Tag Archives: Art & Culture

WORLD FAMOUS SUN TEMPLE, OF GUJARAT.

Introduction Great Sun temple Of Gujarat

The Modhera Sun Temple was made by King Bhima I of the Chalukya dynasty in the early 11th century. Sun Temple Modhera’s Gujarat. Temple and its dedication to the Sun God will leave you stunned. The temple was so constructed that during every equinox, the first sun rays would fall on a diamond placed on the Sun God’s head and the entire temple would illuminate in a golden glow.

On other days, two pillars before the garbhagriha would stay illuminated throughout the day, regardless of the position of the sun. All of these can only be left to the imagination now.

History Of The Sun Temple

The Sun Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat. India. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima of the Chalukyas dynasty.

The Temple Complex Has Three Components 

The temple complex is built in (Chaulukya style). The temple complex has three axially aligned components; the shrine proper (garbhagriha) in a hall (gudhamandapa), the outer or assembly hall (sabhamandapa or rangamandapa), and a sacred reservoir (Kunda).

The Sabhamandapa is not in continuation with Gudhamandapa but is placed little away as a separate structure. Both are built on a paved platform.[1] Their roofs have collapsed long ago leaving behind a few lower-most courses. Both roofs are 15′ 9″ in diameter but are constructed differently. The platform or plinth is inverted lotus-shaped.
1.)Gudhamandapa, the shrine hall:-

The Gudhamandapa measures 51 feet 9 inches by 25 feet 8 inches. It is almost equally divided into Gudhamandapa, the hall, and Garbhgriha, the shrine proper. Both are rectangular in plan with one projection on each of the smaller sides and two projections on each of the longer sides. These projections on the smaller sides form the entrance and the back of the shrine.
2.)Sabhamandapa, the assembly hall:-

Sabhamandapa or Rangamandapa, the assembly hall or dancing hall is parallelogram in plan with rows of pillars opening entrance on each side diagonally. The extensively carved exterior has a series of recessed corners giving an impression of the star-like plan of it.[There are 52 intricately carved pillars. Madhusudan Dhaky has suggested that the sabhamandapa may have been later addition based on style and construction.
3.)Kunda, the reservoir:-

Kunda, a tank or reservoir is known as Ramakunda or Suryakunda. The flight of steps through kirti-torana leads to the reservoir. It is rectangular. It measures 176 feet from north to south and 120 feet from east to west. It is paved with stones all around. There are four terraces and recessed steps to descend to reach the bottom of the tank. The main entrance lies in the west. There are steps to reach from one terrace to another on the right angle to the terrace. These steps are rectangular or square except for the first step of each flight of steps which is semicircular. Several miniature shrines and niches in front of the terrace-wall have images of gods including many Vaishnavite deities and goddesses such as Shitala.
However, the sabha mandap still stands on 52 pillars, depicting the 52 weeks in year carvings of the sun, along with its unity with the other 4 elements-air, water, earth, and space- can be spotted on the walls.
The halls have intricately carved exterior and pillars.
The reservoir has steps to reach the bottom and numerous small shrines.

What Is The Specialty Of Sun Temple of Modhera?

The Sun Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya located at Modhera village of Mehsana district, Gujarat, India. It is situated on the bank of the river Pushpavati. It was built after 1026-27 CE during the reign of Bhima I of the Chalukyas dynasty.
No worship is offered now and is a protected monument maintained by the Archaeological Survey Of India. At present, the temple is undertaken by the Archaeological Survey of India for renovation and restoration. In 2014, this Modhera Sun Temple was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Have A Look at Mr. Narendra Modi Tweet.

Originally tweeted by Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) on August 26, 2020.

How Many Sun Temples Are There In India?

There are only 2 sun temples built in India. One is in Konark, Odisha, and others in Modhera, Gujarat.

Who Destroyed Sun Temple Jammu & Kashmir?

Martand is another Sanskrit synonym for Surya. Now in ruins, the temple is located five miles from Anantnag in the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The temple was destroyed on the orders of Sultan Sikandar Butshikan, as part of his efforts to forcibly convert Kashmiri people to Islam.

