Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunderbans National Park

national park sundarban
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sundarbans National Park is a magnificent tangle of mangrove jungle that's the only one of its kind in the world. It's spread over 54 islands and extends into neighboring Bangladesh. Part of the Sundarbans is home to a 2,585 sq kilometer (1,606 sq mile) Tiger Reserve, which includes a 1,330 sq kilometer (826 sq mile) national park.

The Sundarbans has three wildlife sanctuaries, one within the national park at Sajnekhali, as well as south of the park at Lothian Island and Haliday Island. In addition to tigers, the area is full of reptiles, birds, and other animals such as monkeys, wild boar, and deer. 

Wildlife of Sunderbans:
The Sunderbans forest is home to more than 250 tigers. The Bengal Tigers have adapted themselves very well to the saline and aqua environs and are extremely good swimmers. As you enter the adventurous wild land of the Sunderbans you'll be thrilled to see the chital deer and rhesus monkey. The aqua fauna of Sunderbans include a variety of fishes, red fiddler crabs and hermit crabs.There are crocodiles, which can be often seen along the mud banks. Sunderbans National Park is also noted for its conservation of the Ridley Sea Turtle. There is an incredible variety of reptiles also found in Sundarbans, which includes king cobra, rock python and water monitor. The endangered river Terrapin, Batagur baska is found on the Mechua Beach, while the Barking Deer is found only in Holiday Island in Sunderbans.

The Ecological System in the Sundarbans National Park:

The Landscape in the Sundarbans National Park
The area that makes up the Sunderban National Park is the largest estuarine mangrove forest in the world. With the altitude averaging at 7.5 m above sea level, there is hardly any highland variation throughout the park at the Sundarbans. The park is dotted with 54 small islands that are networked by many tributaries of the mighty rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra, which finally flow out at the southern tip into the Bay of Bengal.

The Flora in Sundarbans National Park
The main forest cover in the Sunderbans comprises of estuarine mangrove forests intermixed by swamp and littoral forests. There is mangrove scrub forest, salt water mixed forest, brackish water mixed forest and alluvial grasslands. Due to the dense and huge forest reserve, Sundarbans has also been classified as a World Biosphere Reserve. Some of the more commonly found plants and trees in the park are Genwa, Dhundal, Passur, Garjan, Kankra and Goran.

The Fauna in the Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans forest is home to more than 400 tigers. The Royal Bengal Tigers have adapted themselves very well to the saline and aqua surroundings and are extremely good swimmers.

The animal number of the Sundarbans is quite varied keeping it's climatic conditions in mind. Apart from the Royal Bengal Tiger, Sundarbans houses - Fishing Cats, Macaques, Wild Boar, Common Grey Mongoose, Fox, Jungle Cat, Flying Fox, Indian Pangolin, Chitals, etc.

The Avifauna in the Sundarbans National Park
Due to climatic conditions popular at the park, it creates an ideal habitat for the native as well as migratory birds of a numerous variety. Some of the more popular birds found in this region are - Open Billed Storks, White Ibis, Water Hens, Coots, Pheasant Tailed Jacanas, Pariah Kites, Brahminy Kites, Marsh Harriers, Swamp Partridges, Red Jungle Fowls, Spotted Doves, Common Mynahs, Jungle Crows, Jungle Babblers, Cotton Teals, Herring Gulls, Caspian Terns, Gray Herons, Brahminy Ducks, Spotted Billed Pelicans, Large Egrets, Night Herons, Common Snipes, Wood Sandpipers, Green Pigeons, Rose Ringed Parakeets, Paradise Flycatchers, Cormorants, Fishing Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Seaguls, Common Kingfishers, Peregrine falcons, Woodpeckers, Whimprels, Black-Tailed Godwits, Little Stints, Eastern Knots, Curlews, Golden Plovers, Pintails, White Eyed Pochards and Whistling Teals.

The Aquafauna in the Sundarbans National Park
Some of the fish and amphibians found in the parks are Saw Fish, Butter Fish, Electric Rays, Silver Carp, Star Fish, Common Carp, Crabs, Prawn, Shrimps, gangetic Dolphins, Skipping Frogs, Common Toads and Tree Frogs.

The Reptiles in the Sundarbans National Park
The Sundarbans National Park has an excellent number of reptiles that are seen within its area. Some of the most seen are - Olive Ridley Turtles, Sea Snakes, Dog Faced Water Snakes, Green Turtles, Estuarine Crocodiles, Chameleons, King Cobras, Salvator Lizards, Hard Shelled Batgun Terrapins, Russels Vipers, Mouse Ghekos, Monitor Lizards, Curviers, Hawks Bill Turtles, Pythons, Common Kraits, Chequered Killbacks and rat Snakes

Sundarbans Cost:
Boats can be hired for around 600 rupees ($14) for half a day and 1000 rupees ($23) for a full day. A guide costs around 300 rupees ($7), and a boat permit 50 rupees ($2.30). The entrance fee for the national park is 150 rupees ($3.50), as well as 20 rupees (50 cents) for a camera and 300 rupees ($7) for a video camera. Tour operators offer fully inclusive packages from 1400 rupees ($32) to over 5000 rupees ($120) per person, depending on the duration (one or two nights) and standard of accommodations.

How to reach Sundarbans National Park
Sundarbans National Park is located in south eastern fringe of Indian state West Bengal and part of Sundarbans Reserve Forest. The adjacent inhabited areas of Indian part of Sundarban are well connected with Kolkata by both roadways and railways.And kolkata is well connected with big cities in India by Road, Rail and Air. Kolkata is also connected with Bangkok, Singapore, Hongkong,Kathmandu, Dhaka etc. by Air.

Places connected with Kolkata and from where a motor boat take you to Sundarban National Park.

Godkhali Port- located just opposite of Gosaba Island and Gosaba is the last inhabited islands towards Sajnekhali Wild life sanctuary and Sundarban Tiger project area of Sundarban reserve forest. The shortest route distance to Godkhali port from Kolkata is 82 km and 95 km from Kolkata airport (Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport). 

Koikhali- koikhali is nearer to the Haliday wildlife sanctuary and Tourists attractions like Bonnie camp, Kalas Island and beach, Haliday Island etc. of Sundarban reserve forest. Koikhali is 83 and 92 km away from Kolkata and Kolkata airport respectively. 

