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Zagor Festival -Significance,History,Rituals

ZAGOR

MAINLY CELEBRATED BY CATHOLICS IN SIOLIM, IN BARDEZ TALUKA OF GOA. IT IS A FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTED BY DANCE, DRAMA AND MUSIC

SIGNIFICANCE AND HISTORY:

This is an important festival of the Catholics of Gudem and Hindus of Dando belonging to western Siolim in Bardez Taluka of Goa. Zagor is the festival of nocturnal vigilance and literally the word Zagor means ‘to wake’. The celebration of the festival is done especially on the first Sunday that falls subsequent to Christmas. It is a way to thank the God of fertility for blessing the people with a good harvest that is shown by the performance of dances, music and dramas by the people of the village.

The waking ceremony starts with the Christian prayers that are influenced by the ‘Abhangs’ of a Saint poet of Maharashtra known as ‘Sant Tukaram’.

The priest heading the gathering and performing the rituals is generally a Hindu, who belongs to the class of toddy tappers and performs this act for only once in a year.

RITUALS:

Especially celebrated by the Christians this festival takes place near the place of Hindu Temples or places of worship. This place is considered to be sanctified to the main deity (who is responsible for protecting the dams surrounding the fields of paddy) by the ‘Zagoryo’ who is the priest or head of the Zagor.

A parade of numerous people known as ‘Suvaari’ with the beating of drums called as ‘Ghumttam Madlim’ is observed around the Zagor spot. The participants of the Suvaari are generally males who follow the Zagoryo belonging to the Hindu religion.

The procession is headed forward through the road and finally it reaches a specific place known as ‘Maand’ that comprises of a stage. A performance of ‘Tiatr’ is observed that is a corrupted version of the word Theatre and resembles with some sorts of Hindu Plays or Stage shows. The people gather there to have a spectacular view of the roles played by different artists. The artists performing dances on the stage or the roles given to them are mainly the family members of Shirodkars belonging to the Hindu religion and D’souzas belonging to Christianity.

People perform dances by making a circle as per the tradition known as ‘Bhorbhoria’. According to Konkani language the word Bhorbhoria means ‘going mutually’ that comprises of a dance in which jumping back and forth takes place. Next to Bhorbhoria the ‘Mavonni’ takes place in which the males get attired like women.

A king known as ‘Raza’ enters the stage with his sword and dances. The servant of the king called as ‘Sahid’ also dances behind him. Mali or gardener dance takes place in which two gardeners with their respective consorts perform dances that are complemented by the recitations made by a person belonging to the Shirodkar family. This special recitation is done in order to appease the deities and is some sort of a prayer comprising of tribal songs known as ‘Ovhio’.

Ultimately the chief personality of Zagorayt appears known to be ‘Bhonvor’ who wears a weird headdress that is adorned by candles (lighted). The Bhonvor is accompanied by a team of performers dressed vibrantly.

FOOD: A sweet preparation known as ‘Sannas’ is made that consists of coconut, rice and sur that is the toddy obtained from coconut palm.

Navarathri & Bathukamma

NAVARATHRI AND BATHUKAMMA

SIGNIFICANCE AND HISTORY

The dazzling fortnight of the Lunar month of ‘Ashvin’ observes the first day of Navarathri or the beginning of the nine-day festival which is of great importance among the Hindus. Navarathri is the combination of two words like ‘Nava’ meaning nine and ‘Rathri’ that means night according to Sanskrit. The nine incarnations of ‘Shakti’ are being worshipped by the people on these nine nights. The nine forms of ‘Shakti’ are known as Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Kathyayini, Kaalratri, Mahagowri and Siddhidatri.

According to the legends there was a haughty demon known as ‘Mahishasura’ who was blessed with a boon by Lord Shiva that nobody would be able to kill him except a woman. He started ill-treating the Gods and became violent towards them. Being hopeless the Gods appealed to Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva so that they do something to defeat the demon.

They all tried to solve the problem by combining their energies together. They compiled all their powers and created an incarnation of Shakti and named it as ‘Durga’. All of them provided respective equipment to the Goddess so that she can fight with the demon. Sitting on a wild lion which was her carrier she fought with the demon and defeated him.

Goddess Durga killed Mahishasura on the tenth day that is known as ‘Dussehra’ or ‘Vijayadashami’ when people visit their relatives and friends.

Bathukamma: Bathukamma is celebrated in the Telengana State of India especially by the women. This ritual begins on the ‘Mahalaya Amavasya’ and culminates on ‘Durgashtami’. Bathukamma is a collection of two words such as ‘Bathuku’ that means ‘life’ and ‘Amma’ meaning mother. The personification of Shakti known as ‘Goddess Gowri’ is being worshipped on this festival.

