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  • Maha Shivratri

    Maha Shivratri, translated as the great night of Shiva, is a festivity observed once every year to honour the God Shiva. Among the dualist Tantric Shaiva exegetical traditions, the festival is referred to as Har-Ratri or Herath for simplicity. There is a Shivaratri in every solar-luni month of the Hindu calendar system. This starts on the 13th night and continues to the following day. Each year towards the end of the winter season, just before the arrival of spring, Maha Shivratri is celebrated.

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    It is a significant event in the Hindu religion, this particular festival is characterised by solemnity and is meant to signify the triumph over darkness and ignorance in the world and in life itself. The festival is commemorated through fasting, yoga, chanting prayers and remembrance of Shiva. Believers also meditate on virtues and ethics like the discovery of Shiva, forgiveness, honesty and self-control.  Truly passionate devotees remain awake for the entire night. Others may embark on pilgrimages to jyotirlingas or pay a visit to one of the temples of Shiva.

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    Festivities

    The celebration includes the maintenance of a Jagran, a vigil and prayer for the entire night because Hinduism marks it a period of transcendence from ignorance and darkness in the world and in one's self through Shiva. Devotees make offerings of milk, fruits, sweets and leaves to the god Shiva, some take part in fasting with a Vedic worship of Shiva. In temples dedicated to Shiva, the revered mantra of Shiva is recited for the whole day. The Maha Shivaratri festival actually lasts for three or ten days depending on the Hindu solar-luni calendar.

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    Significance

    Scholars believe that Maha Shivaratri was the day that Shiva consumed the world's poisonous negativity to save it from destruction. This festival is mentioned in many ancient Indian texts especially the Linga Purana and Skanda Purana. These texts present varying explanations for the festival, but all call for reverence and fasting in remembrance of Shiva. There are different legends that explain the importance of the Mahashivratri festival.

    According to Shaivism, it marks the day that Shiva performed the celestial dance of preservation, destruction and creation. The sacrifices and prayers offered by worshipers join with this dance and commemorate Shiva everywhere. Another legend suggests that the festival marks the night that Parvati was wed to Shiva. A third account states that making sacrifices and offerings serves as atonement for previous sins and creates a new chance for individuals to walk a path of virtue so that they can reach liberation.

    Poompuhar wishes all our readers a very blessed Maha Shivratri. Check out our collection to select your favourite Shiv Pratima to celebrate this auspicious festival.

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  • The 5 Most Popular Hindu Festivals in India

    India is known as a country of many festivals as it has many traditions and customs. Festivals are in the hearts of the people of India. Regardless of the diverse traditions, there are festivals that are shared and celebrated across the country. Below is a glimpse of five most popular Hindu festivals celebrated across India -

    • Diwali
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    This is the biggest festival in India. It is also called the Festival of Lights. It is a five day festival in celebration of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil. It usually falls in in the October or November month. It is called the festival of lights as people light small clay lamps, candles, and fireworks during the festival.

    In North India, it is celebrated to remember the arrival of Lord Rama to Ayodhya after victory over Ravana. In South India, it is a celebrated to honor the victory of Lord Krishna over Narakasura demon.

    • Holi
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    Holi is a two-day festival and is popular among foreigners. It is referred to as the Festival of Colors and is usually celebrated in March. It celebrates the abundance of the spring harvest season.

    People engage in throwing colored powder and water all over each other. They light bonfires, have parties, and dance while drenching each other with water balloons and water sprinklers. Holi is the festival to participate in if you don’t mind getting wet and dirty. It is great fun.

    • Ganesh Chaturthi
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    The Ganesh Chaturthi festival honors the birth of the Hindu elephant-headed god, Lord Ganesha. Elaborately crafted idols made from clay and metal of Lord Ganesha are installed in homes at the start of the festival.

    People then worship the idol for eleven days. After which they are paraded through streets in extravagant processions and then submerged in the river or ocean.

