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Digitizing Tradition: This Mahashivratri, Temples deliver ‘prasad’ to devotees via mail



Shiv Temple Kanchar City Jabalpur, India

Santa Clara, Calif. (Diya TV) ‘Mahashivratri’, a term derived from three words Maha, Shiva and Ratri which literally means “The Great night of Shiva”, is one the most important festivals celebrated on the new moon day in the month of ‘Phalgun’ according to Hindu Calendars.

Shiv Temple Kanchar City Jabalpur, India

Shiv Temple Kanchar City Jabalpur, India


Lord Shiva is one among the three deities (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) of Hinduism that form the holy trinity. Brahma represents creation, Vishu preservation & Shiva the destruction, and the trinity symbolizes the cycle of life. According to Hindu mythology, there are many reasons of celebrating this day but mostly symbolised for the famous ‘Shiva Tandava Nritya’, the dance of the primal creation, preservation and destruction on this propitious night. The night also represents the anniversary of day Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvathi.

Mahashivratri is celebrated in different ways all over India, but people most often perform their rituals by observing a strict fast throughout the day. They start their day taking a holy bath, visiting the temple where the holy prayers are performed by giving ‘Shiv Linga’ a bath with water, honey, milk, curd signifying in purification of the soul. Following this, The Linga is decorated with flowers, fruits and ends with offering prayers dedicated in the name of Shiva.

It is believed that the people who fast on this night and offer prayers to Lord Shiva bring good luck into their life. On the hand women tend to celebrate this day for the well-being of their husband and sons. Two of the most popular, Shiva temples are the Kashi Vishwanath Temple & the Mahakaleshwar in Ujjain, believed to be the place of residence of Lord Shiva. Large processions are carried out throughout the city, with people thronging the streets to catch a glimpse of the revered idol of Lord Shiva.

Most festivals in are celebrated with enthusiastic fervor and when the entire nation is celebrating in a zeal- why would the celebrity clan be quiet about this?  From Politicians, cricketers to Bollywood celebrities took to Twitter to send their wishes for the great night of Shiva. Let’s see what they have to say…

But with all these celebrations, if one cannot make their way to any of the ultra auspicious Shiva temples, The India Postal service is here to the rescue.

The Indian postal department has entered into two separate agreements with two temples of Lord Shiva, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Trust of Varanasi and Shri Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling Mandir, Ujjain, so that ‘prasada’ (offering) from these temples can reach the devotees’ doorsteps.

The devotees will have to make a payment of a determined amount in the form of the postal orders to the temple(s) in order to avail the ‘holy’ scheme of the postal department.

While the devotees will get ‘bhabhuti’ (ash) from the temple, a rudraksha bead, laminated photo of Lord Shiva and Shiva Chalisa in the first case. In the second case, they will get prasada comprising 200 gm of dry fruits and 200 gm sweets, ‘bhabhuti’ (ash) and a photo of Lord Shri Mahakaleshwar through speed post.

“We have special envelopes for this delivery, which are water-proof and temper-proof, so that the sacrament retain its purity and sacredness, since this has direct bearing on the reverence and religious feelings of the devotees”, said Yadav.

Deepti Dawar contributed to this report.

Portions of this article first appeared in The Times of India.


Women filmmakers shine at the 2019 Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles



IFFLA staff with the 2019 festival winners

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) concluded Sunday night with the zany slice-of-life film, The Odds, directed by Megha Ramaswamy. Complete with a glamorous closing night red carpet, and an awards ceremony, the festival ended with an after party at the Spice Affair in Beverly Hills.

(From Left to Right) Praveen Morchale, Christina Marouda, Shazia Iqbal, Anand Patwardhan, Nitin Sonawane , Divya Kohli Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

IFFLA was only four days this year (compared to five days in previous years), but there was still so much to see during that time. In addition to the curated set of films, there was an incredible panel discussion, Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age, that featured panelists working in various fields in the television industry and their struggles to rise up through the ranks in the Hollywood while being brown.

Panel Discussion Breaking in Brown. Courtesy: Javeed Sheikh Photography

This year’s film lineup boasted five world premieres, two North American premieres, two U.S. premieres and eleven Los Angeles Premieres, with films presented in nine different languages. The overall atmosphere was very relaxed, even with films that tackled difficult subject matters. Roughly fifty percent of the films were directed by women. Filmmakers and staff alike hoped for a future where it will be normal to have women and men equally making films.

Kicking off the awards ceremony, Director of Programming, Mike Dougherty, announced the winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature, Widow of Silence.

“We present the Grand Jury prize to a film that illuminates a condition that most of the world doesn’t get to see and shines a light on the characters that live through it everyday…This filmmaker’s civic disobedience illustrates their love and compassion for their country and their people, and the craft of their film-making was beautifully wise and refined.”

Director Praveen Morchhale was visibly surprised as he walked up to receive his award. The film he said was about those, “that nobody talks about and nobody treats them as a human.” Even though it was Morchhale’s first time at IFFLA, he felt as if he had been coming here for many years. He credited his win to the women in Kashmir the film portrayed.

