Archive for April, 2013

  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 9, Havan (Fire Yagya)

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 9, Havan (Fire Yagya)

    The April Navagraha Yagyas concluded with a very nice five priest fire yagya (havan) performed at the countryside Shiva temple just outside Kanchipuram. The yagya itself was performed in an outside pavilion. Here you can see the priests making preparation for the yagya. The fire pit has been decorated with colored rice flour symbols for […]

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 8, Rahu and Ketu

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 8, Rahu and Ketu

    This temple is one that I always call “the countryside temple” because it is located a few miles outside of Kanchipuram in an agricultural area, surrounded by fields of sugar cane and rice. It was a favorite of Chandrashekarendra Saraswati, the previous Shankarcharya who was responsible for the construction of the temple around an ancient […]

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 7, The Sun

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 7, The Sun

    The Sun is recognizable because of the large halo around his head. The statue is tall and a little thin and radiates a sense of dignity. The offering of milk. Perfumed sandalwood. Honey. And the final decoration complete with fresh malls and the offerings of fruit and coconuts. The final aarti completes the yagya performance.

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 6, Saturn

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 6, Saturn

    Each of the deities has a vahana or mount that they ride around on. In fact, because a lot of the statues look so similar, this is a good way to tell the deities apart at a glance. Here we see Saturn, with his crow behind him. The crow is more easily seen in this […]

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 5, Venus

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 5, Venus

    A temple is a wonderful place at dawn, before the heat of the day arrives. The air is fresh and cool, the birds are singing, and the temple radiates a special peacefulness. Looking at the temple buildings, it is amazing to think about the effort that was invested in their construction over a thousand years […]

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 4, Jupiter

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 4, Jupiter

    Thursday is owned by Jupiter and so our priests went to a temple in which there is a huge Navagraha area.  The temple itself is, as all Navagraha temples are, part of a Shiva temple. Over the entrance you can see Shiva, Parvati and Nandi the bull that they ride. The temple grounds are very […]

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 3, Budha – Mercury

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 3, Budha – Mercury

    The third day of the yagyas was focused on Mercury, who owns Wednesday. It was performed in a wonderful Shiva temple that uniquely has a special temple for Mercury and, because Mercury is the planet of Vishnu, a Vishnu temple as well. The entrance features a tall traditional flagpole. A lotus carving where offerings are […]

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 2, Managal – Mars

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 2, Managal – Mars

    The second day of the yagyas was for Mars, who owns Tuesday.  This month we are performing the yagyas in some of the various smaller temple throughout the area around Kanchipuram. Generally the planetary temples are contained within Shiva temples and frequently there will be a “featured” planet, in this case Mars. For our abishekam […]

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  • April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 1, Chandra the Moon

    April Navagraha Yagyas – Day 1, Chandra the Moon

    The April Yagya program begins with a temple abishekam for the Moon. This temple includes a nice area for Rahu/Ketu underneath a Neem tree. All the planets are represented together with the Sun tallest in the center. All of the planets receive the abishekam offerings but today the Moon gets special attention. Here, turmeric, a […]

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  • Kalasha North vs South

    Kalasha North vs South

    One of the things that distinguish the traditions of north and south India are the shape of the kalasha pots used in the yagyas.  These are filled with water, topped with a coconut, and represent the deity.   At the begining of the yagya a Varuna Puja is performed and the tradition says that he […]

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