Makar Sankranti Festival : An auspicious harvest utsav in Indian culture.

Makar Sankranti … In Sanskritमकर संक्रान्तिAssameseমকৰ সংক্রান্তিTeluguమకర సంక్రాంతిMarathiमकर संक्रान्तिKannadaಮಕರ ಸಂಕ್ರಾಂತಿ

It signifies the transition of Sun to the Capricorn and is the traditional harvest festival in parts of South Asia.

It is start of the journey of Sun to the Northern phase. Indian astronomy considers zodiac signs side really and not tropically and because the earth tilts 23.45 degrees (and Ayanamasa) the date. It was on December 31 about a thousand years ago, now it is on January 14, in another thousand years it will be around the end of January.

Image Courtesy Zulva
Image Courtesy Zulva

It is celebrated under the names of Makar Sankranti, Uttarayan, Maghi, Pongal, Bhogali Bihu, Shishur Saenkraat or Makara Vilakku in parts of India and as Maghi or Maghe Sankranti in Nepal, as Songkran in Thailand as Pi Ma Lao in Laos, Thingyan in Myanmar and Moha Songkran in Cambodia, all traditionally rice producing and consuming countries. In Orissa too it is celebrated widely with major celebrations centered on Kalijai, Atri, Keonjhar, Jashipur and Jagatsinghpur.

Legends abound – it is said to be the beginning of the ‘Uttarayan’ (day) phase of the gods, on this day Lord Vishnu ended the dominance of the ‘asuras’.

Religious Benefit of highest merit acquired by a Holy dip on the day of Makar Sankrant : The time from Sunrise to Sunset on Makar Sankranti is auspicious. A Holy dip during this period carries special religious significance in Indian tradition and culture. Pilgrims take a Holy dip in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krushna and Kaveri at the Holy places situated on the banks of these rivers acquire the highest merit.

Personally, Makar Sankranti always meant ‘pithas’ or home made sweetmeats, traditionally prepared with jaggery, flour of newly harvested rice, coagulated milk and desiccated coconuts. Oe personal favorite was one steamed variety resembling small idlis eaten fresh and steaming with thick jaggery – heavenly.

In year 2011 Makar Sankranti will be celebrated on the 14th January 2011

Toshali Sands Offers a exclusive Festival Package 03 Days / 02 Nights Package to celebrate Makar Sankranti at Lord Jagannath Sankha Kheytram and Balighai Beach, Puri.. For Reservation and Booking visit at http://bit.ly/eGq10H …. You can contact your travel planner metu@toshali.in

World AIDS Day : Universal Access and Human Rights

World AIDS Day Theme: Universal Access and Human Rights

Every year 1st December is celebrated as World Aids Day. This day is celebrated to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among people to assert their duties and responsibilities to increase human cooperation and homogeneous correspondence between the mass and HIV affected people.

The World AIDS Day provides welfare government, community organizations, national Aids program me, Governments and individuals to focus on the global AIDS epidemic.

World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all individuals, communities and political leaders to take proactive action and should ensure that human rights are well protected and global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.

What can we do? – All Should Wear a Red Ribbon and Raise Awareness…

The Red Ribbon is an international symbol of AIDS awareness campaign. It is worn by people around World AIDS Day, and ofcourse all year round particularly to demonstrate care and concern and educate protection about HIV and AIDS, and to remind others of the need for their support and commitment.

Across the World, the Red Ribbon started effort at a “grass roots” level; however, there is no one official AIDS ribbon manufacturer, and everyone who are concern make their own. It’s easily done – just use some ordinary red ribbon and a safety pin….!

Aids Awareness Red Ribbon (Image Courtesy - Avert)
Aids Awareness Red Ribbon (Image Courtesy - Avert)

If you want participate and want to take your voice and awareness raising a step further, then you should find a local event or NGO or Community to take part in. Around the world there are hundreds of activities taking place to mark World AIDS Day, including candlelight vigils, art shows, marches and religious services.

If you can’t find anything in your area then why not organise an event yourself?

New Year Eve Celebration: A Symbolically Family Vacation, Signifies a Renewal of Life.

