2014 - New year for New things! If you love to travel, then you must try marvelous experiences of India and make this New Year lifetime memorable. No need of GOOGLE, some selected ones are here for you…just have a look!
Happy New Year! Here is the start of 2014, along with new hopes, new promises, new resolutions and new plans for a life. Like every year, we again plan to do so many new things in 2014. If you love to travel, then select India as your New Year holiday destination ….because here is so much to enjoy. India is well-known for its versatility, and it has almost endless variety of cultures, landscapes, memorials, and places to explore. It is one great place, where you can enjoy everything from high mountains of Himalayas to the tropical greenery of Kerala, and from the holy Ganges to the sands of the Thar Desert. Best of all, you can enjoy winter, summer, also rainy season with new destinations, all through the year. That’s really amazing! Whatever your interest…India has something special for everyone. And now when this is developing India, you surely have unforgettable experience of your life for this New Year trip.
It is possible that you may get confused with lots of choices, don’t worry. Here, we recommend some first-rate Indian places to get superb travelling experiences. If really interested, then don’t delay…as the best one starts from this January. So, have a great 2014 in India!
International Kite Festival
Give a colorful beginning to the New Year with International Kite Festival in Gujarat. The International Kite Festival is called Uttarayan and it is celebrated in many cities of Gujarat like Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Nadiad, etc. But the International Kite Event takes place in Ahmedabad (Kite capital of Gujarat). Sardar Patel Stadium is the great place to enjoy this festival, as it is enough spacious. Another choice is the Ahmedabad Police Stadium, where people lay down to spot the sky filled with thousands of kites. Kite markets are set up next to food stalls and performers during the event. Many interested people around India, from Gujarat itself or another state come to enjoy the International Kite Festival. However, many visitors are foreigners, who come from all over the world (like Japan, Italy, UK, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, USA, Malaysia, Singapore, France, China, and many more) to join in the celebration, bringing awesome varities of kites. This participation makes the festival more interesting. Famous dancers, singers, actors or politicians also come to make an appearance and entertain the population. Even during the night on the second day of the festival, illuminated kites filled with lights and candles known as tukals are flown creating a spectacle in the dark sky. So, enjoy New Year by watching how kites flood the skies of Gujarat!
You can get a feel of the Royal life at the very exhilarating Thar Desert. It is a kind of semi-desert spread across the western province of Rajasthan in western India. When the sand dune with their amazing beauty is carved by the wind; it creates a mystical picture in the minds of people as it is wrinkled. There is a panoramic view especially during sunrise or sunset, across camels, leaves an unforgettable image in the mind. In this background of the desert landscape and the ruggedness of the expanse of the desert; one can spend hours admiring this wonder of nature.
Taking a night camp in tents in the sand dunes under the desert skies accompanied by the bright stars that reflect dreams of yore, you feel the chilly desert breeze and marvel about life in the wild countryside of this attractive desert. Another way is take wings and look at the spectacle of the Demoiselle cranes. Or you can hire a jeep and zip away. This is really great as there are special arrangements for Camel Rides/Safaris in the Thar Desert for Hotel guests.
Enjoy Spring with riot of colors
Many parts of India welcome the spring with Festival of Colors, Holi. But if you want different experience for this spring, then head to Goa for Shigmo or Shishirotsava. This is another spring festival that is celebrated in the Indian state of Goa. In this festival celebration, processions are carried out at temples by throwing “gulal”. Also, there are huge dance troupes that perform traditional Goan dances and modern floats on the road, all through the length of the parade. Villages and cities, both celebrate Shigmo, but it is recommended to go to the villages rather than the cities.
Tamil New Year
Several regional communities celebrate their New Year in the month of April. Tamil people celebrate Tamil New Year in a grand manner in Tamilnadu and Puducherry. This celebration marks a gala time for the natives of Tamil Nadu. The state even organizes a huge Car Festival near Kumbakonam, Tiruvadamarudur. In some areas, a gala exhibition - Chitterai Porutkaatchi is also organized. Visit any village in Tamil Nadu, if possible - Chettinadu. It is a region of the Sivaganga district of southern Tamil Nadu, India. Sometimes, it happens that Ayyanar Temple’s rituals are correspondingly performed around the same time of New Year. The temple is sight of more than 1000 terracotta horses, which line the drive. Terracotta horses and elephants carved by potters are offered to the Ayyanar. The sacrifice is emblematic as a drop of blood from a hen, which has been killed, is placed near the eyes of the sculpted figures, to give them life. So, enjoy some fun and thrills!
