Many people do not know it, but India is one of the world's oldest civilisations. It has been the birthplace of many fundamentals recognised by today's society, in science and in the arts. After traveling tirelessly around India and immersing myself in its flavours and traditions, I wanted to bear witness to its incredibly rich cultural and spiritual heritage. If this website sparks a desire to pack your bags and set off for an Indian adventure, it will have achieved its purpose. Have a good trip around the website and pleasant wanderings in the sacred land of Bharat!
Ambaji, 185km from Ahmedabad, is a temple city that attracts millions of worshippers each year. Legend has it that the heart of Shiva’s consort Sati fell here. This makes it one of the 51 Shakti Peethas and therefore a key pilgrimage centre.
There are two main temples in Ambaji. Inside the town is the Arasuri Ambaji temple, named after the Arasur mountains all around the town. Worship has taken place here ever since pre-Vedic times. The temple contains no statue or image; the main object of worship is the Shree Visa Yantra inscribed on a gilded marble plaque in a niche in the inner sanctum
A yantra is a mystical diagram that is believed to have spiritual or magical powers. Yantras are used in the Tantric tradition of Hinduism. Among other symbols, yantras commonly feature geometric shapes such as squares, triangles and circles, or flower patterns.
The other temple, the original seat of the goddess, is on Gabbar Hill, 4.5kmfrom the Arasuri Ambaji temple. You can reach it by climbing 999 steps, or by cable car. On the flat hilltop is a small niche in which a lamp is kept permenantly lit.
It is said that the goddess’s footprints can be seen under the temple’s bodhi tree. This sanctuary is a Shakti Peetha, said to be the one where the goddess’s heart fell.
A circumambulation path (called a parikrama), has been organised round Gabbar hill, with reproductions of all 51 Shakti Peethas set up along the way.
Going down the hill, stop for a moment to taste a chhach or chhas, a drink typical of Gujarat, refreshing and digestive at the same time, based on milk sprinkled with cumin seeds.
| VARANASI, UTTAR PRADESH | NOVEMBER | 1 DAY |
Magical and unforgettable, Dev Diwali “the Diwali of the gods”, is celebrated in Varanasi, India’s spiritual capital. It falls on the day of the full moon, 15 days after Diwali. For this festival thousands of diyas or oil lamps deck the ghats of the city of Shiva in honour of Ganga, goddess of the river. Legend has it that on this day the gods come down to earth to bathe in the Ganges.
Indian food without herbs and spices is unimaginable. They are at the heart of every dish. They have been used since ancient times and are mentioned in Hinduism’s oldest sacred scriptures, the Vedas.
Most of the numerous spices used in India are grown on the subcontinent. Some are “hot”, others add a delicate flavour to the dish. Each spice can be used on its own, but they are usually mixed in subtle combinations to give unique fragrances that differ from one region to another.
The Modhera Dance Festival or Uttarardh Mahotsav is set against the backdrop of Modhera’s majestic sun temple, dressed in its best suit of lights for the occasion. It is organised by the Gujarat Tourism Corporation. It brings together dance troupes and solo performers from all over India, offering a panorama of India’s many dance styles.
Dhal, or Daal Dal is the name given to dishes of legumes, but it is also used to refer to legumes. Lentils and legumes in general are an integral part of Indian cuisine. In a country where the population is more than 40% vegetarian (500 million people), these legumes are adding their full of protein and vitamins.
The annual Marwar Festival, held in Jodhpur and Osian in Rajasthan during October, is an occasion for colourful folk celebrations. It is mainly focused on the music and dance of the Marwar region. Two lovely days for getting to know the folk culture of Rajasthan.
Dussehra marks the end of one of the biggest Hindu festivals called ‘Navaratri’. This festival lasts for nine nights and ten days. Its purpose is to celebrate the Universal Mother, or Shakti: the primordial force. The tenth day is commonly called Vijayadashami, the day of victory of light over darkness. Vijayadashami is also called Dusserha or Dasara in some parts of India, where it associated with Lord Rama.