“Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” : A Tribute to ‘Bharat Ratna’ Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri

‘Bharat Ratna’ Lal Bahadur Shrivastava Shastri (2 October 1904 – 11 January 1966), he shares his birthday with the Mahatma on October 2. He was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.

'Bharat Ratna' Lal Bahadur Shrivastava Shastri (2 October 1904 - 11 January 1966)
'Bharat Ratna' Lal Bahadur Shrivastava Shastri (2 October 1904 - 11 January 1966)

A staunch Gandhian he discontinued the use of his surmane as it indicated his caste. he was born in Mughalsarai and moving to Varanasi in persual of higher education. A 1915, speech of Gandhiji converted him into a lifelong Gandhian. He spend some 9 years in prison for participating in the freedom struggle. His values never ditched him. During one of his prison terms his daughter fell ill. He was released for 15 days from teh prison. She died and a stoic Shastri performed her funeral rites and returned to prison, before time. And when his son’s illness was not cured withing the stipulated parole time he returned to prison..

In prison he got acquinted  with the works of western philosophers, revolutionaries and social reformers and translated the autobiography of Marie Curie to Hindi.

After independence, he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary in Uttar Pradesh. Then He became Minister of Police and Transport. He was the first to appoint women conductors and ordered that Police use jets of water instead of lathis to disperse unruly crowds.

In 1951, he became the General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee and played an important role in the landslide successes of the Congress Party in the General Elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962.

In 1951, Nehru nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. He served as the Minister of Railways and Transport in the Central Cabinet from 1951 to 1956. In 1956, he offered his resignation after a railway accident at Mahbubnagar and three months later, he resigned accepting moral and constitutional responsibility for a railway accident at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu that resulted in 144 deaths. His unprecedented gesture was greatly appreciated by the citizens.

In 1957 he was appointed as the Minister for Transport and Communications, and then as the Minister of Commerce and Industry. In 1961, he became Minister for Home. Chacha Nehru died in office on 27 May 1964. Then Congress Party President K. Kamaraj was instrumental in making and installing Shastri as Prime Minister on 9 June. He pushed through the Green Revolution which led to India becoming a food-surplus nation, although he did not live to see it.

During the 22-day war with Pakistan, Lal Bahadur Shastri created the slogan of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (“Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer”). He was instrumental in promoting the White Revolution.

The problem for Shastri’s administration was Pakistan. Laying claim to half of the Kutch peninsula, Pakistan sent incursion forces in August 1965,  leading to the Indo-Pak war. The Indo-Pak war ended on 23 September 1965 with a United Nations-mandated ceasefire. After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR) organised by Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration. The next day Shastri died, supposedly of a heart attack at 1:32 AM, and now he rest at Vijay Ghat, Delhi

He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, and his memorial “Vijay Ghat” in Delhi will forever remind Indians and humanity how this unassuming man personified ‘where there is a will there is a way’. His life would be a lesson for generations to come.

History has not forgotten this giant…… Jai Hind !!

Toshali Resotrts Pay Tribute and Celebrates the 106th Birth anniversary of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri on 2nd October’2010 (Saturday) and invites you for a Weekend Getaway at Toshali Sands, Puri India. For Reservation and travel booking contact your travel consultant metu@toshali.in

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Green Delhi… Breath life to the place we stay!

Delhi is synonymous with wide roads and lush greenery. Reportedly Emperor Akbar ordered all roads to be lined with ‘Sheesham’ trees. The Imperial Capital Committee, decided to plant mainly evergreen trees in its new capital.

Delhi has some 42 types of ‘native’ trees. The commonest tree is the Mesquite (Prosopis Juliflora), called ‘Vilaiti or Angrezi Keekar’. It was introduced around 1915 from the Central Americas.

Emperor Shah Jahan offered special rent-free tenures to proprietors around Sadhaura Kalan, northwest of Mori Gate.

Today Jamun trees are found on Rajpath, India Gate and some Luyten’s avenues. Delhi’s numerous gardens, like the Mughal Gardens, Lodhi Gardens, Zoological Park, Buddha Jayanti Park, Delhi Golf Club, Nehru Park, etc boast of over 250 species of trees.

Population pressure has seen depletion in the green cover. Government initiatives including Bhagidari scheme and a revamped industrial policy countered the situation. The strategy was to:

•       Motivate citizens to generate minimum waste
•       Recycle horticulture waste.
•       Minimising use of polythene bags.
•       Panting trees.
•       Celebrating festivals in an eco friendly manner.
•       Educating citizens about re-use and recycling.

The situation has improved 2005 onwards.

According to the State of the Forest survey 2009 Delhi (8.29%) comes third behind Lakshwadeep (12.50%) and Chandigarh (9.65%) in the percentage of area under forest cover.

