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Jain version Game of Snakes & Ladders called jnana bazi or Gyan bazi, India, 19th century, Gouache on cloth.

The Origin of Snakes and Ladders: A Moral Guide of Vice and Virtue

The game of Snakes and Ladders is today considered a classic, and is loved by children from all over the world. Whilst the game itself is known my most people, its origin is less well-known. As a...
Images from the manuscript ‘Seventy-Two Specimens of Castes in India.’

Dalai Lama Publicly Denounces Ancient Indian Caste System

The Dalai Lama has spoken out about the discriminating caste system in India, which can be traced back around 2,000 years and is still practiced in some regions today. The New Indian Express reports...
South Indian Sudoku: Archaeologists Find Magic Square Puzzle Inscribed on Temple Pillar

South Indian Sudoku: Archaeologists Find Magic Square Puzzle Inscribed on Temple Pillar

Archaeologists in India have discovered a rare 300-year-old inscription of a sudoku-like game on the pillar of a temple in Palani, India. When added in any direction, the numbers total 15, which is...
HDR of the giant statue of Lord Shiva at Murudeshwar, Karnataka, India

God Shiva Towers Over His Worshippers at 230 Feet and 20 Storeys High

Murudeshwar is a coastal town in India. It is also one of the names of the Hixxxndu god Shiva, and the association of the town with this deity is evident in the temple dedicated to him and the...
A photo of the Ramanathaswamy Temple’s outer corridor.

The Ramanathaswamy Temple and its Infinite Corridors

The Ramanathaswamy Temple is regarded as one of the holiest Hindu temples in India. This sacred site is located on Rameswaram Island, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu between mainland India...
Stalk of basil.

Sacred Plant of Eternal Love and Healing: The Mythology and Magic of Basil

In Mediterranean cuisine it is the symbol of summer and its origins are lost in the mists of time. Fragrant and delicate with its green leaves it manages to tantalize the most demanding palates, it...
Illustration of Mahabharata (Public domain)

The Legend of Shikhandi, the Transgendered Warrior Who Paid the Price of Opposing Powerful Men

Chauvinism existed even in the Hindu epic Mahabharata. The ancient text depicts the legendary eighteen-day bloodbath, dubbed the Kurukshetra War, where the hero/heroine’s greatest feat was not...
The Pleiades

From the Ancient Greek Pleiades to the Hindu Matrikas: Mother Goddesses, Music and the Sacred Number 7

In Brihat-Samhita , Indian astronomer Varahamihira (505–587 CE) says that "Mothers are to be made with cognizance of gods corresponding to their names” leading to the birth of Matrikas (“Divine...
“Lord Rama got fed up with asking a non-responding Varuna (God of the oceans) to help him and took up the Brahmastra.” (Fair Use) Ram Setu – a natural phenomenon or perhaps a manmade bridge built to save a queen?

Is Ram Setu Really a Manmade Construction Bridging an Ancient 20 Mile Gap? New Studies May End the Controversy

Built by a king and his army to save a queen from the clutches of a rival? Or maybe a bridge to a land which led Adam to his atonement? While both of these ideas are far-fetched, current research...
India, Rajasthan, 13th-14th century (Public Domain) and A 12th-century sandstone statue of a dancing Apsara from Uttar Pradesh, India.

What Really Happened in the Celestial Palace? Daughters of Pleasure, Courtesans of the Gods

It takes much willpower to resist the temptation of the asparas ; beautiful dancing women in the court of Indra, king of the gods, in the celestial palace in Hindu mythology. They are the heavenly...
A mandala.

The Mandala: Mapping the Cosmos and the Soul

Human cultures are replete with ways to depict or represent some aspect of the universe. Calendars, ordinary maps, star charts, and other diagrams are all examples of ways to make sense of or map...
Elephant-headed goddess Vinayaki is often mistaken for a female Ganesha. Statue of Ganesha

Goddess… or Demon? Hidden History of Vinayaki, the Mysterious Elephant-Headed Woman of Hindu Myth

In one of the shrines of the Thanumalayan temple in Kanyakumari district, India, is the stone sculpture of a four-armed deity sitting cross-legged in Sukhasana (“easy pose” - similar to sitting in a...
‘An alchemist being tempted by Luxuria.’ Oil painting after Marten de Vos.

Spiritual Alchemy – Casting Light on a Secret Science

Spiritual alchemy is closely linked to secret knowledge and many who have attained this level of wisdom later decided to withdraw from it as they found they were not ready to receive it. The purpose...
 Ardhanarishvara, a composite androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva and his consort Parvati (also known as Devi, Shakti, and Uma in this icon).

Find Out the Real Story Behind Tantra. Hint, It’s Not All About Sex

You may have heard that Tantra is full of obscenities or that it has something to do with black magic. Forget that. As a matter of fact, Tantra involves practices such as yoga, meditation, and the...
Detail of a statue of Ganesha.

Ganesha: How He Lost… And Gained His Head

“Lord Ganesh of curved elephant trunk and huge body, Whose brilliance is equal to billions of suns in intensity, Always removes all obstacles from my endeavours truly...” ― Munindra Misra, Chants of...
An image of the goddess Meenakshi.

Meenakshi: The Warrior Goddess Who Could Not Be Defeated by Any Man …Until She Met Shiva

Meenakshi is a goddess in the Hindu pantheon who is worshipped mainly in the southern part of India. This goddess is believed to be an avatar of the goddess Parvati, the wife of Shiva. The most...

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