How to Implement Assertiveness for Developing your PowerPacked Personality?

Hurdles that come in the way

Overcoming hurdles, whether they are personal, professional, or social, is a common challenge everyone faces. Here are some of the main types of hurdles and strategies to address them:

1. Personal Hurdles

Emotional Challenges: Dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.

  • Strategies: Seeking therapy or counseling, practicing mindfulness and meditation, engaging in physical activities, and building a support network.

Health Issues: Chronic illnesses or sudden health problems.

  • Strategies: Following medical advice, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and seeking support from family and friends.

Lack of Motivation: Feeling unmotivated or facing burnout.

  • Strategies: Setting small, achievable goals, celebrating small wins, finding purpose in tasks, and taking breaks to recharge.

2. Professional Hurdles

Career Stagnation: Lack of growth opportunities or feeling stuck in a job.

  • Strategies: Seeking additional training or education, networking, setting career goals, and exploring new job opportunities.

Workplace Conflict: Issues with colleagues or supervisors.

  • Strategies: Effective communication, seeking mediation, maintaining professionalism, and finding common ground.

Work-life Balance: Difficulty managing work and personal life.

  • Strategies: Prioritizing tasks, setting boundaries, delegating when possible, and taking time for self-care.

3. Social Hurdles

Relationship Problems: Conflicts or misunderstandings with family, friends, or partners.

  • Strategies: Open and honest communication, empathy, seeking counseling, and spending quality time together.

Social Anxiety: Fear of social situations or interactions.

  • Strategies: Gradual exposure to social situations, practicing social skills, seeking therapy, and joining social groups or clubs.

4. Educational Hurdles

Learning Difficulties: Struggling with certain subjects or concepts.

  • Strategies: Seeking tutoring, using different learning methods, breaking down complex topics, and practicing regularly.

Time Management: Balancing studies with other responsibilities.

  • Strategies: Creating a schedule, prioritizing tasks, avoiding procrastination, and using time management tools.

5. Financial Hurdles

Debt and Financial Stress: Managing debt, living paycheck to paycheck, or financial emergencies.

  • Strategies: Creating a budget, seeking financial advice, prioritizing debt repayment, and exploring additional income sources.

Unemployment: Losing a job or difficulty finding employment.

  • Strategies: Updating your resume, improving job search skills, networking, and considering temporary or part-time work.

6. External Hurdles

Discrimination or Bias: Facing unfair treatment based on race, gender, age, or other factors.

  • Strategies: Reporting incidents, seeking support from advocacy groups, staying informed about rights, and fostering inclusive environments.

Environmental Factors: Natural disasters, lack of resources, or unstable living conditions.

  • Strategies: Preparing emergency plans, seeking assistance from organizations, and advocating for better conditions.

Benefits of being assertive

Being assertive is a core communication skill. Assertiveness can help you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view. It can also help you do this while respecting the rights and beliefs of others.

Being assertive can also help boost your self-esteem and earn others’ respect. This can help with stress management. It may especially help you reduce stress if you tend to take on too many responsibilities because you have a hard time saying no. Some people seem to be naturally assertive. But if you’re not assertive, you can learn to be.

Four steps of being assertive

1. THE SITUATION

The situation is the antecedent.  When you refer to the precipitating event, think of it as verbally holding up a mirror to the other person so he or she can see his or her reflection.  In order to do this, you need to be specific.  If it is something the other person has done, you need to describe the behavior exactly.  If it is something the other person has said, you need to quote it as precisely as possible.

2. THE FEELING

Next, you will want to say how you feel in reaction to the situation.  This is the most important part of the formula.  This is the part that will encourage the listener to hear what you are saying. A simple demonstration is to start a sentence with “You.”  If you say, “You . . .” it really does not matter what you say after that.  The other person will be building a defense and not listening. However, if you start with “I feel,” most likely the other person will be curious enough to listen.  Note that saying, “I feel that you,” still is a you statement.

3. THE EXPLANATION

That is why the third part of the formula is necessary. It is the bridge or connection between the event and your feeling. It always is the thought process that led to the feeling.  What was your thought that led to feeling sad about being tapped on the arm? If you thought being tapped on the arm was rude, that would not explain being sad.  If you remember your mother telling you that if someone treats you rudely, that person is not a real friend and you conclude that the person who tapped you on the arm must not be a real friend, that would explain why you felt sad. By way of explanation, it is necessary to divulge the whole truth of your thought process and not just a portion of it.  Part three is the part most people find difficult because they do not make the entire explanation.

4. THE REQUEST

At this point, the listener understands what you are feeling and why.  However, the reaction is something along the lines of “So?”  You need to give the listener something to which he or she can respond.  You need to make a request. Do you want an apology?  Do you want the listener to explain his or her behavior?  Do you want a hug?  By the time you make your request, it is clear what is behind your request. You need to make the request in the affirmative.  Say what it is you want rather than what you do not want. This is the step that distinguishes assertiveness from aggression and non-assertiveness. The difference is one of choices.  Aggression is taking all the choices for yourself and not giving the other person a choice.  Non-assertiveness is not taking a choice, but neither giving the other person a choice.  Assertiveness is taking a choice for yourself and giving the other person a choice as well.

Learning to be more assertive

Being assertive is a crucial communication skill that helps you express your thoughts, feelings, and needs in a clear, direct, and respectful manner. Here are some steps and tips to help you become more assertive:

1. Understand Assertiveness

  • Definition: Assertiveness is about standing up for yourself while respecting others. It’s different from being aggressive (which disregards others’ feelings) and being passive (which disregards your own feelings).
  • Benefits: Improved self-esteem, better relationships, and reduced stress.

2. Assess Your Assertiveness

  • Reflect on your current communication style. Are you often passive, aggressive, or passive-aggressive?
  • Identify situations where you find it hard to be assertive.

3. Learn to Say No

  • Practice saying no in a firm but polite manner.
  • Use statements like “I can’t take on that task right now” or “I’m not comfortable with this situation.”

4. Use “I” Statements

  • Express your feelings and needs using “I” statements to take ownership of your emotions without blaming others.
  • Example: “I feel frustrated when meetings start late because it disrupts my schedule.”

5. Practice Active Listening

  • Show that you are listening by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and summarizing what the other person said.
  • This helps build mutual respect and understanding.

6. Maintain Positive Body Language

  • Keep an open posture, make eye contact, and use a calm, clear voice.
  • Avoid crossing your arms or appearing closed off.

7. Manage Your Emotions

  • Stay calm and composed, especially in stressful situations.
  • Practice deep breathing or other relaxation techniques to keep your emotions in check.

8. Practice Assertive Communication

  • Role-play with a friend or use a mirror to practice your responses.
  • Start with less challenging situations and gradually move to more difficult ones.


    Thanks for reading.