Making of Bathukamma: Bathukamma is made by gathering different types of flowers that are found in the respective season. The work of collection of these flowers is done by the men of the families and they have to go to the dense forests for this purpose. The women of the house after getting the flowers prepare a conical mountain of flowers on a wide plate or a wooden platform that is known as Bathukamma. It is a compilation of seven concentric layers of flowers. A flower of pumpkin is also positioned on the top of the structure. The structure of Goddess that is made up of turmeric is placed on the top of the conical design.

RITUALS

The women wake up early in the morning and after dressing themselves with new clothes and jewelleries they worship Goddess Gowri. In the evening the women gather in huge numbers in an open space with their Bathukammas and dance around them with clapping and singing.

‘Pedda Bathukamma’ or ‘Saddulu Bathukamm’ is the last day of the event. Bathukammas of slight a bigger size is prepared by the women on this day and are being worshipped. After offering the puja the Bathukammas are immersed in the nearest water bodies.

FOOD

A mixture of several items known as ‘Naivedyam’ is offered to the Goddess on all the nine days and thereafter is consumed by the people. The ‘Naivedyam’ comprises of Wheat, Rice, Sorghum, Bajra, Black Gram, Bengal Gram, Green Gram, Corn, Groundnuts, Cashew nut, Sesame, Jaggery and Milk. A vegetarian food is eaten after the completion of the event.

Ghumra Dance

Ghumra Dance

Folk Dance of Kalahandi

The Ghumra dance originates from the south-eastern state of Orissa, of the Indian sub-continent. The Kalahandi district of the southern part of the state specializes in this dance form. The themes of the Ghumra songs are related to religious hymns, the glory of the rulers, mythological literature etc. The poets that have taken the Ghumra dance to an exotic level include Upendra Bhanja, Dinakrushna, Abhimanyu Samanta Singar etc. The Ghumra dance was highly encouraged by the royalties of the areas of Bhawanipatna, Jayapatna, Madanpur, Rampur, Khariar etc. The Ghumra dance is particularly performed to celebrate the festivals of Dussehra and Nuakhai in the state.

Historical Background

The birth of the Ghumra dance dates back to thousands of years. Several mythical stories and legends are attached to the history of the Ghumra dance. The Ghumura Janma Bidhan was written by the poet Kandarpa Panda in the year 1954, describing the Ghumra dance. Ghumra, which is a form of a drum, is said to be a combination of Lord Shiva’s Damru and Goddess Saraswati’s Veena that was created to kill the demon Mahishasura by Goddess Durga. During the epic battle of Mahabharata, Ghumura was used as a war musical instrument by the Gods and the Goddesses. It is also said that Ghumura was used to produce the war music for the Lanka King Ravana, from another Hindu mythological epic, Ramayana.

Archaeological History

The paintings displaying the Ghumra dance in the caves of the districts of Kalahandi and Nuapada mark its early existence. It is believed that the Ghumra dance was first performed in the river valley of Indravati and spread to the surrounding areas from there. There are several engravings at the Sun Temple of Konark, proving the performance of Ghumra dance in the medieval times. There are many variations or forms to the Ghumra dance such as Ghumura-Ladhei, Badi-Ghumura, Go Spada dance, Mesha Yudha dance, Chaki dance, Go Chanda dance, Kakuta Yudha dance etc. Ghumra dance is completely male oriented and there are no female participants in it.

Ghumra Music

The Ghumra songs acted as the war music to the Gods, then the kings and finally the soldiers at war. During the pre-independent era, the warriors were enticed by the Ghumura music and dance to enhance the spirit of fighting in them. It also helped them exercise and uplifted their spirits to fight for their rulers.

Costumes and Etymology

The costumes worn by the Ghumra artists resemble those of the tribal folklore; hence, despite its movements being similar to that of some of the Indian classical dances, it remains a folk dance itself. The artists attach Ghumra or a typical drum to their chests and beat it with their hands, along with dancing. Therefore, the performer and the musician are the same in this dance. Ghumra can be deciphered as Ghum+u+ra, which means an earthen pitcher of Lord Shiva, which produces a peculiar sound.

Contemporary Times

Ghumra dance is a package of social entertainment, relaxation of the mind, love for dance, devotion towards it and the brotherhood that it promotes amongst the various casts that come together to give the performance. During the contemporary times, Ghumra dance has had international acclaim in the city of Moscow. Despite the negligence from the Government in the promotion and preservation of the dance, Ghumra is still being recognized due to the efforts of some of the local enthusiasts. However, this heroic dance form is quite ahead of the similar folk dances of the state of Orissa. But it is relatively practiced more in the rural parts than in the urban arena.

