amazing Indian story

Amazing Indian story of an Indian army mule that won a top battle award

Yet, another amazing Indian story from me. This one is about a FOUR LEGGED SOLDIER who defied death. Who was he?

Your love and affection motivate me all the time so I cannot stop write and share unknown Indian stories with you. I love you all.

Amazing India story
A life of honor- Pedongi. Creds- www.thebetterindia.com

Amazing Indian story of Pedongi

 

Pedongi, who is this Pedongi, you might be asking.

Was.

Pedongi was an Indian Army veteran who not only served his employers well, he also did something unthinkable.

He came back from the enemy lines stealing their ammunition.

Was Pedongi a soldier?

Yes. A different kind of a soldier.

He was a mule.

Reporting, Sir!

Pedongi joined the Indian Army in the brutal year of 1962; the year when India lost a war with China along its northern borders.

The job of this mule was to transport equipment from the base to the forward areas. Trucks and other motorized vehicles, sometimes, are unable to negotiate tricky mountain roads and ledges.In such areas, where the path is sometimes a few meters narrow, mules are the best options.

They are nimble footed and balance themselves really well.

Hoof Number 15328

Actually, when this bay mule joined the Army, he was given a hoof number -15328. Mules were and still are not given any names, generally.

But, Pedongi was an exception and he had to wait several years before getting this name.

Hoof Number 15328 was just 4 years old when he joined the Indian Army. But, neither he nor anyone else could guess that the mule was going to create an amazing Indian story.

Bullets flying past

It was in the 1971 war, that Hoof Number 15328 showed his bravery.

In that war, he, like the other soldiers, was always in the thick of the action- transporting supplies, bringing back wounded soldiers and doing other selfless and brave acts.

Hoof Number 15328 was always ready for action. And action was also ready for him.

One day, during the war, he was kidnapped by the enemy soldiers and taken to their camp. He was a part of an army transport column that was ambushed by the enemy.

Everybody, this side of the border thought that the mule was gone and will never be found.

Days passed. The mule’s handlers had given up on their favorite soldier. They thought that either he had been kidnapped or was killed in the crossfire. Most probably, kidnapped.

And then!

One day, during the war, the animal’s handlers were astonished to see 15328 amble into their camp.

The ‘soldier’ looked fine and healthy- albeit tired- but was carrying a load. What load was that?

On checking it, the mule’s handlers found out that 15328 was carrying a box of enemy ammunition!

Oh boy, that was such a touching moment! Not only had the mule survived all those bullets and bombs, he had also stolen some ammunition from the enemy too!

That was indeed a WoW moment for Hoof Number 15328.

His Commanding Officer was touched by his bravery and recommended to his seniors that 15328 be honored in some way.

No more a number now!

The senior officers of the Army promptly agreed with the Commanding Officer.

A few days later, Hoof Number 15328 had a new official name- Pedongi. He also got an award for his brave and selfless service.

My dear readers, it is extremely rare for mules and mares in the Indian Army to have names. This privilege is reserved for horses.

But Pedongi was an exception and that is why he created this amazing Indian story.

A long inning

Pedongi worked like a horse in the Indian Army. He was always cheerful and ready to undertake any work assigned to him.

Did you read the amazing story of the dog who commanded the guns in this ancient Indian fort?

One day, in 1987, an Army Major spotted Pedongi working diligently in a camp. When he found out that Pedongi had been working for 25 years, he was impressed. Mules, normally, work for no more than 15-18 years.

To recognize the long and illustrious service, Pedongi was awarded a blue velvet dress, which is a distinguished honor.

His picture was also put on the Greeting Cards of his Army unit. Such was the love and affection of his fellow soldiers for Pedongi.

Pedongi worked for the Indian Army till 1992. After his retirement, he was given pension and later given a big field to roam around and graze.


Hoof Number 15328 finally said goodbye to this planet in 1998.

The mess lounge was named after ‘Pedongi’ -- a mule who carried load for the Indian Army for 30 years.
Image Credits- Hindustan Times

To remember his service, the Indian Army authorities have named one of the lounges in their headquarter after him.

You may also read- http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/in-delhi-army-mess-lounge-named-after-longest-serving-mule-pedongi/story-hR95HDvvid18mtWHS1gVwI.html

What an amazing Indian story of a mule who was bravest of the brave!



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Top Jodhpur foods

These top Jodhpur foods can make you commit murder for their taste

These top Jodhpur foods are sinful in taste. If you are traveling in India, or plan to travel to this country, then make Jodhpur a part of your itinerary. Next step; take down the names and addresses of these top hotels in Jodhpur to satisfy your tongue and then set out for those exotic restaurants.

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My selection of top Jodhpur foods is not limited to the vegetarian cuisine. This list comprises vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian Jodhpur food. I have tried to be as objective as possible.

Which are the top Jodhpur foods?



top Jodhpur foods
These kachoris are vying for your attention, dear traveler

1.Mawa Kachori- This Jodhpur food forces the tongue to say ‘slurp‘ after watching it being served on your plate. Mawa Kachori is a yummilicious food made of corn /gram powder that is shaped like a little ball. You then stuff some mawa or a mild derivative inside this ball and later fry it in a sugary syrup called chashnee. Eat to your heart’s content. Do you want to know how Mawa Kachori is made? Watch this video

2.Pyaz Ki Kachori-This top Jodhpur food is made like Mawa Kachori but there is a critical difference- the filling is made of moong ki Daal and is salty in taste. There is a dash of onion also to the Daal. If you are in Jodhpur and don’t taste this food, then you are committing sacrilege, I tell you.

Don’t forget to gorge on Jodhpuri jalebis and samosas during your trip to this city

3.Daal Baati– If foods were considered rock stars, then this cuisine is the Michael Jackson of them all. Made of flaky dough, the Baati is fired and baked over a traditional oven ( made of clay) to give that crackling taste. Once ready, dip the Baati in a bowl of ghee before dipping it once again in the pulse or Dal that is served along with it.

Image result for flickr images of Daal Baati
There is much more available on this plate than just Daal Baati. Creds- Flickr

4.Laal Maas– This non-vegetarian food comes straight from the palaces of Jodhpur and rest of Rajasthan. The word Lal means Red and the reason this Jodhpur food is called Red is that it is prepared with  Red Chilli powder.

top Jodhpur foods
Keep lots of water by your side while having Lal Maas. Creds-Flickr

More Jodhpur cuisines that will tempt you

 

5.Panchkuta– This is Jodhpur recipe that is made of different kinds of vegetables and spices. It is cooked in oil and eaten with Rotis ( Bread) or Chawal (Rice). In Jodhpur and other parts of Rajasthan, this food is called Ker ki Sabzi.

Image result for flickr images of Ker ki Sabzi
Notice the medley of spices in the Ker Ki Sabzi or Panchkuta

6.Lassi and Chhaach– Your Jodhpur stay will be incomplete without having a large kulhad of Lassi or Chhaach. These delicacies are actually by-products of fermented milk. Milk is first fermented and later converted into curd. The best lassis have a thick layer of cream that makes the lassi-drinking experience out of this world. While a lassi is sweet in taste, chhaach is salty. This food is best served in kulhads or glasses made of fired earth. You see, us Indians try to be environmentally conscious most of the times.

