Last year I had clicked these pictures in my neighbourhood. Rangoli has always been a major attarction of the Diwali festival. On this auspicious occassion women make colourful patterns in their courtyard or front of the gates to welcome Goddess Lakshmi into their homes. It is believed Goddess Lakshmi is very safai pasand, cleanliness freak, and shall dwell in those houses which are clean and illuminated with lights. That is one of the many reasons on Diwali the entire house is lighted with lamps and colourful light chains. People decorate their homes with new paints, furnishings and home decors.
Rangoli is a part of home decor mostly done in the front of the house or also in the Brahmasthan of the house to invite good vibes. Earlier the ingredients used for Rangoli were natural resources like flower petals, turmeric, coloured rice, dry flour, Vermillion (Sindoor) but now it is colored sand and chemicals mostly. On Diwali even offices and shops are decorated.
Here are some of the beautiful rangolis I captured last year.
Srikakulam district has the longest coast line about 193 km (120 mi) in the state of Andhra Pradesh according to Wikipedia. Srikakulam town, the headquarters of the district, is located on the east bank of the River Nagavali. Towards the east is Bay of Bengal and towards the South East is Vijayanagaram district and towards north is state of Orissa. Srikakulam was formerly known as Chicacole. Srikakulam has a vast coastline, natural resources, granite fields worth crores of rupees, historic temples.
Srikakulam is also known to many as Uttarandhra and Kalingandhra. Srikakulam, the northernmost district in Andhra Pradesh and it was ruled by Chedidianasti kings, Satavahana kings and Golkonda nawabs in the olden days. (source: srikakulaminfo.com)
We have been there for the first time. Its nearness to Bay of Bengal and ancient temples attracted our attention. We started from Rayagada in Odhisa and reached here covering a distance of about 140 kilometers. The route had beautiful view of the mineral rich hills and forests area.
What caught my attention in Srikakulam city is the number of movie theaters. You can come across two or three on the same road with mostly Telugu movies. The posters showing the number of days the movie is running in the theater.
We didn’t get much time to hop in the city market as we were more attracted towards the beach and the temples which is outside the city.
The day we reached, it was Hanuman Jayanti. Earlier I thought Hanumanji was more worshipped in the North but I was surprised to found the ape God being worshipped in very village I had crossed during my trip. Huge idols of Hanumanji dorned the temples and the entire village had assembled to seek blessings on this auspicious occassion with community meals and cultural activities.
Kalingapatnam Beach was our first halt which is about 25 kilometers from the city.
The beach is pristine and completely undeveloped.
Even the beach resort, Haritha Hotel, of Andhra Pradesh Tourism is under construction. However, they offer stay in non-ac room with no generator facility. So one had to stay in Srikakulam and come down here to enjoy the beach, mostly in the evenings.
The most scenic beauty of Kalingapatnam is of the River Vamasadhara merging in the Bay of Bengal.
The meeting of the two waters is distinguishably a scene not to miss. Undoubtedly it is one the safest and cleanest beaches in Andhra Pradesh. The most beautiful view is of the dancing waves of the Bay of Bengal that fall so silent where the river meets the sea. Other than that there is the light house which is way inside the village from the sea shore.
Ideally you can spend time playing in the sea waves for couple of hours but there is no food shop around or rather no shop around on the beach. The place also talks of Buddhist excavations but we could not trace it as the locals had no idea or rather they could not understand us.
Arasavilli Temple is the Sun God Temple which is located about 3.5 kilometer from the city.
There are many sun temples all over the world. However, this is the only temple in the country where Sun God, “Sri Surya Narayanswamy” is worshipped. All the other sun temples do not have deities. The temple is built by Kalinga King and is as old as 7th century.
Srikurmam Temple is another must see place during the trip. The temple is about 18 kilometers from the city and is dedicated to the Kurmam Avatar i.e the tortoise Avatar of the Lord Vishu.
The temple dates back to 2nd century and is the only of its kind in the world. The premise is big with a pond in the front and which is home to numerous tortoises. This is the only temple where the deity is facing westward and is in the form of a tortoise.
The beach is about 6 kilometers from the temple. We headed for the beach again and this time it was amid the coconut and palm tree grooves.
We also crossed a small fishermen village on the way and reached the beach which was completely naïve of any living being.
We started from Srikakulam to Raipur on road at 12.00p.m the same day. The route was Srikalum – Pondulu- Simliguda-Koraput- Jagdalpur- Dhamtri – Raipur.
The road is very smooth and so is the scenic beauty of the South Odhisa. The area being home to several tribal communities among the hill ranges of Deomali and Chandragiri mountains is a beautiful destination to visit. However, it is not advisable due to the Maoists troubled area too. One can enjoy the beauty while travelling through the curves of the mountains while on the way to Jagdalpur.
We took break for lunch in Koraput, dinner break in Makdi, enroute Kanker and reached Raipur at 00.00a.m. It was completely unplanned tour but it surprised us with so many beautiful memories for life.
Chattisgarh is best known for its rich tribal culture and temples. Bhoramdeo Temple is one of the major attractions of the state. This ancient temple is situated in Kawardha district of Chhattisgarh which is about 116 kilometers from the capital city of Raipur or just 20 kilometers from the Kawardha town.
