Days of Mirth, Prayers and Celebrations!

“Unity in Diversity”- that’s the phrase used always to depict the true fervor of India. The country is home to a wide variety of communities. Along with that, comes their cultural practices and ethos. One might very often wonder, what is it that renders the country its vibrancy and color? Reasons might be any or many. However, out of them fairs and festivals in India, makes the country distinct from the rest. These festivals, religious rituals and regional fairs are all an extension of the land’s artistic philosophy. They are an extension of the people inhabiting the country.

We Indians are always on the lookout for an occasion to celebrate. The idea of spreading mirth, cheer and glory seems to be ingrained in us. Be it the festival of colors, Holi or the traditional festivals of Assam, they all amaze tourists and local residents alike. Most importantly, all of them are observed with a common purpose of nurturing brotherhood and fellow feeling amongst others. Every state has a festival typical to its origin and celebration style. The list is huge! Out of them some events have gained popularity over the years. Your India travel tour would allow experiencing them, depending on the location that you choose.

The fairs and festivals of Assam are a reflection of zest and zeal that the Assamese have towards life. People here are simple and amicable, and enjoy every single occasion for merrymaking.  As a result the calendar is full of occasion and their celebration dates. Be it the Rangali Bihu Festival or the Ambubachi Mela, each reflect the local essence and fiesta. Assam being the melting pot of numerous races and their religious, it is interesting to be a part of the fairs and festivals.

One of the famous upcoming festivals is the Baishagu Festival that is observed in the month of April, in the season of “Baishak” as the Assamese would claim. This is the time for new harvests and a period of ushering the blessings of the earth goddess. This festival is celebrated by “Boro Kacharis”, a regional tribe. A hub of tea plantations, the Tea Festival, Jorhat is well known in the north eastern part of Assam. Jorhat is particularly famous for the green tea gardens and is home to the globally acclaimed Teklai Experimental Centre. Other festivals would include Ali-ai-Ligang, Rongker and Chomangkan and Rajini Gabra and Harni Gabra.

Keeping aside Assam, if you want to experience the fiesta and regional celebrations, then you must be a part of the fairs and festivals in Goa. Despite the major population being Christian, there is a predominance of Hindu festivals and events here. Most of the festivals include music and dance performances, along with mass parades and masquerades. Goans are generally happy go lucky people and they exude the same exuberance in their celebrations.

Bonderam festival brings alive the festive spirit in the Divar Island. The local residents as well as the foreign travelers take part in the carnivals taking place on the mainland.  There are mock flights which stand as a parody for the past. You can notice the “fotash” fight which is a model made out of bamboo. Berries are used to denote the missiles that would in turn knock down the flags. Another famous event is the Feast of Three Kings that takes place for 10 days at a stretch. Music, dance, fireworks and non-stop partying characterize this festival. During the nine days of the ritual people visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount for prayer masses and also for blessings. The church is beautifully decorated with flower wreathes and candles. Besides this, there are a set if rituals that are observed by the Goans too. This is in turn is followed by a grand feast and a fair. Visitors and foreign travelers can buy various items in brassware, copper along with toys, garments, furniture’s, bangles, trinkets and spice souvenirs.

Other festivals that are famous here are the Goa Carnival, Feast of St Francis Xavier, Mardi Grass Festival, Procession of All Saints, Sao Joao Festival and Shigmotsav.  Fairs and festivals in Goa almost acquire a Caribbean flavor and color. The colorful floats, the fancy dress parties and the food festivals enthrall one and all around.

Our posh metropolises too have their own festivals, occasions and events that create a charm and atmosphere of its own. Each is distinct from the other. The fairs and festivals in Delhi bring together the common masses as well as the high class socialites. India’s capital city and also the cultural hub, Delhi observes festivals like Lohri and Holi. The Republic day parade is of great significance here owing to the presence of Red Fort. Other attractions on this day beside the parade are the tableaus and the artistic events. Other prominent events and festivals would include Christmas, Independence Day, Qutub Festival, Thyagaraja Festival,   Delhi Rose Show, Maha Shivratri, Baisakhi, Delhi Book Fair and many more.

