Tamil Nadu is one of the 29 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent and is bordered by the union territory of Puducherry and the South Indian states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, it is bounded by the Eastern Ghats on the north, by the Nilgiri Mountains, the Meghamalai Hills, Kerala on the west, by the Bay of Bengal in the east, by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait on the southeast, by the Indian Ocean on the south. The state shares a maritime border with the nation of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu is the sixth largest by population, it has a high HDI ranking among Indian states as of 2017. The economy of Tamil Nadu is the second-largest state economy in India with ₹17.25 lakh crore in gross domestic product after Maharashtra and a per capita GDP of ₹167,000. It was ranked as one of the top seven developed states in India based on a "Multidimensional Development Index" in a 2013 report published by the Reserve Bank of India.
Its official language is Tamil, one of the longest-surviving classical languages in the world. The region was ruled by several empires, including the three great empires – Chola and Pandyan empires, which shape the region's cuisine and architecture; the British Colonial rule during the modern period led to the emergence of Chennai known as Madras, as a world-class city. Modern-day Tamil Nadu was formed in 1956 after the reorganization of states on linguistic lines; the state is home to a number of historic buildings, multi-religious pilgrimage sites, hill stations and three World Heritage sites. Archaeological evidence points to this area being one of the longest continuous habitations in the Indian peninsula. In Attirampakkam, archaeologists from the Sharma Centre for Heritage Education excavated ancient stone tools which suggests that a humanlike population existed in the Tamil Nadu region somewhere around 300,000 years before homo sapiens arrived from Africa. In Adichanallur, 24 km from Tirunelveli, archaeologists from the Archaeological Survey of India unearthed 169 clay urns containing human skulls, bones, grains of rice, charred rice and celts of the Neolithic period, 3,800 years ago.
The ASI archaeologists have proposed that the script used at that site is "very rudimentary" Tamil Brahmi. Adichanallur has been announced as an archaeological site for further excavation and studies. About 60 per cent of the total epigraphical inscriptions found by the ASI in India are from Tamil Nadu, most of these are in the Tamil language. A Neolithic stone celt with the Indus script on it was discovered at Sembian-Kandiyur near Mayiladuthurai in Tamil Nadu. According to epigraphist Iravatham Mahadevan, this was the first datable artefact bearing the Indus script to be found in Tamil Nadu. According to Mahadevan, the find was evidence of the use of the Harappan language, therefore that the "Neolithic people of the Tamil country spoke a Harappan language"; the date of the celt was estimated at between 1500 BCE and 2000 BCE. Though this finding remains contested,like the claim of historian Michel Danino who rubbishes the theory of the latter’s southward migration in a paper he presented at the International Symposium on Indus Civilisation and Tamil Language in 2007.
He wrote: ‘There is no archaeological evidence of a southward migration through the Deccan after the end of the urban phase of the Indus- Sarasvati civilization… The only actual evidence of movements at that period is of Late Harappans migrating towards the Ganges plains and towards Gujarat... Migration apart, there is a complete absence of Harappan artefacts and features south of the Vindhyas: no Harappan designs on pottery, no Harappan seals and ornaments, no trace of Harappan urbanism… Cultural continuity from Harappan to historical times has been documented in North India, but not in the South… This means, in effect, that the south-bound Late Harappans would have reverted from an advanced urban bronze-age culture to a Neolithic one! Their migration to South would thus constitute a double “archaeological miracle”: apart from being undetectable on the ground, it implies that the migrants experienced a total break with all their traditions; such a phenomenon is unheard of.’ The early history of the people and rulers of Tamil Nadu is a topic in Tamil literary sources known as Sangam literature.
