Archive for the ‘History’ Category

World's largest Hindu temple -Angkor Wat

The Bihar Mahavir Mandir Trust (BMMT) is going to build a bigger temple in Bihar’s Vaishali district by replicating the world largest Hindu temple in Combodia’s Angkor Wat.

The Hindu temple will be built at a cost of Rs 100 crores, the five-storied and 222-feet tall temple will come up at a sprawling campus spread over 15 acres at a place near Ismailpur village on Hajipur-Bidupur road, which will be christened as Angkor Nagar, BMMT’s secretary and ex-IPS officer Acharya Kishore Kunal said. Land worth around Rs 30 crores has already been acquired for the purpose from locals, he said.


The proposed temple will be named ‘Virat Angkor Wat Ram Mandir‘ and it will house the statues of Radha-Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Ganesh, Surya, Vishnu and ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

It will take up to 5 years to construct the temple and another five years to give the final finishing touches to it, Kunal said. On selection of the specific site for construction of the world’s largest Hindu temple, he said the place has mythological significance as it was said that the deities Ram, Lakshman and Vishvamitra had set their foot on the village and were welcomed by the King Sumati of the Vaishali kingdom.

Aksharadam Temple

The ‘bhumi puja’ for the proposed temple will be held tomorrow, Kunal said adding the temple was being constructed to mark the centenary celebrations of the BMMTs. The Angkor Wat temple was built in Cambodia in the 12th century during the rule of the Cambodian king Suryavarman (1141-1152 AD)

Fury at plan for Indian replica of Angkor Wat


Read Full Post »

Homai Vyarawalla– India’s first woman press photographe was passed away on January 15, 2012 at the age of 98. She captured the last days of the British Empire in India. Her work also traces the birth and growth of a new nation. The story of Homai’s life and her professional career spans an entire century of Indian history. This selection of rare photographs tells her life story amid footnotes of an emerging nation, as she saw it.

©Homai Vyarawalla/The Alkazi Collection of Photography

Homai was born in 1913 into a middle-class home in Navsari, Gujarat and she belongs to the Parsi community of India. Her father was an actor in a traveling Urdu-Parsi theatre company. Homai grew up in Bombay. She was the only girl in her class to complete her matriculation examination.

Homai received India’s first National Photo Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010, and the Padma Vibhushan in 2011. In 2010, Vyarawalla gave her entire collection of prints, negatives, cameras and other memorabilia to the Alkazi Foundation for the Arts, New Delhi for safekeeping and documentation. A retrospective of her work was held at the NGMA soon after, bringing her vast archive into public view.

Read Full Post »

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Indian capital New Delhi completes 100 Years as India’s Capital on Dec 12th 2011.  100 years ago, on December 12th 1911, a grand congregation of royalty and British soldiers assembled at the Delhi Durbar as King George V proclaimed Delhi as the new Capital of Imperial India.

Delhi, the political and cultural capital of several empires including the Mughals on Monday added yet another chapter to its glorious history as it marked 100 years of its re-emergence as modern India’s capital.

red fort

Delhi was proclaimed as the capital of British Raj on December 12, 1911, shifting from Kolkata, by then Emperor of India George V thereby returning to the historic city its lost glory.

As the city celebrated 100 years of its re-emergence as modern India’s capital, Delhi government and other cultural agencies like the Indian Council for Cultural Relations have lined up for a later date, a series of celebrations to mark the occasion.

A British Lady in 1911 Delhi

A book with pictorial references and articles about the city by eminent persons like Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Malvika Singh chronicling its culturally diverse heritage since Mughal era was launched here by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today.

The book — Delhi: Red Fort to Raisina traces the journey of Shahjahan’s new capital of the Mughal empire Shajahanabad built on the banks of river Yamuna in 1638 to New Delhi, the new capital of British-ruled India.

A photo exhibition on the city of monuments is also among a series of events that the government agencies have lined up to mark the centenary year. The exhibition will chronicle the culture of Delhi — right from its ancient days to the modern period — where both the heritage sites and modern-day buildings co-exist. The year-long celebrations will actually kick off in January when the Ministry of Culture has lined up a number of events that will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the city.

The ‘Delhi Ke Pakwan Festival‘ brings the very soul of Delhi’s culture, street food to the people with a variety of ‘kebabs’, ‘kulfi’ and other mouth-watering delicacies.

The foundation stone for the building of a new city in Delhi was laid by King George V and Queen Mary at the site of the Delhi Durbar at Kingsway Camp on December 15, 1911 and New Delhi, as it is called, came out of the architectural brilliance of Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker.

Delhi has traditionally been the seat of a series of empires and regimes that have ruled India since over 3,000 years back.

Each of the empire has left behind an indelible imprint on the heritage of Delhi, that has housed no less than eight cities over the centuries, and the 100 years of the latest city marks an opportunity to celebrate the continuity of this rich habitation.

There are quite a number of architectural marvels in New Delhi, including the Jama Masqid, the largest mosque in India. Others include the Delhi Fort, Humayun’s tomb, Jantar Mantar and Purana Qila. Modern architecture is depicted in the construction of the Lotus Temple, Akshardham and Laxminarayan temple.  Laxminarayan temple is a very nice spot to visit while in India. It was put up by the Birla Family in 1938. It has a lovely garden and fountains behind it. Also, you can visit the Red Fort. The last fort to be built in New Delhi, it has lived through a number of historical hallmarks, including the decline of British rule, the building and fall of fortunes and the Independence of India. You really must see this place while in New Delhi. You should also make an effort to visit the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Chandni Chowk and Qutab Minar.

