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Posts Tagged ‘Ravana’

Dhanushkodi – at land’s end

Posted by Admin on June 2, 2012

http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/photos/dhanushkodi-at-land-s-end-slideshow/;_ylt=AkU66VgByHenNcsNIwBv1Sjc4e9_;_ylu=X3oDMTRqZm5pMG1pBG1pdANlZGl0b3JzcGljc2FydGljbGVwYWdlBHBrZwM0YWE0YWQwMi0xNGE0LTNiM2YtOWY1Yy1lZGZlZGJjZjUzOGUEcG9zAzQEc2VjA01lZGlhQ2Fyb3VzZWxSZXNvdXJjZXNDQVRlbXAEdmVyA2Q4YjczM2UwLWFhZjUtMTFlMS1iYWZmLWJkOTE4N2Q4ODUzNw–;_ylg=X3oDMTMyNG1zcWxlBGludGwDaW4EbGFuZwNlbi1pbgRwc3RhaWQDMTllYTFmZTEtYzE5ZS0zYjM3LWEzYzktMTg2NzYzMzIxZWMyBHBzdGNhdAN0cmF2ZWx8dHJhdmVsZXIEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3

Dhanushkodi – at land’s end

Barely 20 km from the town of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dhanushkodi gets its name from Dhanush (bow) and Kodi (end). The name alludes to an anecdote in the Ramayana, where Lord Rama broke the bridge constructed by his army of monkeys between the mainland and the island of Lanka with a stroke of his bow. Barely 50 yards long, Dhanushkodi is the sole terrestrial border between India and Sri Lanka. It was inhabited until 1964, when a terrible cyclone wrecked the village and swept a passenger train into the sea. Though Dhanushkodi today is a ghost town, it is still visited by pilgrims. Yahoo! reader J MADHU RANTHAKAN presents a photographic travelogue of a journey to land’s end.

Dhanushkodi

A distant view of Dhanushkodi town from a vehicle. Pilgrims from all over India visit Rameswaram Temple to bathe in the holy wells and in the sea. It is a well-known pilgrimage site. Only a few, though, know the mythological and historical importance of nearby Dhanushkodi.

Dhanushkodi

A view from Kothandaramaswamy Temple, located 12 km from Rameswaram. Popular belief goes that Vibishana, brother of the demon king Ravana of Lanka, surrendered before Lord Rama here. The mythological importance assigned to this town is that when Lord Rama returned to India after vanquishing Ravana, Vibhishana pleaded with him to break the setu (bridge) so that no other armies would use it. Rama acquiesced to his request and broke the Indian side of the bridge with the end of his bow. This place came to be known as Dhanushkodi (Dhanush is ‘bow’ and kodi is ‘end’ in Tamil) and remains to this day a holy place for Hindus.

Dhanushkodi

Road leading to Dhanushkodi from Rameswaram. It was on this island in January 1897 that Swami Vivekananda, after his triumphant visit to Chicago to attend the Parliament of Religions in September 1893, set foot on Indian soil from Colombo.

Dhanushkodi

Dhanushkodi is today a ghost town and human habitation is almost non-existent as only a few fishermen with their families now live here.

Dhanushkodi

On the fateful night of December 22, 1964, Indian Railways train number 653, the Pamban-Dhanushkodi Passenger, left Pamban with 110 passengers and five railway staff. It was only a few yards before Dhanushkodi railway station when it was hit by a massive tidal wave. The train was washed away, killing all 115 on board. In all, over 1,800 people perished in the cyclonic storm. Following this disaster, the town was declared unfit for living.

Dhanushkodi

All forms of transport to Dhanushkodi stop at Moonram Chathiram. From here, we hire a vehicle – a smelly van that carries fish – more suited to the sandy terrain, to traverse the mud tracks leading up to the ruins. A 7-km bumpy ride along the shore and sometimes into the sea water takes us to the actual ruins.

Dhanushkodi

Dhanushkodi used to have a railway station, a small railway hospital, a higher secondary school, a post office, customs and port offices, temples and a church. Ferries between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka transported travelers and goods across the sea. There were hotels, textile shops and inns (dharmashalas) for pilgrims and travelers.

Dhanushkodi

Remains of the ruined town. Groceries and vegetables were brought by the railways through the Indo-Ceylon Express also called Boat Mail), which connected Madras (now Chennai) to Colombo. Ferries from Talaimannar brought textiles and luxury goods. Before 1964, a train connected Sri Lanka to Madras. It stopped at a pier in Dhanushkodi. From there, passengers used a ferry to cross the 18-km Rama Setu.

Dhanushkodi

Brick walls etched by time and tide tell tearful stories. The structures that withstood the tidal wave exist, buried under the sand and some partly weathered by the sea, adding a mysterious beauty to the place.

Dhanushkodi

The remains of the church and railway station buildings. A few fishermen have settled here in thatched huts.

Dhanushkodi

The walls of the church still stand.

Dhanushkodi

A survivor of the 1964 cyclone who now lives in Dhanushkodi supplies drinking water to tourists from a well on Dhanushkodi beach.

