Ganesha Chaturthi is one of the main Hindu festivals. It celebrates the birth of Ganesh, the famous elephant-headed god, son of Lord Shiva and the goddess Parvati. Ganesh is supposed to have been born on Shukla Chaturthi (the fourth day of the waxing moon) of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (mid-August to mid-September). Ganesh symbolises wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. The festival is celebrated throughout India, but in some parts of the subcontinent, particularly in Mumbai (Maharashtra), it is the occasion for grand festivities. Read More

The Hindu festival of Krishna Jayanti or Krishna Janamashtami marks the birth of the dark-faced, flute-playing god Krishna. He is one of the most popular gods in the Hindu pantheon and the story of his life has influenced in many ways the culture of India. Krishna has many faces: he is the symbol of pure love, wisdom and joy, but above all he is the hero of the Bhagavad Gita and as such he is regarded as a leader and a spiritual master by his faithful. Read More

Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh, is not the most popular city of the state. Travelers usually prefer the mystic Varanasi or Agra and its famous Taj Mahal. Yet, what a wonderful surprise! Lucknow amazes us with the splendor and refinement of its historic buildings. From the 18th to the 19th century, it was the capital of the Nawabs, extravagant rulers and lovers of the arts, who contributed greatly to the city’s cultural richness by developing dance, music and poetry while building many unique monuments in India. Read More

Buddhism has more than 300 million followers around the world, which makes it the 4th religion (or philosophy) after Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The history of Buddhism begins around the 5th century BC, when Siddharta Gautama, prince of the Shakya kingdom, got enlightened under a ficus tree. Siddharta Gautama then became the ‘Buddha Samyaksam’ or ‘the perfectly awakened one.’ From then until his nirvana, Buddha visited several cities in North India spreading his message of the Middle Way. I invite you to follow in the footsteps of Buddha over more than 1000 km in northern India and Nepal, from the birth of the Prince Siddharta Gautama to the Nirvana of Buddha. Read More

During the month of Shravan (July-August), tens of thousands of Hindus undertake an arduous 50km pilgrimage through the scenic Himalayas to worship a very special symbol of Lord Shiva: an ice stalagmite-lingam that forms each year in the cave of Amarnath at the end of the Lidder Valley in Kashmir. The sacred Amarnath cave is regarded as one of the principal Hindu pilgrimages or yatra
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At the age of 29, Siddharta Gautama, Prince of Kapilavastu, abandoned his material and worldly life to find the truth of existence. He went as a wandering hermit and in Bodhgaya, under a ficus tree, Siddharta Gautama became the ‘Buddha’, ‘the one who is awake’. Buddhism, or the philosophy of the middle way, thus began in Bodhgaya, in the state of Bihar. It now has more than 300 million followers from all over the world. Bodhgaya along with Kushinagar, Lumbini and Sarnath is one of the four holiest Buddhist pilgrimages. Read More

The ‘lingam’ or ‘Shiva-lingam’ is one of India’s most emblematic hindu representation, and one of the most powerful. Some theories trace the lingam back to the ancient fertility cults probably due to its phallic form. But though it is easy to jump to conclusions, it is a mistake to think of the Shiva lingam in purely sexual terms; The Sanskrit word lingam means ‘sign’ or ‘symbol’. So the literal meaning of Shiva lingam is ‘Shiva’s sign”. It is the symbolic form of the god Shiva, the divinity without form, the source of the universe, the infinite into which everything merges at the end of time. Read More

On 17th March 1959, Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama fled Tibet following the Chinese invasion and took refuge in Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, where he established the Tibetan government in exile. McLeod Ganj or ‘Upper Dharamshala’ located 10km above Dharamshala became the official residence of the Dalai Lama and the haven of thousands of Tibetans. Over the years, McLeod Ganj turned into one of the most attractive mountain resorts in India not only for its Buddhist culture but also for its relaxed ambience and the beauty of its mountainous landscapes. Read More

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