Holi Festival

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Oct 312009
 

Holi Festival in Delhi

holi-festivalHoli festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Phagun (Month), on a full moon day. It is the festival of colors and involves smearing each other with gulal (colors) and throwing water on each other. There are a number of legends associated with the origin of the Hindu festival of Holi. One legend has it that on this day Holika, an evil demoness, tried to burn Prahlad, a devotee of Lord Vishnu. However, she failed and instead, was burnt to death. Another legend is that on this day Lord Krishna burnt Demon Hoda and killed Demoness Putana.

Yet another legend associated with Holi is related to Kamadeva, the Hindu God of love. To help Parvati in getting married to Lord Shiva, Kamadeva tried to disrupt His penance by shooting his weapon at the Lord. Enraged by this act, Shiva opened his third eye. The gaze that fell on Kamadeva was so powerful that the Love God got burnt to ashes. Moved by the pain of Rati (wife of Kamadeva), Lord Shiva brought him back to life, but only as a psychological image. The bonfire lit at Holi is believed to be a commemoration of this event only.

On the evening before Holi, people make bonfires and worship fire. The Holi festival in Delhi is just like the rest of India and is incomplete without the consumption of bhang, a crude derivative of cannabis. Bhang drinks, bhang sweets and bhang paan (betel leaves) are all very common at the time of Holi. Holi celebrations in New Delhi, the capital city of India, are all about having fun and immersing one in the festivities. People of all age groups, be it young, old or children, celebrate this festival with great zeal and fervor.

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Rakhi Festival

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Oct 312009
 

Rakhi Festival in Delhi

rakhi festivalRaksha Bandhan festival is celebrated amongst Hindus throughout the world. The festival of Raksha Bandhan celebrates love and affection between a brother and sister. It falls in the Hindu month of Shravan (generally August). However, the date is not fixed and is calculated every year. Also known as Rakhi, it involves tying of a thread, known by the same name, on the wrists of brothers by their sisters. In return, the brothers promise to protect their sisters from all the hazards and harmful influences in her life. Traditionally, first a thali is prepared and the girl does arti of his brother, ties Rakhi on the wrist and puts some sweets in his mouth.

During the festival of Raksha Bandhan in Delhi, the markets are flooded with traditional as well as modern types of Rakhis. These days, Rakhis are decorated with all sorts of things like cartoons, film characters, toffees, etc. Even gold and silver bracelets are tied as Rakhis. Rakhi celebrations give families a chance to take a break from the hectic city life and spend some time with their family. There are a number of legends associated with the festival of Raksha Bandhan.

The “Bhavishya” Purana mentions a battle between gods and demons. Fearing the defeat of gods, Indra (king of the gods) felt disheartened. At that point of time Sachi, the wife of Indra, charged a thread with Mantras (sacred verses) and tied it on his wrist for protection. It is said that because of the power of that sacred thread Indra defeated all the demons. From that day onwards, the festival of Rakhi is celebrated amongst the Hindus. It is also believed that Emperor Humayun had received a Rakhi from the queen Karmavati of Chittor. So, in the performance of his brotherly duty, he protected her from his own soldiers. Such is the power of this sacred thread.

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Thyagaraja Festival

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Oct 312009
 

Thyagaraja Festival in Delhi

thyagaraja-festivalIntroduction

Delhi is not only the political capital of India but also the cultural capital of the country. Different cultural and artistic programs are held in the capital. The glorious history and the legendary past make Delhi an ideal location to host such events.

Sri Thyagaraja is one of the pillars of Carnatic music in India. Born in 1767 the great composer was born in the Tanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. His compositions are not only unique but evolve a sense of inspiration and motivation.

Description

The Thyagaraja Festival, Delhi is one of the most renowned cultural programs of the country. This eleven day program brings together some of the country’s best vocalists, dancers and musicians. The festival features 25 different kinds of programs.

Artists from different parts of the country travel to Delhi to participate in this prestigious event. Reputed classical dancers and vocalists gather to honor and pay homage to the Sri Thyagaraja.

Time to celebrate

The renowned Thyagaraja Festival, Delhi is usually organized in the end of February and the beginning of March. Art lovers from different parts of the country travel to Delhi to experience this rare moment.

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Surajkund Crafts Mela

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Oct 312009
 

Surajkund Crafts Mela Delhi

surajkund-melaSurajkund comes alive with this delightful handloom and handicraft fair held annually here. Skilled artisans from all over the country display the rich crafts tradition of India in the typical setting of a rural Indian marketplace. Cultural programme and rural cuisine are also a part of this colorful fair.

