Apratim Saha

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Saturday, 22 December 2012 07:39

Varanasi

Mark Twain truly said that “Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together”.

Varanasi is also commonly known as Benares or Benaras  and Kashi, a city on the banks of the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh.  According to legend, the city was founded by the Hindu deity Lord Shiva, several thousand years ago which makes it one of the most important pilgrimage destinations in the country. It is regarded as a holy city by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the oldest in India.

Enjoy the spirit of Varanasi here….

Varanasi

Om !

Varanasi

Morning puja on Ganges.

In memory of the forefathers

Varanasi

He came all the way from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, to Varasnasi to bring homage to his deceased ancestors, like so many Hindu from all over India, believing that after death, the soul given to the Goddess Ganga, remains in the river of life and death.

Sun Rise

Varanasi

Sun rise on Ganges.

Body Building

Varanasi

Early morning body building at Varanasi.

Puja

Varanasi

Puja before Body Building .

Body Building

Varanasi

Early morning body building at Varanasi.

Body Building

Varanasi

Early morning body building on the Ganges.

Pranayam

Varanasi

Early morning pranayam on the Ganges.

Yoga

Varanasi

Sit - Up

Varanasi

Early morning body building on the Ganges.

Priest

Varanasi

Priest

Varanasi

A priest at Varanasi.

Sadhu

Varanasi

A Sadhu at Varanasi.

Handful of blessing

Varanasi

Pradeep Kumar Dwivedi, the priest of the Shitala Mandir at Dasaswamedh Ghat, Varanasi is one of the  few survivors of a tragic bus accident on 3rd June 1996 morning where more than fifty people were killed. Four people are still in coma. In that accident he lost one of his hands. As the time passes by he realized that he was being neglected by his family as he became physically challenged due to that tragic occurrence. One day he told his father that he’ll earn himself and he came to Varanasi. When he came to Varanasi he fell in love with the ancient city.

Mentor

Varanasi

Ganga Darshan

Varanasi

Boating on the Ganges.

Ganga Darshan

Varanasi

Ghats

Varanasi

Ghats of Varanasi.

Fortune Teller

Varanasi

A fortune teller on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Sadhu

Varanasi

A priest from Varanasi.

Waiting

 Waiting

An old woman at Varanasi.

Puja

Varanasi

Puja on the Shitala Mandir.

Puja

Varanasi

Puja on the bank of Ganges.

Burning Ghat

Varanasi

Burning Ghat on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Burning Memories

Varanasi

 Few days ago early in the morning one mobile call from Varanasi really shocked me for some time. Only four words “Sir Kiran mama chale gaye” (Kiran uncle is no more). Though I was getting ready for my office but couldn’t control myself and sat on the couch for an hour. He was only 65 ! Kiran Chowdhury, the famous Doma (A Hindu caste whose duty is to burn the dead and look after the crematorium) of Varanasi is no more ! Though he’ll not burn bodies anymore but there’ll be burning all the time. From now bodies will be burnt without his touch as he burnt to ashes. During my last visit to Varanasi we had a long discussion regarding Hinduism and Karma. That day once again I realised that wisdom doesn’t come from the books always.

Burning Ghat

 Varanasi

Burning Ghat on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Navaratri

Varanasi

A family celebrating Sharada Navaratri at Varanasi.

Evening Puja

Varanasi

Evening Puja on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Durga Bisarjan

 Varanasi

DURGA BISARJAN on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Puja

Varanasi

Evening Puja on Doshomi at Varanasi.

Dura Bisarjan

 Varanasi

DURGA BISARJAN on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Sondha Aroti

Varanasi

Sondha Aroti (Evening Puja) on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Sondha Aroti

Varanasi

Sondha Aroti (Evening Puja) on the Ganges at Varanasi.

Varanasi

A panoramic view of the Varanasi ghats.

Published in Blog
Friday, 25 July 2014 06:51

Maha Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela, the largest spiritual gathering of mankind on the Earth, is held every 12 years on the banks of the ‘Sangam’- the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Millions of devotees take a holy dip in the sacred water during the mela. Maha Kumbha Mela held only at Prayag, once in every 144 years.

