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Lord Ganesha Rolls Through Stuttgart

Posted on 2003/8/7 9:48:02 ( 952 reads )


STUTTGART, GERMANY, August 2, 2003: A Ratha (chariot) festival was conducted for the first time in the streets of Stuttgart by the Hindu community on Saturday, August 2. Many German residents of the city stretched their necks out of their windows, unbelievingly, as hundreds of Hindus pulled the Elephant God on a holy vehicle through the streets. For nine days, the Hindus living in Stuttgart and the surrounding region have been celebrating. This Saturday was the highpoint of the festival. "Our chariot was specially made for us in Sri Lanka," said Apputhurai Kumaran, a teacher of Hindu culture. Subsequently the vehicle was taken apart and brought in a container by airplane to Germany. Men run before the vehicle, throwing water out of buckets on the street in order to clean it for the arrival of the holy chariot. The chariot is jointly pulled by men and women, who brace themselves heavily against the ropes. A Hindu priest stands next to the Elephant God. A nageshwaram player and drummer step ahead. Behind the vehicle, two men with bare torso roll themselves over the hot asphalt, holding a coconut in their hands. Curious bystanders line the roadside asking what is the meaning of this shimmering procession. "We sometimes commit mistake in the daily life," explains Kumaran, "in this festival we can correct these mistakes." "This morning ends our festival," he says, "however in the coming year we want to pull the chariot through Stuttgart again."

On-Line Satellite View of Everest

Posted on 2003/8/7 9:47:02 ( 1162 reads )


USA, August 7, 2003: For a free space view of Mount Everest, click "source" above. Also available is a dizzying 3D fly-over of the world's highest mountain.

All-Women Reading of Ramayana in Trinidad

Posted on 2003/8/7 9:46:02 ( 1074 reads )


PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD, August 4, 2003: Three Hindu women have created a record when they read the holy Ramayana for five nights at a Ramayan Yagna hosted here. The all-women panel read from the Ramayana at the religious ceremony hosted by the Hindu Prachar Kendras Ninth Annual Tulsidas Jayanti Festival here. The triad included Mayaanti Maharaj, Gita Ramsingh and Shakuntala Jangabahadoor, all from Trinidad and Tobago. Jangabahadoor is a well-known singer and has studied classical Indian music at the Gandharva Mahavidyala, New Delhi on a Government of India scholarship. She is a secondary school teacher. Ramsingh already holds the honour of becoming the first woman to sing the Ramayana in 1990.

Puri Beach 10-Ft Sand Chariot Awes Devotees

Posted on 2003/8/7 9:45:02 ( 971 reads )

Daily Pioneer

PURI, INDIA, August 2, 2003: The crowds pouring into Puri for the rath yatra are thronging the beach to view the 10-foot sand chariot crafted by famous sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik. Apart from being Patnaik's personal tribute to the three deities of the historic Jagannath temple who make their annual journey to their aunt's house in July, the creation has brought alive the legend of Balram Das, the author of Dandi Ramayana. The legend says that the temple priests once denied Balram Das the honor of paying his respects to the Deities seated on Their chariots during the yatra. Saddened, Das, known for his devotion to Lord Jagannath went to the seashore and crafted three chariots out of sand and began worshiping the Deities there. The Deities were so pleased with his devotion that They abandoned Their chariots waiting to roll on the Grand Road outside the temple and seated Themselves on the sand carts carved out by Das. Bereft of the Deities, the raths at temple gate refused to budge, much to the disappointment of the assembled crowd and the king. Later in the night the king had a vision where the Lord explained to him the reasons for the fiasco. The repentant king made amends and since then Balram Das has remained part of Orissa's folklore.

