Gujarat – The Land of the Legends!

Gujarat, is the birthplace of many Freedom fighters like the legendary Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and many others who fought the freedom struggle, infusing the qualities of tolerance, brotherhood, non-violence and patriotism into Indians.

The cultural mix enhanced with over 4500 years of history has endowed Gujarat with some of the greatest historical and archaeological monuments. While Lothal offers an unparalleled insight into the Harappan civilization, Ahmedabad has specimens of Indo-Sarcenic architecture, Palitana has a profusion of temples in the Jain style, Junagadh displays Buddhist caves and Rajput architecture appears all over different parts of Gujarat. A major Tourist destination of immense potential, it’s historical monuments represent the great religions of Asia – Hindu, Buddhism, Jain, Islam, Parsi and Sikh.


Because of such diversity, Gujarat is the much watch place in the world. The Great living Legend Mr. Amitabh Bachhan’s statement is perfect about Gujarat – kuch din to gujaro gujarat me, yahan ki mittai me mithas hai..

The social life of Gujarat comprises various languages, customs, festivals, celebrations, costumes, food habits and dwellings of people living in different regions of Gujarat. The cultural edifice has been built in Gujarat due to its geographical, social, religious and occupational diversity. The humble natured, persevering and hard working Guajarati’s residing in its cities, towns and villages have expanded their economy and business ventures not only in Gujarat but all over India and the rest of the world. 

Ensembles, lifestyles and ways of living vary all over Gujarat. The fairs and festivals are full of enthusiasm, entertainment and spirituality. Gujarat is known world over for its Navratri celebration which sees people immersed in the spirit of dance for nine nights. The dance forms depend on the unique styles that have emerged in different cities. people have adopted this traditional dance and its varied forms by the name of ‘Garba’ and ‘Raas’.



Language is the very heart of our soul. Although the principal language of Gujarat is ‘Gujarati’ and other languages spoken are Hindi and English, Gujarat encompasses many languages and dialects throughout to its many regions, castes and traditions. People of North Gujarat speak ‘northern Gujarati’, Central Gujarat speaks ‘Charotari’, Saurashtra speaks ‘Kathiawadi’ , South Gujarat speaks ‘Surti’ and Kutchh speaks ‘Kutchi.’


Rann Utsav Kutch – Celebrating Diversity

Rann or Kutch Utsav is a three to four days of cultural extravaganza organized at different locations within Kutch in Gujarat. The fair is like a mirror to the traditional art forms and culture of India.


Rann Utsav is organized by the Gujarat tourism department to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of the Kutch district.


Experience Kutch at its colorful and exotic best during the Rann Utsav this time from December 9, 2011 to January 15, 2012. This annually organized festival offers an opportunity For visitors to attend folk dance and music concepts, to watch artisans at work, to Shop directly from NGO’s craftspeople and village co-operatives, to see the great Historical monuments in the state, and to visit places off the usual tourist trail.


The Rann Kutch Utsav held during the full moon time in winters every year is an unparalleled showcase of the ethnic widely different yet hugely diffused spectrum of Indian traditional art forms.


People from far and near gather during the festivities of Rann Utsav to celebrate and salute the spirit and warmth that people of Kutch have inherited and protected.


Special Attractions of Rann Utsav:
– Kutch Carnival
– White Rann Safari
– Kutchi Cuisine
– Cultural Programs
– Adventures Sports


Awesome place to know Indian Culture and tradition. To know more details of Rann Utsav check Gujarat Tourism Weblink: 
http://www.gujarattourism.com/

BIHU – National festival of Assam

Bihu is the National festival of Assam, the north-eastern state known for its tea gardens, the lush green forests and the mighty Brahmaputra. The origin of the name Bihu is believed to be from the Sanskrit word “Vishu”.



Bihu is a festival that personifies a huge celebration of farming, particularly paddy.The prayers conferred to God provides the natives of the state to rejoice and hence augments the lushness of its whole landscape.

It is celebrated thrice a year (Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu in April, Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu in January and Kati Bihu or Kongali Bihu in October/ November). 
                                                                       
Bohag or Rongali Bihu is celebrated in April and marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year and also makes way for the start of the agricultural season. Magh Bihu is celebrated in January and marks the season of grains harvesting while Kongali Bihu is celebrated to mark the cutting and binding of the grains.

Instruments used in Bihu are –
  • Dhol (Drum)
  • Taal
  • Pepa (An instrument made of buffalo horn)
  • Toka
  • Baanhi (Flute)
  • Xutuli
  • Gogona
Bihu is also seen to be celebrated abroad. Many Bihu associations/committees exist elsewhere where this festival is celebrated with enthusiasm. The London Bihu Committee (LBC), UK is one of them amongst others. 

Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF)

The Grand Kerala Shopping Festival embarked its version-4 from December 1, 2010 – January 15, 2011. The thrills and fancies of this diverse land would be open to the world..

The Sarees of Kasargod, Bakel Fort, Handwoven textiles of Kannur, Payyannur Pavithra Mothiram, Theyyam, Thira etc. To each district, its own products, such is the extravaganza of this shopping festival.

A Government of Kerala initiative to augment the trade and commerce of the State and also to transform the State into a hub for International Shopping experience.


The shopping extravaganza – Grand Kerala Shopping Festival, is a Government of Kerala initiative. The version-4 of the shopping festival is all poised to turn Kerala in to a BIG shopping mall. The event has been conceived and organized to give a big leap for the trade and commerce in Kerala.

