Tag Archives: Gujarat

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.

 

Ambaji Temple, Gujarat – Our next spiritual sojourn!

Mata Ne Bulaya hai!

This year when we decided to spend some part of our summer vacation in Rajasthan Hill Station, Mount Abu, I was driven by the drive of visiting and paying obeisance to one of the 51 Shakti Peeth’s – Ambaji temple. Ambaji ( Gujarati: અંબાજી, Hindi: अम्बाजी, Ambājī) is a census town in Banaskantha district in the state of Gujarat, India. It is known for its historical and mythological connections with sites of cultural heritage. The research on Ambaji town brought to the fore some important revelations, which I would like to share with my readers. You must be wondering that my year 2017 is taking me on a spiritual journey, believe me, it is just not by design, it is happening on its own. From many years, I have been planning to visit Ambaji temple, without knowing much about it, now I am looking forward to it.

Ambaji is an important temple town with millions of devotees visiting the Ambaji temple every year. It is one of the 51 Shakti Peethas. Ambaji Mata temple is a major Shakti Peeth of India. It is situated at a distance of approximately 65 kilometers from Palanpur, 45 kilometers from Mount Abu, and 20 kilometers from Abu Road, and 185 kilometers from Ahmedabad, 50 kilometers from Kadiyadra near the Gujarat and Rajasthan border.

In the holy temple of “Arasuri Ambaji”, there is no image or statue of goddess the holy “Shree Visa Yantra” is worshiped as the main deity. No one can see the Yantra with the naked eye. The photography of the Yantra is prohibited.

The original seat of Ambaji Mata is on Gabbar hilltop in the town. A large number of devotees visit the temple every year, especially on Purnima days. A large mela on Bhadarvi Poornima (full moon day) is held. Every Year from all over the country people come here walking all over from their native place just to worship MAA AMBE in September. The whole Ambaji town is lit up as the nation celebrates the festive time of Diwali.

The temple is open from 7.00 am to 11.30 am, 12.30 pm to 4.30 pm and 6.30 pm to 9.00 pm.

The shrine of hi Amba is regarded as a revered shrine by the Shakta Shaktism sect of Hinduism. It is believed that the Heart of Sati Devi has fallen here. The origin of the Shakti Peetha status temple is from the mythology of Daksha Yaga and Sati’s self-immolation. Shakti Peethas were believed to have been formed when the body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi fell into different regions when Lord Shiva carried her corpse in sorrow after her death. The shrines are considered as highly revered by Shaivist (Shaivism) sect in Hinduism. The Shakti Peethas are mostly worshiped by tantra practitioners. Each Shakti Peetha has a Kalabhairava shrine associated with it the Kalabhairava of The Amba Matha Temple is Batuk Bhairav.

PM Narendra Modi performing puja at Ambaji Temple

Mythical History

Ambaji is one of the 51 ancient Shakti Peetha Tirth in India. There are 12 main Shakti Pith Tirth, significant places of pilgrimage for the worship of Shakti, namely, Ma Bhagwati Mahakali Maha Shakti at Ujjain, Ma Kamakshi at Kanchipuram, Mata Bramaramba at Srisailam, Shri Kumarika at Kanyakumari, Mataji Ambaji at AnarGujarat, Mata Mahalaxmidevi at Kolhapur, Devi Lalita at Prayag, Vindhya Vasini at Vindhya, Vishalakshi at Varanasi, Mangalavati at Gaya and Sundari at Bengal & Guhyeshwari Temple in Nepal.

There is no idol or picture in the temple but a simple cave like Gokh in the inner wall, in which A Gold Plated Holy Shakti Visa Shree Yantra having kurma back convex shape and 51 Bij letters therein, connected with that of the original Yantras of Nepal and Ujjain Shakti Piths, is also ritually installed in such a way it can be visible for devotion, but never photographed in past nor can be so done in future. The worship of this Visa Shree Yantra is done only after tying a bandage on the eyes.

More on return from Ambaji temple!! Watch this space for more!!!

 

 

Kankaria Lake: Most Paisa Vasool tourist destination in Ahmedabad!

We planned trip to Kankaria Lake, Ahmedabad in a jiffy and what a trip it turned out to be! It is a sprawling lake which is the second biggest lake in Ahmedabad in Gujarat. It is located in the southern part of the city in the Maninagar area. A lake front has been developed around it, which has many public attractions like boat ride, toy ride, zoo, kid’s city, tethered balloon ride, water rides, Water Park, food stalls and other entertainment. The lake front was revamped in 2008. It is also well-known for Kankaria Carnival, a week-long festival held here in the last week of December when many cultural, art and social activities are organised.

IMG_20160625_161854787_HDR

It is the most paisa vasool tourist attraction which has only Rs. 10/- as entry fee and you can enjoy whole day there however other attractions come for a fee but not much. We could not spend much time there as we had to catch up for the dinner at Vishala. So much so, that my niece Rashi and nephew Rishabh were teasing me that I had only gone there to touch the lake. Whatever, I enjoyed very much being there. The lake reminded me of Fateh Sagar Lake which we had visited recently in Udaipur. We took a boat ride, train ride and walk through the promenade. It was lovely breezy evening at Ahmedabad, which we will always remember.

