Showing posts with label Famous Fair in india. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Famous Fair in india. Show all posts

Saturday, February 16, 2013

khajuraho dance festival

Khajuraho Dance Festival
Where the hand goes, there the eyes should follow
Where the eyes are, the mind should follow
Where the mind is, there the expression should be brought out
Where the expression is, there the rasa or flavour will be experienced by the audience.
 - Lines from the Natyakram
Khajuraho Dance Festival is one of those festivals of India that all dance lovers eagerly wait for. An annual treat for the connoisseurs of Indian Classical Dances comes at Khajuraho for a week during February or March. It is a grand 7-day extravaganza celebrating Khajuraho’s 1000 years old cultural heritage preserved in its stark stone sculptors. The treasured art forms unfold amidst ethereal settings and not one but all eight forms of Indian Classical dances are performed and This festival of International repute is a destination awaited by connoisseurs, travelers and more so by the performers. In words of a performer, “Every dancer worth her mettle dreams of performing at the Khajuraho festival”. For someone looking forward to a heritage tour of India, timing the visit around the Khajuraho dance festival would be a wise touristic strategy.delineate the spiritual, the intellectual and the social heritage of India.

This cultural festival highlights the richness of various Indian classical dance styles such as Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri and Kathakali. Also, there are performances from some of the best exponents in the field. Apart from the traditional classical dance forms, the modern Indian dance has also made it to the list.

The various forms of dances are performed in an open-air auditorium, which is usually in front of the Chitragupta Temple dedicated to Surya (the Sun God) and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Along with the renowned performers, a number of craftsmen display their crafts to the visitors. Also, there is an open market for local articles sale. Khajuraho Dance Festival is conducted in order to celebrate the cultural heritage of Khajuraho temples and to preserve them for the upcoming generation.

 Khajuraho Dance Festival 2013 is from February 20 to February 26

It is believed that classical dance is originated from the Hindu temples and attained its maturity. This cultural festival is celebrated to encourage the Indian arts- dance and music, which is driven from one generation to the other.

There is a free entry to all the temples of eastern and southern parts, whereas minimal fee is charged for the temples located in the western part.

Dates: February/ March every year (The dates are 20 - 26 February for the year 2013)

Venue: Westen Group of temples, Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh

Timings: Daily 7:00 P.M. onwards

Tickets: Seasonal Ticket - INR 600; Daily - INR 100, INR 50, INR 20; Cameras INR 100 per day

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ganga Sagar Mela

Ganga Sagar Mela
Ganga Sagar

Gangasagar  fair is the second largest congregation of mankind after the holy Kumbha Mela. The latter is observed once in four years at alternate locations in north, central and central-west parts of the country, Gangasagar fair and pilgrimage is held annually on the Sagar Island’s southern tip in the Ganges delta atop the Bay of Bengal. That makes Gangasagar all the more distinctive.

The river Ganga which originates in the Gangotri glacier in the snow clad Himalayas, descends down the mountains, reaches the plains at Haridwar, flows through ancient pilgrimage sites such as Benares and Prayag, and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Sagar Island, at the mouth of the river Hooghly in Bengal (accessed from Diamond Harbor), where the Ganga breaks up into hundreds of streams, and drains into the sea, is honored as a pilgrimage site, signifying the spot where the ashes of the ancestors of Bhagiratha were purified by the waters of the Ganga. 

The Kapila muni temple at this site is a center of worship. The origins of this temple are obscured in antiquity - the current structure being a recent one, housing a stone block considered to be a representation of Kapila Muni; there are are also images of Bhagiratha, Rama and Sita. 

A dip in the ocean, where the Ganga drains into the sea is considered to be of great religious significance particularly on the Makara Sankranti day when the sun makes a transition to Capricorn from Saggitarius and this town becomes home to vast fairs, drawing visitors and recluses (sanyasis) from all over the state. The village priest leading his horde of devotees chants sab teerth baar baar, Ganga Sagar ek bar. You can go to all the holy places, but a pilgrimage to Ganga Sagar equals them all. A dip means redemption for all wrong done. This place is Sagar Island, on the confluence of the Ganga with the Bay of Bengal. The day “Makar Sankranti” or the last day of the month of Paus (December). 

