Maha Shivaratri Festival: The Great Night of Lord Shiva

“Om Namah Shivaya”

“Shiva Shiva Shiva Bho Mahadeva Shambho”

Maha Shivaratri or Shivratri Utsav is a famous Hindu festival in honor ofLord Shiva, one of the Trimurtis in Hinduism. Sivaratri, which literally means “Great Night of Shiva” or “Night of Siva”, is observed on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha on the month of Phalgun (February – March) in the Hindu Calendar. Maha Shivratri

It is said that on this day Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’, he was married to Goddess Parvati, the Lord consumed the deadly poison – halahal that emerged from the Besides a ‘Maha Shivratri’ there is also a Shivratri for each month. It churning of the ocean to save his creation. It has great significance in Hinduism. According to scriptures, worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri that falls on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun pleases the Lord most. Legend says Lord Shiva himself said this to devi Parvati when she asked about the form of worship that pleased him the most – as he finished his ‘Anandatandava’ after creating the universe.

The Puranas mention stories where being Lord Vishnu and Brahma unsuccessfully tried to find the beginning or end of Lord. There is also the story of Raja Chitrabhanu as Bhisma of Mahabharata narrated on his deathbed.

Lord Shiva is offered cooling substances like water, milk, ‘Bel’ leaves etc and a ritual fast and reading or listening to associated stories of the lord are part of the puja. Associated rituals include Tripundra – the three horizontal lines of holy ash on the brow, with a dot as the third eye. The three lines represent the soul’s three bonds: anava, karma, and maya. The made of burnt cow dung, is symbolic of the transient physical body form and the urgency for spiritual attainment. The rudraksh is worn to please the Lord Shiva.

Besides a ‘Maha Shivratri’ there is also a Shivratri for each month. It happens on the ‘Krishna Paksha Chaturdasi’ of each lunar month.

The night after ‘Mahashivratri’ is amavasya, dark night when, symbolically nothing but ignorance and injustice prevails. This night signifies Kali yug. Lord Shiva symbolically ‘arrived’ before the onset of Kali yug to lessen the suffering of his creation.

Maha Shivratri Legends

There are numerous interesting legends associated with Maha Shivaratri festival.
  • Rudra Tandav
  • Divine Wedding
  • Linga Purana
  • Samudra Madhan

In 2011, the date of Maha Shivratri Festival is on 2nd March 2011 in South India and 3rd March 2011 in North India.

Toshali Resorts brings you Maha Shivaratri Packages from 01-04 March 2011. With, welcome drink, Cookies / Cake in room, bed tea & afternoon tea with cookies, B/F, lunch or Dinner, on buffet or fixed menu basis, For Reservation and booking visit at and you can also contact toshali tour and travel advisor at

halahal that emerged from the churning of the ocean to save his
creation. It has great significance in Hinduism. According to
scriptures, worship of Lord Shiva on Shivratri that falls on the 14th
day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalgun pleases the Lord
most. Legend says Lord Shiva himself said this to devi Parvati when
she asked about the form of worship that pleased him the most – as he
finished his ‘Anandatandava’ after creating the universe.

India celebrates 62nd Republic Day on 26th January 2011…! We Salute’

The Indian constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, celebrated thereafter as Republic Day. The date was chosen as it on this day in 1930 declaration of independence or ‘Purna Swaraj’ was made at the Lahore Congress.  The site is commemorated by the ‘Minar e Pakistan’ in Lahore. republic-day

India’s venture on the path of democracy was lauded by none other than then British PM Sir Antony Eden.  On this day the Prime Minister lays a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti, at the India Gate, in the memory of unknown soldiers. Then the President arrives along with the chief guest of the occasion. The National flag is unfurled; the National Anthem is played along with a 21-gun salute. Awards for valour, like the Ashok Chakra etc. are given away by the President and the regiments of Armed Forces start their march past. IAF does a fly-past and cultural glimpses from various parts of the country are showcased. Young brave hearts follow in regal procession. Celebrations in states are presided over by Governors.  This is one of India’s three national holidays. On this day India realized the dream of all those freedom fighters who, fought for and sacrificed their lives for freedom.