It provides a platform for the artists to share their art with the common man. While craftsmen from all over India participate, one particular state is focused upon each year. The mela also attracts lakhs of visitors, both for the amazing range of interesting crafts it showcases as well as the relaxing rural ambience of the mela grounds. The fair also provides a meeting ground for the talented painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen form all over India who exhibit their creations and the arts and crafts lovers who flock here to admire and purchase these creations.

As one enters the mela, one is greeted by a ‘living’ Indian village. The uneven, unpaved paths lead to innumerable thatched platforms that provide glimpses of the exquisite and skilful paintings, textiles, wood stock, ivory work, pottery, terracotta, stonework, papier-mâché, lac work and cane and grass work. There is an amazing variety and diversity in each craft. The village ambience at Surajkund Mela not only facilitates city-dwellers to get a taste of village life but it also helps the artisans to gain access to national and international buyers.

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Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake

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Oct 312009
 

Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake Delhi

sharad-utsavIntroduction to Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake
The Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake is a much acclaimed festival of Indian classical music, held every year at Prasad Nagar Lake in Delhi. The Prasad Nagar Lake is located in close proximity to the Karol Bagh district in the western part of Old Delhi.

Time of Celebration of Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake
Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake, Delhi is celebrated every year in the month of December.

Description of Sharad Utsav in Delhi
Sharad Utsav in Delhi is an annual festival that people of West Delhi look forward to. Organized by the Delhi Tourism Department, this festival showcases some of the finest Indian classical music and dance performances. The festival is organized every year with a view of promoting cultural activities in the bustling cosmopolitan city of Delhi.

The term ‘Sharad’ means winter season, and as the title of the festival suggests, Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake is celebrated each year in the winter season only. During the festival, various cultural activities are organized, including exclusive folk dance performances of Rajasthan. Quite popular among the Fairs and Festivals in Delhi, Sharad Utsav Festival in Delhi attracts large number of music enthusiasts from far and wide and is also popular among the tourists visiting the city.

An amazing blend of tradition and modernity, New Delhi – the administrative capital of India, is also a much sought after tourist destination. The city is a major business hub –interspersed with important business centers and corporate houses. Delhi has been the seat of power for centuries, and royal patronage ensured that the city functioned as the cultural epicenter of the country, luring the finest of musicians, dancers and painters to the city. The fairs and festivals celebrated in Delhi like the Sharad Utsav Prasad Nagar Lake showcases the rich and diverse cultural heritage that the city boasts of.

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Republic Day

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Oct 312009
 

Republic Day

Republic Day

Republic Day

26th January 1950 is one of the most important days in Indian history as it was on this day the constitution of India came into force and India became a truly sovereign state. In this day India became a totally republican unit. The country finally realized the dream of Mahatma Gandhi and the numerous freedom fighters who, fought for and sacrificed their lives for the Independence of their country. So, the 26th of January was decreed a national holiday and has been recognized and celebrated as the Republic Day of India, ever since.

Today, the Republic Day is celebrated with much enthusiasm all over the country and especially in the capital, New Delhi where the celebrations start with the Presidential to the nation. The beginning of the occasion is always a solemn reminder of the sacrifice of the martyrs who died for the country in the freedom movement and the succeeding wars for the defense of sovereignty of their country. Then, the President comes forward to award the medals of bravery to the people from the armed forces for their exceptional courage in the field and also the civilians, who have distinguished themselves by their different acts of valour in different situations.

To mark the importance of this occasion, every year a grand parade is held in the capital, from the Rajghat, along the Vijaypath. The different regiments of the army, the Navy and the Air force march past in all their finery and official decorations even the horses of the cavalry are attractively caparisoned to suit the occasion. The crème of N.C.C cadets, selected from all over the country consider it an honour to participate in this event, as do the school children from various schools in the capital. They spend many days preparing for the event and no expense is spared to see that every detail is taken care of, from their practice for the drills, the essential props and their uniforms.

The parade is followed by a pageant of spectacular displays from the different states of the country. These moving exhibits depict scenes of activities of people in those states and the music and songs of that particular state accompany each display. Each display brings out the diversity and richness of the culture of India and the whole show lends a festive air to the occasion. The parade and the ensuing pageantry is telecast by the National Television and is watched by millions of viewers in every corner of the country.