HOW TO PREPARE AND PRACTICE YOUR SPEECH?

1) How to understand and research the topic?

Understanding and researching a topic effectively involves several steps, from initial comprehension to deep exploration. Here’s a structured approach to guide you:

1. Initial Understanding

a. Define the Topic: Clearly articulate what the topic is about. Write down the main question or thesis statement.

b. Background Reading: Start with general sources like encyclopedias (Wikipedia, Britannica) to get an overview.

Identify key concepts, terms, and related subtopics.

2. Gather Information

a. Identify Reliable Sources: Academic journals, books, and reputable websites.

Government and educational institution websites.

b. Use Library Resources: Access academic databases like JSTOR, PubMed, Google Scholar, etc.

Consult librarians for resource recommendations.

c. Online Research: Use advanced search techniques to find specific information.

Verify the credibility of online sources by checking author credentials and publication reputation.

3. Deep Exploration

a. Read and Annotate: Read materials critically, making notes and highlighting important points.

Identify the arguments, evidence, and methodologies used.

b. Synthesize Information: Compare different sources and viewpoints.

Look for patterns, contradictions, and gaps in the information.

c. Organize Findings: Create outlines or mind maps to structure your understanding.

Group related ideas and note how they connect to your main topic.

4. Analysis and Critical Thinking

a. Evaluate Arguments: Assess the strengths and weaknesses of different arguments.

Consider the validity, reliability, and bias of the sources.

b. Develop Your Perspective: Formulate your own opinion or thesis based on the evidence.

Be prepared to revise your perspective as you uncover more information.

5. Writing and Presentation

a. Drafting: Write a clear introduction stating your thesis or main question.

Develop body paragraphs that present evidence and analysis logically.

Conclude by summarizing your findings and stating the implications.

b. Cite Sources: Use proper citation styles to credit your sources.

Include a bibliography or works cited page.


2) What are the methods of preparation of a public speech?

Preparing a public speech involves several steps to ensure the speech is well-organized, engaging, and effectively delivered. Here are the key methods:

1. Understand Your Audience

Research Your Audience: Know the demographics, interests, and knowledge level of your audience.

Tailor Your Message: Adjust the content and language of your speech to suit the audience’s preferences and expectations.

2. Define the Purpose

Clarify the Objective: Determine whether your speech is meant to inform, persuade, entertain, or motivate.

Set Goals: Establish specific goals you want to achieve with your speech.

3. Conduct Research

Gather Information: Collect relevant facts, statistics, anecdotes, and examples to support your points.

Verify Sources: Ensure the information comes from credible and reliable sources.

4. Organize Your Content

Create an Outline: Structure your speech with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Introduction: Grab attention with a strong opening, such as a quote, question, or story. Introduce your main points.

Body: Develop your main points with evidence and examples. Ensure logical flow and clear transitions between points.

Conclusion: Summarize the main points and end with a memorable closing statement.

5. Write the Speech

Draft the Speech: Write the full text based on your outline, paying attention to language, tone, and style.

Edit and Revise: Refine the draft to improve clarity, coherence, and impact. Remove any unnecessary content.

6. Practice Delivery

Rehearse Aloud: Practice delivering the speech multiple times to get comfortable with the content and timing.

Use a Mirror or Record Yourself: Observe your body language and facial expressions. Adjust for natural and engaging delivery.

Seek Feedback: Present your speech to a friend or family member and ask for constructive feedback.


4) How to take care of your body language while making a speech to a large audience?

Taking care of your body language while making a speech to a large audience is crucial for effective communication. Here are some key tips:

1. Maintain Good Posture
Stand Tall: Keep your back straight, shoulders back, and head held high. This conveys confidence and authority.
Balanced Stance: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart to appear grounded and stable.

2. Use Hand Gestures Purposefully
Emphasize Points: Use hand movements to underscore important points. For example, open palms can suggest openness and honesty.

Avoid Overuse: Too many gestures can be distracting. Aim for natural movements that complement your words.

3. Facial Expressions
Be Expressive: Use your face to convey emotions appropriate to your speech. Smiling can help establish a connection, while a serious expression can underscore important points.

Avoid Tension: Relax your facial muscles to avoid looking tense or nervous.

4. Eye Contact
Engage with the Audience: Make eye contact with different parts of the audience to create a sense of connection. Avoid focusing on a single spot or person. Practice the “Z” Pattern: Move your gaze in a “Z” pattern across the audience to ensure everyone feels included.

5. Movement and Space
Purposeful Movement: Move around the stage or space if possible, but do so purposefully. Avoid pacing or shifting nervously.


5) How to engage your audience and ensure that they are fully attentive?

Engaging an audience and ensuring their full attention requires a combination of strategies that appeal to their interests, maintain their focus, and encourage interaction. Here are some effective methods to achieve this:

1. Understand Your Audience
Know Their Interests: Tailor your content to the interests and needs of your audience. Research their demographics, preferences, and pain points.

Set Clear Objectives: Clearly define what you want your audience to take away from your presentation or content.

2. Start Strong
Captivating Opening: Begin with a compelling story, an interesting fact, or a thought-provoking question to grab attention immediately.

Visual Impact: Use visually appealing slides, props, or multimedia to create a strong initial impression.

3. Use Engaging Content
Tell Stories: People are naturally drawn to stories. Use anecdotes and real-life examples to illustrate your points.

Incorporate Multimedia: Use videos, images, and graphics to make your content more dynamic and visually stimulating.

Interactive Elements: Include polls, quizzes, or live demonstrations to keep the audience involved.

4. Vary Your Delivery
Change Your Tone and Pace: Avoid monotony by varying your tone, volume, and speaking pace to maintain interest.

Body Language: Use expressive body language and eye contact to convey enthusiasm and connect with your audience.

Movement: Move around the stage or room to engage different parts of the audience and create a more dynamic presence.

5. Encourage Participation
Ask Questions: Pose questions to the audience to encourage them to think and respond.

Interactive Activities: Incorporate activities like group discussions, brainstorming sessions, or hands-on exercises.

Feedback Opportunities: Provide opportunities for the audience to ask questions or provide feedback during and after the presentation.



Thanks for reading.

What are the Skills required for Developing PowerPacked Personality?

Communication skills

Communication skills are crucial abilities that enable individuals to convey information effectively, express thoughts and ideas clearly, and understand others’ messages. These skills encompass various aspects, including verbal, non-verbal, written, and interpersonal communication. Here’s a breakdown of key communication skills:

Verbal Communication: The ability to articulate thoughts and ideas clearly through spoken words. This includes tone of voice, clarity, and coherence in speech.

Non-Verbal Communication: Body language, facial expressions, gestures, and eye contact play a significant role in conveying messages. Being aware of and using non-verbal cues effectively can enhance understanding and rapport in communication.

