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First Winter Chardham Yatra Starts From Mukhba


First Winter Chardham Yatra Starts From Mukhba Village
The winter Char Dham Yatra has officially been commenced from 16th November from Mukhba. Mukhba is a village located 25 kilometer ahead of Gangotri. Congress MLA Vijay Pal Singh left for the yatra as administration, temple officials and Army assisted him. 

"For now, the winter Chardham yatra has begun in Mukhba but soon it will begin in Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath." He said. According to the MLA, arrangements are being made to offer comfort and ease to the pilgrims


The state government pleaded the temple committees to temporarily place the deities somewhere else in the winters. This proposal was approved after the temple officials held a meeting with Chief Minister Harish Rawat on 14th October. 

The deities have hence been relocated from Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri to lower regions. Earlier the routes to the original seats of the deities used to get blocked because of the snow. Now, it would be easier for the pilgrims. 

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Mount Abu: The Lone Hill Town of Rajasthan


Nestled in the Arabuda Mountain Range in Aravalis and the only exception in otherwise arid and hot Rajasthan, Mount Abu is one of the most popular places to visit in Rajasthan in summer as well as winter. This verdant paradise dotted with plenty of natural and manmade attractions appeals not just to the local crowd but visitors from overseas in equal numbers.

During summers as well as winters, Mount Abu is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in North India. The 80 odd Dilwara Jain Temples makes this hill town in Rajasthan a major Jain pilgrimage destination too. For wildlife enthusiast, 289 square kilometers stretch of Mount Abu wildlife sanctuary is a place to explore and discover the rich flora and fauna of the area.

Attractions in Mount Abu

Nakki Lake

Nakki Lake in Mount Abu, Rajasthan
View of Nakki Lake in Moun Abu
Nakki Lake is surrounded with green valleys, restaurants, hotels and bustling local markets. This lake is Mount Abu’s highlight and is thronged with visitors looking for boating, photography and picnicking. Also known as “Love Lake” of Mount Abu, Nakki Lake is inspired by the love story of Sage Rasia Balam and Kunvanri Kanya. In recent years, government spent good amount of money to restore it and make it better. Its divinity has however never been overlooked and Nakki Lake is venerated as a sacred lake.

Achalgarh Fort

Achalgarh Fort in Mount Abu, Rajasthan
Achalgarh Fort in Mount Abu, Rajasthan
Rajasthan, located on the western part of India is world famous for its stunnig forts & palaces which are also inscribed as UNESCO world heritage sites. Achalgarh Fort is known for the Achaleshwar Mahadeva and Jain Temples, in and outside it. The Achaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and also has a brass of Nandi. And the Jain Temples were built in 1513. The Achalgarh fort was built even before 16th century and stands dilapidated, but still allures its visitors with its unique and mysterious ambience. This fort was commissioned by the rulers of Paramara Dynasty and was later renovated by Maharana Kumbha.


Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary

Mount Abu Wildlife Sanctuary

Located in one of the India’s oldest Hill Ranges (Aravali Ranges), this wildlife sanctuary is stretched until Gurushikhar, the highest peak of the state. This is one of the few flourishing and green areas of arid Rajasthan and must be visited if you fancy a trek amidst the woods having numerous plant species. Here, you can find sambhar, mongoose, Indian hare, wolves, jungle cats, langur, hedgehog, wild boar, bear, sloth bear and others.

Sunset point

View of Sunset Point in Mount Abu
Located on the south-west side of Nakki Lake, Sunset Point, as its name suggests offer a wonderful sight of the sun setting down beyond horizon. The Sunset Point is close to food stalls and markets, making a perfect place to spend enough time. Also, sandalwood idols, carved marble statues, wooden toys surround the area. Children can enjoy pony rides and adults can stop for a while and hail the view.

Dilwara Jain Temples


Dilwara Temples is accentuated because of the fine carvings it is filled with. These five marble marvels date back to 11th and 13th century and were built by Vastupal Tejpal. Dilwara Temples have ornamented inscriptions in its pillars, ceilings, entranceways; everywhere. Apart from its architecture, the temples are believed to be one of the holiest shrines in Buddhism. The best part of the temples is its Pooja, which is enlightening and soothing.

Shopping in Mount Abu


It is impossible to think of heading home without stuffing your luggage with Rajasthani paintings, artifacts, clothes and everything else. Mount Abu offer wide variety in genuine Rajasthani stuff. Here, you can get the best Kota saris, bangles, linen with sanganeri prints, Jaipuri quilts, stone crafts, leather articles etc. Some of the best shops of Mount Abu are Rajasthali, Piccadily Plaza, Chacha Museum, Kashmir Cottage Emporium, M/s Bansilal Bhurmal, Fair Price Rajasthan Emporium and Khadi Bhandar.

