Jamshed-e-Navroz : Parsi New Year, The Celebration Of Glory


Jamshed-e-Navroz finds mentioned in the Persian ‘Book of Kings’. First celebrated by King Jamshed, the day coincides with vernal equinox and marks the transition from winter to summer.

Nowruz – means “New Light” and marks the Persian New Year. One of the holiest festival, it is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself.

The Jewish festival of Purim is probably adopted from this and it is also a holy day for Sufis, Ismailis, Alawites, Alevis, and the Bahá’ís.

The UN’s General Assembly recognized the International Day of Nowruz,  in 2010 and was officially registered on the UNESCO List of the Intangible cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Besides Iran it is celebrated in countries that were territories of,  or influenced by, the Persian Empire. In India, it is a day of joyous  celebration. Parsis wear new clothes, gold or silver kustis and caps.

Auspicious symbols like fish, birds, butterflies and stars, are patterned on doorways. Guests are welcomed with rose water and rice. navroze-mubarakh

The traditional drink served is falooda, sweetened milk flavored with rose petals and lunch consists of sev and sweet yogurt and pulao.

The meal ends with ravo, a copy of the Gathas, a lit lamp, an afrigan,  a bowl of water containing live fish, an earthenware plate with sprouted wheat or beans for prosperity, flowers for color, silver coin  for wealth, painted eggs for productivity and sweets and rosewater for sweetness and happiness. Additionally seven foods beginning with ‘sh’ and ‘sa’ symbolizing creation are kept. Jamshed Navroz is a time for Parsis to reiterate their identity and on par with Gudi Padva and Ugadi, New Year days in India.

In 2011, ‘Jamshed-e-Navroz’ – the Parsi New Year in India is celebrated in 20th March

Toshali Resorts International Invites all Parsi friends to celebrate “Jamshed-e-Navroz” at Toshali Resorts in India, for booking and accomodation reservation visit http://bit.ly/dVC9iu . You can also contact your Travel Manager “Metu’ for more details at metu@toshali.in and booking@toshalitours.com

Mewar Festival : A fascinating festivity that enthralls the beholder..

Its March – you are ready for a short break after a hectic quarter. So if you can get leave then why not Udaipur. After all it is the lake city, the Venice of the East. It is the place associated with the legendary Maharana Pratap and the battle of Haldighati. Mewar has been synonymous with freedom and independence ever since. And it is that time when Udaipur comes alive with the Mewar Festival.

Mewar Festival (Image source : festivalofindia)
Mewar Festival (Image source : festivalofindia)

The festival celebrates the advent of spring. This coincides with the Gangauri festival. Gana is another name for shiva and the festival is in honour of his consort Gauri. It is a celebration of spring, harvest and martial fidelity. It’s believed that Parvati returned to her parental home during Gangaur, to bless her friends with marital bliss. The first important ritual of the festival is collecting ashes from the Holi fire and burying of wheat and barley seeds in it.

The idols of goddess Gangaur and Isar (Lord Shiva) are taken in a procession through the city. The festival has special significance for women in Rajasthan. They take Part in the procession, prepare the deities. Dancing, singing, concerts, fireworks marks the procession. The procession concludes at the Gangaur Ghat of Lake Pichhola. The idols are transferred into special boats. After this the cultural part of the festival begins. Performances highlight the Rajasthani culture. The three-day festival ends with a beautiful display of fireworks.

Oh since you are in Udaipur do care to look around for the Udaipur is famous for City Palaces, Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Bagore Ki Haveli, Suraj Gokhada, Pratap Memorial, Lake Pichola and Fateh Sagar Lake, Monsoon Palace, Shri Eklingji Prabhu Temple and many more…

In 2011, Marwar Festival will be celebrated from 6 – 8 April at Udaipur, Rajasthan

How to reach Marwar Festival at Udaipur

By Air – Udaipur is well connected to all the major cities which includes Delhi, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Jaipur.