The Ganga Sagar mela (fair) is the largest annual assemblage of devotees in India. The greatness of the mela can be assessed from the fact that over a million pilgrims come from far-flung corners of India and beyond, speaking different languages and belonging to diverse castes and creeds, for a sacred dip at this holy confluence. For this, no invitation is given. No propaganda is carried out and overall no authority exists for carrying out the mela. 

The journey can be tiring but religious fervour of the pilgrims overcomes all hardships. Kapil Muni ki jai, Kapil Muni ki jai, (Hail Kapil Muni), the din rises above the grinding motors of the launches ferrying the pilgrims across the Ganga and the countless buses plying between Calcutta and Namkhana. The problem of traveling doesn’t deter even the weak and vulnerable. Old people in their eighties, and village women carrying babies and little children in tow are a common sight. 

The never ending stream of pilgrims keeps pouring in throughout the day and night before the auspicious day and occupies any available space on the sandy beach. They move about the place in groups, many displaying saffron and red flags, identifying the religious Akhara (group) they belong to as well as acting as beacon to the members who stray out of the group. 
People walks to the sound of the bells, blowing conch shells and chanting prayers. Strains of devotional songs can be heard from far and near. And, the ceaseless din of loudspeakers. An array of shops, stacked with heaps of vermilion, rudraksha, colourful beads, conch shells line the pathways. Many a visitor stands wide-eyed before the shops selling everything from food stuff, household utensils to remote controlled toys. 

People crowd around the naga sadhus (naked ascetics) without whom the Ganga Sagar mela is incomplete. Sitting naked in little huts near the temple and enjoying a chillum of ganja, (cannabis) they are also the target of tourists’ camera. 
While devotees jostle in front of numerous temporary shrines of Hindu deities to pay homage, Kapil Muni’s temple remains the chief attraction. The temple of Kapil Muni, as we see it today, is by no means the spot where the sage meditated. It went under the sea millennium ago followed by the many others built in its place, which subsequently was also swallowed, by the advancing sea. 
The present one was built only a few decades ago, quite a bit away from the sea. The tall dome of the temple is visible from a distance. In the temple, three images engraved in stone are displayed, the one in the middle is that of Kapil Muni. The sage is seen in a jogasana; his eyes wide open, looking towards the sea with millions of devotees before him. The idols of Ganga and King Sagar flank Kapil Muni and the horse of the sacrificial yagna stands at a distance. 

The typical Ganga Sagar pilgrim is a country rustic, generally elderly, hardy, remarkably disciplined and fervent in his devotion. His dhoti seldom going below his knees, a cloth bound packet, containing everything needed for survival, on his head. And, of course, his women – heavily tattooed and clad in colourful saris. 

As the night, pregnant with the auspicious moment, descends, all wait for the precise hour to take the dip. The sandy track to the water’s edge is crowded with people who sit around fires before proceeding for the bath, chanting devotional songs and prayers. The seaside presents a spectacle in the darkness before dawn with the large bonfire lit by the bathers to keep off the cold. 
At midnight, the high tide drives the pilgrims back. The biting cold wind of mid – January from across the sea lashes the bare body. But there is a confidence on their faces and a kind of fire in their eyes. The confidence in God and the fire of earnest faith makes them brave the chill. 

