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Special Chariot for Lord Ganesha Carved by Sri Lankan Sculptor
Posted on 2002/5/21 1:48:02 ( 795 reads )


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TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA, May 10, 2002: With a fellowship of over 10,000 Hindus, the Richmond Hill Temple in the Toronto area is in the middle of a 15-day long festival honoring Lord Ganesa, the remover of obstacles. In the midst of it all, Saravanamuthu Jeyarajah, a talented sculptor from Sri Lanka, is carving a three-ton chariot to carry Lord Ganesha in a three-hour procession around the main temple on May 24th. Measuring 10 meters high and 6 meters in diameter, the chariot is shaped like a lotus and is made of wood. When asked about the design Jeyarajah replies, "I have no blueprint. It comes out of my head. God has blessed me with the ability to do this. My family has been doing this for generations." After completion, the chariot will be the largest in North America. The 15-day festival called "Rathotsavam," or chariot festival, is one of the three major festivals celebrated at the Richmond Temple. Hindus around the world have been observing chariot festivals for thousands of years. On May 24, the height of the festivities, the article says, "A tiny intricately fashioned bronze and copper icon of Ganesha will be placed inside the heart of the chariot." Temple executor director Taguram Thiagaraja explains, "The festival is significant because the Lord Ganesa bestows all blessings on the people who see him. It is a time when Ganesa is among the people."




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Mass Marriages Encouraged in Lucknow
Posted on 2002/5/21 1:47:02 ( 696 reads )


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LUCKNOW, INDIA, May 19, 2002: More than 300 girls and boys in the city submitted applications for the match-making process which was conducted at the Sahu Shital Dharmasala on Sunday. The program, organized by the Sahu Rathod Mahila Chetna Samiti, aims at making the marriage ceremony less expensive though the holding of mass marriages. For parents with low incomes, marriages are a big economic problem. The Samiti has organized trips to rural and semi-urban areas of the state to motivate families to save on unnecessary expenditures during marriages and to enroll them in the program. The Samiti charges US$167 from the boy and the girl to arrange for the ceremony, ornaments, bridal wear, furniture and other essentials. Last year, the Samiti arranged eight marriages. This year they made a decision to invite more boys than girls to submit their names for match-making, in order to provide the girls a better selection for a life-partner. As a result, about two hundred boys and one hundred girls applied.




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Karnataka Temple Priests Face Exams
Posted on 2002/5/18 1:49:02 ( 838 reads )


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BANGALORE, INDIA, May 12, 2002: Hindu temple priests in Karnataka have to now qualify by passing an examination in Agama Shastra, including Sanskrit chanting and performance of rituals. This is according to the new rules drafted by the Muzrai officials under the Hindu Religious and Charitable Trust Act of 1997 which received presidential assent in December. The Muzrai department is in charge of Hindu temple trusts in the state. Muzrai Minister Suma Vasanth told The Times of India that the draft rules have been referred to the law department and the opinion of the association of priests is also being sought. Priests are required to undergo an orientation course in chanting of mantras conducted by any private Veda school and obtain a certificate. "However, those who have crossed 40 years of age are exempted from these rules,'' she added. Asked what prompted the department to come out with such a rule now, Vasanth said experts noticed some discrepancies on the part of some priests in a few temples in chanting of mantras.




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Kedarnath and Badrinatha Temples Open After Winter
Posted on 2002/5/18 1:48:02 ( 762 reads )


Source: The Hindu





GOPESHWAR, UTTARANCHAL, INDIA, May 17, 2002: The shrines of Badrinath and Kedarnath in the Garhwal Himalayas opened today after winter amid chanting of Vedic hymns and blowing of conches. This is the first time that the doors of the two shrines were opened on the same day for pilgrims. The famed temples, high in the Himalayas, are closed off during winter because of heavy snowfall.




