In Costa Cruise to Male, Maldives…

…Costa Cruise would be leaving from Mumbai Shores in November 2017, you can plan your trip in this cruise to Maldives – the most beautiful island country tucked in between India and Sri Lanka. But before that before that, you should know why visiting Maldives should be on your travel wish-list. Besides having out of the world cruising experience with Costa Cruise, you can view Maldives for its enormous natural beauty, greenery and vibrant marine life.  It is on my wish-list too, lets see when my wish is granted!

So, let’s dive down to know what Maldives Marine life has to offer you as a tourist.

Centara Grand Island Resort & Spa Maldives

The Maldives officially the Republic of Maldives is a South Asian island country, located in the Indian Ocean, situated in the Arabian Sea. It lies southwest of India and Sri Lanka. The chain of twenty-six atolls stretches from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to the Addu City in the south. Comprising a territory spanning roughly 298 square kilometres (115 sq mi), the Maldives is one of the world’s most geographically dispersed countries, as well as the smallest Asian country by both land area and population, with a little over 393,500 inhabitants. Malé is the capital and most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island” for its central location.

Maldivian waters are home to several ecosystems, including a variety, 187 species, of vibrant coral reefs. This area of the Indian Ocean, alone, houses 1100 species of fish, 5 species of sea turtles, 21 species of whales and dolphins, 400 species of molluscs, and 83 species of echinoderms. The area is also populated by a number of crustacean species: 120 copepod, 15 amphipods, as well as more than 145 crab and 48 shrimp species.

Among the many marine families represented are Pufferfish, Fusiliers, Jackfish, Lionfish, Oriental Sweetlips, reef sharks, Groupers, Eels, Snappers, Bannerfish, Batfish, Humphead Wrasse, Spotted Eagle Rays, Scorpionfish, Lobsters, Nudibranchs, Angelfish, Butterflyfish, Squirrelfish, Soldierfish, Glassfish, Surgeonfish, Unicornfish, Triggerfish, Napoleon wrasses, and Barracudas.

These coral reefs are home to a variety of marine ecosystems that vary from planktonic organisms to whale sharks. Sponges have gained importance as five species have displayed anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

In 1998, sea-temperature warming of as much as 5 °C (9.0 °F) due to a single El Niño phenomenon event caused coral bleaching, killing two-thirds of the nation’s coral reefs.

In an effort to induce the regrowth of the reefs, scientists placed electrified cones anywhere from 20–60 feet (6.1–18.3 m) below the surface to provide a substrate for larval coral attachment. In 2004, scientists witnessed corals regenerating. Corals began to eject pink-orange eggs and sperm. The growth of these electrified corals was five times faster than untreated corals.

Again, in 2016, the coral reefs of the Maldives experienced a severe bleaching incident. Over 95% of coral around the islands died, and, even after six months, 100% of young coral transplants had died. The surface water temperatures reached an all-time high in 2016, at 31 degrees Celsius in May.

Recent scientific studies suggest that the faunistic composition can vary greatly between neighbour atolls, especially in terms of benthic fauna. Differences in terms of fishing pressure (including poaching) could be the cause.

Source: Wikipedia

Come ‘Costa Cruise’ from Mumbai, & explore Incredible India!

The message given by Costa Cruise & Bombay Port Trust in the press – conference held in Hotel Trident on August 1, 2017, amidst the presence of who’s who of the tourism & cruise industry…

…A gracious host, Mrs. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (Representative of Costa Cruises in India) welcomed and updated present dignitaries & media on Cruise Scenario in India and plans of Costa Cruise going forward!

Mr. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust said, “The timing is right for cruise liners to come to India as the Government is taking proactive steps for utilizing our vast coastline. I would like to thank the cruise companies that have taken the initiative to start sailings from Mumbai and have shown their confidence in the Indian Government and India market. We are looking forward to many more ships coming to India and Mumbai port, going forward. They can count on Mumbai Port’s efficient managerial, organizational and planning support and assistance at all times. Our objective is to exceed the expectations of the cruise liners and the cruisers, both domestic and International. Come, cruise from Mumbai and feel India!”

Ms. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (Representative of Costa Cruises in India) said, “Costa Cruises expanding its sailing offerings to include shorter sailings of 3 & 4 nights from Mumbai and Cochin specifically for the Indian market confirms its strong interest in India. The cruising market in India has come a long way from only a select group cruising in far-away locations to today a much wider audience holidaying on ships cruising directly from India. I sincerely thank Mr. Gadkari & Mr. Bhatia for all their efforts in making this happen.”

