Best things to do in Delhi this weekend

Best things to do in Delhi this weekend

Rajasthani dance

Did you know that there is an ancient piece of wall in Mehrauli which is more than 1000-years old?

It is called Lalkot and it is surrounded by forests and other ancient monuments. You may even find some jackals, peacocks, and other wild animals in this trip. Let us climb these walls in the morning and marvel at the surrounding Delhi scenery.

What we will do- Hear stories about the First city of Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan and Sanyogita and the history of Delhi.

Time of Trip- 9 am

Day- December 16/17/23/24/30/31

January-6/7/13/14/20/21/27/28

Place to assemble- Qutub Minar Parking lot

How to reach- Yellow Line Metro or Car. Get down at the Qutub Minar Metro station.

What to wear- Please put on a sturdy pair of shoes.

What else to carry- Water Bottle

Duration- 2 hours

Kid friendly?- Yes

Price per Person- Rs. 850/-

To book, please e-mail me at swayamt@gmail.com/ call-9810840763

Are snacks available at this price- Yes. Coffee Samosas/ Sandwich

Trip to Haunted Fort of Feroze Shah Kotla 

Visit this amazing palace and see how people try to make ghosts and djinns happy. This haunted place is next to the famous Feroze Shah Kotla cricket stadium on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg.

What we will do- take a tour of this enchanting place, and listen to the stories about Feroze Shah. Look inside the various rooms of this fort which are ‘haunted’. We will also visit the Ashoka Pillar in this complex.

Time of Trip- 9 am

I guess it is one of the most exciting things to do in Delhi on weekends.

Dates of Trip- December 16/17/23/24/30/31

January-6/7/13/14/20/21/27/28

What to wear- Please wear comfortable clothes and ensure to cover your arms and legs.

What to carry- Water bottles and cameras. And yes, a lot of smiles

How to reach the venue- Take a car or the Metro. Get down at the Delhi Gate Metro Station and take a walk to the venue.

Is parking available at the Fort- Yes.

Price Per Person- Rs. 1000/-

For bookings, please e-mail me at swayamt@gmail.com or call me at 9810840763

Is it kid friendly- Yes

Heritage Walk in Mehrauli Archaeological Park

Do you know that there is a cute park next to the Qutab Minar which contains several old monuments? Moms will find this park extremely interesting for their kids. Take photos, listen to interesting stories about the history of Delhi, and explore old monuments.

Time of Trip- 9 am

Duration- 3 hours

Dates- December 16/17/23/24/30/31

January-6/7/13/14/20/21/27/28

What to wear- sturdy pair of shoes

Anything to carry?- Water bottle

Snacks? Yes. We will have coffee and snacks ( samosas/ sandwiches)

How to reach the venue?- You can take the Metro (Yellow Line) or arrive by car. Get down at the Qutab Minar Metro Station and walk down to the Mehrauli Archaeological Park.

Is parking available?- Yes

To book the tour, please e-mail at swayamt@gmail.com or call at 9810840763

Price- Rs. 1,500 per person

Price inclusions- Snacks ( Coffee/ Tea/ Samosas/ Sandwiches)?

That’s it, folks!

Hope to see you in one of these walks.

 

Rajasthani dance

Top exciting things to do in Delhi on weekends for kids and youngsters

Hey kids and their moms, read this post on exciting things to do in Delhi on weekends. Looks like your boredom has been sorted!

Qutb Minar
The Nissan global leadership team at Qutb Minar

Top exciting things to do in Delhi on weekends for kids and youngsters

Trip to Lalkot

Did you know that there is an ancient piece of wall in Mehrauli which is more than 1000-years old?

It is called Lalkot and it is surrounded by forests and other ancient monuments. You may even find some jackals, peacocks, and other wild animals in this trip. Let us climb these walls in the morning and marvel at the surrounding Delhi scenery.

exciting things to do in Delhi on weekends
Yes, we have forests like these in the heart of Delhi!

It is said that the walls of Lalkot are built on gold and silver paved roads!

Image result for flickr images of Sanjay Van

What we will do- Hear stories about the First city of Delhi, Prithviraj Chauhan and Sanyogita and the history of Delhi.

Time of Trip- 9 am

Image result for flickr images of Sanjay Van
Don’t get surprised to meet Nilgais in Sanjay Van

 

Day- December 16/17/23/24/30/31

January-6/7/13/14/20/21/27/28

Place to assemble- Qutub Minar Parking lot

How to reach- Yellow Line Metro or Car. Get down at the Qutub Minar Metro station.

What to wear- Please put on a sturdy pair of shoes.

What else to carry- Water Bottle

Duration- 2 hours

Kid friendly?- Yes

Price per Person- Rs. 850/-

To book, please e-mail me at swayamt@gmail.com/ call-9810840763

Are snacks available at this price- Yes.Coffee Samosas/ Sandwich



What to do in Delhi on weekends

Trip to Haunted Fort of Feroze Shah Kotla 

Visit this amazing palace and see how people try to make ghosts and djinns happy. This haunted place is next to the famous Feroze Shah Kotla cricket stadium on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg.

What we will do- take a tour of this enchanting place, and listen to the stories about Feroze Shah. Look inside the various rooms of this fort which are ‘haunted’. We will also visit the Ashoka Pillar in this complex.

Image result for flickr images of Feroz Shah Kotla
One of the haunted rooms of Feroze Shah Kotla

Time of Trip- 9 am

I guess it is one of the most exciting things to do in Delhi on weekends.

Dates of Trip- December 16/17/23/24/30/31

January-6/7/13/14/20/21/27/28

What to wear- Please wear comfortable clothes and ensure to cover your arms and legs.

What to carry- Water bottles and cameras. And yes, a lot of smiles

How to reach the venue- Take a car or the Metro. Get down at the Delhi Gate Metro Station and take a walk to the venue.

Is parking available at the Fort- Yes.

Image result for flickr images of Feroz Shah Kotla
The ruined Jama Majid of Feroze Shah Kotla

Duration- 2 hours

Image result for flickr images of Feroz Shah Kotla
This Ashokan Pillar at Feroze Shah Kotla is more than 2000 years old!

Price Per Person- Rs. 1000/-

For bookings, please e-mail me at swayamt@gmail.com or call me at 9810840763

Is it kid friendly- Yes

Heritage Walk in Mehrauli Archaeological Park

Do you know that there is a cute park next to the Qutab Minar which contains several old monuments? Moms will find this park extremely interesting for their kids. Take photos, listen to interesting stories about the history of Delhi, and explore old monuments.

