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About India

About India

India is also known as Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area which have more than 1.3 billion people. And it is the second most populated country in the world. India is a very spiritual country.In india more than 80 percent Hindu, around 13 percent are Muslim and Other religions include Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism.

31 Above Pride Of India
63 Above Topographic Point In Odisha
32 Above Temple In Odisha
58 Above Handicraft In India
53 Above Festival In India

Welcome to the Incredible India

PRIDE (India)

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Bahai Lotus Temple (Delhi)

Bahai Lotus Temple, located in Delhi, India, is a Bahai House of Worship that was dedicated in December 1986. Notable for its flower like shape, it has become a prominent attraction in the city. Like all Bahai Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to all, regardless of religion .The temple is built in the shape of a lotus flower amidst the lush green landscape that turn up to a pleasant and tranquil ambiance.

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Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh)

Dharamshala is a city in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. Nestled in the Himalayas, and home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile. Head up hill to McLeod Ganj to the Tibetan temples.

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Geography of India

Area: 3.29 million sq. km. (1.27 million sq. mi.); about one-third the size of the U.S. Cities: Capital--New Delhi (pop. 12.8 million, 2001 census). Other major cities--Mumbai, formerly Bombay (16.4 million); Kolkata, formerly Calcutta (13.2 million); Chennai, formerly Madras (6.4 million); Bangalore (5.7 million); Hyderabad (5.5 million); Ahmedabad (5 million); Pune (4 million). Terrain: Varies from Himalayas to flat river valleys and deserts in the west. Climate: Alpine to temperate to subtropical monsoon.

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Goa

Goa is a state in western India with coastlines stretching along the Arabian Sea.Coastline and beaches; go as far south as possible, avoiding Polemical – unless you want to party - and look for Half Moon Beach as you head into Karnataka.

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Government

Type: Federal republic. Independence: August 15, 1947. Constitution: January 26, 1950. Branches: Executive--president (chief of state), prime minister (head of government), Council of Ministers (cabinet). Legislative--bicameral parliament (Rajya Sabha or Council of States, and Lok Sabha or House of the People). Judicial--Supreme Court. Political parties: Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India-Marxist, and numerous regional and small national parties. Political subdivisions: 28 states,* 7 union territories (including National Capital Territory of Delhi). Suffrage: Universal over 18.

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Hampi

Hampi is 15th century ancient village in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It’s dotted with numerous ruined temple complexes from the Vijayanagara Empire.

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Holiest River (Ganges)

In Hinduism, the river Ganges is considered sacred and is personified as the goddess Ga?g?. She is worshiped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death), and that the water of the Ganges is considered very pure.

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India Gate (Delhi)

The India Gate is a war memorial located astride the Rajpath, on the eastern edge of New Delhi, India,which was initially named as the All India War Memorial. Architectural Style :Triumphal Arch Why was it Built : Memorial to Undivided Indian Construction Started : 10 February, 1921 Designer : Sir Edwin Lutyens

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Jaisalmer (Rajasthan)

In western Rajasthan in the heart of the Thar Desert. Known as the "Golden City," it's distinguished by its yellow sandstone architecture. Amazing sunsets, handicrafts, and camel treks!

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Khajuraho

Khajuraho is the second most visited place by foreign tourists in India after the Taj Mahal. There are many Hindu and Jain temples in Khajuraho, famous for their erotic sculpture. The Khajuraho group of monuments is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located in Chhatarpur District of Madhya Pradesh State.

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Kochin

Kochi which is also known as Cochin, is a city in southwest India's coastal Kerala state. It has been a port since 1341, when a flood carved out its harbor and opened it to Arab, Chinese and European merchants Famouse for traditional kathakali dancing, Chinese fishing nets and British cricket greens.

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Mother Teresa(Humanitarian)

She is the Humanitarian and Advocate for the Poor and the Helpless. Mother Teresa, who dedicated a major part of her life to serve the poor and destitute, was the founder of the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India. She was born in Skopje, then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire.

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National Animal (Tiger)

The national animal of India is Royal Bengal Tiger is the. They are the world’s most beautiful wild animal and the second largest kinds of the tiger. India’s national animal, Royal Bengal Tiger, is the sign of courage, fearlessness, and cleverness. As they are a unique, strongest, talented, and majestic animal, Royal Bengal Tiger is considered as the national animal of India.

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National Anthem (Jana-Gana-Mana)

The Indian National anthem was originally composed in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore, and was adopted in its Hindi version by the Constituent Assembly as the National Anthem of India on 24 January 1950. “Jana Gana Mana Adhinayaka Jaya He Bharat Bhagya Vidhata Punjab Sindh Gujarat Maratha Dravida Utkala Banga Vindhya Himachal Yamuna Ganga Ucchala Jaladhi Taranga Tubh Shubha Name Jage Tubh Shubha Ashisha Mange Gahe Tubh Jaya Gata Jan Gan Mangaldayak Jay He Bharat Bhagya Vidhata Jaye He ! Jaye He ! Jaye He ! Jaye,Jaye,Jaye,Jaye He " Translation of The national anthem in English: Thou are the ruler of the minds of all people, dispenser of India's destiny. The name rouses the hearts of Punjab, Sind, Gujarat and Maratha. Of the Dravid and Orissa and Bengal. It Echoes in the hills of Vindhyas and Himalayas, mingles in the music of Yamuna and Ganga and is chanted by the waves of the Indian Sea. They pray for your blessing and sing thy praise. The salvation of all peaople is thy hand, thou dispenser of India's destiny. Victory, Victory, Victory to thee.

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National Bird (Peacock)

Indian peacock is designated as the national bird of India. A bird indigenous to the subcontinent, peacock represents the unity of vivid colours and finds references in Indian culture.

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National Days

National holidays are observed in all states and union territories. India has three national days: 26 January - Republic Day 15 August - Independence Day 2 October - Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday

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National Emblem

The original Lion Capital of Ashoka from Sarnath; The Buddha’s sermons ‘roar’ like a lion in all directions

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National Flag

National Flag Called ‘Tiranga’ (tri colored.) Saffron represents spirituality, White symbolizes peace, Green represents agriculture, and the blue emblem symbolizes the 24 hours of a day. Like a spinning wheel, always in motion, it spins thread from cotton.

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National Flower (Lotus)

Lotus is the National Flower of India. It is a sacred flower and occupies a unique position in the art and mythology of ancient India and has been an auspicious symbol of Indian culture since time immemorial. The Lotus or water lily is an aquatic plant of Nymphaea with broad floating leaves and bright fragrant flowers that grow only in shallow waters. The leaves and flowers float and have long stems that contain air spaces. The big attractive flowers have many petals overlapping in a symmetrical pattern. Lotuses, prized for their serene beauty, are delightful to behold as their blossoms open on the surface of a pond.

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National Fruit (Mango)

Mango Designated as the King of all fruits by Indians since long, ripe fleshy mangoes are certainly very tasty. The raw ones can be used to make spicy pickles that are an important part of Indian cuisine. Belonging to the Mangifera indica species, mangoes are native to India and are the most cultivated fruits of the tropical world.Historians have mentioned the deliciousness of this savory fruit in the ancient times.

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National Holidays

India celebrates various holidays and festivals; states and regions have local festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic demographics. Popular religious festivals/holidays include: 1) Hindu festivals of Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Dussehra 2) Islamic festivals of Eid ul-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, Mawlid an-Nab?, Muharram 3) Christian festivals/observance of Christmas and Good Friday 4) Sikh celebration of Guru Nanak Jayanti and the Baisakhi festival 5) Jain festivals like Mahavir Jayanti and Paryushan 6) Buddhist celebration of Buddha Purnima 7) Parsee new year Nowruz

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National Tree (Banyan)

The national tree of India is the Banyan tree, designated formally as Ficus benghalensis. The tree is revered as sacred in Hindu philosophy.The banyan tree is massive not only from outside but it also sends new shoots from its roots, making the tree a tangle of branches, roots and trunks.

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Nilgiri Hills

he Nilgiri Mountains form part of the Western Ghats in western Tamil Nadu of Southern India.The summer retreat for the British Raj, with KodaiKanal and Ooty at its heart, an original narrow gauge railway, elephant reserves and vast plantations of coffee and tea.

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People

Nationality:Indian Population (2012 est.): 1.21 billion; urban 29%. Annual population growth rate (2012 est.): 1.312%. Density: 324/sq. km. Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, others 3%. While the national census does not recognize racial or ethnic groups, it is estimated that there are more than 2,000 ethnic groups in India. Religions (2001 census): Hindu 80.5%; Muslim 13.4%; Christian 2.3%; Sikh 1.9%; other groups including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi within 1.8%; unspecified 0.1%. Languages: Hindi, English, and 16 other official languages. Education: Years compulsory--K-10. Literacy--61%. Health: Infant mortality rate--46.07/1,000. Life expectancy--67.14 years (2012 est.). Work force (est.): 467 million. Agriculture--52%; industry and commerce--14%; services and government--34%.

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Red Fort (Delhi)

The Red Fort is a historic fort in the city of Delhi in India.It is located in the center of Delhi and houses a number of museums. It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years, until 1856.

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Rishikesh (Uttarakhand)

Rishikesh is a city in India’s northern state of Uttarakhand, in the Himalayan foothills beside the Ganges River. Home to the sacred Ganga, hundreds of temples and ashrams, sadhus (holy men) and the Gangotri glacier.

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Sachin Tendulkar(Cricket player)

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is a former Indian international cricketer and a former captain of the Indian national team, regarded as one of the greatest batsman of all time. He is the highest run scorer of all time in International cricket.

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Salman Khan (Actor)

Abdul Rashid Salim Salman Khan is an Indian film actor, producer, occasional singer and television personality. In a film career spanning almost thirty years, Khan has received numerous awards, National Film Awards as a film producer, and two Filmfare Awards for acting.He is a Golden Heart person.

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States and Union Territories

States * Andhra Pradesh * Arunachal Pradesh * Assam * Bihar * Chhattisgarh * Goa * Gujarat * Haryana * Himachal Pradesh * Jammu and Kashmir * Jharkhand * Karnataka * Kerala * Madhya Pradesh * Maharashtra * Manipur * Meghalaya * Mizoram * Nagaland * Orissa * Punjab * Rajasthan * Sikkim * Tamil Nadu * Tripura * Uttarakhand * Uttar Pradesh * West Bengal. Union Territories * Andaman and Nicobar Islands * Chandigarh * The Government of NCT of Delhi * Dadra and Nagar Haveli * Daman and Diu * Lakshadweep * Pondicherry

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Taj Mahal (Delhi)

The city of Agra is home to India’s most iconic building, the Taj Mahal.The Taj Mahal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river. It was built in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

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The Nobel Prize in Literature 1913(Rabindranath Tagore)

Rabindranath Tagore FRAS, also known by his sobriquets Gurudev, Kabiguru, and Biswakabi, was a Bengali polymath, poet, musician, and artist from the Indian subcontinent. He reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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TOPOGRAPHIC POINT (Odisha)

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Ajodhya-Nilgiri (Balasore)

The village Ajodhya is situated upto 15 kms. from Nilgiri, 25 kms. from Balasore.An effort is made here to focus on the micro-level and pinpoint on the Buddhist heritage of Ajodhya / Nilgiri. At one time It was the capital of Virata-Raja of Mahavarat fame.Mirichi is the Hindu and Buddhist Temple which situated in Ajodhya.

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Ansupa (Cuttack)

The Ansupa Lake is a horseshoe shaped fresh water lake on the left bank of the Mahanadi river, opposite Banki in Cuttack district, Odisha, India.It covered 141-hectare area.It acts as a shelter for the migratory birds in the wintry weather season. It is a fresh water lake situated amidst the Saranda Hills and enclosed by bamboo tree greenery and mango trees.

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Astaranga (Puri)

Astaranga is a fishing & agricultural village and a community development block in Puri district in the state of Odisha. It is near of the Devi River. It is about 60 kilometres east of Puri and it lies on the Bay of Bengal coast. It is about 19 kilometres from Konark.

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Asurgarh (Kalahandi)

Asurgarh is one such fortified townships believed to be an early urban center of ancient Odisha, during 4th century BC to 5th century AD. Literally meaning “Fort of Demons”, Asurgarh has resemblances to that of Sisupalgarh which is in modern-day Bhubaneswar. Forts being names Asurgarh are found in different parts of Western Odisha like Barpali, Rampur, Manamunda and Adgaon. Excavation was conducted only at Asurgarh near Manamunda in Sonepur district and near Narla in Kalahandi disctrict.Asurgarh fort was constructed as per the Kautilyan principle of Durgavidhana and ancient Indian geometrical formula. The fort is rectangular in shape and surrounded by massive defensive walls of about four meters in width and 15 to 50 meters in height. The walls are made of rubbles and mud with bricks.

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Badaghagra (Keonjhar)

Badaghagara is located at a distance of 9 km from the district headquarters Kendujhar of Kendujhar district. Being a perennial source of water, a dam has constructed on the downstream side. It is situated at a distance of 3 kilometers on the downstream of Sanaghagara Waterfall.

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Bagra (Koraput)

Bagra waterfall is situated at Jeypore in Koraput district of Odisha. It is one of the most tropical waterfall in Odisha (India).The gully and densely covered with vegetation slopes of the winding hills in Jeypore offer mind blowing views.The Waterfalls in have the reputation of springing up in view when you least expect them. This Waterfall is a charming waterfall on the river Kolab and an ideal picnic spot.It is one of Most attractive place for nature lovers.This waterfall is very closer to the Jeypore town.

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Balaramgadi (Balasore)

Balaramgadi of Orissa is the convergence of the mighty River Budhabalanga with the deep blue sea of Bay of Bengal.One of the notable Orissa beaches, Balaramgadi is situated at a stone’s throw distance of just 2 km from the beach of Chandipur.Golden sandy beaches, turbulent water of the sea and the cool sea side breeze represent the exotic beach of Balaramgadi.The sunrise and sunset on the beach casts a magical spell on the tourists.

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Balimela (Malkangiri)

Balimela is a town and a notified area in Malkangiri district in the state of Odisha. It has several tribes and culture. Here the local language is Odia. However, due to multiculturalism people also speak Bengali, Hindi, Sambalpuri(Koshali), Telugu and Koya language. The name Balimela came into being after Ramayana era. It is believed that here Bali was killed by Lord Rama. Balimela is famous for settlement of Bangla refugees. There are several Bengali settlement villages around Balimela.

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Baramul (Nayagarh)

This is a small village which important due to the extremely beautiful Mahandi gorge on the banks of which it is situated.The river From Sunakania hills up to Barmul is known as the Satakosia Ganda, having a water spread of about 22 km. Barmul, It is an ideal place for an outing. Satakosia Gorge is a biological refuge which is considered as an important biographical stepping stone in the link between forest species of Central and South India. It is famous for its unique gorge eco system and for being a beautiful picnic spot.

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Belghar (Kandhamal)

Belghar situated about 2555ft above the sea level. Belghar is full of scenic beauty and wild life especially Elephants. It is inhabited by Kutia Kandha tribe, who follow the age old tradition of food gathering and hut dwelling.

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Belkhandi Shiva Temple (Kalahandi)

This place is 67 K.Ms from Bhawanipatna.It is Situated on the confluence of the river Tel and Uttei, two tributaries of the river Mahanadi, Belkhandi has gained prominence as a centre of religious activities and archaeological importance with a picture-sque site. Besides the temples now standing therein, ruuins of 12th Century monuments have been excavated from there in the recent past. Among the sculptures unearthed images of Sapta Matruka (Seven Mother Goddesses) and Uma Maheswar arenote-worthy. The ruins of Belkhandi are preserved in a small museum adjacent to the temple premises.

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Bhima Dunguri (Balangiri)

Bhima Dunguri has been ascribed with a special place in the tourism map of the Balangir district due to its magnificent natural beauty which is enclosed by evergreen forest.It is famous by its antiquated natural caves which are lying scattered at different places of the hilly area. The scenic view of this area is unique during the spring season

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Bhimakunda (Mayurbhanj)

Bhimkund is at a distance of about 100 km from Keonjhar and 40km from Karanjia. It is a beautiful natural waterfall on the River Baitarani. It is located exactly on the boundary line between the districts Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj. This waterfall is two storeyed which resulted into the formation of two waterfalls one above another. It is being said that, the second Pandava Bhima, had taken bath in this waterfall and it was named after him.

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Bhitarkanika (Kendrapada)

Bhitarkanika National Park is located in the north-east region of Kendrapara district in the state of Odisha in eastern India. It spreads over 145 km2 (56 sq mi) and is surrounded by the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary spread over 672 km2 (259 sq mi). It was designated as national park on 16 September 1998 and as a Ramsar site by UNESCO on 19 August 2002. Gahirmatha Beach and Marine Sanctuary lies to the east, and separates swamp region cover with canopy of mangroves from the Bay of Bengal. The national park is home to Saltwater crocodile, Indian python, King cobra, black ibis, darters and many other species of flora and fauna.It hosts a large number of mangrove species, and is the second largest mangrove ecosystem in India. The national park and wildlife sanctuary is inundated by the rivers Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, Pathsala.

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Bhuban (Dhenkanal)

It is the largest village in Asia.Bhuban is a town and a Notified Area Council which located in the subdivision of Kamakhyanagar, Dhenkanal district in the state of Odisha, India.It is well known for its brass and metal crafts (it means the Kansa pital basan).The village has a blend of cultures, as both Hindus and Muslims reside here. The majority of the population consists of Hindus. Most of the people usually engage in businesses and agricultural cultivation to earn a living.

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Bindhyabasini Hill

The Bindhyabasini mountain exists near the village Sankrida. Bindhyabasini the Goddess is worshipped here and the mountain is named after her.

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Boudh

It is bounded by River Mahanadi,Covering a geographical area of 3444.8 sq km, the District lies 20 degree 22’ to 20 degree 50’ North Latitude and 83 degree 34’ to 84 degree 49’ East Longitude.The discovery of remarkable Buddhist statues from Boudh led some scholars to believe that Boudh was an important Buddhist centre of Orissa.

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Chandabali (Bhadrak)

Chandabali (or Chandbali) is an old town (now a Legislative Assembly/ Block) in the Bhadrak district of Odisha on the bank of the River Baitarani,In the 1910s, the United States Hydrographic Office noted that the opening of the Bengal-Nagpur Railway had drawn trade away from the port, and that the port was now considered to be simply part of the port of Dhamra.

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Chandikhole (Jajpur)

Chandikhole is a place in Jajpur district, Odisha, India. The place has been named after Goddess "Chandi" worshipped by late monk Baba Bhairabananda Bramhachari who established the deity of Maa Chandi in one of the adjoining hills of Barunei full of dense forest and ferocious animals in 1932. It is also one of the industrial hubs of Odisha. Chandikhol has been selected for the establishment of one of Strategic Petroleum Reserve (India) location.

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Chandipur(Balasore)

Chandipur, also known as Chandipur-on-sea, is a small sea resort in Baleswar District, Odisha, India. The resort is on the Bay of Bengal and is approximately 16 kilometers from the Baleswar Railway Station. The beach is unique in that the water recedes up to 5 kilometers during the ebb tide. Due to its unique circumstances, the beach supports bio-diversity. Horseshoe crab is also found here on the beach towards Mirzapur, the nearby fishing market and community at the confluence of the Budhabalanga River(Balaramgadi).

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Chasakhanda(Balasore)

Chowmukh and Dagara, two coastal villages located at 64 Kms. from Balasore towards the North-East of Balasore in Baliapal. The calm and quite atmosphere, the stretches of sandy beach, whistling casuarina, green coconut Red cancer are the main interest.

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Chilika (Ganjam)

Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal,it covering an area of over 1,100 km2.It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest coastal lagoon in the world.It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Mongolia, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here. These birds travel great distances; migratory birds probably follow much longer routes than the straight lines, possibly up to 12,000 km, to reach Chilika Lake.This Lagoon eco-system with its rich fishery resources sustains the livelihood for many fishermen who live in and near the lagoon.

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Choudwar (Cuttack)

Choudwar College is located in th?e industrial town of Choudwar, 08 kms away to the north of Cuttack City. To its south, river Birupa and river Mahanadi flow.

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Cuttack

Cuttack is a city in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. It's on a peninsula flanked by the Mahanadi River to the north and the Kathajodi River to the south. The ruins of moated Barabati Fort, Maa Cuttack Chandi Temple is a pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees.

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Daringibadi (Kndhamal)

Daringibadi is a hill station in Kandhmal district of Odisha state in eastern India.It is also known as Kashmir of Odisha.it is situated at a height of 3000 ft and is a popular tourist destination.Back in the days of the British rule, there was a British officer named Daring Saheb who was in charge of this place. Over the years, this place was named after him, which spelled DaringBadi with Badi meaning village. More than 50% of the population here constitutes ST community of aboriginal tribal races. The temperature level of Daringbadi has often been recorded below 0 °C. It is also famous for its production of superior quality of organic turmeric which has recently been applied for the G.I. tag. It is also famous for ginger harvesting.

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Dasashwamedha Gha (Jajpur)

"Dasashwamedha Ghat" where king Jajati Keshari had performed Dasashwamedha Yagna is situated on the bank of river Baitarani at Jajpur Town. This famous holy spot was built during the rule of Jajati Kesari, the fisrt prominent King of Keshari/Soma Dynasty. Yama Maa Saat bhauni( Statues of Seven sisters of Yama's Mother), Jagannath temple, Baraha temple, Naba graha temple are located here for Darshan after Snan /sacred bath in the most sacred River Baitarani of Odisha. Baruni Snana is a significant occasion when many pilgrims visit the place for holy bath, which is celebrated during the month of February and March.

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Debrigarh (Bargarh)

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary in Bargarh district, Odisha, India.It is an important site for in-situ conservation of wildlife and its habitat in the state of Odisha.

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Deojhar Waterfall (Cuttack)

Deojhar waterfall is one of the beautiful waterfall in Odisha which is situated in Narasinghpur Block of Cuttack District, Odisha. It is about 130 kms far from Cuttack City. This Waterfall is famous for its natural beauty and surroundings. A cave named as Badedidhar is just at the top of the waterfall where saints were lived.