Image result for flickr images of Lassi
Lassi is best enjoyed in a Kulhad. Creds- Pinterest

Restaurants that serve top Jodhpur foods

 

I won’t go away just like that. My responsibility is to tell you about some of the hotels and restaurants in Jodhpur that serve the above-mentioned cuisines. Which are they?

  1. Kalinga Restaurant, Near Jodhpur Railway Station
  2. Gypsy Dining Hall– 689, First Floor, 9th C- Road, Sardarpura
  3. On The Rocks– Ajit Bhawan, near Circuit House, National Highway, 65, Ajit Colony
  4. Kesar Heritage Restaurant– Mehron Ka Chowk, Naya Bas, Killikhana

There are other good places to eat Jodhpur food also.

Don’t forget to try the top Jodhpur foods in Umaid Palace Hotel, one of the most luxurious places to stay in the world. It is no doubt expensive, but worth a visit at least.

I hope this article not only helps you in getting information about Jodhpur cuisine but also good places to eat too.Want to know more about Jodhpur?Click here.

That’s it, folks. Thanks for reading it.



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Kumhar Gram

Kumhar Gram of Delhi – will its art and tradition die out soon?

Kumhar Gram of Delhi is perhaps the last surviving art eco-system of the city and may die out soon.The potters of this ‘village’, who make lamps, diyas and other pottery items for the city folk are on the verge of extinction. Can we reverse this culture ‘extinction’?

Kumhar Gram
These creations from Kumhar Gram fetch very high prices in the foreign markets

Last Sunday, I took a trip to this enclave that lies within the somewhat ‘ modern’ colony of Uttam Nagar. Accompanied by some researchers from the Sharda University, I was astonished at seeing the mental inertia of the potters of the Kumhar Gram.

Kumhar Gram- where time stands still

 

Translated into English, Kumhar Gram means ‘ Village of Potters’. The word ‘village’ here stands out like a sore thumb for, this habitat is very much a part of the thriving metropolis of Delhi. But once you step inside this enclave, you can’t stop yourself thinking how much its residents have fallen behind the rest of their fellow Delhiites in terms of adoption of modern management techniques.

Pottery pieces
Drying out!

The Alwar connect

 

It was difficult tracking the Village headman, Harkishan Prajapati. He is not only the most noticeable face of this potter’s village, he is also a National Award winner. A master of this ancient craft, Prajapati is also considered as the founder of this village.

Kumhar Gram
Gods take shape

He came to Uttam Nagar in the early 1970s, and since then, this colony is now home to more than 500 families. Some of the residents of this village also belong to Haryana, which is a neighboring state of Delhi. Almost all the residents of this quaint area sport the surname, Prajapati.

The word, Prajapati, means Lord of People. This community of people believes that they are descendants of Lord Bramha, who is the Creator and the Master of this World.

Alwar is approximately 150 kilometers and is best known for its tigers.

Kumhar Gram
The girl and the clay

Ever since Prajapati made Uttam Nagar his home, he has been followed by several other potters who wanted to strike gold in the pottery making business.

Maybe you would like to read this article from Hindustan Times on this community- http://www.hindustantimes.com/art-and-culture/this-diwali-visit-kumhar-colony-and-light-up-a-potter-s-life/story-KjpBmBLy3fOYHt8MzfQ0BI.html

Initially, they did well, but with the numbers of potters in this colony swelling, competition among themselves is hurting them real bad.

Kumhar Gram
The finished product

Tough Competition

 

The potters here live cheek by jowl and this is perhaps the greatest barrier to their success. Buyers of their products who come from Dwarka and other neighborhoods from Delhi are able to drive a hard bargain with these sellers.

kUMHAR gRAM
Perfect Circles

‘There is little differentiation on offer here,’ rues Prajapati. People here are used to making the same style of diyas and other forms of pottery, he explains.

Kumhar Gram
Playing the game-A young boy takes a shot with his marbles.

Even though the potters spend a little fortune on making their superbly designed products, their average price realization is very low. Interestingly, the demand for these products shoots up during Diwali or the Festival of Lights. Domestic buyers don’t find value in what we lovingly make, laments Prajapati.

But the silver lining is that foreign buyers find these products delightful and reflective of Indian culture. The price that they get from international travelers coming to this part of Delhi is very attractive.So, the obvious strategy is that the potters of Kumhar Gram should look out for foreign buyers.

Too lazy

 

It is not that the Government of India has not encouraged the potters of this village from adopting new marketing practices. Prajapati’s wife is also a National Awardee. He has been sent abroad by the Government on several sponsored trips several times to showcase his products.

Kumhar Gram
Whiling away the time by gambling!

But Prajapati and his wife are exceptions here. Most of the people whom we spoke to were reluctant in taking part in Government sponsored workshops and training sessions.

‘There is little value in attending these sessions,’ says Ram Prakash. ‘We will have to shut down our factories for a day or two and we will lose business, ‘ he says.

Kumhar Gram
One of the ‘factories’ in Kumhar Gram

I think it is more about their mental inertia. Perhaps they think that the village headman will teach them this art and craft and make money. After all, Harkishan Prajapati is like the Moses of this community.

Modern Times at Kumhar Gram?

 

If you thought that the youth of this colony will take up this ancient art and craft of their ancestors, then perish this thought. Many of them want to join the swelling ranks of IT workers, Uber drivers and government employed peons. For them, pottery is a dying art with little revenue potential. It isn’t glamorous either for a generation that is very much into mobile phones, internet, cricket, and movies.

Kumhar Gram
Waiting for the customer!

Fortunately, several organizations are offering their helping hands to the Kumhar Gram community to make pottery more relevant and profitable in these modern times.

Monica from Sharada University wants to change the community’s attitude toward this dying art. Armed with a sheaf of papers and a pen, she goes from house to house in this village, convincing elders and youngsters to join a training program.

Kumhar Gram
That is Monica from Sharda University

‘The training program will help you find new markets and earn better profits, ‘ she explains to a bunch of curious onlookers. She repeats these lines many times as she visits houses and speaks to the ladies and men of this community. Monica is fairly successful in her efforts. More than 100 people consent to attending that training program, but she has doubts.

Kumhar Gram
Sonu and I

‘I wonder how many will actually pick up the phone when I call them up, ‘ she says. But, she is hopeful, nevertheless about the success of her mission.

Sonu, in the picture above, represents a young breed of potters who can revive this ancient art by making use of technology and new marketing platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.

His village has turned into a mini-tourist attraction for all those Delhiites who want to explore the city and move outside their air-conditioned cubicles. And therein lies another profitable opportunity.

Meanwhile, the potters of Kumhar Gram are still waiting for their Messiah to come and deliver them from their self -inflicted poverty.

Kumhar Gram reserachers
The team researchers from Sharda University

Would you be interested in contributing towards the welfare of the potters of Kumhar Gram?

Or would you like to buy some good quality pottery from this place? If yes, please write me an e-mail and I will connect you with some of the better-known potters here.

Thanks for reading this post.

 

Delhi weekend events-Sufi Nights,walks,concerts, theater and more

One of these Delhi weekend events is about a woman who has to manage her husband, lover, kid, a perverted brother-in-law and a nosy neighbor.