According to the legend, King Sagara of the Ikshvaku dynasty ruling at Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh had two queens, Keshani and Sumati, but neither had a child. Sagara performed severe austerities before his wives could produce sons. But whereas Keshani gave birth to a son called Asmajas, Sumati bore 60,000 sons. Sagara performed the Ashwamedha Yagya sacrifice to declare his suzerainty over the neighbouring kingdoms. According to the prevalent custom, the sacrificial horse was let loose and allowed to wander into the neighbouring kingdoms. If the horse was caught, a battle ensued and the outcome decided the winner. The 60,000 sons of Sagara were following the horse when they saw him enter a cavern where sage Kapil Muni was meditating. Not seeing the horse in the cavern, they presumed that Kapila had captured it. They did not kill Kapil Muni as he was a sage but they started disturbing his meditations. Annoyed at being disturbed, Kapil Muni with a curse burnt the 60,000 sons of Sagara. 
Time passed and later Bhagiratha, the great grandson of Sagara, chanced to come across the bones of his dead ancestors. He wanted to perform the shraddha of his ancestors but there was no water available for the ceremony. Agastya having drunk all the waters of the ocean, the country was passing through a severe drought. Bhagiratha prayed to Brahma, the Creator, to end the drought. Brahma asked him to pray to Vishnu, the Preserver, to allow the heavenly Ganga, issuing from His big toe, to come down to earth. Vishnu when prayed to by Bhagiratha agreed, but asked him to request Shiva, the third member of the Hindu trinity of Gods, to allow the torrential rain to fall on his head before it came to the earth as the river was very forceful and if she were allowed to come down unchecked, her fall would split the earth. Shiva agreed to take the gigantic weight of the cascading Ganga on the matted hair piled high on his head. This ensnared and delayed the progress of the river which, in meandering through the labyrinth of his hair, lost its force and then gently descended to the Himalayas from whence it flowed to the plains bestowing its waters on the parched earth. And that is why the anthropomorphic image of Ganga is shown in the matted hair of Shiva who is also called Gangadhara. Being born in the Himalayas, Ganga is considered the elder sister of Parvati, who is also a daughter of the Himalayas

Kapil Muni :
Kapil Muni was the son of Kardam Rishi and Daksh's daughter Devahooti. He was Avataar of Vishnu. Kardam Rishi had nine daughters also. After the birth of Kapil, Kardam Muni went to forest for Tap. Later he preached Saankhya Yog to his mother. 
Once he was sitting in Samaadhi in his Aashram, that Raajaa Sagar's 60,000 sons came there in search of their father's Yagya horse. They found it tied with a tree nearby him, so they thought that Kapil Muni had stolen it. They started telling him some bad words. Kapil Muni opened his eyes and all of them were burned to ashes. 
Then Raajaa Sagar sent his grandson Anshumaan in search of his 60,000 sons. He traced his uncles' footsteps and arrived at Kapil Muni's Aashram. He saw a mound of ashes near his Aashram. He understood everything. He greeted him and came to know the fate of his uncles. He asked him as how he could give them Mukti (emancipation). Kapil Muni suggested him to bring Gangaa on Prithvi so that her water can give them Mukti.

How to reach Gangasagar:
Sagar Island is about 80 km south of Kolkata, cut off from the main land by Muriganga river. At present there is no road bridge to connect the island to the main land. The Muriganga river can be crossed by ferry service to reach the Sagar Island. After crossing, Sagar & Ganga meeting point can be reached via private taxis also which are generally charging between INR 450 to INR 700 and it takes about 40 minutes to reach that point.

Transport Ferry at Sagar:
Sagar Island can be approached from either Harwood point or Namkhana jetty. Both the points are linked by Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) or West Bengal Surface Transport Corporation buses. Distance of Harwood Point is around 80 Km. from Kolkata and Namkhana is 13 Kilometers more. Bus fare from Kolkata (Esplanade) to Namkhana is around Rs.40  (Rs. 60 during Mela). During the Mela busses will end at the ferry crossing in Harwood point (or also called 'Lot 8'), and they will start in Kolkata also from Babughat, Howrah RS and Taratola in South Kolkata.

Both the points Namkhana and Harwood Point can also be reached by train from Sealdah Station. There are direct trains to Kakdwip from Sealdah Station with link trains to Namkhana. Train fare up to Kakdwip is Rs. 18 only. From Kakdwip, Harwood Point is only 5 Km. and Namkhana is 12 Km. by bus or jeep.

During the Mela cycle-rickshaws operate between RS and ferry jetty, price was fixed at 15 Rs per person on a 4 pax rickshaw. Trains tend to be overcrowded and are definitely a challenge during Mela time.