Delhi has a geographical area 1,483.01 sq km. Of this 123 sq km is under tree cover. Delhi’s tree cover has increased to 176.58 sq km till 2005. It rose by 16 sq km from 107 sq km to 123 sq km during the 2007-2009 periods mainly due to the government’s plantation drive.

The forest cover comprises 6.76 sq km very dense forest, 49.84 sq km moderately dense forest, and 119.98 sq km open forest.

New Delhi district is the greenest having the highest forest cover at 46.60 % of geographical area, followed by South Delhi (31.46 %) and South-West Delhi (10.08 %).

Asola-Bhatti is the only forest sanctuary in the capital spread over 1,991 hectares.

Greatest threats to the green cover are:

•       Delhi ridge has seen shrinking in size due to mining and quarrying activities, especially in the south-central Ridge.

•       At 1,615 units, Delhi has the highest per capita consumption of electricity in the country.

•       Apart from the production levels of 785 MGD in 2009, the average shortfall in water is about 200 MGD (million gallons per day) but the percentage of unaccounted for water is 35-40 per cent, reflecting problems in management of resources.

•       As against 8 private cars per 1,000 persons across India, Delhi has 85 even as the city has seen an exponential growth in the number of vehicles from 30.5 lakh in 1998-99 to 63.0 lakh in 2008-09.

Delhi introduces itself through nature and heritage walks along its lush greenery dotted with heritage sites and place of Delhi delicacies. Toshali Holidays arranges, to be with the nature “Walks in Green Delhi”. And customized your accommodation on demand. These walks reveal a side of the mega polis little known – a human side, a human face that needs all nurturing and care that we can afford – to preserve it for posterity.

To know more on the Toshali Holidays “Walks in Green Delhi”, post you comments or Contact our Delhi City Tour Planner at metu@toshali.in

The Taste of Delhi: A Unique Food Culture

Delhi, is an epicureans’ paradise. The diverse range of cuisines makes Delhi a gourmet’s delight. Delhi offers a mixture of North Indian,  Mughlai, Punjabi cuisine and mouth watering street fare. Where else would you find a street named after flatbreads? Parathewali Gali. By the way if you are down there try the Papad Paratha.

Food of Delhi (Photo courtesy Delhi Tourism)
Food of Delhi (Photo courtesy Delhi Tourism)

Street food is the mark of any city – Sitaram Diwanchand’s chole Bhatures, Kuremal’s Kulfis since 1908, Moth Kachori of Multani Dhanda, Jain Sa’ab’s kachoris, Pakorimal Doodhwala’s Milk and Lassi, Bade Mian’s Kheer, Kinari Bazar’s Khurchan, Kulle chaat of Chawri Bazaar, Daulat Ki Chaat, Japani Samosa, Fruit Sandwiches at Jain Coffee House, Giani’s Faluda, Keema Samosa, Sutli Kababs etc. Ghantewala’s Sohan Halwa has been tickling taste buds since 1709. The royal elephant reportedly refused to budge without his daily dose of Ghantewala’s sweets and he used to shake his head to ring the bell tied to his neck to demand sweets. So the halwai got the name Ghantewala.

The place to seek variety in Mughlai food is in the Old city area – Karim’s and Al Jawahar are famous but many an unsung Kababchi or Biryani Wala will surprise you.

Delhi has a big migrant population from all over India. Earlier eateries at state houses served their regional delicacies. Sarvana Bhavan is particularly well known for Andhra cuisine. In CR Park at South Delhi area cuisine from Bengal dominates with cutlets, rolls and sweets having a field day with the varieties of fish on offer. In fact all the state houses have eateries – little known but tasty fare. Regional cuisine is finding its foothold slowly – in restaurants like Brown Sahib and the Gunpowder.

If you are willing to seek out, Delhi has a lot to offer on the culinary trail. For example the Afghani food joint in Lajpat Nagar or the Russian place – Bline, Korean food at Sun and Moon or the Gung in Green park, or excellent Continental fare in the Metropolis restaurant.

Chandni Chowk is a different dimension all together. “No ads, no frills, great food – great prices” says the nameless milk cake shop of Kucha Ghasi Ram. Kashmiri Kebabchi opposite to the Shan Masjid and Bade Mian’s are famous and  few gems in this treasure chest of good food.

Commenting on delicious dishes like Biryani is a bit difficult. It is a touchy subject and diehard Lucknavis will pay little heed to Dilli’s fare and Hyderabad is and Kolkattans will swear by their fare but a trip at Hazi Noor Mohammed near Turkman gate or Babbu Bhai near Matka Pir might convert a few. Similarly Lucknow’s ‘Kakori Kebabs’ has a competitor in Dilli’s Gola Kabab of Mian Sahib near Jama Masjid.

