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Unakoti in Tripura has the Largest Rock carved Hindu Sculptures

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Sculpture in India, (Representational Image) Wikimedia

May 01, 2017: Unakoti has been incorporated into the tourism guide of Tripura and the North-East as a surprising visitors’ resort. Sightseers from distant locations abroad additionally meet in Unakoti with much enthusiasm. One can have an outing to Unakoti by means of Kailashahar or Dharmanagar, as reported by Press Information Bureau.  The voyage takes 20 minutes from Kailashahar and 45 minutes from Dharmanagar. Unakoti is situated at a distance of 10 kilometres from the North District headquarters, Kailashahar.

The voyage takes 20 minutes from Kailashahar and 45 minutes from Dharmanagar. Unakoti is situated at a distance of 10 kilometres from the North District headquarters, Kailashahar.

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A diversion road runs from Dharmanagar-Kailashahar linking road up to the place of pilgrimage. On the hilly grounds, many idols of gods and goddess are lying scattered. At the main peak, there are idols of Uma-Maheshwar, five-faced Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Hanuman and Ravana.

One wonders who those people were and at what spell of time did they chisel out such wonderful idols from the rocks.

Some archaeologists say that these were the period of Pal dynasty, as a Shaiva Tirtha, others have traced it as a Buddhist meditation centre. Hence, Unakoti is also seen as a symbol of religious unity.

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There are many folklores about Unakoti, the place of pilgrimage. The name Unakoti is derived from the thought that there was an assembly of gods and goddesses numbering one less than a crore. At a point of time, the Lord of the gods, Mahadeva accompanied by the gods started for Benaras (Varanasi). When they reached Raghunandan Hill, they decided to spend the night at the place and then start for Varanasi the next morning. But in the hours of dawn, only Mahadeva woke up. Then the Lord of the gods left for the destination alone; while all other gods and goddesses turned in stone images as they were fast asleep.

Who created such marvellous rock carvings and the stone images of gods and Goddesses in such a deep forest hundred years ago is indeed a mystery. Why this secluded hilly place was selected for the purpose is not known.But the place is still accessible. But mystery still revolves around Unakoti. The hilly forests, the spring, chirping of birds, the carvings in stones and rocks, the leisurely -scattered idols and hearsay have given a special significance to Unakoti.

– by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: Nainamishr94

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Karwa Chauth 2017: Know the Customs, Age Old Tale, Meals and Muhurat

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Karwa chauth 2017
Karwa Chauth 2017. Wikimedia

Chandigarh,Punjab [Published on 5th Oct’2017]

About Karwa Chauth:

Karwa Chauth is an important festival for married Hindu women all over the world. This year Karwa Chauth will be celebrated on 8 October 2017.

The festival of Karwa Chauth falls on the Krishna Paksha Chaturthi of the Kartik month (October). On the eve of Karwa Chauth, married women keep an uninterrupted fast for their husband’s long life. The ritual of fast keeping for husbands is prevalent in north India like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Haryana.

On this day married women neither consume water and nor food, to pray for their husband’s long life.

There is a story related to Karwa Chauth that a married woman had brought the life of her dead husband back.

There is another story with this, in the past, when the girls got married in a village or place away, they had to leave their families and friends behind and build new relations.

These little girls did not have any information about their husbands, they needed some time to get involved in new family and customs. In order to make this link easier for girls, people of the village started a practice in which the newlyweds used to be friends with their age girls.

During this time, all the girls could express their minds in front of each other. Between the celebrations of this friendship, they got an opportunity to make Dharam sisters. It is believed that the beginning of this festival of Karwa Chauth took place as a celebration of friendship.

The women used to come and carry them and decorate them to their sisters. But, over time, the traditions changed and women started fasting for husbands on this day.

Karwa Chauth 2017: The story of Rani Veeravati

Veeravati was the only sister of seven brothers, who loved all the family very much. With full devotion, Veeravati awaited for the moon with anxiety, keeping the fast throughout the day. Veerawati’s brothers deceived her and showed moon using glass and peepal tree. She broke her fast by looking at the fake moon, and as soon as she started pouring the mouth of the food into her mouth, the servants came and told her that her husband has died.

After receiving this news, Veeravati cried all night, suddenly a goddess appeared in front of her and she told her that if she wanted to see her husband alive again, then she will have to follow the fasting rituals with complete dedication and devotion. Veeravati again fasted Karwa Chauth and after seeing her devotion, the god Yama had to return the life of her husband.

“How to celebrate Karwa Chauth”

Karwa Chauth 2017
Shiv and Parvati. Wikimedia

Married women eat sargi before sunrise – which is prepared by their mother-in-law. After eating sargi, women sustain without water and food till the time they see the moon at night. On this day women worship Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati and Kartik. In the evening, women worship God and wish for their husband’s long life. On the first glimpse of the moon, women offer water to the moon. After this, the husbands feed water to their wives and complete their fast.

Karwa Chauth 2017: Customs associated with Karwa Chauth

Before watching the moon, a festival is organized by married women in which women participate in wearing red colored sarees. In the meantime, they all rotate their thalis seven times and narrate the story of Karwa Chauth and sing songs. After this, women worship goddess Parvati and pray for their husband’s long life.

Karwa Chauth 2017: Sargi meal eaten
Karwa Chauth 2017: Sargi meal during fast. Wikimedia

Karwa Chauth 2017: “Sargi” Meals during fasting

On the day of Karwa Chauth, the sargi which is eaten before sunrise, contains mathri, sweet, cashew curry, dry fruits, and other foods. At the same time after completion of fasting, women enjoy delicious recipes like kheer, chhole puri, chaat, dahi bhalle with their families.