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Deomali (Koraput)

Deomali is located in the Koraput district of southern Odisha (India).Deomali Peak, with an elevation of about 1,672 m, is the highest peak in the state of Odisha. It is situated near Doodhari village of Pottangi Panchayat and which is 70 km from Koraput via semiliguda, in Southern Odisha. Deomali is a mountain peak in the Chandragiri-Pottangi subrange of the Eastern Ghats. It is closed by deep green forest, the peak is rich in flora and fauna. This hill range is rich in mineral resources such as bauxite, limestone and gemstones. Deomali is dotted with brooks and deep valleys, and inhabited by tribes such Kandhas, Parajas, Bhumia, Malis and Bhotias. It is not only a incredible for the tourists but also to the venturesome sports lovers for hang gliding, mountaineering and trekking.

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Devdarha (Bargarh)

Devdarha Siba Temple in Bargarh is one of the top Temples in Bargarh.

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devkund (Mayurbhanj)

It is located at a distance of 60 km from Baripada and 85 km from Balasore. Deokunda is naturally created pond located in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, India, and is part of the Simlipal National Park.The flowing water from an adjacent waterfall has created this pond. There is a temple called "Ambika Mandira" that was discovered by Rajkumar Prafulla Chandra Bhanja Deo, a researcher and a king during British Raj who stayed at Devkund and researched about this place.

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Dhamara (Bhadrak)

The Dhamra Port is a port in Bhadrak district, Odisha, India, on the shore of the Bay of Bengal about seven kilometers from the old port of Dhamra. The Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL) was formed as a result of a 50:50 joint venture between Larsen & Toubro and TATA Steel to run the port

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Dhauli (Khurda)

Dhauli hill located on the bank of the river Daya, It is around 8 km south of Bhubaneswar in Odisha (India). It is a hill with huge open space connecting it, and has major injunction of Ashoka inscribed on a mass of rock, by the side of the road leading to the summit of the hill. Dhauli hill is assumed to be the area where the Kalinga War was fought .Ashoka had a special frailty for Dhauli, where the battle was fought. The Daya river is said to have turned red with the blood of the many deceased after the battle, and enabled Ashoka to realize the magnitude of horror associated with war. He saw to it that Dhauli became an important centre of Buddhist activities. He built several chaityas, stupas and pillars there. He got habitats gouged for the recluse, instructions inscribed for officials, expounded the main principles of dandaniti (strict enforcement of laws) for the public, provided special status to his new kingdom including the stupas at Dhauli.On the top of the hill, a dazzling white peace pagoda has been built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha in the 1970s.

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Gaikhai M.I.P (Balangir)

Gaikhai is a place of beautiful natural scenery. It is around 30 kms away from balangir town, It is surrounded by green covered hills on three sides. The water mass here shine with natural scenery and offers cool breeze to the traveler.It's an ideal place for group camping, and the place also is thronged with visitors all the year round.

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Gopalpur (Ganjam)

Gopalpur is a town and a Notified Area Council on the Bay of Bengal coast in Ganjam district in the southern part of Odisha, India. It is now a famous sea beach and tourist destination around 15 km from Berhampur.Gopalpur has reverted to being a quiet, relaxed place.It is a natural, deep sea port on the east coast of India.

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Harabhangi Dam (Gajapati)

An irrigation project with scenic beauty and pisciculture has made the place tourist importance. A good place for picnic during winter.

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Huma- Kantiagada (Ganjam)

Huma Kantiagada is located 13 km from Chhatrapur in Ganjam. The place is renowned for its beach that has got an international feel.The close vicinity of the place to the confluence of the river Rushikulya makes it a top tourist destination. Kantiagada is a scenic spot noted for its beautiful beach. Huma Kantiagada is flanked by a pantheon of temples like Kapileswar Temple, Langleswar Temple, etc

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Kailash Palace (Deogarh)

This resort for retreat of the royals was built by Raja Dibya Shankar Deb between the year 1916 and 1919.Kailash is ideally located with its beautiful mountain clad valley.The kings of Ex-Bamanda estate have left behind many heritage buildings as their honeymoon places inside hills and mountains.

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Kasaphal (Balasore)

This beautiful place situated in Balasore dist.,about 25 km from Balasore city ,a versatile place having beutiful lonely beaches with a fishing jetty nearby naming the Bahabalpur port and beautiful kasurina plantation nearby. It is having a very good potential to develope a major tourist spot if modern facilities like Boating & inland water transport facilities would be developed by the local Govt.

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Khuludi (Angul)

Khuludi is a ideal site for trip, relaxation, cheerful and lively making that exists in Malyagiri range of Pallahara Sub-division.There has a superb water fall makes a amazing jump from the hilltop. It pays homage to Lord Shiva near the village Khuludi. It is located at a distance of 120 km from Angul and 20 km from Pallahara.

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Kuilighugar (Jharsuguda)

The Koilighugar Waterfall, around 200 ft (61 m) in height, is in the Lakhanpur, near the village Kushmelbahal. The waterfall is in a rivulet named Ahiraj which originates from the 'Chhuikhanch' forest. After the waterfall, the rivulet flows westwards to merge into the Mahanadi river. It is a picturesque beauty spot with its sylvan backdrop. Inside the fall there is a Shivalingam known as Maheswarnath. The lingam is submerged in water and is not ordinarily visible. For the benefit of the pilgrims, another Shivalingam has been created outside the waterfall. Koilighugar has an annual fair on the occasion of Sivaratri.

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Mahendragiri (Gajapati)

The epic mountain Mahendragiri peak at in the Paralakhemundi subdivision of the district of Gajapati, Odisha, India.And this is the second highest mountain peak of Odisha later Deomali in Koraput district. Mahendragiri hill and its surrounding areas are recognized as a biodiversity hot spot due to numerous medicinal plants and other species that are found here. An expert committee of the Forest and Environment Department has also recommended that the bio-diversity hotspot Mahendragiri Hills should be declared as a Biosphere Reserve in the year of 2014.

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Panchalingeswar (Balasore)

Panchalingeshwar Temple is in Balasore district of Odisha. It named after the five Shivalinga that are enshrined inside. The temple is on top of a hillock near the Nilagiri hill.The Shivalingas are said to have been enshrined by Sita, the wife of Lord Rama during their exile. Another story holds that King Banasura worshiped the Swayambhu Lingas at this place given its beauty.

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Papadahandi (Nawarangpur)

Papadahandi is famous for the antiquated Shiva temple and the Champa garden having hundreds of Champa tree. The Sahid Minar located on the bank of Turi river is a memorial. It is a small town located in Nabarangpur district of Odisha, India.

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Papanga (Bargarh)

Papanga Hills is situated in Papanga, Bargarh,The Popular Budharaja Temple is situated at Papanga. There is a pond in the middle of it hill that never dried up even in the warm summer.

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Paradeep (Jagatsinghpur)

Paradip, also spelt Paradeep, is a major seaport town in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha, India.The Port of Paradip founded by Raghavendra, is the primary port in Odisha, and one of the largest on India's east coast.It is emerging as a major industrial hub with several upcoming steel plants including a US$12 billion plant being developed by POSCO of South Korea. In addition, alumina refineries, thermal power plants, and a petrochemical complex are under development.

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Patalaganga (Nuapara)

It is a nice spot in the devoted of nature with a abiding spring. The water of which is considered as Holy as that of the Holy Ganges. Rama, Laxman and Sita visited the spot during their banish where Sita felt thirsty. People here gather in large number to take their bath in the holy water on the day of solar eclipse and lunar eclipse.Here Water automatically flows out from the mother earth at Patalganga.

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Patnagarh (Balangir)

Patnagarh is a town and a reported area committee in Bolangir district and in the State of Odisha .It is Situated 40 kms away from Balangir.

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Patora (Nuapara)

Patora dam is located in Odisha. On the bank of river Jonk is place of uncommon scenic charms. Engirdled on all sides by green clad hills. This is the Dam site of the Upper Jonk Irrigation Project situated at a distance of 20Km from the Dist Hqr. This place is also famous for YOGESWAR TEMPLE. On the left of the dam down the slopes of hill sprawls a replica of the Brundaban Garden. Recline on the velvety grass and enjoy nature in its aesthetic form. Just below the dam, a flora fountain in the making. The sprinkling water within a flowering ring presents a splendid sight. Colorful ling add its beauty at night and old music gives immense relief to tired tourist.

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Phurlijharan (Kalahandi)

Phurli Jharan is a tourist spots in Kalahandi. 15 km (9.3 mi) from Bhawanipatna, Phurlijharan is a perennial water fall about 30 ft (9 m) in height and has a special charm of its own. The multi coloured rainbow created by the sunrays falling on the scattered water particles of the fall is an amusing sight to be seen.The has evergreen forest around the fall.

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Pradhanpat Waterfall (Deogarh)

This waterfall is the biggest asset having natural panorama. Poets and nature loving celebrities from all over India come to visit this place. The Shakti Peetha of Maa Pradhani and temple of lord Champakaswar have a strong religious significance and rich cultural heritage. People enjoy religious spectacles and worship them since time immemorial. It is a real retreat to the worshippers that the waterfall is free from clamour and chaotic disturbances. The waterfall offers peaceful glimpse and serenity of water falling breeze, it is felt as a peace and pleasure zone.There is a small temple of Maa Pradhan Pateswari inside the waterfall. There is a big lime stone adjacent to the waterfall.

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Putudi (Kandhamal)

Putudi Waterfall is located 15 km away from Phulbani, the administrative headquater of Kandhamal. Pearched amidst thick forest and the barren rocks of the mountain the water falls from a height of 100 m on the river Bada Salunki. Secluded from the hustle and bustle of the city and located among whispering forests, the place offers a serene and tranquil environment where the silence is only broken by the roaring sound of the waterfall. Putudi Waterfall serves enough food for the camera and is an exquisite shooting spot.

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Raibania (Balasore)

The fort at Raibania is one of the largest of the group of four mediaeval forts. The mud fort is located at the north-west angle of Raibania village located nine miles north of Jaleshwar and two miles from the right bank of the river Subarnarekha, in the district of Balasore in Orissa.The area was encircled by the river Subarnarekha from three sides and only in the western side it is linked to land which was full of dense forests. The fort of Raibania was a very large one, bigger than that of Barabati and one of the greatest in India.

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Ranipur Jharial (Balangir)

Ranipur Jarial is known as Soma Tirth in Holy Writ. Ranipur Jharial is 104 kms. away from Balangir town to the south west. It stands on a rocky hill. It is a combination of religious faiths of Saivism, Budhism, Vaisnavism and Tantrism. The magnetism of the place is one of the four such holy place in India. The temple dedicated to Lord Siva is the noted one among a abundance of about 50 temples there.Indra-lath, the great brick temple is said to be the highest brick temple of Odisha.

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Rengali (Angul)

Rengali dam and reservoir is sheltered by River Brahmani. It Situated at a distance of about 70 km from the district headquarter town Angul on NH-250,Here One Hydro-electric power project of 120 MW capacity has been installed.

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Saintala (Balangir)

Saintala is a taluk which is located at 35 km south of Balangir-Titlagarh road inTitlagarh sub-division of Bolangir district, Odisha, It has more historical and paleohistory importance.Here the temple of Chandeswari Thakurani is located . Goddess Chandi in Mahishasuramardini form is installed in a small mount. The broken doorjamb with figures of Ganga and Yamuna and Dasavatara image of Lord Vishnu are among the remarkable sculptures unearthed. The site ascribed to the early Somvansi period is an interesting spot for archaeologists and historians.

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Satiguda (Malkangiri)

Satiguda Dam is situated at a distance of 8 Kms. from Malkangiri Town. The natural beauty of the Dam can be enjoyed in the early morning and evening hours. Here Boating facility is available inside the Reservoir, which attracts most of visitors.Lord Shiva is being worshiped inside a cave near the Dam.This place is surrounded by a large number of small hills.This place is considered to be the most favorite picnic spot of the people.

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Siali Beach (Jagatsinghpur)

Siali Sea Beach. Siali Beach is one of the picturesque beaches in coastal Odisha. It is situated in the coastal waters of Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha. A beautiful and calm beach and yet unexplored.

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Talasari (Balasore)

Talasari Beach is a beach in the Baleswar district of Odisha, India. It lies on the north-eastern coast of India.Talasari is one of the less exploited Odisha beaches.The beach with its tall coconut trees, palm trees and casuarina make for a beautiful sight.

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Talcher (Angul)

Talcher is known as Black Diamond City of Odisha. It is one of the fastest growing industrial and coal hubs in Odisha. Because of its huge coal reserves, the city has been ranked among the highest in terms of GDP in Odisha. It is also one sub-division of Angul district in Odisha state of India . It is Situated on the right bank of the river Brahmani, the capital of th Talcher is one of the fastest growing industrial and mining complexes of the country. Talcher is surrounded by the coal fields under Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and has two Mega Power plants as NTPC, TTPS.

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Tikarpada (Angul)

Tikarpada is located at a distance around 58 km from Angul. It offers some of the most inspiring visuals of the Satkosia Gorge, India’s mightiest gorge, into which the turbulent Mahanadi River crashes with amazing ferocity through 22 kms of emerald forests, that seem to change their hues with every bend of the river’s meanderings. The gorge is considered to be one of the most fetching spots in the world. The place is one of the most tremendous scene of river and forest, the Satkosia Gorge, here the great Mahanadi river crashes in with monumental. It offers the gorgeous views from the pinnacles of the surrounding hills, there is an excellent potential for sportfishing, boating and trekking around these parts.There is a gavial Crocodile Sanctury amidst lush green forest by the side of the Mahanadi River. The gavial crocodile population obviously enjoys this exotic environment and has an excellent breeding place in this sanctuary created to protect them.

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Turekela (Balangir)

Turekela is a Town in Turekela Tehsil in Balangir District of Odisha State, India. It is located 83 KM towards west from Balangir District head quarters.

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Vikramkhol (Jharsuguda)

The Vikramkhol rock shelter, where the inscriptions found, is dated between 3000 BCE to 4000 BCE. Details about the caves were first published in Indian Antiquary in 1935 by the efforts of historian K.P.Jayaswal.The inscriptions were studied in 1955. The size of the inscriptions is 37 meters in lengths, 5.65 meters in breadth and 8 meters in height. The inscriptions are yet to be studied in detail and some historians link this script to Mohenjedaro script. It is observed that some of inscriptions are painted and then cut in the rock. A replica of the inscription is exhibited in State Museum which helped Odia language to get Classical Status.

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TEMPLE (Odisha)

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Akhandalamani (Bhadrak)

Akhandalamani Temple at Aradi village, Odisha, India, which is dedicated to Lord Siva. The abode of “Lord Siva” is located in the bank of river Baitaran. According to history, around 350 years ago during the rule of Raja Sri Niladri Samara Singha Mohapatra, one early morning the Raja sent a peasant to cultivate his paddy field on the bank of the river Baitarani. While cultivating, the blade of his plough was broken by hitting with some hard material. The peasant was astonished and found a black glazed granite stone full of blood flowing toward the river Baitarani. The peasant ran to call King Niladrisamar Singhm and he hurriedly came to the spot, finding a flood of milk in place of blood and a huge black cobra hooding the stone. That night the king had a dream regarding the arrival of the God Akhandalamani on that place. This news spread like wild fire in the locality. The next day King Niladri Samara Singha Mohapatra started worshiping the great god and immediately built a wooden temple on the spot. A large number of devotees from different villages started visiting and worshiping the great God. The king invited five Brahmins from a village named Naharagrama of Jajapur district to perform seva-puja (worshiping and taking care) of lord Akhandalamani. The present main temple of Aradi was built by the King of Konika Shri Harihara Bhanja and his chief queen Satyabhama Patadei. The height of the temple is around 150 ft. All the stones used in this temple were brought from the historic hill of Lalitgiri near Chandikhol.

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Banki Charchika Temple (Cuttack)

Banki, is a town in Cuttack District.Banki is famous for the Charchika Temple, dedicated to the deity of Chamunda, the eight armed goddess, an incarnation of Durga. The temple is located in the centre of the town.

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Bardhanpur (Balasore)

Bardhanpur is a small Village/hamlet in Baleshwar Tehsil in Baleshwar District of Odisha State, India. It is located 12 KM towards South from District head quarters Balasore. 16 KM from Baleshwar. 198 KM from State capital Bhubaneswar .This place is famous for Maninageswar temple.

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Barunei (Khurda)

Maa Barunei Temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Barunei a manifestation of Shakti. The temple is located on the Barunei Hill in Khordha district of the Indian state of Odisha. The temple has idols of the twin goddesses Barunei and Karunei in the sanctum sanctorum. A beautiful stream flows from the hills which is known as Swarna Ganga, which enhances the beauty of this place.

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Baruneswar Temple (Jajpur)

Baruneswar Temple Situated in the village of Arei, the Baruneswar Temple stands beside a small stream named Kushabhadra branched off from the river Baitarani on the South Eastern Limit of the Triangular Biraja Kshetra. The Siva Linga is submerged under water. It is a famous spot for devotees and tourists during Rain and winter season. Makar Mela/Baruneswar Mela is one of the biggest fairs in Odisha. Every year it begins on 14 January (Makarasankranti i.e. 1st day of Magha). This is the right time for a visitor to visit this holy place. This place is 15 km from Jajpur Town.

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Bhattarika Temple (Cuttack)

Bhattarika Temple is located on the Mahanadi River, in Sasanga village in Cuttack. It is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Maa Bhattarika.The festival as Pana Sankranti is celebrated in April, Akshaya Tritiya in May and Dussehra in October of the Year.

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Bhimakanda (Talcher)

A rock art sleeping image of Lord Vishnu is located at Bhimakanda village about 30 km north of Talcher town and 50 km from Angul& on the right bank of river Brahmani . The imagedates back to 8th – 9th century A.D. and has the distinction of being the largest sleeping idol of Lord Vishnu. The image reclining to its right is about 42 (126.5 CM) long 8 wide.

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Bhusandeswar(Balasore)

Baba Bhusandeswar Temple, is one of the largest Shiva Lingams in the World is in Bhogarai village of Balasore district, Odisha. The 12 feet long and 14 feet width lingam is carved out on a black granite and only half of the lingam is visible. The other half has remained buried for years. The diameter of the lingam is 12 feet and has three parts. The middle portion of the lingam is octagonal in shape, about 12 feet in diameter and nearly four feet in height. The Lingam slightly leans towards the right side.

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Biraja Khetra (Jajpur)

This is the ancient name of the district headquarters of Jajpur District. Jajpur town also known as Biraja Kshetra, the place sacred to Goddess Biraja, the symbol of Sakti or Maa durga. It is a Shakti Pitha. In epic, during Tandav Dance of Lord Shiva, Sacred Mekhala( Kamarbandh) of Maa Sati fell down here.It is the Sacred city surrounded by the river Baitarani in semicircle and a high level canal at the other end.Jajpur town is believed to be the capital of Yayati( 922-955 AD) the First king of Soma Dynasty, the then king of Utkal Empire.Utkala Kingdom was located in the northern and eastern portion of the modern-day Indian state of Odisha and also included the districts of Bankura, Purulia and Midnapore districts of West Bengal. This kingdom was mentioned in the epic Mahabharata, with the names Utkala, Utpala, and Okkal. It is mentioned in India's national anthem, Jana Gana Mana.

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Budhi Thakurani (Angul)

The temple of BudhiThakurani is situated at Angul town. Near the temple , an exact replica of Puri Jagannath Temple is built . It is famous as SailaSrikhetra . The presiding deity of Angul is Goddess Budhithakurani . Angul has earned celebrity as a Sakta Centre since 8th Century A.D. with the rise of the Sulkies on its soil. Goddess Budhithakurani is worshiped in the form of a stone icon covered with vermellion . The shrine draws huge crowd throughout the year. Pilgrims of different parts of Orissa visit the place for a darshan of the Goddess.

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Chandaneswar (Balasore)

Chandaneshwar is famous for a Shiva temple in Chandaneswar, Baleswar, Odisha. A huge annual fair in the Solar New Year Pana Sankranti, the first day of the Odia calendar, is celebrated on the premises. A large number of pilgrimages from all over the country visit the temple during this period.

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Chari Sambhu Temple (Boudh)

It is situated near the village Jagati at a distance of 16 km. from Boudh. It is the renowned twin temples of Nilamadhava and Sidheswar. These temples were constructed under the patronage of the Bhanja rulers of Khinjali mandala in the 9th century AD. These two temples were built on one platform which is exactly similar to each other. The one on the left hand is dedicated to Siva named Siddheswar and its shikhara is surmounted by a Sivalinga. The second is dedicated to Vishnu, named Nilamadhava and it's shikhara is surmounted by a wheel of blue chlorite.

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Chhatia Batta (Jajpur)

Chhatia is famous for Lord Jagannath Temple. It is 25 km from Cuttack. It is believed as the second Shreekhetra of Odisha according to the facts described in Malika.

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Deulajhari (Angul)

Deulajhari is the ancient citadel of Saivism. Legends, till green among the folks lace the temple and make it a lively place of spiritual attainment. The legacy of traditions and worships in the temple mirrors a heritage in its past and present flowing in to eternity. The temple has been consecrated amidst dense indigenous-jasmine forest (locally known as Kiabana) that stand as the high walls. To the south of the temple flows the sacred river Chitrotpala, and in the north stands the towering hills of Panchadhara. The uniqueness of the place lies in its hot springs that surround the temple.

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Devi Patana Mangala & Devi Barahi (Bhadrak)

Maa Patana Mangala Temple is famous temple in Bhadrak. Best Attractive Maa Patana Mangala Temple and Biggest pond in Odisha District from Bhadrak..It is believed that the King of Lanka, mighty Ravana brought the goddess Lankeswari from Lanka to Bhadrak as he had an army base in Bhadrak.This is further evidence that Bhadrak is a strong hold of Tantric and Shakti culture.As this area belonged to Dakshina Kosala Kingdom,evidences are there in Ramayana that Ravana used to attack this part frequently.