Uttarardha Mahotsav’

The Tourism Corporation of Gujarat organizes an annual three-day dance festival known as ‘Uttarardha Mahotsav’ at the temple during the third week of January, following the festival of Uttarayan.
The objective is to present classical dance forms in an atmosphere similar to that in which they were originally presented.

How To Reach Modhera Gujarat?

By Air: You can fly to the nearest city to Modhera-Ahmedabad-from where regular government bus services are available.

By Train: For the ones boarding a train instead, the nearest railway station is at Mehsana-25 km from Modhera.

By Road: Modhera Sun Temple can be easily reached by boarding a bus or hiring a taxi from anywhere in Gujarat. The Modhera Sun Temple indeed leaves you awestruck. It is one place, amidst all the ruins, where you’ll find a perfect blend of ageless creativity and tremendous hard work.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Nitin Raj

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DO YOU KNOW THE FESTIVAL Of INDIA, Teej

Teej is a Hindu festival that is celebrated by women in many states of India and by the Hindus women of Nepal.
Haryali Teej and Hartalika Teej welcome the monsoon season and are celebrated primarily by girls and women, with songs, dancing, and prayer rituals. 

Celebrations: wearing colorful dress maxima people using red because red is a symbol of love

Date: July/ August/ September

Also called: Monsoon Festival/Dedicated to Goddess Parvati
Observed By: Hindu Women

How do you do Teej?

On the day of Hartalika Teej, women wake up early in the morning, take bath and wear new clothes and adorn the best jewelry. Women receive gifts from their parents, parents-in-law, which generally consists of traditional layers dress, bangles, henna, indoor, and sweets like ghewar.

What happens in Teej festival?

The festival is celebrated on the third day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) of Bhadra in Gujarat. This observance is similar to the Hartalika Teej Vrat. Married and unmarried women observe a fast on the day and offer Kevada flower (Pandanus: pine screw) to Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva.

What is the importance of Teej festival?

The Teej festival is an important festival for married women and much-anticipated monsoon festival. It’s dedicated to celebrating the holy union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. According to Hindu texts, Parvati is an incarnation of Lord Shiva’s first wife, Sati.J

How many types of Teej are there?

There are three different types of Teej, Haryali Teej, Kajari Teej, and Hartalika Teej; these are mainly practiced in different parts of India.

What can we eat in TEEJ fast?

After a day long fast, women break their fast by eating only vegetarian dishes, like ghewar, rabdi, coconut water, jaggery, rice, dal, vegetable curry, etc.
Ghewar
Ghevar is a Rajasthani cuisine sweet traditionally associated with the Teej Festival. Besides Rajasthan, it is also famous in the adjoining states of Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat, western Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc. It is a disc-shaped sweet cake made with maida and soaked in sugar syrup.
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Do you know that incredible Lepakshi temple pillar that barely touches the ground?

Front Side View of Veerabhadra Temple, Lepakshi
The Veerabhadra temple is in Lepakshi in the Anantapur district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Built-in the 16th century, the architectural features of the temple are in the Vijayanagara style with a profusion of carvings and paintings at almost every exposed surface of the temple.
The hooded serpent Naaga shading the lingam sculpture
The temple dates back to 1583 and was built by the brothers, Virupanna and Veeranna, who were initially in the service of the Vijayangar kings. However, Puranic lore has it that the Veerabhadra temple was built by the sage Agastya.
It has idols of Ganesha, Nandi, Veerabhadra, Shiva, Bhadrakali, Vishnu and Lakshmi.

How Lepakshi got its name?

“Le Pakshi”- “Rise bird” in Telugu – hence the name, Lepakshi. According to the Valmiki’s Ramayana, Ram accompanied by Hanuman, met the dying Jatayu here, and helped him to attain moksha by uttering the words “Le Pakshi” (“Rise bird” in Telugu). Hence the name, Lepakshi.
Lepakshi Nandi Temple

What is the attraction in the temple?

