Monday, November 19, 2018

Tulsi Vivaha

Tulsi Vivaha/Lagna/Puja

Tulsi Vivah is a very important festival in the Hindu religion. It is the ceremonial marriage of the Tulsi (Vrinda) plant (holy basil) to the Hindu god Vishnu in the guise of Shaligram or Lord Krishna. Tulsi Vivah is also called Devuthani Ekadashi. This is a very important festival as from this day onwards the auspicious marriage muhurat starts. According to Hindu beliefs and scriptures, this day is auspicious as Lord Vishnu woke up after sleeping for four months. Tulsi is believed to be a form of Goddess Lakshmi and is also called ‘Vishnupriya’, “the beloved of Vishnu”. The legend and the story behind the Tusi Vivah are told in the Padma Purana. Tulsi Vivah is celebrated in the month of Kartik and this year it falls on November 1, 2017. It follows the Hariprabodhini Ekadashi which is being celebrated today on October 31, 2017.  Here we have outlined the date, muhurat, and story behind the Tulsi Vivah.

Tulsi Vivah can be performed anytime between the eleventh lunar day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Kartik to the full moon of the month (Purnima) but is usually performed on the eleventh or twelfth lunar day, the date of the festival also varies from region to region. Tulsi holds a very prominent place in the Hindu household and women worship the plant daily. However, on Tulsi Vivah the plant is ceremonially married to Shaligram signifying the return of Lord Vishnu to Vaikuntha after his four-month rest from the kingdom of Bali. The wedding season starts after Tulsi Vivah on Prabodhini Ekadashi.

Story behind Tulsi Vivah

According to Hindu scriptures, Tulsi plant was a woman named Vrinda who was married to demon king Jalandhar. Jalandhar became invincible because of Vrinda’s piety and devotion towards Lord Vishnu. Even Lord Shiva could not destroy Jalandhara so he requested Lord Vishnu to intervene and find a solution to the ongoing battle. Lord Vishnu disguised himself as Jalandhara and tricked Vrinda in believing that he was her husband, in order to break her chastity. As a result of this Jalandhara lost his powers and was killed by Lord Shiva. Vrinda cursed Lord Vishnu that he will become black in colour and will get separated from his wife, Lakshmi. This later comes to fruition when he is transformed into the black Shaligram stone and gets separated from his wife in his Rama avatar from Sita. In the Ramayana, Sita gets abducted by Ravana and hence Rama and Sita get separated. Vrinda drowns herself and the gods transfer her soul into a plant which is given the name of tulsi. However, Lord Vishnu blesses Vrinda that in her next birth she will get to marry him, so to commemorate this event the ceremony of Tulsi Vivah is performed.

Rituals

The marriage of Tulsi with Vishnu is same as of a Hindu wedding. The ceremony is conducted in temples as well as at homes. A mandap is made for the wedding around where the tulsi plant is planted in the courtyard which is usually at the center because Tulsi is planted in the middle of the courtyard. The Tulsi plant is decked up as a bride with red dupatta, sari, nose ring and bindi. The groom is generally a brass image of Lord Vishnu or a picture and more often a black stone. The image is clothed in a dhoti. Both Vishnu and Tulsi are bathed and decked up with flowers and incense and garlands. The couple is linked together with a cotton thread (varmala) in the ceremony thus signifying the two getting betrothed.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Diwali/Deepavali Significance

Diwali / Dipavali

The First Day of Diwali

The first day of Diwali is Dhanvantari Trayodasi, when Lord Dhanvantari appeared, delivering Ayurvedic medicine for mankind. This day marks the beginning of Diwali celebrations. At sunset, devout Hindus bathe and offer oil lamps along with prasada (sanctified food) to Yamaraja, the Lord of Death, and pray for protection from untimely death.

The Second Day of Diwali

The second day of Diwali is Naraka Chaturdasi. On this day Lord Krishna killed the demon Narakasura and liberated the 16,000 princesses the demon held captive.

The Third Day - Actual Diwali

This is the actual day of Diwali, commonly known as the Hindu New Year in Hindi speaking states. The faithful cleanse themselves and join with their families and priests to worship the goddess Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu, to receive blessings of wealth, prosperity, triumph of good over evil, light over darkness. This is also the day Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya, having successfully rescued Sita and defeated the demon Ravana.

The Fourth Day of Diwali

On this day, Govardhana Puja is performed, a spiritual harvest festival. Thousands of years ago, Lord Krishna caused the people of Vrindavan to perform Govardhana Puja.

