We continue our series of in-depth articles on the holy sites of India with an 18-page adventure in Haridwar. Our intrepid team, Rajiv Malik and photographer Dev Raj Agarwal, ply the roads, shop the stalls, enter the Sanskrit schools and bathe in the Holy Ganges, all to give readers a personal tour of one of the most important Hindu cities in India. The photography alone tells the story of a dynamic pilgrimage center that is rich in learning institutions, shopping opportunities, riverside celebrations and more.
Speaking of photography, which is something dear to this magazine’s editors, Arun Mishra’s legendary skills are at work in a photos-only telling of the Nashik Kumbha Mela which took place in August of 2015. Let him show you what he saw there.
For too long we have heard tales of temples falling into disrepair, losing their income to outside agencies and suffering in other ways. So it’s refreshing to hear that after a full century the Brihadeeshwarar Temple in Thanjavur, South India, celebrated the inaugural procession of a new wooden chariot. Not just any chariot, but a massive masterpiece with exquisite carving, a Behemoth that required 1,175 cubic feet of hardwood and rises over fifty feet. Over 100,000 devotees joined the celebration of its first circumambulation of the temple. Enjoy the story of a temple in renaissance.
Our publisher, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami, tackles the thorny issue of religious intolerance in his Publisher’s Desk editorial in this issue, offering practical ways we can create tolerance in the future by raising our children without hatred or prejudice. His solutions are lucid and simple, and, if followed, could change the strained religious relationships that now have free run across the globe.
Other opinion pieces give voice to Hindu concerns, including one young woman who decries the new trend in the US of exiling the Goddess from the popular garba dance, a misplaced exclusion meant to make the dance more acceptable to outsiders. Not acceptable, says Shivali Bhammer of New York. In a surprisingly candid opinion piece a Protestant minister details how Hinduism has enriched the world with its gifts of spirituality, exported to the West.
Language is a powerful tool, among our most powerful, in fact, so the relationship of Sanskrit and Tamil is a serious matter in South India. Our article explores the roots of this enduring issue and offers opponents in the discussion a way forward based on the shared history and mutual importance of two of humanity’s richest languages. Two great scholarly minds unravel the issues for us.
Food. Who doesn’t love food? But there is food, and there is Indian food. In our 16-page Insight section we explore the Secrets of Indian Gastronomy. And who is our guide? None other than Chef Manjit Gill, the go-to-guru of Indian cuisine. He takes us deep into the world of taste and health, ayurveda and spices, seasons and gunas. Food isn’t just taste, it is well-being, it is energy and it is art, at least in this master’s hands.
That would be magazine enough, but there is more in the April issue. Global Dharma takes us to communities in Mexico, Germany and Polland to see how Hinduism is growing there. Scott Rice, an Oregonian, shares his surprising encounter with Siva 12,000 feet up in the Himalayas. You’ll find our cartoon surrounded by inspiring and witty remarks on our “Quotes and Quips” page.