IMG_20160625_161908400_HDR

Kankaria Lake was built by Sultan Qutbuddin in the 15th century. The work was completed in 1451 CE and was known as “Qutb Hauz” or “Hauz-i-Qutb”. It was used for bathing by the kings. It had a water purification system but it has been lost with the time. At one point of the circular lake, there opens a walkway which later merges into a garden called Nagina Wadi (which means beautiful garden in Urdu) that is located in the centre of the lake. With an approximate circumference of 3 miles (4.8 km), it represents the regale history of Ahmedabad. It is a 34-sided polygon having steps which leading down to water level.

IMG_20160625_162546701 IMG_20160625_162549479 IMG_20160625_162912645 IMG_20160625_162837489 IMG_20160625_162810278

Major attractions snap shot:

Kankaria Zoo

Kamla Nehru Zoological Park was established by Rueben David in 1951 spread over 21 acres. It was rated as the best zoo in Asia in 1974. They are 450 mammals, 2,000 birds, 140 reptiles in a 31-acre zoo. It is a treasure of wild animals like tigers, lions, python, anaconda, snakes, elephant, albinos (white), like the rhesus monkey, spotted deer, white blackbuck, chinkara, elephants, emu, jungle babbler, bush-quail and common palm civet. Kankaria Zoo has also records in breeding of rare species in Zoo like pythons, crocodiles, bearcats and wild asses. Reuben David was awarded Padma Shri in 1974 for it.

IMG_20160625_162912645

Balvatika

It is a children’s park named after Jawaharlal Nehru. Balvatika has a boat house, playroom, butterfly and weapon displays, mirror house, toy house and planetarium. Presently most part of the park is under renovation. New rides will be introduced soon.

Amusement Park

Netherlands based company installed five rides in the amusement park in 2014. It includes the Boomerang Roller Coaster, the Flipping Arm, the Torching Tower, Disk ‘O’ pendulum and the merry-go-round. It will also have a kids play zone for computer games. The fee is of Rs. 300 which includes food also, this way it’s quite a steal.

Kids City

Kids City is a miniature world designed for kids. It is spread in 4240 sq.metre area having 18 activity centres including banks, fire station, science lab, radio station, police station, court room and prison, dental as well as medical hospital, theatre, BRTS, heritage gallery, town governance, IT centre, News room, ice-cream factory, etc.  AMC had applied for copyrights and patents on the individual games in the premises, the unique point system, Virmo (Virtual Money) and the design of the different venues in games.

Toy Trains

kan 3

A train named Atal Express (Named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birthday 25 December 2008) was imported from London, the train circles the lake on a 2.3 km track at a speed of 10 km/h. The train has the capacity to carry 150 passengers, including 36 adults. The train is manufactured by Severn Lamb. During the first 11 months of introducing the train, it attracted nearly a million visitors.  After the success of this train, another train was also started which named Swarnim Jayanti Express. All trains on the railway, and hence the railway itself, are 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge.

Balloon Safari

kan 5

Ahmedabad Eye is a tethered balloon ride set up near Kankaria Lake after renovation. The tethered balloon complex spread over 3000 square yard, is divided into four sections including a restaurant, tethered balloon, heritage exhibit and an exhibition displaying the making of the Ahmedabad Eye. SKYZ is a balloon themed restaurant located at the Ahmedabad Eye complex. It is managed by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. Rainforest theme restaurant is also there.

Stone Mural Park

India‘s biggest Stone Mural Park named Gurjar Gaurav Gatha on the side walls of the circular lake in which sculptors are depicting, in pink sand stone, the history and rise of Gujarat is under construction. It has murals covering 3150 sq feet depicting the history of Ahmedabad right now but when completed, it will measure 6000 feet in length and will be world’s largest mural (30000 sq.metre).

Never mind, all this, something’s should always remain on your itinery to visit the city again!

Still I feel Gujarat Tourism need to aggressively this most paisa vasool complete entertainment destination in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Shopped till we dropped at Law Garden Ahmedabad

You are in Ahmedabad, & you are not visiting Law Garden? Not possible!

IMG_20160624_182047541

Given the avid shoppers that we are (mother –daughter duo), on our first day in Ahmedabad we headed to Law Garden in the evening which is haven for Gujarat Handicrafts mainly from Saurashtra & Kutch.  I was told that there is no activity in the market during the day time, but in the evening when Law Garden closes, the market comes to life.  It was our long cherished wish to shop for handicrafts in Law Garden since the time we had seen it on Television in the serial – Taarak Mehta Ka oolta chashma where entire cast, especially Dayaben with her friends shopped for her Navratri wares.  Believe me, in reality, it was more vibrant than shown on the television.

We shopped for some Ghagras, duppattas, junk jewellery, bespoke neckpieces and home decoration items. We used our limited Gujarati skills to bargain unlimited, though were quite unsuccessful at that. It was not difficult for the sellers to find out our limitation with Gujarati but overall we got some good bargain deals given by the fact that I don’t like to negotiate especially while shopping for handicrafts. I believe we should support Indian Handicrafts by buying at good prices. More on that later…

Law Garden market is unique in certain ways as it sells only handicrafts and that too of very innovative designs at value for money pricing. If you know how to negotiate well, then you can strike some great deals, unfortunately which I could not.

As it is I am great lover of Gujarati Handicrafts, this place looked just apt for me to satiate my yearn for mirror work dupattas, chaniya cholis, bags, batua, mojris, bedcovers, kurtis and wall hangings. So much so, that I want to visit the place again around Navratri to shop at Law Garden in all its glory and splendor.