Bali Maharaja was defeated on this day by Lord Krishna's dwarf brahmana incarnation, Vamanadeva.

It is written in the Ramayana that when the bridge to Lanka was being built by the Vanara army, Hanuman (a divine loyal servant of Lord Rama possessing enormous strength) was bringing a mountain as material to help with the construction of the bridge. When a call was given that enough materials had already been obtained, Hanuman placed the mountain down before reaching the construction site. Due to lack of time, he did not return the mountain to its original place.

The deity presiding over this mountain spoke to Hanuman asking of his reason for leaving the mountain there. Hanuman replied that the mountain should remain there until the age of Dvapara when Lord Rama incarnates as Lord Krishna, who will shower His grace on the mountain, and will instruct that the mountain be worshiped not only in that age but but in ages to come. This deity whom Hanuman spoke to was Govardhana (an incarnation of Lord Krishna), who manifested Himself in the form of the mountain. To fulfill Hanuman's decree, Govardhan Puja was performed and the celebration is continued to this day.

The Fifth Day of Diwali

The fifth day of the Diwali is called Bhratri Dooj, dedicated to sisters. We have heard about Raksha Bandhan, brothers day. Well this is sisters day. Many moons ago in the Vedic era, Yamaraja, the Lord of Death, visited His sister Yamuna on this day. He gave Yamuna a boon that whoever visits her on this day shall be liberated from all sins; they will achieve moksha, liberation. From then on, brothers visit their sisters on this day to inquire about their welfare, and many faithful bathe in the holy waters of the Yamuna River.

This day is also known as Bhai Fota among Bengalis, when the sister prays for her brother's safety, success and well being.

This day marks the end of the five days of Diwali celebrations.

The Origin of Diwali

According to the epic Ramayana, Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Krishna as the noble king, from his 14-year exile after rescuing Sita and killing the demon Ravana. The people of Ayodhya illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and fireworks to celebrate the return of their king.

In rural areas of India, Diwali, which occurs at the end of a growing season, is a harvest festival. Harvests normally brought prosperity. After reaping their harvest, farmers celebrated with joy and gave thanks to God and the demigods for granting them a good crop.

At the time of the reign of Emperor Prithu, for example, there was a worldwide famine. He ordered that all cultivatable lands be ploughed. When the rains came, the land became very fertile and grains were planted. The harvest provided food not only to feed all of India, but for all civilization at the time. This harvest was close to Diwali time and was a good reason to celebrate Diwali with great joy and merriment by a wider community.

In the Adi Parva of the Mahabarata, the Pandavas also returned from their exile in the forest during Diwali time, giving people another reason for celebration.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Vittal Birdev Annual Yatra at PATTANKODOLI: 

Vittal Birdev Annual Yatra at PATTANKODOLI: 
Shri Vittal Birdev Annual Yatra is observed at Pattan Kodoli village in Hatkangale Taluka near Kolhapur. It is the birth anniversary or Janmotsav festival of Vitthal Birdev Maharaj, who is a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu. The annual fair and festival attracts thousands of devotees to Pattan Kodoli village. Birdev is the family deity of the Shepherd community Dhangar from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh. The most important ceremony of this fare is the predictions by Shree Kheloba Rajabhau Waghmode, from Anjungau, a village in Solhapur District. The festive mood remains completely in groove with people throwing Haldi, i.e., turmeric powder over him while sitting under a Banyan tree and seeking his blessings. Sri Keloba Rajabau Waghmode, known as the ‘Baba’ of the devotees, walks 17 days from his village to reach Pattan Kodoli for the festival every year. He is considered as the messenger of god. Huge umbrellas are brought in to welcome the Baba to the temple, accompanied with a procession with drums and traditional music. As soon as he enters the temple, Baba attains a trance mode that makes him jump and dance that lasts for nearly 10 minutes. The Baba then goes ahead to foretell his predictions about farming, rain and future conditions in Kannada, his trance language, which is translated by the priest. He starts his journey back after the rituals gets over.


Such intense traditions and unbelievable rituals of India and its such vibrant culture has always been a wonder for a traveller from worldwide. This festival still has the strongest promise to fulfil a travel photographer’s dream for being it a relatively lesser known and less popular around the world.


