Karnataka Wilderness

Bangalore – Mysore – Bandipur – Coorg – Bangalore

Deep corridors of the tropical forests that invite wild wanderers. Everything in Karnataka is an intense experience. It is an enchanting land abounding in scenic beauty, rich in flora and fauna. Experience the highlights of Karnataka at a relaxed pace with a mixture of ethnicity, traditional richness, sightseeing, wildlife viewing and leisure time.

Bandipur Wildlife
Bandipur Wildlife
Day 1
Bangalore
Meals: No Meals
Today you arrive at Bangalore Airport and are greeted by our local representative. You are driven by an air conditioned car to the hotel. Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Later you are driven to visit The Vidhana Soudha, the seat of the state legislature of Karnataka. Then proceed towards Lal Bagh Botanical Garden and the famous Bull Temple, one of the oldest temples here. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Bandipur Wildlife Bandipur Wildlife
Day 2
Bangalore
Meals: Breakfast
In the morning after breakfast you are driven by car to visit Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace (approx 115.08 Kms / 2H 18M). After returning to the city you visit Cubbon Park, Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain, view the colorful swirling fountains dancing in tune to music. Also visit the Iskon Temple – the Krishna temple is a blend of modern technology and spiritual harmony.
Bandipur Wildlife Bandipur Wildlife
Day 3
Bangalore – Mysore
Meals: Breakfast
In the morning after breakfast you are driven to Mysore (approx 143.39kms / 3H 7M). Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Later you are driven to visit St. Philomena’s Church, one of the oldest churches in India over 200 years old. Also you are taken to visit Brindavan Gardens – embellished with vast expanses of well-laid out lawns, diverse kaleidoscopic rows of flowers and above all the amazing site of fountains encompassing a small beautiful lake holding the charm of musical fountain in its center. Later proceed to Chamundi Hills – A panoramic view of the city is seen from the top of the hills.
BangaloreBangalore
Day 4
Mysore
Meals: Breakfast
Today morning after breakfast you are driven to Sri Ranganathaswamy temple. Later proceed to Jaganmohan Palace. It is more than 150 years old. It displays the paintings and artifacts that belonged to the Kings of Mysore. Today this art gallery is considered one of the best in South India. Also visit the Mysore Palace, which provides an aesthetic blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. Evening is free for shopping. This city is regarded as the paradise for shopaholics from rich and traditional silk sari or material to various sandal and rose wood craft etc.
Honeypot Honeypot

Day 5

Mysore – Bandipur
Meals: Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner
In the morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Bandipur (approx 73.03 kms / 2H 7M). Upon arrival check in at the lodge. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Bandipur
Meals: Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner
In the mornin after breakfast you can indulge in jungle activities. Take a jeep safari or elephant safari in the park. Catch sights of elephant, sambar, partridges, peafowl, quail, giant squirrel, hornbill and barking deer.
Misty Woods Coorg Misty Woods Coorg

Day 6

Bandipur – Coorg

Meals: Breakfast
In the morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Coorg (approx 191.58 Kms / 6H 45M). Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Coorg
Meals: Breakfast
In the morning after breakfast you are driven to Talakaveri (the origin point of River Kaveri) and Bhagamandala (the point where Kaveri assumes the shape of a river). Also visit the ancient temples there. In the evening, you visit Madikeri town and enjoy shopping for honey, coffee and spices as souvenirs.
Red Grapes Red Grapes

Day 7

Coorg
Meals: Breakfast
In the morning after breakfast you are driven to visit the Raj’s Seat from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the misty Coorg valley. Proceed to the spectacular Abbi Falls that are a must visit in tours to Coorg. Also visit Omkareshwara Temple and later visit Madikeri Fort. In the evening you are free to enjoy your time at leisure.
Coorg – Bangalore
Meals: Breakfast
In the morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Bangalore (approx 248.19 Kms / 7H 26M). Upon arrival you board the flight back home with beautiful memories of your holiday.

Luxurious Kerala

Kozhikode – Wayanad – Thekkady – Kumarakom – KozhikodeA long shoreline with serene beaches, Tranquil stretches of emerald backwaters, Lush hill stations, Exotic wildlife, Waterfalls, Sprawling plantations & Paddy fields, the scenes of Kerala are Captivating in every sense. The phrase ‘God’s own country’ is perhaps the most apt way of describing Kerala. You will realize and appreciate the fact that ‘life is beautiful’ after you holiday in this beautiful state.

Fort Kochi Beach
Fort Kochi Beach

Day 1

Kozhikode – Wayanad
Meals: No Meals
Today you arrive at Kerala – “God’s Own Country”. Upon arrival at Kozhikode you are transferred in an air conditioned car to Wayanad (approx 76 kms / 2H). This unexplored clean, pristine, enchanting and hypnotizing land is filled with history and culture. After you arrive check in at the hotel and refresh. Later you visit the Edakkal Caves. “Edakkal” literally means “a stone in between”. You can enjoy the indoor and outdoor games at the resort.
St Francis Church
St Francis Church

Day 2

Wayanad
Meals: Breakfast
Today after breakfast you are taken to Meenmutty Falls, the largest and most spectacular waterfall in the Wayanad District. It is Kerala’s second largest waterfall and the one most unspoiled in its natural setting. Each of its three tiers requires a separate hike through a moist, deciduous forest. The path is quiet dangerous and tiresome but the waterfalls is worth it.
Santa Cruz Basilica
Santa Cruz Basilica

Day 3

Wayanad – Kochi
Meals: Breakfast
Today after breakfast you are driven by car to Kochi (approx 276 kms / 6H). Upon arrival you check in at the hotel. Later proceed to Fort Kochi to see the Santa Cruz basilica – a Roman Catholic Cathedral, one of the finest and impressive churches in Kerala and St Francis Chruch which has the reputation of being the first church built by the Dutch in the year 1503AD. In the evening vist the Cherai Beach and also shop around the local markets. You can also enjoy the sea food delicacies at the local restaurant on your own which Kochi is famous for.
Kerela Vascodagama
Kerela Vascodagama

Day 4

Kochi – Thekkady
Meals: Breakfast
In the morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Thekkady (approx 146 kms / 3H 30M). Upon arrival you check in at the hotel. Rest and refresh. Thekkady is famous for its dense evergreen, semievergreen, moist deciduous forests and savannah grass lands. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure
Kerala Cherai Beach
Kerala Cherai Beach

Day 5

Thekkady
Meals: Breakfast
Today after breakfast in the morning you will enjoy a visit to the Spice Plantations and feel transported into a green paradise. Thekkady is considered a heaven for natural spices such as black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. Later proceed for an elephant ride through the jungle. Rest of the evening is at leisure for shopping around the local markets for fresh Spices.
Kerala Cherai Beach
Kerala Cherai Beach

Day 6

Thekkady – Kumarakom
Meals: Breakfast
After breakfast you are driven by car to Kumarakom (approx 117 kms / 2H 30M). Upon arrival you check in at the hotel/resort. Kumarakom slumbers on the banks of the famous Vembanad Lake. In the afternoon you are taken to Bay Island Driftwood Museum. It will give you a rare chance to view exhibits made of driftwood. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Kerala Cherai Beach
Kerala Cherai Beach

Day 7

Kumarakom
Meals: Breakfast , Lunch , Dinner
Today in the early morning after breakfast you are taken to the Bird Sanctuary, which is home to many rare varieties of migratory birds from different parts of the world. Later you proceed to the houseboat and check in upon arrival. Enjoy the sight of the green fringed palms rippling the blue waters and blend into the wavelets. The whole atmosphere spells peace, bliss and tranquility.
Kerala Cherai Beach
Kerala Cherai Beach

Day 8

Alleppey – Kozhikode
Meals:  Breakfast
Today after breakfast and enjoying your day relaxing on the houseboat on the beautiful backwaters you are dropped off at Alleppey. From Alleppey you are driven by car to Kozhikode (approx 264 kms / 5H 30M). Upon arrival you check in at the hotel. In the afternoon visit the Pazhassiraja Museum, known for its collection of the antiques and royal itinerates. In the evening you visit the Kappad beach, which finds mention in history as the Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama sailed and stepped into Kerala.
Kerala Cherai Beach
Kerala Cherai Beach

Day 9

Kozhikode Departure
Meals: Breakfast
Today after breakfast you are driven to the Airport/Raiway Station by car for your flight/train back home as you feel rejuvenated and refreshed by spending time in God’s Own Country – Kerala
Fort Kochi Beach
Fort Kochi Beach

Dalhousie

In fact, entire Himachal Pradesh is full of lush greenery, valleys, snow-capped mountain ranges, etc. But, its cities and hill stations have all the charisma that allure one, especially honeymooners and couples to come in close proximity in the lap of Mother Nature. Dalhousie is also one of those beautiful cities and hill stations in Himachal Pradesh that speak all about rich legacy and beauty of the state. Spread in an area of 14 Sq km, Dalhousie is surrounded by five hills that are Portreyn, Bakrota, Kathlog, Moti Tibba and Balun.

The beautiful city of Dalhousie was established in 1854 by the British rulers in India as their summer retreat for their troops and bureaucrats. They called it Dalhouse after the name of Lord Dalhousie who was the Viceroy of India at that time.

Located in Chamba district, Dalhousie is one of the most beautiful hill stations in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is on an altitude of 6000 and 9000 ft above sea level covered with snow-capped peaks. It is a gateway to the ancient hill state of Chamba that is also famous for greenery, lush green valleys and the list goes on. The renowned hill station is also the only place that preserves the ancient Hindu culture and art. And it can be seen in the temples and handicraft centers located in and around Dalhousie.

As far as tourist attractions are concerned, the entire city and its surrounding area are full of attractions like Dalhousie-Panchpula that is a beautiful picnic spot. In addition to this Satdhara Springs is also a major attraction that is believed to be containing medical and treatment properties.

Kynance is a private residential buildingof Dharamvirs that keep travelers enticed for long time. Apart from this, Subash Baoli, where Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose stayed for the duration of seven months sojourm in Dalhousie in 1937 is also a major attraction. ST. John’s Church, ST. Francis Church, Radha Swami Satsang Bhawan & Hospital, Laxmi Narayan Temple, Norwood Paramdham, Shivkul, Dakshina Murti, Kalatop, etc., are some of the major attractions in Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.