Another, landmark “Delhi Haat” Near INA Market and Netaji Subhas Place, showcases India’s rich handicrafts and regional food heritage from all the Indian states. It’s a must visit for handicraft and culinary buffs.

Writing about a diverse and well researched subject like Delhi’s food at best is a difficult task. Eminent food critics have dedicated entire blogs on the subject but only few desperate writers would be able  to condense Saadi Dilli’s food in such a short span. It is only my fascination for food and lack of a meaningful ‘Adda’ that I am accustomed to have made a lazy fellow like me to amble across to some of these heavenly eating joints. The experience of describing a Gola Kabab dissolve in your mouth would strain my modest vocabulary and perhaps offend the non carnivorous type. But I would like to hear it from you – your experience, be it an obscure Kachori Wala or a Kulfi Wala – you know the place to tell me all about it – so I might log some more food travel miles.

What are you thinking…. simply post your comment, if you feel we have left any food of your choice and any food courts in Delhi. Lets us know your Food experience, while you are in Delhi. For Delhi Darshan and day tour, please leave a message at metu@toshali.in

Share this with your friends, colleagues, relatives travelling to India and you want to taken out for best cuisines in Delhi.

Delhi World Heritage Sites: A New Delhi City Tour

Delhi is a rough triangle formed by the Aravallis in the west and river Yamuna in the east. Settlements dating back to Stone Age has been uncovered. Its magnificent monuments span a period of almost a thousand years. Different dynasties built their capitals here.  Archaeological evidence points to between 8 to 12 sites in and around Delhi, where a new city was built. Some of them are Lal Kot and Quila Rai Pithora in the early medieval period; Tughlaqabad and Kotla by the Sultanate rulers, the Mughal capital of Shahjahanabad and New Delhi, by the British. Many heritage historians have mentioned that Delhi was also the site of the capital of the Pandavas of Mahabharata – Indraprastha. Folklore goes that the present Purana Quila or Old fort of Delhi stands over the site that was once Indraprastha.

The Tughlakabad fort built by Ghyasuddin Tughlak was once an imposing structure. The last ruler of the Tughlak dynasty Feroze Shah ruled for 37 years. He built a fort Ferozeshah Kotla, a fort which has no remnants today. The Ferozeshah Kotla – scene of many major cricketing duels stadium stands today on the erstwhile site of the fort. Feroze Shah is also credited with building the top two floors of the Qutab Minar when lightning destroyed in 1368. There are three World Heritage Sites in Delhi.

•       Red Fort: Built by Shah Jahan, between 1638 and 1648. It houses the Diwan-i-Khas and the Diwan-i-Am, the Rang Mahal, Moti Masjid etc.

•       Humayun’s Tomb: Built in 1570 AD by Humayun’s wife Haji Begum. It is a standout example of Mughal architecture.

•       Jama Masjid: Constructed in 1656 AD under the guidance of the Prime Minster of Shah Jahan, Saadullah Khan.

Besides these, the Qutub Minar and Quwwat-al-Islam (Might of Islam), the earliest extant mosque in India graces Delhi. The Jantar Mantar – an astronomical observatory was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in the year 1724. Safdarjung’s tomb and Madrasa enrich Delhi’s heritage.

There are many hidden gems of historic monuments here. The Khirki Masjid (Mosque) in Saket is a small but uniquely designed mosque. The Dargah of Sufi saint Qutubddin Bakhtiyar Kaki near the Qutab and ‘Agrasen ki  Baoli’ in the middle of Connaught Place.

The capital is one of the greenest capitals and the gardens here reflect the eclectic taste of its erstwhile rulers. “Mughal Gardens” inside the President’s estate is one of the best laid out, the beautifully landscaped “Lodi Gardens” encloses the tombs of an imperial dynasty. The Old city has “Begam Ka Bagh” – appointed by the eldest daughter of emperor Shah Jahan – Jahan Ara – the last remnants of it are now parts of the Gandhi park near Chandhi Chowk, “Roshnara Gardens” was laid out by Jahanara’s younger sister Roshnara in 1650 – the garden would be later infamous for her amorous exploits and would bear the pathos of her slow, painful death by poisoning in 1671. “Shalimar Bagh” was appointed by Akbarbadi Begum – the favourite wife of Shah Jahan after Mumtaz Mahal. “Qudsia Garden” was named after begum Qudsia and Tees Hazari was named after the number of trees in the garden appointed by the builder emperor Shah Jahan.

Each place has its unique historic significance – “Gurdwara Sheesh Ganj” remembers a martyred Sikh Guru while “Khooni Darwaza” is where Bahadur Shah’s sons were executed.