Time of Trip- 9 am

Duration- 3 hours

Dates- December 16/17/23/24/30/31

January-6/7/13/14/20/21/27/28

What to wear- sturdy pair of shoes

Anything to carry?- Water bottle

Snacks? Yes. We will have coffee and snacks ( samosas/ sandwiches)

Rajon ki Baoli
Won’t you like to take a stroll in this haunted baoli

How to reach the venue?- You can take the Metro (Yellow Line) or arrive by car. Get down at the Qutab Minar Metro Station and walk down to the Mehrauli Archaeological Park.

exciting things to do in Delhi on weekends
This Baoli is an excellent venue for interesting conversations

Is parking available?- Yes

To book the tour, please e-mail at swayamt@gmail.com or call at 9810840763

Price- Rs. 1,500 per person

Price inclusions- Snacks ( Coffee/ Tea/ Samosas/ Sandwiches)?

That’s it, folks!

Hope to see you in one of these walks.

You may also read http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/haunted-places-in-gurgaon-freeze-blood/

 

hauinted places in Gurgaon

These haunted places in Gurgaon will freeze your blood, they are so scary

These haunted places in Gurgaon look very normal during the day-hours. But during nights, they turn into black-holes; full of mystery.

haunted places in Gurgaon
This is the photo of a real ghost. Image Creds- Wikimedia

It is likely that you might be crossing these areas every day during your office commute and would be unaware of their sordid past.

Haunted places in Gurgaon- which are they?

MG Road- where a dead woman roams

If you are driving on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road at 12 in the night, never ever stop near the Sultanpur Metro station. At that hour, she arrives.

Who is She?

Draped in a white saree, she is a young woman who is waiting for you near the Sultanpur Station.

haunted places in Guragaon
Never ever stop to offer a lift to this white dressed woman

As you pass by this place, she will get up and appear on the footpath, waving at you. This white saree draped woman is 25 year -old and is extremely good looking. Except that she doesn’t have any expressions on her face.

‘Help,’ she will say in English,’ I want a lift back home, please stop!’

Don’t!

For, she is the spirit of a woman who was knocked down by speeding truck several years ago 

The employee who never was

Saffron BPO is one of the most respected companies in Gurugram, aka Gurgaon. It has happy employees, a nice office and is located bang in the middle of New Gurgaon.

But, let me tell you a scary secret.

The office of this company is one of the most haunted places in Gurgaon.

Don’t believe it?

Don’t believe in ghosts? Then read this article and you will start believing in them

Then talk to the guard who lives in this company’s parking lot.

He will tell you a terrible secret.

This office is built on top of a graveyard!

Yes, and until a few years ago, the ghost of a dead employee used to work in this Company.

Rose, yes, Rose was her name and she was among the best employees of Saffron BPO, Gurgaon.

She was a pretty girl and almost everyone wanted to date her.

haunted places in Gurgaon
Image Creds- MentalFloss

But one day, she mysteriously vanished from the office. Nobody knew where she went and what was the reason, but her colleagues were flummoxed.

One day, they visited her house in Dwarka and checked up with her parents.

‘Are you asking about Rose?’, her parents enquired.

‘Yes, and we can’t find her.’

‘But, how can you? Rose has been dead for more than 10 years now!’



The haunted school near Cyber City

I used to work in the Cyber City until a few years back and still remember crossing a school on my way to the office.

Something about that office always bothered me, but I wasn’t sure what? There was always a forlorn look about the school and the building looked weird to me.

haunted places in Guragon
These flickering lights hide some terrible secrets

A few months back I learned why this school had a ghostly look.

Apparently, some spirits of dead people wander in this building even today. Seems there was a property dispute among the owners; one argument led to another and all this finally culminated to murder.

When the school was set up, the authorities appointed some guards to look after the building.

But you know what happened to them?


All of them fled from the school a few days back!

‘We can’t work there in the nights because we hear strange voices in the nights like screams, crying, talking, fighting etc. ‘ 

The Ghost Car that kills

haunted places in Gurgaon
Is this man a ghost?

Now this one is real.

If you are driving around during the night in Sector 15 of Gurgaon and happen to see a car driving like crazy, then don’t follow it.

Never ever follow it!

Many locals have tried following this ghost car and ended up crashing into a barrier, and the car is nowhere to be seen!

Is this car really driven by a ghost?

People say, yes!

These haunted places in Mussoorie will make you pee in your pants

Did you like this post on haunted places in Gurgaon?Would you like to accompany me to a tour of haunted places in Delhi and around? Please contact me in that case.

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Mussorie haunted places

These Mussoorie haunted places will make you pee in your pants

These are some of the scariest Mussoorie haunted places that even Ruskin Bond writes about!

If you are traveling to the Queen of Hills, then bookmark this post- it will help you in many ways.

I challenge you to visit even one of these without wetting your pants! If you succeed, I will pay you a thousand Indian Rupees.

Before I start with this article on some of the most haunted places in Mussoorie, let me tell you why do I write about all this.

Simple answer:

I want you safe. No ghost should ever come near you and trouble your soul.

Do I believe in ghosts? Yes.

Have I seen one? No.

Mussoorie haunted places

 Pari Tibba

Mussoorie haunted places
Image Creds- www.towno.in

Have you read a book on Mussoorie haunted places by Ruskin Bond? He has written about this haunted place in his book,’ The Rupa Book of Haunted Houses’.

For people who do not know Mr. Bond, he is a very popular writer of short stories.

Pari Tibba in Mussoorie is a small hill that is dotted with many ruined houses of the British era.

They abandoned this place after this hill was struck by lightning many many years ago and today, Pari Tibba wears a haunted look.

Locals say that they have sometimes spotted spirits of two lovers on this hill. These lovers had committed suicide together after signing a suicide pact.

You can see those long[-dead lovers even today, when there is a full moon in the sky and the sky is partially covered with clouds.

 Lambi Dehar Mines

Haunted Places in Mussoorie
Image Credits- Towno.in.Lambi Dehar mines in Mussoorie

Locals insist that this deserted limestone mine is infested with more than 50, 000 restless spirits.

That is a very large number and I am not willing to take this claim seriously. But this the claim of the locals, you see.

They say that several years ago, many miners died a horribly in this place after spitting blood. The managers of this factory did not take due care of their employees; all they wanted was money.

If you happen to loaf around the Lambi Dehar mines, be sure to come back to your home or hotel well before the sun sets down. Who knows, you might be trapped by some spirits in this area.

