A Travellerspoint blog

Ganga: A journey

Motorcycle Diary: Ganga. From April 09, 2010 to May 09, 2010

sunny 19 °C

Every Year in summers i ride my 1962 Royal Enfield 350 along side the holy river Ganga on it's journey to the Bay of Bengal, from a small droplet of Glacier to the vastness of the ocean, from the Himalayas to the plains into the ocean on the path of life we know of is Ganga: the goddess of the river Ganga, India's most sacred body of water. Hindus believe that bathing in her holy waters will help wash one's sins away, and hence they conduct repeated ritualistic washings in the river to secure a place in heaven. The notion of purity has dominated the Hindu psyche for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, it was never extended to keeping holy places and surroundings free of filth. The patrons of purity, the Hindu orthodoxy, are now waking up to the fact that their sites of worship, including rivers like the Ganga, have been reduced to garbage dumps and cesspools of toxic material.Rivers like the Ganga and the Yamuna, lifelines for thousands of people, are for all practical purposes dead. State-sponsored plans with massive funds to free them of pollutants have failed in the face of official apathy. The government should penalise industries which refuse to upgrade to clean technology and install sewage treatment plans. There are any number of progressive judgments that have upheld the right of the people to a clean environment. In the coming years, water is bound to be the most needed, and the most scarce, natural resource. Rivers are not just sources of this precious resource, but are also embodiments of cultural and social memories. They support a variety of livelihoods, whose economic potential has not been fully realised. From fisheries to tourism, rivers present innumerable economic opportunities. The death of a river is the death of an ecosystem, and, also, an economy Therefore need your help to plan a trip to the Ganges offering your clients an unforgettable experiance from hiking on mountain peaks of Himiliya - Glacier - white water rafting - tiger safari (Jim corbett National Park) - Visiting temples dating back to the 8th and 9th centuaries reflecting the Heritage of India.

Start of my journey:
GOMUKH - glacier origin of the holy river Ganga, there is a SHIV TEMPLE 12 Km from Gangotri
The Gangotri Glacier, a vast expanse of ice five miles by fifteen, at the foothills of the Himalayas (14000 ft) in North Uttar Pradesh, is the source of Bhagirathi, which joins with Alaknanda (origins nearby) to form Ganga at the craggy canyon-carved town of Devprayag.

Second Stop was my favourite place in the whole wide world: Hrishikesh
Hrishikesh (from Hrishikesh, another name for Lord Vishnu) is a holy city for Hindus located in the foothills of the Himalaya in northern India. It is also known as the gateway to Himalayas and it located about 25 kilometers away from another holy city, Haridwar, and is considered an access point for the cities that form the Char Dham - Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Rishikesh also translates to mean - The land of the Rishis. The sacred river Ganga (anglicized to Ganges) flows through Hrishikesh. In fact, it is here that the river leaves the Shivalik mountains Himalayas, and flows out into the plains of northern India. Several temples, ancient as well as new, can be found along the banks of the river in Hrishikesh.

From Devprayag to the Bay of Bengal and the vast Sunderbans delta, the Ganga flows some 1550 miles, passing (and giving life to) some of the most populous and historically acclaimed cities of India, including Kanpur (2 million), Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, and Calcutta (14 million). all these cities has a spiritual connection and all have a common link, a venue where all religions coinside as one on the "Ghats" of the river Ganga.

I wanted to write more about the places adn cities on the banks of Ganga but i have on purpose kept is just short as next year same time from April to May, i am interested to take a group of Adventurers on this journey of lifetime, so if anyone with the adventure sprit would like to join me on a trip of realization and tranquility of one's spiritual being on the path of life: Ganga. Contact me on [email protected]

You are welcome to ask any questions that come to your mind regarding the same and i shall reply you back with utmost enthusiasm.

Feel the cold breeze on your face, smell the trees all the way, the closest you can get to freedom is with your guts and wits, as life is a journey and we all have to choose our path.

Love life,

Ranjit Singh

Posted by rsnamli 10:13 Archived in India Tagged motorcycle Comments (0)

Drive around India

4 x 4 excursion

sunny 20 °C

I think January is the best month to travel to India and if you are traveling for three months you can visit the entire Indian sub-continent in style.

if you want me to prepare an Itinerary for you, it will be entirely my pleasure. Kindly let me know your age, nationality and Interests.