    • Mata Shivaratri

    Shivaratri means the Great Night of Shiva or the Night of Shiva. Devotees gatherat Shiva temples to offer Bael leaves to the God. Some devotes follow fasting for the whole day while some take only one meal.

    People gather around the Shiva temples and putholy ash ontheir bodies after bath. They then recite prayers to Lord Shiva. Singing and dancing take place all night long.

    • Krishna Janmashtami
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    Krishna Janmashtami is a festival that commemorates the birthday of Lord Krishna. It is celebrated on the 8th day of the Krishna Paksha in August-September.

    Krishna is believed to have been a mischievous and naughty kid who loved milk and butter. Women make sweets made from milk and offer it to the Lord. One custom of the festival is ‘Dahi Handi’. A clay pot is normally filled with buttermilk and hung at an elevated height. During the festival, teams of guys form human pyramid and then try and break open Handi (clay pots) filled with curd by hitting with a blunt object. Curd or milk spilling over the group symbolizes achievement through unity.

  • 21 Age old wisdoms of ancient India

    Our country “BHARAT” is very different and unique in all respects in whole world. Be it the tradition,culture,history,climate,language,region or religion, India has always set an example of exemplary wisdom and peace since beginning. A lot of changes though has taken place from following rituals to spending life,but there are still people who strictly follow the ancient lifestyle practices that our rishis and ancient Indian scholars used to do. You all might be aware of the things that Iam going to write down below but hardly find time to inculcate these habits in our day to day life.

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    Have a look over some wisdom points from ancient Hinduism custom that might be helpful to many of you living in today’s modern world:

    • People are advised to worship Neem and Banyan tree in the morning. Inhaling the air near these trees, is good for health.

     

    • If you are trying to look for ways for stress management, there can’t be anything other than practicing Hindu Yoga asanas and Pranayamam(inhaling and exhaling air slowly using one of the nostrils).

     

    • Hindu temples are built scientifically. The place where an idol is placed in the temple is called ‘Moolasthanam’. This ‘Moolasthanam’ is the place where earth’s magnetic waves are found to be maximum, thus benefitting the worshipper.

     

    • Every Hindu household has a Tulasi Tulasi leaves when consumed, keeps our immune system strong to help prevent the dangerous H1N1 disease.

     

    • The rhythm of Vedic mantram, (an ancient Hindu practice), when pronounced and heard cures so many disorders of the body like blood pressure, heart disorders and insomnia.

     

    • Hindus apply the holy ash on their forehead after taking bath to removes sweat and excess water from head.

     

    • Women keep Kumkumabottu on their forehead that protects them from being hypnotised.

     

    • Eating with hands might be looked down upon in the west but it connects the body, mind and soul.

     

    • Hindu custom requires one to eat on either banana or palash leaves. This is the most eco-friendly way as it does not require any chemical soap to cleanse it and it can be discarded without harming the environment.

     

    • Piercing of baby’s ear is actually a part of acupuncture treatment. The point where the ear is pierced helps in curing asthma.

     

    • The old practice of pasting cow dung on walls and outside the house prevents various diseases as it is considered natural anti-biotic and rich in minerals.

     

    • Hindus consider drinking cow urine to cure various illnesses. Apparently, it does balance bile, mucous and air and cures heart diseases and also acts like an antidote.

     

    • The age old punishment of doing situps while holding the ears actually makes the mind sharper and is helpful for those with Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.

     

    • Lighting ‘deepam’ or oil or ghee lamp in temples and houses fill the surrounding with positivity and recharge your senses.

     

    • Janjam, or the string on a Brahmin’s body, is also a part of acupressure and keeps the wearer safe from several diseases.

     

    • Decorating the main door with ‘Toranamu'- a string of mango leaves; neem leaves and ashoka leaves actually purifies the atmosphere.

     

    • Touching the elder’s feet keeps your backbone in good shape.

     

    • Cremation or burning the dead is one of the cleanest form of disposing off the dead body.

     

    • Chanting the mantram ‘Om’ leads to significant reduction in heart rate and leads to a deeper form of relaxation with increased alertness.