Dhanushkodi

It is amazing that the well, which is just a few yards from the sea, supplies sweet drinking water.

Dhanushkodi

An array of fishing boats seen from the bridge.

Dhanushkodi

A view from the centre of Pamban bridge. I was fortunate to get this shot without any vehicular traffic.

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER:
J MADHU RANTHAKAN is a software professional and a hobbyist photographer interested in sculptures and heritage temple architecture. He also loves photographing nature and children. He is a native of Pollachi in Coimbatore district of Tamil Nadu.

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Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Posted by Admin on October 28, 2011

http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/diwali-celebrations-world-082624838.html

Though Diwali is an Indian festival, it is not limited to only India.

Various other countries celebrate the festival with equal pomp and gaiety as Indians do. The ultimate essence of Diwali, i.e. the triumph of good over evil, is maintained throughout different places and time zones.

Here are some countries of the world that celebrate Diwali.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Mauritius

Mauritius boasts of a staggering 63% of its entire population to be of Indian origin, 80% of which follow Hinduism. Therefore, Diwali is a festival of great significance in the island country. The festival is celebrated around the same time as in India. Beautifully lit earthen lamps are placed around the houses turning the island into a picturesque landscape. Sweets are specially prepared for the occasion and people of other religious and cultural beliefs also join the Hindu counterparts in the celebrations. Diwali also symbolizes the arrival of the summer season in the country.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Australia

Australia has an estimated population of 100,000 Indians settled there, with the majority of them being Hindus. Diwali is quite a major festival in the country with large scale Diwali events, like carnivals and fairs, organized in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. The events feature fireworks display, food stalls offering Diwali sweets and delicacies, musical performances and also burning the effigy of Ravana.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Japan

In the land of the rising sun, Diwali signifies progress, happiness, longevity and prosperity. The festival is not celebrated in the same way as in our home country. Instead of lighting their homes up, people go out to gardens and orchards and hang colorful lanterns and paper-made structures on the branches of trees. The places of worship are decorated with wallpapers so as to bring about a festive mood amongst those who celebrate the festival.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Malaysia

Despite having only about 8% of its population belonging to Hindu community, Diwali is an important festival in Malaysia. Known as Hari Diwali, it is a public holiday in the country. The traditional ritual of oil bath begins the festival which includes prayers at household altars and visit to temples. Temples are adorned with flowers and oil lamps while parades and concerts are organized in some of the major cities. Firecrackers are, however, banned in this country.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

South Africa

South Africa, a country which fought a long battle against apartheid, is home to the largest immigrant Indian population in the world. Most of the descendants of the immigrant Indians are settled in the KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng provinces and comprise about 65% of the entire population there. Most of them, reportedly, trace their origins to Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat and the rituals are held in accordance with their communities, and in the same way as in India.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Thailand

Thailand is known to be a culturally rich country, hence a celebration of one of the most important festivals of the Hindus is an integral part of its itinerary. Here, Diwali is likened to ‘Lam Kriyongh’ which is also celebrated around the month of October/November. Here, the diyas are made of banana leaves instead, which hold candles, a coin and incense. The diyas are then set afloat on a river which makes it quite a spectacular sight for the people to witness.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Nepal

In Nepal, Diwali is known as ‘Tihar‘ and is celebrated in a grand manner over a span of 5 days. During these 5 days, animals like cows, dogs and crows are worshipped apart from Goddess Lakshmi. The people of the Nepali community play ‘Deusi’ and ‘Bhailo’ in which boys and girls go singing and dancing to different houses, giving them blessings while the owner of the house gives them either food items or money. The festivities end with ‘Bhai Tika’ where sisters give tika (colored powder applied on the forehead) and a garland of flowers to their brothers, praying for the brother’s long life and prosperity.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Singapore

Singapore’s Diwali celebrations are amongst the brightest in the world, with a spectacular display of lights throughout different cities. Diwali is one festival that is celebrated irrespective of ethnicity or religion, in the country. The place called “Little India” located in Serangoon Road, is fully covered with lights, colorful arches and garlands. Is is a custom to visit the temple to offer prayers and towards the evening, children and other grown ups go to open areas to light sparklers.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Trinidad & Tobago

Diwali holds a special place in the hearts of citizens of the Caribbean nation, with 43% of the population being of Indian origin. The day is officially declared as a public holiday and is looked at with much anticipation throughout the year. Celebrations of the festival begin 9 days in advance of the actual event. These 9 days are laced with dance performances, displays by Hindu religious sects, theatre, worship of Goddess Lakshmi and lighting of diyas. Areas having a strong Hindu population are decorated with blinding lights and the last day sees a spectacular display of fireworks.

Diwali Celebrations Around the World

Britain

Since Indians are the second largest ethnic minority group in Britain, Diwali is the highlight of the Indian calendar in the country. The festival, though primarily celebrated in much fervor by NRIs, does not remain limited to them. The festive spirit trickles down to people of other cultures and with it being celebrated at the House of Commons, gains even more significance. Leicester city is particularly noted for its major Diwali celebrations as a large number of people gather there to celebrate the Indian festival. (Special Features, MensXP.com)

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