Category Archives: Destinations

Ajmer: The abode of the holy shrine – Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti

Last night while watching Travel XP, I noticed they were showing a Dargah, which looked very familiar to me and my joy knew no bounds when I came to know that it was none other than famed Dargah of Ajmer, Rajasthan, India.

I have very fond childhood memories of visiting Dargah when my chacha (father’s younger brother) use to take us while we visited him during our summer vacations in our school days. I was very fascinated by the shrine as it had very divine and serene atmosphere with a huge congregation of devotees always. Childhood memories became vivid as the show moved on, I recollected visiting all these places as a child but unfortunately could not visit in a long time, though I always long to visit the place especially for Dargah.

Any tourist visiting the state of Rajasthan cannot afford to miss the Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti Dargah in Ajmer besides many other things which beautiful city of Ajmer has to offer. It is old saying that people who visit Ajmer Sharif and pray with pure faith and loyalty at his Dargah will free their soul. Hazrat Khawaja Moinuddin Hasan Chishti is also known by different names as, Khawaja Gharib Nawaz, “Sultan-Ul-Hind”, Khwaja Baba, Khwaja Gharib Nawaz Ajmeri, Khwaja Sahib, Khwaja Saheb, Khwaja Ajmeri Saint Moinuddin Chishty. The Dargah Khawaja Gharibnawaz ( R.A) has several tombs, buildings, Daalaans and courtyards are of  Mughal architecture. As a child, the big degchi fascinated me the most where tons of rice was cooked for Chadava and devotees. I always wondered how they would be cooking in such a huge vessel and that still remains a mystery.

Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Ajmer Dargah, Ajmer Sharif or Dargah Sharif is a Sufi shrine (Dargah) of a Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishti located in Ajmer, Rajasthan, India. The shrine has the grave (Maqbara) of the revered saint, Moinuddin Chisti. The dargah of Moinuddin Chishti (Gharib Nawaz -Benefactor of the Poor), is an international waqf, an Islamic mortmain managed by the Dargah Khwaja Saheb Act, 1955 of the Government of India.

Ajmer Sharif Dargah is 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) away from the main central Ajmer Railway station and situated at the foot of the Taragarh hill, and consists of several white marble buildings arranged around two courtyards, including a massive gate donated by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Akbari Mosque, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. It contains the domed tomb of the saint.

Akbar and his queen used to come here by foot on pilgrimage from Agra every year in observance of a vow when he prayed for a son. The large pillars called “Kose (‘Mile’) Minar”, erected at intervals of two miles (3 km) along the entire way between Agra and Ajmer mark the places where the royal pilgrims halted every day. It has been estimated that around 150,000 pilgrims visit the site every day.

The main gate to the shrine is the Nizam Gate, followed by the Shahjahani Gate, erected by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. In turn, it is followed by the Buland Darwaza, built by Sultan Mahmood Khilji, upon which is hoisted the urs flag, marking the beginning of the death anniversary rituals.

So if you are planning a trip to Rajasthan, do pay obeisance to the holy shrine in Ajmer and achieve that unique divine experience.

Source: Wikipedia

Desaru Coast set to welcome Indian business and leisure travelers in 2018

Malaysia’s First Premium Integrated Destination to increase Tourist Receipts with New Offerings

 “India has always been an important market for Malaysia. In 2016, a total of 6,38,578 Indian travelers visited Malaysia, maintaining its position as the sixth top tourist generating market to the country. Desaru Coast will definitely make the Indian excited and thus giving a boost to arrivals to the country” said Mr. Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Director – Tourism Malaysia, Mumbai. He was speaking during the exclusive preview of Desaru Coast here in Mumbai recently.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Philip Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Theme Parks & Attractions and Chief Commercial Officer of Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd. Said, “  “Desaru Coast’s India tour will open doors for us to connect with buyers of all sectors within the travel-value chain commerce whilst positioning Desaru Coast as the destination of choice amongst holidaymakers and business travelers alike within the region. We look forward to sharing a preview of the destination that will appeal to international travelers with its myriad of offerings.”

