The city of Varanasi or Banaras (or Kashi) as most Indians know it, is one of the holiest cities of India. It is here you will find Hinduism in its raw form. Many foreign tourists visit Banaras in large numbers to seek of spirituality. I have spent large parts of my childhood growing up in Banaras. I have seen tourists come to this place from all over India and the world. Indians come here to bathe in the holy river Ganges while foreign tourists come here to get to know about the Hindu religion. Some foreign tourists come here just to consume marijuana, one of the few places in India where you can drink bhang lassi (shake) on the streets.
If you are considering travelling to India but didn’t know how then keep on reading. First, let me congratulate you for considering visiting India. I think it’s an excellent choice and I am sure you will not be disappointed. You might find the country a little crowded and perhaps a little hot if you are coming to India during the summers but all in all, it’s a great choice and there is always something to do and fascinating to see. If you are considering India, then this is right time to come. India has the best weather between the months of November and March. Although it can get cold in some parts of India but generally the climate is suited for those coming from the West.
We just had India’s most widely celebrated Hindu festival called the Durga Puja. If you were in India then you would have seen the festivities. Devotees install stages for the worship of the Goddess called “pandals” on the streets and market places – an absolute delight. Durga Puja is a festival that marks the victory of the Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. The festival also signifies the coming of autumn. The 10th day is called “Vijayadashami” or “Dussehra”. The festival lasts about 9 nights and 10 days (called Navratri) and is an annual holiday in India. On the 10th day, the idols of Durga are carried out in grand procession and immersed in the river. On this day, Lord Ram also killed the demon “Ravana” who had abducted his wife Sita to his kingdom of Lanka. An effigy of Ravana is burnt on the day of Vijayadashami.
Today is Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday and a national holiday in all the states and union territories of India. Second of October is referred to as “Gandhi Jayanti”. Mahatma Gandhi was born on this day in 1869 at a place called “Porbandar” in the state of Gujarat, Western India. This day has been recognised and celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence by the United Nations General Assembly.
India is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations not just for Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs but people of all religions. People from all over the world of all faiths come to experience spirituality. You will find that all of your senses are fulfilled by spiritualism in India. If you are considering visiting India for spiritual purposes then here are some facts about the Hindu religion you might find useful on your spiritual journey.
If you are travelling to India then one of the most striking features that you will notice is her poverty. You might have heard of lots of nice things about how India is making progress and about its growing economy. That is all well and good and rightly so; millions of people have been uplifted out of poverty. You can read more about poverty in India here. Gone are the days when people used to starve to death – thankfully none of that anymore.
To explore any city in India one must be aware of the various modes of commutation that are available at hand. In most cities in India you would find the local state transport buses and hired cabs or taxis. In addition to these, larger cities such as Mumbai, there is the option for “local trains” and Kolkata has the “trams” while Delhi has the “metro“.
However, the one mode of transport that is vital across most of India is the auto rickshaw. In fact, in cities and towns across the country, the black-yellow or the green-yellow rickshaws are the backbone of city transport. They are called “autos” by the locals. The seating capacity of a normal auto is 4, including the driver. There are also six-seater rickshaws in certain towns and cities. Normally their fare rates of these autos controlled by the government.
If are travelling to India then you have to try the famous street foods of India. Although I have advised against it previously but if you are up the mark and have all your jabs in place (cholera, typhoid and hepatitis C) then be a devil and go for it. You can find more about health tips in my India travel guide book.
Thousands of people visit India so that they can experience Indian spiritually. But many of them who visit the country do not know that other than Hinduism there are other religions that also exist in India. This means that there are non-Hindu religious places that can also be visited and can provide spiritual upliftment.
What to wear in India? What kind of clothes would be safe to wear? What should I pack? Can I carry my shorts along? Should I carry cotton or linen or woollens or all? Should I carry flats or high heels? Are these questions in your mind too? Well then read along, as I pen down some basic tips that would help you pack that bag for your trip to India.
If you are one of those people like me who love pizza then don’t worry, you are in luck. There are places in India for example the Pizza Hut where you can eat. The good thing is that you will find them in most major cities and towns of India. Although you may not find Pizza Hut in smaller towns and villages but most metros and larger towns of India will have them. If you are travelling to Delhi then there’s one in the popular destination of Connaught Circus in Connaught Place in Delhi.
There are travel blogs and there are travel blogs with a difference. If you have not met Savi and Vid of BruisedPassports.com then you should check them out. Not only do they blog about their travels but blog about the outfits they wear on their travels. They are the most glamorous travelers I have known. Gorgeous Savi has a PhD in visual arts and literature. She describes herself as a bit of an urban gypsy. While handsome Vid loves taking pictures and is a coffee geek.
Who doesn’t like going on holidays!
Some of us like to sit in the sun for hours, be it on the beach or enjoying skiing. Sadly, while we are lazing away in the sun, the solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) of the very sun we are enjoying can actually cause damage to our DNA. Here’s an interesting article that was published in the prestigious Journal of Investigative Dermatology (Nature Publishing Group).
If you are planning a visit to Mumbai this year, then here’s a video you will like. The video (filmed on Nokia Lumia HD Camera) captures the spirit of Mumbai; the city that teaches us that without struggle there is no success. In a nutshell, Mumbai is the capital of the western state of Maharashtra. Previously known as Bombay, it is also the most populated city of India and supposed to be the fifth most populated city in the world. Mumbai is supposed to be the most prosperous city of India and is supposed to have one of the highest GDP in Asia. In addition, Mumbai is the financial, commercial and entertainment (Bollywood) capital of India. However, you will find big disparity between the huge skyscrapers and the home of the biggest slum of Asia.