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Gaisima (Bargarh)

Gaisima Siva Temple is Shiva temple located in Bargarh Tehsil in Bargarh District of Odisha. at Odisha.

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Ghatagaon (Keonjhar)

One of the most sacred destinations in Keonjhar is the temple of Maa Tarini in Ghatagaon. Ghatagaon, Keonjhar is popular to the tourists because of the holy temple of Maa Tarini.Ghatagaon, Keonjhar is in the midst of a wild forest. Tourists and pilgrims from all over worship Maa Tarini in the forests of Ghatagaon Keonjhar. A number of festivals takes place in Ghatagaon, Keonjhar at the holy temple of Maa Tarini. This is one of the important holy places in Keonjhar Orissa. Tuesday and Saturday is observed as the day of Maa. The puja is done by Dehuri, a tribal group that follows the rites and rituals of the Puja. Devotees gather in large numbers to follow the Puja. The Goddess is sacred and important to the tourists. Besides the important Pujas offered here, Ghatagaon, Keonjhar is also famous for the festival. The important festivals are Makara Sankranti, Maha Visubha Sankranti and the Raja Sankranti.

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Harishankar (Balangir)

Harisankar place was discovered by a Chauhan dynasty king of Western Orissa, during the 14th century. From that time, the deity has been worshipped. A dancing Ganesha image has been found, which can be traced to the early 12th century. The temple was constructed by the order of then queen Durlabha Devi of Maharaja Vaijjal Dev Chauhan. It is located in the district of Balangir, Odisha. The nearest railway station is at Harishankar Road, only 32 km from the temple. Regular taxis are available to the temple from this railway station.

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Hingula pitha (Talcher)

The holy place (peetha) of the Goddess Hingula is situated on the bank of the river Simhada in the West of erstwhile Talcher Estate (in the District of Angul). In Assam, there is a place of pilgrimage named Jwalamukhi where a similar goddess Hingula or Hingulei or Hingulaksi is being worshipped. It is for this reason that the presiding deity of Talcher in village Gopal Prasad who bears the form of fire is named Goddess Hingula. Such holy-places (peethas) of Hingula are also situated even outside India in Karachi and Kabul. Both Hindus and Muslims worship at this holy place like that of Kaipadar in Khurda. In the fifteenth Century A.D., the illustratious poet Sarala Das has described Goddess Hingula in his Mahabharat as the Manifestation of the Goddess Sarala. In fact he always worshipped Goddess Sarala as Goddess Hingula

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Jogisarada (Balangir)

It is Located 25 km away from Balangir to the east Jogisarda is eminent for its Jogeswar Temple. It is believed that all wishes are fulfilled who worship the Jogeswar Mahadev. The Linga of Jogeswar Mahadev arouses spontaneously for which it is known as the living God. Devotee from far-flung came here on the occasion of Mahashivaratri to fulfill their wishes during Sital Shasthi Yatra the marriage of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parbati also celebrated with great pump and gaiety.

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Joranda Gadhi (Dhenkanal)

Joranda Gadhi is a temple built in a location where three villages meet: Joranda, Natima and Patna. The temple is dedicated to the supreme lord. The followers of mahima dharma worship him as Sunya Brahma or the shapeless lord.They just pray to the supreme lord facing to the direction of surya because it fixes the direction of concentration. One can choose one's own fix direction apart from east and west, but once fixed it cannot be changed.Joranda mela is celebrated by mainly Mahima Dharma people. This festival held on full-moon day of Magha (Magha Purnima Day ) which falls in January-February Month of year.

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Kapilas (Dhenkanal)

The Temple at Kapilash known as the Chandrashekhar Temple is situated in the north eastern part of Dhenkanal town, Orissa, India.The temples are situated at a height of about 2239 feet from sea level. The main tower of the temple is 60 feet tall.Here to reach the Temple by climbing 1352 steps.The temple has a wooden Jagamohana. Sri Ganesh, Kartikeya, Gangadevi, etc. are found in the temple.Three ancient idols were stolen from the temple premises in the year of 2015, which were statues of Lord Ganesh, Goddess Durga and Goddess Bhairavi.

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Kumuda Pahad (Balangir)

This is a granite hill and famous land mark . Along with the nearby hillfoot Pond "Deobandh", Shiva Temple and park, this is a nice place to visit.

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Langaleswar (Balasore)

The place of famous for its location and mythology Lord Shiva used to plough the paddy field.In memory of the same plough is there and hundreds of pilgrims use to gather there to worship the Lord Langaleswar who has been named after that plough.

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Maa Manikeshwari Mandir (Kalahandi)

There are two Manikeshwari Mandir located in Kalahandi district of Odisha, one is in Bhawanipatna and other at Thuamal Rampur. The temple is located in the centre of Bhawanipatna. The main deity here is Goddess Manikeshwari. The main devotees are from the fishermen community. During Dussehra festival, animal sacrifice is offered at this temple which is a festival also known as Chatar jatra where lacs of people gather in the city to get the blessings from their beloved goddess .

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Maa Sarala (Jagatsinghpur)

The Maa Sarala Temple is a Hindu temple in the district of Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, India.Maa Saarala is a Hindu goddess who patronizes the cultures of Vaishnav and Shakta. Goddess Sarala is known as Vak Devi, the Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom.Festivals like Parbana, Sharadiya Utsav, Pana Sankranti, Dola Purnima, Chandan Jatra celebrated here.

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Nrusimhanath (Bargarh)

Sri Nrusinghanath, the great temple of Odisha in India, is situated at the foot hills of Gandhamardhan Hill near Paikmal, Bargarh. The King of Patnagarh, Baijal Singh Dev, laid the foundation of this historic temple in 1313 A.D.

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Ramanath Temple (Boudh)

Rameshwar - Ramnath Temples A group of three temples of Siva at Boudh town are called the Rameswar or Ramanath temples

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Ramchandi (Puri)

This village is situated at a distance of 28 Kms, on Angul- Bagedia road. The village is known for its shrine dedicated to Goddess Ramchandi. She is believed to be possessed of great powers. It is believed that by worshipping Goddess Ramchandi sterile women will obtain children. On the foundation of the old temple one magnificent temple was constructed. A Yatra is held here on the second day of KrushnaPakshyaBhadra. This Yatra is known as Ramchandi Yatra or Kaduali Yatra (July- August). This Yatra is celebrated with big ceremony every year. Thousands of people attend this Yatra. Kosala is 28 Kms away from Angul. One can reach Angul by bus or train. There is regular bus service available to Kosala from Angul

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Remuna (Balasore)

Remuna is a town in Baleswar district in the Indian state of Odisha. It is famous for the Khirachora Gopinatha Temple.

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Sri Sailakhetra (Angul)

A beautiful temple complex has been constructed on Sunasagada Hill top at Angul. The main temple has Mukhasala, Jagamohan, Natyamandir and a Garvagriha . Lord Balabhadra, Lord Jagannath and Devi Subhadra are worshiped in the main temple . GodessLaxmi , Bimala, Sarawati are worshiped in this complex . This temple complex attracts a lot of visitors through out the year. Bhoomi Puja for the construction of this temple held on 15th Feb, 1994. The foundation stone was laid on 21st Feb,1996. Ratnamandira was completed on 14th July,97. Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra were installed on Ratnasinghasan on 22nd Feb, 2002. The first Car festival was observed on 12th July,02. The main temple has a spread of 7500 sq. ft. It is 111 ft. tall. Car festival and other festivals associated with Lord Jagannath are observed in Sri SailaKhetra.

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Umarkote (Nawarangpur)

Umerkote, also known as Umarkot and Amarkot, is a town of Nabarangpur district, Odisha,The place is presided over by the local deity Maa Pendrani or Pendrahandiani. The word "Maa" means the "mother". She is believed to be the saviour of people living and provider of health, wealth and protection.

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HANDICRAFT (India)

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Aluminum Crafts

Aluminum Crafts plays an important role in the religious and community life, of the people of India. Form and functions are ideally combined and represented in large varieties of aluminum, fashioned into an extensive range of articles. Ancient Indian families believed that the metal was charged with alchemic properties, which could influence the life and health of human beings. Being the most common crusted metal found on earth, aluminum can be cast, rolled or extruded into an infinite variety of shapes. Polished aluminum has the highest reflectivity of any material - even mirror glass. Surface ornamentation on aluminum consists of chiseling, punching or inlay work. The painstaking skills in chasing, ornamenting and engraving of patterns on aluminum, by the Indian craftsmen are richly admired. India presents some of the unique variance of aluminum crafts in the shape of candleholder, photo frames, and flower vase, wall scones and other decorative items that perfectly blend with the colorful hues of the decor. The splendid contemporary as well as traditional designs are tough and very durable, each having individual characteristics that make these items highly sought after. They not only beautify the surroundings, but also create an ethnic touch to the interiors whether of a house or office. The natural white glaze of aluminum makes it an obvious choice for making decorative builders’ hardware that exudes ultimate style and is crafted in lightweight aluminum metal with impressive designs. The meticulous carvings, suave designs and superior quality finishes add to the uniqueness and are a part of the Indian traditions and rituals.

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Applique (Odisha)

One of the most important cottage industries encouraged by temple rituals was the creation of applique work Applique in Orissa is an old temple art, which has been refined to perfection. A fine example of the craft is the enormous applique canopies above the reigning deity of Puri , Lord Jagannath . Applique art is the process of cutting coloured cloth into shapes of animals , birds, flowers, leaves and other decorative motifs and stitching them on to a piece of cloth that can ultimately be used as a lamp shade , a hand bag or even a garden umbrella . The village of Pipli , 40 kms. from Puri , is the site of beautiful applique work, created by artists, quite a few of whom have won national awards for their crafts. The lovely wall paintings seen on houses are very much eye-catching, whether painted with colours or powdered rice water. The traditional patta paintings are painted on the. traditional treated cloth with a laequered hard 154 surface and original colour combinations. The theme of such paintings mostly revolves around Lord Jagannath. The sets of 96 circular playing cards with traditional charming paintings called " Ganjappa " are much sought after by Connoisseurs. Raghurajpur a road side village about 14 Kms away from Puri towards Bhubaneswar and Chitrakara Sahi in Puri Town houses these artisans The Palm leaf painters are also seen on the job in this village Raghurajpur which is proud of her products-artisans and painters. These paintings are done by the palm-leaf etching technique which are formed by stitching together rows of the leaves. They can be folded into a compact pile, then opened up easily. Like patachitras, applique work in Orissa also originated as a temple art. Coloured cloth, after being cut and shaped into the forms of birds, animals, flowers, leaves, and other decorative motifs is stitched onto a cloth piece designed as a wall hanging, garden or beach umbrella, a lamp shade and other utility items. Since the past decade or so, saris and household linen in applique work are also being produced in increasing numbers. Tiny mirrors in a whole range of geometrical shapes and designs are then encapsulated by thread embroidery to create a striking work of art. Four basic traditional colours- red, yellow, white and black are used, while green has been added in comparatively recent times. Besides Puri, applique work is also practised to some extent in Chitki, Barpali, and a couple of other places.

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Bead crafts

Beads of transparent and semi transparent nature are pleasingly used to give shape to varied aesthetically appealing products helping in enhancing the overall impact on the onlookers. Bead work is not a native Craft of India. Though horn, ivory and wooden beads were used by tribes for necklaces and earrings etc, the bead used was limited to it. The actual bead crafts were introduced quite late in the in 19th century. It is basically a European Craftthat came to India from East Africa. It was first adopted by the Mochi tribe, the tribe known for the leather Craftand soon women of other tribes introduced beads in their thread work for dresses, bags and decor products. Crafts people of Gujarat and Rajasthan are known for their expertise in bead crafts. These people use colorful beads to create embroidery patterns. Gift articles like wall hangings and box covers, vase decorations are done by stringing the beads in patterns. Beads are now often used embedded in lac. no Transparent and semi transparent beads, plastic and glass beads, terracotta, ivory wood and even bone or metal beads are used to enhance the aesthetic value of the craft.The beadwork of Saurashtra and Kutch are unique to the area. The stiched beads do not use a backing cloth. The craftsmen create chaklas, door hangings, belts, bags, pot covers and mojdis and a lot many other things with a traditional Indian Character using an external style.

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Beading

Bead work makes every product distinctive with the amazing craftsmanship. Mastery over the artwork by mere thread work does wonders giving a wide option of decorative items to choose from.

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Beads line of embroidery

This craft developed in India in the 19th century because of the influence of the European traders. They bought beads as articles of trade. Unlike other places where the beads are stitched on cloth to form a pattern, here they are used with no backing material at all. A large number qf different beads and a needle arid thread are the only materials with which the craftsmen create chaklas, door hangings, belts, bags, pot covers and a variety of other things.

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Brass Crafts

Brass craft ornamentations always have a spell bounding effect on people with their minute and detailed engravings highlighting the effortless beauty put into them by the dexterous craftsmen. Indian artisans make various types of brass items, acclaimed as much for their beauty and strength of form as their utility. Traditional skills of casting, ornamenting and engraving reveal great dexterity, delicacy and varied tastes of Indians. Modern innovations in this Craft include new items such as; intricately carved lamp stands, teapots, wineglasses and butter dishes. The unique brass work of Pembarthi, in Andhra Pradesh, reflects the art forms of the nearby Lepakshi, Orugallu, and Ramappa temples. A wide range of brassware, mostly in traditional repousse or beaten designs, is made in Andhra Pradesh. The articles include pots, flowers vases, lamp stands, panels, napkin rings, curtain rings, paperweights and door handles. The designs cover a wide variety of leaf and floral motifs, the most popular being a stylized goose. Bihar is known for a special item made with the flexible brass and silver fish, made by a goldsmith community, concentrated at Haveli Kharagpur in Monghyr district. The modern Craftof engine-turning work on metals, mostly silver, is practiced in Porbandar and Jamnagar, in Gujrat. The process involves the 111 shaping of the articles by hand, with the zigzag pattern made with the help of a special machine, equipped with grooved plates. Jagadhri and Rewari are the home of brass utensils with their traditional qualities of strong functional form and visual harmony in Haryana. A village named Gangua in Hissar, produces the now famous, elaborately assembled and delicately carved cart of the Gaddi Lohar, the itinerant rural blacksmith. In Kashmir, bowls, cooking vessels, flasks, samovars for brewing tea, cups, tumblers and similar products are the most common items, often embellished with highly stylized motifs like the badam (almond), the mehrab (arch), chinar leaf and intertwining vine, and exhibiting a degree of skill at deep engraving or repousse.

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BRASS METAL (Odisha)

The fine engravings on brass and bell metal utensils, bronze bangles and pots are important aspects of Orissan art. Artefacts made of metal, particolarly brass, find pride of place in the homes of Orissa. Beautiful lamps and lamp-stands are used during the worship of deities. Balkati, Bellaguntha and Kantilo are famous for bell metal craftsmen. Dhokra metal ware is another beautiful craft of Orissa people. It is a tribal art from of Dhenkanal.

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Bronze casting

Molded metal cast used for carving imaginative shapes and designs ultimately give birth to some of the most distinctively unique bronze work enough to impart a persona to any setting. Bronze casting is a process used to fabricate bronze items of different shapes and sizes. The use of clay and wax plays a pivotal role in bronze casting. The basic design / form is first prepared out of melted wax and is then enclosed in clay molds and fired. During the process of firing, the clay mold is created, the wax melts and forms a hollow inside the mold. The hot molten metal 134 is poured into the mold. After the metal has cooled, the mold is open by breaking and the basic solid cast comes out. Finally the details are engraved and some parts are chiseled.

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Cane/Bamboo Crafts

Add feathers to the surrounding's beauty by incorporating fragilely designed cane and bamboo items in the decor, thus, depicting the rich Indian artistry in the most sophisticated style. In India, cane and bamboo have since ancient history given form to the expression of tribal art and provided them livelihood. Today it adorns the homes of the rich and elite and mud-houses alike. Many useful as well as decorative items are made out of these. Baskets and mats are the most popular items in this category. Fishing contraptions are prepared of bamboo and cane, each with a distinct shape. One the most interesting and colorful item is bamboo and leaf-headgear for tea garden workers and farmers. Umbrella handles made of bamboo are a specialty of the northeast. A number of designs like leaves, plants and creepers are etched on them. A variety of furniture items are made to suit the modern homes. 112 Tripura is famous for its bamboo work, made from split bamboo, so finely done that they acquire an ivory look. The best-known places for basketry and mats are Assam and Bengal. Assam, a state with abundant raw materials, has a large variety of beautiful products like baskets, mugs for rice beer, hukkas, musical instruments, floor mats, fishing devices and handles. Baskets and mats from Bengal and Tripura look similar. Elegant screens made from split bamboo are a speciality in Tripura. Mizo baskets, made for storing rice, is woven with four long bamboo splints at the corners. Arunachal Pradesh excels in cane and bamboo work with bamboo bridges and cane belts. Orissa has some outstanding items, like articles made from what is known as the golden grass. Manipur has unusual type of baskets, with dome shaped lid made out of bamboo. Tamil Nadu is famed for its kora grass mats. Extremely delicate, and indeed the most aristocratic of mats in the world, are made in Kerala. Square bamboo box made here is perfectly gorgeous with black and white design.

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Carving

Carved materials out of wood, stone, metal all give proper constructive meaning to the varied facets of Indian artwork beautified with equally arresting colors, designs and patterns. Carving in India has been experimented and perfected upon various materials like metals, stone, wood, ivory etc. Traditional Indian designs carved into these materials create the most wonderful pieces of artwork. Kutch is famous for Deep Carving, where a design is carved on the surface of a metal, which has been moulded in to the desired shape and filled with wax. After softening it in fire, the wax is poured out and filled with fresh wax. The procedure is then repeated. Various items like perfume bottles, flower baskets, trays etc. are made this way.

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Ceramic Crafts

Express imaginative thoughts and add magnetism to the milieu with these artistically designed ceramic products projecting the artist's mastery over one of the finest Indian artwork. Ceramics-the skilled art of shaping and baking clay articles has risen from its utilitarian origins and became a thing of beauty and artistic expression. The evolution of Indian ceramics began with the Harappan age and this art has endured through the ages. Articles excavated from Indus valley civilization show the importance of potters in the society. Except for a few examples of Indian ceramics, which have been produced from a single mould, most of it is completely hand-made or wheel-thrown, a tradition carried over to the 20th century. 113 Ceramic ware is made of hard brittle material produced from nonmetallic minerals by firing at high temperature. Its popularity is evident from the numerous categories and types, one finds all over India. Today, Khurja, an Old town about 80 kms from Delhi, has become a center of ceramic industry. The history of Khurja pottery goes back to about 600 years ago when some of the potter families moved from Delhi to Khurja during the region of Mohammed Bin Tuglak. Starting with red pottery, they moved to introduce blue glaze on red clay articles. A special mix of powdered quartz is used to make the stoneware base for blue pottery, which is then glazed, blue, with the same ingredients that Were used for the blue tiles of pre-Mughal and Mughal domes. This art has attained a distinct flavor and is well known as Delhi blue pottery. V The Jaipur blue pottery is equally famous and unique. Since it is impervious, it is more hygienic for daily use. Some of this pottery is semitransparent and mostly decorated with animals and birds motifs. These pottery items, unlike that of Delhi, are made out of Egyptian paste and fired at very low temperature. The range of items is primarily decorative such as ashtrays, vases, coasters, small bowls and boxes for trinkets. ' , The ceramic pots and jars from Delhi and Rajastan are available in a rich variety of shapes, colors, texture and beautiful forms. They boast of sheen of glaze as well as rough-hewn ruggedness. Ceramic dinner sets, mugs and utility items have flamboyant designs and traditional folk motifs. In addition, Pondicherry is renowned for the Golden Bridge pottery, which is molded out of china clay. Hand crafted ceramic paintings and figurines of deities are very much in vogue, in India.

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Chikan

Lucknow's popular embroidery work projects the fine blend of sophistication and etiquettes coupled with grace and elegance. Chikan work is an all time favorite among art connoisseurs. The chikan work of Lucknow is perhaps one of the most popular embroidery works in India. It has a certain grace and elegance, which ensures that it never goes out of style. The word chikan literally means embroidery. It is said to have been originally introduced by Nur Jahan, the beautiful wife of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir. It has since evolved and attained its glory and perfection in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. The work became popular in a number of important cities of the Indo-Gangetie plain such as Delhi, Agra, Rampur, Banaras, Patna and Gaya. But the supremacy of Lucknow remained, unchallenged. The designs depend for its effect on the variety of stitches used and different grades of threads used to form the patterns which include, the lace like jali, the opaque fillings and the delicacy or boldness of outline and details. The most beautiful part of chikan work is the open work ground, an effect of drawn thread work is achieved without drawing out any. Tiny raised flowers done in what seem to be French knots are balanced by the flat stem stitch and large areas of open work to prevent either a crowded or too scattered appearance. A variation of the chikan work is the bakhia or shadow work. Here the work is done from the back, the stitches completely covering the design in herringbone style. The shadow of the thread is seen through the cloth on the right side. To give a richer appearance, the designs are produced with tiny backstitches on the right side over the shadow. A similar effect is created by 136 cutting out tiny flowers and leaves in the same material as the basic fabric and then applying them on the wrong side. The work is done so dexterously that the turned in edges of the cut pieces are scarcely visible from the front of the work.

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Coir

Intoxicate the senses with the finely crafted coir fiber poducts. Bring the Indian rural touch to the rich and suave drawing rooms and highlight the intricate formation of eye catching coir artifacts. Coir industry occupies a unique place among the rural traditional cottage industries in India. The state of Kerala, also known as the 'land of coconuts', is the largest producer of Coir in India. It accounts for more than 75% of the total production. The preparation of Coir is a lengthy process. The coconut husk is immersed in water for rubberizedabout a month. Later the softened husk is beaten to separate the fibre from the husk. This is then woven into Coir. Coirfoam, rubberized coir is used to make mattresses and pillow-covers . These have gained popularity due to their softness and durability. Floor mats, carpets and durries too are made. Other handicraft items like bags, wall hangings, dolls and animal figures, etc. are made. The jewellery made out of Coir is fascinating because of its intricate and delicate designs.

