Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya is located in the central part of the state of Bihar, in the northeastern part of India. It is the part of the great Ganges plains. The Mahabodhi Temple is located at the place of Lord Buddha's enlightenment. Bihar is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment.
The first temple was built by Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century BC, and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely with brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period. The site of the Mahabodhi Temple provides exceptional records of the events associated with the life of Buddha and subsequent worship, particularly since Emperor Ashoka built the first temple, the balustrades, and the memorial column. The sculpted stone balustrades are an outstanding early example of sculptural relics in stone.
Elephanta anciently known as Gharapuri, the island capital of Konkan Mauryas, is celebrated for its colossal image of Mahesamurti with three heads each representing a different form. The Elephanta Caves serve as a great tourist attraction in the vicinity of the large Mumbai metropolis. The Elephanta island is located 10 km away from the Gateway of India at Mumbai in Maharashtra. The cave temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, was excavated sometime in the 8th century by the Rashtrakuta kings, who ruled the area between AD 757-973.
The Elephanta caves is a conglomeration of seven caves, out of which the most important is the Mahesa-murti cave. The main body of the cave, excluding the porticos on the three open sides and the back isle, is 27 metres square and is supported by rows of six columns each. The gigantic figures of 'dvarapalas' or doorkeepers are very impressive.
There are sculptured compartments in this cave with remarkable images of Ardhanarisvara, Kalyana-sundara Shiva, Ravana lifting Kailasa, Andhakari-Murti (slaying of Andhaka demon) and Nataraja Shiva.
The cave complex has been given the status of world heritage by UNESCO.
Beginning with the 2nd century BC, and continuing into the 6th century AD, the paintings and sculptures in the caves of Ajanta and Ellora, inspired by Buddhism and its compassionate ethos, unleashed a surge of artistic excellence unmatched in human history. These Buddhist and Jain caves are ornately carved, yet seem quiet and meditative and exude a divine energy and power.
About 107 km from the city of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, are the rock-out caves of Ajanta nestled in a panoramic gorge, in the form of a gigantic horseshoe. A set of 29 caves, Ajanta is among the finest examples of some of the earliest Buddhist architecture, cave paintings and sculptures. These caves comprise Chaitya halls or shrines, dedicated to Lord Buddha and Viharas or monasteries, used by Buddhist monks for meditation and the study of Buddhist teachings. The paintings that adorn the walls and ceilings of the caves depict incidents from the life of lord Buddha and various Buddhist divinities. Among the most interesting paintings are the Jataka tales, illustrating diverse stories relating to the previous incarnations of the Buddha as Bodhisattava, a saintly being who is destined to become the Buddha. These elaborate sculptures and paintings stand in impressive grandeur in spite of withstanding the ravages of time. Amid the beautiful images and paintings are sculptures of Buddha, calm and serene in contemplation.
The cave temples and monasteries at Ellora, excavated out of the vertical face of an escarpment, are 26 km north of Aurangabad. Sculptors, inspired by Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, created elaborate rock carvings. Extending in a linear arrangement, the 34 caves contain Buddhist Chaityas or halls of worship, Viharas or monasteries and Hindu and Jain temples. Spanning a period of about 600 years between the 5th and 11th century AD, the earliest excavation here is of the Dhumar Lena (Cave 29). The most imposing excavation is, without doubt, that of the magnificent Kailasa Temple (Cave 16) which is the largest monolithic structure in the world. Known as Verul in ancient times, it has continuously attracted pilgrims through the centuries to the present day.
Declared as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1983, the paintings and sculptures of Ajanta and Ellora, considered masterpieces of Buddhist religious art, have had a great influence in the development of art in India. The creative use of colour and freedom of expression used in depicting human and animal forms makes the cave paintings at Ajanta one of the high watermarks of artistic creativity. The Ellora preserved as an artistic legacy that will continue to inspire and enrich the lives of generations to come. Not only is this cave complex a unique artistic creation and an excellent example of technological exploit but also, with its sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, it illustrates the spirit of tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
IBEF collects, collates and disseminates comprehensive information on India. It has been developed as a single-window resource for in-depth information and insight on India. It also produces a wide range of well researched publications focused on India's economic and business advantages.
Through such an institutional set-up, the Government has been undertaking several policy measures and incentives in the various segments of the economy, including the infrastructure sector. This has created an investor friendly climate and unfolded numerous opportunities for investment into the country.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Meghalaya became the 21st State of the Indian Union, when it achieved full-fledged Statehood in 1972. Home to the Khasi, Garo, Jaintia and some lesser known tribes, Meghalaya boasts of a unique matrilineal lineage system. Meghalaya is one of the most beautiful states in the country. Nature has blessed her with abundant rainfall, sun-shine, virgin forests, high plateaus, tumbling waterfalls, crystal clear rivers, meandering streamlets and above all with sturdy, intelligent and hospitable people. It is quite rich in natural resources like coal, uranium and is the only state with surplus power generation. It is also known for its tourism potential. Its climate is not only ideal for the development of tourist and health resorts but also for the growth of a large number of horticultural crops like fruits, spices and mushroom. It occupies an advantageous position over several other States because of the following factors:-
Store house of natural resources;
Fairly large pool of skilled,
semi-skilled and unskilled labour;
Congenial investment climate;
Liberalised industrial policy together with single window clearance facility;
Adequate infrastructural facilities;
Favourable regulatory environment;
Congenial industrial relations climate; etc.