It is believed that at the historic moment of the Maha Kumbh Mela, the river turns itself into sanctity spots filled with ‘Amrita’ (Panacia or elixir of immortality). The pilgrims get once in a lifetime chance to bathe in the spirit of holiness, auspiciousness and salvation.

As mythology tells us, when Gods (Devtas) and Demons (Asura) used to reside on Earth, Gods were under the influence of a curse that gave birth of fear in them eventually making them weak. Brahma (the Creator) advised them to churn the milky ocean to obtain the elixir of immortality (Amrita). And Kumbh was the spot chosen to store the nectar of immortality recovered from Samudramanthan.

For 12 heavenly days and 12 heavenly nights, equivalent to 12 Earthly years, Gods were chased by Demons for the possession of Amrita. During the chase for the Amrita, few drops of this elixir out of its ‘Kumbha’ (Pot) fell on four places now known as Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. The whole Kumbha mela (carnival) and its cycle is a remembrance of that Mythological story. The mela takes place in all these four places. Out of these the one celebrated at the Holy Sangam in Allahabad is the largest and believed to be the holiest one. Thus the Kumbh Mela became one of the main festivals of Hindus as well as the largest spiritual gathering of mankind on Earth.

Enjoy the spirit of Maha Kumbha Mela here….

YAGGYAN (Worship of fire)

YAGGYAN (Worship of fire)

The Reader

The Reader

You don’t require being alone to concentrate.

SONDHA AROTI

SONDHA AROTI (Evening Puja) on the Ganges at Allahabad.

KUMBH MEMORIES

KUMBH MEMORIES

NAGA

NAGA

SONDHI PUJA

SONDHI PUJA (Evening Puja)

CARRYING AWAY

CARRYING AWAY

It was estimated that this year more than twenty six thousand people has been lost, thousands has been injured and in a tragic accident more than hundred was stampede.

TILAK

TILAK

PROUD TO HAVE A GREAT MUSTACHE

PROUD TO HAVE A GREAT MUSTACHE

JAI HO

JAI HO

NAGA

NAGA

JATRA

JATRA (MUSICAL FOLK THEATRE)

Jatra (Musical Folk Theatre)There are lot of different kind of amusement activity in Kumbh Mela. One of the most popular among them is Jatra (Musical Folk Theatre) based on ancient mythological epic stories.

A MUNDAN CEREMONY AT KUMBH MELA

A MUNDAN CEREMONY AT KUMBH MELA

India is country of rituals, customs & traditions. The Shudhikaran (arrangement of the hair tuft) or the Mundan, is the eighth of the sixteen Hindu ceremony, in which a child receives his or her first haircut. According to this ceremony it should take place at the end of first year or before the expiry of the third year, but the later authorities extend the age to the seventh year. It is believed that the hair from birth is associated with undesirable characters from previous lives which have to be removed by shaving off the hair. Thus at the time of the Mundan, the child is freshly shaven to signify freedom from the past and moving into the future.

ON THE SHOULDER

ON THE SHOULDER

YOUNG SHIVA

YOUNG SHIVA

UNDER THE SKY

UNDER THE SKY

NAGA

NAGA

SONDHI PUJA

SONDHI PUJA (Evening Puja)

HOLY BATH

HOLY BATH

DEVINE CHANT

DEVINE CHANT

UNDER THE SKY

UNDER THE SKY

LET THERE BE BLESS

LET THERE BE BLESS

PREPARING THE DINNER

PREPARING THE DINNER

DRYING CLOTHES

DRYING CLOTHES

SURPRISED

SURPRISED

THAT WAY

THAT WAY

AFTER THE HOLY BATH

AFTER THE HOLY BATH

HOLY BATH

HOLY BATH

THE ANGRY NAGA

THE ANGRY NAGA

PUJA

PUJA

NAGA

NAGA

KEEP DISCIPLINE

KEEP DISCIPLINE

VIOLATING DISCIPLINE

VIOLATING DISCIPLINE

NAGA

NAGA

AROTI

AROTI

EVENING PUJA

EVENING PUJA

RETURNING HOME

RETURNING HOME

Maha Kumbh Mela

 

Published in Blog