The patriotic fervor of the people on this day brings the whole country together even in her essential diversity. Every part of the country is represented in occasion, which makes the Republic Day the most popular of all the national holidays of India.

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Qutub Festival

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Oct 312009
 

Qutub Festival in Delhi

qutab-festivalAn Annual Tribute

Ghazal Khan pays a tribute to the classic and timeless Qutub Minar, on the eve of the annual Qutub Festival held here…

The Qutub Minar is one of the most celebrated monuments of the country. Located at the south of Delhi City, it is a five storeyed, red sandstone tower with a diameter of 14.32m at the base and about 2.75m on the top. Standing at a height of 76.2m (250ft), the Qutub Minar is supposed to be the tallest freestanding stone tower in the world (others being a part of bridges or buildlings).

The foundation of the Qutub Minar was laid by the Afghan invader, Qutub-ud-Din Aibak in 1199 AD as a mark of his conquest of Northern India. The two storeyed structure was a part of the palace complex he erected, along with a mosque in the premises. So, probably the tower was meant for the muezzin (the priest), to give the azaan (call) for prayers. It is also said that the minar was designed ‘to cast the shadow of God over the east and the west’ as the imposing structure casts a long and impressive shadow at sunrise and sunset. Later in 1211-36AD, three more storeys were added to it by his successor and son-in-law, Shamsu`d-Din ‘lltumish. The structure was then repaired by Feroz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88 AD)and again by Sikandar Lodi (1489-1517 AD). With time, the Minar served as an excellent watchtower for spotting approaching invaders.

Consequentially, the minar has come to be a document in history, recording the metamorphoses of the Indian culture and the different influences in architecture brought in by the relay of foreign rulers. Although many hands and minds have been responsible for the design of the Qutub Minar, there remains a certain rhythm to the structure. The patterns on each storey differ a little from the other and so does the building material. All the storeys are surrounded by a projected balcony encircling the minar and supported by stone brackets. They are decorated with honey-comb design and numerous intricate inscriptions in Arabic and Devnagari all over, displaying a fine example of skill on stone.

Qutub Minar, today, stands as a salvaged ruin against the ravages of history. Due to accidents in the narrow and difficult stairway, and some stray incidents of suicides, entry to the Minar is now restricted to the courtyard. The closure of the minar was also a result of the general decay of human discipline in the country, which saw some modernistic(!) scriblings, called vandalism by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), who were fighting a losing battle trying to preserve this heritage monument.

As a part of the ‘resurrection’ process, during the months of November-December, a 3-day festival is held in the premises of this historical structure. This festival, known as the Qutub Festival, not only showcases the cultural art forms of the country but also puts this classic structure in the cynosure of national and international attention.

Set amidst the historical background of the Minar, a number of cultural events are held as a part of the Festival, where veterans of Indian classical music and folk musicians give spectacular performances.
The towering Qutab Minar wears a new look as the three-day Qutub Festival of dance and music begins, charming tourists from all over. The Festival is a joint venture of the Delhi Tourism & Transport Development Corporation and Sahitya Kala Parishad.The regional food stalls set up at the complex serve local cuisine of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and the northeastern states, adding to the cultural extravaganza.

Music fills the air by this 12th century landmark. There are Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, and various classical dance performances by famous artists from all over the nation. Sarangi and sitar recitals mesmerise the audience, while ghazals and qawwalis mark the end of the festival. Artists like the illustrious three generations of Sarabai Family- Mrinalini, Mallika & Anahita Sarabai, ghazal maestros – Ustaad Ahmad Hussain and Ustaad Mohammad Hussein, Odissi dansuese Sonal Mansingh, santoor player Bhajan Sopori, Guru R.K. Singhajit Singh with his troupe of Manipuri dancers, Kuchipudi duo Jairama and Vanshree Rao and sarangi players, Ram Narayan and Aruna Narayan Kalehave have performed here too.

The Qutub Festival is an attempt to preserve and present the rich tradition of Indian music,contemporary as well as classical. It is surely an exotic experience for those seeking to have a glimpse of the cultural extravaganza that is India.

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Phoolkwalon Ki Sair Festival

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Oct 312009
 

Phoolkwalon Ki Sair Festival in Delhi

phoolwalon-ki-sair-delhiPhoolkwalon-ki-Sair, which is also known as Phool walon-ki-Sair is one of the most important festivals of Delhi. It is the Festival of Florists. Although celebrated across Delhi, it is majorly followed in the Mehrauli area of Delhi. The festival involves huge processions mainly sprinkling flowers at the temple of Jog Maya and the tomb of Saint Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki.