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ELECTRO PLATED NICKEL SILVER (EPNS) PLATES

It is Available in different finishes, Electro Plated Nickel Silver, E.P.N.S. gives a glittering silvery sheen to any decorative item as candle stands, coasters, ice buckets, wine coolers to name a few. 138 Electro Plated Nickel Silver, E.P.N.S. is highly polished brass plated with Nickel and then with Silver of varying thickness and then polished again to give a very rich look of silver. The thickness of silver may vary from less than one micron (commercial), to one micron (discerning), to several microns. Electroplating plants are used for this purpose. Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, one of the prime centers for brassware, has E.P.N.S. items in myriad designs for different uses. These come in different finishes, which include the shiny silver, dull (matt) silver and antique silver. The various items are then decorated with very fine etching and engraving bringing out beautiful and intricate designs. The variety of items made in this process is innumerable. These include, candle stands, tea sets, plants, boxes, lamps, coasters, jugs, ashtrays, wall hangings, paper knives, wine coolers, ice buckets, beer mugs, goblets etc.

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Embroidery

Revel in the rich embroidery patterns embellished with eye catching designs. Manifold the beauty adorned with interesting work on materials such as cottonwool and silk. In India, natural colors used for dying distinguishes the work done in India from the others. The Indian embroider never uses too many colors in any one piece. Each state in India has a style unique to its tradition. The satin stitch is used in Kashmir. The darn stitch, which produces the 'bagh' and 'phulkari' stitch of Punjab is vibrant like the people of the state. The interlacing

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Enamelling

Ornament the varied facets of art by using enamels to impart a royal and suave touch to each product which turn the overall persona of each setting simply through the rich sheen they project. Enamelling may be described as the art coloring or ornamenting a metal surface by fusing various mineral substances over it. In metal decoration, enamelling is perhaps the most alluring and sophisticated. Earlier it was done only on gold, but now it is done on silver, copper and brass. Many more colors are attainable in gold and the lustre too is greater.

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Filgree

Unique and novel in their own way, silver filigree work is a fine combo of varied parts pieced together to give shape to a varied number of imaginative designs. Silver filigree work is a style unique in itself. This work involves pure silver which is put through a wire drawing machine. In olden days, the silver was beaten on, an anvil and elongated into long wire by passing it through a steel plate with apertures of 36 wire gauges. Two of the thinnest wires are wound around the 'charkha' after heating. It is then flattened again to get it as thin as the single wire originally was. It is then bent to give it different shapes. A filigree article is thus a combination of different parts pieced together. The space within the frame is filled with the main ribs of the design which are usually, stems, leaves, creepers etc. Articles in plain silver are also 139 made in the shape of boxes, trays, bowls, spoons etc. Orissa, where it is popularly known as 'Tarkashi' specializes in jewelry. 'Karim Nagar design' is a very complicated design, reflecting great skill and refined art. The perfume containers are a speciality of the place. Plates, bowls, water-pots, and tumblers too are made in this process. These items are highly ornamented.

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Gems

Give concreteness to imaginations by imparting exclusive shapes with refinement to gem products. Enhance the frailness of gem jewelry products by incorporating equally fragile patterns. Give concreteness to imaginations by imparting exclusive shapes with refinement to gem products. Enhance the frailness of gem jewelry products by incorporating equally fragile patterns. Gems are very similar to mineral, crystals or organic materials that have been cut and polished into elegant art items by dexterous craftsmen. Gems are a kind of minerals that are naturally formed in solid inorganic chemical compounds, which are most commonly found in rocks. 115 Every mineral has a specific chemical composition and a regular atomic structure that is responsible for its hardness and the color it possesses. Various natural crystals are eye-catching enough to be displayed. While there are various crystals, which are faceted and polished in order to enhance their appearance. There are some gems, referred to as organic, come from different plants and animals. Organic gems comprise, - ivory, amber and pearl. There is a particular category of gemstones, known as synthetic gems. Synthetic gemstones are produced in laboratories and do not occur naturally. Synthetic gems are cut and polished in such a way, so that they bear a resemblance to the real ones. Artificial gemstones possess the same physical properties and chemical composition as that of natural gemstones. Gem cutting has been defined as an art of artificial diamond making. In India, the traditional gem processing involved cutting and polishing of natural stones. There was then, no attempt at calibration or following standard sizes. Modern gem processing has since come a long way, while traditional gem polishing has remained confined within a few communities for generations. Exports in gems amounting to Rs 31 lakhs, in 1990-91, represented less than a third of the world market demand. It has since, increased rapidly and it is believed that India will secure a sizable chunk of the market. Indian cottage industry employs around 1,55,000 workers in the country. The export market for this product includes Middle East Europe, USA and the Far East. The exports from south India exceed exports from other parts of the country, Tiruchirapalli being the main center. Gems are used to make exquisite jewelry items in both traditional and modern designs, which are popular around the world.

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Glass

Glassware depicts the richness and sophistication of the traditional art 116 craft coupled with elegance and frailness. An ultimate decorative item, glassware products have never lost the enigmatic spell. Archaeological discoveries in India reveal the existence of glass over 2000 years ago. Beads, tiles and conical flasks have been unearthed from a site discovered in Uttar Pradesh. Glass has also been mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. Due to its ability to take any form and acquire scintillating colors, it gave new definitions to the art of glasswork during the Moghul era. Glass articles like bowls, tumblers and bottles for precious things, like Indian scents, were made. Other items like phials, bottles, jars and lamp chimneys are attractively made in a wide range of shapes. Engraving on glass also reached new heights, which is reflected in the delicate foliated designs of the period. Glass bangles continue to be in vogue, with innumerable colors and patterns. Ferozabad, in Uttar Pradesh, has an entire community devoted to producing glassware and tableware in tasteful designs. Glass beads on the other hand are a speciality of Varanasi. The tukli technique ih. Patna involves decorative items on glass, with gold or silver pieces to fill the entire picture. In the south too, elaborate paintings on glass have gained popularity.

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Glass Painting

This technique dates back to the courts of 16th century and Maharajas of Tanjore. A piece of ply is covered with cloth, which is then treated with lime. The required images are outlined, after which semiprecious stones, beaten gold leaf and gilt metal are stuck on the image with a mixture of sawdust and glue. The skill of the craftsman lies in balancing the effect of the stones.

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Hand Printing

Hand painting is a brilliant art of dying mainly applied on fabric materials showcasing the varied interesting facets of rich Indian tradition using distinct printing techniques. The discovery of dyed cotton fabric dating back to the Indus Valley civilization shows that the art of dying with the use of mordents was well known to the Indian dyers 5,000 years ago. This form of dying which reveals a mastery in the chemistry of dying was responsible for making India famous all over the world for its dyed and printed fabrics. Recent excavations of the Red Sea ports have also brought out a greater range of printed textiles. These date back to 800 AD. Their technique and design point to a western Indian origin. The printing industry has its important centres all over India. The most important cotton printing centres that follow the traditional technique of printing are found in the desert belt. The important centres of hand printing in Rajasthan are Jaipur, Sanganer, Bagroo, Pali and Barmer. Various printing techniques have been developed including, direct printing, resist printing, and screen-printing. Direct printing is practiced all over India where a bleached cotton or silk fabric is printed with the help of wooden blocks, with beautifully carved designs. But first the outline block is printed, after which the blocks for filling in the colors are to be utilized. If the background is to 140 be a light color, the cloth is dyed after the printing has been completed. Normally, three to four colors are used. In the resist technique, a paste made up of different material is used over areas to be printed which are required to resist the dye. The fabric is then immersed in the dye bath. In some cases, clay mixed with resin is used for printing areas which have to be protected from the dye; in others hot wax is used. After dying, the fabric is washed in flowing water or in hot water to melt the wax. Some of the dark color of the background material flows on the protected area, thus creating a soft tonal effect. The batik technique is a development from this form of resist printing. Here the fabric is painted with molten wax and then dyed in cold dyes after which the cloth is washed in hot water. This results in the melting of the wax and emergence of the patterned cloth. The effect of the resist technique in printing is soft and subdued and the outlines are not so clearly defined as in the case of the painted batik.

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Handmade Paper Crafts

The age-old craft of hand paper making traces its roots from china through the Mid-East to Europe: It set off one of mankind's greatest communication revolutions. There has been a complete revival in homemade papermaking crafts, today. Handmade paper is traditionally made with various vegetable fibers or cotton rags. Each sheet of handmade paper is destined to play an important role in the final work of art. The possibilities for what can be accomplished with handmade paper and paper pulp are limitless. 117 The concern about the disappearance of forests, coupled with renewed interest in the quality of papers generated new study of the paper maker’s materials, especially the pulps and fibers. Hand papermaking is an energetic creative outlet and paper pulp has become not only a vehicle, but also an artistic medium in itself. Some of its beautiful aspects are that no tree needs to be harvested and paper is a stunning example of recycling at work. Skilled Indian makers use a variety of raw materials for making handmade papers. These materials range from all manner of vegetable matter (including leaves, tree moss, potatoes, and flowers), old ropes, canvas, linen and cotton rags. Any raw material can be used as long as it has fibers capable of forming a continuous sheet. These materials guarantee the most important characteristics of handmade papers for exquisite usage in fine-arts ensuring longevity, brilliance, opacity and creativity. Colorful handmade paper is effectively used in making a multitude of decorative items, greeting cards, wallpapers, carry bags, gift boxes, art portfolios',, and much more. The handmade paper stationery range includes handmade paper letterheads, visiting cards, envelops, note pads, 'memo cubes and many more items.

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Horn Articles (Odisha)

Horn articles of Orissa are mystical and are blended with a superb fashion design. From the horn of cattle articles of daily use like combs, flower vases and pen-stands are made. Their lively appearance, dynamism and animation vie with the real objects of nature - that spells the names of Parlakhemundi and Cuttack

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Horn Carved

This type of materials are used to make items like combs, which apparently is the most common. Traditional combs have gentle carvings on them. Small sized ornamental pins; play items like animal and bird figures, everyday 135 use items like buttons, cigarette cases, little boxes, ashtrays, pen stands and lamps are caved out of horn.

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Inlays

Craftsmen giving individual identity to each product by applying intricate inlay work with patterns generally involving floral prints on products as jewelry intertwined with geometrical patterns. Agra is most famous for inlay work, drawing inspiration from the Taj Mahal. The craftsmen of Agra carry on the tradition of inlay work, striving to match the perfection of the Taj. The designs are mostly in foliage or floral, intertwined with geometrical patterns. Though real precious stones were used at one point of time, today semi-precious or fine colored stones are used. A wide selection of items in mosaic marble is available, like artistic jewelry, trinkets, powder boxes, trays, and tableware like plates, bowls, glasses etc. Vrindavan, in Uttar Pradesh produces items in alabaster. These delicate 141 articles are now rare, and are being replaced by soft stone. Inlaying of light metai on dark metal is technically known as damascening. Traditionally it is called 'koftgari'. In earlier times the technique was used to ornament articles like armours, swords, etc. In this process iron or steel of the required size is heated, and slightly hammered into flat surfaces on which grooves are made. A Lac base is then fixed, on which designs are drawn with a chisel. Minute bits of gold or silver threads are then hammered into them. Finally the piece is heated and rubbed with lime-juice, sand and soap-nut to smoothen the surface. It is rubbed again with black paint to give it a glossy effect. Wide ranges of ornamental objects are produced through this process. Ivory is used in architectural decoration. The wooden doors of the Bikaner palace are ornamented with ivory work. The doors of the Amber palace in Jaipur, the exquisite work of the Mysore palace doors and the doors of the Golden Temple at Amritsar, are breath- taking examples of this work. Miniature carving works of idols for worship too are done.

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Ironmongery

The raw appeal imparted to the varied products through engravings done on forged iron Materials adds a classy touch to any setting projecting the rich tradition of ironware. Indian arts and crafts mirror the country's rich cultural diversity. During the ancient past, the traditional mining method was done to make fire over the iron brick rocks and to shatter the heated iron by pouring water over it. The earlier ironmongers forged iron instruments and traded them with people in exchange for the latter's livestock. 118 As time passed, iron was being used heavily for making weapons and armory. The arms were impressive, showing a collection of ironmongers, which included helmets, swords, buckler and much more. Today, the traditional look of ironwork makes it suitable for use all around the home. The role of the traditional Indian blacksmith has changed little in the 21st century, even with the advent of computers and state-of-the-art technology. Indian blacksmiths still have a family run business, serving the community and carrying on the time honored traditional skills. They continuously strive to produce all types of quality decorative ironwork and forging to both private and industrial buyers. Over the years, the buyers have come to appreciate the skills, techniques and adaptability those traditional craftsmen posses and use on a daily basis, whether producing nails, latches, hinges or so on. Each individual blacksmith has his own way of adding character and style to what are little more than functional items. Whether a restoration or mere extension to a historic or rural building, the blacksmiths strive to recreate the original ironmongery in its extracting splendor and detail. The range of traditionally forged ironmongery is always expanding. The forged products for the internal application are given a quality finish that not only protects the iron, but also enhances the natural splendor of the forged product.

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Ivory

Grace the pristine beauty of a living space with the extraordinarily crafted ivory ware products, thus, reminder of the rich past culture and tradition with their masterful cuts, carvings and designs. 119 Ivory carving, one of the oldest traditions in India, has also been described as one of the noblest crafts by the Vedic literature. History reveals that King Solomon acquired Indian Ivory in 10th Century B.C., and King Darius used ivory pieces to decorate his palace. The magic balls, a set of 5 to 9 spheres, one within the other and yet completely detached from each other, is one of the most intriguing examples of ivory carving. Items such as elephants with riders, figurines and ornaments decorated with exquisite work were then made. Delhi is one of the main centres for ivory carving. Popular items are chess sets, billiard balls and small articles like scent bottles, paper knives, trinket or pan boxes, and a number of jewellery items like beads, bead necklaces, bangles and rings. The Ivory carvers of Bengal and Jaipur are known for items such as the 'ambari hathi' (or processional elephant), models of bullock carts, caskets, book covers, sandals, palanquins and frames for the European market. In Orissa, tradition calls for offering ivory inlaid furniture to the temple of Puri. Miniature shrines with delicate pillars and intricate low relief floral work, caskets depicting scenes from myths and legends, and images of gods and goddesses including Christian icons and symbols have been traditionally made in Kerala and Karnataka. Rajasthan has been famed for its ivory items, which include, hand-fans with charming figures for handles, and centre pieces for the dining table with ornately carved receptacles shaped as flowers and half-opened blossoms. Ivory craftsmen of Gujarat make human figures and statues of deities in excellent quality. Punjab's highly decorated elephants and figurines depicting characters from folk or heroic tales are superb. Uttar Pradesh is famous for its Hindu and Buddhist figures of deities, dancing poses and decorative plaques. Kerala has an amazing tradition of painting on ivory. The state with its profusion of temples with carvings could not but specialize in figures of gods and goddesses of superb workmanship. 120 Scenes from Ramayana and other epic stories and statue of St.George on a giant charger, killing the dragon with his spear are some of the fabulous works in Ivory. The work on the doors of the Amber palace in Jaipur and the exquisite inlay in the Mysore palace doors and the Golden Temple at Amritsar, proclaim the architectural decoration with Ivory.

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Ivory Painting

It involves highly delicate brush work, preparations of the colors from crushed stone; and fine lines of a human figure. The ivory is first treated and made plain. Outlines of the image, usually of a Mughal emperor, are drawn and delicately filled with color. Madhubani paintings are a speciality of Bihar. The art form was discovered in 18th century. Initially drawn on walls, today this painting has found its way to handmade paper and cloth. Straight lines are drawn and these are filled in with bright and vibrant colors.

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Jute

Elaborate and intricate designs make the most appealing environment friendly jute products perfect for decorating any setting, leaving an aesthetic and pristine touch. Jute handicrafts of India have created a niche the world over. A wide range of skills have been honed to perfection by craftsmen who have learned to transform this natural fibre into products of daily use, with an aesthetic appeal. West Bengal is the largest Jute producing state in the country accounting for 71% of the production. The states of Bihar and Assam rank second and third respectively. As a natural fibre, it has many advantages over synthetics. It has been recognized as environment friendly as it is biodegradable. Known also as the golden fibre, it is the cheapest of all the natural fibres. If is used extensively in the manufacture of different types of traditional packaging fabrics and blended yarns. A luxurious range of jute home decor products are available to suite different life styles. Cushion covers, table-mats, table covers, tea cosies add a touch of class to the interiors. Exquisite jute floor coverings are till date unmatched in their elgance. Jute garments are available for all occasions, in hand printed, embroidered and tie and dyed variety. A wide range of the most endearing stuffed toys are made of jute 121 woven fabrics. These are washable and safe for children to play with. Christmas gifts and decorative items with colourful embroidery look absolutely attractive when made with jute

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Kalamkari

This technique of painting involves drawing outlines with burnt tamarind twigs dipped in molasses and iron fillings. The vegetables dyes of deep shades are used to create epic scenes. With repeated but subdued coloring processes, a sober but fine effect is achieved. The finished product recalls with vigor the mythological themes that are depicted and the pictures pulsate with larger than life figures. The immense scope of expression ensures that no two panels are alike.

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Lacqer Works (Odisha)

The work is executied in deiightgul folk designs, and form an important part of a girls' trousseau in Orissa. Among other beauties of this crafts are the bangles, necklaces and toys, all of them distinctive and hence in great demand by the cognoscenti. Bamboo boxes are lacquered in various colours.

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Leather Crafts

Leather crafts have always enamored people with their soft and royal sheen and rich material. Available in a wide range of products, leather has been in usage since ages without losing its timeless charm. Indian leather tanning has a history dating back to 3000 BC. Tanning in the rural areas is done by indigenous methods, making the use of this material easier. No village can exist without a cobbler. The most popular leather products in India are footwear and hand bags. The footwear comes in a variety of traditional embroidery, brocade or textile designs. Bright colors and individual designs are used. The all time favourite, kholapuri chappals of Maharashtra, are soft and comfortable to wear. A particular type of thickish shoes, called mojadis are made in Rajasthan. They are decorated with silk, metal embroidery and beads. Jaipur has the most fancy and sophisticated footwear. Jodhpur, on the other hand, has good embroidery in potent patterns and bold shades. 'Kopi', a rather unusual and attractive object, is a water bottle made in Bikaner from camel hide. Bikaner and Jaisalmer have decorative saddles for horses and camels. Handbags in batik style with the cracks, bold curves, and traditional motifs are made in Bengal. The high raised leather seats with geometrical patterns or motifs, called pidis, are immensely popular. Leather items of Kashmir are outstanding, as they are very ornamental, The red leather embroidered with gold and silk is unique in Madhya Pradesh. In Hoshiarpur, Punjab, applique work 122 is done with colored leather pieces. Leather with metallic gold or silvery finish is done in Karnataka. Fascinating articles are also made out of crocodile and snakeskins, such as wallets, pouches, handbags, and especially a wide range of belts.

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Metal Crafts

Metal crafts have lured the customers with their refined artwork. Be it copper, bronze or non ferrous elements, all appeal the eyes when coupled with inlay work and embellishments. iron beams of Konark Sun temple in Orissa and the iron pillar at Qutab Minar in Delhi are evidence of the numerous skills achieved by Indians in the field of metalware. The art of bronze casting has been practised in India for more than five million years. Copper and bronze were perhaps the earliest nonferrous metals which man shaped into tools. Metal is part of the Indian mystique as each metal has its own alchemic and healing powers. Availability of different metals and its vulnerable nature has made it the base for a variety of decorative techniques such as inlay, metal casting, carving, applique, etc. The scope of art metal is immense. The work done in Moradabad, Jaipur and Delhi are representative of this. Metal craft has also been an integral part of Indian culture. The 'lotas1 or water pitchers are found in almost all parts of the country. The 'urli', bellmetal vessel in Kerala is a basic element of its culture. The metal based lamps in various shapes and designs are part of the Indian traditions and rituals. In Ladhak, decorative kitchen stoves are made purely by hand. In South India, metal icons, especially of bronze, are believed to absorb the charged energy of the Divine and are stored in the inner sanctum of a temple where the icon is installed. 123 Moradabad, in Uttar Pradesh, has almost become synonymous with metalwork. It is specially noted for its coloured enamelling and intricate engravings in niello. Delhi too is an important centre for art metalwork. The 'paildar' or the pie-crust designs, laboriously made, is a speciality of the place. 'Koftgari', technically known as damascening, offers a wide range of products, both for utility and ornamental purpose. Metal-wire inlay work has panels and pictures depicting attractive scenes. This work is found mostly in Uttar Pradesh and Kerala. Kashmir is famous for metal engraving. It is done on walking sticks, nutcrackers, cutlery, knives etc. Rajasthan does an outstanding.work in silver. Spice boxes, caskets and cigarette cases are made of silver with intricate designs. In fact metal craft has an amazingly wide range of products with a variety of possibilities like E.P.N.S., metal casting, metal carving, inlay work, enamelling etc. Also, it is a craft widely popular in India, thus proving to be a treasured artwork

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PAINTINGS (Odisha)

Orissa has an age old tradition of Painting which stretches from the prehistoric rock shelters to the temples and mathas of this century. Out of these the traditional painters, the tribal painter , the folk and rock painters are of significance Palm leaf paintings are very ancient in Orissa. In Orissa the Palm Leaf illustrations are mainly of two types, simple engravings or illustrations in pure line on palm leaf and engraving with colour fillings. In these engravings, colours are muted and play a very minor part. Where colours are at all applied, they are just painted either to emphasize the inscriptions, or to fill up blank space. Away from the shops and bazaars, in some friendly Oriyan household or in a temple or at an astrologer’s place, the ancient art of palm leaf writing still survives. Religious texts continue to be read out from palm leaf manuscripts rather than from printed books. Horoscopes, too, are traditionally written on palm leaves by professional horoscope makers known as nahakas. Palm leaf was considered so sacred that even after printing presses began operating in Orissa, important texts 153 continued to be printed on the leaves instead of paper. The printing of New Year cards and wedding ivitations on palm leaf is stiii popular in Orissa.

