Tag Archives: Festivals

Janmashtami 2020 – The Celebrations of Krishna Birth

Krishna Janmashtami is an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is observed according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, on the eighth day of the Krishna Paksha in Shraavana or Bhadrapad, which overlaps with August or September of the Gregorian calendar.

This year – Janmashtami falls on 12-Aug-2020

The celebrations are being done on family level and most of them either celebrating with a Krishna idol in cradle or dressing their little kids as young Krishna.

Overall ambiance has uplifted due to the celebrations and it is going to increase with more festivals in line.

Krishna is considered to be the avatar of Vishnu, one of the Trinity – other two being Shiv and Brahma.

The Purpose of Birth

Krishna’s avatar was responsible for curbing the evil spread by Kansh who happens to be his maternal uncle. The birth story of Krishna involves lot of hurdles which his parents being put in prison and how he escapes it in a magical way. The Leela of Krishna starts from early childhood and continues until he plays a crucial role in the Kuruskshetra war between Pandavs and Kauravs.

Krishna has provided baseline lessons regarding every phase of life and also preached about the right way to live :

  • He has shown by example of his life.
  • He overcame his situations and became the master of it.
  • He faced innate difficulties yet always showcased positivity.
  • He was a guide in true sense.
  • He was a warrior in his own life.
  • He was a musician – playing beautiful music on flute.
  • He was a king. He was a ruler of Dwarka. He was a good friend to Sudhama.
  • He was a charmer in love and relationships.

He has so many names based on his Leelas and roles he has taken in his life. And he has left behind a blueprint for living social life. He has given his teachings in the form of Geeta – The Bhagavad Geeta – one of the finest lessons of life. It is said that all answers lie within it. One who seeks will find it.

Krishna belief has transformed India in ways that has never happened. Places like Mathura, Vrindavan and Dwarka are associated with Krishna. These places are considered to be Religious spots and are revoured deeply by the people of India.

Dwarka is considered to be one of the “Char Dham” – places of prime religious importance. The Char Dham are located in different directions of India forming a logical geographical boundary. Badrinath in the North, Jagannath Puri in the East, Rameshwaram in the South and Dwarka in the West.

The disciples of Krishna are huge and follow various interdisciplinary ideologies based in location and the era they belong to. Similar one modern belief group of Krishna – ISKCON is internationally famous and followed across countries around the world. The people who seek peace and harmony, find the answers and way through the consciousness.

The beauty of the Life of Krishna has lessons which are timeless, priceless and very much relevant in modern times. We can seek and find ways to uplift our social, personal and professional lives.

May you find the path you seek – by consciousness.


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Festivals in India : Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti is celebrated as the birthday of Mahavir on Chaitrya Sud Triyodashi. Mahavir is consider to be the founder or proposer of modern day Jainism. Jainism is one of the oldest religions known today and its origins lie in India. Theologians often classify Jainism as a philosophy, a way of living life, rather than a religion.

Jainism is a non-theistic religion. There is no concept of God or spiritual beings. There’s no one to create, maintain or destroy the universe. The only thing which maintains the universe is, the universe itself. No one is superior to the laws of the universe. Jains believe that there were 24 great teachers, the first one named Rishabh Dev ji and the last of whom was Lord Mahavir who lived during 6th century B.C. Mahavir is regarded as the man who gave Jainism its present-day form. These twenty-four teachers are called Tirthankars– people who had attained all knowledge while living (Moksh) and preached it to the people. The Tirthankars were all humans once, they did some good deeds and were eligible for being a Thirthankar in next incarnation. Jinas are believed to reside in the top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, liberated souls are revered more than the gods.

PALITANA

Jains believe in reincarnation and seek to attain ultimate liberation – which means escaping the continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The ultimate goal is to get rid of one’s karma on their soul so that they may end this cycle. Once this goal is reached their soul has attained all knowledge and it rests in the heavens forever (Nirvana). This is similar to the preachings of Buddhism, but the principle and path to achieve Nirvana are slightly different. It is a matter of lot of speculations between the historians to find, if any connection between Buddha and Mahavira.

The way to get rid of one’s karma is to follow certain rules of doing good somewhat similar to the ten commandments in Christianity or the eight-fold path in Buddhism.

These include the principles of:

  • Ahimsa – To protect all life (non-violence)
  • Satya – To speak truth
  • Asteya – To not steal
  • Brahmacharya – To not commit adultery
  • Aparigraha – To limit one’s possessions

Jains uphold these principles by practicing vegetarianism, non-violence in thought, deed, and action.

The three guiding principles of Jainism, the ‘three jewels’, are right belief, right knowledge and right conduct.

In present day India, large group of Jains can be found in States of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The two prominent pilgrim centres for Jains are Sikharji located in Jharkhand and Palitana in Gujarat. Both the pilgrim centres are located on hill stations and they take the test of Pilgrims.