 

 

Gateway of India Mumbai

GATEWAY OF INDIA

LOCATION AND HISTORY

It is a unique gigantic monument situated in the Commercial Metropolitan city of India Mumbai that was previously known as Bombay at the time of British rule. Constructed in the year 1924 it is positioned on the riverside of Apollo Bunder in South Mumbai overlooking the Arabian Sea. It is also known as the Taj Mahal of Mumbai.

It is an arch about 85ft high and the middle dome is about 48ft in length. It is placed in the periphery of water in Mumbai waterfront at the ending point of Chhatrapati Shivaji Marg. It was made by using yellow basalt and everlasting concrete.

King George V and Queen Mary had visited India in the year 1911. It was an occasion of majestic importance for the British Empire in India. The erection of this colossal monument took place to honour the landing of King George V and Mary in India and stands as a Memento of the British rule over India. The Gateway was designed according to the architectural styles of Hindu and Muslim amalgamation. The embellishments of the monument were designed according to the Hindu style whereas the arch comprised of the Muslim style. The ultimate plan of the design that was approved in the year 1914 was made by George Wittet. The Government of India had to bear the cost of its construction that was about two-millions. It took about ten years to build this gigantic monument. Around 600 people can be place inside the huge halls on each part of the arch. It is the entrance of Governors and Viceroys upon their advent in India where they use to land.

Five Jetties are there in the Gateway of India. The first one is restricted to the Atomic Research Centre, the second and third is used for the industrial transport purposes, the fourth one remains closed and the fifth one is limited to the Royal Bombay Yacht Club. The second and third Jetties make the initial point for the Elephanta Caves, the famous tourist’s attraction and can be reached by a journey through boat for about fifty minutes. The famous places like Mandwa and Alibaug can also be reached by ferry ride from the Gateway. It is a chief tourist attraction and is admired as the meeting place for Locals flocked by Street vendors and photographers.

The Gateway had encountered three massive terrorists’ attacks at the beginning of the twenty-first century. It is the witness to the major loss done to the Tower and Hotel Taj Mahal Palace in the year 2008.

HOW TO REACH

TheChhatrapati Shivaji International Airport Mumbai is the nearest airport and is accessible to various countries. From there a person can hire a taxi or go by bus to reach the Gateway of India.

Mumbai being the one of the Metropolitan cities in India is connected to several important cities. There are stations named as Kurla Terminus, Dadar Terminus and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. There are regular bus services available from these stations.

Mumbai is well-connected to the important cities in India by road.

VISITING HOURS

AsGateway of India is a gate by nature, a person can visit there at any time of the day.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The weather in Mumbai remains pleasant from the month of November to March and it is advisable to visit this place during those months.

Lalguli Falls

What would better define Lalguli falls than the fact that picturesque scenery and ample adventure opportunities have made it a favorite for thousands of its yearly visitors. Read on to find out what makes this an irresistible temptation as holiday destination for many.

 Lalguli Falls 

Lalguli fall is created by the river Kali. The waterfall created by the river kali is estimated to be rolling down from a height of 250 feet. The beauty of this waterfall is further enhanced by the rocky hills and lush greenery that surrounds the area of the waterfall.

Located in Karnataka, Lalguli falls offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere with gushing water falling sound. Lalguli falls has an ambience where one truly becomes closer to nature. Water falling from a great height offers a magnificent sight. With the exotic atmosphere and also an opportunity for all sort of adventure Lalguli falls of Karnataka is an ideal spot for vacation plans. It is because of the age old tradition, natural splendors like amazing waterfalls and beaches that make Karnataka a hot spot for tourism.

Location

Lalguli fall is situated in Uttara Kannada district in Lalguli falls in Karnataka. It is one of the finest waterfalls known for its peaceful environment which is ideal for a break from a hectic life.  In Karnataka it is believed to be a prime tourist spot.

How to reach

By Road: It is at a distance of 515 km from Bangalore and there are several bus services available from this place. If you are moving from Yellapur then Lalguli falls is at a distance of just 15 km.

By Rail: If you are travelling by railway then the nearest station to Lalguli waterfalls is Yellapur. And from here one can either take a bus or an auto to this beautiful tourist hub.

Where to stay

The lodging services are ample since the place is a hot spot for tourists. One of the famous lodges in the area is Pai’s Sambhram Lodge. It is often recommended due to its hospitality services and its close proximity to the waterfall area.

Season/When to visit

While it is believed that the beauty of Lalguli falls is consistent in every season i.e. it can be visited in any season, but winter is considered to be the ideal time to visit this place. In winter this place is filled with enchanting fragrance of various flora and the waterfalls has a dazzling shine when sun rays fall on it offering an unforgettable sight. Besides it is advised that this place should not be visited during monsoons because of the area being prone to landslides.

Nearby places to visit

Lalguli falls is surrounded by woods which provide an opportunity for practicing adventure sports like river rafting, trekking etc. It also offers a perfect space for picnic with friends and family. The place is also famous for the various water sports.