Every nook and corner of the old city has a tale to tell. In the walled city the “Neharwali Haveli” at Darya Ganj is where Gen. Parvez Musharraf  was born, the “Churiwali Haveli” of Begum Samroo (Begum Sombre actually) who rose from a courtesan to a Zamindar, or around the corner in Ballimaran, the haveli which saw the last days of the unparalled Urdu poet  Mirza Ghalib.

Cutting to modern times the India Gate, Lotus temple, Akshardham stand out as landmarks.

Toshali Resorts, welcomes all to be the part Delhi Darshan, site seeing experiencing, exclusive arrangement has been done for the guest to witness and be the part of the festival. For holiday as well as “Delhi Darshan”  Tour Package Reservation write to metu@toshali.in

If you feel, we have missed any information that is helpful for your friends visiting this blog, do post. We would be glad to receive your comments and conversation.

Travel through The Eyes of Travel Writer.. Know Them!!

Homer (8th century BC) probably started it with Odyssey — epic poem of the travels of Greek hero, Odysseus, on his voyage home from Troy. Faxian (c. 337 – c. 422), Chinese monk or traveler to India and Ceylon continued the trend in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline. Hieun Tsang in 646 AD carried travelogue forward. Then on Marco Polo, Ibn Batuta, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Jefferson, Charles Dickens, Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan, Ian Fleming, Vikram Seth have all enriched the genre and I havent even named a ‘few’.

Travel literature sometimes intersects with essay as in VS Naipaul’s India: A Wounded Civilization or Rebecca West‘s account of Yugoslavia, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. Some are fictions – beginning with Homer,  Jonathan Swift’s, Gulliver’s Travels, Voltaire’s Candide etc. Some part fiction like Marco Polo or John Mandeville. As a recognised area of writing its not very old. The first international travel writing conference, “Snapshots from Abroad”, was organized by Donald Ross at the University of Minnesota in 1997,  it led to the foundation of the International Society for Travel Writing.

Travel writing is a varied genre – say Seizal Mehta writing about biking through Manali, Sarchu, Debring, via Leh to Khardungla, Karen Anand’s culinary travelogues or Joan Fry‘s – ‘How to Cook a Tapir’ – recipies from a year’s stay in a Maya village in the Amazonian rainforest. Karen Anand is all about places and their culinary delights. Sarina Singh writes for Lonely Planet and specializes in the Indian subcontinent, Samantha Brown is your host for several Travel Channel shows, Sucheta Potnis writes beautiful pieces on Goa, Michael Palin, almost legendary is an unique combo of a comedian and travel writer. You can go on.

Can you earn your living writing travelouges in India? If you are a William Dalrymple it helps :). You need to be seriously good. The editor probably has 20 identical pieces so unless you are the first to land on Titan or Mars you better be good. A varuied perspective helps. Everyone writes about beaches in Nicobar – how many accounts of hunting with the Jarwas or the Onges exist? you get my drift. As television invades our home and we get used to seeing Ian Wright frolicking in Rio and Nigella cooking up a storm or Bear Grylls scooting across Patagonia we are getting used to exclusives.

A century ago you had to take a  camera to Africa to become an wildlife photographer and look at the effort these days. Its not that Africa has become less exotic but people have invaded almost every corner of the globe. Just surf the net there are hundreds of travel experiences jotted down, its all free and so if you are not thinking out of the box, forget making decent money. The next time when you are around Shilon Bagh or Puri maybe you can discover a ghost or two at the old presidential retreat near Shilon bagh or you’ll catch a blackbuck looking at a mermaid drying her tresses on the banks of Nuanai on a moonlit night 🙂 Write in about your experiences.

In India the travel industry has not penetrated in say more than 60% of the destinations. So there is scope to visit places less travelled and write about them. But selection, perspective and quality are the key. Good luck and yes the scope of fictional travel writing is getting better – Rivendell to Gondor to Mordor or Hogwarts to Azkaban – they are getting better 😉

Guess you know bit more about your favorite Travel Writer…. Why not share with us and your friends !! Share this blog with your friends

Golden Attire – Suna Besha of Lord Sree Jagannath, Puri dham

The Suna bhesa or Bada Tadau bhesa or Raja bhesa happens the day after the return of the Lords from Gundicha. On the day of Bada Ekadasi, the 11th day of the bright fortnight in Asadha. The deities, on their chariots itself don the golden attire or the suna besa, with hands, arms and crown made of solid gold. They are decorated with gold diadems, hands and feet made of gold. Lord Jagannath holds a gold Chakra (Disc) in his right hand and Silver Sankha (Conch) in his left hand. Lord Balabhadra holds a gold Hala (plough) in his left hand and a golden Gada (mace) in his right hand. The dress reportedly weighs one ton. They are also offered sweet drinks, adhara pana, on huge cylindrical earthen pots reaching up to their lips. They are taken down from the chariots in a ritual descent to enter the temple. 

