Posts filed under: ‘Religious stories‘




A.P temples

  • Ahobilam: Near Nandyala, kurnool & 40miles from Cuddapah. Narasimha(Vishnu) shrine.
  • Alampur: 200km from Hyderabad & is near kurnool. Jogulamba at edge of tungabadra river. Called dakshina kasi/kailasam as is Sree Kalahasti in southern Andhra. Navabhramma temples dating back to 17th century, built Chalukyas here are dedicated to Lord Shiva. All these temples are enclosed in a courtyard on the left bank of the river Tungabhadra. Alampur is western gateway of Sree Sailam. Tungabadra & krishna are in confluence near Alampur.
  • Amaravati: Is home to Amareswara temple which constitutes one of the five Pancharama temples of Andhra Pradesh sacred to Shiva. It is located 15miles away from Guntur near Vijayawada. As the name Amaravati implies, legend has it that Amaravati was once the abode of the Gods – the Devas, the yakshas and the kinnaras, who performed penances to Shiva to request him to rid the earth of the mighty demon Tarakasura. Legend has it that Shiva’s son Subramanya vanquished the demon.
  • Annavaram: Satyanarayana Swami temple near Kakinada on Ratnagiri hills.
  • Basara: Saraswati temple near Nizamabad.
  • Bhadrachalam: 200km from Vijayawada & near Khammam. This temple is intimately connected with the life of the saint composer Bhadrachala Ramadasa who was known as Gopanna. Gopanna the Tasildar of Bhadrachalam (second half of the 17th century) is said to have utilized money from the government treasury to build this temple, and was imprisoned in a dungeon at Golconda. Rama is said to have miraculously given the Sultan the money spent by Gopanna, after which he was released. Gopanna then became Bhadrachala Ramadasa, and went on to compose several songs in Telugu in praise of Rama. Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are said to have stayed at Parnasala, 35 km away from Bhadrachalam. Rama is said to have crossed the river Godavari on his way to Sri Lanka to rescue Sita, at the spot where the Bhadrachalam temple stands, on the northern bank of the river.
  • Birla Mandir: At Hyderabad on top of a hill dominating the skyline built of white marble. The Birlas (industrialists who have also built several temples in India in this century) built this temple. The presiding deity here is Venkateswara (Vishnu).
  • Dharmapuri: Near Karimnagar enshrines Ramalingeswara temple & Yoga Narasimha.
  • Draksharama: In E.G.Dst near Kakinada. It was built by a Chalukya King. Draksharama, Sree Sailam & Kalahasti together constitute the 3 sacred Shivalingams of AP, giving it its ancient name Trilinga Desa.
  • Hanumakonda: 1000pillar temple at Warangal.
  • Kotilingam temple: Near Anakapalle.
  • Kotipalli(Kumararama): It is an imp pilgrimage center near Rajahmundry.
  • Mahanandi temple: At Thimmapuram near Kurnool.
  • Mangalagiri: Narasimhaswami near Vijayawada.
  • Palampet: Near Warangal is home to brilliant Kakatiya art as seen in Ramappa temple.
  • Simhachalam: This hill of the lion temple can be seen as one approaches VSP from Vijayanagaram by train. It is 18km from VSP. Varaha Lakshminarasimha, combining the iconographic features of Varaha & Narasimha is the deity here. The image resembles a Shivalingam covered with sandal paste. Legend has it that the Ugra form of Narasimha as he killed the demon Hiranyakashipu was so fierce that the image is kept covered by sandal paste throughout the year. It is only once a year, during the Chandana Visarjana that the sandal paste is removed, and the image is seen by pilgrims.
  • Sri Kalahasti: Near Tirupati, dedicated to Shiva.
  • Sri Sailam: It constitutes one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The presiding deities here are Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Devi). Legend has it that Durga is said to have assumed the shape of a bee and worshipped Shiva here, and chose this place as her abode.
  • Tirupati: Venkateswara, or Srinivasa or Balaji as the presiding deity Vishnu is known, is enshrined in this temple, located on a range of the Eastern Ghats, called the Seven Hills in Chittoor dst.
  • Vemulawada: Near Karimnagar is home to an ancient temple dedicated to Shiva – Rajarajeswara.
  • Vijayawada: Home to 3distinctive temples- Kanakadurga temple, Malleswara temple, Vijayeswara temple. ear Vijayawada is the hill temple complex of Mangalagiri dedicated to Narasimha.
  • Yadagirigutta: Narasimha swami

1 comment December 12, 2008

Lord shiva

The unclad body covered with ashes: The unclad body symbolizes the transcendental aspect of the Lord. Since most things reduce to ashes when burned, ashes symbolize the physical universe. The ashes on the unclad body of the Lord signify that Shiva is the source of the entire universe which emanates from Him, but He transcends the physical phenomena and is not affected by it. 

Matted locks: Lord Shiva is the Master of yoga. The three matted locks on the head of the Lord convey the idea that integration of the physical, mental and spiritual energies is the ideal of yoga. 