Apart from the adventure sports available here the place also has a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. This temple is located near the hill of Lalguli falls.

If you are planning a vacation plan in Karnataka then don’t forget to consider Lalguli falls, because it’s worth it.

 

Himachal Pradesh Tourism

HIMACHAL PRADESH- A SUMMARY

LOCATION AND DERIVATION

Himachal Pradesh is a northern state with Jammu and Kashmir as its northern neighbour, Punjab on its west and south west, Tibet on its west and Uttarakhand on its south east. This land locked state is a beautiful place with an enticing landscape and beautiful mountains and lakes and also with numerous waterfalls.

The name Himachal is derived from Sanskrit language where ‘Hima’ means snow. The name literally means’ in the lap of the Himalayas’. True in all sense, Himachal Pradesh is situated in the western part of the Himalayas. A mountainous state, the great rivers, Indus and Ganges are fed by the rivers like the Ravi, Beas, Chenab, Sutlej and the Yamuna. All these rivers are perennial as they are fed by the mountains.

HISTORY AND CULTURE

The land is so beautiful that it is called ‘Dev Bhumi’. The connotation means that Gods come down to earth on this land to spend their holidays. The pristine land also attracts a lot of tourists as there are so many places and features that will keep the visitors visiting the state quite often.

There are monuments, temples, churches, mosques and Buddhist temples that the ethnic diversity keeps the culture and traditions of the state united. Right from the stories of the great epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata to the invaders who have made their presence known, Himachal Pradesh has only enticed every person. The stories mentioned in the epics can be compared to places where the Gods have left behind their footprints bordering on the fact where myth becomes reality. There are places where Gods have left their calling cards and are believed to be living. There are places where men have had their tryst with nature but have failed and there are places where these men have won.

For the visitors, they will be satisfied with the fables, lores and places that nature has bestowed with great care. The sweet smell of pines, deodhars and the lilt of verdant grass on the valleys and slopes, the verdant green and dark shades of vegetation and forest when the sun shines on and the shadows in the meadows and the chill that passes, the sparkle of a thousand diamonds in the pure and serene lakes, the lilt of the stream and rivers and the gushing and roar of the waterfalls, it makes the visitor dream of the nether world where time stands still for a long time.

There are hill stations and there are places on these hill stations where one can enjoy to the utmost. Visitors can go hiking, mountain climbing, rafting in the white waters, rappelling, boating, swimming and for the weak hearted, they can walk and admire the surroundings and there are places for trekking or even cycling.

The hills also invite the religious of every colour and creed. There are ancient temples that even the atheist care to respect and silently tread past, there are mosques where the Mussalman does his daily namaz, and the Christians do have their Churches in beautiful places. Some of them are old with Victorian gables and on one side is the final resting place where there are headrests of some of the pioneer English men who had the vision. The Buddhists have made Dalhousie, their centre for Government – in – exile. The chants of the monks are so pervading in the air, bringing hope and blessing to everyone who visits the place. To sum up, Gods will never want to forsake the place forever because of the inherent charm and the simplicity of life.

NATURE

Nature has endowed the state with a lot of charms. Water has always been the life line of humankind. Civilization anywhere in the world has dawned only on the banks of rivers or near places where water is evident. Apart from the charms of the mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes and ponds – each one of them having a story or a fable which may relate to the epics or to some royal lineage in between, the epics, Mahabharatha and the Ramayana have deep descriptions of places that may charm and make visitors delve on their various aspects.. The other wonder that has been placed on this part of the earth by Mother Nature is the amazing waterfalls. Each one of them has a very distinct charm and some of them have stories woven in to them. There are waterfalls with temples and monuments and apart from being a wonder to the visitors, these are also revered by devotees.

Some of those distinct waterfalls in Himachal Pradesh are:

  1. Machhrial Waterfalls: situated in the lap of Himalayas, the waterfall is a gorgeous fountain. It is located on the Dharamshala – Pathankot road around 25 kms. from Dharamshala.
  2. Rahla Waterfalls: It is located near the Rohtang pass. It is a gorgeous falls and a must see place in Manali.
  3. Sissu Falls: this falls is situated in Sissu also known as Khagling, a small town in Lahual valley. The town is surrounded by huge mountains. There is a temple in the town known as Gyephang Temple where tourists are not allowed to enter. The Waterfall is an exotic place and must not be missed on the trip to Lahual Valley.
  4. Chadwick Waterfalls: This falls is near Shimla. This is a rain fed fall and imposes a wonderful sight with misty waters and roar of water gushing down the cliff.
  5. Bundla Waterfalls: The falls is 2 kms. past Palampur town. This falls is a known religious place for Hindu sages where they offer prayers and rituals.
  6. Badri Waterfalls: Located in the Solan District, the water that flows down the Himalayas is icy cold. Badri falls is on the Alakananda River and is said to have medicinal properties. The waterfall is also a very sacred place for the Hindus as Badrinath Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is atop the falls.
  7. Bhagsu Waterfalls: The waterfall is a bit further away from the parking lot. One has to trek at least three kms. to reach a wonderful but small waterfall. The scenery from the trek is awe inspiring. There is a Bhagsunag Temple near the falls dedicated to Lord Shiva. The falls is located at Bhagsu, near McLeodganj
  8. Jogini Waterfalls: This falls is near Vashisht Kund, Manali. The falls is a bit treacherous as there are no pathways to the falls. There is a Jogini Mandir near the falls.
  9. Zana Waterfalls: It is in Zana village near Manali. The trek to the falls is quite tiresome but it is a relief once visitors reach the place. It is a quaint and serene place.

ACCESSIBILITY AND CLIMATE

The wonderful places in this fairy land of Himachal Pradesh are easily accessible by bus, taxies or even otherwise. There are three domestic airports and they are Shimla Airport, Bhuntar Airport in Kullu and Gaggal Airport in Kangra, which is near Dharamshala.  The heritage Kalka -Shimla narrow gauge track is one prestigious track in Himachall Pradesh.

Climate in Himachal varies because of the variation in the altitude in this mountainous country. Summers are from mid – April to end June when the temperature ranges between 280C to 320C. Winters are from November till March and the average winter temperature is around 70C, though there are places that experience sub zero temperatures.

Goa Tourism

GOA – A SUMMARY

HISTORY

Goa had been mentioned in the great Indian epic, Mahabharatha as ‘Goparashtra’ or as ‘Govarashtra’ meaning the ‘nation of cow herds’. In the other ancient Sanskrit texts, the state had also been mentioned as ‘Gopakapuri’ and ‘Gopakapattanam’. It only goes to show that Goa did exist as a civilized area right from those days when civilization was dawning. Even foreign travelers like the Greek traveler, Ptolemy has mentioned about this state as Aparantha, in the13th century.

The history of Goa goes back as far as 20000 to 30000 years as historians have found traces of civilization in many places. There have been rock carvings taking history back to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic ages. The artifacts and engravings were found on the banks of Kushavathi and Usgalimal rivers, a reality that civilization was generally found on the banks of rivers. There have been stone axes, cones and choppers from about 10000 years in some places.

Goa had seen several dynasties like that of the Mauryans in the 3rd century BC. The Buddhists were patronized by Emperor Ashoka and relics and monuments of that era are also found in Goa. From the 2nd century BC to 6th century AD, others like the Bhojas of Goa, Chutus of Karwar and Sathavanas of Kolhapur reigned the area. Then came others like the Western Kshatrapas, Abhiras, Kalachuris and the Chalukyas, who patronized Jainism. Goa came under the Delhi sultanate in 1312 that later had to surrender to the Vijayanagara empire. The Bahmani sultanate took over from the Vijayanagara clan and by 1510; foreign invaders who had only permission for trading captured the state. The Portuguese ruled the state till 1961, when the Indian Army took over the state.

THE PRESENT DAY GOA

The modern day Goa is a reminiscence of the bye-gone days, an era of Kingdoms and fiefdoms to foreign rulers.

The name “Goa” brings to mind the pictures of sandy beaches, palm trees and parties. Goa is India’s smallest state by area and fourth smallest by population. The state is located in the Konkan area in South-West India. Goa is bordered by the state of Maharashtra towards the North, Karnataka towards the East and South and Arabian Sea on the western side.

Panaji is the state’s capital whereas Vasco da Gama is the largest city. The Portugese first landed here in the 16th century, as merchants and conquered it soon afterand left behind a cultural influence, which can still be seen in the momentous city of Margao. Beaches, places of worship and a vast cultural heritage make Goa a favourite holiday destination for a large number of international and domestic tourists every year. Goa can also boast about its abundance of flora and fauna owing to its place on the Western Ghats range.

Goans can not only brag about their sandy beaches and amazing parties, but also about the beautiful waterfalls and forests that pockmark the entire state of Goa, especially in the Eastern side. The Western Ghats on one side is a hotspot of natural biodiversity with its forests being abundant and beautiful. Dudhsagar falls, Arvalem falls, Kesarval falls and Tamdi – Surla falls are a few of the favourites waterfalls in Goa. They cascade down with a rigour and beauty during the monsoon season. The rivers during monsoons are full with rain and the sparkling water flows down with an elegance.  The water in some of these falls are believed to have healing effects, which attracts people from everywhere, both old and young. There are waterfalls that have sacred meaning to Hindu devotees and they visit these places to pray and make ablutions.