Flowers and nature lovers will script a new tourism trail in Sikkim, where show of striking varieties of flowers, orchids and other plants, is held in every summer from March to May. With five climatic zones, it is home to some of the most beautiful flower varieties. Here, you can find about 600 species of orchids, 240 species of trees and ferns, 150 varieties of gladioli, 46 types of rhododendrons along with a range of magnolias and several other foliage plants. Orchids, gladioli, roses, cacti, alpine plants, creepers, climbers, ferns, herbs, etc. are main displays in the flower show. Experts hold seminars and lectures. Also, they organize food festival with Sikkimese delicacies, having added attractions of River rafting and Yak Safari. Meanwhile, you can also enjoy Gangtok that is wreathed in clouds! It is capital city of Sikkim and located at a height of 5500 feet. Ooty in the South is another place to enjoy rich heritage of flora and to know the international trends of floriculture. Every year, Tamilnadu Government organizes the annual flower show (usually in the month of May) on the Queen of Hills. It takes place at the globally well-known Botanical Garden of Udagamandalam.
Hemis Festival, Ladakh
People from all over the world specifically travel to Ladakh to enjoy one of the biggest and well-known religious festivals, Hemis festival. It is a two-day festival, and festivities take place in the popular Hemis Gompa, which is located at a distance of 45 kilometres away from Leh.
This festival celebrates victory of good over evil. It is colorful, as number of people dress in bright and colorful clothes to celebrate the festival. The Cham dance is the center of attraction, carrying out impressive masquerade yet admired plays in the company of long horns, drums and cymbals played by monks. The performers wear full and atypical vivid brocade dresses and facade and outfits, along with intensely tinted masks which are the main component of the dance. During this festival, tourists have a lot in store to shop or they can enjoy these festivities as spectators. A colorful fun-fair is also held, having a number of stalls and shops where one can purchase a variety of souvenirs and handicrafts. Here, items kept on sale are displayed as a part of an exhibition, so that people can pick up from a large variety along with window-shop. Meanwhile, you can visit the nearby monasteries like Thiksey and Shey too.
Celebrate the monsoon at striking destinations and experience the true colors of incredible India. Cherrapunji (Meghalaya) - top in the list for registering the world’s highest annual rainfall - is admired for its lush green hilly areas that provide thrilling views of waterfalls. If you wanna get drenched in the rain, Kerala is amazing at Munnar, Wayanad and Kumarakom hills. Also, adventure enthusiasts can plan a monsoon trek on them. Periyar National Park in Kerala also has a great monsoon, and view of sunset at the River Periyar is just amazing and not-to-be-missed sight. At top, Naninital monsoon is going to be a lifetime experience as you could view the loneliness of the hills, scenic beauty and the sunset. One more for Uttarakhand - The Valley of Flowers National Park. You can make visit during April to October. This area is covered with snow for the rest of the year, but the valley is filled with colorful flowers during the monsoon, providing an exhilarating view.
For jungle lovers, Jog falls at Karnataka is great choice, as the falls are nestled in the Sharavati Valley and thick jungles. Another two for Karnataka - Visit Coorg - ‘The Scotland of India’, it is certainly an amazing destination to enjoy monsoon. Besides rain, you could also enjoy the natural setting of the place. Have a romantic monsoon with Chikmagalur, located in the Sahayadri hills of South India. In Monsoon, Goa has complete different scenery to show. Monsoon festivals as well as fishing make Goa special. Leh and Ladakh show astounding vistas during monsoon, along with that you can enjoy the Buddhist monasteries.
Snake boat race
Alleppey snake boat race is one of the most famous boat races in the world that attracts thousands of spectators from India as well as abroad. It's usually held every second Saturday of August. In 1952, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s then prime minister visited Alappuzha. At that time, impromptu boat race was held in his honor and he donated a silver trophy to the winners: Ever since, the competition has been known as Nehru Trophy. There are many other boat races in Kerala all through the year, but this is the most popular one. A magnificent scene with specially crafted boats measuring over 100 feet, rowed by upto 100 oarsmen together with drummers accompanied by boat chants and frantic local supporters - it's really exciting. This event also has fascinating moments like the ceremonial water processions, spectacular floats along with decorated boats.
