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Who Founded Hinduism? The Origin Of Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma-hindufaqs

Introduction

What do we mean by Founder? When we say a founder, we mean to say that someone has brought into existence a new faith or formulated a set of religious beliefs, principles and practices which were not in existence before. That cannot happen with a faith such as Hinduism, which is considered eternal. According to the scriptures, Hinduism is the religion of not just humans. Even gods and demons practice it. Ishwar (Ishwara), the Lord of the universe, is its source. He also practices it. Hence, Hinduism is God’s Dharma, brought down to the earth, just as the sacred River Ganga, for the welfare of the humans.

Who is then the Founder of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma)?

 Hinduism is not founded by a person or a prophet. Its source is God (Brahman) himself. Hence, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana dharma). Its first teachers were Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma, the creator God revealed the secret knowledge of the Vedas to gods, humans and demons in the beginning of creation. He also imparted to them the secret knowledge of the Self, but due to their own limitations, they understood it in their own ways.

Vishnu is the preserver. He preserves the knowledge of Hinduism through countless manifestations, associated gods, aspects, saints and seers to ensure the order and regularity of the worlds. Through them, he also restores the lost knowledge of various Yogas or introduces new reforms. Further, whenever the Hindu Dharma declines beyond a point, he incarnates upon earth to restore it and revive its forgotten or lost teachings. Vishnu exemplifies the duties which humans are expected to perform upon earth in their individual capacity as householders within their spheres.

Shiva too plays an important role in upholding Hindu Dharma. As the destroyer, he removes the impurities and confusion that creeps into our sacred knowledge. He is also considered the universal teacher and the source of various art and dance forms (Lalitakalas), Yogas, vocations, sciences, farming, agriculture, alchemy, magic, healing, medicine, Tantra and so on.

Thus, like the mystic Ashvattha Tree which is mentioned in the Vedas, the roots of Hinduism are in heaven, and its branches are spread out on earth. Its core is divine knowledge, which governs the conduct of not only humans but also of the beings in other worlds with God acting as its creator, preserver, concealer, revealer and remover of obstacles. Its core philosophy (the shruti) is eternal, while it changing parts (smriti) keep changing according to the time and circumstances, and the progress of the world. Containing in itself the diversity of God’s creation, it remains open to all possibilities, modifications and future discoveries.

Also Read: Prajapatis – the 10 sons of Lord Brahma

Many other divinities such as Ganesha, Prajapati, Indra, Shakti, Narada, Saraswati and Lakshmi are also credited with the authorship of many scriptures. Apart from this, countless scholars, seers, sages, philosophers, gurus, ascetic movements and teacher traditions enriched Hinduism through their teachings, writings, commentaries, discourses and expositions. Thus, Hinduism is derived from many sources. Many of its beliefs and practices found their way into other religions, that either originated in India or interacted with it.

Since Hinduism has its roots in the eternal knowledge and its aims and purpose are closely aligned to those of God as the Creator of all, it is considered an eternal religion (Sanatana dharma). Hinduism may disappear from the face of the earth due to the impermanent nature of the world, but the sacred knowledge which forms its foundation will remain forever and keep manifesting in each cycle of creation under different names. It is also said that Hinduism has no founder and no missionary goals because people have to come to it either by providence (birth) or personal decision due to their spiritual readiness (past karma).

The name Hinduism, which is derived from the root word, “Sindhu” came into usage due to historical reasons. Hinduism as a conceptual entity did not exist until the British times. The word itself does not appear in literature until the 17th Century A.D. In medieval times, the Indian subcontinent was known as Hindustan or the land of Hindus. They were not all practising same faith, but different ones, which included Buddhism, Jainism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Brahmanism and several ascetic traditions, sects and sub sects.

The native traditions and the people who practiced Sanatana Dharma went by different names, but not as Hindus. During the British times, all the native faiths were grouped under the generic name, “Hinduism” to distinguish it from Islam and Christianity and to dispense with justice or settle local disputes, property and tax matters.

Subsequently, after the independence, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism were separated from it by enacting laws. Thus, the word Hinduism was born out of historical necessity and entered the constitutional laws of India through legislation.

Hinduism - Core Beliefs, Facts & Principles -hindufaqs

Hinduism – Core Beliefs: Hinduism is not an organised religion, and its belief system has no single, structured approach to teaching it. Nor do Hindus, like the Ten Commandments, have a simple set of laws to obey. Throughout the Hindu world, local, regional, caste, and community-driven practices affect the understanding and practice of beliefs. Yet belief in a Supreme Being and adherence to certain principles such as Reality, dharma, and karma is a common thread across all these variations. And belief in the power of the Vedas (sacred scriptures) serves, to a large degree, as the very meaning of a Hindu, although it can differ greatly in how the Vedas are interpreted.

The major core beliefs that Hindus share includes the following listed below;

Hinduism Believes that Truth is Eternal.

Hindus are seeking knowledge and comprehension of the facts, the very existence of the world and the only truth. Truth is one, according to the Vedas, but it is expressed in a number of ways by the wise.

Hinduism Believes that Brahman is Truth and Reality.

As the only true God who is formless, infinite, all-inclusive, and eternal, Hindus believe in Brahman. Brahman which  is not an abstract in notion; it is a real entity that encompasses everything in the universe (seen and unseen).

Hinduism Believes that The Vedas are the Ultimate Authorities.

The Vedas are scriptures in Hindus containing revelations that ancient saints and sages have got. Hindus claim that the Vedas are without beginning and without end, the believe is that Vedas will remain until all else is destroyed in the universe (at the end of the period of time).

Hinduism Believes that Everyone Should Work Hard to Achieve Dharma.

The understanding of dharma concept allows one to understand the Hindu religion. No single English word, sadly, adequately covers its context. It is possible to define dharma as right conduct, fairness, moral law, and duty. Everyone who makes dharma central to one’s life seeks to do the right thing at all times, according to one’s duty and skills.

Hinduism Believes that Individual Souls are Immortal.

A Hindu claims that there is neither existence nor destruction of the individual soul (atman); it has been, it is, and it will be. The soul’s actions when living in a body require the same soul in a different body to reap the effects of those actions in the next life. The process of movement of the atman is known as transmigration from one body to another. Karma decides the kind of body the soul next inhabits (actions accumulated in previous lives).

The individual soul’s objective is moksha.

Moksha is liberation: the release of the soul from the death and rebirth period. It happens when, by recognize its true essence, the soul unites with Brahman. To this awareness and unification, many paths will lead: the path of obligation, the path of knowledge, and the path of devotion (unconditionally surrender to God).

Also Read: The Complete Story Of Jayadratha (जयद्रथ) The King Of Sindhu Kingdom

Hinduism – Core Beliefs: Other beliefs of Hinduism are:

  • Hindus believe in a single, all-pervading Supreme Being, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality, who is both immanent and transcendent.
  • Hindus believed in the divinity of the four Vedas, the most ancient scripture in the world, and as equally revealed, venerate the Agamas. These primordial hymns are the word of God and the cornerstone of the eternal faith, Sanatana Dharma.
  • Hindus conclude that infinite cycles of formation, preservation and dissolution are undergone by the universe.
  • Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each human, by his thoughts, words and deeds, creates his own destiny.
  • Hindus conclude that, after all karmas have been resolved, the soul reincarnates, developing over multiple births, and moksha, freedom from the rebirth cycle, is achieved. There will not be a single soul robbed of this destiny.
  • Hindus believe that there are supernatural forces in unknown worlds and that with these devas and gods, temple worship, rites, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion.
  • Hindus believe that understanding the Transcendent Absolute is necessary to an enlightened lord, or satguru, as is personal discipline, good behavior, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry, meditation, and surrender to God.
  • In thought, word and deed, Hindus believe that all life is sacred, to be cherished and respected, and thus practice ahimsa, nonviolence.
  • Hindus believe that no religion, above all others, teaches the only way to redemption, but that all true paths are facets of the Light of God, worthy of tolerance and understanding.
  • Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world, has no beginning—it is followed by recorded history. It doesn’t have a human creator. It is a spiritual religion that leads the devotee to experience the Reality personally inside, eventually achieving the peak of consciousness where one is man and God.
  • There are four major denominations of Hinduism—Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism.
How old is the word Hindu? Where does the word Hindu comes from? - Etymology and History of Hinduism

We want to build on the ancient word “Hindu” from this writing-up. The Communist historians of India and the Western Indologists say that in the 8th century the word “Hindu” was coined by the Arabs and its roots were in the Persian tradition of replacing “S” with “H. The word “Hindu” or its derivatives were, however, used by many inscriptions over a thousand years older than this time. Also, in the Saurashtra region of Gujarat in India, not in Persia, the root of the word most probably lies. This particular interesting story is written by the uncle of Prophet Mohammed, Omar-bin-e-Hassham, who had written a poem to praise Lord Shiva.

There are so many websites saying that Kaba was an ancient temple of Shiva. They are still thinking what to make of these arguments, but the fact that the uncle of Prophet Mohammed wrote an ode to Lord Shiva is definitely incredible.

The anti-Hindu historians like Romila Thapar and D.N. The Antiquity and Origin of the Word ‘Hindu’ In the 8th century, Jha thought that the term ‘Hindu’ was given currency by the Arabs. However, they do not clarify the basis of their conclusion or cite any facts to support their argument. Not even Muslim Arab writers make such an exaggerated argument.

Another hypothesis advocated by European authors is that the term ‘Hindu’ is a ‘Sindhu’ Persian corruption arising from the Persian tradition of substituting ‘S’ with ‘H.’ No proof is cited even here. The word Persia itself actually contains ‘S’ which, if this theory was right, should have become ‘Perhia’.

