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ShiviOctober 29, 202013min17890

Navratri Celebration in Gujarat

One of the most awaited festivals in the colourful state of Gujarat is Navratri. Celebrated on the first nine days of Ashwin month, devotees keep fast for 9 days and worship Maa Shakti. In the evening, an earthen pot with holes and diyas inside, also known as “Garbi”, is lighted and women perform arti with it. 

 

Gujarat Navratri

 

During Navratri, Garba dance and Dandiya Raas are popular forms of dances performed by both men and women, wearing their traditional dresses.

 

 

Gujarat Navratri

Navratri Celebration in West Bengal, Odisha, Assam &Bihar

 

durga puja assam

 

In the eastern part of India, in the states of West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Bihar, Navratri is celebrated as Durga Puja and it is observed in the last four days of Navratri. These days are referred to as Saptami, Ashthami, Navami and Dashami. Durga Puja is the main festival of the people of West Bengal.

 

Durga-Puja1

 

Durga Puja is celebrated with great pomp and glitter in various parts of the states in big pandals, where large sized idols of Goddess Durga on her lion, demon Mahishasur, Lord Ganesha, Kartikeya and Goddess Laxmi and Saraswati are erected. Men and women come wearing their best colourful dresses. It is a very common sight to see Bengali women wearing their traditional red saree, decked up completely. 

 

Navratri in assam

 

 

The sounds of Dhol, Dhak, Dhunuchi nachh, the fragrance of agarbattis fill the air with freshness and purity. The celebrations of Durga Puja in West Bengal should be “must-watch” for everyone once in his lifetime.

 

 

West Bengal 1

Navratri Celebration in Tamil Nadu

Navratri is also celebrated in Tamil Nadu as a religious celebration to seek the blessings of Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati in the nine special nights. These three goddesses are worshipped for three days each. Friends, relatives and neighbours are invited and clothes, jewelleries, sweets and other gifts are exchanged among them.

 

Kolu Tamil Nadu

 

One interesting feature as a part of the celebration is the decoration of the “Kolu” which is actually a staircase having 9 stairs, representing the 9 nights and each stair is decorated with beautiful dolls, and idols of gods and goddesses. It is said that the dolls that are used are handed over from generation to generation.

 

 

Tamil Nadu navratri

 

Navratri Celebration Andhra Pradesh

The “Kolu” celebration of Navratri in Tamil Nadu is celebrated as “Batukamma Panduga” in Andhra Pradesh, which means “Come Alive Mother Goddess”. The nine nights are dedicated to Goddess Shakti. Women make a beautiful flower stack known as “Batukamma”, which is arranged with seasonal flowers. 

 

Andra pradesh navratri

 

Women wear new saree and jewellery, perform puja in front of the Batukamma for 9 days and then on the last day they set afloat their Batukammas in a lake or any other water body.

Navratri Celebration in Kerala

In Kerala, Navratri is celebrated in the last three days and Keralites give importance to learning during these three days. They place books and musical instruments in front of Ma Saraswati’s idol on Ashtami, and worship the books and Ma Saraswati till Dashami. On Dashami, the books are taken out for reading.

 

 

Kerela Navratri 2

Navratri Celebration in Karnataka

It is a strange fact that even today people in Karnataka celebrate the 9 nights of Navratri in the same manner as was celebrated way back in 1610 by the great Vijayanagara dynasty. Navratri is known as “Naada Habba” in Karnataka. 

 

Karnataka navratri

 

The rituals include elephants’ procession on the streets, including fairs and exhibitions of handicrafts and artifacts.

 

Karnataka navratri 2

Navratri Celebration in Maharashtra

The celebrations are similar to Gujarat. Navratri in Maharashtra implies new beginnings. Hence, purchasing of a home or a car or new business deals or engagement is very common during this time. Married women invite their female friends, put haldi and kumkum on their foreheads and gift them with a coconut, beetle leaves and beetle nuts. 

 

Maharashtra Navratri 4

This gesture is referred to as “Saumangalyam” which means remaining the wife of her husband till her death. Each and every locality in Maharashtra has its own garba and dandiya nights celebrations.

 

haldi and kumkum 1

Navratri Celebration in Himachal Pradesh

For the Hindus in Himachal Pradesh, Navratri is a great celebration. Here, the celebration starts on the tenth day of Navratri when the festival ends in other states. 

 

Baijnath-Temple

 

People celebrate the tenth day, also known as “Kullu Dussehra” as the day of return of Lord Rama to Ayodhya. On this day, the idols from the temples are taken out in processions. 