Last year, Costa Cruises was the first ever cruise liner to offer cruises directly from Mumbai to Maldives. This year, Costa Cruises is introducing shorter 3 & 4 nights sailing options specifically for the Indian market. Indians can now choose to cruise on a 4 nights itinerary from Mumbai to Cochin (via Mangalore) or 3 nights itinerary from Cochin to Maldives. This is in addition to the 7 nights Mumbai to Maldives & 7 nights Maldives to Mumbai options available.

The Italian cruise liner will be homeporting in Mumbai a month earlier than last year and will perform a series of weekly sailings from November 2017 to March 2018.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Buhdy Bok, President of Carnival Asia said, “We are delighted to increase our capacity in this region, by offering 3 & 4 nights short cruises dedicated to the Indian market. Guests based in India can now embark or disembark right at their door-step for short cruises, giving our guests a rich and immersive experience in Italian culture – from hospitality to cuisine, and art, a distinct experience for a new way of travel.”

Since Costa announced the launch of cruising from Mumbai last year, they have seen interest and bookings from a wide variety of travel groups, which includes families, senior citizens, honeymooners and experiential holiday agencies. There has also been a lot of interest from corporates, who are looking set to book the first few sailings out of Mumbai. The built-in infrastructure on the ship makes it particularly easy for corporates to hold large events in one location. Theme-based bookings seem to be a trend, with groups who are keen to experience a special kind of holiday. For example, there is a cycle-themed sailing that is currently being promoted on this route.

Costa Cruises has deployed its ship, Costa neoClassica that is part of the neo collection on the India itinerary. This classic cruise ship has a total of 654 cabins, including sea view cabins and suites with private balconies. Fully-equipped with a Casino, Theatre, Disco, Ballroom, Grand Bar, it aims to provide plenty in entertainment. The wellness centre is spread across 1,300 sq. m with a gym, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. It also has an outdoor jogging track, 4 Jacuzzis and 2 swimming pools. For those who would like to go shopping, the cruise ship has a huge duty free shopping centre and also offers a wide selection of books in the library for those who love to unwind with a book.

Enhancing the cruising experience further is the gastronomy: the food & wine on offer is based on Italian regional menus with a choice of dishes representing different regions of Italy and proudly reflecting the country’s rich and unrivalled culinary heritage. In addition to this vast range, guests can also take advantage of tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes.

On board Costa neoClassica, guests will also have the chance to taste the real original Neapolitan pizza at Pizzeria “Pummid’oro”: thanks to an agreement with the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo, Costa Cruises offers pizza prepared using only sourdough and selected ingredients such as San Marzano DOP tomato. In addition, cruisers will be able to enjoy a variety of Indian cuisine and the restaurants onboard are fully equipped to cater to special diet requirements of Indian, travellers, which includes Jain food.

Costa Cruises – to begin shorter, 3-4 night sailings in Indian waters

4 nights Mumbai – Kochi to start from November 2017

3 nights Kochi – Maldives to start from November 2017

Costa Cruises is the Italian Cruising Company part of the Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world.

“Ultimate Saree” – the Benarasi Saree!

“Every mother has a dream to gift at least one Benarasi saree to her daughter in marriage,”Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi.

Indeed every mother dreams of dressing her daughter in Benarasi Saree, especially in North India and gift her some on her special occasion. I too think of doing so…gifting one on my daughter’s marriage, owing to its cult status – the gorgeous Benarasi Saree, like my mother who gifted me many on my marriage. I love Benarasi Sarees and like to wear on special occasions like marriages, engagements etc. Being from North India, my love for Benarasi sarees is unquestionable.

I recollect my eldest Bua (Father’s Sister – Mrs. Sarojini Chandra) having one beautiful, hand woven, heritage Benarasi Saree in deep Purple colour with Silver Motifs all over (jaal) and intricate border. Bua looked beautiful in that Saree. As a child, I could not tell her then, but today, I regret not asking her for that Saree, I know she would have happily given me and I would have been the proud owner of that heritage piece in silk!

Benarasi Saree is not just a saree, but a prized possession for any women who know its worth. In North India, brides wore Red & Gold Benarsi Saree for Jaimaal and Yellow & Gold for Saptpadi (Pheras) and Benarasi Lehengas for Sangeet etc. So it was Benarasi weave all through. These sarees’ special characteristics are Mughal inspired designs such as intricate intertwining floral and foliate motifs, kalga and bel, a string of upright leaves called jhallar at the outer, edge of border is a characteristic of these sarees. Other features are gold work, compact weaving, figures with small details, metallic visual effects, pallus, jal (a net like a pattern), and mina work.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, one of the master weavers of India, makes the world of Indian Brides truly spectacular, by the very look of it, you can make out that she is “Sabyasachi Bride”. He has dressed innumerable brides in Benarasi Sarees and Lehenga Chunrees from across the communities, caste and creed. The thread of Benarasi Saree unites all Indian brides who want to dress in their Benarasi Lehenga, irrespective and what if, it is by master creator – Sabyasachi.

