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Virupaksha Temple: A Shiva temple in South India
The Virupaksha temple was built at Vijayanagara and is referred to as the temple of Pampapati, the protecting deity of the Vijayanagara kings. 
This temple was built in the Dravidian style, under the guidance of the well-known architect Gunda and his associates. It has a square plan from the base to the apex, conforming to the Nagara order. The vast temple has a sanctum, circumambulatory passage, and a few mandapas (ornamental halls). 
The whole structure is enclosed by a prakara wall with gopura entrances in front and behind on the east and west, which are the earliest in the Calukyan series.
The fine sculptures of the Virupaksha temple add beauty to the architecture. The image of the Sun riding on a chariot drawn by seven horses is especially noteworthy. There are many sculptures depicting Shiva in various forms.
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Virupaksha Temple: A Shiva temple in South India

The Virupaksha temple was built at Vijayanagara and is referred to as the temple of Pampapati, the protecting deity of the Vijayanagara kings. 

This temple was built in the Dravidian style, under the guidance of the well-known architect Gunda and his associates. It has a square plan from the base to the apex, conforming to the Nagara order. The vast temple has a sanctum, circumambulatory passage, and a few mandapas (ornamental halls). 

The whole structure is enclosed by a prakara wall with gopura entrances in front and behind on the east and west, which are the earliest in the Calukyan series.

The fine sculptures of the Virupaksha temple add beauty to the architecture. The image of the Sun riding on a chariot drawn by seven horses is especially noteworthy. There are many sculptures depicting Shiva in various forms.

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesha is worshiped at the commencement of all undertakings in faith as the remover of all obstacles to one’s success, the provider of protection and wisdom, and he is often seated at the entrance of temples and shrines. Great preceptors, holy shrines, and sacred texts all hail Ganesha as the God of dharma, the symbol of wisdom, and the protector of all religious rituals. As with many of the Hindu gods and goddesses, Ganesa is known by many names, and any list is bound to be incomplete. Regardless of one’s philosophical viewpoint, all Hindus venerate Ganesha.

The most popular belief about the birth of Ganesha states that Parvati required a guard at the door to her chamber as Shiva was away from home. She created a young boy and stationed him at the entrance to her chamber, and instructed him to prevent anyone from entering into her chamber. 

Shortly thereafter, Shiva returned and demanded access to Parvati. The boy, minding his mother’s injunction, declined to give him entry. Outraged, Shiva ordered his attendants to decapitate the child (in some versions it is Shiva himself who undertakes the act). When Parvati realizes that her husband beheaded her child, she demands that Shiva rectify the situation by finding her child a new head. Shiva put the head of an elephant on the child’s headless body; this is Ganesha.
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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bottomhouse said: Jai Shree Ram! Hi there, I was just wondering if the giveaway for the hardcover journals were still going on - as I just saw it on my tumblr feed. Thanks! :)

Hi - I am not sure when this was sent (Tumblr does not post dates), but the giveaway ended several months ago. But keep in touch and check back here every so often, as we will post more giveaways in the future. 

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Janmastami 
Janmastami is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals observed all over the country. It commemorates the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. 
The most important items in the worship of Krishna on his day of incarnation are fasting, worship, keeping awake in the night, and listening to chanting hymns of praise and legends relating to the pastimes of Krishna. 
Krishna is invoked in an image. The ceremonies of the birth rites are performed symbolically. After offering prayer, night-long vigil is kept; the devotees listen to hymns glorifying Vishnu and Krishna. The next day, after the morning ablutions, the image of Krishna is worshiped and a feast is held.
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Janmastami 

Janmastami is one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals observed all over the country. It commemorates the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki. 

The most important items in the worship of Krishna on his day of incarnation are fasting, worship, keeping awake in the night, and listening to chanting hymns of praise and legends relating to the pastimes of Krishna. 

Krishna is invoked in an image. The ceremonies of the birth rites are performed symbolically. After offering prayer, night-long vigil is kept; the devotees listen to hymns glorifying Vishnu and Krishna. The next day, after the morning ablutions, the image of Krishna is worshiped and a feast is held.

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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marketingguymarcel:

Happy Independence Day, India! 

marketingguymarcel:

Happy Independence Day, India! 

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In honor of Varalakshmi Pooja/Puja, here is a little tidbit about Lakshmi from the Encyclopedia of Hinduism: 

In the mythological story of the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons to obtain nectar, Lakshmi came out from the ocean and was accepted by Lord Vishnu as His consort. Lakshmi represents money, wealth, gold, silver, turmeric, vermilion, and other auspicious objects. 

The business community performs her worship (puja) with reverence by decorating the premises with colorful buntings. The puja or arcana may take the form of a yantra (talisman), homa (sacrifice), or avahana/abhiseka (sacred bath). Lakshmi Puja is also conducted for general public welfare. Garlands of jasmine flowers, golden colored cloth, betel and nuts, kumkuma, and lotus flowers are considered dear to Goddess Lakshmi

In honor of Varalakshmi Pooja/Puja, here is a little tidbit about Lakshmi from the Encyclopedia of Hinduism: 

In the mythological story of the churning of the ocean by the gods and the demons to obtain nectar, Lakshmi came out from the ocean and was accepted by Lord Vishnu as His consort. Lakshmi represents money, wealth, gold, silver, turmeric, vermilion, and other auspicious objects. 

The business community performs her worship (puja) with reverence by decorating the premises with colorful buntings. The puja or arcana may take the form of a yantra (talisman), homa (sacrifice), or avahana/abhiseka (sacred bath). Lakshmi Puja is also conducted for general public welfare. Garlands of jasmine flowers, golden colored cloth, betel and nuts, kumkuma, and lotus flowers are considered dear to Goddess Lakshmi

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Nagapancami / Nag Panchami
A festival dedicated to serpents, considered sacred in Hinduism.
According to a legend in the Bhavisya Purana, Kadru, the mother of serpents, had a wager with her sister Vinata about the color of the tail of Uccasrava, the horse of Indra, Lord of Heaven. Kadru asserted that though the horse was white, the tail was black. Vinata claimed that the body and tail were both white. When the serpents refused Kadru’s orders to make the tail appear black so she would win the bet, Kadru cursed them and decreed that they would be offered in fire in the serpent-yajna to be performed by King Janamejaya. However, the serpents were saved by the sage Astika. To commemorate this event and out of compassion for the innocent serpents, the Nag Panchami festival is observed by Hindus.

Golden, silver, or clay images of serpents are made and worshiped with flowers and incense. The images are bathed in milk. It is believed that in return, the serpents will ensure that the worshipers are immune from death due to snake bites. In Kerala, serpent worship is common. The temple at Mannarsala in the Kottayam district is particularly noted for the special worship of snakes.

Nagapancami / Nag Panchami

A festival dedicated to serpents, considered sacred in Hinduism.

According to a legend in the Bhavisya Purana, Kadru, the mother of serpents, had a wager with her sister Vinata about the color of the tail of Uccasrava, the horse of Indra, Lord of Heaven. Kadru asserted that though the horse was white, the tail was black. Vinata claimed that the body and tail were both white. When the serpents refused Kadru’s orders to make the tail appear black so she would win the bet, Kadru cursed them and decreed that they would be offered in fire in the serpent-yajna to be performed by King Janamejaya. However, the serpents were saved by the sage Astika. To commemorate this event and out of compassion for the innocent serpents, the Nag Panchami festival is observed by Hindus.

Golden, silver, or clay images of serpents are made and worshiped with flowers and incense. The images are bathed in milk. It is believed that in return, the serpents will ensure that the worshipers are immune from death due to snake bites. In Kerala, serpent worship is common. The temple at Mannarsala in the Kottayam district is particularly noted for the special worship of snakes.

