UTTARAKHAND, INDIA , June 15, 2018 ( Daily Pioneer): The first batch of pilgrims undertaking the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra from India this year proceeded on the pilgrimage after arriving in Kathgodam on Tuesday. The first batch consisting of 59 pilgrims including 17 women was welcomed in traditional Kumaoni style on their arrival here. After being received in Kathogadam where the pilgrims spent some time, they departed for Almora on the same day. After spending the night at Almora, the pilgrims will reach Dharchula in Pithoragarh district on Wednesday. From there they will move onward to Gunji where a medical camp has also been organized for the pilgrims.
The Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN) managing director Trilok Singh Martoliya informed that one batch of pilgrims will take 25 days to complete the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. The pilgrimage to Kailash Mansarovar this year will continue till September 8 with a total of 1080 pilgrims slated to undertake it. [HPI note: this pilgrimage is organized by the Government of India and takes two routes through India to Tibet, whereas most pilgrims go via Nepal, which is easier. The Ministry of External Affairs website for the yatra is https://kmy.gov.in/kmy/?lang=en.]
NEW DELHI, INDIA, June 5, 2018 (The Print): The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has claimed to have found the remains of two chariots and eight well-preserved bodies in a burial chamber in Sinauli, Uttar Pradesh. Sinauli is considered an important contemporary Harappan burial site in Bagphat district. The team, according to ASI director (excavations), Sanjay Manjul, found three of the bodies placed in pedestaled coffins, and recovered remains of the two chariots such as wheels, axles and poles, leading to speculation that those buried in the chambers may have been royalty.
The new discoveries, especially those of the chariots are a landmark moment since no such physical evidence has been found at a contemporary Harappan site, Manjul said. "This is the very first time such evidence has ever been recovered. The coffins and chariots are something we haven't encountered before. This discovery is not only important in the context of India, but the world," Manjul said. "The artefacts probably belong to a period between 2000-1800 BCE. It can help us determine how those people lived. It may help re-evaluate how we understood the late Harappan contemporary culture. It is a significant development in the Ganga-Yamuna doab," Manjul told the ThePrint.
Parents must teach children to appreciate those who are different, those who believe differently; teach them the openness that they need to live in a pluralistic world where others have their unique ways, their life and culture; teach them the value of human diversity and the narrow-mindedness of a provincial outlook; give them the tools to live in a world of differences without feeling threatened, without forcing their ways or their will on others; teach them that it never helps to hurt another of our brothers or sisters.
-- Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001), founder of Hinduism Today
MUMBAI, INDIA, June 10, 2018 (Mumbai Mirror): The state government has announced its plan to take over the Shani Shingnapur shrine and create a special legislation for the temple on the lines of the Mahalaxmi temple in Kolhapur. The proposal will soon be tabled before the state cabinet for approval. Speaking to Mirror, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, "In the state Assembly, we had promised a law for transparency in the temple trust management. It's a popular religious destination in India, so it requires facilities and management of that level." However, spokesperson of the Shani Shingnapur trust, Anil Darandale, said that they were unaware of the new proposal.
After the state government takes over the temple, a chief officer will be appointed to look into its day-to-day administration. While the temple trust will have its own staff, the state will appoint its own chairperson, deputy chairperson and trustees. As part of the proposal -- like the Siddhivinayak temple trust and the Shirdi Sai Sansthan trust - the Shani Shingnapur temple trust will have to report to the state law and judiciary department. While the principal secretary of law and judiciary department N. Jamadar did not comment on the government's plan, a senior officer said, "After the takeover, the government wants to have an Act to govern the temple. Not only will we build residential quarters for pilgrims, we will also develop the roads and provide infrastructure like the waiting hall for darshan. This will streamline facilities for pilgrims -- especially on Saturdays when huge crowds throng the pilgrimage site."
UNITED STATES, June 8, 2018 (New York Times, by Bettany Hughes): Vandalizing the Parthenon temple in Athens has been a tenacious tradition. Most famously, Lord Elgin appropriated the "Elgin marbles" in 1801-5. But that was hardly the first example. In the Byzantine era, when the temple had been turned into a church, two bishops -- Marinos and Theodosios -- carved their names on its monumental columns. The Ottomans used the Parthenon as a gunpowder magazine, hence its pockmarked masonry -- the result of an attack by Venetian forces in the 17th century. Now Catherine Nixey, a classics teacher turned writer and journalist, takes us back to earlier desecrations, the destruction of the premier artworks of antiquity by Christian zealots (from the Greek zelos -- ardor, eager rivalry) in what she calls "The Darkening Age."
Using the mutilation of faces and arms on the Parthenon's decoration as one of her many, thunderingly memorable case studies, Nixey makes the fundamental point that while we lionize Christian culture for preserving works of learning, sponsoring exquisite art and adhering to an ethos of "love thy neighbor," the early church was in fact a master of anti-intellectualism, iconoclasm and mortal prejudice. Nixey is transparent about the particularity of her motivation. The daughter of an ex-nun and an ex-monk, she spent her childhood filled with respect for the wonders of post-pagan Christian culture. But as a student of classics she found the scales -- as it were -- falling from her eyes.
Much more of this book review at "source".