedia Commons

The List of the Modern Seven Wonders of the World

On July 7, 1997, a new set of seven wonders was developed which was based on the online voting system from all around the world. The new Seven Wonders of the World are:-

  • Chichen Itza, Mexico – The Chichen Itza is the ruins of a complex in the form of a step pyramid from the Mayan civilization.

Chichen Itza – Pixabay

  • Christ, the Redeemer, Brazil – This is a 98 ft statue of Jesus Christ located in Rio de Janeiro. This statue was built by French sculptor, Paul Landowski.

Christ the Redeemer Statue in Brazil – Pixabay

  • The Great Wall of China – The Great Wall of China is a wall that was built along the northern border of China in order to protect the Chinese empire from the nomadic attacks from the Eurasian tribes.

The Great Wall of China – Wikimedia Commons

  • Machu Picchu, Peru – Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel which is located high up on the Andes Mountains. It is famous for its age-old stone block walls. The exact nature of use of this citadel is not exactly known.

Machu Picchu – Pixabay

  • Petra, Jordan – Petra was an ancient desert in Jordan which consists of numerous temples and tombs carved in pink sandstone thus earning its nickname as the “Rose City”.

Petra – Jordan, Wikimedia Commons

 

  • The Roman Colosseum, Rome – The Colosseum as it is famously known, is a huge amphitheater located in the center of the city of Rome in Italy. It is the largest amphitheater ever built. It was used for gladiator fights, animal matches, and re-enactment of various dramas prevalent in those times.

Colosseum in Rome – Wikimedia Commons

  • The Taj Mahal, Agra – The Taj Mahal is a mausoleum which is built in pure white marble on the orders of Shah Jahan in the memory of his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is situated on the south bank of the Yamuna River and was commissioned to be built in 1632.

The Taj Mahal, India – Wikimedia Commons

The Seven Natural Wonders of the World

CNN announced a list of wonders which were not manmade but were formed naturally over a period of thousand years. This list was given in 1992.

  • Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon – Wikimedia Commons

  • The Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef – Pixabay

  • The Harbor at Rio de Janeiro
  • Mt Everest

Mount Everest – Pixabay

  • Northern Lights

Northern Lights -Pixabay

  • Paricutin Volcano

    The Crater of Paricutin Volcano – Pixabay
  • Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls Africa – Pixabay

No list of Seven Wonders is definite. These lists tell us how much the humanity has progressed and nature has evolved over the years.  These wonders are nothing but the remainder of the accomplishments of mankind from history to the present.

Prepared by Saloni Hindocha (@siatipton)

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Exploring the Faces of Faith and Devotion: 7 Principal Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism

Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creater, sustainer and destroyer of the world

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Are you familiar with the various gods and goddesses of Hinduism? Pixabay

New Delhi, October 9, 2017 : Devout Hindus have a god for every occasion and every day – over 33 million, according to popular beliefs. While people of other religions often interpret them as fictional characters, the multiple gods and goddesses of Hinduism are held with utmost devotion and sincerity by the believers.

Ours is a polytheistic religion – in other words, a myriad of gods and goddesses of Hinduism. Foremost among the several gods and goddesses of Hinduism are the Trimurti; Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, the holy triad that signify supreme divinity in Hinduism – the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. These divine forces are known to appear in different avatars, embodied by different gods and goddesses.

In Hinduism, Lord Brahma is the creator of the Universe and the first member of the holy trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh). However, he is not worshiped as Vishnu or Shiva with only one temple dedicated to him, the Pushkar temple of Rajasthan.

Here are some of the many gods and goddesses of Hinduism.

1. Vishnu

Vishnu is the second member of the holy Hindu triad, who sustains the entire world – Vishnu is believed to return to the earth during distressed times to restore the balance between good and evil.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Lord Vishnu. Wikimedia

Believed to have incarnated nine times, Vishnu symbolizes the principles of order, righteousness, and truth. His associate is Lakshmi, the goddess of family life and prosperity.

Vishnu is always depicted with a blue-colored human body with four hands, each of which carries four different objects – a conch, chakra, lotus flower and mace. The god is shown to ride the Garuda, an eagle.

So far, Vishnu has appeared on earth in various incarnations. These include fish, turtle, boar, Narsimha (half lion, half man), Vamana (dwarf sage with the ability to grow), Parsuram, Ram, Krishna and Buddha. Devotees believe he will re-incarnate in a last avatar, popularly known as ‘Kalki’, close to the end of this world.

Hindus who worship Vishnu are primarily known as Vaishnava and regard him as the greatest god.

2. Shiva

One of the members of the holy Hindu trinity, Lord Shiva is as the god of destruction, so that the world may be recreated by Brahma. Thus, his destructive powers are perceived as regenerative: necessary to make renewal possible.

Known by different names like Mahadeva, Nataraja , Pashupati, Vishwanath and Bhole Nath, Shiva is known to have untamed enthusiasm, which drives him to extremes in conduct. It is his relationship with wife Parvati which established the balance. While other gods and goddesses are represented in glorious avatars, Shiva is dressed in plan animal skin and usually sits in a yogic aasana.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
God Shiva, Wikimedia

Shiva is often addressed as the Lord of Dance, with the rhythm of the dance believed to be symbolic of the balance in the universe, masterfully held by Shiva. His most significant dance form is the Tandav.

