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  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, mothers and children waiting for ritual
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, ritual of thanksgiving for child, mothers and children waiting for ritual

    These women are holding their female and male children as they wait to perform the ritual of thanksgiving. Many women visiting the shrine note that the prayers of women offered at the dargah are understood to be more efficacious than those of men. [For description of the ritual, see cbind0043.]

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, entranceway and view from outside
    Aurangzeb Mosque, entranceway and view from outside

    The yellow gate area marks the entrance into the mosque and tomb of the Emporor Aurangzeb. Stalls selling various religious goods line the passage leading into mosque. Worshippers can buy plaques inscribed with Qur'anic passages, scale models and photographs of religious shrines, scarves, prayer caps (topis), and books, among other religious goods. The sign "STD, ISD" designates a long distance telephone booth.

  • Thumbnail for Buddha seated in teaching pose
    Buddha seated in teaching pose

    Seated in a throne-like setting, the Buddha is depicted with his hands in the teaching pose. His feet rest on a lotus, symbol of enlightenment, and supernatural beings are carved around him, ostensibly also attending to his teachings. The throne was constructed in the shape of a stupa within the cave, with ample room around it for monks and pilgrims to circumambulate the image.

  • Thumbnail for Auspicious figures on cave doorway, woman in Tribunga pose under tree
    Auspicious figures on cave doorway, woman in Tribunga pose under tree

    This female yakshi represents the auspicious fertility of the earth as she stands under the canopy of a fruit-laden tree, possibly mango. Auspicious symbols surround the entranceways to the caves, making these caves also auspcious places to dwell.

  • Thumbnail for Ajanta Caves, pilgrims
    Ajanta Caves, pilgrims

    In this photo, several Tibetan women are seen walking behind an Indian woman visiting the Ajanta Caves. Pilgrims and tourists travel to this historic site and walk the series of caves in all seasons. Pilgrims from many different Buddhist cultures often perform ritual prayers as they visit individual caves.

  • Thumbnail for Parinirvana of the Buddha, cave 26
    Parinirvana of the Buddha, cave 26

    This carving of the parinirvana of the Buddha Sakyamuni includes figures of monks receiving teaching from the Buddha, emphasizing the importance of the Buddha as a teacher even as he was dying. Cave 26.

  • Thumbnail for Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, flower seller
    Zar Zari Zar Baksh Dargah, flower seller

    Just outside the entranceway into the dargah, a woman makes and sells flower garlands for pilgrims to offer inside. At the next stall, green glass bangles hung from the roof are sold for the ritual performed at the tomb shrine of the saint's mother.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Hindu Caves, Shiva and Parvati on Mt. Kailash, close-up
    Ellora Hindu Caves, Shiva and Parvati on Mt. Kailash, close-up

    Alternately quarrelling and reconciling, the couple, Shiva and Parvati, sit close together here while the demon Ravana shakes their abode from below. Shiva has placed one hand on Parvati's breast while she is resting her hand on his leg.

  • Thumbnail for Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah Masjid, inside view
    Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah Masjid, inside view

    On the wall of this small masjid or place of prayer and prostration is the mehrab marking the direction of prayer and a green plaque with the shahada written in gold lettering: There is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet. A clock designates the times for prayer and a carpet preserves a pure space for prostrations.

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque, sign
    Aurangzeb Mosque, sign

    Sign in English and Hindi for the Tomb of the last Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb. Behind this sign is a small sign explaining that anyone who vandalizes this monument will be subject to imprisonment of up to three months, a fine of up to 5000 rupees [more than $100], or both.

  • Thumbnail for Aurangzeb Mosque and Tomb, sign
    Aurangzeb Mosque and Tomb, sign

    This sign in the courtyard of the mosque complex explains that this area contains the Shrine of the saint, Zainuddin, and the tomb of the son of Aurangzeb, Azamshah. The sign is written in English, Hindi, and Urdu.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Buddhist Caves, Teen Tala, long view
    Ellora Buddhist Caves, Teen Tala, long view

    One of the most impressive caves is number 12, called Teen Tala, fashioned as a vihara with three levels of monastic living quarters positioned around a central prayer hall. Accomodating about 40 monks, Teen Tala gives the viewer a sense of the large monastic community that was active here.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Ardhanarishvara
    Kailash Cave Temple, Ardhanarishvara

    Ardhanarishvara, the Lord who is Half Woman, has been carved into one of the many niches on the outside of the temple. The sculptors depicted many of the well-known stories of Hindu gods and goddesses on the walls of the temple. Pilgrims walking past these depictions are reminded of the tales and their teachings.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall entranceway, amorous couples detail
    Ellora Buddhist Caves, Chaitya Hall entranceway, amorous couples detail

    From the top of the entranceway, this is a close up of the amorous couples with children inside the repeated niches.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga
    Kailash Cave Temple, Mata Ganga

    Mata Ganga stands in this shrine niche on top of her vahana, the makara. A representation of the River Ganga, she stands next to two other river goddesses, Yamuna and Saraswati.

  • Thumbnail for Bhajan singing 3
    Bhajan singing 3

    As noted in Bhajan singing 1 and 2, the warmly dressed singers from the Rama Temple are singing songs of praise to Vaishnava deities. Women and men sing together in these groups.

  • Thumbnail for Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah, tree branch, close-up
    Khuldabad Jalal al-Din Dargah, tree branch, close-up

    The saint, Jalal al-Din, is said to have thrown a stick which stuck in the ground and began growing into a tree. As this now magnificent tree is associated with the saint and his healing powers, pilgrims tie colored fabric to its branches as a symbol of their petitions. In particular, women who have been infertile come to this shrine to pray for the blessing of children.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, inner sanctum doorway
    Kailash Cave Temple, inner sanctum doorway

    This doorway leads into a small shrine room with a lingam carved in a yoni, symbol of the union of Shiva and Shakti, the divine male and female. The light of the candle, the only illumination in this inner shrine room, is visible through the doorway.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes
    Kailash Cave Temple, Ramayana scenes

    Familiar scenes from the Indian epic, the Ramayana, cover one outer wall of the main temple. The parallel wall on the other side tells the story of the Mahabharata in carved vignettes of well-known episodes.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Jain Caves, elephant
    Ellora, Jain Caves, elephant

    This majestic and huge elephant stands at the entrance to the most complex of the Jain caves. Elephants are associated with royalty and power.

  • Thumbnail for Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha
    Kailash Cave Temple, Manu Stambha

    The Manu Stambha stands just inside the temple courtyard.

  • Thumbnail for Yu Gardens
    Yu Gardens

    Photograph of the interior of the Yu Gardens, Shanghai.

  • Thumbnail for Makeovers
    Makeovers

    Four women got new hair-cuts in January's issue of "Lee".

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Jain Caves, Yaksha's elephant seat
    Ellora, Jain Caves, Yaksha's elephant seat

    The yaksha guardian, Matanga, sits on a grand elephant who has knelt to offer his back as a seat for the yaksha. The sculptor has placed a lotus bud in the trunk of the elephant to show his docile nature in the presence of this yaksha protector.

  • Thumbnail for Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rat vehicle
    Ellora, Ganapati Temple, rat vehicle

    The rat is the vehicle of Ganapati, reflecting the god's ability to overcome all obstacles. Ganapati is revered as the god of good fortune and prosperity, as well as the lord of beginnings.