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Jhansi Fort - A True Symbol of Bravery and Honor

Situated between the rivers Pahunj and Betwa in Uttar Pradesh, the city of Jhansi holds a significant place in the pages of history. Being ruled by the Marathas in the past, Jhansi has always worn the cap of courage and bravery. Once a princely state, the archaeology of Jhansi has been the notifying aspect of the place.

With numerous forts, museums and temples in its list of attractions, Jhansi has always been wandered for its enriching historical background. One such attraction is the Jhansi Fort which was built on a large hilltop called Bangira. Also known as Jhansi ka Kila, the fortress served as a stronghold of the Chandela kings in the 17th century.

We have also rated it earlier as one of the top ten forts in India.  

Jhansi Fort - One of the Historical Places of India
Jhansi Fort, Uttar Pradesh - One of the Historical Places of India

History 

With various ups and downs, the history of the magnificent Jhansi fort revolves around the seventeenth century. It was the time when India was at its zenith of archaeology under the Mughal rule of Jahangir. The region of Jhansi under Raja Bir Singh Deo held much prominence during that time. In the year 1613, he built the Jhansi fort in order to serve as an army stronghold and garrison. The ruler of Jhansi was in the good books of the emperor Jahangir. As a consequence, when Raja Bir Singh died, the fort came under the control of Jahangir.

History of Jhansi Fort

Later conquests in the region of Jhansi culminated in the defeat of the Mughal army by the Maharaja of Panna. The brave ruler of Panna was helped by the legendary Peshwa Baji Rao (I) in his annihilation. He then offered Jhansi to the Maratha warrior as a mark of gratitude. In the following tenure of Subedar Naroshanker in Jhansi, the boundary of the fort was extended and construction of other buildings also took place in the region.

By the time of 1840, the princely state of Jhansi was put under the control of Raja Gangadhar Rao. The Jhansi fort again came into the spotlight during this time. After the death of Gangadhar Rao, the historic fort was used by his wife Rani Lakshmi Bai as her residence. The Rani got defeated in the revolt of 1857 and the Jhansi Fort was brought into the hands of the imperial British control.

Jhansi Fort Structure

The historic Jhansi fort extends to a vast perimeter of 15 acres and with a mammoth strengthening wall on the sides, it proved as a tough intrusion for the enemies in the past. Based on North Indian style of construction, the granite walls of the Fort are kept between 16 and 20 feet thick. Construction of the fort is supported by twenty two bastions having a dimension near to 312 m in length and 225 m in width. For the entry into the sprawling lawns of the fort, there are 10 entry gates.

Once inside the Jhansi fort, one is expected to come across the two famous temples-Shiva temple and Ganesh temple. Besides the temples, the fort also houses the Panch Mahal and Kadak Bijli canon which was highly used in the freedom struggle of 1857.

Other important tourist attractions of the fort include Baradari, Shahar Darwaza, Grave of Gulam Gaus Khan, Execution tower and Kal Kothari. There is also a memorial board present, which reminds the death defying jump of Rani Lakshmibai on her horseback in an attempt to flee the British army after a heroic fight.  

Jhansi Fort - Timings and entry fee

Good for history buffs, the Jhansi fort is open for all days of the week between the hours of the morning 6 to evening 6.  The entry fee is kept very basic at Rs 5 per person for Indians, while the foreigners have to pay Rs 200 for the same.

How to Reach Jhansi

Jhansi city is well within the reach by Air, rail and road. The nearest airport is at Gwalior, a town hundred kilometers from Jhansi. Rail route is also viable as Jhansi junction is well connected to the rest of India. Besides, one can even take a road trip via the local and state transport bus services.

[ Interested in knowing more about the top 10 forts in India II ]

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Valley of Flowers National Park : UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India

Nestled in the upper expanses of the Garhwal region in Uttarakhand is the Valley of flowers. The inland of the region comprises Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve along with the flower valley. This region is blessed by a rich flora and fauna which covers a vast area of 87.50 sq kms of alpine flowers. Mesmerized by its virgin beauty, the Valley of Flowers was declared as a National Park of India in 1982. At present, the valley enjoys the privileges of a UNESCO world heritage site.

