( Page 1 of 3330 )

List View Grid View Latest Articles from

Vishu - Festival of abundance April 01, 2015 18:25

In Kerala, the start of the Zodiac New Year when the sun enters into Sidereal Aries, Ashwini nakshatra, is celebrated as Vishu. Usually it comes around 14th or 15th of April. Bihu in Assam and Baisakhi in Punjab are celebrated around the same time of year. It is said that what one sees when one opens one's eyes on Vishu morning is an indication of what one can expect in the year to come. Thus on Vishu, effort is made to assure one opens one's eyes before an auspicious Vishukani viz. abundance of everything. The Malayalam word kani literally means "that which is seen first," so "Vishukkani" means "that which is seen first on Vishu." Arranged in the family puja room the night before by the elders in the family, the Vishukkani is a panorama of auspicious items, including images of Lord Vishnu, flowers, fruits and vegetables, clothes and gold coins. Lord Vishnu, the preserver of creation, is the aspect of the Paramatman that is focused upon during Vishu. In Indian astrology, Vishnu is seen as the head of Kaala Purusha, the God of Time. As Vishu marks the first day of the Zodiac New Year, it is an appropriate time to offer oblations to Lord Vishnu.Akshatam, a mixture of rice and turmeric, which is divided into halves of husked and un-husked rice, is placed in a special bowl called an uruli. The uruli traditionally is made of panchaloham, an aggregate of five metals. Panchaloham being symbolic of the universe, which is comprised of the five great elements: earth, water, fire, air and space. A nice, well-starched cloth is then pleated fan-like and inserted into a highly polished brass kindi (a spouted puja vessel used for pouring sacred water). The val-kannadi, a special type of mirror with an extremely long and thin handle, often decorated with gold, is also inserted into the kindi. The kindi is then placed in the uruli on top of the rice.Two deepams, which are fashioned from the two halves of a split coconut, are also kept in the uruli. The lighting of the deepam welcomes God into our lives and is also symbolic of spiritual knowledge, the remover of the darkness of ignorance.Gold, both in colour and in coin is central to the Vishukkani. Kanikkonna, a golden-yellow flower associated with Sri Krishna is used liberally throughout the puja room. This flower only blooms in the month surrounding Vishu. In the puja room, the flower verily represents the sun itself, the eyes of Lord Vishnu. Gold coins are symbols of monetary affluence, as well as cultural and spiritual wealth, which the elders of the family must share freely with the younger generation.The Vishukkani will also be laden with gold-coloured fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, jackfruit, golden cucumber, etc. The akshatam, as it is full of turmeric, also is gold in colour, as is the shiny brass of the kindi, the panchaloham and the reflection of the mirror. A spiritual book, such as the Bhagavad-Gita, is also made part of the arrangement. The book is the pramanam, the instrument used for attaining the eternal, non-perishable wisdom of the Rishis as well as a symbol of that knowledge itself.The elers who arranges the Vishukkani will sleep in the puja room and wakes up during the auspicious hour of the Brahma muhurata (4:00 to 6:00 a.m.) and will light the oil-lamp wicks and take in the auspicious sight. They will then walk to the rooms where the rest of the family is sleeping and wake them up and by covering their eyes, will then lead them to the puja room, where will allow them to take in the auspicious sight.Upon opening one's eyes, one is overwhelmed with the glorious darshan of the Lord. The mirror which is symbolic of Bhagavati (Devi), not only increases the lustre of the Vishukkani via the reflection it offers, but also shows our own face, reminding us that God is not someone sitting in the heavens upon a golden throne, but the pure consciousness that is our true nature. The mirror also points to the importance of making our mind pure enough to render this truth unadulterated.The Vishukkani is not reserved only for those who come to the puja room, but is taken around for the viewing of the elderly and sick that are perhaps too frail to come to the puja room. It is also brought outside and shown to the family cows. As it is brought to the cowshed, it in fact is on display for the birds, the trees, for all of nature to see.Vishukkani points to a year of abundance both spiritually and materially. Food, light, money, knowledge all should fill our life. Taking in the Vishukkani we should pray that the vision remains with us throughout the year. It is not enough that the joy we take from viewing the Vishukkani comes only to our eyes. It must reflect in our thoughts and in our actions. The auspicious start of the year, which has come to us due to the grace of beginning it with a divine vision, is not for us alone. It is up to us to spread this love, happiness and hope to the rest of society.Vishukkaineettam, the distribution of wealth, is another aspect of the festival. It should be given freely and accepted with reverence. On Vishu, the elders will not only give money to their children but also to each and every family member.By Premji

