Friday, 27 April 2018

Most Amazing Temples in India

India is a religious country and religion is the thing most revered among Indians. In fact most of the places are worshipped and visited as pilgrimage in view of their strong religious significance. When you will travel to India, you will find big or small temples in every nook and corner. Some temples are amazing masterpieces of art and architecture and are inundated by millions of people throughout the year. Here we will acquaint you with few such wonderful temples in India which should definitely be included in your India holiday packages.
Tirupati Balaji Temple

Tirupati balaji is the most visited temple in India with a huge number of over 40 million devotees visiting each year and is thus the richest temple. The temple receives an astounding amount of 22 million as donation to the temple in form of cash and gold. Another peculiar type of donation that the temple receives each day is in the form of human hair. More than a ton are donated every day which are later used for making wig.
Meenakshi Temple – Temple of the 1000 Pillars

One of the most beautiful and the largest temples in India is the Meenakshi Temple in South. The temple has its origin in 6th century and was built by the people of Kumari Kandam. The temple has beautiful Dravidian architecture with over 30,000 elaborate and vibrantly coloured sculptures and 14 gateways. The major attraction of the temple is the hall with over thousand pillars and each with elaborate designs which are worth viewing.
The Golden temple

The Golden temple is truly the holiest shrine in Sikhism. It is situated in Amritsar city of Punjab and major structure of the temple is gilded in gold. The dome of the temple alone amounts to approximate 750 kg of gold. An ongoing chants from Guru Granth Sahib continues which creates a spiritual aura that is worth experiencing. The great part of the temple is that anyone can eat here 24X 7 for free, regardless of caste and creed. It is called “Langar” in which everything from serving food to washing dishes is carried on by the devotees.
Akshardham Temple, Delhi

Though built recently in 2005, the temple has gained huge popularity and the grandeur of the temple is worth acknowledging. It has already bagged a place in Guiness Book of World Records as it is the largest Hindu temple in the whole world. The temple is the epitome of great culture, tradition, and artistic acumen of the past. The temple is a must visit for all those who have booked flights to India and plan to visit the capital. The temple also hosts a musical fountain show displaying the Circle of Life. Besides this there are 60 acres of expansive lawns with superb bronze statues and a lovely lotus shaped garden.
Mahabodhi Temple

Mahabodhi temple is one of the temples most highly venerated. The place bears special significance as it is the same place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples too with a massive glowing statue of Lord Buddha gilded in gold. Inside the temple there are many trees that are believed to have been descended from the original Bodhi tree where Buddha attained enlightenment.
Vaishno Devi Shrine

It is totally an adventure to visit the Vaishno Devi temple in the mountains. It is a 13 km uphill journey to a beautiful valley where the Vaishno Devi temple is situated which holds a great religious value and every year draws a huge number of devotees who pay homage to the three shrines of Goddess Vaishno Devi. It is indeed an enjoyable affair to the night trekking with numerous eating, shopping and resting joints and reach the temple early in the morning.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Kashi Vishwanath temple has reference in ancient Hindu scripture, and is located on the holy land of Varanasi. The temple has two domes which are gold plated and were donated by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. The original temple was demolished by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and he constructed a mosque on its site. Later a reconstruction of the temple was done during the reign of Rani of Indore. There is a strong belief of the people that whoever visits this temple and takes a dip in the holy water of Ganga, liberates him from all the sins and attain salvation.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

The Spiciest Cuisine in India

India is well known for its varied cuisine, owing to the diverse topography and regional differences. Climatic conditions, soil and the availability of water resources also affects the cuisine of that particular place. Here we will talk about South Indian cuisine which is widely relished all over the country especially in northern India though being a bit spicier than the other regional cuisines. When you book your holidays to India, don’t miss to treat your taste buds with this exotic South Indian cuisine.

Subtle on sauces and butter and generous on dried chilli powder with a good amount of whole red chillies, is what comprises of Andhra Cuisine. Andhra cuisine is the spiciest in the whole country and gives a punch with every bite. It could be divided into two broad categories of which one being the Mughlai Food of Hyderabad with biryanis, kebabs and salans which are flavoured with nuts, dry fruits, and exotic spices and the other one of Telangana which is all dals and pulao with a profuse amount of tamarind, the spicy gongura leaf and red hot chillies.

Next comes the cuisine which you will find most popular on the gastronomical globe when you travel to India. It comprises of a wide spectrum of vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies with chief ingredients in all recipes being turmeric, tamarind, red chillies, whole pulses and asafoetida. Apart from the regular items like sambhar, dosa, idly, vada etc other dishes include a variety of stews (kozhambu) and rasam, variety of rice and desserts like mysore pak and payasam.