I hope you will like some of these events in Delhi.

A small request; if you think there is an event or a cultural evening in Delhi that has not been included here, please drop me an e-mail.

Delhi weekend events

 

Heritage and History Walks

 

  1. Red Fort Harem Stories- Badshahs, Begums, Princesses and the Concubines

 

One of the most exciting things to do in Delhi this week is to participate in a story-telling trip to the Delhi Red Fort.

Delhi weekend memories
These Delhi weekend events are packed with fun and happy memories

If you ask me, this one of the most exciting events this weekend in Delhi; go check it out.

Trip  Details

This Delhi weekend event is different from the rest of the tours because it focuses on real stories around the people who lived in the Delhi Red Fort.

Red Fort Baoli
This is Nicholas Forage with his friends at the secret baoli in Red Fort Delhi. It alos served as a prison.

This Delhi Red Fort tour is structured in a logical, yet interesting format so that the participants go back home as more informed students of history.

Red Foert Delhi
Lahori Gate- Red Fort
  1. We will understand the brief history of the Mughals and their relationship with the Chagtais and Timurids.
  2. The difference between a Sultan and a Badshah
  3. The Battles of Panipat and Khanua
  4. Babur and Humayun- their comparison
  5. The beautiful Gulbadan Begum and Humayun Nama
  6. Did Hamida Bano Begum really want to marry Humayun?
  7. Akbar and his relationship with his daughters and sisters
  8. Who was Jodhabai? Did she really exist?
  9. Akbar, Salim, and Anarkali- their true history as per English travelers
  10. The Jahangir- Khusro conflict; the tragic end of Manbai
  11. Noorjahan and her influence on the Mughal empire
  12. What was living in the Mughal harem like?
  13. Jahanara and Roshanara- two powerful women in the Mughal Empire
  14. Shahjahan, Aurangzeb, and Dara

    Salimgarh Museum
    Red Fort Delhi is also the site of a 3,000-year-old habitation
Red Fort Delhi
These walls of Red Fort Delhi hide several secrets

Dates- All of November, December, and January. This event does not take place on Mondays and Gazetted Holidays such as the Republic Day etc.

Timings- 9 am-12 pm

Tickets- INR 1400 per person

Inclusions- Snacks + Beverages. Exclusions- Ticket price to Red Fort Delhi

To book your tickets, click here– http://go.eventshigh.com/dkp9

In case of any problem, please contact at 91-8851367241

  • Palace of the Dead – A Trip to Humayun’s Tomb

Wondering which things to do in Delhi this weekend? Well, we have a suggestion.

Why not make a trip to the Humayun’s Tomb, also known as the Palace of the Dead!

How is this Delhi weekend event different from the others?

Humayun Tomb
You can gaze and gaze upon this building for endless hours.

Unlike the other experiences, this trip dwells more upon historical events that were centered around the Mughals.

This trip is 99 % of stories and history. You can find a lot of details about this monument by reading various guidebooks and using Google.

Humayun Tomb
Feng Li and her friends fell in love with Humayun’s Tomb when they visited it this June

This is definitely one of the best Delhi weekend events.

But what about the stories?

A lot of research has been done on this trip and all stories are backed up by research and this is is the reason why this trip is unique.

Brief history

There is a fair bit of controversy about who made this UNESCO heritage building.

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb is a favorite destination for the photographers.

Was it the first wife of Humayun or did Hamida Banu, the mother of Akbar, commission this masterpiece.?

There are no inscriptions on the grave of Humayun either.

Humayun Tomb
The Humayun Tomb complex is rich in history and architecture

Then there is an account of a French traveler to India in the 19th century who says in his book that the Humayun’s Tomb was a Vishnu Temple originally.

Whatever be the truth, this building is indeed a traveler’s delight.

Who was Humayun?

The person who is supposedly buried in this tomb is Emperor Humayun, who was the son of Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty in India.

Dates- All of November, December, January, and February. This event does not happen on Mondays and Government holidays.

Timings- 3 pm-6 pm

Ticket Price- INR 1100. This price includes- snacks and beverages but excludes ticket cost to the monument.

To book your slot, please click here- http://go.eventshigh.com/nr4s

In case of any problem related to this Delhi weekend event, please contact at 91-8851367241

  1. The Angrez, The
    Sultan
    and The Pigs-  Mehrauli Archaeological Park

 

This 3-hour heritage walk is all about the enchanting history of Delhi and is surely one of the best Delhi weekend events that you have ever attended.

Mehrauli Archaeological Park
You will return from this trip happy and relaxed

                                                                        The Sultan 

We soak in the interesting facets of Delhi’s history in this 3-hour walk through the Mehrauli Archeology Park. The trip will rummage through the forgotten, not so forgotten and the unknown chapters of Delhi history.

Delhi weekend events
What secret does this building hold?

They say that whoever bows his head to this grave meets an untimely death? Whose grave is this? And why does this grave emit that heady aroma? Who is this Sultan who rests in this grave and why is he called the Dracula of Mehrauli?

most haunted places in Shimla
These corridors in Mehrauli have haunted tales to tell

The Angrez

This ‘Angrez’ (slang for Britisher) was one of the most colorful figures of his time.

Stationed as the Agent of the Empire in the court of the Emperor, this man lived an opulent life. He needled the Mughal Badshahs and the Begums and their Vazirs by having drunken parties in the tombs of high and mighty Mughals! Who was he? And how did he die?

Mehrauli Archaeological Park
Curious travelers gather in front of an ancient palace in Mehrauli Archaeological Park

The Djinns

Do you believe in Djinns? If you do, then be mindful of the attire you wear when you visit this tomb. There are spirits that may get attracted by your perfume that you are wearing so be mindful of that too!

Rajon ki Baoli
The amazing step well at Mehrauli

We will hear and ponder on these and many other stories!

The experience will also introduce you to the Tomar, Mughal and Turk monuments, and the significance of each one of them.

Quli Khan's tomb
Quli Khan Tomb that served as a resort for honeymooners

Lastly, the experience will touch upon an interesting subject- the controversial history of Lalkot.

This walk will be an interactive storytelling session.

Dates- All of November, December, January, and February

Time- 9 am-12 pm

Tickets- INR 1000 per person. Inclusions- Snacks + Beverage

Point of Assembly- Qutub Minar Ticket Counter

Link to book tickets- http://go.eventshigh.com/42rmm

Please contact at this number to know more- 91-8851367241

Delhi weekend events-Theatre

 

For those travelers who like attending theatres and plays, here is a short list of my favorite Delhi weekend events.

  • Bhelpuri- Alliance Francaise, 72, Lodhi Road. Date- November 19, Time- 4 pm. Directed by Saleem Shah, this Hindi comedy is a satire on sex, relationships, society, Bollywood and more.Tickets- INR 250 onwards
  • Laajo- Alliance Francaise, 72, Lodhi Road, Date- November 18. Time- 7 pm. Based on Ismat Chughtai’s story, Gharwali, Laajo is a social satire that focuses on marriage as a social institution.Tickets- INR 250 onwards.
  • Men, Sex and Dhokha- Akshara Theatre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg. Date- November 23-24. Time- 7.45 pm. Watch this play, directed by RS Raghu, which is about love, hatred, betrayal, and sex among five characters whose lives are intertwined in a crooked way.
  • Lal Qile Ka Akhri Mushayra- Shri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg. Date- November 19. Time- 7 pm. Time travel to the last congregation of Urdu poets in the historic Red Fort Delhi in the year 1857 before the War of Independence broke out.Tickets- INR 200 onwards
  • Buddha Ghalib- Stein Auditorium, IHC, Lodhi Road. Date- November 19. Time-7pm. What happens when an Urdu poet presents himself as a  Ghalib fan, even though he doesn’t understand the complexities of Ghalib’s shers?Director- Ashok Lal. Tickets- INR 200-600.