Listening Skills: Actively listening to others without interruption, demonstrating empathy, and understanding their perspectives are essential components of effective communication.

Written Communication: Strong writing skills are vital for conveying information clearly and professionally through emails, reports, memos, or other written documents. This includes grammar, punctuation, and formatting.

Interpersonal Skills: Building and maintaining relationships through effective communication is crucial in both personal and professional settings. This involves empathy, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and the ability to adapt communication style to different audiences.

Presentation Skills: Delivering engaging and informative presentations involves structuring content logically, using visual aids effectively, and engaging the audience through confident delivery

Negotiation and Persuasion: Being able to negotiate effectively and persuade others to accept your viewpoint requires strong communication skills, including the ability to articulate arguments convincingly and understand the other party’s perspective.

Clarity and Conciseness: Communicating ideas in a clear and concise manner helps avoid confusion and ensures that the message is easily understood by the audience.

Feedback: Providing constructive feedback and receiving feedback gracefully are essential aspects of effective communication. This involves being specific, actionable, and respectful in delivering feedback.

Cultural Sensitivity: Understanding and respecting cultural differences in communication styles and norms is crucial in diverse environments to avoid misunderstandings and foster inclusivity.

Improving communication skills involves practice, feedback, and continuous learning. Whether in personal relationships, professional settings, or public interactions, honing these skills can lead to more meaningful connections and successful outcomes.

Leadership Skills

Leadership is the art and science of guiding, motivating, and inspiring individuals or groups to achieve a common goal. It involves a variety of skills and attributes, including effective communication, decision-making, and the ability to build and maintain relationships. There are several key aspects of leadership:

1. Vision and Strategy

Vision: A clear, compelling vision provides direction and inspiration. Great leaders articulate a vision that motivates and aligns their team.

Strategy: Leaders develop strategies to achieve the vision. This involves setting goals, planning, and allocating resources effectively.

2. Communication

Clarity: Leaders must communicate their vision, goals, and expectations clearly.

Listening: Effective leaders listen to their team members, fostering an environment of open dialogue and feedback.

3. Influence and Inspiration

Influence: Leaders influence others through persuasion, example, and interpersonal skills rather than through coercion.

Inspiration: Leaders inspire their teams by demonstrating passion, commitment, and enthusiasm.

4. Decision-Making

Critical Thinking: Leaders need to assess situations, consider alternatives, and make informed decisions.

Risk Management: Effective leaders are willing to take calculated risks and learn from failures.

5. Emotional Intelligence

Self-Awareness: Leaders understand their own emotions and how they affect their behavior and decisions.

Empathy: Recognizing and understanding the emotions of others helps leaders to connect with their team and address their needs.

6. Adaptability

Flexibility: Leaders must be adaptable to changing circumstances and open to new ideas.

Resilience: Effective leaders remain steady and composed in the face of challenges and setbacks.

7. Integrity and Ethics

Honesty: Leaders demonstrate integrity by being truthful and transparent.

Ethical Behavior: Upholding ethical standards builds trust and credibility.

8. Empowerment and Development

Delegation: Leaders empower others by delegating tasks and responsibilities.

Mentorship: Developing and mentoring team members helps them grow and enhances the overall capability of the team.

9. Collaboration and Team Building

Team Dynamics: Understanding and managing team dynamics fosters collaboration and a sense of belonging.

Conflict Resolution: Leaders address and resolve conflicts constructively to maintain a harmonious team environment.

10. Innovation and Creativity

Encouragement: Leaders foster an environment that encourages innovation and creative thinking. Support: Providing the necessary resources and support allows team members to experiment and innovate.

Adaptability Skills

Of the many skills you can develop to improve your career advancement opportunities, adaptability is one of the best. Knowing what adaptability is and how to use it to your professional advantage is a worthwhile skill. Take the time to understand this quality to improve your professional skill set. In this article, we explain what adaptability means, describe specific adaptability skills, outline adaptability in the workplace, offer examples of adaptability, show how to demonstrate adaptability, highlight the importance of adaptability and outline how to list adaptability on your resume.


Interpersonal Skills

Interpersonal skills are the abilities that enable effective communication and interaction with other people. These skills are crucial for navigating social situations, building relationships, and collaborating with others in various contexts, whether it’s personal or professional. Examples of interpersonal skills include:

Communication: The ability to convey information clearly and effectively, both verbally and non-verbally.

Active listening: Paying full attention to what others are saying, understanding their perspective, and responding appropriately.

Empathy: Being able to understand and share the feelings of others, showing compassion and sensitivity.

Conflict resolution: Managing and resolving disagreements or conflicts in a constructive and respectful manner.

Collaboration: Working effectively with others toward a common goal, being able to compromise and cooperate.

Leadership: Inspiring and guiding others, delegating tasks, and motivating team members.

Emotional intelligence: Understanding and managing one’s own emotions as well as those of others.

Flexibility: Adapting to different personalities, situations, and environments.

Assertiveness: Expressing one’s thoughts, feelings, and needs openly and honestly while respecting others.

Networking: Building and maintaining relationships with a diverse range of people to exchange information and opportunities. Developing strong interpersonal skills can enhance personal relationships, improve teamwork, and increase success in various areas of life, including career advancement and leadership roles.


Thanks for reading.

POWERPACKED PUBLIC SPEECH

THE POWER OF PURPOSEFUL SPEECH

A Tale of Fulfillment: The Power of Purposeful Speech

In a bustling city, renowned for its diverse populace and vibrant culture, lived a young woman named Maya. She was passionate about social justice and believed in the power of community. For years, Maya had been actively involved in various local initiatives, advocating for the rights of marginalized groups. Yet, despite her fervent efforts, she often felt that her voice was lost in the noise of the city.

One day, an opportunity presented itself that could change everything. The city council announced an open forum where citizens could voice their concerns and propose solutions for pressing social issues. This forum would be attended by influential community leaders, policymakers, and the media. Maya saw this as her chance to make a significant impact.

Determined to seize this opportunity, Maya dedicated herself to preparing a speech that would not only articulate her concerns but also inspire action. She spent weeks researching, gathering data, and listening to the stories of those affected by the issues she cared about. Maya knew that for her speech to be effective, it needed to fulfill three key purposes: to inform, to persuade, and to mobilize.

Inform

On the day of the forum, the grand hall was filled with an attentive audience. When it was her turn to speak, Maya began by providing a clear and concise overview of the issues at hand. She presented statistics on homelessness, stories of discrimination, and evidence of the systemic inequalities plaguing their city. Her aim was to inform the audience, ensuring they understood the gravity of the situation.

Persuade

With the foundation of facts laid out, Maya transitioned to the next purpose of her speech: persuasion. She spoke with passion and conviction, highlighting the moral imperative to act. Maya shared personal anecdotes, recounting her experiences with individuals whose lives had been devastated by injustice. She appealed to the audience’s empathy, urging them to recognize their shared humanity and the importance of standing together against oppression.

Mobilize

Finally, Maya focused on mobilization. She outlined a clear, actionable plan that included policy changes, community programs, and volunteer opportunities. Maya encouraged everyone present to take part in these initiatives, emphasizing that real change required collective effort. She made it easy for people to get involved, distributing pamphlets with information on how to join the movement and offering to connect interested individuals with relevant organizations.

The Outcome

Maya’s speech resonated deeply with the audience. Her ability to inform, persuade, and mobilize left a lasting impression on everyone in attendance. The media coverage brought widespread attention to the issues she highlighted, and community leaders began discussing her proposals in earnest.

In the weeks that followed, a wave of change swept through the city. New policies were implemented to address homelessness, anti-discrimination programs were funded, and community outreach initiatives flourished. Maya’s speech had fulfilled its purpose in every sense, transforming awareness into action and inspiring a city to unite for a common cause.

Through her purposeful speech, Maya demonstrated that words, when used effectively, have the power to change the world. Her story became a testament to the impact that a single, well-crafted message can have when it is designed to inform, persuade, and mobilize.


DELIVERING THE SPEECH OF YOUR LIFE

The transformation was in focus and intention. At first, my focus was all on me: “I’m going to screw this up so bad.” “I have nothing intelligent to say, and this guy will see through me in about three seconds.” “I’m Italian. I’m dumb. I can’t compete with these smart people.”

But over time I decided I wanted to win. And to win I was going to have to convince the judge — to move him or her somehow. And then it became fun. Because it was no longer about me. It was about my audience: getting listeners from here to there — changing their mind — actually having them leave the room thinking differently than when they entered. And that’s powerful.

It’s been a blast ever since.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned in my years of public speaking. If you have to knock it out of the park, follow these basic rules:

  1. Know your goal. When the speech is over, what do you want the audience saying about it and you? What difference do you want to make? Most speakers never ask this of themselves.
  2. Memorize your speech. That’s right. Memorize every word of it. Deliver it in front of a mirror five times, six times, ten times. Then deliver it while your kid is screaming in the background, to develop the confidence that you can recite it no matter what distraction pops up. Why memorize it? Because nothing will put an audience to sleep faster than someone reading from a prepared text. Because when you memorize it, it stops being about getting the words right and starts being about getting the feeling right. Imagine if Andrea Bocelli didn’t memorize the words to the songs in his repertoire. How much room do you think there would be for him to feel them?
  3. If you don’t want to knock it out of the park, don’t follow rule 2.
  4. Practice the transitions. What will get you from one point to the next? Is it “if,” or “when,” or “then I.” Know and memorize the precise construction of each transitional sentence. It’s in uncertainty about transitions from one point to the next that people lose their grace in public and start saying “aaahhhh.”
  5. Don’t fear silence. You want to silence a room? Don’t talk. Be silent and look at the audience. Five seconds. Seven seconds. Just taking them in. Connecting with them. But never do it for effect. Do it to get intimate with your audience. It silences a room like you wouldn’t believe. Why? Because it’s not normal. Audiences are used to speakers filling every nanosecond with the sound of their own voice, leaving zero time for reflection. Audiences are used to being avoided, not appreciated. When they come upon someone who can command their own silence, they understand, “This person is serious.”
  6. Never, ever, ever use PowerPoint as your speech notes. The slides are for your audience, not for you. The moment they see you rattling through a list of bullets that you should have had the courtesy to memorize, they put you in a category with every other boring presenter they’ve ever seen and you’ve lost them.
  7. Give something of yourself. Don’t be afraid to feel something in front of an audience. Don’t be afraid to say something that will make you feel something, and that will make the audience feel something.
  8. Be yourself. Don’t feel you need to mimic the testosterone level of a motivational speaker. You will look and feel fake. Robert Kennedy never tried to copy Martin Luther King’s rhetorical skills. RFK was soft-spoken. He owned that. And as a result, was every bit as affecting as King.

The Power of Body Language

Body language is part of non-verbal communication. It is the combination of movements, gestures, and postures. This includes the way a speaker talks, moves and looks on stage. Body language is part of the message a speaker wants to give.

Many people only think body language is only about the way you position yourself on stage. This is a big part of it, but there is much more. Body language shows your confidence. The right attitude on stage gives you an air of authority, which supports your story.

The importance of body language in public speaking

Why is body language important? You can say that having the wrong body language makes that your talk almost can’t be a success. You need a lot of talent on other elements to make up for bad body language.

Some examples of bad body language include: turning your back to the audience, moving around too much or hiding behind a desk. Gesturing also can have a bad influence on your talk. Being too aggressive in your gestures, drumming your fingers or even biting your nails are also bad examples.

But even when you aren’t doing a bad job, improving your body language can have a big effect. Especially on the way, the audience receives your talk. It can make a difference between a nice talk and actually persuading people. This is why it is important for everyone to pay attention to.

What to pay attention to

Good body language means you are paying attention to different elements. For example, you have to know how to move, where to look, where to stand and what gestures to make.

Looking at your audience

Are you looking towards your audience? Or are you one of those speakers who have a tendency to look behind you at the screen? Are you giving your entire audience the attention and not just a happy few?

Where are you on stage?

As a speaker, you always have to be aware of where you are on stage. It means you have to think about where you will sit in a panel discussion and where to (not) move to when walking around.


Importance of facial expressions: are you smiling?

Did you know for example that smiling makes people more comfortable with you as a speaker? Your facial expressions are extremely important in public speaking. The way you look says a lot about how you feel and about your message. At the same time, you don’t want to be smiling through a very serious story. Your facial expressions should be in line with the story.


COMMUNICATION SKILLS :

My life’s work is centered around communication. Doing more of it, more effectively and illustrating how communication is more than a “soft skill”, but one that leads to real, meaningful business results. But at no other time in my life have I learned more about the practical application of communication than I have in the last year.

1st stop: Courage

In most families, there’s some element of stifling what needs to be said for the sake of cohesion and peace. But, when is it too much? Within the first hour of the road trip, my husband, children and I began a lively conversation of current events.

At some point, my daughter said “gee Mom, you’re sounding salty today!” I replied “I’ve spent the first half of my life quieting my voice for the sake of harmony, and all it got me was the increased volume of the voice inside my head!” She called that “salty” – I call that being “authentic.”

Now having said that, there are some key companions to having the courage to be salty and authentic. Respect and safety are non-negotiable, but it begs the question –how courageous are you being when it comes to cultivating communication in your organization?

