Navaratri India’s Nine-Day Festival | Nine Forms of Feminine Energy
The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, Nava meaning nine and Raatri meaning nights. It means nine nights of the feminine goddess that are worshipped in our culture since ages.
Navratri is a nine-day festival that celebrates the nine forms of goddess Durga.On each day of Navratri, a special colour is worn that is dedicated to a goddess and holds special significance.
The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashami or Dussehra when the idols of Goddess Durga are immersed into the water body. This is what we know about Navratri. And this what we have been celebrating since ages. What I wish to convey form this video is my perception and my understanding of these nine days.
I’m a firm believer of Shiv and Shakti. Durga Ma is also a form of Shiv+Shakti.
Navratri – 9 days of Feminine energy, nine days of the feminine divine goddess. Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati are three dimensions of feminine energies. They also represent tamas rajas and sattva these are basic qualities of human existence and its elements.
Tamas is the nature of the earth and literally means inertia
Rajas mean passion
Satva means breaking boundaries melting and merging
Navratri falls twice a year. Sharada Navaratri: the most celebrated of the four Navaratri, named after Sharada which means autumn. It is observed in the lunar month of Ashvin (post-monsoon, September–October). In many regions, the festival falls after the autumn harvest, and in others during harvest.
Vasanta Navaratri: the second most celebrated, named after Vasantha which means spring. It is observed in the lunar month of Chaitra (post-winter, March–April). In many regions, the festival falls after spring harvest, and in others during harvest
Well, you may be surprised by what the title is all about, but trust me you will be amazed to know that a grand canyon also exists in India. Gandikota is the place, (Grand Canyon Of India) a beautiful and stunning paradise in the heartland of Bangalore. It is a weekend getaway from Bangalore. Just right on the spot, it is a destination which you would be awe-struck to visit.
Leh Ladakh is a UT now, will it affect tourists like me?
Is it safe to stay and roam in Leh Ladakh?
How about my flights’ tickets! Shall I cancel?
I’m a travel blogger and working on a travel project will it get affected?
Shall I think twice now to visit Leh Ladakh in the august end?
Well, many apprehensions and questions that are hovering your mind regarding the Leh Ladakh post Article 370 Defunct and it’s tourism and maybe your visit to this beautiful destination. It is viable as well, and this is because of the current situation of Leh Ladakh due to article 370 defunct.
Let me take you to the blog – Leh Ladakh’s post Article 370 Defunct, where you will find it completely safe to travel to this gorgeous destination which is now a UT – Union Territory.
Article 370 has been thinned, Jammu & Kashmir has been departed from Ladakh–and the two sections have become separate Union Territories. Expecting trouble, the government of India have asked tourists and pilgrims to move out, and have deployed a huge amount of soldiers and troops into the state. The situation is unpredictable – yes, it is true, as of now and no one knows how things will gonna be in coming days. The only affected highway currently is – Srinagar-Leh highway – Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam and other parts of Kashmir Valley are on a tension zone. But when we talk about Leh & Ladakh? No, is the answer (According to CNT‘s report Angrub Dorje, who runs Discover Ladakh has stated, “Both Leh and Ladakh are completely safe.)
The business is usual here in Leh Ladakh, as the local transport has not been affected here. As of now, no restrictions have been implemented on transport, in fact, it is safe and we have tourists here who are enjoying their holidays. (it is when the CNT team spoke to locals and 3-4 tour operators).
Even though the circumstances in the paradise of India – Jammu & Kashmir is unpredictable and scary, the region of Ladakh is truly safe, with no indications of tightness and fury. So, plan without thinking twice.
As mentioned by – Tsering Angmo, Assistant Director of Tourism, is asking people not to worry. “Everything is normal in Leh. The airports are completely accessible. I would recommend anyone who is visiting to not worry at all.” (CNT report). There has being a bit of tension on Srinagar border as vehicles are being stopped but that’s all is a precautionary measure for Kashmiris and tourists out there. As the bill is also passed in Rajya Sabha by 2/3 majority.
If you are travelling by flights –
If flying to Leh – flights on Vistara, IndiGo, GoAir and Air India are on time as of now.
If you’re flying to Jammu and Srinagar, IndiGo has waived the fare on all cancellations and rescheduling of tickets (charges on fare difference will be applicable if any) to Jammu till 9 August.