Delhi weekend events that have expired

  1. Jis Ney Lahore Nahin Dekya, Woh Jamyai Nahi- India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road. Date- November 12. Time 7 pm. Hindi Drama. Directed by Arvind Gaur, this play is about a Muslim family that migrates to Lahore during the Partition and takes up residence in a haveli vacated by a Hindu family. Tickets- 100/, 200/-, 350/-
  2. Tansen-India Habitat Centre, Stein Auditorium, Lodhi Road. Date- November 11, Time- 7 pm. Directed by Govind Singh Yadav, this Hindi drama shares the interesting life history of the legendary singer, Tansen. Tickets- INRA 100-350
  3. A woman Alone- India Habitat Centre, Stein Auditorium, Lodhi Road. Date- November 12. Time-4 pm. This Hindi play relates the story of a woman who has to cope up with an abusive husband, a lover who is much younger, a peeping neighbor and a brother-in-law who is a pervert. Tickets- INR 100-350



Music Concerts
  1. Morning Raagas- Akshara Theatre, Baba Kharak Singh Marg. Legends of India presents morning raagas with Shiraz Ali Khan.
  2. Sufi Route- Qutub Minar. Date- November 18. Time- 10 pm.Listen to the captivating performances by A.R Rehman, Hans Raj Hans, Nooran Sisters, Mukhtyar Ali, Dhruv Sangari, Javed Akhtar and the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey. Tickets- INR 4,999/-
  3. Jashn-e-Qawwali- Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg. This event in Delhi features some of the legendary Qawwals in Delhi like The Nizami Brothers under one roof. Date- November 18. Time- 6.30 pm.Tickets- INR 200-300

Other Delhi weekend events

  • 11th Delhi International Arts Festival, 2017- Enjoy exhibitions, musical performances, puppet festivals, Festival of Words at several locations like -National Gallery of Modern Art, Central Park-Rajiv Chowk, India Habitat Centre, Meghdoot Theatre and other places.
  • Apni Bastee, Apna Mela- SDMC Park, Nizamuddin Bastee, Lajpat Rai Marg. Lose yourself in the bye-lanes of Nizamuddin Bastee (opposite Humayun Tomb). Learn to cook some traditional and non-vegetarian dishes in this Walk conducted by the heritage volunteers of the community. Date- November 17-19. Time – 9 a.m-4.30 pm.

 

That’s it folks for now. Please let us know any other interesting  Delhi weekend events. You may call me at 8851367241 or mail me at swayamt@gmail.com



Bye for now.

Lucknow haunted places

Lucknow haunted places-don’t visit them after dark

These Lucknow haunted places hadn’t captured my attention until a few days ago when I visited this city.

Lucknow, down the ages

 

For those of you who live away from India, Lucknow is the capital of the largest state of the Indian Union, Uttar Pradesh. The history of this haunted city is very old and according to some historians, Lucknow was founded by the younger brother of Lord Rama, Lakshman.

Lucknow is associated more with its Shia rulers than with Lakshman and other non-Muslim kings. This city passed into the hands of the British after the fall of the last Nawab, Wajid Ali Shah, in 1857. That year also saw a bitter battle between Indians who aspired for independence and their British masters.

Lucknow formally became the capital of Uttar Pradesh after a few years of the independence of India in 1947.

What are the top Lucknow haunted places?

 

Being an ancient town, Lucknow has many haunted and ghostly places. Many such sites are associated with the Britishers and the Muslim kings of the Awadh region.

Let us have a look at the top Lucknow haunted places.

  1. The Residency

 

This desolate and sad place was the residence of the British Agent to the Court of the   Nawab of Awadh.The last British resident or agent who lived in this house was General Outram.

In the battle of 1857 and 1858, this house was attacked by the rebel Indian soldiers and as a result, many English men and women were killed. Today, this building looks devastated, there are no roofs and doors here and the whole place looks spooky. Local people insist that in the nights they hear anguished voices of the dead men, women, and children.

Lucknow haunted places
The Lucknow Residency is one of the most haunted places in the city.

They also say that in the evenings, a white child often follows passersby and requests them to take him home.

Recently, the Archaeological Survey of India has found out some figures made of terracotta, a fly whisk, some plates, a wine bottle and a few other interesting things.

A visit to the Lucknow Residency would be incomplete without entering the Tehkhana or the Basement. Many British women and their young kids lost their lives during the fateful days of June and July of  1857. These people had hidden in this place after being wounded by bullets and cannonballs. Today, when you enter this basement, you feel as if those dead women and children are staring at you from the corners!

The Battle of Lucknow was captured by the famous British poet, Lord Tennyson in one of his poems.

I would rank the Lucknow Residency as on top of the  Lucknow haunted places list.

  • OEL House

 

Even I, who has a house in Lucknow, was surprised to know that the OEL House is haunted. But, what and where is this building?

OEL House haunted in Lucknow
Who can imagine that this beautiful house was a haunted place until a few years back?

This grand building is the residence of the Vice-Chancellor of Lucknow University. More than 100 years back, it was the house of the Nawab of Awadh.



They say that the OEL House used to be haunted until a few years back. There is a well within the campus of this building and during the 1857 war, a number of dead soldiers were dumped into it. Their spirits and souls used to roam around and torment the local residents.

Since you are so interested in the haunted places of Lucknow, why don’t uou read this interesting stuff on Shimla as well? most haunted places in Shimla

It is also said that one day, the young child of the driver of the VC of the University was throwing pebbles into the well. This action enraged the spirits and the ghouls who later caused the death of that unfortunate child. Initially, the father of the dead child did not believe that it was the handiwork of the bad spirits but later, he got the well sealed to prevent any further unnatural deaths.

I think I will visit this haunted place next time when I go to Lucknow.

  1. Charbagh Railway Station

 

Who can imagine that this beautiful building at Charbagh is one of the most haunted places in Lucknow? Every day, hundreds of trains arrive and depart from this beautiful railway station. Several thousand passengers and travelers enter the majestic gates of this handsome building and add to the chaos here. The roar of the engines mixes with the shouts and cries of the travelers here to a great extent.

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The Railway Quarters at Charbagh Railway Station. Creds- YouTube

So why is this building in the list of Lucknow haunted places?

More than a hundred years ago, here, in one of the turrets, lived a Railway engineer whose name was Turner. He was married to an extremely beautiful English woman and both were deeply in love with one another.

It must be noted that Mr. Turner had married late in his life so there was a substantial age difference between him and his wife.

Unfortunately, this love did not last long; it ended in a tragedy.