However, I have prepared a rough itinerary for your travel to India, and if you are upto it I would like to drive you around / through entire Indian sub-continent North – south – east – west. And This program is an ideal introduction to India, featuring some of the country's most exotic destinations

1. Your journey I feel should begin with a two-night stay in Delhi. Tour Old and New Delhi, exploring the many layers of the city's rich history including a visit to the Red fort, Crafts Museum and its sweeping collection of artifacts from across the country.

2. Rajasthan: Here you would get to see some of the finest forts and palaces in the world and also get a taste of the famous heritage hospitality of Rajasthan. The first city in Rajasthan that we take you to is Jodhpur – the capital of the ancient kingdom of Marwar. Next you head to the lake city of Udaipur. In between we will take you to the Kumbhalgarh fort – the largest fort in India encompassed by a 36 km long wall. You can spend an entire day exploring this fabulous fort and the ruins that lie within. There is also a tribal settlement inside the fort consisting of a clan that has fiercely guarded the ancient fort for centuries and continues to live there long after the Mewar kings decided to shift the capital to Udaipur.

3. You cannot tell your friends that you have visited India until you have seen the Taj Mahal. The next leg of your trip would take you to this famous monument of love that was erected by the great Shah Jehan for his ladylove. From Agra you fly/drive to Khajuraho – a city where the modern world has rediscovered not just the art of love but architectural wonders.

4. Next on your trip is Idore, in Central India. Drive to the holy city of Ujjain, which is the seat of great learning and culture. Here you must visit the Ved shala or observatory. The Mahakaleshwar Temple is a must see. You can also make a visit to the bathing ghats of the river Shipra. Next you go for an excursion to Sanchi, a world heritage site, which comprises the finest specimens of Buddhist monuments dating back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. Your journey continues as you reach Orccha. You can visit the Bhimbekta caves, where about 700 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age and over 500 caves house paintings of pre-historic man. You drive to Gwalior. Visit the Gwalior Fort, on the way from Agra to Indore and is one of the largest and mightiest forts in India. you will also get a chance to see Omkareshwar - holy city and a beautiful Jungle drive and boat safari in the river namada with camping on the banks for a moon light picnic. You travel to the quaint town of Dhar and then to Indore. The following day you can visit Maheshwar, the chattri or tomb of the brave Holkar queen Ahalya Bai who died in 1795.

5. From here you will drive to the thick forests of Bandhavgarh National Park, which is surrounded by cliffs and the mighty Vindhya Ranges. This is the region where the famous White tigers of Rewa were first discovered. The day will be spent wandering in jeeps or atop an elephant, where the chances of spotting a tiger are quite good. Here you can also see varieties of deer like the Barasingha, Chital (spotted deer), Chousingha and the Gaur.

6. After a refreshing night’s sleep, you will drive to Kanha National Park, covering a distance of 325 kms. The main viewing area is still in the core of the Park with its 32 picturesque, wooded hills. One whole day is kept for game rides. The Park abounds in wildlife though the main attraction remains ‘the tiger’.

7. From Jabalpur drive to Mumbai , India’s business capital. Spend a day touring the city. Visit the Gateway of India and the Gandhi Memorial. You can laze around at the Juhu beach. You can plan an excursion to the Elephanta Caves, world famous caves that are over a thousand years old. The famous Trimurti sculpture signifying the trinity of the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer is located here. The next destination is Aurangabad. You spend the first day at the Ajanta Caves. The Ajanta caves were originally built as retreats for Buddhist monks. The next day you make a visit to the Ellora caves, which house 34 monasteries and temples with an exquisite and uninterrupted sequence of monuments that date back from 600 to 1000 AD. Both these ancient caves are world heritage sites with frescoes and sculpture that continue to inspire artists even today.