Valley of Flowers National Park : UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India
Valley of Flowers – National Park in Himalaya, Uttarakhand
Being situated in the Himalayan region, the valley of flowers national park hones a varied lineup of cold habitat animals. This includes the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, musk deer and blue sheep. Although the valley do not flaunt a huge density of wild animals, it has some of the rarest species.

Apart from the exotic animal species, the Valley of Flowers National Park has a luxury of around 114 west Himalayan endemic species of birds. High altitude birds like Himalayan monal pheasant, blue throated Barbets, yellow-nape woodpeckers, Himalayan vulture and western tragopan can be easily spotted while trekking in the region.

History of Valley of Flowers

In the texts of mythology, the Valley of Flowers is associated with ‘Gandhamadan’, a place from where Hanuman of Ramayana collected ‘Sanjeevani’ herb for Lakshmana. In the modern world, the place was left unexplored until the 1930s. Although the locals were quite aware of the location of the Valley of Flowers, they feared not to wander the area owing to a superstitious belief of the fairies. Well a little known to the outsiders, the valley of flowers was first discovered by Frank S. Smythe, Eric Shipton and RL Holdsworth in the year 1931. The three mountaineers lost their way while coming back from an expedition to Mount Kamet which later on culminated them to this valley. Fascinated by the beauty, they decided to name the area as the valley of flowers.

Decades later botanist Prof. Chandra Prakash Kala, deputed by the Wildlife Institute of India carried down a research on the conservation of the valley. In his research study, he made an inventory of 520 alpine plants that grows in the valley. Following this, the botanist authored two important books- ‘The valley of flowers-Myth and Reality’ and ‘Ecology and conservation of the Valley of Flowers National Park, Garhwal Himalaya’. The immensely spread flora of the valley were surveyed in 1987 by the Botanical Survey of India. In order to keep the facts updated, the survey of the Valley of Flowers was again carried on. First by the Forest Research Institute in 1997 and later on by the Wildlife Institute of India in the year 1997.

How to reach the Valley of Flowers

Tourists travelling to the Valley of Flowers National Park can start their journey from a drive to Rishikesh, which is around 24 kms from the city of Haridwar in Uttarakhand. From there, one can easily drive to Joshimath and call it a day to start trekking from the next day. The town of Joshimath has several accommodation options which offer the tourists with all the comfort facilities.

Trek to Valley of Flowers

The trek to the mesmerizing Valley of Flowers is divided into several pit stops or breaks. These are different settlements in the Himalayas, which are entitled as:-

A. Ghangaria

After a trek of 14 km from Govindghat comes Ghangaria which is a small location on the way to the valley. The village of Ghangaria is located in the northern Himalayan ranges at the confluence of the rivers Bhyundar Ganga and Pushpawati.


Being the last human habitation in the Bhyundar region, the village is often used by travelers as a base camp to visit the beautiful Valley of Flowers. One can easily get a hint of the completion of the trek as the region near Ghangaria is filled with fields of wild flowers which includes rose bushes and strawberries.    

B. Hemkund

It is very likely for the trekkers to bump into many Sikh pilgrims on the route. One such pilgrim is the Sikh temple at Hemkund. Devoted to the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, this temple is commonly referred as Hemkund Sahib.

Located at an altitude of around 4000 meters above sea level, the Hemkund Sahib is inaccessible from October to April due to heavy snow settling on the path.

C. Govindghat

A small place close to the town of Joshimath is where the trek to the Valley of Flowers begins. Apart from the journey to the Valley of Flowers, the region near Joshimath also serves as a gateway  for several other Himalayan expeditions as well.

[ You may also check-out here 20 Trekking Destinations in Uttarakhand ]

Best Time to Visit the Valley of Flowers

While trekking to the Valley of Flowers, one needs to get a permit from the Forest Department at Ghangaria which is valid for three days. To experience the Valley of Flowers in its full form, it is advised that the region is to be visited in the month of July and August, just after the monsoon outbreak.

As snow starts melting by the end of May, new plants start germinating. This results in the blooming of a lot of flowers by mid-July. Some of the prominent species of flower that bloom in the valley are Braham Kamal, Anemone, Geranium, Marsh Marigold, Prinula, Lillium, Morina, Pedicularis, Arisaema and Sibbaldia.  A total of almost 650 varieties of flowers can be found while exploring the Valley of Flowers National Park.  