Read More

Places to Visit Goa April 01, 2015 18:08

Goa, situated on the west coast of India, is one of the most delightful states in India. Formerly a Portuguese colony, it is endowed with variety of attractions, like palm pronged beaches, miles of golden sands, lush green country-side, an incredible mosaic of cultural heritage, magnificent churches, temples, forts and monuments and a unique cultural synthesis of the east and west. With its tropical climate, Goa is a tourist’s destination for all seasons.  History: Goa's history goes back 20,000 - 30,000 years. The rock art engravings exhibit the earliest traces of human life in India. In the 3rd century BC, Goa was part of the Maurya Empire, ruled by the Buddhist emperor, Ashoka of Magadha. Buddhist monks laid the foundation of Buddhism in Goa. Between the 2nd century BC and the 6th century AD, Goa was ruled by the Bhojas of Goa. Chutus of Karwar also ruled some parts as feudatories of the Satavahanas of Kolhapur, Western Kshatrapas. Travel: Road: Panaji, Mapusa, Margao, and other main cities of Goa are well connected by motorable roads with different cities and places in India. Train: Tivim, Karmali, Madgaon and Vasco-da-Gama railway stations of Goa are well connected with major cities and places in India.  Air: Dabolim airport of Goa is well connected by flight with major cities in India. Places to visit in Goa:

Read More

Hindu Puranas - Light of Knowledge April 01, 2015 17:51

The Puranas are ancient Hindu texts eulogizing various deities, primarily the divine Trimurti (Bramha, Vishnu and Shiva) in Hinduism through divine stories. Puranas may also be described as a genre of important Hindu religious texts, notably consisting of narratives of the history of the universe from creation to destruction, genealogies of kings, heroes, sages and demigods and descriptions of Hindu cosmology, philosophy, and geography. Puranas usually employ an abundance of religious and philosophical concepts. They are usually written in the form of stories. Sage Vyasa, is traditionally considered the compiler of the Puranas. Puranas existed in oral form before being written. Of the many texts designated 'Puranas' the most important are the Mahapuraṇas. These are said to be eighteen in number, divided into three groups of six.The Puranas and their features are given below:   Sl No Name of Purana No of Verses Main Contents 1 Brahma Purana   10,000 verses   Godavari and its tributaries. 2 Padma Purana   55,000 verses   Greatness of Bhagavad Gita. 3 Vishnu Purana   23,000 verses   Deeds of Vishnu and various ways to worship 4 Shiva Purana   24,000 verses   Greatness of Shiva, worshiping and other stories 5 Vamana Purana   10,000 verses   Areas around Kurukshetra in North India. 6 Markandeya Purana   9,000 verses   Devi Mahatmya, an important text for the Shaktas 7 Varaha Purana   24,000 verses   Describes various forms prayer and devotional observances to Vishnu. Also involve Shiva and Durga 8 Agni Purana   15,400 verses   Vastu Shastra and Gemology 9 Kurma Purana   17,000 verses   Second of ten major avatar of Lord Vishnu. 10 Bhagavad Maha Purana   18,000 verses   Most celebrated and popular of the Puranas telling of Vishnu's ten Avatars. Narrates the deeds of KrishnaMost celebrated and popular of the Puranas telling of Vishnu's ten Avatars. Narrates the deeds of Krishna 11 Linga Purana   11,000 verses   Magnificence of Lingam, symbol of Shiva and origin of the universe 12 Narada Purana   25,000 verses   Greatness of Vedas and Vedangas. 13 Skanda Purana   81,100 verses   Birth of Skanda or Karthikeya, son of Shiva. The longest Purana, it is an extraordinarily meticulous pilgrimage guide, containing geographical locations of pilgrimage centers in India, with related legends, parables, hymns and stories 14 Garuda Purana   19,000 verses   Describes death and its aftermaths. 15 Matsya Purana   14,000 verses   Narrates the story of Matsya, the first of ten major Avatars of Vishnu. It also contains genealogical details of various dynasties.[Narrates the story of Matsya, the first of ten major Avatars of Vishnu. It also contains genealogical details of various dynasties.] 16 Vayu Purana   24,000 verses   Another name of Shiva Purana 17 Bhavishya Purana   17,000 verses   Ways to worship Devis, Krishna and Ganesha. 18 Brahmanda Purana   12,000 verses   Includes Lalita Sahasranamam, a text some Hindus recite as prayer.   We will be talking about different puranas and the stories in each puranas in this section.By Premji