Namkhana- Namkhana is 117 km away from Kolkata and 123 km away from Kolkata Airport. Namkhana is also connected with railway from Kolkata and distance is 109 km. This place is closer to Bhagabatpur crocodile project and Lothian wildlife sanctuary of Sundarban. 

Canning- Nearest Railway head to Sundarban Tiger Reserve in Canning. Railway distance from Kolkata to Canning is 45 km and 29 km away from Godkhali Port. Public transportation available between Canning and Godkhali port. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013


Aligarh Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid of Aligarh
Aligarh is a city in Aligarh District in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The city is located about 90 miles south-east of New Delhi. It is the administrative headquarters of Aligarh District, and has a population of half a million. It is mostly known as a university town where the famous Aligarh Muslim University is located.

This city is divided into two areas known as Old Aligarh (City) & New Aligarh (Civil Lines). New Aligarh consists of Avantika colony, Ramghat road, Jamalpur, Sir Syed Nagar, Badar bagh, Zohrabagh, Surendra Nagar, Janakpuri, Professor colony, gyan sarover, maan sarover, Shyam Nagar, Medical Colony and Zakaria Market while Delhi Gate, Sasni Gate, Mahavir Ganj, Railway Road, Jaiganj, Uparkote, Gambhir pura, Mahendra Nagar, Saray Sultani, Janak Puri and Vikram Colony are some of the residential areas in old Aligarh.

History of Aligarh:
It is known till the 18th century by the earlier name of Koil. After the British occupation of Aligarh in September 1803, the present Aligarh district was formed in 1804.

Both Akbar and Jahangir visited Koil on hunting expeditions. Jahangir clearly mentions the forest of Koil, where he killed wolves. From the study of the place-names of the district, it appears that the district was once fairly well covered by forest, thickets and grooves. The early history of the district, indeed down the 12th century AD is obscure.

Kol or Koil, was the earliest name of the city and Aligarh was the name of the fort nearby. Koil covered not only the city but the entire district, though its geographical limits kept changing from time to time. The origin of the name of Koil is obscure. In some ancient texts, Koil has been referred to in the sense of a tribe or Caste, name of a place or mountain and name of a sage or demon. During the time of Ibrahim Lodhi, when Muhammad, son of Umar was the governor of Kol, he built a fort at Kol and named the city after his own name as Muhammadgarh in 1524-25; and Sabit khan who was the governor of this region during the time of Farrukh Siyar and Muhammad Shah, rebuilt the fort and named the town after his own name Sabitgarh. After the occupation of Kol by the Jats in 1775, it was re-named Ramgarh and finally, when a Shia commander, Najaf khan, captures Kol, he gave it its present name of Aligarh. Aligarh Fort (also called Aligarh Qila), as it stands today, was built by French engineers under the control of French officers Benoît de Boigne and Perron.

Jama Masjid of Aligarh:
Sabit khan's real name was Jafar Beg and the title of Sabit Khan Bahadur Jang was conferred upon him by Farrukh Siyar. He was reputedly very liberal towards the poor. Sabit Khan took an active interest in the construction of buildings at Kol. The fort of Sabitgarh, the tomb of Allah Bakhsh (1717), reconstruction of the present Jama Masjid of the city (1724), the funding of the Harduaganj market, repairs of Jama Masjid at Jalali (1724) and of the old fortress of Kol, the extension of the shrine of Shah Faiyaz of Atrauli and the construction of a tank which was linked with the JamaAligarh Masjid of the Aligarh city through an underground channel may be cited as some of the important works to his credit. The Jama Masjid itself is a monument of great architectural merit. The mosque stands at the summit of the Balai Qila, the highest point of the city, so that it is visible from all the sides. It is an impressive and elegant monument of the district Aligarh. According to the author of Akbar-ul-Jmal, Raje Muhammad (1740), the mosque was originally constructed by Qutubuddin Aibek, following his conquest of Kol. It was restored or renovated by Iltimush, Nasiruddin Muhammad, Muhammad bin Tughlaq and finally reconstructed by Sabit Khan. But truly speaking, barring its site, there is hardly anything now in the mosque suggestive of its association with earlier periods.

British Occupation of Aligarh Fort:
By the end of June 1803, it was decided to strike a decisive blow to the native powers of India and General Lake was assigned the affairs of North India. The Governor General in his letter dated, July 27, 1803, Instructed General Lake to march against the military eastablishment of General Perron. General Lake left Kanpur on August 2 and reached Sikandrarao on 25th. At Sikandrarao, Lake was joined by Major General Ware with a detachment from Fatehgarh. From Sikandrarao instead of following the G.T.Road for Aligarh, Lake marched to Bijaigarh. The composition of the British army had the appearance of a moving town. Money changers, marchants, goldsmiths, jewelers, jugglers, dancing girls and convoy of banjaras, for the supply of grains, were included in this "moving mass" of the army. On August 28, the British army marched towards Nanau. In the early morning of August 29, at 4'O clock, the British army reached in the vicinity of Kol near Sasni Gate, where Maratha force, under the personal command of Perron, were strongly posted. Heavy canons were fired on the advance guard of the British army. After a trifling skirmish, the town of Kol was captured by the General Lake and the Maratha forces retreated to the Aligarh fort. After the first round of skirmish, Parron surprisingly retired Aligarhto Mendu and from there to Agra. Lake, later on established his temporary military headquarters at Sahib Bagh, the residential garden house of Perron. From August 29 onwards, General lake, with the support of Governal General, kept himself busy in encouraging defections in the rank and file of Perron's forces. In his letter, dated September 2, General Lake informed the Governor General that he had not yet moved from Kol and, "my object is to get the troops out of the fort by bribery which I flatter myself will be done. The Governor General fully endorsed Lake's proposals. Lake left no stones unturned in his efforts to seduce the British as well as the French officers, but, except for the defection of the British officers or soldiers, who were serving under the Maratha forces, the hopes of the Governer General and General Lake proved illusory. They could not sow the seeds of dissension in the rank and file of the Indian troops, stationed at this time at Aligarh fort. Colonel Pedron was inclined to surrender, the fort, "with relief", but the troops refused to submit and rallied round Bajee Rao, a Bhadauria Rajput, and confined Pedron. General Perron who had already fled from Aligarh also disapproved the idea of capitulation on the part of Colonel Pedron and reproached him severely. Pester informs us that a French man made his escape this morning from the garrison, from whom we learnt that the troops had determined never to quit the place, but with their lives. Skinner also says that, "These men resolved to defend the place to the end."

