Thursday, November 4, 2010

Festival of Lights: Diwali

Diwali is the most popular festival of India. It is celebrated widely over India, with great pomp and enthusiasm in reverence and honor of Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity!

This is the day, when the legendary Lord Rama returned to his homeland, Ayodhya after spending 14 years in exile and defeating and slaying, the demon Ravana and his subsequent coronation as the king !
The celebrations on this day, start with a special bath, early in the morning, followed by prayers to Goddess Lakshmi. Special dishes are prepared, sweets are exchanged and every Hindu household is abuzz with festivities.

In the evening, every house (and shop) is decorated with numerous small oil lamps, called diyas, which are placed around the house, in courtyards, verandahs, and gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. This is followed by burning of various firecrackers.

Diwali also holds official holiday status in many countries other than India, in Nepal, Fiji, Mauritius, Guyana, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Singapore.

This festival signifies the renewal of life, dispelling darkness and heralding the victory of good over evil !

May light triumph over darkness
May peace transcend the earth
May the spirit of light illuminate the world
May you celebrate a wonderful Diwali this year!

Wish you all, my readers A Very Happy and Prosperous Diwali !

Note: In my next post, I will post pictures of Diwali celebrations at my house.

World’s Largest Cannon !

Located at the Jaigarh fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan, the Jaivana is the world’s biggest wheeled cannon ever constructed !

Some key features about this huge cannon are listed below:

a) It was cast in 1720, during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur.

b) The length of the barrel of the cannon is 20 feet, 2 inches and it weighs 50 tons. It rests on a 7.3 m long shaft.

c) It rests on a high 4 wheeled carriage. The front wheels are 2.74 metres in diameter and the rear wheels are 1.37 metres in diameter.

d) About 100 kilograms (a quintal) of gun powder fired a shot ball weighing 50 kg.

It has never been used in any battle, but was reportedly test fired, once in 1720, which resulted is massive damage. It is also said, that it took four elephants to swivel it around on its axis.

It is indeed a great feat to produce such a massive cannon and to place it right on top of a hill !