Feel like Royalty, Spend like Queen at these destinations!

Feel like Royalty, Spend like Queen at these destinations!
You have just returned from your European escapade or from a trip to the States and the dismal state of your bank account makes you want to cry. Fret not, because Skyscanner brings you a list of destinations where the Rupee is quite strong and you feel like royalty! Next time while planning a trip, consider these destinations:


On the ruins of Preah Khan temple complex in Cambodia
On the ruins of Preah Khan temple complex in Cambodia

Has watching a sunrise at the Angkor Wat always been at the top of your bucket list? Your dream can easily come true, given that Cambodian Riel equals about 0.015 INR! Hire a bicycle and spend a few days taking the time to explore the glorious Khmer ruins at the Angkor Wat. Visit Siem Reap and party it up in this vibrant city. The Siem Reap night market is a great place for a good bargain. Unwind on the sandy beaches of Sihanoukville, a 4 – 5 hour bus ride from Phnom Penh.


Elephant battle
Elephant battle

While Zimbabwe’s official currency is the USD, the crazy inflation rates in the country have made things like food and local sightseeing very inexpensive for the tourist. So take advantage of this, and plan a trip to see the thundering Victoria Falls. Harare, the capital city has a vibrant culture, and is teeming with activities for you to try out. The shopping and nightlife are great too. You’re in Africa, and you cannot miss out on its amazing wildlife. Take a safari in one of Zimbabwe’s many national parks such as Victoria Falls, Mana Pool or Hwange, and get up, close and personal with the lions, leopards, elephants and hyenas! Getting to Zimbabwe may be a tad bit expensive but once you are there, boarding, eating and getting around is considerably cheap.


Cathedral in Jaen
Cathedral in Jaen

The Paraguayan Guarani is about 0.013 INR, which means immersing yourself in Guarani culture, soccer and yummy South American food is quite inexpensive. The capital city of Asuncion is a mix of old world charm, historical buildings and modern restaurants and bars. Visit the Palacio de los Lopez at dusk when the lights come on, and catch a show at the Teatro Municipal. Take a trip to Encarnacion, Paraguay’s “Capital de Carnaval”, 370 km from Asuncion. The attractive city’s river beach is a huge draw, making it a perfect getaway to unwind. Encarnacion is also the base for visiting the famous Jesuit reducciones of Trinidad and Jesus, a UNESCO world heritage site. Flights to Paraguay from India are upwards of Rs.100000 but you may be able to land a cheaper deal if you book well in advance.


Hot Air Balloons Sunrise Laos
Hot Air Balloons Sunrise Laos

As soon as you step into Vientiane, the country’s capital city, it is very hard to miss the warmth and friendliness that the place exudes. Laos has all the amazing Buddhist temples, lush countryside and lip-smacking food, with half the crowd as Thailand. Visit former capital city, Luang Prabang, a UNESCO heritage site, full of colours and vibrant culture. The Bokeo Nature Reserve at Huay Xai is a draw for a lot of visitors, thanks to its Gibbon Experience. The area is home to diverse wildlife including clouded leopards, the black-crested gibbon and tigers. And the best part is the Lao Kip is just 0.0076 INR, which means all this is super- affordable!


The Rock
The Rock

The Colombian Peso equals about 0.024 INR. With quaint cobblestoned towns preserving the colonial charm, the mighty Andes standing tall, virgin Caribbean coasts, the mysterious Amazonian jungles and cryptic ruins, all rolled into one, Colombia is a treasure trove for a passionate traveller. Perched amidst the Andes, Bogota, the capital city has an easy-going and chic vibe, with the La Candelaria being its cultural center. Make sure you try some of the aromatic, fresh Colombian coffee at one of the city’s many cafes. Visit a coffee plantation in Fusagasuga, 1.5 hours away, as a day trip from the city.

