Wednesday, October 5, 2016

BOMMALA KOLUVU / BOMAI KOLU


In Tamil Bomai Kolu means Divine Presence. Bommala Koluvu in Telugu means Court of Toys and Bombe Habba in Kannada means Doll Festival. is part of Dasara festival where young girls and women display dolls, figurine, court life, everyday scenes along with the divine presence of the Goddesses Saraswati, Parvati and Laxmi in the Tamil, Kannada and Andhra Telugu households during Navaratri or The Nine nights.
On the first day of Navaratri, following Ganapathi pooja, a welcoming ritual is performed for goddesses Saraswati, Parvatiand Lakshmi by Hindu ritual called Kalasa Avahanam which is performed by an elderly male or female of the family. This is then followed by building a rack of odd-numbered shelves of Kolu (or Padi) (usually 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11), set up using wooden planks. After the Kolu has been covered with fabric it is then adorned with various dolls, figurines and toys according to their size, with the deities at the top.
The Kolu is predominantly displayed with depictions from Puranas, court life, royal procession, ratha yatra, weddings, everyday scenes, miniature kitchen utensils, anything a little girl would have played with. Most of the wooden toys displayed come from traditional toy-makers in Etikoppaka, Kondapalli, Kinnaland Channapatna. It is a traditional practice to have wooden figurines of the bride and groom together, called 'Marapacchi Bommai' or 'Pattada Gombe', usually made of sandalwood, teak or rosewood and decorated with new clothes each year before being displayed on the Kolu. In southern India, bride is presented with 'Marapacchi Bommai' during the wedding by her parents as part of wedding trousseau to initiate the yearly tradition of 'Navaratri Golu' in her new home with her husband. These dolls come as couples dressed in their wedding attire, depicting husband and wife symbolizing prosperity and fertility and the start of the bride's Gollu collection. Display figurines are passed on from one generation to another as heirloom.
In the evenings, women within the neighborhood invite each other to visit their homes to view the Kolu displays; they also exchange gifts and sweets. A Kuthuvilakku lamp is lit, in the middle of a decorated Rangoli, while devotional hymns and shlokas are chanted. After performing the puja, the food items that have been prepared are offered to the Goddess and then to the guests.
On the 9th day Saraswati Puja, special pujas are offered to goddess Saraswati, the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge.
The 10th day, Vijayadasami, is the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which evil was finally destroyed by good. It marks a new and prosperous beginning. New ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity. Kids often start tutoring on this day to have a head start in their education.
Later, on the evening of Vijayadasami, one of the doll from the display is symbolically put to sleep, and the Kalasa is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year's Navaratri golu. Prayers are offered to thank the Lord for the successful completion of that year's Kolu and with hope of a successful one the next year. Then the Kolu is dismantled and packed up for the next year.
Source - Google

Monday, September 5, 2016

AMAZING FACTS OF GANESHA.


Did you know there are 250 temples of Ganesha in Japan.
In Japan, #Ganesha is known as 'Kangiten', the God of fortune and the harbinger of happiness, prosperity and good.
An Oxford publication claims that Ganesha was worshipped in the early days in Central Asia and other parts of the globe.
Ganesha statues have been found in Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Japan, Indonesia, Brunei, Bulgaria, Mexico and other Latin American countries. It means the cult of Ganesha was prevalent all over the world in ancient times.
Ganesha in Europe, Canada and the USA:
Ganesha's idol and paintings are exhibited in all the important museums and art galleries of all the European countries especially in the UK, Germany, France and Switzerland. Ganesha idols and paintings(as goodluck charm) are also present in thousands of houses/offices of successful business/writers/artists in all the European countries and in Canada and the USA. Recently a figure of Ganesha was unearthed in a village near Sofia, Bulgaria. Like Indians, the Romans worshipped Ganesha before any work was begun.
Irish believe in Ganesha luck:
The embassy of Ireland at New Delhi became the first European embassy to invoke the blessings of Ganesha by installing a statue of Ganesha at the main entrance of the embassy.
Silicon Valley in USA selects Ganesha as the presiding Deity of cyberspace technology:
“Ganesha is the God of knowledge and Ganesha's vehicle is the mouse and, as you know, for software engineers the mouse is the vehicle that they use to take their ideas and innovations from one place to the other.”
Hence it was decided by the computer industry association to select Ganesha as the presiding Deity of Silicon Valley.
Ganesha on Greek coin:
Early images of an elephant headed Deity, including those on an Indo-Greek coin and elsewhere, dating between the first and third centuries BC, represent Ganesha as the God Vinayaka.
Indonesia Currency notes:
One of the Indonesian currency notes carries the picture of Ganesha.
Vedic origin of Ganesha:
10,000 yr old secret of success.
Devotees of Ganesha make reference to his Vedic origin which is around 10,000 years old to push his antecedents back in time.
The Vedas have invoked him as 'namo Ganebhyo Ganapati' (Yajurveda, 16/25), or remover of obstacles, Ganapati, we salute you.
The Mahabharata has elaborated on his personal appearance and Upanishads on his immense power. “Scholars say artifacts from excavations in Luristan and Harappa and an old Indo-Greek coin from Hermaeus, present images that remarkably resemble Ganesha”.