And this time as well, with his ‘Banarasi Bride’ collection, he’s done a fabulous job. Intricate designs of rich hues of Banarasi fabric teamed up with elegantly designed blouses made his collection just too good for the eyes to behold! The sea-green Banarasi bridal lehengas and sarees of his that were displayed at the Amazon India Fashion Week won quite a lot of admiration and applause.

Ralph Fitch (1583–91) describes Banaras as a thriving sector of the cotton textile industry. The earliest mention of the brocade and Zari textiles of Banaras is found in the 19th century. With the migration of silk weavers from Gujarat during the famine of 1603, it is likely that silk brocade weaving started in Banaras in the seventeenth century and developed in excellence during the 18th and 19th century. During the Mughal period, around 14th century, the weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold and silver threads became the speciality of Banaras.

This way we see, Gujarat has Benaras connection!

Now we have the same intricate weave of Benaras brought to you by Surat based Triveni Ethnics, known for their gorgeous and vast collection of sarees. Incidentally, it is worth noting, Benarasi Saree’s pricing is prohibitive sometimes owing to various factors thus making affordability an issue. So if you want to have a collection of Benarasis in your wardrobe on a budget, take your pick from an awesome collection of Triveni’s – Shatika –  Banarsees made in Art Silk collection with beautiful traditional motifs, designs,  and styles in bright colours with Golden Zari borders.

Each saree is complemented with matching woven/brocaded blouse piece. The saree in zari brocade and in bright colours is a brilliant collection to choose from. You can order these online and get your Sarees delivered at your doorsteps.

Some elite ones preferred Zardozi over Benarasi but nothing beyond that. Times changed, so did the Bridal outfits, courtesy Bollywood brides who wore designer Lehengas, experimenting in different shades and trendy embroidery.

Lehengas became heavier by the day, heavier the lehenga, happier the bride.

So if you are planning to visit Banaras (read: Varanasi) , don’t forget to pick a beautiful Benarasi Saree.

 

Gabbar Hill or Gabbar or Gabbargadh near Ambaji Temple, Gujarat!

By whichever name you call it, it’s a place worth paying your obeisance and worth your visit, particularly if you are Mata ke Bhakt!

Gabbar (or Gabbargadh), a small hillock about four km to the west of Ambaji village, is believed to have been the original seat of the goddess, the site of Krishna’s tonsorial ceremony (ritual head-shaving), and the abode of the divine Mahishasur-Mardini.

Read on to know how we reached Gabbar and what our experience was like…

…this is fourth in the series of my Mt. Abu posts!

On the same day of reaching Mt. Abu, we decided to visit famous Ambaji temple in Gujarat, which is around 45 Kms away from Abu Road. The drive in open jeep was quite adventurous in itself, the road passes through hilly terrain and for some patch, and the road was really bad. But visiting Ambaji temple was the main purpose of my visiting Mt. Abu. Excitedly we ventured out…and reached Ambaji temple around 5 PM and aarti at Ambaji temple happens at 7 PM. Please note arti is at 6:30 AM in the morning and 6:30 PM in the evening. Follow timings and reach much before time due to huge crowds for darshan during the arti.

Mannat ke Dhaade in the backdrop

So having good two hours at hand, locals suggested that we visit Gabbar Hill which is some four kms ahead. Without knowing much about the place, we reached there and found it to be quite interesting, especially those pagdiwalas selling Butter-Milk with big dollops of butter floating on it. Tanya enjoyed this chaas very much after which we set out on our journey. We took tickets for rope-way to reach temple and ride was just awesome amidst hills, rocks, trees and clouds. After reaching there we had to climb some more steps to reach the actual temple which made a rare sight. On the flat top of the hill there is a small niche facing the temple of Ambaji, in which a well-protected lamp is kept constantly burning, and can be seen from the main Ambaji temple at night. There are footprints of the Goddess under a pipal tree, which are worshipped.

The place is just divine; you would love to be there, sit there, pray there and could feel the divine presence. There is a jyot prajwalit – 24 hours, which is visible from Ambaji temple in the night. While climbing down, you see some good handicraft stores selling memorabilia’s, which I picked up for my family & friends and then there is a food court below where you can enjoy some fast food and coming further down you can see Navratna Plants which is a rare sight. Overall, we returned happily to our original Ambaji abode – Ambaji temple.