Golden attire – Suna Besha of Lord Sree Jagannath, Puri Dham Orissa

Other than the Rath Yatra, the Lord Sree Jagannath is dressed in this regal attire on festivals like Dasahara, Kartika Purnima and Pousa Purnima (Pushyabhiseka Besha).

After this the very human and amusing feud takes place between the Lord and Goddess Laxmi in the main gate of SreeMandir, Puri dham. Ultimately the humility of the Lord prevails and he is allowed entrance to his abode. There is great ullulation and fanfare and in his stately ‘Pahundi’ style the Lord returns to his seat – marking an end to the grand spectacle of Rath Yatra. It is said that a ardshan of the Lords Sree Jagannath in “Suna Bhesa” frees one from the cycle of rebirth.

This year you can see the Lords in their golden attire, popularly known as Suna Bhesa on July 22 and after the symbolic Laxmi-Narayan feud the Lords will enter SreeMandir on July 23’ 2010 bringing to an end the grand festival of Rath Yatra – The Car Festival.

To take part in the conclusive part of ‘Rath Yatra” – The “Suna Bhesa” Festival on 22nd July 19, 2010, Toshali Sands, Puri has exclusive arrangement to take you on visit to the “Sree Mandir” Bada Danda  – The Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri Orissa ‘now called as Odisha”. To Know more, leave your comment or contact travel desk ‘metu@toshali.in, we will get back to you.

I would be glad to hear more about the Holy Ritual Costume or Attires or Bhesas, please post if you feel any information’s in the blog is missing. And would be gald to have you as their guest at Toshali Sands, Puri

I trust you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate, if you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and other Social Networking sites. 

SreeMandir Traditional Holy Attires or Bhesa of Sree Lord Jagannath, Puri

In Hindu mythologies and rituals Gods and Goddesses are revered and loved just as family. Probably belonging to the bhakti yoga culture popularized by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – they wake up to strains of music, are offered prasadas, bathed, anointed with fragrances, dressed in finery and jewelry and fall asleep to lullabies. You can either view it as humanization of a deity or the acknowledgement of the Lord’s omnipresence.

In the Sree Mandir tradition of Sree Lord Jagannath, Puri there are altogether 24 beshas or Holy Attires or Ritual Costumes or  the Vastra Shringar of which 22 are used regularly while two beshas are used rarely. The Nagarjuna and Raghunath Besha. In all the attires or bhesas, Sree Lord Jagannath is the focal point except for the Pralambasurabadha Besha used to commemorate slaying of a demon of same name by Sree Lord Balabhadra.

The bhesas or the holy attires are:

  • Abakasha or Tadapa Uttari Bhesa

This is done daily, after mangala arati. Abakash is the tooth brushing and bathing ritual.

abakasa copy

  • Badasrunghara Bhesa

It is the nightly retirement dress. This is mostly made of different kinds of flowers and silk clothes.

Badasrunghara copy

  • Chandana Bhesa

This bhesa is done for 42 days, beginning on Akshaya Trutiya.

chandan copy

  • Hati Bhesa or Gajanana Bhesa

On the full moon day of the month of Jyestha, after the bathing ceremony is over, the Deities are dressed to resemble Lord Ganesha.

gajanana copy

  • Suna Bhesa

When the Deities return from the Gundicha Mandir on their chariots, they appear in the Golden dress. It is said that a darshan of the lord in Suna Bhesa frees one from the cycle of rebirth.

suna copy

  • Raja Bhesa

The Lord dresses up in this attire on the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Aswina, the full moon of Pousa and the full moon of Phalguna.

raja copy

  • Banabhoji Bhesa

On the 10th day of the dark fortnight in Bhadra, the Lords are dressed for a picnic, like the cowherds.

banabhoji copy

  • Kaliyadalana Bhesa

On the 11th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra the Lord is dressed as Krishna the slayer of serpent Kaliya.

kaliadalana copy

  • Pralambasura Badha Bhesa

On the following day, the 12th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra the Lords are dressed to commemorate Lord Balaram’s slaying of the demon Prahlamba. his is the only beshas when Lord Jagannath’s elder brother Lord Balabhadra occupied the central place.

pralambasurabadha copy

  • Krishna-Balarama Bhesa

On the 13th day of the dark fortnight of Bhadra, the Lords are dressed as Krishna and Balarama.

krushnabalarama copy

  • Bali Vamana Bhesa

On the 12th day of the bright fortnight Bhadra, the Lord is dressed in the image of his reincarnation as Vamana, the slayer of demon Bali.