One day, Mr. Turner discovered that his darling wife was having an affair with another Railway employee. Enraged, Mr. Turner drew out his pistol and shot the two lovers dead. Later on, he committed suicide.

Today, more than a hundred years after their horrific deaths, their angry and dissatisfied spirits roam inside that turret of this beautiful railway station.

  1. Balrampur Hospital

 

This was another surprise to me. All this while, I had imagined that this hospital has everything about medicines, doctors, and patients.

I was proven wrong.

It so turned out that this hospital is also a haunted place.

More than a hundred years ago, when a piece was land was donated to build this hospital, little did anyone know that there were a couple of graves on that plot.Nobody knew whose graves were those.

Balrampur Hospital haunted in lucknow
An old image of Balrampur Hospital in Lucknow

One day, after the hospital was built, a woman was brought into the hospital for a suspected case of appendicitis. The doctor was away and there was no way of reaching him as there were no telephones at that time. The woman was in deep pain and everyone was thinking that the lady would soon die.

As her relatives waited for the doctor to arrive, they saw two men in doctors’ uniforms come in and take the woman to the operation theatre. Next day, the relatives found the patient  in perfect health. However, the two doctors were never found.

There were no doctors that fateful night in that hospital! So who were they? Nobody knows about them even today.

Could it be that those two were the two British doctors whose graves lay in that vacant plot?

  1. Sikandar Bagh, one of the topmost Lucknow haunted places

 

I had always sense that this famous garden in Lucknow had some eerie quality about it.

A few days back, my suspicion was confirmed that Sikandar Bagh is indeed a haunted and ghostly place.

Image result for flickr images of Sikandar Bagh Lucknow
Sikandar Bagh  is located near to the Gomti river in Lucknow. Creds-Pinterest

In the War of Independence that took place in 1857, 72 Britishers and more than 2,000 Indians lost their lives here.

The Britishers won that War and cremated their fallen comrades with dues respect. However, these people did not allow a proper cremation of the dead Indian soldiers! Their bodies were left to rot and be eaten by vultures, dogs, and other wild animals! Such, was their depth of hostility.

Image result for flickr images of Sikandar Bagh Lucknow
Sikandar Bagh was so named by the last Nawab of Awadh in memory of his favorite wife

Until a few years back, it was said that the spirits of the dead soldiers used to roam in this beautiful park. I would rate Sikandar Bagh as one of the most Lucknow haunted places.

Now that I have aroused your curiosity in this timeless city, let me help you in reaching here.

How to reach Lucknow?

 

There ate many trains that connect Lucknow with Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Agra, and Hyderabad. Consult this website www.irctc.co.in to book your train tickets to Lucknow.

If you want to save time and reach there quickly, then a couple of websites that you can visit for booking flights; www.makemytrip.com and www.yatra.com. Yes, Lucknow is very well-connected too.

Where to stay in Lucknow?

 

The best hotel in Lucknow definitely is the Taj Palace. Another good hotel is The Carlton. This hotel was formerly a palace and you will immediately fall in love with it upon checking in.

The best time to visit Lucknow is from October to March when the weather is cool.

Did you like this post on Lucknow haunted places? Would you like me to add some more places to this list?

Please let me know.

 

 

Varanasi festivals- The stories of Dev Dipawali and Kartik Purnima

These Varanasi festivals like Dev Dipawali and Kartik Purnima will delight you no end. If you are in Banaras (Varanasi) right now, then you must immediately reach the banks of the Ganga. Fabulous sights and experiences await you.

Image result for flickr Dev Diwali
India is never short of lights and colors. Creds- Livemint.com

Varanasi festivals- let’s explain some terms

 

The word Dev means god or gods. Dipawali means ‘ a row of lamps’. ‘Kartik’ is a month (roughly corresponding to October/November) of the Hindu calendar, while ‘Purnima’ refers to the night of the full moon. So here we are, Dev Dipawali is a festival of lights in honor of gods and is celebrated in October/November, each year. Of course, it should be a full moon night on the day of the festival.

I won’t give anymore gyan on this subject. Have a look at some of the images that I have sourced from Flickr.com. Thanks, Flickr.

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The hauntingly beautiful ghats of Varanasi on Dev Dipawali

Though the traditional Dipawali just passed us a few weeks back, the ancient city of Varanasi has its own version of this festival.

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The ghats on the Ganga come alive on Dev Dipawaliwith thousands of lamps

Isn’t this surreal? Can you see those people standing on the waters holding big lamps and praying to the gods in the sky?

And many thanks, Anoop Keshari for this wonderful snap.

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It is hoped that the gods above in the skies bless us after these prayers

Story of Dev Dipawali

 

There are two reasons why this festival is celebrated in Varanasi this day.

According to one story, Dev Diwali is celebrated to remember the victory of Lord Shiva over the demon, Tripurasur. This rakshas or demon was a combination of three demons, actually.

If you have been following my blog, you will remember that Lord Shiva is also considered as the God of Death. Varanasi is HIS city. It is Shiva who brings people alive and it is HE alone who takes away their lives.

Another story about Dev Diwali goes like this. One day, Sage Vishwamitra thought that the gods needed to be punished. He then decided to send his disciple, Trishanku to heaven and take over its affairs.

The gods became afraid and thought of preventing Trishanku from entering their kingdom. As Trishanku was preparing to enter the heavens, he was stopped mid-way by the devas or the gods.

Now Trishanku had nowhere to go. He stood suspended in the sky for many years. Vishwamitra would not let him come back to the earth and the gods would not budge, either.

Frustrated, Vishwamitra then decided to create a new heaven altogether. He had the yogic powers to do so after all!

When the devas came to know about it, they pleaded with the Sage and after some time, a solution was reached between him and the gods. So, Dev Diwali celebrates that particular occasion when a peace agreement was reached at between the devas and the Rishi.

It is said that on Dev Diwali, humans and gods celebrate the occasion together. Interesting, isn’t it?

Image result for Varanasi pinterest dev diwali

Go to any part of Varanasi today and you will find all the homes lit up like this.

Now that you have read about this Varanasi festival, you must know about how to reach the city and where to stay.

How to reach Varanasi?

 

  1. Train- I would recommend that you take a train to this city. There is good connectivity to Varanasi with Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and other major Indian cities. Aggod website for making reservations is https://www.irctc.co.in/eticketing/loginHome.jsf  
  • Flight- If you don’t have time and would like to fly into Varanasi then there are a couple of online travel companies like www.makemytrip.com or Cleartrip. You can also book your tickets at Jet Airways, Indigo, Spicejet and of course, the state-owned Air India.

Where to stay in Varanasi?

 

So that’s it, folks. Did you like this article on Varanasi festivals?

Bihu

Indian Travel Stories come alive on India Gate lawns this October

 

This October, Indian government did a great job of making  the Indian travel stories come alive on the India Gate lawns.

 

Have a look at some of the pictures and videos in this article. The idea is to not just share Indian travel destinations but to present India by way of its music, food , dance and yes, colors.

India Travel Stories
Beats of India
Indian Travel Stories
We love dancing

We love dancing. Dancing is into our DNA. At the drop of a hat, we would love to dance even though we have two left feet.