If you’re flying to Srinagar: After announcing a cap on fares at Rs9,500, Air India has further lessened its ticket prices to Rs6,715 from Srinagar to Delhi and at Rs6,899 from Srinagar to Delhi till 15 August.
The information on Leh Ladakh’s post Article 370 Defunct, has been taken in the best interest for each and every traveller – the credits for the information is to CNT team and WanderOn.
Katal Dhar | Lonavla | The secluded and mysterious waterfall | Travel Blog Trek
Somewhere near Mumbai or somewhere in Maharashtra, you may find this amazing waterfall which I would love to mention in this travel blog. It will not be somewhere, technically but amidst the mountains, Sahyadri, and the gorgeous standing ranges in Maharashtra, you find – Kataldhar waterfall. The name is intriguing, isn’t it? Katal means a form of rock – Dhar is the brink sharp edge of a sword or a knife. In short – “Katal” means a Rock & “Dhar” means a Waterfall.
You must be thinking why this explanation is given here, because when you will see the pictures and would explore the waterfall with me, and you may find that how sharp and steep the waterfall is that can kill you with its awe-struck views and mesmerising sounds.
About the fall – This is a Natural Waterfall, which completely depends on Rains. It is close to Lonavala and can be reached from Mumbai as well. As in Monsoon Lonavala becomes the most popular destination for all the Trekkers, but apart from all these resorts and clubhouses there’s this waterfall and “Kataldhar Waterfall Trek”. This trek gives you the real trekking pleasure in rains. Imagine that you are rappelling down from this waterfall which is at the top of around 350 feet with an overhang of more than 100 feet. The most important point is the gear and clothing when you trek to this fall. Everyone, please wear Full Sleeves & Full Track pants to avoid power bite from insects. Once you reach the base the entire valley will surprise you with gigantic waterfalls of Kataldhar. The waterfall is near Lonavla in Pune district – Maharashtra. It is basically not very famous among the travellers but it is certainly secluded and worth a visit. It is also because to reach the valley is a bit tough job and you need some basic experience of trekking before exploring this place.
The views and the beauty of the waterfall:
As soon you enter the forest, the sound of the chirping birds would thrill you, you will forget the city’s life and all the hustle and bustle that keeps you worrying about everything. To make the way to the waterfall is really tough as you need proper maps and directions to reach the valley (see the picture in the end). The most important thing is the instincts that make you reach the spot as you will find hardly anyone there. After walking some distance, the sound of the water falling from the distance got will get you there. Ahah! Well, the view to die for…
When I visited My heart filled with joy and started frisking.. and I knew that it’s the waterfall which I was looking for, From the spiky bushes and botchy trails, the point to witness is a huge waterfall, with thundering water currents. But how to get this waterfall? – While walking on the route keep watching and looking for the letters coloured in White on the Big Rock as “ Kataldhar Waterfall”. One more thing there are two 2 identical mango trees that identify the waterfall way. See some of the pictures below. Keep following the path and you would find some more pebbles coloured that will exactly take you to the waterfall. For any trekker, it is worth a visit and a surreal trek to go for this monsoon.
As a solo traveller, I would say please visit this amazing waterfall and get drenched in the views.
Accessory that I have used for Clicking the images
Spiti Valley – the moment this name comes, a lot of people get amazed and ask ohh, is this in India and if yes where? This is a hidden isolated world in Himachal Pradesh which is a wonder in itself. This blog is close to my heart and you will get to read more such on Spiti valley as this place is a treasure chest for me and I’m sure many traveller enthusiasts would agree with me.
Treasure chest – just two words to say about a world that was forbidden to visitors for about 30 years. Travelling to Spiti Valley is like Time Travel, you tend to get a feeling of getting in a time machine and travel to a world and time unknown. Wow! Goosebumps.
This blog is based on my recent 10-day bike travel to Spiti valley with a rider me being a pillion on Royal Enfield 500 cc. In particular, this blog is about 6 reasons to visit Spiti Valley – the hidden treasure of Himachal Pradesh. So let’s start by knowing the place a bit.
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” – John Muir
This all belongs to Spiti that lies across the main range of Himalayas, called the Trans-Himalaya. But hey, wait, what are those things that come to your mind when we think about Himalaya. Spiti is 13,800 square kilometres of untamed land. Lush green meadows, misty mountains with dense pine forests, snowing ranges, and soaring high snow peaks. On the contrary, if I say you won’t get to see much of these in Spiti valleys then? What I wanted to say is – Spiti is the complete divergence of all that, but just as beautiful as the other side of Himalayas.
Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain valley that is situated in the Himalayas – the north-eastern part of Himachal Pradesh. It is the land of barren hills, gorgeous lakes, grey scree slopes, rubble rocks, muddy terrains, and some of the world’s highest inhabited villages that are secluded with the least of 30 humans, and as their population and not more than 100 people in one village at the max. it is a land of beautiful monasteries hovering histrionically over its landscape. The touch of desolateness and a sense of ancient civilisation are some add-ons. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India. Let’s find out reasons to visit this unadulterated and hidden treasure that has gradually getting transformed into an exotic tourist destination. Let’s see…
Spiti valley is also home to the highest motorable village in Asia – Komic it is a beautiful scenic village where the temperature dips to -30 degrees Celsius in winters. The landscapes are amazing that will leave you awe-struck.
This village has a population of around 50 to 60 people. The houses here, separated by swish lawns and green threads of the loom with wooden windows and doors, very Indo-Tibetan feel. This set up gives everyone enough room to bask in the winter sun. These houses are a welcome change from our congested city houses.
Spiti is the secluded terrain for many visitors yet there is a reason to visit because of plenty of homestays in this scarcely inhabited Spiti. My favourite is Solo Yolo – Kaza and for more on homestays in Spiti read next blog
This gives you a wonderful opportunity to the visitors to learn about their culture and stays with locals. Most of these homestays are in the middle of the villages and at a very high altitude giving you the perfect view of the entire valley.
It has a beautiful monastery amidst the mountains that dates back to 996 AD. Key Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located on top of a hill at an altitude of 4,166 metres (13,668 ft) above sea level, close to the Spiti River. It is the biggest monastery of Spiti Valley and a religious training centre for Lamas. It reportedly had 100 monks in 1855. You can stay in the monastery and pray in the praying room.
The monasteries are one such reason for not to miss visiting Spiti. There are many monasteries in Spiti that are considered to be the centre of Buddhism; you will get to unwind your soul in this perfect place. Come to stay in monasteries and have some soul-searching.
The glorious and stunning view of the Milky Way at Pin Valley, you get to have them at Tabo and Kaza as well. In fact, Chandra Tal shall not be missed for star gazing and this amazing view to fall in love.
Now that’s a sight we simply don’t get at too many places.
There are dozens of lakes in Spiti that are neatly tucked away in the valley for you to discover. One such major tourist destination known for some of the toughest and exciting motorable roads in India is a stop at Chandra Tal lake – the lake of the moon. It is on the Samudra Tapu plateau overlooking the Chandra River. It is at the altitude of 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) in the Himalayas. Camping by this lake under the starry skies is exactly the kind of life-changing experience you are looking for.
These are some of the reasons to visit Spiti – an offbeat travel destination in India. Here are many more offbeat destinations in India which you can choose for your next travel.
Keep reading, Keep travelling.. the world awaits you!
“I don’t understand what fun do people get in hiking mountains,” asked
a friend from my office, seeing my excitement for my first trek. “Oh,
it’s serene. Surrounded by mountains, you just forget all your stress
and hustle bustle of your daily routine life,” I replied.
For me Travel in itself is exciting. Travel – that one word that can
make my world go round. The one thing that I never want to lose an
opportunity on irrespective of it being a leisure trip or an adventurous
one. The thought of exploring something new is enough for me to pack
my bags and start hunting for some beautiful memories.
So when my friend from Travel Freaks asked me to join them on a trek,
I didn’t want to say no to him. Another reason for it is that I have
never been on Treks before. So after a little thought, analyzing my
budget and effort into getting my leaves approved….I WAS ON FOR THIS
My checklist was with me and seeing that when my office friend
expressed her doubt over hiking, I had a very casual reply. But when I
went for it, I realized it’s more than just being surrounded by nature. A
lot more than just being in nature’s lap. You discover yourself, your
strengths and that’s what this trip did to me. Though I have been on a
solo trip before, with this trip, I discovered some new facets
Being my first trek experience, and given the schedule I live, I won’t
say I hardly get time for my fitness. In fact, I don’t get time at
all. So before starting the trek, I had my doubts about if I will be
able to complete my first trek if my friends around me who are
regular trekkers will get hassled because of me? A part of me had its
own doubts, but the adventure junkie in me overshadowed all those and
decided…that I HAVE TO DO IT. So, this was the first thing I learnt
about myself, never give up before trying.