Enjoy the beauty and divinity of Gabbar in photographs which we clicked.

Don’t miss this place while visiting Ambaji.

While climbing up the temple, I saw a huge assortment of stairs which was of around 1000 steps and my heart nearly skipped a beat, thinking what if I had to climb them to visit this place.

Ambaji is in Danta Taluka of Banaskantha district, near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border. The walk from the bus station to the temple is less than one kilometer, under a roofed walkway. Direct buses are available from many places, including Mount Abu, 45 km away, Palanpur, 65 km away, Ahmedabad, and Idar.

 

Jain Temples of Dilwara – Architectural Marvel of the World!

After our brief stay at Nakki Lake, we proceeded for Dilwara Jain temples, which was around 3 Kms away from the place…

…without any specifics in mind, just going by the mention made by Shri Balwant Jain who advised me to visit Dilwara temples while in Mt. Abu.  I have rarely missed his advice!

Couldn’t help my mind going back to school days when there was a chapter in our History book or Social Studies book ( Terms Social Sciences, Humanities were non – existent then) on Dilwara Temples and how much I wanted to visit then, but it had to happen years later…never mind!!

When we started moving towards Temple Gate, it looked to me quite unusual one from the temple perspective, why? Can’t say? But I couldn’t figure out, how far temples were located from the temple gate. Being it a hot day, Tanya insisted some Chaas (Butter-Milk) and she spotted an old woman making it and selling it. She made a rare sight, smiling face, spirited and pleasing to look at. She sits just at the entrance of parking to the temple. Tanyaa promptly hopped off to her and fondly addressed her as Daadi (Grand Mom) and over a sumptuous glass of Chaas they struck a bond. Daadi & Poti had some great conversation…till we settled down to  enter the temple.

As we entered the temple complex, we spotted some stores selling our favourite Rajasthani Costume Jewellery, and we could not resist ourselves buying some earrings, bangles, anklets what not to our heart’s content. Don’t miss out visiting these stores if you are a jewellery buff, you can pick up some great pieces at reasonable prices.

Now was the time to enter the temples. As per the norms, you had to deposit your mobile phones and other gadgets at the gate and I promptly deposited my hand bag as I wanted to freely visit the temples.  Oh Yes, don’t miss reading the entire dos and don’ts put up on the entry gate. We promptly complied with all the dos and don’ts and soon became part of the group which guide of the temple had comprised. I must say the guided tours were excellent, without any cost and we have explained everything very well. Our Group was also quite receptive where people often smiled at each other.

Now was the time to enter the temples and marvel at the architecture created in marbles for the generations to see. We really missed bringing along Tanya’s friend Jeanie who is studying Architecture at J J School of Architecture. Her takeaways would have been certainly different than mine. We were told by the guide that these were made around thousand years ago and marble from Kota was transported on elephants for 14 years.  Guide also showed us Devrani – Jethani Jahorka which took some 9 – Odd years to complete. Lord Mahavir’s Statue is made of Ashta Dhaatu where the major component is Gold weighing several Kgs which is in the main temple.  Architecture is so unique & uniform all over that you just can’t stop admiring all through. We marvel at modern architectures but they are not even a patch on the architecture of Dilwara temples.

I would like to share some specifics about the temples: The Dilwara temples are located about 2½ kilometers from Mount Abu. These Jain Temples were built by Vastapul Tejpal, Jain laymen between the 11th and 13th centuries AD and are world-famous for their stunning use of marble. The five legendary marble temples of Dilwara are a sacred pilgrimage place of the Jains. Some consider them to be one of the most beautiful Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. The marble temples have an opulent entranceway, the simplicity in architecture reflecting Jain values like honesty and frugality. The temples are in the midst of a range of forested hills. A high wall shrouds the temple complex.

Although the Jains built some beautiful temples at other places in Rajasthan, some believe that none come close to these in terms of architectural perfection. The ornamental detail spreading over the minutely carved ceilings, doorways, pillars, and panels is simply marvelous.

Facilities are available for bathing, which is mandatory before puja is performed for the idols. These facilities use passive solar power to heat up the water for bathing and other things.

There are five temples in all, each with its own unique identity. Each is named after the small village in which it is located. These are:

  • Vimal Vasahi, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabha.
  • Luna Vasahi, dedicated to the 22nd Jain Tirthankara, Neminatha.
  • Pithalhar, dedicated to the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabha.
  • Parshvanath, dedicated to the 23rd Jain Tirthankara, Parshvanatha.
  • Mahavir Swami, dedicated to the last Jain Tirthankara, Mahavira.