     

    • Hanuman Chalisa, according to NASA, has the exact calculation of the distance between Sun and the Earth.

     

    • The ‘ShankhaDhwani’ creates the sound waves by which many harmful germs and insects are destroyed. The mosquito breeding is also affected by Shankha blowing and reduces the spread of malaria.
  • Famous Forts of India

    India is a land of rich cultural history and architecture. To experience it one must see the majestic palaces and forts built by royal kingdoms of India. Forts were built to guard off enemies in the past. Whole of India is dotted with breathtaking forts of different sizes and types. Everything in a fort, from window to porch to bastion to courtyard and even the outer wall recounts some historic tale. Constructed with an extreme sense of finesse and ability, one cannot stop falling in love with these outstanding pieces of architecture that India feel so proud of. Here is a list of few popular and marvelous forts of India:

    1. Mehragarh Fort, Jodhpur

    An elevated platform and thick boundaries make the Mehragarh Fort of Jodhpur as one of the largest forts in India. The magnificent fort has 7 huge gates, one of which still has a distinct cannonball imprint that signifies the wars of the past. Inside, lies a big museum which documents the rich history of the rulers of that time which is exhibited mainly in the form of paintings, dresses, ammunition etc.

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    1. Red Fort ,Delhi

    Red Fort (or Lal Quila) is an apex of Mughal art and the most popular monument in the capital city of India. It is situated on the banks of river Yamuna and was built by Shahjahan.  Carved with only red sandstones, red fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the most well preserved and massive forts of India. The fort reflects Islamic sense of architecture with splendid Persian motifs and carvings.

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    1. Gwalior Fort, Madhya Pradesh

    Gwalior fort is known to be ruled by 110 rulers of different dynasties. Gwalior fort is believed to have witnessed some great historical events where Tantya Tope fought with the British army and Rani Lakshmi Bai took her last breath. The dramatic Jain sculptures, ceramic tiles, attractive motifs and intricate lattice work make the Gwalior fort a very unique monument of India.

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    1. Amer Fort

    Amer Fort is located in Amer which falls between Delhi and Rajasthan and is therefore known as Gateway to Rajasthan. This huge fort is built on top of Cheel ka Teela (Eagle’s hill) amongst Aravali hill range and is never known to be conquered by any ruler. The major attractions of Amer Fort are Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-e-Aam, the Summer Residence and Sila Mata Temple. The intricately carved and beautifully painted palaces inside the fort, gardens, rooms and terraces reflect the rich culture of India and artisan’s hard work. Built by Raja Man Singh, Amer fort represents a distinct blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture.

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    1. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad

    Golconda was basically a mine from which precious gemstones of the world were believed to be mined. The fort reflects the richest histories and traditions of India. The unique domes, entrances, pillars of fort are surrounded by 10 kilometer long boundary wall. The fort renders an acoustic affect where a clap at the entrance of The Fateh Darwaza can be heard a kilometer away at Bala Hisar pavilion.

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    1. Red fort, Agra

    The huge Agra fort was built by Mughal emperor Akbar in 15th century. Agra Fort is spread over an area of about 94 acres and has believed to witness a number of Indian wars and battles. Diwan e khas, diwan e aam, khas mahal, shish mahal, and an octagonal burj are some of the most aesthetically designed complexes inside Red fort. It is believed that Shahjahan died in the marvelous balcony of the octagonal burj only, when he was held captive by his son Aurangzeb.

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    1. Chittoragarh fort, Rajasthan

    Chittoragarh fort of Rajasthan is a World Heritage Site and is located 175 kilometers east of Udaipur. The fort has two uniquely designed pillars, the Kirti Stambh and the Vijay Stambh, reflecting the ultimate art and finesse of the artisan. With about twenty pools, nineteen temples and four palaces, Chittoragarh fort leaves you spell bound by its unique architectural beauty.