Personally January 26 in the school days meant getting up early and cycling to school, dressed in pristine whites and snug in the knowledge that there would be no classes. I was too young to understand implications of weighty terms like freedom and independence but there was a sense of pride when the tricolor fluttered in the chilly January breeze. On the way back home we would be doubly happy with a goody bag, from the school adding to it. Pedaled a bit harder, no point in missing the cricket match.

26th January is a national holiday all over India. Visit INDIA during this time and you’ll be able to witness and enjoy popular regional musical and dance events, as well as traditional festivals and parades. Kites flying, camels, and cattle race are just some of what’s on offer along with Republic Day Parade!

Let Toshali Resorts Travel and Trip Planner help you get started. Republic Day Packages  at Toshali  Resorts, from 24th January (monday) – (Sunday) 30th January 2011) – for more details visit or simply post a mail to

Festivals of Orissa in 2011 : Ideal vacation for Family to celebrate

Famous festivals celebrated in Odisha for the year 2011.

Odiya Festivals in January 2011

  • 04th January 2011—–Tuesday—Bakula Amabasya
  • 14th January 2011—–Friday—-Makar Sankranti
  • 15th January 2011—–Saturday–Samba Dasami
  • 16th January 2011—–Sunday—-Putrada Ekadasi
  • 20th January 2011—–Thursday–Pushyabhishek
  • 29th January 2011—–Saturday–Shattila Ekadasi

Odiya Festivals in February 2011

  • 02th February 2011—–Wednesday-Triveni Amabasya
  • 08th February 2011—–Tuesday—Sri Panchami (Saraswati Puja)
  • 13th February 2011—–Sunday—-Kumbha Sankranti
  • 14th February 2011—–Monday—-Bhauma Ekadasi
  • 18th February 2011—–Friday—-Magha Purnima
  • 28th February 2011—–Monday—-Smarta Ekadasi

Odiya Festivals in March 2011

  • 02nd March 2011—–Wednesday—Maha Shiva Ratri
  • 15th March 2011—–Tuesday—–Phagu Dasami / Meena Sankranti
  • 16th March 2011—–Wednesday—Papanasini Ekadasi
  • 19th March 2011—–Saturday—-Dola Purnima
  • 20th March 2011—–Sunday——Holi
  • 30th March 2011—–Wednesday—Pamamochan Ekadasi

Odiya Festivals in April 2011

  • 01st April 2011—–Friday——Utkal Divas
  • 03rd April 2011—–Sunday——Chaitra Amabasya
  • 11th April 2011—–Monday——Ashokastami
  • 12th April 2011—–Tuesday—–Rama Navami
  • 14th April 2011—–Thursday—-Maha Vishuba Sankranti / Kamada ekadasi
  • 28th April 2011—–Thursday—-Baruthini Ekadasi

Odiya Festivals in May 2011

  • 06th May 2011—–Friday——–Akhsaya Trutiya
  • 14th May 2011—–Saturday——Madhusudani Ekadasi
  • 15th May 2011—–Sunday——–Brusha Sankranti
  • 28th May 2011—–Saturday——Jala Krida Ekadasi

Odiya Festivals in June 2011

  • 01st June 2011—–Wednesday—-Savitri Amabasya
  • 07th June 2011—–Tuesday——Shitala Sasthi
  • 12th June 2011—–Sunday——-Nirjala Ekadasi
  • 14th June 2011—–Tuesday——Prathama Raja
  • 15th June 2011—–Wednesday—-Raja Sankranti
  • 27th June 2011—–Monday——-Khali Lagi Ekadasi

Odiya Festivals in July 2011

  • 03rd July 2011—–Sunday——-Sri Gundicha (Rath Yatra)
  • 11th July 2011—–Monday——-Bahuda Yatra
  • 12th July 2011—–Tuesday——Hari Shayan Ekadasi
  • 15th July 2011—–Friday——-Vyasa Purnima
  • 16th July 2011—–Saturday—–Karkata Sankranti
  • 26th July 2011—–Tuesday——Kamada Ekadasi
  • 30th July 2011—–Saturday—–Chitalagi Amabasya