The cuisine of Kerela is symbolic of its culture, geographical position and rich past. The non-vegetarian dishes are spicy and full of flavour. The delicacies of Mappilas of Kerela are under the Arab influence that began in the 7th century like Pathiri is a type of pancake made of rice flour and Pathiri is a derived from the Arabic word fateerah. Kerala is also known for traditional dish, sadhyas which is served with boiled rice and a number of minor dishes. An ample of coconut is incorporated in most of the dishes.

The cuisine which can’t be ignored while discussing South Indian culinary delights is the cuisine of Karnataka. This cuisine is influenced by other South Indian states and Maharastra State in the north. Some dishes that are famous are Khara bath, Benne Dosa, Vangi bath, Bisibele Bath, Akki Roti etc. The famous city of Coorg is also renowned for zesty pork curries and the sides of Karnataka that touches the coast have innumerable varieties of seafood.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Bizarre Indian Traditions that will keep you Awestruck

India has always been a mysterious place that has been luring people from all parts of the world to explore this unfathomable wonderland. There is so much hidden and occult that is practiced in India and is hard to believe. Some traditions are so bizarre that it will give you goose bumps. So, if you are up for some adventure and thrill packed experience on your holidays to India there are some offbeat destinations that you would have to explore. So, book your tickets to India and get going.

Tossing Baby

The Solapur region in Maharashtra, India has this awkward custom to give long and healthy life to their children. Parents throw their babies off the top of a tower, around 50 feet tall. The falling babies are caught in a sheet by the people standing below. It is a common belief that such a practice will cure their children of ailments if any today and in future too. This is mostly done by Muslims and few of Hindu families too. The security services are also provided by the local authorities of the area during the performance of this weird practice.

The Aghori Sadhu Sect

The Aghoris are members of Hindu sect that have always been of great interest and suspicion in people. These Aghoris worship Lord Shiva, remain naked, reside on the cremation grounds, drink alcohol and eat flesh from dead bodies. They often coat themselves in ash and do strange rituals and meditation using dead bodies.

Shoe Stealing Ritual
(Juta Churai Rasam)

This is a fun filled ritual in Hindus, which is often shown in Bollywood movies too. It is indeed an amusing activity that allows the sisters of the bride to steal the shoes of the bridegroom while he is involved in performing the traditional rituals of marriage. The cousins and friends of the groom try to protect the shoes from the robbery but if the girls succeed in their mission then they give the custody of the shoes when they are given a desired amount of ransom. 

Dhinga Gavar Festival

It is a festival celebrated in Jodhpur, in Rajasthan state of India. Dhinga in literal form means fetching fun from deception. Dhingar Gavar is a folk deity. The legend goes that once Lord Shiva dressed up as a cobbler and came to tease his consort Parvati. Parvati too disguised a ‘bhil’, tribal women and came before Shiva to engage in that fun. The function of Dhinga gawar starts in the evening on the next day of Holi, every year. The statues of Dhinga gawar are put at 11 vital locations. The statues are decorated in tradition Rajasthani attire and decorated with gold jewellery weighing 5 to 30 kg.

Mourning of Muharram

To honour the death of Husayn ibn Ali(grandson of Muhammad), certain groups of Shiya sect of Muslims saunter on streets in groups and whip themselves with chains having knives and razors attached. Some of them even slit their heads open with knives. This peculiar ritual is called ‘matam’ and even children are encouraged to do so by certain families. Not all Muslims endorse this practice. Some condemn it too.

Human-Animal Marriage

It is believed in some parts of India that ghosts capture the bodies of some people. The girls who are born with a tooth already erupted or girls with facial deformities are believed to have been possessed by the ghosts. The exorcism of the victims is done by getting them married to an animal like a goat or a dog. The wedding takes place with full pomp and show, though the good part is that copulation is exempted and the girl is allowed to remarry after the ghost relieves her. I wonder on which parameter they make that analysis.

Lath mar Holi

Holi is the second largest festival of India after Diwali. Lath Mar Holi is a local celebration that takes place before actual Holi in Barsana, a town near Mathura, which is a birth place of Lord Krishna. As the local legend goes, Krishna visited the village Barsana of her beloved Radha where he and his friends teased her and her friends. To retaliate, the ladies invited Krishna and his friends to Barsana on Holi and hit them with sticks explaining that it is a ritual that is mandatory. Since then, the ritual is carried on in the same places and Lath Mar Holi is played by the people in Mathura and Vrindavan shouting Jai Shree Radha and jai Shree Krishna.