My daughter Tanya loves bling and she spared not a single shop to pick up something or the other which ranged from oxidized jhumkas to studs to danglers and what to say of kadas and chadas.

After forcefully putting a full-stop to our shopping we headed towards food court adjacent to the market for some mouth watering chaats and ice creams.

Indeed there is no place like Law Garden in Ahmedabad!

Gujarat Tourism need to promote it as most happening shopping destination, it will immensely benefit the artisans and economy of th

e State.

 

Saree Gowns: Swing to the Silhouette in Style!!!

For the first time I noticed Saree Gown in a fashion show in New Delhi few years ago where model sported neon green saree gown by designer Monisha Jaising…

sarigownmonishajaisingh

…Model looked fabulous in the outfit, which at hindsight appeared to me like a saree draped differently like the one by Mumtaz in Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar ke Charche…but as she came close I realized that it was something starkly different. Indeed it was an attempt to update traditional saree by fusing it with a gown like silhouette. Here, the outfit was paradoxical mix of fluidity and construction, which combined the saree’s classic structure with the comfort of zipped – up gown. Outcome, your heavily embroidered saree or lehenga will not come in the way when you swing – Girls like to Swing on your best friend’s sangeet.

tssag2607_2

One fine morning, not too long ago, a tweet landed in my account from @triveniethnics displaying their saree gown collection, which instantly caught my fancy and I suddenly recollected seeing them at a fashion show (mentioned above). The outfit in itself is quite exciting as it wonderfully blends silhouettes of a gown with that of a saree and the result is magical. You are adorning the class of a saree and style of a gown in one single outfit. Saree Gown has the comfort of the gown and drape of the saree which gives women the liberty of doing whatever they want. It makes them look elegant & dolled up at the same time, whichever look they want to flaunt. It is an ideal outfit for pretty, young Indian girls who always like to dress to the occasion. It is a fusion of Western & Indian, tradition & trend and style & Silhouette. tssag2602_2Apprising about the breathtakingly beautiful collection of saree gowns, Arvind Saraf, Director, Triveni Ethnics said, “We always attempt to give something new to our customers and saree –gown is one of those outfit. We are sure it will attract young upwardly mobile women who do not shirk from trying something new all the time; especially when it comes to occasion wear. Our Saree Gowns are quite unique because of the use of fabrics like Georgette, nets, chiffons with heavily embroidered tops and colour palette is also quite strong which would appeal younger audience especially.

DSC00012

Highlight of the collection is  heavy embroidery on sleeves and layering at the bottom.” He observed a very pertinent point, “Our girls have become quite global but they do not want to compromise on the traditional look when going for an occasion, for them these saree gowns would be an ideal outfit to adorn. Here they want to look stylized but not too Western too. This outfit addresses their concern here.”

Triveni Ethnics are based out of Surat, Gujarat who brings in vast experience in the field of sarees from many decades. Triveni Sarees are available on a pan India level across various budgets, styles, fabrics & fashions from both Online & Offline platforms. They have something for every woman. Don’t miss on checking their bridal collection!!!

& of course saree gowns!!!!

You can check & order the Saree – Gown Collection on http://www.triveniethnics.com starting from Rs. 1500 to Rs. 15,000.

Gowns shown in photos above, barring first one are courtesy: Triveni Ethnics

KaiPoChe on Skies of Gujarat on Uttarayan! International Kite Festival Ahmedabad!!!

Makar Sankranti

Uttarayan is celebrated across Gujarat, with major centers of kite-flying in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Nadiad, among others. The International Kite Festival is held in Ahmedabad. Remember Narendra Modiji invited Salman Khan for kite flying festival couple of years ago?

My sister-in-law Shashi along with her children Rishabh & Rashi were here from Ahmedabad for their Christmas vacations which we thoroughly enjoyed with our children. While bidding good-bye, she did not forget to invite me to famed International Kite festival 2016 on Uttarayan at Ahmedabad. I wondered going to Ahmedabad for kite flying, when my own building terrace gets converted into mini Ahmedabad on Makar Sankranti? No! & Yes! This is when I started research on ‘Patang Parv’ for my own self and my esteemed readers. It is an emphatic yes now that I would be visiting Ahmedabad for Uttarayan in 2017 as I have missed the bus this year, well almost!

international-kite-festival

Initially launched as a regional affair in 1986, it was styled as International kite festival in 1989. Held under auspices of the ‘Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited, is always being held at Gujarat coincide with Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. The International Kite Festival at Ahmedabad is an extravaganza of kite flying, competition, culinary and crafting delights enjoyed by huge gathering of people there. On January 14, the number of kites flying over Ahmedabad could be around 4 million.

1448004233-img_7063-copy

Before anything, what is the significance of kite – flying on Uttarayan?

The festival of Uttarayan is a uniquely Gujarati phenomenon, when the skies over most cities of the state fill with kites from before dawn until well after dark. The festival marks the days in the Hindu calendar when winter begins turning to summer, known as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan. On what is usually a bright warm sunny day with brisk breezes to lift the kites aloft, across the state almost all normal activity is shut down and everyone takes to the rooftops and roadways to fly kites and compete with their neighbours.