By Road – Rajasthan Roadways run very comfortable deluxe & air conditioned buses from Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad to Udaipur. The roads are very good, and it takes around 8-9 hr. from Jaipur. You can also come by taxi from Jaipur and Ahmedabad.

By Train – Udaipur is connected to many major cities of India. There are daily trains from Delhi, Jaipur.The best train between Delhi and Udaipur, the daily Chetak Express. Trains take around 12 Hrs from Jaipur to Udaipur.

Toshali Tours and Travels, recognised by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, offer an exclusive budget accommodation and Rajasthan travel package to take you to “Mewar Festival” at Udaipur. For Reservation and Booking visit at http://bit.ly/fT3VZ5 . Contact your Travel Desk Consultant “Metu” for more information on “Mewar Festival” at metu@toshali.in

Gudi Padwa Festival : Celebrated to mark the Marathi New Year in India

Gudi Padwa or Gudhi Padva is celebrated on the first day of the Chaitra month to mark the beginning of the Marathi New year according to the lunisolar Hindu calendar (Marathi : गुढी पाडवा often mis-pronounced as guDi padwa because ढी sounds like डी while speaking). It is also know as Samvatsar Padvo.

Gudi Padwa Festival (Image source smsjokes.in)
Happy Gudi Padwa Festival (Image source smsjokes.in)

The South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka observe this day as Ugadi the Sindhis celebrate it as Cheti chand, Bengal celebrates it as Nav Varsha, Baisakhi in Punjab and so on.

Padwa is Marathi for the Sanskrit word Pratipada, the first day of a lunar month or the Sanskrit word for crops Pradurbhu.

The Gudi is a bright green or yellow cloth adorned lined with brocade tied to the tip of a long bamboo over which sugar crystals, neem leaves, a twig of mango leaves and a garland of red flowers is tied. An inverted copper pot covers these. This is hoisted outside the house, in plain view.

Scholars differ over the significance of the staff. Some say Brahma created the universe on this day, to some it signifies the triumphal return of Lord Rama to Ayodha, the flag of Lord Indra or a symbol of Shivaji’s victory.  The spring season starts from this day. Behind all the associated myths this is a festival of a predominantly agrarian society, marking the end and the beginning of a farming cycle.

Irrespective of the significance Gudhi is believed to ward off evil, invite prosperity and good luck to the household and for the young ones it is the savory Puran Polis, a holiday, pampering parents, visit to the park and such small happy things. 

In 2011, Gudi Padva Festival will be held on 16th March in Maharastra, India.

Toshali Tours and Travels, recognised by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, offer an exclusive budget accommodation and travel package to take you to “Gudi Padva” Festival. For Reservation and Booking visit at http://bit.ly/cOgYx8 . Contact your Travel Desk Consultant “Metu” for more information on “Gudi Padwa” at metu@toshali.in and booking@toshalitours.com

International Women Day 2011 : A Tribute to Women

 International Womens Day

It was originally International Working Women’s Day. The origins are found in worldwide movements for emancipation of women since the early 1900s. Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. Observance was shifted to 8 March, later in 1913 and has remained the date for International Women’s Day ever since. Some claim that the first IWD was observed on 19 March 1911 in Germany.

Image Source IWD
Image Source IWD

IWD has grown from strength to strength. For many years the UN has held an annual conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as ‘International Women’s Year’ by the UN. Women’s organisations and governments observe by holding events to honour women’s advancement and renew the vow to ensure that equality is maintained in all aspects of life.

The day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The day sees men honoring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc. with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

India sees heinous crimes against women – rape, dowry deaths, female infanticide etc. daily so the day holds special significance. It serves as a reminder of how much we have achieved and how much more still needs to be done.