Ganga: Ganga (river Ganges) is associated with Hindu mythology and is the most sacred river of Hindus. According to tradition, one who bathes in Ganga (revered as Mother Ganga) in accordance with traditional rites and ceremonies on religious occasions in combination with certain astrological events, is freed from sin and attains knowledge, purity and peace. Ganga, symbolically represented on the head of the Lord by a female (Mother Ganga) with a jet of water emanating from her mouth and falling on the ground, signifies that the Lord destroys sin, removes ignorance, and bestows knowledge, purity and peace on the devotees. 

The crescent moon: Is shown on the side of the Lord’s head as an ornament, and not as an integral part of His countenance. The waxing and waning phenomenon of the moon symbolizes the time cycle through which creation evolves from the beginning to the end. Since the Lord is the Eternal Reality, He is beyond time. Thus, the crescent moon is only one of His ornaments, and not an integral part of Him. 

Three eyes: Lord Shiva, also called Tryambaka Deva (literally, “three-eyed Lord”) or Trolochana, is depicted as having three eyes: the sun is His right eye, the moon the left eye and fire the third eye. The two eyes on the right and left indicate His activity in the physical world. The third eye in the center of the forehead symbolizes spiritual knowledge and power, and is thus called the eye of wisdom or knowledge. Like fire, the powerful gaze of Shiva’s third eye annihilates evil, and thus the evil-doers fear His third eye. 

Half-open eyes: When the Lord opens His eyes, a new cycle of creation emerges and when He closes them, the universe dissolves for creation of the next cycle. The half-open eyes convey the idea that creation is going through cyclic process, with no beginning and no end. Lord Shiva is the Master of Yoga, as He uses His yogic power to project the universe from Himself. The half-open eyes also symbolize His yogic posture. 

Kundalas (two ear rings): Two Kundalas, Alakshya (meaning “which cannot be shown by any sign”) and Niranjan (meaning “which cannot be seen by mortal eyes”) in the ears of the Lord signify that He is beyond ordinary perception. Since the kundala in the left ear of the Lord is of the type used by women and the one in His right ear is of the type used by men, these Kundalas also symbolize the Shiva and Shakti (male and female) principle of creation. 

Snake around the neck: Sages have used snakes to symbolize the yogic power of Lord Shiva with which He dissolves and recreates the universe. Like a yogi, a snake hoards nothing, carries nothing, builds nothing, lives on air alone for a long time, and lives in mountains and forests. The venom of a snake, therefore, symbolizes the yogic power. 

A snake (Vasuki): Is shown curled three times around the neck of the Lord and is looking towards His right side. The three coils of the snake symbolize the past, present and future – time in cycles. The Lord wearing the curled snake like an ornament signifies that creation proceeds in cycles and is time dependent, but the Lord Himself transcends time. The right side of the body symbolizes the human activities based upon knowledge, reason and logic. The snake looking towards the right side of the Lord signifies that the Lord’s eternal laws of reason and justice preserve natural order in the universe. 

Rudraksha necklace: Rudra is another name of Shiva. Rudra also means “strict or uncompromising” and aksha means “eye.” Rudraksha necklace worn by the Lord illustrates that He uses His cosmic laws firmly – without compromise – to maintain law and order in the universe. The necklace has 108 beads which symbolize the elements used in the creation of the world. 

Varda Mudra: The Lord’s right hand is shown in a boon – bestowing and blessing pose. As stated earlier, Lord Shiva annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees. 

Trident (Trisulam): A three-pronged trident shown adjacent to the Lord symbolizes His three fundamental powers (shakti) of will (iccha), action (kriya) and knowledge (jnana). The trident also symbolizes the Lord’s power to destroy evil and ignorance. 

Drum: A small drum with two sides separated from each other by a thin neck-like structure symbolizes the two utterly dissimilar states of existence, unmanifest and manifest. When a damaru is vibrated, it produces dissimilar sounds which are fused together by resonance to create a sound. The sound thus produced symbolizes Nada, the cosmic sound of AUM, which can be heard during deep meditation. According to Hindu scriptures, Nada is the source of creation. 

Kamandalam: A water pot (Kamandalam) made from a dry pumpkin contains nectar and is shown on the ground next to Shiva. The process of making Kamandalu has deep spiritual significance. A ripe pumpkin is plucked from a plant, its fruit is removed and the shell is cleaned for containing the nectar. In the same way, an individual must break away from attachment to the physical world and clean his inner self of egoistic desires in order to experience the bliss of the Self, symbolized by the nectar in the Kamandalu. 

Nandi: The bull is associated with Shiva and is said to be His vehicle. The bull symbolizes both power and ignorance. Lord Shiva’s use of the bull as a vehicle conveys the idea that He removes ignorance and bestows power of wisdom on His devotees. The bull is called Vrisha in Sanskrit. Vrisha also means dharma (righteousness). Thus a bull shown next to Shiva also indicates that He is the etemal companion of righteousness. 

