Shani Dev is one of the most popular deities to which Hindus pray in order to ward off evil and remove obstacles. In translation, Shani means the “slow moving one”. According to myths, Shani oversees the "dungeons of the human heart and the dangers that lurk there."
Shani is represented as having a dark complexion and is said to be the son of Surya, the sun god, and Chaya, the servant whom his wife Swarna surrogated. He is the brother of Yama, the god of death, and is believed by many to be an avatar of Shiva. He is also known as Saura (son of sun-god), Kruradris or Kruralochana (the cruel-eyed), Mandu (dull and slow), Pangu (disabled), Saptarchi (seven-eyed) and Asita (dark). In the mythology, he is represented as riding a chariot, carrying a bow and arrow and pulled by a vulture or crow. Shani is depicted wearing a blue cloth, blue flowers and sapphire.
Most Hindu temples have a little shrine set apart
for the ‘Navagraha,’ or the nine planets, where Shani is placed. Kumbakonam in
Tamil Nadu is the oldest Navagraha temple and has the most benign Shani.
Another important Shani temple is at Shingnapur in Maharashtra, where the deity
is represented as a block of stone. Navi Mumbai has a Sri Shaniswar temple at
Nerul, while Delhi has a popular Shanidham at Fatehpur Beri, in the historic
Amavasya festival importance in Hinduism Amavasya, or Amavasi, is the name of new moon night in Hindu religion. It is the first night of the first quarter of the lunar month. Since the moon is invisible on the day, Amavasya is also referred as no moon night. Amavasi holds great importance in Hinduism. Many Hindus choose this day to make offering (tharpanam) to the dead ancestors. There is also an ongoing debate whether Amavasya is auspicious or inauspicious.
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