In the light of epigraph and literary evidence available from Persian, Indian, Greek, Chinese and Arabic sources, the present paper discusses the above two theories. The evidence appears to support the hypothesis that ‘Hindu’ has been in use since the Vedic period like ‘Sindhu’ and that while ‘Hindu’ is a modified form of ‘Sindhu’ its root lies in the practice of pronouncing ‘H’ instead of ‘S’ in Saurashtran.

Epigraphic Evidence of the word Hindu

The Persian king Darius’s Hamadan, Persepolis and Naqsh-I-Rustam inscriptions mention a ‘Hidu’ population as included in his empire. The date of these inscriptions is between 520-485 B.C. This reality indicates that, more than 500 years before Christ, the word ‘Hi(n)du’ was present.

Xerexes, successor of Darius, gives names of countries under his control in his inscriptions at Persepolis. ‘Hidu’ requires a list. Xerexes ruled from 485-465 B.C. There are three figures above on a tomb in Persepolis in another inscription attributed to Artaxerexes (404-395 B.C.), which are labelled ‘iyam Qataguviya’ (this is Satygidian), ‘iyam Ga(n)dariya’ (this is Gandhara) and ‘iyam Hi(n)duviya’ (this is Hi(n)du). The Asokan (3rd century B.C.) inscriptions frequently use phrases such as ‘Hida’ for ‘India’ and ‘Hida loka’ for ‘Indian country’.

In the Ashokan inscriptions,’ Hida’ and her derived forms are used more than 70 times. For India, the Ashokan inscriptions determine the antiquity of the name ‘Hind’ to at least the third century B.C. The king has the titles shakanshah hind shakastan tuxaristan dabiran dabir, “king of Shakastan, minister of ministers of Hind Shakastan and Tukharistan,” in the Persepolis Pahlvi inscriptions of Shahpur II (310 A.D.).

The epigraphic evidence from the documents of the Achaemenid, Ashokan and Sasanian Pahlvi established a condition on the hypothesis that in the 8th century A.D. the word ‘Hindu’ originated in Arab use. The ancient history of the term ‘Hindu’ takes literary evidence back to at least 1000 B.C. Yeah, and maybe 5000 B.C.

Evidence from Pahlvi Avesta

Hapta-Hindu is used for Sanskrit Sapta-Sindhu in the Avesta, and the Avesta is dated between 5000-1000 B.C. It means that the word ‘Hindu’ is as old as the word ‘Sindhu.’ Sindhu is a concept used in the Rigveda by the Vedik. And thus, as old as the Rigveda,’ Hindu’ is. Veda Vyas talks of the visit of Veda Vyas to the court of Gustashp in the Avestan Gatha ‘Shatir’ 163rd verse and Veda Vyas introduces himself in the presence of Zorashtra saying ‘man marde am Hind jijad.’ (I am a man born in ‘Hind.’) Veda Vyas was an elder contemporary of Shri Krishna (3100 B.C.).

Greek Usage (Indoi)

The Greek word ‘Indoi’ is a softened ‘Hindu’ form where the original ‘H’ was dropped as there is no aspirate in the Greek alphabet. Hekataeus (late 6th century B.C.) and Herodotus (early 5th century B.C.) used this word ‘Indoi’ in Greek literature, thereby indicating that the Greeks used this ‘Hindu’ variant as early as in the  6th century B.C.

The Hebrew Bible (Hodu)

For India, the Hebrew bible make use of the word ‘Hodu’ which is a ‘Hindu’ Judaic type. Earlier than 300 B.C., the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is considered Hebrew spoken in Israel today uses Hodu for India as well.

The Chinese Testimony (Hien-tu)

The Chinese used the word ‘Hien-tu’ for ‘Hindu’ around 100 B.C.11 When explaining the Sai-Wang (100 B.C.) movements, the Chinese annals note that the Sai-Wang went south and entered Ki-Pin by passing Hien-tu. Later Chinese travellers Fa-Hien (5th century A.D.) and Huen-Tsang (7th century A.D.) use a slightly changed ‘Yintu’ word, but the’ Hindu’ affinity is still retained. Until today, this word ‘Yintu’ continues to be used.

Also Read : https://www.hindufaqs.com/some-common-gods-that-appears-in-all-major-mythologies/

Pre-Islamic Arabic Literature

Sair-ul-Okul is an anthology of ancient Arabic poetry from the Makhtab-e-Sultania Turkish Library in Istanbul. A poem by Uncle Omar-bin-e-Hassham of the Prophet Mohammed is included in this anthology. The poem is Mahadev (Shiva) in praise, and uses ‘Hind’ for India and ‘Hindu’ for Indians. Here are some verses quoted:

Wa Abaloha ajabu armeeman Mahadevo Manojail ilamuddin minhum wa sayattaru If, with dedication, one worships Mahadev, the ultimate redemption will be achieved.

Kamil Hinda e Yauman, Wa Yakulam na latabahan foeennak Tawajjaru, wa sahabi Kay yam feema. (Oh Lord, grant me a day’s stay in Hind, where spiritual bliss can be attained.)

Massayare akhalakan hasanan Kullahum, Summa gabul Hindu najumam aja. (But one pilgrimage is worthy of all, and the company of great Hindu saints.)

Another poem by Labi-bin-e Akhtab bin-e Turfa has the same anthology, which is dated 2300 years before Mohammed, i.e. 1700 B.C. ‘Hind’ for India and ‘Hindu’ for Indians are also used in this poem. The four Vedas, Sama, Yajur, Rig and Athar, are also mentioned in the poem. This poem is quoted in columns in New Delhi’s Laxmi Narayan Mandir, commonly known as Birla Mandir (Temple). Some verses are as follows:

Hinda e, wa aradakallha manyonaifail jikaratun, Aya muwarekal araj yushaiya noha minar. (O Hind’s Divine Country, blessed art thou, thou art the chosen land of divine knowledge.)

Wahalatjali Yatun ainana Sahabi akhatun jikra, Hindatun minal Wahajayahi yonajjalur rasu. (That celebratory knowledge shines with such brilliance in the fourfold abundance of the words of the Hindu saints.)

Yakuloonallaha ya ahlal araf alameen kullahum, Veda bukkun malam yonajjaylatun fattabe-u jikaratul. (God enjoins all, follows the direction shown by Veda with divine awareness with devotion.)

Wahowa alamus Sama wal Yajur minallahay Tanajeelan, Yobasshariyona jatun, Fa e noma ya akhigo mutibayan. (Sama and Yajur for Man are filled with wisdom, brothers, following the path that leads you to salvation.)

The two Rigs and Athar(va) also teach us brotherhood, sheltering their lust, dissipating darkness. Wa isa nain huma Rig Athar nasahin ka Khuwatun, Wa asanat Ala-udan wabowa masha e ratun.

Disclaimer: The information above is collected from various sites and discussion forums. There are no solid evidences which will back any of the above points.

Significance Of Akshaya Tritiya, Most auspicious days in Hindu Calendar - HinduFAQs

Akshaya Tritiya

The Hindu and Jains celebrate Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akti or Akha Teej, every spring. The third Tithi (lunar day) of Vaisakha month’s Bright Half (Shukla Paksha) falls on this day. Hindus and Jains in India and Nepal celebrate it as the “third day of unending prosperity,” and it is regarded as an auspicious moment.

“Akshay” means “never-endingness” in the sense of “prosperity, hope, joy, and accomplishment” in Sanskrit, while Tritiya means “third phase of the moon” in Sanskrit. It is named after the “third lunar day” of the Hindu calendar’s spring month of Vaisakha, on which it is observed.

The festival date changes each year and is determined by the lunisolar Hindu calendar, which falls in April or May on the Gregorian calendar.

The Jain tradition

It commemorates the first Tirthankara’s ( Lord Rishabhdev ) one-year asceticism by drinking sugarcane juice poured into his cupped hands in Jainism. Varshi Tapa is the name given to the festival by some Jains. Jains observe fasting and ascetic austerities, especially at pilgrimage sites such as Palitana (Gujarat).

On this day, people who practice Varshi-tap, a year-long alternate day fasting, finish their Tapasya by doing parana, or drinking sugarcane juice.

In the Hindu tradition

In many parts of India, Hindus and Jains consider the day auspicious for new projects, marriages, large investments such as gold or other lands, and any new beginnings. It’s also a day to remember loved ones who have passed away. The day is important in the area for women, married or single, who pray for the well-being of the men in their lives or for the man they may in the future get an affiliated to. They distribute germinating gramme (sprouts), fresh fruits, and Indian sweets after the prayers. When Akshaya Tritiya happens on a Monday (Rohini), it is thought to be even more auspicious. Another festive tradition is fasting, charity, and supporting others on this day. The presentation of Akshaya Patra to Draupadi by God Krishna during the visit of Sage Durvasa is very important, and is connected to the festival’s name. The princely Pandavas were hungry due to a lack of food, and their wife Draupadi was distressed due to a lack of food for customary hospitality to their numerous saintly guests during their exile in the forests.

The oldest, Yudishtira, did penance to Lord Surya, who gave him this bowl that would stay full until Draupadi ate. God Krishna made this bowl invincible for Draupadi, the wife of the five Pandavas, during sage Durvasa’s visit, so that the magical bowl known as Akshaya Patram will always be filled with food of their choosing, even enough to satiate the entire universe if necessary.

In Hinduism, Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated as the birthday of Parshuram, Vishnu’s sixth incarnation, who is worshiped in Vaishnava temples. The festival is often referred to as ParshuramJayanti by those who celebrate it in Parasurama’s honour. Others, on the other hand, devote their worship to Vishnu’s avatar Vasudeva. On Akshaya Tritiya, Ved Vyasa, according to legend, started reciting the Hindu epic Mahabharata to Ganesha.

