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Why it is celebrated
This festival is celebrated in the memory of Lord Jagannath. He is one of the ten incarnation of Vishnu. Fifteen days after his annual bath, He is brought out. He is placed on a car with his elder brother, Balbhadra, and his sister, Subhadra. The sacred car of Rath is then drawn to Ganga boro. Here Jagannath rests for a week. The worshippers continue to shower their offerings on the Lord for a week. The Punarjatra or the return of Jagannath comes after a week. Then he come back to his own temple.
The Description of Rath
The Rath itself is a curious thing. It is the specimen of old chariot-making. It is generally made of wood. Its turrets are like those of a church. It has a covering of gold and silver. It has all sorts of paintings and wooden figures all about it. It is 13.7 meters high and 10.7 meters square. It has sixteen wheels. Each wheel is 2.13 meters in diameter. The Rath is shown as being drawn by horses. But it is actually drawn by men with the help of ropes tied to it.
Period of Celebration
The Rath Yatra festival lasts for seven days. It begins from the day when the Lord leaves his temple. It continues to the day of his return. This period passes in the worship of the god in Hari-Sankirtan. Brahmans and beggars are fed. Alms are given.
All the Hindus look forward to the day fixed for drawing of the Car. Thousands of people gather on either side of the road along which the cart passes. All the spectators try to get opportunity of having a darshan of the god. They struggle hard to get near the car (Rath) and pull it.
The father take their children’s to market to buy toys. The middle aged men buy articles for domestic use. Shop-keepers, small dealers and hawkers have a very good time. They earn a lot of money on this occasions. Flowers plants and grafts of fruit trees have a large sale of this festivals.
The celebration of the Rath Yatra at Puri are the grandest in India. Thousands of pilgrims assemble on this sacred place. They come from different parts of the country. The gathering at Puri on this occasions is the largest in India or perhaps in the world.
The cart of Lord Jagannath is worthy of the temple of Jagannath. It is one of the grandest specimen of ancient architecture. Special police arrangements are made to check accidents. The police officers remain on the spot to direct the movements of the police.
Raja Ram Mohan Roy is known as the 'Maker of Modern India'. He was the founder of the Brahmo Samaj, one of the first Indian socio-religious reform movements. He played a majorrole in abolishing the role of Sati. Raja Rammohan Roy was a great scholar and an independent thinker. He advocated the study of English, Science, Western Medicine and Technology. He was given the title 'Raja' by the Mughal Emperor.Raja Ram Mohan Roy was born on May 22, 1772 in village Radhanagar in the District of Hooghly in Bengal. His father Ramkanto Roy, was a Vaishnavite, while his mother, Tarini, was from a Shakta background. Raja Ram Mohun Roy was sent to Patna for higher studies. By the age of fifteen, Raja Rammohun Roy had learnt Bangla, Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit.Raja Ram Mohan Roy was against idol worship and orthodox Hindu rituals. He stood firmly against all sort of social bigotry, conservatism andsuperstitions. But his father was an orthodox Hindu Brahmin. This led to differences between Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his father. Following differences he left the house . He wandered around Himalayas and went to Tibet. He traveled widely before returning home.After his return Raja Ram Mohan Roy's family married him in the hope that he would change. But this did not have any effect on him. Raja Ram Mohan Roy went to Varanasi and studied the Vedas, the Upanishads and Hindu philosophy deeply. When his father died in 1803 he returned to Murshidabad. He then worked as a moneylender in Calcutta, and from 1809 to 1814, he served in the RevenueDepartment of the East India Company.In 1814, Raja Ram Mohan Roy formed Atmiya Sabha. Atmiya Sabha tried to initiate social and religious reforms in the society. Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned for rights for women, including the right for widows to remarry, and the right for women to hold property. He actively opposed Sati system and the practice of polygamy.He also supported education, particularly education of women. He believed that English-language education was superior to the traditional Indian education system, and he opposed the use of government funds to support schools teaching Sanskrit. In 1822, he founded a school based on English education.In 1828, Raja Ram Mohan Roy founded the 'Brahma Samaj'. Through 'Brahma Samaj, he wanted to expose the religious hypocrisies and check the growing influence of Christianity on the Hindu society. Raja Ram Mohan Roy's efforts bore fruit when in 1829,the Sati system was abolished.In November 1830 Ram MohanRoy traveled to the United Kingdom as an ambassador of the Mughal emperor to plead for his pension and allowances. Raja Ram Mohan Roy passed away on September 27, 1833 atStapleton near Bristol due to meningitis.
Essay on Lotus Flower (Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus) – National Flower of India
On July 27, 2015 By Ankit Sharma
Category: Essays, Paragraphs and Articles
Scientific name: Nelumbo nucifera.
National flower of India: Lotus (also Indian lotus, sacred lotus) is the national flower of India. It has received this recognition because of its Indian origin, its long association with our culture and also due to its usefulness.
It is a beautiful flower with appealing color and fragrance. From very ancient time, we have been using lotus in one way or the other.
Habitat: Lotus is an aquatic herb with floating leaves. It is found growing in shallow water of ponds, lakes, ditches. Occasionally it is cultivated in small pools in the gardens (lily pool).
Though it is an absolutely Indian flower, nowadays it is also found in countries like China, Japan, Australia and tropical America.
Nature: Lotus is a flowering plant.
The characteristic features of its stem, leaf and flower are as follows:
Stem: The stem of Lotus is fleshy and thick and is called rhizome, which grows in the mud at the bottom of water sources. It gives off bunches of roots to keep the plant anchored to the soil. Leaves develop from the nodes of rhizome. The rhizome can be used for propagation of Lotus.
Leaves: Leaves of Lotus are simple and almost round with long, hollow, air-filled stalks (petiole) that give support to the leaf to float on the surface of water. The stalk may be up to 100 cm. long and is covered with tiny spikes called prickles. The diameter of the leaf may vary between 60 and 80 cm. The upper surface is bright green in color and glossy in appearance, while the under surface is reddish green in color.
Flower: The flower appears singly on a long, spongy stalk covered with tiny spikes. The flowers are large, showy and light pink or white in color that usually remains high above the water surface. The flowers have numerous petals which are arranged on a spongy top-shaped disc called thalamus. The disc contains carpel which ultimately develops into fruits. The fruits remain embedded within the thalamus. When the fruits mature in the spongy part of the thalamus all the petals and stamens fall of and conical thalamus gets detached from the stalk. In due course the thalamus rots and the fruits containing the seed sink to the bottom of water and germinate into a new plant.
Spot identifying features
The characteristic identifying features of Lotus are as follows:
It is an aquatic, herbaceous plant, whose roots, stem and stalk of flower remain under water.
The stem, known as rhizome, is thick and fleshy.
Leaves are large, round, dark-green, smooth and shining. They remain floating.
Flowers are large, showy with many boat-shaped petals. Flower and leaf-stalk are long with coarse surface.
Fruits are large, triangular shaped, spongy containing many seeds.
Although Lotus is mainly regarded as an ornamental plant and its flowers are used for religious purposes, it has several other uses. Large leaves are used as plates for taking meals. The petiole, rhizome (stem) and seeds are used as food. Besides, they have medicinal values. Lotus honey is useful for treatment of various diseases of the eyes.
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