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Ancient Indians knew about Tsunamis and here is how they Protected Themselves, says a Report

Researches show Harappan Indians were aware of the monstrosity of Tsunamis and build up necessary preventive measures

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Tsunami hit area in India, Wikimedia
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Bengaluru, Jan 5, 2017: For most Indians, tsunami became a household word after the 2004 disaster that pounded the country’s eastern coast and killed several thousands.

But researchers at the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) in Goa have found that ancient Indians of the Harappan settlement (some 5,000 years ago) were aware of tsunamis and had taken measures to protect themselves.

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Reporting this in the “Current Science” journal, they say this conclusion is based on their new interpretation of the extraordinarily massive walls — of thickness up to 18 metres — found at Dholavira, a Harappan city in Gujarat.

Dholavira is the second-largest Harappan settlement known in India and, perhaps, the best-planned Harappan city with several divisions and many new features hitherto unknown, they say.

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According to their report, the architectural framework of Dholavira comprises a castle, a middle town and a lower town confined within massive walls, “making it a unique fortified settlement”.

The presence of extremely thick protective walls implies that the Dholavirans were probably aware of the magnitude of destruction caused by tsunami waves, says the report. According to the NIO team, the ancient Indians would not have built these huge walls for protection against floods or military invasion by enemies since these threats did not exist then.

Dholavira is located on the banks of small water channels — Mansar in the north and Manhar in the south — the researchers say. “Therefore, it is highly unlikely that these channels posed any flood-related risk to the people since the elevation of Dholavira settlement is sufficiently high”.

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The possibility that these walls were built for defensive purpose was also ruled out since the only weapons available during the Harappan days were “sling shots and bows and arrows”. Even the Great Wall of China is only about nine metres thick at the base and tapers to 3.7 metres at the top.

On the other hand, being close to the sea, Dholavira could have been vulnerable to oceanic calamities. The sea-level changes are well-documented for the western coast of India and, 4,000 years ago, the sea level was higher than at present.

“Being on the Makran coast, the area is prone to tsunami-like events,” the researchers say and point out that simulation studies have concluded that tsunami wave height along the Gujarat coast ranges from 2 to 10 metres.

“There is a traditional history of tsunami waves and strong storms hitting the Gujarat coast,” says the report. “A 3.5 metre high tsunami wave reportedly hit the Gujarat coast about 2,000 years ago.”

The Harappan Indians were apparently aware of this threat and “therefore we hypothesise that the massive walls of the Dholavira might have been a protective measure against possible tsunamis,” the researchers say. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC