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Heavy Rain Forces 50,000 Pilgrims to Abandon Nanda Devi Jat Yatra
Posted on 2014/9/3 18:37:43 ( 640 reads )

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INDIA, September 1, 2014 (Daily Mail): Poor preparation and bad weather saved the Uttarakhand government a catastrophe as it forced a major chunk of pilgrims to abandon the Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra midway at Bedni in the Chamoli district.

Monday saw over 50,000 pilgrims return, while only 8,000 opted to undertake the arduous trek for Patar Nachoniya, located at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level.

Mohan Singh, a native of Tharali said: "I had passed the medical test but I decided to return after the heavy rainfall. We stayed in the open under our umbrella after a wet Sunday night." "The state government makes huge claims of elaborated arrangements in television commercials but on ground nothing exists," said another villager.

The Yatra is hosted every twelfth year and is presently underway in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district. "The number is now manageable and I am thankful to people for accepting my appeal to withdraw their Yatra. They retreated on their own," said Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat.

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Indian Community Launches Museum in Australia
Posted on 2014/9/3 18:37:37 ( 630 reads )

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MELBOURNE, August 11, 2014 ( Times of India): Members of the Indian diaspora in Australia have opened their first museum comprising over 1,200 rare pieces including pictures, paintings, photographs, coins and stamps here on the Independence day. Partly funded by the Indian High Commission in Canberra, the museum is an initiative of Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV).The museum has artworks as old as 1800s showcasing rich Indian History, Hindu culture and mythology along with several astonishing International arts.The entire collection showcased in the museum is a personal collection of an Indian doctor, living in Melbourne, Dinesh Parekh who has been collecting artefacts for the last 50 years.

Named as Museum India, the collection has several original paintings, high quality lithographs, chromolithographs, engravings from 1840s onwards, sculptures, coins from 500 bce onwards and stamp collection for the public. The museum was launched by Consul General of Melbourne Manika Jain in the presence of the state Minister of planning Matthew Guy, Dandenong Mayor Jim Memeti and several other high profile leaders and Indian community members.

This project has been supported by Melbourne Consul general of India, specially through Indian High Commission and Pravasi Bharti community.

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Kailash Yatra Breaks all Past Records
Posted on 2014/9/3 18:37:31 ( 480 reads )

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INDIA, August 22, 2014 (Hindustan Times): Giving a reason for officials to smile, more than 900 pilgrims have visited Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) this year, setting a new record of sorts. The yatra is an annual affair which passes through Uttarakhand and goes till Kailash Mansarovar in TAR under China. (Many more pilgrims take the easier route by jeep or even helicopter via Nepal.)

The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar is considered one of the difficult pilgrimages. On the Indian side, beyond Malti, pilgrims have to trek the route on foot. The last station on the Indian side is Liphulekh pass.

After last years' flash floods, the rains ravaged roads and damaged a bridge at Kimjyoti in Pithoragarh district. Last year, owing to the adverse situation, the yatra was suspended midway. The yatra began on June 12 through an old route but later the administration decided to move pilgrims through an alternative route. Despite odds, the yatra went on successfully.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/9/3 18:37:24 ( 433 reads )

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Sojourns in tirthas, which are meritorious and which constitute one of the high mysteries of the rishis, are even superior to sacrifices.
-- Mahabharata

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Church Turned into Temple after 72 Valmikis Reconvert to Hinduism
Posted on 2014/8/31 18:03:45 ( 1113 reads )

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ALIGARH, INDIA, August 28, 2014 (Times of India): A church with a cross in it that belonged to the 7th Day Adventists overnight turned into a temple adorned with a portrait of Shiva after what some Hindu groups in Aligarh termed the "successful ghar wapasi" (reconversion) of 72 Valmikis who had become Christians in 1995. There was an elaborate shuddhi karan (purification) ceremony on Tuesday inside the church in Asroi, 18 miles from Aligarh.

Khem Chandra, Sangh pracharak and pramukh of Dharam Jagran Vivad in Aligarh, said, "This is called ghar wapasi, not conversion. They left by choice and today they have realized their mistake and want to come back. We welcome them. We can't let our samaj scatter, we have to hold it tight. I have told them that honor comes from within the community and not from outside." Chandra added that in the years that followed their adoption of Christianity, he met heads of the eight Valmiki families numerous times to convince them to reconsider their decision.

