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  • Thumbnail for Gender and perfection in the epic heroine : examining what Sita means for women in India today
    Gender and perfection in the epic heroine : examining what Sita means for women in India today by Manning, Rebecca

    Sītā, the heroine of the Rāmāyaṇa, is a remarkably prominent figure in Hinduism. She has made an impact on women of all different types in India. From young girls to older women; from women in rural regions to those in urban centers; from women of the lower class to those of the upper class, Sītā’s presence in India has no boundaries. Sītā as a model has been interpreted variously. On one side, Sītā is held as the ideal Hindu wife and woman. She is always loyal to her husband, Rāma, and sacrifices her own needs for his; she is the pativratā (ideal wife) in this way. However, despite her label as the ideal wife, numerous feminists have viewed Sītā as a destructive model for women to look up to. Sītā is devoted to Rāma always, even when he treats her cruelly. By using Sītā as a model, women can be subjected to mistreatment from their husbands, and lose their own sense of self-identities. However, whether one accepts or rejects Sītā, the fact that she holds such a large presence today shows that Sītā has something valuable to offer contemporary women. Shown through interviews with contemporary Hindu women and folk songs, it is clear that Sītā is highly revered for her self-sacrificing nature. She undergoes repeated suffering due to Rāma, yet maintains her dignity and continues living with devotion. For contemporary Hindu women, Sītā is a powerful example. Many of these women are also defined by their husbands, and undergo suffering and mistreatment due to them. For these women who identify with the suffering and hardship that Sītā undergoes, by channeling her example of living with fidelity, devotion, and self-sacrifice, they can find meaning and self-respect in their own difficult lives.

  • Thumbnail for Rope-pullers and bananas
    Rope-pullers and bananas

    Rope-pullers, catching bananas thrown from roof; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 1982; during stop of ratha, bananas as refreshments; Keywords: devotees, ratha, procession

  • Thumbnail for Sirpathis
    Sirpathis

    Sirpathis carry pole supporing icon; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 2004; Preparation for 1st evening procession. 42 Sirpathis (non-brahmins, not directly temple employees).; Keywords: personnel, sirpathis

  • Thumbnail for Decorated Minaksi
    Decorated Minaksi

    Minaksi image decorated for procession; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 2004; Decorated for Flag-raising ceremony and procession, 1st day; Keywords: deities, minaksi, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Rope-pullers, ratha procession
    Rope-pullers, ratha procession

    Rope-pullers; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 1982; Keywords: devotees, ratha, procession

  • Thumbnail for Wall painting: Minaksi
    Wall painting: Minaksi

    Wall painting of Minaksi, inside temple corridor. This central panel depicts the marriage of Mianksi and Siva Sundaresvara, officiated by Visnu.; Minaksi temple; Uncompleted wall-painting, in corridor north of Golden Lotus Tank, inside temple complex; Keywords: deities, minaksi, paintings

  • Thumbnail for Crane and priest
    Crane and priest

    Sivaraj, a temple priest, holds a crane image, part of 2nd day lila of festival.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Narai (crane) is liberated by Siva, 2nd day lila. Priest is Sivaraj. Tiruvilaiyatal no. 48.; Keywords: priests, lilas, animals

  • Thumbnail for Ganesa and Skanda, on same cart, for procession
    Ganesa and Skanda, on same cart, for procession

    Decorated images of Ganesa (right) and Skanda (left) on cart, for evening procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; 1st evening procession; Keywords: ganesa, skanda, procession

  • Thumbnail for Priest performs light ceremony
    Priest performs light ceremony

    Nambiyar perfroms aradhana, before procession; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 2004; Performed prior to 6th evening procession; Keywords: personnel, priests, illumination

  • Thumbnail for Siva Sundaresvara at flag-raising
    Siva Sundaresvara at flag-raising

    Decorated Siva Sundaresvara image at flag-raising ceremony; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: sundaresvara, flag-raising, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Deities in procession
    Deities in procession

    Siva Sundaresvara and Minaksi in procession, along South Avani Mula Street.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; 2nd morning procession; Keywords: sundaresvara, minaksi, processions

  • Thumbnail for Decorated Minaksi, flag-raising
    Decorated Minaksi, flag-raising