GETTING THERE

Goa is accessible by air, rail and road. Goa international airport is a civil enclave at INS Hansa, a naval airfield located at Dabolim near Vasco da Gama. The National Highways and state highways make up for the road access from Karnataka and Maharashtra. The Konkan railways can be proud to have one of the best scenic routes in all of India. Buses are available from almost all the cities in and around Goa. Once in Goa, one can hire taxi or drive one and if alone, visitors can hire the “Pilots”. The “Pilots” are part of the motorcycle taxi group, which takes only one pillion rider to their destination for a bargain able price.  The price for air travel and railways can be steep especially during holiday season and the New Year.

CULTURAL INFLUENCE & RELIGION

Goa is also known for its spiritual and religions heritage. From beautiful churches to awe inspiring temples, Goa is one of the most favourite religious destinations. Shanta Durga temple, The Bom Jesus Basilica, where the Patron Saint of Goa and important to the Catholics, Saint Francis Xavier, is interred to be taken out once in 10 to 12 years for public viewing and blessing. There are other churches that are believed to have certain miraculous healing powers and where apparition has been claimed to have appeared. There are convents in historic religious locations in Old Goa where the devotees seek solace. Goa is an example of the nation’s motto of being united in diversity. The Shanthi Durga Temple, the Mangueshi Temple and the Mahalasa Temple have had Portuguese influence on their architecture. Later, in 1961 these structures were demolished and refurbished with Indian architecture.

CLIMATE

Goa has a tropical monsoon climate and is hot and humid for most of the year. Temperature is around 350C during the month of May, the hottest month coupled with humidity. Monsoon relieves the state in early June till September. Winter sets in from December to February with temperature around 280C during the daytime. This is the time after the monsoons that foreign tourists arrive in Goa escaping from harsh European winters. The best season is from late September to February, though, monsoon tourism is picking up.

STAYING IN GOA

There are many places to stay in Goa. From simple lodges to grand resorts, Goa has a place for any kind of traveler. The prices may range from Rs. 500/- to Rs 25000/- per night. Hotels, lodges and resorts are plenty in Goa. The prices vary from season to season. It is advisable to book accommodations prior to visiting the state during the season.

Waterfalls in Assam

WATERFALLS IN ASSAM – A SUMMARY

Assam is a state in India located in the north eastern side of the country. The capital of the state is Dispur. It is one of the states that are located on the southern part of the eastern Himalayan ranges. This state is one of the largest and easily accessible states in the north east province. There are two great rivers that flow through the state. These rivers are the Brahmaputra and the Barak. The state shares its international borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh and is connected to India by means of a corridor known as the Siliguri Corridor or the ‘chicken neck’.

Assam is also known as the ‘Gateway to the Seven Sisters States’ and also as ‘Paradise Unexplored’. These seven states are Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Assam. The sobriquet ‘Seven Sisters’ caught on because of the interdependence, the life style and culture which are nearly common.

The state is also famous for its flora and fauna. One can find the nearly extinct one horned rhinoceros, once a game hunt and the poacher’s prize. The state is also famous for the tigers and numerous species of birds. The two heritage sites, which are destinations for wild life enthusiasts, are Kaziranga and Manas. The flora consists of the abundant Sal tree forests found in the state.

The high amount of rainfall is one primary factor that contributes to the dense forests and the lush greenery. The rivers are perennial and the Brahmaputra has many tributaries and a large number of oxbow lakes.

HISTORY

Assam has been particularly unknown till around the 12th century. There are evidences of Stone Age settlements. Assam has a history of confluence of people from all directions-east, west, north and south. The state was never as vassal until the Burmese invaded the state in 1821 and later by the British in1826.The Kalika Purana which mentions about the facts in the 7th to 8th Century AD also states the Danava dynasty as the first rulers of the state, who were later defeated by the Naraka dynasty. Records maintained by the Ahoms in chronicles called the Buranjis, rock inscriptions and inscriptions on copper plates of the Kamrupa kings affords some insight in to the history of the state. Mythology has it that the last ruler by the name of Naraka was slain by Lord Krishna. The medieval period starts with the Turko –Afghan attacks in 1207 inscripted in the Kanai-boroxiboa rock inscriptions.  There was a succession of dynasties and during the medieval times. The 17th century saw the Ahom- Mughal conflicts where the Mughals had been finally driven out in the Battle of Saraighat in 1671. The Burmese invasion in early 19th century led to the defeat of the Ahom rulers. With the defeat of the Burmese to the British in the First Anglo – Burmese war, the rule of the state was passed on to the British under the Treaty of Yandaboo.