How to Reach Aligarh?

By Air: The nearest airport is New Delhi that is 130 odd kilometers from downtown Aligarh. New Delhi has bothAligarh international as well as domestic airport that is well connected to a range of cities in India and world. Several public as well as private carriers offer their service to and from Delhi. From Delhi, one can either hire a cab or take any train to Aligarh.

By Train: Aligarh falls on the busy Delhi-Kolkata Grand Chord line and is therefore well connected to most of the destinations in Uttar Pradesh and India. The main railway station in Aligarh is Aligarh Junction. The junction is well connected to cities like New Delhi, Agra, Kanpur, Lucknow, Benaras, Jaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai through a cluster of super fast and express trains.

By Road: Aligarh is well connected to cities in Uttar Pradesh and around through a network of National and State Highways. The city has regular buses to destinations like Jaipur, Agra, Mathura, Ghaziabad, New Delhi, Lucknow and Varanasi. Both Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation as well as private parties plies buses to and from the city.

Shopping in Aligarh:

Aligarh is one of the most famous commercial centers in North India. Although the city has become synonymous to locks, Aligarh has much more to offer to its visitors. Nevertheless, locks manufacturing and export remains the lifeline of the city.

The lock industry of Aligarh is very old and traces its history to the era of Moguls. The industry got a major boost in the times of British rule. It were British who streamlined the lock industry that was once very unorganized. The city produces numerous types, kinds and size of locks that can be bought. The major market places in Aligarh are Railway Road Market and Center Point Market.

Aligarh Another famous products that can be bought in Aligarh are Brasses. Brass Sculptures are hot among the tourists visiting Aligarh. These sculptures are finely cast and come in all kind of shape and size. Do buy a few suiting your luggage. Aligarh is also famous for its 'Aligarh Pajamas'. These dress materials are of fine qualities and have no parallels in India at all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bandipur National Park

Bandipur National Park Karnataka
If you are looking to explore the wild side of nature, Bandipur National Park is one of the best places to be in. Bandipur National Park is regarded as one of the most beautiful and the better-managed national parks of India. Located close to Bangalore on the highway connecting Mysore and Ooty, it could be a perfect destination for a weekend getaway around Bangalore or a week -long of camping fun. The way you explore the place is all upto you.

Bandipur also has a sizable number of Tigers. Bandipur was the chosen site for Project Tiger. This is an initiative taken by the Government of India to protect the endangered species. The number of tigers has increased ever since. The place is also home to a large number of animals like Elephants, Hornbill, Sambar, Wild Dog, Giant Squirrel, Deer, and Partridges. There are also a few endangered species including Four Horned Antelope, Panther, Sloth Bear, Python, Mouse Deer, Pea Fowl and many more. Besides animals tourists can see some exotic trees including Bamboo, Sandalwood, Teak, Honne and Mathi.

Two wildlife sanctuaries are also attached to this place: the Waynad Sanctuary and the Mudumalai Sanctuary. This place mostly has an open forest area which makes it easy for the tourists to see animals.

History:The Maharaja of the Kingdom of Mysore created a sanctuary of 90 km2 (35 sq mi) in 1931 and named it the Venugopala Wildlife Park. The Bandipur Tiger Reserve was established under Project Tiger in 1973 by adding nearly 800 km2 (310 sq mi) to the Venugopala Wildlife park.

Geographical Location:
Bandipur National Park located between 75° 12’ 17” E to 76° 51’ 32” E and 11° 35’ 34” N to 11° 57’ 02” N where the Deccan Plateau meets the Western Ghats and the altitude of the park ranges from 680 meters (2,230 ft) to 1,454 meters (4,770 ft). As a result, the park has a variety of biomes including dry deciduous forests, moist deciduous forests and shrublands. The wide range of habitats help support a diverse range of organisms. The park is flanked by the Kabini river in the north and the Moyar river in the south. The Nugu river runs through the park. The highest point in the park is on a hill called Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, where there is a Hindu temple at the summit. Bandipur has typical tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry and hot period usually begins in early March and can last till the arrival of the monsoon rains in June.

How To Reach Bandipur :
By Road: Bandipur is located at a distance of 80 kms from Mysore and 220 kms from Bangalore and 70 kms from Ooty. Bandipur is well connected by road and you could get here either by the State Transport buses, private buses, all stop at the Forest Reception office. It takes 2 hours from Mysore by a taxi.

By Rail: The Mysore railway station located at a distance of 80 kms is the major railway station closest to Bandipur. The Nanjungud railway station which is 55 kms from Bandipur is the nearest railway station.

By Air: The closest airport- Mysore - 70 kms from Bandipur. Bangalore-International airport is 260kms to Bandipur.

Bandhavgarh National Park

Bandhavgarh National Park
Bandhavgarh National Park is one of the wild life sanctuaries in the Indian state Madhya Pradesh. The national park is situated at 197 km away north-east of Jabalpur. This wild life park derived its very name from an ancient fort in the area. Bandhawgarh National Park belongs to the Vindhyan mountain ranges of central India and it boasts to have the highest density of tiger population in the country. Now there are about 46 to 52 tigers one can spot here. 
History :
The state of Rewa owes its origins to the foundation of a state dating to 1234 by Vyaghra Dev, a descendant of the Vaghelas of Gujarat. He married the daughter of the Raja of Pirhawan and conquered the territory between Kalpi and Chandalgarh. Karan Dev, son of Vyaghra Dev married the daughter of the Raja of Ratanpur, bringing Bandhogarh (now known as Bandhavgarh) into the family as her dowry. The legendary fortress of Bandhogarh fell into Mughal hands in 1597, almost by accident. At the death of H.H. Maharaja Virbhadra Rao in 1593, his minor son succeeded as H.H. Maharaja Vikramaditya. When he was sent to Delhi for his own safety, the emperor took advantage of his absence to send one of his loyal nobles as temporary governor. Once he had taken control of the fort, the Maharaja’s nobles and officials were expelled and the fort annexed by the Mughals. On his return to his remaining domains, H.H. Maharaja Vikramaditya was forced to establish a new capital at Rewa, whence the state took its name.