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Papaeir Mache (Odisha)

This skill has been creatively practised by craftspersons from all over Orissa. Paper, waste cloth and different kinds of natural fibres are soaked and beaten into pulp, then mixed with a variety of seeds and gums for strength and as protection from termites

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Papier Mache Crafts

Alluring crafts made of waste paper Materials, papier mache crafts have created a niche market for themselves successfully with wild imaginations carved out beautifully on these Materials. Papier- Mache articles are made of waste paper applied in layers and pressed together on wooden moulds. Today, to save time, a thick layer of paper pulp mixed with starch is alternated with paper to get the required thickness with much less labour. Imagination runs wild as craftsmen breath life into this mould, bringing out a variety of expressions on masks. The craftsmen of Kashmir turn a variety of utility items, of papier mache, into fabulous decorative pieces. The items are brass lined to improve 124 their scope for utility. Designs in the shape of flowers and birds, and the heart shaped Kashmir chinar leaf add life to the objects. Bright and ethnic colors like peacock blue, dark green, brown etc. are used. Gold and silver are used on larger articles. Figures and objects like the Kashmiri houseboat are depicted. In the south life size figures are made to portray everyday scenes of life. The dancing dolls thus made are very popular. Gwalior, in Madhya Pradesh, has a papier-mache centre but largely for toys. Ujjain in the same state specializes in figures of deities. Puppets made out of papier mache are very popular throughout India. A wide variety of designs and styles inspired by the varied cultures of the different Indian states make excellent decorative pieces.

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Pata Chitra

This Painters are attached to the family of Jagganath Temple of Puri, In this tradition the cloth, cotton or tussar, is coated with a mixture of chalk, tamarind seed and gum giving the surface a leathery finish. These are also drawn on palm leaves. 'Sroll' painting is perhaps one of the oldest traditions in painting. A 'sroll' literally means a parchment. In this technique, a pictorial account of the deities and miracles are depicted. The lines are distinct, and vibrant colors are used. It is practised by a select group of families at Warangal. Such delicate lines are invested in the paintings which sometimes miss the naked eye.

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PATTACHITRA (Odisha)

Miniature paintings are called patta chitras, Pattas are now used as wall hangings. The subject matter of Patta paintings is limited to religious themes. The stories of Rama and Krishna are usually depicted on the pattas. "Rasa Lila", "Vastra Haran", "Kaliya Dalan" are some of the recurring themes of Patta art. Just 70km away, on the sea coast lies Puri, a temple and beach town that shares and mirrors some of Bhubaneswar’s arts and crafts, even as it nurtures arts and crafts that are uniquely its own. In the famous exquisitely carved Jagannath temple, an annual ritual has given birth to a treasured art form. Three paintings on specially treated cloth or patas are prepared by the temple painter and hung inside the sacred precincts of the temple. Originating as a ritual, patas developed over the years, as a distinct school of painting executed by the chitrakar (artist) community. Blood red, red ochre, lamp black, yellow, white and indigo blue sometimes offset each other, sometimes blend to form, patachitras in the skilled hands of talented chitrakars who follow in the footsteps of their forefathers. The word patachitra is derived from the Sanskrit word pata, which means a painted piece of cloth, a picture, a tablet or a plate. Chitra means painting or picture. Elements of folk and sophisticated art and craft characterise each finely executed patachitra. Since olden times, pilgrims to Puri have been carrying home the colourful patas or patachitras as precious mementos- just as they carry back Ganga jai (water from the holy Ganges) form Haridwar. The patas from Puri are sought after by tourists and art lovers both in India and abroad. The chitrakars live and practice their hereditary art in Puri and in two villages on its outskirts- Raghurajpur and Dandshahi. 150 In Raghurajpur, there are close to fifty families of pata painters. Each of them has a family sketchbook handed down from generation to generation. Gods and Goddesses, the lilas (fanciful but allegorical activities) of Lord Krishna, legends and animals, are all depicted in the sketchbooks. These books are the chitrakars most valuable possessions and are worshipped along with the family gods. Besides pata paintings, the chitrakars also make unique, circular playing cards known as ganjifa which are popular in villages all over Orissa.

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Phad Painting

It is done by phad painters belonging to a family of phad painters of Bhilwara in Rajasthan. The themes, usually depicting historic tales of Rajput Chieftains are painted on long cloth lengths. The outlines of the paintings are first drawn in block and later filled with colors.

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Phulkari Bagh

The embroidery from Punjab and Gujarat offer a wide range of interesting designs and patterns depicting intricate artworks of Indian craftsmen. The lively villages of Punjab offer the colorful darn stitches with traditional patterns reflecting their life-style. Embroidery in Punjab, has been the part of the basic education of the girls, The Phulkari, meaning "flower working," has become an integral part of the life and tradition of the people. By the 19th century, the accomplishment of a bride and her mother and the affluence of the family were judged by the number and elaboration of the phulkaris and the baghs that she received as a part of her trousseau. The phulkari stitch derives its richness from the use of the darning stitch placed in different directions—vertical, horizontal and diagonal. The embroidery is done from the wrong side. The pattern is controlled by the counting of the thread, but quite often the outline of the pattern is embroidered on the cloth in green thread. The needle picks up only one thread at a time, so that the back of the pattern is delineated with single lines of color in extremely fine stitches. In the front the stitch ranges from 1/2 to1/4 cms in size. In the bagh, a single thread of the base material separates one pattern from the other. Thus an area is divided into twelve squares by this fine line, the squares 144 themselves being covered with stitches going in different directions. As it is done on a thick material the embroider can work without a frame. The stitches used are darning, stem, herringbone, satin, straight, back, running, blanket, split, cross, and chain stich. The Bagh, literally meaning garden, has a variety of patterns inspired by nature. The panchranga and the satranga, five and seven colors respectively are some of the richer variations of this style. The bawan (fifty-two) bagh beats them all, as it has 52 different geometric patterns embroidered in one piece. Phulkari differs from bagh, as in the former larger portions of the base material are visible, the design being scattered. In the latter, the embroidery covers the surface so as to become the material itself. In another form, the chope, which is presented to the bride by her grandmother-in-law, the embroidery is done in yellow with occasional touches of blue or green only on the borders, the field, always red is left plain. Here there is no right or wrong side, the stitches being even on both sides.

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Pottery

The age old tradition of pottery has been kept alive by craftsmen blending the antique with modern designs. Adorn the setting with these ethnic crafts available in wide range of designs. origin of pottery in India can be traced back to the neolithic age. Coarse handmade pottery in various colors such as red, orange, brown, black and cream mainly consisted of different types of bowls, jars, vessels, etc. Harrappan and Mohanjodaro cultures heralded the age of wheelmade pottery. These were characterized by well-burnt black painted red wares.. The phase, of glazed pottery started in the 12th century AD, when Muslim rulers encouraged potters from the Middle East to settle in India. Glazed pottery of Persian models with Indian designs, dating back to the Sultanate period has been found in Gujarat. The terra-cotta objects are made by hand or on the wheel, and firing them in an open oven. The surface is rubbed and polished, with a wood or stones while it is still wet. 125 The first pottery unit run in India was by Sir S Deb, in Calcutta. It established the success of high-class pottery made out of local clay. Porcelain factories were set up in Gwalior and Calcutta in first decade of 20th century. Today, the pottery industry is run on both cottage and modern lines. Hundreds of small and big factories all over the country keep this age-old tradition alive. Apart from commercial and sociological implications, pottery in In dia has deep religious significance. For instance, if no image of a deity is available, a water-pitcher is worshipped as 'mangalghat' (good omen). The translucent blue pottery of Delhi and Jaipur, with its unique arabesque patterns, has lent a touch of grandeur to the art of pottery. Functional items like flowerpots or Diwali lamps too are a part of this fascinating tradition.

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SAND ART (Odisha)

In Orissa, a unique type of art form is developed at Puri. But it spreads all over the world. To carve a sand sculpture, the raw material is the only clean and fine-grained sand mixed with water. With the help of this type of sand and with the blessings of God and by the magic of fingures, an artist can carve a beautiful and attractive sculpture on the beach. In Orissa an unique type of art form is developed at Puri . But it spreads all over the world, To carve a sand sculpture, the raw material is the only clean and fine grained sand mixed with water. With the help of this type of sand and with the blessings of God and by the magic of fingures, an artist can carve a beautiful and attractive sculpture on the beach. Although not historically proved, there is an interesting story in the Orissan myths regarding the origin of sand sculpture like follows " Poet Balaram Das, the author of Dandi Ramayan was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath . Once during Ratha Yatra (Car Festival), he tried to climb the chariot of Lord Jagannath to offer his prayer. Since he wasn't allowed by the priests of the chariot to climb it and also insulted by them . With a great frustration and humiliation he came to the beach (Mahodadhi) and carved the statues of Lord Jagannath , Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra on the Golden sand . 151 Then there he started praying and worshipping these statues. His devotion was so strong and deep that the original statues vanished from the chariot and appeared at that place where Balaram das was worshipped.” Although the above stanza has no solid historical support, but it is evident that from the period of Balaram Das , the people of Puri are aquainted with the carving of sculputure on sand . The period of Balaram das as mentioned in history was fourteenth century A.D. Hence sand sculpturing in Puri isn't a new phenomenon, but it is at least seven hundred years old. Now-a-days , pupils are accquianted with the stone sculpturing. So stone sculpturing is treated as the first step of sand sculpturing . The carving on sand is more easier and quicker than carving on a rigid stone . So it is a easy process of learning the art of carving on sand . So within a short period of time , a pupil gets a clearcut idea about the carving . Though these sand sculptures are very easily eye catching and transferable , It is also destroyed easily. That's why the artists donet continue this type of art for a . longer period. With the upliftment of tourism, this wonderful art form receive a high prestige and popularisation. The outcome appreciation of tourists, encourage the artist to do well. Without any motive, these artists are dedicated their life for the development and popularisation of this art. By their dedicated efforts, they are able to internationalise this art form of Puri. There are very few people who leave their foot prints on sands. One of them is Sudarsan Pattnaik. He has magic fingers, with unlimited potentials and with immense heat to create some thing new on sand! He had always a dream that he would win a prize in an international level. For his excelent talent he travels many countries like London, France, Scotland, China, Holand, Singapore, Denmark and Italy. He is also appreciated by many for his attractive sand sculpture. Now 152 he became an international artist. In the World Master's Sand Sculpture Champianship held at Italy in July 2001 he represented India and got 3rd prize as first Indian . "Golden Sand Art Institute " which is an open air institute in Puri Beach behind Mayfair Hotel started in the year 1995. Around 50 students are taking training in this institute including tourists.Tourists can take basic 7-10 days familiarization course. Beautiful gallery on the beach can be observed in the beach in the afternoon from 4-6 P.M. The institute is run by Mr Sudarsan Patnaik,

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Silverware (Odisha)

Silverware or Trakashi of Orissa is very widely known. Her Filigree works particularly are unique examples of artistic excellence rarely to be seen in any other part of India. Silver wires, extremely delicate, are shaped into intricate designs. Forms of animals and birds, articles of daily use like vermilion receptacles are also made out of. silver wires- Filigree ornaments. Beaten silver is drawn into fine wires and foils which are then fashioned together to create jewellery of infinite beauty. Royal households were known to hanker after the snow glazed filigree works of Cuttack. The workmanship here is similar to that done in Indonesia and it is these crosscultural influences which may have introduced this wonderful art to India. Since silver utensils play a significant part in family life and religious rituals, some beautiful filigree works bear their mark on the silver utensils available in the state’s numerous markets.

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Stone Carving

it is too holds an important place. Ivory, one of the most exquisite of materials has the most intricate of designs carved on its surface. Kerala and Karnataka have a history in carving large works like palace doors, thrones, palanquins and chariots.

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Stone carving (Odisha)

It is a very major handicraft of Orissa. As is evident from the innumerable archaeological monuments, rock-cut sculptures, caves and temples built for centuries and embellished with most beautiful and intricately carved statue and other adornments, the art of carving in stone had reached in Orissa dizzy heights. As is evident from the innumerable archaeological monuments, rock-cut sculptures, caves and temples built for centuries and embellished with most beautiful and intricately carved statue and other adornments, the art of carving in stone had reached, in Orissa, dizzy heights of excellence perfected through centuries of disciplined efforts of generations of artisans. The progeny of these artisans who built the magnificent temples of "Parsurameswar", "Mukteswar", "Lingaraja", "Jagannatha" (also spelt as 157 Jagannath) and that wonder in stone, the temple chariot of the Sun God at Konark. Besides the beautiful Stupas and monasteries of Lalitagiri Ratnagiri and Udayagiri have kept alive the sculptural traditions of their forefathers and their deft hands can and do chisel and carve exact replicas of the original temple sculptures besides producing a variety of other items. Unlike sculptors of other places, the artisans of Orissa are at home with a variety of materials. They handle with equal facility the ultra soft white soapstone, or "Khadipathara", as the slightly harder greenish chlorite or "Kochilapathara" and the still harder pinkish Khandolite or "Sahanapathara" or "Baulapathara" and the hardest of all black granite or "Mugunipathara". The tools they use are few and simple and consist mainly of hammers and chisels of various shapes and sizes with such local names as 'Muna', 'Patili', 'MartuaP, 'Thuk-Thuki' and 'Nihana'. Whether the stone is hard or soft a sort of outline is first drawn on the stone which is already cut to the appropriate size. Once the outline is incised indicating the shape, the final figure is brought out by removing the unwanted portions. While for the harder stones this is done by chiseling out the extra material, with softer stones this is done by scraping out the same with a sharp flat-edged iron tool. As for the motifs, the endless variety of sculptures adorning the temples provides the models although other motifs are also not uncommon. Among the former the ubiquitous "Aiasa Kanyas" or indolent damsels and "Salabhanjikas", lady with the bough of a sal tree, "Surasundaris" heavenly beauties playing on different musical instruments adorning the topmost tier of the Konark temple, the "Nava Grahas" or nine deities representing the nine planets, Konark wheel, Konark horse, elephant, lion composite mythical figures like 'Gajabidala', 'Gajasimha' are quite popular. Other motifs include representation of deities of the Hindu pantheon like Krishna and Radha, Laxmi, Vishnu, Durga, Buddha, Ganesa, 'Haraparvati', Nrusingha etc. In recent times may decorative and utilitarian articles like ashtrays, paperweights, candle stands book rests are 158 also being made. These carvers also make images for installation in temples as presiding deities and Parswa-Devatas as well as large pieces for decoration of public places. One may find samples of these in the Handicrafts museum, Bhubaneswar, , Konark horse in the Barabati Stadium at Cuttack and Konark wheel almost the same size as the original adorning the face of a modern Hotel at Bhubaneswar. Another giant Konark horse will adorn the traffic island at a busy intersection in Bhubaneswar and will soon be a landmark. The four colossal Buddha images and the friezes depicting the life of the Buddha and Ashoka in the modern "Shanti Stupa" at Dhauli are also the handiwork of Orissa's craftsmen. Artisans mainly at Puri, Bhubaneswar, and Lalitgiri in Cuttack district practice the handicraft though some are also found in Khiching in Mayurbhanj District. The traditions are carried on from generation to generation and a few ancient texts on the art, which have survived, are followed closely.

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Stone Crafts

Stone crafts find place in any setting due to their extreme functional aspect. Be it kitchen, garden, office or a public place, stone crafted products have immense importance. art of sculpture and architecture is the poetic expression of stone craft. Small-scale sculptures of deities, modelled on classical prototypes, continue to be made in many parts of India. In Tamil Nadu such sculptures are made in granite. In Karnataka, exquisite figures carved in relief in black stone, with details engraved in fine lines, come out in greyish- white against the black surface. Softer stones are used in Orissa, which are easy to carve. The Taj Mahal is an exquisite example of marble work in India. Floral, trellis, creeper and geometric patterns are carved on the white marble surface, and semi precious stones of different colors are set into it. The 126 Makarana marble is used to make utensils in northern- India, as dishes made of curds or lime stay fresh in these. The terra-cotta objects are made by hand or on the wheel, and then fired in an open oven. The surface is rubbed and polished with wood or stones while it is still wet. The sculptures and architechtural facades hold within them wonderful pieces of art. Sculptures of the Mauryan period, Buddhist carvings at Bharhut and Sanchi, and the rock-cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora, and KhajUraho have no parallels. Gaya, the pilgrimage of Buddhists, has an ancient tradition of stone carvers. Vessels made out of soft stone are locally available. Stone monuments are present all over the country, and there are a large variety of stones present. In India traditional stone carving seems to be centered on temples. Made in a variety of stones, ranging from soft-brittle sandstone and patchy red stone to hard granite, the craftsmen carve replicas of the shore temples at Puri, Bhuvaneshwar and Konark. The tradition of intricate lace screen in stone also points to the mastery achieved by stone carversl, thus transcending limitati ons of the hard material. The fully carved jali-worked facadesof buildings in Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, are most intricately done. The artisans in Gujarat are engaged in the art of cutting and polishing semi-precious stones. In Bihar, the black stone is used to make every day utensils. Red sandstone is widely available in Rajasthan and many everyday articles are made out of them.

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Terracota Crafts

Terracotta work has always enhanced the decor with their appealing beauty leaving people dumbstruck. Giving shape to varied figurines and plaques, these earthenwares are worth possesing. 127 Terracotta craft involves using clay to prepare reddish brown unglazed earthenware intended as building material. The earthenware is handmodeled into various figurines, votive images and plaques. Terracotta is molded in many states into figures inspired by local legends and iconography, and has been practiced for centuries, since the Harappan civilization. The rural parts of India commonly display terracotta animal figures in places of worship or in the vicinity of temples. In some parts of Indian villages, the women folk create their own forms of Gods for worship and other decorative pieces for adorning their houses. The beautiful terracotta works are ideally used for decoration. People in states of Bihar, Bengal and Gujarat, prepare clay figures to propitiate their Gods and Goddesses, during festivals. Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, is the home to exquisite clay figures of animals. The potters create the basic form by throwing separate pieces on the wheel and then joining them. They are then fired and then painted brilliant colors. In the South India, Tamiinadu is famous for the terracotta figures of the Aiyanar Deity. Huge figures are created as standing guards at the entrances of villages protecting the insiders from evil spirits. Gujarat also has votive figures like horses with riders, etc. . Today, terracotta pot and pottery, though is not used for basic needs, a designer pot, nevertheless, has retained its pride of place for exciting interior design and decoration. Skilled pottery work still evokes a rare affinity, not known by any other form of craft. While retaining the aura and looks of natural terracotta, skilled Indian potters apply twists and turns, cut patterns and myriad shapes on the body to produce offbeat terracotta pots. A vast range of vases, candleholders, hanging 128 pots, wall hangings, planters and bells are also made for home decoration and special occasions. Available in variegated designs these terracotta items seem quite popular with the international buyers. Terracotta handmade designer decorative tiles have also gained immense popularity, worldwide. Each tile design depicts a particular theme that, together with other similar tiles, makes a pattern. These terracotta tiles are used for walls and ceilings and not for floors. The designs in handmade terracotta tile range from geometric to floral and Indian folk designs. Clay potters of West Bengal,, in Kolkata and its suburbs are famous for making clay arid terracotta idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses like Ganapati (the Elephant God), Durga, dancing Nataraj, Shiva and Buddha. Superior terracotta craftsmanship is skillfully used for making sculpted murals. The craft being very old and ancient is undergoing a complete revival and experts feel, it is still evolving.

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Textile

Vibrant colors with intricate and interesting patterns impart a definitive character to the varied facets of Indian textile, thus, constantly introducing the customers to the rich Indian textile tradition. Indian textiles are as diverse as its culture. The distinctive styles were developed through cultural influences, geographical factors and trade influences. The distribution of deserts, lush forests, mountains and rich river valleys, as well as the integration of cultures brought together by mingling of tribes, have greatly influenced the development of different styles. Interestingly, people in Bengal, eastern part of India, and Kerala, southern part of India, use white as the dominant color. Meanwhile, the desert belt, stretching from Kutch and Kathiawar 129 in Gujarat to Rajasthan and parts of Haryana, has an incredible mix of numerous vibrant colors. the handloom cloth is unmatched in elegance and style. Designs j in Handloom cloth are either woven in or printed after the cloth is woven. History testifies that the cotton muslins in India were so fine that the Romans called the material textalis ventalis or 'woven air'. The cloth was also called 'evening dew', as it was indistinguishable when spread over grass; or 'sharbati', because of its cool feel on the skin. It continues to be produced today in places like Ponduru in Andhra Pradesh and Madhubani in Bihar. The tradition of printing on woven cloth too is of great antiquity in India. Printing is done by using wooden blocks, by covering portions of the cloth intending to be coloured with wax, clay, gum, raisin etc. The cloth is subsequently dyed and the colors do not penetrate the covered areas. Fabrics are decorated with embroidery and applique work too. Indian cloth is also famous for works like 'chikan' and 'zari'.

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TEXTILE (Odisha)

Ikat - that gloriously woven, blurry edged, gemcoloured design, in gorgeous yarns of silk and cotton has become synonymous with Orissa. Speaking eloquently of its old maritime linkages with Bali, the Ikat tradition of Orissa is the intricate process of Tie and Dye i.e., knotting selections of yarn before dipping them in separate colours one at a time and finally weaving them to produce one of the most delightful designs in mu|ti-hued tones, in motifs drawn from the richness of nature, in threads both silken and gold. The double-ikat designs from Sambalpur are great buys as are the gold embroidered ones from Sonepur. The Bomkai ikats have motifs drawn from the Shakti Cult.

