Friday December 15, 2017

Essence of Hinduism: 10 most famous Hindu temples outside India

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Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia

Angkor

By Sohini Biswas

With billions of followers, Hinduism is not only restricted to India but is embraced by the world. Considered as one of the oldest paths toward meaningful living, its essence could be felt in its great history.

One way to feel the real meaning of this global religion is to reflect upon the beautiful temples which have been built across the world. Hindu temples are very scientific buildings which have been built based on the study of Agam Shastra which has three main divisions called the Shaiva, the Shaktha, and the Vaishnava.

Across the world places like Angkor Wat, Batu caves have enthralled the mystics and seekers alike.  Here are a few more temples spread across the globe that hold special place in Hindu culture.

  1. Angkor Wat Temple, Cambodia 

Angkor Wat is one of the largest religious monuments ever constructed and is a part of UNESCO world heritage centre now. First a Hindu, later transformed to a Buddhist, temple complex in Cambodia, was built by Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is a replica of Angkor Thom art style.

It is generally accepted that Angkor Wat was a funerary temple and oriented to west to conform the symbolism between the setting sun and death. The bas-reliefs, designed for viewing from left to right in the order of Hindu funereal ritual, support this function.  Buong Suong Tiyaie is a ritual followed here and is performed by five virginal dancers from the Nginn Karet Foundation.

  1. Prambanan, Central Java, Indonesia 

Narrating stories of Vishnu’s incarnations, adventures of Hanuman the Monkey King, the Ramayana epic and other legends, with exquisite bas relief carvings this Hindu temple Prambanan in Yogyakarta is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

This temple was built in 850 CE, has 8 main shrines which are surrounded by 250 smaller ones. The inner square contains 16 temples dedicated to major Hindu deities, of which Shiva temple is the largest. Bhuta Yajna Ritual, is performed here a day before Nyepi, (New Years Day)

  1. Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam (Batu Caves, Malaysia)

Batu Caves are a series of limestone caves situated at a distance of 13 km north of Kuala Lumpur, in Gombak district. Outside India it is one of the most popular and tallest shrines of Lord Murugan, standing at 42.7 meters. In 1890, K. Thamboosamy Pillai, an Indian trader installed the Murugan statue and promoted the caves as a place of worship.

Yearly Hindu festival  Thaipusm in Malaysia is celebrated in this temple complex. Thaipusam attracts a large number of pilgrims from Malaysia as well as from India, Australia and Singapore.

Lord_Muruga_Batu_Caves
Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam (Batu Caves, Malaysia)

 

  1. Katasraj Temple in Chakwal, Pakistan

In existence since the days of Mahabharata, the Katasraj temple is located  in the Chakwal district of Punjab near Lahore in Pakistan. The Pandavas are said to have taken refuge here during their days of exile. Legend has it that when Lord Shiva’s wife, Sati, died. He cried so much that two pools were created. One is located in Pushkar in India and the other was formed here.

The temple here is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Pakistan Government is considering nominating the temple complex for World Heritage Site status.

Katasraj Temple in Chakwal, Pakistan
Katasraj Temple in Chakwal, Pakistan
  1. Munneswaram Temple, Sri Lanka

This temple is dates back to the time of Ramayana. It is believed that here Lord Rama prayed to Lord Shiva and won the battle against Ravana. It is a temple complex comprising of five temples.  This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva.

This temple has been destroyed twice in the past by the Portuguese before it was finally handed over to the Jesuits who rebuilt it. This temple celebrates Shivratri and Navratri with a lot of grandeur.

  1. Shiva Vishnu Temple in Livermore, California

One of the biggest in the bay area, this temple incorporates the best of both North and South Indian Hindu temples, with respect to its architecture. In 1985 Tamil Nadu government donated most of the deities here. The temple has deities of innumerable Gods and Goddesses –Shiva, Ganesha, Durga, Aiyappa, Lakshmi etc. The famous Hindu festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi and Durga puja is celebrated here

There are other temples of Shiva Vishnu in Denver, Colorado, Washington D.C.  and South Florida.

  1. Shiva Vishnu Temple in Melbourne, Australia

Fourteen acres of land, worth $72,300 was purchased in Carrum Downs to build a Shiva temple at Melbourne in Australia . The first puja here was performed in early 1986 following which the construction of the two primary shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Vishnu began in 1987.

Since then, after years of planning by the Hindu Society of Victoria and the hard work of a team of skilled craftsmen from India, the Shiva Vishnu Temple at Carrum Downs was opened to devotees in 1994.  This temple’s architecture is the combination of Hindu and Australian traditions.

Thirty two deities are worshipped based on elaborate rituals and Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali is also celebrated.

  1. Sri Venkateswara Balaji Temple (Tividale, England)

Designed to replicate the Tirupati Thirumala Temple in Tirupati, India, Sri Venkateswara Balaji Temple was opened in August 23, 2006. . It was the first temple of Lord Venkateswara in Europe. The main shrine houses 12ft statue of Lord Venkateswara, incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

  1. Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia

Pura Tanah Lot, is a pilgrimage temple off the Indonesia island of Bali. The temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide. Purnama Kesanga, or full moon in Bali is always a special day for ceremonies and festivities which are celebrated in this temple.