Kolhapur Kushti Aakhara : Kushti, the traditional mud wrestling is the ancient sport in India and oldest in the world. Motibag aakhara of Kolhapur is one of the oldest aakhara in India. kushti takes place in a clay or dirt pit. The soil is mixed with ghee and other ingredients and is tended to before each practice. Wrestlers of aakhara live and train together and follow strict rules and a restricted life style. Soft drugs such as alcohol, (chewing) tabacco or even coffee and tea are not allowed. Wrestler lives off a high-energy diet that is supposed to build up body mass. The training schedule of a Kushti wrestler starts at around 4 or 5 am with exercises and practice matches. After lunch, wrestlers must sleep until the next training session of the day which starts around 4 pm and may last around two hours. During training sessions, wrestlers work themselves to near exhaustion. All these activities create amply opportunities of photography.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Dasara Gombe

Dasara Dolls – Significance and History

Navaratri is a major festival of the Hindus that is celebrated in various styles all over the country every year. Different states of the country have different names and customs for celebrating this festival. In the southern part of India, the festival of Navaratri is celebrated with a very interesting and unique tradition called Bombe Habba or Golu or Kolu (Kannada) or Bommala Koluvu (Telugu) or Bommai Kolu (Tamil) or simply Dasara dolls. This tradition involves a toy festival that is celebrated by families across Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The festival is celebrated for 10 days and culminates on the day of Vijayadashami or Dasara, the day when Goddess Durga won the battle against the demons or asuras after fighting for 9 days. In Karnataka the festival is also known as Dasara Doll Festival.

The Dasara Doll Festival of Karnataka
The Dasara doll festival is celebrated in Karnataka through an exhibition of various dolls and figurines arranged as per custom. The dolls are arranged and exhibited on a stepped platform having an odd number of steps or tiers (usually 7, 9 or 11) and usually covered with a white or light color cloth. Many households use nine steps for the exhibition of dolls to signify the nine nights of Navaratri. The dolls are ritually worshipped during the celebrations.

The main dolls of the festival are a pair depicting a husband and a wife. They are referred to as Pattada Gombe or Pattath bommaikal. This set of main dolls is handed over to a daughter by her parents during her marriage ceremony. They are presented to the new bride to start her own family and continue with the tradition of the festival.

The Pattada Gombe pair is a set of traditional dolls made from wood. These dolls are dressed colorfully using papers or silk textiles. This main pair of dolls is always dressed in the traditional style. Tradition demands that the first step of the platform be usually reserved for miniature idols or dolls depicting gods and goddesses. Generally the idols of Rama, Lakshmana, Seeta, Krishna, Radha, Shiva, Vishnu, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, etc. are used in this festival. It is also customary to have a few wooden dolls in the collection.

Dasara Dolls
A gollu gods and goddesses dolls decoration. Image courtesy VPradeep Banavara

Dasara Doll Steps -The Arrangement of Dolls on the Tiers
Every home selects an auspicious time to begin the doll festival. The dolls are arranged as per a specific order on the tiers or steps. The hierarchy starts from the Gods being placed at the top tiers and ends with mortals of earth placed at the lower tiers of the platform.

Steps 1 to 3: The first three steps are dedicated to figurines or idols of Gods and Goddesses. Different idols of various gods and goddesses are placed on these steps.

Steps 4 to 6: The next three steps are used to arrange dolls depicting demi-gods, great saints or kings and queens. Due importance is given to the Mysore kings during this festival and their miniature forms are generally seen placed on these steps.

Step 7: This step is devoted to showcasing of Hindu festivals, celebrations and occasions.

Step 8: This step is decorated with scenes from everyday life, such as a park, a shop, a vegetable vendor, etc.

Step 9: The last step usually depicts the evolution of mankind or living things.

There is no hard and fast rule to arrange the dolls. Every household generally increases or decreases the number of stairs according to the rows or tiers needed for displaying the various dolls available to them

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Prostitution in India

Places in India where prostitution is the main source of income

ltahough India is one of the fastest growing developing country today, but still, there are some dark corners in this country, that are lagging behind, with the present time.

They are alienated from the modern world and the lack of education is one of the prime reason for that.

It is hard to believe, that in the present scenario, India habituates some places where girls of the families are forced into prostitution, even before they reach puberty.

Prostitution is a profession that has been into existence since ages. If we turn the pages of history, then, it will become evident that many courtesans used to be the muses of the erstwhile kings.

But, with the passage of time, this profession has undergone a lot of transformation. In some parts of India, prostitution is still considered as a main source of family income, in the guise of superstitious social traditions.