On this day, according to another legend, the Ganges river descended to earth. After closure during the Himalayan winters, the Yamunotri and Gangotri temples are reopened on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya, during the Chota Char Dham pilgrimage. On Abhijit Muhurat of Akshay Tritiya, the temples are opened.

Sudama is also said to have visited his childhood friend Lord Krishna in Dwarka on this day and earned limitless money. Kubera is also said to have earned his wealth and title of ‘Lord of Wealth’ on this auspicious day. In Odisha, Akshaya Tritiya marks the beginning of paddy sowing for the upcoming Kharif season. Farmers begin the day by performing ceremonial worship of Mother Earth, bullocks, and other traditional farm equipment and seeds in order to obtain blessings for a successful harvest.

Sowing paddy seeds as a symbolic start for the state’s most significant Kharif crop takes place after the fields have been ploughed. This ritual is known as Akhi Muthi Anukula (Akhi – Akshaya Tritiya; Muthi – fistful of paddy; Anukula – commencement or inauguration) and is widely observed throughout the state. Due to ceremonial Akhi Muthi Anukula programmes organized by farmers organisations and political parties in recent years, the event has received a lot of attention. The building of chariots for the Jagannath Temple’s Ratha Yatra festivities begins on this day in Puri.

God Vishnu, the Hindu Trinity’s preserver God, is in charge of Akshaya Tritiya Day. Treta Yuga started on Akshaya Tritiya Day, according to Hindu mythology. Usually, Akshaya Tritiya and Parshuram Jayanti, Lord Vishnu’s 6th incarnation’s birthday anniversary, fall on the same day, but depending on the Tritiya Tithi’s starting time, Parshuram Jayanti will fall one day before Akshaya Tritiya.

Akshaya Tritiya is also considered an auspicious day by Vedic astrologers, as it is free of all malefic effects. According to Hindu Astrology, the three lunar days of Yugadi, Akshaya Tritiya, and Vijay Dashami do not need any Muhurta to begin or complete any auspicious work because they are free of all malefic effects.

What People Do on The Festival Day

Since this festival is being celebrated as the festival of unending prosperity, people do set aside the day to buy cars or high-end household electronics. According to scriptures, chanting prayers dedicated to Lord Vishnu, Ganesha, or the household deity brings ‘eternal’ good fortune. On Akshaya Tritiya, people also perform Pitra Tarpan, or pay homage to their forefathers. The believe was that the god they worship will bring evaluating and an unending prosperity and joy.

What is the Importance of the Festival

This festival is significant since it is commonly believed that Lord Parshuram, Vishnu’s sixth incarnation, was born on this day.

Due to this believe, that was why people buy expensive and household electronics, Gold and lots of sweets on the day.

Gold vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Yogasan-All-12-Steps-Proper-Way-HinduFAQs

Surya Namaskar, a sequence of 12 strong yoga asanas (postures) that provide a good cardiovascular workout, is the solution if you’re short on time and looking for a single mantra to stay healthy. Surya Namaskars, which literally translates to “Sun Salutation,” are a great way to keep your body in shape while still keeping your mind calm and stable.

Surya Namaskar is best performed first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. Let’s start our journey to better health with these easy-to-follow Sun Salutation steps.

Sun Salutation is divided into two sets, each of which consists of 12 yoga poses. You can come across many different versions on how to perform Sun Salutation. For the best performance, however, it is best to stick to one edition and practise it on a regular basis.

Surya Namaskar not only promotes good health, but it also allows you to express gratitude to the sun for sustaining life on this planet. For 10 days in succession, it is better to start each day with a sense of grace and gratitude for the sun’s energy.

After 12 rounds of Sun Salutations, then alternate between other yoga poses and yoga nidra. You might find that this becomes your daily mantra for staying healthy, happy, and calm.

The Origin of Surya Namaskar

The King of Aundh is said to have been the first to implement sun salutations. He noted that during his reign in Maharashtra, India, this sequence must be preserved on a regular basis and without fail. Whether or not this storey is real, the roots of this practise can be traced back to that area, and Surya Namaskar is the most common type of exercise to begin each day.

Many schools in India now teach and practise yoga to all of their students, and they begin their days with the lovely and poetic set of exercises known as sun salutations.

Salutations to the Sun is the literal translation of the phrase “Surya Namaskar.” However, a closer examination of its etymological context reveals a deeper meaning. “I bow my head in full appreciation and give myself to you wholeheartedly without being biassed or partial,” says the word “Namaskar.” Surya is a Sanskrit word that means “one who extends and illuminates the earth.”

As a result, when we perform Surya Namaskar, we bow in reverence to the one who illuminates the universe.

 The 12 Steps of Surya Namaskar are Discussed Below;

1. Pranamasana (Prayer pose)

Stand at the mat’s edge, keeping your feet together and distributing your weight evenly on both feet.

Relax your shoulders and expand your chest.

Lift your arms up from the sides as you inhale, and put your hands together in front of your chest in prayer posture as you exhale.

2. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose)

Lift the arms up and back while breathing in, holding the biceps close to the ears. The goal is to stretch the entire body up from the heels to the tips of the fingers in this pose.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

You should move your pelvis forward a little. Make sure you’re reaching out with your fingertips instead of bending backwards.

3. Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose)

Bend forward from the hip, holding the spine upright, while exhaling. Bring your hands down to the floor beside your feet as you absolutely exhale.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

If required, bend the knees to bring the palms down to the floor. Straighten your knees with a gentle effort. It’s a safe idea to hold the hands in this place and not move them until the sequence is completed.

4. Ashwa Sanchalanasanan (Equestrian pose)

Push your right leg back as far as you can when breathing in. Bring your right knee to the floor and raise your head.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

Make sure the left foot is precisely in the middle of the palms.

5. Dandasana (Stick pose)

When you inhale, pull your left leg back and your whole body into a straight line.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

Maintain a perpendicular relationship between your arms and the floor.

6. Ashtanga Namaskara (Salute With Eight Parts Or Points)

Exhale as you gently lower your knees to the floor. Slightly lower your hips, slide forward, and rest your chest and chin on the surface. Raise your backside a smidgeon.

The two hands, two feet, two knees, the stomach, and the chin are all involved (eight parts of the body touch the floor).

7.Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

As you slide forward, lift your chest into the Cobra position. In this position, you should keep your elbows bent and your shoulders away from your ears. Take a look up.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

Make a gentle effort to force your chest forward as you inhale, and a gentle effort to push your navel down as you exhale. Tuck your toes in. Make sure you’re stretching as far as you can without straining.

8. Parvatasana (Mountain pose)

In a ‘inverted V’ stance, exhale and raise the hips and tailbone up, shoulders down.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

Keeping the heels on the ground and making a gentle effort to raise the tailbone up will allow you to go deeper into the stretch.

9. Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)

Inhale deeply and step the right foot forward between the two palms, lowering the left knee to the floor, pressing the hips forward and looking up.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

Place the right foot in the exact middle of the two hands, with the right calf perpendicular to the ground. To deepen the stretch, gently lower the hips down towards the floor when in this position.

10. Hasta Padasana (Hand to Foot pose)

Exhale and step forward with your left foot. Keep your palms flat on the ground. If possible, you can bend your knees.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

Straighten your knees gently and, if possible, try to touch your nose to your knees. Continue to breathe normally.

11. Hastauttanasana (Raised Arms pose)

Inhale deeply, roll your spine forward, raise your palms, and bend backwards a little, turning your hips slightly outward.

How can this yoga stretch be made more intense?

Make sure your biceps are parallel to your ears. Rather than stretching backwards, the aim is to stretch up further.

12. Tadasana

When you exhale, straighten your body first, then lower your arms. Relax in this place and pay attention to your body’s sensations.

ADVANTAGES OF SURYA NAMASKAR: THE ULTIMATE ASANA

Many people believe that the ‘Surya Namaskar’, or sun salutation as it is known in English, is simply a back and muscle strengthening exercise.

However, many people are unaware that it is a full workout for the whole body that does not require the use of any equipment. It also helps us break away from our mundane and exhausting daily routines.

Surya Namaskar, when performed correctly and at the appropriate time, can completely transform your life. It may take a little longer for results to appear, but the skin will soon be detoxed like never before. Surya Namaskar increases the size of your solar plexus, which improves your imagination, intuition, decision-making, leadership ability, and self-confidence.

While Surya Namaskar can be performed at any time of day, the best and most beneficial time is at sunrise, when the sun’s rays revitalise your body and clear your mind. Practicing it in the afternoon immediately energises the body, although doing it at dusk helps you relax.

Surya Namaskar has many advantages, including weight loss, glowing skin, and improved digestion. It also ensures a daily menstrual cycle. Reduces blood sugar levels, reduces anxiety, and aids in the detoxification of the body also, Insomnia is fought.

Caution:

You must take care of your neck when performing the postures so that it does not float backwards behind your arms, as this may cause severe neck injury. It’s also a good idea to avoid bending over abruptly or without stretching because this can strain the back muscles.

The dos and don’t of Surya Namaskar.

Dos

  • To maintain proper body posture when holding the asanas, carefully obey the directions.
  • To get the most out of the experience, make sure to breathe properly and rhythmically.
  • Breaking the flow of the steps, which is designed to function in a flow, can result in delayed results.
  • Do regular practise to acclimate your body to the process and, as a result, develop your skills.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and energised during the process.

Don’ts

  • Attempting to maintain complicated postures for an extended period of time will result in injury.
  • Don’t start with too many repetitions; gradually increase the number of cycles as your body becomes more accustomed to the asanas.
  • It’s important not to get distracted while keeping the postures because this will prevent you from having the best results.
  • Wearing clothing that is too tight or too baggy can make it difficult to maintain the postures. When performing Surya Namaskar, dress comfortably.