Hotel Savoy

Mussoorie haunted places
Hotel Savoy, image credits- www.scroll.in

This hotel was covered by Agatha Christie in her murder thriller,’The Mysterious Affair at Styles’.

You know who dame Agatha was, right? She was the number one writer of murder thrillers in her times and for this book, she chose Hotel Savoy of Mussoorie as her subject.

They say that one day, an unmarried woman from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh turned up at this hotel to stay for a few days. She was engaged to a British soldier, who unfortunately died a few days before the wedding, in Mussoorie.

The lady decided to investigate the death of her fiancee with the help of seances and black magic at the hotel

She never returned to Lucknow because she was found dead in her hotel room by one of the hotel staff.

The door was bolted from inside and clearly, it was not a case of suicide!

Was she murdered? Nobody knows the answer.

However, her ghost can still be seen on the hotel premises.

Would you like to buy this Ruskin Bond thriller? Please click on the image here and you will be able to buy it.

The magic of Savoy

Hotel Savoy is now owned by one of the finest hotel chains in the world- ITC. In its heydays, the Savoy was luxury personified.

Bond writes about this hotel in these words-“Everything heavy, including the building materials, came uphill by bullock carts. Massive Victorian or Edwardian furniture, grand pianos, billiards tables, barrels of cider and crates of champagne — all the appurtenances of a hotel that was to become well known as the Raffles in Singapore or the Imperial in Tokyo came up in these lumbering Mr Buckle’s Bullock Cart Train.”

If you want to read more about this murder mystery, you can read Ruskin Bond’s epic murder mystery- In a Crystal Ball; A Mussoorie Mystery (2003)

That Haunted House in Sister’s Bazaar

Speaking of Mussoorie haunted places, can one forget to talk about the haunted house in Sister’s Bazaar?

If you ever take a stroll in the Sister’s Bazaar area of Mussoorie, you will never fail to be amazed by this spooky mansion.





What is this charming building doing here in the middle of a forest? Can you hear the shrieks, screams, and the cries of young children and their mothers?

Can you hear the muffled noise among those trees in the doorway? I bet you can never return from this mysterious place withour wetting your pants.

Mullinger’s Mansion

Mussoorie haunted places
Mullinger’s Mansion

For people who like to explore the secret side of Mussoorie, a visit to Mullinger’s Mansion is a must. This haunted place looks almost like a picture from a postcard.

The mansion was built in the early 1800s by one Captain Mullinger and many people believe that he is still living in this house.

Others say that he returned to England after a few years of the completion of this house.

However, an overwhelming majority of people believes that Mullinger still roams in his estate astride a horseback.

Did you like this post on Musssorie haunted places?




You can also read the following articles too;

  1. Fear lurks in these Lucknow haunted places
  2. Come face to face with ghosts in these Shimla haunted places 

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Delhi events and concerts

These Delhi events and concerts choked me with emotion

Of late, I have been visiting several Delhi events and concerts for two reasons;

Delhi events and concerts

One, to refresh me after a week of self-imposed misery.

Two, because it helps me again connect with all of you with my writings.

Attending these weekend Delhi concerts and events pushes me to write about them. These are my content engines.

Lok Gatha Utsav

Last week, I had the good fortune of visiting this festival at the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts lawns. This place gives immense joy to all those who want to explore Indian art, dance, music and other aspects of culture. This is a one-stop shop for all the art and music lovers who do not want go to every nook and cranny of the country to explore its culture and lifestyle.

Folk Singers from Chamba in Himachal Pradesh

This festival, Lok Gatha Utsav, brought together several folk artists at the IGNCA.

Look at what I saw at this festival.

Delhi events and concerts
Shweta, the young singer from Uttar Pradesh, India

Shweta is just 18 and is already making waves in the country. She is the only woman in India who sings Alha, the popular ballad of Central India.

Alha is a folk song about the martial exploits of two brothers who lived more than 900 years back. A few years back, I had written about this folk song.

Have a look at this video and I am sure you will be impressed.

This young girl was accompanied by her Guru as well.

The Band from Bombay

Sometimes, Delhi events and concerts throw up surprises.

Have a look at this group from the Bombay area. Its performance was about Shivaji, the King of Bombay area in the 17th century.

Look at the expressions of the lead singer!

Delhi events and concerts
This folk band recounts the heroic tales of Maharaj Shivaji

The lead singer dresses after the King while his teammates wear the clothes of soldiers.

Delhi events and concerts
The voice of the lead singer had a magnetic effect on the audience
Delhi events and concerts
Many hundreds of years ago, the soldiers of Shivaji used to dress up like these …

I took a video of this energetic song. Watch it here.

The dancers from Braj

Now, let us have a look at these dancers from the Braj area.

They are enacting a dance sequence representing Lord Krishna and the Gopies.

Delhi weekend events
Krishna and His Gopies- the artists are all men!
Lord Krishna
Krishna playing His flute

This is not an ordinary dance. Krishna represents the God almighty and the Gopies are us mortals.

A few months ago, I had written about this dance in this article > http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/hauntingly-beautiful-india-maharaas-the-celestial-dance-of-lord-krishna/ 

Colours of Rajasthan

This post on Delhi events and concerts would be incomplete without pictures from Rajasthan

Kalbeliya Dance
This young girl from Jaipur belongs to the Kalbeliya clan.

Rajasthani folk singers and dancers

Have a look at this family.

Rajasthan folk singers
Pagrees, dhols and colors

Many folk singers from Rajasthan and other states now showcase their talents in government-sponsored events like this one.


If they are lucky, then they are invited to perform at private events of the rich and powerful. The leader of this group has given me his card. In case you are interested in contacting them, please e-mail me.

The warriors of Odisha

I find these folk dances to be a rich source of history.

Take for instance these dancers from Odisha who told me that their martial dance is about the Paika rebellion against the British!

That’s wow!

Paika dance
Paika dance from Odisha

These ‘dancers’ belong to the martial classes of Odisha. Look at their stern faces.

Odisha folk songs
Look at their green colored drums!
Delhi events and concerts
Folk dance depicting the Paika rebellion

The Paika rebellion was the First War of Independence against the British. To know more about this milestone in Indian history, read this article> http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/paika-bidroha-to-be-named-as-1st-war-of-independence/article19909264.ece 

Delhi events and concerts- more pictures

Just yesterday, I went to the Jashn-e-Rekhta festival in Delhi.

The crowd comprising young boys and girls was swaying to the beats of this Sufi Rock Band.

Jashn-e-Rekhta
Rock On!

If you are in Delhi while reading this post, then you should rush to the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium near the India Gate. This festival ends today.