bamana copy

  • Radha-Damodara Bhesa

From the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Ashwina to the 10th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika, the Lords are dressed with a rope around his waist in reminiscence of his bal-leela with mother Yashoda.

radhadamodara copy

  • Thiakia or Laxmi-Narayana Bhesa

This bhesa is used on the 11th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

costumes_laxminarayana copy

  • Bankachuda Bhesa

The curly haired make-up. Used on the 12th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

bankachuda copy

  • Adakia or Trivikrama Bhesa

Attire used on the 13th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

tribikram copy

  • Dalikia Bhesa or Laxmi Nrisimha Bhesa

Used on the 14th day of the bright fortnight of Kartika.

laxminrusingha copy

  • Raja Rajeswari Bhesa

Attire on the full moon of Kartika.


  • Chacheri Bhesa

From the 9th day of the bright fortnight to the full moon of Jyestha except the 14th day, this dress is used.

chacheri copy

  • Nagarjuna Bhesa

In honor of Parasurama. It is used only occasionally – during the month of Kartika, when there are six days of Panchaka. This was done six times in the last 30 years on 11/3/95, 11/16/94, 11/26/93, 11/3/68, 11/16/67 and 11/26/66.

Nagarjuna Bhesa copy

  • Ghodalagi and Jamalagi Bhesa

From the 6th day of the bright fortnight of Margasira (Odhan Sasthi) to the 5th day of the bright fortnight of Magha (Basanta Panchami) to Dol Purnima – the Deities wear winter clothes.

Ghodalagi copy

  • Padma Bhesa

On Saturdays or Wednesdays between the new moon of Magha and Basanta Panchami. The dresses are made from lotus, sola lace and paper.

Padma Bhesa copy

  • Gaja Uddharana Bhesa

On the full moon day of the month of Magha. It commemorates the story of Gajendra, the king of the elephants, and the alligator.

Gajaudharana Bhesa copy

Toshali Sands, Puri has exclusive arrangement to take you on visit to the “Sree Mandir” – The Lord Jagannath Temple, Puri Orissa ‘now called as Odisha”. To Know more, leave your comment or contact travel desk ‘metu@toshali.in, we will get back to you.

I would be glad to hear more about the Holy Ritual Costume or Attires or Bhesas, please post if you feel any information’s in the blog is missing. And would be gald to have you as their guest at Toshali Sands.

I trust you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate, if you share it on Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and other Social Networking sites.

XIX CommonWealth Games 2010 : Impact on India Tourism Industry after Recession

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”-Martin Buber

Like the quote mentions, offbeat, secret, exotic destinations of Incredible India await to be explored by the tourists and travelers, when they arrive for the XIX CommonWealth Games to be held from 3rd to 14th October, 2010 at New Delhi.

However, I agree to witness the changes after the recession a bit – but overall the scenario painted is far rosy than what will eventually materialise. However budget tourism and Northern Indian packages will receive a boost – more as a result of ending of the recession. A personal opinion – the influx of tourists to Northern India will be because of the Dushera / Diwali rush rather than the Common Wealth Game 2010. In fact in view of the paranoia among the Westerners over security I feel that Delhi will not actually be swarming with tourists.

ASSOCHAM predicts India is going to earn around USD 16,915 million in the year 2010 from tourism. The Common Wealth Game 2010 will give them the impetus. Foreign tourists will depend on tour and travel agencies for reservations, flight bookings and other travel services. Expectedly over 2 million foreign tourists and 4.5 million domestic tourists will grace Delhi on the eve of the Commonwealth Games 2010.

The Ministry of Tourism and Archaeological Survey of India has launched ‘Discover India in Common Wealth Game 2010’ in road shows in CommonWealth countries as heavy tourists arrival is expected from these places. Delhi is getting beautified. Tourists will be able to hop on and off dedicated tourist bus services from mid September. Heritage, religious and adventure tourist sites in the northern states are getting repackaged. From spa to spirituality everything is on the menu. Bhangarh – one of the 100 most haunted place worldwide will welcome tourists under an initiative ‘Ghost to be Host’ :).  Shimla, in Himachal Pradesh Nainital, in Utaranchal and Puri, a beach destination and such popular tourist destinations are expected to be crammed with tourists as CWG 2010 corresponds to the domestic tourist season.

Athletes, besides free accommodation, security, transportation would reportedly be offered trips to the Taj and heritage sites likeFatehpur Sikri, Sikandra, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, Ranthambore, Sariska, Mathura, Vrindavan among others.