Points of interest in the temple include a rock chain, Vastu Purusha, the Padmini race lady, the hanging pillar, Durga Paadam, the eyes of Viroopaakshanna, and Lepakshi saree designs and you can see Lord Sita footprint in the temple premises. It is said that when Ravana was abducting Goddess Sita, and taking her to Sri Lanka, they stopped at this temple to rest for a while. That is believed to be the source of the footprint that is seen on the floor of the temple premises.

The paintings on the roof are made with natural segments. Another interesting aspect of this temple is that it is North facing. There is a 3 headed bull with a single body is carved on the pillar of the main entrance.

About temple hanging pillars.

The Floating Pillar of the Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi, Andhra Pradesh. Called the Aakaasa Sthambha (floating pillar), it hangs suspended! One can pass a cloth between the underside of the pillar and the floor.
Among the 70 stone pillars, there is one that hangs from the ceiling. The base of the pillar barely touches the ground and is possible to pass objects such as a thin sheet of paper or a piece of cloth from one side to the other.
Paintings in the ceiling of the Muka mantapa

What should I buy in lepakshi?

If you visit this magnificent place you will buy a lot of things like Banjara embroidery, Brassart ware, Cotton and jute durries, Kalamkari paintings with their colorful depictions of the epics and landscapes, Kondapalli toys carved out of softwood, Cherial scroll paintings, and the Bidricraft with silvery contours are among the best things to shop for.

How do you get lepakshi temple?

Lepakshi is situated at a distance of 116 KMS from Bangalore. The best part about traveling to Lepakshi from Bangalore is that you can travel by roadways and railways.
The most preferred way of transport from Bangalore to Lepakshi is by car.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

The Fascinating Story Of The Kohinoor Diamond.

The Kohinoor has a complex history that goes back to the 13th century. A large colorless diamond that weighed around 793 carats, Kohinoor originated in India’s Golconda mines when they were under the rule of the Kakatiya dynasty.
 
Diamonds were mined from the region in and around Golconda, then cut and traded from there. The fortress city of Golconda was the market city for diamond trade and gems sold there came to be called Golcondas.

Golconda became synonymous with diamonds for Europe. 
By the 1880s, the Golconda diamonds had gained so much popularity for their size, weight, and quality that they became a coveted brand of diamonds.

The word ‘Golconda’ became synonymous with the best quality diamonds. Soon, Golconda became a generic term to denote a rich mine or source of immense wealth too. The Golcondas also earned immense wealth for India.

The legacy begins before Europe knew about it.

All the ancient lores of India – Veda, Purana, the epics, other legends, and folklore – speak of diamonds, its characteristics, and stories around them. In contrast, Europe learned of diamonds and its value only in the late 1600s just over 300 years ago. 

One of the earliest evidence of the importance given to diamonds and their mining in India can be gathered from the 
Arthashastra, a treatise on governance, administration, law, politics, strategy, and defense. The Arthashastra was authored by one of India’s renowned statesmen of the 4th century BCE, popularly known as Kautilya and Chanakya.

Diamonds find a specific mention among this list as a precious commodity for trade, treasury, savings, and adornment in the 4th century BCE itself. 

The Arthashastra was produced around 336 BCE, the same time when Alexander, the Macedonian had invaded and retreated from the North-Western parts of India. This work is at the same time so detailed as within India as well as outside. 
Golconda Fort
This diamond in her long history has traveled all over the world and been possessed by many rulers. She is known to have traveled back and forth within India and between India, Persia, Afghanistan – changing hands from one ruler to another.

Some of the well-known kings to have held her include, the Kakatiyas,
Allaudin Khilji
Raja Vikramaditya of Gwalior
the early Mughals, Babur and Humayun
the Shah of Iran, Shah Tehmasp 
the Nizam Shah and Qutub Shah dynasties of Ahmednagar and Golconda
the later Mughals from Shah Jahan onwards up to Muhammad Shah Rangila, 
Nadir Shah of Persia, who gave her the Persian name Kohinoor meaning “Mountain of Light” 
the Afghan General Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani) and from thereon to his successors up to Shah Shuja 
the Sher-e-Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and from thereon to his successors up to Maharaja Duleep Singh.
However, in all this journey, Kohinoor was never bought or sold but changed hands only due to inheritance or as a token of gift or due to extortion, looting, trickery, and treachery. 
In fact, it was only after reaching Persia, that she acquired the name Kohinoor
The diamond, which originally weighed 186 carats was cut down to 108 carats by the Queen and set in her crown. Since then, the Kohinoor continues to stay in the possession of the British Royalty locked away in the Tower of London. 