PALITANA TEMPLES IN GUJARAT

Jain culture is divided into 2 sects:

  • Shwetambar : Shwet (White) + Ambar (Clothes)
  • Digambar: Dig (Sky) +Ambar (Clothes).

Both the sects have their own monks and nuns. Monks of Shwetambar sect wear white clothes with little to no stitches and Digambar monks live completely naked. This is because Digambars believe that one can only lead the life of a true monk by having no worldly possessions and by demonstrating indifference to earthly emotions such as shame. They consider themselves clothed by directions. Nuns of both the sects are white clothed.


FESTIVALS IN INDIA

HOLI • GANESH CHATURTHI • RAKSHABANDAN • JANMASTAMI • NAVRATRI • DUSSHERA • DURGA POOJA • DIWALI • CHRISTMAS • BIHU • UGADI • PONGAL • ONAM • SANKRANTI • UTTARAYAN • PARYUSHANMAHAVIR JAYANTI • RAMADAN – EID • BAKRI – EID • PATETI

GET FEATURED

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Paryushan | Festival of Forgiveness in Jainism, India

Paryushan is one of the most important festivals for Jains. Normally Shwetambar Jains refer it as Paryushan, while Digambar Jains refer it as Daslakshana. It lasts 8 days for shwetambars and 10 days for digambaras. It is a festival where the entire community strives towards self-purification through fasting and sacrifice. At the heart of the philosophy behind Paryushan are ten universal virtues that is believed to help us purify and rectify our minds.

The ten universal virtues are:

  • Forbearance, exercising self-control
  • Gentleness, being kind to the nature
  • Uprightness, being honest with oneself
  • Purity, having clean thoughts and actions
  • Truth, being truthful
  • Restraint, exercising control over desires
  • Austerity, consuming only according to necessity
  • Renunciation, learning to sacrifice
  • Lack of possession, donating excesses to needy
  • Chastity, sexual restraint.

Paryushan means “abiding” or “coming together”. It is more of following strict Jainism for 8 days. Most people observe fast during these days. They survive on boiled water, which is consumed only between sunrise and sunset for 8 days. Those who are not on fast try not to eat anything else than cereal and pulses (no vegetables, no fruits), as cereals and pulses are considered to have least number of organism whom you can harm. These 8 days are celebrated with great enthusiasm.

We also perform Pratikraman on these days. Though few people do it on a daily basis. Pratikraman means turning back. It is a form of meditation where one reflects on his spiritual journey and renews his faith.

For both Shwetambars and Digambars, it takes the form of periodic meditation. Jains are considered to perform atleats one annual Pratikraman on the last day of Paryushan. This day is called Samvatsari.

On this day we request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year. Forgiveness is asked by telling “Micchami Dukkadam” or “Uttam Kshama” to each other.

It means “If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought word or deed, then I seek your forgiveness“. This is my favorite part.


FESTIVALS IN INDIA

HOLI • GANESH CHATURTHI • RAKSHABANDAN • JANMASTAMI • NAVRATRI • DUSSHERA • DURGA POOJA • DIWALI • CHRISTMAS • BIHU • UGADI • PONGAL • ONAM • SANKRANTI • UTTARAYAN • PARYUSHANMAHAVIR JAYANTI • RAMADAN – EID • BAKRI – EID • PATETI

GET FEATURED

Do you like to write your opinions, thoughts and musings. Are you a veteran writer or budding blogger looking for a platform to share their work, then we have space to cover you. Send us your entries and get featured on our website. We will add reference link to your website or social media page. If you send works of others in part or full, provide due credits. Say no to plagiarism.

See the Flower Full Moon from Surat, on the auspicious Buddha Purnima 7 May 2020

Enjoy beautiful experience of looking at Sunset and Moonrise back to back. As well as spotting Venus planet and Antares star.

WHERE
In Surat, India
Co-ordinates are 21.1 ° N latitude 72.8° E longitude

WHEN
7th May 2020

WHAT YOU CAN SEE

Sunset, Full Moonrise, Venus, Antares.

WHAT YOU NEED
Sense of DirectionObservation Skills & Patience a lot of it.


DATEMOONRISEMOONSET
05-May5:00 pm 93° E4:30 am 271° W
06-May6:03 pm 99° E5:14 am 264° W
07-May7:08 pm 105° E5:58 am 258° W
08-May8:13 pm 110° E6:45 am 252° W
MOON RISE n SET TIME IN SURAT

Moon rises almost an hour late than the previous night.

DATESUNRISESUNSET
05-May6:05 am 72° E7:05 pm 288° W
06-May6:05 am 72° E7:05 pm 289° W
07-May6:04 am 72° E7:06 pm 289° W
08-May6:04 am 72° E7:06 pm 289° W
SUN RISE & SET TIME IN SURAT

Day length is 13 hrs.


