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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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 time to visit Saputara is during the monsoon, when it is covered with an intense green carpet and when the mist gives the landscape a mysterious atmosphere. 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. Read More

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. Read More

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 slows down and you’re drawn into an atmosphere of calm zenitude. 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 communities. The Wayanad region has more tribes than any other part of Kerala. Their subsistence is almost entirely based on forest produce. As well as its natural beauty, the Wayanad region has many other assets including ancestral temples and caves such as constituted India’s earliest dwellings. 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 nevertheless evolved into contemporary forms of great creativity that are exhibited in the best art galleries in India.
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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 Char Dham’. Read More