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Ujjain Kumbh Mela 2016 Travel Guide

Also known as "the world’s most massive act of faith", Kumbh Mela is a colossal gathering of huge number of devotees at a designated spot every 12 years. The sights are simply overwhelming. Thousands upon thousands pilgrims chanting "Har Har Mahadev" and clad in saffron come to one out of four holy cities to observe this massive event. This year the Kumbh Mela is taking place at Ujjain, situated in the exotic Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Maha Kumbh Mela 2016, Ujjain

Known as the divine place of Lord Mahakal, Ujjain is located on the eastern bank of River Shipra. The Kumbh Mela is considered to be the most auspicious time to take bath in the holy waters of River Shipra. Tradition has assigned a lot significance to this act. It is believed that by taking bath in these holy waters, a man can be absolved from his past sins and thus can contemplate liberation from the endless cycle of births and deaths.

History of the Kumbh Mela

The name Kumbh has been derived from the immortal celestial Pot of nectar. The significance of this festival is mentioned in the sacred Hindu texts that describe the story of how the immortal nectar was obtained.

Ujjain Kumbh Mela 2016 Travel Guide

It is said that after being cursed by the celestial rishi (Sage) Durvasa, the devtas lost all their power. The devtas, after having being deprived of their strength approached the divine Trinity of Gods (Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva) and suggested to churn the celestial Ocean of Milk that lies at a distant location of the cosmos.

Due to the massive task involved, the devtas enlisted the danavas for the exercise and agreed to share the immortal nectar upon its procurement.The great mountain Mandara was used as the churning rod while the celetial serpent Vasuki became the rope for the churning.

At last the churning of the celestial ocean began with devtas at the tail and demons at the head of Vasuki. At first the ocean produced a deadly poison called halahal which the Lord Shiva stored in His throat and thus prevented the universe from annihilation.

However after 1,000 years, the sage Dhawantari came out with the pot of the immortal nectar. Fearing that danavas might play some trick, the Devtas seized the nectar. The demons after realizing that they have been cheated gave a chase to the devtas. The chase lasted for 12 days and 12 nights during which the drops of the immortal nectar fell at four places on the Earth-Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Thus, these site became purified due to which they became the venue of the Kumbh Melas.

Since 12 days of celestial gods are said to be equivalent to the 12 years of humans, the Kumbh Mela is celebrated after every 12 years. Every 12 years, devotees gather at one of the banks of the holy rivers-River Godavari in Nasik, River Shipra in Ujjain, River Ganges in Haridwar and at confluence of River Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati at Allahabad. The event witness millions of devotees taking a holy dip and partaking in rituals and ceremonies in order to get rid of all their sins.   

Importance of Ujjain Kumbh Mela

The Kumbh Mela holds tremendous significance for Hindus. The event is usually seen as a rare opportunity for the devotees to cleanse themselves of all the past lives sins and attain liberation. The importance of the holy bath in the sacred rives have been greatly emphasized in the spiritual texts. Since the drops of the celestial nectar dropped in these rivers, it is said that by taking bath here, one attains total liberation or Moksha. The Ujjain festival draws people and devotees from different corners of the country and the world.  

Also known as Poorna Kumbha or Simhasta Kumbha Mela, the massive event at Ujjain takes place once in every 12 years. The significance of time chosen for the festival is itself evident from the fact that the star configuration during this time is same as it was during the legendary Sagar Manthan. Bath in the holy River Shipra has a great importance. After taking the sacred bath all the devotees head on for the temple of Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, which is one of the 12 most sacred Jyotirlingas, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Holy Bathing Dates of the Ujjain Kumbh Mela, 2016 

Holy Bathing Dates of the Ujjain Kumbh Mela, 2016

Before attending the sacred Ujjain Kumbh Mela, it is good to know about the dates and schedule. These are listed as follows: 
  •  22 April 2016 : Purnima First Shahi Snaan (Royal Holy Dip)
  • 03 May 2016 : Vratparv Vauthini Ekadashi
  • 06 May 2016  : Vaishakh Krishna Amavasya (First Pramukh Snan)
  • 09 May 2016  : Shukla/Akshey Tritya (Second Pramukh Snan)
  • 11 May 2016 : Shukla Panchami
  • 15 May 2016 : Vrishabh Sankranti
  • 17 May 2016 : Ekadashi & Pradosh Snan
  • 19 May 2016 : Pradosh
  • 20 May 2016 : Nursingh Jayanti
  • 21 May 2016 : Purnima Main Shahi Snan

When is Simhasth Ujjain Kumbh Mela in 2016?