Theme: So while many people may think there is one global theme each year, this is not always correct. It is completely up to each country and group as to what appropriate theme they select. However, In 2011, the global United Nation themes used for International Women’s Day to date is “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women” for more details you can visit www.internationalwomensday.com

1911 – 2011 on 8 March International Women’s Day  is a global day, celebrating 100 years on the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

Toshali Resorts International honours and pays tribute to women on 8th March the International Womens Day. Gift a Vacation at Toshali Resorts, for the your women you love the most, be it your Mother, Sister, Wife, Daughter, Beloved, and some one whom you adore, honour and respect. For more details on the accomodation reservation visit http://bit.ly/dVC9iu . You can also contact “Metu” for more details at metu@toshali.in and booking@toshalitours.com .

Ugadi Festival : An Auspicious Celebration in South India

Yugadi (Kannada: ಯುಗಾದಿ, Telugu: ఉగాది) from yuga and aadi, yuga means era, aadi means start. It is the New Year’s Day for the people of the Deccan region. While the people of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh use the term Yugadi or Ugadi for this festival, in Maharashtra it is Gudi Padwa, for Sindhis it is Cheti Chandin Manipur – Sajibu Cheiraoba, Baisakhi in Punjab and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu.

Ugadhi Festival (Image Courtesy Telegupedia)
Ugadhi Festival (Image Courtesy Telegupedia)

It falls on a different day every year because of the lunisolar calendar. The Saka calendar begins with Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi marks the first day of the new year. Chaitra is the first month in the Indian almanac. It is believed on this day Brahma – the Creator formed the universe.

It also heralds spring and new life. Homes are cleaned and decorated, new clothes are bought, fresh mango leaves are strung up above doorways to denote prosperity.

The day with ritual showers, prayers, and then the eating a dish with mixture of six tastes, called Ugadi Pachhadi or Bevu-Bella. The six tastes symbolizes emotions – sadness, happiness, anger, fear, disgust, surprise represented by:

  • Neem Buds – bitterness
  • Raw Mango – tang
  • Tamarind – sourness
  • Green Chilli/Pepper – heat
  • Jaggery and ripe banana – sweetness
  • Pinch of Salt – saltiness

This mixture with all six tastes (షడ్రుచులు), called Yugadi Pachhadi (ఉగాది పచ్చడి) in Telugu and Bevu-Bella( ಬೇವು-ಬೆಲ್ಲ) in Kannada.

Rangoli made at every home (Image Courtesy Hubpages)
Rangoli made at every home (Image Courtesy Hubpages)

Ugadi is time for rangoli and some good heavy lunch! Thus a festival of many shades. It ushers in the New Year, brings a rich bounce of flora and fills the hearts of people with joy and contentment.

In 2o11, Ugadi Festival will be celebrated on 4th April 2011 in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh

South India travel and tour is a treasure trove during Ugadi Festival. Toshali Tours and Travels, recognised by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, offer an exclusive budget accommodation and South India travel package to take you to “Ugadi Festival”. For Reservation and Booking visit at http://bit.ly/gXAq4t . Contact your Travel Desk Consultant “Metu” for more information on “Ugadi Festival” at metu@toshali.in

Nauchandi Mela of Meerut is the Symbol of Communal Harmony

Handicrafts in Uttar Pradesh, Chikankari from Lucknow, Ferozabad’s glassware, leather goods of Kanpur, Varanasi’s gorgeous silk etc. You can get these and more at a microcosm of UP – the Nauchandi Mela in Meerut. It is more than a century old, a month-long extravaganza of handicrafts, food, and all the noise and hoi polloi of a rustic Indian fair that begins on the second Sunday after Holi.

Nauchandi Mela (Image Courtesy Ravindra Merthi)
Nauchandi Mela (Image Courtesy Ravindra Merthi)

Some say it started as a cattle fair, dating back to 1672, some say it was a revenue collection fair while others believe that it began as a commemoration of the building of a temple in Meerut by Mandodari, consort of Ramayana’s Ravana.

