Indian Festivals and Holidays

Apr
21
Sun
2024
Mahavir Jayanti
Apr 21 all-day
Mahavir Jayanti

Mahavir Jayanti is observed by Jains as birth anniversary of sage Mahavir. Mahavir, also known as Vardhamana, established core tenets of Jainism. Mahavir was the 24th and the last Jain sage. It is the main religious festival of Jain which marks the birth of last Tirthankara, Mahavir. The event usually falls during the months of March or April. During this day a sacred ceremony of bathing the statues of Mahavir is carried out, commonly known as abhisheka.

Mahavir was born on thirteenth day of the rising moon of Chaitra month (which was Trayodashi Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Chaitra month). Mahavir was born during 599 B.C. and disappeared in 527 B.C. at the age of 72. Mahavir was born at Kundalagrama which is situated under Vaishali district in Bihar. Mahavir was a prince and was given the name Vardhaman by his parents. Being son of a king, he had many worldly pleasures, comforts, and services at his command. But at the age of thirty, he left his family and royal household, gave up his worldly possessions, and become a monk in search of a solution to eliminate pain, sorrow, and sufferings. Mahavir spent the next twelve and half years in deep silence and meditation to conquer his desires, feelings, and attachments. He carefully avoided harming or annoying other living beings including animals, birds, and plants. He also went without food for long periods. He was calm and peaceful against all unbearable hardships that he was given the name Mahavir, meaning very brave and courageous. During this period, his spiritual powers fully developed and at the end he realized perfect perception, knowledge, power, and bliss. This realization is known as keval jnana or the perfect enlightenment.

Mahavir spent the next thirty years travelling on bare foot around India preaching to the people the eternal truth he realized. The ultimate objective of his teaching is how one can attain total freedom from the cycle of birth, life, pain, misery, and death, and achieve the permanent blissful state of one’s self. This is also known as liberation, nirvana, absolute freedom, or Moksha. Mahavir preached that right faith (samyak darshana), right knowledge (samyak jnana), and right conduct (samyak charitra) together is the real path to attain the liberation from karmic matter of one’s self.

At the age of 72 (527 B.C.), Lord Mahavir attained nirvan and his purified soul left his body and achieved complete liberation. He became a Siddha, a pure consciousness, a liberated soul, living forever in a state of complete bliss. On the night of his nirvan, people celebrated the Festival of Lights (Dipavali) in his honor. This is the last day of Hindu and Jain calendar year known as Dipavali Day.

Apr
23
Tue
2024
Hanuman Janam-Utsav
Apr 23 all-day
Hanuman Janam-Utsav

Hanuman Janam-Utsav or Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated on full moon day during Chaitra month of Hindu lunar calendar. Hanuman, who is also known as Vanara God, was born on this day and Hanuman Janamotsav is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman. It is believed that Hanuman was born at Sunrise. On Hanuman Janamotsav day temples start spiritual discourses at dawn before Sunrise and stop it after Sunrise.

Anjana was an Apsara. She took birth on earth due to a curse. She could only get rid of this curse after giving birth to a son. According to the Valmiki Ramayana, the father of Hanuman was Kesari, the King of the place Sumeru. Kesari was the son of Brihaspati. Anjana prayed to Shiva for 12 long years in the desire of a son. As a result, she got Hanuman. It is believed that Hanuman is the incarnation of Shiva. The legend goes that in his childhood, he assumed that the Sun was a delicious fruit and tried to swallow it. Foreseeing danger Lord Indra, the King of the Gods struck Hanuman with his thunderbolt and wounded him. In anger Lord Pavana went away with Hanuman to the nether region endangering the existence of all humans and gods. At length Brahma, the Lord of all cosmos appealed to Pavan to return to earth. To appease him, all the gods conferred great boons on Hanuman making him immortal and more powerful than any other being. Thus Hanuman is the embodiment of the powers of all gods. Hanuman, an ardent devotee of Lord Rama and Sita himself, is also known as Anjaneya. It is said, wherever the name of ‘Ram’ is being chanted, Hanuman is there. Such is the devotion of Lord Hanuman, that whoever turns to Him is blessed with single-pointed devotion to the Supreme Lord. In the Ramayan, Hanuman displayed is utmost devotion through every action He took in service to Lord Rama. From finding to Sita Devi, to lifting an entire mountain (Dron Parvat) to help save Lakshman, Lord Hanuman’s only aim was and is always to serve His Master.