Next stop: Generosity

When you’re traveling in a total of three cars, it’s critical to agree on the preferred mode of communication before beginning the journey. Someone will need to use the bathroom and someone else will need a snack and rather than relying on hand gestures and “smoke signals”, we saved ourselves a lot of confusion by agreeing on how we would communicate between cars before we departed.

Not long into the journey, we received a call from the car behind us, requesting more reliable use of our turn signals – a critical instrument in good driver communication. Being generous with these strategies dramatically improved our ability to stay connected and signal our intentions.

What tools do you have at your fingertips that could improve the quality of your team communication with more generous and consistent use?


3rd stop: Adaptability

The trick to remaining adaptable is staying flexible in the face of friction. Never was this clearer than when I found myself on the back of a horse. My horse had a reputation for taking a leisurely pace and taking every opportunity to graze on the nearby brush. Perhaps you have team members prone to similar distractions?

The wranglers taught me how to use my reins and my legs to communicate with my horse, and I found myself incorporating favorite techniques as well – verbal cues and encouraging behaviors.

Some techniques worked better for the horse and some worked better for me, but as the week progressed, we both managed to adapt and find common ground. My horse also like to trot when it suited him and I wasn’t quite ready for that.

At first, I resisted and endured a very bumpy ride. But the more I leaned in to the rhythm and began anticipating what he would do next, the smoother and more fun the rides became.

Final stop: Curiosity

When you are on vacation with eight very different people, asking questions and listening skills need to rule the day! I can’t think of an occasion where one needs to be the smartest person in the room and especially not on vacation with family.

Being curious, assuming positive intent and seeking to understand are all skills that served me well on this trip and maintained and enhanced very important relationships in my life. Which relationships on your team or in your organization could benefit from a renewed sense of curiosity?



ACTIVE LISTENING SKILLS

In today’s world of high tech and high stress, communication is more important than ever, however we spend less and less time really listening to each other. Genuine, attentive listening has become rare.

Active listening skills can help build relationships, solve problems, ensure understanding and avoid conflict. By becoming a better listener, you’ll improve your workplace productivity, as well as your ability to lead a team, persuade and negotiate.

Active listening definition

Active listening requires the listener to fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said. You make a conscious effort to hear and understand the complete message being spoken, rather than just passively hearing the message of the speaker.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  1. Why is listening important?
  2. Benefits of active listening
  3. What makes a good listener?
  4. Verbal and non-verbal signs of active listening
  5. Four different listening styles
  6. Examples of active listening
  7. Barriers to effective listening
  8. Tips to becoming an effective listener
  9. Listening exercises

Why is listening important?

Listening is the most fundamental component of communication skills. Listening is not something that just happens, listening is an active process in which a conscious decision is made to listen to and understand the messages of the speaker.

Active listening is also about patience, listeners should not interrupt with questions or comments. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore their thoughts and feelings, they should be given adequate time for that.


Benefits of active listening

There are many important benefits of active listening, these include:

  • Builds deep trust – As you cultivate the habit of listening sincerely, you invite people to open up. They can sense that you will not be jumping to conclusions based on superficial details. They also realise that you care enough about them to listen attentively. While building trust takes time, it leads to great benefits such as lifelong friendships and a promise of help in difficult times.
  • Broadens your perspective – Your own perspective in life is not the complete truth or how everyone else sees it. The way you understand life from your beliefs and thinking is only one way to look at it – listening to other people’s perspectives allows you to look at life from different perspectives, some of which you may not have thought of before.
  • Strengthens your patience – The ability to be a good listener takes time and you need to develop it with regular efforts over time. But as you gradually get better and better at listening, an automatic benefit is that you develop patience. Patience to let the other person express his or her feelings and thoughts honestly while you don’t judge.
  • Makes you approachable – As you present yourself as a patient listener, people feel more naturally inclined to communicate with you. By being there for them, you give them the freedom to express their feelings.


  • WHAT MAKES A GOOD LISTENER?

  • Good listeners actively endeavour to understand what others are really trying to say, regardless of how unclear the messages might be. Listening involves not only the effort to decode verbal messages, but also to interpret non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and physical posture.
  • Effective listeners make sure to let others know that they have been heard, and encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings fully.
  • You also need to show to the person speaking that you’re listening through non-verbal cues, such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head and smiling, agreeing by saying ‘Yes’. By providing this feedback the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and communicates more easily, openly and honestly.


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Which are the FIVE different TYPES of Speech & their examples?

1) INFORMATIVE SPEECH

1) What is an informative speech?

An informative speech is a type of speech designed to convey knowledge and understanding about a specific topic to an audience. The primary goal of an informative speech is to educate the listeners by presenting factual, clear, and well-organized information. Here are some key characteristics and elements of an informative speech:


Purpose: The main objective is to inform and educate the audience about a particular subject. This can range from explaining a concept, describing an event, demonstrating a process, or providing detailed information about a person, place, or thing.

Clarity
: The information presented should be clear and easy to understand. The speaker needs to organize the content logically and use language that is appropriate for the audience’s level of knowledge on the topic.

Structure:

Introduction
: This includes an attention-grabber, an introduction to the topic, and a clear thesis statement outlining what the speech will cover.

Body: This section contains the main points, supported by evidence such as statistics, examples, and expert testimony. Each point should be clearly articulated and connected to the next.

Conclusion: Summarizes the main points and reinforces the significance of the topic. It might also include a call to action or a thought-provoking closing remark.

Types:

Descriptive
: Provides a detailed description of a person, place, thing, or event.

Explanatory: Explains how something works or why something happens.

Demonstrative: Shows how to do something or how something is done.

Definition: Defines a concept or term in depth.

Research: An effective informative speech relies on thorough research. The speaker should use credible sources to gather accurate information and provide references when necessary.

Engagement: Although the primary goal is to inform, keeping the audience engaged is crucial. This can be achieved through the use of visual aids, anecdotes, rhetorical questions, and interactive elements. In summary, an informative speech aims to educate the audience on a specific topic by presenting well-researched, clear, and organized information in an engaging manner.


2) DEMONSTRATIVE SPEECH

1) What is an Demonstrative speech?


A demonstrative speech is a type of informative speech where the speaker shows the audience how to do something or how something works. This form of speech aims to teach the audience through a step-by-step process, often accompanied by visual aids, demonstrations, or hands-on activities to ensure clarity and understanding. Here are the key elements of a demonstrative speech:

Introduction: The speaker introduces the topic, explains its relevance, and states what the audience will learn by the end of the speech.

Body:

Materials: List and explain the materials or tools needed for the task.

Steps: Break down the process into clear, manageable steps. Each step should be described in detail, often with visual aids or actual demonstrations.

Tips and Tricks: Include any helpful hints or common pitfalls to avoid.

Conclusion: Summarize the process, reiterate the key points, and often demonstrate the final product or outcome. The conclusion may also include a Q&A session to address any audience questions.