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  • History and Origin of Brass in India

    The brass is a yellow colored metal and an alloy of copper and zinc. An alloy is a combination of two or more metals that imparts greater strength to the metal. Occasionally some other elements like lead, tin, arsenic are used to promote resistance. A combination of two metals provides an excellent characteristic and greater malleability to the metal.

    Brass production in Indian subcontinent is dated back to the first century BC which also introduced speltering for the first time. Speltering is a process that directly combines metallic zinc and copper to form a strong alloy. Speltering allowed brass makers to have more control over the zinc content and, since then the properties of the brass were fully known. This process, however, depends upon the availability of zinc. The first metallic zinc was produced near Zawar region of Rajasthan around 14th century.

    Calamine brass is another quality of brass that was produced using copper and zinc oxide during same time. Calamine brass was produced using a process known as cementation process, whereby copper was melted in a huge crucible along with ground smithsonite (or calamine) ore at high temperatures. Such a high temperature vaporizes the zinc present in and permeates the copper, thereby producing a relatively purer quality of brass with between only15 and 30 percent of zinc content.

    Brass's unique properties resulted in production of many technical instruments like clocks, watches, chronometers and navigational tools. Brass's characteristic ability to be rolled into thin, corrosion-resistant, non-magnetic and low friction sheets makes it ideal for many items of armaments and ornamentation. Nowadays the applications of the brass include plumbing fixtures, self-propelling articles like thermostats and electrical components.

    Browse the exclusive collection of wonderful handcrafted brass items from Poompuhar. The unique finishing of these items would leave you mesmerized. They are ideal for decoration, pooja purpose, gifting etc. So distinct and budget friendly collection of brass items here, even I am going to place an order just now.

    Plain Brass Bowl

    The classic piece reflects the zeal and determination of craftsmen. The elegantly carved brass bowl is my favorite among bowls collection at Poompuhar. The distinct hand work done on it says it all. It can be used for keeping nuts and dry fruits or can be used as decorative item in your room.

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    Mukkali

    The beautiful Mukkali with three stands is as exquisite as any other product from here. It is made up of pure brass and polished neatly to enhance the look. It can be used in pooja room

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    Brass Samprani Stand

    The simple and elegant Samprapani or loban stand is a block of brass upon which the loban is burnt. Samrapani is derived from balsamic resin of certain variety of trees and is used for fragrance and aroma during pooja at home. It is believed to bring good luck and ward off evil from home.

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  • An insight into South Indian Stone Carving and Sculptures

    Stone carving is an ancient activity of shaping rough natural stones through controlled removal of stone. It is a process employed by an artist while making a sculpture. Stone carving is mostly preferred over wood or metal work as many types of stones are easier to find than metal ores. Stone carvings last much longer than woodwork as stone is more durable than wood. Also the availability of varieties, quality and color among stones make it a choice of material to start off with the process of sculpting.

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    The stones commonly used in sculpting are easily carved soft stones such as soapstone and pumice. Limestone and marble is also popularly used. Certain hard stones like granite and basalt form a beautiful finishing and are carved with special iron or steel tools. The crucial point in the process of sculpturing is the quality of the material used. The sculptor has to go into thorough details regarding the quality, texture and color of the stone before proceeding to work. The art of stone carving and sculpting is almost similar to the measurements, techniques and details set out for Shilpa Shastra. The enthusiastic and dedicated sculptors of South India have always worked creatively with the indigenous and extremely durable variety of the stone available to construct beautiful temples and sculptures.

    The astonishing temples that glorify south India are from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These states were ruled by various dynasties of Pallavas, Chalukyas, Viajayanagar Empire, Kakatiyas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas and Gangas and all the architecture reflects the culture and tradition of each dynasty in which it was built. The glory of south Indian temple architecture can best be seen at Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. The magnificent temple features a thousand pillared mandapas, huge reliefs and tall gateways.

    The sculptor’s unique sense skill can also be seen in the other temples of the region. At Chidambaram, there is a beautiful temple featuring the 108 mudras of the Natya Shastra while at Kanchipuram one can see a number of the temples reflecting the culture of Pallava and Nayak dynasty.

