Sikhs are people associated with Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in the 15th century, in the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Guru Nanak. The term "Sikh" has its origin in the Sanskrit words शिष्य, meaning a student. A Sikh, according to Article I of the Sikh Rehat Maryada, is "any human being who faithfully believes in One Immortal Being; the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent has been the historic homeland of the Sikhs, was ruled by the Sikhs for significant parts of the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the Punjab state in northwest India has a majority Sikh population, sizeable communities of Sikhs exist around the world. Many countries, such as the United Kingdom, recognize Sikhs as a designated religion on their censuses; the American non-profit organization United Sikhs has sought to have Sikh included on the U. S. census as an ethnicity, arguing that Sikhs "self-identify as an'ethnic minority'" and believe "that they are more than just a religion".
Male Sikhs have "Singh" as their middle or last name, female Sikhs have "Kaur" as their middle or last name. Sikhs who have undergone the Khanḍe-kī-Pahul may be recognized by the five Ks: Kesh, uncut hair, kept covered by a turban. Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism, was born to Mehta Kalu and Mata Tripta, in the village of Talwandi, now called Nankana Sahib, near Lahore. Guru Nanak was social reformer. However, Sikh political history may be said to begin with the death of the fifth Sikh guru, Guru Arjan Dev, in 1606. Religious practices were formalised by Guru Gobind Singh on 30 March 1699. Gobind Singh initiated five people from a variety of social backgrounds, known as the Panj Piare to form the Khalsa, or collective body of initiated Sikhs. During the period of Mughal rule in India several Sikh gurus were killed by the Mughals for opposing their persecution of minority religious communities including Sikhs. Sikhs subsequently militarized to oppose Mughal rule. After defeating the Afghan and Mughal, sovereign states called Misls were formed, under Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.
The Confederacy was unified and transformed into the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh Bahadur, characterised by religious tolerance and pluralism, with Christians and Hindus in positions of power. The empire is considered the zenith of political Sikhism, encompassing Kashmir and Peshawar. Hari Singh Nalwa, the commander-in-chief of the Sikh Khalsa Army in the North West Frontier, expanded the confederacy to the Khyber Pass, its secular administration implemented military and governmental reforms. After the annexation of the Sikh kingdom by the British, the latter recognized the martial qualities of the Sikhs and Punjabis in general and started recruiting from that area. During the 1857 Indian mutiny, the Sikhs stayed loyal to the British; this resulted in heavy recruiting from Punjab to the colonial army for the next 90 years of the British Raj. The distinct turban that differentiates a Sikh from other turban wearers is a relic of the rules of the British Indian Army; the British colonial rule saw the emergence of many reform movements in India including Punjab.
This included 1879 of the First and Second Singh Sabha respectively. The Sikh leaders of the Singh Sabha worked to offer a clear definition of Sikh identity and tried to purify Sikh belief and practice; the part of British colonial rule saw the emergence of the Akali movement to bring reform in the gurdwaras during the early 1920s. The movement led to the introduction of Sikh Gurdwara Bill in 1925, which placed all the historical Sikh shrines in India under the control of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee; the months leading up to the partition of India in 1947 were marked by conflict in the Punjab between Sikhs and Muslims. This caused the religious migration of Punjabi Sikhs and Hindus from West Punjab, mirroring a similar religious migration of Punjabi Muslims from East Punjab; the 1960s saw growing animosity between Sikhs and Hindus in India, with the Sikhs demanding the creation of a Punjab state on a linguistic basis similar to other states in India. This was promised to Sikh leader Master Tara Singh by Jawaharlal Nehru, in return for Sikh political support during negotiations for Indian independence.