The Kumbh Mela at Ujjain will begin with the bath on the full moon day of the month, i.e. on 22nd April. The Mela lasts for almost a whole month and in 2016 will conclude on full moon day of 21st May. In total there are 10 days of bathing as a part of the celebrations of the Kumbh. The Purnima (Full moon day), month of Baisakha, bright fortnight, the brihaspati (Jupitor) in Leo, the sun in the arise (Mesha Rasi), vyatipata yoga, moon in the Libra (Tula rasi), holy Ksetra Avantika and pious Mondays are the most important and sacred days to take bath in the holy waters.  

How to Reach Kumbh Mela Venue in Ujjain 

By Air 

The nearest airport for reaching Ujjain is Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore, which is situated at a distance of 57 kilometers from the city. Frequent flights of all major carries arrive from important cities and towns of the country. The airport is well connected by buses, taxis and cabs that take the tourists to different parts of Ujjain. 

By Rail

Ujjain has a railway station of its own by the name Ujjain Junction. The terminal is connected to major towns and cities within the state and across the county. It is located approximately 1 kilometer from the city center. Buses, Taxis and Cabs are available from the station to locations within the Ujjain City.

By Road

Good quality metaled roads connect Ujjain to major locations within the Madhya Pradesh State and nearby locations outside it. Conveyances include the state owned MPSRTC buses as well private, deluxe and Volvo buses that take you from different locations to the holy city and vice versa. Besides private cabs and taxis are always present to visit Ujjain or commute within the city.

Things to be kept in Mind

Ujjain Kumbh Festival is celebrated during the summer months. At this time the weather in the Ujjain City can be extremely hot with temperatures shooting up as high as 41 degrees. Thus, visitors are advised to have a thorough check on accommodation and important items. They need to keep themselves hydrated at all times and abstain from skipping the meals. 

And, if you are planning to camp on site, then you may check-out the Price Guide for Ujjain Kumbh Mela 2016 to make sure your journey to visit "Aastha ka Kumbh".

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Top 5 Trekking Trails in Kerala

Also known as the ‘God’s Own Country’, the South Indian state of Kerala has been blessed several natural wonders. Verdant mist-clad mountain ranges, tropical rainforests and cascading waterfalls are some of these wonders. All these also offer memorable trekking experiences and become some of Kerala’s best trekking routes. The natural views, variety of flora and fauna is simply spectacular.

It is no exaggeration when we say that trekking is one of the most popular adventure activities in Kerala. The blog enlists 5 popular trekking & hiking trails in Kerala:

1. Chembra Peak

Chembra Peak is the highest peak in Wayanad, at 2,050 m above sea level.

Starting the trek from Meppady, near Kalpetta (district center of Wayanad), walking past aromatic huge green tea plantations, crossing mist-covered clouds like in a dream. You gradually make your way into the verdant jungles. Here you follow the trail made by the former trekkers or make your new trail to arrive the Chembra Peak, which has a height of 2100 m above sea level.

After covering this trek of 14 km, when you arrive at the summit, you realize it’s worth all the hardships. Trekking to Chembra Peak is ideal for those who have previous experience of trekking. You can also take guidance and assistance from the local tribal people. Do take their words! Prior permission from the Forest Office is mandatory.

Best Season :  October to May

2. Dhoni Hills

One of the most popular trekking trails in Kerala are the Dhoni hills. It takes a duration of 3 hours to reach the top. On the way, savor the lovely views of a small waterfall while on your way up.

If you are a peace-loving person who like places that are not crowded, there is a farmhouse on the top of the hill. This farmhouse houses hundreds of Swiss and other European types of cattle.

Best Season : After monsoon

3. Agasthyarkoodam Peak

Agasthyakoodam Trek in Kerala

Positioned at a height of 1868 m above the sea level, the Agasthyarkoodam Peak is reachable only on-foot. If folklores are to be believed it is said that revered Sage Agasthya made this peak his peaceful dwelling, staying amid nature. The local people say that females should avoid embarking on this trek as the Sage will not approve of it. All this adds to the charm of already mystical lush thick forests.

While trekking, savor the scenery and the tranquility spread all around you. You feel like you have been transferred into a whole new old. The trek route to Agasthyarkoodam Peak is a treasure house of different kinds of medicinal plants known to hold a lot of importance in the holistic healing science of Ayurveda. As you reach the hilltop, you can see a life-size statue of Sage Agasthya.

The trekking base is around 61 km from the capital city of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram. Seek prior permission of the Forest Department. Another amazing sight on the top of the hill, is the view of blue-colored Neelakurinji flowers that blossom once in 12 years.

Best Season : December to April

4. Soochipara Waterfalls

Soochipara Falls also known as Sentinel Rock Waterfalls is a three-tiered waterfall in Vellarimala, Wayanad, surrounded by Deciduous, Evergreen and Montane forests.