8. Your next stop the emerald state of Goa. You have a leisurely three days in Goa to unwind on the sunny beaches or even better, get a relaxing massage. You must experiment with the Goan cuisine, which is an interesting blend of Indian and Portuguese food. from here we drive to Banglore visit Maysore and many historical places in and around the state of Karnataka before we leave for Thirunananthapuram, Madurai and Kerala. Next in line is a drive to Mahaballipuram, where the beauty of the Shore Temples is accentuated by the sunrise over the Bay of Bengal.

9. Next the beautiful state of Kerala justly called God's Own Country. The land of the quiet Backwater and lagoons beckons travelers to enter the gateway to heaven. You arrive in Cochin City, also called the Queen of the Arabian Sea. Here you can visit the famous Dutch Palace and the Jewish Synagogue. In the evening you can enjoy a sunset cruise.

10. From Cochin drive to Chennai. Particularly charming features of this city are its allegiance to ancient traditions, no matter how modernized it has become, and its willingness to spread out further rather than develop into a multi-storey concrete jungle.

11. Then you depart to Thekkady by road. This wildlife sanctuary offers the opportunity to spot its inhabitants at close range. You can visit the spice plantations and stroll amidst the heady aroma of cardamom and coffee.

12. The next stop is the Kumarakom Bird sanctuary on the banks of the river Periyar. The sanctuary is a favourite haunt of migratory birds. This paradise of mangrove forests, paddy fields and enchanting waterways is the ideal place to relax. After this you return to Cochin by road. You can tour the district of Ernakulam.

13. Your next stop is Hyderabad where you might still get a taste of the old Nawabi days. This cyber city offers an interesting blend of the old and the new. Charminar built by the king Mohammad Quli Qutb Shah in 1591-92 is one of the famous monuments that you can visit. The Golconda Fort is another must see. Salarjung Museum is one of the best-known museums in India where you can find private collections of the Nizams. You drive to the historical city of Bijapur, en route stopping over at the Bidar district. Visit Golgumbaz the magnificent tomb of Mohammad Adil Shah. You can explore the fortress, some of the palaces and mosques. From here you can make a visit to the district of Gulbarga to see the Bahamani tombs and the fort. Your next destination is Badami. Plan an excursion to Aihole that has over a hundred temples scattered across the village. The Lad Khan temple dating back to the 5th century is a must see. From here visit the rock-cut temples to see temples of Pattadkal where the evolution of windows and pillared halls made the temple more decorative and larger.
Then you travel to Hospet. Plan a day excursion to Hampi, the site of the medieval Vijaynagar Empire. Next you drive to Dandeli via the Jain temples at Lakundi and the cotton market at Gadag. You can visit the Wildlife reserve and enjoy a Jeep safari in the park.

14. From Hyderabad I would suggest you drive all the way till Kolkata, you will see the true India, stay for two – three days in Kolkata and then travel to the holy city, Varanasi. You can go from here to Sarnath, an important Buddhist pilgrimage site. In Varanasi take a boat ride down the river Ganges. The thousands of pilgrims at the ghats is a sight to behold. Also visit the Vishwanath Temple built by the Birlas. An interesting visit can be made to the Bharat Mata Temple that displays, a huge relief map in marble of the whole of Indian subcontinent, instead of gods and goddesses.
You drive to Bodhgaya where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment, under the bodhi tree. In Bodhgaya visit the magnificent Mahabodhi Temple, which depicts the various phases of Buddha’s journey towards enlightenment. Another must see is the Bodhgaya Archaeological Museum that houses a small collection of Buddhist sculpture dating from 1st century B.C to 11th century A.D.

15. From varanasi we drive up north to via rishikesh, Haridwar, Jim Corbett national park to destination you would be heading to is Leh, the remote mountain kingdom, which is often called the Little Lhasha. In the three days you have in Leh, you can make a visit to the many breathtaking monasteries. Those inclined towards outdoors, can go white-water rafting in the Indus.

16. From Leh to Delhi and Delhi you can fly out to your home….

Believe me Guys, this will be as memorable and enchanting as you could ever imagine. If I were you and I had 3 moths to see India I would visit the entire country Driving around and visiting all the places coming on my way…..

Let me know if you would be interested..