Even though Kohinoor has been with the British crown, she is still referred to as the ‘Star of India.’ Living up to her name, this ‘mountain of light’ illuminates a glorious history of the diamond trade in India.  The trail might have ended, yet the story of the Kohinoor diamond remains intriguing.   
An illustration of the Koh-i-Noor diamond (center), as it was worn before being signed over to the British. (Wikimedia Commons)
This made the Golconda diamonds, the purest diamonds of the world. Due to this purity, unlike Type 1 diamonds, they allowed ultraviolet rays and visible light to pass through them and this gave them a clear, transparent nature.

They were so clear and transparent that they looked like ice cubes. They gave an effect of water running through the gem. 

They were large in size too. They were weighed in units of rati where one rati was 7/8th of a carat. One of the stones from this region, the Great Mogul, is recorded to have weighed the equivalent of 787 carats. 
Golconda River
The Supreme Court dismissed a plea seeking direction to the Union government for bringing back Kohinoor diamond.

It had also said Kohinoor was gifted as “compensation” in the 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the British for the help rendered by them in the Anglo-Sikh war.

Earlier the government told the apex court that 105.6-carat diamond was neither stolen not forcibly taken away by the British.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

 

Ambubachi Mela

The Ambubachi Mela is an annual Hindu mela held at Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati, Assam. 

This yearly Mela is celebrated during the monsoon season that happens to fall during the Assamese month Ahaar, around the middle of June when the sun transit to the zodiac of Mithuna, when the Brahmaputra river is in spate.

It is the celebration of the yearly menstruation course of the goddess Kamakhya. 

It is believed that the presiding goddess of the temple, Devi Kamakhya, the Mother Shakti, goes through her annual cycle of menstruation during this time stretch.

It is also believed that during the monsoon rains, the creative and nurturing power of the ‘menses’ of Mother Earth becomes accessible to devotees at this site during the meal.

There is no idol of the presiding deity but she is worshipped in the form of a yoni-like stone instead over which a natural spring flows.
Gathering of people at Ambubashi Mela at India’s Kamakhya Temple
It is also believed that in the early 16th century, the Kamakhya temple got destroyed. However, it was rebuilt by the King of Cooch Behar and was designed in a rather unique way. The temple has four prayer chambers: Garbagriha, Calantha, Pancharatna, and Natamandiramong.

The first and most important chamber leads to the sanctum of the temple which is in the form of a cave. Though the chamber does not house an idol or image of the goddess, there is a natural spring that resembles the womb of the goddess.
The temple remains closed for three days during the meal for it is believed that mother earth becomes unclean for three days like the traditional women’s menstrual seclusion.

During these three days, some restrictions are observed by the devotees like not cooking, not performing puja or reading holy books, no farming, etc.

After three days Devi Kamakhya is bathed and other rituals are performed to ensure that the Devi retrieves her purity. Then the doors of the temple are reopened and prasad is distributed. On the fourth day, the devotees are allowed to enter the temple and worship Devi Kamakhya.

In 2016, the dates of the Ambubachi festival were between 22 and 26 June. In 2017, the dates of the Ambubachi Mela were between 22 and 26 June.
The prasad is distributed in two forms – Angodak and Angabastra. Angodak literally means the fluid part of the body – water from the spring and Angabastra literally means the cloth covering the body – a piece of the red cloth used to cover the stone yoni during the days of menstruation.
Sadhus gathered at Kamakhya Temple for the Ambubachi Mela
Every year lakhs of pilgrims, starting from Sadhus to householders, from all over India, come to Guwahati to observe this festival.

They include Sanasins, black-clad Aghoras, the Khade-babas, the Baul, or singing minstrels of West Bengal, intellectual and folk Tantriks, Sadhus, and Sadhbis with long matted hair, etc. 