Celebration of New Year’s Day originates from harvest seasons in ancient times. Identified customs involved wearing new clothes, replacing old utensils etc. Symbolically a New Year signifies a new life. Some Customs and practices have evolved through centuries but still retain some definite traits.

Toshali Resorts Wishing all a Happy New Year 2011
Toshali Resorts Wishing all a Happy New Year 2011

The Mid-Night Cacophony: Horns and drums and shouting would drive out evil so today the deafening cacophony of sirens, car horns, boat whistles, party horns, church bells, drums, pots and pans – anything goes.

The Booze Bash: Perhaps the re-enactment of a rite depicting the chaos preceding God’s universe.

Resolution: On New Year, people cleared all borrowings. We often say that in the New Year we are “turning over a new leaf.”

Luck in the New Year: It is thought that the first day of the year is symptomatic of the other 364 days. So any symbol that signifies good luck is sought and offered.

The Gatherings: More or less in keeping with the tradition of sharing and caring within the community.Most of these rituals and beliefs predates Christianity and perhaps history itself. Changing beliefs and customs have molded the customs which basically denotes renewal of the circle of life.

Welcome The New Year 2011 At Toshali Resort, Exclusive New Year Package for your family and friends from on 30 Dec 2010 to 3rd Jan 2011 – http://bit.ly/hmjpg2 For details on the exclusive family package contact your travel consultant Metu at metu@toshali.in

Lucknow Festival : The Carnival that Showcase the Living Culture of Awadh

Lucknow festival is one of the famous festivals, celebrated in the month of November-December. This festival captures the undying elegance and splendors of Lucknow, the capital city of Uttar Pradesh (UP). In this festival you will find an insight to the old and cultured atmosphere of the city like  Ghazals, Thumri, Kathak in the style of Lucknow, Sarangi. Exciting events like Ekka races, cock fighting, Kite flying and other traditional village games that recreate an atmosphere of Awadh’s Nawabi days and captures the undying elegance and splendour of Awadh.

Lucknow Festival View
Lucknow Festival View

Beside all this, you can taste the traditional delicacies of Lakhnawi cuisine, mouth  watering vegetarian cuisne to lip-smacking non-vegetarian Nawabi Cuisine.

Lucknow Festival is organized jointly by UP Tourism and Lucknow District Administration have stalls by the craftsmen of other states presenting a composite culture of the entire country and provides a platform for the local talents of UP in the 15 day festival.

How to Reach

Lucknow Festival is the best time to visit Uttar Pradesh, it gives the travelers, tourist, guests, visitiors, great chance witness the religious festival and fair and also participate in the stunning carnival.

From the city of Lucknow the nearest airport is Amausi (14 km). Super fast and express trains join Lucknow to Guwahati, Varanasi, Puri, Kolkata, Dehradun, Allahabad and Ahmedabad. Lucknow is on the vital cross routes of National Highways 24, 25 and 28. UPSRTC bus stand is at Charbagh, Opp. Railway station.

In 2010, Lucknow festivals held on 25th November  to 5th December in Lucknow, the capital city of UP

Toshali Resorts International  offers budget festival holiday packages and arranges, to be atLucknow Festival, Lucknow. And customized your accommodation on demand, book your package reservation at with Toshali Travel and Tours. Toshali  is authorised Travel and Tour Operator, recognised and accredited by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India . Visit to Book at http://bit.ly/dGMX2s

To know more on the Lucknow Mahoutsav, post you comments or Contact your at Toshali Holidays Planner at metu@toshali.in

Christmas Celebration : Vacation at Balighai Beach, Puri. India

“Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace.”

Christianity is not new to India. St. Thomas the Apostle, also called Doubting Thomas or Didymus was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Present during the last supper, he is best known for disbelieving Jesus’ resurrection when first told of it. He was perhaps the only Apostle who went outside the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel. He is believed to have brought Christianity to India in 52 CE.