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River Ganga - A dip for Moksha

all seasons in one day 19 °C

The Village priest leading his horde of devotees chants sab teerth baar baar, ganga sagar ek bar. You can go to all the holy places, but a pilgrimage to ganga sagar equals them all. A dip means redemption for all wrong done. The place is Sagar Island, on the confluence of the Ganga with the Bay of Bengal. The day "Makar Sankranti" or the last day of the month of paus.

Legend has it that, before joining the sea, the Ganga watered the mortal remains of King Sagar's 60,000 sons liberating their souls once and forever. It was standing on the Sagar Island that the mythical Kapil Muni condoned the sins of the sons of King Sagar who had dared to stop the horse blessed at Lord Indra's Aswamedha Yagna and tied it to a post near his temple. It is this legend that attracts people to this little island in a remote southern corner of West Bengal.

The Ganga Sagar mela (fair) (14 - 16 Jan) s the largest annual assemblage of devotees in India. The greatness of the mela can be assessed from the fact that over a million pilgrims come from far-flung corners of India and beyond, speaking different languages and belonging to diverse castes and creeds, for a sacred dip at this holy confluence. For this, no invitation is given. No Propaganda is carried out and overall no authority exists for carrying out the mela.

It is indeed a tough journey. A few days in packed buses and trains bring the pilgrims to Calcutta. From there, again a long bus journey to ferry ghats or jetty in Sunderbans area, followed by crossing the tidal river stretching for miles across. The last leg involves either walking or traveling by a local bus up to 30 kilometers depending on the location of embarkation point.

The journey can be tiring but religious fervor of the pilgrims overcomes all hardships. Kapil Muni Ki Jai, Dapil Muni Ki Jai, (Hall Kapil Muni), the din rises above the grinding motors of the launches ferrying the pilgrims across the Ganga and the countless buses plying between Calcutta and Namkhana. The problem of traveling doesn't deter even the weak and vulnerable. Old people in their eighties, and village women carrying babies and little children in tow are a common sight.

The never ending stream of pilgrims keeps pouring in throughout the day and night before the auspicious day and occupies any available space on the sandy beach. They move about the place in groups, many displaying saffron and red flags, identifying the religious akhara (group) they belong to as well as acting as beacon to the members who stray out of the group.

People walk to the sound of the bells, blowing conch shells and chanting prayers. Strains of devotional songs can be heard from far and near. And, the ceaseless din of loudspeakers. An array of shops, stacked with heaps of vermilion, rudraksha, colorful beads, conch shells line the pathways. Many a visitor stands wide-eyed before the shops selling everything from foodstuff, household utensils to remote controlled toys.

People crowd around the naga sadhus (naked ascetics) without whom the Ganga Sagar mela is incomplete. Sitting naked near the temple and enjoying a chillum of ganja, (cannabis) they are also the targets of tourists' camera. While devotees jostle in front of numerous temporary shrines of Hindu deities to pay homage, Kapil Muni's temple remains the chief attraction. The temple of Kapil Muni, as we see it today, is by no means the spot where the saga meditated. It went under the sea a millennium ago followed by the many others built in its place, which subsequently were also swallowed by the advancing sea

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Colourful Traditions-Tansen Music Festival-Central India

semi-overcast 18 °C

Madhya Pradesh occupies a special position in the history of Indian music. The Gwalior gharana is among the most prominent arbiters of the classical style. Raja Mansingh's patronage of Dhrupad singers is well known.

A pillar of Hindustani classical music, the great Tansen, one of the 'nine jewels' of Akbar's court, lies buried in Gwalior. The memorial to this great musician has a pristine simplicity, and is built in the early Mughal architectural style. More than a monument, the Tansen Tomb is a part of Gwalior's living cultural heritage. It is the venue of the annual Indian classical festival held here in November-December. Renowned classical singers of the land regale audiences through five mesmerizing night-long sessions of the much-loved classical ragas.

The festival is held, near the tomb of Tansen at Behat, Gwalior in the month of November/ December every year. The tomb build in the early Mughal architectural style is a part of Gwalior's cultural heritage. Renowned classical singers from the country gather and perform for five night-long sessions. The venue resounds with the various ragas.