The history of the region can be traced back to the 1st century. There are 39 caves in the Bandhavgarh fort and in the surrounding hillocks up to a radius of about 5 km. The oldest cave dates from the 1st century. Several caves carry inscriptions in Brahmi script. Some caves have embossed figures such as tigers, pigs, elephants and horsemen. Badi gufa, the largest cave, has a broad entrance, nine small rooms and several pillars. It has been dated back to the 10th century. The cave appears to be primitive, lacking the elaborate statues and carvings seen in the caves of the Buddhist period. Its purpose remains a mystery.

Bengal tigers:
Bandhavgarh has the highest density of Bengal tigers known in the world, and is home to some famous named individual tigers. Charger, an animal so named because of his habit of charging at elephants and tourists (whom he nonetheless did not harm), was the first healthy male known to be living in Bandhavgarh since the 1990s. A female known as Sita, who once appeared on the cover of National Geographic and is considered the most photographed tiger in the world,[citation needed] was also to be found in Bandhavgarh for many years. Almost all the tigers of Bandhavgarh today are descendants of Sita and Charger. Their daughter Mohini, son Langru and B2 also maintained their tradition for frequent sighting and moving close to tourist jeeps.
Mohini, became prominent following Sita's death. She mated with Mahamn Tiger. She later died of her wounds from the vehicle accident.

The four main zones of the national park are Tala, Magdhi, Khitauli and Panpatta. Tala is the richest zone in terms of biodiversity, mainly tigers. Together, these four ranges comprise the 'Core' of the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve constituting a total area of 694 km². The buffer zone is spread over the forest divisions of Umaria and Katni and totals another 437 km². The legal status as a national park dates back to 1968, but was limited only to the present Tala range for a considerable length of time. In 1993 the present scheme of things was put in place
According to bio-geographic classification, the area lies in Zone 6A- Deccan Peninsula, Central Highlands (Rodgers, Panwar & Mathur, 2000). The classification of Champion & Seth lists the area under Northern India Moist Deciduous Forests. The vegetation is chiefly of Sal forest in the valleys and on the lower slopes, gradually changing to mixed deciduous forest on the hills and in the hotter drier areas of the park in the south and west.

The wide valleys along the streams carry long linear grasslands flanked by Sal forests. Rich mixed forests consisting of Sal (shorea rubusta), Saja, Salai, and Dhobin etc. with dense bamboo thickets occur in many places. These together provide Bandhavgarh its rich biodiversity.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chambal River

The Chambal River is a tributary of the Yamuna River in central India. The river flows north-northeast through Madhya Pradesh, running for a time through Rajasthan, then forming the boundary between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh before turning southeast to join the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh state. It is a perennial river and originates at Manpura, south of Mhow town, near Indore, on the south slope of the Vindhya Range in Madhya Pradesh. The Chambal and its tributaries drain the Malwa region of northwestern Madhya Pradesh, while its tributary, the Banas, which rises in the Aravalli Range, drains southeastern Rajasthan. The Chambal ends a confluence of five rivers, including the Chambal, Kwari, Yamuna, Sind, Pahuj, at Pachnada near Bhareh in Uttar Pradesh state, at the border of Bhind and Etawah districts.
Length960 km
Basin area143,200 km²
SourceSingar Chouri

Brahmaputra River

Brahmaputra River
Brahmaputra River
Brahmaputra River flow from the Himalayas into Arunachal Pradesh, where it is known as Digang. It flow through the Assam Valley and Bangladesh before emptying into the Bay of Bengal

Beas River

Beas River rises in the Himalayas in central Himanchal Pradesh , and flow for some 470 Km into the Satlej River in Punjab.

Narmada River

Narmada River originates at Amarkantak and flows westwards into Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat over a length of 1312 Km before draining through the Gulf of Cambay (Khambat) into the Arabian Sea.

Tungbhadra River

Tungbhadra River is formed by the confluence of two river , Tunga and Bhadra in Karanataka. Tungabhadra is 531 km long and mingles with Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh.

Ganga River

Ganga river is formed by the merger of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers in Devaprayag. It is the longest India  river flowing south and east through North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Minakshi Temple

Minakshi Temple
Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple or Meenakshi Amman Temple or Tiru-aalavaai is a historic Hindu temple located in the southern banks of river Vaigai in the temple city of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India. It is dedicated to Parvati who is known as Meenakshi and her consort, Shiva, named here as Sundareswarar. The temple forms the heart and lifeline of the 2500 year old city of Madurai. The complex houses 14 gateway towers called gopurams, ranging from 45-50m in height, the tallest being the southern tower, 51.9 metres (170 ft) high, and two golden sculptured vimana, the shrine over sanctum of the main deities. The temple is a significant symbol for the Tamil people, and has been mentioned since antiquity in Tamil literature, though the present structure is built during 1623 to 1655 CE The temple attracts 15,000 visitors a day, around 25,000 during Fridays and gets an annual revenue of sixty million₹. There is an estimated 33,000 sculptures in the temple and it was in the list of top 30 nominees of the "New Seven Wonders of the World". The annual 10 day Meenakshi Tirukalyanam festival celebrated during April–May attracts

Akshardham Temple

Akshardham is a Hindu temple complex in Delhi, India. Also referred to as Delhi Akshardham or Swaminarayan Akshardham, the complex displays millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture, spirituality, and architecture. The building was inspired and developed by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the spiritual head of the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha, whose 3,000 volunteers helped 7,000 artisans construct Akshardham. The structure depicts great Indian culture and its architecture is simply immaculate. The temple is located at NH 24, Noida Mor, New Delhi. This amazing structure comprises of 20,000 statues, floral motifs and exquisite carved pillars made of stones.

This beautiful structure and masterpiece architecture was built under the support and funding of the Bochasanvasi Aksharpurushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS). The temple was inaugurated on November 7, 2005 by Pramukhswami Maharaj (Leader of BAPS).

It is built along the river Yamuna and lies over an area of around 100 acres with beautiful gardens, water fountains and carved pavilions. The temple took complete two years for completion and a hefty sum of rupees was invested in the construction. According to estimates, around 2 billion was spent in the construction of this masterpiece which indeed depicts the great Hindu religion.
The architecture of Akshardham temple is similar to the one at Gandhinagar in Gujarat. The main monument at the temple is about 141 feet high with a beautiful statue of Lord Swaminarayan. There are various structures within the temple which depicts the history and culture of Hindu Religion.