Dalhousie is also known for handicraft centers like shawls, chapels, baskets, woolens, dolls, and a number of handicraft products. In addition to this, Kalatop is also a famous wildlife sanctuary popular in its rare inhabitants like Ghoral and Himalayan Black Bears that is only ten km from Dalhousie. The popular hill station is well connected via road, rail and air to all the major cities of the country. The nearest airports are Delhi, Chandigarh and Shimla. The nearest railway station is Pathankot in Punjab from where you can easily reach by taxi or bus to Dalhousie.

Today, there are also a number of hotels and restaurants in and around Dalhousie. These hotels, resorts, lodges, etc are known for offering comfy accommodation and luxurious life. On the other hand, restaurants are known for offering multi-cuisine foods. Needless to say, the city and hill station of Dalhousie is very popular. And keeping the increasing popularity of the place in mind, we have come up with attractive tour packages to Dalhousie.

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Patna

Patna once called Pataliputra the capital of Bihar,is among the world’s oldest capital cities with unbroken history of many centuries as imperial metropolis. A very fertile arched stretch of land along the bank of the Ganga. The history and heritage of modern day Patna go back well over two millennia. Like Delhi, Patna too had been the regal seat of governance for successive kingdoms since ancient times. And to this day, it is the capital city of the state. As each ruler ascended in power and established dynastic glory, he gave his capital a new name. Thus, the ancient Kusumpura metamorphosed through Pushpapura, Pataliputra, Azeemabad and now into Patna, a continuous history ranging from 6th century BC to present times – a record claimed by few cities in the world. It was Ajatshatru the Magadha king who first built a small fort in Pataligram on the bank of the Ganga in 6th century BC, which later blossomed into the ancient glory still to be seen in the neighboring archaeological sites at Kumrahar. Bhiknapahari, Agamkuan, Bulandi Bagh and Kankar Bagh. Pataliputra dominated the political fortunes of the whole of north India between 6th century BC and 5th century AD, a fact established by archaeological excavations. After a temporary eclipse, in 16th century, Sher Shah Suri returned the city to its former glory and established the present Patna. After the decline of the Mughals, the British too found Patna a convenient regional capital and built a modern extension to this ancient city and called it Bankipore. It was in Gandhi Maidan in this area, that Mahatma Gandhi held his prayer meetings.

1. Golghar:

Alarmed by the famine of 1770, captain John Garstin built this huge granary for the British army in 1786. The massive structure is 29 m high and the walls are 3.6 m wide at the base. The winding stairway around this monument offers a brilliant panoramic view of the city and the Ganga flowing by.

2. Martyr’s Memorial:

A memorial to seven freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives in the Quit India Movement of August 1942, the Martyr’s Memorial is a modern sculpture facing the Secretariat, where they were shot in their attempt to host the national flag.

3. Gandhi Setu:

Asia’s longest roadway bridge.

Guwahati

Nestled in the Brahmaputra valley this state has Tantrik Shaktism, Shivaism and later Vaishnavism flourishing in its laps. From time to time people from different races, religion and culture have migrated to this place.

The Mohmmedan invasions brought Islam into the state. Sikhism flourished here, Buddhist communities have kept the flag of Buddhism flying high. The famous Gurudwara at Dhubri established by the ninth Sikh Guru Teg Bahadur is held in the high veneration by the sikhs throughout the country.

With the advent of new faith & religion many temples and monuments were built all over Assam. Most of these architectural graduers belong to the medieval period and represent the architectural style of the Koch, Kachari and Ahom royal courts. These temples and monuments, spread almost all over Assam, bear silent witness to a glorious past.

1. Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra:

The Srimanta Sankardeva kalakshetra has been set up as a grand exposition of the life and culture of the people of Assam. Named after the greatest Vaishnava saint and the greatest integrator of the Assamese society Srimanta Sankardeva, the Kalakshetra is a multi-Arts complex.

It houses a Central Museum where cultural objects and day-to-day articles used by different ethnic groups will be preserved and exhibited, an Open Air Theatre with 2000 capacity to hold folk festivals and to present traditional dance and drama of the State, an Artists’ Village which offers the visitors and the residents an atmosphere of the village of Assam, the Sahitya Bhavan which is a library of rare books and manuscripts, the Lalit-Kala Bhavan which has sufficient space for exhibition, art and sculpture workshops, and a Heritage Park. The Kalakshetra has been chosen as the venue for many cultural activities.

2. Chandubi Lake:

A natural lagoon and fine picnic spot which is 64 kms. from Guwahati. The lake and its surroundings is an ideal holiday resort with the added attraction of fishing and rowing. The place is easily accessible by bus from Guwahati.The best season to visit is from November to April.

3. Hajo:

Located 32 kms. from Guwahati on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, it is a place where three religions meet – Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism.

It has a large number of temples, the chief among them being Hayagriva-Madhab Temple. There is a belief that this temple contains the relic of Lord Buddha, while a section of the Buddhist hold that Lord Buddha attained nirvana here. Large number of Bhutanese visit this temple every year during the winter season.

There is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims here known as Poa-Mecca. According to mythology, the Pandavas had taken shelter in this region during their agyatvas or the period in hiding. One can see the stone bowl used by Bhima during this agyatvas.

Tezpur-Bhalukpong-Bomdila-Tawang Tourist Circuit

This Circuit starts from Tezpur in the plains of Assam and takes you all the way up to the seventeenth century Tawang Monastery. Nuranang en route offers you a splendid opportunity for snow and rainbow trout fishing. The Sela pass on the way runs through a high altitude lake of shimmering crystal blue clear water. Flocked on both sides by rhododendrons of various hues, the Lake is a brilliant portrait of bliss by nature. Tipi is another important station along the route. A botanical station housing 500 varieties of orchids, which grow abundantly in different parts of Arunachal Pradesh is a must see for all visitors.

1. BHALUKPONG:

An Orchidarium at Tipi (5 km from Bhalukpong) is the Botanical paradise of the state. About 300 species of the orchids can be seen in the flora-glass house. Some of the orchids here are rare and endangered.

Located 24 kms from Tipi, on the way to Bomdila is an Orchid Sanctuary at Sessa. The sanctuary is home for over 2600 orchids of 80 different species, nurtured and cultured in their natural environment. Scenic beauty, exotic water falls and the evergreen forests along the banks of river Kameng is dream come true for the Nature enthusiast. The meandering Kameng river provides excellent opportunity for white water rafting. It’s also been the Anglers’ paradise for long.

2. DIRANG:

Buddhist’s Monasteries, the Nuranang Water falls at Jung, the Hot Springs of Dirang with medicinal properties for curing skin ailments.

The Apple and Kiwi Orchards, the National Yak  Research and Breeding Centre, at Nigmadung are also interesting spots to visit. Sheep Breeding Farm at Sangti valley, where the Siberian Black Necked Storks visit during winter (nine kms. from Dirang) is the place to go for vivid bird enthusiast.

The Trout Hatchery farm at Nuranang is also an interesting place to visit.

3. TAWANG:

Nestling in the lap of Himalayas at 11,500 feet above sea level lies Tawang – the beautiful land of the Monpas. A picturesque canvas of mesmerizing natural grandeur, it fills one’s mind with spiritual bliss. With its cascading waterfalls, and glistening snow-white peaks, Tawang brings you closer to Mother Nature.

Puttaparthi

Seek divinity and you’ll not be denied. Seek peace and you are promised a lifetime of bliss.

There will be a moment in your lifetime when you see something or experience a rare emotion and you are, for an instant, touched and in some way transformed. You’ll be a changed person.

Welcome to Puttaparthi, the abode of peace. This is the home of Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba, India’s most revered spiritual master of modern times. His home (the ashram) is known as ‘Prashanti Nilayam’, the abode of peace. One of the most important pilgrim centres of India, the ashram lives up to its name, spend moments here and you will be filled with a sense of peace and calm.

You don’t have to be an ardent follower of Bhagawan Sri Satya Sai Baba to be here and enjoy the tranquility that this place offers. All you have to have is faith in truth and this holy land will lead you to a world, you never knew existed.

(1)  Thimmamma Marrimanu:

Located about 35 km from Kadiri, and 100 km from Anantapur, it is famous for a banyan tree, which is locally called as “Thimmamma Marrimanu”. It is regarded as the biggest of its kind in South India. It’s branches spread over nearly 5 acres, named after ‘Thimmamma’ who was considered to be the representative of the Almighty. A small temple dedicated to Thimmamma lies under the tree.

The banyan tree is believed to have sprouted at the place where Thimmamma ascended the funeral pyre, when she committed ‘Sati’. The people of this area strongly believe that if a childless couple worship “Thimmamma” they will have a child the very next year. A big ‘Jatara’ is conducted here on the day of “Shivaratri” when thousands of people flock here to worship ‘Thimmamma’ on this occasion. To add to the the pride of India, the “Marrimanu” was recorded as the biggest tree in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1989.

(2)  Penukonda:

Penukonda is a small town in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. In the ancient times, it used to serve as the second capital to the Vijayanagar kings. The Penukonda Fort that is here, is a colossal structure, whose each and every stone boasts of the royalty of the erstwhile era.

(3)  Gooty:

Gooty is a small town, known for one of the oldest forts of Andhra Pradesh. At a distance of 52 km from Anantapur city, the fort is a prime attraction for tourists. Above the plains in Gooty, the impregnable fort is perched at a height of 300 meters, amidst hills.

Amazing Ladakh

Ladakh has the most astonishing array of travel products to offer. Spectacular landscape, wildlife, sun, sand, ancient architecture, folk and classical dances, richness of music, festivities, are all at the disposal of the travelers. Ladakh Valley promise you of a grandness of scenic Ladakh has the most astonishing array of travel products to offer. Spectacular landscape, wildlife, sun, sand, ancient architecture, folk and classical dances, richness of music, festivities, are all at the disposal of the travelers. Ladakh Valley promise you of a grandness of scenic beauties, an oozing out odds and ends of cultures, a variety in climatic circumstances – all things that hold fun for a global traveler. Leh is a land of quaint boulevards, old-world monasteries and breathtaking Himalayan views.veler. Leh is a land of quaint boulevards, old-world monasteries and breathtaking Himalayan views.