    Decorated Minaksi image, during flag-raising ceremony; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: minaksi, flag-raising, decoration, ideas

  • Thumbnail for Wooden ratha base
    Wooden ratha base

    Wooden base for processional chariot, with initial bamboo superstructure; Minaksi temple, Chittrai, 2004; Keywords: vehicles, ratha

  • Thumbnail for Minaksi on Yali vehicle
    Minaksi on Yali vehicle

    Minaksi in 5th evening procession, on Yali vehicle; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; 5th evening procession; Keywords: minaksi, vehicles, processions

  • Thumbnail for Priest, as Siva, for 6th day lila
    Priest, as Siva, for 6th day lila

    Priest dressed as Siva, to perform in 6th day lila. The priest is C.M.S. Cinnasami Bhattar.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; priest is C.M.S. Cinnasam Bhattar (Vikrama Pandya moiety), represents Siva. Hat color not fixed.; Keywords: priests, lilas

  • Thumbnail for Minaksi, with decorating priest
    Minaksi, with decorating priest

    Minaksi decorated for 6th morning procession, with priest, K. Velayutha Bhattar, who supervised the decoration of Minaksi on the 6th day.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Priest is K. Velayutha Bhattar; Keywords: minaksi, decoration, priests

  • Thumbnail for Sundaresvara decorated for procession
    Sundaresvara decorated for procession

    Siva Sundaresvara decorated for 8th evening procession.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; in Kalyana-mandapa, waiting for procession to begin; Keywords: sundaresvara, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Minaksi on Golden Horse vehicle
    Minaksi on Golden Horse vehicle

    Minaksi on Golden Horse vehicle, for 8th evening procession; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; in Kalyana-mandapa, waiting for procession to begin; Keywords: minaksi, vehicles, decoration

  • Thumbnail for Devotional table near Pittuttoppu mandapa
    Devotional table near Pittuttoppu mandapa

    Devotional table (tirukkan) near Puttuttoppu mandapa, before procession; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: devotees

  • Thumbnail for Worship of tree shrine
    Worship of tree shrine

    Tree and icons of worship, in outer part of Minaksi temple complex; Minaksi temple; on North Adi Stree, near North Gopuram; Keywords: deities, devotees

  • Thumbnail for Temple elephant
    Temple elephant

    Temple elephant, adorned with gold forehead plate, at reception pavilion, Old Cokkanathar Temple.; Minaksi temple, Avani Mula, 2007; Keywords: animals

  • Thumbnail for Sarasvati
    Sarasvati

    Information provided by the museum label states, "The religion of Jainism has existed since the fifth century B.C. Like other faiths in India, it teaches that an ultimate goal in life is to seek release from continual rebirth; it also, however, stresses individual responsibility in this process. Jainism honors a large pantheon of deities and supportive beings, many of which are borrowed from Hinduism and Buddhism. "The image of Sarasvati, a goddess respected by both Hindus and Jains, once stood in a Jain temple in India. She sits displaying vara mudra (the gesture of charity) with her left hand. In her right hand she carries a book; in her upper-left and right hands she holds a festooned noose and an elephant goad, attributes normally associated with the elephant-headed god Ganesha. He and Saravati are usually invoked together before beginning literary enterprises." -- India, Karnataka -- Gray chloritic schist -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 224.1997)

  • Thumbnail for Ajanta Caves, bridge over dry Waghora Riverbed
    Ajanta Caves, bridge over dry Waghora Riverbed

    The Ajanta Caves were carved out of the rocky hillside surrounding a bend in the Waghora River. During the dry season, the riverbed becomes a footpath but in the rainy season, people wade through the stream over slippery rocks.

  • Thumbnail for Bodhisattva figure
    Bodhisattva figure

    Bodhisattva figures adorn the outer walls of the caves. These bodhisattva figures represent the ideal of leaving one's family, wealth, and social standing to take up the life of a wandering Buddhist mendicant seeking enlightenment

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, weighing baskets for ritual
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, weighing baskets for ritual

    These two metal baskets used for the child weighing ritual are connected by a thick rope positioned over the strong limb of a tree in the courtyard of the dargah. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]