West Bengal is known for its rich culture and heritage. The various religious festivities and the festivals is what make it popular on a national as well as international level. North Kolkata is known as the cultural hub in the city, while South Kolkata is known for various events and performances. From film festivals, handicraft exhibitions to trade shows the list has a something for everyone to cherish and enjoy!  Fairs and festivals in West Bengal exhibit the traditional Bengali culture and refinement.

Though there are Bengali’s present in other parts of the country as well as the world, but there is no parallel to the Durga Puja celebration as it is held in Kolkata. Those five to six days of merriment is filled with prayers to the deity, pandal hopping, shopping and relishing the traditional Bengali cuisine delicacies. An upcoming festival is the Naba Barsho that is all about welcoming the Bengali New Year. The Rathayatra Hoogly would bring you close to the common mass of Kolkata and reflect nuances of their faith and beliefs.Gangasagar Mela 24 Parganas, Jhapan Bankura, Rash Mela Cooch Behar, Vasanta Utsav Shantiniketa and Vishnupur Festival Bankura are other noteworthy festivals the city celebrates.

For more information visit http://www.indianholiday.com/fairs-festivals-india/

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Goa – Discover the Pearl of the Orient

Goa or Pearl of the Orient is one of the better tourist destinations in India. Beaches and more beaches, this stretch of India is dotted with more than 25 beaches, each with its own characteristic features. India travel destination – Goa still reflects an unparalleled charm of the yesteryears and the contemporary. This one time Portuguese colony has more to offer to its tourists than just beaches.

The best time to travel to Goa is during the months of October through March. The weather is pleasant. The summer temperatures in Goa range between 25 degree Celsius and 35 degree Celsius. In winter, temperature ranges between 15 degree Celsius and 25 degree Celsius.

It is best to travel light. You can carry shorts, beachwear, T-shirts, jeans, sandals, sun screen lotion, cap, sunglasses, and cotton wear. Make sure you also carry your prescription medicines. You can prepare a checklist and pack your baggage accordingly.

Tourist attractions in Goa include churches, beaches, forts, and cities. Goa Carnival is also one of the main attractions. Churches you can visit in Goa include Basilica of Bom Jesus, Reis Magos Church, and Se Cathedral. There are many other churches too.

The beaches in Goa have attracted travelers from all over the world. The most popular beaches include Calangute, Colva, Vagator, Majorda, Varca, Anjuna, and Dona Paula.

Among the forts, the famous ones where you can plan a trip to include Terekhol Fort, Cabo De Rama, and Chapora Fort.

Other attractions include the Dudhsagar Falls, Bondla National Park, Bhagvan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Mollem National Park, Cotiago Wildlife Sanctuary, Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, and Spice plantation sites in Ponda. At the spice plantation sites, you can find out how spices like betel nut, black pepper, cinnamon, vanilla, cashew, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom are produced. Cities you can explore are Panaji, Margao, Vasco Da Gama, and Mapusa.

Holidays in Goa can be for different reasons. Goa honeymoon is one of the reasons. The Goa hotel packages are available for honeymoon couples too. Goa hotels are star rated and the 2 well known hotels in Goa are Holiday Inn Resort Goa and The Leela Goa.

There is ample opportunity for entertainment in Goa. Most of the tourists engage themselves in recreational activities. Few such activities include parasailing, wind surfing, water skiing, scuba diving, and motor riding. You can also visit the flea market at Anjuna Beach.

Goa Carnival is undoubtedly an important attraction. It is held every year in February. Good food, plenty of fun and excitement, music, dance, DJ performances, and merrymaking are high on the list of agenda for all Goans. So, you can participate in the event and explore Goan culture closely.

Regular flights to Goa arrive and leave Dabolim Airport. All major airline companies operate their fights. Railway stations where you can alight are Madgaon (the main railway station), Karmali Railway Station, and Vasco Da Gama Railway Station. National Highways 17A, 4A, and 17 connect all major cities across India.

Browse through http://www.indianholiday.com/goa/ for more information on Goa.

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