Day 01: Delhi – Leh

On arrival at the Leh Airport, you will be received by our representative and transferred to your hotel. Complete day at your own leisure. In the evening, visit Namgyal Palace & Shanti Stupa. Later, you can take a stroll around the Main Bazaar. Overnight in Leh
Meals:Lunch and Dinner

Day 02: Leh – Alchi

After breakfast, depart for the beautiful village of Alchi and Enroute visit Likir Monastery, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, and Hall of Fame Museum. On arrival, check in to your hotel and relax for the evening. Overnight in Alchi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 03: Alchi – Lamayuru – Leh

After breakfast, drive to Lamayuru and visit the old Lamayuru monastery and spend some time at Lamayuru. While returning, see the beautiful Buddha statue at Mulbek and then depart for Leh, check in to your hotel and relax for the evening. Overnight in Leh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 04: Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh

After breakfast, leave for Pangong Lake at 14, 500 ft. via Chang La (17,350 ft. third highest motorable road in the world.) Reach Pangong Lake, the highest salt water lake in the world, shared by two countries: India (25%) and China (75%). Enjoy the beauty of the lake while appreciating the changing colours of its fascinating waters. Post Lunch, leave for Leh. Evening at your own leisure. Overnight in Leh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 05: Leh – Khardung La – Nubra Valley

After breakfast, drive for Khardung La (the world’s highest motorable road at 18380 ft.) Drive further to the high altitude desert with sand dunes in Nubra Valley. Enjoy the double hump camel ride in the sand dunes! Overnight in Nubra (Sumur / Hunder)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 06: Nubra Valley – Leh

After breakfast, depart back for Leh via Diskit Monastery and Hall of Fame. Visit monasteries like Shey, Thiksey, Hemis and return to Leh. Evening at your own leisure. Overnight in Leh
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 07: Leh – Delhi 

After breakfast, board the flight back to Delhi. Trip ends
Meals: Breakfast

Chandigarh

After the partition of British India into India and Pakistan in 1947, the former British province of Punjab was also split between India and Pakistan. The Indian state of Punjab required a new capital city to replace Lahore, which became part of Pakistan during the partition. After several plans to make additions to existing cities were found to be unfeasible for various reasons, the decision to construct a new and planned city was undertaken. Of all the new town schemes in independent India, the Chandigarh project quickly assumed prime significance, because of the city’s strategic location as well as the personal interest of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India. Commissioned by Nehru to reflect the new nation’s modern, progressive outlook, Chandigarh was designed by the French (born Swiss) architect and urban planner, Le Corbusier, in the 1950s. Le Corbusier was in fact the second architect of the city, after the initial master plan was prepared by the American architect-planner Albert Mayer who was working with the Polish-born architect Matthew Nowicki.

On 1 November 1966, the newly-formed Indian state of Haryana was carved out of the eastern portion of the Punjab, in order to create Haryana as a majority Hindi-speaking state (with a Hindu majority), while the western portion of Punjab retained a mostly Punjabi language-speaking majority (with a Sikh majority) and remained as the current day federated state of Punjab. However, the city of Chandigarh was on the border, and was thus created into a union territory to serve as capital of both these states.

 
Day 01: Chandigarh

Today you arrive at Chandigarh Airport. Upon arrival you are met with our local representative and driven by an air conditioned car to your Hotel. At the hotel, check-in, rest and refresh. The city is one of the most well-planned cities in India. Later in the day you shall visit Rock Garden and Rose Garden.
Meals: None

Day 02: Chandigarh – Manali

Today morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Manali (approx 311 Kms / 7-8 hrs). Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Manali is a combination of natural splendour and rich heritage. In the morning after breakfast you are taken to visit the Hadimba Devi Temple built in the tranquil and serene woods, Vashist Bath, Tibetian Monastery – which houses several images of Lord Buddha and Tankha paintings and Roerich Art Gallery. Enjoy the rest of the day shopping and at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast
 

Pahalgam

The town of Pahalgam (Village of Shepherds) offers breathtaking views. One can just relax in one of the many hotels in Pahalgam, or trek on some of the many mountains. One can trek to Lidderwat, Kolohoi Glacier or to Sonmarg. Snow skiing is an attraction during the winter months (from December to late February/early March).JKTDC offers tourist cottages at very reasonable rates for a leisurely stay at Pahalgam.

Wild bears still roam much of the area, and local villagers are on constant alert for their presence. Due to the constant threat of illegal border crossings, the Indian army is always patrolling the area and is on constant high alert. As the local population can’t carry firearms, this has saved the bears from being hunted to extinction. With the abundance of fresh trout in the rivers and local farm animals, they have plenty to eat. Monkeys also populate the area, most monkeys are quiet and shy, but given an opportunity they will steal food from visitors; campsites.

Day 01: Arrive Jammu – Katra

Today you arrive at Jammu Airport / Railway Station and are greeted by our local representative. You are driven by an air conditioned car to visit the Raghunath Mandir, situated in the heart of Jammu, it is one of the most revered temples of North India dedicated to Lord Rama. Later you are transferred to Katra (approx 47.20 Km / 1-2 hrs). Upon arrival check-in at the hotel. Rest of the day is free at leisure.
Meals: None

Day 02: Katra

Today early in the morning after breakfast you visit the Vaishnodevi Temple (approx 13 kms one way). After darshan return back to the hotel and rest.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 03: Katra – Patnitop

In the morning after breakfast you are driven to Patnitop (approx 98.71 km / 2-3 hrs). Upon arrival check in at the hotel. You will be taken for a trek (approx 5 kms) which shall get you to Madhatop. The mighty mist clad mountains form the backdrop to the Chenab basin and is a fabulous place to holiday at. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 04: Patnitop

In the morning after breakfast you are driven to Sanasar – A haven for adventure sports. Here you can opt for parasailing and paragliding (optional on your own). The scenic views and vast open space against the blue sky is tempting that even the un-adventurous would want to take a flight to view the valley below. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 05: Patnitop – Srinagar

Today morning after breakfast you are driven to Srinagar (approx 187.77 Km / 5-6 hrs). Upon arrival you are driven by car to your hotel for check in. The Mughal Emperors love for land can be seen through the illustrious gardens here. You are driven by car to Cheshmashahi Garden, Nishal Bagh and Shalimar Garden. The creative use of plantings and mixture of colours provides the beholder with a sense of bliss.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 06: Srinagar

In the morning after breakfast you are driven by car to the Shankaracharya Temple, which is thought to be the oldest shrine in the Kashmir valley. Later enjoy the beautiful Shikara ride on the Dal Lake. In the evening you can enjoy shopping
Meals: Breakfast

Day 07: Srinagar – Gulmarg

Today after breakfast you are driven by car to Gulmarg – ‘Meadow of Flowers’ (approx 49.69 kms / 1-2 hrs). Upon arrival check in at the hotel. Gulmarg has one of the best Ski slopes in the world and highest golf course of the world with 18 holes. The most unique feature of the golf course is that it has open temporary memberships so you can get a membership for even a day!
Meals: Breakfast

Day 08: Gulmarg

In the morning after breakfast you are free to enjoy adventurous trekking in the hilly terrains of Gulmarg. You can also enjoy the the amazing Cable Car to Kongdoor. It is also popularly known as the Gondola Lift.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 09: Gulmarg – Sonamarg – Pahalgam

Today morning after breakfast you are driven by car to Sonamarg (approx 112.88 km / 3-4 hrs). The beautiful mountains around Sonamarg are covered with several glaciers, one of the most famous being the Thajiwas Glacier. Later you are driven to Pahalgam (approx 9.94 km / 30 mins). Rest of the day is at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Pahalgam

Today after breakfast you can enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Or optional you may enjoy a walk in the mountains; enjoy horse riding or river rafting all on your own.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11: Pahalgam – Srinagar

In the morning after breakfast you are driven to Srinagar Airport / Railway Station for you flight to Delhi Airport where you will catch your flight back home with beautiful memories of your holiday.
Meals: Breakfast
 

Unforgettable Kutch

Situated on the Gulf of Kutch, leading to the Arabian Sea, the district is also known as the Rann of Kutch. The word Kutch or Kachchh, means tortoise in Sanskrit, and interestingly the shape of the region is rather like a tortoise. It is also the second largest district in India. You can also enjoy desert safaris by jeep, camel rides, shopping for the unique local handicrafts, and sighting the rare wild ass found in the Little Rann of Kutch sanctuary.


