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, Read More
Assam state is one of the ‘seven sisters’ of Northeast India, located along the Brahmaputra valley. If the Guhawati, its capital offers few attractions, the surroundings in contrast, with its tropical forests – the last habitat of the one horned rhinoceros – its tea plantations and Majuli island with its dancing monks, will seduce, Read More
Meghalaya, literally ‘the abobe of clouds’, is one of the seven states of Northeast India also known as the ‘seven sisters’. This state, the wettest in India, is slowly opening up to tourism and an increasing number of nature lovers get mesmerised by its unspoiled landscapes. Whether during the monsoon, when the mist hangs over the highlands,, Read More
An island surrounded by crystal waters and edged with delightful fishing villages, and a temple with endless pillars that houses one of India’s most holy shrines: Rameshwaram is a mandatory stop for anyone visiting Tamil Nadu.
Ayodhya, set on the banks of the Sarayu river, is a mythical city: it is said to have been the capital of the Kosala Kingdom, which saw the birth of Lord Rama, the famous hero of the Ramayana epic. As such, it is considered by Hindus as one of the seven most sacred cities, Read More
Chamba is a charming city situated at the end of the valley bearing the same name, located in the Northwest of Himachal Pradesh. The city lies on the banks of the River Ravi, which is nestled between two peaks of the Himalayan Shivalik Range. This millinery town is not a popular destination amongst tourists who, Read More
Gangaur is a colourful women’s festival that is mainly celebrated in Rajasthan. It starts in spring and lasts up to 16 days in some part of Rajasthan. It is the celebration of marital happiness. In Udaipur it coincides with the Merwar Festival.
Holi is one of India’s best-known festivals, providing great material for photographers from all over the world. Its marks the beginning of spring and takes place at full moon in the lunar month of Phalgun (February-March). It is known as the festival of colours and also the festival of love, commemorating the divine love, Read More
Chettinad must be the most surprising part of Tamil Nadu. In the 19th century, rich Chettiar merchants built palatial houses here in a daring and harmonious blend of Eastern and Western styles. This is unique architecture with a charm of its own, inviting travellers to stop awhile for a taste of culture.
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, Read More
Sixth largest city of India by population, Hyderabad nevertheless is still not very touristy and we must insist a little so that it reveals its beautiful face. A face with oriental features, reflecting its past as “city of pearls”, when it was a hub of the Indo-Persian culture under the reigns of the Golkonda and Nizams Muslim rulers.
Barmer is a city in the Thar Desert located in the West of Rajasthan. Unlike most of the other parts of this state, it has been spared from mass tourism and it will delight visitors in search of authenticity and especially photography lovers. In the streets and bazaars of the city, you will encounter, Read More
India has an unrivalled heritage influenced by a history that is several millennia old; the palaces are part of this cultural wealth. The palaces of Rajasthan (North West India), with their idyllic romantic setting, are the most famous; there are, however, several other ‘palatial treasures’ scattered here and there throughout the Indian continent … Here is my personal selection, Read More
Kartighai or Kartikai Deepam is a Hindu festival of lights that is mainly celebrated in Tamil Nadu, South India. It falls at the full moon (purnami) between mid-November and mid-December –the month of Kartikai in the Tamil calendar, when the moon is in conjunction with the constellation Kritika, the Pleiades.
Originally from the state of Bihar, in north-east India, the festival Chhath Puja celebrates and thanks Surya and Usha, the sun-god and the goddess of dawn, sources of life and primordial energy. This tribute to the sun comes just after the festival of lights (Diwali) in October-November and is the occasion of elaborate rituals, Read More
At the new moon in the month of Karthik (October-November) Hindus celebrate Diwali, one of their major festivals, also called the “festival of lights”. It symbolises the spiritual victory of light over darkness and of knowledge over ignorance.The name Diwali derives from the Sanskrit dipavali. Dipa means ‘lamp’ or ‘light’ and avali means ‘series’, Read More
Navaratri, along with Mahashivaratri, is one of the leading Hindu festivals, celebrated with great fervour throughout India. In Sanskrit, Nava means ‘nine’ and ratri means ‘nights’; the Navaratri festival lasts for nine nights and ten days. Its purpose is to celebrate the Universal Mother, or Shakti: the primordial and creative force.
Shakti means ‘power’ or ‘energy’. It is a fundamental concept in Hinduism, which is often associated with the feminine principal and personified by Devi, Hinduism’s primordial goddess. The Shakti is venerated all over India and devotion culminates during the 9-day festival of Navaratri.
Jainism derives from the Sanskrit verb ‘ji’, meaning ‘to conquer’. This refers to the battle that Jain ascetics must fight against material temptations. It is a religion that probably appeared around the 5th century BC. Its origins remain unclear, Jainism has no known founder but it was taught by enlighted teachers called ‘Tirthankaras’ (bridge-builders)., Read More
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.