New airport to be built near Sabarimala, Kerala ,India

The Kerala government on Wednesday decided to construct the state’s fifth green-field airport at Erumeli in Kottayam district. The airport, which would come up on 2,263-acres of Cheruvalli estate, is expected to give air connectivity to pilgrims of Sabarimala temple, which is 48 km away from the proposed project site. Every year, about 3 crore pilgrims from South Indian states visit the hill shrine during the two-month festival season.

An official communication after a cabinet meeting said that the government has selected Cheruvalli estate for the airport project, based on the recommendations of a four-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary P H Kurian. The idea for a new airport project in Kerala stemmed from the realisation that the proposed Aranmula airport project in Pathanamthitta failed to take off.

Early Bird offer Deccan Odyssey Jody Travel

Early Bird offer Deccan Odyssey Jody Trave


Deccan Odyssey, a special luxury train by Indian Railways, has unveiled its Early Bird offer for journeys starting October 2017. For the bookings made before July 31, one will avail seven nights at the cost of five nights only. A person has to pay INR 4,37,500 per couple per journey instead of INR 6,12,500 per couple per journey in a Deluxe cabin.

The Deccan Odyssey comprises 21 royal coaches. 12 of these contain the guest cabins that are spacious and equipped with every modern amenity. There are two restaurants in the train, ‘Waavar’ & ‘Utsav’, centrally located. The royal train also provides 24*7 Wi-Fi connectivity, gym, beauty salon, paramedics, a bar, cell phones and LCD TVs in every cabin.

The Deccan Odyssey provides following itineraries:

  • Maharashtra Splendour: Mumbai – Nashik – Aurangabad – Ajanta – Kolhapur – Goa – Sindhudurg – Mumbai
  • Hidden Treasures of Gujarat: Mumbai – Vadodara – Palitana – Sasan Gir – Little Rann of Kutch – Modhera – Patan – Nashik – Mumbai
  • Jewels of the Deccan: Mumbai – Bijapur – Aihole – Pattadakal – Hampi –Hyderabad – Aurangabad – Ajanta – Mumbai
  • Maharashtra Wild trail: Mumbai – Aurangabad – Pench (Ramtek) – Tadoba – Ajanta – Nashik – Mumbai


6 Popular Places in Madhya Pradesh for Perfect Temple Wedding

Weddings are said to be one of the most sacred occasions in India and the temples have served as the divine venues for the wedding, irrespective of any region, religion or culture. This is due to the holiness associated with temples and many people believe it that doing so will lead to a successful marriage. Another reason why people prefer such venues is to keep the wedding simple, surrounded by close relatives. The loud trumpet, high pitched songs and the bustling of crackers in ‘Big Fat Indian Wedding’ celebrations add to the pollution and noise and today’s smart generation understands the cons attached with the ‘band baja baraat’ concept. Couples have started opting out for temple weddings, not only to keep it short and simple but also to avoid the excess noise and pollution as in the case of former. They want it to be the perfect venue for their big day to make it a mesmerizing affair. We bring you some of the best destinations in Madhya Pradesh for a temple wedding. Madhya Pradesh is one the state which is quite famous for its many historic temples and shrines. The sanctity and the epic view of these temples offer the perfect setting required in a Hindu wedding. It instigates in you a sacred feeling of starting a relationship that binds you and your partner forever.

Khajuraho Temple

The temples of Khajuraho are considered to be a commemoration of the wedding of Lord Shiva & Parvati. Undoubtedly the city of Khajuraho tops the list of temple weddings in Madhya Pradesh. Adorned by the ancient heritage it is the city with temples signifying love and erotism. These destinations offer the perfect backdrop essential for an intimate union of a couple who are closely attached to the divine plan of creation. Khajuraho, the perfect example of excellence, prestige and erotic sculptures, is an ideal venue for temple wedding in India.

Also, it has been declared as world heritage site by UNESCO. Matangesvara temple among the temples of Khajuraho is the most suitable venue for temple weddings. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is known to have the world’s largest shivlings that stand about 8 ft tall and are made up of yellow limestone. According to Hindu Mythology,  a sage named Matanga highly thought of as Lord Shiva, controlled the God of love by demonstrating himself in the form of a lingam. The temple which carries such a great importance in the history would be a perfect location for making the wedding an unforgettable affair .