The Festival of Phoolkwalon-ki-Sair is generally celebrated in the month of September or else in early October. The Festivities mainly involve a procession that starts from the Jog Maya temple. Before the strting of Procession there is a traditional music played on Shehnai after which the Procession starts. Starting from the Jog Maya temple, traveling across Mehrauli Bazaar, the procession finally ends at the tomb of Saint Qutubuddin Bakhtiyar kaki.

Throughout the procession there is realm of Dance and Music that thoroughly accompanies. Kathak Dances, qawwalis, a blaze of lights, huge pankhas (fans) made of palm leaves, decorated with tinsel and flowers, and acrobats delight a vast audience. A huge procession, led by fire dancers, takes the flower pankhas through the streets of Mehrauli.

All these cultural programs are organized at the “Jahaz mahal” , which truly comes alive with the Dance and Music during this Festival.

The Festival over the years has gained great popularity. Earlier the Festival was largely celebrated by Hindus, which eventually has been warmly followed by Muslims as well.

The festival truly attracts a great number of tourists from far and wide.

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New Year’s Eve

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Oct 302009
 

New Year’s Eve, Delhi

New Year's EveIntroduction To New Year’s Eve:

New Year’s in Delhi is party time for its residents. Be it because Delhi is the capital of India or the fact that it is meeting point of cross cultural influences, Delhi has a very cosmopolitan feel. A number of people from varying backgrounds call Delhi home. For people from Haryana, in the west; UP, in the south; and Punjab, in the north; Delhi is the obvious destination for an upwardly mobile life.

Delhi’s social fabric comprises of many communities. But, no matter which community a Delhiite belongs to, he celebrates New Year’s Eve with fun and gaiety.

Description of New Year’s Eve:

Due to different culture, religion and language, Delhi experiences a rich heritage where traditions meet and mixes to each other to form a wonderful heritage. New Year’s Eve in Delhi is mainly celebrated on 31st night when the city lights up with decorative items and various colorful lights. People welcome the coming year with warmth and hospitality, the parties and the social gatherings show the involvement of people that takes place in the capital of India. Fireworks and the countdowns for the new year create a special effect on the locals. Te overnight parties and celebrations have become a part of New Year’s eve fiesta. The celebration takes place in every pubs, night clubs and discos where the new year eve is the celebrated mainly with party music and dance carnivals. The dance and party are the best way to celebrate the last night of the passing year. The carnival and the private parties are also organized that make the eve more enjoyable.

Time For Celebration of New Year’s Eve:

Different cultures of India represent individualism; well-known for its festivals and celebration that nit only blends different traditions of the country but it unites west and the east. The new year eve according to English calendar is celebrated on 31st of December.

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International Mango Festival

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Oct 302009
 

International Mango Festival Delhi

Mango Festival The International Mango Festival of Delhi is organized in the month of July. Held at the Talkatora stadium, it is one of the most awaited fairs of the capital city. This is because most of the other fairs appeal to our intellect or aesthetics, while the Delhi International Mango Festival interests our taste buds. This festival also marks the advent of mangoes and presents one with as many as almost 500 varieties of the king of fruits. So, you can imagine yourself with sticky fingers, relishing one of the tastiest and most delicious fruits.

Mangoes from different states of the country, like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, can be seen sharing the limelight at the International Mango Festival. A number of competitions are also held at the festival between the participating mango growers. Other attractions of the Mango Festival of Delhi include the cultural programs that make it a lively event. Here, you can also buy a mango tree perfect for your own garden and even learn how to grow healthy mango trees in your garden.

The mango varieties displayed at the International Mango Festival comprise of the traditional categories as well as the new hybrid discoveries of the ‘King of Fruits’. One can taste different flavors of mango, with different preparations and savor the experience throughout the year. The extravaganza lasts for a period of two days at the venue and for the entire year, in the minds of its visitors. Mango folk song performances, mango eating competitions and children’s shows only add to the enjoyment of the visitors.

Popular Varieties of Mangoes Showcased at the Festival
Alphonso, Mallika, Amrapali, Himsagar, Malda, Balia, Chorasya, Dhaman, Dhoon, Fazia, Gelchia, Nigarin Kheria, Ruchika and Shamasi

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