Karwa Chauth 2017: Muhurat and Timing

The muhurat to worship Chauth Mata is between 17:55 to 19: 09 according to drikpanchang. You can worship the goddess within 1 hour and 14 mins. Moonrise on Karwa Chauth will be at 20:14. However, do check the timing in your city. Chaturthi tithi will begin from 16: 58 on October 8 and will end at 14:16 on October 9.

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Strange Rituals: Demon King Ravana is Worshipped on Dussehra

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Effigy of Ravana burns. Dussehra. Wikimedia

Sep 30, 2017: Vijayadashami or Dussehra is celebrated with fervor at the end of Navratri every year. The festival is observed by burning the puppet of King Ravana. While at some places, the celebration of good over evil is celebrated by burning effigy of the demon king, there are some places where Ravana is worshipped on this occasion. It is predisposed amongst the followers that all their wishes come true on this day.

Also Read: Ram and Ravana Have More In Common Than You Think: 5 Traits of the Anti-Hero Ravana That You Must Learn | Dussehra Special

Every year on Dussehra, the 125-year-old Dashanan temple in Shivala area of Kanpur is opened for its devotees. An idol of King Ravana is ornamented, and aarti is performed. Devotees perform religious rituals and light lamps to celebrate the festival. The temple remains closed following the burning of Ravana’s statue.

Dashanan Temple was constructed in 1890 by king Guru Prasad Shukl. The rationale behind the construction of Dashanan temple was Ravana’s adherence towards Lord Shiva.

King Ravana is worshipped at many places in India, for example: In Andhra Pradesh’s Kakinada, a huge shivalinga established by Ravana is revered along with the demon-king. Vidisha, a village in Madhya Pradesh is dedicated to King Ravana. In this village, the first wedding card invitation is sent to Ravana before the commencement of any celebration. Neither the devotees burn dummies of King Ravana, nor do they celebrate Dussehra.

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10 astonishing facts about ‘Hijras’ or the third gender of India to satisfy your curiosity

The name given to the ceremony when a new Eunuch is born, is Nirvana

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Fact about hijras
Creation of a new Eunuch. Wikimedia

New Delhi, September 25, 2017: Stories centered around hijras, kinners, or Eunuchs are always a matter of curiosity, since we hardly know anything about them except the superficial perception we have or had when we see them. We come across a number of myths, anecdotes about the third gender of India, but you’ll be startled to know certain facts about them that you were never aware of!

Let’s take a look at 10 astonishing facts about hijras, or the third gender of India:

  1. Their origin dates back to the ancient times: Kinners or Hijaras, as they are called, have existed since long. They have been mentioned in the Hindu epic Mahabharata and in Islam where they served in the harems of the Mughals.

Fact about hijras
Origin of hijras. Wikimedia

2. What did they do for living, in older times: Initially, they earned their bread by serving women of wealthy families. They would do their chores and even shopping for them. They also served as the guards of these women.

Fact about hijras
Hijras in older times. Wikimedia

3. Ever wondered how a new Eunuch is created?: The name given to the ceremony when a new Eunuch is born, is Nirvana. The ceremony includes the process of emasculation, in which the penis and testicles of the physiological male is removed. The process, as they say, turns the impotent male, into a potent Eunuch.

Fact about hijras
Creation of a new Eunuch or Hijra. Wikimedia

4. Their cremation is a very private affair: Their cremation is done in the regular way, however, involves very few close people. They are believed to carry out the rituals at night.

Fact about hijras
Cremation of hijras. Wikimedia

Also readIndia becoming more Transgender- Friendly: Read this report

5. They can foretell future: Eunuch gurus are believed to have been blessed with the quality of clairvoyance. They can perceive events in the future. It is also believed that they are even able to foresee their death.

Fact about hijras
Hijras can foretell future. Wikimedia

6. They pray for forgiveness when they happen to foresee their death: They consider their birth as a Eunuch, the result of their sins, that’s why they pray for forgiveness so they are not born as a Eunuch in their next birth.

Hijras
Death among Hijras. Wikimedia

7. Dying Eunuch is considered ‘God-like‘: Other kinners on hearing the news of an Eunuch being on deathbed, come from different places, seeking the blessings of the dying Eunuch.

Fact about hijras
Dying Eunuch is considered ‘God-like’. Wikimedia

8. Hijras worship the Ardhanarishvara form of Lord shiva: The famous Ardhanarishvara form of Shiva, in which half of the God is a woman indicates Shiva as united with his female creative power, shakti. Hijras worship lord Shiva, since they can closely identify themselves with the god.

Fact about hijras
Hijras worship lord Shiva. Wikimedia

9. The annual festival of hijras at Koovagam: Koovagam is a small village located 200 miles south of Madras. It is here that the annual festival of Eunuch takes place. On the occasion of Chitrai Purnima, Kinners experience the ceremony of marriage which is then, followed by widowhood.

Fact about hijras
Annual festival of hijras. Wikimedia

10. The legend of Bahuchara Mata: Bahuchara Mata, an incarnation of Maa Durga, according to the tales, was married to a man who would run into the woods and act like a woman. Angered with this, one day she cursed him to become an Eunuch. They pray Bahuchara Mata for forgiveness so they would be born with a clear gender in their next birth.

Fact about hijras
Hijras pray for forgiveness. Wikimedia

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha