Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Sunburn Festival Goa

http://sunburn.in/
Sunburn Festival is a combination of music, dance, entertainment, food and shopping and so helps an individual to have non-stop fun and enjoyment. The Candolim Beach where the Sunburn Festival takes place will be geared and decked with high volume of music and international world class performances. And when you will be experiencing all of this you will definitely enjoy yourself to the extreme limits.
The Sunburn is a kind of festival for which not only the locals of Goa but tourists across the world wait and long for. The festival takes place after Christmas and ends before the New Year’s Day thereby adding that extra reason to enjoy even more.

HISTORY
It was in the year 2007 that the Sunburn Festival was celebrated for the first time in Goa and you will be amazed to know that at that time only ten stalls existed in the market of Candolim Beach. And it was during that time that only 10000 people attended it and today people in lakhs attend this extravagant festival. However, it is this increasing number which by itself narrates the success of the festival. Today you will find a varied variety of almost 36 national and international performances.  

WHEN IS IT CELEBRATED
The festival takes place from 27th to 29th of December at the Candolim Beach of Goa, there by offering 3 days of continuous dance music and entertainment. Over the years it is this festival which has become the major attraction and main reason for tourists to pour into Goa in the month of December.

HOW IS IT CELEBRATED
The festival is organized by the joint partnership of Nikhil Chinapa, a well known presenter and Video Jockey of the MTV channel in India and Shailendra Singh thereby the festival being a combination of music, dance, shopping, entertainment and food. And it is because of these reasons that it has become popular in the youth.

There are many other events which take place in the festival such as national and international performances etc. Once here you will be able to witness a number of stalls offering various mouth watering delicacies to the people. You can also find Massages, spa treatments, slippery football, rock climbing, mechanical bull riding and fire juggling as the other activities of the festival which will make the festival an even more interesting place to be. The festival comes to an end with splendid and extravagant fireworks.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
The main activities include dancing to the music of world class DJ’S and performances of well known international artists like Funkagenda, AN21, James Zabiela, Norman Doray, Richard Durand, Hilight Tribe, Sandar van  Doorn, Roger Sanchez, Feddle le Grand and Paul van Dyk and also the Japanese Popstars like Filterheadz, Joof, Spectre, Paul Thomas, Sunnery James Ryan Marciano, Showtek who will  be entertaining the crowd this year.

ATTRACTIONS
Sunburn Festival Goa 2013’s main attractions include dance, music, food stalls and other festivities.

To sum up the Sunburn Festival has made Goa an ultimate Dance Festival Destination, and so do make it a point to be there this December so as to discover the real experience which is far beyond your conceptions.     

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The incredible mt. Abu winter festival


http://www.rajasthantourism.gov.in/

The Winter Festival celebrated in Mt. Abu is a combination of the rich culture and vivid tradition of Rajasthan. Mt. Abu is also known as “Oasis on the dessert” as it is the only hill station in the state of Rajasthan which is situated at an altitude of 1219 meters and there by you will find dense green forests, lakes, waterfalls and rivers here. The major event of Mt. Abu is the Winter Festival as it is here that you can witness dances, fairs, stalls for varied products, concerts, handicraft and much more. The festival creates a rich and mesmerizing atmosphere.

HISTORY
The Mt. Abu Winter Festival was a combined initiative of the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and the Municipal Board of Tamil Nadu thereby with a motive to celebrate the culture of the people of the hill station. The festival provides a break to the fast and busy lives of the people of hill station.
 
WHEN IS IT CELEBRATED?
The Winter Festival is a three day long celebration that is in the last week of December each year that is usually from 29th to 31st of the month. The Rajasthan Tourism and Municipal Board of Mount Abu looks after the organization of the festival. The warmth of the hill station’s people adds on to the celebration.

HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?
The Winter Festival has a ceremonial procession as its opening act that is from the Rajasthan Tourism Development Council- Hotel Shikhar to the Nakki Lake Chowk and it is here that you will witness thousands of diyas floating on the lake thereby making it an extravagant location. And it is this act which is called “Deepdaan” where lamps are set to afloat. There are various cultural events which take place which comprise of the classical and folk dances such as Daph, Ghoomar and Gair. It also includes the folk songs by well known artists of the country. The Festival is also a host to various sports tournaments such as Rowing, Cricket etc where the locals as well as tourists can participate.

All of these cultural activities and distribution of prizes for various competitions are held at the Aravali Manch that is from 8pm to midnight of 31st December and are followed by splendid fireworks on the last day of the festival which will indeed also light up all the memories of the three day long celebration in your minds.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
• In the Winter Festival you can get entertained by participating in games like Gilli Danda, 20*20 Cricket matches and water sports like rowing etc. You can also indulge yourself in kite flying and leaving the attractive hot air balloons into the air.
• You can also witness Sufi, Kathak, and Break-dance apart from various performances by folk artists of Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat. 
• You can also hear to heart touching poetries and witness mind boggling visual art.
• You can also participate in Rangoli and Mehendi competitions or even be a spectator to this artistic event.
However, the Winter Festival is a combination of both modern and traditional events.

ATTRACTIONS
The major attractions of the festival include the folk dances, folk songs, handicraft and handloom which showcase the rich and diverse culture of the state of Rajasthan.
To sum up visit the Winter Festival to witness the true spirit of the state of Rajasthan.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Extravagant Cochin Carnival

The Cochin Carnival is celebrated in Cochin which is in the state of Kerala in India and is one of the most awaited festivals where one can have the experience of a lifetime. This festival is based on the five principles that is, Progress, Peace, Participation, Adventure and Environment, thereby it is these principles which make this festival different from the other festivals of the country. During this festival the Fort Kochi is decorated with lights in such a way that any visitor will not be able to avoid a gaze at it. Visitors from different parts of the world come here, dressed in the colorful clothes so as to add on that extra charm to the occasion.

History
The Cochin Carnival was originated by the Portuguese in the 16th century, as it was by them that the tradition of celebrating New Year started that is on the 1st of January, and so it is with this that the Cochin Festival started to be celebrated. It is since then that one can get the true essence of vivid culture of Cochin through the medium of this festival.

When is it celebrated?
The massive celebrations and extravagant fairs start in the last 10 days of the year that is from 20th December to the 1st January, However the rally which is one of the main attractions of the festival should not be missed at any cost, it is held this year on the 1st of January at the Veli Ground at 3pm.

How is it celebrated?

The festival is a combination of art, drama, music, food and celebrations. Many competitions and multifaceted celebrations are also conducted on the free spaces of the streets. Tourists are offered entertainment in the form of different games such as Beach volley ball, sea swimming, dirt bike races and beach football, however the festival continues until the midnight of 31st December followed by the spectacular fireworks.

Main Activities
Apart from the sports, entertainment, fireworks, fairs etc the main activity of the festival is the parade carrying a huge statue of Papanai (like Santa- Claus) to the beach that is on the 31st December’s midnight there after it is set on fire and a grand party is followed by it. And the Elephant Rally on the 1st of January is just remarkable.


Attractions of the Festival
• The festival in every sense is having a combination of the essences and cultures of the festivals of the Portuguese, Dutch, Arab, Anglo-Indian, Gujrati, Malyalee, Andhra, Tamil and Punjabi, thereby making it an even more attractive place to be.
• The festival has twin celebrations for Christmas as well as New Year and so you can have twice the fun, joy and entertainment of the two celebrations at the same place.
• The celebrations coincide with the Christmas holiday vacation and so many tourists from around the world visit this splendid festival.
• The common events of the festival comprise the art shows, colorful rallies, fairs, food festival and fireworks.

To sum up the Cochin Carnival is definitely a place to be to celebrate the New Year. So, this December where are you going to be, while the best amongst you are going to be at the Cochin Festival!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mamallapuram Dance Festival – Come Soak in the Cultural Heritage of India

Mamallapuram is a beautiful city in Tamilnadu, just 58 kms away from the busiest cities of India Chennai. It is well known for its cultural heritage, sandy beaches and amazing sculpted architectures like temples, old buildings and monuments. The city has great historical importance as it once used to be the ancient ports of the great historical Pallava Kings. Apart from the all, the city is in the limelight and is quite in the news for its grand annual festival called the Mamallapuram Dance Festival, which is a huge event celebrated with great pomp and show in Tamilnadu. It is like the magnum Opus of the events in Mamallapuram. This festival that is being talked about is a celebration of colours, art and culture of India. For years it has been the most talked about and in demand event in the region. People who love arts and dance and Indian ethnic uniqueness ensure they don’t miss it and thus they make advanced reservations well ahead of the set time. This year in 2013, Mamallapuram Dance Festival will start from 25th of December and will end on 15th of January 2014. The 20 Days extravaganza would let you savour Indian culture preserved over centuries, cultural shows and music and dance performances performed by 300 talented artists from different states of India. Like other Indian festivals, Mamallapuram Dance festival is too celebrated with great pomp and show.

The festival is a four week event where one gets to see the most amazingly talented artists from all over India in the field of dance and music and other subtle arts like paintings and sculpting. This is operated and organized by the Tamil Nadu government and to make it even more special it falls very close to the New Year’s event which is then an icing on the cake. The entire area comes to life and merrymaking during this period. It is just one of the things that you should experience if you travel down south to Tamil Nadu. 

You will savour some of the great dance forms of India such as Bharatnatyam, Kathak, Kathakali, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and Odissi which are all traditional cultural dance forms that have been there in India since ages. Puppet shows and classical music are also held on Friday and Saturday. Those mesmerizing performances have and will always get the audience in awe of their magic. Also because the festival happens in Tamil Nadu, it is also a platform for the many Tamil folk dances such as the Kokkali Attam, Silambattam, Karagam and Thappattam. However, since we know India is so very diverse it has also started to become a platform for the major dance forms from many other states in India.

The event is a colourful one where hundreds of people come to attend and bath in the cultural and musical program. It is an open air show where the backdrop of the majestic Shore temple adds to the meaning to this beautiful event. The venue is centuries old made of monolithic rock sculptures in the ancient city of Mamallapuram. When the performers show their skills and talent on the stage, the century old temple complements them perfectly. This vibrant time is also an opportunity for the many young talents to come up on front to prove them-selves to the world. The Talented Indian folk dancers attire beautifully in Indian culture put up amazing dance performances showing the rich culture and the beauty of India Incredible.

Come and be the part of this vibrant festival Mamallapuram, celebrated in Tamilnadu with great pomp and show.

• Don’t miss to visit Shore Temple and the Tiger Cave in Mamallapuram
• 7th Century Five Rathas of Panch Pandavas carved out of stone is a must see attraction.
• Also visit Krishna’s Butterball a giant natural rock perched on the hill side. It is interesting to visit as it applies some rules of physics.

Monday, December 9, 2013

28th KONARK DANCE AND MUSIC FESTIVAL-2013

The venue of the Konark Festival, Orissa is the Sun temple which was built by around 12000 craftsmen in the 13th century and if you see the contours of the temple you will clearly analyze the importance of the Odissi dance form which existed since then, as the walls are carved out and postures of this traditional dance form are made in it. The Sun temple was mainly made so as to worship the Sun god as the people believed it to be the primary source of energy and you would be amazed to know that this temple is considered to be one of the greatest architectural marvel of India where poetry on stones make the tradition of Konark alive even today.

As the temple showcases the importance of dance and art forms and so was considered to be the best venue for organizing the Konark Dance Festival.

WHEN AND WHERE IS IT CELEBRATED
The Konark Festival this year is going to take place from 1st to 5th of December. When we talk about Konark the famous Sun temple comes to our mind as it is here that the Konark Festival is celebrated in the month of December every year. The Konark festival, showcases mainly the traditional dance forms of India and over the years has become very popular among the tourists. And the traditional dance forms include the mesmerizing Bharatnatyam, the splendid Manipuri and Odissi, the graceful Sattriya and Kathakali etc.

HOW IS IT CELEBRATED
The Konark Festival is not just about the various dance forms but is also about the classical Indian music as it is here that some of the most appreciated and talented artists of India are showcased, thereby the festival is become best in terms of hosting best musicians in the country. When you witness the musical events it is only then that you will get an essence of the incredible Indian music. 

MAIN ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS OF 2013:

Day 1 (1st December 2013)
The two events lined up are an Odissi dance by Madhavi Mudgal and Group, and a Kuchipudi dance by Guru Raja Radha Reddy.
Day 2 (2nd December 2013)
The two events lined up are a Mohiniattam dance form by Bharti Sivaji and Group, and an Odissi dance form by the Meera Das and Group.
Day 3 (3rd December 2013)
The events include an Odissi dance by Kassturi Pattanaik and Group, and a Bharatnatyam dance form by the Mallika Sarabhai and Group.
Day 4 (4th December 2013)
The events include a Sattriya dance by Anita Sharma and Group, and an Odissi dance form by Nrutyagam.
Day 5 (5th December 2013)
The events include a Kathakali dance by Dr. Malabika Mitra and Group, and an Odissi dance form by GKCM, Odissi Research Centre.

The events such as Jugalbandi of music and painting are also held each day apart from the dance forms. If you are a fan of handicrafts then Konark Festival is the right place to be as it is here that a Craft Mela will be held alongside the venue of the main festival, where you will be able to see the master craftsmen showcasing their handicrafts. However, Konark is a festival with unique combination of dance and art forms so do not miss the opportunity to visit the Konark Festival this December. 
 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Immortal soul of St Xavier

December 3rd, day when a legend Francis Xavier who walked street to street to preach a word of god and affected a life of millions with his magical word breathed his last on this day. And to commemorate deeds of Francis Xavier this day is marked as a memorial feast tribute solely to Francis Xavier.

His silent body which lies on a silver casket at a Bom church of Goa million gathers on this day to attend and honor a death ceremony of a saint.



History
As per some the source some of the Portuguese found him just before he left to heaven and they performed a funeral and buried his body in a box which was filled with unslaked lime. It is also said that when his finger was sliced he witnessed a flow of blood and his body was still not stale at all he reported this incident to the Vatican and the title of saint was conferred upon Xavier.

The body was buried into a cemetery of Malacca and after years it was brought back to Goa and till now his body is no ay affected by death and his ruins are placed in a silver casket of Bom church of Goa.

When it is celebrated
It is usually celebrated at the month of December and on December 3rd huge crowds gathers here to pay their honor to St Francis by kissing his relics and praying him to bring a peace and prosperity in world, and celebrate the feast of St. Xavier.

How it is celebrated
On this day proceeding are performed by an archbishop f Delhi Anil Couto and co-celebrants Archbishop of Goa and Daman Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop Emeritus Raul Gonsalves, Bishop of Sindhudurg Alwyn Baretto etc who grace this auspicious occasion with their presence and marks this occasion with their words and people who come here to see a death body of Francis Xavier get to see an immortal body.

It is only during this occasion a century cross body of St Xavier comes down for public veneration and in other days people could only see a feet and face of St Xavier. Occasion starts from 4 am of morning and closes at 8 pm and during this time people gathers to kiss a relics and ruins of their very own Francis Xavier who did a lot to bring a justice on earth and influenced all the people towards a reality of life.

It is believed that it has a healing touch and with an order of pope still his finger are carried across a world so that people could feel a healing touch of St Xavier. It is a most celebrated occasion in memory of St Xavier and many important statesmen marks this day with their presents in order to feel a holy vibe that surrounds an ambiance of Bom church of Goa.

Attraction
 Main attraction is a silver casket which holds immortal ruins of St Xavier and it is placed right at side of Alter. To get a glimpse of a ruins people travels from distance and feels blessed after it veneration.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Toshali National Crafts Mela, the Event of Colors and Fascinating Craftsmanship

Odisha is a land of diverse cultures and traditions, so it automatically holds innumerable events and festivals throughout the year. There are different religions and their respective sacred places for the religious seekers, ethnic culture and architecture for the travelers, traditional dance forms for entertainment and a wide range of local delicious foods for the ones who are interested in trying different delicacies. Odisha has everything to offer from art to historic places and various attractive destinations for the visiting tourists. In fact almost every month of the year is involved with celebrations, festivals and events in Odisha which provides a unique opportunity for the local as well as international tourists to explore every time they visit this place. The Toshali National Crafts Mela is one of the main attractions of this place. It one of its kind which is meant to encourage and preserve the craftsmanship of the creative artists belonging to the region as well as the other parts of the country along with artists from SAARC countries.

The Toshali National Crafts Mela is a unique exhibition of the colorful and vivacious spirit of rural India. It is held in the beautiful setting of the temple of Bhubaneswar (Janta Maidan), in Odisha. The crafts mela was first organized in the year 2007 on the lines of Surajkund Craft Mela at Pushkar in Rajasthan with a motive to assist a direct link between the craftsmen and the buyers. It is a 13-day long event, which provides opportunity to the visitors to interact with the nationally and internationally renowned craftsmen and even purchase their fascinating creations. Since then the event is organized annually, offering a huge platform for numerous gifted artists, painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen from across the country as well as other SAARC nations like Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka to exhibit their inventiveness. The event executes a colorful environment resembling to the typical setting of ‘Indian rural Haat’, which gives it a unique flavor.
The chief objectives of this event are to introduce crafts and their craftsmen directly to the purchasers, to identify, cultivate and preserve languishing crafts of the country and to educate and introduce customers about the captivating technique and skills involved in creation of the crafts.

The fair is jointly organized by the Union Ministry of Tourism, the State Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts department, the Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC), the Odisha Sangeet Academy and the Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Odissi Research Centre.

The event displays some of the finest handicrafts and handlooms of India such as cane craft from North East, woodcraft from Kashmir, wood and cane inlay work from South India, oxidized jewellery, sea-shell decorations from Rajasthan, patola and bandhni from Gujarat and Rajasthan, fashion accessories such as Punjabi shoes, tribal ornaments of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, chikan from Lucknow, kantha from Tripura & West Bengal, kanjeevaram from the South. In addition to these, several colorful cultural events and food stalls providing a huge range of scrumptious delicacies make a major draw of the Toshali National Crafts Mela. Other than this, famous music and vocal artists also perform during this event.

Monday, November 25, 2013

7 WONDERS OF INDIA: PURI BEACH FESTIVAL

Every year one of the most awaited festivals of the country (India) is the Puri Beach Festival. We can understand from the name of the festival itself that it is celebrated on the mystic beach of Puri. And the name of the beach is Swargadwara(Orissa).This festival is inspired from the beach festival of Goa. If you want to experience the world famous, art and culture of Orissa then Puri beach festival is the place to be. Once here you can enjoy the interaction with local people of Orissa and get closer to the real essence of this very state.


HISTORY OF THE FESTIVAL
In the year 1993(29thOctober), the very first Puri Beach Festival was inaugurated by two great personalities, Late Sri Biju Pattnaik and Gulam Nabi Ajad. Since then this festival has proved to be a great success as it is known to be the most popular festival of Orissa where tourists gather not only from India but abroad as well.

WHEN IS IT CELEBRATED
The Puri Beach Festival is a five day festival which is celebrated every year in the month of November. And this year it is scheduled to be from 23rd to 27th of November. Each year Hotel and Restaurant Association of Orissa (HRAO) are the organizers of the festival. While the Government of India, the Department of Tourism and Development Commission of Handicrafts are the co-sponsors of this world famous festival.   

HOW IS PURI BEACH FESTIVAL CELEBRATED?

The Puri Beach Festival offers world class entertainment to every age group as one can find varieties of cultural performances, handicrafts, Fashion shows, rock concerts, Beach Parties, food festivals, DJs and sports competitions. Artists who have made their name around the world from the country (India) perform here for increasing the entertainment factor of the festival. You can enjoy different dance forms being performed in the festival such as classical dance, folk dance, contemporary dance, lyrical dance etc. If you want more of local dance forms of Orissa then you can sit back and watch the spectacular Odissi, Lambadi and Lepcha performances. If you are a sports lover then you are not going to be left behind in being entertained in the festival as there are various sports competitions held such as beach volley ball, Kabadi, Malkhab etc. You can also visit the Handloom and Handicrafts exhibition which will be held everyday and here for sure you will be fascinated by the creativity. It will not be wrong if we describe the festival to be a blend of art-dance-music-sports.

The Puri Beach Festival is most famous for the “Sand Art” and every year visitors mainly visit with the motive to witness this exquisite art form. It is a new concept which is introduced and is proved to be a huge success for the festival. The Sand Art is a theme and concept based activity where carvings are made out of sand. For instance in one year the theme shall be ancient monumental structures and the other year it shall be something else and these themes are portrayed in an artistic manner by the artists.

To sum up, the Puri beach festival is a must to visit as it will transform you to a different world and will prove to be a one of a kind holiday trip.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bundi festival of Rajasthan


Reflecting a beauty of culture, heritage and tradition Bundi utsav is one of the most celebrated festivals of Rajasthan. Celebrated at a site of Hadoti in Rajasthan, November marks a month of color art and culture.
Beauty of this festival is, it looks to uplift a beauty of culture that Rajasthan has and to see that people gathers from all across a world at a site of Bundi a small town at a district of Hadoti in Rajasthan.

Marked by a beauty of culture, at this day people wear their ethnic attire and prepare themselves to march for celebration. As it is a most celebrated festival and people waits for it to happen with boom and beauty all the people from different district and people from across the country participate at ‘Shobha Yatra’ which is followed by an Ethnic sports contests, arts and craft fairs, cultural exhibits and music/dance performances.
During these festivals people engage themselves in sharing lamps, bridal attire show, turban tying competition, rural sports contests, sightseeing, display of lights and blowing crackers all night.

People at the banks of River Chambal, cries their prayers and thank god for giving them opportunity to live under his roof and carries on the feast of festival by chanting Vedic rhymes. Keshorai Patan reveals a miniature of famous Pushkar cattle and women and men in all traditional attire enjoys a beauty of festivals with delights and it also offers tourist a brilliant chance to see a rich culture of Rajasthan which is very much associated with an essence of soil and sense of belongingness.

During this festivals locals stays on shops to sell their beautiful art and crafts and one has a brilliant chance to buy them as it reflects a culture of Rajasthan. various shops exhibits their beautiful creation and people do love to buy them and it becomes more beautiful during a time of this festivals when they show their beauty of creation to commemorate a beauty of long and awaited festival.

During the time of festival you would see a true culture of Rajasthan and they explore it so brilliantly people from around the world come to participate on this festival. Lights, attire, tradition, folk songs, dance and so many things comes within the festival one would feel bless to see a beauty of this festival which comes at the month of November.

A prayer, sharing of lights to complement each other, state fair where even traveler participates in number is just a beauty of this festival and one would notice a huge number of crowds during a time of this festival.
On should also stand to see a dance competition and many other cultural and classical features of Rajasthan culture. A land of fort or rather says a land of kingdom enjoys this festival with full tune and also allows an overseas traveler to participate at the same time.

So this year be a part of rich culture and do a Deep Dan which is a most notable feature of Bundi festival.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Karwa Chaut a festival of Women


It is usually a one day festival observed by married women who fast from sunrise to moon rise for a longevity, prosperity and safety of their Husband.Though it is widely observed throughout the nation but it is more famous and practiced thoroughly by northern Indian states like Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi, Uttarakhnad, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and other states.

History
It began with a magical tale of Droupadi who fasted for pandavas with a suggestion of Lord Krishna and from then onwards a people started following a culture and in modern days it has become more like a custom.

Legend of Karwa, it is historic and mythological tales of Husband devote Karwa who once threatened Yama to curse and destroy him because of his refusal to send a crocodile to hell that once caught Karwa husband. Seeing such a power and devotion Yama decided to send crocs into hell and bless Karwa and her husband who in turn enjoyed a blessed life till the end.The Story of Satyavan and Savitri is also a noted one in giving a birth to a Karwa Chaut.

When it’s celebrated
The festivals falls under fourth day after a full moon in the Hindu lunisolar calendar month of Kartik, in simple words it is celebrated 9 days before the call of diwali. This festival is also celebrated by unmarried women in desire to get their destined husband.

How is Celebrated
Proceeding of Karwa Chaut is very interesting as the women start off early by putting all the shringars and all the traditional decoration require to make puja a successful one. They buy all the essentials require for puja like Karwa, matthi, heena etc. before a crack of a dawn they prepare all the stuffs and have it before sun breaks the light and as the day progresses they start decorating their hands and feet with Heena mehandi.

































They decorate their puja thali with all the necessary ingredients and meets with their friends and relatives and in evening they start to gather in front of local temple where they listen to a legendry tale of Karwa and at the same time perform songs and listen to prayers. And to the story teller they offer mud pot, a metal urn filled with water, flowers, an idol of Ambika Gaur Mata, Goddess Parwati and some fruits, mathi and food grains.
Amongst the essentials that are kept in thali are Sindoor, incense sticks and rice. During this event women’s wear a colorful and heavy saris mostly all are in red color which is a symbol of married woman beside that they wear  nose pin, tika, bindi, chonp, bangles, earrings etc.

And when it counts a time just when moon starts to raise all gathers in top of their building with thali and water and catch a glimpse of its ray through sieve and Dupatta. They offer water to moon and cry a prayer to bless their husband with a long life, safety and prosperity. That calls for an evening and women breaks their fast

Main attraction
An ambiance that comes with the festival is a main attraction of this festival; it is so much interesting to see how women gather in front of the temple or at local gardens to start their proceeding. In true words the festival in whole is most attractive thing.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Colourful Pushkar Camel Fair of Rajasthan

Pushkar is considered as among the five pilgrimages that are highly placed in Hindu religion. According to the legends it is said that when Lord Brahma killed the demon named Vajra Nabh with a lotus flower, the petals of the flower floated down to the earth and landed in three places in and around Pushkar where lakes were formed.

According to the beliefs related to the fair, it is said that on the day of Poornima, all the 330 million deities of Hindu religion come to Pushkar Lake to bless the worshippers. Because of this belief, thousands of devotees gather for a holy dip at the lake on this occasion who consider that their sin will be washed away by doing so and pay their homage at the only Brahma Temple, situated in Pushkar and which is nowhere else in the world.

The Pushkar Camel Fair is truly the world’s biggest camel fair. During this hundreds of stalls are established in this region selling camels, horses, bulls, cows and other cattle. The fair provides perfect circumstances for the commercial growth as well as the religious faith of the people.

Timing
This popular fair is celebrated for five days from Kartik Ekadasi to Kartik Poornima. According to Hindu calendar, Kartik Ekadasi is the 11th lunar day in the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik, and Kartik Poornima is the full moon day or the 15th lunar day of Kartik. Kartik Poornima is considered as the chief day of the Pushkar Fair, as according to the mythology it is believed that  on this day the petals of the lotus flower of Brahma had fallen on to the earth. On this holy day devotees take a bath in the Pushkar Lake to wash away their sins. According to the Georgian calendar this fair falls between the months of October to November.

Activities of the fair
Uncountable numbers of traders gather at this place during this fair. These set their shops which exhibit a wide range of various products like woollen blankets of Merta, bead necklaces of Nagaur, textile printed from Ajmer and Jodhpur, brass ware of Jodhpur and Jaipur and many more. During this fair cultural shows and exhibitions are also organized to add colour to the event. In addition to all these, movies are also shown and competitions are also held where poets recite the tales of heroism of the early days. Animal competitions and many other races are also held which fascinate the tourists.

The fair is initiated with a camel race, which is followed by music, songs and exhibitions. On this fair, one also gets a chance to taste a vast variety of Rajasthani delicacies. Vibrantly dressed villagers singing their folk songs also attract the tourists as they represent the true culture and tradition of Rajasthan. In addition to the wide range of shows exhibited during this fair, puppet shows are also organized, which also forms a unique form of attraction, as the puppet shows are quite rare these days.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Scary As Well As Entertaining Festival of Halloween


Halloween is celebrated as a holiday which is a blend of remnants of traditional harvest festival celebrations with customs that extraordinary such as costume wearing, trick-or-treating, playing pranks on others and attractive images based on the change of the seasons, death, and the superstition.

Till recent times it was considered as a children's holiday, but in past few recent activities related to this occasion like costume parties, themed decorations, and even trick-or-treating have grown very much popular among the adults as well, which makes the Halloween a celebration for all the ages.

According to legends it is said to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people used to light bonfires and wear costumes to scare off bad spirits. During the 18th century, Pope Gregory III chose November 1st as a time to honour all saints and martyrs. The day was known as All Saints’ Day which included some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before this day was known as All Hallows’ Eve, which later came to be known as Halloween. As time passed by, Halloween evolved into a secular holiday.

The evolvement of artifacts and symbols related with Halloween formed with time. Jack-o-lanterns are generally carried by the people in order to frighten the ghosts. The most significant symbol of Halloween is the native pumpkins used by the North Americans. These much softer and much larger, which makes it easier to carve.

The present day  imagery of Halloween are derived from various sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula) and classic horror films (such as Frankenstein and The Mummy). Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks and scarecrows, are also common imageries of Halloween. The homes of the people are generally decorated with these symbols during Halloween. The general themes of Halloween imagery involves death, evil, mysterious and mythical monsters. The traditional colours related to this event are black, orange and even purple at times.

Trick-or-treating and dressing
Trick-or-treating is a traditional event of Halloween celebrated by the children. During this event children go to houses while wearing peculiar and scary costumes, asking for treats like candy or even money. As the name of the event, “Trick or treat", the word "trick" here, is referred to threat, which is related to mischief performed on the people who do not offer any treat. 

Costumes
Halloween costumes play a significant role in celebrating the event.  These costumes are basically related to superstitious figures like monsters, ghosts, witches and devils. Over time, the costume worn during this time has extended to famous as well as fiction characters and also of celebrities.

Games
There are several games that are played during the Halloween parties. One of the common games is dunking, in which apples are left to float in a tub or a large basin of water and the players must use their teeth to remove the apples form the tub or basin. Another common game played during this event is the hanging of syrup-coated scones by strings and the participants must eat these scones without using their hands while they remain hanging by the strings. There are several types of games played during the parties of Halloween; some of which are very scary.

Countries celebrating the Halloween
 Halloween was first originated in Ireland but this fanciful event is very much popular in United States and many other countries like Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, England, France, Germany and many other countries across the globe.

Time
The Halloween festival is celebrated on October 31 and, the parties and trick or treating related to this event is initiated later during the evening time.

Friday, November 1, 2013

DIWALI - THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

Hindu New Year starts on the commencement of this very festival, Diwali (a five day festival). The festival’s name Deeepawali (or Diwali) means “from the row (avali) of lamps (deepa)”.

This festival represents that it is always good which triumphs the evil. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Rama, the prince of Ayodhya was sent by his father Dasharatha, to 14 yrs of exile in the forest along with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana. 
When one day Ravana, a demon king in every true sense happens to see Sita, he abducts her and takes her away to his kingdom of Lanka. Later Rama with the help of Hanuman and other monkeys marched the land of Lanka. Rama then killed Ravana, rescued his wife Sita and after 14 long years of exile they returned to their kingdom. The homecoming news of the prince made people of Ayodhya very happy and so they lighted earthen lamps (diyas). It also led to bursting of crackers which brightened the darkness of the night. Whole city was lit up by the decorations.

And so the tradition of celebrating Diwali with lights, crackers and fireworks began.


When is Diwali Celebrated:
The date of festival depends on the cycle of the moon and is usually in the months of October and November. This year in India, Dhanteras (1st day of Diwali) is going to be on November 1. The festival comprises of five days and each day has its own way of celebration. However, the main celebration begins from the third day that is this year the main festivities of Diwali shall begin from 3rd of November (India).

Significance of each day in the five day festival:


1st Day, DHANTERAS: In the month of “Kartik” the thirteenth day is celebrated as Dhanteras also known as Dhantrayodashi. The word Dhanteras comes from the word “Dhan” which means wealth. On this day houses and business premises are decorated and Rangoli can be found at every entrance so as to welcome the Goddess of prosperity and wealth, Lakshmi.

2nd Day, NAKRA-CHATURDASHI: In the same month of “Kartik” the fourteenth day is celebrated as Nakra-chaturdashi also known as Choti Diwali. It is believed that it was on this very day that Lord Krishna killed the demon king Narakasur. People on this day light lamps and believe that it will expel the darkness and bring joy and happiness in their lifes. 

3rd Day, LAKSHMI PUJA: The third day is considered to be the most important day as Lakshmi Puja is performed on this very day. It is accompanied with devotional songs “Bhajans” and traditional sweets. It is considered very auspicious to begin any new business or venture on this day.

4th day, PADWA OR VARSHAPRATIPADA: This day “Gudi Padwa” is celebrated as a symbol of devotion and love between husband and wife. On this day newlyweds are invited for special meals. Everyone exchange gifts as a gesture of affection and oneness.

5th day, BHAI-DOOJ: This day is especially celebrated by brothers and sisters. It is on this day that brothers gift their sisters and sisters in turn “tilak” their brothers. This day is a symbolic representation of love in sister-brotherhood.

However, Diwali-the festival of lights is very enthusiastically celebrated and is one of the most awaited festivals.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pumpkin Festival - Breaking the World Record

Popularly known as the Keene Pumpkin Festival, Pumpkin festival is an annual festivity conducted in Keene, New Hampshire in United States. It is celebrated during mid October to late October in Saturday and is one of the events where the residents of Keene attempt to accumulate a bigger figure of lit jack-o-lanterns in one place inorder to beat or level the world record. In this particular festival, the organizers try annually to beat the record by encouraging organizations and schools to make and aid jack-o-lanterns.


Apart from the major celebration, the festivity also includes music, foods and fireworks in which people from neighboring places are attracted to take part in this fascinating festival. After the end of the celebration, the pumpkins are moved by the volunteers and later they are given to the pig farmers to feed their pigs. The major places for this celebration around the world are: Circleville in Ohio, Keene in New Hampshire, Half Moon Bay in California, New York in New York, and Sarasota in Florida, all taking place in the month of October. 

History: There is not a deepened history behind this festival. Initially it was started in 1991 with 600 pumpkins and after that it brings atleast 20, 00 pumpkins. The Guinness Book of World record was held by Keene for a period of time. After the start of Keene Pumpkin festival, it was celebrated in other places including Norwich, Hartsburg, Boston in Massachusetts, Goomeri, Morton, Maryland, Virginia and many other places. Today, this festival symbolizes a unity among people of each town where this festival is being absorbed.  

At some places, the festival was initially observed to end the drought of water and in some places it is celebrated to relish a standard and enjoyable quality of time. 

   Main Activities and Attractions:

  • Jack-o-lanterns exhibited on enormous banks of shelves.
  • Pumpkin Mile Race (running through the streets)
  • Food and Craft Court in which several delicacies and crafts are kept for sale.
  • Beer Garden
  • Pumpkin Pie baking Contest
  • Pumpkin Pyramid Lighting

Breaking the record of 28, 952 held by Keene Pumpkin festival in 25th of October in 2003, the recent Guinness World record is held by Boston, Massachusetts in 21st of October where 30, 128 pumpkins were counted.
 
Keene: The major place for celebration of this festival is Keene which receives the maximum number of crowd to witness this grandiose event. In 2006, an estimation of about 80, 000 people from across the globe were present in downtown Keene to observe this festival and which is much more compared to the population of Keene that is 23, 000. In 2010, the organizers of this festival in Keene leave it in mid-point; however it was able to find organizers who were willing to sponsor this event. Thus, the celebration was continued in 2011. In 2013, this festival completes 22 year and celebrate the 23 year of this huge celebration. Highlighted events in this festival includes: beer garden, pumpkin mile race, pyramid lighting etc, and many more.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Sonepur Fair-Biggest Cattle Fair of Asia

Also known as Harihar Kshetra Mela, Sonepur Fair is the biggest cattle fair of Asia which is conducted on full moon day of November (Kartik Poornima) in Sonepur of Saran district of Bihar. The venue for this celebration is on the meeting point of river Gandak and Ganges. Numerous visitors from across Asia and other parts of world are attracted to this festivity which elongates from 15 days to one month of time.
On the start of this festival, pilgrims take a bath in the early morning in the convergence point which continues for about 3 weeks, they do this inorder to wash away their sins and negativity. Herd of crowds than visit the temple to worship the lord. As of now, it has been organized by Bihar Tourism from 2012 inorder to draw more international and domestic tourists.Elephants, horses, dogs, donkeys, ponies, rabbits and goats are purchased by people in this trade fair.

History: Initially the cattle fair was held in Hajipur but later the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb shifted it to Sonepur where only the puja was conducted in Hariharnath Temple (supposed to be built by Lord Rama) at the time of cattle fair in Hajipur. The modern day temple was constructed by Raja Ram Narain during the Mughal era. At the venue of today’s day cattle fair, a great years and years of fight between King Indrayamuna (elephant) and Gandharva Chief Huhu (crocodile) who were turned to animals correspondingly due to the curse of sage Agasthya and Dewala Muni was ended when Lord Vishnu cut the head of Huhu at the pray of Indrayamuna. Both were taken to the sacred abode by Lord Vishnu after their curse was made over by the god.

Thus Hindus regard as a sacred site and apart from attending the cattle fair, they visit this place inorder to take a sacred dip at the convergence point and also to pay their homage to the shrine inside the temple. This celebration and trade fair can be date back to India's first Emperor Chandragupta Maurya who used to purchase elephants and horses for his armies from this place. 

Major Attractions and Activities:

  •  Biggest Cattle Fair of Asia and among the biggest in world too.
  •  Sights, sound and shopping.
  •  Theatre and folk dances.
  •  Sale of elephants, dogs, horses, donkeys, sheeps, ponies etc.
  •  Sale of birds, poultries and diverse fishes.
  •  Handicrafts, bamboo products, souvenirs and traditional art crafts on sale.
  •  Swiss Cottage attracts mainly foreign visitors
Apart from these, stalls of garments, weapons, furniture, toys, utensils, agricultural implements, jewelry can be seen in different parts of this place along with magic shows which is another popular attraction for the kids.

The area in which the fair is held is very difficult to cover for even a healthy guy, so visitors needs to stay for about 2 to 3 days for witnessing this grand festivity. The maximum crowd can be seen in the river where people bathe, the temple where they offer their prayers and lastly in the place where elephants are kept on sale.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chhath Puja - Worshipping Lord Sun for Blessing life on Earth

Chhath Puja is a Hindu festival devoted to the god of energy Lord Surya and is the only Vedic festival which is entirely dedicated to him. It is celebrated on the sixth day of Kartik which falls in the Gregorian month of October or November. The wish fulfilling deity is believed to bestow happiness in life and is also believed to give child to the mother who is infertile. Lord Surya is worshipped for blessing the life on earth as ever. The devotees wake up early in the morning of this festival keep fast for entire day without drinking water and for long period of time they keep themselves standing on the water.

Before the start of this festival, banks of rivers are cleaned and festooned and sanctified with decorative and pure waters. Woman prepares delicacies at home and husband or any other members of the family guard the Ghats (venue) all night. In the early morning of the main day of the Puja, traditional songs are carried out with woman offering prayers and edibles to the Lord thanking the god for blessing the life on earth. Chhathi Maiya is also worshipped along with Lord Sun.    

History: It is supposed that the oldest Purohits were asked to come by the Kings and perform their traditional Puja of the Lord Sun where they sued to chant the ancient hymns and Rigveda texts to worship the sun. The ancient Chhath Puja was celebrated by Pandavas and Draupadi to regain their lost kingdom. According to legends, it was the son of Surya, Karna who first commenced this Puja. Worship of Chhathi Maiya also known as Usha (the first light of the day) is held at Chhath Puja. People pray to Chhathi Maiya to overcome their troubles and to get the liberation (Moksha).

Another legend says that, Lord Rama and Mata Sita observed fast and offer Puja to the Lord Sun during their coronation before returning to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. They observed this Puja in the Hindu month of Kartik in Shukla Paksh, since then it became significant and is celebrated on the same date by Hindu devotees of the Lord Sun.    
    
Main Activities & attractions:

Ø Herds of devotees lining across the river for worshipping the Sun lord.
Ø Traditional and folk songs.
Ø Illumination of the Chhath venue on the banks of river at night.
Ø Offering of Jal (water) to the sun.
Ø Kosi-a colourful event is displayed.
Ø Special delicacies are prepared Thekuwa, Bhusuwa etc.
Ø Offering prayers to Lord Sun by dipping half body in water.
Ø Decoration of the Ghats.

Bihar: The Indian start of Bihar is the main place for the celebration of this festival. The four day festival is observed by the people of Bihar especially the people residing in the Northern part of Bihar are merited to observe this festival in the most grandiose way possible. The son of Lord Sun, Karna first observed this festival to worship the Lord, when he was the king of a place in today’s Bihar. From then the people of Bihar like every year to seek blessings from the Lord and also from Chhathi Maiya.  

Apart from Bihar, Chhath Puja is celebrated in various places in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Jharkhand and also some parts of Nepal. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Kolayat Fair - Largest Cattle fair of Bikaner

Also known as Kappil Muni fair, Kolayat Fair is the largest fair of its kind celebrated in the city of Bikaner on the full month day of Kartik Purnima (November) in the village of Kolayat or Kapilayatan in Rajasthan. The village of Kolayat is positioned at a distance of about 50 km from the South-West of Bikaner. The village derived its name from a famed sage Kapil Muni who undertook a deep meditation for the fine sake of civilization. This festival is celebrated on this day as it is considered the holiest of days in Hindu calendar.

In the early mornings the Hindus take a dip in the lake which is believed to wash away all their sins and offer temple of sage Kapil with sugar drops and milk pudding. Hindus believed that a one day spend in this sacred abode of Kapil Muni is equaled to 10 years spent on any other pilgrimage site. A temple devoted to Kapil Muni known as Shri Kolayat Temple is situated on the Ghat with a marble statue of the saint where prayers and other edibles are offered to the sage. Thousands and thousands of devotees and tourists visit this place during this festivity to witness this grand festival and also to observe the unique rituals and traditional dances that are offered by the inhabitants of Rajasthan. The mesmerizing view of the hundreds of devotees leaving the illuminated camp in the lake is majestic enough.

The worship in the temple is performed by Sewag Brahmins who are hereditary priest. Aarti is offered two times in a day and then the bhog is offered.


History:
Kolayat was the venue for the meditation of sage Kapil Muni who underwent into a deep meditation for the well sake of the humanity. According to legends, he shed his body under a peepul tree and meditated there for a long period of time. He was believed to be a descendent of Lord Brahma, and today in the same venue a temple devoted to him and a lake namely Lake Kapil Sarovar is established. The devotees take a holy dip in the lake and head on to the temple for worshipping.    

Main Activities & attractions:
  • Beautiful decoration of the 52 Ghats.
  • Unique rituals performed by the devotees.
  • Offering of milk pudding and sugar drops to the deity.
  • Leaving of illuminated oil lamps by devotees in the water of the lake which is known as Deep Malika in local dialect.  
  • Cattle fair
  • Mesmerizing culture and traditional dances performed by the inhabitants of Rajasthan.
  • Captivating Folklore.
  • Contests in the cattle fair

Cattle Fair:
It is the one of the vital part of this festival and is the biggest cattle fair of Bikaner. People from varied parts of India visit this place during this festivity in order to trade camels, horses, buffaloes and other cattles in this fair. Contest also takes place in which awards are given to the best breeders present in this fair. 

For any tourists, it could be an interesting learning where you could learn about the ethics of Rajasthan in the best way.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dussehra - Celebrating Victory of Good over Evil

Popularly known as Navaratri (India) or Dashain (Nepal), Dussehra is one of the major celebrations of Hindus all over the world. It is one of the many Hindu festivals symbolizing the victory of good over evil. The festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Ashwin month of Hindu calendar corresponding to September/October of Gregorian calendar.



The first nine day of the festival is celebrated as Navaratri in which devotees worship each of the nine forms of Goddess Durga. And, at the end of the ninth day the tenth day is celebrated as Vijaya Dashami meaning victory on the tenth day referring to the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon buffalo Mahisasura on the tenth day. In many parts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh it also marks the harvest season and so the worshipping to Mother Goddess is performed to create fertility and vigor in the soil.  

The people celebrating Dussehra greet the festival by decorating their house in a colourful and vibrant way. Kids relish in shopping new clothes while the elders engage themselves in ornamenting their house by cleaning and decorating it with garlands.

History: There are many legend behind the celebration of Dussehra, of them the famed are the two one of Goddess Durga and the other of Lord Rama. Goddess Durga who is a divine form of energy booned by all the main three gods of Hindus including Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma killed the demon king Mahisasura when he created a havoc on the earth and won a war against the devas (gods). As per the legend, when strength of lighting from the mouth of three gods emerged, goddess was born. She rode on a lion and fought the demon but was unable to kill her until the end of nine day and nine nights, at the commencement of tenth day she killed her thus ending the havoc on earth.

Another legend says that, Rama the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu after gaining secret powers from Goddess Durga in Treta Yuga killed Ravana (king of Lanka) who kidnapped Sita. As per both the legends, it is believed that the celebration of this particular festival is observed as the victory of good over evil. 

Major Attractions of Dussehra:

  • Ram Leela is major enactment in which the story of Lord Rama is told until the ninth day and in the tenth day the effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and his son Meghnada are set to burn. The person who plays the role of Lord Rama in the play shoots the burning arrow and set the effigies to burn.
  • While burning the effigies, the people in and around are asked to burn the devil inside them.
  • People pray to Goddess Durga to wash away all their impurities.
  • Pandals with idols of Goddess Durga killing Mahisasura.
  • Colourful streets and houses.
  • Delicacies are prepared.

Indian City with Huge Celebration:

Kolkata: It stands atop all the Indian cities in the colourful celebration of Dussehra; one can see the most frantic celebration. Over crowded events, domes, minarets, huge pandals and great enthusiasm make Kolkata vibrant during Dussehra. The 4 daylong event of Kolkata is the most happening with each and every part of the city turning into colourful rainbow.  

Apart from this, Ahmedabad, Mysore and Karnataka are other major place for celebration of this glowing festival.