Number of Rounds One Can Do in a Day.

Doing at least 12 rounds of Surya Namaskars every day is a good idea (one set consists of two rounds).

If you’re new to yoga, start with two to four rounds and work your way up to as many as you can comfortably do (even up to 108 if you’re up to it!). The practise is best performed in sets.

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire

What is Holika Dahan?

Holi is a colourful festival that celebrates passion, laughter, and happiness. The festival, which takes place every year in the Hindu month of Phalguna, heralds the arrival of spring. Holi Dahan is the day preceding Holi. On this day, people in their neighbourhood light a bonfire and sing and dance around it. Holika Dahan is more than just a festival in the Hindu religion; it symbolises the victory of good over evil. Here’s what you need to hear about this critical case.

Holika Dahan is a Hindu festival that takes place on the Purnima Tithi (Full Moon Night) of the Phalguna month, which typically falls in March or April.

Holika was a demon and the granddaughter of King Hiranyakashipu, as well as Prahlad’s aunt. The pyre is lit the night before Holi, symbolising Holika Dahan. People gather around the fire to sing and dance. The next day, people celebrate Holi, the colourful holiday. You might be wondering why a demon is worshipped during the festival. Holika is thought to have been created to fend off all fears. She was a sign of strength, riches, and prosperity, and she had the ability to bestow these blessings on her devotees. As a result, before Holika Dahan, Holika is worshipped alongside Prahlada.

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire
People walking in circle, praising the bonfire

Story of Holika Dahan

According to the Bhagavat Purana, Hiranyakashipu was a king who, in order to fulfil his wish, performed the requisite Tapas (penance) before Brahma granted him a boon.

Hiranyakashyapu received five special abilities as a result of the boon: he could not be killed by a human or an animal, could not be killed indoors or outdoors, could not be killed at any time of day or night, could not be killed by astra (launched weapons) or shastra (handheld weapons), and could not be killed on land, sea, or air.

As a result of his wish being granted, he believed he was invincible, which made him arrogant. He was so egotistical that he ordered his entire empire to worship him alone. Anyone who disobeyed his orders was punished and killed. His son Prahlad, on the other hand, disagreed with his father and refused to worship him as a deity. He continued to worship and believe in Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakashipu was enraged, and he attempted to kill his son Prahlad several times, but Lord Vishnu always intervened and saved him. Finally, he sought assistance from his sister, Holika.

Holika had been given a blessing that made her fireproof, but she was burned to death because the boon only worked if she joined the fire alone.

Holika with Pralhad in holi bonfire
Holika with Pralhad in holi bonfire

Prahlad, who kept chanting Lord Narayana’s name, emerged unscathed, as the Lord rewarded him for his unwavering devotion. Lord Vishnu’s fourth Incarnation, Narasimha, destroyed Hiranyakashipu, the demon king.

As a result, Holi gets its name from Holika, and people still reenact the scene of ‘Holika’s burning to ashes’ every year to commemorate good triumphing over evil. According to legend, no one, no matter how strong, can harm a true devotee. Those who torment a true believer in God will be reduced to ashes.

Why is Holika Worshipped?

The Holika Dahan is an important part of the Holi festival. People lit a massive bonfire known as Holika Dahan the night before Holi to celebrate the burning of the Demoness Holika, Demon King Hiranyakashyap’s niece.

It is believed that performing Holika puja on Holi bestows strength, prosperity, and wealth in Hindu religion. Holika Puja on Holi will help you overcome all kinds of fears. Since it is believed that Holika was made to ward off all kinds of terror, she is worshipped alongside Prahlada before Holika Dahan, despite the fact that she is a Demon.

Significance and Legend of Holika Dahan.

The legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakashipu is at the heart of Holika Dahan celebrations. Hiranyakashipu was a demon king who saw Lord Vishnu as his mortal enemy because the latter had taken the Varaha avatar to destroy Hiranyaksha, his elder brother.

Hiranyakashipu then persuaded Lord Brahma to grant him the boon that he will not be killed by any Deva, human or animal, or by any creature that takes birth, at any time of day or night, by any hand-held weapon or projectile weapon, or within or outside. The demon king began to believe that he was God after Lord Brahma granted these boons, and demanded that his people only praise him. However, his own son, Prahlad, disobeyed the king’s orders because he was devoted to LordnVishnu. As a result, Hiranyakashipu devised a number of schemes to assassinate his son.

One of the most popular schemes was Hiranyakashipu’s request that his niece, the demon Holika, sit in a pyre with Prahlad in her lap. Holika had been blessed with the ability to escape injury in the event of a burn. When she sat with Prahlad in her lap, Prahlad continued to chant the name of Lord Vishnu, and Holika was consumed by the fire while Prahlad was rescued. Based on the evidences from some legends, Lord Brahma bestowed the blessing on Holika with the expectation that she would not use it for evil. This storey is retold in Holika Dahan.

 How is Holika Dahan celebrated?

People light a bonfire on Holika Dahan, the night before Holi, to represent the pyre used to destroy Prahlad. Several cow dung toys are held on this fire, with cow dung figurines of Holika and Prahlad at the end. Then, as a recreation of Prahlad being rescued from the fire due to his devotion to Lord Vishnu, the figurine of Prahlad is easily removed from the fire. It commemorates the victory of good over evil and teaches people about the importance of sincere devotion.

People also throw samagri, which includes products with antibiotic properties or other cleaning properties that can help keep the environment safe, into the pyre.

Performing Rituals on Holi Dahan (Holi Bonfire)

Holika Deepak, or Chhoti Holi, is another name for Holika Dahan. On this day, after sunset, people light a bonfire, chant mantras, sing traditional folklore, and form a circle around the holy bonfire. They put the woods in a spot that is free of debris and is surrounded by straw.

They place roli, unbroken rice grains or akshat, flowers, raw cotton thread, turmeric bits, unbroken moong daal, batasha (sugar or gur candy), coconut, and gulal where the woods are stacked before lighting the fire. The mantra is chanted, and the bonfire is lit. Five times around the bonfire, people pray for their health and happiness. On this day, people perform a variety of other rituals in order to bring wealth into their homes.

Things to do on Holi Dahan:

  • Place a ghee diya in the northern direction/corner of your home and light it. It is thought that by doing so, the house would be blessed with peace and prosperity.
  • Turmeric mixed with sesame oil is also applied to the body. They wait a while before scraping it and tossing it into the Holika bonfire.
  • Dried coconut, mustard seeds, sesame seeds, 5 or 11 dried cow dung cakes, sugar, and whole wheat grains are also traditionally offered to the sacred fire.
  • During the Parikrama, people also give water to the Holika and pray for the family’s well-being.

Things to avoid on Holi Dahan:

This day is associated with a number of beliefs. Here are a few examples:

  • Avoid accepting water or food from strangers.
  • In the evening of Holika Dahan or when performing the puja, keep your hair tired.
  • On this day, do not lend money or any of your personal belongings to anyone.
  • When performing Holika Dahan Puja, avoid wearing yellow-colored clothing.

The Important of Holi Festival to the Farmers

This festival is very much important to the farmers because the time to harvest new crops as the weather transitions as come. Holi is known as the “spring harvest festival” in certain parts of the world. Farmers rejoice because they have already restocked their farms with new crops in preparation for Holi. As a result, this is their relaxation period, which they enjoy when surrounded by colours and desserts.

 How to Prepare Holika pyre (How to prepare Holi Bonfire)

People who worshipped the bonfire began collecting wood and combustible materials for the bonfire some days before the festival began in notable areas like the parks, community centres, near temples, and other open spaces. An effigy of Holika, who lured Prahalad into the flames, stands atop the pyre. Color pigments, food, party drinks, and festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas, and other regional delicacies are stocked within homes.

Also Read: https://www.hindufaqs.com/holi-dhulheti-the-festival-of-colours/

Places of Worshipping Hinduism

Generally, there are no basic guidelines that was given in the scriptures as to when the temple should be attended by Hindus for Worshiping. However, on important days or festivals, many Hindus use the temple as a place of worship.

Many temples are dedicated to a specific deity and the deity’s statues or images are included and or erected in those temples. Such sculptures or pictures are known as murti.

Hindu worshiping is commonly referred to as Puja. There are several different elements involved, such as images (murti), prayers, mantras and offerings.

Hinduism can be worshiped in the following places

Worshiping from the Temples – Hindus believed there are certain temple rituals that will help them connect with the god they are focusing on. Take for instance, they may walk clockwise around a shrine as part of their worship, which has a statue (murti) of the deity in its innermost part. To be blessed by the deity, they will even bring offerings such as fruit and flowers. This is rather a personal experience of worship, but in a group environment it takes place.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Worshiping from Homes – At home, many Hindus have their own place of worship called the shrine of their own. This is a space where they put pictures that are important to them of selected deities. Hindus appear more often to worship at home than they worship in a temple. To make sacrifices, they normally use their home shrine. The most sacred place of the home is known to be the shrine.

Worshiping from Holly Places – In Hinduism, worshiping in a temple or other structure does not need to be performed. It can be done outdoors as well. Holy places outdoors where Hindus worship include the hills and the rivers. The mountain range known as the Himalayas is one of these holiest places. As they serve the Hindu deity, Himavat, Hindus believe that these mountains are central to God. Furthermore, many plants and animals are considered sacred by Hindus . Therefore, many Hindus are vegetarians and often behave towards living things with loving kindness.