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Non-Resident Indian Meeting in New York Seeks Peace in Gujarat
Posted on 2002/5/18 1:47:02 ( 755 reads )


Source: Press Release





NEW YORK, NEW YORK, May 12, 2002: A group of thirty-five non-resident Indians from all parts of the United States met for three days from Friday, May 10, to Sunday, May 12, to discuss the massacre of thousands of people in Gujarat and how to restore peace and end to killings in their motherland. The meeting was attended by delegates from California, Michigan, Washington D C, Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. A highlight of the meeting was a presentation of first hand testimony with slides of Gulbarg society of Ahmedabad, where 160 innocent men, women and children were burnt alive by a Hindu mob. The group condemned the killing of all innocent people in the Godhra train burning incident as well as the massive attack on Muslim population and property in Ahmedabad, Baroda and elsewhere in the state. They have vowed to work for restoration of communal harmony, reconciliation between Hindus and Muslims and members of all faiths and not rest until the guilty are brought to justice and secular values are restored in the country. They have announced the goal of raising US$1 million to provide relief and rehabilitation assistance to the over 100,000 survivors herded in over 100 refugee camps in cities and villages of over 20 districts in Gujarat. A national steering committee will coordinate the activities of five separate working committees for fundraising, media, community outreach, research and long-term planning committee from New York and Washington D C. For further information, contact: Najrna Sultana, East Lansing, Michigan 48826-0707 USA. Phone: 212-319-3233.




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VHP Recruits Preachers in Kerala
Posted on 2002/5/18 1:46:02 ( 748 reads )


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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA, May 9, 2002: The VHP is recruiting dharma pracharaks (preachers) in Kerala to offset the work of Christian missionaries in the area. Interested parties are requested to apply to the VHP's Kochi office. "There are around 29,000 Christian missionaries in Kerala, while Hindu sadhus and sants add up to only around 400," VHP organizing secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan said. "There is a cultural and spiritual vacuum we want to fill." The VHP plans to begin by recruiting 100 pracharaks, each of whom would be sponsored. After being trained for a month in the epics, Vedas and Upanishads, the missionaries will fan out to the state's remote corners.




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2002 Summer Hindu Heritage Camp in India
Posted on 2002/5/18 1:45:02 ( 771 reads )


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KARNATAKA, INDIA, May 15, 2002: The Vikasan Foundation is organizing a summer camp for Hindu children from the US between the ages of 12 and 18, to be held at gurukulas, traditional religious schools, throughout Karnataka. Through the gurukula system the organizers hope to blend the Vedic wisdom of the ancients with the technology of the modern, namely computers/internet. The camp is being billed as a one of a kind, unique and wonderful opportunity to attend a summer camp that exposes US-raised Hindu children to the vast heritage of the Hindu culture. Daily activities will include yoga classes, Sanskrit chants, group activities and Indian games. Indian art workshops and performances are being planned for the campers, as well as field trips to historic sites in Karnataka. For more details on the summer camp and the Vikasan Foundation click on "source" above.




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Christian Colleges Dominate Education in India
Posted on 2002/5/18 1:44:02 ( 784 reads )


Source: India Today





DELHI, INDIA, May 18, 2002: A recent India Today has rankings of the top 10 colleges in India in various disciplines. While the exact rankings are not very significant, what is noteworthy is the large number of top-ranked colleges run by Christian --mostly Catholic -- organizations, even though Christians are just a few percent of the population. Five out of the top ten art schools are Christian-run, six of the top ten science schools and four of the top ten commerce schools.




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Ten Years of Hinduism Today Goes Online
Posted on 2002/5/18 1:43:02 ( 715 reads )


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KAUAI, HAWAII, May 18, 2002: Hinduism Today is pleased to announce the addition of ten years to its on-line archives, from 1979 through to 1989. Click "source" above to reach the archives, and scroll down for the earlier years. The magazine hopes to complete its archives, which currently have a gap from 1990 to 1993, within a few months. Click your way through the years and explore the history of Hinduism as it unfolded to our readers.




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Kailas Pilgrimage Route Cut by Landslides
Posted on 2002/5/17 1:49:02 ( 747 reads )


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UTTARANCHAL, INDIA, May 16, 2002: The Kailash-Mansarovar route along the Pithoragarh-Dharchoola road in Uttaranchal has been cut off following landslides triggered by heavy rains disrupting vehicular traffic, officials said in Pithoragarh on Thursday. Heavy rains, accompanied by a hailstorm, lashed Pithoragarh district on Wednesday evening causing the landslides, which blocked a four-metre stretch of the road, they said. Pithoragarh District Magistrate Rajiv Joshi told PTI that Border Roads Organisation (BRO) personnel were working round the clock to clear the landslides. BRO officials said it would take about one week to clear the road for heavy traffic. No casualties have been reported in the area, Joshi added. Landslides along this route are common and one year resulted in the death of many pilgrims. Indian citizens are allowed to enter China to reach Kailas by this road, while nationals of other countries trek through Nepal.