Jashn-e-Rekhta

Jashn-e-Rekhta is a combination of three Arabic words- Festival, Of, Urdu.

So this festival celebrates the Urdu language.

Urdu is rapidly falling into disuse. Many young people cannot read this language in its original script which is Arabic.

Urdu as a spoken language is very popular among Muslims but even this community cannot understand Arabic.

In a way, Jashn-e-Rekhta is trying to revive the interest of common people in this language.

I was encouraged to attend this festival by my friend, Aradhna Somani. Her brother, Sanjiv Saraf, is the main driver behind this festival.

Delhi weekend events
Meet Anuradha Somani, she runs the Somani School in Mumbai. One of my happy guests

This was the fourth edition of the festival and I was very thrilled to see several film artists and others come to the venue.

Did you like this post on Delhi events and concerts?

By the way, if you want me to guide you around in Delhi, please contact me at swayamt@gmail.com



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Bone of Santa Claus or Father Christmas found, say European researchers

Is this the actual bone of Santa Claus? Does this fragment of the pelvic bone really belong to the man buried in a church in Bari, Italy?

 

Yes and no. Amused?

Well, some researchers at the Oxford University have finally solved the puzzle behind this piece of the pelvic bone.

This bone piece perhaps belongs to a man who is buried in a Church in Bari, Italy.

He is buried there for more than 950 years now. The name of this Church is Basilica di San Nicola.

The man who is buried in this Chapel is believed to be Santa Claus or Saint Nicholas.

Bone of Santa Claus?

St Nicholas

Well, the researchers have ‘kind of proved’ that this bone belongs to Father Christmas.

I am saying ‘kind of’ because the scientists are still unsure that this man was indeed Saint Nicholas.

Scientists got this bone fragment from a Christian priest living in Illinois, United States.

Various pieces of the bones of the man buried in Bari have been found in Venice and other parts of the world.

The Venice collection numbers 500.

Who was Santa Claus?

According to many people, he was a rich man who lived in Myra, Turkey. This gentleman was very gracious and used to help others in their times of distress.

You may also like to read about the Indian holy woman who breastfed the gods

It was this trait that propagated the myth of Father Christmas. ‘Santa Claus’ was persecuted to death on the orders of Emperor Diocletius.

What next?

Now the Oxford scientists will try to prove conclusively that the bone fragment indeed belongs to the man buried in Bari.

However, it will be difficult for them to prove that he was Santa Claus.

The bone fragment that was tested belongs to the lower pelvic area of the Bari man. The Venice collections have bones from other parts of the body.

In the Bari crypt, the bone fragments belong to the upper part of the pelvis.

Naturally, the next step is to match the ages of both sets of bones.



The Illinois bone piece came from Lyons, France.

Isn’t this a tantalizing discovery? You can read this report from The Mirror newspaper of UK here>  http://www.mirror.co.uk/science/santa-claus-real-scientists-confirm-11649394

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Hindu astrological table

This Hindu astrological table can save your life and also predict earthquakes

This Hindu astrological table can save a lot of lives. If you don’t have one, then go and buy one for your family. I am serious about it.

Hindu astrological table?

Yes, the name of this document is Arcot Panchangam. Since this table was created in the Indian city of Arcot, therefore it has been named after that city.

This holy woman breastfed the Holy Trinity! Wow!http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/holy-woman-breastfed-gods/

The word, ‘Panchangam’ refers to a calendar that records important dates and future events. Also called an almanac, the ‘Panchangam’ tracks the movement of the Sun, Moon and the other celestial bodies.

‘Panchangam’ is a Sanskrit word and means ‘five limbs’. It refers to the five attributes of the day. These five attributes or limbs of the day are Tithi, Nakshatra, Rashi, Karana, and Yog.

These attributes depend on the movements of the Moon and tell us about what is going to happen in future.

Hindu astrological table
A page from the Arcot Panchangam

Hindu astrological table and demonetization

This Arcot almanac had predicted way back August 2015 about the ban on Rs. 500 and 1000 currency notes.

Please read this sentence on page no. 12 of this table;

New changes in banking sector will occur. Black Money will be unearthed

And sure enough, the Narendra Modi government banned the possession of the 500  and 1000 rupee currency notes on November 8, 2016! The prediction was true.

…and floods

The same edition of the Arcot Panchangam had predicted heavy rains and floods in Chennai, Mahabalipuram, Melmaruvathur, Chengalpattu, Maduranthakam, Tindivanam, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Neyveli, Panruti, and Virudhacahalam.

Do you want to know more about Panchangam? Click here > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchangam

These predictions were also proven right last year in December. All these places received heavy rains and were devastated by floods. Hurricane Vardha caused immense damage in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts. More than 50, 000 people had to be evacuated.

You may read this > https://www.covaipost.com/coimbatore/predictions-in-panchagam-become-true/

Indonesia earthquake

The Arcot calendar had predicted correctly about the Indonesian earthquake. And sure enough, in December 2016, there was a major earthquake in Indonesia that killed more than 100 people. Thousands of people were displaced and became homeless.

And that is not all…



The same Hindu astrological table had predicted heavy rains and cyclones in the Kanyakumari area of Tamil Nadu. And yes, this time also its predictions have come true.

Actually, I am horrified while telling all this to you. Imagine someone predicting things 2 years ago and those events actually happening!

I shudder.



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holy woman

This Indian holy woman breastfed the Gods , who was she?

Have you heard the story of the Indian holy woman who breastfed the Gods?

Read this post on Indian culture and know more about the people and history of this marvelous country. I am writing this post because I wanted to cover the birthday of Lord Dattatreya. He is considered to be one of the most important yogis ever born.

Who was this holy woman?

Her name was Anasuya and she was the purest lady who ever lived on Planet Earth. By purity, I do not mean physical cleanliness only, I also mean mental purity.

How was she pure? She was pure because she used to consider her husband, Sage Atri, as God. He was a great sage and you will be happy to know that one of the stars of the Great Bear constellation is named after him.

But let us come back to Anasuya.

Since she was mentally strong and pure, the gods of Devalok used to fear her. They thought that someday Anasuya might remove them from their nice little perches and make her husband the king of Devalok.

So one day, they hatched a plan.

The plan to insult this holy woman

Led by Indra, all these gods approached the Holy Trinity of Bramha, Vishnu, and Mahesh and asked them to insult Anasuya in some way.

The Trinity agreed and decided to test Anasuya’s mental toughness.

Bramha, Vishnu, and Mahesh disguised themselves as ordinary human beings and one day reached the holy woman’s house.