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Teej
Only three teej days are considered auspicious in the annual cycle of tithi-s (360 dates). On aksaya trtiya (akha teej), mass marriage ceremonies are held, whereas the other two teej are observed with day-long fasting and worship of the Goddess Parvati.
Sravani Teej is the most joyful and auspicious day, due to its festive nature. This tithi (date) comes in the midst of the rainy season. Women observe fast, bedeck themselves in colorful dresses and ornaments, enjoy jhula-s (swings), decorate their palms with mehendi, and sing folk songs with gaiety. 
In Gujarat, married women observe a fast called Madhusrava vrata, while in southern India, Svarna Gauri vrata marks the occasion. It is believed, according to Bhavisya Purana, that this day is sukrta trtiya and by observing a vrata (vow), the married women are blessed with good luck, prosperity, happiness, and fulfillment of all desires.
In Jaipur, a royal procession of Teej Mata becomes the attraction of thousands of spectators on this day. Teej Mata is supposed to be the prototype of the Goddess Parvati, who, by performing hard penance, won the love and hand of Shiva on this very day. The procession reminds of her victorious return to the royal palace of her father and her marriage to her fiance.- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Teej

Only three teej days are considered auspicious in the annual cycle of tithi-s (360 dates). On aksaya trtiya (akha teej), mass marriage ceremonies are held, whereas the other two teej are observed with day-long fasting and worship of the Goddess Parvati.

Sravani Teej is the most joyful and auspicious day, due to its festive nature. This tithi (date) comes in the midst of the rainy season. Women observe fast, bedeck themselves in colorful dresses and ornaments, enjoy jhula-s (swings), decorate their palms with mehendi, and sing folk songs with gaiety. 

In Gujarat, married women observe a fast called Madhusrava vrata, while in southern India, Svarna Gauri vrata marks the occasion. It is believed, according to Bhavisya Purana, that this day is sukrta trtiya and by observing a vrata (vow), the married women are blessed with good luck, prosperity, happiness, and fulfillment of all desires.

In Jaipur, a royal procession of Teej Mata becomes the attraction of thousands of spectators on this day. Teej Mata is supposed to be the prototype of the Goddess Parvati, who, by performing hard penance, won the love and hand of Shiva on this very day. The procession reminds of her victorious return to the royal palace of her father and her marriage to her fiance.

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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Vaikuntha, spiritual heaven. (an artistic depiction of Vaikuntha)

Vaikuntha is said to be inhabited by selves that have transcended all births and is constituted of satvam (pure goodness). It is self-luminous. It is variously described as “of golden hue and beyond the darkness of ignorance”, "the supreme abode of Vishnu", and "of the eternal, in the upper world". In this celestial temple, Vishnu as Narayana dwells with his consort.



 




Legend has it that there exists a magnificent, golden temple twelve stories high, resplendent as a thousand suns. Its halls and pillars are ornamented with precious stones. It is decorated with a hundred thousand golden lotuses, through which flow the nectar-filled waters of a hundred thousand rivers. The temple is inhabited by the eternal gods, seers, and by common people.
Once the liberated self has traveled through the path of light and has attained residence in Vaikuntha, there is no return to the mortal world, which means that there would be no more transmigratory existence. This is explained by a Brahmasutra aphorism: “There is no return, there is no return”.
The concept of a heaven called Vaikuntha is not accepted by all Indian philosophical systems. It is looked upon as purely imaginary by some. 
- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

Vaikuntha, spiritual heaven. 
(an artistic depiction of Vaikuntha)

Vaikuntha is said to be inhabited by selves that have transcended all births and is constituted of satvam (pure goodness). It is self-luminous. It is variously described as “of golden hue and beyond the darkness of ignorance”, "the supreme abode of Vishnu", and "of the eternal, in the upper world". In this celestial temple, Vishnu as Narayana dwells with his consort.

Legend has it that there exists a magnificent, golden temple twelve stories high, resplendent as a thousand suns. Its halls and pillars are ornamented with precious stones. It is decorated with a hundred thousand golden lotuses, through which flow the nectar-filled waters of a hundred thousand rivers. The temple is inhabited by the eternal gods, seers, and by common people.

Once the liberated self has traveled through the path of light and has attained residence in Vaikuntha, there is no return to the mortal world, which means that there would be no more transmigratory existence. This is explained by a Brahmasutra aphorism: “There is no return, there is no return”.

The concept of a heaven called Vaikuntha is not accepted by all Indian philosophical systems. It is looked upon as purely imaginary by some. 

- The Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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hinducosmos:

Murudweswar Shiva Statue Uttara Kannada District, karnataka, India (via wikipedia)

hinducosmos:

Murudweswar Shiva Statue
Uttara Kannada District, karnataka, India
(via wikipedia)