Nature’s Paradise

The Valley of Flowers in general is divided into three sub-alpine vegetation. This division has been brought down by the pristine water of Pushpawati river which flows across the valley. With the habitat divided into valley bottom, river beds, small forests, meadows, plateaus and many more, the National Park is breathtaking to every traveler. The Snow clad mountain peak of Ratban Parvat welcomes the trekkers right at the entrance of the valley. Separating the Badrinath region from the valley is the Nar Parvat which lies in the left. Covering the region on the right is the dense Birch forest.

Dense Birch Forest

Unspoiled by human invasions, the Valley of Flowers National Park mostly lay under the snow sheet in the winter months. The exotic flora of the valley starts to take shape at the onset of summers and its flowering face emerges right after the showers of monsoon. Post monsoon the entire valley seems like a colorful carpet of flowers, giving an effect of a fairyland.

Valley of Flower’s Entry Fee

The entry fee to the beautiful Valley of Flowers is Rs 600 for for foreigners and Rs 150 for tourists of Indian descent. This fee is entitled for a three day tour of the valley. If one wishes to extend his trip, he needs to pay an additional sum of Rs 50 per each extra day (Indian) and Rs 250 (Foreigner).

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Kailash Mansarovar Travel Guide

Well renowned religious journey, Kailash Mansarovar Yatra is the most difficult treks of Asia. Pilgrims from all parts of globe participate in this journey of spiritual significance to Mount Kailash.

Every year certain number of batches go with a lot of pilgrims. Between June and September pilgrims undertake this pilgrimage for customary circumambulation (Parikrama).

Mount Kailash and the Mansarovar Lake altogether are regarded as one of the sacred pilgrimage destinations in Himalayas and it is considered to be of great religious importance in Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. It’s a must thing for pilgrims to be physically fit as this journey involves trekking up to a height of 19,500 feet in an extremely cold weather.

A Complete Travel Guide to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
Holy Mount Kailash

Religious Significance of Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash is the striking peak standing in the remote south west corner of Tibet in the Himalayan Mountains. It is known as one of the most sacred mountains and has become important pilgrimage for four faiths: Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Tibetan religion of bon.

It is believed that visiting Kailash and following this tradition will bring in good fortune and washes away sins of one’s lifetime. Also, Mansarovar Lake, located at the southern foot of mount Kailash has exceptional beauty that varies from crystal clear blue water near the shores and a deep emerald green color at the centre.

As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that the Lake was formed by Lord Brahma. The best time to visit Mansarovar Lake is during springs.  The yatra also includes circumambulation (Parikrama) of Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake.

Best Time to Visit Mount Kailash

Summers (May-August) - The climate is moderate and pleasant with an average temperature of 15 degree Celsius then climate is ideal for outdoor activities. Around May and June, Saga Dawa, a huge religious festival is celebrated at Mount Kailash.

Monsoons (September-November) – Along with the drop in temperature to 10 Degree Celsius, little rainfall is experienced. Only professional trekkers can embark on this tour in monsoons as the way becomes slippery and the region is prone to landslides.

Winters (December-April) – With the minimum temperature of 5 Degree Celsius, the days become chilly. Snowfall is often witnessed during winters and the temperature scales between 0 to -15 Degree Celsius. Also, only trekking professionals with full experience are only advised to take the journey as the entire route is covered by snow.

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra Cost

Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by road starts from INR 94,000/ person for 12 nights and 13 days and the helicopter yatra cost starts from INR 1,72,000/ person for 9 nights and 10 days. The itinerary covers the following destinations : Kathmandu, Nyalam, Dongba/Paryang, Mansarovar, Darchen, Diraphuk and Zulthulphuk.

The cost is exclusive of service tax of about 3.50% of the total bill. Along with these, airfares from home - Kathmandu - home, photography, beverages, telephone call, clients travel insurance, extra cost in the event of landslide for hiring additional transportation, expenses of personal urgent visa fee, etc   are some of the exclusions from the cost of the package. Horse/yak riding for Kailash Parikrama is also an additional expense. The cost is directly payable to the horse/yak rider.