The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and dates back to 7th to 12th Century A.D during the period of Kalachuri dynasty. This ancient temple has a close resemblance to the Konark Sun Temple in Odhisa and the Khajuraho Temples in Madhya Pradesh.
The temple was built by Nagwanshi King, Raja Ramchandra, who practiced Tantrism, an ancient form of Hindu practice that seeks to channelize the divine energy from God to human to attain Moksha. Therefore, the temple walls have magnificent erotic rock sculptures depicting various Kama sutra positions. Hence the temple is also popularly known as “The Khajuraho of Chhattisgarh.”
Within the temple premises there are several other small temples dedicated to other deities. Madwa Palace within the temple premises is also another attraction. It is built like a marriage hall and resembled the wedding Mandap of Raja Ramchandra with his wife Queen Ambika Devi.
It is a must visit place during Chhattisgarh tour. The best time to visit is during the Bhoramdeo Mahotsav held in the last week of March within the temple complex. This festival gives the tourists a deep insight into the culture of the state with various tribal dance and songs.
Apart from that the nature lovers and the adventure freak can always enjoy the picturesque beauty of the Mikal Hills and the wildlife sanctuary here. The temple is situated on the foothills of the Mikal Hills.
EXCERPT #THEJUNGLE SERIES
Neha had heard a lot about Bhoramdeo Temple since her arrival in Raipur. The newspaper, few days back in the end of March, mentioned about the Bhoramdeo Mahotsav which she desperately wanted to visit but could not due to Ritesh’s busy schedule. She was very excited to visit the temple now.
This write up is part of my upcoming #paranormal book based on the jungles of Chhattisgarh, THE JUNGLE SERIES, a collection of short stories. The tag line is- GET READY TO BE ASSAULTED.
Hyderabad, The CITY of PEARLS , will mesmerize you with its historic beauty. Well known for its magnificient ruins and history Hyderabad was established in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, under the rule of the Qutb Shahi dynasty for nearly a century before the Mughals captured the region. In 1724, Mughal viceroy Asif Jah I declared his sovereignty and created his own dynasty, known as the Nizams of Hyderabad.
Official capital city of Telangana State, Hyderabad has succeeded in retaining its tradition and culture over the years be it in its food zone, traditional markets like the Laad Bazaar, Begum Bazaar and Sultan Bazaar, that are still very favorite place of the tourists from all the corners of the world.
The ruins here hold a story of the successful bygone era and its is advisable that before you plan your next trip here don’t forget to flip the pages of history. You will have a different view of the city.
Here I am sharing few pictures that speak of the rich culture of the city.
For The Love of Shillong (Travel Documentary) : Located in undulating pine covered hills, the city has a milder climate than tropical India. The capital city of the sate of Meghlaya, India is home to several waterfalls. It is also known as the Scotland of the East. The British legacy is still visible in the architecture and food habits of the population. The Assam style houses with slanting roofs, large number of windows and wooden floors look like a piece of art (and happen to be a very good idea, considering Shillong lies in an area where rains and earthquakes are very common).
So you are planning a gadget free vacation in a remote destination this year. Good for you. It will give you all the juice you need to unwind yourself. But have you ever thought how would your child react to such themes?
Exactly, you never thought of it. Of course there is plenty to do in the daytime like hiking, biking, swimming and much more. But once the sun is down and there is no TV or any other means of electronic entertainment to juggle with your child will surely come nagging to you.
So before you run to pack his video game here are few tips which can really help you and your family members enjoy the vacations utmost. And do not forget to thank me if it really helps you.
So here are few tips for you.
Ask him to pack some of his favorite story books. At home with the study schedule and preparing for exams he has less time to flip through the pages of the comic books that you bought for him on his last birthday. Evenings here is the perfect time to engage him in reading these books.
You can also ask him to pack some his favorite toys and indoor games too. Sometimes due to busy schedule you do not get time to play with him. Evenings are the best time during this trip wherein your family can enjoy a game together.
When was the last time you gazed at the stars? Did something ring inside you? Oh yes, what else could be the best time to lie on your back and gaze at the stars. While asking him to choose his pick of stars you can also educate him about the vastness of our universe, planets, satellite, constellations and much more. Children love to learn the fun way rather than the books.
What best could be telling stories to your child or rather share your childhood stories. Your child will easily relate to you on all the occasions.
A night stroll can also be very interesting. You can teach the child to decipher different sounds from the surrounding. Moving out with a torch light can help you even locate the source of these sounds. This way your child will learn about different crickets if there happen to be any. However if your child is too young then he might not enjoy the stroll in the darkness. In that case you have to indulge in other activities.
Another very interesting activity is to ask your child to keep a journal of this trip. Evening is the best time to think and write about the activities of the daytime. This will encourage him to jot his thoughts as well which can share with his friends when he goes back. It will also develop your child’s writing habit.
Your child can also enjoy coloring and sketching if he has a knack of it. So whenever you plan a trip make sure to ask him to pick up his crayons, brush and paints as well.
And in the end if you really want your child to enjoy his vacation in a remote area without bothering you adults much then plan your trip with another family that have children of almost same age as your child. That will keep you and your spouse off from babysitting your child during the entire trip. So have more fun when you plan your next trip.