Given the enabling environment, the Government of Meghalaya has undertaken several policy measures and incentives in order to encourage inflow of investment into the various sectors of its economy.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
The mixture and brilliance of Rajasthan's architectural heritage can amaze a visitor. Majestic forts, intricately carved temples and havelis (meaning mansion) and even step well make Rajasthan a paradise for an architecture buff. The desert state of Rajasthan is a land of irony and extremes. This vibrant and striking region is the home of the Rajput warrior clans who had ruled here for many years. Rajasthan is also home to some of India's most romantic cities. The Rajputs were prolific builders and have dotted the arid Aravali landscape with their legacy of some most imposing and magnificent forts and palaces in the world. Today the structures defy time to tell the story of gallantry, courage and tragedy of the bygone era and its story of survival in the harsh Thar Desert.
Friday, September 5, 2008
The Apalachicola River is a river, approximately 112 mi (180 km) long in the U.S. state Florida. The river's large watershed, known as the ACF River Basin for short, drains an area of approximately 19,500 sq mi (50,505 km²) into the Gulf of Mexico. The distance to its farthest headstream in northwest Georgia is approximately 500 mi (800 km). Its name comes from the Apalachicola tribe, which used to live along the river.
It is formed on the state line between Florida and Georgia, near the town of Chattahoochee, Florida, approximately 60 mi northeast of Panama City, by the confluence of the Flint and Chattahoochee rivers. The actual confluence is submerged in the Lake Seminole reservoir formed by the Jim Woodruff Dam. It flows generally south through the forests of the Florida Panhandle, past Bristol. In northern Gulf County, it receives the Chipola River from the west. It flows into Apalachicola Bay, an inlet of the Gulf of Mexico, at Apalachicola. The lower 30 mi (48 km) of the river is surrounded by extensive swamps and wetlands except at the coast. The channel of the river is being dredged by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide navigation due to a lawsuit with Florida.Except for the area around its mouth, the river provides the boundary between the Eastern and Central time zones in the United States.
The Apalachicola River is famous for its tupelo honey, a high quality Monofloral honey, which is produced wherever the Tupelo trees bloom in the southeastern United States, but the purest and most expensive version is produced mainly in this basin and, to a lesser extent, in other panhandle river basins. In a good harvest year, the value of the tupelo honey crop produced by a group of specialized Florida beekeepers approaches US$1,000,000.
During Florida's British colonial period the river formed the boundary between East Florida and West Florida.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
The name Baneshwar is derived from the revered Shiva Linga which is kept in the Mahadev temple in Dungarpur. "Baneshwar" means the 'master of the delta' in the local Vagdi language and this name was given to Shiva Linga.The Baneshwar fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi, from Magh Shukla Ekadashi to Magh Shukla Poornima during Shivratri. (Jan-Feb).
The Baneshwar fair, in its present form is actually a merger of two fairs: one which used to be held in honour of Baneshwar Mahadev (Lord Shiva) and another fair which started after the construction of the Vishnu temple by Jankunwari, daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
The Baneshwar fair is predominantly a tribal fair with more than half of the congregation consisting of Bhils. They revere Baneshwar Mahadev as well as Mavji. The majority of the gathering is from the Districts of Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara.
The temple of Baneshwar Mahadev remains open from 5.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. during the fair. In the morning, saffron is applied to the Shiva Linga after it is bathed and an aarti of burning incense is waved before it. In the evening, bhabhut (ash) is applied to the Linga and an aarti with a fine-wick lamp is waved. Devotees offer wheat flour, pulses, rice, jaggery, ghee, salt, chillies, coconut and cash.
The Bhils attending Baneshwar Fair sing traditional folk songs in high pitched voices sitting around a bonfire every night. Groups of villagers are also invited to participate in the programme. The fair resounds with the gaiety of songs, folk dances, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats. Adding to the excitement are the joy rides on merry-go-rounds and swings.
The fair site is at a distance of 6.5 kms from Sabla, a village on the Udaipur-Banswara -Dungarpur bus route which is at a distance of 123 kms from Udaipur 53 kms from Banswara 45 kms from Dungarpur and 22 kms from Aspur, the Tehsil headquarter. On normal days, one has to reach Sabla from Baneshwar on foot or on private carts. However, buses go right up to the bank of the river Som during the fair.
Music is integral to Khasi life, and whatever it lacks in formal sophistication of established schools and forms of music, it makes up in purity, beauty and a certain complexity in skilful rendering. Music everything in Khasi Life - every festival and ceremony from birth to death is enriched with music and dance. One can hear natural sounds enmeshed in the songs -the hum of bees, bird calls, the call of a wild animal, the gurgling of a stream.
One of the basic forms of Khasi music is the 'phawar', which is more of a "chant" than a song, and are often composed on the spot, impromptu, to suit the occasion. Other forms of song include ballads & verses on the past, the exploits of legendary heroes, laments for martyrs. Khasi musical instruments (Ksing Shynrang, Ksing Kynthei) are also interesting because they support the song and the dance. Flutes and Drums of various types are used. The ubiquitous Drum taking on the most prolific role. Drums not only provide the beat for the festival, they are used to 'invite' people to the event.
"Tangmuri"(a kind of flageolet); "Shaw Shaw " (Cymbals); Percussion instruments of various types, including the "Nakra" (Big Drum) and "Ksing Padiah"(small drum); the "Besli" (flute for "solo" recitals) and a variety of other wind instruments like "Sharati", "Shyngwiang" (used for different occasions, sad or joyous); the "Duitara" (a stringed instrument played by striking the strings with a wooden pick), [Dymphong-Reeds of Bamboos].Today the "Spanish Guitar" is more popular and is widely used for festive occasions as well as for general entertainment.