We started for Kheerganga trek in the middle of the afternoon. Four of us
and two guides. And yes, I had my hurdles. I was too slow
compared to my friends. But I was given the benefit of doubt.
Moreover, I was not even in hurry. I just wanted to enjoy my trek
rather than competing it. With all those bumpy ways, I learnt a second
thing, that no matter where you are, you do find your way. There is a
way out in every situation. It may seem tough but there will be a way
So, with all my enjoyment of finding my way out, I finally reached
Kheerganga. And it was beautiful. The view around, the beautiful
sunset…it took away all my tiredness. The beautiful sunset, a cup of
chai and friends around who were smiling and laughing along with you.
It could not get perfect than this.
The next day once again we were ON with our trekking shoes, ready to
go down our way to Barshaini. So, we start walking back again and this
time I was too slow considering I was feeling a little dizziness. My
friends obviously concerned about me slowed down and got me some
energy drink. I didn’t like it, them getting bothered because of me.
They gave my bag to the guide. I felt so weak, mentally. Because as an
independent person, I always liked to do things on my own and hated
to depend on somebody. And as a rule for me, I never allow anyone to
carry my bags. But I had to give in to my friend’s order. Jokingly my
friend also teased me, that if he didn’t have to walk with me he would
have been much faster. And this didn’t go down well with my
egotistical streak, and next thing I started walking with all my
energy and walking way ahead, not looking back and there I realised
the third point, the confidence of going all by yourself. A solo trek
which I might not have done solo.
In between, we came across this beautiful village and beautiful
people, celebrating Baisakhi. Those innocent faces with a welcoming
smile, I joined them in their local dance and tried few steps with
them. Yes, that’s another part of a journey that every travel freak
love to, i.e, explore the local culture.
My friends caught up with me soon and from there on we walked along,
laughing, joking, poking fun at each other and finding our way out.
Dinesh, Neha and Himanshu, Thank You So much
for making my first trek so special and memorable for me. It would not
have been same without you guys. Love you all. Hugs.
It is rightly called as Dalia Lama’s abode – McLeod Ganj and when I gave a thought to travel solo to this wonderful place I never realised that by the end of my travel journey I will be in love with this place evermore.
When travellers talk of heading up to Dharamsala, what they really think to visit or experience – to see the Dalai Lama, to visit the best treks with valleys, to trip high on the hippie hills – reason can be many for different kind of travellers, so as mine as a solo traveller.
Here’s why and how I loved McLeod Ganj why I love to travel solo to this place.
Starting with the residence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, which is 3 kilometres north of Dharamsala town (or 10km via the looping bus route. This small place is the home to a huge Tibetan population, that includes the monks and the nuns and other locals.
So, the Tibetan government-in-exile is based out here just at the downhill of Gangchen Kyishong. When I visited McLeod I was amazed to witness this huge part of Tibetan population that is peacefully yet unofficially residing here. This is one of the main reason why this destination attracts thousands of international visitors each year to volunteer this Tibetan community. One thing which holds my attention is the courses which you can take on Buddhism, meditation or yoga, and then of course trek in the Dhauladhar mountains, Parvati Valley and many other players lying deep on the foothills of Dharamkot and McLeod. You can shop at the Tibetan crafts, or just hang out with the firangis all around who come here and stay for long to witness this remarkable blend of culture and heritage of North India.
Travelling solo makes you close to your soul, and helps to challenge yourself in any situation. One cool thing that I learned on my visit to Mcleod Ganj is that it is the suburb of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh, which is popularly known as “Little Lhasa” or “Dhasa” as it has a huge population of Tibetans. Moreover, the Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in McLeod Ganj.
You get good homestays to stay that is cheap and comfortable all through your journey. Being a solo traveller or a “woman solo traveller” (yeah, had to quote it this way as it is India and there are some parts of India that are not easy for woman solo travellers) I was a bit sceptical on how and where to stay. But McLeod Ganj offered me the best and the safest stay during my entire vacation. The streets are colorful and perky filled with local cafe’s and shops that offer local jewellery Apart from other stuff one thing which caught my attention is a handful of shops that offer musical instruments.
There are some of the unbeaten places to visit in McLeod that will leave you speechless with its natural surroundings and snow-cladded mountains. Hike to the mighty Triund Trek, it is 9 km away from Mcleod Ganj, beautiful peak and an ideal place for a solo traveller to relax and rejuvenate amidst the mesmerising meadows.
