Friday, 28 February 2014

Maha Shivratri 2014

Maha Shivratri (the 'Great Night of Shiva') is a Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. Maha Shivratri is associated with Marriage of Shiva and Shakti.


The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael or golden apple or Bilva/Vilvam leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-long vigil (jagarana). All through the day, devotees chant "Om Namah Shivaya", a sacred Panchakshara mantra dedicated to Lord Shiva. In accordance with scriptural and discipleship traditions, penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life's highest good steadily and swiftly. On this day, the planetary positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent catalysts to help a person raise his / her spiritual energy easily. The benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit Mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra महामृत्युंजय मंत्र increase manifold on this night.


After earth's creation was complete, Parvati asked Lord Shiva which devotees and rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 14th night of the new moon, in the dark fortnight during the month of Phagun, is his most favorite day. Parvati repeated these words to her friends, from whom the word spread over all creation.


On Mahashivratri, Nishita Kala is the ideal time to observe Shiva Pooja. Nishita Kala is the time when Lord Shiva appeared on the Earth in the form of Linga. On this day, in all Shiva temples, the most auspicious Lingodbhava puja is performed.


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Kanheri Caves - Mumbai, India

The Kanheri Caves constitute a group of rock-cut monuments that are located north of Borivali on the western outskirts of Mumbai, India. 
































Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Elephanta Caves - Mumbai


Since no inscriptions on any of the on the island have been discovered, the ancient history of the island is conjectural, at best. Pandava, the hero of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, and Banasura, the demon devotee of Shiva, are both credited with building temples or cut caves to live. Local tradition holds that the caves are not man-made.




The Elephanta caves are "of unknown date and attribution". Art historians have dated the caves in the range of late 5th to late 8th century AD. Archaeological excavations have unearthed a few Kshatrapa coins dated to 4th century AD. The known history is traced only to the defeat of Mauryan rulers of Konkan by the Badami Chalukyas emperor Pulakesi II (609–642) in a naval battle, in 635 AD. Elephanta was then called Puri or Purika, and served as the capital of the Konkan Mauryas. Some historians attribute the caves to the Konkan Mauryas, dating them to the mid 6th century, though others refute this claim saying a relatively small kingdom like the Konkan Mauryas could not undertake "an almost superhuman excavation effort," which was needed to carve the rock temples from solid rock and could not have the skilled labour to produce such "high quality" sculpture


I still cant imagine how they built it. Far better technology and ability of better designing and sculpture making as compared to today world. 

Wish the knowledge was shared and passed on to next generation. It would have created wonders.


The island was called Gharapuri and was a Hindu place of worship until Portuguese rule began in 1534. The Portuguese called the island Elephanta on seeing its huge gigantic statue of an Elephant at the entrance. The Statue is now placed in the garden outside the Bhau Daji Lad Museum (erstwhile Victoria & Albert Museum) at the Jijamata Udyaan (erstwhile Victoria Gardens) at Byculla in Mumbai. This cave was renovated in the 1970s after years of neglect, and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 to preserve the artwork. It is currently maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)






Several courtyards to the east and west of the main cave are blocked, though there is a 55 feet (17 m)-wide courtyard that is accessible by entering the eastern part and climbing nine steps. A temple on the southern wall of the court depicts a well-preserved fresco. The circular pedestal seen in the courtyard in front of the Shiva's shrine near the east end, in the open area, is said to be the seat of Nandi, Shiva's mount.




The rock cut architecture of the caves has been dated to between the 5th and 8th centuries, although the identity of the original builders is still a subject of debate. The caves are hewn from solid basalt rock. All the caves were also originally painted in the past, but now only traces remain.



These caves are a network of sculpted caves located on Elephanta Island in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the east of the city of Mumbai in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The island, located on an arm of the Arabian Sea, consists of two groups of caves—the first is a large group of five Hindu caves, the second, a smaller group of two Buddhist caves. The Hindu caves contain rock cut stone sculptures, representing the Shaiva Hindu sect, dedicated to the god Shiva.