Festival in Mount Abu

Exotic location and vibrant culture makes the celebration of Summer Festival an unforgettable experience. This festival falls in the month of May and is started off by a ceremonial procession. This procession commences from RTDC Hotel Shikhar and is set to sparkle by fireworks, and Guajarati and Rajasthani cultural folk performances. Tug-of-war, Panihari Matka Race, Horse Race, CRPF Band Show, Skater’s Show, Skating Race and deepdaan are the major highlights of this festival.

[ Read More about Fair & Festival in Rajasthan ]

Best Time to Visit in Mount Abu

Mount Abu is a hill station in the state of Rajasthan, its green valleys and sapphire lake make it a highly inviting place. Any time is the best time to visit Mount Abu. The winters are chilling and pleasurable. In monsoon, Mount Abu receives highest rainfall in whole Rajasthan. But still, there are moderate to average amount of rain showers that take place here. And summers can come out to be a savior in Mount Abu, far away from scorching heat of the deserts.

How to Reach in Mount Abu

Mount Abu is easily accessible through all the major modes of transport. Nearest airport from Mount Abu is in Udaipur; connecting to Delhi, Mumbai and Jaipur.

Nearest railway station is Abu Road. This railway station is at a distance of 22 kilometers from Mount Abu and is connected to trains running to and from Mumbai, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and others.  Mount Abu can also be reached via state and privately owned buses.

Where to Stay in Mount Abu

Mount Abu is a popular tourist destination; and having said this, it becomes pretty obvious that you have easy access to all your needs here. Talking about accommodation, you can go for budget or luxury hotels. I suggest that you consider; Hotel Welcome Heritage Connaught House (Heritage Hotel) , Palace Hotel (Heritage Hotel) Udaigarh Hotel (Heitage Resort), Hotel maganji’s (3 star), Hotel Hiltone (3 star), Hotel ChaCha Inn (2 star) and Hotel Vinayak (1 star).

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Saint Francis Xavier Exposition, Goa

The beach state of Goa is known for its high-spirited lively culture. It attracts an amazing number of tourists from all around the world, every year. Goa is also known for its Portuguese Churches, which are one its prime attraction as well. The residents of Goa are not only famed for their party spirit but also for having sincere belief in their religion. There is a chance for you to experiences and feel the spiritual air of Goa.

Basalica of Bom Jesus, Goa

The Decennial Exposition of St. Francis Xavier, Goa

The exposition of the relics of Saint Francis Xavier has been announced to be put in exposition for veneration. This major pilgrimage event takes place once in a decade and it now is taking place from November 22nd 2014 to January 4th 2015; as announced by Archbishop of Goa, India. About 3 million pilgrims from around the world are going to attend this tour and Pope’s ambassador too is expected to be one of the attendants.

Who Was Saint Francis Xavier

Saint Francis Xavier was born in Spain in the year 1506. Xavier is amongst the greatest missionaries since St. Paul. He was a Roman Catholic and co-founder of The Society of Jesus. The saint took vows for poverty and chastity and travelled across Asia for the same. His works were highly appreciated in India. During his tour he also went to Japan, Indonesia and many other places.

The Saint, in the span of 10 years, baptized more than three lakh people; and was named as “Apostle of the Indies” and “Apostle of Japan”. He further aimed at preaching missionary lessons across China, but died before he could.

Saint Francis died on December 3rd 1552 in the Sancian Island, China. His body was laid to rest in Malaysia and was then moved to Portuguese Colony of Goa, India. Saint Xavier’s right hand was removed and was sent to Rome to preserve it as a relic there. Today, the remains are placed in a silver casket in old Goa. It will be taken down in a solemn procession to Se Cathedral in November 22nd 2014.
St Francis Xavier Exposition
Exposition of St Francis Xavier in Goa

How to Reach

The exposition will be taking place in Se Cathedral in Old Goa. Goa is accessible through Air, Train and Road. The details are provided below:
By Air
The nearest International Airport is in Dabolim, at the distance of about 24 Kilometers. You can hire a taxi from the airport to reach Se Cathedral.
By Train
Nearest Railhead from Se Cathedral is Vasco Da Gama Railway Station (27 Km). You can also opt for Madgaon Railway Station, which is about 32 kilometers from the venue. Get a taxi to reach Se Cathedral from the Railway Station.
By Road
Major National Highways that pass through Goa are NH17 and NH4A. There are frequent bus services by state and privately owned companies that commute to and from neighboring areas.