Odiya Festivals in August 2011

  • 09th August 2011—–Tuesday—-Putrada Ekadasi
  • 13th August 2011—–Saturday—Gamha Purnima (Rakhi)
  • 17th August 2011—–Tuesday—-Sinha Sankranti
  • 19th August 2011—–Friday—–Raksha Panchami
  • 21st August 2011—–Sunday—–Janmastami (Smarta)
  • 22nd August 2011—–Monday—–Janmastami (Baishnaba)
  • 25th August 2011—–Thursday—Amla Ekadasi
  • 29th August 2011—–Monday—–Saptapuri Amabasya
  • 31st August 2011—–Wednesday–Bali Trutiya

Odiya Festivals in September 2011

  • 01st September 2011—–Thursday-Ganesh Chaturthi
  • 02nd September 2011—–Friday—Nua Khai
  • 08th September 2011—–Thursday-Parswa-paribartan Ekadasi
  • 13th September 2011—–Tuesday–Apara Paksha (begins)
  • 17th September 2011—–Saturday-Kanya Sankranti / Vishwakarma Puja
  • 23rd September 2011—–Friday—Indira Ekadasi
  • 27th September 2011—–Tuesday–Mahalaya Amabasya

Odiya Festivals in October 2011

  • 04th October 2011—–Tuesday—Maha Astami
  • 06th October 2011—–Thursday–Dasahara / Sudasha Brata
  • 07th October 2011—–Friday—-Papankusha Ekadasi
  • 11th October 2011—–Tuesday—Kumar Purnima
  • 17th October 2011—–Monday—-Garbhana (Tula) Sankranti
  • 23rd October 2011—–Sunday—-Rama Ekadasi
  • 25th October 2011—–Tuesday—Dhanwantari Puja
  • 26th October 2011—–Wednesday-Dipavali (Diwali)
  • 30th October 2011—–Sunday—-Naga Chaturthi

Odiya Festivals in November 2011

  • 04th November 2011—–Friday—Amla Navami
  • 06th November 2011—–Sunday—Prabodhini Ekadasi
  • 10th November 2011—–Thursday-Kartik Purnima
  • 11th November 2011—–Friday—Chhada Khai
  • 17th November 2011—–Thursday-Bicha Sankranti / Manabasa Gurubar (Begins)
  • 19th November 2011—–Saturday-Prathamastami
  • 21st November 2011—–Monday—Uthapan Ekadasi
  • 24th November 2011—–Thursday-Manabasa Gurubar

Odiya Festivals in December 2011

  • 01st December 2011—–Thursday-Manabasa Gurubar
  • 06th December 2011—–Tuesday–Mokhada Ekadasi
  • 08th Decemberr 2011—–Thursday-Manabasa Gurubar
  • 16th December 2011—–Friday—Dhanu Sankranti
  • 21th December 2011—–Wednesday-Saphala Ekadasi
  • 24th December 2011—–Saturday-Bakula Amabasya

Toshali Resorts brings exclusive package for tourist, travellers, guest, visitors, pilgrims to witness, participate and celebrate the famous festivals in Orissa. To know more and for package reservation, visit at .. To know about the Odisha festivals, post a comment and send a mail to

Agni Utsav : The Tribal Agricultural Festival in Orissa

Agni Utsav is recognised as the national festival in the state of Orissa. It is an agricultural festival the farmers of the state with lots of religious fervor and a splash of colors with celebration styles varying from district to district and tribe to tribe. The tribal families starts preparing much in advance for the Agni Utsav festival.

Paraja Tribes
Paraja Tribes

Orissa holds a great cultural and traditional importance in the country. Agni Utsav, the festivals that revolve around belief in the power of “Agni” – “Fire”. The religious belief of the state is depicted through this festival, where enormous heaps of hay is laid out in the fields on the day of the celebrations which showcase the collective work and bonding among the villagers.