Although the Sikhs obtained the Punjab, they lost Hindi-speaking areas to Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. Chandigarh was made a union territory and the capital of Haryana and Punjab on 1 November 1966. Sikh leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale triggered violence in the Punjab; the prime minister Indira Gandhi ordered an operation to remove Bhindranwale from the Golden Temple in Operation Blue Star. This led to her assassination by her Sikh bodyguards. Gandhi's assassination resulted in an explosion of violence against Sikh communities and the killing of thousands of Sikhs throughout India. Since 1984, relations between Sikhs and Hindus have moved toward a rapprochement aided by economic prosperity. However, a 2002 claim by the Hindu right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that "Sikhs are Hindus" disturbed Sikh sensibilities. During the 1999 Vaisakhi, Sikhs worldwide celebrated the 300th anniversary of the creation of the Khalsa. Canada Post honoured Sikh Canadians with a
India known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia; the Indian subcontinent was home to the urban Indus Valley Civilisation of the 3rd millennium BCE. In the following millennium, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism began to be composed. Social stratification, based on caste, emerged in the first millennium BCE, Buddhism and Jainism arose. Early political consolidations took place under the Gupta empires. In the medieval era, Zoroastrianism and Islam arrived, Sikhism emerged, all adding to the region's diverse culture.
Much of the north fell to the Delhi Sultanate. The economy expanded in the 17th century in the Mughal Empire. In the mid-18th century, the subcontinent came under British East India Company rule, in the mid-19th under British Crown rule. A nationalist movement emerged in the late 19th century, which under Mahatma Gandhi, was noted for nonviolent resistance and led to India's independence in 1947. In 2017, the Indian economy was the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity. Following market-based economic reforms in 1991, India became one of the fastest-growing major economies and is considered a newly industrialised country. However, it continues to face the challenges of poverty, corruption and inadequate public healthcare. A nuclear weapons state and regional power, it has the second largest standing army in the world and ranks fifth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal republic governed under a parliamentary system and consists of 29 states and 7 union territories.
A pluralistic and multi-ethnic society, it is home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats. The name India is derived from Indus, which originates from the Old Persian word Hindush, equivalent to the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historical local appellation for the Indus River; the ancient Greeks referred to the Indians as Indoi, which translates as "The people of the Indus". The geographical term Bharat, recognised by the Constitution of India as an official name for the country, is used by many Indian languages in its variations, it is a modernisation of the historical name Bharatavarsha, which traditionally referred to the Indian subcontinent and gained increasing currency from the mid-19th century as a native name for India. Hindustan is a Middle Persian name for India, it was introduced into India by the Mughals and used since then. Its meaning varied, referring to a region that encompassed northern India and Pakistan or India in its entirety; the name may refer to either the northern part of India or the entire country.
The earliest known human remains in South Asia date to about 30,000 years ago. Nearly contemporaneous human rock art sites have been found in many parts of the Indian subcontinent, including at the Bhimbetka rock shelters in Madhya Pradesh. After 6500 BCE, evidence for domestication of food crops and animals, construction of permanent structures, storage of agricultural surplus, appeared in Mehrgarh and other sites in what is now Balochistan; these developed into the Indus Valley Civilisation, the first urban culture in South Asia, which flourished during 2500–1900 BCE in what is now Pakistan and western India. Centred around cities such as Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and Kalibangan, relying on varied forms of subsistence, the civilization engaged robustly in crafts production and wide-ranging trade. During the period 2000–500 BCE, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic cultures to the Iron Age ones; the Vedas, the oldest scriptures associated with Hinduism, were composed during this period, historians have analysed these to posit a Vedic culture in the Punjab region and the upper Gangetic Plain.
Most historians consider this period to have encompassed several waves of Indo-Aryan migration into the subcontinent from the north-west. The caste system, which created a hierarchy of priests and free peasants, but which excluded indigenous peoples by labeling their occupations impure, arose during this period. On the Deccan Plateau, archaeological evidence from this period suggests the existence of a chiefdom stage of political organisation. In South India, a progression to sedentary life is indicated by the large number of megalithic monuments dating from this period, as well as by nearby traces of agriculture, irrigation tanks, craft traditions. In the late Vedic period, around the 6th century BCE, the small states and chiefdoms of the Ganges Plain and the north-western regions had consolidated into 16 major oligarchies and monarchies that were known as the mahajanapadas; the emerging urbanisation gave rise to non-Vedic religious movements, two of which became independent religions. Jainism came into prominence during the life of Mahavira.
Buddhism, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, attracted followers from all social classes excepting the middle
Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós, a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach. While there are diverse interpretations of Christianity which sometimes conflict, they are united in believing that Jesus has a unique significance; the term "Christian" is used as an adjective to describe anything associated with Christianity, or in a proverbial sense "all, noble, good, Christ-like."According to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, there were 2.2 billion Christians around the world in 2010, up from about 600 million in 1910. By 2050, the Christian population is expected to exceed 3 billion. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center survey Christianity will remain the world's largest religion in 2050, if current trends continue. Today, about 37% of all Christians live in the Americas, about 26% live in Europe, 24% live in sub-Saharan Africa, about 13% live in Asia and the Pacific, 1% live in the Middle East and North Africa.