Devotees observe Hanuman Janamotsav during different time of the year according to their regional beliefs and the type of calendar being followed. Hanuman Janamotsav during Chaitra Purnima is the most popular one in North Indian states. In Andhra, Hanuman Janamotsav is celebrated for 41-days which starts on Chaitra Purnima and ends on the tenth day during Krishna Paksha in Vaishakha month. In Andhra Pradesh devotees begin 41-days Deeksha on Chaitra Purnima and conclude it on Hanuman Janamotsav day. In Karnataka, Hanuman Janamotsav is observed on Shukla Paksha Trayodashi during Margashirsha month. The day is popularly known as Hanuman Vratam. In Tamil Nadu, Hanuman Janamotsav is known as Hanumath Jayanthi and observed during Margashirsha Amavasya. In Gregorian calendar Tamil Hanuman Jayanti falls in January or December.

May you get blessed by the Lord Hanuman on Hanuman Janamotsav..

May
4
Sat
2024
Shri Vallabhacharya Jayanti
May 4 all-day
Shri Vallabhacharya Jayanti

Shri Vallabhacharya (1479-1531 C.E.) was a devotional philosopher, who founded the Pushti sect in India. Shri Vallabhacharya was an ardent devotee of Lord Krishna. He worshipped Shrinathji form of Lord Krishna. He is also known as Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya.

Vallabhacharya was born in Kashi now Varanasi, India in 1479 A.D. He belonged to a Telugu Brahmin family. According to Purnimant lunar calendar followed in North India, he was born on Krishna Paksha Ekadashi during Vaishakha month. According to Amanta lunar calendar, he was born on Krishna Paksha Ekadashi during Chaitra month. It is just name of the month which differs in both calendars and the birth anniversary of Shri Vallabhacharya is observed on the same day. The day of his birth anniversary coincides with Varuthini Ekadashi. His father was Shri Lakshman Bhatt ji and mother Shri Illammagaru ji. At a tender age of 10-11 years, Shri Vallabh completed studies of all religious scriptures like Veda, Purana, Smrti, Tantra etc. and various philosophies like Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Jain, Bauddha etc. from His father as well as various learned scholars.

Vallabha lost his father when he was eleven years of age. He completed, in his twelfth year, his study of the Vedas, the six Darshanas and the eighteen Puranas at Varanasi. From Varanasi he went to Brindavan. Then he visited all the sacred places in India. Vallabha attended the court of Raja Krishna Deva at Vijayanagar and defeated all the famous Pundits of the court. The Raja was very much pleased with Vallabha for his genius and learning, showered on him gifts of gold and other wealth, and invested him with the title of ‘Vaishnavacharya’. Vallabha’s fame and influence quickly increased. From Vijayanagar Vallabha went to Ujjain and other places. Vallabha was married at Varanasi and his wife’s name was Mahalakshmi. He had two sons.

Shri Mahaprabhuji, after taking His mothers permission, set out for Parikrama of Bharat at the age of 11 years. He walked bare foot only wearing a dhoti and uparna. He traveled with His Sevya Shri Thakorji and always would make halts outside the village near a lake and under a tree, would cook food Himself and first offer to Shri Thakruji and then eat. At holy places He would recite Shri Bhagvatji and also accept divine beings under His refuge.

The important works of Vallabha are Vyasa Sutra Bhashya, Jaimini Sutra Bhasya, Bhagavata Tika Subodhini, Pushti Pravala Maryada and Siddhanta Rahasya. All these books are in Sanskrit. Vallabha has written many books in Brij Bhasha also.

Vallabha spent his last days at Varanasi. He thought that his life’s mission had been accomplished. He went one day to bathe in the Ganges at Hanuman Ghat. There the people saw a brilliant light ascending the sky from the earth. In the presence of a host of spectators he ascended the sky and disappeared. This took place in 1531 A.D. in Vallabha’s fifty-second year.