Kailash Yatra Package Inclusions

Some of the inclusions are arrival and departure transportation, accommodation in descent hotels, guide, first aid kits, permits and sightseeing tour of Budhanikantha and Pashupatinath

Accommodation Facilities for Pilgrimage

For the accommodation of yatris the arrangements are done in descent hotels. The rooms of these hotels are well-equipped with all modern amenities to ensure a high level comfort. Also, there are campsites, where camps are arranged and these campsites are facilitated with all the basic amenities such as hot/cold water, washroom, heater  and other comfortable facilities for pilgrims. Moreover only vegetarian food like dal, chawal, roti, khichadi, papad, kheer, juice, fruits, mineral water, tea, coffee, bread, milk, cornflakes and more is served at guest houses and campsites. Additionally, pilgrims are suggested to carry sufficient snacks to add a little variety to their meals.

Nathula Pass : A New Route for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra
Nathula Pass : A New Route for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra

Alternative Route for Kailash Mansarovar

Now Indian pilgrims would be able to visit Kailash Mansarovar in the Tibetan autonomous region of China through the new route of Nathula in Sikkim from next year, announced by state tourism department officials. Work is in good progress and the Sikkim government is aiming at the first batch of pilgrims visiting Kailash Mansarovar using this new route in June,2015.

More than 1600 pilgrims, moving in ten batches are expected to take the Nathula Pass route to Kailash Mansarovar next year.  The tour is expected to provide them with an even better understanding of the feasibility and further requirements of this pilgrimage.

Facilities for proper weights and measures, warehouses, inspection posts, rest houses, improved transportation facilities, proper roadway and better opportunities for tourists need to still be provided for further growth.


FAQ For Kailash Mansarovar Yatra (frequently asked questions)

1.  How can one travel to Kailash Mansarovar?

Mentioned below the various mode of travel to mount Kailash :

a. Kailsah Mansarovar Yatra by Road
One can fly to Kathmandu as there are various connecting flights from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi, and from Kathmandu there are roads connecting to Kailash Mansarovar Lake.

b. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra by Helicopter
Those who don’t have time, helicopter yatra is the best option for them. The itinerary includes flight from Nepalgunj and thereafter connecting to Simikot. Further it flies to Hilsa and finally reaches Mansarovar. The entire pilgrimage is completed in 10 days.

c. Kailash Mansarovar Yatra via Lhasa
After reaching Kathmandu, fly to Lhasa (China visa is required by both Indian and foreign traveler). Therefore, to reach Mansarover one needs to travel Tibet towns namely Gyantse, Shigatse, Prayang, Lhatse, etc.

Returning Options:
  • Drive to Lhasa and then fly back to Kathmandu.
  • Drive to Hilsa and then fly back to Kathmandu.
  • Drive back to Kathmandu via Kodari border.

2.  Things to do in Kailash Mansarovar

The most religious thing to do during the Yatra is circumambulation (Parikrama) of Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake. Also, one can attend Saga Dawa, a huge religious festival which celebrates the three life events of Buddha’s life- Birth, Nirvana, Parinirvana; that is celebrated at Mount Kailash.

3.  Kailash Mansarovar Yatra during Full Moon?

Full Moon days are considered auspicious in Hindu religion so it becomes more crowded. But special arrangements are prepared to manage the crowd.

4.  Do we need to carry our Passports?

Yes, valid passports should be carried during the yatra.

5.  How important fitness is to undergo this expedition?

It’s a must thing for pilgrims to be physically fit as this journey involves trekking up to a height up to 19,500 feet in an extremely cold weather. People suffering from asthma or dust allergy are forewarned and suggested to carry mask. Also, people with back problems should avoid yatra, as long journey over bumpy roads might be a problem.

6.  Does Indian mobiles work over there?

Yes, Indian mobiles work here, but don’t forget to take international roaming from your service provider. There might be unavailability of networks on the day of Parikrama.

7.  Are there any specific clothing guidelines?

Descent and comfortable clothing is required as the yatra is strenuous.


Note : Are you willing to know more about pilgrimages? Must read about the 5 Famous Hindu Yatra in india

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Nathula Pass : A New Route for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra


Nathula Pass, A New Gateway to Kailash Mansarovar
Nathula Pass, A New Gateway to Kailash Mansarovar
India and China have signed a bilateral agreement regarding the access of Nathula route; this will be an alternate route for the existing Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.