About half of all Christians worldwide are Catholic. Orthodox communions comprise 12% of the world's Christians. Other Christian groups make up the remainder. Christians make up the majority of the population in territories. 280 million Christians live as a minority. Christians have made noted contributions to a range of fields, including the sciences, politics and business. According to 100 Years of Nobel Prizes, a review of Nobel prizes awarded between 1901 and 2000 reveals that of Nobel Prizes laureates identified Christianity in its various forms as their religious preference; the Greek word Χριστιανός, meaning "follower of Christ", comes from Χριστός, meaning "anointed one", with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or belonging to, as in slave ownership. In the Greek Septuagint, christos was used to translate the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, meaning " anointed." In other European languages, equivalent words to Christian are derived from the Greek, such as Chrétien in French and Cristiano in Spanish.
The abbreviations Xian and Xtian have been used since at least the 17th century: Oxford English Dictionary shows a 1634 use of Xtianity and Xian is seen in a 1634-38 diary. The word Xmas uses a similar contraction; the first recorded use of the term is in the New Testament, in Acts 11:26, after Barnabas brought Saul to Antioch where they taught the disciples for about a year, the text says: " the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." The second mention of the term follows in Acts 26:28, where Herod Agrippa II replied to Paul the Apostle, "Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." The third and final New Testament reference to the term is in 1 Peter 4:16, which exhorts believers: "Yet if as a Christian, let him not be ashamed. The city of Antioch, where someone gave them the name Christians, had a reputation for coming up with such nicknames; however Peter's apparent endorsement of the term led to its being preferred over "Nazarenes" and the term Christianoi from 1 Peter becomes the standard term in the Early Church Fathers from Ignatius and Polycarp onwards.
The earliest occurrences of the term in non-Christian literature include Josephus, referring to "the tribe of Christians, so named from him. In the Annals he relates that "by vulgar appellation called Christians" and identifies Christians as Nero's scapegoats for the Great Fire of Rome. Another term for Christians which appears in the New Testament is "Nazarenes". Jesus is named as a Nazarene in Math 2:23, while Saul-Paul is said to be Nazarene in Acts 24:5; the latter verse makes it clear that Nazarene referred to the name of a sect or heresy, as well as the town called Nazareth. The term Nazarene was used by the Jewish lawyer Tertullus which records that "the Jews call us Nazarenes." While around 331 AD Eusebius records that Christ was called a Nazoraean from the name Nazareth, that in earlier centuries "Christians" were once called "Nazarenes". The Hebrew equivalent of "Nazarenes", occurs in the Babylonian Talmud, is still the modern Israeli Hebrew term for Christian. A wide range of beliefs and practices are found across the world among those who call themselves Christian.
Denominations and sects disagree on a common definition of "Christianity". For example, Timothy Beal notes the disparity of beliefs among those who identify as Christians in the United States as follows: Although all of them have their historical roots in Christian theology and tradition, although most would identify themselves as Christian, many would not identify others within the larger category as Christian. Most Baptists and fundamentalists, for example, would not acknowledge Mormonism or Christian Science as Christian. In fact, the nearly 77 percent of Americans who self-identify as Christian are a diverse pluribus of Christianities that are far from any collective unity. Linda Woodhead attempts to provide a common belief thread for Christians by noting that "Whatever else they might disagree about, Christians are at least united
Ramanathapuram known as Ramnad, is a town and a municipality in Ramanathapuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is the administrative headquarters of Ramanathapuram district and the second largest town in Ramanathapuram district; as of 2011 census, the town had a population of 61,440. Density of population: 320 people per square kilometer. Ramanathapuram is the top producer of chilli pepper in Tamil Nadu, it is connected to other cities by NH-49. The region is well known since Puranic ages; the estate of Ramnad included the Hindu holy island city of Rameswaram, from where, legend has it that the Hindu god Rama launched his invasion of Ravana's Lanka. On the conclusion of the war and Rama's success in it, he appointed a Sethupathi or "lord of the bridge" to guard the way to the island; the "bridge" referred to here is the legendary Adam's Bridge or Rama's Bridge, believed to have been constructed by Rama. The chieftains of Ramnad were entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the bridge, hence the appellation.