 Ms. Olivia Ooi, Senior Vice President, Destination Sales & Marketing, 2. Mr. Philip Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Theme Parks & Attractions and Chief Commercial Officer of Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd.
3. Ms. Kristine Lim, Vice President, Destination Sales & Marketing

Developed by Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn. Bhd., Desaru Coast is located at the south-eastern region of Malaysia, spanning over 3,900 acres along an unspoiled 17km beachfront facing the South China Sea. The destination is easily accessible via land, ferry, and air. Desaru Coast is home to four globally renowned hotels and resorts, two world-class golf courses, a themed water park, a retail village as well as a conference centre.

Anchored by Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, one of the world’s biggest water parks with the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia, the attraction also presents visitors with a Malaysian fishing village atmosphere. Visitors can also experience the first water coaster in the region and a unique mix of wet and dry rides.

The fully-integrated beach-front destination will encompass globally renowned hotels and resorts namely The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.

Adding to the vast array of leisure and holistic offerings is Desaru Coast Riverside, a 23-acre water-front landscaped retail and lifestyle village located in the heart of Desaru Coast that delivers an all-inclusive leisure experience, including a range of retail, eateries and entertainment outlets. Completing the unique blend of experiences that the multi-billion-dollar integrated destination has to offer is the Desaru Coast Conference Centre, an equipped multipurpose venue with a banquet area and exhibition space that can host up to 1,000 participants. The conference centre is furnished with meeting and breakout rooms, VIP lounges, a pre-function area, and courtyard to cater to MICE events, corporate functions and entertainment events.

Golf aficionados will get the chance to tee-off at the first Els Club in Southeast Asia, the third in the world, The Els Club Malaysia in Desaru Coast. The Els Club Desaru Coast comprises two championship golf courses, the 27-hole Ocean Course and the 18-hole Valley Course. Managed by Troon Golf, the Ocean Course was designed by 4-time Major Champion, Ernie Els, while the Valley Course was designed in collaboration with Els’ long-standing friend and major champion, Vijay Singh. Golfers can be guaranteed a world-class golf experience with an incredible view.

Desaru Coast is set to unveil its destination offerings in stages, with the opening of The Els Club Desaru Coast – Ocean Course in September 2016 and The Els Club Desaru Coast – Valley Course in March 2017, followed by the remaining components from end June 2018.

The Indian travel community and visitors are welcomed to find out more about the latest updates on Desaru Coast developments at SATTE, New Delhi, Booth no. E170, Hall 1 (January 31st – February 2nd, 2018).

For more information, visit www.desarucoast.com

Dwarkadhish Temple: Gujarat – Epitome of Spirituality & Tranquility!

Gujarat has been in the news, the reasons are well-known.

Now that heavy – duty and hyper – hyped elections are over in Gujarat and results are keenly awaited, you can plan a trip to Gujarat and pay obessience to Dwarkadhish temple like our national leaders, who did pre-elections, lesser mortals like us can do post-elections. You can choose to say thanks to deity for the results! Just kidding!! Here you can enjoy beautiful winters of the state and inimitable, authentic Gujarati food which is loved globally. This will certainly make your trip to the shrine, more blissful.

So for the uninitiated, Dwarka is the headquarters of Okhamandal taluka  in the extreme West of the Saurashtra peninsula on the Arabian Sea. It is a station on the Ahmedabad-Okha broad gauge railway line, about 137-km from Jamnagar, 217 km from Rajkot and 378 km from Ahmedabad.

A state highway with Jamnagar and Okha also connects it. The nearest airport is Jamnagar. Dwarka lies on 20.22′ north latitude and 69.05′ east longitude and built on the night bank of Gamut creek. Dwarka was known as the city of Gold. Shree Krishna came here from Mathura along with some Yadav families and established his own empire Dwarka. That was the legend but science proved it partially. Scientists researched on that and have found some facts.

Dwarka is derived from ‘Dwar’, a door, and in ancient times its flourishing port was considered to be the gateway to the mainland. As ‘Ka’ means ‘Brahma’ meaning, gateway to Moksha. It is called Dwarkamati and Dwarkavati. Being adopted home and capital of Shri Krishna after he gave up Mathura. It is held in such a high esteem as a place of Hindu pilgrimage that it is considered to be one of the four principle holy places or Chardham, it is also known as Mokshapuri.