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Maneka Gandhi Halts "Horse Sacrifice"
Posted on 2002/5/17 1:48:02 ( 732 reads )


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ORISSA, INDIA, May 17, 2002: A scheduled "horse sacrifice" in the village of Juna Padia, about 430 km southwest of Calcutta was stopped by India minister of Minister for Culture and Animal Care, Maneka Gandhi. She, along with local officials, confiscated the horses. The Washington Times ("source" above) and the South China Morning Post reported April 15 that the sacrifice, scheduled for March 29, had actually occurred, but in a direct communication to HPI, Gandhi said it had not. Other details of these questionable news reports could not be independently confirmed. The kings of ancient India occassionally performed the sacrifice as a demonstration of their power, but there is no provision in scripture for anyone but a king to perform it.




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India Considers Vegetarian Label Policy
Posted on 2002/5/17 1:47:02 ( 772 reads )


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DELHI, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Officials in India are considering categorizing and labeling all cosmetics and personal hygiene products as vegetarian or non-vegetarian. The practicalities of implementing the idea are now being considered by a technical committee and the courts. Many Hindus in India are strictly vegetarian for religious reasons -- and some pro-Hindu political groups often express concern about non-vegetarian ingredients in food, especially products imported from the West. If approved, all personal hygiene products and cosmetics would be tested by officials, categorized as vegetarian and non-vegetarian and labeled accordingly. Advocates of the plan stress that consumers have the right to make an informed choice. Critics cite the effect on business, particularly on imports and exports, and the expense of comprehensive testing and labeling. A similar plan to categorize medicines in the same way was earlier rejected, partly, from concerns that if critical drugs were classed as non-vegetarian, strict vegetarians might be deterred from accepting them.




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Tiruvannamalai Temple Renovation Nears Completion
Posted on 2002/5/17 1:46:02 ( 739 reads )


Source: The Hindu





TIRUVANNAMALAI, INDIA, May 11, 2002: Ninety percent of the renovation work has been completed on the famed Arunachaleswara Temple in Tiruvannamalai and arrangements are being made for the kumbhabhishekam, or rededication ceremony, to be held on June 27. Presiding over a meeting on Saturday to review the arrangements for the kumbhabhishekam, PC Ramasamy, Minister for the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments, estimated the total cost of the renovation work at US$865,000. Funding for the renovation included specific contributions from donors and a special renovation fund created through general contributions. The "Alankara Mandapam" was constructed with the help of a grant from the government. Meetings are being conducted regularly to review the progress of the various works undertaken by the departments of health, PWD and highways, and local agencies to provide infrastructure and amenities to the pilgrims. The temple's last kumbhabhishekam was held 25 years ago. Nearby the temple is the ashram of Ramana Maharshi.




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South India Dance Gets Center Stage in Geneva
Posted on 2002/5/17 1:45:02 ( 695 reads )


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GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, May 17, 2002: From May 8 to November 17, 2002, the Musee d'ethnographie of Geneva Switzerland presents Bharatanatyam: The Dance of the Gods. The exhibit, the first of its kind in Europe, includes interactive displays, workshops and dance performance by Manjula Lusti Narasimhan and her school Silambam a Geneve. At the exhibit the museum launches its newest publication (in collaboration with Adam Biro), "Bharatanatyam, la Danse Classique de l'Inde", a 176-page book of the dance by Manjula Narasimahan with photos by Johnathan Watts. See "source" above for museum hours, dance performance dates and for information on how to order the book.




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Gunmen Kill 30, Including Ten Children, in Kashmir
Posted on 2002/5/16 1:49:02 ( 731 reads )


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NEW DELHI, INDIA, May 17, 2002: In one of the deadliest attacks India has witnessed in recent years, three men disguised in army fatigues killed 30 people and wounded 48 with sprays of automatic gunfire in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim. The attack could provoke a military retaliation by India, which massed troops on the border after it blamed Pakistan-based militants for a suicide attack on its Parliament last December. In the attack, which took place at Kaluchak, on the outskirts of Jammu, Kashmir's capital, the gunmen first opened fire on a busload of people, killing seven. They killed 23 more people, including 10 children, most of them ages 7 to 10, who were in a camp for families of the soldiers. The assailants were killed by soldiers in an hours-long siege. Indian intelligence officials said the attack was probably carried out by Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of two Pakistan-based militant groups that they also accused in the December attack on Parliament, which left 14 people dead.




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