The festival first started on 2007 Dec 1 to next year Jan 15, celebrated as Grand Kerala Shopping Festival and since then it became an annual shopping festival. The event lasts for 46 days and the very special fact about GKSF is that the entire Kerala is participating in this festival.

Below are some links which updates you about all the roaring of the festival –
  • http://www.facebook.com/grandkerala
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/grandkerala
  • http://twitter.com/grand_kerala                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Suburn GoA !!

Sunburn Festival is a three day Electronic dance festival in Goa, India. The festival rocked Goa for the first time in 2007. It is a synergy of music, dance, entertainment, food, shopping and lifestyle in Goa. The audiences get a chance to rejoice the renowned Indian and International DJs over the three day long festival.

Highlights of the festival – 2009:

The festival upped the ante by laying down the red carpet for the world’s # 1 DJ- Armin Van Buuren. 

Some of the top international and local artists that performed last year were:

– Roger Sanchez
– Sander Van Doorn
– Sied Van Riel


This time it will be on 27, 28, 29 December 2010 at Candolim Beach, Goa..

Below is the schedule of this year Sunburn –


Kerala – “God’s Own Country”

Kerala, located on the south-western tip of India, enjoys unique geographical features that have made it one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in Asia.  Classical art forms, colourful festivals, exotic cuisine are some of the cultural marvels.

Referred to as ‘God’s Own Country’ – Kerala was selected by the National Geographic Traveller as one of the 50 destinations of a lifetime and one of the thirteen paradises in the world.


An equable climate, serene beaches, tranquil stretches of backwaters, lush hill stations and exotic wildlife are the major attractions of this land.  A unique advantage of Kerala is that most of the destinations here are only a two – four hour drive from the other.

Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine and Panchakarma, the rejuvenation therapy in Ayurveda have also helped Kerala to gain a pan-global reputation as a worth-visit destination 

Some of the most Amicable Destinations of “God’s Own Country” listed below:

– Bekal
– Alappuzha
– Fort Kochi 
– Muziris Heritage 
– Muzhappilangad 
– Wayanad 
– Varkala
– Thekkady 
– Munnar 
– Kumarakom 
– Kovalam 

HAY FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE AND ARTS

The Hay Festival comes to Homeland India!


The festival invited all authors and speakers from India and across the world, gathering among the tranquil waterways of God’s own country-Kerala.

Origin: The Hay Festival of Literature & Arts is an annual literature festival held in Hay-on-Wye, Powys, Wales for ten days from May to June. It was devised by Norman and Peter Florence in 1988. The festival has expanded internationally and sister festivals take place in Nairobi, Zacatecas, The Maldives, Kerala, Beirut, Belfast, Cartagena, the Alhambra Palace, Parc Prison in Bridgend and Segovia.

Highlights of the Festival in India included authors like Vikram Seth, Shashi Tharoor, Anita Nair, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Simon Schama, Bob Geldof and many others.


PUSHKAR – Piston Valve of Rajasthan’s diverse culture & heritage

PUSHKAR..a sacred town with numerous ghaats and temples on one hand and a touch of modernity on the other is truly an enticing place for all. Every November, this town in Rajasthan comes live with color and festivity. 

Yes, the much awaited “The Pushkar Camel Fair” which entralls the foreigners and the travellers from all over the globe showcases its pomp and show from November 13-21,this year.



The fair generally takes place for five days from the Kartik Ekadashi to Kartik Poornima, the full moon day of Kartik according to the Hindu calendar. The highlight of Pushkar fair is the camel and livestock trading. Camels are bought, sold, decked up and paraded on the sand dunes, presenting a picturesque sight. The town brings alive the rich tradition of Rajasthan enhancing the glory of the golden sand.

Other than this, several competitions such as the “matka phod”, “longest moustache”, and “bridal competition” attracts enthusiasts from all over.

The major places of visit are Varah Temple, Gayatri Temple, Puskar Holy Lake, Apteshwar Temple, Rose Garden, Brahma Temple, Ghats, etc.

The experience can only be scintillating if you have got a reservation !!

SHIMLA – Feel the Love !

Love is in the air and I can feel it ! Feel it here in Shimla..
The world becomes static..such is the essence of this scenic place.
Shimla has always been a favourite destination for all ages (specially with the Honeymooners !!). Shimla is a true refuge for the sun weary people on holiday in India.        

During the British rule, Shimla was renowed as the “Queen of the Hills”. The Kalka-Shimla Railway line has been granted ‘World Heritage Status’ by UNESCO. The place got its much needed hype with the shooting of the super-hit Indian film “3 Idiots”.


After knowing about the acclolades of this picturesque hill station, lets get acquainted with the sight seeing places of Shimla. The major tourist destinations here are: The Ridge, Chadwick falls, Lekkar Bazaar, Jakhoo Hill/Temple, Christ Church & St. Michael’s Cathedral, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Kalibari Temple, State Museum and the very own Mall Road etc.


To add to the fun of visiting Shimla, one can also check out nearby places:
Annandale, Sanjauli, Chail, Kufri, Mashobra,Narkanda, Naldehra.

Hope the visit to this beautiful and entralling hill station is framed in your memories forever!

Delhi

Finally we have monsoon showers in Delhi, a welcome and a much needed respite from Delhi’s scorching summer. During the long summer months heat and dust rules the roost – out of the blues, the magical first monsoon showers, comfort us, inspire us.