The Dwarkadhish temple, also known as the Jagat Mandir and occasionally spelt Dwarakadheesh (Gujarati: દ્વારકાધીશ મન્દિર; Sanskrit and Hindi: द्वारकाधीश मन्दिर), is a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Krishna, who is worshiped here by the name Dwarkadhish, or ‘King of Dwarka’. The temple is located at Dwarka, Gujarat, India. The main shrine of the 5-storied building, supported by 72 pillars, is known as Jagat Mandir or Nija Mandir, archaeological findings suggest it to be 2,200 – 2,000 years old. Temple was enlarged in the 15th- 16th century. The Dwarkadhish Temple is a Pushtimarg temple, hence it follows the guidelines and rituals created by Vallabhacharya and Vitheleshnath.

According to tradition, the original temple was believed to have been built by Krishna’s grandson, Vajranabha, over the hari-griha (Lord Krishna’s residential place). The temple became part of the Char Dham pilgrimage considered sacred by Hindus in India, after Adi Shankaracharya, the 8th-century Hindu theologian and philosopher, visited the shrine. The other three being comprising Shringeri, Badrikashram and Puri. Even today a memorial within the temple is dedicated to his visit. Dwarakadheesh is the 108th Divya Desam of Vishnu on the subcontinent, glorified in the Divya Prabandha sacred texts.

As per Hindu legend, Dwarka was built on a piece of land by Krishna that was reclaimed from the sea. Sage Durvasa once visited Krishna and his wife Rukmini. The sage wished that the pair took him to their palace. The pair readily agreed and started walking with the sage to their palace. After some distance, Rukmini got tired and she requested some water from Krishna. Krishna dug a mythical hole that brought in river Ganga to the place. Sage Durvasa was furious and cursed Rukmini to remain in the place. The temple where Rukmini’s shrine is found is believed to the place where she stood.

The town of Dwarka in Gujarat has a history that dates back centuries and mentioned in the Mahabharat epic as the Dwaraka Kingdom. Situated on the banks of river Gomti, the town is described in legend as the capital of Lord Krishna. Evidence such as a stone block with the script, the way the stones were dressed showing that dowels had been used, and an examination of anchors found on the site suggest that the harbour site dates only to historical times, with some of the underwater structure being late Medieval. Coastal erosion was probably the cause of the destruction of what was an ancient port.

Hindus believe that the original temple was constructed by Vajranabh, the great grand son of Krishna, over the residential palace of Krishna. The current temple in Chaulukya style is constructed in 15-16th century. The temple covers an area of 27 meters by 21 meters with the east-west length of 29 metre and north-south width of 23 metres. The tallest peak of the temple is 51.8 m high.

The flag atop the temple shows the sun and moon, which is believed to indicate that Krishna would be there till Sun and moon exist on earth. The flag is changed from 5 times a day, but the symbol remains the same. The temple has a five-story structure built on seventy-two pillars. The temple spire is 78.3m high. The temple is constructed of limestone which is still in pristine condition. The temple shows intricate sculptural detailing done by successions of dynasties that ruled the region. The structure was not expanded much by these works. There are two entrances to the temple. The main entrance (north entrance) is called “Moksha Dwara” (Door to Salvation). This entrance takes one to the main market. The south entrance is called “Swarga Dwara” (Gate to Heaven). Outside this doorway are 56 steps that lead to the Gomati River. The temple is open from 6.00 am to 1.00 pm and 5.00 pm to 9.30 pm. The Krishnajenmastami festival, the birthday of Krishna was commissioned by Vallaba (1473-1531).

So what are you thinking, pack your pilgrimage bag and head to Dwarkadhish temple!  Jai Shree Krishna!!

 

UNESCO recognizes Kumbh Mela’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’

India’s Kumbh Mela has been recognised by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” and held up as the world’s largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims.

The External Affairs Ministry recently said the recognition was accorded by the Inter-Governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, an entity which works under UNESCO.

The decision to recognise the Kumbh Mela was taken at its ongoing meeting in Jeju, South Korea. The inscription of the Kumbh Mela was recommended by the expert body which examines the nominations submitted by member states. The committee observed it was the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on the earth.