Anil Gaur, one of those who returned to the Hindu fold, said it was because they were unhappy with the caste system that they changed their religion. "But we found ourselves in no better position among Christians," he said. "As Hindus we had no status and were restricted to doing menial jobs, but even after remaining a Christian for 19 years, we saw that no one came to us from their community. There was no celebration of Bada Din (Christmas). The missionaries just built a church for us in the vicinity where some of the villagers got married. That was all."

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A Film Fest Highlights Conditions Of Hindu Temples
Posted on 2014/8/31 18:03:39 ( 680 reads )

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HYDERABAD, INDIA, August 27, 2014 (Silicon India): A unique international film festival here brought into focus the dilapidated condition of Hindu temples in India, highlighting problems like corruption, mismanagement, encroachments, financial problems faced by priests and erosion of traditional rituals associated with worship. Aimed at creating awareness about the need to save temples, the three-day festival saw the screening of 40 movies from different parts of India and countries like Mauritius, Denmark, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Britain and the United States.

The first-of-its kind festival was organized by the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation (GHHF), an initiative launched by a group of Indian Americans to protect temples in India. "We want to make people aware of richness of temples and the need to address issues related to their protection, annadanam, gomata and other aspects of temples," Velagapudi Prakasarao, founder of the foundation, said.

An Indian American who started the foundation in 2006, Prakasarao attributed the problems faced by the temples, especially in southern India, to the government control over them. Unlike in the north where only major temples are under the government, in the south nearly all temples come under the Endowments department.

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Marvelous Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra Film Released
Posted on 2014/8/31 18:03:33 ( 692 reads )

https://vimeo.com/104862626

USA, August 31, 2014 (Press release, Robert Moses, Namarupa Publishers): In the summer of 2014 Namarupa Yatra Divine went to Puri, Odisha on the Bay of Bengal to witness the world famous Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra. Lord Jagannath, His Brother Lord Balarama and their sister the Lady Subhadra ascend their incredible chariots and proceed from their huge Jagannath Puri Temple for three kilometers down the Grand Road to take their annual summer vacation in the Gundica Temple. We had grandstand seats right at the starting area of the great chariot festival and spent the entire day enthralled and captivated by the love, joy and spontaneous devotion. More than a million devotees thronged the Grand Road. This short video is offered at the Feet of the Lord.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/8/31 18:03:27 ( 626 reads )

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How can one realize that which alone is real? All we need to do is to give up our habit of regarding as real that which is unreal. Reality alone will remain, and we will be That.
-- Sri Ramana Maharishi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic

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India's US$5.14 Million Ta Prohm Restoration Work Will Be Finished This Year
Posted on 2014/8/30 17:49:30 ( 848 reads )

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INDIA, August 29, 2014 (Indian Embassy Phnom Penh): HPI note: we were unable to access the URL at source the day we posted this, but it should be correct.

India-Cambodia relations are traceable to 2000 years. Historically, Indian influence in culture and religion was a dominant feature in South East Asia. However, Cambodia is perhaps the only country where it still remains strongly visible in customs, rituals and way of life of the people. The landmark of this strong link is perhaps the pre-Angkor era temples, which are one of the greatest heritage monuments in the world. According to Padmasree Prof. Sachchidanand Sahai, a renowned scholar and expert on Khmer civilization, the Angkor Heritage Park, covering an area of approx. 400 sq. km. is the only mega heritage site in the world. The world famous temples of Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei, Ta Prohm, Preah Khan, Bayon, Baphuon, Phnom Bakheng and many other great temples are all located inside this Angkor Heritage Park, which is adjacent to the Siem Reap town in Cambodia.

In its present phase, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has been working on the restoration of the Ta Prohm temple since 2003. Ta Prohm temple, dedicated to Lord Brahma (Prohm) was built during the period between mid-twelfth century and early thirteenth century by Khmer King Jayavarman VII. Ta Prohm was initially constructed as a Buddhist monastery and was very wealthy in its time. It was dedicated by King Jayavarman VII to his mother.