Read More

Oh My God to Have a Sequel April 01, 2015 17:25

Oh My God was a sensation during its release and the movie minted huge money all over the country and it has received critical reception from the movie lovers as well as the critics. Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Mithun Chakraborthy played the main leads in this movie which has been directed by Umesh Shukla and the movie lovers have been left stunning with the concept of the film. The film has been made on a small budget and it collected huge money after which it has been remade in many other Indian languages. As per the latest update, the sequel for Oh My God is on cards which is sure a great news for movie lovers.Actor Paresh Rawal revealed the news through his twitter account posting “Oh my god sequel is very much on with Akshay Kumar and Mithun da . Shooting will start by June July . Jai ho !!!”. Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Mithun Chakraborthy will play the main leads in the sequel too and it will be directed by Umesh Shukla. The movie is in final stages of scripting and the other cast, crew will be finalized soon. The regular shoot of the movie will start from June and the movie will release in December this year. Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Ashvini Yardi are the producers and will produce the movie on Grazing Goat Pictures banner.

Read More

Hormone Replacement Therapy may benefit menopause women April 01, 2015 16:48

Hormonal therapy for menopause is under state of confusion from past few years with the positive and negative results provided by researchers. When it came into existence it gained lot of popularity and many women opted for it. But in 2002, a big study released by the Women's Health Initiative said HRT made a woman more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. Other reports from the program said it raised the risk of breast cancer. This triggered lot of worry and fear among the patients and many stopped using this. A new study by Swedish scientists has found that women taking HT statins have a decrease in all-cause mortality. The study was carried out on women aged 40 to 74 years who filled a first statin prescription between 2006 and 2007. Women were classified as HRT users or as nonusers and all the related information was collected from them. Among 40, 958 statinusers, 7% are HRT users and remaining are non HRT users. The analysis report stated that “among HRT users, 5 cardiovascular deaths occurred per 10, 000 persons-years and 18 deaths occurred among non HRT users. This depicts 42% reduction among HRT users.  The all-cause mortality rates were 33 per 10,000for HRT users and 87 for nonusers. The investigators found no associations with cardiovascular events. The researchers concluded that using of HRT decreases risk of all-cause mortality in women receiving statins. AW: Lizitha

Read More

Dochay Audio Release Postponed April 01, 2015 16:38

Akkineni young gun Naga Chaitanya is getting ready with his latest movie Dochay which is nearing completion. The movie has been directed by Sudheer Varma who made an impressive debut with Swamy Ra Ra in the past. Kriti Sanon is the heroine in the movie and the first look teaser of the film received superb response all over. The makers of the movie have been releasing one song per day and they have received good response all over. The expectations are huge on the movie and Chaitu will be seen as a thief in this mass entertainer.The audio launch of the movie has been planned on April 3rd initially however the audio will be released in Hyderabad in a grand event on April 11th. Sunny MR composed the music for the movie and the whole crew who worked for Swamy Ra Ra is working for this film. Top producer BVSN Prasad is producing the movie on Sri Venkateswara Cine Chitra banner. Dochay will complete all the formalities and will release on April 24th. Naga Chaitanya seems quite confident on the movie and the makers are aiming for a comfortable and massive release for this stylish mass entertainer.