Numismatic and literary sources corroborate that the Sangam period lasted for about eight centuries, from 500 BC to AD 300. The recent excavations in Alagankulam archaeological site suggests that Alagankulam is one of the important trade centre or port city in Sangam Era; the Bhakti movement originated in Tamil speaking region of South India and spread northwards through India. The Bhakti Movement was a rapid growth of bhakti beginning in this region with the Saiva Nayanars and the Vaisnava Alvars who spread bhakti poetry and devotion; the Alwars and Nayanmars were instrumental in propagating the Bhakti tradition. During the 4th to 8th centuries, Tamil Nadu saw the rise of the Pallava dynasty under Mahendravarman I and his son Mamalla Narasimhavarman I; the Pallavas ruled parts of South India with Kanchipuram as their capital. Tamil architecture reached its peak during Pallava rule. Narasimhavarman II built the Shore Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Much the Pallavas were replaced by the Chola dynasty as the dominant kingdom in the 9th century and they in turn were replaced by the Pandyan Dynasty in the 13th century.
The Pandyan capital Madurai was in the deep s
The town of Aundh is situated 26 mi. S. E. of Satara. Population about 3500, home of the Aundh State, a princely state, it is now part of Satara District in Maharashtra State. The town is known for its old hill temple of the Devi Yamai; the Devi Yamai is the kuldaiwat of a large number of Marathi families. The top of the temple has idols of various Hindu Gods; the temple complex contains the "Shri Bhavani Museum". The present head of the former ruling family, Gayatridevi Pantpratinidhi has installed a 7 kg. solid gold'Kalash' or crown on the pinnacle of the Yamai temple on the hill at Aundh. Another temple of Devi Yamai is located in the town; the Yamai temple holds an annual fair in honour of the goddess Yamai on the Pournima in the Shaka month of Paush. The yatra attracts thousands of devotees. One of the attraction of the fair is the lighting of the giant stone lamp stand; the fair includes vendors selling local novelties, talent shows and movies. The town falls under Satara District and has a Gram Panchayat, with a member of the former ruling family serving as the Sarpanch.
This museum has the distinction of being one of the first art museum in India set up by an Indian as an Art Museum rather than as a museum of artefact. The museum contains art collection, owned by Shri Bhawanrao Pantapratinidhi, the last ruler of Aundh state; the museum collection includes paintings and sculptures of various well-known artists including Raja Ravi Varma and the famous "Mother and Child" stone structure by Henry Moore. It has various works of art by former alumni of the J. J. school of art such as M. V. Dhurandhar, Madhav Satwalekar The museum holds works from the Bengal school; the collection includes copies of many popular western classical sculptures and paintings. There is a small collection of Indian paintings from the pre-modern period of the Kangra or Pahadi style. Aundh State Aundh Experiment
Mahur or Mahurgad is a town and religious place in Nanded district of Maharashtra, India. Mahur is the birthplace of Hindu God Dattatreya. Atri Rishi and Sati Anusaya Mata lived here. Brahmadev and Lord Shiva once got a news about Anusaya Mata that there is no one more pious and pure as her. To test her piousness they arrived under the garb of asking Alm; when she brought it, they asked to serve them while being naked, she realized by her power that she is under a test. She made them a three headed fed them; this became the unified God. There are three mountains in Mahur; the first one and most known is having Renuka Mata Temple, mother of the god Parshuram. Other two are called Atri Anasuya Shikar Temple's. Mahur has a sacred temple to Renuka Mata, considered one of the three and half Shakti Peethas in the state. A big fair is held here every year on the occasion of Vijayadashami; when Sahasrarjun attacked Renuka Devi, while somewhere in today's Telangana, for he wanted to grab the Sacred Kamdhenu cow.
When Renuka Mata refused to him that saying asking gift of your own choice by the guest visitor is uncalled. He attacked her, she dies in this & when Lord Parshuram knew about it, he went berserk. The elderly people pacified him & asked him to do the last rites in Mahur under Dattatreya's guidance, he was told by him that Renuka Mata will appear on first mountain for you to worship. This became the famous Renuka Mata temple; the "Matru Tirth" Place on this Mountain is the one, where today stands a lake, is "Antyeshti Sthan". There are many other temples in Mahur like Rishi Jamdagni Temple, Lord Parshuram Temple, Kalika Mata Temple, Devdevshwar Temple, the Caves called Pandav Leni. Mahur finds mention in the ancient Devi Bhagawatam as "Matripura" or "Matapur", where it is mention as one of the famous pilgrimages. In Devi Gita the final and most important chapter of the text, it is mentioned as one the important places of Shakti worship: "Devi spoke:... I am now telling something out of My affection to My Bhaktas...