Sri Lanka

sanctuary in water
sanctuary in water

The exchange rate of 1 Sri Lankan Rupee being equal to 0.46 INR makes India’s charming neighbour a very attractive option while planning your next trip. Colombo is no longer just a stopover before venturing into the charming hill country or the cultural triangle. Take a few days to explore the capital city’s treasures. Walk around the quaint Dutch Hospital precinct with its chic cafes and bars, shop at Barefoot, and bargain at Pettah market. Head to Nuwara Eliya in the hill country to unwind amidst the endless tea plantations with a piping cuppa. If you have enough time, make sure to visit the as-yet unexplored East – Uppuveli and Nilaveli, little coastal towns that are nothing like the booming resorts in the western coast, but have a charm that is unmet.


Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple

Where else will you find a perfect mix of sandy beaches, lush paddy fields, mysterious temples with scintillating architecture, rejuvenating massages that make you forget all your worries, the Komodo dragon, active volcanoes that you can climb and world-class water sports facilities, all in one country? Indonesia really takes the cake for a value for money vacation that literally has everything you’ve ever dreamt of. And of course, some of that dark, rich Kopi Luwak! Bali, Yogyakarta, Gili Islands, Flores – plan your trip without a worry, the Indonesian Rupiah is about 0.0048 INR.

So quit worrying about the money and plan your vacation to one of these superb destinations. You can also book your flights and hotels via skyscanner mobile apps.

Courtesy: Skyscanner

Malaysiajao for IIFA Awards 5-7th June 2015

The 16th edition of the most spectacular celebration of Indian Cinema globally, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards today announced the hosts for some of IIFA’s most awaited sub-events and performances that will take place at the IIFA Weekend this year. The Videocon d2h IIFA Weekend & Awards will take place at Stadium Putra in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 5-7 June 2015.

L-R- Ayushmann Khuranna, Neha Dhupia, Manoharan Periasamy-Director India- Tourism Malaysia, Anil Kapoor, Tony Nagamaiah- General Manager- Maysia major events

The IIFA Weekend this year will also see a night exclusively dedicated to fashion which will be hosted by Friend of IIFA, Neha Dhupia. IIFA Rocks, the exclusive music extravaganza will see a host of fantastic musical performances by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Mika, Ankit Tiwari, Kanika Kapoor, Jawed Ali and the Nooran sisters. Superstars Jacqueline Fernandes, Aditi Rao Hydari, Lisa Hayden and Lauren Gotlieb will also take the IIFA Rocks stage for some incredible performances.

At the 16th Videocon d2h IIFA Weekend, the IIFA Gala Screening on 6th June in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will feature the highly awaited star-studded film Dil Dhadakne Do. The film is a bittersweet comedy drama about a family that takes a trip which changes them forever. With an ensemble cast of Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor, Shefali Shah, Farhan Akhtar and Anushka Sharma, the film is directed by Zoya Akhtar and produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar.

Speaking on the occasion, Anil Kapoor, Actor and Friend of IIFA said “Through time, IIFA has grown from a mega awards ceremony into an iconic global platform for Indian films and culture while showcasing to the world the best that Indian cinema has to offer. I am looking forward to the film media briefing of Dil Dhadakne Do which will be a part of the Weekend this year and I am delighted to see IIFA return to Malaysia, this time to the vivacious city of Kuala Lumpur.”

The event will be telecast on India’s leading Hindi entertainment channel Colors with foot prints in over 140 countries.

Tony Nagamaiah, General Manager of Malaysia Major Events said “As excitement heightens, we are proud to host the 16th IIFA Celebrations 2015 and welcome its entire contingent to Malaysia. Being host city, Kuala Lumpur anticipates the weekend’s buzz as it shall be among our biggest showcases for the year in conjunction with the Malaysia Year of Festivals (MyFest) 2015. The city’s dazzling setting will imprint the Bollywood family and fans with spectacular experiences in a truly diverse environment.”


Manoharan Periasamy, Director Tourism Malaysia said, “ The IFFA awards will definitely help keep Malaysia on top of mind to travellers planning a vacation this summer and with the o MYFest 2015 celebrations, this is an icing on the cake.”