 

Kullu-Dussehra-Himachal-Valley

 

During the Navratri festival, the devotees visit various temples in Kangra, Una and Bilaspur districts of himachal Pradesh to pay worship to Goddess Durga.

 

vijaydashmi kullu

Navratri Celebration in Punjab

In Punjab, the people keep fast on the first 7 days of Navratri and end their fast on Ashthami or Navami by worshipping 9 little girls and a boy, which is known as “Kanjika”. The Punjabis organize jagratas where they keep awake the whole night and worship Goddess Shakti.

 

 

kanya-pujan

 

Read the next blog on Navratri India’s Nine-Day Festival | Nine Forms of Durga

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ShiviSeptember 5, 20209min9970

Delhi is known for its rich history of kings and empires. With queens, nizams, and the lords Delhi is known for its hospitality and rich culture. Owing to this Delhi’s hotel industry is also one of the flourishing ones in India.

Delhi is blessed to have superbly decorated and lavish hotels. One such is Radisson Blu, which is located near to Delhi airport and endowed with the beautiful and luxurious property.

 

Radisson Delhi

 

We took this opportunity to have a staycation  at Radisson with our teammates. Our stay was the most comfortable and unique in its own way. How? During the COVID times, people are scared to move out and as per the government norms and lockdown procedures, the hotels and retreats are not opening. But Radisson Blu is one of the hotels which is operational in Delhi during the pandemic situation. 

 

Covid Ready

 

Thus, with the new normal, our stay in Radisson Blu was of 2 nights and 3 days. We would like to tell you that, the hotel is sufficiently sanitized and disinfected.

 

Radisson blu team Delhi

At the entrance, we were sanitised and were checked for the temperature. We were fumigated and all the other staff maintained sufficient social distancing.

 

Covid Precautions

 

Apart from this the other forms and formalities were executed by the management to complete the COVID Pandemic guidelines. 

 

We had booked 2 rooms. One Presidential suite & another junior suite. Both the rooms were spacious, lavish and chic in décor and styling. We were welcomed with soothing Mock-tail. The Presidential Suite is very spacious with 2 bathrooms, dining room, pantry and a master bedroom.

 

The room

 

The decor of the room is elegant & classy. Also, on asking for housekeeping, they literally sanitised each & every corner of the room. Since it was the birthday weekend of one of our teammate, they even surprised me by decorating my room with balloons & flowers. The staff of the hotel is very polite and welcoming.

 

The room radisson plaza

 

On our first night, we had our Dinner from their Restaurant NYC. It’s a multi-cuisine restaurant. Due to COVID situation, Alcohol is not being served in the hotels. We ordered snacks: Galouti kebabs, Mushroom kebabs & Chinese Starters like veg Manchurian, fish, papaya salad & in the main course we ordered from Indian cuisine like Dal Tadka, Paneer Makhni, khichri etc.

 

Deserts were delicious we ordered Ice cream, Gulab jamun & Ras malai. Food is too delightful, in Radisson Blu. We missed the Kebab Factory. Hope it opens soon.

 

Coffee shop

 

 

Next Day, we switched our room to Junior Deluxe Suite. This room is relatively smaller than Presidential Suite, but it’s really nicely done & simple luxurious room. We ordered our breakfast in, with the omelette, milkshake, poori bhaji, South Indian delicacies, coffee etc. we took a property tour & had our Lunch and Dinner at NYC. The food at NYC is mouth-watering.

 

radisson blu resturant

 

The main reason for stay Radisson Blu is the food. Staff at the hotel celebrated my birthday at the restaurant too, they were sweet enough to wish me with an amazing cake which we cut together. That was admittedly a very thoughtful gesture. Although Gym & Spa were shut due to COVID 19.

 

Vote of Thanks for the Team:

Chef Sheenu Thanks for wonderful Cake. And Mrs Simmi Sood PR Marketing Radisson Blu, was always there attending us & made our stay commendable & comfortable. The hospitality is remarkable over here. Mr Anuj Soin F&B Director made sure we had the best food possible during our stay.

 

The team radisson blu

 

And thanks to the entire team of a Radisson Blu Mahipalpur for being such gracious Hosts.

Thank you to the entire team at Radisson Blue for attending us so warmly. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay.

 

And look forward to visiting again.

Check TripAdvisor and Google reviews for more insights. 

Picture credits: Mohit Behl

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ShiviApril 11, 202012min9170

 

The hunger to travel never ends. This endless lust for travel is relatable with all the wanderlust out there. Yeah, well, even I’m not able to travel, thus what to do? 

