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A Fascinating Story of Indonesia: How Hinduism and Buddhism coexist in this Country

Indonesia offers a look into the beautiful coexistence of faiths; with places like Prambanan temple complex and the Borobudur temple, it's a festival of culture

Borobudur Temple, Wikimedia

Indonesia, March 2, 2017: At the Prambanan temple complex near Yogyakarta (locally known as Jogja) in Indonesia, the very famous Ramayana ballet is conducted every night. In Summer the performance takes place in an open-air theatre, but in the cold winters, there are cosy indoor arrangements for the viewers.

The show sets in with the orchestra at the back of the stage, complete with local versions of harmonium and mridangam. Even though it can be hard for a first timer to figure out what to expect, the fascinating performance with over 200 actors in traditional costumes manages to steal hearts.

The performance is marked by dance and movement, with the characters, even the demons seemingly gliding in easy grace- there is no doubt this is a ballet performance. Even without any spoken words, the dramatic and melodic music helps the performance reach for perfection.

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The story begins with Lord Rama and Lord Lakshmana leaving for the forest, while a docile Sita is in tow. Viewers will find the story to be a little less traditional; following their path to Lanka and the end of Ravana. All the battle scenes are spectacularly executed, but Lord Hanuman in his white get-up, burning Lanka in utter flair, manages to steal the show.

In the magnificent Prambanan temple complex, the Hindu temples are dedicated to the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva provide an insight into the Hinduism out of India that we are not that familiar with. All the shrines were built in the 9th and 10th centuries, which manage to portray the intermingling of Hindu and Buddhist cultures.

Prambanan temple complex, Wikimedia

Prambanan is like a forest of temples, with the tall shrines reaching towards the sky. The complex has almost 200 monuments, but very few of them have managed to defy time, most being destroyed by earthquakes over the centuries. Every temple has a significant character of its own, with intricate carving on pillars and walls, Ramayana being the central idea for most of them.

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The Prambanan temples have earned a spot on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Another highlight of a visit to Prambanan is a visit to the region of Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple in world’s largest Muslim country.

Borobudur temple is breath-taking. Decorated with over 500 Buddha sculptures and 2,500 relief panels, located on a flat hilltop overlooking the green hills of Java and active volcano Gunung Merapi, Borobudur is a stand-out Buddhist temple for sure.

Believed to have been built around 800 AD, the Borobudur temple has the shape of a stepped pyramid of five square bases, topped by three circular terraces. 72 miniature stupas containing a statue of Buddha encircle each of these. With the stupa peaks broken, many of these sit exposed, even though some of them are barely visible.

Borobudur was abandoned in the 14th century, staying buried under volcanic ash and foliage for hundreds of years. The credit of its discovery in 1814 goes to Stamford Raffles, the British governor of Java. It became a major tourist attraction after UNESCO stepped in for extensive renovation and preservation work.

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From an aerial view, the temple resembles a lotus, which is considered holy in Buddhism. According to the stories of the travel guides, this temple was built as an ode to Buddha’s path towards Nirvana. Every carving at every step tells a story of the life of the great Lord.

Even after you leave Yogyakarta, the feeling stays with you. It’s really hard to forget the coexistence of faiths in the corner of Indonesia. It’s even harder to forget how easily a place can feel like home, a destination can feel so close to heart.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang



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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

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Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

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Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)