Tickets for the biggest celebration of Indian Cinema abroad are available for sale. Log on to http://www.myticket.asia or call 03-8080 8700 or 017 2447139. Patrons wishing to purchase VIP Hospitality Tickets can send an email to viphospitality@iifa.com.

IIFA Awards 2015 will be held at Stadium Putra, the Official Hospitality Partner is JW Marriot/The Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines is the Official Airline Partner for the 16th edition of the IIFA celebrations. In Malaysia, IIFA Awards will be available LIVE on Astro First (Channel 480).
About IIFA (International Indian Film Academy)
Conceptualized and produced by Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. and supported by the key members of the Indian film fraternity, IIFA is the most appreciated South Asian film academy. Also, the IIFA Awards is India’s biggest media event. With a viewership of almost 800 million, it is among the world’s most-watched annual entertainment events. From a one night celebration in 2000 at the Millennium Dome, London, the last sixteen years have seen the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) movement grow into a cine-packed weekend of film- festivals, workshops, exhibitions, film-showcases and global business forums, all of which climax into the highlight of the Weekend, the IIFA Awards. http://www.iifa.com

About Tourism Malaysia: MALAYSIA TOURISM PROMOTION BOARD OR TOURISM MALAYSIA is an agency under the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, Malaysia. Tourism Malaysia focuses on the specific task of promoting Malaysia at all levels. Since its inception, Tourism Malaysia has grown by leaps and bounds and it has emerged as a major player in the international tourism scene. In 2013, Malaysia registered 25.7 million tourist arrivals and RM65.4 billion in receipts, making tourism its second largest foreign exchange earner and the sixth highest contributor to its Gross National Income (GNI).

For any further query, please visit:
Website: http://www.tourism.gov.my
Join them on Facebook:www.facebook.com/malaysiajao
Follow them on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/malaysiajao

Kempty Falls, Mussourie, India’s answer to Niagra Falls (???)

April 28, 2015: Early morning we headed to Kempty Falls in Mussourie via road from Dehradun. The journey on a narrow path amidst hilly terrain was breathtakingly beautiful. The hills, the greenery, the vegetation, the monkeys, small waterfalls, clouds…all added to provide us the unique experience. We stopped the car at many places just to stop by and enjoy the beauty of hills. On the way we caught the glimpse of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Indo-Tibetan Border Academy, Many wonderful boarding schools and Colleges. Yea, we missed visiting Ruskin Bonds House which my daughter Tanya was very keen to visit. Never mind…next time!

So coming to Kempty Falls which I was visiting after many years (visited as a child) and it was just the same, I mean there is no effort to make it tourism friendly except that there is a ropeway now to ferry passenger and yes, commercial activity has increased manifold. So finally driving up and then down, several kilometers, we reached Kempty Falls. What added to our joy was that we met the same family who were our companions in the train enroute Dehradun and their children had become great friends of my daughter. Once again united, children had great time at Kempty Falls. We loved the falls amidst thick forests of Mussourie where fall was making great sound and people were having great time under the fall.

So for the uninitiated, The Kempty Falls are situated on the hilly tracks of Uttarakhand, India, 13 km from Mussourie on the Chakrata Road. It is nearly 1364 meters above sea level, at 78°-02’East longitude and 30° -29’North latitude. The Kempty Falls, and the area around is surrounded by high mountain ranges at an altitude of 4500 feet.

Kempty Falls were developed as a tourist destination by a British officer John Mekinan, around 1835. The name Kempty is probably derived from the word ‘camp-tea’, A stream of water running throughout the year starting from the southwest of village Banglow ki kandi moves northwest and falls from 4,500 ft. Splitting into five other cascades, the water falls a further 40 ft.

Indeed, the place filled me with wonderful memories. It was really hard to get our eyes off the mesmerizing Kempty falls. Though I decided not to step into the pool formed by the falls and join its game. Had I taken the dip or splashed the cold water on my friends and family, enjoyment would have been greater. But yes, the place filled me with extra energy, soaking us in the fun and frolic.