    Rock cut temple sculpture is mainly the contribution of Rashtrakutas period which exhibits Jainism and Buddhism culture. The temples beautifully depict mythological gods and goddesses from Hindu puranas on their outer walls.

    Sangam period witnessed more artistic and nature inspired elements that can well be seen on the deities inside Chidambaram Thillai Nataraja Temple and the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple of Tamil Nadu. The Pallavas period introduced a new phase in art at that time. They introduced incredible and novel ways of artistic expression in sculpting. Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) is the biggest example of such art form. Made from granite and dressed stone Mahabalipuram exhibits dream world of amazing tamil stone art and architechture.

    Sculptures of Chalukya dynasty are mainly found in the state of Karnataka. Standing tall on a lotus Gomateshwara monolith is considered as the major sculpture of Ganga dynasty in Karnataka and has been carved from fine grained white granite. Temples built by Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal are those at Palampeta, Hanamkonda and the Warangal fort, displaying both the love for architecture and the zest of sculpting.

    The distinct feature of south Indian sculpture is that they redefined and provided a unique identity to the art of sculpturing in India.

  • Good, Old Mysore Silk

    When we think of South Indian fabric, the first thing that stands out is the Silk saree: the unique weave, smooth texture and minimalistic designs made with zari and motifs. Of all the myriad styles of silk sarees, ‘Mysore Silk Saree’ from Karnataka is an absolute favorite for everyone, be it for everyday wear or for weddings and functions.

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    The history of Mysore Silk

    While its beginnings may be non-Indian, but today silk holds an important place in the wardrobe of every Indian and Mysore Silk takes the lead in this. Legend has it that history of silk in India can be traced back to the reign of Tipu Sultan(in 1785) who first imported silk cocoons from China and dreamt of making Mysore a leading center for silk production in the world. Since then sericulture has flourished in the Mysore region and the neighboring districts of Mandya, Chamarajnagar and Bengaluru.

    Another turning point for Mysore Silk in India was in 1912 when Maharaja of Mysore Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV went to Britain for Queen Victoria’s jubilee celebration and noticed the British royalty wearing machine made silk fabric. This inspired him to import 32 silk weaving machines from Switzerland and setting up the Mysore Silk Weaving Factory.

    What makes Mysore Silk so special?

    Each and every piece of Mysore silk is exclusively manufactured and produced by the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation, each piece has a distinct mark and unique code embroidered in the corner. This unique code gives the following information:

    • The history of the saree
    • Details of its manufacturing
    • Hours spent on making the saree
    • Wages received by the weavers for the saree

    In fact, the unique code is the most telling sign and lets you distinguish an original from a fake.

    A feature that distinguishes Mysore silk sareesfrom other varieties is the use of genuine silk and pure gold zari giving it a natural sheen and rich texture. Even an old Mysore silk saree can be spotted from a mile away owing to its simple design and ‘as good as new’ shine.

    Mysore Silk today

    Today traditional and authentic silk sarees are manufactured exclusively by the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC). KSIC is the sole proprietor of the geographical indication for ‘Mysore Silk’ with certificate of GI patent which was awarded in 2005.

    With an estimated 35000 metres of pure silk fabric being produced every month, Mysore Silk has become one of the fastest selling and most demanded handloom product in India and is a favorite for weddings and traditional ceremonies.

  • The Origin and History of Pashmina

    Who hasn’t heard of a Pashmina shawl?

    The ultra-light, warm and soft fabric worn by people across the world which has become a status symbol for manytoday. Pashmina or Cashmere has become hot stuff now. Worn by celebrities, the bold designs and explosion of colours have made Pashmina an all-time favourite for those wanting to make a style statement.

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    Buthow much do you know about where it came from?How didPashmina become so popular?

    We may associate the finery of Pashmina with being dressed up, but in parts of Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal and Tibet the Pashmina is actually lounge wear.

    How did it all start?

    The word Pashmina is derived from the word Pashmeh – which translates to ‘Made from Pashm’ where Pash means Wool in Persian. The name Pashmina was given to the fabric by Iranians who came to India via Ladakh and Kashmir.

