Sunday, May 22, 2016

Simhastha-Kumbh Mela: Planet's Largest Spiritual Gathering Concludes

Hindus largest congregation on the Earth 'Ujjain Simhastha 2016,' (Kumbha Mela) organized in every 12 years, finally concludes with millions of devotees taking holy dip in the sacred river of Kshipra in ancient and religious city of Ujjain.
In month-long festival, hundreds of thousand believers and spectators coverage from several parts of the world not to just take holy dip (Snan) at the ghats of Kshipra river, but to witness one of the greatest incidents in human history, and the waves spirituality sweeping the Nation.
The Mela is more exclusively known for Naga Sadhus, who after remaining imperceptible from world in deep glaciers of Himalaya for 12 years, gather for royal bath at various akharas at banks of river in hundreds of thousands.
Such a massive gathering at one place is in itself an epitome in the world of management, revealing the mindboggling organizing capacity of India, where population of more than any European country gathers every day, in an unbelievable uncluttered way.

In Hindu mythology taking holy dip at any of the Kumbha Mela once in a lifetime is revered as most sacred event, believed to relinquish people from all worldly sins.

Simhasth Kumbh is one of the four 'Kumbh Melas' celebrated by biggest spiritual gathering on the Planet. Simhasth Kumbh Mela is based on the celestial line-up of Planets and the Signs of the Zodiac, which occurs every 12 years.
'Kumbh' in its literal English translation means 'Pot', which emerged from 'Samudra Manthan'(Churning of the Ocean) between Gods and Devils and the term ‘Mela‘ signifies'Fair'.

Kumbh Mela is held at four places in India i.e Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nasik. At Haridwar it is held at banks of holy river of Ganges, while it is organized at confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and spiritual (underground) river Sarswati in Allahabad.  In Nasik and Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) Kumbh is held at sacred river Godawari and Kshipra respectively.

At Ujjain, Kumbh Mela is specifically called 'Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv' because the Sun (in Sanskrit Surya) is in the zodiac Aries ('Mesh' in Sanskrit) and the Jupiter (Brahaspati in Sanskrit) is in the zodiac Leo (in Sanskrit 'Simha') when it takes place. There are ten unique and uncommon yogs which exist and facilitate the organizing of Simhasth Kumbh Mahaparv.
The periodical event has also socio-cultural significance in Indian (Hindustani) civilization, where since ancient times, Sadhus and Spirituals Gurus assemble for one month in intensive brainstorming cogitating séance for the conscious and emergence of humanity and world. The gathering assembles in every 3 years during Kumbh Mela at one of the places by rotation, for reassessing the amelioration of ideas churned out for welfare of humanity before meeting at Kumbh gathering on12th year.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Israel’s Unexplored Heritage Sites: From History To Tourism

Israel is comprised of the ancient city of Jerusalem and modern city of Tel Aviv, but between these two well-known sites, are less-known heritage sites which hold stories of thousands of years to tell. Spanning from ancient town of Acre in North to Be’er Sheva in southern deserts, the remnants definitely illustrate the narrative of thousands of years of civilizations that nurtured on this land. However, these places have been matter of importance for archaeologists and historians, but now tourists from across the world have been enchanted and enthusiastic to sense the culture and heritage of primeval times. Here are a few of the unexplored heritage sites in the hall of the fame in the land of Israel.


Among one of the primordial cities in Israel, Acre (Akko) is a Crusader era port town, situated in north of country. The coastal town is a unique melting point of East and West, well-complimented with magnificent structures, testaments to the Crusader and Ottoman periods. Mosques and Christian monasteries alongside underground passages and high-walled alleys makes it mysterious and unique to explore. The remarkable fortified city walls, Turkish baths, halls built by Knights Templar and Crusader buildings are the undeniable examples of historic architectural proficiency.
Acre City © wikipedia

Abu Gosh

There is no more quintessential an example of coexistence of humanity than the village of Abu Gosh, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The Muslim village is home to a Romanesque and Early Gothic-style twelfth century Crusader church, today a Benedictine Monastery, where even Jews, Christians and Muslims sing prayers together in Hebrew. The monastery is run by a group of priests and nuns with shared co-operation with the local Muslim population, which makes the place unique across the region. Notably, the Abu Gosh village, built during Ottoman period, has also become Israel's Hummus capital in recent years.

Abu Gosh Monastery © wikimedia

Be'er Sheva

Apart from walled city from the Israelite monarchic period in Tel Be’er Sheva, a UNESCO heritage site, the desert capital comprises numerous sites of historic importance from Ottoman Period to British mandate. Founded more than more 3700 years ago, when biblical father of Jewish people, Abraham, arrived there, present day Be’er Sheva houses centuries-old structures such as the Governor’s house, now the Negev Museum of Art, and Government House, today a Police Station. The Turkish railway station and hundred-year-old traditional Bedouin market, are among the main attractions, which can easily take visitors back to monarchic cum colonial era.

Hundred year old Turkish Railway Station, Be’er Sheva © wikipedia

 Lohamei Ha’Getaot

This museum helps to get a better sense of the detriment of holocaust survivors who came from Poland and Lithuania decades ago. After leaving behind everything they had, they found refuge at Lohamei Ha’Getaot  (The Ghetto Fighter). Situated between the town of Acre and Nahariya, Lohamei Ha’Getaot abodes Getto Fighters’s House Museum dedicated to those who fought against Nazis during Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which is first of its kind in World. This Kibbutz naturally reminds visitors the grief and bravery of holocaust survivors who re-established their lives in a small village in Northern Israel at the foothills of Galilee, after escaping from the Nazis. The Kibbutz also encompasses an aqueduct built in 1815 during Ottoman period, one of the engineering masterpieces of its time.

Ghetto Fighters' Museum © wikimedia


Among lesser known, but imperative heritage sites, is Talmudic-era town Katsrin located in the heart of Golan Heights, surrounded by breath-taking landscapes. The town embraces the archaeological sites of middle Bronze Age, vindicating the 4000 years old Jewish settlements. Amidst the serenity of the Golan, it is easy to imagine the prosperity of ancient civilizations that once inhabited the town, boasting a magnificent sixth century synagogue. The remains of ancient village and reconstructed homes definitely transport visitors to the Talmudic alleyways.

Talmudic-era synagogue, Katsrin © wikimedia