Day 01: Ahmedabad – Little Rann of Kutch

Today, upon arrival at Ahmedabad Airport / Railway Station you are met with our local representative and later proceed to Little Rann of Kutch. On arrival you check in to the resort. Explore the desert by open jeep in the Little Rann of Kutch, where one can sight animals like Wild-Ass, Desert Fox, Blue Bull, Blackbuck, Wolf, Jackal and few species of snakes & many species of birds also one can visit the home of Rabari and Banjara are the two important tribes of the region. Overnight stay at Little Rann of Kutch
Meals: Dinner

Day 02: Little Rann of Kutch – Bhuj

In morning after breakfast, you proceed to Bhuj (260 kms / 5 hrs). On arrival you visit places like Aina Mahal Museum, Pragmahal Museum, Bhartiya Sanskriti Darsan Exhibition & Cenotaphs of Royal Family. Overnight stay at the hotel
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 03:Bhuj – Nakhtrana Village

Today after breakfast you proceed to Nakhtrana Village (approx 105 kms / 3 hrs) where you have the pleasure to stay in Traditional Bhungas (Luxury Mud houses). The day ends with a traditional dinner at the resort and a folk music performance around a bonfire. Overnight stay at the resort
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 04: Nakhtrana – Banni & Pachcham Region – Nakhtrana

In the morning after breakfast, get ready to explore the Banni and Pachcham regions (approx 200 kms / 4 hrs) and the edge of the Great Rann of Kutch. Visit Dhordo village, Bhirandiyara village, Ludiya village and Khavda village. Later visit Kalo Dungar (Black Hill) and Dattatray Temple, which provides the view of the Great Rann & sunset. Return to the resort. Overnight stay at the resort
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 05: Nakhtrana – Mandvi

Today after breakfast, you proceed to the coastal town Mandvi (approx 150 kms / 3 hrs). Visit the Vijay Villas Palace – summer retreat of the royal family. Enjoy balance day at the beach private Beach. Overnight stay at the hotel
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 06: Mandvi

The day free for many activities based on your interest like, Visit to Organic Farm; 72 Jain Temple Complex; Shipping Yard at Mandvi Port or spend the balance day at the Beach. Overnight stay at the resort
Meals:Breakfast and Dinner

Day 07: Mandvi – Anjar – Morvi

Today, proceed to Morvi via Anjar. The Anjar city was established before 1400 years ago as there one the oldest Bhareswar Mahadev Temple (about 1200 years old). Anjar is famous for Jesal-Toral Grave. Later proceed to Morvi. On arrival you check into the Heritage hotel of Morvi. Feel as a king and lose yourself in the palace. Rest of the day is free for Shopping & Relxation. Overnight stay at the hotel
Meals:Breakfast and Dinner

Day 08: Morvi – Akshardham – Ahmedabad

Today, after breakfast you proceed to Ahmedabad. On arrival visit Gandhi Ashram, Akhsardham Temple and Adalaj stepwell. Drop in the evening at airport or Railway station
Meals:Breakfast
 

Spainish Fiesta

Spain is a country with a rich, colourful and diverse history, a land of many varied regions and a people who are proud and welcoming. For many first-time visitors to Spain, the expectations are of frequently used and evocative media images of sangria, sombreros and bullfights. While all of these play a part within traditional Spanish culture, there is much more that makes modern Spain a progressive, diverse and cosmopolitan society.

 

Day 01: Barcelona

Welcome to Barcelona city!! You are in the Catalonian Capital! At Arrival you are met & are escorted to your hotel by our assistance. Transfer will be by luxury car, Mercedes or Audi, English speaking Driver. Accommodation in your hotel and welcome drink at your arrival.
Meals: None

Day 02: Day tour to Barcelona & Romantic Dinner @ Olipic port

Buffet b/fast and, in the morning, you will have a private Tour of Barcelona , by luxury car with driver English speak. The variety and wealth of Barcelona’s heritage provide a number of attractive routes through its various districts. This way, the traveller will get to know the most typical monuments of the city. Barcelona’s a cosmopolitan Mediterranean city. We will visit the façade of Cathedral, the façade of Sagrada Familia. A unique creation that has become Barcelona’s most universal symbol. Visit will continue to the Olympic Village, Columbus monument and will go direct to Montjuïc Mountain where you will be able to see the Olympic Stadium and Sant Jordi Palace. In the evening, a romantic dinner will be booked for you in front of the sea, located in the Olipic port, Barcelona, The most privileged views can be enjoyed from a wonderful terrace overlooking the Mediterranean where you can enjoy a menu with a great variety of traditional Paellas, and novel rice dishes which include the most appropriate ingredients according to the season of the year.
Meals: None

Day 03: Evening Flamenco Show

Buffet b/fast and free day of Barcelona, possibility to do shopping in ramblas area, to relax on the beach or go as an optional tour to Montserrat . Montserrat is a mountain, a sanctuary and a monastery founded in the 11th century, is located in a Natural Park 60 km on the west of Barcelona. In the evening, a flamenco show will be booked for you,quality show, direct heir to the purest of traditions. It is an authentic tablao show has no formal choreography, each artist, interprets individually his or her number and the rest follow the beat, marking the rhythm, accompanying it and strenghtening it.
Meals: None

Day 04: Transfer from Barcelona to Mallorca by flight

Breakfast and private transfer from hotel to airport to enjoy one of the nicest islands of Spain. Majorca is synonymous with world-renowned beaches and coves, but is also a perfect destination to enjoy countryside, golf, culture, water sports, entertainment… There are many reasons to visit this enclave in the Balearic Islands. Welcome arrival by transfer to your hotel. Accommodation at Hotel
Meals: None

Day 05: Leisure day @ Mallorca

Breakfast in your fantastic hotel with rooms sea view and free day. Possibility to relax in your hotel or in the beach, or add a optional tour in the island To explore their special personality and discover their most beautiful locations Or rent a boat to discover the island.
Meals: None

Day 06: Transfer from Mallorca to Barcelona

Buffet breakfast and free day. In the afternoon, back to the airport and accommodation in your hotel of Barcelona.
dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Meals: None

Day 07: Depart Barcelona

Breakfast and private transfer from hotel to International airport to take your return flight back home.
Meals: None
 

Dubai Highlights

Dubai is a city which has something to offer everyone, Top Class Hotels, Happening nightlife, superb facilities for a variety of sports and leisure activities and excellent shopping along with the charm and adventure of Arabia – an exceptional blend of modern city and timeless desert.

Day 01: Arrive in Dubai and Check in to your hotel

Arrive in Dubai and check-in to your Hotel. Overnight in the Hotel.
Overnight stay at Hotel.

Day 02: Dubai City Tour and Evening Dhow Cruise

After a delicious breakfast at the Hotel, the whole day you will visit the famous Gold Souk, Spice Market, and a selection of Electronics and Jewellery shops. In the evening take a romantic Dhow Cruise and enjoy a complimentary buffet dinner onboard. Be entertained by the beautiful Dubai City lights while sailing leisurely along the creek. After your cruise, you will return to the Hotel for another overnight stay.

Day 03: Desert Safari

Today you can spend the Day at leisure or shop till you drop, In the evening enjoy cruising along Dubai’s Creek onboard our traditional wooden dhow with Buffet Dinner. Cruise by Dubai’s illuminated skyline, offering sights of traditional and modern architecture. ‘Abras’ (water taxis), old trading dhows, luxury yachts and modern architecture.

Day 04: Departure Dubai

After your Breakfast, it’s time to say good bye, Check out from Hotel and drop to Dubai Airport for flight back.

AULI: Hill station in India

Auli is one of the less explore hill stations in India. Auli, located in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, is a new entrant in the tourist map of India. Located in the cradle of snow-capped mountains, Auli is one of the very few places in India where skiing is a major pastime. Gradually Auli is growing like other hill stations in India. The bitter cold winds, the vast snow-covered landscape, the sylvan mountains, all add up to make Auli a skier’s paradise. Representing man’s constant endeavor to triumph over nature, Auli proves to be an ideal locale for the daring.

LOCATION OF AULI

Like many other hill stations in India Auli is situated in Uttar Pradesh. Auli is towards the north of the state and forms a part of the Garhwal mountain range. It is at a distance of 16 km from Joshimath, on the Badrinath route. The slopes, which are as high as 9000 feet above sea level, are covered with dense deodar and oak forests and this often reduces the velocity of the chilly winds to the minimum. The slopes offer a panoramic view of many a famous Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana Parvat and Dunagiri.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

If one is an adventure freak, the best time to visit Auli is during the winter season. The period from late November to late March is generally considered ideal for skiers. As the winters set in, the mountains seem to extend to the firmament with arms of snow. From December to March, the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam conducts 7-day and 15-day courses for both amateurs and advanced learners.

TOURISTS ATTRACTIONS

Tour to AuliSkiers are naturally provided with clean stretches of 10-20 km of snow-covered mountain slopes. Besides, there is a descent of 500 m from the ridge over a stretch of 3 km. The forests on the slopes also seem to help the skiers by reducing the wind velocity. In the months of February and March, Auli often hosts the National Winter Games. In a planned move, the Government and local authorities have involved the local Garhwali people to explore the slopes that rightfully belong to them.

By eight in the morning, one can see the first of the skiers and other adventure seekers. Until about four o’clock in the evening, when it gets chilly, cold and dark, the skiers make most of the slopes. For the best part of the winter season, Auli is blessed by an unusually large number of sunny days, but there are times when it snows heavily. In the evenings, the activity shifts from the slopes to the bukhari-warmed huts and resorts (bukhari: a quaint, wooden stove). People then generally pass their time listening to folklore and reveling in the local music of Garhwal in the lamp-lit rooms or besides the bonfires.

Places of Worship in India

Here is the list of places of worship in India.

Dwadasha Jyotirlingams

  • Somnath
  • Srisailam
  • Ujjain
  • Omkareshwar
  • Vaidyanath
  • Bhimashankar
  • Rameshwaram
  • Nageshwar Darukavanam
  • Kashi
  • Tryambakeshwar
  • Kedarnath
  • Grishneshwar

Shakti Peethas

  • Hingula
  • Jwalamukhi
  • Kamakhya
  • Sugandha

Char Dham

  • Yamunotri
  • Gangotri
  • Kedarnath
  • Badrinath

Pancha Bhutha Sthalams

  • Arunachaleswara
  • Chidambaram
  • Jambukeshwara
  • Kanchipuram
  • Srikalahasti

Pancharama Kshetras

  • Amararama – Amaravati
  • Draksharama – Draksharamam
  • Bheemarama – Samalkot
  • Ksheerarama – Paalakollu
  • Kumararama – Kotipalli    or    Somarama – Bhimavaram

Ashtavinayak Temples

  • The Moreshwar Temple, Moregaon
  • The Siddhivinayak Temple, Siddhatek
  • The Ballaleshwar Temple, Pali
  • The Varadavinayak Temple, Mahad
  • The Chintamani Temple, Theur
  • The Girijatamak Temple, Lenyandri
  • The Vighnahar Temple, Ozar
  • The Mahaganapati Temple, Ranjangaon

Panch Prayag

  • Vishnuprayag
  • Nandprayag
  • Karnaprayag
  • Rudraprayag
  • Vishnuprayag

Ahobilam
Alampur
Amarnath
Annavaram
Ayodhya
Basara
Belur
Bhadrachalam
Dwaraka
Halebid
Haridwar
Kanipakam
Kanyakumari
Khajuraho
Konark
Lepakshi
Mantralayam
Mathura
Mukhalingam
Puri Jagannath
Rishikesh
Sabarimala
Shirdi
Siddhivinayak Temple – Mumbai
Simhachalam
Thousand Pillars Temple – Warangal
Tirupati
Vaishno Devi
Vemulawada
Vijayawada Kanaka Durga
Yadagirigutta
Lepakshi
Suchindrum
Nagercoil
Tiruchendur
Tenkasi
Sankarancoil
Tirupparankunram
Madurai
Alagarcoil
Tirupachi
Srirangam
Tiruvanaikka
Thanjavur
Kumbakonam
Swamimalai
Tiruvalamjuli
Suryanarcoil
Tribhuvanam
Sikkal
Tiruvarur
Tiruvekka
Tiruvallikkeni
Sri Kashi Vishweshwaralayam – Bugga
Karveti Nagaram

Culture of India

Few countries in the world have such an ancient and diverse culture as India’s. Stretching back in an unbroken sweep over 5000 years, India’s culture has been enriched by successive waves of migration which were absorbed into the Indian way of life.

