Bodh Gaya in Bihar is one of the most sacred places for Buddhists. It is believed that, around 528 BC, a young prince, Siddhartha, who had given up his right to the throne and was travelling around the country in search for wisdom, was attracted by the peaceful surroundings there. He settled down under a Peepul tree, vowing not to move till he had received enlightenment. Three nights and days later, on a full-moon night in the month of Vaisakh (April-May in the modern calendar), he achieved what he was looking for – Bodhi. He spent the next seven weeks at the place, thinking about the enlightenment he had received. He came to be known as The Buddha, the Enlightened One. […]
Panchavati is a very important place in the Ramayana. It was the place chosen by Lord Rama to stay during his exile from Ayodhya. It was a beautiful place. It got its name from five banyan trees growing there, which are known as ‘vati’ in the local language. Panch Vati means five banyan trees. The River Godavari flowed nearby. Events that happened there led up to Lord Rama’s war with the forces of Ravana, king of Lanka. […]
Hastinapur is a town near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. It is an ordinary place now, but it is believed that at one time it was the capital of one of the greatest kingdoms of ancient India.
It is among the most important places mentioned in the Mahabharata, the story of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, two sets of cousins who were rivals. It was the capital of the Kauravas initially. After the Pandavas defeated the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, they made Hastinapur the capital of their new kingdom too. […]
Hindu mythology speaks of a great churning of the Ocean of Milk to get Amritham or the nectar of immortality, a precious liquid which would give anyone who drank it everlasting life. There was a battle between the Devas or heavenly beings, and the Assuras or demons. The Devas had been weakened by a sage’s curse. Vishnu advised them to join hands with the Assuras, and churn the Ocean of Milk to find Amritham. The deal was that the nectar would be shared by the Devas and Assuras, but Vishnu promised that he would see that only the Devas got it, so that the demons wouldn’t gain control. […]
According to the ancient Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, the region south of the Vindhya mountains was once thickly forested, and ruled by the Vannars. Van means forest, and nar man in Sanskrit. So Vannar could mean forest men or monkey men. In the Ramayana, the Vannars, and their kingdom, Kishkinda, play a very important role. […]
The Ramayana has an exciting story about how Lord Rama managed to cross the sea from India to reach the island of Lanka. He wanted to get there to rescue his wife Sita who had been kidnapped by the Demon King Ravana. The story goes that 10 million monkeys, supervised by the monkey architect-engineer Nala, built a bridge from the tip of India to Lanka. They used huge trees, rocks and other material and built it in five days. […]