Among all the five legendary marble temples of Dilwara, the most famous of those are the Vimal Vasahi and the Luna Vasahi temples.

I have no words and photos to share with you, for these architectural marvel, just see it believe it!

Even after stressing my mind, what I read about the temples in my Social Studies book, I could recollect only the title: Dilwara ke Jain Mandir, & here I was!

Rajasthan Tourism needs to promote Dilwara Temples like no place so that people are benefitted more from their visit to Rajasthan.

 

 

 

 

Honey Moon Point, Mt. Abu, most serene point!

 I liked that place the most & found it to be the best in entire Mt. Abu!

The reason, it is most picturesque point and on a huge height from where entire city looks just awesome!! & me and my daughter had ball of a time there!

Perched at an elevation of 4000 feet, with the backdrop of Nakki Lake and Old Gateway to Mount Abu; Honeymoon point is a must-visit if you wish to catch an exquisite view of the sun setting down the horizon. It has been named so mainly because of the Love Rock that is located here. It is often known as Anadara Point as well. This is an ideal spot if you are looking for a rather serene spot to spend your time at. This area’s untwining vibe and scenic beauty owing to the fact that this is one of the most popular attractions of Mount Abu. Hold hands, enjoy the pleasant weather and treat your eyes to the mesmerizing beauty spread all around you.

Don’t forget to spend some time there, however senior you are while in Mt. Abu!!!

See it to believe it!

I share here some beautiful clicks taken at Honeymoon point.

 

Mt. Abu – An oasis in the desert! – My Travelogue!

Our trip to Mt. Abu materialized on June 21, finally…

…by virtue of plain destiny!

Why am I saying this? It has an interesting story to boot. The tickets (hotel too)  were booked for June 21, 2017, by Aravali Express in April 2017. The dates were chosen by taking into consideration the lean season in office (Read: No Maara Maari), daughter’s summer vacation and most importantly I like to travel in Summer Vacations & Christmas Vacations always.

But this year’s vacation came on a sticky wicket as Chief Minister’s Conclave was announced for June 21, bang on the day of my travel. Slightly disappointed about the date, I took it in stride but never mentioned to daughter and husband about the development. I made up my mind to call off the trip, still waited for some time.  After lot of deliberations, series of meetings and pile of communication with CM office…

…in the meanwhile my colleagues Bhagyashree, Reena, Prabha, Monali, Jaya, Lekha, Veena prayed hard and fast that date gets changed and I embark on my trip. Fellow HODs Joseph, Satish Kumar, and Avadhoot Rane showed concern about my trip going kaput because of the program. CEO Sir was the only positive person in the entire episode who pacified me that trip will happen, don’t worry. This way my Mt. Abu trip nearly became an officially close to a National Issue with everyone checking every now and then about the dates.  One fine morning, Satish Kumar broke the news, “Your trip is happening” as the date of CM’s Conclave had been shifted to July 5, 2017. I was relaxed that now the trip may happen, if not for any other reason.

Heartfelt thanks to all my colleagues for giving me this unique trip.

So journey by Aravali Express was quite pleasing with clean coaches, fine AC and courteous TC which reached on time too. I tweeted and thanked Suresh Prabhuji, Railway Minister for encouraging people to travel by train. It’s not for me as love traveling by Bhartiya Rail always!

Giving the busy time I was going through, I could not do desired research on Mt. Abu so everything turned out to be a pleasant surprise. On the second day of our stay in Hotel Royal Heritage, Abu Road, we hired a cab for Mount Abu which is some 30 Kms away on a hilly terrain. The road to the destination was across the hills, which I enjoyed very much and the weather was pleasant and cloudy which added to the beauty of Aravali Ranges which encapsulate the beautiful Mt. Abu. During the drive, I felt Abu was somewhat like Mussoorie but it turned out quite different. No wonder Abu is referred to as ‘an oasis in the desert’ as its heights are home to rivers, lakes, waterfalls and evergreen forests.

Our first port of disembarkation was famous Nakki Lake which is a big tourist draw among the tourists. Clouds were hovering over the entire lake and after some time it started drizzling which added to the beauty of the place. The lake is just fabulous where you can undertake boating and some adventure sports too.  Situated in the Aravali range in Mount Abu, Nakki Lake is a paradise for nature lovers. The lake in itself is about half a mile in length and quarter of a mile in width. Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes were immersed in this Holy Lake on 12 February 1948 and Gandhi Ghat was constructed.