Traditions and rituals revolves around the Agni Utsav famous among the tribes and  farmer family of Orissa. Starting week before, the women clean the home and the male members collect heaps of hay prior to a week to burn them on Agni Utsav Day. Farmers believe that burning the hay foretells about the crops throughout the  year.

The significance of the flames of the burning heap of hay bring in many predictions about crops. A westward tilt of the heap indicates floods; tilt on the eastern side means high tides coming to the farm ground. The fire flame tilting north is believed to be auspicious indicating good yield.

The ritual and ceremony of offering prayers to the God of Fire is another part of the celebration. “Agnidev”  – The “Fire God” would protect the crops from fire and hazards.

Dongria Tribe
Dongria Tribe

Agni Utsav has been the major attraction for International tourist and travelers from different states in India, Tours and Travel Management company are promoting Agni Utsav through the concept of “Village and Rural Tourism” and helping boost Orissa Tourism. Tourist witness and participate inlarge with the tribes and local farmers to celebrate this festival and experience the grass root feeling.

Agni Utsav is generally celebrated in Mid January to Mid February every year. The date of festival keeps changing every year.  In 2011, Agni utsav will be celebrated on January 25th.

Toshali Resort have made exclusive arrangement for the “Agni Utsav”, to know more about the village tourism package, visit at .. To know more about the custom “Village and Rural Tourism” package, send your details request to your Travel Consultant Metu at

Visit our blog on “Rural and Tribal Tourism is the New Trend in Incredible India”

Pongal : The Thanks Giving Harvest Festival in Tamil Nadu

Pot Rice to Sun God
Sugarcane to cow and ox
Sweet rise to you and me
Good milk to friends and family

Contributed by: M.Narayanan

Pongal is known for re-bonding with family and friends. It is It is the biggest harvest festival of Tamil Nadu and celebrated as thanks giving occasion to the nature in mid-January every year. Marked with merrymaking and feasting.

Happy Pongal (Image courtesy way2reaonline)
Happy Pongal (Image courtesy way2readonline)

Pongal festival date is derived from Solar Calendar, usually remains the same. For Hindus this festival is extremely auspicious and astronomically significant. Every year the sun begins its six-months-long journey northwards “Uttarayan” as it is called and moves into the zodiac Capricorn “Makara Rashi” This celestial festival is celebrated as Pongal in South India.

Pongal is celebrated when the fields are blooming, this signifies the prosperity and good harvest especially for the farming community. During the Pongal celebrations farmers express their gratitude to Sun God and the cattle and thank them for a good harvest.

Pongal  Calendar 2011

  • Bhogi Pongal 2011 – January 14
  • Surya Pongal 2011 – January 15
  • Mattu Pongal 2011 – January 16
  • Kaanum Pongal 2011 – January 17

Pongal delicacies are Venn Pongal, Sarkarai Pongal, Chakara Pongal, Sweet Pongal Recipe, Rava Pongal, Khara Pongal, Rice Pongal along with soft idlis, paper dosai, boonda, pineapple rasam, rajma curry, bread idli and milk payasam.

Across India, Pongal festival is celebrated as “Makar Sankranti” in central India, “Bhugali Bihu” in Assam. In West Bengal, it is celebrate as the “last day of Bengali month Poush”, here thousands of devotees take bath in Gangasagar, the point where the holy river Ganga meets the sea, to wash away all the earthly sins.

What better way can there be to make this Pongal Festival memorable for your dear one than showering with great Pongal gift of Family Vacation at Toshali Resorts, along with home furnishings, home appliances, electronics, apparel to flowers, cakes, sweet hampers and many more.

In 2010, Pongal is celebrated on January 14th

Toshali Resorts, brings you the exclusive Pongal Festival Offer, to know more about the travel details, accommodation and package, visit at , tourist can also send their travel details for exclusive South India Tour to Travel Planner Metu at

Winter Festival : The “Oasis Festival” in Rajasthan

Winter Festival is held every year in the month of December in Mount Abu, Popularly known as the summer capital of Rajasthan is the only hill station in the entire North West India”. It is located on the highest peak of the Aravali range of mountains, Mount Abu is covered with picturous lush green forests and splendid waterfalls.