Nagaur Fair

Ramdeoji Cattle fair
Nagaur Cattle fair

Nagaur Fair -The Jodhpur Nagaur fair or Ramdeoji Cattle fair is infact a cattle fair, the second largest in Rajasthan . Nagaur fair is founded by the great Jodhpur Dynasty king Mr. Umed Singh in honour of Sh. Ramdeoji 56 years back and since then it has been held regularly.  The fair goes on for eight days. Nagaur Fair of Jodhpur, Rajasthan is held every year during the month of Jan-Feb.
It is popularly known as the Cattle fair of Nagaur. This is because the Nagaur Fair is mainly all about trading of animals.

The Nagaur Fair is held in charming Rajput town- Nagaur, located between Jodhpur and Bikaner.

The Nagaur Fair is held in the month of January-February every year and continues for four days starting on Magh Shukla Saptmi. Every year about 70,000 bullocks, camels and horses are bought and sold in this fair.

The Nagaur Fair is an attraction for tourists. It magnetise visitors from all over the world, who come to see the trading of camels, cattle and horses by their owners dressed in colourful and beautiful attire.

The picturesque sight of people dressed in beautiful dresses and participating locals and tourists in sports is worth capturing with camera.

Nagaur district is the land of fairs. They are not only a hub to sale and buy cattles but also show the true spirit of living life. The rural people take on these fairs as big social events; thus participate in these fairs very eagerly with great enthusiasm.

In addition to the cattle things that are of routine use even from needles to nails are available in these events. Fairs witness strong social harmony and are seen as the true expression of rustic rural Rajasthan.

Animals that come for being sold in this fair are magnificently garlanded and decorated with loads of accessories to provide a vibrant look to them by their owners. The owners in colourful turban and long moustaches keeps themselves busy in selling cows, bullocks, oxen, horses and camels and are seen conversing and bargaining with the buyers.

The Nagauri bull is the most attractive buy besides camels, horses, bullocks, buffalos, goat & sheep. Traders from all over the country gather here and participate actively to vie with each other in purchasing high pedigree animals.

The fair provides an opportunity to see real Rajasthan, rural folk in colourful traditional dresses & turbans in a rural ambience.

In addition to exhibition of animals and their trading, the fair is also popular for its Mirchi Bazaar, which is biggest in India. The Mirchi bazaar in Nagaur fair is a place to market red chilly.Wooden items, iron-crafts and camel leather accessories and many other things are also sold here.

Amid of business activities, the visitors indulge themselves into exciting sports to enjoy riveting activities at the fair. The major sports held at the fair include tug-of-war, camel races, bullock races and cockfights. The jugglers; puppeteers, storytellers and campfire evenings make it a life time experience. The silence of desert is broken by the musical notes of the folk music of region. The scene of sun sinking below the horizon and the sand dunes glittering in the twilight is worth watching.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Pushkar Fair

Also known as Pushkar ka Mela, Pushkar Cattle Fair, is the world's largest camel fair held in the holy town of Pushkar in Rajasthan. Competitions such as the "Matka Phod", "moustache", and "bridal competition" are the main attractions of the Pushkar camel fair which attracts thousands of tourists. A spotlight of one's holiday in India, the festival hosts around 50,000 camels which are sold, decorated, shaved and raced. From a mere 14,000 to a massive 200,000! This is how the population of Pushkar swells during the Pushkar camel festival. 

History & Legends:
Puskar has has the only temple of Lord Brahma in the country. Myth says that Lord Brahma was on his way to search for a suitable place to perform a 'Yagna' (a fire sacrifice) while contemplating, a lotus fell from his hand on the earth and water sprouted from that place. One of them was Pushkar where Lord Brahma performed "Yagna". Worship of Brahma was considered highly important at the end of the first millennium BC. The holy lake has 52 ghats and pilgrim taking a ritual dip in the lake is a common sight. Although a serene town, Pushkar bustles with life during the joyous celebration held on Kartik Purnima. Every year thousands of devotees throng the Pushkar lake around the full moon day of Kartik Purnima in October-November to take a holy dip in the lake. Huge and colourful cattle fair "The Pushkar Fair", is also held during this time. Pushkar cattle fair is well-known for it's camel trading and other attractive activities. 