    Pashmina was initially reserved only for the Kashmir royalty from where it was introduced to the Mughal Empire. The French traders were the ones that actually took pashmina to Europe where it became an instant hit owing to its quality.

    The special Pashmina wool comes from the Pashmina goat which is indigenous to the high altitudes of Ladakh, Kashmir and Nepal. The wool is collected every spring whenthe mountain goats shedtheir winter coat. This species of goat regrows the wool every winter to protect itself from the extreme cold present in the region where temperature can fall to -40 degrees.

    Did you know it can take more than a week to make a single pashmina shawl?

    Pashmina wool is very thin in diameter, infact it is almost 1/6 of a human hair which makes it very soft and light. Hence Pashmina has to be hand woven into products and fabrics as strands can break if exposed to a manufacturing process or machinery. This specialized process and tedious time consuming tasks are the reason that it can take a week to make a single pashmina shawl.

    Pashmina today!

    Today, Pashmina is regarded as the most sought after fabric in the world and has gained cult status for people who appreciate its distinct qualities. Most of the fashion houses globally have given a special status to Pashmina products.

    Srinagar in India and Kathmandu in Nepal have become centres for weaving pashmina fabrics in handlooms. Some of the most sought after products of pashmina include pashmina shawls, stoles, scarves,sweaters and mufflers.

  • Cave temples in India: Divinity expressed through arts

    India has incredible cave temples that reflect determination, faith of early humans and present wonderful arenas of ancient Indian rock cut architecture. These rock-cut cave temples aren’t just rich in history, they also boast of remarkable architectural and artistic qualities that existed in ancient civilization of India. Here’s a list of few strikingly beautiful cave temples of India.

    Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

    Ajanta and Ellora caves are undoubtedly the pride of India and include stunning paintings and commendable rock cut sculptures. They are believed to have been formed by accumulation of limestone. One needs to explore the caves to understand its history and magnificence. There are 34 caves at the Ellora that date back to 6th and 11th century AD and 29 caves at Ajanta dating back to 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The caves at the Ajanta are Buddhist caves while Ellora caves are a mix of Buddhism, Hinduism as well as Jainism. They exhibit finest surviving example of ancient Indian art today.

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    Badami Caves, Karnataka

    The manmade Badami caves are the finest example of Badami Chalukya rock cut architecture. The temple is located at the bank of an artificial lake in Badami town of Karnataka and dates back to 6th and 7th century AD. It has total four caves out of which three have Brahamanical temples and one has Jain temple. Each cave has artistically carved sculptures of Hindu Gods and reflects Chalukayas immense love for sandstone architecture .These magnificent caves are also amongst the top tourist attractions of Karnataka.

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    Elephanta Island Caves, Maharashtra

    The enigmatic Elephanta caves date back to 5thand 8th centuries AD and are believed to have been hand carved out of a single rock. Located on the densely covered Elephanta Island, it consists of a large group of five Hindu caves and a smaller group of two Buddhist caves that feature spectacular sculptures of Hindu mythological figures. The main cave or the Great Cave has a 6 m high Trimurthi sculpture of the three faces of Lord Shiva and is a sacred Hindu place of worship. Despite the mindless destruction during colonial past, Elephanta cave still attracts numerous tourists from around the country every year.

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    Varaha Caves, Tamil Nadu

    Built in the late 7th century AD, Varaha Cave Temple at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) is an outstanding example of Indian rock cut architecture. This temple has intricately moulded lion pillars with elaborate sculptures of Lakshmi, Durga and Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu and reflects natural art and culture of Pallava dynasty.

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    Trichy Rock Fort Temple, Tamil Nadu

    Constructed on a 273 foot high rock, Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort is a 7th century old Hindu temple and is amongst the most incredible cave temples in India. There are two cave temples namely The Uchchi Pillayar Koil and The Siva Temple. The caves are said to have been built during the Pallavas, but it was the Nayaks of Madurai who completed both the temples. The cave’s interiors are spectacularly gripping and its hill top view is simply breathtaking.