The Temple, which attracts approximately 70 percent of all tourists who visit Delhi, was officially opened on 6 November 2005. It sits near the banks of the Yamuna adjacent to the 2010 Commonwealth Games village in eastern New Delhi.The temple, at the center of the complex, was built according to the Vastu Shastra and Pancharatra Shastra. In addition to the large central temple crafted entirely of stone, the complex features exhibitions on incidents from the life of Swaminarayan and the history of India, an IMAX feature on the early life of Swaminarayan as the teenage yogi, Nilkanth, a musical fountain on the message of the Upanishads, and large landscaped gardens. The temple is named after a belief in Swaminarayan Hinduism.

Akshardham Temple in Delhi has an important place in Delhi's tourism.

If you want to explore the whole temple then you should take your time off for the whole day as it takes at least five hours to visit each and every structure of the temple.

What to Experience:

Akshardham Mandir: A traditional mandir (temple) dedicated to Bhagwan Swaminarayan that reflects the beauty and spirituality of India’s ancient art, culture, and architecture

Nilkanth Varni Abhishek: A hallowed spiritual tradition in which prayers are offered for world peace and continual peace for oneself, family, and friends with the water of 151 holy rivers, lakes and ponds of India.


Hall 1 - Hall of Values (50 mins): Experience enduring human values through films and robotic shows that depict the ideals of nonviolence, honesty, family harmony, and spirituality.

Hall 2 - Giant Screen Film (40 mins):Discover India through the incredible story of an eleven-year-old yogi named Nilkanth that brings to life the culture and spirituality of India's customs, the majesty of its art and architecture, and the unforgettable sights, sounds, and power of its awe-inspiring festivals.

Hall 3 - Cultural Boat Ride (15 mins):Sail through 10,000 years of India's glorious heritage. Learn about the discoveries and inventions of the rishi-scientists of India, see the world’s first university of Takshashila, sail through the caves of Ajanta-Ellora and discover India's contributions to humanity through the ages.

 Musical Fountain - Circle of Life (Evenings at Sunset - 15 min.):A spectacular musical fountain show that depicts the cycle of birth, life, and death as described in Indian philosophy.

Garden of India:Sixty acres of lush lawns, gardens and exquisite bronze statues, honouring India's child heroes, valorous warriors, national patriots and great women personalities who inspire values and character.

Lotus Garden: A lotus-shaped garden echoing spirituality as expressed by philosophers, scientists, and leaders throughout history

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Khajuraho Temples

Khajuraho , India's unique gift of love to the world, represent the expression of a highly matured civilization. After the Taj it is the most frequently visited monument in India. Khajuraho Situated in the heart of Central India, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho is a fascinating village with a quaint rural ambience and a rich cultural heritage. The fascinating temples of Khajuraho, is a unique example of Indo-Aryan architecture. The Chandela rulers between 950-1050 built these temples. There were 85 temples, which were built, and only 22 of them survive today. The temples are a world heritage site and belong not just to India but to the world. The Archeological Survey of India's dedicated efforts towards their conservation rank them against the best preserved monuments of this antiquity. Most of the temples are built of sandstone in varying shades of buff, pink or pale yellow. They each belong to a different sect, the Shiva, Vaishnava or Jaina Sects, but are often indistingushable from one another to the untrained eye. The temples are lofty with ample walking space separating them. The interior rooms are inter connected and placed in an East/West line. Each contains an entrance, a hall, a vestibule and a sanctum. Windows were added to the larger temples to add a feeling of space and light.

History of Khajuraho: Mystery is the most apt word that can be associated with the history of Khajuraho. Though not much evidence is available but the city is believed to have been ruled by the Pratihara Kings of North India from 500 to 1300 C.E. Mythological beliefs claim the city to have been called as ‘Khajur-vahika’ or ‘Khajjarpura’ during the ancient times. The reason behind the name was sought to be the golden date palms that were then grown here. 
Various legends are allied with the foundation of the city. It is said that Hemavati, the widow daughter of the king gave up her dignity, in order to behold the respect for her father, to the Moon God who was attracted to her. Their union gave birth to a sage named Chandarateya who later became the founder of the Chandela dynasty, the dynasty who built the world heritage temples in Khajuraho. 
In another folklore, Chandravarman was born to Hemavati, a child widow after the moon God ravished her in human form. He later grew to become the first king of the Chandela dynasty.
Not much of historical data is available about Khajuraho. This world heritage site earlier had 80 temples out of which only 22 stand today. However, most of them are in ruins today.

Architecture of Khajuraho Temple: The Khajuraho temples are a pinnacle of the North Indian Nagara architectural style. 

The Nagara style's primary feature is a central tower (shikhara) whose highest point is 

directly over the temple's primary deity.  This is often surrounded by smaller, subsidiary towers (urushringa) and intermediate towers; these naturally draw the eye up to the highest point, like a series of hills leading to a distant peak.  Setting the temple on a raised base (adhisthana) also shifts the eye upward, and promotes this vertical quality. 

The true arch (in which the parts of the arch are supported in tension with each other) was unknown in classical India.  The arches in Khajuraho's temple are made by a technique known as corbelling, in a dome or arch is created by overlapping masonry courses (this accounts for the step-like construction over the three right parts of the building below).  This particular image shows the Vishvanath temple.

Amalaka: a stone disk, usually with ridges on the rim, that sits atop the temple's main tower.  According to one interpretation, the amalaka represents a lotus, and thus the symbolic seat for the deity below.  Another interpretation is that it symbolizes the sun,and is thus the gateway to the heavenly world.  The amalaka itself is crowned with a 
kalasha (finial), from which a temple banner is often hung.

Entrance Porch (Ardhamandapa): The entrance porch formed a transitional area between the outside world and the mandapa or hall.  Most temple buildings have some sort of transitional space between the central shrine (garbhagrha) and the outside world, but only the largest, most developed temples will have all of these elements.

Hall (Mandapa): A hall in the temple, forming a transitional space between the ardhamandapa  and mahamandapa.  In smaller or less architecturally developed temples, this was usually omitted.