It is this variety which is a special hallmark of India. Its physical, religious and racial variety is as immense as its linguistic diversity. Underneath this diversity lies the continuity of Indian civilization and social structure from the very earliest times until the present day

Modern India presents a picture of unity in diversity to which history provides no parallel.

RELIGIONS IN INDIA

In India, religion is a way of life. It is an integral part of the entire Indian tradition. For the majority of Indians, religion permeates every aspect of life, from common-place daily chores to education and politics.

Secular India is home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and other innumerable religious traditions. Hinduism is the dominant faith, practised by over 80% of the population. Besides Hindus, Muslims are the most prominent religious group and are an integral part of Indian society. In fact India has the second largest population of Muslims in the world after Indonesia.

Common practices have crept into most religious faiths in India and many of the festivals that mark each year with music, dance and feasting are shared by all communities. Each has its own pilgrimage sites, heroes, legends and even culinary specialties, mingling in a unique diversity that is the very pulse of society

LANGUAGES

The Indian languages now in use have evolved from different language families corresponding more or less to the different ethnic elements that have come into india from the dawn of history. They may be put into 6 groups :

1.    Negroid

2.    Austric

3.    Sino-Tibetan

4.    Dravidian

5.    Indo-Aryan

6.    Other Speeches.

These languages have interacted on one another through the centuries and have produced the major linguistic divisions of modern India. Among the major groups, the Aryan and the Dravidian are the dominating families. They have influenced each other anchave, in turn, been influenced by the Austric and Sino-Tibetan tongues.

The important languages in this group are: Western punjabi, Sindhi, Eastern punjabi, Hindi, Bihari, Rajasthani, Gujarati, marathi, Assamese, bengali, oriya, Pahari, Kashmiri and Sanskrit.

Hindi or Hindustani has produced two great literatures, Urdu- nd HindL Both have the same grammar and the same basic ,vocabulary. They differ, however, in script and higher vocabulary. UrrfMuses the Perso-Arabic script. Hindi uses the Nagari script and has a preference for purely Indian words, in contradistinction to the numerous Arabic and Persian words tKMTOwed by Urdu.

Sanskrit, the classical language of India, represents the highest achievement of the lndo-Aryan languages* Although hardly spoken now-a-days, Sanskrit has been listed a nationally accepted language in the VIII Schedule to the Constitution. Dravidian languages form agroup by themselves, and unlike the Aryan, Austric or SinoTibetan speeches, have no relations outside the Indian sut”continent, that is, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Dravidian family is lie second largest group in India, covering about 25% of the total Indian oooulation.

The Dravidian language came into India centuries before the Indo-Aryan. It split into three branches in the Indian’subcontinent-(I) The northern branch comprises Brahui spo ken in Baluchistan and Kurukh and Malto spoken in Bengal and Orissa. Kurukh is also spoken in Biharand M.P. (ii) The central brand is composed of Telugu and a number of dia lects spoken in Central India – Kill, Khond Holanl, Konda, Gondi, Naiki, Parji, Koya and others, (iii) The southern branch is maoe up of Tamil, Kannade, Malayalam, Tula, Badaga Toda, Kota and Kodagu.

The major languages of the Dravidian group are: (i) Telugu (Andhra Pradesh), numerically the biggest of the Dravidian languages, (ii) Tamil (Tamil Nadu), apparently the oldest and purest branch of the Dravidian family, (iii) Kannada (Karnataka), another ancient Dravid ian language that has developed individually (iv) MaTayalam (Kerala), the smallest and the youngest of the Dravidian family.

India never had a common language which was intelligible to the masses everywhere in India. For many years, Sanskrit remained a common medium, Ilrt it was the language of the learned classes and not of the masses Under the British, English became a sort of lingua franca. Here again, it was restricted to the educated few. Of the 1652 mother tongues listed in the census, 33 are spoken by people numbering over a lakh. The following table shows the names of mother tongues and the number of sneakers:

With independence, the question of a common language naturally came up. The Constituent Assembly could not arrive at a consensus in the matter. The question was put to vote and Hindi won On a single vote-the casting vote or me nresiaeni. ine india.

National Congress had advocated the formation of linguistic provinces. The acceptance this policy involved the statutory recognition of all the major regional languages.

COSTUMES

To the foreign traveler, one of the powerful attractions in India is the colorful and diversified attire of its people. The silk saris, brightly mirrored cholis, colorful lehangas and the traditional salwar-kameez have fascinated many a traveler over the centuries.

For a single length of material, the sari must be the most versatile garment in existence. It is only one of the many traditional garments worn by women, yet it has somehow become the national dress of Indian women. A sari is a rectangular piece of cloth which is five to six yards in length. The style, color and texture of this cloth varies and it might be made from cotton, silk or one of the several man-made materials. The sari has an ageless charm since it is not cut or tailored for a particular size. This garment can fit any size and if worn properly can accentuate or conceal. This supremely graceful attire can also be worn in several ways and its manner of wearing as well as its color and texture are indicative of the status, age, occupation, region and religion of a woman.

The tightly fitted, short blouse worn under a sari is a choli. The choli evolved as a form of clothing in 10th century AD and the first cholis were only front covering; the back was always bare. Bodices of this type are still common in the state of Rajasthan.

Apart from the choli, women in Rajasthan wear a form of pleated skirt known as the ghagra or lehanga. This skirt is secured at the waist and leaves the back and midriff bare. The heads are however covered by a length of fine cotton known as orhni or dupatta.

Another popular attire of women in India is the salwar-kameez. This dress evolved as a comfortable and respectable garment for women in Kashmir and Punjab, but is now immensely popular in all regions of India. Salwars are pyjama-like trousers drawn tightly in at the waist and the ankles. Over the salwars, women wear a long and loose tunic known as a kameez. One might occasionally come across women wearing a churidar instead of a salwar. A churidar is similar to the salwar but is tighter fitting at the hips, thighs and ankles. Over this, one might wear a collarless or mandarin-collar tunic called a kurta.

Though the majority of Indian women wear traditional costumes, the men in India can be found in more conventional western clothing. Shirts and trousers are worn by men from all regions in India. However, men in villages are still more comfortable in traditional attire like kurtas, lungis, dhotis and pyjamas.

The traditional lungi originated in the south and today it is worn by men and women alike. It is simply a short length of material worn around the thighs rather like a sarong. A dhoti is a longer lungi but with an additional length of material pulled up between the legs. Pyjama-like trousers worn by the villagers are known as the lenga.

Indian dressing styles are marked by many variations, both religious and regional and one is likely to witness a plethora of colors, textures and styles in garments worn by the Indians.

CUISINES

For Indians food is a gift of gods and is treated with respect. Based agmatic medical precepts evolved over centuries of experimentation observation, Indian food is aimed at nourishing the body and is pleasing to the mind and eyes. Ingredients of each meals are based on six rasas or flavours-sweet, salty, bitter, astringent, sour and pungent- each ingredient believed to have particular physical benefit on application of the right proportionate use.

Indian Cuisine is considered to be one of the three great distinctive Cuisine’s of the world, the other two being the Chinese and the French.

Indian cuisine aims to satisfy needs of the ton gue and body, from sweet to sour bitter or hot, from heating to cooling foods, from food for body to food for the brain. Within these parameters, each region has nurtured its own culinary tastes using different combination of spices. No country in the world has developed such elaborate and tasty range of vegetarian cuisine as India.

Characteristic of all Indian cooking is the inspired use of spices. Immense care is taken to ensure that spices enhance rather than dominate the basic flavour and they do not diminish nutritive value.

Indian curry contains pieces of mutton, chicken or fish in a sauce Based on the famous onions, tomatoes, yogurt or coconut milk enriched By three 12 condiments. Some of the more celebrated culinary traditions of India originated in the royal courts of the Mughals, in Oudh and Hyderabad. All the three cuisines can be sampled at speciality restaurants As well as regional food festivals that deluxe hotels hold periodically.

While mutton, chicken and fish are served throughout the country, the other with which they make their appearances differs. In Kashmir, mutton is the chief attraction in the 24-course banquet, WAZWAN, each dish being cooked in a different way seperate from The other. Of all coastal States in the country Goa, Kerala and Bengal Have culinary traditions with a preponderance of fish with Goa and Kerala making profuse use of coconuts. Goan seafood delights include Crab, lobsters, tiger prawns and shellfish, all accompanied by rice and Washed down with excellent wine and wermouth of local manufacture. Kerala, as all other southern States, is noted for its variety of crisp PANCAKES – DOSA and STAEMED RICE CAKES – II from pounded rice.

DAHI (CURD) is part of almost every Indian menu. Served to mitigate the chilly “hotness” of some dishes, it is often mixed with vegetable or fruit and is lightly spiced to create the ‘RAITAS’ of the north and the ‘PACHADIS’ of the south.

In many parts of the country, THALI meals are the norm. these largest platters contain up to a dozen dishes in individual servings consisting of meat chicken, vegetables – with gravy or dry, pulses accompaniments and widely served.

