India’s culture, thousands of years old and one of the world’s earliest, has had time to develop a unique degree of cultural diversity. The best proof of this is to be found in India’s folk arts and its classical music and dance.
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, Read More
India is a pious country and religion plays an important part in the lives of most Indians. Ritual and worship are part of daily life and the vast majority of the population consider themselves members of a religion. This spiritual fervour has given rise to many festivals that punctuate the year, week by week, Read More
Radhakrishna represents the unique union of the Goddess-gopi Radha and her beloved Krishna, two highly revered deities in the Hindu Vaishnavite tradition. Radhakrishna is not any romantic relationship or simply the combination of the feminine and the masculine: it symbolizes the soul seeking the Divine Love.
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, Read More
Chandigarh is the first new city of independent India, both an Indian territory and the common capital of Haryana and Punjab. Its history is closely linked to the partition of India of 1947 when the Punjab split in two between India and Pakistan needed a new capital. Chandigarh has been made world famous for, Read More
Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi is a Hindu festival that takes place every year in August, mainly in the North of India, and celebrates the unique bond of love, protection and respect between brothers and sisters. This celebration delivers a strong message of fraternity so that this ceremony extends often to the other members of, Read More
The story of Chittorgarh (or Chittor) fort is steeped in heroism and the pride of the Rajputs. It stands as a symbol of courage and sacrifice. This “city of strength and devotion” as it is sometimes called fits that description well : Chittor has known many battles but the echo of the poetess Meerabai’s songs, Read More
Khajuraho, a small village in Madhya Pradesh, is reputed for its sumptuous temples, built under the Chandela dynasty and listed as Unesco World Heritage. They are famous all over the world for their relief sculptures of the “art of love”.
The lingam is the symbol of the Hindu god Shiva. There are numerous lingams throughout India, but the twelve Jyotir lingams or ‘lingams of light’ are the holiest and most worshipped of all. Jyoti means ‘light’ and lingam means ‘mark’ or ‘sign’. According to Hindu tradition, the Jyotir lingams pilgrimage washed off bad karma and, Read More
Perched on a rocky spur 1200m above sea level and 20km from the capital Kohima, the village of Khonoma with its discreet inhabitants and its unspoilt environment will charm the traveler in quest of peace and authenticity.
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, Read More
Saputara ‘the abode of snakes’ in the local language is a charming hill resort of Gujarat perched at 1000m altitude on the Sahyadri hills bordering the state of Maharashtra. It is surrounded by lush forests dotted with typical villages inhabited by the Dangs, a tribal community known for its impressive acrobatic dances. The best, Read More
The town of Pondicherry, now renamed Puducherry, was formerly a French trading post. Its well-ordered streets lined with trees and bougainvilleas, painted colonial buildings and chic boutiques, together with its spiritual aura, make it one of the most relaxing places to stop on the Chennai-Madurai road.
Overlooked by its imposing fort (called “the magnificent”), the blue city makes the most of its heritage with a number of top rank cultural festivals. The stunning landscapes of the Thar desert all around and the busy streets of the colourful old town will bring you back to Jodhpur again and again.
Kerala in the far southwest of India is the unchallenged champion of laidback lifestyle. It is no accident that it’s called “God’s own land”, and it knows how to charm its guests. You’ll be captivated by its luxuriant landscapes, lagoons, dream beaches and relaxed, smiling population. Here the sometimes frenetic pace of Indian life, Read More
This 20,000-hectare green forest paradise at the southern tip of the Deccan plateau, in Kerala, is home to one of the world’s densest concentrations of wild Asian elephants; it is not unusual to see one. The region is covered in coffee, teak and eucalyptus plantations and more than half its population belong to tribal, Read More
The Sanjhi is an ancient art of religious origin, which consists of creating drawings on the ground or on water using finely cut stencils that are filled with colored powders. Traditionally, this art depicts the mythological legends of India and especially those of Lord Krishna. The Sanjhi, which has gradually fallen into disuse, has, Read More
Char Dham, meaning ‘four abodes’, is the pilgrimage circuit around the four most revered pilgrimage sites in all India. These are in Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram. Over time, another Char Dham pilgrimage circuit has developed, in Uttarakhand state in North India. It is known as Chota Char Dham, ‘the four small abodes’ or ‘Himalayan, Read More
Everyone arriving in Kolkata for the first time totes a bagful of preconceptions, mostly from books or films such as City of Joy. It’s true that, like all of India’s megacities, it has its less attractive sides. But once tamed it reveals an atmosphere that’s all its own. To appreciate its charm, take a, Read More