Examples of Demonstrative Speeches:

How to bake a cake

How to tie a tie

How to change a tire

How to create a budget spreadsheet

Visual Aids: Using visual aids like slides, videos, props, or live demonstrations is crucial in a demonstrative speech. These aids help the audience follow along more easily and understand the process better. Overall, a demonstrative speech is highly practical and focuses on teaching the audience a specific skill or procedure.

3) PERSUASIVE SPEECH

1) What is an Persuasive speech?

A persuasive speech is a type of public speaking aimed at convincing the audience to accept a particular point of view or to take a specific action. The main goal is to persuade listeners through arguments, evidence, and emotional appeals. Here are the key elements and characteristics of a persuasive speech:

Clear Purpose: The speaker has a specific objective, whether it’s to change beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors of the audience.

Audience Analysis: Understanding the audience is crucial. The speaker needs to consider the audience’s values, beliefs, and attitudes to tailor the message effectively.

Strong Opening: The introduction should grab the audience’s attention and clearly state the purpose of the speech.

Logical Arguments: The body of the speech should present well-structured arguments supported by evidence, such as facts, statistics, expert opinions, and examples.

Emotional Appeals: Persuasive speeches often appeal to the emotions of the audience to create a connection and make the message more impactful. This can include storytelling, vivid language, and appeals to shared values.

Counterarguments: Addressing and refuting opposing viewpoints strengthens the speaker’s position by showing awareness and understanding of different perspectives.

Clear Structure: A persuasive speech typically follows a clear structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion. This helps in logically presenting the arguments and reinforcing the message.

Call to Action: The conclusion often includes a call to action, urging the audience to take a specific step or adopt a particular viewpoint.

Credibility and Ethics: The speaker should establish credibility and trustworthiness, and the arguments should be ethical and respectful.

Examples of persuasive speech topics include advocating for environmental conservation, persuading people to adopt healthier lifestyles, or convincing an audience about the importance of voting. Effective persuasive speeches are compelling, engaging, and well-reasoned, aiming to influence the audience’s thoughts and actions positively.

4) ENTERTAINING SPEECH

1) What is an Entertaining speech?

An entertaining speech is a type of speech that is primarily intended to amuse, delight, or entertain the audience. While it may have elements of persuasion or information, its main goal is to engage the audience emotionally and keep them entertained throughout. These speeches often employ humor, storytelling, vivid imagery, and engaging anecdotes to capture the audience’s attention and create a memorable experience. Unlike informative or persuasive speeches, the primary focus of an entertaining speech is on providing enjoyment rather than imparting knowledge or advocating for a specific viewpoint.

2) What are important elements of an Entertaining speech?

An entertaining speech captivates and delights the audience, keeping them engaged and amused throughout. Here are some important elements:

Humor: Incorporate jokes, anecdotes, or witty observations to tickle the audience’s funny bone. Humor is a powerful tool for engaging listeners and making your speech memorable.

Storytelling: Weave compelling narratives or stories into your speech. Personal anecdotes or relatable tales can create a connection with the audience and add depth to your presentation.

Engaging Delivery: Use dynamic body language, vocal variety, and expressive gestures to convey your message. A lively delivery keeps the audience attentive and enhances the entertainment value of your speech.

Surprise Elements: Introduce unexpected twists, surprises, or elements of novelty to keep the audience on their toes. Surprise can add excitement and intrigue to your speech, making it more entertaining.

Visual Aids: Incorporate visual aids such as props, slides, or multimedia presentations to enhance the entertainment factor of your speech. Visuals can add interest and reinforce key points in a memorable way.

Audience Interaction: Engage the audience directly by asking questions, encouraging participation, or involving volunteers in activities or demonstrations. Interaction creates a sense of involvement and makes the speech more entertaining.

Emotional Appeal: Appeal to the audience’s emotions by incorporating heartfelt moments, inspiring messages, or touching stories. Emotional resonance can deepen the impact of your speech and make it more engaging.

Timing and Pace: Maintain a brisk pace and keep your speech concise to hold the audience’s attention. Avoid dragging on or losing momentum, as this can detract from the entertainment value of your presentation.

Relevance and Connection: Tailor your content to the interests and preferences of your audience. Make connections to current events, popular culture, or shared experiences to ensure relevance and resonance.Memorable Conclusion: End your speech with a strong, memorable conclusion that leaves a lasting impression. Whether it’s a powerful call to action, a thought-provoking takeaway, or a humorous punchline, finish on a high note to ensure the audience walks away entertained and satisfied.


5) SPECIAL OCCASION SPEECH

1) What is an Special occasion speech?


A special occasion speech is a type of public address given to mark a significant event or milestone. These speeches are typically delivered in a formal or semi-formal setting and are designed to commemorate, celebrate, honor, or reflect upon a specific occasion or individual. Examples of special occasions that may warrant such speeches include weddings, graduations, award ceremonies, retirement parties, birthdays, anniversaries, and memorial services.

Special occasion speeches often incorporate elements of storytelling, humor, emotion, and inspiration to engage the audience and convey the significance of the event or person being honored. They may also include personal anecdotes, quotations, and cultural references relevant to the occasion. The tone and content of a special occasion speech can vary widely depending on the nature of the event and the preferences of the speaker. However, regardless of the specific occasion, the primary goal of these speeches is to leave a lasting impression on the audience and create a memorable experience for everyone involved.


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KAILASA TEMPLE

KAILASA TEMPLE

The Kailasha (IAST: Kailāśa) or Kailashanatha (IAST: Kailāśanātha) temple is the largest of the rock-cut Hindu temples at the Ellora Caves near Aurangabad district, Maharashtra of Maharashtra, India. A megalith carved from a cliff face, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in the world because of its size, architecture, and sculptural treatment. It has been called “the climax of the rock-cut phase of Indian architecture”.The top of the structure over the sanctuary is 32.6 metres (107 ft) above the level of the court below,  and although the rock face slopes downwards from the rear of the temple to the front, archaeologists believe it was sculpted from a single rock.

The Kailasa temple (Cave 16) is the largest of the 34 Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain cave temples and monasteries known collectively as the Ellora Caves, ranging for over two kilometres (1.2 mi) along the sloping basalt cliff at the site. Most of the excavation of the temple is generally attributed to the eighth century Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (r. c. 756 – 773), with some elements completed later. The temple architecture shows traces of Pallava and Chalukya styles. The temple contains a number of relief and free-standing sculptures on a grand scale equal to the architecture, though only traces remain of the paintings which originally decorated it.