There is a park surrounding the lake where people sit, enjoy, do picnic and click pictures (read Selfies too).  The view of the lake is quite amazing and you like being there forever. The lake has famed Toad Rock, located on a height which resembles a Toad ready to jump in the lake and I could see many tourists climbing to get the view of the beautiful hill city. It was like a package…while you visit Nakki Lake with many temples like Raghunath Temple and Maharaja Jaipur Palace on the hills surrounding it and ending your day being at beautiful sunset point which was beautifully captured in the movie Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak.

Your trip to Nakki Lake is not complete without shopping of some handicrafts in the market located down the lake and we loved our picks too from there!

For the uninitiated, Mount Abu is a popular hill station in the Aravalli Range in Sirohi district of Rajasthan state in western India, near the border with Gujarat. The mountain forms a distinct rocky plateau 22 km long by 9 km wide. The highest peak on the mountain is Guru Shikhar at 1,722 m (5,650 ft) above sea level. The nearest train station is Abu Road railway station: 28 km away.

Much appreciate our comfortable stay in hotel Royal Heritage and hospitality extended by Dr. Tosher and his team. One cent: Hotel should accept payment by Credit & Debit Cards too!

Keep following blog for more updates on Mt. Abu.

 

 

 

 

Royal Enfield celebrates the spirit of riding with motorcycle enthusiasts as a precursor to Himalayan Odyssey

To celebrate the growing passion of community riding amongst motorcycling enthusiasts and riders, Royal Enfield hosted an event with the riding community at Royal Enfield’s exclusive gear store in Khar, Mumbai recently. The evening witnessed participation by over 30 men and women motorcycle enthusiasts and riders who engaged in conversations around Himalayan Odyssey and community riding overall. The focus of the gathering was also to encourage more people to follow their passion for motorcycling. 

Influencers-from-the-motorcycle-community-engage-with-riders-and-participants-at-royal-enfields-meet-_-greet-as-a-pre-cursor-to-himalayan-odyssey-2017

The motorcyclists spoke about how they are preparing to be on the Himalayan Odyssey. Some of the experienced riders provided some golden tips about riding in the Himalayas to those riders who are visiting that terrain for the first time.  event was a precursor to Royal Enfield’s 14th edition of Himalayan Odyssey is being held from July 6th to July 23rd this year.

Rajeev-Acharya-participant-of-himalayan-odyssey-2017-narrates-his-experience-of-riding-a-royal-enfield-and-how-he-is-preparing-for-the-ride-this-year

Himalayan Odyssey is considered one of the most gratifying motorcycle journeys in the world from Delhi to Khardung-La – the highest motorable road in the world at 18300 feet above sea level. For the 14th edition of Himalayan Odyssey this year, Royal Enfield is taking over 50 participants on the Himalayan Odyssey including men and women.  One of the biggest motorcycle ride of its kind in the world, Himalayan Odyssey will see participants traversing through some of the roughest terrains and highest mountain passes in the world covering a distance of close to 2200 kilometers in 18 days on their Enfield motorcycles.

men-_-women-riders-interacted-with-the-larger-community-over-their-common-love-for-riding-Motorcyles-at-Royal-Enfields-meet-_-greet-at-mumbai-store

The Himalayas have been the mecca for motorcyclists and the Royal Enfield Himalayan Odyssey has been their chosen journey to ride through the mighty mountains. Year on year Royal Enfield riders gather at Delhi to thump all the way to Khardung-La to experience one of the most memorable motorcycling journeys in the world. The ride will witness camaraderie of fans and participants flagging off on Saturday, 8th July 2017 from India Gate in New Delhi. What is interesting to see is the camaraderie amongst riders from different corners of India and the world that grows stronger with every passing day.

Mr-Rudratej-Singh-President-at-Royal-Enfield-address-the-participants-on-the-important-and-growth-of-community-riding.

During the ride, the weather would shift remarkably, from scorching hot to icy cold as riders will make their way to the picturesque regions of the Himalayas, which house within themselves one of the most hostile environments for motorcycling including Narkanda, Sarchu, Jispa and Leh, all the way to Khardung-La. Each turn exposes the riders to a new landscape like no other, eventually getting them surrounded by the overwhelming beauty of the great Himalayan peaks.

men-and-women-riders-pose-for-the-shutterbug-at-royal-enfields-meet-_-greet-at-the-brand-store-in-mumbai-as-a-pre-cursor-to-himalayan-odyssey-2017

The period between the months of May and August is the ideal time when hundreds of Royal Enfield motorcyclists ride up to the Himalayas. The HO is an opportunity for passionate men and women who seek to look beyond the obvious and venture into the unchartered territories of one of the most challenging terrains in the world. A journey of self-discovery for many, the Himalayan Odyssey has given birth to inspiring stories that become a part of motorcycling folklore.

