JAMMU, INDIA, may 16, 2018 (Deccan Chronicle): Nearly 170,000 people have so far registered for the pilgrimage to cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas, set to begin for a 60-day long period from Jammu on June 28. Over 169,000 pilgrims have been registered at various counters across the country and the registration is going on in full swing, officials associated with registration of the yatra said on Wednesday. Of these, 139,000 pilgrims have been registered across country, 28,516 pilgrims have been booked for yatra through helicopters apart from registration of 2,122 foreign tourists, they said.
The 60-day long annual yatra to the shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas will commence on June 28 and the yatra will be longer by 20 days this year. Yatra will culminate on Raksha Bandhan day on August 26. The registration is being done at 440 branches of the Punjab National Bank, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and the YES Bank across the country. No person below the age of 13 years or above 75 years is registered even though he or she might have obtained the compulsory health certificate.
Just as a big banyan tree sprouts from a tiny seed, so the wide universe with names and forms sprouts forth from the heart.
-- Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950), South Indian mystic
PAKISTAN, May 17, 2018 (Indian Express): Pakistani archaeologists excavating the Harappan site of Mohenjo Daro have sought help from their Indian counterparts for carrying out conservation works and planning future excavations at the site. The site, in present-day Sindh, Pakistan, was likely the world's largest settlement between 2600 and 1900 BC. Vice-Chancellor of Pune's Deccan College and a leading scholar on Harappan civilization, Vasant Shinde was among the few foreign archaeologists who were recently invited to visit Mohenjo Daro. "We have realized that we need to work hand-in-hand. The Pakistani side is very keen and we also want that the two countries must come together...because, the remaining half of the Harappan sites lie on the other side of the Indian border and without understanding the entire region, we cannot really get a holistic picture about the civilization," said Shinde.
When efforts by Pakistani archaeologists to carry out initial conservation works at Mohenjo Daro failed, the Pakistani team sought suggestions from India. "They (Pakistani archaeologists) wanted to know, if there was any way in which India could help them carry out conservation activities at the site," Shinde said. Earlier, the Pakistani side had collaborated with European and American archaeologists. "But, what we now understand is that the methodology developed by the Westerners... did not suit the climatic conditions or help excavate the materials used for construction in this part of the world," Shinde said, adding that this had led to further damages to the historic site.
The atman in you is that which indwells all things." "Tell me, Yajnavalkya, about this atman that indwells all things." "It is that which transcends hunger and thirst, sorrow and delusion, old age and death."
-- Brihadaranyaka Upanishad III, 5A
CHENNAI, INDIA, May 15, 2018 (Deccan Chronicle): Chief Priest Ramana Deekshithulu of the Lord Venkateswara shrine at Tirumala on Tuesday accused the Tirumala-Tirupati Board (TTD) of serious malpractices and demanded CBI probe into its administration, which he said should be taken over by an expert panel appointed by the Union Government "to ensure that the Agama Sastra and other Vedas are strictly followed and the Lord's divine belongings are not squandered away." Addressing a select press conference at his son's residence here, Ramana Deekshithulu said, "We are deeply anguished at what's going on there. The TTD administered by IAS officers is dictated to by their political bosses. They are not even allowing the sevas (poojas) to be performed as per the Agama Sastra and are rushing us to finish them in quick time to please the visiting VIPs, including politicians and film stars". Whereas earlier, the Board had only Hindu members on it, there were now complaints that even non-Hindus have been appointed.
The chief priest, known as Pradhana Archakulu and also the Agama Sastra adviser for the TTD, said until 1996, Lord Balaji and other deities in the shrine had been adored with the invaluable jewels gifted by kings and other wealthy devotees. The Pradhana Archakulu was in charge of the jewels. "He kept a record of all the valuables and made sure they were safe. But now we do not know where all those old jewels have gone as we find only the jewels given by the devotees subsequently are being used for adorning the Lord", he said, demanding a "comprehensive CBI probe into the hundial collections, the jewels as well as the mode of administration at the TTD".