Wednesday, September 28, 2011
What is Navratri?
'Nav' means 'nine' and 'ratri' means 'night'. Thus, 'Navratri' means 'nine nights'. There are many legends attached to the conception of Navratri like all Indian festivals. All of them are related to Goddess Shakti (Hindu Mother Goddess) and her various forms. It is one of the most celebrated festivals of Hindu calendar, it holds special significance for Gujratis and Bengalis and one can see it in the zeal and fervor of the people with which they indulge in the festive activities of the season. Dandiya and Garba Rass are the highlights of the festival in Gujarat, while farmer sow seeds and thank the Goddess for her blessings and pray for better yield. In older times, Navratri was associated with the fertility of Mother Earth who feed us as her children.
The first three days of Navratri are dedicated to Goddess Durga (Warrior Goddess) dressed in red and mounted on a lion. Her various incarnations - Kumari, Parvati and Kali - are worshipped during these days. They represent the three different classes of womanhood that include the child, the young girl and the mature woman. Next three days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity), dressed in gold and mounted on an owl and finally, last three are dedicated to Goddess Saraswati (Goddess Of Knowledge), dressed in milky white and mounted on a pure white swan. Sweetmeats are prepared for the celebrations. Children and adults dress up in new bright-colored dresses for the night performances.
In some communities, people undergo rigorous fasts during this season that lasts for the nine days of Navratri. The festival culminates on Mahanavami. On this day, Kanya Puja is performed. Nine young girls representing the nine forms of Goddess Durga are worshiped. Their feet are washed as a mark of respect for the Goddess and then they are offered new clothes as gifts by the worshiper. This ritual is performed in most parts of the country. With commercialization, the festival has moved on to be a social festival rather than merely a religious one. However, nothing dampens the spirit of the devout followers of Goddess Durga, as they sing devotional songs and indulge in the celebrations of Navratri, year by year..
For more information please visit to :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navratri
Sunday, September 25, 2011
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Thursday, September 8, 2011
Onam is the biggest festival in the Indian state of Kerala. Onam Festival falls during the Malayali month of Chingam (Aug - Sep) and marks the homecoming of legendary King Mahabali. Carnival of Onam lasts for ten days and brings out the best of Kerala culture and tradition. Intricately decorated Pookalam, ambrosial Onasadya, breathtaking Snake Boat Race and exotic Kaikottikali dance are some of the most remarkable features of Onam - the harvest festival in Kerala.
King Mahabali & Onam
The legend of King Mahabali is the most popular and the most fascinating of all legends behind Onam. Onam celebrates the visit of King Mahabali to the state of Kerala every year. The festival is celebrated with fervour as King Mahabali is greatly respected by his subjects. King Mahabali is also popularly called Maveli and Onathappan.
Reign of King Mahabali :
The story goes that the beautiful state of Kerala was once ruled by an Asura (demon) king, Mahabali. The King was greatly respected in his kingdom and was considered to be wise, judicious and extremely generous. It is said that Kerala witnessed its golden era in the reign of King Mahabali. Everybody was happy in the kingdom, there was no discrimination on the basis of caste or class. Rich and poor were equally treated. There was neither crime, nor corruption. People did not even lock their doors, as there were no thieves in that kingdom. There was no poverty, sorrow or disease in the reign of King Mahabali and everybody was happy and content.
Brief Sketch of King Mahabali :
It may be noted Mahabali was the son of Veerochana and grandson of Prahlad, the devout son of demon King Hiranyakashyap. Mahabali had a son called Bana, who became a legendary king in his own right and became popular as Banraj in central Assam. Mahabali belonged to the Asura (demon) dynasty but was an ardent worshiper of Lord Vishnu. His bravery and strength of character earned him the title of "Mahabali Chakravathy" or Mahabali - the King of Kings.
Challenge for Gods:
Looking at the growing popularity and fame of King Mahabali Gods became extremely concerned and jealous. They felt threatened about their own supremacy and began to think of a strategy to get rid of the dilemma.
To curb the growing reign of Mahabali and maintain their own supremacy, Aditi, the mother of Gods seeked help of Lord Vishnu (the preserver in the Hindu trinity) whom Mahabali worshiped.
It was said Mahabali was very generous and charitable. Whenever anybody approached him for help or requested for anything he always granted. To test the King, Lord Vishnu disguised himself as a dwarf and a poor Brahmin called Vamana. He came to the Kingdom of Mahabali, just after Mahabali performed his morning prayers and was preparing to grant boons to Brahmins.
Lord Vishnu takes Vamana Avatar:
Disguised as Vamana, Vishnu said he was a poor Brahmin and asked for a piece of land. The generous King said, he could have as much land as he wanted. The Brahmin said that he just wanted as much land as could be covered by his three steps. The King was surprised to hear but agreed.