History apart it is one of the biggest, dustiest, most colorful fairs. It is held on a 4 sq km area, jammed with its broad spectrum of color and sound and scents and scenes. The space is populated by hundreds of stalls selling drapes, perfumes, jewellery, furniture, ceramics, glassware, leather – what not.  Ferris wheels, traveling circuses, acrobats, local version of the vuvuzelas – small but equally potent, nautankis and classical renditions all add to the crescendo of cacophony. Performances of Hindustani classical music have added importance with maestros such as Pandit Ravi Shankar being among those who have performed.

Historic ‘Nauchandi Mela’ is famous as a symbol of Hindu-Muslim Unity. Dargah of ‘Hazrat Bale Mian’ and the Temple of ‘Navchandi Devi’ are situated facing each other. During this ‘mela’ , sound of the temple bells and the Azan from the mosque situated at the shrine of Bale mian creates a ‘spiritual echo’. Nauchandi mela is also famous for its favourite dish “Halwa Parantha”.

Famous Halwa Paratha (Image Courtesy Kanfuski)
Famous Halwa Paratha (Image Courtesy Kanfuski)

So whatever you are – a compulsive shopper, a businessman or craftsman or a culture-vulture looking for a great experience- the Nauchandi Mela is worth a go. A dip into a microcosm of India’s cultural boiling pot or just a dusty interlude?  You decide.

In 2011, Nauchandi Mela will be held on 27 March in the town of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.

Toshali Tours and Travels, recognised by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, offer an exclusive budget accommodation and travel package to take you to “Nauchandi Mela”. For Reservation and Booking visit at http://bit.ly/fCK2U8 . Contact your Travel Desk Consultant “Metu” for more information on “Nauchandi Festival” at metu@toshali.in

Balighai Beach at Puri, Orissa : A Popular Holiday Spot

Balighai beach is just four kilometers from Puri along the spectacular Puri – Konark marine drive.  Fringed with Casuarinas, the sea and Nuanai river. It is clean and well maintained. The adjacent Balihirana Sanctuary for the protected Indian Black Bucks. If lucky you may have a glimpse of this shy and fast antelope.

Balighai Beach, Puri
Balighai Beach, Puri

This is a private beach of Toshali Sands (exclusive right to use by the guests of Toshali Sands Ethnic village resort) and Yoga sessions and other beach activity, etc. for the guests. It is maintained according to strict government guidelines. The resort is known for the green cover. The Sea Turtle Research Centre is nearby. The beach area is part of the breeding zone of Olive Ridleys. There are talks of a cycling trek of the reserve forest right up to Konark along the marine drive and harnessing wind and solar energy for a more green source of power.

Moonlit nights and sunrise or sunsets are pure magic. The scenery is a wash with molten silver and gold and oh if you are lucky on a moonlit night when the sea whispers to the shores the Olive Ridleys come ashore to lay eggs (November to February). They return to the same beach where they once swam away from as hatchlings – like the Salmon run another enduring mystery of nature. Bird watchers can track some as some winged visitors o n their way to the world famous Chilka Lake.

Balighai beach is a very popular picnic and vacation spot, located near the holy seaside city Puri, Orissa. The best time to visit Balighai beach is during October to June.

Toshali Sands, Orissa’s Ethnic Village Resort is where you experience the magic of the Golden Traingle of Puri, Bhubaneshwar & Konark, and the serene beauty of Balighai Beach, to know more  and to nook your Package visit http://bit.ly/b6sc29 . For more details, please contact your “Metu” your friendly Travel Planner at metu@toshali.in

Khajuraho Dance Festival : Classical Indian Dance returns to its roots.

Where the hand goes, there the eyes should follow
Where the eyes are, the mind should follow
Where the mind is, there the expression should be brought out
Where the expression is, there the rasa or flavour will be experienced by the audience.