Since Delhi is staging the games Northern Indian destinations in Himachal, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan will definitely see an increase in tourist influx but overall Kerala, Orissa, Goa, Andamans etc will also benefit. Alternative, niche focus areas like Medical Tourism, Yoga, Ayurvedic rejuvenation packages, Tribal and Village tours will get a boost. Already popular destinations like Shimla in the north, Puri in the east etc will be choc a bloc. As there will be a heavy rush in the Northern India, domestic tourists will flock to Orissa and other Southern states. Puri (Orissa) is an evergreen destination and this time a significant number of foreign tourists will also visit the Buddhist circuit in Orissa, driving on the local economy. Chandragiri and adjacent places are nearly perfect destinations for tribal or rural tourism. North eastern states are natural havens and nature seekers will not give it a miss. Kaziranga with the highest tiger density in India is the gateway.

Offbeat destinations like Similipal Tiger Reserve Forest and Sanctuary, Jatinga bird sanctuary, Naga headhunter villages like Mon and Longkhum, adventure tours in caves of Mizoram, including one full of human skeletons from ancient history (Milu Puk) are one of a kind experience. Budget Tourism is a sector that will register heavy growth. The unheralded bread and breakfast scheme, with firm focus on “Atithi Devo Bhava” has open up new avenues of niche accommodation.

Commonwealth Games “CWG” is expected to bring a boom to the medical tourism industry. With such anticipation both the healthcare providers and the medical tourism facilitators, are making extra efforts to gain from this opportunity.

Foreign tourist arrivals between January-June 2010 were 26.32 lakh compared to 23.76 lakh in the same period in 2009 (up 10%). According to India tourism ministry data foreign exchange earned by India increased by 28.1% in June 2010 over June 2009. Foreign exchange earnings during January-June 2010 were $6,842 million with a growth rate of 36.6% compared to $5,007 million in 2009. Foreign tourist arrivals in India during June 2010 were 3.70 lakh compared to 3.42 lakh during June 2009. Forex earned in June 2010 was $1,020 million compared to $796 million in 2009.  Things are looking upbeat for CommonWealth Games 2010.

The schedule of the CWG has coincided with the end of recession. This should provide the perfect opportunity for an under pressure tourism sector to erase deficits and launch itself on a path of high growth in the next decade.

For more details on the package and your travel management in India, contact your travel manager – metu@toshali.in

“Atithi Devo Bhavah”: The Incredible India Initiative

Taittiriya Upanishad is a part of the Yajur Veda. A verse says “Matru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava, Acharya devo bhava, Atithi devo bhava”. Means – Be one to whom your mother is a god; be one to whom your father is a god; be one to whom your teacher is a god; be one to whom your guest is a god – this Upanisad teaches the importance of following the path of charity, duty and dharma.

‘Tithi’ in Sanskrit means date ‘Atithi’ is one who arrives at your doorstep – unannounced. Emphasis in the Upanishad was on the good treatment of even the unexpected guest – who knows it well may have been god – testing the munificence of the host :). This is the tagline of the initiative of Ministry of Tourism, Government Of India to tap the full potential of tourism in India.

The campaign aims to sensitising key stakeholders towards tourists, through training. Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia and China far outstrip us in foreign tourist arrivals. There is no reason why India cannot compete. However we need to change our attitude towards those who visit us. Often tourists are mistreated, cheated and rudely dealt with. It’s simple, if someone in a house is rude to you, you don’t refer it to friends and relations. This is why in spite of an incredible wealth of tourist spots, cultural diversity and destinations for the soul, India still not amongst the top 20 tourist destinations Of the world. We hover around the 40s.

The Charter of “Atithi Devo Bhavah” Program includes Hygiene & Cleanliness issues for transportation, hotel rooms, restaurants, shops, etc., personal hygiene & cleanliness of the service provider and cleanliness of the places of tourist interest.

  • Conduct and Behavior: The service provider shall be courteous and polite.
  • Integrity and Honesty: The service provider should display honesty and integrity.

  • Safety and Security: safety and security of the tourists shall be ensured.

Training of key stakeholders in terms of changing their attitude and behaviour towards foreign tourists. The key stakeholders listed were taxi drivers, tourist guides, operators, immigration officers, tourist police and others who have direct interaction with inbound tourists. Any initiative aimed at changing attitudes and perceptions poses challenges, and designing a training program for the often Semi-literate tourist sector workers and convincing them was tough.

FTAs had increased by 45 percent during 2005-06 and 2006-07. In 2005 and 2006, tourist arrivals in India grew annually at a steady 13 percent. The global economic crisis saw a drop in FTA arrivals in 2008 and 2009 but in the opening months of 2010 India has seen a jump of 17 per cent in FTAs. Government has roped in Aamir Khan as the brand ambassador for Atithi Devo Bhavah. The commercials as well as the print advertisements and posters have gone live from January 21, 2009.