Enjoy wide coastlines
Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, India has some of the most beautiful beaches of the world, thanks to its rich and varied coastline. Treat yourself to an Indian beach holiday as they have more than sun, sand and sea like fishing hamlets, heritage ports, erstwhile colonies, forts and villages offering blobs of culture. Palolem at Goa offers relaxation and adventure for tourists; also they can visit nearby Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary. Tarkarli beach, embracing the Arabian Sea, is in Mumbai, on the west coast of India. Clear blue water has been attracting tourists while on a sunny day, you can enjoy the seabed up to a depth of 20 feet. Snorkeling and scuba diving facilities are also available for adventure water sports lovers.
No other coasts in India offer you such an immense choice of beautiful beaches, majestic forts, sacred temples, and ancient caves like Konkan. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in India. It stretches North-South from the city of Mumbai (Bombay) in the North to Goa, which margins the southern tip of Maharashtra. Drive to this region particularly in the monsoon, so you can enjoy breathtaking views of lush green hills rolling in all directions along with occasional glimpses of the majestic Arabian Sea. Coromandel Coast, the broad coastal plain in eastern Tamil Nadu state, in south India would be another choice.
Dussehra is celebrated across the country in every different possible way - in North India, the Dussehra celebration includes the Ramlila consisting of plays, recitations and music. In Delhi, many amateur troupes perform Ramlila throughout the nine-day and on the tenth day, there is an elaborate processions, leading to the Ramlila grounds where huge cracker-stuffed effigies of the Ravan, his brother and son are exploded to cheer thousands of spectators. Dasara in Mysore is truly a 10 day festival and there is a royal celebration to celebrate the triumph of Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. Procession is taken with decorated elephants, courtiers and court symbols, which is main attraction for tourists from India and abroad. Visit Devbhoomi Kullu (in Himachal Pradesh) to witness the celebration of the wonderful festival in an exclusive style. No Ramlila or burning of effigies of 3 demons, however five animals are sacrificed as "Lanka dahan" (burning of Lanka) - performed on the same day. Himachal Pradesh government has declared Kullu Dussehra as an International Folk Festival. Thousands of tourists, particularly from abroad, visit the place to witness the festivities. Main attractions are colorful cultural programs and exhibitions by local, state, national and international troupes. In Kala Kendra, thousands of people witness the International Cultural Festival at night.
Don’t forget to include "theyyam" in your travel plan, if you plan to visit Kerala! It is a popular ritual dance form of North Kerala, especially in Kannur and Kasargod districts. It represents a mythological, divine or heroic character. There are more than 350 Theyyams performed in northern Kerala, including Raktha Chamundi, Kari Chamundi, Muchilottu Bhagavathi, Wayanadu Kulaveni, Gulikan and Pottan. Theyyam is not temple oriented or onstage performance, but it is performed in front of village shrine or temple, without stage or curtains. It is performed in “Sthanas” (Kavu, Kottam) and “Tharavadu”. Kavu, Thanam, Mundya, Ara, Palliyara, Kottam are special divine places, where theyyams are performed. Every year, it is performed from October to June - the months of harvest.
Nagaland Hornbill Festival
Hornbill Festival at Nagaland is one of the biggest cultural shows in North East. Every year, it is held from Dec 1-7 in Nagaland. During the festival, all the Naga tribes come together to showcase their age-old traditions, reviving, protecting, sustaining, and encouraging the richness of the Naga heritage and traditions. Here, traditional Naga huts along with Morungs (boy’s dormitories) typical to each of the Naga tribes are built that closely look like their traditional euphoria on a small hillock in Kisama. The festival is simply epic, also the place itself is scenic and mystical! Another interesting aspect of the Hornbill Festival is Kohima Night Bazaar. The main events that take place at the Naga Heritage Village, Kisama, is about 10 kms from Nagaland’s capital, Kohima. This town comes alive for all seven nights during the Hornbill Festival with food, music and fun. The street is overcrowded with different food stalls serving out some of the finest delicacies, also it’s simply wonderful walking through the hustle-bustle.
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