The Audience Award for Best Feature went to Reason. Director Anand Patwardhan received a standing ovation when he went to collect his award. Patwardhan said, “most of the time our film is getting thrown out of festivals, I wasn’t expecting this.” He added that it meant a lot for the film to be well received at IFFLA and how that will hopefully impact its reception in India.

Shazia Iqbal’s Bebaak was a crowd favorite winning the Audience Award For Best Short Film. The jury mentioned how she almost gave up on filming because she was getting thrown out of mosques. Iqbal spoke about how when people think of Muslims, they only think of Muslim men and not women, many of whom experience tremendous misogyny. She hopes people will be able to “see beyond what misogyny and religion does to people.” Iqbal added, “a director is nothing without their team.”

“a layered portrait of a woman determined to pursue her needs and impulses,” the Grand Jury awarded their prize for Best Short to The Field from director Sandhya Suri. “the film takes images that normally evoke a sense of fear and flips the narrative on its head redefining a new more empowered world for the female protagonist and exploring an often unseen story of a woman’s drive and agency over her own body and life,” the jury added.

After the awards, Dougherty introduced the closing night film, The Odds by saying the film was the “perfect way to close IFFLA on a celebratory note.”

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Bollywood actress Tabu honored at 2019 IFFLA Opening Night



Actress Tabassum 'Tabu' being honored before the screening of her film Andhadhun at 2019 IFFLA Opening Night

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is officially underway, kicking off the festivities last night at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theatre in Beverly Hills with a tribute to the renowned Bollywood actress Tabu.

Actress Tabassum 'Tabu' in conversation before the opening night film Andhadhun at IFFLA
Actress Tabassum ‘Tabu’ in conversation before the opening night film Andhadhun at IFFLA

Christina Marouda, Founder and Executive Director of IFFLA, introduced Tabu’s notable accomplishments. “Her work and personality embody everything that IFFLA is about” Marouda said “being fearless, versatile, independent in spirit, unwilling to compromise, brilliant in the range of her performances, and simply beautiful. With half of the festival’s 2019 line-up directed by female filmmakers, this [year’s IFFLA] couldn’t be a stronger celebration of women in Indian cinema.”

The audience was treated to a moderated interview with Tabu in which she discussed her interest in flawed and immoral characters, as well as how she has enjoyed combining a career of commercial success with one of artistic reinvention.

The interview was followed by a screening of Tabu’s most recent film Andhadhun, directed by Sriram Raghavan and co-starring Ayushmann Khurrana. The black comedy is a triumph of chaos in all the right ways; weaving humor with horrible acts of violence, shifting storylines and ratcheting up the tension. Tabu brings her legendary intensity to every scene, flowing effortlessly from casual and comical to duplicitous and menacing. She is a villain in a story with no true hero, allowing her to flex her most manipulative muscles.

IFFLA is unabashedly confronting diversity in Hollywood, not as a trend, but as a mission. Not only featuring a curated set of film programs designed to support the growing interest in the Indian entertainment industry, but – just as importantly – supporting filmmakers of Indian and South Asian descent in career development and expanding opportunity as they establish themselves in various mainstream Hollywood systems.

This years programming includes Ronny Sen’s directorial debut Cat Sticks, which screened at Slamdance, Ashish Pandey’s Kashmir-set drama Nooreh, which won at Busan, family drama Love Goes Through Your Mind, directed by UCLA alum Ronak Shah and Safdar Rahman’s Chippa. Additional programming also features a TV-centric panel titled ‘Breaking in Brown: Making it to Series in TV’s Golden Age’ featuring the work of South Asian talent in broadcast and streaming.

The 17th annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) is taking place April 11-14, 2019 at Regal L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles. The Opening and Closing Night Galas will be at the Ahrya Fine Arts Theater in Beverly Hills. For tickets and information on programming visit

Diya TV is a proud sponsor of the festival

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Study finds Churchill responsible for 1943 Bengal famine, killing more than 3 million Indians



Priyanka Chopra Jonas new Youtube Show

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — A new study using soil analysis says Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s policies triggered the 1943 Bengal famine that lead to the deaths of more than 3 million Indians from starvation and disease.

Delta and Korean Airlines apologized to the family of two Indian-American teens who were kicked off a flight on their way to the Philippines because they asked the airline not to serve peanuts around them because of allergies. The teens, who were traveling by themselves, are now back safely with their family.

Dun & Bradstreet, a major player in business data and analytics, named Neeraj Sahai President of Dun & Bradstreet International.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas launched a new series on YouTube called “If I Could Tell You One Thing.” Her first show features Olympian Simone Biles, fashion icon Diane von Furstenburg and comedienne Awkawfina.

And we’ll have a round-up of the some of the best April Fools Day pranks, including one from Ola Cabs, who decided it would be the right day to launch a new line of portable restrooms.

Ravi Kapur & Alejandro Quintana contributed to this report.

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