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The Hindu temple at Woodlands holds a grand MahaShivratri celebration

Magnificent celebrations for MahaShivratri and Holi held at a Hindu Temple in Woodland following traditional rituals

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The Shiva Lingam (representative); Source: Pixabay

Woodlands, Texas, Mar 11, 2017: A magnificent MahaShivratri celebration was organised by a Hindu temple of Woodlands, Texas; on February 24 – the night of Shiv Puja – continuing till Saturday morning at 8 a.m reported the Indo American news.

At 8:30am on Friday morning, the MahaShivratri festivities commenced with the Rudra Abhishekam. The Abhishekam, which is the bathing of the lord was done by the presiding priest using traditional substances. Following the bathing, was the adorning of the Shiva Lingam or the Alankaram.

The Shiva Lingam (representative); Source: Pixabay

A smaller Murti of Lord Shiva was temporarily added on a platform between the idols of Lord Ganesha and Maha Shiva. The devotees who had come to witness the Maha Abhishekam were able to carry out a small abhishekam of their own, pouring water and milk on the small murti. This opportunity was again open to the devotees starting from 6:00pm throughout the night.

After the first Abhishekam of the day, the Tirtham (liquid prasadam) and fruit prasadam were distributed among the devotees and the temple was closed for some time till evening.

Tirtham (representative); Source: Pixabay

At 6:30, the next type of Abhishekam, the Ekadasa Dravyam ( eleven materials, eleven fruit juices in this case) began. A traditional Tamil banana puree and dried fruits along with other items were also used during this ritual. The alankaram after this abhishekam consisted of the Shiva Linga draped in different kinds of fruits and vegetables.

The chants of Vedic Mantras and different Bhajans of lord Shiva echoed in the temple in the evening.

At 10 pm, Bhasma (Ashes) Abhishekam was carried out, succeeded by Chandana (Sandalwood) Abhishekam on Saturday Early morning. After each, the priests did a beautiful and colorful alankaram, using bhasma and dried fruit for the respectively. The final Abhishekam was of cooked rice which was served as prasadam for devotees on Saturday morning. The final alankaram for the celebration was of many different types of beautiful flowers.

The celebration for all was one of great beauty, devotion, and religious fervor, to be long remembered.

The next main festival after MahaShivratri at the Hindu temple was Holi – the festival of colours. The festivities were carried on today, from 11 a.m. in the morning to 3 p.m. within the temple premises. It included playing with Colored Powder, Music, dance and Indian snacks and sweet prices moderately. The festivities were open to all to attend, participate and enjoy.

-Prepared by Nikita Saraf, Twitter: @niki_saraf

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The Hindu Temple of Gulyana and Sikh Samadhi in Pakistan

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Gulyana, Pakistan

By: Wali Imran (Hindu Council of Australia)

900 years old Gulyana town of about a 50,000 people, just a few kilometers South of Gujar Khan, was raised to the ground once several centuries ago, by raiders from the West. The second time it was destroyed during the 1947 partition riots.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Before 1947, the Gulyana town center was mostly Hindu and Sikh. The Hindus and Sikh owned all the businesses in the town center and Muslims were their tenants, peasants and laborers. Muslims sold their lands to pay off their debts and also handed over their crop of wheat. The Dewan, Dutt, Mohyal Brahmin, and Singh families were always part of royal elite.

Bollywood Star Sanjay Dutt is from the same branch of warrior Brahmin Dutt and belongs to the same place.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Land owners were guaranteed protection from military’s presence in Gujar Khan from the North and a rivulet from the south. This land produced sheer gold and wealthy Sikhs and Hindus lived like kings in mansions make of stone, several storey high.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Bakshi Tek Chand, Dewan Prithvi Chand Dutt, Bakshi Moti Ram and Tara Singh were the dominant names of those times.  They built temples, dug up wells for the 30-50 kanal holdings each and distributed these lands amongst their permanent serfs. They did however, treat their serfs with respect and gave them a good share of the crop — what do you expect from absentee landlords.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The Sikh had a timber business. Logs from Kashmir valley were dumped into Jhelum River and recovered downstream near Jhelum city to be sold at Gujar Khan.

The Hindus were mostly traders, money lenders and retailers.

Gulyana, Pakistan

Muslims were mostly illiterate and poor and were destined to stay that way considering the only quality boarding school in nearby Gujar Khan had 95% non-muslim attendance.

During the 1947 riots, one Sikh Bali Singh and one Hindu Lady Banto were killed in the riots but the rest were whisked away with their gold, in the safety of Gorkha soldiers. The Muslim riot crowd burnt to the ground the several symbols of oppression and got rich in the process, during the looting.

One Hindu tehsildar had the magistrate’s powers to jail someone for 6 months.

Gulyana, Pakistan

When the British left suddenly in 1947, the carefully crafted social experiment in native subjugation came crumbling down within days.

Otherwise, one 100 years old resident of Gulyana tells me, “the Hindus and Sikh were very friendly towards the Muslims, their women played around with the boys, molvi were not trouble makers then; they cared about their serfs and neighbors’, built schools, hospitals and wells for the general public. No Muslim was allowed into their kitchen however. Balraj, Sita, Beera, Ramu Shikari, Gujrati, Peecha Singh, Mangat Singh, Jawals Singh, Raab Singh, Gurdyal, were the well-known Hindus and Labbu, Gurra, Jagdev, Santa, Paacha, Chatru were the known Sikh of the time. One Tek Chand Never left for India and embraced Islam. His wife and three sons left for India. Tek Chand married a Muslim lady and had seven children. They are all in poverty now. Several of the old mansion, one dhramsala, one temple, several bowlis (watering hole) have been lost to time.

Gulyana, Pakistan

The surrounding farms around Gulyana were refreshing. The old styled spoke wells, Sikh Samadhi, Hindu temple and 100 years old Gujarati’s mansion still survives.Gulyana, Pakistan

I went into the temple inner sanctum and saw the most beautiful frescos of mixed Hindu and Sikh religious figures like hanuman, Krishna, Sita, Baba Guru Nanak, Bala, Mardana, etc.

Gulyana, Pakistan

 

Pakistan government build a dam 5 km upstream, called the Ugahaun; it’s a lovely place to fish and boat around.

The union council in 1947 had more financial powers than it does today.

In short, all the entrepreneurs, educators, administrator, jurisprudence people, revenue people, land record people and large scale farmers left in 1947.

Gulyana, Pakistan

I am astonished how Pakistan survived with an illiterate mass of people, steeped in poverty — traumatized by exploitation and mass killings.

Other interesting places in Potohar region are:

Also Read: Protecting The World, The Hindu Way

Bedi Mahal, Pharwala fort, Malot fort, Sangini fort, Rawat fort and Mankial Stupa. (Hindu Council of Australia)