Merry Christmas to All
Merry Christmas to All

Bada Din or Christmas is observed in India on 25th December. The greetings “Merry Christmas” translates to  ‘Krismasasya shubhkaamnaa’ (Sanskrit) and ‘Christhu Jayanthi Nalvaalthukal’ (Tamil). And father Christmas becomes ‘Christmas Baba’ in Hindi or ‘Christmas Thaathaa’ in Tamil, oil lamps sometimes replace candles and banana plants and mango leaves sometimes replace traditional Pine trees but the yuletide spirit prevails.

The Midnight mass on Christmas Eve is a very important service and on the night of 24th December, all members in families visit their local churches to attend the Midnight mass. The mass over, everyone relishes a mouthwatering feast of various delicacies. Thereupon, presents are exchanged. Although Christians are few in number Christmas is celebrated with gaiety across India – some regional twists exist but it enriches the overall message of peace and harmony.

An essentially Western concept Christmas has become a part of the country’s essential festival calendar. Like all places, the Balighai beach too wears a festive spirit  during the xmas- new year period, lights abound, parties are organised including the new year bash. It is also one of the best times to travel due to the prevailing cool weather.

Christmas Celebration
Christmas Celebration

In 2010, Christmas festivities go a long way and on the fifth day get converted into the gayest affair of the year- the New Year celebrations. Celebrated on the last day of the year, that is, on 31st of December, this is the jolliest of all the festivals celebrated all over the globe.

Christmas Offers, Holiday and Vacation Packages : Toshali Resorts Package from 23rd December to 25th December 2010 (Thursday – Monday)  http://bit.ly/fmgXpZ ..

Welcome The New Year 2011 At Toshali Resort, New Year Package from on 30 Dec 2010 to 3rd Jan 2011 – http://bit.ly/hmjpg2

For details on the exclusive family package contact you travel consultant Metu at metu@toshali.in

Vautha Mela : Largest Rural Fair in Gujarat

Vautha Fair is one of the largest animal fair held in Gujarat, at the magnificent place where two rivers the Sabarmati and Vatrak meets. Here you will find wholesale trading of donkeys, camels and other animals. Like other fair sites in India this fair has mythological as well as contemporary associations.

Legends hold that Kartikeya, the son of Lord Shiva visited this site while covering the trip to cover the entire earth. The day he visited is said to be Kartik Purnima so every year this fair held on Kartik Purnima, the full moon night of the month of Kartik, corresponding November.

However in contemporary association this is the only major animal fair held in Gujarat where donkey, cattle and herds of camel are brought to site to be traded.  Most of the times in this fair only donkeys are traded, nearly 4,000 donkeys are brought every year for sale, usually by ‘Banjara’(gypsy) traders.

People come on trucks, camels, Jeeps, tractors and other wide range of means of transport for participation. The animals bought for trading are beautifully ornamented, decorated and cleaned to look at their best.

In 2010, Vautha Fair is held from 21st November to 25th November.

Toshali Sands Offers a Exclusive Festival Package 11 Days / 10 Nights Gujurat Tour, For Reservation and Booking visit at http://bit.ly/frXg3y …. You can contact your travel planner metu@toshali.in

Ajanta – Ellora Festival – The world of Dance, Music, Theater and Poetry

Ellora Cave - Image courtesy FestivalsinIndia
Ellora Cave

Ellora festival is one of the most famous festivals of Maharashtra organized under the backdrop of Ellora caves, bout 30 km from Aurangabad, Maharashtra India.  UNESCO has declared this site as world heritage site, as some 34 caves cut out of the sloping side of the Chamadri hills, Which belongs to 600 to 1000AD. Ellora caves belong to Hindu, Buddhists, and Jain faiths.

Ellora festival is mainly done to showcase the best talent in the field of classical dance and music as well as to promote magnificent caves of Ellora that displays the architectural and the sculptural splendors.  It is a unique and charming way to experience the magnificent caves, imbibing centuries of history and culture.

Ellora Festival
Ellora Festival

Ellora Festival is organised by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation ‘MTDC’ where India’s maestros and exponents of Indian music & dance perform their talents in music and dance, with a mix of classical and folk dancing, instrumental, vocals and milajula mushaira, etc. with the caves forming a splendid pictureous cave backdrop.