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Colourful Traditions-Khajuraho Dance Festivals-Central India

all seasons in one day 20 °C

While the traditional religious festivals of the Hindus, Muslims and other communities are celebrated in Madhya Pradesh as enthusiastically as in the rest of India, it is the tribal fairs and festivals of Madhya Pradesh, which are a celebration of the ethnic life-styles of the colourful tribes of the land. The tribal festivals in Jhabua are marked by carefree revelry, drinking bouts and exotic entertainment like cock-fighting, uninhibited dancing, etc. The casual visitor often fails to appreciate adequately the genuine and strong tradition of democracy in tribal society, the harmonious living with nature, the respected status accorded to women, the amicable sharing of the community resources.

Lokranjan, Khajuraho (Held in December)
Folk and tribal dances of ancient India. This is an effort to conduct various forms of dances at one platform. Lokranjan festival is organised in Khajuraho by the Adivasi Lok Kala Academy during 8-12 in Dec. for the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation. It is a symbol of cultural awareness.

Khajuraho, an ancient town of Chandel dynasty is famous for its architecture and sculpture all over the world.

Among the cultural festivals of Madhya Pradesh, the Khajuraho Festival of Dances and the Tansen Music Festival in Gwalior are poignant celebrations of Indian classical dance and music.

Khajuraho Dance Festival (25 February to 3 March - 2007)

25th Feb. 07
Kumkum Dhar, Lucknow Kathak

Kanka Shrinivas, Delhi Bharatnatyam Group
Suchitra Harmalkar, Indore Kathak

26th Feb. 07
Ranjana Gouhar, Delhi Odissi
Uma Rahul, Mumbai Bele (Santvani)
Lata Singh Munshi, Bhopal Bharatnatyam

27th Feb. 07
Uma Murli Krishna, Chennai Kuchipudi
International Chhau Dance Group,W.B. Chhau Purulia
Vijaya Sharma, Bhopal Kathak

28th Feb. 07
Neela Prasad, Thiruanantpuram Mohiniattam
Nalini-Kamlini, Delhi Kathak Duet
Bindu Juneja, Bhopal Odissi

1st March, 07
Munna Shukla, Delhi Kathak Group
Priya Jayraman, Chennai Bharatnatyam
V.Anuradha Singh, Bhopal Kathak

2nd March, 07
Geeta Mahalik, Delhi Odissi
J.L.Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy, Manipur
Shweta Mishra, Lucknow Kathak

3rd March, 07
Kumkum Mohanti, Bhuvneshawar Odissi
Kala Mandlam Gopi, Kerala Kathkali
Sankalp Group, Delhi Odissi

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River Narmada & Kipling country

sunny 20 °C

Moments of valour and glory
etched in stone.
Love, passion, feasting, divinity....
Arrested in the sensitive chisels
of master craftsmen.
Meandering rivers, lush forests,
hills and ravines.
The roar of the tiger.
It's the magic of a many
splendoured land.

Orchha - Medieval legacy in stone
Orchha's grandeur has been captured in stone, frozen in time, a rich legacy to the ages. In this medieval city, the hand of time has rested lightly and the palaces and temples built by its Bundela rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries retain much of their pristine perfection.

Bhimbetka - Through the Ages
Surrounded by the northern fringe of the Vindhyan ranges, Bhimbetka lies 46 km South of Bhopal. In this rocky terrain of dense forest and craggy cliffs, over 600 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic age were recently discovered. Here, in vivid panoramic detail, paintings in over 500 caves depict the life of the pre-historic cave-dwellers making the Bhimbetka group an archaeological treasure, an invaluable chronicle in the history of man.

Sanchi - Masterpieces of Buddhist Art.
Sanchi is known for its Stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars dating from the 3rd century B.C. to the 12th century A.D. The most famous of these monuments, the Sanchi Stupa 1, was originally built by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, the then governor of Ujjayini, whose wife Devi was the daughter of a merchant from adjacent Vidisha. Their son Mahindra and daughter Sanghamitra were born in Ujjayini and sent to Sri Lanka, where they converted the King, the Queen and their people to Buddhism.