1448004675-nis_4414-copy

Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown, and the main competition is to battle nearby kite-flyers to cut their strings and bring down their kites. For this, people find their favored kite-makers who prepare strong resilient kite bodies with springy bamboo frames and kite-paper stretched to exactly the right tension. Lastly, the kites are attached to a spool (or firkin) of manja, special kite-string coated with a mixture of glue and glass to be as sharp as possible for cutting strings of rival kites. Production of kites and kite supplies can be seen on the streets of Ahmedabad beginning in November, to get ready for Uttarayan, and nowhere more so than in Patang Bazaar, the special kite market that appears in the old city. For the week preceding the festival, it is open 24 hours a day for all kite lovers to stock up for the festivities.

1448004576-nis_3983-copy

Parents who normally find their children hard to get out of bed for school will find them setting the alarm for 5 am on 14th Jan., to get up and start flying kites in the ideal pre-dawn wind. The atmosphere is wonderfully festive, as whole families gather on the rooftop, special foods like laddoos, undhyu or surati jamun are prepared for eating over the course of the day, and friends and neighbors visit each other for group kite-flying fun. At night, kite fighters send up bright white kites to be seen in the darkness, and skilled flyers will send aloft their tukkals with strings of brightly lit lanterns in a long line leading back down to the rooftop. From early morning to late at night, Uttarayan provides lots of fun and beautiful sights to remember for a long time.

1448004589-nis_4050-copy

Since 1989, the city of Ahmedabad has hosted the International Kite Festival as part of the official celebration of Uttarayan, bringing master kite makers and flyers from all over the world to demonstrate their unique creations and wow the crowds with highly unusual kites. In past years, master kite makers from Malaysia have brought their wau-balang kites, llayang-llayanghave come from Indonesia, kite innovators from the USA have arrived with giant banner kites, and Japanese rokkaku fighting kites have shared the skies with Italian sculptural kites, Chinese flying dragons, and the latest high-tech modern wonders. A master kite maker and famous kite flyer Rasulbhai Rahimbhai of Ahmedabad trains of up to 500 kites on a single string have come to be a classic attraction. Almost every known variety of kite can be seen in the skies over Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, from box kites to high-speed sport kites, from windsocks and spinsocs to hand-painted artistic kites.

th

Dates & Venue for Year 2016
Jan. 8 at Surat & Rajkot
Jan. 9 at Vadodara & BhavNagar
Jan. 10 & 11 at River Front Side Ahmedabad
Jan. 12 at Ahmedabad, Bhuj and Porebandar
Jan 13 at Ahmedabad, Modhera and Khambat
Jan. 14 at Pol, Ahmedabad

List of International kitists participating in IKF – 16

UK, Germany, Austria, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, the USA, Canada, Thailand, Italy, Estonia, Cambodia, Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Philippines, Vietnam, Argentina, China, Turkey, Brazil, Belgium, Israel, France, Nigeria Poland, South Korea – Approx. 100 people

Participants from outside Gujarat:
Chandigarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal

No wonder it looks like that a magical symphony of colour and movement against exciting back drop of general bonhomie, greets the visitor during Gujarat’s fabled Uttarayan Festivities at the International Kite Festival. Nowhere is this joyous day celebrated with as much fervour as it is in Gujarat. An integral part of Gujarati culture for over 300 years now kite flying has reached astonishing heights, with everyone join the fun frolic as you hear joyous shouts of “kaipoche” or ‘lapper’. Cashing on the huge popularity, the state machinery has moved into top gear to make Uttarayan a major competitive international event in Ahmedabad – aptly called kite capital of India.

You can visit the festival taking help of Gujarat Tourism website.

Information Courtesy: Gujarat Tourism, TOI

Triveni Ethnics: Organically grown Corporate!

 Must Read account of Surat based Triveni Ethnics which has totally transformed how Saree business is done in India.

All great things start with a move…as did Triveni Ethnics three decades ago when in 1985, Mr Giridhar Sarraf moved from one textile hub in the North (Read: Varanasi) to another textile hub in the West (Read: Surat) to setup Sakambari Silk Mills. Sakambari manufactured synthetic sarees under the brand name “Triveni Sarees”. Leaving their Suiting/ Shirting business behind, Sarraf started from the scratch with Triveni Ethnics – named after his mother.

DSC00028

It is predominantly a traditional family set – up where Senior Sarraf still comes to office daily, followed by Sons Shailesh Sarraf, who understands Surat’s textile industry like no other and has been driving home much of the product innovation, core sales and marketing revitalization; IITian & MITian Arvind Sarraf who brings in high level of efficiency, digitization, monitoring & innovation in the organization culture.

Indeed, the sons have taken Triveni Ethnics to new highs following their father’s vision. Today it is a well-known name in Sarees and ethnic wear. I would like to term it “Organically grown, Corporate”

Sarraf’s model Triveni on microcosmic India, a long lived traditional system, blended in with contemporary elements, bringing on cultural change. Being organically built from the scratch, they know how to be frugal, prudent in avoiding wastage, and quite frankly – even bearing with some inconveniences. It seems they believe in “No pains, no gains.”

Speaking to travel-knots, Shailesh Sarraf said, “Our biggest markets are UP and Bihar followed by Gujarat which are markets for classes as well as masses. Ours is a distributor driven business where we have distributors in almost all the states, who visit our office regularly to pick –up sarees according to their markets. ”

DSC00009

The office set – up is a blend of tradition and modernism. It has a cabin well – equipped for marketing and Digital presentations and outside you have traditional Gaadis for distributors to have a dekko at wide range of sarees. We too seated ourselves on Gaadis to catch the glimpse of Triveni Sarees. Shailesh adds, “To give a contemporary look and feel to the brand, we have added Salwar Suits, Lehenga Cholis, Lehenga Sarees, Kurtis, Jewellery, Cotton and Silk Sarees to our collection thus Triveni Sarees became Triveni Ethnics.”