Source:
(“Robert Brown in his Book “Ganesha: Studies of an Asian God”: State University of New York Albany)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Guess what is breeding inside these Ganesh idols


Moving away from traditional Plaster of Paris (PoP) and papier-mache idols, a Lower Parel resident has sculpted unique eco-friendly Ganpati idols that transform into plants on pouring water — a symbolic immersion.
With the intention to reduce beach litter after immersions, Dattadri Kothur, 30, started making such idols last year with red soil, organic fertilisers and shadu clay filled with holy basil (tulsi) or ladyfinger seeds.
Made atop earthen pots with a base of red soil with size ranging between 12 and 20 inches, each idol is filled with 15 seeds.
“After witnessing the haphazard state of beaches every year especially Girgaum Chowpatty that is littered with broken idol parts, I wanted to create an idol that gives something back to worshippers. After a lot of brainstorming, I realised that there could be nothing better than nature itself,” said Kothur, who calls the idols, Tree Ganesha.
During last year’s Ganeshotsav festival, over 2 lakh idols were immersed in city beaches that left 3,059 metric tonnes of waste, which is roughly the amount being sent to the Deonar dumping ground each day.
Kothur said for his idols the immersion is done by pouring water over the idol. “It takes about seven to eight days for the idol to be completely dissolved in the 18x5 inch pots. However, seeds begin sprouting by day five and within a month, the plant is ready,” he said, adding that the holy basil and ladyfinger seeds were chosen because they grow the fastest.
The finished idols adorn a reddish-brown pallet owing to the mix of red soil and shadu clay. The sculptor uses only natural colour to decorate the idols’ eyes. This year, the bookings for the idols started on July 5. After an overwhelming response, he was forced to close bookings in three days.
“I was getting a minimum of 200 calls per day,” he said adding, “We are in the process of making 400 idols. As of now, close to 70 have been completed. After receiving mails from Mauritius, US and all over the country, I have planned over 5,000 idols for next year.”
The 12-inch and 15-inch idols have been priced at Rs 1,800 and Rs 2,200, while the 20-inch idol costs Rs 3,000.
Officials from the state pollution control board said such home-made eco-friendly idols were the need of the hour for saving the city beaches.
“Innovative ideas such as Tree Ganesha will help preserve the cultural aspect of the festival and at the same time protect the environment. However, the survival rate of the plants and the amount of water the idol would require to be completely dissolved needs to be checked,” said PK Mirashe, acting member secretary, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.

Friday, October 30, 2015

KARVA CHAUTH / KARWA CHAUTH



Karva Chauth / Karwa Chauth, one of many Hindu festivals, is a fasting ritual observed by all married Hindu women who seek the longevity, prosperity and well-being of their husbands. This festival is very popular amongst married Hindu women in the western and northern parts of India, primarily in Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh. During the Karwa Chauth festival, married Hindu women dedicate the day to their husbands. Normally, women who observe this festival are called "Saubhagyavati" meaning "joyous and happy status of wifehood." The festival was emerged also as a day for celebrating autumn. Hindu married women enjoy the company and companionship of relatives and friends. As of recently, the celebration has been given a more religious touch.

 Karwa Chauth is glorified and also widely solemnized by Hindus and Sikh living in the northwestern part of India. Karva means clay pot while chauth means fourth. Karwa chauth commemorates the fourth day that follows the full moon in the Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. This festival is typically celebrated immediately after the autumn harvest. This is the best time to meet friends and relatives and exchange gifts. During this festival parents send various gifts to their married daughters.