< Bhojeshwar Temple. Bhojpur is a historical town on the outskirts of Bhopal known for its greenery and the tranquility of the Betwa river. The town has been named after the acclaimed ruler of Paramara dynasty- King Bhoja. The Bhojeshwar temple which is dedicated to Lord Shiva is surrounded by lush greenery. This makes it an attractive place for the wedding. The Archaeological Survey of India is responsible for the maintenance of this architectural wonder and the most amazing fact about the temple is that the linga inside the temple has been crafted out of a single rock. Apart from the clean surrounding, the crystal clear water of the Betwa river flowing next to the temple provides the perfect ambiance required for a temple wedding in this state. Ahilyeshwar Temple Maheshwar, also known as the temple town, is one of the best wedding destinations due to the historical glory and authenticity of the place. The city has some historical sites which provide the solemn environment suitable for a wedding setup. The Ahilyeshwar temple is one such place demonstrating the architectural skills of the Marathas. The softness of the Narmada waves adds to the serenity around the temple and makes it one of the desired location for wedding ceremonies. Chintamann Ganesh Temple The Chintamann Ganesh Temple is an ancient temple situated in Ujjain. Constructed on the Shipra River, it is the largest temple in the area devoted to Lord Ganesha. The simplicity and the soothing environment around makes It is an ideal place to conduct a ritual of the heavenly alliance called marriage.

Naag Panchami

Naag Panchami is a traditional worship of snakes (naag) or serpents observed by Hindus in India and Nepal. The worship is offered on the fifth day of bright half of Lunar month of Shravan (July/August), according to the Hindu calendar. This day is marked to worship snakes (mythological significance) for their blessings for welfare of the family. Serpent deity is made of silver, stone or wood or the painting of snakes on the wall are given a bath with milk and then revered. Young girls make a a good husband on this day.

Teej Festival India

As the rains hit the summer-beaten earth, it sprouts life, spreading a green cover as far as the eyes can see. Haryali Teej, one of the central and most loved festivals of North India, is a celebration of nature’s bounty that springs forth during monsoons. Every year, Haryali Teej is celebrated on the third day of the first fortnight of Shravan or Sawan month, usually between July and August of the Gregorian calendar. This year, Hariyali Teej 2017 falls Wedneday, 26th July. According to Hindu legend, Teej celebrates Lord Shiva’s acceptance of Devi Parvati as his wife after her dedication towards him. Legend has it that she prayed continuously and took 108 rebirths, finally to be wedded to the mighty Shiva. The festival therefore stands for the union of Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati.

Married women keep a day long nirjala (no-food-no-water) vrat to seek marital bliss and good luck from the Almighty. The fast is finally broken after offering prayers to the moon in the evening and worshiping Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Women typically wear green clothes and accessories as a way to celebrate the onset of monsoons. Many unmarried women also keep the fast, take part in the festivities and pray for marital bliss.

This year, the joyous festival falls on August 5th. From, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab to Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and parts of Madhya Pradesh; many households across the country will be celebrating this auspicious day with fervour. From glossy green bangles and sarees to dancing to the tunes of traditional folk songs and taking hearty bites of the sinful ghewar – we wish this Teej be prosperous for one and all.

10 Biggest Shiva temples in South India

The auspicious month of Shravan, dedicated to Lord Shiva has begun. Devotees in the northern part of India will celebrate this month with utmost devotion and dedication. The Southern part of the country will celebrate this month after a fortnight owing to the difference between the Purnimant and Amavaysyant calendar.

Mondays are extremely auspicious and devotees offer prayers and observe fast. And on this occasion, we will take you through some of the grandest temples of Lord Shiva in South India.Here’s taking a look at 10 biggest temples in south India built in reverence of Lord Shiva.

1)        Brihadeshwara Temple in Tanjavur

Built by Raja Raja Chola I, the Briahadeshwara or the Tanjavur Periya Koil is a classic specimen of the living Chola art. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is over 1000 years-old and is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The main sanctum sanctorum has a 29 Ft tall Shiva Linga. One can find a 13 Ft Nandi (sacred bull) near the final entrance to the main temple complex. The Vimana or tower of this ancient temple is stands 198 Ft tall. The architecture and intricate carvings on the walls are truly matchless.

2)        Thiravanaikaval Temple in Thrichy (Water)

The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva that represents the water element of nature is known as Jamukeshwara and is located in Thiravanaikaval near Thrichy in Tamil Nadu. Believed to be around 1800 years-old, the Thiravanaikaval Temple is home to the Akhilandeshwari form of Goddess Pavati and she is worshipped as Lord Shiva’s disciple here.

3)        Meenakshi Sundareshwara Temple in Madurai

This magnificent piece of spiritual architecture in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai city, has been in existence for over thousands of years. The origin of the temple dates back to the 1600 B.C and is a classic specimen of Vedic tradition. The temple complex has temples dedicated to Meenakshi and her divine consort Sundareshwarar (Shiva).