Winter Festival is a three-day colorful festival is organized by the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation and Municipal Board of Mount Abu to attract tourists as well as to give the citizens a break from the monotony of everyday existence. In this annual festival, more then three million national and international tourists visit Mount Abu enjoying its scenic beauty, rich flora & fauna and the serene attraction of the marble art of Delwara Jain Temples.

The winter festival of Mount glorifies the beauty and warm heart of the hill station. Three main attraction of the Festival that has given this festival a world platform today are the hospitality of the people, their colorful culture and exotic location. During the festival, the magnanimous processions of folk songs and dances performed by troupes coming from Punjab, Rajasthan, Gujarat and other nearby states and places end at the nakki lake chowk.

To add to this Winter Festival, cultural activities like water sports also form  an integral part of the festivities, like Rowing competitions are held on the lake, Cricket matches are organized. The grand finale of the festival is made brighter by a display of dazzling fireworks on three days.

Seeing is believing…….!

In 2010, the Oasis Winter Festival is will be held on 29-31 Dec, (Wednesday – Friday)

The Winter Festival can be reached by Air, by Rail and also by road: To know more about the travel details, accommodation and package in the Toshali Resorts Royal Rajasthan Tour, visit at , tourist can also send their travel details to Travel Planner Metu at

Poush Mela : The Gurukul Festival at Shantiniketan, West Bengal

Poush Mela is one of the important Bengali festival celebrated at  Shantiniketan in the district of Birbhum of West Bengal. This week long fair celebrated with true Bengali spirit, great splendor and magnificence and its diversity with great joy and excitement among Bengali family located across the world and by people belonging to different cultures and traditions from different parts of country participate in the fair.

According to Bengali calendar, the fair falls on the 7th day of the Poush month. The week long Poush mela is observed in the last week in the month of December. The festival celebrates the commemoration of Rabindranath Tagore and Tagore’s contribution to the literature and higher learning at Shantiniketan. And Mela is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’ or a Fair.

Shantiniketan is a small sleepy town in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal surrounded with natural beauty. It is about 180 kms north of Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. The history of the place takes us to 1860s, it was known as Bhubandanga. Maharshi Debendranath Tagore found the place beautiful, peaceful scerene and found the destination suitable for studying and higher learning, so he purchased the place and named it “Shantiniketan”, the abode of peace….

Later in 1901, Maharshi’s son Rabindranath Tagore was successful in initiating an open air school that would follow the system of Gurukul system of ancient India. At Shantiniketan, he started his teaching on the seventh day of Poush with five students as the first learners. In 1913, Rabindranath Tagore became the Winner for the Nobel Prize in Literature..  Slowly the Santinniketan system became so popular by 1922, and the Santinniketan emerged as full-fledged university called Viswa Bharathi.

At Shantiniketan, Poush Mela attracts large number of tourists from India also from different countries of the world. Poush mela is famous for the perfect congregation of different cultures and traditions blending at ease. Travels, Visitors and Tourists enjoy the fair and experience the rich heritage of Bengal and this taken to the higher level through the cultural performances by the students of Shantiniketan and live performances of Bengali folk music, Ravindra sangeet bynotably music gurus.

Tourists not only get to witness and participate in the Poush Mela cultural activities but also get to see a large collection of local artistic handicrafts and printed fabrics for all to buy and experience the Bengali spirit in true sense. And get to learn the Strategic development of the university is explored to every one, welcoming everyone to the higher learning.

In 2010, the three days Poush Mela is celebrated on 27-29 December

Toshali Resorts Travel and Trip Planner will help you get started. East India Golden Triangle Tour Exclusive  Package for Poush Mela from 27-29 December 2011, for more details visit or simply post a mail to

Rann Utsav : Gujurat Annual Festivals, Adding Colour To The Desert …

Rann Utsav is one of the famous festivals of Gujarat, Kutch. This is three to four days cultural extravaganza organized in different locations within Kutch in Gujarat. This festival celebrates the diversity and uniqueness of the Kutch district.