BEST SEASON TO BE THERE

These waterfalls can be visited throughout the year. The temperature in summer in the place is around 220C to 350C and during winter it is 120C to 330C. However, the places are best visited after the monsoons as the jungles around will have a fresh and verdant look and besides there will be lots of water.

WATERFALLS IN ASSAM

There are three waterfalls that are of interest to tourists in Assam. They are:

  1. Sivakunda Waterfalls: This waterfall is situated in the Amsoi Hills in Assam. Located in Morigaon District, it is an enchanting one. This is one of the tourist destinations in the district. Best time to visit the place is between October and March.
  2. Akashiganga Waterfalls:  This is a picnic spot in the district of Nagaon and 50 kms. from the city of Nagaon. The waterfall is related to mythological lores and is a sacred place for the Hindus. It is also related to stories concerning Lord Shiva and Goddess Sati.
  3. Champawati Kunda: This is also known as the Chapanala Waterfalls. The falls is located in Chapanala in the district of Nagaon. This is a spectacular falls and is regarded as a must see destination in Assam.

ACCOMMODATION

There are hotels and restaurants only in the nearby towns. Visitors to these waterfalls are advised to carry their food and water along with them.

GETTING THERE

The falls are all well connected and there are taxies and buses that ply from the airport, railway station and also from major cities and towns in Assam. Monsoons can always be a problem while travelling and visitors are advised not to attempt visiting the places as some of the roads may be submerged or washed away by the deluge.

 

Palaruvi Falls Kerala

Palaruvi fall is a Horse Tail shaped single drop fall which literally means a stream of milk. It is a gem in the beauty of Kollam city. Read on to know more about this gem of Kollam.

Palaruvi Fall

Palaruvi fall is located amidst forests near Aryankavu of Kollam district. It is the 32nd highest waterfall of India which is also the 3rd highest waterfall of Kerala. This waterfall is born out of River Kallada. It is believed that the water of this waterfall has ayurvedic healing properties owing to its flow through some natural shrubs. The water here at Palaruvi get collected in a small pool below where one can take a dip and enjoy the mesmerizing nature. One can also spot remnants of ancient mandapam and a stable here near the fall. One needs to trek a path of 5 km through the woods in order to reach the waterfall.

Location

Palaruvi fall is located in Kollam district of Kerala. It is situated at Latitude: 8.961045, Longitude: 77.151089. It is located at a distance of 4 km from Aryankavu.

How to reach

By Rail: Nearest railway station is Kollam and Aryankavu.

By Air: Nearest airport terminal is Thiruvananthapuram International Airport.

Where to stay

One can either stay at KTDC hotel of Aryankavu or Forest Rest House of Achankovi. Private lodging is also available at affordable rates at Kulathupuzha and Achankovi.

Season/When to visit

It is best visited after and during monsoons as the waterfall dries up in summer season.

Height

Water here plunges from a height of 91 m.

Nearby Places to visit

  • Aryankavu Shastha Temple: It is the famous temple of Aryankavu where the much celebrated festival of Lord Ayyappa’s Thirkalyanam is seen. It is during this festival time that the temple is crowded with devotees and tourist. A must see place if one has come to Kollam.
  • Punalur: It is a town located at a distance of 35 km from Palaruvi. The Palaruvi Hanging Bridge here is located at a distance of 30 km from Palaruvi fall. A much visited place the bridge is a major attraction for tourists.  At 10 km distance from Punalur hanging bridge is Arch Old British built Railway Bridge which is also a well known tourist destination.
  • Thenmala: It is small beautiful town located at a distance of 15 km from Palaruvi. One can also visit Thenmala Parappar Dam of Thenmala which is well known place visited by tourists.
  • Kulathupuzha: It is a village located on the main Thiruvananthapuram-Shencottah Road. Kulathupuzha has an ancient Sastha temple which is located on the banks of Kulathupuzha. The temple enshrines an idol of Bala Sastha in form of Lord Hariharaputra. A festival of Vishnu Mahotsavam is held during the months of April and May. Kulathupuzha Reserve Forest is another tourist attraction of this village.
  • Thangassery: It is situated at a distance of 5 km from the town of Kollam. Thangassery is place of historical significance as it houses many old churches which were establishes in the 18th century. Thangassery also has a 144 ft high lighthouse that was constructed in 1902.

 

 

Rudraprayag Tourism

Rudraprayag

Land of Lord Shiva

The Rudraprayag district is located in the newly carved northern Indian state of Uttaranchal. It is one of the Panch prayags of the River Alaknanda. Rudraprayag is located at the confluence of the rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. The routes to Kedarnath and Badrinath pilgrimages deviate from Rudraprayag, giving it a popular position in the state. The languages largely spoken in the region are Hindi, Garhwali and English. The sandhya aarti in Rudraprayag, is the highlight of the place. Rudraprayag is famous as the ‘Abode of Gods’. The man-eating leopard of Rudraprayag that was mentioned in the books written by Jim Corbett was the resident of this district.

