Archive for February, 2009

Maha Shivaratri

February 25, 2009

Shivaratri is usually falls every year on the Krishna Paksha dark Phalgun month (Feb or March) every year.

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Maha Shivaratri (Night of Shiva) is a Hindu festival, celebrated all over the country with much pump and enthusiasm. The festival is exclusively dedicated to Lord Shiva which is known by thousands of names. It is also believed that on this day Lord Shiva was married to Mata Parvati.

Arti of Lord Shiva

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On the auspicious day, devotees observe fast and keep vigil all night. It’s a day to pray to the almighty for wellness. Almost all Hindus throughout the world offer prayers in the morning/evening and some observe fasting throughout the day. Most people visit the nearby temples of Shiva and offer prayers in large crowds. On this day Shiva devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and “bel leaves” on “Shiva Linga” and  devotees light candles and “diyas” which is a lamp made usually of clay, with wick made of cotton and dipped in ghee throughout the night theses diyas are the symbol of spiritual manifestation.

Taj Mahotsav

February 18, 2009

Taj Mahotsav starts on 18th February each year in Shilpgram, Taj Mahotsav is a ten-day at Agra is a culturally vibrant platform that brings together the finest Indian craft and cultural nuances. Bedecked elephants and camels, drum beaters, folk artists and master craftsmen together recreate the glorious past of the Mughals.

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Taj Mahal Mahotsav area becomes a live culture, crafts and traditions it’s a much awaited event.  It’s celebrated as a festive introduction to India and Uttar Pradesh. India’s extensive arts, crafts and culture are on display.

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In this Taj Mahotsav folk music, shayari, poetry and classical dance performances as well as elephant and camel rides, games and a food festival is the part this festival.

The Taj Mahotsav is a non-stop 10 day carnival held annually at Shilpgram, near Tajmahal. The impressive festival commences with a spectacular procession inspired by Mughal splendor.

Taj Mahotsav, one can experience a profusion of folk music and dances of Dundelkhand, ‘Nautanki’ (Drama), ‘Sapera’ dance of Rajasthan, Lavani of Maharashtra.

In this festival Besides all these, crafts include wood carvings from Saharanpur, brass and other metal ware from Moradabad, handmade carpets of Badohi, and the pottery of Khurja, chickan-work of Lucknow, the silk of Banaras and much more.

Ganesh-Chaturthi

February 15, 2009

The bright half fourth day of every lunar month is called Ganesh Chaturthi. Its also known as Siddhi Vinayaki Chaturt and  Mahasiddhi Vinayaki Chaturthi if the fourth day falls on Tuesday or Saturday its importance gets enhanced and its known as Varad Chaturthi or Shivaa Chaturthi
On this auspicious day a beautiful idol of Lord Ganesh should remade of clay or some metal like silver. Now this idol shou1d be installed on a high pedestal with its face facing east-west or north.

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Having anointed the idol with sandalwood or saffron paste and invoking the Lord for the ‘Pran-pratishtha’ (Consecration), offerings with 21 objects should be kept ready, which should include Patri (leaves), Kewra (Pamdames), Shamee (A kind of tree leaves), white flowers (Lily), Durba (Grass twigs), red sandalwood, sindoor (Red vermilion powder), panchamrita (A potion made from mixing milk, curd, honey, sugar and water) and the leaves of Tulsi or basil etc. One must remember that basil leaves or Tulsidal are permitted in the Lord’s worship only on this day, and not on other days.

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Now, after seating yourself on the Kushasan (A small mattress made by the weed called Kusha), you should invoke the Lord and complete the worship as mentioned earlier.
Then perform the Mahabhishek (Grand Anointing Ceremony) by Panchamrita etc., and sing the ‘Aarti’ of the Lord with a lighted lamp waving in your hand before the Lord’s idol. Then the oblation of Durba, flowers etc. should be offered to the Lord. After this religiously move around the Lord seven times in anti-clockwise direction and lie with hand and feet fully stretched on the ground with face facing the ground to salute the Lord. This sort of special salutation is called Sashtang Namaskar’. Then 21 Laddoos should be offered as the Lord’s symbolic food or the ‘Prasadam’ which should be distributed to as many devotees as possible. It is said in scriptures that ‘Prasadam’ should be distributed to the greatest number of persons possible with each getting as little of the share as to have it totally absorbed or digested by the eater’s body and there should not be any refuse left out of it after digestion.





Baneshwar

February 10, 2009

This fair is usually held in January-February during Shivratri in Baneshwar, Rajasthan. It is primarily a tribal fair where Bhils from Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat join with their brethren in Rajasthan to worship Lord Shiva.


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The fair takes place at a small delta which has been formed by Mahi and Som rivers from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Poornima during Shivratri.
During Baneshwar Fair, hundreds of Bhils from the districts of Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara gather at Baneshwar to offer prayers to Lord Shiva.


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The temple of Baneshwar Mahadev opens very early at 5 a.m. and closes only late in the night at 11 p.m. Saffron is applied to the Shiv Linga in the morning after bathing; it followed with an aarti with incense sticks. Bahbhut or ash is put on the Linga in the evening. An aarti with wick-lamp is also performed. Pulses, wheat flour, rice, chillies, ghee, salt, jaggery, coconut and cash are offered to the Linga by the devoteeas. Traditional folk songs are performed by the Bhilsattending the Fair. Other villagers are also invited in the programmes that take place. Songs, folk dances, magic shows, and acrobatic feats are all part of the fair. Swings and merry-go-rounds add to the excitement of the villagers.
Baneshwar derives its name from the much honored Shiv Linga which is kept at Mahadev temple in Dungrapur. In the local Vagdi language, Baneshwar means ‘master of the delta’. This name was given to the Shiv Linga. This fair is actually a combination of two fairs – one which was held in honor of Baneshwar Mahadev or Lord Shiva and the other which was initiated after the construction of the Vishnu temple by daughter-in-law of Mavji, Jankunwari. Mavji was a highly honored saint regarded as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Nagaur Fair

February 4, 2009

This cattle fair is the second largest in Rajasthan and this eight days fair is held every year during the Hindu month of Magh (Jan-Feb).

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Nagaur bustles with life during the annual cattle fair, which is one of the largest in the country. The Nagaur bulls are renowned for their fleet footedness and attract buyers from all over. Exciting games, tug of war, camel races and strains of ballads create a joyful atmosphere.

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The quaint town of Nagaur, one of the most picturesque of Rajput townships stirs to life during the Nagaur Fair

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The Fair is renowned for the trading of cows, bullocks, oxen, camels and horses, which takes place here. Their owners are seen wearing colorful turbans and flaunting long moustaches. Wooden items, iron craft and leather accessories are available in abundance during the fair. Various games are organized during this four-day festival.
Tug-of-War, camel races, cock & bullfights provide entertainment to the tourists and locals after a hectic day of trading.
As the last rays of setting sun bid aide to the day, a joyous atmosphere is created by the folk musicians whose voices echo far & wide across the tranquil desert sands.