Read Full Post »

Cambridge University is going to do a project on rare ancient Sanskrit manuscripts. Some 2,000 ancient and rare Sanskrit manuscripts detailing momentous political and economic events across south Asia and written on fragile birch bark, palm leaf and paper are to form part of a major project undertaken by Cambridge University to document ancient civilizations by studying the language of the time, officially known as “linguistic archaeology”.

The documents, which belong to Cambridge University Library’s South Asian manuscript collection, will be studied individually and catalogued placing them in their broader historical context. They will also be digitised and put on the library’s new online service.

The university said the collection included “the oldest dated and illustrated Sanskrit manuscript known worldwide”.

Dr Vincenzo Vergiani of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, who along with his colleague Dr Eivind Kahrs will study the manuscripts, described them as “an invaluable and untapped source for understanding the pre-colonial past of South Asia, and therefore its present”.

Palm leaf manuscript (997 AD) from Cambridge University Library’s South Asian collection

In the heat and humidity of India, materials deteriorate quickly and manuscripts needed to be copied again and again. As a result, many of the early Indian texts no longer exist. More than half of the library’s collection of south Asian manuscripts was in Sanskrit which dominated the literary culture of pre-modern South Asia for almost three millennia.

The word Sanskrit means refined or perfected. From a very early stage, its speakers were obsessed with handing down their sacred texts intact. Out of this developed an attention to how the language works. A grammatical tradition arose that produced, around the 4th century BC, the work of ṇini, an amazing intellectual achievement and arguably the beginning of linguistics worldwide, which made the language constant, stable and transmissible.

Read Full Post »

Who is Bodhidharma?

The evolution of Asian martial arts as they are known today is thought to have originated around 500 A.D., when an Indian Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma arrived in China. Legend has it that he taught Indian fighting exercises to the Chinese monks in order to improve their physical condition. All kung-fu is thought to have evolved from this beginning, and from kung-fu came karate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bodhidharma was born around the year 440 in Kanchipuram, near Madras the capital of the southern Indian kingdom of Pallava. He was the third son of King Simhavarman. When he was young he was converted to Buddhism and later received instruction in the Dharma from Prajnatara, whom his father had invited from the ancient Buddhist heartland of Magadha. Prajnatara was a master in the Dhyana school of Buddhism which was later transliterated to Ch’an in Chinese, Zen in Japanese and Son in Korean. His teacher, Prajnatara, changed the boy’s name from Bodhitara to Bodhidharma. Following his father’s death,  Bodhidharma served Prajnatara for many years spreading Buddhism. Upon Prajnatara’s death Bodhidharma left his monastery in India to follow his master’s last wish that he go to China and spread the teaching.

Bodhidharma crossing the Yanstze Rover on a reed

Bodhidharma arrived in China about 475, traveled around for a few years and finally settled at Shaolin temple. Mainstream Buddhist tradition holds that Bodhidharma arrived in China in 520, although there are historical indications that he may have arrived in 470, or even as early as 420. There is no agreement as to the route he traveled or where he arrived first. Some say he traveled by sea, “risking his life over the towering waves,” from Madras in southern India to Guangzhou and then by land to Nanjing. Other scholars believe that he walked a well-beaten trail over the Pamir Plateau, across the desert and along the Yellow River to Luoyang, the provincial capital and center of Chinese Buddhist culture. In any case, the journey from India is agreed to have been long and dangerous.

In 527 AD crossed through Guangdong province into China. In China, he was known as Da Mo. Bodhidharma was honored as the first Patriarch of Chan Buddhism and Shaolin Temple renowned as the origin of Chan Buddhism.

Bodhidharma (also known as Taishi Daruma in Japan) eventually became revered as the founder of Zen Buddhism. Whether his legends hold an element of truth, or are the products of later Zen scholars attempting to flesh out a believable patriarch, he remains today a prime symbol of the will-power, determination and self-discipline that are essential to success in the martial arts. Following his example, the modern martial artist strives to “endure what is most difficult to do, and practice what is most difficult to practice.” Bodhidharma’s example of the Master-student relationship for teaching the way to enlightenment also endures today throughout the martial arts. Consequently, through the hard evidence for his existence and his martial arts contributions is entirely lacking, he is still widely and beneficially accepted as the Father of the Asian Martial Arts.

Read The Full Story of Bodhidharma

See more Bodhidharma Pics

Read Full Post »

Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi

Indian queen Lakshmi Bai, the Rani of Jhansi, who fought the British valiantly in the 1857 war, has been listed by the Time magazine with the likes of Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin among 10 wives who were resolute even in troubled times.

Lakshmi Bai Originally named Manikarnika and nicknamed Manu, she was born on 19 November 1827 at Kashi (Varanasi) to a Maharashtrian Marathi Karhade Brahmin family, the daughter of Moropant Tambe and Bhagirathibai Tambe

The magazine compiled its list of 10 such women following the much-talked about charge by Rupert Murdoch’s wife Wendi Dang against the man who tried to throw a pie at her husband’s face.

Among others who find their names mentioned in the list are US first lady Michelle, Republican leader Sarah Palin who was John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election in the US, ancient Egyptian queen Cleopatra and Tiger Woods former wife Elin Nordegren.

Read Full Post »