Matripura or "Matapur" in the Sahyadri mountain. Raje Udajiram, a Deshastha Brahmin was the Deshmukh of Mahur. Pandita Sawitribai Deshmukh was the ruler of Mahur. RaiBagan was an honorary name given by Aurangzeb to Sawitribai Deshmukh after the death of her husband. Sawitribai Deshmukh fought along the side of Aurangzeb against Shivaji. For Muslims it is famous for the Dargah of Baba SonaPir, known as Mohar-e-Rasool. In every fifth of the month a Urs has been conducted in Dargaah. Many people come from different parts of country to celebrate this occasion; the temple is considered as a revered shrine for the Shaktism sect, because of the above told mythology and because the Shrine is a Shakti Peetha. It is believed that Renuka Mata, was decapitated by her own son Parashurama and her head fell here. Renuka was given rebirth as a boon by Sage Jamadagni to his son Parashurama; the temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha because of the mythology of Daksha yaga and Sati's self immolation. Shakti Peethas are Durga or Adiparashakti shrines that are believes to have enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it and wandered.
There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. The Shakti of Mahur is addressed as Renuka Devi. Most of the Shakti Peetha is associated with a Kalabhairava shrine. All three important temples — Renuka Mata Temple, Lord Dattatreya Temple and Anusaya Mata Temple — are built on three mountain ranges. Mahur is surrounded by jungles rich with wild life. There is teakwood trees everywhere. Peafowl, black bears, panthers are common in the jungle. On one of the mountains is the ancient Mahurgad Fort constructed in the 12th century. Mahur was an important fort in ancient Berar history, it became a separate province in 1478 during the Bahmani Sultanate. It was one of the Sarkars with 20 parganas in Berar Subah in Akbar's rule; the main attractions in Mahur are Matapur Niwasini Shri Jagdamba Devi Temple or Renuka Devi Temple, Lord Dattatreya Temple, Anusaya Mata Temple, Devdeveshwar Temple, Lord Parshuram Temple, Matru-Tirtha, Hati darvaza, Bal samudra, Pandav Leni, Mahurgad Fort, Mahakali Temple, Mahur Museum, Sonapir Dargah, Shaikh Farid Water fall, Palace of Raje Udaram.
Raje Udaram Deshmukh and his brave wife RaiBagan were the rulers of Mahur. People who visit Mahur visit Unkeshwar Hot Spring, which has natural sources of hot water; this sulphur-rich water is supposed to have medicinal value. The name Unkeshwar is because of Aashram complex. Devdeveshwari mandir belongs to Mahanbhav Panth called a nidra sthan of Jagat Guru Shree Dattatreya Prabhu, it is at elevated outskirt of Mahur town, 2 km from Mahur bus stand. Daily Shree Dattatreya Prabhu will take nitya snan at meruwada talao in Mahur, bhiksha at Kolhapur, bhojan at Panchaleshwar and get back to sleep in Devdeveshwar mandir Mahur. Jagat Guru Shree Dattatreya swami is a chiranjiv avtar so it is believed that today Shree Dattatreya swami comes to sleep here. There are Maharashtra state transport buses that go f
Devī is the Sanskrit word for "goddess". Devi – the feminine form, Deva – the masculine form, mean "heavenly, anything of excellence", are gender specific terms for a deity in Hinduism; the concept and reverence for goddesses appears in the Vedas, which were composed in the 2nd millennium BCE. Goddesses such as Parvati and Durga have continued to be revered into the modern era; the medieval era Puranas witnessed a major expansion in mythology and literature associated with Devi, with texts such as the Devi Mahatmya, wherein she manifests as the ultimate truth and supreme power. She has inspired the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism; the divine feminine has the strongest presence as Devi in Hinduism, among major world religions, from the ancient times to the present. The goddess is viewed as central in Saiva Hindu traditions. Devi and Deva are Sanskrit terms found in Vedic literature of the 2nd millennium BCE. Deva is masculine, the related feminine equivalent is devi. Monier-Williams translates it as "heavenly, terrestrial things of high excellence, shining ones".