 Karwa chauth is known for its extraordinary observance rate among married women in certain parts of India. Karwa chauth is celebrated in different ways depending on the region where a person lives. During this festival, jewelry, clothes and gifts are received from both the woman's mother-in-law and mother. All married women wear wedding day outfits once again and apply mehndi.

 There are many similar stories that are associated with karwa chauth from one part of India to another. During this particular day various items such as karwa, which is an earthen pot that has spout are actually collected and worshiped, is offered to the Goddess Parvati and Lord Siva. Usually the festival does not end until the moon is fully seen at night. During this festival an elderly woman is supposed to narrate a karwa chauth story before this fast is over.

 Karwa chauth is a very important as well as a difficult fast that all married Hindu women observe. The festival begins just before sunrise and ends after worshiping the moon and doing prayers at night. No water or food can be consumed once the sun rises. The fast is only broken after seeing the moon and after all rituals of that particular day have been performed. When the moon has appeared, women break the fast after they have offered water to the moon.

 Women dress in special clothes during this festival. A pink or red sari with a gold woven pattern is worn by many women as part their custom and is worn only in the evening. New brides will wear their wedding costumes. The karwa chauth fast sets a merry tone of frolic and fun, feasting and festivity and is amongst the biggest festivals celebrated by Hindus.

Source - Calendarlabs.com 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Eat Half a Teaspoon of Turmeric and These 10 Things Will Happen to Your Body


Turmeric is a spice used commonly in Indian foods like curry. The spice has significant benefits for the body. Below are 10 ways the body will benefit from your use of Turmeric in foods you eat regularly.

 Inflammation will Decrease 
 Short-term inflammation is helpful to prevent and fight disease. However, long-term inflammation actually has been linked to diseases that cause long-lasting damage and eventually lead to death. Therefore, having additional help in decreasing inflammation means your body can retain overall health. Since the Curcumin in Turmeric blocks NF-KB, it works to fight inflammation.

Antioxidants begin Working More Efficiently
 Curcumin also acts as an antioxidant, which neutralizes free radicals. Free radicals react with fatty acids or DNA, with negative effects on the body. Therefore, minimizing the effects of free radicals is a great benefit for the body. It also helps the body’s own antioxidant enzymes to work more efficiently and have more effect on the body. This has numerous benefits.

 Improved Brain Function 
The hormone BDNF, or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, is vital to the division and multiplication of neurons in the brain. This in turn means decreased brain function in adulthood. However, with Turmeric in your diet, this hormone is increased. This helps the brain function, improves memory and increases intelligence.

 Decreases Risk of Brain Disease
 In correlation with the increase of the BDNF hormone in your brain, the risk of brain diseases are decreased. This is due to the improved functioning of the brain and may even reverse the effects already present in the brain.

 Delays Aging, Fights Chronic Diseases associated with Age
Most aging and diseases associated with that process can be traced back to inflammation. Therefore, the anti-inflammatory qualities of this herb can mean the difference for various diseases that tend to hit a person as they age.

 Lowers Risk of Heart Disease 
The lining of the blood vessels decreases function and heart disease is a significant risk due to issues with regulating blood pressure. However, Turmeric in the diet means improved function for this lining (called endothelium).

 Prevents and Treats Alzheimer’s Disease 
This goes back to the effect on inflammation. Since inflammation is a big factor in the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease, Turmeric in the diet can delay the onset or even treat the disease by clearing Amyloid plaques that occur in the body.

 Helps with Arthritis Pain 
Inflammation of the joints is a common arthritis issue. With Turmeric acting as an anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it would also address this issue and help with the pain and decreased function caused by arthritis.

 Helps Prevent Cancer
 On the molecular level, the growth and spread of cancer has been stopped by Turmeric. Cancers of the digestive system in particular seem to be preventable with the addition of Turmeric to the diet .

 Treats Depression, Improves Mood 
Studies have shown Curcumin to have a similar effect to Prozac, a commonly prescribed anti-depressant. Therefore, the use of Turmeric in your diet can be beneficial to your mental health and mood.