At a time when our lives have come to be defined by our professional selves, Himalayan Odyssey appeals to the free-spirited motorcycle rider in oneself and quintessential seeker of life beyond concrete jungles. The ride emphasizes on harmony with the terrain while at the same time encouraging one to overcome their personal barriers and realize the potential that lies within them. Over the past 15-20 years, scores of riders have had the pleasure of riding their Royal Enfield motorcycles through the picturesque landscape of Ladakh to Leh and then beyond to Khardung La.

To know more about #HO2017 visit: www.royalenfield.com/ho

Be a part of one of the largest communities of motorcycling enthusiasts; like Royal Enfield on Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/RoyalEnfield

Follow Royal Enfield on Twitter – https://twitter.com/royalenfield

The oldest motorcycle brand in continuous production, Royal Enfield made its first motorcycle in 1901. A division of Eicher Motors Limited, Royal Enfield has created the mid-sized motorcycle segment in India with its unique and distinctive modern classic bikes. With its new manufacturing base in Chennai, India, Royal Enfield is able to grow its production rapidly against a surge in demand for its motorcycles. With more than 50% growth every year for the last 5 years, Royal Enfield is fast becoming a very important player in the global mid-size motorcycle market and is working towards re-inventing this space with motorcycles that are evocative and engaging and great fun to ride.

Royal Enfield also organizes and supports many motorcycling events and rides globally, more prominently the Rider Mania – an annual gathering of Royal Enfield riders from all over the world to the lovely beaches of Goa, and the Himalayan Odyssey, the most arduous motorcycle ride over some of the toughest roads and highest mountain passes in the Himalayas. Royal Enfield also conducts the popular ‘One Ride’ where people around the world ride out on their motorcycles on the first Sunday of April.

 

 

Triveni Sarees, the Madhubani paintings Canvas!

If you have ever envied the look ethnic look of beautiful actresses Shabana Azmi or  Vidya Balan in their exquisite Handloom Sarees, big bindis, and heritage jewels…

 …Go for Triveni Sarees Madhubani collection to get the look! Now it’s your time to turn them green with envy!!

The latest offering from Triveni Stable is of Sarees based on beautiful Mithila imprints of Bihar, better known as – The Madhubani paintings.  Triveni’s exclusive collection in super soft blended cotton with delightful Madhubani designs is around to steal the limelight.

The effeminate saree collection is ideal for formal wear collection which is complemented with beautiful Art Silk borders and beautifully complementing blouse pieces. Sarees really look beautiful and flawless to adorn to get that classy look, which was possible only with steeply priced Handloom Sarees.

But this collection by Triveni is the answer to that which comes at highly affordable prices. Ladies, if you are going to be part of any Seminar, Conference, Workshop or any other official function, Madhubani Sarees are the best bet. These will surely give you the look of the likes of Shabana Azmi, Ila Arun or even Vidya Balan which you have always envied.

Madhubani – Mithila Painting (also called Madhubani art or Mithila painting) is practiced in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks, using natural dyes and pigments, and is characterized by eye-catching geometrical patterns. There is ritual content for particular occasions, such as birth or marriage, and festivals, such as Holi, Surya Shakti, Kali Puja, Upanayana, Durga Puja.

Madhubani painting/Mithila painting was traditionally created by the women of the Brahman, Dusadh and Kayastha communities in Mithila region in India. It originated from Mithila region and Madhubani district of Bihar became the major export center of these paintings, hence, it is popularly called Mithila painting or Madhubani painting.  This painting as a form of wall art was practiced widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas mainly originated among the villages around Madhubani, and it is these latter developments led to the name Madhubani art being used alongside the name “Mithila Painting.

The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts, but now they are also done on cloth, hand-made paper, and canvas. Madhubani paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice. Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same. And that is the reason for Madhubani painting being accorded the coveted GI (Geographical Indication) status. Madhubani paintings also use two-dimensional imagery, and the colors used are derived from plants. Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.

Madhubani paintings mostly depict the men & its association with nature and the scenes & deity from the ancient epics. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings. Generally, no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs. Traditionally, the painting was one of the skills that were passed down from generation to generation in the families of the Mithila Region, mainly by women. It is still practiced and kept alive in the institutions spread across Mithila region. Kalakriti in Darbhanga, Vaidehi in Madhubani and Gram Vikas Parishad in Ranti are some of the major centers of Madhubani painting which has kept this ancient art form alive.

 

Mesmerising & Unexplored Arunachal Pradesh!