Etymologically, the cognates of Devi are Greek thea. When capitalized, Devi or Mata refers to goddess as divine mother in Hinduism. Deva is referred to as Devatā, Devi as Devika. According to Douglas Harper, the etymological root Dev- means "a shining one," from *div- "to shine," and it is a cognate with Greek dios "divine" and Zeus, Latin deus; the Devīsūkta of the Rigveda 10.125.1 through 10.125.8, is among the most studied hymns declaring that the ultimate reality is a goddess: The Vedas includes numerous goddesses including Parvati, Prithvi, Saraswati, Vāc, Nirṛti, Ratri and bounty goddesses such as Dinsana, Puramdhi, Bharati, Mahi among others are mentioned in the Rigveda. However, the goddesses are not discussed as as gods. Parvati, appears in late Vedic texts dated to be pre-Buddhist, but verses dedicated to her do not suggest that her characteristics were developed in the Vedic era. All gods and goddesses are distinguished in the Vedic times, but in the post-Vedic texts in the early medieval era literature, they are seen as aspects or manifestations of one Devi, the Supreme power.
Devi is the supreme being in the Shakta tradition of Hinduism, while in the Smarta Tradition, she is one of the five primary forms of Brahman, revered. In other Hindu traditions, Devi embodies the active energy and power of Deva, they always appear together complementing each other, such as Parvati with Shiva in Shaivism, Saraswati with Brahma in Brahmanism, Lakshmi with Vishnu in Vaishnavism; the Devi-inspired philosophy is propounded in many Hindu texts, such as the Devi Upanishad, which states that Shakti is Brahman, from her arise Prakṛti and Purusha, she is bliss and non-bliss, the Vedas and what is different from it, the born and the unborn, all of the universe. Shakthi is Shiva's wife, she is mentioned as the creative power of Shiva in Tripura Upanishad, Bahvricha Upanishad, Guhyakali Upanishad. Devi identifies herself in the Devi Upanishad as brahman in her reply to the gods stating that she rules the world, blesses devotees with riches, she is the supreme deity to whom all worship is to be offered, that she infuses Ātman in every soul.
Devi asserts that she resides there. Her creation of sky as father, seas as mother is reflected as the "Inner Supreme Self", her creations are not prompted by any Higher being and she resides in all her creations. She is, states Devi, the eternal and infinite consciousness engulfing earth and heaven, "all forms of bliss and non-bliss and ignorance, Brahman and Non-Brahman"; the tantric aspect in Devi Upanishad, states June McDaniel is the usage of the terms yantra, bija, mantra and chakra. Among the major world religions, the concept of goddess in Hinduism as the divine feminine, has had the strongest presence since the ancient times. Parvati is the Hindu goddess of love, purity and devotion, she is considered to be one of the greatest forms of Adi Parashakti. She is the nurturing aspect of Adi Parashakti, she has many attributes and aspects. Each of her aspects is expressed with a different name, giving her over 100 names in regional Hindu mythologies of India, including the popular name Gauri.
Along with Lakshmi and Saraswati, she forms the trinity of Hindu goddesses. Parvati is the wife of Shiva - the destroyer and regenerator of universe and all life, she is the mother of Hindu gods Kartikeya. Rita Gross states, that the view of Parvati only as ideal wife and mother is incomplete symbolism of the power of the feminine in mythology of India. Parvati, along with other goddesses, are involved with the broad range of culturally valued goals and activities, her connection with motherhood and female sexuality does not confine the feminine or exhaust their significance and activities in Hindu literature. She is balanced by Durga, strong and capable without compromising her femaleness, she manifests in every activity, from water to mountains, from arts to inspiring warriors, from agriculture to dance. Parvati's numerous aspects, states Gross, reflects the Hindu belief that the feminine has universal range of activities, her gender is not a limiting condition. In Hindu belief, Parvati is th
Ambajogai is a city and a municipal council and subdivision in Beed district in the state of Maharashtra, India. The town was earlier known as Mominabad and was renamed as Ambajogai after goddess Ambabai - Yogeshwari whose heritage temple is located here and are visited by people all over from Maharashtra from the Konkan region; the town has a lot of heritage places and this township is known as the cultural capital of the Marathwada region. The town has other heritage temples like 12 khambhi, Mukundraj cave and Dasopant Swami Samadhi, mukundraj samadhi, Amruteshwar. There is an ancient cave called Shivleni Caves or Jogai Mandap declared as a heritage point, where Lord Shankar and Elephants are carved in stone. Shiva bramha and Vishnu is in carved in Stone The town has been a cultural centre in the region from the ancient times; the Jogai Temple, Kholeshwar Temple and Barakhambi temples hints the cultural prosperity of the town dating back to 10th century AD. The town was under the regime of Nizam of Hyderabad before the accession of Hyderabad state to the dominion of India.