How Hinduism is  been Worshiped

During their prayers in the temples and at homes, Hindus use a number of methods for Worshipping. They include:

  • Meditation: meditation is a quiet exercise in which a person focuses on either an object or a thought to keep his mind clear and calm.
  • Puja: This is a devotional prayer and worship in praise of one or more deities that one believes in.
  • Havan: Ceremonial offerings that are burned, usually after birth or during other important events.
  • Darshan: Meditation or yoga with an emphasis performed by in the deity’s presence
  • Arti: This is a rite in front of the gods, from which all the four elements ( i.e., fire, earth, water and air) are depicted in the offerings.
  • Bhajan as part of worship: singing the special songs of the gods and other songs to worship.
  • Kirtan as part of worship- this involves narration or recitation to the deity.
  • Japa: This is a mantra’s meditative repetition as a way of concentrating on worship.
This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha
This Idol of lord Ganesh signifies Purushartha, as the tusk is on the right hand side of the idol’s body

Worshiping in Festivals

Hinduism has festivals that are celebrated during the year (like many other world religions). Usually, they are vivid and colourful. To rejoice, the Hindu community usually comes together during the festive season.

At these moments, distinctions are set aside so that relationships may be established again.

There are some festivals that are associated with Hinduism that Hindus worshiped seasonally. Those festivals are illustrated below.

diwali 1 The Hindu FAQs
diwali 1 The Hindu FAQs
  • Diwali – One of the most widely recognised Hindu festivals is Diwali. It recalls Lord Rama and Sita’s storey, and the concept of good overcoming bad. With light, it is celebrated. Hindus light diva lamps and there are often large shows of fireworks and family reunions.
  • Holi – Holi is a festival that is beautifully vibrant. It is known as the Colour Festival. It welcomes the coming of spring and the end of winter, and also shows appreciation for a good harvest for some Hindus. During this festival, people also pour colourful powder on each other. Together, they still play and have fun.
  • Navratri Dussehra – This festival reflects good overcoming bad. It honours Lord Rama battling and winning the war against Ravana. Over nine nights, it takes place. During this time, groups and families gather for celebrations and meals together as one family.
  • Ram Navami – This festival, which marks the birth of Lord Rama, is usually held in the springs. During Navarati Dussehra, Hindus celebrate it. People read stories about Lord Rama during this period, alongside other festivities. They may worship this god as well.
  • Ratha-Yatra – This is a procession on a chariot in public. People gather during this festival to watch Lord Jagannatha walk down the streets. The festival is colourful.
  • Janmashtami – The festival is used to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birth. Hindus commemorate it by trying to go for 48 hours without sleep and by singing traditional Hindu songs. To celebrate this venerated deity’s birthday, dances and performances are performed.
15 Major Facts of Hinduism-hindufaqs

Since we are all aware of the fact that Hinduism is a religion in which some people so much belief in and worship as God. It as become imparative to know that there are some facts that are associated with this religion and it is important that everyone should be familiar with these facts, therefore, we are here in this article to tell us those facts and those facts are listed below.

1. The Rig Veda is One of the Oldest Books Known in the World.

The Rig Veda is a Sanskrit-written ancient book. The date is unknown, but most specialists dated it back to 1500 years B.C. It is the world’s oldest known text, and so Hinduism is often referred to as the oldest religion based on this fact.

2. 108 is Regarded to be a Sacred Number.

As a string of 108 beads, so-called Malas or Garlands of prayer beads come along. Vedic culture mathematicians believe that this number is a totality of life and that it connects the Sun, the Moon, and the Earth. For Hindus, 108 has been a sacred number for a long time.

3. Hinduism is the World’s Third Biggest Religion.

“Ganga aarathi- Maha kumbh mela 2013” by R E B E L ™® is licensed with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Based on the number of worshipers and the number of those that believed in the religion, only Christianity and Islam have more supporters than Hinduism, this makes Hinduism the world’s third largest religion.

4. Hindu Conviction Indicates that gods Will Take Many Forms.

“the legend of Kamakhya, Guwahati” by lensnmatter

There is only one everlasting force, but like many gods and goddesses, it can take shape. It is also believed that in every single being in the World, a portion of the Brahman lives. One of the many fascinating facts about Hinduism is monotheistic.

5. Sanskrit is the Language Most Widely Used in Hindu Texts.

Manuscript fragment of the Buddhist Jatakamala, Sanskrit language by Daderot

Sanskrit is the ancient language in which much of the holy text is written and the history of the language goes back in time to at least 3,500 years.

6. In a Circular Notion of time,  there is the Believe of Hinduism.

A linear notion of time is practised by the Western world, but Hindus believe that time is a manifestation of God and that it is never-ending. In cycles that begin to end and end to begin, they see life. God is eternal and, simultaneously, the past, the present and the future coexist.

7. No Single Founder of Hinduism Exists.

Most of the world’s religions and belief systems have a creator, such as Jesus for Christianity, Muhammad for Islam, or Buddha for Buddhism, and so on like that. However, Hinduism has no such founder and when it originated there is no exact date. This is because of the cultural and religious changes in India that have increased.

8. Sanātana Dharma is the Actual Name.

Sanātana Dharma is the original name for Hinduism in Sanskrit. The Greeks used the words Hindu or Indu to describe the people living around the Indus River. Hindustan became a common alternative name for India in the 13th century. And it is believed in the 19th century that English writers added ism to the Hindu, and later it was embraced by the Hindus themselves and that changed the name from Sanātana Dharma to Hinduism and that as been the name since then.

9. Hinduism Prompts and Allows Vegetables as Diet

Ahimsa is a spiritual concept that can be found in Buddhism and Jainism as well as in the Hindu religion. It is a word in Sanskrit which means “not to hurt” and compassion. That is why many Hindus follow a vegetarian diet because it is assumed that you are causing harm to the animals because you eat meat on purpose. Some Hindus, however, only refrain from consuming pork and beef.

10. Hindus Have Faith in Karma

It is believed that an individual who does good in life receives good karma. Karma will be influenced for every good or bad action in life, and if at the end of this life you have good karma, Hindus has the faith that once next life will be a better one than the first life.

11. For Hindus, we Have Four Major Life Goals.

The goals are; Dharma (righteousness), Kama (right desire), Artha (means of money), and Moksha (salvation). This is another of the interesting facts of Hinduism, particularly when the purpose is not to please God in order to make him go to heaven or to take him to hell. Hinduism has entirely different objectives, and the ultimate purpose is to become one with the Brahman and leave the reincarnation loop.

12. The Sound of the Universe is Represented by “Om”

Om, Aum is also Hinduism’s most sacred syllable, sign or mantra. Sometimes, it is repeated separately before a mantra. It is believed to be the rhythm of the world, or the sound of Brahman. In Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, it is used as well. When practising yoga or visiting a temple, it is a spiritual sound that you can hear sometimes. It is used for meditation as well.

13. A Critical Part of Hinduism is Yoga.

Yoga’s original definition was “Connection with God,” but it has moved closer to Western culture in recent years. But the word yoga is also very loose, as different Hindu rituals are actually referred to in the original term. There are different types of yoga, but Hatha yoga is the most common one today.

14. Every One Will Achieve Salvation.

Hinduism does not belief that people can’t achieve redemption or enlightenment from other religions.

15. Kumbh Mela is the World’s Largest Spiritual Meeting.

The Kumbh Mela Festival was granted UNESCO Cultural Heritage status and more than 30 million people took part in the festival on a single day which was held on the 10th of February in the year 2013.

 The 5 times Random Facts about Hinduism

We have millions of Hindus that are worshipping cows.

In Hinduism, there are three main sects, the sects are the Shaiva, Sha and Vaishnava.

In the world, there are more than 1 billion Hindus, but most of the Hindus are from India. Ayurveda is a medical science that is part of the holy Vedas. Some of the important Hindu festivals are Diwali, Gudhipadawa, Vijayadashami, Ganesh festival, Navratri.

Most of the people don’t know that Hinduism is not a religion, its a way of life. Hinduism is a science contributed by various saints as a scientist. There are few customs or rules which we follow in our day to day life but we spend our time thinking about why these customs are important or why it is necessary to be followed.

This post will share some scientific reasons behind the Hindu customs which we follow commonly.

      1. Taking a parikrama around the idol

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

Ever wondered why we visit temples? yeah to worship the lord but why there is a place called temple why we need to visit the temple, what changes does it bring on us?

The temple itself is a powerhouse of positive energy where magnetic and electric wave distributes north/south pole thrust. The idol is placed in the core center of the temple, known as Garbhagriha or Moolasthanam. This is where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be maximum. This positive energy is important for the human body scientifically.

      2. Taking a parikrama around the idol

Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha
Lord shiva meditating defines purushastha

There are copper plates buried beneath the idol, these plates absorb earth’s magnetic waves and then radiate to the surrounding. This magnetic wave contains positive energy which is essential for the human body which helps the human body to make vise and positive thinking and decisions.

      3. Chewing the tulsi leaves

According to the shastra, Tusli is considered as Lord Vishnu’s wife and chewing tulsi leaves is a mark of disrespect. But according to science chewing tulsi leaves can decay your death and will discoloration of the tooth. The tulsi leaves contain loads of mercury and iron which is not good for the tooth.

     4. Usage of Panchamrit

Panchamrit contains 5 ingredients i.e milk, curd, ghee, honey, and mishri. These ingredients when mixed acts like a skin cleanser, improves the health of hair, acts as an immunity booster, brain vitalizer and best for pregnancy.

     5. Fasting

Fasting is good according to Ayurveda. A human body consumes various toxins and other unwanted stuff every day, to cleanse it fasting is necessary. Fasting allows the stomach to get the digestive system to rest and then automatic body cleaning starts which is necessary.

Source: The Speaking Tree

diwali at golden temple -The Hindu FAQs

Diwali  or Deepavali is an ancient festival of India which is celebrated by Hindus. On this auspicious festival, the Hindu FAQs will share many posts related to this festival, its significance, the facts and stories related to this festival.

diwali 1 The Hindu FAQs
Diwali diyas and rangoli

So here are some stories related to what is the significance of diwali.