Indian Travel Stories
The drums may have fallen silent, but we are always ready for the drum beats

 

India has 28 states, and each state has a unique music tradition of its own. Look at these singers from Rajasthan- one of the most colorful states of India.

Indian Travel Stories
Look at their colorful headgear

There are two main instruments being played here- Phad or Fad and Dholak.

Now, have a look at these lady dancers from Rajasthan who are dancing with pitchers on their heads!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, have a look at these handsome men from another part of India displaying their dance skills.

Paryatan Parv

These dancers from the southern part of India.

Indian Travel Stories
What colors!

Now let us catch a few glimpses of some dances from up north.

Indian culture
Folk dancers from Jammu

The man is saying to the young woman that he won’t drink water unless he finally marries her! These artistes are from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

There is another picture of these artistes.

I like their colourful parasols.

You may also read about a popular dance form called Kathak here…http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/krishnas-celestial-dance-maha-raas/

India Travel Stories and food

 

No Indian travel story is complete without food. A few states like Kerala, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh had put up their stalls on this occasion.

Indian Travel Stories
Khatiya

Another name of this ‘bed’ is cot. People in small villages and towns across India sit on these cots and talk, eat, and generally have fun. The strands of a khatiya are made of jute.

But we digress…we should be talking about food in this section.

Indian Street Food
Laddoos

No one can have just one laddoo. Made of corn/maize powder, a laddoo is easy to make and is yummy to eat. Many Hindus offer laddoos to gods as offerings.

Indian Street Food
Kachoris

Kachoris are my favorite snack. These ones are deep fried and sinful to eat….Costing INR 50, these surely were quite costly for me ))

Street Food
Rabri

Ok, ok, I am not a food photographer, but I am sure this Rabri will make you say slurp slurp.

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The superlicious, tastylicious samosas

Samosas are the most popular street food in the whole of North India. Many years ago, I used to have 2 samosas daily!

Indian Travel Stories
Funny man

This Rajasthani man is one Mr. Gupta and he was selling his street food there. When I requested him for his photograph, he readily agreed and gave his best shot. Look at his turban.

Indian Street Food
Seller of dry fruits
Mango juice
Mango juice

This stall was selling juice from raw mangoes. Juice from raw mango helps people cope with heat in the summers.

I clicked several pictures yesterday and now I find difficult to select the best out of them.

Some more pics follow;

A perfect background for taking selfies.

Paryatan Parv
Paryatan Parv

These two words mean A Festival of Travel.

Bihu
What a beautiful frame it is !

Bihu is a dance form from Assam. Do you want to know more about it? Click here> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bihu_dance

That’s it folks!

I hope you liked this post on Indian Travel Stories.

Lodi Gardens Delhi – magic and much more during this time of the year

A few days back, I got the chance of visiting the famous Lodi Gardens Delhi. Have you visited this park, yet? No? I would strongly recommend you to spend a few quiet hours in this glorious place along with your family. Weekends would be fine but this beautifully landscaped garden is visited by thousands of people even during the weekdays.

Lodi Gardens Delhi as a battlefield

 

Not many people know that this park was the site of a major battle several hundreds of years ago between the forces of Timur Lame and the Sultan of Delhi. After that battle- which was won by Timur- Delhi lost more than 100,000 citizens in a massacre ordered by the victor.

I have taken some images of this garden, I hope you will like them.

Lodi Gardens Delhi
Nature and History come together in the Lodi Gardens Delhi

These images were taken at 11 AM, so there is a little bit of haziness in them.

Lodi Gardens Delhi
These buildings are tombs and contain graves of long-dead Muslim kings
Lodi Gardens Delhi
Park for different reasons
Lodi Gardens Delhi
Picture Perfect
Lodi Gardens Delhi
Interesting architecture

All the buildings in the Lodi Gardens Delhi display elements of Hindu architecture. For example, in the above image, the gateway is Hindu in origin. In my opinion, the Muslim Sultans converted the existing Hindu temples and palaces into Muslim tombs.

Do you agree?

Look at this window, also called as a jharokha, in Hindi/ Sanskrit.

Lodi Gardens Delhi
Jharokha

This jharokha is a typical Hindu style window. Perhaps there was a Hindu palace here which was later converted into a tomb.

A magic of a pond

 

This wonderful garden has a small but enchanting lake as well. Relax yourself by watching the ducks come very close to you and raise a holler.

Lodi Gardens Delhi
Kid-friendly

And if you want to lose yourself in the greenery of this wonderful garden, then go ahead and hide.

Lodi Gardens Delhi

 

Krishna’s celestial dance Maha Raas and the fascinating story behind it

This is that part of the year when the whole world waits to watch Krishna’s celestial dance Maha Raas with its naked eyes.

I am not kidding but it is believed in many parts of India that Lord Krishna actually comes down to  Earth in His mortal body and dances with Gopies!

Read this article to understand the philosophical meaning of this legend.

Krishna's celestial dance Maha Raas
Maha Raas- The word means ‘Great Dance’

Actually, I should have written about this fascinating story a couple of years ago but God knows why I did not pen it down.

You know who Lord Krishna is, right?

For the benefit of my overseas readers, Krishna is the eighth avatar of Vishnu. I am writing about Him in the present tense because, though, He lived and died several thousand years ago, Krishna lives on in the hearts and minds of billions of people the world over.

Maha Raas
Krishna’s celestial dance Maha Raas- These are Gopies or maidens. Philosophically speaking, Gopies represent us or Atmas.

Some people, particularly the ladies, consider Him to be a bubbly child, whereas others consider him to to be the perfect human being. For them, Krishna is devoid of desires, greed and other human imperfections. He was the embodiment of God or Bramha or Parmatma who came down to Earth to teach us about how to lead a good and virtuous life.

Krishna’s celestial dance Maha Raas

 

Every year, millions of Indians believe that Krishna comes back to Earth during these days of the autumn season and dances with His Gopies.

Krishna's celestail dance Maha Raas
This form of dance is called Kathak which means ‘of stories’

I think this is just a legend and nothing else. This legend has a philosophical underpinning that I will explain to you, but first, let me explain the meaning of ‘Gopies’.

Gopies

 

This word means young maidens and girls in a simple sense. But do you think that Krishna would come down to Earth simply to dance merrily with young nubile girls?

No.

Krishna is Parmatma or Supreme Being. Gopies are us the atmans of us mortal beings. We yearn to become one with God or Parmatma. We are unsuccessful in our attempt to become one with Paramatma because our atma is covered up with desires, wants, greed, lust, anger etc.

Until we remove these bad qualities from our persona, we will never be able to achieve Nirvana or Moksha. The ultimate aim of every human being is to become one with Paramatma but for most of us, this task is near impossible.

So, when Krishna comes down to Earth to dance with his Gopies, it essentially means that the Lord is trying to help us become better human beings so that we can become one with Him. Unless we consciously remove our vices, we will never succeed in our efforts.

Watch this video and you will be zapped by this unknown facet of Indian culture ;

This is my interpretation. There can be thousands of other interpretations and each one of them may have a ring of truth to it.

Krishna's celestial dance Maha Raas
Krishna is with me, you and everyone here. We just have to call Him for help

Let’s read an interesting story about Krishna’s celestial dance Maha Raas

 

My dear Robert, John, Joseph, Lisa etc, what if I told that Krishna actually dances with the ladies these days in a secluded garden located in Central India?