Most of the women, who chose this profession, willingly or forcibly, either hail from poor economic and financial background or they are dragged into this profession due to age-old traditions, to support the livelihood.

Let's take a look at four places in India, where this dark profession is practiced as an open secret, and families feel no shame in telling that their daughters, sisters are into this profession.

Natpurwa village, Uttar Pradesh

This is the village in Hardoi district of eastern Uttar Pradesh, 70 kms from Lucknow, where Nat caste dominates. Strangely, in this village, children are not aware about the name of their fathers and they live with their mothers. They have no surnames.

Shockingly, this bizarre norm exists since last 400 years. Around 5,000 people live in this village. More than 70 percent women of this village are into flesh trade.

Over the years, women from this village have migrated to cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata and some have even shifted to Dubai.

Bachara tribe, Madhya Pradesh

Bachara is a tribal matriarchal community in the western part of Madhya Pradesh and women here are said to be the descendants of royal courtesans.

Here, girls are forced into prostitution by their own fathers and brothers. The responsibility of making both ends meet is in the hands of the eldest daughter of the family. Most of such families have a dedicated room in their houses to continue this dreaded profession.


Wdia village, Gujarat

Known as "village of sex workers," Wadia village in in Tharad taluka in Banaskantha district of north Gujarat, close to Rajasthan border, is famous for flesh trade on an enormous scale, since over last 80 years. Here, men search for customers for the women of their families and also negotiate the rates between Rs 500 to Rs 10,000.

The small village is inhabited by a nomadic tribe called Saraniyas, where girls are groomed to become prostitutes at an early age and boys are trained to become pimps to find clients for them.

However, nearby villages are against this tradition. Several education drives could not change the mindset of these people.

Devadasis in Karnataka

In the Devadasis belt, in Bellary and Koppal districts of Karnataka, the virginity of girls is auctioned off among the upper caste people. After this, girls spend rest of their lives as prostitutes, while earning for their families.

The Devadasis community worships Hindu Goddess Yelamma. Devadasis literally means 'slave of God'.

According to the beliefs followed here, girls are married to the Goddess Yelamma, after which they dedicate their lives in the name of religion.

Besides Karnataka, the Devadasi system continues in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. IN 1982, devadasi system was outlawed, but it is still widely practiced.

Ohert pomrinent areas, where prostitution is a widely accepted profession are: Sonagachi, red light area in Kolkata, Kamathipura in Mumbai, Budhwar Peth in Pune, Itwari in Nagpur, Ganga Jamuna in Nagpur, Meergunj in Allahabad, Shivdaspur in Varanasi, Chaturbhujsthan in Muzaffarpur and GB Road in Delhi.

Vijayadashami

Vijaya Dashmi(Vijaya means victory and Dashmi means tenth day). It is celebrated in all over India.


Vijayadashami is celebrated not only in India, but also celebrated in many other countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, and Mauritius. Dussehra is symbolized as the victory of good over evil and teaches us, bad things never survive for a long time. Let’s discuss the celebration  in different states of India.


Dusshera in North India


In north India, people perform Pooja in the morning and girls do tika on their brother’s forehead and pray for their long life. They prepare the variety of sweets. In evening there will be fair in every colony which followed by performing a drama of Lord Rama and Demon Ravana and then Lord Rama Kills Ravana and fires Ravana effigies. Children enjoy this whole movement and learn a lesson of victory of good on devilish. as it is believed that lord Rama kills demon Ravana on this day. The word Dussehra is derived from Sanskrit word Dasha Hara, means destroyer of the ten headed evil Ravana.


Dussehra of Kullu in Himachal Pradesh:


Dussehra is significant as a festival in Kullu. It is a cultural and traditional festival in state Kullu. Every year Dussehra is celebrated in Dhalpur maidan in the Kullu valley. History of Kullu says that back to the 17th century local King “Jagat Singh” installed a statue of Lord Raghunath on his throne as a mark of penance and then God Raghunath was declared as the ruling deity of the Valley.


Navratri of Gujarat with Gurba


In Gujarat, Dussehra is celebrated with a folk dance of Gujarat (Gurba), played during the nine days of Navratra. Garba dance is the main attraction of the festival as people gather over there from every state to join the dance on the folk songs.


Durga puja of Bengal, Orissa, Assam, Bihar and Jharkhand.