To get the best experience of full moon, observe the position of Moon and Sun, from your location today onwards. Once you get the hang of the position when the Sunrises and Sunsets, while at the same time knowing the position of Moon in the sky from your location helps in getting the first glimpses of Moon as it comes out of the horizon. If you are lucky, you will see orange-red shining Moon, that looks just like the Sun.

On 7th May 2020 Moonrise happens right after the Sunset. This is because Moon is exactly opposite to the Sun in it’s orbit around the Earth. This happens on every Full Moon. Hence it is the best time to enjoy Skygazing as you will be able to see, Sunset, Moonrise, Stars and Planets in the span of 1 to 2 hours, covering your quest for a total experience.

SUNSET FROM FLYOVER IN SURAT

As you look at the Sun from 6:30 PM in the west, sky will change it’s colour from blue to orange to red to dark blue and then eventually turning black. As the Sun goes down the horizon or in our case of being in urban city like Surat, it will be behind some buildings. Only near the Tapi river or in the outskirts of city, do we have the luxury of being able to see the horizon.

Sunset between building in Surat.

Patience is the key.

Wait and watch for the Moon. It’s time to face east now. If you have observed the Moon on 5th and 6th May, you will get clarity on where it rises from in your location. If there are buildings obstructing in your vicinity, it’s better to position yourself on top of a building or move somewhere so that you can see the horizon.

Moon isn’t visible right away. Even though Moon comes above the horizon, it is not visible to us due to pollution in city as well as the luminance is not at it’s maximum. Once it goes up around 10° above the horizon, it can be easily spotted. If you are lucky to be in the right place and have keen observation, you may be able to see it below that point as well.

Moonrise in Surat

Moon is magic. Once you see the first glimpse of Moon rising behind the trees or dark clouds or some far off houses, you will be captivated in the magic. It takes around 15-20 mins for the Moon to be clearly visible. So in this case it will be around 7:30 PM you can be sure to get a clear glimpse. To be able to see before that luck is needed.

Feel spiritual vibes while skygazing on Buddha Purnima.

Moon changes it’s colour as it comes up in the sky. When you first see the Moonrise, it may shine bright red, dark red or pinkish in colour. As it goes up it certainly changes from being red to being yellow and then as it goes up in the sky it changes to its popular full moon white bright colour. If you cannot see the Moonrise, you just have to wait until it has gone around a building or rise past some obstruction for it to be visible from your balcony, window, terrace or house.

Look for planets and stars as well. As you wait while Moon is rising or once it has been seen until your heart is filled with joy, happiness and serenity, you can look for VENUS which will be visible in the West. Also you can look a bit towards the South-East near the horizon or a bit high up by 9pm, to be able to see ANTARES.

Feeling hungry is common. You may get tired by constant gazing of sky from 6:30 PM till 8:30 PM, so it is better to keep some light snacks with you as well as sufficient water. It is best accompanied with some light music. By the time you are done with looking at all the shining objects in the sky, you will be hungry for your dinner, so go and grab something to eat.

Wonderful experience. Looking at the sky on any given day or night is a beautiful experience but when you have a lot happening on a single night within a span of hours then it’s the best experience. Enjoy sky gazing with your friends or young children.

Looking at Moonrise on a Full Moon is captivating experience that you can never forget.

SUPERMOON

On 7 May 2020, the distance of Moon from Earth is around 3.59 lakh km, while on 15 May 2020 it goes far off 4.0 lakh km. Moon comes close to Earth that’s why it appears bigger than usual and the Full Moon is sometimes referred to as super-moon.


Let us know how your experience was in the comments section below. Feel free to ask any questions related to Full moon or sky-gazing in general. Share your view and share it with your friends.

Galteshwar Mahadev Mandir, Temples in Surat


Galteshwar Mahadev Mandir, is a prominent temple of Shiv also called as Mahadev, the ultimate God. This temple is built in the recent past and is a piece of architecture, art, sculpture, spirituality, meditation and religious importance.

Galteshwar is a village near by the outskirts of Surat. It is located around 15km from Kamrej, which is a major bus halt on the national highway between Mumbai-Vadodara, further going to Ahmedabad, Jaipur or Delhi. When you go from Kamrej towards Galteshwar, you will go through villages with lot of greenery, farming and simple living. The smell of the mud, sugarcane will make you soon recall what a beautiful countryside we have in India. Not so far from the fastest growing city, you will experience the beauty of nature and be close to mother Earth.