4)        Vadakkunathan Temple in Trisshur

Beleived to be built in the seventh century, the Vadakkunathan Temple in Kerala’s Trisshur is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple’s architecture reflects Kerala’s style with monumental towers on all four sides and a Kuttambalam. Devotees from various parts of the country visit the temple during Maha Shivaratri. Over one Lakh lamps are lighted on the day of the festival.

5)        Mahabalaeshwara Temple in Gokarna

Situated in the Gokarna region of Karnataka on the shores of the Arabian Sea, the Mahabaleshwara Temple has a Atma Linga, also known as Prana Linga. It is the Linga believed to have been given to Ravana by Lord Shiva himself. The demon king of Lanka, who was instructed not to place the Linga on ground, was duped by Ganesha while enroute to him home. The Linga, after being placed on the ground by Ganesha, could not be moved by Ravana. On realising Shiva’s power, Ravana named his Mahabala and hence the name Mahabaleshwara. The idol is believed to be over 1500 years old.

6)        Murudeshwara Temple in Murudeshwara

This is the place where the cloth placed on the Atma Lingam gifted to Ravana by Lord Shiva himself. Situated on the shore of Arabian Sea in northern Karnataka, Murudeshwara Temple has the second tallest Shiva statue which stands 123 ft tall and a tower which is 249 ft in height.

7)        Gangaikonda Temple in Tanjavur

Built by Rajendra Chola I, son and successor of Raja Raja Chola, the Gangaikonda Temple in Tanjavur is one of the greatest specimens of the Chola art. The temple complex has a number of sculptures carved out of stone and each exhibit the aura of the majestic times of royal past.  

8)        Uma Maheshwara temple in Yaganti

Situated in the Kurnool region of Andhra Pradesh, the Uma Maheshwara temple in Yaganti was built during the 5th and the 6th century. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple has a Nandi that has water coming out from its mouth. The source of the water hasn’t been discovered yet.

9)        Sangamaeshwara Temple in Alampur

Originally built on the confluence of the Krishna and Tunghabhadra rivers, the Sangamaeshwara Temple, believed to have been built by Pulakesin I, was dismantled from its site during the Srisailam Dam project and rebuilt in its current location in Alampur. The temple that derives its name from the confluence of the Krishna and Tunghabhadra rivers, is a classic specimen of the Chalukyan period.

10)      Hoysalaeshwara Temple in Halebid

Built by Vishnuvardhana of the Hoysala empire in the 12th century, the Hoysalaeshwara Temple in Halebid narrates the glorious architectural genious of the ruler of that time.

Punjabiyat Gurdaspur

Punjabiyat quietly located in the fields of rural Punjab (save for the occasional thumping of Punjabi music from the speakers of a distant tractor of a local farmer) relaxes you completely. Small, with just 4 stand-alone air-conditioned cottages with private terraces, it is simple, unpretentious yet stylish, complimented by traditional architecture, good food and unobtrusive service. Once in Amritsar, spend a night here to experience the night ceremony and the positive vibrations of the Golden Temple. It is an experience not to be missed and is best experienced by staying in Amritsar. And don’t forget to climb up to the Dome of the Golden Temple after the night ceremony where one can also see some amazing Sikh Temple Artwork. Have a leisurely breakfast the next day and head to Punjabiyat which is a 2 hour drive from Amritsar. “I loved the spectacular sunsets post my afternoon siestas across the fields, whose colours change with the crop of the season.As the pathway of Punjabiyat is lit up with lanterns in the evening, they serve you the most delicious kebabs and wine,” says Kuntil.

Punjabiyat has inquisitive locals from in and around the area landing here mostly on Sunday afternoons after their prayers in the nearby Sikh temple. The property’s traditional architecture is very rare to see. If there are no guests, the locals are allowed in and they return happy after clicking a few pictures. Punjabiyat is built entirely by mud and mud bricks by a vanishing breed of indigenous construction experts. The mud used for plastering was scooped out from the site where Punjabiyat stands. The layer of mud bricks placed on the roof are made out of wood beams interspersed with smaller wooden frames insulated with a thick layer of mud which keeps the interiors cool when it is hot outside and warm when it is cold outside, just like in the days of the yore.