Some of India’s best, evened culinary traditions are the TANDOORI cooking best known and loved. TANDOOR is the Indian oven, a homely clay lined cylinder filled with sizzling coals. Restaurants that serve Tandoori food often have a section where cooking is done by the simple expedient of wielding a metal stick. As the heat of the oven reaches 600 c. cooking time is counted in minutes and seconds. Tandoori ;meats use no oil and are normally accompanied by yougart dips.

Some of India’s best loved dishes are favourite of every family as for SARSON KA SAAG, prepared from green mustared leaves simmered all night long on a coal fire. It is available only in the winter There are also the interesting dishes of the Parsis. ‘DHANSAK’ meat cooked with five different dais and an unusual blend of spices and ‘PATRANI MACHT lightly spiced fish steamed in banana leaves, are just two examples.

Chutneys and pickles-sweet, sour or hot, or all three,whip the appetite and add relish to a meal. Every conceivable ingredient can be used: mint, coriander, mango, ginger and lime.

PAPADS’, roasted or fried savory crisps, are also popular meat adjuncts. Made of previously rolled and dried lentil or rice dough they provide the crunchiness considered essential to repast.

PAU BHAJI is a passion in Mumbai where roadside stalls have a cauldron of simmering vegetables which are served with a bun.

BHELPURI in Mumbai and CHAAT in Delhi are roadside snaks of crunchy morsels tempered with piquant seasonings.

To describe INDIAN SWEET’S as merely being made of milk, reduced milk or cottage cheese and sugar syrup is an oversimplification of a highly specialised branch of cooking. Sweet traditions in Bengal, Bikaner and Delhi are famed throughout the country. Finally, there is the satisfying ritual of the after-imeal PAN (BETEL), a must for any true connoisseur of Indian food. Lauded for its digestive and medicinal properties, it is a fragrant combination of Betal leaf, aerca nut, catechu, cardamom, clove and a choice of a whole Host of other exotic ingredients of varying flavours, effects and strengths.

Non-alcoholic beverages include the countrywide favourite in NAMBU PAN a squeeze lime over sugar or salt served in water or soda Yougart and water are vigorously churned to make BUTTER MILK, a delicious accompaniment to Indian meals. Bottled fizzy drinks Include various brands of indigenous lime, orange and cola.

Other FRUIT-BASED DRINKS-apple, guava, mango, tomato-are available in tetrapack and tins.

SODA and MINERAL WATER are also widely available. India’s alcoholic beverages include gin and rum which are comparable to the finest internationally as well as whisky. India’s dozens of brands of BEER encompass very good pilsners and largers available in bottles. Liquor is available at most restaurants especially those in hotels. It is either imported or made in India.

In addition there are local variations like ASHA and KASTOORI, the saffron liquor of Rajasthan and FENI, the strong brew of Goa usuallyavailable in the concerned States.

Although the local food of the region is available at many restaurants, the cuisine of Punjab has become standard Indian fare in most of the middle and high priced restaurants throughout the country. Similarly Udipi restaurants serve vegetarian South Indian cuisine all over India at low prices.

Every major hotel offers, a choice between INDIAN, CONTINENTAL, CHIENESE, ITALAIN and FRENCH delights in the speciality restaurants.

Western style confectionery-chocolates, cakes, cookies and “iarzipan are available in the pastry shop confectioneries in all metro cities,

TEA : The cup that cheers is a must for millions all over the world every rooming and Assam is a leader in production of tea.

Indian Tea! Flavour of Darjeeling and Assam tea has reached across ans in all continentals. A cup of tea that cheers and cares. Tea is an ideal beverage that files into the healthy way of life-tempers the SPtrits calms the mind, prevents drowsing, enlightens and refreshes the body and clears perceptive faculties. Tea is taken in various forms as a health giving drink with and without milk and sugar.

Easily available everywhere in India-on footpaths, from small restaurants to restaurants in five star hotels, bus depots, at taxi stands, railway stations, airports and at the place you name it.

DANCE

The mention of the word dance conjures up images of Nataraja – Lord of Dance – as the Indian God Shiva is portrayed

Apart from Shiva even Ganesha and Srikrishna are associated with dance and music. India has many classical dance styles. The oldest text dealing with aesthetics covering various art forms including dance is the Natyashastra which is authored by Bharatamuni.

All the Indian classical dance styles viz. Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi, Mohiniattam, Kathakali, Manipuri, etc., are derived from the Natyashastra. Some of these dance styles have evolved from folk dances and are intimately connected with the art of story telling. Most of these stories are drawn from our epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, tales from collections like the Panchatantra, Hitopadesha, Katha Sarit Sagara, etc., also from the subject matter of these dance styles. In fact the Kathak and Kathakali from U.P. and Kerala respectively, derive their names from the term Katha which in Sanskrit means a story. As the story is told in the form of dance, these dance styles can actually be called dance-dramas, the only difference is the absence of dialogues. The Charkul dance-drama of Central India revolves around a story generally from the Indian epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Similar traditions of dance-dramas are prevalent in other parts of India too. In Maharashtra, you have the Dashavatara, in Karnataka you have the Yakshagana The Kathak dance of North India and the ktha*ali dance of Kerala also originated as dance dramas and derive their names from the Sanskrit work ‘Katha’ which means a story. The story has to be told solely through actions and hence an elaborate pattern of facial expressions (Mudra), movement of hands (Hasta) and the simulation of various moods like anger (Krodha), envy (Matsara), greed (Lobha), lust (Kama), ego (Mada), etc., have been evolved. The mastery of perfect expression of these feelings by subtle movement of the lips and eyes forms the root of all the classical Indian dance styles.

In fact the combination of the three qualities viz. expression, rhyme and rhythm i.e. Bhava, Raga, and Tala go into the determination of the term Bha-Ra-Ta, which is used as the name of one dance style viz. Bharata Natyam. The integration of Indian classical dance with the physical exercises of Yoga and the breath control of “Pranayam” has perfected the dance styles. Yoga especially had given the dance styles an excellent footwork which is called Padanyasa and Padalalitya. Another feature of these dance styles is that they are integrated with theology and worship.

Traditionally these dances were patronized by the temples. During festivals and other religious occasions, these dances were performed in the temple premises to propitiate the deity. Thus the dance came to combine both art and worship. Even today every recital of any Indian classical dance begins with an invocation to Nataraja or Nateshwara the god of dance. In Indian folklore and legend, the God of Dance is himself shown to be dancing in a form called the Tandava. This has also been depicted in the statues and carvings in temples like, Khajuraho and Konark in Northern India, and at Chidambaram, Madurai, Rameshwaram, etc. in the South.

Indian dances have also evolved styles based on the Tandava like the Urdhra Tandava, Sandhya Tandava, etc. Indian classical dance found its way outside India, especially to the countries of Southeast Asia. The dance styles of Thailand, Indonesia, Burma, etc., have so heavily borrowed from the Indian classical dance traditions that to a casual observer there would seem to be hardly any difference between the two. While Western dance has not directly borrowed anything from Indian classical dance, it has borrowed from Indian folk dance through the medium of the Gypsies.

INDIAN MUSIC

Since Vedic times, Indians had been required to correctly recite, the Vedas. The correctness in recitation was very important as the Vedas were, in those days, transmitted through memory (Smriti) and were learnt through hearing (Shruti). This v so, as writing was absent in early Vedic times. Even today the Vedas are traditionally learnt through oral studies.

This kind of an emphasis on recitation the correct pronunciation lead to studies in phonetics and sound manipulation. This was the birthplace of Indian Musical Raga (metre) and Swaras (rhymes). That Music in ancient India was given considerable recognition is illustrated by the fact that Saraswati, the Indian goddess of learning is shown to be holding a musical instrument (Veena) in her hand. Traditionally, vocal music in India has tended to be devotional music (Bhakti-geet), and temples have been places (as they still are) where musicians used to practice music to please the deity and the devotees. Indian vocal music is broadly divided into two schools viz. the Hindustani or north Indian school and the Carnatic or South Indian school. As far as instrumental music goes there is a general identity of instruments that have been used.

The main Indian musical instruments are the Sarod, the Veena, the Sarangi, the Tambora, the Harmonium, the Ghata, the Tabla, the Tanpura, the Satar, etc., As compared to art and architecture Indian music has had less impact on the outside world. This was so as most of Indian musical instruments require specialized material and craftsmanship for their manufacture. And in the absence of transmission of these skills and the absence of trade in musical instruments, Along with the necessity of long and arduous practice which was required to master these instruments, made the transmission of music a difficult task. However, as far as, devotional vocal music goes, Indian musical traditions did travel to the countries of South east Asia. The instrumental and vocal music of Korea has many elements of Indian music, which it received along with the Buddhist invocative and devotional songs and slokas (religious couplets). Along with Buddhism, some Indian musical instruments like the flute (bansi), temples bell (Ghanta), etc., went to the countries of south-east Asia. Even Europe owes certain instruments to India.

Two popular European musical instruments namely the flute and violin are believed to be of Indian origin. Though we do not know about the process of transmission of these instruments, however in India the flute (bansi) and the violin (a variant of the Veena) are definitely indigenously Indian. A pointer to the fact that these instruments have been in usage in India since a very long time is that the bansi is associated with Sri Krishna and the Veena with the goddess Saraswati.

This apart, in modern times the western musical instruments like the Tambourin and the Tambour are adaptations of the Indian Tambora and Tanpura. The names Tambourin and Tambour are also derived from the word Tambora. The Saralngi, another Indian musical instrument has also found its place in western music. The acceptance of these musical instruments in the west is also evident from the fact that the words Tambora, Sarangi and Tabla are mentioned in the Oxford Dictionary. Ancient Indians made ‘rock music’ – Archaeologists have rediscovered a huge rockart site in southern India where ancient people used boulders to make musical sounds in rituals.

PAINTING

Painting as an art form has flourished in India from very early periods as is evident from literary sources and also from the remnants that have been discovered. Indian Paintings can be broadly classified as the murals & miniatures. Murals are huge works executed on the walls of solid structures. Classic examples are the paintings in Ajantha & Kailashnath temple.