Must Visit the historical and pictorial sites in and around Aurangabad, some of them being Ellora, Daulatabad, Bibi-ka-Maqbara, Panchakki (A water mill), Lonar, Ajanta and Shirdi. The other of the event was the 300 stalls in Kalagram which displayed the art and craft of the artisans and craftsmen of the region. Rangoli, mehandi painting, cookery, essay, bhajan and numerous competitions and sports events had set the mood for the festival

Every year this festival is celebrated in November 25 – 28, 2010.

Toshali Travel and Tours  offers budget festival Holiday packages and arranges, to be at Ellora Festival. And customized your accommodation on demand, get reservation at http://bit.ly/a43Qpx Toshali Travel and Tours is authorised Travel and Tour Operator, recognised and accredited by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India

To know more about the Ellora Festival, post you comments or Contact our Toshali Holidays Planner at metu@toshali.in

Tulsi Vivah Festival – The beginning of Wedding Season in India

“OM Tulsayei Vidmahe
Vishnu Priyayei Dhimahi
Tanno Vrinda Prachodayat.”

Tulsi vivah is a holy festivity that has a lot of significance for Hindus. This ceremonial day marks the beginning of the auspicious marriage season for Hindus.

Tulasi / Tulsi Plant - Holy Basil (Ocimum Tenuiflorum)
Tulasi / Tulsi Plant - Holy Basil (Ocimum Tenuiflorum)

Tulsi is considered to be an incarnation of Maha Lakshmi, who was born as Vrinda in her previous birth. Tulsi was married to a demon king Jalandhar. She offered prayers to Lord Vishnu to protect her husband from being harmed by any God. Several Gods approached Lord Vishnu and requested him to take the form of Jalandhar and live with Tulasi, without letting her know about the truth. To know the complete story, read on.

Lord Vishnu agreed to the request and did as told by other Gods. After the death of Vrinda’s husband, when truth was known to her, she cursed Lord Vishnu and converted him into a stone, i.e. Shaligram and after that, she collapsed. From her body, came out a tulsi plant. It is due to this reason that Vishnu puja is regarded incomplete without the presence of Tulsi leaves. Since then, every year Tulsi is married to Lord Vishnu and the event is known as Tulasi Shaligram Vivah. It is said that the person who performs the custom of giving away Tulsi to Lord Vishnu, considering her to be his own daughter, is considered to earn the credit of performing kanyadan.

Tulsi vivah is conducted on the next day after Kartiki Akadashi. As a part of festivity celebration, tulsivrindavan is adorned like a bride. Along with tulsi, the plants of amla, sugarcane and tamarind are planted. Special feast is prepared consisting of delicious vegetarian dishes. A full meal consisting of puri, rice, sweet potato kheer, moongachi gathi, red pumpkin vegetable is offered to Tulsi Vrindavan in the afternoon time. The ceremony of wedding takes place during evening. Several dishes made from poha are served to Lord Vishnu. Prasad is then distributed amongst all.

In 2010, Tulsi Vivah is on 17th November, 18th November, and 21st November.

Toshali Sands welcomes all to be the part of  Tulsi Vivah Festival experiencing, exclusive arrangement has been done for the guest to witness and be the part of the festival. For hotel , Wedding and Reception facility Reservation, Book your package at  http://bit.ly/9Tr6lA . For more details on customized Wedding and Reception facility budget contact travel planner 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.


Jhiri Mela – An Annual Fair held in Jammu and kashmir

A tribute to a legendary farmer is an annual fair held in Jammu every year in the months of October-November. The fair is celebrated to salute the courage of a farmer, his sacrifice for the liberation of the farming community. The Samadhi of Baba Jit Mal, popularly known as Baba Jitto at Shama Chak Jhiri, about 22 km from Jammu. He had laid down his life after he was cheated by the Kardar of the area.

It is a thrilling experience for every visitor to the fair. The Jhiri Mela celebrates honesty, innocence, humility and stands for courage, culture and truthfulness.

Lakhs of tourists from all over the India gather during the Jhiri Mela to pay tribute to the Samadhi of this legendary farmer.