Getting around the Venue

Goa has a wide range of choice in the mode of transportation. Apart from frequent bus services, you can go for auto-rikshaws, but it might get hard to find them at times. Easiest way to travel within the state is by hiring a taxi or renting car/bike/scooter.
You can find taxi services in the streets or in the hotel you are staying in. Renting services too are easy to find. You have to only show your identity card, handover the advance and explore the state.

Nearby Attractions

Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church
The church was built in 1540 and is placed a few meters above the city. This striking white holy edifice displays fine work of carving and ornamentation of the bygone era.
Casinos
There are many five-star casinos cruising over Mandovi River near Panjim. These casinos are enjoyable, even if you do not want to splurge or take risks.
Beaches
Whether you are looking for peace or loud parties, Goa has beaches of all sorts. Some of the best beaches of Goa are Baga Beach, Candolim Beach, Anjuna Beach, Dona Puala Beach and Calangute Beach
Shopping
Right from the choice in street markets to high-end international brands; you can shop without hindrance while you are in Goa. Some of the main markets of the state are Anjuna Flea Market, Panjim Market, Saturday Night Market, Tito’s Lane Market and Calangute Market.

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Dussehra Festival in India

Dussehra is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated all across India with great pomp and gusto. This festival celebrates the victory of good over evil and marks the occasion in the great Indian epic Ramayana when Lord Ram, the good kills Meghnath (Lord of the moon), the bad and Ravana (Of sun race), the ugly to rescue his captive wife Sita.

Did you know that we have mention Dussehra as one of the top reasons to travel in India in October.

The name of the festival is etymologically derived from Ravana. Since Ravana, the wise (he is referred to as great Brahman by his adversary Ram) had 10 heads - which according to the epic Ramayana, he earned from Hindu God Shiva’s blessing - the  killing of Ravana meant the defeat of the one with 10 heads hence the name Dussehra (Das meaning 10 and hara meaning defeat).

Dussehra Festival in India
In India, the festival is celebrated on a large scale in different parts of the country. The manner in which it is celebrated is different all across the country. As the place of its celebration changes in the country, the celebration type also changes. While it is known as Durga Puja in Kolkata, it is Dasara in Mysore and Navaratri in Gujarat. The varied style of celebration makes it the most loved and popular festival. This colorful festival has much more to it which is further discussed in our following segment. Most popular places for attending Dussehra in India are Kullu in Himachal Pradesh and Mysore in Karnataka.

Flipping back the pages

Dusshera is a festival which is celebrated in the country from years. It is important for all to know the significance of the festival. We hope that this helps you in knowing about the history which makes us celebrate this festival today.

According to the Hindu religion, on the day of Dusshera in the Treta Yug, Lord Rama killed demon Ravana who abducted Lord Rama’s wife Sita. Lord Rama along with his brother Lakshmana, Hanuman and an army of monkeys fought a battle to rescue Sita. This entire story is recorded in the epic Ramayana. Lord Rama prayed to Maa Durga who blessed him and gave him knowledge to kill Ravana. Lord Rama and his team defeated Ravana on the day of Ashwin Shukla Dashami.  The day later was termed as Vijaya Dashami. From then, the day is celebrated on a grand scale to remember the victory of good over evil. Huge effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnath and brother Kumbhkaran are burnt on this day. All this is done to signify the end of evil.

Customs and rituals

Navratri festival precedes Dusshera. Navratri is a festival where Maa Durga and Lord Rama are worshipped for nine days. With the coming of Dusshera, people start cleaning and decorating their homes with beautiful items like flowers, leaves and bead strings. Puja is performed on a large scale to seek blessings of Maa Durga and Lord Rama.

One main ritual of Dusshera is Ravan Dahan. Ten heads of demon Ravana are burnt which symbolize the evil inside a human being. By burning the effigies, people pray to get rid of all these evils:
  • Kama vasana: Lust
  • Krodha: Anger
  • Moha: Attachment
  • Lobha: Greed
  • Mada: Over Pride
  • Matsara: Jealousy
  • Swartha: Selfishness
  • Anyaaya: Injustice
  • Amanavta: Cruelty
  • Ahankara: Ego

There is one more ritual as per which, people worship their weapons, pens and other instruments. All these things act as a symbol of fighting injustice.