“The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO inscribed the ‘Kumbh Mela’ on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during its 12th session held at Jeju, South Korea,” the MEA said.

The session, which started on 4 December, is to end on 9 December. It said the inscription was the third in two years following ‘Yoga’ and ‘Nouroz’.

“The committee observed that ‘Kumbh Mela’ is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on the earth. The festival, held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and ritual cleansing in holy rivers in India,” the MEA said.

“As a religious festival, the tolerance and inclusiveness that Kumbh Mela demonstrates are especially valuable for the contemporary world,” the MEA said in its statement.

The committee also took note of the fact that knowledge and skills related to the ‘Kumbh Mela’ were transmitted through the Guru-Shishya parampara (teacher-student relationship) by way of saints and sadhus teaching their disciples about traditional rituals and chants.

Reacting to the recognition, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said it was a proud moment for India. “A very proud moment for us as sacred Kumbh Mela is just inscribed as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO,” he tweeted.

In 2003, the UNESCO General Conference had adopted the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage as an international treaty, acknowledging that cultural heritage was more than tangible places, monuments and objects and that it also encompassed traditions and living expressions.

The Kumbh Mela joins new elements from Botswana, Colombia, Venezuela, Mongolia, Morocco, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on the UNESCO list.

 

 

 

Magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, Memorable Trip, Jodhpur, Rajasthan India

We have very fond memories of attending my cousin Aarti’s wedding in Jodhpur some three years ago, which was a typical Rajasthani marriage in Jodhpur. When marriage got over, my phoophaji advised us to visit Mehrangarh Fort and Umaid Bhavan Palace which had already caught my fancy while coming to my dear Suman bua’s home for Aarti’s marriage…

Phoophaji arranged a vehicle (read: luxury car) for us and very next morning we were out to visit Mehrangarh Fort. Though tired because of marriage ceremonies, I was quite excited to visit the fort which looked so imposing to me while driving round the beautiful Rajasthan city of Jodhpur. Moreover, I have a fetish for forts and I may be credited for visiting several forts of India across States. The palaces in Rajasthan are truly royal and magnificent and it is very difficult to rate them on these parameters. Every fort has its own charm and a story to tell, the only common thread being Rajasthani Culture and architecture. Every fort awe-inspiring, leaving you to spell – bound. The story is the same here, when accompanied by my husband Mukund, who was like – Oh another fort, another steep climb, guide telling Raja Rani Kahaniyan…

…but Mehrangarh was different, it has lifted for tourists to go various levels, one need not necessarily climb rather take the steep walk to visit the fort. I must say a visit to the fort was very enlightening and it opened many layers of Rajputana, Raja-Maharajas, their aesthetic sense, their valour and love of their land. No wonder Mehrangarh has a steady stream of Indian and foreign tourists, in every season. We were lucky to have visited in winter, which further added to our experience about Mehrangarh fort. Standing high above the plains on this isolated rock, the Fort covers an area 460 mts in length and 230 mts in width, with walls that vary in height from 6 to 36 mts.  Inside its ways, there are several palaces, which are known for their intricate carvings and sprawling courtyards. The foundation of the fort was laid on May 12, 1459 by Rao Jodha on a rocky hill nine kilometres to the south of Mandore.

The invincible fortifications are six meters thick. Some of the walls still bear cannon marks they had once withstood. The Chamunda Mataji was Rao Jodha’s favourite goddess, he brought her idol from the old capital of Mandore in 1460 and installed her in Mehrangarh. She remains the Maharaja’s and the royal family’s Isht Devi or adopted goddess and is worshipped by most of Jodhpur’s citizens as well. Crowds throng Mehrangarh during the Dussehra celebrations. It contains period rooms like Moti Mahal – The Pearl Palace, Sheesha Mahal – The Hall of Mirrors, Phool Mahal – The Palace of Flowers, Takhat Vilas -Maharaja Takhat Singh’s Chamber.