Though I couldn’t help myself comparing it with Niagra Falls (The US & Canada) which I visited 10 years ago and was expecting something close to that…but I was hugely disappointed.

But you should not miss visiting Kempty Falls while in Dehradun just for its fantastic drive… I loved the day in Mussourie, it will be etched in my memory forever!

Men for OFFICE, Women for HOME! Need to change!

Sample this Contrasting data:

Indian men feel, sharing household chores
makes men and women equal partners at home*
Indian men believe sharing of household
work is important for a happy marriage*
Married Indian women feel that if their husbands help with household chores, they will get more time with them*

( You may chose to relate with whichever one you want)

So what do we derive from the above statistics? Indian Men believe in sharing load of house-hold chores…but how many actually do it? If they did, how does it help?

laundry 1

This topic has lot of emotional attachment for me as it takes me down memory lane …cut to early seventies when I witnessed my mother struggling complete house-hold chores alone. Juggling life with busy / working husband, two kids, no gadgets to boot and demanding in-laws, life was near hell. To make it worse, she never complained and took it happily on her. At that age, I never understood all that and it was imbibed in my mind that Men are made to work in office and Women are made to slog at home. My father would come home from office, hot tea would be served to him who enjoyed it over reading the News what ever was left in the morning newspaper, go to club for a game, come home, have shower and enjoy hearty night meal. Now was time for news on Radio, followed by Hawa Mahal and off to sleep. Whatever went in-between during the day was none of his concern. He was doing great service by earning and fending for all of us…

laundry 2

…I had grown up with this scenario till the time my father was alive! No body cared a dime about my mother who had to take it all on her cooking, laundry, cleaning, grocery, schools, studies, guests…outings what not. I did not know the men around me who helped women with their house-hold chores. Such men were just unacceptable to my psyche. How do you tell men of the house to do the laundry or cook a meal for ladies of the house? But yes, some times my heart revolted, why we should as women go through this grind all the time. It was then I decided to be working women so that my life would be like my father’s. (Child’s wishful thinking).
But times changed with women taking centre stage in all aspects of life, men of 60s needed to change too, and they did change. We started witnessing gradual transformation happening in the social fabric which was laying the roadmap of happier (read: acceptable) married life.

Mother’s took initiative by training their sons for house-hold chores who were “Sikandars” from generations so that when they got married, they were cool about “Helping” wives in the kitchen with the “Laundry”.


Now the story of my generation…I grew up to be a working professional, a self-confessed “Workaholic” for whom working in the Kitchen did not make much sense. Hence I was labelled “Unsuitable” marriage material. But as the destiny would have it, I too got married to a person who was “Cool” about my Cold kitchen sojourns.
For the first time, I was with a man who was comfortable helping me with the Kitchen, Laundry…what not so that I could concentrate on my career and some other better things in life. As a conventional Indian girl, it pricked my senses, many a times, seeing husband sharing responsibility of house – hold chores, but I could not help much. Moreover, sometimes I thought that what would my relatives say if they come to know that my husband helps me with laundry?

But times changes and I started witnessing many more husbands, brothers, sons helping wives, sisters and mothers in their domain (???). Indeed, our life is very different from our mothers. We have better time management so that we are able to devote good amount of time with children, their activities, socialising, Social Mediazing, Outings, Reading, Travelling, Writing, Blogging…what not. Life has become simpler! The biggest technological help has come in the form of “Washing Machine” which has taken away load of laundry & indeed a pleasure as it is under management of husband. This way I am substantially off that department. Most importantly, the sharing of load has made me happier & healthier person.

laundry 3

My heart goes out to my mother today, who is facing so many health issues and many could be attributed to taking exertion at the time when her body needed rest. Things changed for me, I hope things change even for the better for our future generation. The change may be attributed to MNC players in the field of detergents who portrayed women as modern & independent and men as equal load sharers. ( Read: Ariel Ads: Is Laundry only a woman’s job).

Home Makers or Career Women, Ladies you rock! Provided you know How to!

I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.

Kuala Lumpur invites foodies to showcase culinary skills at Big Kitchen Festival 2015

Showcasing Kuala Lumpur as a diverse gastronomic destination in South East Asia

The city of Kuala Lumpur is set to come alive amidst a 3-day food festival at the iconic Dataran Merdeka later this month. Kuala Lumpur City Hall in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism & Culture, is proud to present the inaugural Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Festival 2015.Heating its way from the 29th to 31st May 2015, the food festival will bring together gastronomic delights from the 13 Malaysian states, making local and international foodies spoilt for choice with the range of over 60 food counters serving up only the best.

This was announced by Y.Bhg. Datuk Seri Hj. Ahmad Phesal Hj. Talib, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur at the media launch which simultaneously introduced its participating chefs, sponsors and partners held at Samplings on the Fourteenth in Berjaya University College of Hospitality.

According to Euromonitor International, Kuala Lumpur is ranked 9th out of 100 leading cities for tourist arrivals in its annual Top City Destinations Ranking 2013.It is no surprise that Kuala Lumpur made the Top 10 list, as one of its attractions is the variety of food it serves which has always created a lot of interest with visitors from around the world.

The Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Festival 2015, taglined “Bringing You the Gastronomic Experience”, is the ideal platform to introduce Kuala Lumpur as the ‘MELTING POT’ of South East Asia. The food festival will serve delectable dishes ranging from street food right up to fine dining while highlighting Kuala Lumpur as the GASTRONOMY HEAVEN to the foodies around the world.
Incidentally Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Festival 2015 is a walk the plan initiative under Kuala Lumpur Tourism Master Plan 2015 – 2025, positioning Kuala Lumpur as a Malaysian cuisine heaven. One of its criteria is to create a food festival in Kuala Lumpur.
Chefs on board the Festival:
Curated by UK Based Malaysian Chef and Kuala Lumpur Food Ambassador, Chef Norman Musa, the festival will also witness a host of celebrity chefs who will thrill and entertain with live cooking demonstrations and workshops throughout the Kuala Lumpur Big Kitchen Festival 2015.
The list of participating chefs besides Chef Norman Musa include:
• Chef Wan – Celebrity chef
• Chef Dato’ Ismail Ahmad – Celebrity chef
• Chef Isadora Chai – highest ranking Malaysian-born chef
• Chef Adu Amran -London-based Malaysian culinary expert

Chef Malcolm Goh – Culinary Executive & Supervising Chef of AFC‘s “Great Dinners of the World”
• Chef Firdaus Hanan – UiTM Culinary Lecturer & Host of Astro Maya’s Makan
• Chef Dr Ezani – winner of MasterChef Malaysia Season 1
• Chef Izyan Hani – winner of MasterChef Malaysia Season 2
• Chef Jochen Kern – German born Director of the School of Culinary Arts at
Berjaya University College of Hospitality
• Chef Anis Nabila – Celebrity chef
• Chef Darren Chin – Celebrity Chef & owner of DC Restaurant
• Chef Kamarul – Celebrity Chef
• Chef Martin Yan -Chinese-born American chef and food writer & host of award-winning cooking show Yan Can Cook
• Chef Will Meyrick from UK – Top Chef Indonesia judge
• Chef Claire Ptak from UK – owns a bakery and café, the Violet Bakery & her latest book named after it
• Chef Cyril Rouquet from France – French Masterchef finalist 2011
• Chef Mark Jarvis from UK – previously Head Chef of the Bingham

Visitors will get the chance to meet with local and internationally renowned chefs as they conduct cooking workshops and demonstrations, give talks and interact with them. Visitors can also learn to prepare and cook some authentic Malaysian dishes, and get some useful tips from the experts themselves during the festival.

About the Festival: The 3-day festival will transform Dataran Merdeka into 8 QUARTERS to include every facet of Malaysian food – Negeri, Warung, Manisan, Food Trucks, Warisan, Samplings, The Dulang and Mayor’s Courtyard. Each Quarter will be set up in a unique presentation serving everything from one’s favourite childhood dish to science defying “molecular gastronomy” dishes.
Negeri – This zone will feature the various signature cuisines that represent the 13 states of Malaysia.
Warung – This zone features handpicked stalls or warung that offer some of the country’s best street food fare such as Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai and Char Kueh Teow.
Manisan – This zone will have all kinds of sugary delights from traditional ice creams and candy to more localised sweet treats like cendol.
Food Trucks – food trucks have become a growing trend in modern KL’s food offerings. These mobile eateries serve up interesting fare from fusion dishes to traditional delicacies that are prepared from inside a food truck.
Warisan – This zone showcases the many traditional preparation techniques and instruments preserved for many years and recipeshanded down from the elders.

Samplings – The Samplings zone will have a list of 5-star hotels in the city serving up some of their signature menus in bite sized portions.
The Dulang – “Dulang” is the Malay word for tray,that serves “Nasi Ambeng” – a traditional communal dining and bonding experience that is popular in the southern state of Johor.
The Mayor’s Courtyard – Guests are in for a special experience in the Mayor’s
Courtyard. Set in an indoor air-conditioned space, top chefs and culinary experts will whet the palette in preparing their signature gourmet cuisines. Participating restaurants and establishments in this area will showcase nothing but the best in the world of fine dining.

The festival will also have various interesting pop-up stalls :
• The FAMA market selling tropical Malaysian fruits and fruit juices
• The Spices and Malaysian purees “on- the go” stalls
• Tuck shops selling Malaysian snacks like kerepek, coconut candy and dodol plus these shops will hold experiential demonstrations for tourists on heritage food like kuih bangkit, kuih bakar and kuih bahulu that will be made on “pangkin” with the “makciks”
With a single entry ticket, visitors will have the opportunity to attend all the cooking workshops and demonstrations (based on a first-come, first-serve basis as seats may be limited), listen to gastronomic talks and be entertained by cultural performances.
About the Festival Competitions: To create more excitement during the festival, the Kuala Lumpur City Hall has organised the Big Challenge which includes three competitions. First, the KL Big Kitchen, Big Race, a cooking competition which includes racing against time to buy ingredients at KL’s oldest market, Chow Kit Market and returning to the Big Kitchen site at Dataran Merdeka to cook a dish. The second competition is the KL Signature Mocktail Competition, open to Malaysian amateurs or professional mixologists to create KL’s signature mocktail. Finally the KL Signature Dish Competition, a competition only open to Malaysians, is in search of a unique, signature dish using local herbs and spices.The winners of each competition will receive Cash Prizes, a Trophy from the Datuk Bandar Kuala Lumpur and gifts sponsored by the festival’s partners.

Interested participants can download the entry forms from the festival website: http://www.klbigkitchen.com


Gangaji ki Aarti on Har-ki-Pauri, Haridwar!

Mesmerizing, enchanting, lingering experience…
…Visit once for the entire soulful experience!

As goes the name – Haridwar, it is indeed Hari ka dwaar where you enter to meet the divinity in its full glory. So much so that even Haridwar station is made in the shape of a temple. Quite excited to be in Haridwar, we reached there on the afternoon of April 29, 2015 from Dehradun, to be welcomed by courteous staff of Hotel Chitra Heritage, located close to station. After having lunch in the hotel room and a quick nap and a quicker shower we got ready for the evening Aarti at Har-ki-Pauri. My husband Mukund and daughter Tanya, having absolutely no clue how Har-ki-Pauri looked like, they were quite fascinated to catch the first glimpse of green and clean Ganga from the bridge. Ghat surrounded by small – time sellers selling diyas, flowers, garlands, toys, Ganga Jal Cans, Bangles, Sindoor what not delighted Tanya even more. She wanted to check stuff with every seller and found everything quite cheap.

Moreover, the song playing in the backdrop – Ganga Maiyya mein jab tak ke paani rahe, mere sajna teri zindgani rahe…added to the aura of Gangaji. After faced paced, highly commercialized life of Mumbai, religious Haridwar was quite a change. With temples all around us, we were in for a religious sojourn. My daughter a true-blue Mumbaikar, young & modern teenager was too delighted to be there, to my utter surprise. Gangaji at Har-ki-Pauri is quite clean but could have been cleaner. I think people are lending ears to Modiji’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan…

Enjoy the Photo-Essay:

We moved towards Clock Tower which is closer to Ghat where Aarti was to be performed. When we reached around 6:15 PM it was moderately crowded but as 15-20 minutes passed, huge crowds gathered on the Malviya ghat. We were seated on the opposite side of temple where Aarti was to be performed. We had a clear view of the temple ghat and were quite happy about it. Aarti started at sharp 7 PM, and what an experience it turned out to be! Absolutely divine. Lanterns flowing in Gangaji and several Pandits performing Aarti with life size diyas, it was a sight to remember. I am still finding it difficult to get over it…just mesmerizing! I felt one with divinity – the Supreme power, huge crowds totally immersed in Aarti!

Now a little backdrop of the Aarti – Each evening as the sun’s last rays reflect off the boundless waters of Mother Ganga, people gather for Ganga Aarti at Har-Ki-Pauri. This divine light ceremony is filled with song, prayer, ritual and a palpable sense of the divine. Aarti is the beautiful ceremony in which diyas (oil lamps) are offered to God. Aarti is being done to the deity in the Gangaji temple, and simultaneously on the banks of the Ganges to Mother Ganga.
Ganga Aarti Hardwar is performed at Har-ki-Pauri Ghat. Har Ki Pauri is one of the most famous place to take holy dip in the river Ganga. Ganga Aarti means prayer for the River Ganga. Aarti is an ancient Hindu ritual offered to Gods, holy things, spiritual leaders or to the guests. Aarti word is from the Sanskrit language which means remover of darkness (ignorance). Aarti is performed at the Har Ki Pauri Ghat which is built in 1st century by King Vikram. Bhratuhari was brother of King Vikram who meditated here for Lord Vishnu and Lord Vishnu appeared here to give him blessing. That is why the place named Har Ki Pauri (Foot Prints of God). This is also the same place where drop of nector fell down and that is why it is also prime attraction in Kumbh Mela Festival in Haridwar.

Ganga is not only a river. She is truly a Divine Mother. She rushes forth from the Himalayas as the giver of life, carrying purity, bliss and liberation in Her waters. Ganga is not only water. She is nectar – the nectar of life, the nectar of liberation. She is a source of inspiration to all who lay eyes on her ceaseless, boundless, rushing current. She irrigates not only our farms, but also our hearts, minds and souls. She is the Mother Goddess – giving freely to all with no discrimination, hesitation or expectation. Her waters purify all who bathe in them, all who drink from them. In fact, She is the remover of contamination.
The essence of the aarti ceremony is that all day long God offers us light – the light of the sun, the light of life, and the light of His (Her) blessings. Aarti is a time when we say, “Thank You,” and we offer back the light of our thanks, the light of our love and the light of our devotion.

Aarti in full splendour:

Ganga Aarti is organized twice a day every evening – Morning at sunrise and evening at sunset. Timing is different in summer and winter according to sunset and sunrise timings. Evening Ganga Aarti is more famous. Ganga Aarti has two parts. First part is offering to the river ganga to get blessing. Offerings are done with backgrounds of live chants in Sanskrit language. After short break of 5 mins after offering the second part starts which is Hindi Song for River Ganga. The preist also light the Big Diyas (Multile wicks are soaked in Ghee and the holder is made from copper) during this song. These diyas are waved in clock wise direction towards River Ganga.

We were really lucky that inspite of being late, everything fell into place for us, we got the right place to view so that we could view the Aarti in its full glory and splendor. Luckily the place was not that crowded too. After Aarti, we performed deep daan in Gangaji for our ancestors.

But yes, there are few lessons to be taken like you should reach little early to get the complete view of the ceremony. Avoid giving donations to the so called volunteers, instead you should give donations to Ganga Sabha so that it is utilized for the right purpose.
What is life without few learnings every now and then…