It is expected that more than 1600 pilgrims, in ten batches will be taking Kailash Mansarovar yatra through Nathula Pass, Sikkim route by June next year.

For this purpose, two senior officials of Ministry of External Affairs have inspected whether all the plans have been efficiently implemented or not.

The new route eradicates the hardships of the pilgrims and aims at providing ease especially to the senior citizens. 17th Mile and Sherathang have been finalized as acclimatization centers for the pilgrims. As per the proposal, pilgrims will be required to halt for at least two days in Gangtok and then head to 17th Mile and Sherathang for further acclimatization before getting into thinner air of Tibet.

Also, the pilgrims can now drive through this route to reach Kailash Mansarovar. For this, they will be starting from Gangtok (Sikkim) to Shigatse (Tibet). And from Shigatse they can hire a van or board a bus in order to reach Mansarovar and Kailash.

Talking about Nepal route, it takes about ten days to cover the journey. Uttarakhand route takes twenty-seven days. And the Nathula Pass route takes eight days. Nathula Route is open from March to November, while Lipulekh route is open from June to September.

[ If interested? Check out the list of Packages for Kailash Mansarovar ]

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Khajuraho Temples: A Catalogue of Desire

Khajuraho Group of Monuments better known as Khajuraho Temples consists of 20 temples; Hindu temples and Jain Temples. Off course their erotic ornamentation has played a significant role in making Khajuraho an important tourist site, but there are more to these magnificent temples than those sculptures carved on the exteriors of the structures.

Precision in the carvings and legendary tale of these temples are captivating. UNESCO has listed Khajuraho Group of Monuments as a World Heritage Site. Get to know more about Khajuraho group of temples as you read forth.

View of Kandariya Mahadev Temple in Khajuraho
View of Kandariya Mahadev Temple in Khajuraho

What is the history of Khajuraho Temples

The temples are sculpted in the Nagara Style of architecture and date back to 950 AD, during the reign of Chandela dynasty. According to the records, by the 12th century Khajuraho had about 80 temples, out of which only 20 have survived. The temples roughly cover an area of 6 km sq. Out of these 20, Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is considered the best of all. Kandariya Mahadeva Temple is the largest and grandest of all, and is believed to have been built by King Ganda. The temple of Vishnu (aka Temple of Lakshmana) was built by Yasovarman and his successor indulged in the making of the temple of Parsvanatha, Visvanatha and Vaidyanatha. Read further and know more about Khajuraho.

Where is Khajuraho Temple Located

Khajuraho Group of Temples have been divided into three groups as per their locations: Eastern Group, Western Group and Southern Group. Khajuraho is located in Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, India. 

What is the Entry Fee to visit Khajuraho Temples

Price of the tickets varies between INR 20 (daily) and 600 (seasonal). Ticket worth Rs 600 is meant for the people who plan to attend all the events all throughout the week. While in the INR 20 ticket, you can attend one or two performances in one day. There are separate charges for the camera (RS 100), on per day basis.

Sound and Light Show

Khajuraho Light and Sound Show is conducted the tourism department. As dusk starts to set in, the gardens of western group of Khajuraho Temples start to glimmer with different shades of light. This show reflects the lifestyle during the Chandela Dynasty, informing about the construction, significance and history of these temple (In English and Hindi). The stories are narrated in the voice of Amitabh Bachchan.  Timings of the show are- English: 6:30 Pm to 7:25 Pm, Hindi: 7:40 Pm, to 8:35 Pm.

The Khajuraho Group of Monuments

The Khajuraho Group of Temples has Hindu as well as Jain Temple. All of them are built similarly, and it is said that the temples intended to create a harmony between these two religions. You can find most eminent temples in the western zones like Varaha, Lakshmana, Matangeshwara, Mahadeva, Kandariya, Chopra Tank, Chitragupta, Prvati, Vishwanath and Nandi.

While in the eastern and southern groups, don’t forget to visit Ghantai, Adinath, Parshvanath, Shantinath, Chaturbhuj and Dulhadeo. The temple of Vishnu (aka Temple of Lakshmana) was built by Yasovarman and his successor indulged in the making of the temple of Parsvanatha, Visvanatha and Vaidyanath. Listed down are the best temples of the group, and you must not miss them.