Burnished red sand stone, imposing, invincible and yet with a strange haunting beauty that beckons. The beauty and the grandeur of numerous palaces in the fort narrates a saga of hard sandstones yielding to the chisels of skilled Jodhpuri sculptures. To enter the Mehrangarh fort, seven gates have to be crossed.

The work of building the fort originally commenced in 1459 on the behest of the founder of Jodhpur – Rao Jodha but much of the fort as it stands today was built in the era of Jaswant Singh. This magnificent fort is spread over 5 kms. and is located on top of a hill which is all of 125 meters high.

The Mehrangarh Fort encloses many palaces, which are known for their intricate carvings and sprawling courtyards. The Moti Mahal which is made of elaborately carved stones is the dwelling place of the royal throne of Jodhpur which is popularly referred to as the Sringar Chowki in local parlance.

There is also the majestic Umaid Villas that showcases some remarkable Rajasthani miniature art work. The Ajit Villa is conspicuous with its rich collection of musical instruments and regal attires while the gorgeous Phool Mahal is where the legendary Jodhpur Coat of Arms is preserved.

The parapets of Phool Mahal are adorned with exquisite art works portraying various melodious scenes. There are seven gates, which include Jayapol (meaning ‘victory’) built by Maharaja Man Singh to commemorate his victories over Jaipur and Bikaner armies. Fattehpol (also meaning ‘victory’) gate was built by Maharaja Ajit Singh to mark the defeat of the Mughals. The palm imprints upon these still attract much attention even today.

The museum in the Mehrangarh fort is one of the most well-stocked museums in Rajasthan. In one section of the fort museum there is a selection of old royal palanquins, including the elaborate domed gilt Mahadol palanquin, which was won in a battle from the Governor of Gujarat in 1730.

The museum exhibits the heritage of the Rathores in arms, costumes, paintings and decorated period rooms. Mehrangarh fort has never ever been seized. The invincible fortifications are six meters thick.

Some of the walls still bear cannon marks and today this magnificent Jodhpur fort is a living testimony that recounts the chronicles and legends of Jodhpur’s rich past.

It was really a very memorable afternoon like icing on the cake. I wish we had more time to splurge on this Rajasthani marvel.

If Rajasthan visit is on your agenda, don’t give it a miss…Watch video for a great experience!

When an official meeting turned towards JAL MAHOTSAV!

It is highly unlikely that an official meeting would turn the tide towards Jal Mahotsav in Madhya Pradesh, but it happened just yesterday. My guests told me that they handle the account of M.P. Tourism and mentioned that I should visit Jal Mahotsav currently on…my curiosity as a travel blogger grew and I wanted to know more about this water carnival of Madhya Pradesh. The State is very close to my heart as it is India’s heartland and the land of my childhood too.  The water carnival, which is currently on, will last until January 2, 2018.

So for the uninitiated, including me, Jal Mahotsav is set up in the lap of Hanuwantiya Island besides the pristine waters of Indira Sagar Dam on Narmada river, where the picturesque escapade compliments the joy that lies in the spirit of adventure. The water festival has now made the culturally rich Madhya Pradesh is known for its adventure tourism too. It gives one more reason to the people to tour to Madhya Pradesh. Along with celebrating the spirit of adventure, the festival also celebrates the spirit of MP. The absolute brilliance of the local artisans and craftspeople, melodious folk music and performances and lip-smacking cuisine – all these precisely describes and defines what “The Heart Of India” truly stands for.


Once an unexplored place, now a destination where India’s largest water carnival is held. Close to Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, lies an island in the backwaters of Indira Sagar Dam on River Narmada. Hanuwantiya Island, has now turned into an adventure hub with the support of MP Tourism. Derived from local village name with the same name, MP Tourism found Hanuwantiya suitable for water tourism activity. This is the story behind the makeover of Hanuwantiya from an untouched island to an adventure addition in Madhya Pradesh tourism packages.

Flying above the sparkling waters or speeding through it, India’s one of its kind water festival is full of land, water and air adventure activities all set on one canvas called Jal Mahotsav. The festival also represents the culture of Madhya Pradesh – a culture that stands for the rich skill set of its artisans, rich heritage and not to miss out, sumptuous cuisine! MP Tourism Jal Mahotsav is truly a dream for every adventure lover and a desire of every individual who seeks a holistic rejuvenation.

Here’s how the grand festival – MP Tourism Jal Mahotsav became possible. In its efforts to make Madhya Pradesh known for its adventure tourism too, MP Tourism revamped the unexplored and untouched Hanuwantiya Island and turned it into a small city in itself. A tent city where people can rejoice and relax while at the same time be adventurous! In a small span of its inception, Jal Mahotsav has now become a very important part of Madhya Pradesh Tour packages with more and more people coming over to Madhya Pradesh to discover a completely new face of the state.
Here you can lose your heart and soul to the beauty of state where “The Heart of India” lies!!

Once an unexplored place, now a destination where India’s largest water carnival is held. Close to Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh, lies an island in the backwaters of Indira Sagar Dam on River Narmada. Hanuwantiya Island, once an unexplored and unknown place, has now turned into an adventure hub with the support of MP Tourism. Derived from local village name with the same name, MP Tourism found Hanuwantiya suitable for water tourism activity. This is the story behind the makeover of Hanuwantiya from an untouched island to an adventure addition in Madhya Pradesh tourism packages.


Nestled in this Hanuwantiya Island is Jal Mahotsav – a striking contrast of adventure with serenity, of excitement with relaxation. An extravaganza to rekindle the spirit of adventure within oneself, India’s one of its kind water festival is all set to rule the hearts of all the adventure lovers once again! Well, if you aren’t an adventure buff, you shouldn’t be disappointed since the place unwinds surprises for everyone. Those in search of relaxation and a break from routine life can treat themselves to the comfort of a luxury tent, sit back and feel the cool breeze relaxing every nerve of your mind and body.

 With the vision of Honourable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan to make “the heart of India” known for its adventure tourism, a dream called Jal Mahotsav was born.

I am GOING, ARE YOU?

Explore the Unexplored part of MP Tourism

 

Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India, Home to BIG CATS

Come 2018, & I will head to Kanha National Park for a DATE with ROYAL BENGAL TIGERS!!

Kanha National Park, located approx. 165 km from Jabalpur and 254 km from Nagpur, also known as Kanha Tiger Reserve, is a vast expanse of grassland and forest in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. Tigers, jackals and wild pigs can be spotted in Kanha Meadows. The elevated plateau of Bamhni Dadar is home to birds of prey. Animals often gather at the watering holes of Sondar Tank and Babathenga Tank. The park’s flora and fauna are documented in the park’s Kanha Museum. Spread across 940 sq.km, Kanha National Park is one of the largest parks in Madhya Pradesh where the majestic royal Bengal tigers are found in good numbers.

The Park is respected globally for saving the Barasingha from near extinction. No doubt, it is one of the best-managed parks in Asia and a part of Project Tiger. National Geographic’s award-winning ‘Land of the Tigers’ was shot here, but the park is home to leopards, wild dogs and Barasingha as well. A safari in Kanha will surely get me thrilled, the way I was on a trip night Safari in Singapore, truly memorable.

The lush sal and bamboo forests, grassy meadows and ravines of Kanha provided inspiration to Rudyard Kipling for his famous novel “Jungle Book”. The Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh came into being in 1955 and forms the core of the Kanha Tiger Reserve, created in 1974 under Project Tiger. The Park’s landmark achievement is the preservation of the rare hard ground Swamp Deer (Barasingha), saving it from near extinction. Stringent conservation programs for the overall protection of the Park’s fauna and flora makes Kanha one of the most well maintained National Parks in Asia.

A heightened attraction within the Park is Bamni Dadar,  popularly known as Sunset Point that offers the most awe-inspiring backdrop of the sunset against grazing Sambhars and Gaurs, magnifying the natural splendour of the area. Aside from its diverse wildlife and bird population, the frequent sightings of Tigers roaming in the wild at Kanha Wildlife Sanctuary remain the most popular draw.

Be there, for your first outing in 2018!!

Why I am going there? Later on that!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let off your Bhadaas at Bhadaas Café in Indore, MP

भड़ास में अपनी भड़ास निकालिये!

Indore brings back beautiful memories of childhood when we were staying in Bhopal ( MP’s Capital) and my father use to visit Indore ( MP’s financial capital) for some official trips, I always wanted to visit the place with him…which never happened though!

After many years, I watched Chef Gurpal Singh (Show: Khaata Rahe Mera Dil) visiting Indore and taking us through Sarafa Bazar which looked to me like “Foodies Street” where you can have a great time with a humongous variety of street food, which is delicious to the core. You are tempted to taste as much as your taste buds permit. Not only this, City of Indore has many themed restaurants which are visited by food connoisseurs visiting Indore, no wonder Indore earned the title of “Foodies Paradise”. Owing to the various flavours offered by Indore in its Chaats and street foods, make all Indories proud.

Whatever is the purpose of your visit, official or personal, you cannot miss visiting and tasting the street food particularly Poha and Jalebi. Not only this Indore is a paradise for mid-night snackers with its assortment of cuisines at Sarafa Ratri Bazaar. As the time changed, so did the look and feel of Indore with many modern and theme-based restaurants eating joints springing up all over.

In today’s fast-paced and stressful life, eating out has become a norm as it gives you a new high always. Here you gulp in your stress and frustrations along with your food. Conventionally, Indians associate eating out with celebrations when the mood is joyous, but have you ever thought of eating out to vent out your anger and frustration?

Indore has the answer for this too! Now you can take out your Bhadaas in an inimitable Café which offers you host of opportunities to take out your Bhadaas. I particularly got interested in this concept as I am also a victim of these modern day gifts and look for opportunities to let out my frustration. Believe me, Bhadaas as a Café, is a really novel concept which ensures not only good physical health but also your mental health.

No wonder Bhadaas café is gaining popularity quite fast not only with Indories but also with tourists and it is India’s only café where you can get rid of your anger in your own way which causes depression, jealousy, frustration etc.  That too amidst full security and confidentially, so that it doesn’t harm your personal and professional life.

Bhadaas café has become the identity of modern Indore. It is India’s only café where various options are available to express your anger. Here you can break things, shout to get rid of your anger, besides, it’s the only café in the world where you can modulate your anger into positive direction peacefully.

You can break anything in Bhadaas with security and get rid of your anger which is whether on office, family, friend, or any close one. Here you can cry shout, abuse, and no one will hear it, and eventually, you will get free from your anger. Psychologists believe that anger is the most negative emotion which saps the highest energy, if we channelize it in a different direction then it becomes positive. In Bhadaas you can play music, paint or play any childhood game to do so. It is our belief that bhadaas has become the identity of modern Indore by these qualities. As we can’t expect Indore without Rajwada, same in future we would not expect Indore without Bhadaas café. You deserve to see the new identity of Indore and show it others who are not from Indore.

You can be a guest in Bhadaas for the whole day for holding some business meetings or creative discussions for a price, which is very reasonable while taking out your Bhadaas, you can enjoy some sumptuous cuisine too!

Bhadaas I am coming to Indore to take out my Bhadaas!

P.S.: Fast Food / Snacks, Tea & Coffee, Air-Conditioned, Timing 11:30 AM To 11:30 PM,

Address: Bhadaas Café, 2nd floor, 27-A, Chandra Nagar, opposite the garden, MR-9, Main Road, Indore, India – 452009

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

The message given by Costa Cruise & Bombay Port Trust in the press – conference held in Hotel Trident, 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.

Chhath Puja, in obeisance of Sun God!


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

The Juhu Beach in Mumbai will be decked up yet again as lakhs of devotees mainly from North India (read: UP & Bihar) gather at Mumbai beach of performing Puja.  BMC has kept a tight vigil along the entire coastal line of the city and has made special arrangements. A danger line has been drawn beyond which the devotees would not be allowed to enter the sea. Like every year, this year too programs have been organized which included singing for the sun devotees along with other arrangements. Visit Juhu beach 5:30 PM onwards to observe festive fervous in all its glory and beauty!

It is believed that the celebration of Chhath puja may predate to the ancient Vedas, as the rituals performed during the puja are similar to the ones mentioned in Rig Veda, in which the Sun god is worshipped. At the time, the rishis (sages) were also known to worship the Sun and remain without the intake of good as they would obtain their energy directly from the Sun.