Great Hall (Mahamandapa): The temple's main entrance-hall, separated from the central 
shrine (garbhagrha), by a short vestibule named the antarala.  Just about every temple has 
some sort of entrance-hall between the central shrine (garbhagrha) and the outside world, 
but only the largest and most developed temples have all of the transitional members.   At 
Khajuraho, a mahamandapa is often distinguished by transepts (bumped-out portions perpendicular to the temple's main axis).

Vestibule (Antarala): a transitional space between a temple's main hall and the inner sanctum (garbhagrha) where the image of the temple's primary deity would be housed.  The antarala was found only in the largest temples, and in many smaller ones was omitted entirely.  This architectural element marks the liminal space between the exterior world and the divine world, and at Khajuraho the exterior panels on these elements are the primary sites for large panels with sexually explicit scenes (particularly on the Vishvanath and Kandariya Mahadev temples).  This placement cannot be accidental, although observers differ about what these mean.  At the very least, it could indicate that sexuality and encountering the divine are both liminal experiences that force us out of ourselves. 

Inner Sanctum (Garbhagrha):  The temple's inner sanctum, containing the image of the temple's primary deity.  The basic function of a Hindu temple is to serve as the deity's dwelling-place (the most common word for temple, mandir, simply means "house"), and devotees come there to interact with and worship the resident deity (often in family groups).  In this respect, Hindu temples are very different from places of worship in many other religious traditions, which serve as centers for congregational worship.  The word garbha can mean either "womb" or "embryo;" both meanings connote potentiality, hiddenness, and a sense of development.  The garbhagrha was located directly below the summit of the highest tower, with the primary deity directly under the highest point.  Smaller temples may only have a small shrine room at the back end of the temple (a "womb" in the metaphorical sense), but larger temples often also have a processional pathway ("ambulatory") around the central shrine, via which devotees can circle around the deity (always clockwise) as a gesture of respect and worship.

Secondary Tower (Urushringa): smaller towers on the temple's exterior to lead the eye up to the highest point.  Their shape often replicates that of the tallest central tower, and 
serves to draw the eye upward toward it.

Base Platform (Adhishsthana): The raised base on which a temple was built.  These are particularly high in the temples at Khajuraho, and by their height accentuate these temple's upward thrust. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal India
Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is the epitome of Mughal art and one of the most famous buildings in the world. Yet there have been few serious studies of it and no full analysis of its architecture and meaning. Ebba Koch, an important scholar,  has been permitted to take measurements of the complex and has been working on the palaces and gardens of Shah Jahan for thirty years and on the Taj Mahal itself—the tomb of the emperor's wife, Mumtaz Mahal—for a decade.

The tomb is the representation of the house of the queen in Paradise, and  its setting was based on the palace gardens of the great nobles that lined both sides of the river at Agra India.  You will explore the entire complex of the Taj Mahal with an explanation of each building and an account of the mausoleum's urban setting, its design and construction, its symbolic meaning, and its history up to the present day.

  Taj Mahal was built by a Muslim, Emperor Shah Jahan (died 1666 C.E.) in the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal(real name was Arjumand Banu) at Agra, India. It is an "elegy in marble" or some say an expression of a "dream." Taj Mahal (meaning Crown Palace) is a Mausoleum that houses the grave of queen Mumtaz Mahal at the lower chamber. The grave of Shah Jahan was added to it later. In the tradition of the Mughals, important ladies of the royal family were given another name at their marriage or at some other significant event in their lives, and that new name was commonly used by the public. Shah Jahan's real name was Shahab-ud-din, and he was known as Prince Khurram before ascending to the throne in 1628.

Taj Mahal was constructed over a period of twenty-two years, employing twenty thousand workers. It was completed in 1648 C.E. at a cost of 32 Million Rupees. The construction documents show that its master architect was Ustad ‘Isa, the renowned Islamic architect of his time. The documents contain names of those employed and the inventory of construction materials and their origin. Expert craftsmen from Delhi, Qannauj, Lahore, and Multan were employed. In addition, many renowned Muslim craftsmen from Baghdad, Shiraz and Bukhara worked on many specialized tasks.

The Taj stands on a raised, square platform (186 x 186 feet) with its four corners truncated, forming an unequal octagon. The architectural design uses the interlocking arabesque concept, in which each element stands on its own and perfectly integrates with the main structure. It uses the principles of self-replicating geometry and a symmetry of architectural elements.

Its central dome is fifty-eight feet in diameter and rises to a height of 213 feet. It is flanked by four subsidiary domed chambers. The four graceful, slender minarets are 162.5 feet each. The entire mausoleum (inside as well as outside) is decorated with inlaid design of flowers and calligraphy using precious gems such as agate and jasper. The main archways, chiseled with passages from the Holy Qur’an and the bold scroll work of flowery pattern, give a captivating charm to its beauty. The central domed chamber and four adjoining chambers include many walls and panels of Islamic decoration.

Open from Sunrise to Sunset
Friday closed; open for offering prayer in the mosque between 12 Noon to 2 P.M.
Night viewing on Full Moon Day and two days before and after it, excluding Fridays and in the month of Ramzan

Entrance Fee:
Citizens of India and visitors of SAARC (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Maldives and Afghanistan) and BIMSTEC Countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar) - Rs. 10 per head.

Rs. 250/- per head (ASI);
Rs. 500/- per head as Toll Tax (Agra Development Authority)
Rs. 500/- ticket of ADA is valid for the monuments of Agra Fort, Itimadi-ud-daula, Akbar’s Tomb, Sikandara and Fatehpur Sikri
(children up to 15 years free)

Fee for night viewing

Night viewing of Taj Mahal has been allowed from 28th November, 2004 for five nights in a month including the Full Moon night and two days before and two days after except Fridays and month of Ramzan as per the order of Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. The night viewing of Taj Mahal is opened from 8-30 p.m. to 12-30 in eight batches of 50 persons for half an hour duration. The visitors of the night viewing of Taj Mahal have to report at Shilpagram complex half an hour in advance of the viewing time. The entry is allowed from the Eastern Gate of the Taj Mahal only after security check near the Eastern gate. The visitors have to keep their luggage at the counter fee of cost. No video camera is allowed in side the monument during the night viewing. 

The night viewing tickets of Taj Mahal can be purchased from the Booking Counter located in the office of Archaeological Survey of India, Agra Circle, 22 The Mall, Agra, Uttar Pradesh in between 10-00 am to 6-00 p.m. one day in advance of the date of night viewing. The night viewing ticket can be cancelled in the Booking counter of ASI at 22 The Mall, Agra on the same date of viewing upto 1.00 p.m.with cancellation charge of 25% of the ticket.