Her husband was not around that moment and Anasuya was busy doing some work.

They called her out and requested some food to eat. She agreed and began preparing lunch for them.

But the Trinity had some other plans in its mind. It wanted to shame that great lady.

Please get naked

When she came out of her kitchen and laid out the food, the Trinity made a very stupid and insulting demand.

We will have food only if you serve it while being naked, the Trinity said.

Anasuya was a bit shocked but then quickly regained her senses. She went to one of her rooms and meditated deeply. Ultimately, she became aware of the identity of these guests.

She meditated again and established contact with her husband. Both of them planned a strategy to save the situation.

Image result for images of Atri Ashram
This is the Ashram of Atri and Anasuya in Allahabad

What was the plan?

She disrobed herself and when she entered the room where the Trinity was sitting, she made them into infants.

Now it was the turn of the Trinity to be horrified.

One by one, each infant was picked up by Anasuya and was suckled to its heart’s content. But the infants could do nothing, they were powerless. The Holy Trinity was now powerless infants.

This carried on for many days. Every morning, these small infants were picked up by the holy woman and breastfed.



Where are our husbands?

By now the wives of the members of the Holy Trinity had become worried.  They could not find their husbands.

Finally, they came to know that their husbands had last gone to the house of Anasuya.

The wives rushed to her house and saw Anasuya feeding the three infants.

Excuse me, have you seen our husbands?

Err…I don’t know where your husbands are but right now I am busy feeding my three children, Anasuya replied.

But the small infants had noticed their wives and were now crying for their attention.

‘These are our husbands, why are they here as small children,’ the ladies cried.

Oh, are they your husbands? These kids…..? Are you sure?

Yes, yes, please give them back to us.

Ok, take them back, here hold them…

Can you please make them grown up men again? Please?

Sure, why not?

And here the tale ends

And sure enough, Anasuya, the holy woman had turned those small kids back into full grown adults.

The Holy Trinity was embarrassed but it asked the lady to ask for a boon.

I want you to be my children for a very long time, Anasuya demanded.

Sure mother, all three of us will merge into one human being who will become your son.

His name will be Lord Dattatreya.

You an also read this funny post on Frog weddings in India http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/frog-weddings-culture-india/

After a few days, Anasuya Devi was blessed with a baby whose name was Dattatreya. He is shown in images being accompanied with 4 dogs and a cow.

The dogs represent the 4 Vedas and the cow is a symbol of Mother Earth.

Image result for images of Lord Dattatreya
Lord Dattatreya

Many people consider Lord Dattatreya as the first Guru of mankind. He did not have any teacher but learned the philosophy of life by observing birds, animals, sky, moon, winds, Sun, oceans, elephants, deer, bees, beekeeper etc. Please read about the first Guru of the human race here > https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dattatreya

Did you find this tale interesting?



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Gita Jayanti- Happy Birthday Bhagwad Gita, song of Krishna

Gita Jayanti has celebrated this November 30.

But what is Gita Jayanti? Well, for folks who live outside India, this is the day when Lord Krishna revealed the secrets of life to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra.

According to the Hindu calendar, Gita Jayanti is observed on the 11th day of the month of Margsheersh. In Sanskrit, the 11th day is called Ekadashi.

In a year, there are 24 Ekadashis. The more important Ekadashis are Devshayani Ekadashi and Devprabodhini Ekadashi. On these two days, Lord Vishnu sleeps and gets awake.

Gita Jayanti and Mokshda Ekadashi

You will be mildly surprised to know that the name of the day when Gita was revealed to Arjuna by Krishna is Mokshda Ekadashi.

Let us understand four important words here;

Gita- means song

Bhagwad- means Of the Lord

Mokshda- one that delivers salvation, Nirvana or Moksha

Ekadashi- means the 11th day of the month

Anybody who listens to Bhagwad Gita on Mokshda Ekadashi achieves salvation. This year, that day fell on November 30.

Millions of people from all over the world derive satisfaction after learning life’s lessons from Bhagwad Gita.

International Bhagwad Gita Festival

You will be surprised to know that every year, the Government of Haryana organizes this Festival around this time of the year to commemorate the Bhagwad Gita. If you are in Delhi right now then you may like to visit Kurukshetra to participate in this fair. This town is located roughly 100 kilometers from Delhi in the northwest.

Gita Jayanti
Krishna delivering Bhagwad Gita to Arjuna

It was in Kurukshetra that the Great War of Mahabharat was fought between the Pandavas and Kauravas, several thousands of years back. The tree under which Bhagwad Gita was delivered by Krishna to Arjuna still stands proudly after all these thousands of years.

You may also like to read the history of this tree here

Geeta and Moksha

Image result for tree in Kurukshetra
The Peepal tree under which Lord Krishna delivered Bhagwad Gita to Arjuna

Now you would be wondering how can one attain salvation by just listening to Bhagwad Gita.

Well, Gita teaches us to attain Moksha by detaching ourselves from desire, anger, and other bad qualities. Most importantly, it teaches us that we should be concerned only with our duties. Results are commensurate with our efforts. If we do hard and smart work then good results will follow. But we should always remember that our results are not in our hands.

So Gita teaches us two things- be action-oriented and secondly, keep a balanced mind.

If you are wondering what salvation has got to do with a balance of mind and being result focused then here is a thought.

Assuming you worked very hard on a project and did not get due recognition. So what do you do? Don’t you become bitter? Doesn’t that bitterness stick to you for the rest of your life? Your life becomes unhappy and generally, you turn into a pessimist.


But if you just focused on your actions and did not bother too much about your results, then you’d become a saner person.

Also read http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/magnificent-somnath-temple-8-million-years/

This is what Gita does to you and me- turn people into saner human beings.

That’s it, folks.



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Shiva

Is the magnificent Somnath Temple really 8 million years old ?

The magnificent Somnath Temple, which helped a god cure his TB, is back in news again.

Thanks to Rahul Gandhi, the Congress Vice-President, many Indians and foreigners now know about this ancient Shiva Temple of Gujarat.

 

magnificent Somnath Temple
The magnificent Somnath Temple at night

This post will recap whatever has been written about this famous Shiva temple and add something more interesting for my readers who are spread all over the world. I hope that after reading it, some of you may like to visit this hauntingly beautiful place in Gujarat.

Magnificent Somnath Temple- what is the history?

Many Hindus believe that this temple is 8 million years old! That is crazy, isn’t it?

It was built by Moon or Chandra to cure himself of the dreaded disease of Tuberculosis!