For a short period, this area had been under the Chola Dynasty when Rajendra Chola I brought it under his territory in 1063 AD. In the late 12th and early 13th century, this province was ruled by Hazrat Sulthan Syed Ibrahim shaheed of Ervadi. On His heirs were ruling the province following a peace treaty with the Sethupathis. From until the early 15th century the present territories of Ramanathapuram district — comprising the taluks Tiruvadanai, Paramakudi, Mudukulathur and Rameswaram — were included in the Pandyan Empire. In 1520, the Nayaks of the Vijayanagara Empire chieftains or Sethupatis, subordinate to the Pandyan Kings took this area under their control from the Pandyan Dynasty and reigned till the 17th century. At the beginning of the 18th century, family disputes over succession resulted in the division of Ramanathapuram. With the help of the King of Thanjavur in 1730, one of the chieftains deposed the Sethupathi and became the Raja of Sivaganga. Acting upon the weakness of the Nayak rulers, the local chieftains became independent.
In 1730, Chanda Shahib of Arcot captured Ramanathapuram. In 1741 the area came under the control of the Marathas and under the Nizam in 1744. Dissatisfied with the Nawab’s rule, the chieftains revolted, led by the last ruling Nayak, against the Nawab in 1752. By that time, the throne of Arcot had two rivals, Chanda Shahib and Muhammed Ali, this district was under the rule of Nawab of Arcot; the British supported Chand Sahib, whilst the French supported Muhammed Ali. This paved the way for a series of conflicts in the southern part of the continent called Carnatic Wars. In 1795, the British deposed Muthuramalinga Sethupathi and took control of the administration of Ramanathapuram. After the passing of the Queen Velu Nachiyar, the Maruthu brothers took charge by paying regular revenue to the East India company. In 1803 the Maruthu Pandiyar of Sivaganga revolted against the British in collaboration with Kattabomman of Panchalamkurichi. Colonel Agnew hanged the Maruthu brothers. After the fall of Tippu Sultan, the British imprisoned the Nawab.
In 1892 the Zamindari system was abolished and a British collector was appointed for administration. In 1910, Ramanathapuram was formed from portions of Madurai and Tirunelveli districts, with J. F. Bryant as the first collector. During the British period this district was called "Ramnad"; the district was renamed as Ramanathapuram to be in conformity with the Tamil name for this region."Ramnad" is known as "Mugavai" since it acts as the entry point for River "Vaigai". According to 2011 census, Ramanathapuram had a population of 61,440 with a sex-ratio of 988 females for every 1,000 males, much above the national average of 929. A total of 6,370 were under the age of six, constituting 3,245 males and 3,125 females; the average literacy of the town was 83.42%, compared to the national average of 72.99%. The town had a total of 14716 households. There were a total of 20,375 workers, comprising 115 cultivators, 178 main agricultural labourers, 262 in house hold industries, 18,773 other workers, 1,047 marginal workers, 20 marginal cultivators, 30 marginal agricultural labourers, 41 marginal workers in household industries and 956 other marginal workers.
As per the religious census of 2011, Ramanathapuram had 79.00% Hindus, 19.71% Muslims, 3.08% Christians, 0.01% Sikhs, 0.79% following other religions and 0.01% following no religion or did not indicate any religious preference. Ramanathapuram is a municipality. After shifting the district headquarters' offices from Madurai to Ramanathapuram, the town is growing; the gauge conversion of the railway from Madurai to Rameswaram and from Tiruchi to Rameswaram connects the town to all major Indian cities. Ramanathapuram district was a larger district in Tamil Nadu, some of its portions were removed to create Sivaganga district; the river Vaigai enters the water is collected for the purpose of agriculture. It is claimed that the river water does not reach the sea, portraying the size of the catchment area; the town has many ponds catering to the needs of the populace. It is a good sign to have few engineering colleges like Anna University,UCER-Ramnad campus,Syed Ammal Engineering College and Mohamed Sathak Engineering College.