It was a military base of the Hyderabad state army. The stable of the horses of the cavalry of the Hyderabad army was turned into a hospital and medical college, named as Swami Ramanand Teerth Rural Medical College; the nearest railway stations are Parli Vajnath and Latur Railway station. Msrtc provides bus services such as hirkani, ordinary express,ac shivshahi bus on various routes like Mumbai, Thane, Parbhani, Jalgaon, Hyderabad, etc. There is a sugar factory named Amba sakhar karkhana on the outskirts of the town, the first sugar factory in the district; the town has different small scale industries. Ambajogai, is a city located in Marathwada region of the western Indian state of Maharashtra. Ambajogai is well known for Yogeshwari Temple, considered as 1 of 3½ peeths in Maharashtra, it is located 25 kilometres from Parali Vaijnath. Prior Ambajogai was famous in the era for treatment of tuberculosis, thus the hospital was well known as TB Hospital; the hospital now has a Cancer cure wing. There is a memorial of Mukundraj, one of the first poets of Marathi language, nearby in the valley which gets its name from the poet.
The tomb or dargah of Hazrat Sheikh Masood Kirmani is situated near the Swami Ramanand Teerth Rural Medical College which suggests the arrival of Islam in the area around 14th century AD. There is a proposal given to Maharashtra government for bifurcation of Beed district to form a new Ambajogai District; as of 2011 India census, Ambajogai had a population of 74,844. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Ambajogai has an average literacy rate of 85.89%, higher than the national average of 74.04%. 12% of the population is under 6 years of age. Ambajogai was once the educational center of Marathwada region and was called as the Pune of Marathwada; the Swami Ramanand Teerth Education Society was established in the early 20th century making it an educational center before the independence of India. The legacy is being carried forward by establishing of many schools and colleges by the Government Medical College "Swami Ramanand Teerth Rural Medical College ", Ambajogai, the first rural medical college in Asia.
It has a private Engineering college affiliated to MBES of Latur
The Maratha are an Indian caste of Marathi-speaking peasant-warriors. They established the Maratha Empire in 1674 and were the dominant power on the subcontinent for much of the following century before their downfall in 1818, they were champions of Hinduism in the face of the Islamic Mughal Empire. The term Maratha is used in three overlapping senses: within the Marathi-speaking region it refers to the single dominant Maratha caste or to the group of Maratha and Kunbi castes; the "Maratha group of castes" is a rural class of peasant cultivators and soldiers."According to the Maharashtrian historian, B. R. Sunthankar, scholars such as Rajendra Vora, the "Maratha caste" is a "caste of peasants" which formed the bulk of the Maharashtrian society together with the other Kunbi peasant caste. Vora adds that the Maratha caste is the largest caste of India and dominate the power structure in Maharashtra in the rural society. According to Jeremy Black, British historian at the University of Exeter, "Maratha caste is a coalescence of peasants, ironworkers, etc. as a result of serving in the military in the 17th and 18th century".