Kailasa (Kaliash) temple lacks a dedicatory inscription, but there is no doubt that it was commissioned by a Rashtrakuta ruler. Its construction is generally attributed to the Rashtrakuta king Krishna I (r. 756-773 CE), based on two epigraphs that link the temple to “Krishnaraja” (IAST Kṛṣṇarāja):

  • The Vadodara copper-plate inscription (c. 812-813 CE) of Karkaraja II (a ruler of a Rashtrakuta branch of Gujarat) records the grant of a village in present-day Gujarat. It mentions Krishnaraja as the patron of Kailasanatha, and also mentions a Shiva temple at Elapura (Ellora). It states that the king constructed a temple so wondrous that even the gods and the architect were astonished. Most scholars believe that this is a reference to the Kailasanatha Shiva temple at Ellora.
  • The Kadaba grant of Govinda Prabhutavarsha similarly appears to credit Krishnaraja with the construction of the temple.

However, the attribution of the temple to Krishna I is not completely certain because these epigraphs are not physically connected to the caves, and do not date Krishnaraja’s reign. Moreover, the land grants issued by Krishna’s successors do not contain any references to the Kailasa temple . The Kailasa temple features the use of multiple distinct architectural and sculptural styles. This, combined with its relatively large size, has led some scholars to believe that its construction spanned the reigns of multiple kings. Some of the temple reliefs feature the same style as the one used in the Dashavatara cave (Cave 15), which is located next to the temple. The Dashavatara cave contains an inscription of Krishna’s predecessor and nephew Dantidurga (c. 735–756 CE). Based on this, art historian Hermann Goetz (1952) theorized that the construction of the Kailasa temple began during the reign of Dantidurga. Krishna consecrated its first complete version, which was much smaller than the present-day temple. According to Goetz, Dantidurga’s role in the temple construction must have been deliberately suppressed, as Krishna sidelined Dantidurga’s sons to claim the throne after his death. Based on analysis of the different styles, Goetz further hypothesized that the later Rashtrakuta rulers also extended the temple. These rulers include Dhruva Dharavarsha, Govinda III, Amoghavarsha, and Krishna III. According to Goetz, the 11th century Paramara ruler Bhoja commissioned the elephant-lion frieze on the lower plinth during his invasion of Deccan, and added a new layer of paintings. Finally, Ahilyabai Holkar commissioned the last layer of paintings in the temple.


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KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva. It is located in Vishwanath Gali, in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The temple is a Hindu pilgrimage site and is one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines. The presiding deity is known by the names Vishwanath and Vishweshwara literally meaning Lord of the Universe.

According to several historical accounts, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in 1669. Subsequently, the Gyanvapi Mosque was built on its site in 1678, but Hindu pilgrims continued to visit the remnants of the temple. The current structure was constructed on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in 1780. In 2021, a major redevelopment of the temple complex was completed, and the Kashi Vishwanath Dham Corridor connecting the Ganga river with the temple was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi, leading to a many-fold increase in visitors. It has become one of the most visited Hindu temples in India, with an average footfall of 45,000 per day in 2023. The total assets of the temple, were estimated to be more than ₹6 crores in 2024.

It is believed that Varanasi is the first Jyotirlinga to manifest itself. According to the legend, it was at this place that Shiva (the Hindu god of destruction) manifested as an infinite column of light (Jyotirlinga) in front of Brahma (the Hindu god of creation) and Vishnu (the Hindu god of preservation) when they had an argument about their supremacy.
In order to discover the origin of the luminous column, Vishnu took the form of a boar (Varaha) and tracked the column beneath the ground, while Brahma, who assumed the shape of a swan, scoured the heavens in an attempt to locate the apex of the column. However, both of them were unsuccessful in identifying the source of the luminous column. Yet, Brahma deceitfully asserted that he had discovered the summit of the column, while Vishnu humbly admitted his inability to find the starting point of the radiant column. Due to Brahma’s deceit over the discovery of the origin of the luminous column, Shiva penalised him by cutting his fifth head and placing a curse upon him. This curse entailed that Brahma would no longer receive reverence, whereas Vishnu, being truthful, would be equally venerated alongside Shiva and have dedicated temples for eternity.

Hindu scriptures describe Vishweshara as the sacred deity of Varanasi, holding the position of king over all the other deities as well as over all the inhabitants of the city and the extended circuit of the Panchkosi, an area (the sacred boundary of Varanasi) spreading over 50 miles.
The Jyothirlinga is an ancient axis mundi symbol representing the supremely formless (nirguna) reality at the core of creation, out of which the form (saguna) of Shiva appears. The Jyothirlinga shrines are thus places where Shiva appeared as a fiery column of light. There are twelve ‘self manifested’ Jyotirlinga sites that take the name of the presiding deity; each is considered a different manifestation of Shiva. At all these sites, the primary image is a lingam representing the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolising the infinite nature of Shiva.


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SASBAHU TEMPLE

SASBAHU TEMPLE

Sasbahu Temple, also called the Sas-Bahu MandirSas-Bahu TemplesSahasrabahu Temple or Harisadanam temple, is an 11th-century twin temple in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. Near the Gwalior Fort and dedicated to Vishnu in his Padmanabha form, like most Hindu and Jain temples in this region, it is mostly in ruins and was badly damaged from numerous invasions and Hindu-Muslim wars in the region. It was built in 1093 by King Mahipala of the Kachchhapaghata dynasty, according to an inscription found in the larger of the twin temple. The twin temples are situated in the Gwalior Fort.

The temple’s tower and sanctum has been destroyed, but its architecture and damaged carvings can still be appreciated from the ruins. The jagati platform is 100 feet (30 m) long and 63 feet (19 m) wide, on a square plan. The temple was three-storeyed, which was one of its distinguishing features and sophistication. It followed a central cluster concept, states Adam Hardy. The surviving elements of the temple are the entrance porch and the mandapa. According to James Harle, though the prasada (tower, spire) no longer exists, the triple storey plan with a cruciform foundation and balconies suggests that it had a North Indian Bhumija style architecture. This style, states Harle, is marked by a well proportioned superstructure, its “regularly arranged little subordinate sikharas strung out like gigantic beaded garlands”.

This temple mainly has three entrances from three different directions. In the fourth direction, there is a room which is currently closed. The entire temple is covered with carvings, notably 4 idols of Brahma, Vishnu and Saraswati above its entrance door. The pillar carvings show Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism related carvings. The larger temple ornamentation covers all the exterior walls and all surviving interior surfaces. The twin temple, like elsewhere in India, has locally been called Sasbahu temple. The word Sasbahu means “mother-in-law, bride” or “a mother with her daughter-in-law”, an association that implies their being together and interdependent. The Sas temple is typically the larger older temple of the twin. The Gwalior Sasbahu temple follows this style, but both temples are dedicated to Vishnu. Only the Sas temple has survived in some form, the Bahu temple is a shell structure of the original one storey with a highly ornate door frame and its defaced wall reliefs surviving. The remnants of the Bahu temple at Gwalior suggest that it may have been a smaller version of the Saas temple.