1. Eastern Group of Temple

These are divided in two parts- Jain Temple and Hindu Temples. Some of the best temples in eastern side are Hanuman Temple, Vamana Temple, Parsvanath Temple, Adinath Temple, Ghantai Temple and Brahma Temple.

2. Southern Group of Temples

Dulha Deo Temple and Chaturbhuja Temple are the two very important temples. Dulha Deo is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built somewhere around 1100 AD and 1150 AD.

3. Western Group of Temples

This group is mainly comprised of Hindu Temples like Kandariya Mahadeo, Chaunsat Yogini Temple, Chitragupta Temple, Varaha Temple, Lakshmana Temple, Vishwanath Temple and Matangeshwara Temple.

Archeological Museum

The museum was established in 1967 and exhibits a collection of archeological findings and artifacts. This is an open-air museum and is located near the Matangeshwar Temple of the western group of temples.

Festivals in Khajuraho

Khajuraho Dance Festival

Khajuraho Dance Festival

The festival is organized by Madhya Pradesh Kala Parishad. It is a weeklong festival that falls in the month of February. People gather in this spectacular venue, in an open air auditorium and behold the performances of various Indian classic dance forms like Kathakali, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Bharatnatyam and others.  Usually the gathering takes place in Chandragupta Temple, Surya Temple or Vishwanatha Temple.

How to reach Khajurao

By Air

Khajuraho has its own airport called Khajuraho Airport. It is connected to Delhi, Agra and Varanasi, with the services of Jet Airways, Air India and SpiceJet.

By Train

Nearest railway station from Khajuraho is Mahoba, at a distance of about 77 Km. Mahoba railway station is a broad-gauged railway station connected to different cities of the country. You can further opt to take a train for Khajuraho or hire a taxi.

By Road

Khajuraho is an important city wherein there is ease of transportation. From bus services to private cabs, you have many options for commuting in and around Khajuraho.

Best time to visit Khajuraho

Khajuraho in summer - From April till July

Summers are recommended to be avoided, as the weather gets really hot and uncomfortable. May and June are the hottest months of the season and the temperature may rise up to 47 degrees Celsius.
Khajuraho in Monsoon - From July till September

Monsoon season brings life to Khajuraho. This is a brilliant tune to visit Khajuraho, as it gets refreshing and pleasant during this season. 

Khajuraho in winter - From October till March

Winter is the best time to visit Khajuraho. In the coldest months December and January, temperature dips to 4 degrees Celsius. Visit Khajuraho in February and don’t forget to be a part of Khajuraho Dance Festival.
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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 2016

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: 1 October- 10 October, 2016
Where: All across India. Celebrated particularly in Gujarat, Mumbai, Varanasi, Mysore and Manali

Ramlila 

Sita Putting the jaymala around the neck of Rama
Sita Putting the jaymala around the neck of Rama
Ramlila is one of the best ways Hindus depict their epic Ramayana (the story of Lord Rama). And to enjoy the best of the numerous Ramlilas that are staged all across the Northern part of India, you need to schedule your plans to Ramnagar near Varanasi. Being dwelling in the mystic charm of Varanasi, it is quite obvious the connection it would be having with the prime religion of India, Hinduism.

The emulsification of Hinduism in one of the oldest habitats in the world, gave the people of Ramnagar a sense to reenact the story of Lord Vishnu’s incarnation, Lord Rama in the form of a play, some 200 years ago. This started the trend of Ramlila in India. Unlike the other small budgetary Ramlila’s in the country, this one has lavish sets and permanent structures that resemble a lot like those of the locations mentioned in the mythology. All this makes the whole city look like a giant set, where every soul is immersed completely in his respective role. When the other Ramlilas in India bail out after a period of 10 days, it continues for 31 days.

When: 2-10 October 2016
Address: Ramnagar, on the banks of Ganges River, opposite Varanasi


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:2 October to 11 October 2016
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, 2016
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 October - 11October, 2016
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 : 21 - 22 October 2016
 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, 2016
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 11, 2016
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: 11 October, 2015
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 26-27, 2016
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 October - 12 October, 2016
Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

[ Read More about Folk Sounds of Rajasthani Music

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: 2 November - 11 November, 2015
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan


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