Former Indian president A. P. J. Abdul Kalam attended Ramanathapuram. Ramanathapuram is located at 9.38°N 78.83°E / 9.38. It has an average elevation
Madurai Airport is a customs airport serving Madurai and its surrounding districts in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The airport is located near State Highway 37 about 12 km from the Madurai railway station, it was established in 1957. Madurai airfield was first used by the Royal Air Force in World War II in 1942; the first passenger flight was a Fokker Friendship aircraft on the Madras – Madurai – Trivandrum – Madurai – Madras route in 1956. It was identified as one of 35 non-metro airports for modernisation, thus the new integrated terminal building was inaugurated on 12 September 2010; the airport was notified as customs airport. The notification, issued on 31 December 2011, came into effect from 1 January 2012. Two chartered flights from Malaysia landed at the airport on 25 August 2012, making them the first international aircraft to land in the city; the first commercial international flight began on 20 September 2012 by SpiceJet commencing its maiden service to Colombo. To boost exports from Madurai and its surrounding districts, the Department of Revenue under the Union Ministry of Finance issued a notification dated 28 May 2013 permitting the airport to handle cargo.
The cargo terminal became operational from 15 December 2017. The airport has the old terminal and the new integrated terminal; the integrated terminal is used for both international and domestic purposes. The old terminal had been converted to a Cargo Terminal from 28 November 2017. Due to exponential growth of the airport in the recent years, building separate domestic and international terminals are in the plans; as a part of modernising 35 non-metro airports, AAI constructed a new, state-of-the-art, integrated passenger terminal adjacent to the old terminal. The ₹1.29 billion new terminal building was inaugurated on 12 September 2010. A total of 610 acres of land is under acquisition for the expansion of the runway to 12,500 ft to accommodate large jet aircraft; this terminal with an area of 17,560 m2 can handle a passenger capacity of 250 each on arrival and departure. The airport parking area has the capacity to park 10 buses; some of the features of the new terminal include: 16 check-in counters 12 immigration counters 2 security counters 5 customs counters 3 conveyor belts 2 X-ray scanners for baggage 7 aircraft parking stand E-visa facilityThe new terminal has two lounges: a VIP lounge managed by AAI and a Commercial Important Persons lounge managed by Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Considering the growing cargo potential in Madurai Airport, AAI has decided to alter the old terminal into a full-fledged cargo complex. To start with, the Union finance ministry issued customs notification dated 28 May 2013 to handle cargo at Madurai Airport. Works were going on a fast pace to start cargo lifting in the end of March 2014. A cold storage facility is being established for perishable cargo, expected to dominate the export from this region; the International Cargo Terminal was inaugurated by Shri. Guruprasad Mohapatra I. A. S, Chairman of Airport Authority of India on 28 November 2017. International Cargo Service started on 15 December 2017 with 300 kg of Flowers including famous Madurai Malli; the first consignment was lifted by Spicejet to Dubai. The main runway is 2,285 m × 45 m with a PCN 92 R/B/W / 8 F/A/W / T fit for B737-800 series. ILS Cat-I is available for main runway 09/27; the master plan includes a cargo complex along with two additional terminal buildings, expansion of runway and other facilities.
The authority wants additional land for the same along with an air traffic control tower and other facilities to cater to the increasing passenger movement. Airports Authority of India is considering to provide a new terminal building for Madurai airport in view of increased passenger traffic. AAI Regional Executive Director said that performance of the airport on all fronts was good the 35% growth in passenger movement reported in the last one year; the feasibility of expanding the terminal building is being studied. If, not possible, new building will be constructed, in the airport master plan; the number of international passengers handled at the airport would decide on having a separate international terminal or an integrated terminal. At present, the airport could handle 250 passengers each at departure halls. To cater the immediate requirement, 7 new aprons are being added to the airport. AAI had asked around 610 acres of land in Madurai to take up runway extension work; the state government has promised that land will be handed over on time.