– Lines from the Natyakram

The erstwhile religious capital of the Chandelas, Khajuraho comes alive with its annual Dance Festival in February/ March. It takes place in an amphitheatre in front of the Chitragupta Temple and the Vishwanatha Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. They are part of the Western Group of temples. These are some of the largest, well maintained and easily accessible temple(s) in Khajuraho. The festival started in 2002. Already this weeklong festival has carved a niche for itself with its classical dance performances, presented in the backdrop of the stunningly illuminated temples. Khajuraho Dance Festival (Image Courtesy Madhya Pradesh Tourism)

Some of the best artists participate in the festival and the performances include the traditionals – Kathak, Bharathanatyam, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Manipuri, Kathakali and off late more modern dance forms

The programmes are held against the spectacular backdrop of the temples. Classical Dance and Music in India was nurtured and developed in the temples. Diverse forms of classical dance matured and evolved in the temples. So a temple as a backdrop to a dance festival is a form of tribute to temples in ancient and medieval India which were focal points of art, culture and learning besides religion.

Along with the performances, craftsmen display their wares in an open market nearby. This year the festival will be opened on February 25th with Bharatnatyam rendition of Hema Malini accompanied by her 2 daughters – Esha and Ahana. This is the first time the famous actress will perform with her daughters.

Khajuraho Dance Festival will be held from 25th February – 2nd Mar 2011 at Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India

Event details may change. Please check with the organisers or with your Travel planner that the event is happening before making travel arrangements.

Toshali Tours and Travels, recognised by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, offer an exclusive budget accommodation and travel package to take you to “Khajuraho Dance Festival”. For Reservation and Booking visit at http://bit.ly/gv44YU . Contact your Travel Desk Consultant “Metu” for more information on “Khajuraho Dance Festival” at metu@toshali.in

10th Konark Youth Fest at the International Tourist Destination.

2001 was the International Year of Volunteers. Since then Young India has been organizing the Konark Youth Festival at Konark. The event is supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

Konark Youth Festival
Konark Youth Festival

Youth is the essence of India. They need to unite in fighting social evils like factionalism, bigotry, superstition and taboos. The spirit of nationalism, scientific mindset and respect for our cultural heritage and tradition must be inculcated in them. The focus is on showcasing performing arts of India to highlight its tradition and heritage. Off late the festival sees several guest participants from foreign countries too. This year shall see the 10th edition of the festival. It is scheduled from 27th to 31st March 2011 at Konark (Odisha).

Young India received the National Youth Award for the year 2008-09 in recognition of outstanding services to the community. The festival invites national youth awardees, NSS volunteers and youth activists from different corners of the country to initiate interaction among them to bring in social change by involving the youth.

Sometimes we are privileged to hear a Oriya song from foreign delegates – there’s one sung by Isa – from Germany and Kevin , who came from the USA in the 2008 edition.

Konark famous for Konark Temple or Sun Temple built with black granite in the form of Chariot. Konark is the World Heritage Site of the renowned 13th century Sun Temple, also called Black Pagoda, built by king Narasimha Dev I. Since long, the huge Konark Temple Complex–which is an architectural wonder–has enthralled the visitors from far off places.

Konark, Puri and Bhubaneswar form a virtual triangle in tourist circle popularly known as “Golden Triangle”. These three places are well connected by good double lane metal road to each other.

How to reach Puri Konark Bhubaneswar tourist triangle –

  • Konark to Puri – 35 Kms – One hour
  • Puri to Bhubaneswar – 60 Kms – Two hours
  • Bhubaneswar to Konark – 65 Kms – Two hours
Konark to Puri – 35 Kms – One hour
Puri to Bhubaneswar – 60 Kms – Two hours
Bhubaneswar to Konark – 65 Kms – Two hours

Ethnic Village Resort “Toshali Sands” at Puri offer an exclusive budget accommodation package to take you to “10th Konark Youth Festival”. For Reservation and Booking Open for Package at http://bit.ly/gO5TkN . Contact your Travel Desk Consultant “Metu” for more information on “10th Konark Youth Festival” at metu@toshali.in