As wonderful and heartwarming the journey to Mahadev Mandir will be, once you reach the premises of the temple, you will realise another beautiful aspect of India, divinity, spirituality and magnificent impact on the lifes of India. You can see Mahadev (Shiv) from far glazing in blue and attracting you to be in close contact to the divinity. You can sense an auro of sacred place and instantly connect with the surrounding.

SHIV, IN MEDIDATION

This is one of the simplest of all the temples you may find. As the meditating Shiv, is deeply engrossed within himself, not disturbed by the constant hustle of the people who are only interested in taking selfies with him, never bothered about the importance of sitting quietly for once. As you will realise that the art has been dealt with precision and care. If you observe the Shiv, you will find that intricate details of meditation, being one with self and the sense of awakening being in that state for a long time, is very well projected out from magical blue and his presence is instantly felt.

To become one with Him and experience divinity, you don’t necessarily have to travel to the Mount Kailash, you can come to Galteshwar and keep your phone/camera aside. Just look at the magistic beauty of Shiv in meditation, listen to the musical resonance of the giant bell and take a dip in Tapi river only to feel clean within and happy about the entire experience. Walk home with a new sense of reawakening.

JYOTIRLING

The Shiv is built over a man-made replica of Kailash parvat(hills), underneath with neatly crafted cave, takes you through a walk of replicas of Jyotirling in India. Jyotirling are the 12 prominent place of worship of Lord Shiv in India. This places of worship are spread across various states in India. Inside the cave, you will find the history of each place as well as the replica of Shiv Ling (the marvelous symbolic representation of Shiv). One particular Ling of Kailash Mansarovar (Amarnath) is very well replicated like you walk through the mountains of Himalayas and look at the Ling made from ice. All other replicas are also very well demonstrated.

TAPI RIVER

Once you walk through the cave, you come out with a feeling of reaching various places in India. As you look behind you the tall structure of Shiv, gigantic and shining in every sense, you cannot stop feeling mesmerized by the divinity in himself. As it is located near Tapi River, you can see Sunrise and Sunset alongside this place. It adds to the experience of this temple.

GIANT BELL

As you walk around you will find a huge temple bell, which creates a resonating sound that lasts for around a minute, when you ring it. The resonance seems to wash off all your negativity and disturbance in your mind, if only you let that music reach your heart. There are other temples with some history around. You can visit each one of them.

DIP IN TAPI RIVER

Near by the bell, there is a walk way down towards the Tapi River for the devotees to take a bath in the river. However it seems to be closed for some renovation. Once open, this place is considered to be of equal importance as taking a bath in of the Triveni Sangam (meeting of rivers).

HOW TO REACH

This place is located in a village, a bit secluded from the city so you must plan your travel before hand. The best experience would be if you take personal vehicle or book a cab/auto for entire journey. Also preferably go with the sunlight times that is 8am-6pm. After sunset this place and the route becomes too dark, however roads are in good condition.

If you take bus till Kamrej BRTS, try to take an auto on the other side of Highway to the temple and return. It may cost you anywhere between 150-200 Rs. If you can find a direct bus that runs from Surat Bus Stand to Galteshwar, then nothing like it but it will be recommended to check your return plan before you start.

If you drive, then follow the below route to the location.


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Aaspass Dada Mandir | Temples in Surat

Aaspass Dada Mandir is located in Godadara, towards the far end of Surat city outskirts in the South East Zone. It is a very popular temple in the locality.

Every year Aaspass Mela, an exhibition cum fair is organised in a ground near by the temple, where thousands of devotees and visitors come to see the grandeur celebrations and buy households and decors. Celebrations begin during the week of Diwali vacations in schools and offices. Usually held in October or November every year.

IMG_20190129_143849
Aaspass Mandir Entrance Gate

How to Reach

  • Bus
    • Regular buses run from Surat Railway Station (Bus No 254) and Chowk (Bus No 204) to Aaspass Temple. Surat SitiLink buses (blue color buses) are a bit crowded towards this route. It will cost you around 12-15 Rs. Buses will drop you right out the entrance gate.
  • BRTS
    • Take a BRTS bus towards Godadara and get down at Aaspass Dada Temple Stop. You can alternatively come to Vishvakarma BRTS Junction on canal route and change to Godadara.
    • Nearest BRTS stop is Aaspass Dada Temple BRTS. You will have to walk for about 5 minutes to reach the temple.
  • Auto
    • You get shared auto-rickshaws from Surat Railway Station for about 20 Rs. You can take a direct auto, which will cost you around 100-150 Rs depending on the time of day and your bargaining skills.
  • Online Cab booking
    • You can try to book Ola/Uber online, however most of the times you get a cancellation/over charge request by the drivers as the commute to this area is very less. Plan your journey accordingly.

Below is the location on maps for your ease of navigation and planning.

Be sure to carry cash as most of  the stores/shops don’t have electronic transactions. You may however be lucky to have e-wallet payment options available.