1.Goddess Lakshmi’’s Incarnation: The Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi incarnated on the new moon day (amaavasyaa) of the Kartik month during the churning of the ocean (samudra-manthan), hence the association of Diwali with Lakshmi.

2. The Return of the Pandavas: According to the great epic ‘Mahabharata’, it was ‘Kartik Amavashya’ when the Pandavas appeared from their 12 years of banishment as a result of their defeat in the hands of the Kauravas at the game of dice (gambling). The subjects who loved the Pandavas celebrated the day by lighting the earthen lamps.

3. Krishna Killed Narakaasur: On the day preceding Diwali, Lord Krishna killed the demon king Narakaasur and rescued 16,000 women from his captivity. The celebration of this freedom went on for two days including the Diwali day as a victory festival.

4. The Victory of Rama: According to the epic ‘Ramayana’, it was the new moon day of Kartik when Lord Ram, Ma Sita and Lakshman returned to Ayodhya after vanquishing Ravana and conquering Lanka. The citizens of Ayodhya decorated the entire city with the earthen lamps and illuminated it like never before.

5. Vishnu Rescued Lakshmi: On this very day (Diwali day), Lord Vishnu in his fifth incarnation as Vaman-avtaara rescued Lakshmi from the prison of King Bali and this is another reason of worshipping Ma Larkshmi on Diwali.

6. Coronation of Vikramaditya: One of the greatest Hindu King Vikramaditya was coroneted on the Diwali day, hence Diwali became a historical event as well.

7. Special Day for the Arya Samaj: It was the new moon day of Kartik (Diwali day) when Maharshi Dayananda, one of the greatest reformers of Hinduism and the founder of Arya Samaj attained his nirvana.

8. Special Day for the Jains: Mahavir Tirthankar, considered to be the founder of modern Jainism also attained his nirvana on Diwali day.

diwali at golden temple -The Hindu FAQs
diwali at golden temple -The Hindu FAQs

9. Special Day for the Sikhs: The third Sikh Guru Amar Das institutionalized Diwali as a Red-Letter Day when all Sikhs would gather to receive the Gurus blessings. In 1577, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar was laid on Diwali. In 1619, the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind, who was held by the Mughal Emperor Jahengir, was released from the Gwalior fort along with 52 kings.

 

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12 common characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata

 

There are many characters who appears both in Ramayana and mahabharata. Here it the list of 12 such characters who appears in both Ramayana and Mahabharata.

1) Jambavanth: who was in Rama’s army wants to fight with Rama in Tretha yuga, fought with Krishna and asked Krishna to marry his daughter Jambhavathi.
the king of bears in Ramayan, who plays a major role, during the building of the bridge, appears in the Mahabharat, technically speaking the Bhagavatam I would say. Apparently, during Ramayan, Lord Ram, was pleased with Jambavanth’s devotion and told him to ask for a boon. Jambavan being of slow understanding, wished for a duel with Lord Ram, which he granted, saying that it would be done in his next avatar. And that is the entire story of Symanthaka Mani, where Krishna goes in search of it, meets Jambavan, and they have a duel, before Jambavan finally recognizes the truth.

jambavantha | Hindu FAQs
jambavantha

2) Maharishi Durvasa: who predicted the separation of Rama and Sita was the son of Maharishi Atri and Anasuya, visited the Pandavas in exile.. Durvasha gave a mantra to Kunti, the mother of eldest 3 Pandavas for getting children .

Maharishi Durvasa
Maharishi Durvasa

 

3) Narad Muni: Comes in many occasions in both stories. In Mahabharata he was one of the Rishis attended to Krishna’s peace talks in Hastinapur.

Narad Muni
Narad Muni

4) Vayu Dev: Vayu  is father of both Hanuman and Bheema.

Vayu Dev
Vayu Dev

5) Vasishtha’s son Shakthi: had a son called Parasara and Parasara’s son was Veda Vyasa, who wrote the Mahabharata .  So this means Vasishtha was the great grandfather of Vyasa.  Brahmarshi Vasishtha lived from the time of Satyavrata Manu, to the time of Sri Rama.  Sri Rama was Vasistha’s student.

6) Mayasura: the father of Mandodari and Ravan’s father in law, appears in the Mahabharat too, during the Khandava Dahana incident. Mayasura was the only one to survive the burning of the Khandava forest, and when Krishna finds this out, he lifts his Sudarshan Chakra to kill him. Mayasura however rushes to Arjun, who gives him refuge and tells Krishna, that he is now sworn to protect him. And so as a deal, Mayasura, himself an architect, designs the entire Maya Sabha for the Pandavas.

Mayasura
Mayasura

7) Maharishi Bharadwaja: Drona’s father was the Maharishi Bharadwaja, who was the pupil of Valmiki, who wrote Ramayana.

Maharishi Bharadwaja
Maharishi Bharadwaja

 

8) Kubera: Kubera, who is the elder half brother of Ravana, is also in Mahabharata.

Kubera
Kubera

9) Parshuram: Parushuram, who appeared in Ram and Sita marriage, is also Guru to Bhishma and Karna. Parshuram was in the Ramayan, when he challenged Lord Ram to break the Vishnu Dhanush, which also in  a way, quelled his anger. In the Mahabharat he initially has a duel with Bhishma, when Amba seeks his help in taking revenge, but loses to him. Karna later poses as a Brahmin in order to learn about weapons from Parashuram, before exposing himself, and being cursed by him, that his weapons would fail him when he needed them the most.

Parshuram
Parshuram

10) Hanuman: Hanuman being the Chiranjivi( blessed with eternal life), appears in the Mahabharat, he also happens to be Bhim’s brother, both of them son of Vayu. The tale of Hanuman quelling Bhim’s pride, by appearing as an old monkey, when he was on the journey to get the Kadamba flower. Also another tale in the Mahabharat, of  Hanuman and Arjun having a bet of who was stronger, and Hanuman losing the wager thanks to help of Lord Krishna, due to which he appears on Arjun’s flag during the Kurukshetra war.

Hanuman
Hanuman

11) Vibheeshana: Mahabharata mentions that Vibheeshana sent Jewell and Gems to Yudhisthira’s  Rajasuya sacrifice. That is the only mention about Vibheeshana in  Mahabharata.

Vibheeshana
Vibheeshana

12) Agastya Rishi: Agastya Rishi Met Rama before the war with Ravana. Mahabharata mentions that Agastya was the one who gave the weapon “Brahmashira” to Drona. (Arjuna and Aswatama had obtained this weapon from Drona)

Agastya Rishi
Agastya Rishi

Credits:
Image credits to the Original artists and Google Images. The hindu FAQs does not own any Images.

 

 

 

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire

Holi is spread out over two days. On the first day, bonfire is created and on the second day, holi is played with colors and water. In some places, it is played for five days, the fifth day is called Ranga Panchami. Holi bonfire is known as Holika Dahan also Kamudu pyre is celebrated by burning Holika, the devil. For many traditions in Hinduism, Holi celebrates the death of Holika in order to save Prahlad, and thus Holi gets its name. In olden days, people use to contribute a piece of wood or two for Holika bonfire.

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire
Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire

Holika
Holika (होलिका) was a demoness in Hindu Vedic scriptures, who was burnt to death with help of God Vishnu. She was the sister of King Hiranyakashipu and aunt of Prahlad.
The story of Holika dahan (Holika’s death) signifies the triumph of good over evil. Holika is associated with the annual bonfire on the night before Holi, the Hindu festival of colors.

Hiranyakashipu and Pralhad
Hiranyakashipu and Pralhad

According to Bhagavat purana, there was a king named Hiranyakashipu who, like a lot of demons and Asuras, had the intense desire to be immortal. To fulfill this desire he performed the required Tapas (penance) until he was granted a boon by Brahma. Since the God’s do not usually grant the boon of immortality, he used his guile and cunning to get a boon which he thought made him immortal. The boon gave Hiranyakashyapu five special powers: he could be killed by neither a human being nor an animal, neither indoors nor outdoors, neither at day nor at night, neither by astra (weapons that are launched) nor by any shastra (weapons that are hand held), and neither on land nor in water or air. As this wish was granted, Hiranyakashyapu felt he was invincible, which made him arrogant. Hiranyakashyapu decreed that only he be worshiped as a God, punished and killed anyone who did not accept his orders. His son Prahlad disagreed with his father, and refused to worship his father as a god. He continued believing and worshipping Lord Vishnu.

Holika with Pralhad in bondife
Holika with Pralhad in bondife

This made Hiranyakashipu very angry and he made various attempts to kill Prahlad. During a particular attempt on Prahlad’s life, King Hiranyakashyapu called upon his sister Holika for help. Holika had a special cloak garment that prevented her from being harmed by fire. Hiranyakashyapu asked her to sit on a bonfire with Prahlad, by tricking the boy to sit on her lap. However, as the fire roared, the garment flew from Holika and covered Prahlad. Holika burnt to death, Prahlad came out unharmed.

Hiranyakashipu is said to be the brother of Hiranyaksha.  Hiranyakashipu and Hiranyaksha are Vishnu’s gatekeepers Jaya and Vijaya, born on earth as the result of a curse from the Four Kumaras

Hiranyaksha was killed by Lord Vishnu’s 3rd Incarnation which was Varaha. and Hiranyakashipu was later killed by Lord Vishnu’s 4th Incarnation which was Narasimha.

Tradition
The night before Holi pyres are burnt in North India, Nepal and parts of South India in keeping with this tradition. The youth playfully steal all sorts of things and put them in Holika pyre.