 Source - http://www.viralalternativenews.com/

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A UNIQUE CASTE SYSTEM OF SINDHIS



As post partition Sindhis,we had often heard of Sindhi names/labels like Amils, Bhaibands, Sindhiwarkis, Hyderabadis and so on, but could not make sense of these so called ‘castes’ of the community. Sindhishaan requested veteran researcher Shri Sahib Bijani to simplify and explain the various ‘types’ to the Sindh community. Here is a summary of the extensive research conducted by Shri Bijani.
Sindhis don’t follow any caste system, but there are certain loosely defined ‘castes’ or ‘zaats’ that are distinct from each other as they have come to be associated with distinct cultural and behavioral characteristics. These qualities or traits arose either from their professional differences or from the cities and places of living. For example Hyderabadis are known because they lived in Hyderabad which was comparatively an advanced and prosperous city. Similarly Shikarpuris are people from Shikarpur. This way there are many classifications in the Sindhi community. We have tried to enumerate some of the better known types in this article.
AMILS – The word Amil comes from amal which means to practice. These are Hindu Kshatriyas who worked as accountants in the governments of Mirs and Kalhodas in Sindh. Nowadays their descendants are also known as Amils even though they may not be in service. Amils residing in Hyderabad would be known as Hyderabadi Amils. Some of the Amils also resided in Khairpur, Larkana and Sevanh. Hyderabadis are supposed to be of a higher Zaat, well educated and fair skinned because the city of Hyderabad in those days was an education and cultural hub.
BHAIBANDS – In Sindh, the business class of Sindhis was known as Bhaibands. These people were into trading and business activities in the kingdom of the Mirs. It would be possible to find one Amil brother and one Bhaiband brother in the same household. In those days Amils would marry only Amils and Bhaibands would marry only Bhaibands. Nowadays even though they may be in service, yet they are known as Bhaibands if their ancestors belonged to this caste.
SINDHWARKIS – Sindhwarkis are those Bhaibands of Sindh who traded in the materials made in Sindh and then exported it. In 1843, the British conquered Sindh and at that time, the Hyderabadi Bhaibands supplied the materials for daily needs to the British soldiers. Because of their contact with the British army they supplied all types of material to them, even from the villages of Sindh. Then these Bhaibands went to Bombay, from there to Columbia and Rangoon. In 1869 the Suez Canal was opened and many Sindhwarkis went to Europe and Singapore and then spread all over the world, and began trading from many other ports and cities. This is the now known category of Sindhi NRIs
CHHAPRUS – The word Chhapru comes from the word Chhappar meaning mountain. These people usually lived in the mountain regions in Sindh and later came down to stay in Karachi. Chhaprus have followed their own distinct rituals and customs. Some of the Chhaprus are also known as Saprus.
BHATIAS – Bhatias are descendants of Shri Krishna. There are thousands of Sindhi Bhatias all over the world today. They usually marry among themselves and are strict vegetarians. Many don’t even eat onions and garlic. Some of their sub-castes are Gajria, Kajria, Parmal etc.
MASANDS – Masands were appointed to spread Sikhism by the fourth Guru, Guru Ramdas. They would spread the message of Gurbani in small towns and villages and collect funds. Then on Diwali day they would go and meet their Guru and hand over the collection. They would then be honored by their Guru. Even today there are around 300 Masands in India; some of them are brilliant educationists and social workers.
THAKURS – These are the descendants of Lord Jhulelal. They are the official Brahmins of the Sindhi community. They head many Sindhi Tikanas and Durbars.
BHAGNARIS – There were two small villages in Baluchistan known as Bhag and Nari which explains the name of this Bhagnari community. They were the community of dry fruits and spice merchants of those days. Some Bhagnaris were also wine merchants. They strictly married in their own community. Some of the famous Bhagnaris are Popleys, Nanomal Issardas and so on.
LOHANAS – Lohanas are the descendants of Luv, the son of Bhagwan Ramchandra. They are the Kshatriyas who lived in an iron fort built by them in Punjab known as Loh-Ghar, which later came to be known as Lahore. They came to Sindh from Lahore from where many Lohanas migrated to Kutch. They are usually engaged in trading and other business.
There are many more such Jaatis in Sindhis and it is not possible to describe each and everyone in this small article. Efforts must be made to research, classify and tabulate these various castes and sub-castes because it has importance for the future generation..