Khajuraho - Eternal Expressions of Love
In the temple architecture of India, the Khajuraho complex remains unique. One thousand years ago, under the generous and artistic patronage of the Chandela Rajput kings of Central India, 85 temples, magnificent in form and richly carved, came up on one site, near the village of Khajuraho. The amazingly short span of 100 years, from 950 AD - 1050 AD, saw the completion of all the temples, in an inspired burst of creativity. Today, of the original 85, only 22 have survived the ravages of time; these remain as a collective paean to life, to joy and to creativity; to the ultimate fusion of man with his creator.

Omkareshwar - Sanctified by faith.
the sacred island, shaped like the holiest of all Hindu symbols, 'Om', has drawn to it hundreds of generations of pilgrims. Here, at the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Kaveri, the devout gather to kneel before the Jyotirlinga (one of the twelve throughout India) at the temple of Shri Omkar Mandhata. And here, as in so many of Madhya Pradesh's sacred shrines, the works of Nature complement those of man to provide a setting awe-inspiring in its magnificence.

Mandu - City of Joy.
Perched along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 2,000 feet, Mandu, with its natural defenses, was originally the fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa. Towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the sway of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom named it Shadiabad - 'city of joy'. And indeed the pervading spirit of Mandu was of gaiety; and its rulers built exquisite palaces like the Jahaz and Hindola Mahals, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty. Each of Mandu's structures is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah's tomb, which provided inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries later.

Maheshwar - The Glorious past on the banks of Narmada.
Maheshwar was a glorious city at the dawn of Indian civilization when it was Mahishmati, capital of king Kartivarjun. This temple town on the banks of the river Narmada finds mention in the epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. Revived to its ancient position of importance by the Holkar queen Rani Ahilyabai of Indore. Maheshwar's temples and mighty fort-complex stand in quiet beauty, mirrored in the river below.

Khana - Kipling Country
Rich in forests and scenic areas, Madhya Pradesh is a nature and wildlife lovers' paradise. You visit the best of these unspoilt treasures of nature. Pachmarhi, a scenic hill resort in the Satpuras, remains colonial in appearance, surrounded by forests, quiet glades and enchanting views. Kanha, over 940 sq km in area and one of the finest National Parks in Asia, has wildlife in abundance. You also visit the Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat where the Narmada flows through the towering and glistenning rocks of Marble.

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Colourful Traditions - Desert Festival - Rajasthan

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Rajasthan is synonymous with the Thar Desert of India. The Thar Desert has transcended the fact of being just a geographical entity and is now a part and parcel of every Rajasthani. Hence it is no wonder, that a special Desert Festival is organized to commemorate the spirit of Rajasthan in the desert state of Rajasthan.

Held during the winters, the desert festival of Jaisalmer can rightly be called a showcase of Rajasthan's culture and vibrancy. The first thing you notice on reaching the venue is color splashed everywhere. Be it the gaily-decorated shops or the colorfully dressed people, you can find it everywhere. The desert festival provides a lot of scope for fun and enjoyment. Shop for mementos, enjoy camel rides or gush at the unique spectacle of camel dances - you can never have a dull moment in Jaisalmer.

A day at the Jaisalmer desert festival would be an out of the world experience but the merriment seems to grow as the day wears on. A huge number of folk artists and performers descend on the festival venue around evening and regale visitors with their lively performances. Bon fires and colorful camps further make it an ideal place to spend a delightful evening complete with music, food and folk tales. If you want to be a part of the desert festival of Jaisalmer next year, make sure to visit Jaisalmer between January 31 - 2 February (2007).

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Colourful Traditions - Baneshwar Fair - Rajasthan

semi-overcast 17 °C

The Baneshwar Fair is celebrated with much pomp and fanfare by the tribal population of Rajasthan in region of Dungarpur, where they are joined by tribals of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat as well. A religious event involving traditional rituals, the Baneshwar Fair is spread over a period of four days.