Even foreigners from abroad come to seek blessings of mother Kamakhya.
Ambubachi Mela is one of the biggest congregations in eastern India.
It is the most important festival of the Kamakhya temple.
It is more of a ritual of austerities, a festival celebrated with Shakti rites.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Car Festival or Chariot Festival, Jagannath Puri

Rath Yatra festival in Puri, Orissa, India
Ratha Yatra (also called as Car Festival or Chariot Festival) is a Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of  Odisha, India.

It is the oldest Ratha Yatra taking place in India and the World, whose descriptions can be found in Brahma Purana, Padma Purana, and Skanda Purana and Kapila Samhita.

Ratha Jatra, the Festival of Chariot: Chariots of Shri Jagannath is celebrated every year at Puri, the temple town in Odisha, on the second (Dwitiya) day of Shukla pakhya (waxing cycle of the moon) of Ashadha Maasa (3rd month in Lunar Calendar).
Pahandi of Lord Jagannath during Rathajatra 2017.
There are 6 events that are considered as the key activities of this annual spectacular event.
 
1. ‘Snana Yatra’ is the one where the Deities take bath and then fell sick for almost 2 weeks. They are thus treated with ayurvedic medicines and a set of traditional practices.

2. On ‘Sri Gundicha’, the Deities are taken in the onward car festival from the main shrine to the Gundicha Temple.

3. On the Bahuda Yatra, the return car festival, the Lords are brought back to the main Temple.

4. Suna Besha (Golden Attire) is the event when the Deities wear golden ornaments and give darshan from the chariots to the devotees.

5. ‘Adhara Pana’ is an important event during Ratha Yatra. On this day sweet drink is offered to the invisible spirits and souls, who would have visited the celestial event of the Lords, as believed by the Hindu tradition.
 6. And finally, the Deities are taken back inside the main shrine i.e. the Jagannath Temple and installed on the Ratna Simhasan, on the last day of the Ratha Yatra activity which is called as ‘Niladri Bije’.
The “Bada Danda” or the Grand Avenue
Intresting facts About Three Chariots

The three chariots of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhdra are newly constructed every year with wood of specified trees like phassi, dhausa, etc.
They are customarily brought from the ex-princely state of Dasapalla by a specialist team of carpenters who have hereditary rights and privileges for the same. The logs are traditionally set afloat as rafts in the river Mahanadi. These are collected near Puri and then transported by road.
The three chariots are decorated as per the unique scheme prescribed and followed for centuries stand on the Bada Danda, the Grand Avenue.
 
The chariots are lined across the wide avenue in front of the temple close to its eastern entrance, which is also known as the Sinhadwara or the Lion’s Gate.
Around each of the chariots are nine Parsva devatas, painted wooden images representing different deities on the chariots’ sides. Each chariot has a charioteer (Sarathi) and four horses.
 
During the annual event, devotees from all over the world throng to Puri with an earnest desire to help to pull the Lords’ chariots. They consider this an auspicious act.
The huge processions accompanying the chariots play devotional songs with drums, sounding plates of bell metal, cymbals, etc.

The Ratha carts themselves are approximately 45 feet (14 m) high and are pulled by the thousands of pilgrims who turn up for the event; the chariots are built anew each year only from a particular type of tree (Neem).
 
It is also broadcast live on many Indian, foreign television channels, as well as many of the websites, telecast Jagannath Ratha Jatra live. 
The chariots under construction

 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Ancient City Of Mathura

About Mathura
Mathura is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is located approximately 55 kilometers (34 mi) north of Agra, and 145 kilometers (90 miles) south-east.
Mathura (or Brajbhoomi) is famous as the birthplace of Lord Krishna, an important deity in the Hindu religious pantheon. It is an important pilgrim place of the Hindus and one of the seven sacred cities in India. The main pilgrim center in Mathura is the Shri Krishna Janmabhoomi temple.
Owing to its ancient culture and tradition Mathura contains a plethora of tourist attractions, the best ones of those are as follows.
Krishna Janma Bhoomi Mandir. …
Jama Masjid. …
Dwarkadhish Temple. …
Kusum Sarovar. …
Radha Kund. …
Kans Qila. …
Mathura Museum. …
Govardhan Hill.
Mathura Famous Street Food
The standout of the town’s cuisine is its sweets and milk products. Pedhe, a form of sweet dish made from condensed milk, is a specialty here. Other than these one must try Kachori, Jalebi, Chaat, Panipuri, Samosa, Dhokla, Aloo Tikki and Lassi.
Aurangzeb attacked Mathura and destroyed that Keshavdeva temple in 1670 and built Shahi Eidgah in its place.
Transportation