A learned adviser of the King, Shukracharya sensed that Vamana was not an ordinary person and warned the King against making the promise. But, the generous King replied that it would be a sin for a King to back on his words and asked the Brahmin to take the land. The King could not imagine that the dwarf Brahmin was Lord Vishnu himself.
Just as King Mahabali agreed to grant the land, Vamana began to expand and eventually increased himself to the size of cosmic proportions. With his first step the Brahmin boy covered the whole of earth and with the other step he covered the whole of the skies. He then asked King Mahabali where is the space for him to keep his third foot.
The King realised that he was no ordinary Brahmin and his third step will destroy the earth. Mahabali with folded hands bowed before Vamana and asked him to place his last step on his head so that he could keep the promise. The Brahmin placed his foot on the head of the King, which pushed him to patala, the nether world. There the King requested the Brahmin to reveal his true identity. Lord Vishnu then appeared before the King in his person. The Lord told the King that he came to test him and the King won the test. King Mahabali was pleased to see his lord. Lord Vishnu also granted a boon to the King.
King Mahabali Requests for a Visit to KeralaThe King was so much attached with his Kingdom and people that he requested that he be allowed to visit Kerala once in a year. Lord Vishnu was moved by the Kings nobility and was pleased to grant the wish. He also blessed the King and said even after losing all his worldly possessions, the King would always be loved by Lord Vishnu and his people.
Genesis of Onam :
It is the day of the visit of King Mahabali to Kerala that is celebrated as Onam every year. The festival is celebrated as a tribute to the sacrifice of King Mahabali. Every year people make elaborate preparations to welcome their King whom they affectionately call Onathappan. They wish to please the spirit of their King by depicting that his people are happy and wish him well. The second day, Thiruvonam is the biggest and the most important day of this festival. It is believed that King Mahabali visits his people on the second day.
Onam celebrations are marked in Trikkakara, a place 10 km from Kochi (Cochin) on the Edapally- Pookattupadi road. Trikkara is said to be the capital of the mighty King Mahabali. A temple with a deity of 'Trikkakara Appan' or 'Vamanamurthy' who is Lord Vishnu himself in disguise is also located at this place. Nowhere else in Kerala can one find a deity of 'Vamanamurthy'. This fascinating legend is artistically depicted at the Suchindram Temple in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.
Onam Celebrations:High-spirited people of Kerala celebrate Onam with gaiety and fervor. The festival is celebrated for a period of ten days, starting from the first day Atham and continuing till tenth and the biggest day called Thiru Onam.
The spectacular festival attracts thousands of tourists from across the country and globe. Immense popularity of the festival is further promoted by the Government of India by celebrating Kerala Tourism Week during the time of Onam.
Beginning of the Celebrations:
Celebrations of the first day are marked by intricate floral carpets called Pookalam. More flowers of different colours are added to this pookalam on each passing day. Girls take great delight in designing them in the front courtyards of their house. Boys take pleasure in helping them gather flowers. Special prayers are also said on Atham in a local temple. Hectic activities for the carnival begin in the state from this day onwards.
Celebrations on Thiru Onam:
The biggest and the most happening day in the carnival of Onam is Thiruvonam. Festivities begin as early as 4 am. People clean up their house, take early bath, wear new clothes and perform elaborate prayers to seek divine blessings. A massive and most exquisite pookalam is prepared on this day to welcome the spirit of King Maveli.
Highpoint of the day is the enormous lunch called Onasadya. People of Kerala are extremely passionate about this. Even if they cannot easily afford, they will anyhow prepare the meal inclusive of all the 11-13 prescribed dishes. This has lead to the saying in Malayalam, "Kanam Vittu Onam Unnanam" which means, "We should have the Thiruonam lunch even if we have to sell all our properties".
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Today I am inaugurating my new blog : My Stadium Postcards. A Web site specifically devoted to the hobby of collecting Stadium and Arena Postcards.
Please visit Below Link :
Monday, September 5, 2011
After a 72 years break Lithuania will host the European Men’s Basketball Championship of 2011, which will be held from August 31 until September 18. The 24 strongest European men’s basketball teams will compete for medals and qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
The most outstanding European basketball players will show their talent for the residents and guests of six Lithuanian cities.
The group matches of the tournament will be played in Alytus, Klaipėda, Šiauliai and Panevėžys. Afterwards the strongest 12 teams of the Old Continent will gather in Vilnius and the champion and prize winners will be announced in the new Kaunas Arena, which is the largest arena in the Baltic countries
Artist E. Paukštytė.
Offset. Art paper. Stamp – 32,25x26 mm. Perf.14¼x14. Sheet of 9 stamps (3x3). The upper and lower margins of a sheet are with inscription.
Face value: 2,45 Lt.
Edition: 180 000.
Printed in "Österreichische Staatsdruckerei GmbH" printing-house in Austria (Vienna).