Spring in Boysun, Surkhandarya region, Uzbekistan. Uzbek traditional costume. Source Marakanda Expedition.

The Moon, circa 1610, illustrated by Galileo Galilei.

Sheep’s Head

Turkey or northwestern Iran, 19th century
Brass, pierced, encised, gilded.
9 1/8 x 13 3/8 in. (23 x 34 cm)

Madonna del Rocío

"Jean Cocteau as The Poet and the Sphinx, Testament of Orpheus", Les Baux de Provence, par Lucien Clergue, 1959.

tomb of Hafez, Shiraz, Iran

underwater sculpture by Jason deCaires Taylor

Maha shivaratri is celebrated on the night of (Maha) Vad 14 as it is believed that this is the day when Lord Shiva transformed and appeared as the Shivalinga. The ritual is traced back to ancient times when a hunter sat atop a bilitree waiting to hunt a deer. He kept a constant watch and kept dropping the leaves on the ground. They fell on the Shivalinga that was below the tree. When he finally captured a deer, it requested the hunter to let him go to see its family. The deer promised that it would return. The hunter agreed and he kept himself awake by plucking the bili leaves and dropping them on the Shivalinga. Thus he unknowingly performed the puja. When in the morning the deer returned, the hunter could not kill it. As he was purified of all the evils and sins due to the puja he did at night. The hunter and the deer were blessed by Lord Shiva. From that day onwards Maha Shivaratri has been celebrated by fasting and being awake all night. Hindus perform puja of Shiva all through the night.