The Baneshwar fair is held at a small delta formed by the river Som and Mahi. In fact, the fair is actually a merger of two different fairs: one which used to be held in honor of Lord Shiva and another fair which started after the construction of the Vishnu temple by Jankunwari, daughter-in-law of Mavji, a highly revered saint considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Besides its spiritual significance, the Baneshwar Fair is also a colorful affair replete with cultural programmes, magic shows, animal shows and acrobatic feats that are sure to delight an avid photographer. A number of gaily-decorated stalls occupy the place of pride in the Baneshwar Fair and sell everything ranging from essential items to handicrafts. If you visit the Baneshwar fair during your Travel to Rajasthan, you will surely agree that it is an unconventional but a very enjoyable affair. It may be reminded that the Baneshwar Fair is being held from 29th January to 2nd February in 2007. .

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Colourful Traditions - Nimar Utsav - Maheshwar-Central India

all seasons in one day 20 °C

Maheshwar - A small town situated at the banks of the holy river Narmada and known as the one time capital of the great Holkar Queen Devi Ahilya is a famous place of pilgrimage and is also known for its world famous Ahilya Ghat and Sarees. Nimar Festival is one of the rare festivals in the country, which is organised at the banks of river Narmada to symbolise the age-old culture, which flows through such rivers in the country. The three days Nimar Festival is a comprehensive feast of music, dance, drama, boating and canoeing. This festival is organised every year on the eve of Kartik Purnima, full moon night and continues for three days i.e November 25th to November 27th 2007.

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Colourful Traditions - Kalidas Festival - Central India

semi-overcast 18 °C

The Kalidasa Samaroh, the festival of classical Sanskrit Literature, Traditional Theatre and arts, is held every year as a tribute to the great poet playwright Kalidasa. Mahakavi Kalidasa is known as the greatest repository of our national heritage.

The colourful evening of Kalidasa festival starts with the original Sanskrit play of Kalidasa presented in a traditional style. For the next six days, festival goes with the presentation of classical dramas, dances, ballets and classical music concerts showing the greatness of Indian arts and culture.

Another attraction of this festival is an all India Kalidasa painting and sculpture exhibition inspired by the works of Kalidasa. The works are created by the artists in Indian traditional or folk style.

Thus, Kalidasa festival is a prestigious programme of Madhya Pradesh, which has glorious history of several decades. The first Kalidasa Festival, organised by the Madhya Pradesh Government, was inaugurated by the First President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad in 1958.

In short, Kalidasa Festival is dedicated to Indian Traditional Literature, Art and Culture and it is a tribute to our national poet Mahakavi Kalidasa, a great symbol of ever flowing Indian traditional literature representing the greatness of India all over the world.

The Kalidas festival is held at Ramtek, Nagpur in the month of November for two days. Ramgiri, or Ramtek as it is popularly known today, is the place that inspired Kalidas and its beauty features predominantly in his literary work.

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Colourful Traditions - Pushkar Fair - Rajasthan

semi-overcast 19 °C

The fair of Pushkar is renowned all over India for the unparalleled fun and merriment that it provides to visitors. Celebrated during the month of November, Pushkar is transformed into a sea of men and animals for the four days that the fair lasts. The Pushkar fair also witness a grand camel fair and it is great fun to watch all the haggling and bargaining that is enjoyed by both the customers and the buyers alike.

Besides the usual fanfare and festivity, there is also a religious angle to the Pushkar Fair. Thousands of devotees come to take a dip in the Pushkar Lake, which is supposed to wash away the sins of a lifetime. It is indeed a grand sight to see the colorfully dressed local populace descend on the fair grounds and enjoy a much-deserved break from their daily grind. As the men head for the cattle market, the women flock the shops that display a number of colorful and fancy items.

The Pushkar Fair is also a great place to enjoy some riveting performances by the local artists. You just stand mesmerized as they give a full display of their talents. Besides, there is also another angle to the Pushkar fair. Gripping camel races, horse races and camel shows also give it more color and make it an experience of a lifetime. Travel to Pushkar and attend the fair that will be held during the period of 29th October - 5th November, 2006.

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Festival of Urs - Ajmer shariff - Rajasthan

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The festival of Urs Ajmer Shariff is an annual event that that celebrates and honors the memory of one of the greatest Sufi saints of all time Moin-ud-din Chisthi. Travel to Ajmer and experience this soulful festival that brings together people of all faiths.