In response to that, the district administration has proposed to acquire 610 acres to expand Madurai Airport. The proposed site, including 100 acres of poromboke land, would pave way for extending the runway to 12,500 ft enabling the airport to handle overseas services. A team comprising the Airports Authority of India, Highways Department, Madurai Corporation officials had identified the site on the eastern side of the airport that would intersect the Ring Road over 5 km; as per the plan, the Ring Road would be disconnected at Mandela Junction and diverted via Perungudi and Avaniapuram to connect the Tuticorin Road. The AAI had proposed to have a new technical building with a control tower, it had planned to construct seven new aprons at Madurai airport. On 9 December 1971, an Avro-748, operating Trivandrum - Madurai - Thiruchirapalli - Madras route, crashed in to Meghamalai Hills near Chinnamanur while descending into Madurai when it flew into high terrain about 50 mi (
Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. The term has been used as a geographical and religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent; the historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims; the historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu-Muslim wars.
A sense of Hindu identity and the term Hindu appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages. The 14th- and 18th-century Indian poets such as Vidyapati and Eknath used the phrase Hindu dharma and contrasted it with Turaka dharma; the Christian friar Sebastiao Manrique used the term'Hindu' in religious context in 1649. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus, in contrast to Mohamedans for Mughals and Arabs following Islam. By the mid-19th century, colonial orientalist texts further distinguished Hindus from Buddhists and Jains, but the colonial laws continued to consider all of them to be within the scope of the term Hindu until about mid-20th century. Scholars state that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs is a modern phenomenon. Hindoo is an archaic spelling variant. At more than 1.03 billion, Hindus are the world's third largest group after Muslims.
The vast majority of Hindus 966 million, live in India, according to India's 2011 census. After India, the next 9 countries with the largest Hindu populations are, in decreasing order: Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom and Myanmar; these together accounted for 99% of the world's Hindu population, the remaining nations of the world together had about 6 million Hindus in 2010. The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit word Sindhu, which means "a large body of water", covering "river, ocean", it was used as the name of the Indus river and referred to its tributaries. The actual term'hindu' first occurs, states Gavin Flood, as "a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the Punjab region, called Sapta Sindhu in the Vedas, is called Hapta Hindu in Zend Avesta. The 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I mentions the province of Hidush, referring to northwestern India; the people of India were referred to as Hinduvān and hindavī was used as the adjective for Indian in the 8th century text Chachnama.
The term'Hindu' in these ancient records is an ethno-geographical term and did not refer to a religion. The Arabic equivalent Al-Hind referred to the country of India. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang. Xuanzang uses the transliterated term In-tu whose "connotation overflows in the religious" according to Arvind Sharma. While Xuanzang suggested that the term refers to the country named after the moon, another Buddhist scholar I-tsing contradicted the conclusion saying that In-tu was not a common name for the country. Al-Biruni's 11th-century text Tarikh Al-Hind, the texts of the Delhi Sultanate period use the term'Hindu', where it includes all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists, retains the ambiguity of being "a region or a religion". The'Hindu' community occurs as the amorphous'Other' of the Muslim community in the court chronicles, according to Romila Thapar.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes that'Hindu' retained its geographical reference initially:'Indian','indigenous, local', virtually'native'. The Indian groups themselves started using the term, differentiating themselves and their "traditional ways" from those of the invaders; the text Prithviraj Raso, by Chanda Baradai, about the 1192 CE defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Muhammad Ghori, is full of references to "Hindus" and "Turks", at one stage, says "both the religions have drawn their curved swords. In Islamic literature,'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, Futuhu's-salatin, composed in the Deccan in 1350, uses the word'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word'hindu' to mean'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion"; the poet Vidyapati's poem Kirtilata contrasts the cultures of Hindus and Turks in a city and concludes "The Hindus and the Turks live close together. One of the earliest uses of word'Hindu' in religious context in a European language, was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.
Other prominent mentions of'Hindu' include the epigraphical inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in the 14th century, where the word'Hindu' implies a religious identity in contrast to'Turks' or Islam
Chithirai Festival or Chithirai Thiruvizha is an annual celebration celebrated in the city of Madurai during the month of April. It is celebrated during the Tamil month of Chitirai, it lasts for one month of which the first 15 days mark the celebrations of the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi and the Marriage of Lord Sundareswara and Goddess Meenakshi, the next 15 days mark the celebrations of the Journey of Lord Alagar from Kallazhagar temple in Alagar Koyil to Madurai. They were separate events, they were Meenakshi festival and Alagar festival celebrated on different months as two separate celebrations. As per the legend, Meenakshi was the daughter of Pandya king Malayadhwaja Pandian and queen Kanchana Malai; the royal couple didn't have a child for a long time. So, Malayadhwaja Pandian offered his prayers to God. During the pooja, a small girl sat on the lap of the king. At that time a divine voice from the sky told them that this child was an incarnation of Shakti and Lord Shiva himself would come to marry her at the right age.