Dussehra is celebrated as Durga Puja in bengal, orissa and Assam as devotees believe that Goddess Durga kills evil demon Mahishasur on this day. The statue of Maa Durga is made and established beautifully in Pandals in Navratri in these areas. Durga pooja is performed from Sashti and followed by Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and a great Pooja held on the tenth day on Dussehra.  Women offer Sindoor on the forehead and on each other of the goddess Durga.


Dasara of Mysore - Karnataka


Dussehra celebrated in Mysore is a representative of great harmony between historical and religious culture and very much popular around the world. The entire city is decorated with flowers, Diya, and bulbs lightening. The city is illuminated for a whole month during the festival season of Dussehra and Diwali. Elephants are leading a colorful procession through the vibrantly decorated streets of the city. The Mysore celebrations also strongly emphasize goddess Durga legend.

Bathukamma


Bathukamma is floral festival celebrated predominantly by the Hindu women of Telangana. Every year this festival is celebrated as per Shalivahana calendar for nine days starting Bhadrapada Amavasya (also known as Mahalaya Amavasya or Pitru Amavasya) till Durgashtami, usually in September–October of Gregorian calendar. Bathukamma is celebrated for nine days during Durga Navratri. It starts on the day of Mahalaya Amavasya and the 9-day festivities will culminate on "Saddula Bathukamma" or "Pedda Bathukamma" festival on Ashwayuja Ashtami, popularly known as Durgashtami which is two days before Dussehra. Bathukamma is followed by Boddemma, which is a 7-day festival. Boddemma festival that marks the ending of Varsha Ruthu whereas Bathukamma festival indicates the beginning of Sarad or Sharath Ruthu.
Bathukamma represents cultural spirit of Telangana. Bathukamma is a beautiful flower stack, arranged with different unique seasonal flowers most of them with medicinal values, in seven concentric layers in the shape of temple gopuram. In Telugu, ‘Bathukamma' means ‘Mother Goddess come Alive’ and Goddess Maha Gauri-‘Life Giver’ is worshipped in the form of Bathukamma – the patron goddess of womanhood, Maha Gauri Devi.
It is the festival for feminine felicitation. On this special occasion women dress up in the traditional sari combining it with jewels and other accessories. Teenage Girls wear Langa-Oni/Half-Sarees/Lehenga Choli combining it with jewels in order to bring out the traditional grace of the attire. The 2017 dates are September 20–28.[5] Day1- Engili pula Bhathukamma Day2-Atukula Bhathukamma Day3-Muddappappu Bhathukamma Day4-Nanbiyyam Bhathukamma Day5-Atla Bhathukamma Day6-Aligina Bhathukamma (alaka Bhathukamma) Day7-Vepakayala Bhathukamma Day8-Venna muddala Bhathukamma Day9-Saddula Bhathukamma brothers bring flowers to mom and sisters.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Surnames of Bunts Community

Bunt community Surnames

 1. Adappa
2. Adasu
3. Adyanthaaya
4. Ajila
5. Ajiri
6. Alva
7. Arasa
8. Ariga
9. Athaara
10. Athikaari
11. Athre
12. Baari
13. Baithan
14. Ballal
15. Banga
16. Bhandaari
17. Bhoja
18. Binnage
19. Braana
20. Budaale
21. Bunnaala
22. Bunta
23. Chowta
24. Dore
25. Ghambheera
26. Hegde
27. Horuva
28. Kaajava
29. Kaava
30. Kadamba
31. Kakva
32. Kambli
33. Kaantheeva
34. Kariyaal
35. Kayya
36. Kille
37. Konde
38. Kottaari
39. Kudre
40. Kundade
41. Kundaheggde
42. Maada
43. Maana
44. Maanaayi
45. Maardi
46. Maarla
47. Maarala
48. Maddala
49. Mallaala
50. Malli
51. Marthe
52. Melaanta
53. Menava
54. Menda
55. Mudhya
56. Mukkaala
57.Munda
58. Muraya
59. Naadava
60. Naanaya
61. Naik
62. Naayara
63. Nonda
64. Paala
65. Paandi
66. Padyaar
67. Pakkala
68. Palaayi
69. Patlashetty
70. Payyaade
71. Pegde
72. Pergade
73. Poonja
74. Poovani
75. Raaja
76. Rai
77. Samaani
78. Saamantha
79. Saantha
80. Sankaya
81. Semitha
82. Servegaara
83. Sheba
84. Shekha
85. Shenava
86. Shettivaali
87. Shetty
88. Sooda
89. Sorapa
90. Sulaaya
91. Tholaara
92. Vaala
93. Varma