You’d be zapped, isn’t it?

Well yes, many people believe that during this time of the year, Krishna cavorts and plays with his favorite Gopies in a small park in Vrindavan. This ancient town, Vrindavan is roughly 160 kilometers from Delhi.

Intruders turn to stone!

 

Yes, the same people believe that gatecrashers to this park- Nidhivan- face a terrible punishment for this crime. All of these ‘ unwanted guests’ turn to stone!

All of these ‘ unwanted guests’ turn to stone and nobody is spared.

You know what? I have been trying to visit this park for many years but I guess, Lord Krishna does not want me to visit this place.

You may want to read more about this fascinating Nidhivan here  http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/amazing-destinations-of-india-hauntingly-beautiful-vrindavan/

Would you like to see Nidhivan? Let me know so we can plan a visit to this interesting place.

Carrying the Indian culture forward

 

I wrote this post on Maha Raas because I feel that more and more number of Indians and people living outside must know about it. Though Kathak is a popular form of dance, yet many people do not really know about Krishna’s celestial dance.

I will fail in my efforts if I did not tell you about the lady who is the driving force behind the Maha Raas dance. She is none other than Sushri Uma Sharma, one of the greatest experts in Kathak today. I have grown up watching her perform this dance in several shows.Read more about this wonderful person here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kum_Uma_Sharma

Uma Sharma
One of the legends in Kathak, Umaji is promoting this dance form in India for very many years.

Nearing seventy, Uma ji still looks like a sprightly 25-year-old today. Surely, it was sheer joy in watching her speak and perform a little bit yesterday.

Venue of Maha Raas

 

If you happen to be in Delhi at the time of reading this article, then you should go to the Lakshmi Narayan temple or Birla Temple. This performance starts at 6.30 and goes on till 9.30 in the night.

The last day of this dance drama will be October 7, 2017. So rush to this magnificent place with your family.

I was there yesterday and a full moon shone brightly down upon the temple spires, the sight was truly enchanting.

 

Di you like this post about Krishna’s celestial dance Maha Raas? Did I answer all your questions?

 

 

How to escape birth and death with the help of the Bank of Rama

Don’t you want to escape the cycle of birth and death?

Don’t you want to forever run away from this non-stop cycle of love, separation, anger, jealousy, greed, and attachment?

birth and death
Bank of Rama . Credits- HinduismToday.com

Who doesn’t? I, for one, would like to get salvation or, as they say, Nirvana, from this non-stop cycle of death, birth, death, and rebirth,

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If you are a Muslim or a Christian, you will find it difficult to relate to what I am saying. Non- Hindu/ Jain/ Buddhist philosophies do not believe in rebirth.

But, what if you hit upon a magic formula which makes it easy to escape this cycle? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, now it is really very easy to get salvation, moksha or nirvana.

How to escape birth and death?

You don’t have to perform mountain breaking feats for this, really. It is very easy and all you need to do is get a copy or a notebook from a bank.

This copy is available from the Bank of Rama in Ayodhya which is a city in Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya is also the birthplace of Lord Rama, the hero of Ramayana. He lived on this planet several thousands of years ago and led a virtuous life. Some people aver that He lived several hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Because of His noble deeds, Rama is considered by millions of Indians as the avatar of Vishnu who is the protector of all the living creatures. They worship Rama and try to copy His good deeds and values in order to become better human beings.

Kaliyuga and birth and death

 

You see, in India, we have divided time into four main bands. These are Krityuga, Satyuga, Dwaparyuga, and Kaliyuga. The proportion of evil increases progressively in these yugas or bands of time from Krityuga to Kaliyuga. Our present era is Kaliyuga and that is why we see so many incidents of lust, anger, greed, and other forms of violence.

Attaining moksha or liberation from the birth and death cycle is very difficult in this age because of so many distractions.

To achieve our objectives easily, our epics say that all a person has to do to attain nirvana in Kalyuga is to chant the Sitaram. You don’t have to do any other work like performing pilgrimages or fasting. Simple chanting of the name of Rama and Sita is enough. This purpose can be also be served by writing Sitaram several times on paper.

The Bank of Rama’s value proposition

 

Clearly, this is a big business idea for the Bank of Rama in Ayodhya. This bank sells copies and notebooks to anyone who is interested in writing the names of Rama and Sita. More the number of times that you write  Sitaram, the better it is for you.

So, So far, this bank has donated millions of notebooks to devotees who are spread in India, United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific. And in return, the Bank of Rama has received billions of names of Sitarama written down by His devotees in all those copies! Billions! Isn’t it amazing that faith and business come together in such a non-intrusive manner?

Now you may argue that the devotees have been conned into writing the name of Rama by this bank to make big bucks. Well, you have your own views but nobody is complaining! In fact, people have been writing the name of Rama on paper for a very long time. Even His favorite disciple, Hanumanji, is often shown writing his Lord’s name on a piece of paper. Image result for images of Hanuman writing Ram nam The Bank of Rama in Ayodhya is situated in the Mani Ram ki Chhaoni area.

Opening your account

 

To open an account, the account holder has to write “Sitaram”  500,000 times on paper and give it to the bank manager. Later, his name and address are recorded manually by the manager and an account is also created. Every account holder is also expected to write ‘Sitaram’ at least 8.4 million times to maintain his account.   This is the total number of species in the world and we as humans get our human body after living as all these species. T

The idea is that when we write ‘Sitaram’ 8.4 million times, we will never enter the cycle of death and birth again.

Image
Copies of Sitaram written in Kannada and English. Courtesy- HinduismToday.com

And if you are wondering who Sita is, then let me tell you this- She is divine energy and was the consort of Rama. Rama is incomplete without Sita, to obtain HIM, you will have to utter the name of Sita first.

Why this ‘business’?

 

This bank was founded by Mahant Nrityagopal Das, one of the most important saints of Ayodhya.

One day he realized that most people are wasting their time doing useless things like gossiping or spreading rumors. The Mahant began encouraging these people to better utilize their free time to write’ Sitaram’ on paper and improve their chances of attaining moksha. And this how this bank started its ‘business’.

The manager of this bank is a retired engineer who says that he finds joy and peace in maintaining records of all these repetitions of the word ‘Sitaram’. I am pretty much excited by the value proposition of this bank. Are you too?

There is another bank like this one in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The difference between these two banks is that the Chennai bank sells copies and textbooks. I guess it is okay to raise money for its operations. What do you think?

 

Did you like this post on birth and death?

solo women travelers

When solo women travelers confess their lives and loves with you

To be honest, I had been wanting to write about my brush with a few solo women travelers for quite some time.The thought was there but I wasn’t sure about its articulation.

I am using the word, ‘brush’ because never in my life had I expected to spend long hours with this set of people.

solo women travelers
Many of my solo women guests are professionals. Creds- The Traveling Saleswoman blog

Friends, I had never even expected that I will turn a travel professional. Writing travel stories was all I knew.Never in my wildest dreams, had I imagined that I will take women travelers around in Delhi!

But as the knowledgeable say, one doesn’t have any control over one’s destiny. The same thing applied to me as well and here I am a full fledged travel professional who takes people around historical places in Delhi.