Controversial UK Hindu prayer hall granted permission to continue services

Posted on 2003/8/7 9:44:02 ( 1027 reads )

The Times

LONDON, ENGLAND, August 1, 2003: A Hindu prayer hall in Hounslow, England, has been granted permission to continue holding services for another three years. Residents of the area had complained of increased traffic and smell from spicy cooking and incense and had called for enforcement action to stop activities at the hall. But a decision was deferred three times. The Shree Jalarma Seva Trust, which conducts services and prayers at the hall, was granted permission last week to continue its activities with conditions attached by the Hounslow Central Area Planning Committee in a vote which split councillors. The issue began in 2001 when an outbuilding behind the Hussar Public House was first used for religious and social gatherings. The building was later extended, an extractor duct installed and a portable building erected without planning permission. Residents have continually complained about the noise of worshippers coming and going, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, noise from a PA system, the sound of drums and the smell of cooking and incense. The neighbors are upset. One lady who represented people on Gloucester Road was asked at the meeting if she likes curry. She replied that she probably likes curry and eats curry, but she doesn't want her curtains smelling of it. On July 24, council officers again called for an enforcement order at the Hounslow Central Area Committee meeting but councillors voted to grant the trust another three years to operate as a prayer hall. Councillor Bob Whatley, vice chair of the Committee, told the Times the committee had been split over the decision: "It was certainly far from unanimous. The idea is to try to work with them to find a more suitable site."

Amarnath, Symbol Of Indian Brotherhood

Posted on 2003/8/7 9:43:02 ( 1293 reads )

Press Trust Of India

AMARNATH, INDIA, July 31, 2003: Amarnath is one Hindu pilgrimage run and managed to a large extent by Muslims in the militancy-tormented Kashmir valley in the northern tip of India. Nearly the entire infrastructure back-up for the month-long annual Amarnath Yatra, in which devout Hindus trek the arduous terrain to pay obeisance to an annual ice formation as a symbol of Lord Siva, is provided by Muslims, making it what locals describe "as a symbol of Indian brotherhood." Mushtaq Ahmed sells religious items like photographs, saffron headbands and food for the yatra. He is one among more than a hundred Muslims who have set up a string of makeshift-shops in the run up to the cave selling religious items. Thousands of tentwallahas, horsemen and "pitthus" (luggage carriers) consider it their duty to ensure each pilgrim have the darshan of the Holy Lingam. They also call it their '"rozi-roti" (literally, "job and bread," like the expression "bread and butter") which enables them to earn and save for the rest of the year. Though community kitchens, set up at all major stops en route the cave shrine, have made the yatra a trifle easier, pilgrims concede that but for the locals who work as pony-men, tent-men and pitthus, the arduous 20-mile trek at 14,000 feet in the ice-clad Himalayas is impossible.

One Million Witness Puri Chariot Yatra

Posted on 2003/8/6 9:49:02 ( 904 reads )

Daily Pioneer

PURI, INDIA, August 2, 2003: The Grand road in Puri was crowded with people on Tuesday as nearly 1 million devotees turned up to witness the annual Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath and His two siblings, Balbhadra and Subhadra. The Deities were carried to their gaily decorated chariots amid the beating of drums and cymbals. The chariots began rolling following the ceremonial sweeping of their decks by Gajpati Divya Singhdeo, the maharajah of Puri, and the worship of the Deities by the Sankaracharya. This Rath Yatra has been one of the most expensive in history. Sources said the total expenditure was around US$400,000, which went into setting up amenities like toilets, water taps and first aid units for the pilgrims, besides feeding the huge contingent of policemen deployed to maintain law and order. Security was heightened in view of the perceived terrorist threat to the 12th century Jagannath temple. Orissa Armed Police were on 24-hour duty as were special anti-riot forces. Puri municipality had made special arrangements for pilgrims and tourists on the sea beach considered to be among the best in the country. Most of the tourists were seen taking a dip in the sea after they had pulled at least one of the three chariots.

300,000 Malaysian Hindu Students Attend Education Pilgrimage

Posted on 2003/8/6 9:48:02 ( 1046 reads )

Press Reports

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA, August 4, 2003: The annual Kalvi Yathrai (education pilgrimage) jointly organized by the Sri Murugan Centre (SMC) and the Sri Maha Mariamman Kovil Devastanam was held on the August 3, 2003, at the Batu Caves Sri Subramaniamswami Temple in Kuala Lumpur. Some 300,000 people comprising students and their families gathered at the foot of the 272-step Batu Caves temple (well known among Malaysians for its Thaipusam festival) since early in the morning to observe the pilgrimage. Participants started off with a mass meditation and prayer session. Included in the session was motivational talks given by students and SMC directors, including its founder, Dr. M. Thambirajah. The participants climbed the 272 steps up the hill to pay homage to Lord Muruga. SMC co-director L. Krishnan said that their main objective is to increase the number of Indian intellectuals in Malaysia by producing high academic achievers. Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia Veena Sikri and National Land Finance Co-operative Society chairman K. R. Somasundram attended the event.