Read More

Nearly 350 Indian Nationals evacuated by the Indian Navy from Aden April 01, 2015 16:24

Nearly 348 Indian nationals were rescued on Tuesday by the Indian Navy from the strife-torn Yemen’s Aden city. INS Sumitra took the people to the neighbouring territory of Djibouti, which lies across the Red Sea.The evacuation process was initiated after India got approval on Tuesday to dock its ship at the Aden harbour. Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speed up the evacuation of Indians stranded in the conflict zone of Yemen.In a letter to Modi, the Kerala Chief Minister said he was flooded with frantic calls from nurses who are trapped in Yemen where, according to him, the situation is going out of control.While appreciating the steps so far taken by the Indian government and the Embassy in Yemen, Chandy said more ships and flights should be sent to the region to bring back the stranded Indians. He said the country should make use of the good offices with Saudi Arabia to get landing facility for more flights in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen.Chandy said some hospitals in Sanaa were reluctant to hand over the passports and certificates to the nurses. The Indian Embassy should be urged to hold talks with such hospitals to ensure the exit of the nurses from the strife-torn country.The ship, which left along with other vessels from Mumbai and Kochi, will ferry Indians stranded in Yemen to Djibouti, a country on the southern side of the Gulf of Aden. From there, the passengers will then be flown to Mumbai by the national carrier. The rescue operation has been named Op Raahat.Below is the flurry of tweets by Syed Akbaruddin:   - Manohar

Read More

S/O Satyamurthy Music Success Meet April 01, 2015 15:57

Stylish Star Allu Arjun has recently completed the shoot of his latest movie S/O Satyamurthy which has been aimed for release on April 9th all over. The movie has been directed by Trivikram Srinivas and the film has been carrying huge expectations. Samantha, Adah Sharma and Nithya Menon are the heroines in the movie and Kannada Superstar Upendra, Sneha are playing the other prominent roles in the movie. Allu Arjun will be seen as a wedding planner in this stylish mass entertainer and the recently released audio has received wide and roaring response from the audience. The makers of S/O Satyamurthy have now planned for an audio success meet which will be held in Vijayawada on April 6th. Shreyas Media will organize the event which will happen at 6 PM in the evening. Devi Sri Prasad composed the music and Prasasd Murella is the cinematographer for the movie. S Radha Krishna produced the movie on Haarika and Haasine Creations banner. S/O Satyamurthy has also completed all the censor formalities and it has been awarded U/A certificate without any cuts. The whole movie unit has been confident on the movie which has been set for a massive release on April 9th all over.

Read More

Hampi - Architectural Abundance April 01, 2015 15:41

Hampi is a village in northern Karnataka, India. It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi is situated on the southern bank of the river Tungabhadra.  History: It was the seat of the mighty Vijayanagara Empire (1336-1565) which extended from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal and from the Deccan Plateau to the tip of the Indian Peninsula. One of the interesting facts about Hampi apart from its history and culture is that this place is closely associated with Ramayana. According to the mythological epic, when Lord Rama and his brother were wandering in the forest searching for the trails of Devi Sita (Lord Rama's wife), who was abducted by the demon king Ravana, both these brothers came to this region in search of Vali and Sugriv (two monkeys brothers) who ruled in this region. Travel: Hampi is connected by road with: From Hospet it is 13 km, from Bellary it is 74 km, from Gadag it is 98 km, from Guntakal it is 133 km, from Chitradurga it is 151 km, from Hubli it is 151 km, from Aihole it is 156 km, from Pattadakal it is 173 km and from Badami it is 180 km. Train: Hospet is the nearest railway station which is connected with Bangalore, Hubli and Guntakal. Air: Hubli is the nearest airport which is connected by flights from Bangalore. Some of the best places to see in Hampi:

Read More

Mangalgiri - Land of Palaka Narasimha Swamy April 01, 2015 15:21

Mangalgiri means auspicious hill, the word ‘Mangal’ means auspicious and the word ‘giri’ means hill. Mangalgiri is situated in the outskirts of Vijayawada, a well known city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Mangalgiri is only 12 KM away from Vijayawada. Mangalgiri is well connected with train and buses and is accessible from Vijayawada, Guntur and Tenali. Mangalgiri is a small village with a population of around 80000. The main occupation of this village is weaving and paddy cultivation. Around 60% of the population belongs to Padmasali, who are traditionally related to weaving. There are around 5000 weavers in this village.Mangalgiri is blessed with two well known temples. One is in the valley, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple believed to be built by the King Krishna Devaraya.  The other temple is on the hilltop known as Palaka Narasimha Swamy. Narasimha is believed to be the 4th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. This incarnation has a lion head and human body. This incarnation was made to show, how the true faith in God will save one from all the difficulties. The deity in the temple is ‘Swayambhu’ means self originated. In this temple the main offering is Palakam or Panakom - a juice made with jaggery, dry ginger and lime, which is poured into the mouth of Sri Narasimha Swamy. Eventhough Palakam is sweet and everyday hundreds of litres of Palakam is offered there are no ants seen anywhere near the sanctum sanctorum.It is believed that the temple of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha in the valley was found by the epic hero Yuddhisthira. Yuddhisthira is the eldest brother of Pandavas in the Hindu epic Mahabharata, who is known for his noble life and his non compromising attitude towards truth. The temple dedicated for the worship of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha has been constructed architecturally to support the 11 storied Raja Gopuram. Raja Gopuram is the main entrance to the temple premises. Usually this gopuram will be sculptured with the story of the main deity of the temple. Huge gopurams are the specialty in south Indian temples. These gopurams will have sculptures of the period of construction. These gopurams are constructed using huge granite stones. These stones are transported to the site using elephants and large number of artisans had put their hard effort to make these gopurams spectacular, which are existing for more than 400 years. The interiors of the temple have inlaid inscriptions that reveal that the famous King of the Vijaynagar Empire, Krishna Devaraya had visited this temple. The temple tank which is adjacent to the temple is believed to be created by Demigods and is named Lakshmi Pushkarini.A unique feature of Palaka Narasimha Swamy temple in Mangalgiri is the magical disappearance of the Palakam offered to the shrine. When palakam is poured into the mouth of the deity, half of the palakam is returned. The temple is opened only from morning to afternoon. It is believed that Demigods perform puja to Sri Narasimha Swamy in the night. In the temple, there is no deity of god, only a wide opened mouth of nearly 15cms is seen. This mouth is covered with the metal face of Narasimha Swamy. Here the deity is offered palakam. The priest will pour the palakam with a conch into the wide opened mouth. While pouring, we can hear the sound, like someone is drinking water. When the sound stops, the priest will stop pouring. The priest has shown us that the conch was not emptied, when poured into the mouth. This means that god is satisfied with the given palakam. This miraculous act rekindles faith and spiritualism in the people who visit the temple. After worshipping palaka Narasimha Swamy, when you go up, you can see Lord Vishnu sleeping on Anantha the Snake God and this posture is called Ananthasayanam, which can be seen in a small cave.The Palaka Narasimha Swamy temple is accessible through road for which vehicles are available on rent, or else one can reach the temple through stairs which leads to the temple. There are 365 steps to climb. One can see a bird’s eye view of Mangalgiri from the top of the hill. From the top of the hill we can also see the gopurams of Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in the valley.By Premji

Read More