But let us deep dive into the history of this fascinating temple.

The word Somnath means Lord of Moon and it refers to Lord Shiva.

Husband of 27 wives

Many millions of years ago, Chandra or Moon married the 27 daughters of Daksha Prajapati. Daksha is considered to be the originator of the human race. Would you like to know the names of the wives of Daksha?

These are: (1) Kṛttikā (the Pleiades), (2) Rohinī, (3) Mrigashīrsha, (4) Ārdrā, (5) Punarvasu, (6) Purbabhadrapada, (7) Pushya, (8) Asleshā, (9) Maghā, (10) Svāti (Arcturus), (11) Chitrā (Spica), (12) Purbaphalguni, (13) Hasta, (14) Rādhas, (15) Vishākhā, (16) Anurādhā, (17) Jyeshthā, (18) Mūla, (19) Purbashādha, (20)Uttarashara, (21) Sravana, (22) Uttarphalguni, (23) Satabhisha, (24) Uttarbhadrapada, (25) Revati, (26) Ashwini, (27) Bharani.

Actually, these are the names of 27 constellations or Nakshatras that are located in the moon’s orbit. Daksha is one of the three sons of Bramha, the Lord of Creation and a member of the Holy Trinity.

You know what? Us Indians like to hear tales. Well, everybody does and if a particular philosophical thought is couched in a tale, then what is the problem?

You may also like to visit this hauntingly beautiful Indian destination- Maheshwar

So…

It so happened that Chandra or Moon used to love Rohini much more than his other 26 wives. It is natural among human beings that we like one person more than the others in our family. Isn’t it?

Rohini, of course, used to relish this attention, but the other 26 ladies felt jealous. One day, they complained to their father, Daksha.

Don’t do this, please

Daksha understood the situation perfectly and one day met his son-in-law.

Don’t do this, dear son-in-law, the Lord of Mankind pleaded. Please treat all your wives- who are my daughters- equally.

Chandra said okay but did not change his behavior. This unfair treatment of the 26 ladies happened continued.

They complained again, and another meeting happened gain between Daksha and Chandra.

magnificent Somnath Temple
Creds- Flickr

The latter promised to his father-in-law that he would change his behavior but went back on his promise.

The 26 ladies again approached Daksha to complain about their husband’s behavior

This time, Daksha felt insulted.

Angry at his son-in-law, he rushed to Chandra’s house and cursed him.

‘O Chandra, may you be afflicted with a terrible disease!’

Save me!

Sure enough, the effect of Daksha’s curse had the desired effect on Chandra. The latter began to wither and die.

Seeing all this, the gods became very worried. They decided to visit Daksha’s father, Lord Bramha and request him to intervene.

After listening to the gods about Chandra’s misery, Bramha expressed his helplessness. But he suggested a way out.

‘Go to Lord Shiva, he will help you, O Chandra!’

Please help me

Now Chandra approached Lord Shiva who also happened to be his brother-in-law. Do you know who Lord Shiva is?

He is the God of Death and another member of the Holy Trinity.

It is very difficult to please Him, so Chandra worked very hard to please Lord Shiva.

He prayed and prayed to get Shiva’s blessings.He recited the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra ( a hymn that protects one from death) more than 10 million times.

Chandra also decided to do something exceptional.

Magnificent Somnath Temple

To make Shiva happy, Chandra then decided to make a beautiful temple devoted to Lord Shiva. He also installed a Shivalinga ( an egg-shaped idol that represents the infinite nature of Shiva) there.

This marvelous building was made of pure silver and was the first edition of the present day Somnath Temple.

Lord Shiva became happy with Chandra’s devotion and granted him a boon.

magnificent Somnath Temple
The Lord’s Secretary

Live another day, Chandra!

‘Ok, you will not die a horrible death, but I have to respect the curse of Daksha too,’ Shiva explained to Chandra.

For the first fifteen days in every month, there will be no moon in the nights, and in the next installment, you will start regaining your brilliance. Is that ok?’ Shiva asked his brother-in-law.

Yes, I am fine, Lord, Chandra replied in relief.

So that is the reason why every fortnight in a month you can see the moon but can’t see him in the balance part.

Gold, sandalwood, stones

The Somnath temple in the Saurashtra area of Gujarat has been rebuilt several times.

Some say that many thousands of years back, this place of worship was made of gold, and later of sandalwood.

The sandalwood temple was made by Lord Krishna to pay His respects to Lord Shiva.

In the more recent times, this glorious building was rebuilt by the Chalukya rulers of Gujarat which was later on demolished by successive Muslim kings who ruled Delhi and Ahmedabad. The first demolition of the magnificent Somnath temple was done By Mahmud Ghazni in 1024 A.D.

Ghazni carried away several gems and jewelry pieces from this temple on his way back to Afghanistan. He also captured several thousand Hindus from this temple town and wanted them to sell them as slaves.

magnificent Somnath Temple
Why do Muslims demolish temples? Creds- Flickr

The last demolition of this temple was carried out by Aurangzeb in 1702 A.D after which it lay in ruins for the next 200 years.

It was only in the 1950s when Sardar Patel, the first Home Minister of independent India helped in the reconstruction of this great temple. Today, it is made of stone and stands proudly on the Arabian Sea coast of the Gujarat.

It has a fantastic history, isn’t it?


Additional readings-

Somnath temple and Lata Mangeshkar

Do you know that this magnificent Somnath temple and the legendary Lata Mangeshkar are connected with each other?

The story goes like this. When Ghazni attacked this magnificent temple, most of the singers and dancers of Somnath left Gujarat and headed to the Goa region. These people were ardent devotees of Lord Shiva and sand and danced only for Him.

When the resettled in the Goa region, the locals started calling these resettlers as Mangeshkars- meaning devotees of Lord Shiva.

Now you see the connection between Lataji and Somnath temple?

How to reach Somnath temple?

Ok, now let us see the various options available to reach this fantastic place.

Option 1 – Take a flight to either Diu or Porbandar. Somnath is just 63 kilometers from Diu and 115 kms from Porbandar. Once you reach either of these two cities, take a cab.

Option 2. The Indian Railways portal can help you plan and book trains.

Option 3- Take a bus from Ahmedabad or Porbandar.

For hotel bookings, click on the website of MakeMyTrip.

Best time to visit this temple town- October to March.



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Padmawati stories

Padmawati stories- Can you hear her sighs and screams in this Indian fort?

That November evening, all those Padmawati stories came alive in front of me.