According to one scholar, Marathas are dominant in rural areas and constitute the landed peasantry. As of 2018, 80% of the members of the Maratha caste were farmers. Robert Vane Russell, an untrained ethnologist of the British Raj period, basing his research on Vedic literature, wrote that the Marathas are subdivided into 96 different clans, known as the 96 Kuli Marathas or Shahānnau Kule The general body of lists are at great variance with each other; the term "Maratha" referred to the speakers of the Marathi language. In the 17th century, it emerged as a designation for peasants from Deccan who served as soldiers in the armies of Muslim rulers and in the armies of Shivaji Maharaj, thus the term'Maratha' became a marker of an endogamous caste. A number of Maratha warriors, including Shivaji's father, Shahaji served in those Muslim armies. By the mid-1660s, Shivaji had established an independent Maratha kingdom. After Shivaji's death, Marathas defeated Aurangzeb in the war of 27 years, it was further expanded into a vast empire by the Maratha Confederacy including Peshwas, stretching from central India in the south, to Peshawar on the Afghanistan border in the north, with expeditions to Bengal in the east.
By the 19th century, the empire had become a confederacy of individual states controlled by Maratha chiefs such as Gaikwad's of Baroda, the Holkars of Indore, the Scindias of Gwalior, the Puars of Dhar and Dewas, Bhonsles of Nagpur. The Confederacy remained the pre-eminent power in India until their defeat by the British East India Company in the Third Anglo-Maratha War. By 19th century, the term Maratha had several interpretations in the British administrative records. In the Thane District Gazetteer of 1882, the term was used to denote elite layers within various castes: for example, "Maratha-Agri" within Agri caste, "Maratha-Koli" within Koli caste and so on. In the Pune District, the words Kunbi and Maratha had become synonymous, giving rise to the Maratha-Kunbi caste complex; the Pune District Gazetteer of 1882 divided the Kunbis into two classes: Marathas and other Kunbis. The 1901 census listed three groups within the Maratha-Kunbi caste complex: "Marathas proper", "Maratha Kunbis" and Konkan Maratha.
According to Steele, in the early 19th century, who were agriculturists and the Marathas who claimed Rajput descent and Kshatriya status - were distinguished by their customs related to widow remarriage. The Kunbis allowed it and the higher status Marathas prohibited it. However, there is no statistical evidence for this; as per academic scholars the Maratha population was more than 31% in Maharashtra and the Kunbi was 7%, whereas the upper castes - Brahmins and Prabhus were earlier only about 4% of the population although modern values show that the percentage of Brahmins in Maharashtra is now close to 10%. The Other Backward Class population was 27% while the population of the Mahars was 12%; the term Maratha came to denote an endogamous caste. From 1900 onwards, the Satyashodhak Samaj movement defined the Marathas as a broader social category of non-Brahmin groups; these non-Brahmins gained prominence in Indian National Congress during the Indian independence movement. In independent India, these Marathas became the dominant political force in the newly-formed state of Maharashtra.
The caste hierarchy in Maharashtra is led by the Brahmins - Deshasthas, Karhades and the Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhus. The Maratha are ranked lower than the Pathare Prabhus, CKPs, Brahmins etc. in the caste hierarchy but are considered higher than the Kunbi, backward castes and castes that were considered ritually impure. Modern research has revealed that the Marathas and Kunbi have the same origin - although the two are treated as two different communities on a social level. Most the Kunbi origin of the Maratha has been explained in detail by Professor Richard Eaton from the University of Arizona and Professor Stewart Gordon; the Kunbis who served the Muslim rulers and over time adopted different customs like different dressing styles, started identifying as Maratha and caste boundaries solidified between them. In the nineteenth century, economic prosperity rather than marital service to the Muslims replaced the mobility into Maratha identity. Eaton gives an example of the Holkar family that belonged to the Dhangar caste but was given a Maratha or
Lakshmi or Laxmi, is the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. She is the wife and shakti of Vishnu, one of the principal deities of Hinduism and the Supreme Being in the Vaishnavism Tradition. With Parvati and Saraswati, she forms the holy trinity. Lakshmi is an important deity in Jainism and found in Jain temples. Lakshmi has been a goddess of abundance and fortune for Buddhists, was represented on the oldest surviving stupas and cave temples of Buddhism. In Buddhist sects of Tibet and southeast Asia, goddess Vasudhara mirrors the characteristics and attributes of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi with minor iconographic differences. Lakshmi is called Sri or Thirumagal because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities, or gunas, is the divine strength of Vishnu. In Hindu religion, she was born from the churning of the primordial ocean and she chose Vishnu as her eternal consort; when Vishnu descended on the Earth as the avatars Rama and Krishna, Lakshmi descended as his respective consort as Sita and Rukmini.