The Digital Brain behind the brand, Arvind shared, “Though it is distributor led business but we track all our orders online which keep us updated about the movement of orders.”

DSC00012

Not only this, he added, “Our online platform – e-commerce is also very strong where we ship nearly thousand sarees a day to our customers not only in India but across the globe.” It is a very robust platform and shopping of sarees here is quite an experience. (I have experienced it myself).

As I mentioned earlier, it is run like a corporate – I will take you through all!

The Triveni team comprises of Designers from NIFT who churn out designs and designs to suit every palette.  Shalini Raj who is chief designer, also a drape expert was quite a delight, she showed us her drawing book which had many interesting designs and explained us how design team works. Then we moved to digital design team and e-commerce team where Nupur Chaturvedi told us that how they align shipments, orders, designs and tacking of the products.

We were shown the raw material, laces, sequins, decorations in hordes which are used by the design team. For the first time we came to know that what a humongous effort it is to make one saree! From here we moved to the ware house, which was huge and looked like a sea of sarees but, but, it was most organized warehouse I had ever been to. Mr Vineet Agarwal who manages it all delightfully shared his management techniques.

Conscious of the fact, that Saree remains favourite with the younger lot like their mothers and grandmothers, group does lot of engagement programs with young and upwardly mobile ladies. Not only their range of sarees appeals to the young Indian women by virtue of their design, fabrics, styling, colour range and most importantly, online access, their campus outreach programs are something to talk home about. Speaking on the subject, Nupur Sharma told us, “We do number of outreach programs in Campus and Corporates like Live Projects and Contests, Campus Ambassador, U- Design Contest, Saree Draping workshops and Triveni Case Challenge.” Indeed a great initiative to keep our youngsters abreast with most prominent symbol of Indian culture – The Saree!

Ridhi Sidhi Designers

Besides, Group highly appreciates the role played by Bloggers in popularizing Triveni Sarees Sarees and ethnic wear, they run an exclusive outreach program where they ship sarees to Bloggers from all over the world. I must tell you that Triveni Sarees have graced some big red carpet events by Bloggers from Europe and the US. These bloggers flaunt these sarees on special occasions and post it on Triveni’s face book page / twitters handles whom Triveni terms as Triveni Brand Ambassadors – Priyanka Chopras of this world, take a walk…

Now plans are on the anvil, to take their brand Ship Kala forward which has beautiful collection of handicraft sarees and ethnic wear. Arvind feels that it is high time that artisans get their due, and he wants to take Ship Kala to foreign shores for his patrons.

Must admit had loads of fun amidst Sarrafs, Sarees & Surat!

If you are a saree buff, visit their website: http://www.triveniethnics.com and order some for the festive season, I must tell you, you would be turning your friends Green with just one click! Rest Triveni Saree will do!

Step into the TRIVENI of tradition, trend & trust!

Triveni Sarees tagline reads: Grace, Dignity, Identity!
For me the catch line would be: Tradition, Trend & Trust!
Every woman aspires these inputs while selecting her saree & Triveni embodies these to the hilt!

Surat based Saraf’s vision of Triveni Sarees can be best described as tasteful concoction of colorful contradictions, grace and trend. Their sarees transcend their passion to make Designer Sarees accessible not only to classes and but also to masses. Going by this dictum, their sarees have Designer inputs which every woman aspires with value for money pricing. Considering the highly competitive and price sensitive saree market, these wonderful sarees are a steal for their price tags. No wonder Triveni sarees are loved by not only Indian Women but by women across the Globe. They have a fleet of happy women customers who have adorned Triveni sarees to very special occasions like on a red carpet event or marriage in the family. Loved for all occasions, adored by all women…step into world of Triveni Sarees through their exclusive collections.

I will take you through them in a sequence so that you know about the collections in detail. Their catalogues are most awesome pieces which we got to glance while our visit to Surat to their office and works recently. I admit it will be difficult to do justice to Triveni’s print catalogues, but none the less, it will be an honest effort.

So how and where you can get these beautiful sarees? No need to go to Surat. You can get these ordered from the comfort of your office or home by visiting their website: http://www.triveniethnics.com and sarees would be delivered right at your doorsteps. So what are you waiting for? Navratri and Diwali are round the corner…dress yourself in Triveni Sarees and wear it on these festivals and special occasions. Post your picture on your face book page, tag @Triveniethnics and you become the Triveni Saree Ambassador. How cool is that!

And…and Triveni Sarees are retailed through all prominent outlets country – wide. Your can have your pick from there to!

While at Triveni Sarees, I felt I was amidst the ocean of beautiful sarees…sarees for every budget, every colour, and every design! Interestingly, for the first time I came to know about the humongous effort which goes into the making of a saree. You would be surprised to know that a saree has to go through many stages – selection of fabric, colouring, dyeing , designing, embroidery, folding, packaging and packing and quality checks on all the stages, before reaching its destination…our wardrobes!

Back stage story will be in a separate post, till then you swoon over wonderful world of Triveni Sarees!