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Thanka Painting

It is from Leh in Ladhak revolves around Buddha and ritual worship. The figures flow and the forms of the dragons dominate. Thanka paintings, made of cloth, are popular for their brilliant color display as wall 142 hangings.

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Tie and Die

Rajasthan's famous color technique, tie and dye or Bandhej transforms the ultimate look of any fabric material with their kaleidoscopic color pattern. Also known as Bandhej, Tie and Die is one of the most widely accepted and traditional method of textile printing in India. The technique is originally from Rajasthan and Gujarat. The colors that are traditionally used in the process are vibrant with yellow, black, red and green being the predominant ones. This technique is used on lighter shades of browns, turquoise, blue and pink giving a stunning effect. 146 Though simple, tie and die is quite time consuming and tedious process. A single piece of cloth, with intricate bandhej design, takes more than a week to prepare. In this process, each section is carefully dipped in paint and tied again to bring yet another contrast in color. Usually the women are assigned to the fine craft of tying while the men prepare the dye. Elaborate bandhej patterns depicting birds, animals and human figures are made through this long process. The tie and dye (bandhej) work is done on saris, salwar suits, kurtas and dress materials. On the basis of design and motif, different patterns have their special significance. The chandokhni and chikhara are specially designed for brides. The barah baag is a pattern, which is when opened looks like.a garden of flower. Earlier, there was a design called bavan baag, but today, no one makes it as it takes too much time and labor. A network of branches and leaves interwoven with different types, of birds, Ambadal is a design that represents the branches of a mango tree. The basant bahar represents the flowers of spring season, the mor zad - a peacock pattern, etc. Chokidal is a design that showcases squares with elephants and other animals. And then there is kambaliya - a design, which represents a dotted pattern in the center and a distinct design along the border. All the design patterns mentioned above are traditional. Any new designs, which a modern day craftsman creates, are called fancy

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TOYS, DOLL (Odisha)

Orissa has a rich tradition of toys, dolls, puppets and masks. Among the best known are the wooden toys, gaily painted animals, fish and fowl that 160 commented the wildlife of Orissa’s woods and waters, some mythical animals, the most typical being the Gajasimha, a lion riding an elephant, apperntly a ritual figure for one sees it on the temple doorways everywhere in Orissa. These dancing dolls, small sized and in flowing robes, are made of light wood with extremely flexible joints that make their movements so pleasing . masks are carved out of wood and are painted brightly. These masks are used widely in Sahijatra.

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UTENSILS (Odisha)

Apart from the decorative, votive articles and modern utilitarian items, the craft also covers another group of products in shape of stoneware utensils and kitchenwares. Following the simple process of turning and polishing by using a local wooden lathe called "Kunda", the craftsmen produce beautiful polished plates ('Thali'), containers ('Gina, Pathuri'), cups and glasses. These are used for pujas, ritual worships as well for regular eating 'Pathuris', stone ware deep containers are particularly good for storing curd as they do not react to acid and these are also filled with water and used for placing the legs of wooden 'Almirahs' to prevent ants from getting in. The craftsmen making these articles are concentrated at Baulagadia and Nilgiri.

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Weaving

Weaving is one of India's vital artwork which offers a wide range of intricately designed baskets and mats woven with perfection blending perfectly the traditional and contemporary style. 147 Weaving of baskets and mats are common in most parts of the country, but the north-east states of India deserve a special mention. There are different weaving styles, each with a special quality about it. Border weaving in basketry comes in different styles. The usual ones being the tree strand warp border, simple wrapped border and fastened twine. A large variety of functional baskets too are made. 'Korahi' basket is so made so as to let water pass through while washing rice or fish. The tray is made in the twill technique, whereby weft strands pass over and under two or more warp strands at a time. Manipur has all-purpose type baskets. But its speciality is the basket with dome shaped lid made out of bamboo. This square shaped basket has checks and squares in black and white. Called 'chembong', it is used to store valuable clothes. Bengal too has a rich variety of baskets. Mat weaving is another speciality of Bengal. 'Sitalpatti', (or cool mat), are made from green cane slips. These are used to sleep on during summers. Another Bengal mat, well known fdr its fine quality is the 'maslond' of Midnapur district. Mats are also woven with intricate designs like temple spirals, mango patterns etc. Mat weaving is also an important handicraft of Pondicherry. The designs are divided between horizontal and vertical stripes and floral. Apart from cane and bamboo used for making mats and baskets, other materials too are used in the weaving process; Nagpur makes palm leaf articles, especially shopping bags, dinner cases and ornamental folding.

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Wood Carving (Odisha)

It is important handicraft of Orissa. This again can be broadly grouped into three sub-groups-painted wood carvings, plain wood carvings and wood turned items. In the first group we have painted wooden toys of Puri and Bargarh masks, and idols and chariot decorations. Usually light varieties of wood are preferred and vegetable and mineral colours are used. The plain wood carvings are mostly done on a soft creamish wood called gambhari or white teak. This variety of wood carving is mostly practiced in Cuttack town though a few craftsmen are also found at Bhubaneswar and Puri.

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Wood Crafts

Redefine the appearance of the home furnishing area by incorporating distinct decorative items in wood Materials. Shaped with fine cuts, intricate detailed work, imaginative designs make them look unique. Woodcraft has given a new definition to home-furnishing in India. The Matsya Purana says that every home should have a beautifully carved doorframe in wood as a sign of welcome to visitors. Carved lintels, brackets and balconies are found in traditional homes in many parts of the country. Since time immemorial, wood has been used to make utensils. In 130 Himachal Pradesh water pitchers and bowls are made out wood. In Kashmir, walnut wood is used making trays, fruit bowls etc. Storage receptacles are made in wood in many regions. Gujarat, in particular, has a rich tradition of woodcarving. Here, in addition to small chairs and tables, the swing, without which no traditional home is complete, is made. Wood lacquering is popular in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Traditional woodwork like painted cradles, boxes and ganjifa and the set of playing cards, are painted with religious and mythological figures. Wood inlay, which developed and flourished with the Mughal influence, is done with bits of ivory, plastic, horn, metal pieces or other types of wood into carved surfaces of wooden items. This is found in various parts of the country such as Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. The Mughal designs of Uttar Pradesh such as the fretwork, jali or the anguri work are also very popular. Rare woods have special uses. Ebony and rosewood are carved into trinket boxes in Uttar Pradesh, while in Karnataka they are inlaid with ivory. Hand fans made here from thin slivers of sandalwood spread aroma in the room. In Gujarat inlay has become applique work and mosaic designs are built up from strips of different kinds of wood first glued together and then thinly sliced. The architecture too is famous. It is elaborate and elegant with its projected balconies, decorative windows and doors. The beautiful traditional homes of Kerala, built with teakwood are .brilliant pieces of architecture. These retain their quality for decades together. The soft toned elegant walnut wood and the fine deodar wood are found in Kashmir. The lattice- work and the Khatamband works are famous. The fragrant sandalwood in Karnataka is used for carving out intricate pieces that captivate the eyes. The red sandalwood of Andhra Pradesh is used to carve idols, deities and dolls. 131 ’ The woodwork of the north-eastern tribes is locally known as kumisyng. The huge log drum is noteworthy in this region. The wood carvings of the tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and Rajasthan include doors, window frames, "marriage-litters", wedding pillars, tobacco cases and pipes.

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WOOD WORK (Odisha)

Baskets, hand fans and tablemats are woven from golden grass by the femalefolk. Floor mats are also woven out of golden grass, which is a local product. Today the demand for these goods has increased and this testifies to their beauty, utility and lasting quality. Cane work of Banapur is widely acclaimed and popular in Orissa and outside, getable and mineral colours are used.

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Wrought Iron Crafts

The raw appeal of wrought iron crafts is still intact with people dazed by the antique and fabulous artwork perfect to impart individuality to a milieu with their flawless beauty. Wrought iron has been in use since the earliest days of civilization. The long-standing appeal of wrought iron comes from its natural and honest character. It is a form of iron with a low carbon content that can be forged and welded. Having fabulous continuity, wrought iron is currently becoming very popular. It strikes the buyers because of its capability to recall far away ages. Wrought iron can be considered as an archetype that exists in every culture. Ifi the past, weapons and ploughs have been made out of iron. Today, they are no more made by beating the iron manually, but by using different and more advanced technologies. Wrought iron is unlike cast, in that it is not brittle, and seldom breaks. For this reason, wrought ironwork is frequently far more delicate, although years of paint can Obscure this. The metal can be artfully used to create beautiful, classic and contemporary handcrafted designs in its range of products that are comfortable, decorative and highly durable. Until the very end of the eighteenth century, sections of wrought iron were derived by forging of billets by hand or water power; this resulted in a more or less uneven surface texture and very sharp corners. Wrought Iron helps bring about a very stylish and 132 contemporary look to the decor. Because of its natural texture and sturdy character, wrought iron is an excellent choice for interiors. From the forged iron thumb latches to door handles, to the sleek iron handles of contemporary kitchen hardware, handcrafted wrought iron has proven to be very versatile. It is skillfully worked into different shapes by manual effort, for making balcony railings, fences, gates, hardware, lanterns and much more. Wrought iron decorative accessories like: rustic bathroom accessories add the finishing touch to the bath, and rustic kitchen cabinets are nicely complemented by wrought iron cabinet pulls and knobs. These and other utilitarian wrought iron objects have found their way into decor accessories, and are often used today with a sense of fun. The traditional Indian blacksmiths uphold a tradition of handcrafted beauty, personal care and attention to detail while carving out a medley of exquisite wrought iron items. A variety of hand-applied paint finishes are used to enhance the look of decorative items. Whether it's an elaborately crafted iron gate in the garden, or simple forged iron coat hook by the front door, the timeless quality of wrought iron is sure to play a pleasing role in all kinds of homes. Various techniques used to add beauty to Wrought Iron products: • Powder Coating in Black Matte and other colors • Nickel-plating to give it the shiny silver color • PVC Coating in different coiors • Hand Painting HANDICRAFTS PROCESSESS : Indian handicrafts offer an unending variety of handicraft items, intriguing in its form and captivating in its beauty. The raw materials go through a number of processes, like carving, enameling, embroidery etc., giving expression 133 to the craftsman’s skills. Some of these crafts take months to prepare. Exquisite and vibrant designs combine to make the most artistic artifacts. Indian handicraft items are so coveted that they are passed on from generation to generation. Read on about the various processes employed in the creation of these exquisite crafts.

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FESTIVAL (India)

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Arattupuzha Pooram (Thrissur, Kerala)

Witness the mother of all Pooram festivals, with the grandeur and spirit of an incredible magnitude. The Sree Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is prepared for the festivities and is said to have housed him for over 3000 years. This festival is believed to celebrate Lord Ayyappa’s rendezvous with the Gods and Goddesses of the neighbouring villages. Visitors from all over reach the village of Arattupuzha, 15 km away from Thrissur, to be a part of this significant seven-day celebration in Kerala. The devotion and excitement reaches its pinnacle especially during the last two days. An assembly of caparisoned elephants and the staging of percussion ensembles form a part of the ceremony called Sasthavinte Melam in the evening prior to the last day of the festival. Brightly lit traditional lamps and huge flame bearing staffs, known locally as ‘theevetti,’ further illuminate the evening. At the end of the ceremony, by early morning, the crowds cheer the elephants that proceed to the adjoining paddy field carrying the deities. It is nothing less than a grand spectacle; with about 50 odd elephants lined up to further proceed to the river for the Aarattu Ceremony. A ceremonial cleansing process, involving the immersing of the idol in the river by chanting of mantras and floral offerings, the Aarattu ceremony welcomes crowds from neighbouring temples to join the ceremony at sunrise marks the end of this celebration.

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Attukal Pongala Festival (Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala)

Discarding all beliefs related to caste, creed or religion, Attukal Pongal welcomes all the women of the world to a grand and huge gathering at the renowned Attukal Devi Temple. Pongala, literally meaning ‘to boil over,’ is a ritualistic offering of a sweet dish consisting of rice porridge, sweet brown molasses, coconut gratings, nuts and raisins. One of the few festivals of the world, celebrated only by women, the grandeur and exuberance of the Attukal Pongala Festival has to be seen to be believed. Thousands of women, irrespective of their faith, offer Pongala to appease the presiding deity of the temple; Goddess Attukalamma. It is a spectacle of true devotion, where devotees from across the country and abroad participate in the ritual. The Guinness Book of World Records’ lists this celebration because of the high number of women coming together to make this event a success.

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Baisakhi (Punjab)

A gentle breeze swaying through the yellow green treasures of the village brings joy to an agrarian community. A good harvest ensures prosperity and plenty for the coming months, and a thankful community offers prayers to its Gods. Every year in the month of April, the spring equinox is celebrated with gusto all over the country. However, it acquires a special significance for the people of Punjab, as they celebrate not just the Rabi crops but the institution of the Sikh Khalsa in 1699. Prayers at the gurudwara start early in the morning after ritual bathing and are followed by langars (free community meals). Chants of gurbaani can be heard in joyous celebrations. Communities, localities, families and friends gather to sing and dance to the beat of dhols (drums). The langars remind of the basic tenets of the faith- simplicity, the importance of community and the ethic of sharing. When the first Guru, Guru Nanak had preached a new faith he attracted the masses by the simplicity of its message. Inspired by the Sufi and Bhakti traditions, it spoke of a direct communion with God, a simple life and the spirit of community. Experience the message of this simple faith in the celebration of Baisakhi. The offer of thanks for the harvest amidst massive celebrations, crowds thronging the streets, a general festive atmosphere of singing and dancing, provide a vision of the hearty spirit of Punjab.

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Baneshwar Fair (Dungarpur District, Rajasthan)

to its shades of saffron, early morning skies and the sunsets. A fair, predominantly for the Bhils, tribals from the districts of Dungarpur, Udaipur and Banswara, it also includes the worship of the sacred Shiva Linga kept in the Mahadev Temple in Dungarpur. Located in a small delta 50 km away from Dungarpur, the fair held in Baneshwar from 0500 – 2300 hours, resonates with the gaiety of songs, graceful folk dances, exciting magic shows, animal shows and incredible acrobatic feats. The joy rides on the merry-go-rounds and swings form the cherry on the cake, which add to the excitement and spirit of the festival. The proceedings begin in the morning, where saffron is applied to the Shiva Linga, following which, it is bathed and a ceremony of aromatic burning incense is waved before it. In the evening, bhabhut (ash) is applied to the Linga and another ceremony with a fine-wick lamp is performed. The devotees worship both Baneshwar Mahadev and Mavji. The offerings include wheat flour, pulses, jaggery, ghee, salt, chillies, coconut and cash. The highlight of the celebration is when all the Bhils sit together, singing traditional folk songs sitting around a bonfire every night. Adding to the spirit, groups of villagers are also invited to participate in the programme.

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Braj Festival (Bharatpur, Rajasthan)

Come witness a splash of cultures with vibrant colours. An occasion celebrated with such zest, the Braj Festival is rejoiced every year before Holi. It is the time of the year when people from the Bharatpur district in Rajasthan paint their houses in bright colours and the entire region is engulfed in the spirit of dance and rejoicing celebrating Lord Krishna who spent his childhood in Brij. Also known as ‘Brij Mahotsava’, the festival is celebrated for three days in the first fortnight between the New Moon and Full Moon nights in Shukla Paksha, as per the Hindu calendar. It is a visual treat to watch the villagers dancing in their traditional attires with the melody of their folk music playing in the background. Don’t miss the Raslila, a dance, which is said to have been performed by Radha and Krishna in their moments of deep intimacy and affection. The festival has also proved to be a platform to popularise folk dance and opera by several professionals and amateurs. The villagers celebrate this occasion by exhibiting their culture and giving an opportunity to people all over the world to come and enjoy the local hospitality by opening the doors the their humble homes to guests.

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Buddha Purnima (All over India)

Known by different names in different parts of the world, Buddha Jayanti or Buddha Purnima is celebrated to commemorate the three most significant events that influenced Buddhism. Known as Vesak or Visakah Puja in India, Visakha Bucha in Thailand, Waisak in Indonesia and Wesak in Sri Lanka and Malaysia, this festival commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautam Buddha. A divine celebration, it includes prayers, sermons and continuous recitals of the sacred Buddhist scriptures before the statue of Buddha. Aromatic incense, flowers and candles are offered to the statue along with fruits. As part of the celebrations, people sprinkle milk and scented water on the roots of the Banyan tree, better known as the Bodhi tree and illuminate them by lighting rows of lamps around them. Celebrated every first full moon day in May, it is herd in June every leap year all over South-east Asia, Sarnath in Uttar Pradesh and Bodh Gaya in Bihar. Thailand celebrates it with sacred chants, fasting and other practices, while in Singapore, the devotees make donations to the temples. Various festivities take place in Indonesia and the Flower Festival is celebrated in Japan to commemorate the birth of Buddha. At the same time, Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea observe Buddha’s birthday as a public holiday.

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Camel Festival (Bikaner, Rajasthan)

The shining rays of the sun, cool sands and the camel enliven the orange hues of the desert. For centuries, the camel has served as a means of livelihood to being the traditional mode of transport in Rajasthan. Yet, the bond of camels and their owners runs deeper - the Bikaner Camel Festival celebrates this glorious animal and its relationship with the people of desert. Camels at the Bikaner Festival are a vision! The festivities begin with a camel procession in the red milieu of Junagarh Fort. In a unique pageant show of camels draped in vibrant weaves of Rajasthan, they live up to the beauty standards of long, slender necks, thick eyelashes and swaying bodies. In this two day treat, the camels literally dance to the tune of their masters, performing acrobatic stunts and graceful movements with their feet. While the spectacle itself is mesmerising, you will be enticed to become a part of the ongoing frenzy of camel races, camel safari, contests including tug of war and camel milking amidst other activities. Those who cannot help but splurge can spend on exquisite handicrafts of Rajasthan. Take a break from such flamboyancy, with musical concerts, puppetry and folk performance of skirt twirling dances as well as Bikaner’s famed fire dance, which can now only be seen during the festival. At the Bikaner Festival, revere the bejewelled camel throughout the day, and watch the festive frenzy comes to an end with colourful fireworks embellishing the night sky.

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Chennai Music Festival (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)

Spanning into an extravagant event of six weeks, the Chennai Music Festival, more popularly known as the ‘Madras Music Season’, is held from mid-December to mid-January at various venues in Chennai. The music festival is a grandiose event that showcases a number of grand and small Carnatic music concerts. Not just music – vocal and instrumental but performances in the field of dance, both solo and group are also held. Eminent Indian and international artists grace the festival with their presence. It is a mixture of experienced artists as well as the artists who are looking for a chance to perform with these experienced personalities. The festival was started in 1927 by a group of individuals who later established the Madras Music Academy. Apart from auditoriums, temples and heritage bungalows are also used as venues for the event. Musical instruments, such as, flutes, veena, goottuvadyam (similar to Veena but without frets), nagaswaram (pipe), thavil (percussion instrument), mridangam (drum), and even ghatam (a mud pot), take the centre stage in the Madras Music Festival. Right after this month long celebration of music, the stage shifts to a place near Tanjore called Tiruvaiyaru. Here, a weeklong music festival begins to celebrate the birth of Thyagaraja, who is regarded as one of the greatest Carnatic music composers. The favourable weather conditions during this season attract a huge number of tourists. Considered to be the largest music festival in the world, almost 1500 individual renowned and amateur artists are spotted performing during the festival.

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Christmas (All over India)

Christians across India celebrate their faith and hope on 25 December with Christmas – the festival that marks the birth of Jesus Christ. Called ‘Bada Din’ (Big Day) in Hindi, Christmas is a national holiday in India. Even people of other faiths join their Christian friends to celebrate the festival. Church services play a big role in the celebration. Preparations typically start on Advent Sunday. Churches start planning their celebrations and masses, and families start preparing weeks in advance. Traditionally decorated Christmas trees, giant stars, fairy lights, streamers, flowers, and paper lanterns adorn homes and streets, welcoming all at Christmas time. Beautifully decorated Christmas cribs hold nativity statues of baby Jesus and others. Carolling processions on streets and singing in homes is a lovely sight on Christmas Eve. But the most enduring and memorable tradition of Christmas Eve is the Midnight Mass. Churches start their services with carol singing, after which the Mass is held. After the service, everyone socialises; feasting together, and wishing each other a Merry Christmas. On Christmas morning, churches hold mass; families and friends enjoy Christmas lunches and dinners; celebrating the end of another wonderful year and the beginning of the New Year.

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Deepawali at Diggi Palace (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

The flickering flames of millions of tiny lamps dispel the darkness of the night. Cascades of light outline every contour and corner, flames of light leap up into the sky only to burst in an extravagant display in the pitch black night sky. Join us on this first and darkest night of the Hindu calendar month of Kartika, to celebrate the victory of light over darkness, of good over evil. At the small and charming property of Diggi Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan, step into an ethereal world as you walk past decorated elephants, horses and cavalrymen. Aglow with lights, decorated with lavish rangolis (decorative patterns made on the floor), alive with the rustle of silks, the tinkle of jewellery and the sounds of music and laughter, we welcome you to the most important festival of India. As with most festivals, Deepawali too is bound in many myths and legends, of which the most important is that of the homecoming of the righteous king and dutiful son, Lord Rama after a 14 year exile. The festival falls immediately after the summer harvest, marks new beginnings, and welcomes prosperity in the form of Goddess Lakshmi. Festivities go on for five days which witness frenzied shopping as it is considered auspicious to make purchases during this period. Gifts are exchanged, and sweets distributed amongst not only the near and dear ones but also neighbours and acquaintances. Participate in a puja (religious ritual) with the Diggi family, to please the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Receive gifts from the family, a token of our cultural tradition, and a reminder if you need any of this memorable evening. Join in the festivities, dance to the beat of dhols (drums), and enjoy a mesmerising performance by the fire-pot dancers. Listen to live music as you enjoy a scrumptious traditional meal, or as you roam around through the aatish-baazi (fireworks). Try a hand at the phool-jhari (sparklers) or just sit back and enjoy the aerial displays as our evening draws to a close in a blaze of lights.