Miniature paintings are those executed on a very small scale on perishable material such as paper, cloth, etc.,This style has been perfected by artisans under the various rules.Prime examples are the Rajasthani & Mughal miniatures. Contemporary artists have kept up to the times & excel in their modern works, giving free expression to their imagination & artistic liberty. Indian paintings, drawn mostly by village craftsmen, have the most exquisite styles possible. These reflect the traditions handed over from generation to generation over centuries. The colors and themes used reflect the cultural diversity of India. Numerous paintings or Patas are mentioned in the Mudrakshaka. There are isolated paintings like the Yama-pata; isolated framed drawings like Cauka-patas and the Dighala-patas or long scroll of paintings, representing a complete legend. In another book Vishnudharmottara, the section Chitrasutra describes the basic tenets of painting. According to this treatise, the six limbs of painting are: variety of form, proportion, infusion of emotions, creation of luster and iridescence,portrayal of likeness and colour mixing to produce the effect of modeling. The Vinayapitaka (3-4 century BC) describes the existence of painted figures in many royal buildings.

Paintings and drawings of animals dating back to prehistoric times have been found in the Bhimbetka caves in Madhya Pradesh. The Mesolithic paintings of Narsingarh ( M.P.) show skins of spotted deer.In the paintings of these period musical instruments like the harp figure to show that the awareness of creation of sound and the concept of rhythm had appeared. The paintings of the Mesolithic period contain geometric forms like the spiral, square, circle and rhomboid. A painting from Joanna shows a square divided by vertical lines into compartments. Thousands of years later, paintings appear on the seals of the Harappan Civilization. In the early historic rock paintings the animals are depicted as half human and half animal. In the paintings of the later period, men are depicted as riding on cattle and elephants. Battle scenes, royal processions, men riding garrisoned horses predominate the rock canvas as in Mahadeo Hills, M.P. The Ajanta and Ellora caves and the Bagh caves are excellent specimens of paintings of the early Christian era.The Guptas were the great patrons of art and the period 4-6 centuries is often described as the Golden Age of Indian Arts.The Pallavas also left behind excellent examples of paintings in temples.The Cholas promoted both painting and sculpture.The Palas, who ruled the eastern India during 9-16th Centuries A.D. gave immense encouragement to painting. The earliest paintings of this period are on palm leafs and wooden covers of manuscripts. These can be described as the earliest examples of Miniature painting in India.

Classification of Indian Paintings :Indian Paintings can be broadly classified as :

·         Murals

·         Miniatures

Murals are huge works executed on the walls of solid structures, as in the Ajanta Caves and the Kailashnath temple. Miniature paintings are executed on a very small scale on perishable material such as paper and cloth. The Palas of Bengal were the pioneers of miniature painting in India. The art of miniature painting reached its glory during the Mughal period. The tradition of miniature paintings was carried forward by the painters of different Rajasthani schools of painting like the Bundi, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Marwar and Mewar. The Ragamala paintings also belong to this school. Indian paintings provide an aesthetic continuum that extends from the early civilization to the present day.Indian painting has evolved over the years to become a fusion of various cultures and traditions. The Indian painting was exposed to Greco-Roman as well as Iranian and Chinese influences. Cave paintings in different parts of India bear testimony to these influences and a continuous evolution of new idioms is evident.

SPORTS

Undoubtedly the first sport that comes to mind when one thinks of Indian sports today is cricket. Brought to India by her British colonisers, cricket so captured the nation’s imagination that observers are more or less agreed that today it is the one religion that unites India. (The other favourite observation being here’s a country of a billion cricket experts.)

In places like Calcutta, with everybody glued to their television sets, life grinds to a halt the days the Indian team is playing. One-day fixtures and test matches excite equal enthusiasm; for both, if the match is being played on Indian soil, which by the way supports spin rather than pace, you’ll get capacity crowds and a charged atmosphere seldom matched anywhere outside the subcontinent. Allegations of murky match fixing and a steady string of matches where the team managed to ‘snatch defeat from the jaws of victory’ notwithstanding, the popularity of the game continues to rise. Such is the intensity of involvement with the game that it even affects India’s international relations. In the aftermath of the 1999 Kargil war, India unilaterally suspended cricketing relations with Pakistan. The debate on whether politics and sports should mix enlivens many a discussion, and is yet unresolved.

Hard to imagine but at one time the place that cricket is accorded today in the popular consciousness was reserved for hockey. The heyday of Indian hockey was in the Olympic years from 1928 to 1956 when the hockey team brought the gold medal home every time, from six consecutive games. The introduction of Astroturf, a faster surface than grass and one still largely unavailable in India, coupled with the migration of many hockey-playing Anglo Indians to Australia spelt the end of the golden era. Hockey is the national game of India and a new crop of players including the charismatic Dhanraj Pillay has rekindled popular interest in the game. Of course, nothing succeeds like success and the fact that the Indian team has been posting wins at regular intervals has greatly helped the game’s cause.

Among indigenous games perhaps the best known is kabaddi. It involves two teams standing across a line on the ground. By turns the teams send a player into the opponent’s territory so that he can ‘tag’ and thereby send out of the game members of that team. The catch is that the player must do this in the span of a single breath, all the time muttering ‘kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi’. so that if he does take in another lung of air the team can immediately tell. The team whose territory the player has entered must try to capture the player and keep him on their side of the demarcating line till he does run out of breath. In which case he is sent out of the game. Kabaddi has become a formal institutionalised sport but basically, it owes its popularity to the fact that you don’t need any props, the rules are simple and it can be played in any dusty alley so long as there are enough people with nothing to do.

Polo is supposed to have been invented by Iranian tribes in the 9th century AD. By and by it spread far and wide towards the east, reaching even Japan. Brought to India with Muslim conquerors who established their rule in Delhi, polo was in India by the last part of the 12th century. It captured the imagination of the ruling elite in the north, especially of the Rajput princes of the western land of Rajasthan who, already master cavaliers, soon mastered the game. However, in the northeastern India, in the state of Manipur, polo was never an elitist sport. Anybody who owned or could loan a horse would play the game. With the disappearance of the great eastern empires and as the political life of India itself became tumultuous with the arrival of the expansionist Mughals, leisure itself and certainly pleasures like polo seemed to disappear too. It was the British rediscovery of the game in Manipur in the early 19th century, where it is called Sagol Kangjei, that breathed fresh life into the sport. The fame of the game spread along with the spread of Empire. Today, polo is played by a select section of people – former princes, erstwhile nobility, students with a privileged public school education, the armed services and such like. But in Manipur, the game is still played by anybody who owns a horse and mallet or can borrow one.

Other indigenous sports of India include kho-kho (an improvisation of the game of  ‘tag’), archery, and board games like chauser and pachisi. Still seen in the gullies of old cities and towns, particularly where there is a predominant Muslim population, are sports like kabootar baazi and cock fights. A master of the former can train his brood of pigeons (kabootars) to fly up into the sky, round up his competitor’s brood and usher them home to him. Though they have earned the wrath of animal rights activists worldwide, cockfights can still be watched in parts of India.

Kite flying is a favourite pastime for children and adults alike. Come winter (specially the 14th of Jan is the festival of Makar Sankranti) and the skies are filled with fluttering paper kites of every hue and shape. There is keen competition among kite flyers; the string is coated with glass dust so that it can cut the string of another kite when they’re in flight. On the subcontinent the beauty of the kite and the imaginativeness of its shape is secondary to the dexterity of its owner.

Invented by some British officers of the Indian army standing around at a game of billiards, ‘snooker’ came into being in the Indian city of Jubbulpore (now Jabalpur). It spread through the cantonment towns of India first, was taken back to England and thereon taken around the empire. Undoubtedly snooker is an expensive game and few can afford the space and the attendant paraphernalia. So, it is its poorer cousin ‘pool’  that has caught the fancy of Indian youth today. In most cities you’ll find many pool parlours where half an hour at a table can cost as little as 30 rupees.

THEATRE

The origin of the Indian theater or rather folk theater and dramatics can be traced to religious ritualism of the Vedic Aryans. This folk theatre of the misty past was mixed with dance, ritualism, plus a depiction of events from daily life. It was the last element which made it the origin of the classical theatre of later times. Many historians, notably D.D. Kosambi, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, Adya Rangacharaya, etc. have referred to the prevalence of ritualism amongst Aryan tribes in which some members of the tribe acted as if they were wild animals and some others were the hunters.

Those who acted as animals like goats, buffaloes, reindeer, monkeys, etc. were chased by those playing the role of hunters and a mock hunt was enacted. In such a simple and crude manner did the theatre originate in India nearly 4000 years back in the tribal Aryans of Rig Vedic times. There also must have existed a theatrical tradition in the Indus valley cities, but of this we have no literary numismatic or any other material proof.

The origin of drama and the theatre has been told to us in an aptly dramatic manner by Bharatamui, the author of Natyashastra an ancient Indian text on dance and drama. Bharatamuni is said to have lived around the 4th century but even he is not aware of the actual origin of the theatre in India. He has cleverly stated in a dramatic manner that it was the lord of creation Brahma who also created the original Natyashastra (Drama). According to Bharatamuni, since the lord Brahma created the entire universe we need not question his ability in creating dramas. But Bharatamuni goes on to tell us that the original Natyashastra of Brahma was too unwieldy and obscure to be of any practical use. Hence, Bharatamuni, himself took up the task of making Natyashastra simple, intelligible and interesting.

Thus the Natyashastra of Bharatamuni was supported to be understood by lay people. So the Natyashastra of Bharatamunii is not the oldest text on dance and drama, as Bharata himself says that he has only simplified the original work of lord Brahma. The Natyashastra assumes the existence of many plays before it was composed, and says that most of the early plays did not follow the rules set down in the Natyashastra.

But the Natyashastra itself seems to be the first attempt to develop the technique or rather art, of drama in a systematic manner. The Natya Shastra a tells us not only what is to be portrayed in a drama, but how the portrayal is to be done. Drama, as Bharatamuni says, is the imitation of men and their doings (loka-vritti). As men and their doings have to be respected on the stage, so drama in Sanskrit is also known by the term roopaka which means portrayal.