Hindus who worship Shiva as their primary god are known as Shaivites.


3. Lakshmi

One of the most popular goddesses of Hindu mythology, Lakshmi gets hers name from the Sanskrit word ‘lakshya’, meaning ambition or purpose. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity and purity and is the associate of Vishnu.

Lakshmi is believed to reside in places of hard work, and sincerity, However, the goddess leaves whenever an individual is overcome with greed or malice or when these qualities are not evident anymore. Hindus believe Sita is an incarnation of Lakshmi. Hence, they worship the goddess of prosperity primarily during Diwali, which commemorated the Hindu epic Ramayana.

Gods and goddesses of hinduism
Goddess Lakshmi. Wikimedia

Lakshmi is widely represented as an enchanting woman with four arms, settled or standing on a lotus flower.

Devout Hindus worship Lakshmi at temples and inside homes alike, and believe worshipping her with utmost sincerity blesses an individual with success and fortune.


4. Ganesha

The pot bellied, elephant-headed god Ganesha, also known as Ganpati, Vinayak and Binayak, is the son of Shiva and Parvati. one of the most popular gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ganesha is revered as the remover of all obstacles, which is why his presence is first acknowledged before beginning any new work.

The lord of success and wealth, Ganesha is also the patron of knowledge and learning; devotees believe he wrote down parts of the Hindu epic Mahabharata with his broken tusk.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
Ganesh Puja. Wikimedia

Ganesha is typically depicted as a pot-bellied, elephant-headed red colored god, with four arms and a broken tusk. This head is believed to characterize the atma or the soul and the body represents the maya or mankind’s earthly existence. The rats, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.

Lord Ganesha is shown riding mouse, which can gnaw their way through every hardship, are believed to symbolize Ganesha’s ability to destroy all obstacles.


5. Krishna

Believed to be the most popular and the most powerful avatar of Vishnu, Krishna is revered as the Supreme Being or the Purana Purushottam out of a list of several hundred gods and goddesses of Hinduism, by several devout Hindus. One of the most loved and mischievous gods, Krishna means ‘black’ and can be believed to denote mysteriousness.

In Hinduism, Krishna takes several different roles- that of a hero, leader, protector, philosopher, teacher and a friend and is believed to have lived on earth between 3200 – 3100 BC. His birth is widely celebrated on the midnight of Ashtami during the month of Shravan, and is called Janmashthami.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Picture of idols of Lord Krishna and Radha, decorated for Janmashtami. Wikimedia

Stories of Krishna’s birth, childhood and youth and widely read and circulated, with every mother wanting to have a child like him. His raas with Radha is also remembered widely.

Krishna is held with utmost reverence for his role as the charioteer of Arjuna, as explained in the Mahabharata. It was in the middle of this war that Krishna delivered his famous advice about ‘Nishkam Karma’ which propagated action without attachment, which formed the basis of the Bhagwat Gita.

Krishna is extremely fond of white butter and there are several stories about how he stole butter from gopis throughout his childhood. He is depicted as a dark and extremely handsome, usually depicted with a flute which he used for its seductive powers.


6. Ram

Maryada Purushottam Ram is the ideal avatar of Vishnu. An epitome of chivalry, virtues and ethical demeanor, Ram is the seventh incarnation of Vishnu who is believed to have taken birth to eradicate all evils from the world.

gods and goddesses of Hinduism
Ram Darbar. Wikimedia

Unlike all other gods and goddesses of Hinduism, Ram is believed to be a historical character, instead of an imaginary figure. The Hindu epic Ramayana is a retelling and celebration of Ram’s life – a tale of his fourteen years in exile with his wife and brother.

Ram’s birthday is celebrated as Ramnavmi, wherein devotees invoke him with religious chants to attain his blessings shield. The festival of lights, Diwali, which is one of the major festivals in Hinduism, is also observed to celebrate the return of Ram, Laksham and Sita back to Ayodhya after an exile of fourteen years.

Ram bears a dark complexion to show his resemblance to Vishnu and his other avatar Krishna, and is almost always depicted with a bow and arrow in his hands and a quiver on his back. Ram also wears a tilak on his forehead. Accompanying the statues of Ram are idols of his wife Sita, brother Lakshman and the celebrated monkey-god Hanuman, who together combine the Ram Darbar.

7. Saraswati

Daughter of Shiva and Durga, and the consort of Brahma, Saraswati is revered as the goddess of wisdom, learning, speech and music. She is the goddess of knowledge and arts. Devotees often worship the deity before commencing any educational work- books and stationary items are often revered as Saraswati is believed to reside in them.

Saraswati Vandana, religious chants dedicated to the goddess of music often begin and end all Vedic lessons. The goddess also plays songs of wisdom, affection and life on the veena, a string instrument.

gods and goddesses of hinduism
Sarswati, Wikimedia Commons

Saraswati is visually represented in pure white attire and rides a peacock, with a lotus in one hand and sacred scriptures in the other. She also has four hands that signify the four aspects of learning- mind, intellect, alertness, and ego.

Out of all the 33 million gods and goddesses of Hinduism, devout Hindus believe only Saraswati can grant them moksha- the ultimate emancipation of the soul.