Ta Prohm, more popularly known as Tree Temple is one of the finest specimen of Khmer creativity and architecture of the Angkorean era. ASI has successfully documented all identified structures of the temple and proposed conservation thereof. It has also successfully restored the 3rd enclosure gallery (which was completely fallen before), main causeway and the 4th enclosure Gopura.

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Hindu Devotees Celebrate Hindu Festival in Yangon, Myanmar
Posted on 2014/8/30 17:49:25 ( 686 reads )

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YANGON, MYANMAR, April 3, 2014 (EN): Vivid slideshow at "source" of Hindu devotees celebrating a Hindu festival in Yangon, Myanmar on March 30, 2014. Devotees undergo back piercing and fire-walking during the festival.

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New Hindu Chaplain at Michigan's Oakwood Hospital
Posted on 2014/8/30 17:49:18 ( 544 reads )

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DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, August 8, 2014 (PR Web): Shama Mehta didn't expect her life to change the day she interviewed for a volunteer services position at Oakwood Hospital in Dearborn. After being downsized from an administrative position with her previous employer, she knew she wanted to work in an environment where she could help other people. Mehta, a 30-year-old devout Hindu from Livonia, never considered chaplaincy and she certainly wasn't prepared for how the journey would impact her life.

A naturally enthusiastic, ambitious and positive person, Mehta has since completed her training as a hospital chaplain and is taking the final steps to receive her certification as a Board Certified Chaplain. She is now a permanent member of the Oakwood Spiritual Support staff, making it only one of two programs in in the entire country whose commitment to diversity has resulted in having Clinical Pastoral Education certified chaplains in each of the four major faiths: Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jewish.

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Sanatan Dharma Scholarships
Posted on 2014/8/30 17:49:12 ( 681 reads )



FLORIDA, U.S., August 29, 2014 (Sharma Tadepalli): HMEC 2014 Orlando, Florida invites students from State of Florida to apply for four special scholarships each $251. Eligibility for the scholarship is extended to any currently enrolled student in Florida State education system at the Middle School, High School and College level.

The Coalition of Hindu Youth (CHY) group will select the winners. CHY is an umbrella organisation among Hindu Youth and Hindu Organizations to foster unity and share resources. CHY, is a project of the World Hindu Council of America (VHPA).

For information on how to apply contact Sharma Tadepalli at "source" above. The deadline for submission is September 10th.

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Daily Inspiration
Posted on 2014/8/30 17:49:06 ( 522 reads )

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Do not be proud of wealth, people, relations and friends, or youth. All these are snatched by time in the blink of an eye. Giving up this illusory world, know and attain the Supreme.
-- Adi Shankara, 9th century Indian philosopher and saint

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This Year, Ganesha is Lord of the Apps, Too
Posted on 2014/8/29 18:50:02 ( 614 reads )

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MUMBAI, INDIA, August 27, 2014 (Times of India): A trip to the neighborhood Ganpati mandal used to be a daily affair for Rajesh Pai and his family when they were living in central Mumbai. Since the family moved to Mira Road, the annual trek to see Khetwadi's tall Ganpati statues grew difficult, till Pai discovered a mobile app.

As crowd management becomes tougher, some of the older mandals are trying to play catch up using technology. Mumbaicha Raja Android app from the Ganesh Galli mandal will be launched on Friday while Lalbaugcharaja-Official app, which was released last year and has more than 5,000 downloads, will soon have its iOS version. Khetwadicha Ganraj from Grant Road, which also has more than 5,000 downloads, is being updated with live telecast in high-definition video. All of them are free.

"Young people use their phones to watch everything. Features like live darshan are also meant for those living abroad or who are going out of Mumbai during the festival," says Bharat Bhujbal, member, Lalbaug Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal. Khetwadi's 12th Lane Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal thought of a smart app as many people, especially senior citizens, are unable to visit the crowded pandals, says committee member Ganesh Mathur.

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India Celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi
Posted on 2014/8/29 18:49:56 ( 593 reads )

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INDIA, August 29, 2014 (Indian Express): "Source" above is a colorful slideshow of India celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. As well as the traditional use of clay, Ganesha statues are created out of shells, grains, snow and even a fabulous sand sculpture.

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