History:

According to an ancient legend, there was an honest, truthful and uncomplicated farmer called Baba Jitu. A Brahmin and devotee of Mata Vaishno Devi and Raja Mandalik Jitu used to live in Aghar village near Katra, Vaishno Devi.

He grew Fed up with the attitude of his aunt Jojan and decided to leave the village. He met Mehta Bir Singh, the Kardar of the Ambgrota in Jammu and urged him to provide him a piece of land for tilling. But Bir Singh gave him a piece of barren land after signing an agreement, which was written and signed by King Ajaib Dev. Jitto was asked to give one-fourth of his produce to the King.

He worked hard day and night and transformed the barren land into lush green fields. His dream was realized when he had a luxuriant yield. As soon as, Bir Singh got the news regarding the good yield, he arrived at the fields along with his men and asked them to lift three fourth of the crop and leave only a quarter with Jitto.

However, Baba Jitto prayed to follow the terms of the agreement but all his requests fell on deaf ears. Most of the farmers from nearby areas, who gathered could not stop Mehta due to fear of the King’s men. Left with no solution and no means of help, he committed suicide leaving all surrounding grains red with blood.

Celebrations:

People from all over India come to Jammu during the time of Jhiri Mela to pay homage to Baba Jitu and his holy soul. During the fair exhibitions are organized that cater to diverse variety of articles ranging from Pottery, vases, utensils and toys to books on Baba jitu. For the people coming from all over India, one important ritual during the Jhiri Mela is to take a holy dip in Babe- da- Talab’ which is known to have miraculous powers for curing skin disorders.

Jhiri Mela commencing from November 19, 2010. It lasts for many days and is an exemplary experience for all its visitors.

Toshali Holidays has made exclusive arrangement for their Guest, Tourist, Travellers. Send Query for Jhiri Mela at Jammu & Kashmir http://bit.ly/aSaiCR . You can also ask your Travel Consultant Metu at metu@toshali.in

Id-ul-Zuha : The festival of Bakrid

Id-ul-Zuba is a Muslim festival, coincides with the Haj pilgrimage in Mecca. In this festival there is tradition to sacrifice a goat or “Bakr” in Urdu. Id-ul-Zuha also called Id-ul-Adha in Arabic and Bakr-Id in India and its subcontinent because of its tradition of sacrificing a goat or ‘bakr’ in Urdu. The word ‘Id’ derived from the Arabic ‘iwd’ means festival and zuha comes from ‘uzhaiyya’ which translates to sacrifice.

According to the legends Ibrahim decided to sacrifice his son Ismail, at Mina, near Mecca. Then it was revealed to him that this exercise was merely a test of his faith in Allah.

Id-ul-Zuha Festival
Id-ul-Zuha Festival

The Bakrid Festival is a commemoration of Hazrat Ibrahim’s great test of obedience to Allah, who ordered him to sacrifice the person dearest to him.

On this day firstly prayers are offered in the mosques and then the sacrificial meat is distributed after the Id special prayers. And the festival is celebrated in great rejoice and exchange of greetings and gifts marked the Id-ul-Zuha (Bakrid), the festival of sacrifice, celebrated with traditional fervour and gaiety in India.

When is Id-ul-Zuha celebrated?

Id-ul-Zuha is celebrated from the tenth to the twelfth day of Zil hijja. Also, Id-ul-Zuha or Eid al-Adha annually falls on the 10th day of the month of Dhul Hijja of the lunar Islamic calendar. The festivities last for three days or more depending on the country. Eid al-Adha occurs the day after the pilgrims conducting Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia by Muslims worldwide, descend from Mount Arafat. It happens to be approximately 70 days after the end of the month of Ramadan. (Courtesy : Festival of India)

In 2010, Id-ul-Zuha is celebrated on 17th -21st November. And November 6th in 2011

Toshali Resorts International has made exclusive arrangement for their Guest, Tourist, Travellers. Send Query for Id-ul-Zuha http://bit.ly/f9IFjW . You can also ask your Travel Consultant Metu at metu@toshali.in Wishing all our friends “Id Mubarak”