Padmini stories
Who was she? Image Creds- Pinterest

I could hear her sing, and talk, and walk around. And yes, I could also hear her painful scream. It was an anguished scream.

Chittor, Oh my Chittor!- Padmawati Stories

To those of you who have never traveled to India, Chittor is a place that oozes history. Though it is a fort, yet, this place resembles an old man, full of wounds, waiting to recount his eventful history to all who care.

Many say that this fort is more than 1,000 years old. Yes, older than many countries in this world like the United States.

There are other forts too in India like the Red Fort in Delhi and the Mehrangarh Fort of Jodhpur and the Golconda of Hyderabad. But Chittor is not just a fort. It is living history. I think its stones and battlements were the warriors, queens, and soldiers of the past.

To me, Chittor, home of the Padmawati stories as well as the tales of Panna Dhai and Meera, is a pilgrimage. And I am not an exception. Millions of Indians almost revere Chittor and its mighty Rajputs.

Even as I write this stuff, I cannot resist booking a train ticket to this ‘pilgrimage’.

Padmini stories
Beyond this gate lay the Pond of Death.

Gazing at the Moon

While I was in college at Udaipur, I was crazy about Chittor. Though it is around 70 miles from Udaipur, I used to bike to this fort-town to just spend some peaceful moments among the ruins.

Padmawati stories
I was sitting in this abandoned palace when I head those voices

And every time I sat on those battlements gazing at the rising moon, the Padmawati stories came flooding to me.

My favorite haunt was a wall that was just next to the ‘Jauhar Kund‘. If you are alone and planning to spend some quiet hours in the evenings in the Chittor fort, DON’T VENTURE NEAR THE JAUHAR KUND. Read on and I will tell you why later in the post.

That’s right. That autumn evening even as I marveled at the orange moon rising on the eastern horizon, I suddenly got disturbed by a female voice.

This voice was coming from the Jauhar Kund and seemed hollow. Without emotion. Ghostly.

I quickly ignored that voice; perhaps it belonged to a woman who was exploring the ruins.

But I heard that disemboweled voice again, and this time it came from just a few feet behind me. Was there a faint trace of perfume? Yes.

Who was she?

I quickly turned my head back but all I could see was the entrance to a room where a maid had seen her child killed by a jealous king.

My heart started pounding hard. It was 7 pm, getting dark and there was nobody in sight. I was in the midst of these haunted ruins and had no idea whether there was a lurking soul calling me out.

All those Padmawati stories now started flashing before me.

The bedecked women, all covered in jewelry and expensive clothes. Fair ladies who sang as they jumped in the pyre a few feet away from me. 16, 000 of them- all wanting to burn themselves to death to avoid a life of slavery. The Turkish Sultan had invaded this fort and had won the battle. But these fair ladies who were queens and princesses had decided to escape the Sultan’s armies by jumping into the burning pyre.

The year? 1303 August.

Was she Padmawati calling out to me? 

I felt like a stupid guy seated there. One of the guards had just left after warning me that this place becomes strange after dark. And I had laughed him off. 

And here I was listening to strange sounds near this tank of death.

Why are you here?

Soon, I could hear several voices- all of women. They were all talking in Mewari.

Some of them were sobbing too!

Was it my imagination- I wondered? Were things playing out in my head?

‘Who are you, and why are you here?’ , a woman asked me.

Shocked, I looked up and saw a middle-aged woman looking up at me inquisitively. She looked angry and her hair lay scattered over her otherwise graceful place.

Before I could answer, she motioned me to leave the place.

My mind said to me quietly,’ Let’s leave and ask no questions’. I packed my bag which contained my water bottle and got up.



Ready to leave, I could feel her gaze piercing my back and reaching my heart.

Sure enough, I left that haunted place of Chittor quickly and without looking back.

The year was 1995. November.

Padmawati stories
The hauntingly beautiful Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

Was she Padmawati?

When I shared this incident with my friends later, they rebuked me. ‘No need to visit that place after dark,’ was their instruction.

I asked them, ‘ Was she Padmawati?’ But, I did not get any answer from them.

That’s it then, folks.

I thought I will share my experience of that fateful evening with you.

Did you like this post on Padmawati stories? Do you want to see the Chittor fort?

Then this is what you do. Take a train from Jaipur or Udaipur to Chittor. There are several trains like Mewar Express and Chetak Express that connect Jaipur and Udaipur to Chittor.

If you wish, you can even take a bus ride.

You may also read- http://www.ahauntedtravel.com/frog-weddings-culture-india/

A word of caution- hire an autorickshaw if you want to see the entire fort. It is spread over 700 acres and is quite vast in area.

Carry water with you. Even if you run out of water, don’t worry, there are several taps inside the fort.

I don’t think Chittor fort has restaurants, so you will have to have your food once you come down from there.


For accommodation, you can book some really good properties by visiting this site> http://rtdc.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in/

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Thanks.

Image creds- Flickr and Pinterest

 

Frog marriage

Frog weddings- you will be fascinated when you attend one

Frog weddings claim several victims in India every year.

This year, Geeta, a 25-year young girl from a village 170 kilometers from Chennai, will be marrying a frog against her wishes.

She doesn’t have a chance to escape this union because her father has been threatened.

Of course, she can run away but that will make her parents outcastes in her village.

Which means that there will be no communication between the unfortunate parents and the village society. This is a  scenario that nobody wants, not even Geeta.

Image result for frog weddings images
Garlands exchanged, the frogs are now husband and wife. Creds- NDTV

Frog weddings- queer but acceptable

I had first seen a frog marriage when I was very young. I was perhaps 10 years old and was excited to watch the drama unfold before me in a Rajasthan village.

I can still remember that a frog sat coquettishly on a small palm-shaped leaf, its lips smeared with red lipstick, while the bride sat opposite it. Her face was covered with a ghoonghut or a veil.

The bride was a human- she was a girl.

She was wearing very attractive clothes and had nice jewelry on her body. Probably she was crying during the marriage because I could see that her friends were consoling her.

Mr. Frog was perhaps enjoying the spectacle and the attention that he was getting. If it was thinking something, then it gave little away.

The panditji or the priest was uttering some mantras or hymns. After a few minutes, the bride and her ‘groom’ stood up and took seven rounds of the sacred fire. It was understood now by all those present that the frog and the girl were now husband and wife for the next seven cycles of birth and death.

If you thought that this ‘wedding’ was attended by a handful of people, then you are mistaken.

I can still remember that there were at least 100 people in the marriage party and everyone enjoyed as if the wedding was his personal affair.