Since the time I have attended  Arré Outdoors  travel bloggers meet for showcasing & promoting tourism in Arunachal Pradesh, I can’t stop thinking about the place – the North East India’s jewel. It has been tickling in my mind what Arunachal Pradesh would be like. Though I had watched its splendour in the movie “Rangoon” which was actually shot in Arunachal Pradesh and was the only shining star of the otherwise unbearable movie. Taking a cue from there, my search began for Arunachal Pradesh and here are few interesting details for you to include AP on your wish list to travel.

Arunachal finds mention in the literature of Kalika Purana and Mahabharata. This place is supposed to be the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas. It was here that sage Parashuram washed away his sin, sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhishmaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini.

The widely scattered archeological remains at different places in Arunachal bears testimony to its rich cultural heritage. Arunachal Pradesh, a serene land tucked into the North Eastern tip of India, invites you to relax in its picturesque hills and valleys, enjoy its Salubrious climate and meet its simple and hospitable people, with their glorious heritage of arts and crafts and colourful festivals that reflect their ancient faith in the inexorable power of nature.

The visitor has a wide variety of options to pick from. There are places of worship and pilgrimage such as Parasuramkund and 400 years Old Tawang Monastery or the sites of archeological excavations like Malinithan and Itanagar, the serene beauty of lakes such as Ganga Lake or Sela lake or the numerous variations of the scenic beauty of the snowclad silver mountain peaks and lush green meadows where thousands of species of flora and fauna prosper. In addition, the state provides abundant scope for angling, boating, rafting, trekking, and hiking. Besides, there are a number of wild life sanctuaries and national parks where rare animals, birds, and plants will fascinate the visitor.

Nature has provided the people with a deep sense of beauty which finds delightful expression in their songs, dances, and crafts. The climate varies from hot and humid to heavy rainfall in the Shivalik range. It becomes progressively cold as one moves northwards to higher altitudes. Trees of great size, plentiful climbers, and abundance of cane and bamboo make Arunachal evergreen.

Arunachal Pradesh is considered to be the nature’s treasure trove and home to orchids, known for their exquisitely beautiful blooms, from one of the dominant taxa with more than six hundred species, occurring in varying elevations and climatic conditions throughout the state.

The area of the district is approximately 2085 sq. km. bordered by Tibet in the North, Bhutan in the Southwest and Sela ranges separate West Kameng district in the East.

The name TAWANG derives from some bearings on surroundings. But people’s interpretation is that the name TAWANG was given by Mera Lama in the 17th century. One can reach Tawang from other parts of the country via Guwahati and Tezpur in Assam. From Guwahati (Assam) or Tezpur (Assam), one has to go to Bhalukpong in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh and from there via Bomdila and Sela Pass one can go to Tawang by road.

The inhabitants of the districts are all of Monpa tribes except Shyo village which is dominated by people of Tibetan origin. The Monpas belong to Mongoloid stock. They are well built, fair in complexion. Their houses are built with stones and timbers. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry is the fundamental means of the Monpas occupation.

Tawang Monastery is one of the most important elements in the Social and Religious life of the Monpas. This Monastery is known as “GOLDEN NAMGYEL LHATSE”. It is one of the largest Lamaseries of Mahayana sects in Asia. Lam series comprise of several sections ranging near about four hundred years, devoted to Love, Learning, and Purity of life.

This fortified complex covers an area of 135 sqm. meters enclosed by a compound wall of 610 meters long. Within the complex, there are 65 residential buildings and 10 other structures. The library has valuable old scriptures mainly Kanjur and Tanjur numbering 850 bundles.  It is dated back to 17th century A.D. There are two major religious festivals of the Monpas viz “LOSAR” and “TORGYA”. Both festivals are celebrated once annually. The LOSAR s celebrated to the commencement of New Year. Every third year of Torgya, the festival of Dungyur is celebrated. Both “Dungyur and Torgya” festivals are celebrated at the premises of the Tawang Monastery with traditional gaiety and enthusiasm.

There are beautiful lakes around Tawang. One is Pankang Teng Tso (P.T. Tso ) lake. It is a fetching heaven for tourist only 17 KM away from maddening crowd of the township. It is a beautiful natural site and provides tourist a lucky chance for deep communion with nature. Other eye-catching lakes are Sangetser lake, Banggachang lake.

When to visit: During the period, April to October.

How to reach: By bus from Tezpur (Assam) or Bomdila

Where to stay: Circuit House, Inspection Bungalow, Hotel Niche, Hotel Shangrila.

Clothing: Warm clothing throughout the year

Nearest Airport: Tezpur(Assam).

Nearest Bus stand: Bomdila.

Nearest Railway Stn: Rangapara (Assam).

Info courtesy: Arunachal Pradesh Tourism

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