The dargah where Saint Moin-ud-din Chisti's mortal remains lie buried is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India. During the Urs festival devotees who come from far and wide make rich offerings at the dargah and invoke the saint's blessings.

The largest Muslim Fair in India, Urs is held in the holy town of Ajmer. It is held in the memory of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti (Rh.), a respected Sufi saint popularly known as Gareeb Nawaz because he devoted his entire life for the services of mankind. More than five lakes devotees gather from all parts of the subcontinent to pay homage to the Khwaja Sahib on his Urs (death anniversary) during the first six days of Rajab (seventh month of the Islamic calendar).

As the strains of Qawwali pervade the air, the whole of Ajmer dons a festive look with people of all faiths coming together to preach the message of love and humanity to everyone around. This colorful festival is one of the most important events in Rajasthan and if you want to be a part of this grand tribute to humanity, don't forget to visit Ajmer during the next edition.

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Colourful Traditions - Marwar Festival - Rajasthan

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The Marwar Festival, celebrated during the auspicious Sharad Purnima, goes on for a period of two whole days. The festival is held in the honor of the valiant heroes of Rajasthan who had lain down their lives for the protection of their homeland. The Marwar Festival is highly rated and attended by people from all the state as the honor, and chivalry forms an integral part of the Rajasthani culture.

Originally known as the Maand Festival, the Marwar Festival is a grand event that showcases the culture of the Marwar region. Energetic performers converge here to regale onlookers with their talents, which is a treat to the eyes. Music and dance become the order of the day at the Marwar festival where you will never have a dull moment. Besides, a host of competitions and other attractions like horse riding and horse polo make a visit to the Marwar festival an experience to cherish for a lifetime. This year (2006), it will be celebrated on 6th - 7th October.

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Colourful Traditions - Dussehra Mela - Kota - Rajasthan

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The festival of Dussehra indicates the triumph of good over evil, of light over darkness as signified by the conquest of the evil Ravana by Lord Rama. Celebrated all over India with gusto, the festival is held in the Hindu month of Ashvin that is generally September or October. Travel to Rajasthan and visit the city of Kota, which celebrates this special festival with a ritual Dussehra Mela that attracts people from all over.

The Dussehra Mela in Kota is a riot of colors. Well-decorated shops, cultural performances and colorfully clad locals - all vie for your attention as soon as you enter the fair. Theatrical enactments and performances from the Ramayana are greatly popular with the visitors. However, the main highlight of the fair is the burning of the effigies of Ravana, his brother Kumbhakarna and his son Meghnath. Slogans praising the victory of good over evil rent the air as the burning effigies come down to the ground.

As the day wears on, many other events take place one after another thus adding up to a very enjoyable experience. In 2006, the Dussehra Mela is scheduled for 30 September - October 2. If you are in Rajasthan during this festive season, don't forget to visit Kota and get a taste of Rajasthan like never before.

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Colourful Traditions - Bhagoria Haat- Jhabua -Central India

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This colourful festival of the Bhils and Bhilalas, particularly in the district of West Nimar and Jhabua, is actually in the nature of a mass svayamvara, a marriage market, usually held on the various market days falling before the Holi festival in March. As the name of the festival indicates, (bhag, to run), after choosing their partners, the young people elope and are subsequently accepted as husband and wife by society through predetermined customs. It is not always that boys and girls intending to marry each other meet in the festival for the first time. In a large number of cases the alliance is already made between the two, the festival providing the institutionalised framework for announcing the alliance publically. The tradition is that the boy applies gulal, red powder, on the face of the girl whom he selects as his wife. The girl, if willing, also applies gulal on the boy's face. This may not happen immediately but the boy may pursue her and succeed eventually.

Earlier, the Bhagoria haat was also the place for settling old disputes; open invitations were sent to enemies for a fight in the haat. Bloody battles used to be quite common in the past but today police and administration do not allow people to go to the haat armed.

The Bhagoria haat also coincides with the completion of harvesting, adding to it the dimension of being an agricultural festival as well. If the crops have been good, the festival assumes an additional air of gaiety.

In the life of the Bhils and Bhilalas, Bhagoria is not merely one festival but in fact a series of fairs held one by one at various villages on their specific market days, commencing eight days before Holi.

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