Image result for image of Indian wedding party
Yes, everyone sang and danced in that frog wedding party

Making gods happy

Let us now come back to our friend Geeta.

She is a college graduate and wants to become an important government official.

For the past few years, she is preparing for an exam that would help her achieve her aim. Her parents support Geeta but have limited means to fund her education. Geeta’s father is a retired postman and his government pension cannot support his family’s monthly expenses.

Frog wedding
Often, frogs wed each other. Image creds- Indiatimes. com

At times, he has to take loans from his neighbors who do not charge any interest from him.

Most of the people in this Tamil Nadu village are farmers and depend upon rains for their crop earnings.

YUnfortunately, for the past two years, rain gods have not visited this village and this is a cause of worry for its residents. They have tried every tactic in their book to make the gods happy, but have failed so far.

One day, the village priest told the villagers that frog weddings can help all of them in this crisis.

After a little bit of discussion and debate, all the villagers agreed to this idea. But there was just one problem- who will be the bride?

The reluctant bride

Panditji again came to the rescue of the villagers. The bride should have been born in August, be fair in appearance and must be approximately 25 years of age- he prescribed.

After a little bit of research, the villagers found out that Geeta fit the bill perfectly. But did, she like the idea?

No way. She simply laughed at that idea and said it was plain silly.

The villagers, however, had other ideas. Led by the headman, they told her father that this frog wedding was a must for the welfare of the village.

You can also read this article about an Indian holy woman who breastfed gods by becoming naked

‘Else, risk a boycott by us….,’ the headman threatened.

Geeta’s father had no option but to obey the headman’s orders.

It is not necessary that frogs only marry girls. In many cases, such marriages take place between frogs. But in Geeta’s case, it was necessary that the bride be a girl of marriageable age. 

Frog weddings- Shrouded in time

Panditji is partially right. Nobody knows when frog weddings started in India.

However, we do know that Lord Vishnu, one of the three Gods of the Holy Trinity, had once taken the form of an amphibian. Hindus believe that this avatar was necessary to save mankind from drought and floods. This was several millions of years ago.

Is that the reason why frog weddings are so important in certain parts of the country?

For example in Assam, frog marriages are organized with much pomp and show. Like in traditional marriages, the ‘bridegroom’ frog leads band party and its guests.

Frog weddings in Assam are called ‘Bhekulia Biya’.

Read this article of a frog marriage in the North Eastern Indian state of Assam.

Similar frog marriages are held in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and a few other parts of the world. Brides are identified for frog ‘grooms’ according to some yardsticks and they are later wed to the selected amphibians.

Almost all these marriages are held to please the rain gods so that the farmers get a good crop. India still depends on farming to a large extent.

What happens to the frog later?

Nothing,

After the marriage is over, it is sent back to the well or the pond from where it was collected. It goes back to its original home, intact.

And the bride?

Also nothing. After this sham wedding, the village allows her to go back to her home and lead her normal life.

But I am sure that this sham wedding would leave a deep scar on Geeta’s psyche. Her friends and other who know her would always call as Mrs. Frog and this is not good for the girl’s health.

What do you say, my friends?

Do you want to read more amazing Indian stories? Click here.

 

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.

pinterest-d4bb6

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.

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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.



If you like this article, please fund it by clicking the ads.

 

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

Delhi weekend events that will make you laugh, cry, shout and wonder!

One of these Delhi weekend events is about these Qawwals who have sung non-stop for 12 hours!

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 events
Meet the Wyler family of Boston. In the background is Bangla Sahib Gurudwara

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 about 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
    Did you know 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

Red Fort Delhi
This brass gate of Red Fort Delhi still carried bullet marks!

Alternatively, you can mail me at swayamt@gmail.com

Delhi weekend events
Meet Anuradha Somani, she runs the Somanu School in Mumbai. One of my happy guests

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
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

The Angrez, The Sultan and The Pigs- Mehrauli Archaeological Park -Delhi Weekend Events

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.

  • Raju Raja Ram aur Main- Orana Convention, Sector 64, Golf Course Extension, Gurugram- December 9, Time-7pm. City industrialist Madan Sukhnandani catches his second wife in a compromising position with his PA. Tickets- Rs. 1,500-4,500
  • Deal Wali Dulhaniya- Shri Ram Centre, Safdar Hashmi Marg. Date- December 10, Time-7pm. Sanjana and Avinash have been happily married for more than 5 years now. One day, all hell breaks loose and the couple is on the verge of a divorce! Tickets- Rs. 100 onwards
  • TIFLI- International Theatre Festival for Children and Young Audiences- National Bal Bhawan, near ITO. Date- On until November 9, Time- 5/6/7 pm. Take your kids to this masterclass on theatre. Watch world-class theatre performances by national and international child artistes. Tickets- Rs. 200
  • Chand Roz Aur Meri Jan- Celebrated Urdu poet Faiz’s letters to his English wife Alys are brought alive on stage by Salim Raza and Banwari Taneja. Date- December 10, Time- 7 pm. Tickets- Rs. 700



Music Concerts

  1. Jashn-e-Qawwali- Kamani Auditorium, Copernicus Marg. Date -December 10, Time- 6.30 pm. Tune into a magical performance by Sufi Hayat Brothers, Ustad Hamsar Hayat is the lead vocalist and the mentor of the band. Tickets- Rs. 200-300
  2. Udaipur World Music festival- Bikaner House, Pandara Road. This is a 2-day Jazz event and has been arranged by Seher. Date- December 13 and 14. Time- 7 pm. Entry is free.
  3. Hindustani Vocal Recital- India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road. Hindustani vocal recital by Manjusha Patil with Pandit Vinod Lele on tabla and Dr. Vinay Mishra on harmonium. Date- December 10, Time- 10.30 am

Other Delhi weekend events

  • Cinema Screenings- Raj Kapoor Retrospective, Roseate House, Aerocity, Indira Gandhi International Airport. Date- December 8-10. Awara, Mera Naam Joker, Bobby. Ticket-Rs. 1,000 and above
  • Cinema Screenings- 6th Internantional Film Festival, NDMC Convention Centre, Sansad Marg. Date- On until December 9. Time- 10 am inwards.

 

How to book your favorite Delhi weekend events?

Click these websites to directly book your tickets;

  1. India Habitat Centre 
  1. Akshara Theatre  

  2. Alliance Francaise

  3. Kamani Auditorium 

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

And by the way, if you want to read authentic stuff on haunted houses in India then, you may please buy this book written by Ruskin Bond.

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.

Image result for Dev Diwali
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.

Image may contain: samosas
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.