सूर्य देव की उपासना का पर्व छठ शुरू हो चुका है। चार दिन तक चलने वाले इस त्योहार में भगवान सूर्य की आराधना की जाती हैं। 24 अक्टूबर को नहाय खाय के साथ शुरू हुआ ये पर्व सप्तमी को उगते सूर्य को अर्घ्य देने के साथ ही समाप्त होगा। इस पर्व में भगवान सूर्य की पूजा का काफी महत्व है। पहला अर्घ्य आज अस्त होते सूरज को दिया जाएगा। आज षष्ठी के दिन व्रतीजल में उतरकर डूबते सूरज को अर्घ्य देंगे।

पूजन विधि – अर्घ्य देने के लिए बांस के सूप में सभी प्रकार के फल रखकर उसे पीले कपड़े से ढ़क दें और डूबते सूरज को तीन बार अर्घ्य दें।

अर्घ्य देने का शुभ समय – सायंकालीन अर्घ्य- 26 अक्टूबर (गुरुवार)
सायंकालीन अर्घ्य का समय :- सांय काल 05:40 बजे से शुरू

प्रात:कालीन अर्घ्य: 27 अक्टूबर (शुक्रवार) – प्रात:कालीन अर्घ्य का समय: प्रात: 6.28 बजे से शुरू

Chhath festival, one of the most ancient and revered Hindu festivals, is celebrated with much fervour primarily in northern parts of India. It is also believed that Chhath is the only surviving Vedic festival observed in the country at present. If legends are to be believed, Chhath was first observed by Drapaudi, a mythological character from the Epic Mahabharata. During this time, devotees observe a four-day fast and offer prayers to the Sun God. The rituals involved in the Chhath puja celebrations are quite rigorous and apart from fasting, it also includes holy bathing and standing in water for long hours. Devotees offer prasad and arghya to the rising and setting sun.

Chhath Puja is an important Hindu festival that is mainly celebrated in Bihar and some regions of Nepal. The puja is dedicated to the worship of the Sun god and his wife Usha. During the occasion, devotees perform puja to thank god for supporting life on earth and seek the divine couple’s blessing. However, Chhath – the main day – isn’t the first day but the third day of the puja and, this year it is celebrated today – October 26.

According to Hindu religion, the Sun is believed to heal many severe health conditions and ensure longevity, prosperity, progress and well-being. People celebrate the festival by following a rigorous routine that lasts four days. The rituals include: fasting (including abstinence from drinking water), holy bathing, offering prayers to the rising and setting sun, and meditating by standing in water.

In addition to Bihar, many other states such as Jharkhand, eastern UP, regions of Nepal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh also celebrate the festival with great fervour. Chhath Puja is so called as it is celebrated on the sixth day of the month of Karthika in the Vikram Samvat. It is also celebrated in the summers, some days after Holi. However, Karthika month’s Chhath is more ardently followed by people.

However, another sign of the puja is attached to the story of Lord Rama.

According to ancient texts, Rama and his wife Sita had kept fast and offered prayers to the Sun god, in the month of Kartika in Shukla Paksha, once they returned to the Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. From then on, the Chhath Puja became a significant and traditional Hindu festival, which is celebrated with zeal and zest every year.

The four-day festival starts four days after Diwali.  This is how the devotees observe the festival.

Nahay Khay: The first day of Chhath Puja, devotees take a dip, preferably in the Kosi river, Karnali and Ganga, and carry home the holy water to prepare the offerings.

Lohanda: The second day, the devotees observe a fast for the whole day, which ends in the evening a little after sunset. After worshipping the Sun and the Moon, they prepare offerings of kheer, bananas and rice for their family. After consuming the offering, they fast for 36 hours without water.

Sandhya Arghya (evening offerings): After preparing the prasad, the devotees take a dip in the holy water body in the evening and worship the Sun god and Chhathi maiyya. They offer the evening offerings amid folk songs.

Usha Arghya: The fourth day, devotees go to the holy waters and offer morning offerings or ‘Usha arghya’ to the sun, following which they break their fast.

Chhath Parv ki anekon shubhkamnayein!