Mathura Junction railway station is situated on the major Delhi-Mumbai train route. Both Central Railway and Western Railway routes pass through Mathura. Trains from NCR (north-central railway) to ER (eastern railway) also pass from the Mathura junction railway station. Mathura Cantt railway station is a major route for an eastern and central railway.
An important train that origin/terminate from Mathura: Howrah -Mathura Chambal Express.

Mathura is connected by road to the rest of Uttar Pradesh and India. NH-19 (NH-2 as per old numbering system) which is having connectivity from Delhi to Kolkata and diversion for Chennai also passes from Mathura. Yamuna expressway Greater-Noida to Agra(165 km 6 lane access controlled express highway) also passes from here so there is connectivity to Noida and Agra and Lucknow.

A tram network has been proposed in the city, which would make Mathura only the second city in India (after Kolkota) to get tram transport. In 2017, the local MLA Shrikant Sharma announced that the trams will be operated in Mathura and Vrindavan.

Currently, the city has no airport, the nearest airport is Agra (about 60 km away) and Delhi Airport (about 160 km away) with major national and international air routes. Under-construction Jewar airport in Greater Noida will be approximately 75 km away from Mathura and is expected to be the country’s largest airport when fully operational. The land has been earmarked, and construction is in progress near the Yamuna Expressway, with plans to open in the next five years with regular flights to major national and international air routes in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Do You Know KALARI-Payattu ?

Kalaripayattu is an Indian martial art and fighting style that originated in modern-day Kerala. Kalaripayattu is also mentioned in the Vadakkan Pattukal ballads written about the Chekavar from the Malabar region of Kerala.

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Kalaripayattu also was known simply as Kalari, is an Indian martial art and fighting style that originated in modern-day Kerala. Kalaripayattu is held in high regard by martial artists due to its long-standing history within Indian martial arts. It is believed to be the oldest surviving martial art in India. It is also considered to be among the oldest martial arts still in existence, with its origin in the martial arts timeline dating back to at least the 3rd century BCE.
Kalaripayattu is also mentioned in the Vadakkan Pattukal ballads written about the Chekavar from the Malabar region of Kerala.

The author Arnaud Van Der Veere confers the origin of martial arts to India (the roots of which are thought to be in Kalaripayattu), to which he refers Kalaripayattu as “The Mother of All Martial Arts”.

Kalaripayattu is a martial art designed for the ancient battlefield (the word “Kalari” meaning “battlefield”), with weapons and combative techniques that are unique to India.

Like most other Indian martial arts, Kalaripayattu draws heavily from Hinduism and is based on Hindu medicinal concepts found in Ayurveda. Practitioners of Kalaripayattu possess an intricate knowledge of pressure points on the human body and healing techniques that incorporate the knowledge of Ayurveda and Yoga. Students are taught the martial art as a way of life, with a sense of compassion, discipline, and respect toward the master, fellow-students, parents, and the community. Particular emphasis is placed on avoiding confrontational situations and using martial art only as a means of protection when no other alternative is available.
Unlike other parts of India, warriors in Kerala belonged to all castes.

Women in Keralite society also underwent training in Kalaripayattu, and still do so to this day. Keralite women such as Unniyarcha are mentioned in a collection of ballads from Kerala called Vadakkan Pattukal and are praised for their material prowess.

In contemporary times, Sri Meenakshi Amma, a73-year oldgurukkal from Vadakara, was awarded the Padma Sri by the government of India for her contributions to the preservation of Kalaripayattu.

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Rating: 1 out of 5.