Attitudes need to change drastically. Since time immemorial guests has been well treated in India. Legend and history said that even if a sworn enemy came to a Rajput household as a guest – he need not have feared for his life – such was the standard of hospitality. Terminology reflects social mores – in Germany expat labours are called guest workers. Just last week, I read the news of molestation of 2 tourists – its utterly shocking. Crime against foreign tourists at major tourist destinations will remain – the state is expected to act swiftly to ensure punishment for perpetrators and allay fears about India being an unsafe destination. It has done so in a few cases – it must continue to follow up other cases similarly. Fleecing remains another area of concern – how many times have you seen foreigners being ripped off in flea markets, by auto, taxi and rickshaw drivers. This doesnot happens in popular tourist destinations.

You cannot think about such things in say China or Japan, even Malaysia, Singapore etc. States like Goa and Kerala have succeeded because they have sensitised the local population. Things are good in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal, Orissa and most areas of the North Eastern states. But to make India a most favored destination this change must be all pervasive.

Actually I have seen that tourists going for alternative packages – like say tour of tribal villages etc go back content – because in all their primitive simplicity they have demonstrated values that we have forgotten.

Toshali Resorts, welcomes you to discover Incredible India…..  “Atithi Devo Bhavah” – “Guest Is God”

Rural and Tribal Tourism is the New Trend in Incredible India

Rural tourism is a showcase of rural life, art, culture and heritage-on location benefiting the local community and enabling interaction between the tourists and the locals for an enriching experience.

  • Mandawa Village in semi-desert Rajasthan is an “Open-Air Gallery of Rajasthan”. In Udaipur tribal villages like Devhat, Kol, Timla and Kharakwada are nice destinations.
  • In Himachal Pradesh Kinnaur, Spiti & Lahaul were till recently inaccessible.  Now you can discover the riotous green of the Sangla Valley and the magnificent desolation of the Hangrang Valley.

  • In Hodka, in Rann of Kutch, Gujarat is Sham e Sarhad resort owned  and operated by the villagers. Accommodations are in tents or traditional huts – bhungas. You can attend workshops in embroidery or leather work, interact with communities, go out and see flamingos, pelicans, foxes and leopards. In Gujarat, you can visit Vaso known for its wooden buildings. With special permit you can also visit some of the restricted villages of Zainabad in Bhuj. Rabari, Tunda Vanda and the Banny tribal village.
  • Amraee resort Pranpur is in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh. Villagers will look after tourists and mud huts in mango grove is refreshing.
  • In Meghalaya’s Mawlynnong a community effort has made it the poster boy of rural tourism in India. Similarly tours in Chattisgarh with villages of the Gond, Bhil, Bhilala, Kol, Patelia, Kanwar, etc are unique. The Santhals of Jharkhand are one of the oldest tribes of India, known for their music, dance and colorful attire.

Dongria Kondhs

Dongira Kondhs

  • One of the most famous tribal villages in Orissa is the Kutia tribal village located at the Baliguda area. The Dongariya Kondh Haat also attracts tourists. Other tribal villages of Orissa include Bonda, Didayee and Gadhaba. All the tribes of Orissa excel in producing wonderful fabric and textile work. Do not forget to watch the graceful dance of the Gadaba Tribe while on tribal tour of Orissa. Bissam Cuttack is home to the Desia Kondh tribes and their weekly market, Chatikona is home to Dunguria Kondh tribe – they follow the barter system exchanging papaya, jackfruit, pineapple with kerosene, salt chicken etc. In Balliguda you will meet the Kutia Kondhs and in Belghar the Malia Kondhs.

Orissa - Jeypore Bonda Women

Orissa – Jeypore Bonda Women

  • In Orissa, Onkdeli is home to the backward but colorful Bonda tribe and their village Gadaba. In Kundli visit the biggest tribal market to meet the Paraja & Rana tribes and Baligaon to meet the Dhuruva tribes. You can plan a day’s hike with porters in villages of Gadaba and Malli. Jeypore or Rayagada can be your base. As these places are fairly close to Taptapani and the world famous Chilka lake a visit would be convenient.
  • In Northeastern India also known as the Seven Sisters states, some of the notable places include Pasighat where the Adi village is located. The Nishi village, village of the Apatani tribe and the Hillmiri village and the Tagin village in Daporijo.

Paraja Tribes

These are, but a tiny proportion of interesting rural tourist sites in India, just a beginning…..

Toshali Resorts International continuous effort and pursuit in promoting Rural and Tribal tourism has been a driven success on its own for Incredible India. To know more and book an exclusive India Rural and Tribal Tourism package, contact me – your own travel consultant “Metu”. Its simple just post a message at the blog or send a mail with details at metu@toshali.in. I will get back to you……