The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples was established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast. In addition to Balinese mythology, the temple was significantly influenced by Hinduism.

 Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia

Tanah Lot Temple, Indonesia
  1. Pashupatinath Temple (Kathmandu, Nepal)

Pashupathinath Temple is one the most important temples of Lord Shiva in the world. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. It was constructed in 753AD by Jayadeva, but it was reconstructed in 12th century and 17th century due to extensive damages caused by termites. The temple has unique architecture, different from traditional Hindu temples of India.

It has a Nepalese Pagoda style of architecture. Only followers of Hinduism can enter the main temple, but all the other buildings are available for foreigners to visit. It is also very common to meet sadhus in Pahsupathinath. This temple is also on UNESCO world heritage site.

 

  • Atul Sharma

    Amazing.

  • mehathi

    Nice information. Thank you. I would like to share a website called http://www.templedetails.com which has some more information about the famous temples which has to be shared.

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Researchers found a new Drug to Reduce Alcohol Addiction in Teenagers

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone can reduce the drinking habit in teenagers.

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A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers
A new drug can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers. Pixabay
  • Researchers have found a new drug that may eventually help to reduce alcohol addiction in adults who used to binge during their adolescent years.

A new drug found which can reduce Alcohol addiction in teenagers

“During our teen years, the brain is still in a relatively immature state. Binge drinking worsens this situation, as alcohol undermines the normal developmental processes that affect how our brain matures,” said lead author Jon Jacobsen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Adelaide, Australia.

“Therefore, when an adolescent who has been binge drinking becomes an adult, they’re often left with an immature brain, which assists in the development of alcohol dependence,” Jacobsen added.

For the study, published in the Journal Neuropharmacology, researchers observed that adolescent mice involved in binge drinking behavior developed an increased sensitivity to alcohol as adults and engaged in further binge drinking.

The researchers were able to prevent some of these detrimental behaviors observed in adulthood, by giving mice a drug that blocks a specific response from the immune system in the brain.

The drug is (+)-Naltrexone, known to block the immune receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4).

“This drug effectively switched off the impulse in mice to binge drink. The mice were given this drug still sought out alcohol, but their level of drinking was greatly reduced,” says senior author Professor Mark Hutchinson, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide.

“We’re excited by the finding that we can potentially block binge drinking in an adult after they have experienced such behavior during adolescence, by stopping the activation of the brain’s immune system. It’s the first time this has been shown and gives us hope that our work has implications for the eventual treatment of alcohol addiction in adults,” Hutchinson noted.(IANS)

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New, Endangered Orangutan Species Found in Indonesia

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Orungutan

Oslo, November 2, 2017, 9:17PM : A new species of orangutan has been identified in remote Indonesian forests and immediately becomes the most endangered type of great ape in the world with just 800 individuals, scientists said on Thursday.

The Tapanuli orangutan, found only in upland forests in North Sumatra, differs from the other two species of orangutan in the shape of its skull and teeth, its genes, and in the way the males make long booming calls across the jungle, they said.

“The differences are very subtle, not easily observable to the naked eye,” Professor Michael Kruetzen of the University of Zurich, who is part of an international team, told Reuters.

“With no more than 800 individuals, this species is the most endangered great ape,” the scientists wrote. Apart from humans, great apes comprise orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos.

The Tapanuli orangutan had probably been isolated from other populations for 10,000-20,000 years, the researchers wrote in the journal Current Biology. The population had been known by scientists since at least 1997 but had not previously been considered a separate species.

The Tapanuli orangutan faces threats including from forest clearance to make way for mining or palm oil plantations. The region also had plans for a hydro-electric dam.

The scientists urged quick conservation measures. Otherwise, “we may see the discovery and extinction of a great ape species within our lifetime,” they wrote.

Laurel Sutherlin of Rainforest Action Network, who was not involved in the study, said the finding “must also serve as a wake up call to all of us from consumers, to global food and paper brands, to investors and local and national governments” to protect forests.(VOA)

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Annual 14-Kosi Parikrama in Ayodhya begins among heavy security deployment

It is believed that on the day of Kartik Poornima, Lord Vishnu wakes up and any body who undertakes this parikrama gets his or her all wishes fulfilled.

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14-kosi parikrama
Hindi priest saluting the sun in the Ganges, Varanasi Benares India (representational Image), Wikimedia

Lucknow, October 29, 2017 : The (42 km) 14-kosi parikrama in Ayodhya began on Saturday with lakhs of people converging in the temple town for the annual event.

Amid heavy security deployment, the devotees first took a holy dip in the Saryu river and then began the process of the trip on foot.

Priests said that there are three types of ‘parikramas’ in Ayodhya – the ’84-kosi’, the ’14-kosi’ and the ‘5-kosi’. The 14-kosi parikrama takes place in the heart of the city, while the other two are held in Awadh region and the Ayodhya district.

It is said that on the day of Kartik Poornima, Lord Vishnu wakes up and any body who undertakes this parikrama does get his or her all wishes fulfilled.

Several hundred buses have been plying for the last 24 hours to ferry pilgrims from all over the state. Mela officer and ADM (city) Vindhyavasini Rai told reporters that the panch kosi parikrama would start on Devthani Ekadashi on October 30. (IANS)