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    Dungeshwari Cave Temples, Bihar

    Also known as the Mahakala caves, Dungeshwari Caves house the Buddhist temples that are very artistically structured. These are three caves where it is believed the Buddha spent a lot of years meditating, before going to Bodhygaya and attaining enlightenment. This is a worshipping place for Buddhists and is very peaceful and meditative.

    Amarnath Cave, Jammu and Kashmir

    One of the holiest shrines in Hinduism even today, the Amarnath cave temple is located at an altitude of 12,756 ft, within the snow-covered mountains of Jammu and Kashmir. According to a Hindu legend, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to Parvati. Thousands of pilgrims every year pay visit to pray Shiv Linga, the stalagmite that is formed due to freezing of falling waterdrops from the roof and grows up vertically from the floor inside the 40 m tall Amarnath cave.

    Borra Caves, Andhra Pradesh

    More than 150 years old, Borra Caves are situated in the Ananthagiri Hills(about 705 m high) in Araku Valley of Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh are one of the largest cave in the country. Formed from limestone, these wonder caves distinctly exhibit many irregularly shaped stalactites and stalagmites that have been associated with various deities according to their shapes. Famous figures of this cave temple include a Shivalingam and the idol of the cow known as Kamadhenu.

  • Architecture and handicrafts of Mughal dynasty

    Indian architecture and handicrafts is a perfect blend of a lot of ruling dynasty, which came into India until her own political body was formed. From Dutch, Mughal, Rajputs, to British, each era has affected Indian handicrafts in a different way. The urbane style of Indian architecture and handicrafts is the blend of all the eras. Mughals came in India during the 16th century. With the grand entry of Mughals in India, the country has seen a new dimension of craftsmanship and handloom production.

    taj-mahal-in-india Image Credit - Wikipedia

    The Mughal handicrafts and architectures are an amalgamation of Turkic, Islamic; a Persian and Indian culture which explains the doom shaped the top of Mughal period buildings with the large wooden door, which is an impact of Indian handicrafts. Mughal architecture is more about large dome-shaped tops, long vacant hallways with ornamentation on both sides. High marble windows and large green rose gardens. The best of Mughal architecture is seen in the Country's Capital city, Delhi. The Taj Mahal in Agra is the landmark of Mughals in India. The Mughal rule started in India with the victory of Babur in the battle of Panipat and saw its largest extension during the rule of Akbar.  Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Qutab Minar, Buland Darwaza are some of the great architectures that were built during the Mughal age and still are some renowned tourist places in India.

    With the entry of Mughals in India, the country not only saw some extraordinary designs of architecture and its craftsmanship but also saw the growth of populace of Mughal art and handicrafts. The muslin cloth, which is used to weave Jamdani Sarees, the famous traditional sarees of Bengal, was brought in India during the Mughal age. The Mughal art is a blend of Persian and Indian culture. Mughal paintings are mostly court arts, which depicts different stories of the reign of Akbar in India. These paintings are well crafted on paper, wood and terracotta pots and are still considered as an authentic range of Mughal age handicrafts. The Persian style of handicrafts that prevailed in India, during the Mughal time in India, is tough to trace. However, it brought a new age in Indian handicrafts.

    The handicrafts that flourished during the Mughal period in South India were known as Deccanian Style of Art. The practitioners of a Deccan style of art still reside in Aurangabad, Bijapur and Golconda districts of South India. The Deccan style of Mughal art not only produced a new range of handicrafts in India but also initiated a new culture, beliefs, traditions and ethics in India. Not only architecture and handicrafts, Mughal dynasty was also renowned for bringing in the culture of Pearl jewellery in India. It is often known that the different industries of pearl jewelry that are found in Hyderabad came in vogue with the Mughal dynasty in India. Akbar and Shah Jahan were known to wear the widest range of pearl jewelry, which brought in the new style. Pearl jewellery is still well eminent in India till date.

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