Rate of Night Viewing Ticket: Indian (Adult)- Rs 510/-; Foreigner (Adult)- Rs 750/- and Children ( 3Yrs to 15 Years age)- Rs. 500/-.

Friday, January 4, 2013

About Hinduism

Introduction to Hinduism:
Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide.

In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, or at least elements within it stretch back many thousands of years. Yet Hinduism resists easy definition partly because of the vast array of practices and beliefs found within it. It is also closely associated conceptually and historically with the other Indian religions Jainism, Buddhismand Sikhism.

Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Throughout its extensive history, there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as 'a way of life' or 'a family of religions' rather than a single religion.

Defining Hinduism:
The term 'Hindu' was derived from the river or river complex of the northwest, the Sindhu. Sindhu is a Sanskrit word used by the inhabitants of the region, the Aryans in the second millennium BCE. Later migrants and invaders, the Persians in the sixth century BCE, the Greeks from the 4th century BCE, and the Muslims from the 8th century CE, used the name of this river in their own languages for the land and its people.

The term 'Hindu' itself probably does not go back before the 15th and 16th centuries when it was used by people to differentiate themselves from followers of other traditions, especially the Muslims (Yavannas), in Kashmir and Bengal. At that time the term may have simply indicated groups united by certain cultural practices such as cremation of the dead and styles of cuisine. The 'ism' was added to 'Hindu' only in the 19th century in the context of British colonialism and missionary activity.

Some Hindus define orthodoxy as compliance with the teachings of the Vedic texts (the four Vedas and their supplements). However, still others identify their tradition with 'Sanatana Dharma', the eternal order of conduct that transcends any specific body of sacred literature. Scholars sometimes draw attention to the caste system as a defining feature, but many Hindus view such practices as merely a social phenomenon or an aberration of their original teachings. Nor can we define Hinduism according to belief in concepts such as karma and samsara(reincarnation) because Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists (in a qualified form) accept this teaching too.

Although it is not easy to define Hinduism, we can say that it is rooted in India, most Hindus revere a body of texts as sacred scripture known as the Veda, and most Hindus draw on a common system of values known as dharma.

  • Hinduism originated around the Indus Valley near the River Indus in modern day Pakistan.
  • About 80% of the Indian population regard themselves as Hindu.
  • Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him.
  • Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by Karma.
  • Hindus believe that the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and its next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived.
  • The main Hindu texts are the Vedas and their supplements (books based on the Vedas). Veda is a Sanskrit word meaning 'knowledge'. These scriptures do not mention the word 'Hindu' but many scriptures discuss dharma, which can be rendered as 'code of conduct', 'law', or 'duty'

Hinduism is a Universal Religion:

It is a synthesis of approaches. Even the name "Hinduism"came late. The original name is Sanaat’ana Dharma, Eternal Truth. We can pick up and understand "that Truth" in any way we like. In this great religion we leave real freedom of choice in worship, in approaching that One Supreme Entity, that we call God. 

In Hindu thought, there is room for everything, not only the nice, refined philosophies. Even the simple, ordinary crude forms of worship are accepted, because that's where some people begin. They believe in that, like a baby playing with a wooden horse, taking it to the water, putting grass into its mouth and saying, "Come on, horsey, come and eat." You don’'t laugh at the child, because that’s the way a child begins.

Hinduism never rejects or denies anything or anybody. It is a big ocean.It could be called Sindhuism ."Sindhu" in some of the Indian languages means "ocean." It never says, "Only Ganga andGodavari may enter; Missouri and Mississippi must stay out." No ,they all flow in. Even the city gutter water goes in. It’s as if the big ocean mamma says, "Come, my child, I know you went around and got dirty. Come in, and I will clean you up." Even atheism is accepted. The Hindus know that the moment you say, "I don'’t believe in God,"you seem to accept a God. If there is not God, why do you want not to believe? You say, that there is a God, but you don’t believe in it. A true Hindu will have no problem in accepting all other faiths. He will never say,"Oh, I am only a Hindu. I am not a Catholic. I’'m not a Buddhist. I’'m not a Muslim." They are all based on devotion, the Bhakti Yoga. The ocean never denies any water; it’s all embracing. That is why sometimes I like to call myself "Undo," because I would like to undo "all limitations".

All of our problems today are based on the attitude that, "My way, my approach is the right one. And if you don’'t follow this, you’ll be condemned."There is no one way, because each mind is different. Each person conceives of God according to his capacity, taste and temperament. You have your way. You have the freedom and the right to follow it; but your following "your way" should not cause problems to others. Just as you have your freedom, others must also have the freedom to find peace and joy,- in their own way.

It's very, painful to see people hurting each other, even killing oneanother, in the name of God and religion. Even in the name of Hinduism, you find religious quarrels. People who see God as S’iva didn’t want to see God as Vishnu. S’aivites and Vaishnavites quarrel. It is our lack of understanding [of our own religion]; we don’'t see the underlying spirituality behind all the diversities in the creation. 

Religion has a very important role to play in the world. Unfortunately, it forgets that role, and the different religions fight with one another. We have enough money, enough land, enough food to feed, clothe and house everyone. Poverty and hunger are not due to lack of resources. The reason is that we are not caring and sharing. We have to open and change the hearts of the people. That can be done onlythrough religious understanding;- to help them see that we are all children of that One Absolute God, one global, divine family. There is only one God who is our Lord, who is the life in us. Like rain in the river going back to the ocean, every drop of water that wants to go back to its source is a religious seeker.

God above is like completely distilled water. When it falls down on one side of the river, it is called Heavenly Father. On the other side, they call it Allah. If it falls in the Himalayas, they call it Siva. We may call this One God: Brahma, Father, Mother, Adonai, Cosmic Consciousness, Divine Essence, etc. But we mean the same thing. God is pleased with any name we give Him. He doesn’t care what we call Him, but rather how we feel about Him.

In the Ve’d’aant’ic part of the Hindu scriptures, it says that God has no name or form. So we find it hard to communicate. Due to our limitations, we can never comprehend something without a form. For example, if I say"sweetness", how would you understand sweetness? Immediately, you have to think of sugar or money or candy. Without a form, you cannotunderstand sweetness. That is the reason why we try to understand God throughforms and names. Otherwise God is formless. The Saiva Saint Manikkavasagar said, "You don't have a name; You don't have a form, but we approachYou with thousands of names and thousands of forms. You accept all our approaches."