The festival has many purposes; most prominently, it celebrates the beginning of Spring. In 17th century literature, it was identified as a festival that celebrated agriculture, commemorated good spring harvests and the fertile land. Hindus believe it is a time of enjoying spring’s abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. Holi festivities mark the beginning of new year to many Hindus, as well as a justification to reset and renew ruptured relationships, end conflicts and accumulated emotional impurities from past.

Prepare Holika pyre for bonfire
Days before the festival people start gathering wood and combustible materials for the bonfire in parks, community centers, near temples and other open spaces. On top of the pyre is an effigy to signify Holika who tricked Prahalad into the fire. Inside homes, people stock up on color pigments, food, party drinks and festive seasonal foods such as gujiya, mathri, malpuas and other regional delicacies.

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire
People walking in circle, praising the bonfire

Holika dahan
On the eve of Holi, typically at or after sunset, the pyre is lit, signifying Holika Dahan. The ritual symbolises the victory of good over evil. People sing and dance around the fire.
The next day people play Holi, the popular festival of colors.

Reason for Holika burning
The burning of Holika is the most common mythological explanation for the celebration of Holi. In different parts of India varying reasons are given for Holika’s death. Among those are:

  • Vishnu stepped in and hence Holika burnt.
  • Holika was given the power by the Brahma on the understanding that it can never be used to bring harm to anyone.
  • Holika was a good person and it was the clothes that she wore that gave her the power and knowing that what was happening was wrong, she gave them to Prahlad and hence died herself.
  • Holika wore a shawl that would protect her from fire. So when she was asked to sit in the fire with Prahlad she put on the shawl and sat Prahlad down in her lap. When the fire was lit Prahlad began praying to Lord Vishnu. So Lord Vishnu summoned a gust of wind to blow the shawl off of Holika and on to Prahlad, saving him from the flames of the bonfire and burning Holika to her death

The next day is known as Color holi or Dhulheti where people play with colors and water spraying pichkaris.
The next article will be on second day of Holi …

Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire
Holi Dahan, Holi Bonfire

Credits:
Image credits to the owners of the images and the original photographers. Images are use for article purpose and are not owned by Hindu FAQs

Panchamukhi Hanuman

Sri Hanuman assumed Panchamukhi or five-faced form to kill Ahiravana, a powerful rakshasa black-magician and practitioner of the dark arts during the Ramayana war.

Panchamukhi Hanuman
Panchamukhi Hanuman

In the Ramayana, during the battle between Rama and Ravana, when Ravana’s son Indrajit is killed, Ravana calls his brother Ahiravana for help. Ahiravana, the king of Patala (the Underworld), promises to help. Vibhishana somehow manages to hear about the plot and warns Rama about it. Hanuman is put on guard and told not to let anyone into the room where Rama and Lakshmana are. Ahiravana makes many attempts at entering the room but all of them are thwarted by Hanuman. Finally, Ahiravana takes the form of Vibhishana and Hanuman lets him enter. Ahiravana quickly enters and takes the “sleeping Rama and Lakshmana” away.

Makardhwaja, Hanuman's Son
Makardhwaja, Hanuman’s Son

When Hanuman realizes what has happened, he goes to Vibhishana. Vibhishana says, “Alas! They have been abducted by Ahiravana. If Hanuman does not rescue them fairly quickly, Ahiravana will sacrifice both Rama and Lakshman to Chandi.” Hanuman goes to Patala, the door to which is guarded by a creature, who is half Vanara and half reptile. Hanuman asks who he is and the creature says, “I am Makardhwaja, your son!” Hanuman is confused since he did not have any child, being an adept Brahmachari. The creature explains, “While you were jumping over the ocean, a drop of your semen(veeriya) fell to the ocean and into the mouth of a mighty crocodile. This is the origin of my birth.”

After defeating his son, Hanuman enters Patala and encounters Ahiravana and Mahiravana. They have a strong army and Hanuman is told by Chandrasena that the only way to vanquish them is by blowing out five different candles located in five different directions, all at the same time in return for a promise to be Lord Rama’s consort. Hanuman assumes his five-headed form (Panchmukhi Hanuman) and he quickly blows out the 5 different candles and thus kills Ahiravana and Mahiravana. Throughout the saga, both Rama and Lakshmana are rendered unconscious by a spell by the demons.

Bajrangbali Hanuman slaying Ahiravana
Bajrangbali Hanuman slaying Ahiravana

The five faces with their directions are

  • Sri Hanuman  – (Facing East)
    The significance of this face is this face removes all blemishes of sin and confers purity of mind.
  • Narsimha (Facing South)
    The significance of this face is this face removes fear of enemies and confers victory. Narasimha is the Lion-Man avatar of Lord Vishnu, who took the form to protect his devotee Prahlad from his evil father, Hiranyakashipu.
  • Garuda (Facing West)
    The significance of this face is this face drives away evil spells, black magic influences, negative spirits and removes all poisonous effects in one’s body. Garuda is Lord Vishnu’s vehcile, this bird knows the secrets of death and the beyond. The Garuda Purana is a Hindu text based on this knowledge.
  • Varaha (Facing North)
    The significance of this face is this face wards off the troubles caused by bad influences of the planets and confers all eight types prosperity (Ashta Aishwarya). Varaha is another Lord Vishnu avatar, he took this form and dug up land.
  • Hayagriva – (Facing Upwards)
    The significance of this face is this face confers knowledge, victory, good wife and progeny.

Panchamukhi Hanuman
Panchamukhi Hanuman

This form of Sri Hanuman is very popular, and is also known as Panchamukha Anjaneya and Panchamukhi Anjaneya. (Anjaneya, which means “son of Anjana”, is another name of Sri Hanuman). These faces show there is nothing in the world which does not come under any the influence of any of the five faces, symbolic of his all around security to all devotees. This also signifies vigilance and control over the five directions – north, south, east, west and the upward direction/zenith.

Sitting panchamukhi hanuman
Sitting panchamukhi hanuman

There are five ways of prayer, Naman, Smaran, Keerthanam, Yachanam and Arpanam. The five faces depict these five forms. Lord Sri Hanuman always used to Naman, Smaran and Keerthanam of Lord Sri Rama. He totally surrendered (Arpanam) to his Master Sri Rama. He also begged (yachanam) Sri Rama to bless him the undivided love.

The weapons are a parashu, a Khanda, a chakra, a dhaalam, a gada, a trishula, a kumbha, a Katar, a plate filled with blood and again a big Gada.

Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarisvara

1. Shiva’s  Trishul or Trident symbolizes the unity of 3 worlds of a human being-his inside world, the immediate world around him and the broader world, a harmony between the 3. The crescent moon on his forehead that gives him the name of  Chandrashekar, dates back from the Vedic age when Rudra and Soma, the Moon God, were worshipped together. The Trishul in his hand also represents the 3 Gunas-Sattva,Rajas and Tama, while the Damaru or the drum represents the sacred sound OM from which all languages are formed.

Shiva's Trishul or Trident
Shiva’s Trishul or Trident

2. Bhagiratha  prayed to Lord Shiva for getting the Ganga to earth, which would flow over his ancestor’s ashes and grant them salvation. However when Ganga was descending to Earth, she was still in a playful mood. She felt she would just rush down and sweep Shiva off his feet. Sensing her intentions, Shiva, imprisoned the falling Ganga in his locks. It  was again on Bhagiratha’s plea, that Shiva let Ganga flow from his hair. The name Gangadhara comes from Shiva carrying Ganga on his head.

Lord Shiva and Ganga
Lord Shiva and Ganga

3. Shiva is represented as Nataraja, the Lord of Dance, and there are two forms, Tandava, the fierce aspect representing destruction of  universe, and Lasya, the gentler one. The demon being surpressed under Shiva’s feet is Apasmara symbolizing ignorance.

Shiva as Nataraja
Shiva as Nataraja

4. Shiva along with his consort Parvati is represented in the Ardhanarisvara form, which is a half male, half female icon. The concept is  of  the masculine energy(Purusha)  and feminine energy( Prakrithi)  of the universe in a synthesis. At another level, this is also used to symbolize that in a marital relationship, the wife is one half of the husband, and has an equal status.  That is the reason why Shiva-Parvati are often held as examples of a perfect marriage.

Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarisvara
Shiva and Parvati as Ardhanarisvara

5. Kamadeva, the Hindu god of love, Cupid’s equivalent albeit clothed, was burned to ash by Shiva. This was when Devas were waging a war against Tarakasur. He could only be defeated by Shiva’s son. But Shiva was busy in meditation and well, no one procreates when meditating. So Devas asked Kamadeva to pierce Shiva with his love arrows. He managed except Shiva woke up in rage. Apart from Tandava, the other thing that Shiva is known to do in anger is open his third eye. If he views anyone from his third eye, then the person is burned down. This is exactly what happened to Kamadeva.

6. Ravana was one of Shiva’s greatest devotees. Once he tried to uproot Mount Kailasa, Shiva’s abode in the Himalayas. I cannot remember the exact reason why he wanted to do so but anyway, he could not succeed in this endeavour. Shiva trapped him beneath Kailasa. To redeem himself, Ravana started singing hymns in praise of Shiva. He cut off one of his heads to make a veena and used his tendons as the instrument’s string to make music. Eventually, over many years, Shiva did forgive Ravana and freed him from under the mountain. Also, post this episode, Shiva was so moved by Ravana’s prayer that he became his favorite devotee.

Shiva and ravana
Shiva and ravana

7. He is known as Tripurantaka because he destroyed the 3 flying cities Tripura with Brahma driving his chariot and Vishnu propelling the warhead.