Rann Usav
Rann Usav

The three days of Utsav is packed with cultural music, dances and craftsmanship, pageantry and in all an encapsulation of the true spirit and zeal of the inhabitants. It is organized by the Gujarat tourism department to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of the Kutch district.

People from far of places come and gathered during the festivities of Rann Utsav and celebrates the spirit and warmth of Kutch.

The Rann Kutch Utsav is an unparalleled showcase of the ethnic and traditional widely different, however, hugely congregation of Indian traditional art forms. Visitors, locals from all parts if Gujuat state and India gather during the fair to celebrate and salute the spirit and warmth that people of Kutch have inherited and protected its tradition.

Gujurat tourism and co-sponsors, engage all visitors. Semi parched Grasslands of the Banni hosts the most magnificent display of vernacular architecture as the exhibition platform for the varied range of arts and crafts of the Kutch region.

The Festival showcases different art forms, dances, Music during the shade of Full moon and in an aura of chilling winters. Many tourists from outside the state of Gujarat enjoy various tour packages that involve sightseeing of the Kutch and adjoining areas during the fair.

The Rann Utsav is held annually on the full moon night of the month of December. In 2010, Rann Utsav is celebrated on 19th to 21stDecember 2010. and it wll be celebrated from 09th Dec  to 11th December 2011 For Reservation and Booking at Rann Utsav, please visit

Let Toshali Resorts Travel and Trip Planner help you get started. For more details, simply post a mail to

Muharram : Festival to commemorate the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain

Muharram is one of the famous festivals of Muslims. This festival commemorates the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain, the grandson of the holy Prophet.

Image Courtesy : Festival of India
Image Courtesy : Festival of India

It is said that during this month, while on a journey, Hazrat Imam Hussain, his family members and a number of his followers were surrounded by the forces of Yazid, the Muslim ruler of the time. In Iraq during the siege, they all were deprived of food and water and many of them were put to death. T his results a dispute and disagreement among Muslims on the question of succession after the demise of Hazrat Ali, the fourth caliph.

So some sects of Muslims hold meetings where speeches are made on the happenings of Karbala and on the lives of martyrs.

The Shias, however, observe this festival in a different fashion they put on black clothes, as black is regarded as a color of mourning. Assemblies are held every day during the first nine days where shia orators relate the incident of the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain and his party in a great detail.

Image Courtesy : Festival of India
Image Courtesy : Festival of India

The preachers show their grief and sorrow by inflicting wounds on their own bodies with sharp metal tied to chain with which they scourge themselves. This is done in order to depict the sufferings of the martyrs. It is a sad occasion and everyone in the procession chants “Ya Hussain”, with loud wails of lamentation. Generally a white horse beautifully decorated for the occasion, is also included in the procession, to mark the empty mount of Hazrat Imam Husain after his martyrdom.

In 2010, Muharram is celebrated on 17th December.

Toshali Resorts International  offers budget festival holiday packages and arranges, to be at MuharramFestival,  Toshali  is authorised Travel and Tour Operator, recognised and accredited by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India . Book your vacation package at Toshali  at

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Charta Festival : The Tribal Harvest Festival of Chhattisgarh in India

Charta Festival is one of the famous tribal harvest festivals of Chhattisgarh, celebrated in the Koriyan district of the state. This festival is related to harvest. The group of married women cooks several preparations of the collections and feast is organized.

Charta Festival has kids going around the village collecting rice from each household. The married girls then cook the collected rice on the banks of the nearby water body as men and women sing and dance, eagerly awaiting the community feast to be served.

The feast features several songs and dance of tribal community. People show their talents in the celebrations. People get together and share the events of life. This festival brings unity and merry among the people of the community.

In 2010, Charta festival is celebrated on 19th December.

Toshali Resorts International  offers budget festival holiday packages and arranges, to be at “Charta Festival”, and Explore Chhattisgarh. Toshali  is authorised Travel and Tour Operator, recognised and accredited by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India . Book your vacation package at Toshali  at

To know more on the Charta Festival Vacation Package, post you comments or Contact your at Toshali Holidays Planner at