Tiger skin: A tiger skin symbolizes potential energy. Lord Shiva, sitting on or wearing a tiger skin, illustrates the idea that He is the source of the creative energy that remains in potential form during the dissolution state of the universe. Of His own Divine Will, the Lord activates the potential form of the creative energy to project the universe in endless cycles. 

Cremation ground: Shiva sitting in the cremation ground signifies that He is the controller of death in the physical world. Since birth and death are cyclic, controlling one implies controlling the other. Thus, Lord Shiva is revered as the ultimate controller of birth and death in the phenomenal world.

Add a comment August 19, 2008

Nagula chavithi

  1. It is on the fifth day of the bright half of the Shravan that Naga Panchami, or the festival of snakes, is celebrated.
  2. Snakes are believed to like milk. As this is the day of the serpents, devotees pour milk into all the holes in the ground around the house or near the temple to propitiate them. If a snake actually drinks the milk, it is considered to be extremely lucky for the devotee.
  3. Young Krishna was playing with the other cowboys, when suddenly the ball got entangled in the high branch of a tree. Krishna volunteered to climb the tree and fetch the ball. But below the tree there was a deep part of the river Yamuna, in which the terrible snake Kaliya was living. Everybody was afraid of that part of the river. Suddenly Krishna fell from the tree into the water. Then that terrible snake came up. But Krishna was ready and jumping on the snake’s head he caught it by the neck. Kaliya understood that Krishna was not an ordinary boy, and that it would not be easy to overcome him. So Kaliya pleaded with Krishna: “Please, do not kill me.” Krishna full of compassion asked the snake to promise that henceforth he would not harass anybody. Then he let the snake go free into the river again.
  4. On Nag Panchami day the victory of Krishna over the Kaliya snake is commemorated.

Add a comment February 25, 2008

Brahmotsavam

  1. Tirumala Brahmotsavam is an annual Hindu festival celebrated for nine days in the months of September and October at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.
  2. Brahma worshiped Sri Balaji on the banks of the holy Pushkarini in Tirupati as a way to give thanks for the Lord’s protection of mankind. Hence, this utsava bears his name as “Brahmotsavam,” which means “Brahma’s Utsavam.” In Tirumala, Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the month of October.

Add a comment February 25, 2008

Atla tadde

  1. Traditional festival celebrated by married Hindus women of Andhra Pradesh, India, for the health and long life of their husbands.
  2. It occurs on the 3rd night after the full moon in Aswiyuja month of Telugu calendar
  3. It is the Telugu equivalent of Karva Chauth, which is celebrated by north Indian women the following day.
  4. Keeping a day-long fast without food or water. At night women do pooja, and after seeing the moon, they break the fast by eating tiny atlu

Add a comment February 25, 2008

Ramzaan/Ramadan & Eid ul-Fitr

  1.  Takes place during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar.
  2. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Ramadan migrates through the seasons.
  3. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat and perform their fajr prayer. They break their fast when the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib (sunset), is due.
  4. During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam as well as refraining from lying, stealing, anger, envy, greed, lust, sarcastic retorts, backbiting, and gossip. Obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided; sexual intercourse during fasting hours is also forbidden.
  5. In addition to fasting, Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an.
  6.  Eid ul-Fitr means the Festival of Breaking the Fast, a special celebration is made. Food is donated to the poor (‘Zakat al-Fitr’), everyone put on their best, preferably new, clothes, and communal prayers are held in the early morning, followed by feasting and visiting relatives and friends.

Add a comment February 25, 2008

Hanuman jayanti

  1. Celebrated during chaitra month to commemorate the birth of Hanuman.
  2.  Hanuman is the symbol of strength and energy.
  3. The devotees will visit temples and apply tilak of sindhoor to their foreheads from the Hanumans body as this is considered to be good luck. According to the legend Sita was applying sindhoor to her head, Hanuman Ji questioned why and replied that this would ensure a long life for her husband. Hanuman then smeared his entire body with sindhoor, in an effort to ensure Rama’s immortality.

1 comment February 25, 2008

Good friday & Easter

  1. Good Friday is the Friday before Easter (Easter always falls on a Sunday).
  2. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary.
  3. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day of his death.

Add a comment February 25, 2008

Mahavir jayanti

  1. In Jainism, Mahavir Jayanti is the most important religious holiday.
  2. Its his birthday celebration.
  3. Falls in late March or early April on Gregarian calendar.

Add a comment February 25, 2008

Moharram

  1. Muharram is so called because it was unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word ‘haram’ meaning forbidden.
  2. Since the Islamic lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.
  3. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. Some Muslims fast during these days.
  4. Fasting differs among the Muslim groupings; mainstream Shia Muslims stop eating and drinking during sunlight hours but do not fast until the evening. Sunni Muslims also fast during Muharram and on either the ninth or the eleventh day, the choice of which additional day being at the discretion of the individual.

Add a comment February 25, 2008

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