The beauty and greatness of Hinduism is that it allows real freedom of choice in worship. There is room for the Ve’d’aant’in who approaches God within as his own Self without any form. If you wish to approach God through a form, there is S’iva, or Vishnu, or Kumaara; or as a Goddess Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati and others. If you don'’t believe in a human form of God, you can worship a tree, a snake ora stone. You can see God in any form you want, because God made everything in his own image; everything is His expression.

It is my heartfelt player that we all make this resolution: "From this day onward, my life will be all-embracing and harmonious. Let me learn to accept all the various approaches of people, because everyone is looking for the same happiness and joy in life. Let me not condemn anybody because he or she looks, thinks or, acts a little different. Let me reailize the spiritual unity behind all the diversities in the creation and remember always that we are members of one divine family. This, in my own small, humble way, may contribute to the peace, joy, and harmony of the world."

Distinguishing Features of Hinduism:

A Revealed Religion:
Hinduism is the religion of the Hindus, a name given to the Universal Religion which hailed supreme in India. It is the oldest of all living religions. This is not founded by any prophet. Buddhism, Christianity and Mohammedanism owe their origin to the prophets. Their dates are fixed. But no such date can be fixed for Hinduism. Hinduism is not born of the teachings of particular prophets. It is not based on a set of dogmas preached by a particular set of teachers. It is free from religious fanaticism.

Hinduism is also known by the names Sanatana-Dharma and Vaidika-Dharma.

Sanatana-Dharma means eternal religion. Hinduism is as old as the world itself. Hinduism is the mother of all religions. Hindu scriptures are the oldest in the world, Sanatana-Dharma is so called, not only because it is eternal, but also because it is protected by God and because it can make us eternal.

Vaidika-Dharma means the religion of the Vedas. The Vedas are the foundational scriptures of Hinduism. The ancient Rishis and sages of India have expressed their intuitive spiritual experiences (Aparoksha-Anubhuti) in the Upanishads. These experiences are direct and infallible. Hinduism regards the spiritual experiences of the Rishis of yore as its authority. The priceless truths that have been discovered by the Hindu Rishis and sages through millennia constitute the glory of Hinduism. Therefore, Hinduism is a revealed religion.
A Religion of Freedom

Hinduism, unlike other religions, does not dogmatically assert that the final emancipation is possible only through its means and not through any other. It is only a means to an end and all means which will ultimately lead to the end are equally approved.

Hinduism is a religion of freedom. It allows absolute freedom to the human reason and heart with regard to questions such as nature of God, soul, creation, form of worship and the goal of life. Hinduism does not lie in the acceptance of any particular doctrine, nor in the observance of some particular rituals or form of worship. It does not force anybody to accept particular dogmas or forms of worship. It allows everybody to reflect, investigate, enquire and cogitate. Hence, all sorts of religious faiths, various forms of worship or Sadhana, and diverse kinds of rituals and customs, have found their honourable places side by side within Hinduism and are cultured and developed in harmonious relationship with one another.

Hinduism does not condemn those who deny God as the creator and ruler of the world, who do not accept the existence of an eternal soul and the state of Moksha or state of liberation. Hinduism does not render the upholders of such views unfit to be recognised as pious and honourable members of the Hindu religious society.

The religious hospitality of Hinduism is proverbial. Hinduism is extremely catholic and liberal. This is the fundamental feature of Hinduism. Hinduism pays respects to all religions. It does not revile any other religion. It accepts and honours truth—wherever it may come from and whatever garb it may put on.

Despite all the differences of metaphysical doctrines, modes of religious discipline and forms of ritualistic practices and social habits prevalent in the Hindu society, there is an essential uniformity in the conception of religion and in the outlook on life and the world, among all sections of Hindus.

Who Is A Hindu:
In a meeting of the Sanatana Dharma Sabha, Lokamanya Tilak said: “A Hindu is he who believes that the Vedas contain self-evident and axiomatic truths.”

The Hindu Maha Sabha has given another definition: “A Hindu is one who believes in a religion which has originated in India.”

“Those who burn the dead are Hindus.” This is another definition given by some.

“He who protects the cows and the Brahmins is a Hindu.” This is another definition given by some.

Some define: “A Hindu is one who regards India as his motherland and the most sacred spot on earth.”

Some others define: “He who calls and considers himself a Hindu is a Hindu.”

Some define: “He who accepts the Vedas, the Smritis, the Puranas and the Tantras as the basis of religion and of the rule of conduct, and believes in one Supreme God (Brahman), in the Law of Karma or retributive justice, and in reincarnation (Punarjanma), is a Hindu.”

“He who follows the Vedic or Sanatana-Dharma is a Hindu.” This is the definition by some.

“He who is a follower of the Vedanta is a Hindu.” This is another definition given by some others.

“He who has perfect faith in the Law of Karma, the law of reincarnation Avatara, ancestor worship, Varnashrama Dharma, Vedas and existence of God, he who practises the instructions given in the Vedas with faith and earnestness, he who does Sandhya, Sraaddha, Pitri-Tarpana and thePancha-Maha-Yajnas, he who follows the Varnashrama Dharmas, he who worships the Avataras and studies the Vedas, is a Hindu.” This is the definition given by some highly cultured men. This is the only correct and complete definition.

Religions in india

India is the birthplace of more than four religions. The ancient most of all the religions and the philosophic systematization, the Hinduism, was born in the soil of India. Apart from Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism as well as the old Aajiivak sprouted in India. 

The country is also one of the spots on the planet with the most diverse religious beliefs. Christianity and Islam reached India immediately after their formation, and began to grow in reach and influence in the country. 

Despite 80 percent of Indian populace being Hindus, and despite the great influence religions have on the life of its people, India is a secular nation not just according to its constitutional obligation, but in the general life style and habits of Indian people too. 

Of its 1.1 billion people, the Hindus account for 80.46%, Islam 13.43%, Christian 2.43%, Sikh 1.87%, and the Buddhists 0.77%. The Indian religious spectrum contains Zoroastrians, Jews and Bahaiis too. Those who do not disclose their religion also live in India and their percentage is 0.07.