Major Celebrations

Dusshera is celebrated on a large scale in:
  • Kullu: Kullu Dusshera is celebrated in the Dhalpur maidan in the Kullu Valley. The celebrations of the festival begin on Vijay Dashmi and they continue for seven days. It celebrates the triumph of Lord Ram over evil.
  • Mysore: Dasara in Mysore is a 10-day long celebration. The festival celebrated victory of good over evil. It is celebrated to recall the day when Maa Durga killed demon Mahishasur.
  • Varanasi: Ram Nagar in Varanasi is a place which celebrates Dusshera in a unique manner. During the celebrations, multi-stage performances are given by different artists. Sadhus from different parts of the country come here to recite Ramayana. The celebrations go on for 31 days.
  • Delhi: The capital city showcases a unique blend of Ramlila and Durga Puja. Around 1000 Ramlila programs and 250 Puja pandals are organized in the city. The celebration is completed by burning cracjer-stuffed effigies of Ravana and feasting with family and friends.
  • Kota: A huge Dusshera Mela is organized at Kota, Rajasthan. The Mela is organized for three days and it has decorated shops which offer handicrafts, rides and food items. On the last day of the festival, effigies of Ravana are burnt to recall the victory of good over evil. 
  • Bastar: Dusshera is the most important festival in Bastar. During the festival, all the deities from all the villages come together to the temple of Danteshwari in Jagdalpur. Here, the festival is celebrated completely for the devotion towards Goddess Danteshwari Devi.

  • Kolkata: In Kolkata, the celebrations are known as Durga Puja. It is one of the most awaited festivals of West Bengal. During the festival, all the streets remain crowded and huge Pandal’s are set up to celebrate the festival.

Dusshera Mela

Dusshera Mela is organized in different parts of the country to add to the celebrations of the festival. The Mela is a complete riot of colors where people come with their family and friends to enjoy the festival. The Dusshera Mela houses a number of well-decorated shops offering local handmade items, food and toys. Cultural performances are given by different artists to entertain the public. Dancing competitions are also organized for the public where families perform together. At the end of the festival, effigies of the demons are burnt which is followed by feasting.

Dusshera is considered the most auspicious day of the year. Those who wish to start a new venture, choose this day with a wish to get success. The festival is a part of a long celebration which starts from Navaratri to the tenth day- Dusshera and Diwali which is celebrated after 20 days. The festival brings in with it a lot of colors, celebrations and happiness which is enjoyed by all.
Truth is always victorious! Celebrate the victory of good over evil this Dusshera.

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Festivals in India in October 2014
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Festivals in India in October 2014

Festivals in India are times when families, friends and even entire communities come together to mark the occasion The air is redolent with the color and enthusiasm. There's joy, celebrations and events to mark the religious and cultural fests in India. The festivities are further enhanced by colorful lights, music and dance.

From the dances and rituals to mark the victory of good over evil across India to world's largest cattle fair in Pushkar, festivals in India in October give you ample reasons to pack your bags and head to the locations where they are celebrated at their best.

Here are the most important fair & festivals in India in October in no particular order:

Navratri Festival

Navaratri Festivals
A nine-day festival, Navaratri is when Mother Goddess is worshipped in all her manifestations. These manifestations include Maa Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi.

During this festival, devotees worship and fast all day. At night, devotees enjoy the festival with dancing and feasting. The festival ends with Dussehra on the tenth day. Plays are organized all over Delhi and they feature the Navaratri celebrations. 

When: 25 September- 3 October, 2014

Where: All across India. Celebrated particularly in Gujarat, Mumbai, Varanasi, Mysore and Manali

Mysore Dasara

Mysore Dasara Festivals
Yes! Mysore Dussehra festival has something different to it. The festival is celebrated on a large scale. The festival is celebrated to honor the Goddess Chamundeswari who killed the great demon Mahishasur. It is celebrated to enjoy the victory of good over evil. 

When: 25 September- 4 October, 2014


Where: Mysore, Karnataka


Jaipur Shopping Festival

Jaipur Shopping Festival in India
Jaipur shopping festival is India’s biggest shopping festival which runs for a month. The festival features more than 7,000 retailers who come from major markets of the city. The craft bazaar showcases the best handicrafts which have been designed by local and national artisans. And shopping is not all! The festival brings along, tons of entertainment in the form of music, plays, folk dancing, competitions, fireworks and fashion shows. 

When: 25 September – 23 October, 2014
Where: Different locations in Jaipur, Rajasthan

Durga Puja Festival

Durga Puja Festivals

Durga Puja is celebrated in the honor of warrior Goddess Durga. During this festival, one can witness beautifully handcrafted statues of Maa Durga which are installed all around the city. People from different places roam around the streets to see the statues of Goddess Durga. At all the streets, there are different light shows and food stalls offering lip smacking dishes. All the statues of Maa Durga are paraded throughout the city before they are submerged into the river. 
When: 1-4 October, 2014
Where: Kolkata, West Bengal

Matsya Festival

Matsya Festival
It is the Matasya Festival which provides a look of the Rajasthani culture and heritage at its best. This colorful festival has a number of attractions including folk music, folk dance, exhibitions, competitions and sports. 