There is a way to break this, read books, by reading books on travel we can satisfy our wanderlust in the tough corona times. Keep reading…

When you enter a search into Google on why we travel, it takes you to detailed articles of ‘Can travel make you more creative?’, ‘Can travel make you fall in love?’ and much more. While some of these may be completely clickjacking, I can’t help but admire the emphasis we all have on the act called travelling. 

Now as we all are chained to chair at work for a long time which does not seem to end soon, I pay my, condolences to my friends who are in dire need of a holiday and aren’t able to. When you have this kind of heartbreak, only a quick trip can fix it. But sadly not right now, in the times of Corona Pandemic. 

I feel sad to hear the stories of lockdown, with no pleasure of travel at all. And then I hear lockdown on the borders and travel ban imposed across the world. I can’t help but feel a sting of worry. Some of us have lovers self-isolating 8,000 miles away and that seems like an unreasonable situation to be in. But if I thought mine was a sad story too, but it’s hard not to think the world without travel writers, travel influencers, content writers, reporters, whose duties are connected with free movement and travel all over and now almost verbose in a worldwide lockdown.

Now that we are in isolation because of the pandemic-inflicted world, free movement is like a distant dream. The month of April is usually when people move out for travel as the exams get over, then Good Friday and other long weekends. Regrettably, for most of us, COVID-19 has assured the derailment of our travel plans. Nevertheless, when one inspiration runs dry, there are many others to keep yourself immerse into positive things. 

So whatever your reasons for travel may be, post-Corona you guys will have to wait for a longer time as the travel industry will be the worst hit. Small hotels, homestays, will have a hard time to recover. I would recommend you to get yourself your favourite cup of tea of a cup or coffee, then, find your much-loved corner or a place on the couch and let the travel stories take you to an exile, many miles away. 

 

 Book image

Pico Iyer’s Autumn Light: Season of Fire and Farewells (2019)

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again—to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”

 

In his most recent publication, Iyer snaps down his view on travel on answering to his longtime home in Japan. As a nation whose calendar is characterised by occasions to honour the dead, come autumn, he represents Japan from a new prospect and directs on the mundane routines that unite people’s lives. 

 

Amitav Ghosh’s In an Antique Land (1992)

“But now, travelling down that road after so many years I felt no excitement at all, only an old, familiar sensation, one that had always accompanied me on my way back from Damanhour, no matter whether I’d been away an hour or a week: the lassitude of homecoming mixed with a quiet sense of dread.”

 

Known as one of his best works, Ghosh takes the reader on a journey from England to Egypt by this book. He goes in quest of a despicable slave from the 12th century, but during his travels, he meets the interaction of varied faiths, holy men, retailers and alchemists. His story is one that genres and ages and envelops the reader in a well-travelled past.

 

Shivya Nath’s The Shooting Star (2018)

“I remember the years I had been too afraid to dream of sitting on the ledge of a humble yellow house, chatting with a family that wasn’t my own, chatting in a language that wasn’t my own, in a part of the world so far away from the one I grew up in and yet not that different.”

 

Shivya Nath’s debut bestows her story from when she quit her 9-to-5 corporate job and travelled the world for seven years, the last two without a permanent address. Her goal to convert from an average girl to a free-movement soul is apparent throughout the book and she endeavours to create a new life and reinvent herself through this journey from the foothills of the Himalayas to the tropics of Ecuador. 

 

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love (2006)

“Traveling is the great true love of my life… I am loyal and constant in my love of travel. I feel about travel the way a happy new mother feels about her impossible, colicky, restless newborn baby—I just don’t care what it puts me through. Because I adore it. Because it’s mine. Because it looks exactly like me.”

 

One of the bestsellers of 2006 and later a blockbuster on the big screen in 2010, Eat, Pray, Love is a must-read for readers viewing to hit the reset switch on their lives. Following her divorce, Gilbert travels to Italy, India and Indonesia, learns a new language, submerges herself in a new culture and along the way takes an inward journey into what it means to truly be happy with oneself.

 

books to read

 

These are some of the travel books which I loved and thought that can satisfy other people wanderlust as well. If you have any comments about this blog please leave on the comment section. In case you are interested in reading any specific blogs please let us know by clicking here and we will try to publish it soon.