KALPANA

Kalpana 3

This collection is all about popularizing trends for the modern, confident women. The semi casual sarees gives the impression of exclusive designer wear courtesy their subtle surface designs. Light and Bright colours care combined with a two-tone effect decorated with embroidery, cut work and brocade borders; teamed with designer blouses. The design and placement of embroidery are the highlights of this collection combining ethnic wear into contemporary styles with intricate details. They are heavily embroidered mixed with chiffon, georgette and net fabrics. Fancy jacquard, chiffon, georgette based fabrics are used in sarees.

Ideal for women who love to blend traditional and some classical!

SENTORINI

Serontini

The collections is all about fusion; fusion of tradition into contemporary style. The designs are inspired by the tradition of Rajasthan fused with modern Bandhini look. The colors are bright yet soothing, even complimenting others well in some of the pieces. The fabric used is chiffon. The most attractive feature of the collection is its border- beautifully crafted with sari and thread work. The collection is beautifully designed for newly married women much because of its colors, surface works and prints. Bandhej print has been widely used in different patterns and colours. Stone work and embroidery are combined to create artistic patterns in blouse pieces. Furthermore, there are different styles of blouses to choose from!

Ideal for those who love to be in sync with tradition & trend!

DASTOOR

Dastoor Collection

Here light and bright colours are combined with a two-tone effect decorated with embroidery, cut work and brocade borders which are teamed with various designer blouses. Important feature of the collection is its subtle variation in designs. They are well embroidered amalgamating Bhagalpuri silk and net fabrics. The sarees are beautified using different surface design techniques like cut work, stone work and embroidery. Whereas sparkle, sequins and foil are used in velvet blouse fabrics. The sarees have a two tone effect and fabrics used are fancy jacquard, chiffon and georgettes. With the use of contrasting colors and beautiful border work teamed with trendy blouse pieces.

Make it a Dastoor to have one!

FASHION FLOW

Fashion Flow

‘Fashion Flow’ is a collection of contemporary style digitally printed sarees which runs on the ground of fashion trends. Scattered floral prints, a mix of bright and pastel tones, tribal block prints and ombre effect; these are some relevant features of ongoing trends. Being lightweight; they are very comfortable and can be stylishly wore to work teaming with matching accessories and bags. These can be draped in multiple ways!. The young women who follow trends will love the digital prints, colours and effects with very creative blouse pieces. The fabrics used in sarees are mainly georgette and chiffon some of the blouses are made of Art Silk.

Ideal for young corporate Indian Women!

GARDEN OF DESIRE

Garden of Designer

Here the georgette and chiffon mix of printed collection gives a smooth feel of the fabric. The hues of red, yellow, blue and green are wisely chosen to match the occasion. The summer collection goes in trend with beautiful floral inspired prints (scattered and continuous) and appealing patchwork. The borders are brocade with ready made laces. The sari pieces are teamed with crepe jacquard blouses with golden prints.

Ideal for would be brides and newly weds!

JHUMRI

Jhumri

In this collection the sarees are designed with minimal variations; keeping it simple yet classy. The variations are mainly in term of sleek borders, apt embroidery and blouses. The sarees are a wise mix of chiffon, georgette and jacquard fabrics. The fabrics are further embedded with patch work and stone work as a design element. The ombre effect adds to the visual appeal with beautiful cut work and tassels. These surface design techniques enhances the beauty multi-fold. The designer blouse pieces are exclusively crafted with embroidery, net fabrics and variation in neckline.

Ideal for contemporary Indian women, young, not so young, forever young!

DSC00026

Indeed I go by the belief of Saraf’s, “Indian Women is a Triveni ( meaning Fusion) of colourful contradictions, tenderness, yet strength, classy yet contemporary and graceful yet vital.”

My special thanks to Triveni Team for their design and digital inputs: Shalini Raj, Noopur Sharma & Noopur Chaturvedi when I attacked them in their dens!

Ilaha de Calma, DIU – Where time literally stands still!

Recently Diu Tourism has launched a TV Commercial which caught my fancy being a curious travel blogger that I am. Not only this when I opened today’s Times of India, I saw a very attractive campaign – Ilha de Calma – DIU Tourism.

More on the ad film, which starts with a young woman executive stuck with her busy chaotic life. A sudden break in the chaos happens when we cut to the serenity of the island. We watch her indulging herself in the calm surroundings and experiences of the island. The commercial ends with her enjoying the sunset atop a lighthouse as the logo of Diu, Ilha de Calma is revealed. The commercial supported by print ad shows inclination of DIU tourist traffic to the calm, serene and unexplored destination.

I was completely drawn towards DIU due to its wonderful beaches, blue waters, churches, wide roads, forts, light-house and most importantly its Portuguese demeanor. Now it was constantly on my mind to make it to DIU sometime during this year, what if I have to compromise my trip to Phuket. Now my research began on the destination which made fall in love with it even more…
The more I was reading about it, the more determined I became to be there in 2015!

Only time will tell when I can make it but I would like to share my research with my esteemed readers who too can explore this unexplored destination, you career ladies listening, oops watching! I am sure DIU commercial wouldn’t have missed your attention.

If you look around Ilha de Calma, you will find Portuguese history infused in its very being. Enriched with fascinating tales of the bygone era, this serene island became a part of the Indian Union Territory on December 19, 1961. Deriving its name from the Sanskrit word ‘dweep’, history has established it as an untouched island boasting of a magical blend of sea, sand and sun. Whether it is the food or even the brilliant architecture, you will find a surreal touch of Portuguese history running through the veins of the island. From this confluence of cultures, Diu’s own legends and tales have emerged. Take a break, take your time. Uncover myriad secrets of Diu covered under layers of time.