The Sas temple has a square sanctum attached to a rectangular two storey antarala and a closed three storey mandapa with three entrances. The temple main entrance porch has four carved Ruchaka ghatapallava-style pillars that are load-bearing. The walls and lintels are intricately carved, though much defaced. On the lintel of the entrances, friezes of Krishna-leela scenes are carved inside, while the outer side narrate legends from other Hindu texts. Above the lintel is Garuda, the vahana of Vishnu. The Bahu temple also has a square sanctum with 9.33 feet (2.84 m) side, with four central pillars. Its maha-mandapa is also a square with 23.33 feet (7.11 m) side, with twelve pillars.  The temple, like most Malwa and Rajputana historic temples, provides multiple entrances to the devotee. The roof consists of two rotated squares that intersect to form an octagon capped by successive overlapping circles. The pillars have octagonal bases as well, with girls carved but these have been defaced and mutilated. The sanctum has an image of damaged Vishnu, next to whom stands Brahma holding the Vedas on one side and Shiva holding the trident on the other side.



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BAITALA DEULA TEMPLE

BAITALA DEULA TEMPLE

Baitāḷa deuḷa or Vaitāḷa deuḷa is an 8th-century Hindu temple of the typical Khakara style of the Kalinga architecture dedicated to Goddess Chamunda located in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, India. It is also locally known as Tini-mundia deula due to the three spires on top of it, a very distinct and unusual feature. The three spires are believed to represent the three powers of the goddess Chamunda – Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali.

Baitaḷa Deuḷa Temple’s striking feature is the shape of its sanctuary tower. The semi-cylindrical shape of its roof is a leading example of Khakhara order of temples— which bears an affinity to the Dravidian Gopuram of the South Indian temples. Its gabled towers with a row of Shikharas reveals unmistakable signs of southern intrusion. The plan of the deuḷa is oblong and the jagamohana is a rectangular structure, but embedded in each angle is a small subsidiary shrine. Baitala deuḷa boasts of some figures, although executed in relief, are however characterized by delicacy of features and perfect equipoise.

The outer walls are encrusted with panels of Hindu deities, mostly Shiva and his consort Parvati, hunting processions, capturing of wild elephants and the occasional erotic couples.The facade of the deuḷa above the left of the jagamohana is dominated by two chaitya windows—the lower one having a carved figure of the sun god, Surya noted for its facial expression, with Usha (Dawn) and Pratyusha shooting arrows on either side and with Aruna in front, driving a chariot of seven horses.

The medallion in the upper Chaitya window houses a 10-armed Nataraja, the dancing form of Shiva. In front of the flat roofed Jagamohana is a stone post relieved with two Buddha like figures seated in Dharma-Chakra-Pravartana mudra.
Another striking feature is temple’s Tantric associations, marked by eerie carvings in the sanctum. The image enshrined in the central niche, eight armed Chamunda, locally known as Kapaḷini, is the terrifying form of goddess. Thus, Baitāḷa Deuḷa is a Shakti shrine.

The presiding deity, Chamunda or Charchika sits on a corpse flanked by a jackal and an owl and decorated with a garland of skulls. She holds a snake, bow, shield, sword, trident, thunderbolt and an arrow, and is piercing the neck of the demon. The niche is capped by a chaitya window containing seated figures of Shiva and Parvati. Chamunda is surrounded by a host of other smaller size allied deities carved in the lower parts of the walls, each within a niche separate by a pilaster. The figure on the east wall, to the right of the door, is a skeleton form of Bhairava, the counterpart of Chamunda.


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SOMNATH TEMPLE

SOMNATH TEMPLE

The Somanath temple(IAST: somanātha) or Deo Patan, is a Hindu temple located in Prabhas Patan, Veraval in Gujarat, India. It is one of the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus and is the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. It is unclear when the first version of the Somnath temple was built, with estimates varying between the early centuries of the 1st millennium and about the 9th century CE. The temple is not mentioned in the ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism; while various texts, including the Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana, mention a tirtha (pilgrimage site) at Prabhas Patan on the coastline of Saurashtra, where the temple is presently located, there is no evidence that a temple existed at the site in ancient times.

The temple was reconstructed several times in the past after repeated destruction by multiple Muslim invaders and rulers, notably starting with an attack by Mahmud Ghazni in the 11th century. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, historians and archaeologists of the colonial era actively studied the Somnath temple because its ruins showed a historic Hindu temple that was turning into an Islamic mosque. After India’s independence, those ruins were demolished, and the present Somnath temple was reconstructed in the Māru-Gurjara style of Hindu temple architecture. The contemporary Somnath temple’s reconstruction was started under the orders of the first Deputy Prime Minister of India, Vallabhbhai Patel after receiving approval for reconstruction from Mahatma Gandhi. The reconstruction was completed in May 1951, after Gandhi’s death.

The Somnath temple is located along the coastline in Prabhas Patan, Veraval, Saurashtra region of Gujarat. It is about 400 kilometres (249 mi) southwest of Ahmedabad, 82 kilometres (51 mi) south of Junagadh – another major archaeological and pilgrimage site in Gujarat. It is about 7 kilometres (4 mi) southeast of the Veraval railway junction, about 130 kilometres (81 mi) southeast of the Porbandar airport and about 85 kilometres (53 mi) west of the Diu airport.
The Somnath temple is located close to the ancient trading port of Veraval, one of three in Gujarat from where Indian merchants departed to trade goods. The 11th-century Persian historian Al-Biruni states that Somnath has become so famous because “it was the harbor for seafaring people and a station for those who went to and fro between Sufala in the country of Zanj (east Africa) and China”. Combined with its repute as an eminent pilgrimage site, its location was well known to the kingdoms within the Indian subcontinent. Literature and epigraphical evidence suggest that the medieval-era Veraval port was also actively trading with the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This brought wealth and fame to the Veraval area, as well as the temple.

The site of Prabhas Patan was occupied during the Indus Valley Civilisation, 2000–1200 BCE. It was one of very few sites in the Junagadh district to be so occupied. After abandonment in 1200 BCE, it was reoccupied in 400 BCE and continued into the historical period. Prabhas is also close to the other sites similarly occupied: Junagadh, Dwarka, Padri and Bharuch.
The site of Somnath has been a pilgrimage site from ancient times on account of being a Triveni Sangam (the confluence of three rivers: Kapila, Hiran and Saraswati). Soma, the Moon god, is believed to have lost his lustre due to a curse, and he bathed in the Sarasvati River at this site to regain it. The result is said to be the waxing and waning of the moon. The name of the town, Prabhasa, meaning lustre, as well as the alternative name Someshvara (“the lord of the moon” or “the moon god”), arise from this tradition.


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