Cultural Significance:
Umpteen number of traders gather here and and set up shops. These traders sell a lot of products like woolen blankets of Merta, bead necklaces of Nagaur, textiles printed in Ajmer and Jodhpur, brassware of Jodhpur and Jaipur etc. Saddles, ropes, and assorted household items are also on sale. Cultural shows and exhibitions are also organized in this fair to enliven the event. Movies are shown, competitions are arranged, bards and poets recite and sing tales of valour and heroism of bygone days. Animal races and other competitions also add the attraction. 

Why visit the Pushkar Fair?
It is the world's largest Camel Fair.
You’ll visit the only Brahma Temple in the world.
You’ll see the Holy Pushkar Lake with 52 ghats surrounding it.
Pushkar offers around 400 temples to see.
You can participate in numerous cultural activities
Ethnic shopping items from all over the state are on sale.
It’s a rare combination of religious fervour and cultural vibrancy in Rajasthan.
You can interact with tribal folks and understand their culture.

Kumbh Mela

One of the greatest Hindu religious occasions, the Kumbh Mela is held after every four years and is of great spiritual significance for the Hindus in India.

The Kumbh Mela is not a single event that is organised at regular intervals. While the Kumbh Mela is normally held after every four years, the Purna Kumbh Mela falls after every 12 years and is of greater importance than the Kumbh Mela. As per ancient Hindu mythology, some planets that are believed to affect the destiny of the human race align every 12 years and the Purna Kumbh Mela is held exactly during the time of this powerful planetary alignment. The Purna Kumbha is organised by turns at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh, Prayag( near Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh, Nasik in Maharastra and Ujjaini in Madhya Pradesh. The site for every Purna Kumbh is decided by the ascetics who jointly study the planetary positions and agree upon the location of observance. The Ardh Kumbha Mela(Half Kumbha Mela) is held after every six years or halfway between two Purna kumbh Melas; hence the name.

But the most important Kumbh Mela is the Maha Kumbh Mela(Great Kumbh Mela), that periodically falls every 144 years or after 12 Purna Kumbh Melas, and is held at Allahabad. A rarest of rare occassion, the Maha Kumbh Mela is looked upon by most Hindus as a once in a lifetime occassion that one can attend only with great fortune.

The Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela) is organised at Prayag which is located near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. During this time, millions of devotees converge here to take a ceremonial dip in the Triveni Sangam - the confluence of the three great rivers Ganga, Jamuna and Saraswati meet. It is accepted to be the spot where four drops of the sacred nectar had fallen during the battle between the Devas (demigods) and Asuras(demons) over the Amrit-Kumbh(pot of nectar). The place is attended by millions of people who perform rituals here and also a take a ritual bath. The bathing is done in the open with complete submersion of the body under water and performing an oblation to the sun.

Religious Hindus attach great importance to this bathing ceremony and it forms the most important ritual of the Maha Kumbh Mela as also of the other Kumbh Melas. According to a popular legend, Lord Brahma (the God of Creation in Hindu Mythology) once proclaimed that taking a dip in the holy River Ganga can liberate mankind from its sins. The Hindus believe that bathing in the sacred waters at the Kumbh Mela will purge them and their ancestors back to the eighty-eighth generation off all evil and sin. This would make them suitable to attain moksha (salvation) from the cycle of life, death and rebirth.

The inner significance of this ritual bath lies in understanding the true implication of the Samudra-Manthan episode. The "amrit" or nectar implies the divine knowledge and strength that lies within each of us. The churning of the ocean symbolizes that each of us must judiciously churn our own inner self to gain this knowledge.

The other important activities associated to the Maha Kumbh Mela include singing of bhajans (devotional songs), discussions on religious matters, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and gatherings where religious doctrines are debated and determined.

