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.