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Dev Deepawali (Banaras, Uttar Pradesh)

Dev Deepavali, which is celebrated every year on Kartik Poornima, falls 15 days after Diwali, and is more like an extended celebration of the biggest festival of India! It is celebrated in Varanasi, which for most travellers is nothing less than a dream destination. The traditional ceremony is an elaborate affair starting with offering prayers to Lord Ganesha, followed by the deepdaan or offering the diyas (earthen lamps) at each and every ghat while the priests chant vedic mantras in the background. It is magnificent and a sight to behold leaving the visitors spellbound! This is the day when people celebrate Tulsi Vivah which signifies the birthday of Matsya or the fish avatar of Lord Vishnu and that of Vrinda – the representation of the tulsi plant. Also, the Ganga Aarti, performed on the evening of Dev Deepavali is the most elaborately performed one throughout the year! Picture this - devotees taking a holy dip in the river Ganges, a ritual that is believed to help wash off the sins, alongside the ghats with continuous chants and prayers being offered in the backdrop, with beautiful diyas floating in the water and sparkling fireworks decorating the sky. The actual sight is divine and is sure to leave a lasting imprint in everyone’s minds. Don’t miss out on visiting this spiritual, peaceful city of lights during the festival of Dev Deepavali and take in the elements culture, tradition, spirituality and inner peace.

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Durga Puja (West Bengal)

The ulu-dhwani (a sound made by rolling the tongue) and shankh-dhwani (sound of blowing a conch) pierce the dark nights, warding off evil from wherever the sound carries. The streets are over-flowing with men resplendent in their dhoti’s (unstitched garment for lower body) and women in their distinctive white and red saris. The nights are a glittering affair with light shows of the elaborate arrangements and the crowds that throng the cityscape. For five days every year in October, the city of Kolkata takes on a new visage as the city celebrates Durga Puja, the largest and most vibrant festival of Bengal. The lanes and parks of Kolkata transform into an open art exhibition as various committees compete to set up lavish and innovative pandals (makeshift prayer arrangements), each displaying an interpretation of Goddess Durga. The ten-armed Goddess saved the world from evil when she slayed the demon, Mahishasur. A deity that embodies the power of the feminine both destructive and nurturing, today, Durga is a symbol of woman power. In her modern incarnation, she brings a message of destroying evil in its many forms - hunger, poverty, gender discrimination, ecological change and even terrorism. Come, join us as we go pandal-hopping and treat yourself to a sensory organza. Take delight in the beauty of a city turned into a gallery; be surrounded by silks and muslins, extravagant clothes, jewellery and makeup. Listen to the fascinating sounds that fill the air. Tantalise your taste buds with the offerings of Bengal. We promise you an unforgettable experience!

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Dussehra (Kota, Rajasthan)

What better way can there be to witness the win of good over evil, of light over darkness than at the celebration of the festival of Dussehra in Kota? A riot of colours, this festival imbibes the spirit of good among the people and celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the evil Raavan. Celebrated with gusto and energy, Dussehra is held in the Hindu month of Ashvin, which is usually in September or October. The people enjoy the excellent theatrical performances and enactments from the Ramayana. Although celebrated all over the country, The Kota Dussehra Mela is unique as it is much more than just the win of good over evil. Welldecorated shops, cultural performances and traditionally clad locals are the things to look out for; right from the time you enter the fair. It is the most important event in the cultural calendar of the city as the history of this Dussehra fair goes back to 1723 AD. More than 75 feet tall effigies of the demons Raavan, Kumbhakarana and Meghnad are burnt on Dussehra day to symbolize the victory of good over evil. Usually these effigies are filled with crackers. A young child dressed as Lord Ram is made to shoot an arrow of fire at Ravana and the huge figure is burnt. Rich in courtly splendour and archaic traditions, the Dussehra festival here is marked by a glittering procession that attracts thousands from the surrounding villages and brings together communities looking to celebrate greatness.

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Elephanta Festival (Mumbai, Maharashtra)

A culmination of various classical performances can be witnessed under the starry-lit sky, where the performances urge the audience to involve themselves completely into the grand portrayal of Indian culture. Renowned dancers and musicians come together to showcase an extravaganza of stunning dances and enchanting ragas outside the caves of Elephanta. A festival for dance and music organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the Elephanta Festival presents a culturally and spiritually uplifting experience for the people. Festival special lunch services and catering arrangements are also provided for visitors that include a variety of local and delicious food stalls highlighting the traditional cuisine of the area. This art-oriented festival is dedicated to all forms of classical dance and music of India. It is the most preferred one for art and culture lovers. One can imbibe the surreal feeling right from the entrance, till the spectacularly illuminated Maheshmurti cave, where the stage is set for the performances. This festival brings back the golden and most-remembered moments of the glorious Indian past. One of the attractions of this festival is the Shehnai program held at the gateway of India from where tourists can take ferries and boats to the Elephanta caves. The name ‘Elephanta’ was given by the Portuguese when they found a monolithic stone elephant here. Just an hour and a half hour drive away from Mumbai, the Elephanta Festival should definitely be on the bucket list.

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Gangasagar Mela (Sunderbans, West Bengal)

Away from the hustle bustle of the city life, located on an island in the Sunderbans, Gangasagar offers both – the pilgrims and adventure lovers an awaited tourist destination with the charms of an un-spoilt beach on the estuary of the river Ganges. Among the acres of silver sand and under the infinite clear blue sky and sea, Gangasagar provides an ideal destination for visitors looking for a weekend getaway. The many tales of Hindu Mythology and ancient Indian literature such as the Ramayana and works of Tagore and Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay mention Gangasagar. One of the most famous Hindu pilgrimage centres in India, also known as Sagardwip, Gangasagar is still an unexplored and therefore, unexploited territory. Every year on Makar Sankranti, in mid- January, pilgrims from all over India, gather at Gangasagar for a holy dip at the confluence of the river Ganga and the Bay of Bengal. After the refreshing and cleansing holy dip in the river, the pilgrims offer ‘Puja’ or worship at the Kapil Muni Temple. The Gangasagar Mela (Fair) held during Makar Sankranti, boasts of being one the biggest fairs in West Bengal.

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Hemis Festival (Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir)

The birth of Guru Padmasambhava is celebrated as the Hemis Festival in Ladakh. Celebrated in the courtyard of Hemis Gompa, which is known as the largest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, the Hemis Festival is regarded as the most famous Monastic festival, celebrated in Ladakh. The festival is a two day celebration that falls on the 10th day of the Tibetan Lunar month. It is considered that Guru Padmasambhava is a representative reincarnate of Buddha. Every year, the Hemis festival attracts a large number of Tibetans as well as tourists who come to watch and celebrate the festival as they watch the Lamas called Chamms perform masked dance and sacred plays. The performances are accompanied by cymbals, drums and long horns. Every 12 years, the festival takes an auspicious direction when the Tibetan year of the Monkey is celebrated. During this time, the two storey high ‘Thanka’ or a religious icon painted or embroidered on cloth depicting Padmasambhava is displayed. Lamas can be seen dressed in colourful brocades and masked attire while they perform the dance where the underlying theme is good defeating the evil, i.e. Gods defeating the Demons. The different Mudras performed as a part of this dance symbolise the various aspects of the dance drama. Some other performers wear masks representing different divinities of religious or historical importance. Local people become a part of the festival by wearing their finest traditional apparel for the occasion.

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Hola Mohalla (Anand Pur Sahib, Punjab)

Join crowds of friendly cheerful faces as they break into a spontaneous dance to the beat of dhols (drums). Get seduced by the colours of bright new clothes adorning children, women, and men. Be lured by blaring loudspeakers, vying for attention, as they issue invitations to partake in a langar (free community meal). Ogle at the nihangs (Sikh warriors) in their outrageously oversized headgear and blue attire, or simply turn your attention to the hyperbolic displays of masculinities in the sporting arena - we are at the Hola Mohalla. For seven days in the month of March, the holy town of Anandpur Sahib hosts an unusual festival celebrating the martial skills of the Sikh community. In the midst of fighting, the tenth Guru began the custom of organising morale-boosting mock demonstrations by his regiments. Recitation of beautiful folk poetry from the region dreaming of a new religious ethos offset these militant displays to produce the edifice of the Sikh faith. Today the tradition continues as a living reminder of the ethos of a spiritual revolt by the common people. Teachings of saints have always emphasised the spirit of giving back to the community; at the Hola, a unique competition between organisers of langar stalls encourages this spirit. No one will go hungry if people share- that, is the message of the langar. Amidst the display of martial skills, it is this message which will no doubt leave a lasting impression.

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Holi (All over India)

Colours splashing everywhere, people spraying water with water guns and throwing water balloons on each other, laughter, commemorate the festival of Holi. Popularly observed as the festival of colours, this festival has been shaped by different countries in their own way. However, in India it first begins with burning the Holi bonfire a day before the water Holi, which symbolises the killing of Holika. Mythological stories reveal that the sister of Hrinyakashyapu, Hollika was burnt alive on this day hence the name ‘Holika Dahan’. The festival also marks the beginning of the summer season and the end of winters. It also celebrates Radha’s eternal love for Lord Krishna. The festival of Holi is known by different names in different parts of the country. In Bihar it is called Phagwa, Dol Purnima in Bengal and Punjab recognises it by the name of Hola Mohalla. However, the most glorious of all is the Holi of Mathura that lasts for 16 days and is predominantly played with flowers. With Holi comes the preparation of sweets and delicacies, where Ghujiya is the most relished of all. Bhaang is also an important aspect of the food preparations. It is believed that Holi is the day when one gets rid of past errors and ends conflicts. On this day, people pay the debts that have been long waiting to end. It is the beginning of the spring season and for many it is also the beginning of a new year.

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Holi at Diggi Palace (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

Spring in Jaipur is simply enchanting. Come March and a delightful time is in store for those who want to celebrate the beautiful festival of Holi in an especially earthy and homespun yet regal ambience. Come with us as we take you away from the noise and crowds of the streets outside…in through the majestic wooden doors…and enter the vast, lovely lawns of the quietly elegant Diggi Palace. As the doors shut behind you, the garden is transformed into a riot of brilliant colours! Welcome to the Diggi Palace! The Diggi Palace is iconic of Jaipur and is renowned as the perfect setting for some of the city’s finest cultural events – it is, in fact, the ideal place to celebrate Holi and enjoy the bounties of spring. With traditional drums and folk dancers, shimmering mounds of organic colour, tubs of cool water, and classic preparations of sweets, eats, and local brews, Holi at the resplendent Diggi Palace, is literally an affair to remember! So go on, wear your immaculate whites and join us at the Diggi Palace, to play Holi… Experience pure joy as you watch the first burst of colour transform your clothes into a multi-hued canvas, feel the shower of petals, and the smear of coloured powder, as you soak in the superbly intimate, old-worldly surroundings and make new friends…join in the song and dance, taste fabulous foods, and savour every unforgettable moment of your special time here.

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Hornbill Festival (Kohima, Nagaland)

The earthen colours and a treasure trove of history and culture bring together the Hornbill Festival, celebrating the diversity of customs in warrior tribes of Nagaland. These tribes, traditionally organised, fought each other but came together during World War II to fight against the invading Japanese army. The week long annual fest is named after the colourful bird, Hornbill, which is widely respected and depicted in Naga folklore. With the longing to revive the rich Naga heritage, all tribes dress in their traditional battle-gear and bring alive the age-old traditions at the heritage village Kisama. It displays delicately carved hutments along with remarkable cultural dances, indigenous sports, paintings and sculptures expressing headhunting, and decorated morungs or unmarried men’s communal houses amongst other interesting things. One can hear the melody of the log drums, once used to announce the approach and retreat of an enemy. During the lunar and solar eclipse, it is still beaten to mourn for the sun to rise again. We will take you to this traditional memorabilia which includes events like adventure car rally, world war peace rally, flower shows and fashion shows, and interesting contests of eating king chilli and pork fat. Indulge your whimsical side with the story tellers at the Hornbill Literature Festival here and as the sun goes down each day, tap your feet and let your body sway to the biggest music fiesta of the country while listening to some eminent as well as budding rock-bands from India.

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International Kite Flying Festival (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

The International Kite Festival is celebrated on the day of Makar Sakaranti, i.e., January 14, and is organised by the Jaipur Tourism Development Corporation. The festival of Makar Sankranti is marked by the transition of the Sun into the Northern Hemisphere and to commemorate this day, kite enthusiasts from all across the world, come down to the pink city – Jaipur – to participate and display their kite flying skills. In lively colours and myriad shapes and sizes, kites flutter high above in the sky, while those down below controlling them compete over cutting one another’s kite strings. Women prepare special dishes of til papdi and laddoos with sesame seeds and sugar, to mark the festival. The day is also characterised by many helping for a cause, giving to the poor and the needy. The festival is held at the Polo Ground of Jaipur and Jodhpur. A kite market is setup, comprising food stalls, accompanied by cultural performances and special kite displays at night, such as illuminated kites or Tukals, being. In no less than a few years, the International Kite Festival has become one of the most awaited and grand festivals of Rajasthan, living up to its expectations of adding colour to the lives of the people.

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International Yoga Festival (Rishikesh, Uttrakhand)

To celebrate Yoga as a form of living, the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, located in Rishikesh, India, organises the week-long annual International Yoga Festival. Yoga, literally meaning the union of mind, body and soul with the divine, is not a religion, but a practice, that does not favour idol worship or chanting of certain mantras. An ancient science, Yoga is a form of communication that helps one connect with the spiritual realm and leads to a healthy body, peaceful mind and liberation of the soul. During the one week event, Yoga followers learn about yoga through comprehensive lectures and demonstrations of a wide range of yoga styles and asanas, conducted by distinguished proponents of Yoga. The sessions are conducted along the banks of the sacred river and preach the form of living as the celestial unity of the mind, body and soul. Spiritual masters from India, such as the likes of H H Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and H H Radhanath Swamiji, bless the participants with their presence, satsang and divine words of wisdom. The event is hosted across Rishikesh, and Hotel Ganga Kinare is at the forefront of this prestigious event. The hotel has taken it upon itself to present all visiting yoga and meditation enthusiasts, and seekers, with a week-long window into this 1000 year old traditional art form and way of life.

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Island Tourism Festival (Port Blair, Andaman & Nic)

Island Tourism Festival is a 10-day long event, set in the beautiful former colonial island city of Port Blair. The festival showcases dance, drama, music and exhibits art and craft, with the backdrop of a rich flora and fauna, and marine life. Organised by the Andaman & Nicobar Administration, the festival showcases performances by the tribes of the island and renowned cultural troupes, along with the artists of national and international fame, who are invited to perform during the festival. Government agencies and private entrepreneurs from across India attend the exhibition organised as a part of the festival. The exhibition highlights the developmental aspects of these islands. The festival aims at projecting the islands as eco-friendly tourist destinations and is attended by travellers from all over the world. With something in store for everyone, the festival gives adventure enthusiasts an opportunity to enjoy aqua sports and parasailing while also giving them a flavour of the Island Tourism Festival in Andaman. As the kids enjoy puppet shows and participate in baby shows, other activities such as Canoe Race, Scuba Diving competitions, Nicobari Hodi race and Dog shows entertain one and all! With the island being turned into nothing less than a carnival, tourists enjoy a sumptuous dinner in a floating restaurant, as they bask in the picturesque backdrop and splendid surroundings...

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Jaipur Literature Festival (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

Bursting at its seams, for five days every year in January, is the quaint and resplendent little property of Diggi Palace, as it plays host to the ‘largest free literary festival on earth’. From a modest beginning of about a 100 participants in 2006, today it attracts around 250,000 footfalls from book enthusiasts, culture lovers, elderly and the youth to the very youngest in the special kiddie sections or just those wanting to be a part of the ‘it’ scene. Some of the best writers from the Indian subcontinent and the works of regional writers are showcased across numerous simultaneous sessions held over five days. From fiery debates, to raucous laughter, musical renditions under the star lit sky, tales which move the most stone hearted to tears, workshops for budding writers, book signings, and serious exchanges on socio-political issues, all of this and more happens here. Walk into the gates, into a mela (fair) with a difference, for a mela it is in every sense. People dressed in their best rushing to get the prime seats near the stage where their favourites are speaking. Those torn between two simultaneous sessions, bemoaning the inability to double their selves, and those trying to capture the camera’s eye, are jostling with those content with wandering in the grounds for a quick break as they wander through stalls, or catch a quick bite. The festival is a must for book lovers, for those who want to interact with some of the best minds, be it literature or serious political issues, for those who love a good laugh and also who want an informed sense of the subcontinent. But, it is also for those who love a crowd. Be part of its jubilant enthusiasm, for where better to experience it than in breathtaking Rajasthan? We can say one thing for certain, no-one goes away disappointed.

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Khajuraho Dance Festival (Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh)

Khajuraho Dance Festival is organised by the Madhya Pradesh government to promote the cultural heritage of the land and traditional dances of India. The festival is held at the famous temples of Khajuraho which provides a backdrop of stunning architecture. Classical dancers from all over India and also world-over participate in the week-long festival against the backdrop of marvellously illuminated Khajuraho shrines. A variety of classical dances, such as Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri and Mohniattam, are performed at the festival and attract tourists from world over. The festival celebrates the heritage of India and is one of the most important cultural events in the state of Madhya Pradesh. As a result, the festival has earned a global recognition for itself from different renowned dance schools across the world. Providing an opportunity for international display of local talent and art, the festival witnesses tourists from abroad, giving it the culturally extravagant hue that makes it one of a kind.

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Kullu Dussehra (Kullu, Himachal Pradesh)

In a land where myths, legends and age old practices continue to influence the way people organise their lives, Dussehra at Kullu, forms one such tradition. Dussehra is celebrated in numerous ways across India and the mountains of Himachal echo yet another tale. Its origin dates back to the 17th century when King Jagat Singh was put under the curse of a Brahmin who was tortured for the precious pearls he was believed to own. A sage advised the king to bring the idol of Ram to Kullu from Ayodhya to lift the curse. Legends recount different ways in which the idol was brought back eventually lifting the curse, and the King declared Lord Raghunath as the ruling deity of the Valley. Since then, every year in October, Dussehra is celebrated, offering visitors a peek into Kullu’s unique history and culture. The festival commences at Dhalpur Maidan, with a spectacular procession known as the Rath Yatra of the idol of Lord Raghunath. Known as the ‘Valley of Gods’, more than 200 local deities offer homage to Lord Raghunath. The cool mountain breeze plays with the tinkling of bangles, anklets and trinkets as village people perform folk dances. At night, you can also enjoy the enthralling performances at the Kala Kender International dance festival along with an Open Theatre. On the last day, the chariot of Lord Ragunath is taken near the banks of the River Beas, and a pile of thorn bushes is set ablaze symbolising King Ravana’s defeat, as referred to in Hindu mythology. Join these Gods at Kullu in yet another celebration of defeat of the evil.

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Kumbhalgarh Festival (Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan)

The Kumbhalgarh Classical Dance Festival was started in order to promote tourism in Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan. The place is named after its creator, Maharana Kumbha, who was a great patron of Indian martial and fine arts, architecture and learning. The festival brings together India’s art forms and the finest artists – musicians, dancers performing classical dance recitals – set against the backdrop of the magnificent citadel. Local artists also get a boost as they deliver the best of their performances, backed with support from world over. Younger audience are also taken care of with organisation of games, such as, the musical chairs and tug of war. The festival is divided into two parts – day and night. During the day time folk artists of Rajasthan deliver folk performances accompanied with interesting competitions for tourists from archery to rangoli and mehendi. While the tone and mood of the festival is subtle by the evening, however, the scintillating and bedazzling explosion of sound, light, colour and dance lights up the ambience with a spectacle unseen at Kumbhalgarh, to celebrate the days of Maharana Kumbha.

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Lumbini Festival (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh)

Lumbini or Lumbini Grove is the birth place of Gautam Buddha, the founder and preacher of Buddhism, and is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world. The Buddha preached love, serenity, compassion, forbearance, peace, and freedom from all desire – universal messages that are practiced and revered by millions of Buddhists all over the world even today. 2000 years later, the significance, and ancient heritage of Buddhism is honoured every year with the Lumbini Festival, aptly named after the Buddha’s birth place. Organised by the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation, the festival is celebrated every year in Nagarjunasagar in Hyderabad, which is the capital city of Telangana, in south India. The festival takes place over three days in the month of December, and especially marks the importance of Buddhism in the state. Remembering and commemorating the simple yet beautiful teachings and philosophy of the Buddha, the festival organises activities, theatre events, plays, music; also making adequate arrangements for the thousands of tourists and pilgrims who come from all over India and the world to attend it with great faith. The entire Nagarjunasagar Dam is specially illuminated during the festival. Festivities take place with great grandeur and joy. The three day celebration is also a chance for local painters, artisans, craftspeople, and sculptors to showcase their skills. The exquisite works on display here not only represent outstanding workmanship but also take visitors back in time – into ancient Buddhist history; to an era of great peace and prosperity.

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Magh Bihu Festival (Assam)

The Assamese culture is acutely different from the rest of India when it comes to the traditions and the festivals. Bihu, the most popular as well as the national festival of Assam, occurs more than once a year with three different festivals being a part of it. Associated with farming, these festivals are namely Rongali Bihu, Kaati Bihu and Magh Bihu. Also known as Bohag Bihu, the festival of Rongali Bihu signifies the beginning of the Assamese New Year that falls around April 15, every year during the spring season. The Rongali Bihu festival begins with giving a bath to the cattle and livestock in nearby ponds by applying a paste of freshly harvested turmeric or black gram. The cows and bulls are later worshipped, thus giving way to the name goru (cow) bihu. The goru bihu is followed by the Manuh (human) Bihu where the people take a bath and get dressed in new clothes. Traditional food called Larus is made using coconut and rice, along with sweet Jolpan and Pitha that have their own charm. The third day marks the Gosai (Gods) Bihu. Statues of Gods are worshipped on this day and asked for blessings. Songs and dance are performed by young boys and girls wearing traditional dhoti, gamosa and saadar mekhela. It is accompanied by orchestra of dhol, pépa (buffalo hornpipe) and gagana. The Bihu Festival is one festival where people from various communities participate irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, faith or belief.

