Maha Shivratri: Delegation of yatrees awed by Pakistan welcome

Yatrees enter Pakistan via Wagah border. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK / EXPRESS LAHORE:  “We have received a lot of love here,” Aruna Gupta said.  Somehow, the exhaustion of having travelled by foot across the border to Pakistan from India seems lesser, as the happy pilgrim thanked the Pakistan government for giving them special care. She doesn’t feel unsafe. A Read more [...]

An Introduction to World Heritages of Nepal

An Introduction to World Heritages of Nepal Mrs. Nirmala Pokhrel Lecturer, TU, Nepal The heritage of one country use to be fascinating to other countries and people living there. Those heritages also have endless significance. Therefore, the heritages of different countries having historical, mythological, natural, cultural and archaeological significance are enlisted in the World Heritage List. UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) has been working Read more [...]

Accepting an Inclusive Identity: On Being an Indian-American Hindu

I am a product of two republics: born in India, raised in America, I typically celebrate my American national identity through holidays such as the Fourth of July because I am a naturalized US citizen. So I didn’t think to get involved when a celebration of India’s Republic Day here in Michigan included Miss America - even though I share her cultural and linguistic identity as a Telugu-speaking Indian-American. But I wondered what my friends of Indian origin do, and did a quick survey. About Read more [...]

Along a river

The parikrama is an ancient ritual of reverence for Hindus and Buddhists. Circling the sacred — stupa or temple, or a sacrificial fire, tulsi plant or peepal tree — is a form of meditation in motion. A parikrama can also be a pilgrimage, an arduous quest where bodily privations prepare the mind for spiritual enlightenment, the circuit now describing an entire town — as prescribed for Benaras, or a mountain, Kailash, or a river, Narmada. The notion of a parikrama as a small journey that may Read more [...]

The Shramana Tradition Predates The Vedas

Rahul Gandhi’s demand and the cabinet’s decision to declare Jains a national minority is a welcome but overdue decision. It rectifies an inexplicable omission since a community based on a unique faith comprising less than 0.5 per cent of the population was nationally not recognised as a religious minority! Apart from the general apathy of successive governments and the absence of a persistent demand by the Jain community, the main reason was the 2005 decision of the apex court in Bal Patil vs Read more [...]

Smithsonian’s Yoga: The Art of Transformation Brings to Light Yoga’s Hindu …

The much hyped Smithsonian exhibit, Yoga: The Art of Transformation, is packing up to move from its primary residence in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC to spring at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and summer at the Cleveland Museum of Art. My colleague Sheetal Shah and I trekked down to DC to see it earlier this winter. Honestly, we went with fairly low expectations, because of our experiences with the yoga "industry" and also because Read more [...]

Declare Diwali a School Holiday in Millburn/Short Hills

In November 2013, for the first time, more than 200 Millburn Short Hills Residents celebrated Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights that marks the beginning of the New Year for Hindus, as a community. The children participated in the religious prayers (Pooja), performed Indian Classical dances, showcased colorful sparkly new Indian Outfits during a fashion show. There was Bollywood music to dance to, Henna tattoos and gourmet Indian dinner desserts to enjoy the evening. It was a memorable evening Read more [...]

An Asian Machu Picchu?

Its existence had been inferred for long, but now archaeologists using airborne laser technology have confirmed the discovery of a lost city on the slopes of a mountain in Cambodia, a Machu Picchu of sorts, that could have an even greater impact on the Southeast Asian nation’s already booming tourist industry. A team of French and Australian archaeologists peeled away layers of jungle foliage to trace the contours of the ancient temple city of Mahendraparvat that existed some 1,200 years ago, Read more […]

Ashoka, the great British discovery

Charles Allen’s aim in writing a biography of Ashoka is laudable. However, although we know Ashoka as the benevolent, paternalistic Emperor who respected all religions while promoting Buddhism, we still don’t know enough about his life to fill 400 pages. So instead of being a biography of Ashoka, Allen’s latest book is mainly about the British men-and they are all men-who rediscovered his existence. In fact, Ashoka is a companion volume to two of Allen’s earlier works on the history of archaeology Read more […]