Bhagsu Falls and Bhagsunath temple lies 3 km from the McLeod city. A beautiful walk, great surroundings, stunning pools and lush green vicinity makes it a perfect place to visit. This place has its own historical importance that dates back to Lord Shiva, Nag Devta and the King Bhagsu. Due to this reason, this place is worshipped by both Hindus and the Gorkha community.
Other than this, I took a road to explore Namgyal Monastery, took a trail till Naddi, Tsuglagkhang (Dalai Lama’s residence), a non-gothic architecture – the church of Saint Johns in the wilderness and the list can be countless. McLeodganj has everything to offer to a tourist. For me, it is like a second home, where every time I go, I feel new and explore new things.
Best Time to Visit – September to June
How to Reach – Passengers buses are available till Mcleodganj bus stand. Then hire a taxi to reach further in the town. One can also walk the lanes. Pathankot is the nearest Railway Station.
Travelling is exploring your inner being. It always fascinates me as it brings a lot of challenges and expedition in my kitty. This time when I was planning my next trip, the third highest peak of Maharashtra named Ghanchakkar that is positioned beautifully amidst the Sahyadri ranges came out from my bucket list.
Overview of the destination:
These ranges offer an opportunity to observe the beauty of nature and lush green terrain that is perfect for hiking and trekking. Of course, any traveller would love to visit this place. SO, here I decided to take a plunge to the Ghanchakkar peak.
The topography of Ghanchakkar plateau in the western India is a rugged terrain with stunning mountains amidst the Sahyadri mountain ranges in Maharashtra. Ghanchakkar plateau is the third highest peak in the Western Ghats of Sahyadri mountain ranges. It stands beautifully, guarding the two small villages and the flora and fauna, at the height of 1532 meters ( 5,026 ft).
Two base villages surround ascents of the peak, out of which we visited Shirpunje village, which is positioned around 22 kilometres from Rajur on the northern side of the Sahyadri Mountains. Taking this village, a base one can trek the Ghanchakkar peak in around 2.5 hours.
Let’s begin our journey:
I would love to begin my journey with letting you guys a bit about this rugged topography and Rocky Mountains of Ghanchakkar peak. Although, the region is surrounded by gorgeous views, waterfalls, lakes and an extensive forest region that are the virtual paradise for camping, trekking, climbing etc. This region provides an array of choices for outdoor adventures and nature lovers.
It’s indeed a pleasure to illustrate the whole experience of the trek on a canvas of magnificent mountains standing high, stunning waterfalls and nature at its best. The group of around 24 adventure enthusiasts went crazy just with the thought of going on different type of trek and camping. This gusto led me to take a wrong train, Alas! But, I managed to get on the train to move ahead.
Well, wait, the journey to the base camp was thrilling as the monsoons added an extra charm to our trip. The lush green vicinity and the roads all drenched with rains made the view awesomely great. Not just this, the when a 7-year-old kid sat on the top of the jeep, everyone went awe-struck, she enjoyed immensely in the rains while on the top of the jeep with other travelers.
Unforgettable trek experiences
Accommodation: When we travel accommodation becomes an integral part, thus here, I had a home stay this time, which was in the heart a small remotely located village surrounded by the peaks and waterfalls. Yes, visualizing it is divine! The base village was actually a very tiny village that is not developed with a lot of modern amenities and lifestyle; rather I loved the place because of their immense welcoming attitude and treasured culture, which ideally, I was unable to experience in my urbane and chic lifestyle.
With few fellow trekkers we stayed for a night and relished local cuisine, home cooked by the villagers (Staple Maharashtrian food), in fact, we all helped them and learned about the local food that they eat. Moreover, it was great fun to cook with them as well. Wow! What a thrilling experience with the entire team and the co-trekkers. The stay was warm and cozy with mesmerizing views from the windows, needless to mention it was raining, thus the lush green grass and the tiny ponds made us felt like kids again. The whole idea of connecting and gelling up with the villagers paid off when we played with the kids of the villagers. It was indeed an unprecedented experience. Of course, selfies can’t be resisted!
Trek and Trail: We went for a night trail to enjoy the cool breeze and the serenity that this place has to offer. The team had fun at a huge lake that was approachable with an interesting small trek. The panoramic views and the rains was a terrific experience.
There is a piece in me that like to tenderly imagine my maverick and seditious soul. But, precisely, I love to have a picky and cosy relationship with my soul that can rub up against a little bit, putting me alive.