The interesting places of visit in Rudraprayag are mentioned below:

Rudranath Temple

This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who resides in the temple as Lord Rudranath. This temple is located at the Sangam of Alaknanda and Mandakini. It is believed that Narada Muni worshipped Lord Shiva at this location, to learn music from him. Lord Shiva incarnated as Rudra, the Lord of Music and taught Narada music. There is a place known as Narad Shila at this temple, where Narada had performed his tapasya for Shiva.

Chamunda Devi Temple

This temple of Goddess Chamunda Devi is located at the confluence of the Alaknanda River. She is worshipped as the wife of Rudra, the Shiva Avatar in the temple.

Koteshwar

Koteshwar is the combination of 2 words-Koti and Ishwar, which mean Crore and God respectively. It is also a Lord Shiva temple, in the middle of natural caves. This cave temple is distanced at 3 kilometers from Rudraprayag and is located on the banks of the River Alaknanda. This temple is visited largely in the months of August and September, as Lord Shiva had once stayed at these caves, during these months.

Shree Tungeshwar Mahadevji

This centuries old temple of Lord Shiva is located in Phalasi. There are several small temples on the way to Tungeshwar from Chopta. It is believed that the Pandavas had performed penance in the temple premises. There are many terracotta style seals and Shiva Parvati figurines on the walls of the temple.

Kartik Swami

This temple, 38 kilometers from Rudraprayag is dedicated to Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva.

Basukedar

This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva and according to the local myths; Lord Shiva had resided in Basukedar before he made a journey to Kedarnath. Basukedar was constructed by the Pandavan kings. It is believed to be more than a 1000 years old! This place is located at a distance of 35 kilometers from Rudraprayag.

The serene lakes, gushing glaciers, sparkling rivers and exquisite flora and fauna can be found in Rudraprayag. However, the 2013 floods have proved to be a huge devastation to the region. Many of the tourist spots have been washed away. There has been a great loss of life and property in the area, which has hit the state’s economy drastically. The tourism industry has also been affected by this catastrophe.

 

Land of Lord Shiva

The Rudraprayag district is located in the newly carved northern Indian state of Uttaranchal. It is one of the Panch prayags of the River Alaknanda. Rudraprayag is located at the confluence of the rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini. The routes to Kedarnath and Badrinath pilgrimages deviate from Rudraprayag, giving it a popular position in the state. The languages largely spoken in the region are Hindi, Garhwali and English. The sandhya aarti in Rudraprayag, is the highlight of the place. Rudraprayag is famous as the ‘Abode of Gods’. The man-eating leopard of Rudraprayag that was mentioned in the books written by Jim Corbett was the resident of this district.

The interesting places of visit in Rudraprayag are mentioned below:

Rudranath Temple

This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who resides in the temple as Lord Rudranath. This temple is located at the Sangam of Alaknanda and Mandakini. It is believed that Narada Muni worshipped Lord Shiva at this location, to learn music from him. Lord Shiva incarnated as Rudra, the Lord of Music and taught Narada music. There is a place known as Narad Shila at this temple, where Narada had performed his tapasya for Shiva.

Chamunda Devi Temple

This temple of Goddess Chamunda Devi is located at the confluence of the Alaknanda River. She is worshipped as the wife of Rudra, the Shiva Avatar in the temple.

Koteshwar

Koteshwar is the combination of 2 words-Koti and Ishwar, which mean Crore and God respectively. It is also a Lord Shiva temple, in the middle of natural caves. This cave temple is distanced at 3 kilometers from Rudraprayag and is located on the banks of the River Alaknanda. This temple is visited largely in the months of August and September, as Lord Shiva had once stayed at these caves, during these months.

Shree Tungeshwar Mahadevji

This centuries old temple of Lord Shiva is located in Phalasi. There are several small temples on the way to Tungeshwar from Chopta. It is believed that the Pandavas had performed penance in the temple premises. There are many terracotta style seals and Shiva Parvati figurines on the walls of the temple.

Kartik Swami

This temple, 38 kilometers from Rudraprayag is dedicated to Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva.

Basukedar

This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva and according to the local myths; Lord Shiva had resided in Basukedar before he made a journey to Kedarnath. Basukedar was constructed by the Pandavan kings. It is believed to be more than a 1000 years old! This place is located at a distance of 35 kilometers from Rudraprayag.

The serene lakes, gushing glaciers, sparkling rivers and exquisite flora and fauna can be found in Rudraprayag. However, the 2013 floods have proved to be a huge devastation to the region. Many of the tourist spots have been washed away. There has been a great loss of life and property in the area, which has hit the state’s economy drastically. The tourism industry has also been affected by this catastrophe.