May
7
Tue
2024
Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti
May 7 all-day
Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941 C.E.), sobriquet Gurudev was a Bengali poet and multi-talented personality who composed the National Anthem of India and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. According to English calendar he was born on 7th May 1861 in the Jorasanko mansion (the ancestral home of the Tagore family) in Kolkata to parents Debendranath Tagore and Sarada Devi.

Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old. He also started composing art works at a tender age and by the age of sixteen he had started publishing poems under the pseudonym Bhanusimha. He also wrote the short story, ‘Bhikharini’ in 1877 and the poem collection, ‘Sandhya Sangit’ in 1882. Tagore was largely home-schooled and was trained by his siblings in the field of gymnastics, martial arts, art, anatomy, literature, history and mathematics among various other subjects. In 1873, during his journey of the country with his father, he accumulated knowledge on several subjects. He was sent to England in the year 1878 as his father wanted him to become a barrister and his traditional education began in Brighton, East Sussex, England, at a public school. He was later on enrolled at the University College in London but he dropped out and learned several works of Shakespeare on his own. After learning the essence of English, Irish and Scottish literature and music, he returned to India and married Mrinalini Devi.

According to Bengali calendar he was born on 25th day of Boishakh month, in 1422 Bengali Era. In West Bengal Rabindranath Tagore anniversary is observed as per local Bengali calendar. The day of Boishakh 25th currently overlaps with either 8th May or 9th May on Gregorian calendar. However, in other states Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti is observed as per Gregorian calendar on 7th May. In Kolkata Tagore Jayanti is popularly known as Poncheeshe Boishakh.

Tagore’s talent was multifaceted, although he found himself in poetry. Gitanjali, which was released in 1910, was a collection of poems that received the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature. Other important works are Manasi (1890), Sonar Tari (1894), Gitimalya (1914), and plays such as Raja (1910), Dakghar (1912), etc. Tagore was also an accomplished artist, leaving behind several paintings that are a treasure in themselves. He was also interested in music, and wrote a few songs and provided music for them. The legacy of Tagore still shapes young minds and hearts in India, beckoning them to expand their horizons and challenge the established order. It’d be unfair to classify his multi talents as a poet, leader or writer, but perhaps his contribution as a social reformer for his ideas on gender, culture, freedom and education is also the most important.

May
9
Thu
2024
Maharana Pratap Jayanti
May 9 all-day
Maharana Pratap Jayanti

Maharana Pratap or Pratap Singh (1540-1597 C.E.) was a Hindu Rajput King of Mewar in Rajasthan, India. Maharana Pratap belonged to the Sisodiya clan of Rajputs and he was the eldest son of Udai Singh II and Jaiwanta Bai. He is revered and worshipped by many royal families in Rajasthan for his bravery and courage.

As per historical records, Maharana Pratap was born on May 9th, 1540 according to Julian calendar. Julian calendar is obsolete and it has been replaced by Gregorian calendar. According to Proleptic Gregorian calendar Maharana Pratap was born on May 19th 1540.

However, the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap is celebrated as per Hindu calendar. Either one follows Julian calendar or Gregorian calendar, the Hindu date of birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap falls on the same day. According to Hindu calendar it was Tritiya, Jyeshtha, Shukla Paksha, 1597 Vikram Samvat when Maharana Pratap was born.

In 1568, during the reign of Udai Singh II, Chittor was conquered by the Mughal Emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar at Chittor. Udai Singh and his family had left before the capture and moved to the foothills of the Aravalli Range where Udai Singh had already founded the city of Udaipur in 1559 and Pratap was coronated on 1 March 1572 at Gogunda. Chittorgarh (Chittor fort), Pratap’s ancestral home, was under Mughal occupation. Living a life on the run, the dream of reconquering Chittor (and thus reclaiming the glory of Mewar) was greatly cherished by Pratap, and his future efforts were bent towards this goal. Nearly all of Pratap’s fellow Rajput chiefs had meanwhile entered into the vassalage of the Mughals. Akbar sent a total of six diplomatic missions to Pratap, seeking to negotiate the same sort of peaceful alliance that he had concluded with the other Rajput chiefs but the never give up attitude lead him to hold over his glory and territory.

Maharana Pratap is best known for Battle of Haldighati against Mughal emperor Akbar to defend his kingdom. On June 21, 1576 (June 18 by other calculations), the two armies met at Haldighati, near the town of Gogunda. Maharana Pratap fielded a force of around 3,000 cavalry and 400 Bhil archers. The Mughals were led by Raja Man Singh of Amber, who commanded an army numbering around 5,000–10,000 men. After a fierce battle lasting more than three hours, Pratap found himself wounded and the day lost. While a few of his men bought him time, he managed to make an escape to the hills and lived to fight another day. The casualties for Mewar numbered around 160 men. The Mughal army lost 1500 men, with another 350 wounded. While Mughals were able to capture Gogunda and nearby areas, they were unable to hold onto them for long. As soon as the empire’s focus shifted elsewhere, Pratap and his army came out of hiding and recaptured the western regions of his dominion. With the large booty at his disposal, Pratap organized another attack and Battle of Dewar followed in which army of Mewar was victorious and Pratap was able to claim back much of the lost territories of Mewar, except Chittor.

During Pratap’s exile, he received much assistance from Bhamashah, a trusted general and aide of Pratap, who along with his brother Tarachand looted Mughal territory of Malwa and offered this large booty to Pratap to carry on his fight against Mughal. Bhamashah was promoted to post of Prime Minister after this by Pratap.

Maharana Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident. He died at Chavand, which served as his capital, on 29 January 1597, aged fifty-seven. A chhatri, commemorating Pratap Singh’s funeral, exists in Chavand and is an important tourist attraction today. It is said that as he lay dying, Pratap made his son and successor, Amar Singh, swear to maintain eternal conflict against the Mughals. Amar Singh fought 17 wars with the Mughals. After Mewar was depleted financially and in man-power he conditionally accepted them as rulers. The treaty between Amar Singh and Mughal King Jahangir had some obligations that fort of Chittor would not be repaired and Mewar would have to keep a contingent of 1000 horse in the Mughal service. Besides Amar Singh would not have to be present at any of the Mughal Darbars.

Parshuram Jayanti
May 9 all-day
Parshuram Jayanti

Parashurama Jayanti is celebrated as birth anniversary of sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It falls during Shukla Paksha Tritiya in the month of Vaishakha. This day is also known as Akshaya Tritiya and is considered good to start or do anything auspicious. The purpose of the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is to relieve the Earth’s burden by exterminating the sinful, destructive and irreligious monarchs that pillaged its resources and neglected their duties as kings.

According to the legend, Mahishmati Nagri, a region in central India was ruled by the demon king Kiratarjuna and his kingdom of the Kshatriyas. Goddess Earth was so concerned about the evil deeds of the king, that she asked Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Vishnu said the he would be born as a son to Renuka and Sage Jamadagni and destroy the kingdom. Kama Dhenu cow was snatched away by a kshatriya king, Kartavirya Sahashrarjun and the Ashram was destroyed. To take revenge, Parshuram killed the king and his thousand arms. When Parshuram’s father Jamadagni was killed by the king’s son then Parshuram vowed to kill all the kshatriyas on this earth and made it free from the autocracy of the kshatriyas. All the kshatriyas fled away due to the terror of him and no one remained to protect this earth. So Kashyap muni ordered Parshuram to leave this world. Parshuram went to mountain Mahendra and began living there.

Parashurama or Parshuram may also be known as Rama Jamadagnya, Rama Bhargava and Veerarama in some Hindu texts. Parashurama is worshipped as mool purush, or founder, of the Niyogi Bhumihar Brahmin, Chitpavan, Daivadnya, Mohyal, Tyagi, Anavil and Nambudiri Brahmin communities.

According to Hindu belief unlike all other avatars Parashurama still lives on the Earth. Therefore, unlike Shri Rama and Shri Krishna, Parashurama is not worshipped. In South India, at the holy place Pajaka near Udupi, one major temple exists which commemorates Parashurama. There are many temples at the western coast of India which are dedicated to Lord Parashurama.

The Kalki Purana states that Parashurama will be the martial guru of Shri Kalki, the 10th and final Avatar of Lord Vishnu. It is not the first time that 6th Avatar of Lord Vishnu will meet another Avatar. According to Ramayana, Parashurama came to the betrothal ceremony of Sita and Lord Rama and met the 7th Avatar of Lord Vishnu.

May
12
Sun
2024
Shankaracharya Jayanti
May 12 all-day
Shankaracharya Jayanti

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is observed as birth anniversary of Indian Guru and philosopher Adi Shankara. Adi Shankara was born in Kalady which is situated in Kerala during 788 C.E. and he was disappeared at young age of 32 in year 820 C.E.

Adi Shankaracharya Jayanti is observed on Panchami Tithi during Shukla Paksha of Vaishakha month and currently falls between April and May. Shankaracharya consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanata (अद्वैत वेदान्त) and revived it at a time when Hindu culture was on decline.

Several different dates have been proposed for Shankara:

  • Based on records of the heads of the Shankara’s cardinal institutions Maṭhas at Dvaraka Pitha, the Govardhana matha and Badri and the Kanchi Peetham, the dating of Adi Shankara is 509–477 BCE.
  • The commentator Anandagiri believed he was born at Chidambaram in 44 BCE and died in 12 BCE.
  • Telang placed him in 6th century CE. Sir R. G. Bhandarkar believed he was born in 680 CE.
  • The early 20th scholars like Max Müller, Macdonnel, Pathok, Deussen and Radhakrishna and others have proposed the date as 788–820 CE. The date 788–820 is also among those considered acceptable by Swami Tapasyananda, though he raises a number of questions.
  • Late 20th century scholarship has questioned the 788-820 CE dates, placing Adi Shankara’s life of 32 years in the first half of the 8th century i.e. sometime between 700-750 CE.
  • Venkiteswara not only places Shankara later than most, but also had the opinion that it would not have been possible for him to have achieved all the works apportioned to him, and has him live ninety two years between 805–897 CE but oviously no can see beyond their own frames. Our imaginations are limited to our experience but the world is more wide than the same.

Adi Shankara, along with Madhava and Ramanuja, was instrumental in the revival of Hinduism. These three teachers formed the doctrines that are followed by their respective sects even today. They have been the most important figures in the recent history of Hindu philosophy.

Surdas Jayanti
May 12 all-day
Surdas Jayanti

Sant Surdas (1478-1581 C.E.) was a great poet and musician known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna. There is disagreement regarding the exact birth year of Sur, with the general consensus among scholars holding it to be between the years 1478 and 1483. Surdas was born blind and because of that he was neglected by his family. As a result, he left his home at the tender age of six and started praising Lord Krishna at a very young age.

According to historians Sant Surdas was born on 1478 C.E. in village Sihi, Faridabad, Haryana. However some claims that he was born at Runkta near Agra. The birth anniversary of Sant Surdas is observed as per Hindu lunar calendar and falls on Shukla Paksha, Panchami in Vaishakha month.

The Vallabhite story states that Surdas was blind from birth and neglected by his family, forcing him to leave his home at the age of six and live on the banks of Yamuna river. It states that he met Vallabha Acharya and became his disciple while going on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan. However, the authenticity of this legend is disputed due to the absence of Vallabha Acharya from early poems of Sur and the awkward logic of the story. It is likely that Surdas was an independent poet, suggested by his acceptance to all communities. He probably became blind later in his life, contrary to the Vallabhite claim.

Surdas’s music and fine poetry attracted many laurels. As his fame spread far and wide, the Mughal emperor Akbar became his patron. Surdas spent the last years of his life in Braj and lived on the donations, which he received in return for his Bhajan singing and lecturing on religious topics.

There is also a disagreement regarding the year of his death; it is considered to be between 1561 and 1584.

Surdas is said to have written and composed a hundred thousand songs in his magnum opus the Sur Sagar (Ocean of Melody), out of which only about 8,000 are in existence.

May
23
Thu
2024
Buddha Purnima
May 23 all-day
Buddha Purnima

Buddha Purnima during Vaishakha month is celebrated as birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha. Although celebrated as the day Buddha was born and known as Buddha Jayanti, it is also known as the day he attained salvation or Nirvana under the Mahabodhi tree at Bodh Gaya. Gautama Buddha whose birth name was Siddhartha Gautama was a spiritual teacher on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.

According to the Theravada Tripitaka scriptures, most historians date Gautama Buddha’s lifetime between 563-483 B.C. Most people consider Lumbini, Nepal as birth place of Buddha. Buddha died at the age of 80 at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important pilgrimage site related to the life of Gautama Buddha. The other three important pilgrimage sites are KushinagarLumbini, and Sarnath. It is believed that Gautama Buddha obtained Enlightenment at Bodhagaya and he first taught the Dharma at Sarnath. Buddha Purnima is also known as Buddha Jayanti, VesakVaishaka and Buddha’s Birthday.

According to the Buddhism, sorrow and desire are the main cause of all the evil and suffering of this world. Lord Buddha advocated the Eightfold Path consisting of precepts like right conduct, right motive, right speech, right effort, right resolve, right livelihood, right attention and right meditation to gain mastery over suffering. It is only after following this path one can reach the ultimate aim of Nirvana. Nirvana is the transcendental state of complete liberation. In North India Buddha is considered as the 9th incarnation and Lord Krishna as the 8th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. However Buddha is never considered as an Avatar of Vishnu in South Indian belief. In South India Balarama is considered as the 8th incarnation and Krishna as the 9th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Balarama is counted as an incarnation of Vishnu by the majority of Vaishnava movements. Even Buddhists don’t consider Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka espoused the Buddhist religion in the 3rd century B.C. and helped in spreading it far and wide.

Jun
9
Sun
2024
Maharana Pratap Jayanti
Jun 9 all-day
Maharana Pratap Jayanti

Maharana Pratap or Pratap Singh (1540-1597 C.E.) was a Hindu Rajput King of Mewar in Rajasthan, India. Maharana Pratap belonged to the Sisodiya clan of Rajputs and he was the eldest son of Udai Singh II and Jaiwanta Bai. He is revered and worshipped by many royal families in Rajasthan for his bravery and courage.

As per historical records, Maharana Pratap was born on May 9th, 1540 according to Julian calendar. Julian calendar is obsolete and it has been replaced by Gregorian calendar. According to Proleptic Gregorian calendar Maharana Pratap was born on May 19th 1540.

However, the birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap is celebrated as per Hindu calendar. Either one follows Julian calendar or Gregorian calendar, the Hindu date of birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap falls on the same day. According to Hindu calendar it was Tritiya, Jyeshtha, Shukla Paksha, 1597 Vikram Samvat when Maharana Pratap was born.

In 1568, during the reign of Udai Singh II, Chittor was conquered by the Mughal Emperor Akbar after the third Jauhar at Chittor. Udai Singh and his family had left before the capture and moved to the foothills of the Aravalli Range where Udai Singh had already founded the city of Udaipur in 1559 and Pratap was coronated on 1 March 1572 at Gogunda. Chittorgarh (Chittor fort), Pratap’s ancestral home, was under Mughal occupation. Living a life on the run, the dream of reconquering Chittor (and thus reclaiming the glory of Mewar) was greatly cherished by Pratap, and his future efforts were bent towards this goal. Nearly all of Pratap’s fellow Rajput chiefs had meanwhile entered into the vassalage of the Mughals. Akbar sent a total of six diplomatic missions to Pratap, seeking to negotiate the same sort of peaceful alliance that he had concluded with the other Rajput chiefs but the never give up attitude lead him to hold over his glory and territory.

Maharana Pratap is best known for Battle of Haldighati against Mughal emperor Akbar to defend his kingdom. On June 21, 1576 (June 18 by other calculations), the two armies met at Haldighati, near the town of Gogunda. Maharana Pratap fielded a force of around 3,000 cavalry and 400 Bhil archers. The Mughals were led by Raja Man Singh of Amber, who commanded an army numbering around 5,000–10,000 men. After a fierce battle lasting more than three hours, Pratap found himself wounded and the day lost. While a few of his men bought him time, he managed to make an escape to the hills and lived to fight another day. The casualties for Mewar numbered around 160 men. The Mughal army lost 1500 men, with another 350 wounded. While Mughals were able to capture Gogunda and nearby areas, they were unable to hold onto them for long. As soon as the empire’s focus shifted elsewhere, Pratap and his army came out of hiding and recaptured the western regions of his dominion. With the large booty at his disposal, Pratap organized another attack and Battle of Dewar followed in which army of Mewar was victorious and Pratap was able to claim back much of the lost territories of Mewar, except Chittor.