The recent Maha Kumbh Mela was held in 2001 at Prayag, the holiest of the four spots where the sacred drops of amrit are said to have fallen. This was the first Maha Kumbh of the 21st century and also of this millennium. The grand religious congregation was attended by around 60 million people, consisting of men, women and children, thousands of sadhus (monks) and also more than 65,000 foreigners from abroad (curious to get a glimpse of this grand affair). The astounding number of the total people gathered makes the Maha Kumbh Mela 2001 the largest gathering anywhere in the history of the world till date.

Why Kumbh Mela ?

Kumbh Mela - The Largest Congregation of Humanity :
Kumbh Mela is the largest concentration of religious gathering in the world. Held once in 12 years this festival is a must visit during a trip to India.

Take a Dip Make a Wish:
If you go by the Hindu mythologies, then this is the only time and place in the world where you can unburden your sins and achieve 'Nirvana' from the vicious cycle of birth and re birth. Take dips in the holy water of Ganges that is said to wash away all the sins of a person. Light a Diya and make a wish, they do come true!

Sojourn on the Ashrams on the Banks:
To live among the Sadhus, who have dedicated their entire lives in meditation and fulfilling spiritual deeds is indeed a unique experience of life. In Haridwar there are many such Ashrams where tourists can stay to enjoy the life of a saint besides indulging into various Yoga and Meditation regimes.

Surrender to Peaceful Activities:

Taking dips three times in a day, attending yoga classes, listening to the divine lectures and participating in the cultural programmes are just a few of the activities that one can enjoy during the famous Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. Travel to Haridwar and experience the inexperienced.

Significance of Kumbh Mela:
Kumbh Mela is not just a mere festivity like Diwali and Holi, but holds lot of importance for people in India. People look up to Kumbh Mela with highest regard, as this event gives them a golden opportunity to liberate themselves from the miseries and sufferings of life. It enables them to take a holy dip in the sacred water and wash away all the sins they have committed in the past. People come from different parts of the country to be a part of this sacred ceremony. It is believed that taking a holy dip in water paves way for attainment of Moksha.

Rig Veda has a mention about the significance of convergence of river Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati at Prayag or Sangam.

References can be found about the significance of this ritual in Varaha Purana and Matsya Purana as well. There is a belief that the ashram of the learned Bharadvaja, where Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita lived at the time of their exile, was situated at Sangam. It is said that a number of saints including the great Shankaracharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Sangam and observed the Kumbh Mela. The great Indian epics such the Ramayana and Mahabharata have mentioned that a yagna was conducted by Lord Brahma at Sangam.

Sacred Bath in Kumbh Mela:
Bathing in the holy river on the auspicious occasion of Kumbh Mela is the most important activity for millions of people in India. A large tented city is erected and pilgrims stay at tents owned by Pandas (religious and spiritual guides) and at various ashrams. Others will just camp on the ground or turn up for the actual bathing day. Some of these bathing days are designated "royal," and it is on these days that the naga sadhus (naked mendicants) parade and bathe. On other days there will still be people bathing and other events and random processions.

Rituals Performed at the Kumbh Mela:
The main ritual performed at that Kumbh Mela is the ritual bath. Hindus believe that submerging themselves in the sacred waters on the most auspicious day of the new moon will absolve them and their ancestors of sin, thus ending the cycle of rebirth. Pilgrims start lining up to bathe from around 3 a.m. on this day.

As the sun comes up, the different groups of sadhus move in procession towards the river to bathe. The Nagas usually lead, while each group tries to outdo the others with more grandeur and fanfare. The moment is magical, and everyone is absorbed in it.

After bathing, the pilgrims wear fresh clothes and proceed to worship by the river bank. They then walk around listening to discourses from the various sadhus.

What are the Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 Dates?

Every day during the Mela is auspicious for bathing. However, the dates that have special significance and are thus the most auspicious, are as follows:
Sunday January 27, 2013 (Paush Purnima)
Wednesday February 6, 2013 (Ekadashi Snan)
Sunday February 10, 2013 (Mauni Amavasya Snan)
Friday February 15, 2013 (Basant Panchami Snan)
Sunday February 17, 2013 (Rath Saptami Snan)
Thursday February 21, 2013 (Bhisma Ekadashi Snan)
Monday February 25, 2013 (Maghi Purnima Snan)