Also known as Sentinel Rock waterfalls, Soochipara waterfalls are a three-tiered strong waterfalls that are popular for its trekking experiences. The waterfalls are around 22 km from Kalpetta, in the Vellarimala village. The last 2 km towards the waterfalls have to be covered on-foot, taking you through verdant forests. If you are lucky you might spot a friendly deer. The trek is of around 30 minutes. You will forget all your tiredness as you reach the falls. Do take a dip in the pool at its foot and enjoy swimming.

Best Season- June to September

See More:
25 Best Beaches in Kerala

5. Periyar Tiger Reserve

Periyar is a reserve forest and hence it remains in its natural form. This trek means admiring wonderful greenery, all around. During Periyar tiger reserve trek, you are accompanied by armed forest guards who are appointed by the Forest Officer. These guides known each and every thing about the forest and you must listen to what they say. 

[ Read More About Periyar National Park ]

The Periyar Tiger Trail takes around 24 to 36 hours and thus including night stay. Camping is arranged before the trek. The trek starts in the morning around 8:00 or 9:00 am. Walk past a herd of elephants or a shy deer. Do not disturb them! You are in their home. After the trek, you can simply relax by the Lake Periyar. This is a pure form of adventure trekking and camping.

Best Season : October to May

 [ Read More About Trekking Trails in Kerala ]

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Gatimaan Express Luxury Train - From Delhi To Agra in 100 Minutes

India’s high-speed luxury train, Gatimaan Express has made its inaugural journey. The lavish ride runs from New Delhi to Agra. The Honorable Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, flagged off the first ride today.

The launch of the train heralds a new era of high-speed rail travel in India. Though a far call from bullet trains, it is the fastest train in India, with a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. The best aspect of the train is its deluxe features and facilities, inspired from the series of ‘Palace on Wheels’ luxury trains in India. The train has made it possible to enjoy a luxurious day trip to Agra possible.

Gatimaan Express - Travel Time

The train will cover the 192-km distance between Delhi and Agra in all of 100 minutes. The train achieves the maximum speed of 160 km/ hr.

Amazing interiors of Gatimaan Express will make you go crazy

The Gatimaan service will be running on all days of the week, except Friday, the day Taj Mahal remains closed. The train starts from Nizamuddin station at 8.10 am and reaching Agra Cantt at 9.50 am. The return journey of the train will start from Agra at 5.50 pm and reach Nizamuddin station at 7.30 pm.

Gatimaan Express - Technology

Made by the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala, the Gatimaan Express boasts of some of the best technology for locomotives. The train runs on a WAP5 electrical engine of 1500 Horse Power. It is the best in-class loco produced so far by Chittaranjan Locomotive Works and Linke Hofmann Busch coaches.

Gatimaan Express - Technology

Most of the locomotive and the coaches are the same as used in Shatabdi Express, though several changes in the track and the signaling system have been made. One of the reasons behind the Gatimaan’s higher speed is that Northern Railways has worked to cut down more than 80 obstacle points on the Delhi-Agra route. Sharp turns, bridges, crossings and yards have been lessened. Also tracks have been tilted for the smoother and faster run of the train.

Gatimaan Express - Menu of Gastronomy Served

The Gatimaan Express, owing to IRCTC is set to provide culinary delights. Different from other regular passenger trains in the country, the catering is unique and a new sign of luxury. The hostesses will be serving both Indian and continental cuisine. Imagine, Chicken Sausages with Spanish Omelette, plus slices of Date Walnut Cake. If you are on the calorie-conscious band, you can opt for the Whole-Wheat Upma, Kanjeevaram Idli, or Freshly Cut Fruits.

Gatimaan Express - Menu of Gastronomy Served

Indulgent flavors of India are presented in delights of Aloo Kulcha, Mini Dosa, Chicken Roll and Swiss Roll are also on the menu. And the icing on the cake, everything will be served in Bone China. It is quite the gastronomical journey.

Gatimaan Express Entertainment

Gatimaan Express also provides free on-board entertainment by a private provider, MyFreeTv.in. There is an 8 inch LED Screen at the back of every seat. These screens are planned to be powered by satellite television and will broadcast live-feed. Passengers can also entertain themselves with videos during the travel on their smartphone, tablets or laptops even without internet connection through Wi-Fi.

Gatimaan Express Entertainment

Gatimaan Express Fare

The Gatimaan Express train comprises two executive AC chair cars and eight AC chair car coaches. The train will run with 10 coaches, including eight air-conditioned chair car (AC CC) coaches and two executive class bogies, with a total of 715 seats. The fare for an AC chair car seat is set at 750 INR and that for an executive AC chair car seat at 1,500 INR.

Pictures of India’s Fastest Train Gatimaan Express That You Should Definitely See!

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