During Pratap’s exile, he received much assistance from Bhamashah, a trusted general and aide of Pratap, who along with his brother Tarachand looted Mughal territory of Malwa and offered this large booty to Pratap to carry on his fight against Mughal. Bhamashah was promoted to post of Prime Minister after this by Pratap.

Maharana Pratap died of injuries sustained in a hunting accident. He died at Chavand, which served as his capital, on 29 January 1597, aged fifty-seven. A chhatri, commemorating Pratap Singh’s funeral, exists in Chavand and is an important tourist attraction today. It is said that as he lay dying, Pratap made his son and successor, Amar Singh, swear to maintain eternal conflict against the Mughals. Amar Singh fought 17 wars with the Mughals. After Mewar was depleted financially and in man-power he conditionally accepted them as rulers. The treaty between Amar Singh and Mughal King Jahangir had some obligations that fort of Chittor would not be repaired and Mewar would have to keep a contingent of 1000 horse in the Mughal service. Besides Amar Singh would not have to be present at any of the Mughal Darbars.

Jun
17
Mon
2024
Bakrid, Eid al-Adha
Jun 17 all-day
Bakrid, Eid al-Adha

Eid al Adha or Eid ul Zuha or Bakrid is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim lunar calendar, known as the Hijri calendar. This holy day is celebrated by the Muslim community throughout the world on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijjah and holds a special place in the hearts of the entire community. The holy day of Bakrid is known as Id-ul-Adha in Arabic and means “Feast of the Sacrifice”.

This festival was named thus, as its origin lay in the Islamic history as per which, it was on this day that God decided to test the faith of Abraham. It so happed, that Abraham, who was one of the Prophets of God saw a dream in which, the almighty commanded him to sacrifice his son. Abraham and his son both showed willingness to perform this ultimate sacrifice and just as after slitting his son’s throat Abraham looked at the alter, where he expected to find his son’s lifeless body, he saw a dead ram instead and his son was standing hail and hearty. God delivered his son from death, as the duo had passed his test of faith. Thus, to commemorate the devotion, spirit of sacrifice and unquestioning faith in the almighty, Muslims perform animal sacrifice and offer prayers, to mark this occasion.

The celebrations of Bakrid also corresponds with another significant event that occurred in the history of Islam i.e. the completion of the holy Quran, this makes the revelry twofold.

The word ‘bakri’ means goat in Hindi, thus giving rise to the name Bakr-Id. It occurs after the Hajj pilgrimage, which is the fifth pillar of Islam, undertaken by the Muslims. It is celebrated with ritualistic fervor in Andhra Pradesh and in particular, the old city of Hyderabad.

Jun
21
Fri
2024
Longest Day of Year
Jun 21 all-day
Longest Day of Year

The Solstice, derived from the Latin words for “sun stationary” is an astronomical event that happens twice, once in summer and once in winter, each year when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky as seen from the North or South Pole. Because of Earth’s tilt of 23.4 degrees to its orbit, the noon sun appears to rise and fall in the sky over the course of the year. On this day, the earth’s “circle of illumination” will be from the Arctic Circle on the far side of the earth (in relation to the sun) to the Antarctic Circle on the near side of the earth.

Solstices occur on 20th or 21st June and 21st or 22nd December each year. During summer the day of the solstice is the longest day of the year and during winter the day of the solstice is the shortest day of the year.

During June it is Summer Solstice in the Northern hemisphere and Winter Solstice in the Southern hemisphere. In other words during June Solstice it is summer time in the UK, the USA, Canada, Russia, India and China and it is the longest day of the year while it is winter time in Australia, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa and it is the shortest day of the year.

Similarly during December it is Winter Solstice in the Northern hemisphere and Summer Solstice in the Southern hemisphere. In other words during December Solstice it is winter time in the UK, the USA, Canada, Russia, India and China and it is the shortest day of the year while it is summer time in Australia, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa and it is the longest day of the year.

To avoid any confusion Solstices are preferably referred as June Solstice (Northern Solstice) and December Solstice (Southern Solstice). Summer Solstice is also known as Aestival Solstice.