Punjabiyat does a good mix of food. Lunches are mostly continental. “I loved the hummus and pita bread tossed up with small portions of salad, later pasta and a banana cream cake for dessert on the day I arrived,” says Kuntil. Dinner served inside the spacious lounge is mostly Indian where they include local Punjabi dishes as well. Their Makai ki Roti and Sarso ka Sag; Punjab’s favourite winter dish is highly recommended. The sugarcane juice pudding is a must try too. Breakfast served outside the lounge is leisurely with eggs, breads and cereals or they can do the local fare of Paranthas (a variety of Indian flat bread) straight out of Punjabiyat’s tandoor (oven) to be had with a dollop of white butter from the village. The rooms are spacious and airy with high ceilings and the views uninterrupted; be it from the couch or the superbly comfortable bed, while inside the room or from the verandah while sipping masala tea with freshly made cookies or a having beer watching the sunset or simply enjoying a hearty afternoon siesta post lunch on the charpoy; a traditional bed with knotted ropes which is an essential part of any Punjabi household.

“One afternoon I was taken to the local Sikh Temple by the Manager of Punjabiyat. There, I met his uncle who had come to offer his prayers. He didn’t ask me where I came from or what my name is. He just gave me a pat on the back and said ‘eat, relax and don’t worry this is Punjab. And that’s what you pretty much do at the Punjabiyat,” says Kuntil.

Historic tour of the architecture of 18th c. India

New Delhi’s Imperial hotel offers a historic tour of the architecture of 18th c. India

Step into the lounge at The Imperial hotel in New Delhi and you are surrounded by an ambience that goes far back in time between late 17th and early 19th century.

the-imperial-assemblage-of-hillmen Imperial hotel. On the walls are landscapes and studies that provide a cultural matrix that was central to India’s cultural symbolism from the 17th to 19th century. The genesis, evolution and inspiration of this collection go back to the family of owners of The Imperial who gained this esoteric collection as an inheritance.

The suite of works spans artists who worked in India in the late 17th and early 18th century, and produced etchings, wood engravings, lithographs, aquatints and mezzotints based on sketches of landscapes, architecture, and topography of life in India. Legendary names dot the walls on all floors, its unique weaving of luxury and history. And the names throw up visions—Thomas and William DaniellsWilliam Simpson, William Hodges, John Zollony, James Ferguson, J.B. Fraser, Emily Eden, Charles D’Oyly.

From the minarets and arches of Mughal monuments, to historical events, naval and military scenes, lush landscapes, tensile topography, royal durbars, costumes, castes and traders of India, the imposing forts, the elegant Capital cities along with the abundance of natural beauty, the majestic mountains, curving rivers and breathtaking waterfalls all form a tapestry of Indianesque splendour.



Voracious visual detailing signifies the scenes of the Delhi Durbar, which was considered a spectacle in which ceremony was a tradition and a tool adhered to by the Mughals. The Delhi Durbar Procession is a fabulous feast of pageantry and pomp and is known to have heralded the dawn of the modern age. Caparisoned elephants with royalty sitting atop accompanies by decorated soldiers are followed by the Indian kings.

At the Red Fort, Indian soldiers dressed in traditional costume, flank the elephants while scarlet uniformed British soldiers stand in the background. The tableau seems one of perfected panorama.

The 1911 bar reflects the truth that India and her 315 million subjects were “the brightest jewel in the Imperial diadem” when King George V’s coronation as King-Emperor was held in Delhi. The coronation ceremony is yet another exalted gathering of King George V and Queen Mary flanked by a host of Indian kings all bedecked in finery.


The tableau of the countless horses with soldiers is only a hint of the pomp and pageantry displayed. A longer, wide-angled view gives us the splendour of the area that was used for this epic event. While the king and queen sat on thrones, they were surrounded by an amphitheatre of attendees and seemed to evoke the Mughal practice of the darshan.

History states that the scale of the event was staggering. Historian Julie Codell wrote: “The durbars constructed a rhetorical geography, which expressed imperial power relations through various activities that made imperial rule palpable. Four hundred ruling chiefs and princes, maharajas and rajas were in attendance. It took a year to prepare for the anticipated 200,000 visitors, and cost £1 million. There were 233 separate camps over 25 square miles (the king-emperor’s camp covered 85 acres).



To have the richness of vegetation and the exotic remoteness of a landscape burst upon you in the midst of Delhi’s summer is indeed a treat for the senses. ‘Assemblage of Hillman’ is an evocative work of peopled elegance. The hillmen are seen in their native costume while four labourers are busy with their chores. The light falling on the mountaintops and tiled roofs, the coniferous vegetation and the beauty of the scene is what sustains the composition. Interesting how India was seen as a virgin terrain awaiting a picturesque invocation, which was packaged as magnificent mountains, craggy rocks and boulders, and tiny temples peering out through dense vegetation.