Here, you can walk barefoot on sun kissed sands, even as gentle waves wash over your feet and crumble your stress away. It looks as if Isle of Calm or as they say in Portuguese, Ilha de Calma is giving you heart-warming welocme. Since time immemorial Diu has rightly personified this emotion. Just a walk through the coastal enclave promises and you get limitless peace. Explorers have been known to travel far and wide for a break off the beaten path and in search of peace. This soulful destination is 67 kms from Gir, 90 kms from Somnath, a quick flight away from Mumbai and a short road trip away from Ahmedabad.
There are few must visit tourist places like:

Ghoghla Beach

Ghoghla Beach, with its golden sands, is the largest beach on the island of Diu. For those seeking adventure, this beach presents the perfect opportunity for swimming, sunbathing, parasailing or surfing. Food and accommodation are easily available at the beach. Ghoghla beach offers splendid views with occasional sightings of dolphins.

DIU Fort

The Diu Fort is a majestic sentinel silently overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built in 1535, this Portuguese fort was known to provide a strategic vantage point against enemy attacks. The fort with its double moat, a splendid array of cannons, small chapels, engraved tombstone fragments, and look-out points, presents a perfect getaway for those looking to escape the humdrum of city life.

Naida Caves

The Naida Caves are an explorer’s delight. Located outside the city wall of the Diu fort, these caves are a network of hewn hollows and steps which beg to be explored. The history of the caves suggests that the Portuguese hacked off building materials during their reign, which resulted in the formation of the caves. Plan a visit on a clear sunny day, and be assured that the cave’s natural openings will not disappoint with a spectacular display of light.

Lady of Immaculate Church

Built in 1610, this impressive church is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. Its baroque style of architecture and curiously treated volutes make it the most elaborate of all the Portuguese churches in India. This place of worship, with its white spires that seem to reach out to the skies, proclaims peace and divinity in the quite, little enclave of Diu.

St. Thomas Church

The Church of St. Thomas was constructed in 1598, and it served as one of the major churches of Portuguese India. The Church is one of the few churches in India that boasts of Gothic style architecture. Its whitewashed exteriors still bear the worn out and faded frescos of the Portuguese era. In 1998, the abandoned church of St. Thomas was converted into a museum.

Cycling Track

Get away from the maddening rush of urban-living and lose yourself in the beautiful, calm island of Diu. The Diu cycling track is a part of a green initiative by the Government and is designed to help tourists enjoy the serenity of Diu in its most natural way. Hop on a cycle and explore the island on its newly completed 4.2 km track.

Gangeshwar Temple

The temple finds its name in mythology as the temple where the five Pandavas worshipped Lord Shiva during their exile. The most remarkable feature of the Gangeshwar Temple are the five shivlings set amidst the rocks. The shivlings get washed by the waves of the sea, exposing only the tip of the lingams during high tides. The cave temple exudes powerful energy and is much revered by devotees of the mighty Lord Shiva from around the world.

Portuguese Fort

The Diu Fort is a majestic sentinel silently overlooking the Arabian Sea. Built in 1535, this Portuguese fort was known to provide a strategic vantage point against enemy attacks. The fort with its double moat, a splendid array of cannons, small chapels, engraved tombstone fragments, and look-out points, presents a perfect getaway for those looking to escape the humdrum of city life.

DIU has a very interesting history which goes like this that Pandavas during their 14 years of exile had passed a few days at a place known as Mani Nagar DIU which was under Yadavas led by Krishna Vasudeva during Mahabharata period. According to mythology, DIU was ruled by the great King Jallandhar who was daitya Demon and was killed by Lord Vishnu with his Sadarshan Chakra. The temple of Jallandhar still exists in DIU. A palm fringed, largely deserted and secluded beach, Nagoa is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful beaches in India. The unique shoe shape of beach makes it all the more beautiful.

Demographics

The island of DIU, an erstwhile Portuguese colony, is situated off the Saurashtra coast of Gujarat bordering Junagarh district. During the period from 14-16th century Diu was one of the best sea ports and a Naval base. The town and district were historically part of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat and an important port on trade routes of Arabian Sea of Indian Ocean.
Diu is located at 20.71°N 70.98°E the Island is at sea level and covers an area of 38.8 km². The climate is extremely warm and humid, with an average annual rainfall of 1500 mm.

With no tall buildings except the fort, Diu has a characteristically low skyline. Old Diu is known for its Portuguese architecture. Local transport is available from Una (Gujarat). Jet Airways services the island from the mainland, landing at Diu Airport. The nearby Nagoa beach and offshore lighthouse are popular tourist destinations, and the coast is a popular recreational area for parasailing, boating, and jet skiing. There are several hotels and resorts and there is a growing hotel and leisure industry. Unlike Gujarat, alcohol is legal in Daman and Diu.

The languages spoken in Diu include Gujarati, Portuguese, English and Hindi.

The nearest railway junction is Veraval, which is 90 km from Diu. Major cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Dwarka and Thiruvananthapuram are directly connected to Veraval Railway Station. Moreover a meter gauge at Delwada is just 8 km from Diu. Daily, two trains connect Junagadh & Veraval to Delwada Railway Station.

Information Courtesy: www. http://visitdiu.in/

Narendra Modi gifts rare ‘ROGAN’ art paintings to the U.S. President Obama

The news published in Times of India on October 4, 2014 could not escape my attention as it was not so long ago that I had visited with my family (Husband Mukund and daughter Tanya) visited Gafoorbhai Khatri in Nakhatrana village of Kutch in December 2013. We were fortunate to spend one full evening with Gafoorbhai and his family to understand his family legacy and what it takes to preserve the dying art of Rogan. He prepared one bag for us too which is a masterpiece in itself, which I will treasure forever.

I am very glad to note that Modji has gifted a couple of exquisitely handcrafted Rogan paintings to Obama which is a preserve of Khatri family based in Kutch Gujarat. On my interaction with Gafoorbhai, he said, “ Narendrabhai takes special interest in the cause of handicraft people and I am lucky that he takes my Rogan art paintings to gift them to national and international dignitaries.”
When I asked him would you like the US President Obama to have one of your paintings, to this Gafoorbhai replied, “ Insha Allah, when Narendrabhai will visit him”. Today his words have come true.
Please read my blog post on Gafoorbhai’s family and Rogan art for a complete update. I am very proud to say that my blogpost on Rogan art has been read by many researchers in the field of art who are taking it as reference point for their research. May be this is my contribution to the craft…

Nirona Village in taluka Nakhatrana of Kutch was very much part of our tourism plan and particularly the visit to Khatris of Traditional Rogan Art. After driving for nearly hour and a half from our Resort in Hoduko in Kutch, we reached Nirona and in no time found the place as everybody knew about it.

Hesitatingly we knocked the door, but Gafoorbhai Khatri’s warm welcome took away all apprehensions. On that chilly evening, it was a pleasure to sit in his spacious drawing room spanned with rare original Kashmiri carpets. We were lucky to meet his uncle also who even at this age takes active interest in this rare art. Gafoor bhai personally demonstrated the art to us and took us around the work done by his illustrious family and this is eighth generation carrying the legacy forward.

Our daughter Tanya who is active seeker of handicrafts and rare arts was completely mesmerised by the art. She wanted to see all his collections and she loved the Tree design most.

The Rogan art of painting is an ancient art over three hundred years old. The traditional Rogan flower motifs and designs speak of a Persian influence and the word Rogan itself means oil based in Persian. Today Nirona in Kutch is the only place where this work is created. When castor oil is heated over fire for more than 12 hours and cast into cold water, it produces a thick residue called rogan which is mixed with natural colours obtained from the earth. With a six inch metal stick or pen, the crafts person then draws out from this fine thread which is painted to the cloth. Rogan painting is delicately and precisely painted from one’s own creative imagination and is done with total concentration sitting on the floor without using a table frame or any outline.

DSC03690

DSC03691

DSC03693

DSC03694

DSCF0189

DSC03697

DSCF0163

DSC03698

Rogan painted cloth is used for making pillow covers, table cloths, wall hangings, file folders, decorative pieces and even saris. Rogan art is a rare craft that is not well known even in India. Because of these rare qualities, it’s practised by only one family in India and they reside in Nirona village in Gujarat. Most of the other artisans have lost their art as it was not passed on during partition or lost from generation to generation.
Rogan art is currently the bread earner for a family of Khatris. Gafoorbhai Khatri is the head of this family and he has kept the art alive by ensuring his entire family learns and practices his life’s work. He is a national award winner and is currently in the process of opening a school that teaches Rogan art to children from different families. He has not marketed his creativity through any distribution channels.

Must watch video in conversation with Gafoorbhai of traditional arts:

There are many items available showcasing the antique and rare Rogan art. These are about 100 years old and are only with the Khatri family where you can actually touch and feel feel old and rare Rogan art. Talking to travelknots, Gafoorbhai said, “We have brought in lot of changes in Rogan art to make it most beautiful and real. There is so much difference in old Rogan art and today’s art. We have got very innovative designs and great colour combinations and art which are appreciated by not only Indians but also foreigners.”

He showed us beautiful bed sheet made by his grandfather and great grandfathers preserved in their memory. I could not take my eyes off the skirt hanging in his drawing room made of 9 meters cloth with most striking Rogan art done on that 60 years ago.

Gafoor Bhai said, “Government of Gujarat does not give us any grant though per se, but Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Bhai Modi buys our works to give as gifts to dignitaries. Also we get the free stall in all the handicrafts exhibitions all over India where we get the opportunity to show case our art to the world.” He added, “Any foreigner coming to Kutch has Nironha on his itinery and they make it a point to visit us. They are very enchanted by this rare art and leave their experiences with us.” He showed the visitor’s book which was full of testimonials from nationals right from Japan to Spain to Australia to the US. We also loved to record our impressions.

My daughter loved their house which was very spacious, open and artistically done. Not only this, they had whole family of goats to boot.

Khatris are proud winner of several state and National Awards. Through my blog I will request Gujarat Government to take special interest this rare Rogan Art so that our generations can take pride in it. More importantly it is very important to preserve this rare art which is very much part of the cultural heritage.

Khatris who nurture a dream of opening a school to teach Rogan Art should be whole-heartedly supported not only by the Government, NGOs but also by Individual’s who have interest in preserving our national heritage. For those who want to support can write to me on: bienumv@gmail.com.

Special thanks to our tour organiser: Mr Mahendrabhai Bheda and his daughter Prachi.