Shiva as Tripurantaka
Shiva as Tripurantaka

8. Shiva is a pretty liberal God. He allows everything which is otherwise considered unconventional or taboo in religion. One need not follow any set rituals to pray to him. He is not a sucker for rules and is known to grant wishes to anyone and everyone. Unlike Brahma or Vishnu who want their devotees to prove their mettle, Shiva is fairly easy to please.

arjuna and Ulupi | The hindu FAQs

Story of Arjuna and Ulupi
While on exile, (As he broke the rule of not entering any brother’s room (When that brothers with draupadi) by anyone, a solution suggested by Devarshi Narad) for 12 years, he decided to spent first few days on the GANGA GHAAT, on Ganga Ghat, he used to go bath daily deep in the water, deeper than a normal person can go, (Being son of a god, he might be having that capability), Naag Kanya Ulupi (Who was living in the ganga itself having her father’s (Adi-Shesha) RAJMAHAL there.) seen that daily for few days and fall for him (purely lust).

arjuna and Ulupi | The hindu FAQs
arjuna and Ulupi

One fine day, she dragged arjuna inside the water, to her private chamber and  ask for love, to which, arjuna declines, He says, “You are too beautiful to deny, but I am on my celibacy in this pilgrimage and can’t do that to you”, to which she argues that “celibacy of your promise is limited to Draupadi, not to anyone else”, and by such arguments, she convinces arjuna, as he was also attracted, but was bound by promise, so by bending DHARMA, according to own requirement, with the help of Ulupi’s word, he agrees to stay there for a night, and fulfills her lust (His own too).

She later restored Arjuna to the lamenting Chitrangada, Arjuna’s other wives. She played a major part in the upbringing of Arjuna and Chitrangada’s son, Babruvahana. She was also able to restore Arjuna to life after he was slain in battle by Babruvahana. When Arjuna was given a curse by the Vasus, Bhishma’s brothers, after he killed Bhishma in the Kurukshetra war, she redeemed Arjuna from the curse.

Story of Arjuna and Chitrangada
After the stay of one night with ulupi, as a result of which, IRAVAN, was born, who later dies in battle of Mahabharata on 8th day by Alambusha a-demon, Arjuna travels to west of the bank & reaches Manipur.

Arjuna and chitrangada
Arjuna and chitrangada

While he was resting in jungle, he saw Chitrangadha, daughter of king of manipur, Chitrabahana, and fall for her at the first sight as she was on hunting (Here, it is direct lust, nothing else), and asks for hand directly from her father giving his original identity. Her Father agreed only on condition that, her offspring will born and brought up in Manipur only. (In manipur it was a tradition to have one child only, and so, chitrangada was the only child of king). So that he/she can continue the kingdom. Arjuna stayed there for approx three years and after the birth of their son, BRAHUBHUVAN, he left manipur and continued his exile.

Akshardham temple, delhi

This is the list of top 14 largest hindu temples.

1. Angkor Wat
Angkor, Cambodia – 820,000 Sq.Meter

Angkor Vat in Cambodia | Hindu FAQs
Angkor Vat in Cambodia

Angkor Wat is a temple complex at Angkor, Cambodia, built for the king Suryavarman II in the early 12th century as his state temple and capital city. As the best-preserved temple at the site, it is the only one to have remained a significant religious centre since its foundation first Hindu, dedicated to the god Vishnu, then Buddhist. It is the world’s largest religious building.

2) Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam
Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India – 631,000 Sq.Meters

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam | The Hindu FAQs
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam

Srirangam temple is often listed as the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world (the still larger Angkor Wat being the largest existing temple). The temple occupies an area of 156 acres (631,000 m²) with a perimeter of 4,116m (10,710 feet) making it the largest temple in India and one of the largest religious complexes in the world. The temple is enclosed by seven concentric walls (termed prakarams (outer courtyard) or mathil suvar) with a total length of 32,592 feet or over six miles. These walls are enclosed by 21 Gopurams. The Ranganathanswamy Temple complex with 49 shrines, all dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is so huge that it is like a city within itself. However, the entire temple is not used for the religious purpose, the first three out of seven concentric walls are used by private commercial establishments such as restaurants, hotels, flower market, and residential homes.

3) Akshardham Temple, Delhi
Delhi, India – 240,000 sq.meter

Akshardham temple, delhi
Akshardham temple, delhi

Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Indian and Hindu culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and moderated by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans construct Akshardham.

4) Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India – 160,000 sq.Meter

Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram
Thillai Nataraja Temple, Chidambaram

Thillai Natarajah Temple, Chidambaram – Chidambaram Thillai Natarajar-Koothan Kovil or Chidambaram temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in the centre of the temple town of Chidambaram, east-central Tamil Nadu, South India. Chidambaram is a temple complex spread over 40 acres (160,000 m2) in the heart of the city. It is truly a large temple which is completely used for religious purpose. The main complex to Lord Shiva Nataraja also contains shrines to deities such as Sivakami Amman, Ganesh, Murugan and Vishnu in the form Govindaraja Perumal.

5) Belur Math
Kolkata, West Bengal, India – 160,000 Sq.Meter

Belur Math, Kolkata India
Belur Math, Kolkata India

Belur Maṭh or Belur Mutt is the headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission, founded by Swami Vivekananda, a chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. It is located on the west bank of Hooghly River, Belur, West Bengal, India and is one of the significant institutions in Calcutta. This temple is the heart of the Ramakrishna Movement. The temple is notable for its architecture that fuses Hindu, Christian and Islamic motifs as a symbol of unity of all religions.

6) Annamalaiyar Temple
Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India – 101,171 Sq.Meter

Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai
Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai

Annamalaiyar Temple is a noted Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, and it is the second largest temple (by the area used completely for religious purpose). It has got four stately towers on all the four sides and four high stone walls just like the rampart walls of a fort. The 11-tiered highest (217 feet (66 m)) Eastern Tower is called the Rajagopuram. The fortified walls pierced with four gopura entrances offer a formidable look to this vast complex.

7) Ekambareswarar Temple
Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India – 92,860 Sq.Meters

Ekambareswarar temple kanchipuram
Ekambareswarar temple kanchipuram

Ekambareswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams (each representing a natural element) representing the element Earth.

8) Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval
Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India – 72,843 Sq.Meter

Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval
Jambukeswarar Temple, Thiruvanaikaval

Thiruvanaikaval (also Thiruvanaikal) is a famous Shiva temple in Tiruchirapalli (Trichy), in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple was built by Kocengannan (Kochenga Chola), one of the Early Cholas, around 1,800 years ago.

9) Meenakshi Amman Temple
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India – 70,050 Sq.Meter

Meenakshi Amman Temple
Meenakshi Amman Temple

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple is a historic Hindu temple in the holy city of Madurai in India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva — who is known here as Sundareswarar or Beautiful Lord — and his consort, Parvati who is known as Meenakshi. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500-year-old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 magnificent Gopurams or towers including two golden Gopurams for the main deities, that are elaborately sculptured and painted showing the architectural and sculpting skills of the ancient Indian sthapathis.

Also Read: 25 Amazing Facts about hinduism

10) Vaitheeswaran Koil
Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu, India – 60,780 Sq.Meters

Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu
Vaitheeswaran Koil, Tamil Nadu

Vaitheeswaran Temple is a Hindu temple located in Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to the god Shiva. In this temple, Lord Shiva is worshiped as “Vaitheeswaran” or the “God of medicine”; worshipers believe that prayers to Lord Vaitheeswaran can cure diseases.

11) Tiruvarur Thyagaraja swamy Temple
Tiruvarur, Tamil Nadu, India – 55,080 Sq.Meter

Tiruvarur Thyagaraja swamy Temple
Tiruvarur Thyagaraja swamy Temple

The ancient Sri Thyagaraja temple at Tiruvarur is dedicated to the Somaskanda aspect of Shiva. The temple complex has shrines dedicated to Vanmikanathar, Tyagarajar and the Kamalaamba, and covers an area of over 20 acres (81,000 m2). The Kamalalayam temple tank covers around 25 acres (100,000 m2), one of the largest in the country. The temple chariot is the largest of its kind in Tamil Nadu.

12) Sripuram Golden Temple
Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India – 55,000 Sq.Meter

Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore, Tamil Nadu
Sripuram Golden Temple, Vellore, Tamil Nadu

The golden temple of Sripuram is a spiritual park situated at the foot of a small range of green hills in a place known as “Malaikodi” in the city of Vellore in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is at the southern end of the city of Vellore, at Tirumalaikodi.
The salient feature of Sripuram is the Lakshmi Narayani temple or Mahalakshmi temple whose ‘Vimanam’ and ‘Ardha Mandapam’ have been coated with gold both in the interior and exterior.

13) Jagannath Temple, Puri
Puri, Odisha, India – 37,000 Sq.Meter

Jagannath Temple, Puri
Jagannath Temple, Puri

The Jagannath Temple in Puri is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Jagannath (Vishnu) in the coastal town of Puri in the state of Odisha, India. The name Jagannath (Lord of the Universe) is a combination of the Sanskrit words Jagat (Universe) and Nath (Lord of).

14) Birla Mandir
Delhi, India – 30,000

Birla Mandir, Delhi
Birla Mandir, Delhi

The Laxminarayan Temple (also known as the Birla Mandir) is a Hindu temple dedicated to Laxminarayan in Delhi, India. The temple is built in honour of Lakshmi (Hindu goddess of wealth) and her consort Narayana (Vishnu, Preserver in the Trimurti). The temple was built in 1622 by Vir Singh Deo and renovated by Prithvi Singh in 1793. During 1933-39, Laxmi Narayan Temple was built by Baldeo Das Birla of Birla family. Thus, the temple is also known as Birla Mandir. The famous temple is accredited to have been inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1939. At that time, Gandhi kept a condition that the temple would not be restricted to the Hindus and people from every caste would be allowed inside. Since then, funds for further renovations and support have come from the Birla family.

Credits:
Photo Credits: To Google Images and The Original Photographers.