Group Protests Police Involvement in Temple Burning

Posted on 2003/8/6 9:47:02 ( 1025 reads )


SHAH ALAM, MALAYSIA, August 2, 2003: A group of Hindu devotees delivered a protest note to the Inspector General of Police, Norian Mai, today over alleged police involvement in the destruction and arson of a 100-year old temple in Shah Alam. The Sri Kalikamba Kamadeswarar temple, which served residents formerly living in the Ebor palm oil estate in Batu Tiga, was said to have been destroyed during the early hours of June 14 by a group of unidentified individuals, and witnessed by police officers. About 40 people, including Hindu activists and devotees of the Ebor temple, arrived outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur this morning to submit their joint letter of protest.

Honoring Two Great Civil Rights Legends

Posted on 2003/8/6 9:46:02 ( 946 reads )


MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, July 31, 2003: The East Indian community in Memphis has found an inspiring way to give back to their community. After raising US$100,000, they have funded an exhibit where the exemplary lives of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King can be remembered. To inaugurate the opening of the exhibit, India's ambassador to the United States, Lalit Mansingh, was invited to the National Civil Rights Museum. It is known that Martin Luther King modelled his civil rights campaign of nonviolent passive resistance upon Gandhi's tactics. In King's words, "Gandhi was inevitable. If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable....We may ignore him at our own risk." Gandhi's life has been captured in video segments and in text on wall panels where patrons can view the exhibit when they exit from the museum's main galleries. Beverly Robertson, museum executive director says, "The exhibit is a perfect fit for the museum's expanded focus from civil rights to the broader umbrella of human rights." Dr. Benjamin Hooks, museum chairman adds, "Mahatma Gandhi was perhaps the pre-eminent gospel of the nonviolent movement....King was a student of the nonviolent movement." April, 2003, marked the 35th anniversary since Martin Luther King's death and the exhibit was established to honor the ties between the two civil rights legends.

Coke, Pepsi Full Of Pesticides, Says Study; Companies Deny It

Posted on 2003/8/6 9:45:02 ( 1010 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, August 5, 2003: In findings, hotly contested by global giants Coke and Pepsi, the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) picked up three bottles each of 12 soft drink brands from the two companies from Delhi and found they contained a "deadly pesticide cocktail" which exceed European norms by around 11 to 70 times. But these do not breach Indian laws which, said the CSE, are weak or non-existent. Rivals Coke and Pepsi, accused of "double standards," came together to challenge CSE's testing methods. They sought an independent scientific inquiry into the matter, while claiming that their products were safe and world-class. Our products are tested locally, in accredited labs, and internationally, said Coke and Pepsi chiefs Sanjeev Gupta and Rajeev Bakshi respectively. Both companies claim that they operate within European and American norms with "top-grade testing, top-grade products." CSE chief Sunita Narain said sample bottles picked up from the US showed no trace of pesticides. However, CSE found high individual pesticide residues in the Delhi samples: An average of 15 times higher for DDT and metabolites; 21 times higher for lindane; 42 times higher for chlorphyrifos; 87 times higher for malathion. On the list, all allegedly breaching the norms, were Coke, Pepsi, Thums Up, Fanta, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda Lemon, Seven Up, Limca, Blue Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Diet Pepsi and Sprite.

HPI has contacted the USA Coca-Cola company, whose representative is finding out for us the name of the independent labs that tested the product. The USA Coca-Cola company said, "Coca-Cola and Pepsi products made in India are regularly tested in world-class laboratories, including for the four pesticides named in the CSE report. The products meet North American and European standards. Stringent quality monitoring takes places at the manufacturing plants both of source water and finished product, and internationally and locally accredited laboratories conduct regular testing."