I will not be long winded so let me come straight to the point. I am just letting you know my challenges of handling the emotional outbursts of some of my solo women guests.

Confessions of solo women travelers

 

  1. The Girl who sees ghosts

 

I am not joking with you when I tell you with all seriousness that this lady indeed communicates with spirits, ghosts, and other supernatural entities. 

I first met, N, more than three months back after she responded to one of my event calls. She wanted to explore Delhi, particularly the abandoned places of the city. N was very clear that she wanted to accompany me alone.

N was very clear that she wanted to accompany me alone.

‘No other guests’, she insisted at the time of booking the tour. I made a feeble protest but then she was clear with what she wanted. ‘Fair enough’, I replied weakly.

When the trip began, she was absolutely silent. N was hanging on to each word that I spoke. She seemed to me to be quite an impressionable student. But I felt uncomfortable. I expect my guests to be vocal. If they don’t speak up, it means I am a boring speaker.

In the second hour of the trip, N began to loosen up- what she did, where she grew, her education etc.

I was mildly amused.

A life troubled

At the beginning of the third hour, her words had started coming out in a torrent

Separated from her husband

Deep into spirituality

Troubled marriage

Abusive husband

GHOSTS

As she vented her emotions, her trials, and tribulations, I did not know what to do.

I was at a loss for words.

Should I have probed her further?

Or kept silent?

Or just maybe placed a comforting arm around her shoulders?

The last option was simply not possible.

I was plain dumbfounded as she shared the details of her troubled marriage with me. She told me she had married of her own will and had gone against her parents. A couple of years down the line, she divorced her Aussie husband.

Took up the job of an air-hostess in a major airline. Rose to the top of her department.

Quit the job.

Became spiritually inclined when she thought she was hearing voices of her dead relatives. 

  1. The Karaoke Champion

 

V had landed from a foreign country and was on her way to Ladakh when she decided to explore the Chandni Chowk area of Delhi.

Solo women travelers
Solo women travelers are starting to step out of their cocooned lives. Creds- www.the wanderlustandlipstick.com

We met at a convenient point and began walking down the crowded alleys of Old Delhi. Unlike N,  V was a quite a chatty woman. She quizzed me about the various run down buildings of the Chowk area, gazed at the attractive saris displayed in the shops and generally laughed a lot.

Did this new bride make it safely to her home ? http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/solo-travel-india-train-woman-new-bride/

A happy soul, I wondered to myself.

But was she a chirpy soul really?

I was in for some shock treatment.

V pretended to be happy. Like N, she too was separated from her hubby, had two grown up kids and worked in a foreign country.

Battered

Bruised

Abusive husband

Kids indifferent to her

Parents dead set against her divorce

SEXUALLY ABUSED IN CHILDHOOD 

This time, I had readied myself for this kind of an emotional fusillade. Patiently, I heard all her outpourings.

She told me she was a Science topper in her school.

Met Barrack Obama as part of her MBA course

Was a Karaoke champ in her office

Worked in a Big 4 consulting company


I must say that these two outings with these solo women travelers have been kind of an eye-opener to me. But some questions still trouble me;

Do most solo women travelers escape their lives by traveling alone?

Just why do they trust a stranger ( in this case it was me) and share their precious secrets with him?

Do you have any answers?

And since you are here reading up to this, hopefully, a wonderful account of these two wonderful ladies, let me recommend a few blogs of some remarkable solo women travelers.

  1. https://lakshmisharath.com/
  2. http://traveltalesfromindia.in/
  3. http://www.maverickbird.com/ 
  4. https://www.inditales.com/

 

Bye.

 

 

 

The 6 cultural festivals worldwide that you cannot miss 

 

People travel for different reasons like taking part in cultural festivals worldwide or to take on an adventure. Some travellers want to try new foods and meet new people.whatever reason you have for travelling, it’s amazing to get out there and see the world. A great immersive opportunity to get involved with is a cultural festival.

Whatever reasons you have for travelling, it’s amazing to get out there and see the world. A great immersive opportunity to get involved with is a cultural festival. And around the world, there is plenty to discover.

The best cultural festivals worldwide

 

Starting with India, and then exploring elsewhere in the world, we’ll highlight some of the best cultural festivals worldwide you can get involved with. Check them out:

1.Festival of Holi

 Arguably one of India’s better-known religious celebrations, the Festival of Holi – often referred to as the festival of colour – has spread across the world. Although to experience the true cultural significance, you should visit India and their spectacular celebrations.

Cultural festivals Worldwide
                                                          Festival of Holi. 

Image Credits- Wikimedia

Holi is celebrated at the end of the winter season and typically lasts for two days. Although it celebrates religious myths and legends, Holi is best known for the main event where people throw scented coloured powder and perfume at each other.

2. Pongal Harvest Festival

As one of the biggest annual harvest celebrations, Pongal celebrations mark a period of plenty, peace and happiness. It’s held in Tamil Nadu in January. As this page on Indian festivals explains, ‘Pongal’ means the ‘boiling over’ of rice and milk – so prepare yourself for plenty of delicious food. After all, India is known for its amazing cuisine.

Pongal
Pongal is one of the greatest festivals worldwide.Image Creds-Wikimedia

3.National Cheese Festival

 If food is your thing, there are so many festivals to choose from. We’ve opted for Spain’s National Cheese Festival in Trujillo, which boasts over 300 different types of cheese. What’s more, as Escape Here say, the festival also holds a variety of workshops, tasting sessions and demonstrations. It’s no surprise that it attracts upwards of 100,000 international cheese-lovers, Truly, this is one of the greatest cultural festivals worldwide.

 

cultural festivals worldwide
                       National Cheese Festival.Image Creds- Pixabay

4.Naadam Festival

 In Mongolia, there’s an ancient cultural spectacle dominated by performances of archery, wrestling and bareback horse riding. Held in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, it offers a unique insight into the Mongolian way of life. Naadam Festival is closely related to the history and culture of the culture.

Nadaam Festival
Nadaam Festival. Creds- Wikimedia

As this blog on the history says, it celebrates the many talents of the people, including strength, movement and flexibility revealed in their wrestling skills, their eye-sight and hand-orientation is shown in their spear-throw and archery skills, and patience and bravery in their horse training skills. Be prepared to be impressed.

 

5.Glastonbury

 It might not have religious significance, but Glastonbury has arguably become a cultural event for many people. The most popular music festival in the world takes place in the British countryside and attracts thousands of people every year. In fact, tickets sell out in minutes. Expect crowds, mud and some of the best live music you’ll ever hear.

Glastonbury
Glastonbury Festival.Creds- Coco Magazine

6.St Patrick’s Day

 An important cultural and religious celebration, St Patrick’s Day marks the death of the foremost patron saint of Ireland. On the 17th March, you could have an absolutely great time celebrating in a way only the Irish can. However, some experts suggest heading to the US, where some people might just care more about being Irish than the Irish themselves.

Image result for Wikimedia images of St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick’s Day. Creds- Wikimedia

 Highlights include the green-stained river in Chicago, the famous parade in New York and the huge crowds in Boston, where 16% of residents claim Irish origins.

 

What cultural events have you attended around the world? Share your recommendations and experiences with us.