 


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ShiviMay 8, 201910min17770

Hong Kong’s Nightlife – Hong Kong is popularly known for its cosmopolitan culture and nightlife. Its dynamic nightlife is from the dice games to the swanky bars and speakeasies – each on has its own character. Thus, whether your intentions and reason to visit the country is business or personal or travel & leisure – the nightlife has to be on the charts. Like mine, it was a business visit but I made sure I had my share of nightlife in Hong Kong.

nightlife district hong kong

There are 3 things what I found while roaming around in Hong Kong and would highlight a few below:

Hong Kong is a compact country but you’ll find ample options for nightlife which are even deeper and concentrated. The narrow streets and insider hidden bars and massage parlours are in the majority. These massage parlous and bars are legal in the country. Not just the massage/spa but they are the female parlours who look for their potential customers on the side of the road and narrow market streets. For my surprise, it was legal as I mentioned above and you would get what you want. Ahah! Well, not creepy it is sensational.

Lan Kwai Fong & Soho hong kong night life massage bars

The vast majority of sky-bars, clubs and restaurants are located around the Central area of Hong Kong main island. And please see that you can cross the harbour on a boat and make your way up one of Kowloon’s highland and sexy growing list of rooftop bars too! For more on nightlife read here

“Another thing that you would find is – across these streets there are awesome pubs where people come after their hectic office schedule, have a drink or two and move on to their respective places. There are a lot of places where you can have a drink without being disturbed by anyone” (from a blogger who’s my friend)

Lan Kwai Fong and SoHo are the two most widely held areas for drinking and nightlife in Hong Kong, proposing a variety of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Lan Kwai Fong is in the eventful and flamboyant Central Business District, while SoHo is a bit more erudite, located just south of Hollywood Road (hence the name).

Trouper drinkers often treat Lan Kwai Fong as a drawn-out warm-up before faltering into the Wan Chai area (Hong Kong’s red light district) later in the night. If it’s bludgeoning you’re after, Lan Kwai Fong hosts the city’s best dance floors and red light area. Read below my experience

One such club – Red Apple where you would pick any girl who will give you company and if you like them you can take them out but that comes with a cost and cost is really high. This club from outside looked like a normal pub. But the moment you will enter you will find many chicks dressed heavily and sexy on the floor.  I sat on the table near to bartender, then, one of the females came and started talking to me, asking me what I do and all that stuff.  Then she kept one of her hand on my shoulder asking me to come to the corner.  Ultimately she told me I can take her out if I am interested and these are the charges. Wooo.. this I experienced for the first time and was crazy. (from a blogger who’s my friend)

lan-kwai-fong-nightlife travel blog hong kong

Other than this, there are nightlife districts in Hong Kong such as:

Temple Street Night Market – Yau Ma Tei Kowloon

Nightlife in Kowloon brags a whole host of rooftop bars and clubs that take the full lead of awe-inspiring views crossways the bay to Hong Kong Island. Bars like Ozone is the ‘highest bar in the world’, Aqua spirit, Eyebar and many more. You will find sky-bars and site of the red light area as well.

Causeway Bay nightlife

Causeway bay actually does not have many late night clubs and bars but if you looking for clam and relaxes speakeasies and bars this place is the best for you in Hong Kong. Causeway Bay’s proclivity for delightful vantage points and some friendly local bars will lure you to get integrate yourself into some lively bar-room conversation.

Eyebar night club hong kong blog

Hong Kong Island

This place is a den for clubbing – you will find hidden bars, underground style clubs with chicks dancing on the floor to pick from for the night and many local style bars dotted around the side on the streets with plenty of drinking spots for expats. Places like – PLAY, Dragon-I and Volar they all assure erotic and exciting night of dancing, and love. Meanwhile, there’s morpmarket Bungalow and this gay-institution of Propaganda and hi-so hangout at Hong Kong Beijing Club. Must visit place for (a bit costly though – to enter you will have to pay to range between – HK$ 120 to HK$ 350). You can ask any local for gay-institution of Propaganda clubs – they refer it “PP”.

Hong-Kong-nightlife kowloon travel blog

Hong Kong nightlife ranges from fashionable art and after-dark shopping to all-night smashing clubs and high-octane entertainment. For me, I have read a lot about Hong Kong but these weird and unusual things about its nightlife were never talked about. And the most surprising thing is they quite easily available here without any fear of police or administration (with all women safety in mind) making it legal still it’s not much being gabbed about.

Read all about Hong Kong to know more about this stunning country



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There is a piece in me that like to tenderly imagine my maverick and seditious soul. But, precisely, I love to have a picky and cosy relationship with my soul that can rub up against a little bit, putting me alive.


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