Corrected URL: Four-Year Old Recalls a Previous Lifetime

Posted on 2003/8/6 9:44:02 ( 1057 reads )


CHANDNER, GHAZIABAD, August 1, 2003: Recalling his previous life in perfect detail, four-year-old Aishwary was taken by his parents in this life to meet his former family. At first, his father of this life was skeptical about the four-year old's stories, but he finally decided to look into the child's reminiscences. After contacting the villagers of Kamalpur to confirm Aishwary's details of his former life, the child's father of this life confirmed that Aishwary had been Vir Pal, an electrician who died on July 27, 1997. When Aishwary was taken by his father to meet his former family, he was able to recognize his former wife, children, uncle, aunt and his old friends. As a result, Aishwary has been the center of attraction in his village.

HPI adds: The above URL is corrected for this story. Other URL's yesterday for some reason brought up pages of text with the HTML code visible, but they were the correct stories.

Kaua'i Temple Rising

Posted on 2003/8/3 9:49:02 ( 1120 reads )


KAUAI, HAWAII, July 31, 2003: San Marga Iraivan Temple, rising on the grounds of the 33-year-old Saiva Siddhanta Church monastery, (also home of Hinduism Today and HPI) is built of Indian white granite and formed by Indian stonemasons. It is fulfilling the vision of the late Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, known to his followers as Gurudeva, founder of the church and its monastery. Hindu pilgrims from around the world are arriving daily to worship at the edifice. The temple has been several years under construction and has at least seven more years before it is complete. Its designers intend it to last 1,000 years. Its concrete foundation, 68 feet by 168 feet and 3 feet thick was designed not to crack, even under the estimated 3.2-million-pound load of a massive granite temple structure. The granite is being hand-quarried by 70 stonemasons near Bangalore in India. Beams and blocks of stone are carved there, then shipped to Kaua'i. Final shaping and fitting is done on site by a team of Indian masons under the supervision of master builder Shanmugan Sthapati. The heart of the temple has a special chamber that will contain a 700-pound crystal called the Sivalingam, which now is in the monastery's smaller Kadavul temple. San Marga Iraivan is a Chola-style temple of the southern part of India. It is dedicated to the Hindu god, Siva. "Gurudeva envisioned it as a place of pilgrimage," said Gurudeva's successor, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami. "Hindus are encouraged to take a pilgrimage annually to a distant place. This is a convenient location for North American Hindus. Already we have lots of people coming every month."

Digging up the Saraswati River to Reveal Ancient Cultural Sites

Posted on 2003/8/3 9:48:02 ( 869 reads )


NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 26, 2003: In an attempt to uncover ancient Hindu cultural sites, the Indian government, in collaboration with the Department of Tourism, has started excavating along the legendary Saraswati River from Haryana to Gujarat. The task is an arduous one in a land where the local people are often not aware of the value of their heritage and artefacts from cultural sites are often smuggled out of the country. Tourism Minister Jagmohan says, "We are shortly coming up with an amendment to the existing legislation on protection of antiques and arts which will make illegal trafficking a cognisable offense and give police the powers of seizure." As they forge ahead with the excavation, it is expected that treasures, such as abandoned towns and inhabitations from the Harappan civilization dating well before 3000 bce, will be revealed. The Tourism Department has grand plans to house the artefacts uncovered in museums to attract tourists. Communities along the dried up river have been encouraged to keep the environment around the heritage sites clean. After Jagmohan addressed an interactive meeting organized by UNESCO about the heritage sites, Indian-born Australian Amareswar Galla commented, "As long as you have poverty, you will have problem with dealing illicit trafficking in cultural property, be it India or elsewhere."

Four-Year Old Recalls a Previous Lifetime

Posted on 2003/8/3 9:47:02 ( 954 reads )


CHANDNER, GHAZIABAD, August 1, 2003: Recalling his previous life in perfect detail, four-year-old Aishwary was taken by his parents in this life to meet his former family. At first, his father of this life was skeptical about the four-year old's stories, but he finally decided to look into the child's reminiscences. After contacting the villagers of Kamalpur to confirm Aishwary's details of his former life, the child's father of this life confirmed that Aishwary had been Vir Pal, an electrician who died on July 27, 1997. When Aishwary was taken by his father to meet his former family, he was able to recognize his former wife, children, uncle, aunt and his old friends. As a result, Aishwary has been the center of attraction in his village.

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