When: 2-3 October, 2014
Where: Alwar, Rajasthan


Ashwa Poojan

Ashwa Poojan Festival
Ritual performance
Ashwa Poojan is a unique Rajasthani festival which is well-known as the Worship of the Horse. It is celebrated on a grand scale by the Mewar royal family of Udaipur on the last day of Navaratri. 

The festival celebrates and honors the relationship between the warrior and horse. So, the royal horses are worshipped by the current head of the royal family which is accompanied by the palace band. The key highlight of the festival is the mouth-watering Rajasthani cuisine which is served during the festival.


When: October 3, 2014
Where: Udaipur City Palace, Rajasthan

Dussehra

Dussehra Festival
Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of the Navaratri festival. The festival is all about celebrating the victory of good over evil. 

It recalls the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama. During the festival, a number of fairs are organized wherein the large models of Ravana are burnt on bonfires.

When: October 4, 2014
Where: Particularly in North India

Kullu Dussehra
Kullu Dussehra Festival
Ceremony in Kullu
Kullu Dussehra is a week-long festival during which Goddess Hadimba is carried from the temple in Manali down to Kullu. From here, she is taken to the palace where she blesses the royal family. The goddess is then taken to Dhalpur where the idol of Lord Raghunath joins. Gods and goddesses from all over the valley come to meet Hadimba and Lord Raghunath. Further, they are taken to the Dhalpur Maidan where they stay till the end of the festival. There are cultural performances and exhibitions which are organized during this festival. Lastly, the chariot carrying Goddess Hadimba and Lord Raghunath is taken to Beas River. Here, a pile of thorn bushes are burnt to show the burning of Lanka. 

When: 3-9 October, 2014
Where: Dhalpur Maidan, Kullu Vallery, Himachal Pradesh

Marwar Festival

Marwar Festival
This festival mainly celebrates the culture of Rajasthan’s Marwar region. The festival lasts for two days over the full moon. It is organized to remember medieval heroes of the state.

Classical folk dance and music is the key highlight of this festival. There are many fun activities which are organized including horse riding, horse polo and camel tattooing.

When: October 7-8, 2014.
Where: Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Rajasthan International Folk Festival

Rajasthan International Folk Festival
Rajasthan International Folk Festival
The Rajasthan International Folk Festival is a unique one where in regional root music and art is presented. A number of things are organized during this festival such as jam sessions, interactive educational events and staged performances. The public gets to enjoy great performances of dancers, singers, instrumentalists and storytellers who come from different Rajasthani folk communities. Performances are also given by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The festival is organized in Mehrangarh fort and this further adds to the colors of the festival.

When: 8-12 October, 2014
Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

[ Read More about Folk Sounds of Rajasthani Music


Diwali

Diwali Festival
Diwali is celebrated all over India as the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. It represents the beginning of the Hindu New Year. During this festival, people light diyas and candles in their houses. Fireworks are let off all around to add to the celebrations. People clean up their houses and decorate them with Rangoli. Also, people buy new clothes, gamble and exchange gifts and sweets with family and friends.

When: 23 October, 2014
Where: Throughout India, except in the southern state of Kerala

Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja Festival
A homage to sun god
Chhath Puja is mainly a north Indian festival and is celebrated by people in Bihar Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. In Chhat Puja, all the devotees worship the sun.

They offer prayers to the Sun God at the time of sunset. Women sing hymns and songs during the festival. They also fast and pray for the well-being of their family and friends. 

When: 27- 30 October, 2014 
Where: Bihar, Jharkhand and U.P



Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair Festival
Pushkar Camel Fair is a traditional Indian style festival in which around 50,000 camels come together on the desert town, Pushkar. All these camels are dressed up and for them, beauty contests, parades and races are organized. From 3rd to 6th November, the festival changes its focus to the religious celebrations.

When: 30 October- 6 November, 2014
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan

Kolayat Fair (Kapil Muni Fair)

Kolayat Fair Festivals
Camel trading at Kolayat
Kolayat Fair is the biggest of all fairs which is organized in Rajasthan. A huge cattle fair is organized along with a pilgrimage to the town’s holy lake. In the festival, camels, buffaloes, horses and cattle’s are traded. People take a sip in the holy lake and float diyas in the lake. 

When: October 30-November 6, 2014
Where: Kolayat (near Bikaner), Rajasthan





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