According to the Natyashastra all the modes of expression employed by an individual viz. speech, gestures, movements and intonation must be used. The representation of these expressions can have different modes (vritti) according to the predominance and emphasis on one mode or another. Bharatamuni recognizes four main modes viz., Speech and Poetry (Bharati Vritti), Dance and Music (Kaishiki Vritti), Action (Arabhatti Vritti) and Emotions (Sattvatti Vritti).

Bharatamuni also specifies where and how a play is to be performed. In ancient India plays were generally performed either in temple-yard or within palace precincts. During public performances, plays were generally performed in the open. For such public performances, Bharatamuni has advocated the construction of a mandapa. According to the Natyashastra in the construction of a mandapa, pillars must be set up in four corners. With the help of these pillars a platform is built of wooden planks. The area of the mandapa is divided into two parts. The front part, which is the back stage is called the r angashrishu. Behind the ranga-shirsha is what was called the nepathya-griha, where the characters dress up before entering the stage. Bharatamuni has also specified that every play should have a Sutradhara which literally means ‘holder of a string’. The Sutradhara was like the producer-director of today. Every play had to begin with an innovation of God. This invocation was called the poorvaranga. Even today, plays in Indian languages begin with a devotional song called Naandi. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata can be called the first recognized plays that originated in India.

These epics also provided the inspiration to the earliest Indian dramatists and they do even today. One of the earliest Indian dramatists was Bhasa whose plays have been inspired by the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Bhasa’s date cannot be definitely ascertained, but that he lived before Kalidasa is proved by the latter’s reference to Bhasa as one of the early leading playwrights. As Kalidasa lived in the 4th century, Bhasa should have lived in the early centuries of our era. Bhasa was a natural dramatist who drew heavily from the epics, but Kalidasa can be called an original playwright.

Kalidasa has written many plays, some of which are; AbhijananShakuntalam, Kumarsambhavam, Meghadutam and Malavikagnimitram. Kalidasa was the court playwright at the Gupta court. He lived at Ujjaini, the capital of the Guptas and was for some days the Gupta ambassador at the court of the Vakatakas at Amaravati where he wrote the play Meghadutam.

The next great Indian dramatist was Bhavabhuti. He is said to have written the following three plays viz. Malati-Madhava, Mahaviracharita and Uttar Ramacharita. Among these three, the last two cover between them the entire epic, Ramayana. Bhavabhuti lived around the 7th century A.D., when Sanskrit drama was on its decline, mainly due to the lack of royal patronage. The last royal patron of Sanskrit drama seems to be king Harshavardhana of the 7th century. Harshavardhana is himself credited with having written three plays viz. Ratnavali, Priyadarshika and Nagananda.

But nevertheless despite lack of patronage two more leading playwrights came after Bhavabhuti, they were Shudraka whose main play was the Mricchakatikam, and the second dramatist was Rajashekhara whose play was titled Karpuramanjari. But the decline of Sanskrit theatre is evident from the fact that while Mricchakatikam was in Sanskrit, the Karpuramanjari was in Prakrit which was a colloquial form of Sanskrit. Rajashekhara has himself said that he chose to write in Prakrit as the language was soft while Sanskrit was harsh. Sanskrit plays continued to be written up to the 17th century in distant pockets of the country, mainly in the Vijayanagara empire of the South. But they had passed their prime, the later Sanskrit dramas are mostly imitations of Kalidasa or Bhavabhuti.

As in the case of the other fine arts, the Indian theatre has left its mark on the countries of South-east Asia. In Thailand, especially it has been a tradition from the middle ages to stage plays based on plots drawn from Indian epics. This had been so even in Cambodia where, at the ancient capital Angkor Wat, stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharata have been carved on the walls of temples and palaces. Similar, bas relief?s are found at Borobudur in Indonesia. Thus, the Indian theatre has been one of the vehicles of enriching the culture of our neighboring countries since ancient times.

Indian cuisine

The Indian cuisine boasts of an immense variety not restricted to only curry. An authentic Indian curry is an intricate combination of a stir-fried Masala – a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes; various spices and seasonings with which meat; poultry, vegetables or fish is prepared to produce a stew-type dish. Note: the word Masala also means spice.

Food in India is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavour. Being so diverse geographically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies seems complicated for any newcomer. The Mughlai cuisine of North differs sharply from the preparations of the south. The Wazwan style of Kashmir is luxurious but the same can be said about Bengal’s Macher Jhol, Rajasthan’s Dal Bati, Uttar Pradesh’s Kebabs and Punjab’s Sarson Ka Saag and Makki di Roti. In India, recipes are handed down from generation to generation.

The unique and strong flavours in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were originally chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for flavour. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very antiseptic, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the digestion. All curries are made using a wide variety of spices.

In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes – sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavour in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavour and texture of a meal and provide balance needed.

 

Languages spoken in various state

The official language of the Republic of India is Hindi. And that English could be also used for official purposes. The individual states can legislate their own official languages, depending on their linguistic demographics. For example, the state of Karnataka has Kannada as its sole official language, while the state of Jammu and Kashmir has Kashmiri, Urdu and Dogri as its official languages.

The following table lists the languages spoken in various state:

Language  

   

Geographical distribution  

Assamese/Axomiya

   

Assam

Bengali

   

West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Tripura (list)

Bodo

   

Assam

Dogri

   

Jammu and Kashmir

Gujarati

   

Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu (list)

Hindi

   

the “Hindi belt“, Northern India

Kannada

   

Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Goa (list)

Kashmiri

   

Jammu and Kashmir

Konkani

   

Konkan (Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala)

Maithili

   

Bihar

Malayalam

   

Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé, Puducherry

Manipuri (also Meitei or Meithei)

   

Manipur

Marathi

   

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Goa (list)

Nepali

   

Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam

Oriya

   

Orissa

Punjabi

   

Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana

Sanskrit

   

Mattur

Santali

   

Santal tribals of the Chota Nagpur Plateau (comprising the states of Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa)

Sindhi

   

Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh (list

Tamil

   

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra (list)

Telugu

   

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Orissa (list)

Urdu

   

Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh

 

Hindi is an official language of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and the National Capital, the Territory of Delhi. Bengali is the official language of West Bengal, Tripura and certain other parts of the North-east. Marathi is the official language of Maharashtra. Punjabi is the official language of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh,Haryana, and the National Capital, the Territory of Delhi. Gujarati is the official language of Gujarat. Tamil is the official language of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Malayalam is the official language of Kerala and Lakshadweep. Kannada is the official language of Karnataka. Telugu is the official language of Andhra Pradesh. Oriya is the official language of Orissa;Oriya is spoken also in parts of West Bengal, Chattishgarh and Jharakhand. Assamese is the official language of Assam; it is spoken widely in many of the seven northeastern states. English is the co-official language of the Indian Union, and each of the several states mentioned above may also have another co-official language.

Climate of India

The weather is hot most of the year with variations from region to region. The coolest weather lasts from around December to February, with fresh mornings and evenings and mostly sunny days. The really hot weather, when it is dry, dusty and unpleasant, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October. 

Western Himalayas: Srinagar is best from March to October; July to August can be unpleasant; cold and damp in winter. Shimla is higher and therefore colder in winter. Places like Gulmarg, Manali and Pahalgam are usually under several feet of snow from December to March and temperatures in Ladakh can be extremely cold. The mountain passes of Ladakh are accessible from July to October.

Required clothing: Light- to mediumweights are advised from March to October, with warmer wear for winter. Weather can change rapidly in the mountains and therefore it is important to be suitably equipped. Waterproofing is advisable.

Northern Plains: This extreme climate is typically warm inland from April to mid-June, falling to almost freezing at night in winter between November and February. Summers are hot with monsoons between June and September.

Required clothing: Lightweights in summer with warmer clothes in winter and on cooler evenings. Waterproofing is essential during monsoons.

Central India: Madhya Pradesh state escapes the very worst of the hot season, but monsoons are heavy between July and September. Temperatures fall at night in winter.

Required clothing: Lightweights are worn most of the year with warmer clothes during evenings, particularly in winter. Waterproofed clothing is advised during monsoon rains.

Western India: November to February is most comfortable, although evenings can be fairly cold. Summers can be extremely hot with monsoon rainfall between mid June and mid September.

Required clothing: Lightweights are worn most of the year with warmer clothes for cooler winters, and waterproofing is essential during the monsoon.

Southwest: The most pleasant weather is from November to March. Monsoon rains fall anywhere between late April and July. Summer temperatures not as high as Northern India although humidity is extreme. The coast benefits from some cooling breezes. Inland, Mysore and Bijapur have pleasant climates with relatively low rainfall. 

Required clothing: Lightweights. Waterproofing is necessary during the monsoon. Warmer clothes are worn in the winter, particularly in the hills.

Southeast: Tamil Nadu experiences a northeast monsoon between October and December and temperatures and humidity are high all year. The hills can be cold in winter. 

Required clothing: Lightweights. Waterproofing is necessary during the monsoon. Warmer clothes are worn in the winter, particularly in the hills.

Northeast: March to June and September to November are the driest and most pleasant periods. The rest of the year has extremely heavy monsoon rainfall.

Required clothing: Lightweights. Waterproofing is advisable throughout the year and essential in monsoons, usually from mid June to mid October. Warmer clothes are useful for cooler evenings.

Desert Festival in India

Once a year in winters and on the middle of the continually rising and falling stark yellow sands of the great Thar Desert, the empty sands around Jaisalmer come alive with the brilliant colour, music and laughter of the Desert Festival.

The festival is organised by the tourist authorities as tourist entertainment around January-February.

The very rich and colourful Rajasthani folk culture is on show here for a few days. Rajasthani men and tall beautiful women dressed in their brightly costumes dance and sing lingering ballads of valour, romance and tragedy. Traditional musicians attempt to outdo each other in their musical superiority.

The high points of the festival are – snake charmers, puppeteers, acrobats, folk performers do rapid trade. Camels, the lifeline of the desert, play a foremost role.

Proud moustached villagers, dressed in their ethnic best come astride their picturesquely caparisoned camels to join in the camel dances and competitions of camel acrobatics, camel races and décor, camel polo, tug of war and the like.

The tourist dances, turban tying competitions and tug of war are big draws and laughter. The Mr Desert competitions, which are focused around the length of moustaches by and large, attract many hopefuls.