Weapon Worship in Navratri

Navratri is a famous festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu deity, Durga. Navratri literally means nine nights which symbolize nine forms of Shakti/Devi/Goddess which are worshipped with great reverence and rituals in various parts of India and in some parts the weapons and tools are worshipped.

Varuna Yajna (Hindu God of rain)

Agriculture is the major sector in India on which the economy of India depends and agriculture directly depends on the monsoon rains. If monsoon fails the farmers and the economy of the country suffers to a great extent. Sometimes scanty or no rainfall is the reason of farmers committing suicide. Such is the importance of rains for India. As we know India has 330 million Gods and Goddesses, there is also a God of rains, Lord Varuna. Whenever the monsoon fails or falls weak, Varun Yajna is performed to please the God of rains. During the performance of such Yajna, the Hindu priests sit inside the barrels filled with water and perform special prayers in order to gratify the rain God.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Watch the warriors of Nagas at Hornbill Festival, Kohima

The Hornbill Festival in Kohima, Nagaland would be a good idea if you are planning for some offbeat Indian destinations and wish to explore something unique and unexplored. During this festival, the diverse Naga tribes come together at the Kisama Heritage Village which is about 12 KM outside Kohima. India is a land of such a diverse culture and tradition that Indians themselves are unaware of many of them. Nagaland is a place which is still untouched and the tradition and culture which you would see here would surely keep you stupefied with awe. If you happen to plan your holidays to India, during the time of this festival I can bet you that you will surely have an experience of a lifetime.

The Hornbill Festival is the one most eagerly awaited and the one most cherished too. It falls every year during the first week of December and is celebrated by the locals with much passion and zeal. This festival is named after the bird Hornbill, one of the most honoured bird species. The bird Hornbill is also revealed in most of the songs and cultural dances of the place.

The festival also displays the warrior customs of Nagas where women also play a vital role. The warriors are the most feared and most respected clan too. There are numerous Naga tribes that participate in the festival display their marital customs with fast dance in which they beautifully flaunt their traditional swords and weapons.

The colours that are worn by the Naga folks depict nature and the colours take stimulation from the changing seasons. These are the true and vibrant colours of nature. The Naga tribal girls wear gold, stone and beads jewellery in colours like red, blue, onyx etc. The ornaments are made at home and are later stitched with the garments.

Whenever you get a chance to be a part of this interesting festival in India, don’t miss a chance to see the Naga wrestling in the neighbourhood avenue. Naga wrestling has its own peculiar style and costumes so it is always an interesting affair to see.

You will find the Naga people to be very kind and liberal. They will definitely greet you with warm gesture and wouldn’t mind if you click pictures with them.

At Hornbill Festival you will see a variety of vibrant colours, smiling faces, coy girls, ferocious warriors, lively dances and much more. So, book your flights to India and be there next.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Experience the Warmth and Exuberance of Indian Culture

India sees university in diversity. Be the diverse culture, religion, language, beliefs, rituals and habits; India is the oldest civilization of the world where people still follow the ancient culture of love and humanity. To visit this diverse land you can book tickets to India and plan some long weekend getaways in India. The people of India follow their culture and inherit their tradition since long. They even pass this rich cultural heritage to generations ahead, so the nation is flourishing in terms of the rooted hospitality and warmth that is the trademark of the country. Culture could be seen in everything here, be it their traditional festivals, dance, fashion, food, music, attire, behaviour etc. India is the land where different cultures meet as the different topographical regions of India follow their own norms and cultural ethics.

The various religions of India origin from very old age, almost five thousand years with Hinduism being the oldest among others. As Hinduism originated from the Vedas all the Hindu scriptures have been scripted in the Sanskrit language. Jainism too has ancient origin and its existence was traced in the Indus Valley. Buddhism is a religion which was propagated by Lord Gautama Buddha. The French and Britishers who ruled for almost two centuries time brought Christianity to India. Similarly with time, many religions came to India and left their influence. When you travel to India, you will find that people here follow many religions yet they live peacefully, pursue their tradition and maintain harmony with each other.
The rich culture of India may be diverse owing to a wide variety of religions and traditions but one thing is common about every region that they follow the common culture of respect, love and affinity for their people, greet the visitors with common phrase, “atithi devo bhava” and the symbolic gesture of doing “Namaste” with folded hands. It is also in the culture of India to do fast, worship different Gods, touch feet of elders and do ceremonial rituals for the dead who are considered to bless the family that they belonged to. Here rivers like Ganga and Yamuna are worshipped as Goddesses and books are worshipped like Geeta and Guru Granth Sahib. To witness and feel the true warmth of India, just straightaway book flights to India and be the guests of affable Indians.