In their exploration of India, these British artists had a colonial interest coupled with a magpie insight into the understanding of range and scope of a landscape with a monument, temple, mosque or a palace.

Seran Raja’s Palace and Village and Castle of Bumpta offer us glimpses of beauty and quietude in the Himalayas. The views of the Himalayas pan out into shades of monochrome sepia as well as dulcet tones of deepened densities—most of these studies are arid stretches of terrain and vegetation; only a few have the habitation of people who are created more as punctuations in a plateau of perspectives because they were collectively represented.



“Gungotree, the Holy Shrine of Mahadeo” is an exotic view of the tranquil scene of the revered temple set in the Himalayan ranges amidst the beauty of untouched higher altitudes. The presence of a few devotees dressed almost identically sets us thinking about cultural contexts.

William Hodges’s “A View of the Gate of the Tomb of Emperor Akbar at Secundrii” (1786) is a magnificent moment in the freezing of a frame of time. It is laden with the haunts of history and the accurate rendition of tradition. Obviously Hodges saw the magnitude of simulating the real and matching intensity of vision with a dexterity of detailing.


The collection of mosques and mausoleums are riveting. Some monuments come with delicate additions of dense vegetation, gnarled trees, boulders, and a couple of natives thrown in for animated measure, while some are architectural spectacles of intricate details. When natives were present in works, they were always dwarfed by the landscape or the monument.

Whether the artists captured temples or mosques, there was a picturesque aura that hinted at architectural incantations as well as solid and lasting grandeur. The distance at which these temples and mosques were captured suggests a grasping of magnificent wholeness, of a scenic setting creating the impact of a solitary sentinel that marks the testimony of time.


To stand quietly and study these aquatints and engravings is to know the history of architectural styles of Mughal and Colonial India. In balancing effects and detailing in a palette of soft sobriety these British artists created a residual aesthetic as they rendered each temple or mosque in its architectural and historic detailing with an accuracy that quested for picking history out of the stones of time.

The compulsions of sketching and drawing are transformed into a prism of information and instruction. Indeed, this museum hotel in Delhi stands tall as a repository of Indian and British art history in this epic collection scattered over three floors of classic, colonial luxury.

Annual festival at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala

The annual festival at the Lord Ayyappa temple at Sabarimala began with the ceremonial flag-hoisting on Wednesday

The ceremonial flag was taken out in a customary procession on a caparisoned elephant to the accompaniments of the traditional temple percussion prior to the ceremony.

The Tantri hoisted the ceremonial flag on the holy temple mast in the auspicious muhurthom between 9.15 a.m. and 10.15 a.m.

The auspicious Utsavabali ritual to propitiate the Bhoothagana (cohorts) of the presiding deity will be performed at the Ayyappa temple in the afternoon from June 29 to July 6.

The Pallivetta ceremony will be held at Saramkuthi, on the traditional trekking path, on July 6 evening. The Pallivetta procession will set off from the Sannidhanam to Saramkuthi after Athazhapuja and will return to the temple by midnight

The Arat ceremony, marking the culmination of the 10-day festival, will be held at the specially prepared Arat-kadavu in the Pampa in the foothills of Sabarimala on July 7 forenoon.
The Tantri, assisted by the Melsanthi, will perform the Aratupuja and Utchapuja at the Arat-kadavu.Sahasrakalasabhishekom, Kalabhabhishekom, Ashtabhishekom, Udayasthamanapuja, Pushpabhishekom, and Padipuja will be held on all days, except on July 7.
The Tantri will bring down the ceremonial flag on the holy mast as soon as the Arat procession returns to the holy hillock.The Sabarimala Ayyappa temple will be closed after Athazhapuja.

Ujjaini Mahankali Bonalu festival

Bonalu is an important Hindu festival dedicated to Goddess Shakti and is held in the Hindu calendar month of Ashadham every year. The festival is celebrated to ward off evil and usher in peace and harmony. Devotees at Bonalu Mahajan Rangam.  Bonalu is a festival celebrated in Hyderabad, Secunderabad and several parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema.

In be traced back to 1813. The Plague had claimed thousands of lives in the region in that year and people believed that the plague was the outcome of anger of goddess Mahankali. Hence they offered Bonalu to the Goddess.

An Indian man dances, balancing a decorated pot filled with cooked rice as an offering for the goddess Kali, on his head, during the Bonalu festival.

Women perform the ‘Kumkumma Archana’ (prayers) at the start of the Bonalu festival at Akkana Maddana temple in the old city of Hyderabad.