By- Sahib Bijani
Image - Courtesy Google

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The 9 different avatars of Goddess Durga / Nine colours of nine days / Navratri


Navrati – one of the most popular festivals celebrated all around the globe. Devotees worship Goddess Durga and chant various mantras. The occasion starts with Ghatasthapana wherein devotees place picture of Goddess in to the kalash (pot). Here we bring to you nine different avatars of Goddess Durga.
Navrati word in itself holds a special significance which refers to nine nights and nine different forms of Goddess Durga. Each and every Goddess hold importance and is worshipped with religious fervour. There is a myth which says that performing special pujas lifts divine spirits and God grants one with happiness for the rest of his/her life. The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashami , wherein devotees immerse idols of Goddess Durga into the water.

Navratri Day 1 : Godess Shailaputri  (Red)



‘Shailaputri’ means the daughter of mountains also known as Sati Bhavani, Parvati or Hemavati. ‘Shail’ means mountains and ‘Putri’ means daughter. She is the first among Navadurgas and devotees worship her on the first day of Navaratri. Goddess Shailaputri symbolizes the power of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. She is quite recognizable as she rides a bull and carries a trident along with a lotus in her hands. According to Hindu mythology, Shailaputri is believed to be the rebirth of Sati. She was the daughter of Daksha and the wife of Lord Shiva. Shailaputri is associated with Lord Shiva.

 Navratri Day 2: Goddess Brahmacharini  (Royal Blue)



 Goddess Brahmacharini is worshipped on the second day of Navratri festival. This is the second form of Durga who took various births to attain Lord Shiva as her husband. Brahmacharini also known as Tapashcharini, Aparna and Uma. She symbolizes spirituality and meditation. Goddess Brahmacharini holds a rosary in her right hand and a water utensil in her left hand. On this day, women in India observe a rigorous fast to attain peace, prosperity and happiness.

 Navratri Day 3: Goddess Chandraghanta (Yellow)



 Goddess Chandraghanta is worshipped on the third day of Navratri. She is also known as Chandrakhanda, Chandika or Ramchandi. Her name resembles crescent moon which is worn by her on the head. Chandraghanta, totally different from that of Durga, who shows her angry side when provoked. Devotees believe that this Goddess blesses them with a lot of courage and bravery.

Navratri Day 4: Goddess Kushmanda (Green)



 Goddess Kushmanda the fourth form of the Hindu goddess Durga worshipped on the fourth day of Navratri. Ku means little, Ushma means energy and Anda means cosmic egg. It is believed that the darkness in the universe ended with her divine smile and then there was the beautiful beginning of creation.

Navratri Day 5: Goddess Skanda Mata (Grey)



 Goddess Skanda Mata, is the fifth form of Goddess Durga and Skanda means Kartikeya and Mata means mother. She grants her devotees with wisdom, power and prosperity. She is also regarded as The Goddess of Fire.

 Navratri Day 6: Goddess Katyayani (Orange)



 Katyayani, the sixth form of Goddess Durga is also known as a Warrior Goddess. It is said that she eventually led to slaying the demon, Mahishasura and then mounted the lion given to her by Goddess Gauri.

Navratri Day 7: Goddess Kalaratri (White)



 Kalaratri, the seventh form of Durga who is known for destroying ignorance and removing darkness from the universe. Kalaratri or Shubhamkari – is the violent form of Goddess Durga. It is said that she licked the blood of demon Rakta Beeja, who had the potential to create demons from his blood.This form of Goddess depicts the darker side of life.

 Navratri Day 8: Goddess Mahagauri (Pink)



 Mahagauri the eighth avatar of Goddess Durga who is known as a ray of lightning. According to myths, she performed rigid Tapas without moving her body. Due to which heavy amount of soil and dust got collected on her body and Lord Shiva cleaned her with water from Ganga river. Therefore, purity is depicted in this form of Durga.

 Navratri Day 9: Goddess Siddhidatri (Sky Blue)



 Siddhidatri, ninth avatar of Mother Goddess who provides knowledge to her devotees. The knowledge that she provides makes one realise that it is only her who exists, in short she is the supreme power of all perfect things. In this form she is seated on a lotus flower and holds variety of things in her hands including lotus, mace, conch shell and discus.

Source- www.india.com