Meenakshi was trained in warfare and she was crowned as the Queen of Pandya kingdom after her father. She conquered the whole world with her extraordinary war skill and at last she went to Kailasham to conquer it; when Meenakshi confronted Lord Shiva in the battlefield, she fell in love with him and realized that she is an avatar of Shakti. Lord Shiva assured Meenakshi; as promised Lord Shiva along with all the Devas and rishi's came to Madurai. Lord Shiva ruled the Pandya kingdom under the name Sundara Pandyan; this is a Separate celebration, celebrated by Saivaites. The below is the story of Alagar festival, celebrated by Vaishnavites. Once, Mandooka rishi was taking bath in the holy waters of Aagaayagangai in Alagar hills. At that time, the most powerful and short tempered Durvasar Maharishi came by the way. Mandooka rishi hadn't noticed his arrival. So he cursed Mandooka to live in the river Vaigai. Mandooka was pleaded for mercy. Durvasa told him to go to Vaigai and pray to Lord Alagar to get out of his curse and get back his human body.
As advised by Durvasa he lived in the river as a frog and pray lord Alagar. Alagar was pleased by the prayers of Mandooka rishi and he himself went to river Vaigai to lift the curse off Mandooka rishi. And, as per Mandooka's wish he showed him all his ten avatars and blessed him. During the rule of King Thirumalai Nayakar, both the festivals were merged as one single event to unite the people of the two groups. Since they are celebrated as one grand event during the Tamil month of Chithirai and this gives the celebration its famous name Chithirai Festival. People in and around Madurai tell this story as the history of Chithirai Thiruvizha; the wedding of Meenakshi with Sundaraswarar was to happen in Madurai. Alagar, the brother of Meenakshi, was invited, he started on a 20 km journey from his abode at Alagar Hills towards Madurai. Alagar decided to protect himself and his belongings. At times, he had to hide; this and the dense forest of Alagar Hills delayed his journey further. When he was crossing Vaigai river, he learned.
This made him furious. To pacify and Lord Shiva came to Vaigai river, he chose to give all the gifts that he carried, to Meenakshi and Sundaraswarar in a Mandapam in the middle of Vaigai river, returned to Alagar Hill without entering Madurai. The following are the list of events in Chithirai festival. During this event the chief priest of Meenakshi temple will hoist the holy flag on the Dwajasthambam of the temple; this event declares the long event open. The flag will stay on the flag post until the end of the festival.. Pattabisekam is coronation ceremony. Meenakshi is crowned as the queen of Madurai on this day and she will rule the Pandya Kingdom for the next four months and after that her husband Lord Sunderaswarar will be crowned as the king of Madurai for the next eight months. After Goddess Meenakshi is crowned as the queen of Pandya kingdom she went into war with all the countries in the world and conquered the whole world and she went to Kailaayam to conquer it. But, on seeing lord shiva on the battlefield she married him.
Meenakshi kalyanam is the wedding celebration of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord shiva as Sundereswara in Madurai. Chariot festival or Ther Tiruvizha or Rathotsavam is performed the day after Meenakshi kalyanam; the King and Queen of Pandya Kingdom Lord Sunderaswara and Meenakshi come to see their subjects in a well decorated chariot. It attracts many people in the Masi streets of Madurai as viewers. Part of the Chithirai Thiruvizha of Lord Kallazhagar temple at Alagar Koyil, the ‘Ethir Seva' began on the fourth day of the festival. On this day, Alagar change his appearance as Kallar when he travels via Kallar Nadu and enters Madurai city and the people of the city welcome him. After the holy marriage of Meenakshi, her brother tries to come to the marriage. Lord Alagar comes from Alagarkoil to Madurai and by making couple of stops on the way, it is considered that when reaching the Vaigai river bank, he hears that marriage is over, so he gets angry and returns to Alagarkoil after giving the gifts to Meenakshi and sundereswarar and this event happens in a mandapam in the middle of river Vaigai.
Madurai Chithirai Thiruvizha 2017 Schedule