In the ancient scriptures of India, all women are declared to be embodiments of Lakshmi. The marriage and relationship between Lakshmi and Vishnu as wife and husband is the paradigm for rituals and ceremonies for the bride and groom in Hindu weddings. Lakshmi is considered another aspect of the same supreme goddess principle in the Shaktism tradition of Hinduism. Lakshmi is depicted in Indian art as an elegantly dressed, prosperity-showering golden-coloured woman with an owl as her vehicle, signifying the importance of economic activity in maintenance of life, her ability to move and prevail in confusing darkness, she stands or sits like a yogin on a lotus pedestal and holds lotus in her hand, a symbolism for fortune, self-knowledge and spiritual liberation. Her iconography shows her with four hands, which represent the four goals of human life considered important to the Hindu way of life: dharma, kāma, artha and moksha, she is depicted as part of the trinity consisting of Saraswati and Parvati.
Archaeological discoveries and ancient coins suggest the recognition and reverence for Lakshmi by the 1st millennium BCE. Lakshmi's iconography and statues have been found in Hindu temples throughout southeast Asia, estimated to be from the second half of the 1st millennium CE; the festivals of Diwali and Sharad Purnima are celebrated in her honor. Lakshmi is one of many Hindu deities whose meaning and significance evolved in ancient Sanskrit texts. Lakshmi is mentioned once in Rigveda, where it means kindred sign of auspicious fortune. भद्रैषां लक्ष्मीर्निहिताधि वाचिbhadraiṣāṁ lakṣmīrnihitādhi vāci"an auspicious fortune is attached to their words" In Atharvaveda, transcribed about 1000 BCE, Lakshmi evolves into a complex concept with plural manifestations. Book 7, Chapter 115 of Atharva Veda describes the plurality, asserting that a hundred Lakshmis are born with the body of a mortal at birth, some good and auspicious, while others bad and unfortunate; the good are welcomed. The concept and spirit of Lakshmi and her association with fortune and the good is significant enough that Atharva Veda mentions it in multiple books: for example, in Book 12, Chapter 5 as punya Lakshmi.
In some chapters of Atharva Veda, Lakshmi connotes the good, an auspicious sign, good luck, good fortune, prosperity and happiness. Lakshmi is referred to as the goddess of fortune, identified with Sri and regarded as wife of Viṣṇu. For example, in Shatapatha Brahmana, variously estimated to be composed between 800 BCE and 300 BCE, Sri is part of one of many theories, in ancient India, about the creation of universe. In Book 9 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Sri emerges from Prajapati, after his intense meditation on creation of life and nature of universe. Sri is described as a trembling woman at her birth with immense energy and powers; the gods were bewitched, desire her and become covetous of her. The gods approach Prajapati and request permission to kill her and take her powers and gifts. Prajapati refuses, tells the gods that males should not kill females and that they can seek her gifts without violence; the gods approach Lakshmi, deity Agni gets food, Soma gets kingly authority, Varuna gets imperial authority, Mitra acquires martial energy, Indra gets force, Brihaspati gets priestly authority, Savitri acquires dominion, Pushan gets splendour, Saraswati takes nourishment and Tvashtri gets forms.
The hymns of Shatapatha Brahmana thus describe Sri as a goddess born with and personifying a diverse range of talents and powers. According to another legend, she emerges during the creation of universe, floating over the water on the expanded petals of a lotus flower. In the Epics of Hinduism, such as in Mahabharata, Lakshmi personifies wealth, happiness, grace and splendour. In another Hindu legend, about the creation of universe as described in Ramayana, Lakshmi springs with other precious things from the foam of the ocean of milk when it is churned by the gods and demons for the recovery of Amṛta, she appeared with a lotus in her hand and so she is called Padmā. Root of the wordLakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from the root word lakṣ and lakṣa, meaning to perceive, know and goal, objective respectively; these roots give Lakshmi the symbolism: know and understand