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Mamallapuram Dance Festival (Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu)

Once the ancient seaport of the mighty Pallava dynasty, Mamallapuram (earlier called Mahabalipuram) in Tamil Nadu, south India, was also renowned as the centre for Pallava art and culture. It is now world famous for its exquisite shore temples, built during the reign of the Pallava King Narasimhavarman, in the 8th century CE. The UNESCO World Heritage listed temples and monuments stand solidly beautiful, facing the sea. It is against the magnificent backdrop of these monuments and the outstanding monolithic rock sculptures, that the Mamallapuram Dance Festival is held every year. The four week long dance festival, held during December-January, is organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu. Paying tribute to Tamil Nadu’s rich and ancient heritage of music, dance, art, and culture, the vibrant Mamallapuram Dance Festival also celebrates different dance forms from all over India. Renowned exponents of the classical dance forms of Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Odissi, Mohini Attam, and Kathakali perform here during the festival. Folk dances are also performed at the festival. The stage for the dancers is Arjuna’s penance, a stunning bass-relief sculpted on the face of two enormous adjacent rocks. The monolithic rock sculptures provide an amazing backdrop. This remarkable natural open-air stage was created about thirteen centuries ago. Dancers, dance lovers, and tourists from all over the world come to Mamallapuram to watch the finest dancers of India perform on this stage under open skies. The ambience is one of an ancient open-air theatre next to the sea!

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Marwar Festival (Jodhpur, Rajasthan)

The ancient state of Marwar was founded in 1459 A.D. by Rao Jodha who was the chieftain of the Rathore tribe of Rajputs. The Rajputs were famed not only for their valour and courage on the battlefield but also for the strong chivalric code of conduct they adhered to, lifelong. These warriors were icons of loyalty, integrity, strength, independence, hard work, and exceptional military and strategic intelligence. Centuries later, Jodhpur, in the deserts of Rajasthan in western India, celebrates the memory of these medieval heroes every year for two days between the months of September - October, during full moon. The Marwar Festival was originally known as the Maand Festival. Maand is a traditional style of folk music that sings to the romance and chivalry of the Rajput rulers. The Rajputs are important figures in India’s vast history; their deeds continue to inspire to this day. In Rajasthan, tales of how they lived and died are passed on from generation to generation through beautiful and moving folk songs. The Marwar Festival showcases the rich and vibrant culture of Jodhpur with the folk music and dance of the Marwar region. With their enthralling performances, the wonderful folk artists bring to life the myths and legends of Rajasthan’s warriors, and recreate the spirit of a bygone royal era. Other events include the camel tattoo show, horse riding, magic shows, puppet shows, and horse polo. The Umaid Bhawan Palace, the Mehrangarh Fort, and Mandore (8 km from Jodhpur) are the venues for the festival.

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Mewar Festival (Udaipur, Rajasthan)

The beautiful and romantic city of lakes, Udaipur, in Rajasthan in western India celebrates the long awaited arrival of spring with the Mewar Festival. The festival is so named after the Mewar kings who ruled Udaipur, and is one of the significant festivals of Rajasthan. It also coincides with the Gangaur Festival, which is especially important to the women of Rajasthan since it honours the Goddess Parvati, the consort of Siva. Udaipur is resplendent with lights and decorations, and radiant with the colours of celebration during the Mewar Festival. The festival is a visual extravaganza brought alive with Rajasthani folk music, dance, drama, processions, devotional music, and firework displays. Gangaur is revered in Rajasthan as the Goddess of marital happiness and conjugal bliss. Rajasthani women, dressed in their finest and most colourful clothes and wearing the most stunning jewellery, assemble to dress the idols of Isar (Siva) and Gangaur (Parvati). Once the idols are dressed, they are carried by the women in traditional processions through different parts of the city. The women sing and dance as they make their way to the Gangaur Ghat at Lake Pichola. Here finally, the idols are carried in special boats and immersed in the lake, making it the perfect finale for a splendid celebration. To finish in truly spectacular style, the Mewar Festival lights up the skies with a fantastic show of fireworks.

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Modhera Dance Festival (Modhera, Gujarat)

The 11th century CE Sun Temple at Modhera in the Mehsana District of Gujarat in western India may be in ruins, but it is one of the finest examples of ancient Indian architecture. Built in 1026-27 A.D. during the reign of King Bhimdev I of Patan, the temple is dedicated to Surya or the Sun God. The remarkable temple is so scientifically constructed and positioned that at the equinoxes, the rays of the rising sun illuminate the deity in the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. The outer walls of the temple are covered with stunning sculptures, most of which are of Surya. The gorgeous canvas on the walls and pillars depict scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. It is in the premises of this stunning temple that the spectacular Modhera Dance Festival is held every year in January. Organised by Gujarat Tourism, the three day visual extravaganza celebrates dance, music, and art – reviving the state’s glorious royal heritage, and recreating the ambience of centuries gone by. Classical and traditional dance forms from all over the country set the stage on fire, with the incredibly beautiful Sun Temple acting as the backdrop to this celebration of India’s beautiful traditions and culture. The biggest highlight of the Festival is the Garba dance of Gujarat. People dressed in colourful clothes perform the vibrant Garba dance. Lights, colours, entertainment, glimpses of culture, and the exquisite setting of an ancient temple make the whole festive experience simply perfect.

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Mysore Dasara (Mysore, Karnataka)

Intricately woven with legends and mythology, the city of Mysore is a storehouse of history and cultural festivities. Local narratives reveal that this place was once ruled by a buffalo-headed demon, Mahishasura. The people prayed to the Gods to free them from his reign when Goddess Parvathi came to their rescue by taking the form of Chamundeshwari in a battle that lasted for nine days till he was vanquished. The city derives its name from this demon and celebrates this legend with the Dasara Festival, a tradition started by the Vijayanagar kings in the 19th century. During the festivities, the Mysore Palace is adorned in lights and the streets become vibrant with procession of decked-up elephants carrying the idol of Goddess Chamundeshwari in the golden howdah, to be worshipped by the royal family and masses alike, along with colourful tableaux, ecstatic dancing groups and music bands, horses and camels. Across the illuminated Mysore Palace is the local Dasara exhibition for clothes, kitchenware, cosmetic products, exquisite handicrafts and local eatables. The nine nights are a celebration of Goddess Durga in all her incarnations with special pujas or prayers leading up to the tenth day, Vijayadashami, to celebrate the victory of good over evil, a day when the Goddess Chamundeshwari slayed Mahishasura. Let’s see this city in its full galore and fervour with decorated elephants, garlanded idols, folk dance performances, doll shows, food and film festival, wrestling and other sports, fireworks and much more.

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Nagaur Cattle Festival (Nagaur, Rajasthan)

Colourful twirling ghagraas (skirts) and beautiful veils drawn half across faces, enormous turbans (men’s traditional head gear), gorgeously massive jewellery, outrageous moustaches; camels, horses, oxen, donkeys, cows, and bullocks, together numbering in tens of thousands all from part of the Nagaur Cattle Festival. Adding to this extravaganza are pretty birds squawking from brightly painted cages, dogs and cats, merchandisers and craftswomen and men. Bright hues of red hot chilli, set ablaze under the bright golden sun, set off a sharp pungent smell ,which tickles the nostril. This is the scene in Rajasthan, at one of the largest cattle fairs in the world held in the small town of Nagaur. Lying between Jodhpur and Bikaner, is this ancient habitation which finds its earliest probable mention in the Mahabharata. A spot which provided comfort to lonely wanderers and traders, it grew into a multicultural township with a rich tapestry of inter religious life. The annual cattle festival attracts people from nearby areas. Along with the trading, fairs give the rare opportunity to local people for outings with family and friends. Everywhere there is excitement, with singing and dancing, haggling over prices, and crowds of giggling women trying on bangles and footwear, eating food they have not had to cook. Adding to the merriment are games and activities such as tug of war, camel racing, bullock races, cockfights, juggling, puppet performances, camp fires, ballads sung by traditional story tellers. Join in this festive atmosphere and take back memories of an Indian village and an experience of a lifetime.

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Navaratri Sangeetholsavam (Trivandrum, Kerala)

The nine days of the auspicious Navaratri Festival in Kerala comes alive with music in the Navarathri Mandapam at the Fort Palace complex in Thiruvananthapuram. The compositions featured belonged to the music maestro, Swathi Thirunal, who was a former king of the Travancore dynasty. The festival is known to adhere to its traditions – be it music or technology, used to amplify the sound. This ancient acoustic technology uses earthen pots of multitudinous sizes and thicknesses that are put up on the ceiling by the means of coir ropes while their mouths face the ground. Even the mouths of these pots are of different measurements. Technically, the pots are placed in such angles that they pose as sound reflectors and thus prevent echoes. Apart from featuring exquisite Indian classical music, the audience also gets a chance to be mesmerised by traditional dance performances. The atmosphere is filled with soulful music and a distinct smell of sandalwood and flowers that lingers in the air. Even the ambience on the stage is settled by the oil lamps that burn as the beautiful performances takes palace are offer the other.

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Nehru Trophy Boat Race (Alapuzzha, Kerala)

The serene backwaters overflowing, the green earth bursting with life freshly washed by unrelenting rains, and the melody of the birds is matched by the joyous song of the farmer, grateful for the paddy harvest. Preparations gain momentum for the Nehru Trophy Boat race, to win the coveted rolling trophy that will bring joy to the winning village for many months to come. The teams, crossing over a hundred members each, have been living together for weeks, toiling to get into the rhythm which will keep the giant boats afloat. As the participants work under strict rules of diet, daily regimens of exercise, and practicing celibacy to preserve their vital strength, the villagers are busy rooting for their favourite team. On the day of the race, one can safely say that all roads lead to the waters. Large groups of people rush in the morning to grab their favourite spot, on banks and staircases, on roofs and the balcony seats- trees overhanging the channels from which the boats will pass. The Kali-Vallangal (racing boats) start lining up, decked up in bright colours, the snakes open hood gleaming in the sun, umbrellas held aloft add to the spectacle, but it is the sound and sight of the boats, as they race across the Punnamada Lake which is truly mesmerising. Tranquil waters burst into shower, sliced by hundreds of oars held by sinewy arms working in tandem with the rhythm of the drums and songs. Join us for a mesmerising experience.

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Onam (Kerala)

The southern state of Kerala springs to life in the months of August- September as heavy rain clouds recede, giving way to lush greens. Ebbing waters leave behind abundant crops of rice, the staple food of the region. Resplendent in its natural abundance the predominantly agrarian culture celebrates Onam, the annual visit of the mythical King Mahabali. Ten days of feasts and festivities mark the welcome of the beloved king who is blessed with the boon of a yearly visit to his people, a boon he asked from Lord Vishnu as he willingly gave up his entire kingdom. His visit brings with it prosperity and a reminder of times when, under his rule, people lived in harmony and fulfilment. The natural wonder is rendered divine by feasts and festivities and colourful processions comprising beautifully decorated floats and heavily caparisoned elephants, grand display of flowers, enchanting snake boats gliding down river waters. The exaggerated makeup worn by the folk dancers, the exquisite finesse in the tiger faces painted on the bellies of the tiger dancers are offset by men, women and children dressed in simple white and gold. Markets overflowing with new things provide an exhilarating frenzy and in homes it is customary to buy and use new clothes, utensils, and food items. Welcome to captivating 10 days in ‘God’s Own Country’ which provide a rich montage of all aspects of life of the Malayali (inhabitants of Kerala) people.

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Paripally Gajamela (Parippally, Kerala)

Majestic, magnificent and richly decorated in colourfull fabrics and ornaments – this is how the elephants look during the Paripally Gajamela in Kerala. Also known as the ‘festival of elephants’, 50 of these tuskers are a treat to behold during the 10-day festival, which is held at the annual festival of the Kodimoottil Sree Bhagavathi Temple at Paripally in the Kollam district. These elegantly decorated animals share their space with mahouts who sit atop them holding a colourful muthukuda (silk parasols) aalavattom (peacock feather fans), and venchamaram (white tufts). The festival is a tribute to the Goddess Bhadrakali and it takes place during the month of Kumbham (February to March). The procession of all the elephants together on the final day of the festival is complete with Thalappoli i.e. women in traditional attire holding lighted lamps in decorated platters. The ninth day of the festival marks the event of Kuthiyottam, a ritual in which the devotees attach metal rods to their body. This ritual is a symbolic representation of bali or sacrifice (human). There are several cultural programmes that are also arranged in the premises of the temple during the duration of the festival. Percussion instruments are a highlight of the festival as they are played with great delight and enthusiasm. The festival sends out a message of togetherness, devotion and faith.

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Peruvanam Pooram Festival (Thrissur, Kerala)

The Peruvam Temple in the Cherpu district of Kerala receives a larger than life charm as it prepares itself during the Peruvanam Pooram Festival. This festival takes place during the months of March and April or the Malayalam month of Meenam. The festival is considered to be one of the most popularly celebrated temple festivals in the state of Kerala whose commanding deity is Lord Shiva and is considered to be a silent spectator than a participant. While history witnessed 108 temples, currently, around 23 temples participate in the procession, also known as Ezhunnallippu. Legend says that the present sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum) was primitively a tree on which Lord Shiva used to meditate. The current version of the festival is considered to have been existing for 1428 years. As the tradition goes, worshipping elephants in Kerala during an important festival is considered to be sacred. In the same way, during the Peruvanam Pooram festival, the cavalcade includes a deity atop a grandiose elephant along with six other majestic elephants. Panchari melam is an enchanting feature of the festival that starts past midnight and is followed by spellbinding fireworks. The visual treat of teh procession and the mesmerising beats of the music played on percussion instruments by locals make this an awe-inspiring sight

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Pongal (Kerala)

In an earthen pot, almost brimming over with milk simmering atop a fire, rice and other cereals are added, to create Pongal, a thanksgiving feast. This is the offering to the Sun God, the life-giver of all that exists. Decked in traditional attire, men and women and children sing and dance, expressing profound joy as they thank the rain God, Lord Indra. Cattle bedecked with multi-coloured beads, tinkling bells, sheaves of corn and flower garlands too are worshiped. Into the fire are cast token useless household articles during Bhogi Mantalu, so that what was unwanted is put to use, providing warmth during the last lap of winters. For an agrarian society, nothing compares with the joy of a good harvest. All over India, the harvest season is celebrated with gusto, in its various regional flavours. Celebrated over four days in the state of Tamil Nadu, in the Hindu calendar month of Thai which falls in January-February, Pongal celebrates the rice harvest. Along with rice, other cereals sugar-cane, and turmeric (an essential ingredient in Tamil cooking) are also harvested. Each of these is an essential component of the sweet and savoury ritual dishes that are prepared over the four days. Join us as we celebrate the cycle of life, of regeneration and nature’s infinite bounty. Through mesmerising landscapes and bewitching architecture, let us also be your guide to age-old customs and traditions, which celebrate nature and human dependence on the cycles bound by it.

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Pushkar Fair (Pushkar, Rajasthan)

Winding their way down tracks across hills under the blazing sun and onto the yellow shifting sands arrive merchants, herders and traders, on camels, horses, and on foot to one of the largest camel fair in the country. Pushkar is a small town, believed to be one of the most ancient surviving cities of India, and one of the five, held most sacred by Hindu religion. The beautiful lake emerged where the rose petals from Brahma’s (the Supreme Creator) flower fell. Innumerable temples including the only Brahma temple surround the enormous pool of water. The clear skies in their varying hues of blue, white, yellow, and gold giving way to pitch black darkness reflected in the tranquil waters, bestow a calm mesmerising serenity in this otherwise harsh desert land. The Pushkar Fair is held every year, on the full moon of Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. Although the largest camel fair, horses, cows, goats and sheep are also sold here. Bedecked in bright cloth, dyed, printed and embroidered, wearing outrageously oversized jewellery of tinkling bells, the animals manage to shine over their human competition. Proud owners astride their elegant camels sashay down the runway, showing off their beloved’s beauty made resplendent by careful and painstaking effort. Yet others are more interested in showing off their favourite animal’s prowess in carrying the maximum numbers on its back. When people gather in Rajasthan, can the dancers and musicians, the folk singers, and craftspeople be far behind!

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Rajgir Dance Festival (Rajgir, Bihar)

Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir are considered equally sacred in the ancient capital of the Magadhan Empire in Bihar – Rajgir. Due to the association with Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir, Rajgir is considered to be a centre for pilgrimage and holds an immense historical importance along with being a popular tourist destination. The Rajgir Dance Festival takes place every year in the last week of October and brings forward an array of entertainment in the field of music as well as other forms of entertainment. Instrumental music, opera, folk dance, ballet and many different schools of classical dance and music, create their own magic and an almost heavenly experience during the festival. Unusually colourful and full of life, the Department of Tourism, Bihar holds this festival with an aim to encourage the distinct folk and classical cultures of India to come forward on a common platform. Nothing less than a carnival of dance and music, the Rajgir Dance Festival has not just attracted tourists and performers from all over the country but even famous celebrities have often made their presence felt here. This event fills up the entire place with creative energy and the performers look forward to perform in this joyous event primarily because the Rajgir Dance Festival is seen as a platform where the legacy of Indian dance and music is taken to new heights each year.

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Rath Yatra (Puri, Odisha)

Enormous chariots built to specification, in bright colours and with elaborate decoration, pulled by a frenzied crowd through the streets of Puri - the three sibling Gods, Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra are off to visit their aunt. The term ‘Juggernaught’ comes from ‘Jagannath’. This annual ritual journey that takes place between Puri’s main temple, Jagannath Temple and the Gundicha Temple and attracts millions of devotees. For non-Hindus and any foreigners including those entering into the Hindu fold this is a single opportunity to get close to the temple Gods whose darshan (viewing) itself will provide moksha (freedom from the cycle of rebirth). The Ratha Yatra takes place on the second day of the waxing cycle of the third month in the Lunar Calendar, but preparations begin months in advance. Strict rules prescribe every aspect of the yatra, from the approved moment of beginning work on the chariots, to the number of workers and hours involved to minute details regarding dimensions, wheels, colour and decor. The deity is also different, a half body carved out of wood which is changed periodically. Mythological tales explain the incomplete body as the will of Lord Jagannath himself. Join the numbers which flock to Puri. Be astounded by the sheer size and energy of the procession.

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Sonepur Mela (Saran District, Bihar)

When the moon is in full bloom, shining brightly on the waters where River Ganga and River Gandak meet, some thousands of people, and all kinds of animals and birds flock the grounds of Sonepur, near Patna. The Sonepur Cattle Fair, the biggest cattle fair of Asia, is celebrated on Kartik Poornima (full moon) and continues to attract visitors from all over Asia. It began under the reign of King Chandragupta Maurya (322 B.C.) who used to buy animals from across the River Ganges attracting traders from places as distant as Central Asia. Today, all kinds of animals are on display, from the majestic elephants, baby camels, and horses to donkeys, dogs, buffaloes, and an amazing array of colourful birds. Amidst the symphony of animal noises, excited chatter of people, and booming loudspeakers everywhere, you will find yourself walking on the dusty ground through stalls selling bangles, bags, trinkets, toys, spices, and local eateries. A thrilling source of entertainment at the fair includes the exhilarating performance at the Maut ka Kuan or Well of death. Here bikers and car drivers, interestingly including women, perform deathly stunts in the most bizarre ways possible. You will have to watch this to believe it!

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Sufi Festival (Jodhpur, Rajasthan)

A silent breeze carries into the deserts the hypnotic voices of Sufi masters, while the spellbinding swirls of the mystics’ gowns and dim lights transform the corridors of Ahhichatragarh Fort, into an ethereal bliss. Delightful music, pleasant weather, dancers swaying in a devotional trance; we welcome you to the World Sacred Spirit Festival. Lying between Jodhpur and Bikaner, is the ancient habitation of Nagaur which finds its earliest probable mention in the Mahabharata. A spot which provided comfort to lonely wanderers and traders it grew into a multicultural township with a rich tapestry of inter-religious life. Islam had arrived in India with the simple message of equality in the teachings of Sufi saints long before and with greater success than the more well-known, so called ‘Islamic invasions’. In this long inhabited town there are innumerable temples, and also the dargah (final resting place of Muslim saints) of the widely revered Haminuddin Chishti which is about 700 years old. The shrines of the saints embody the syncretism of religious life of the masses, made popular by the Sufi tradition. It is this Sufi mysticism that is brought to life at the music festival which celebrates voices from India and beyond, in musical renditions of the masters, by the most talented performers. Do join us on this spiritual journey which takes off in resplendent Rajasthan.

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Surajkund Crafts Mela (Faridabad, Haryana)

As the time for the annual fest, popularly known as Surajkund Crafts Mela draws near, the ancient reservoir known as Surajkund (located at a distance of 8 km from the city of Faridabad not far from Delhi) gets ready to be decked up for the various events to mark an unforgettable fiesta. The beating of drums, splash of colours and the handicraft items best describe this event. The mela is known to create an ambience of its own and is eagerly awaited by the Indian and international tourists alike. Surajkund Crafts Mela aims to promote the various traditional handicrafts in India. Each year the organisers come up with a theme that is based on culture and the arts of any particular state. The rural setting of this place encourages hundreds of award winning artists from every corner of India to come and be a part of this celebration. It also serves as a major platform for the new and upcoming artists who wish to showcase their skills in the field of arts and crafts. Undoubtedly the biggest craft fairs of India, Surajkund Crafts Mela, which is held in February every year, has marked its place on the Indian tourism calendar in the last 26 years. A shopper’s paradise by its own, the Surajkund Crafts Mela offers exquisite paintings, pottery, apparels, ethnic jewellery, toys, and many other things. For people who come to witness the brilliant showcase of entertainment, a fan shaped open air theatre called Natyashala is the venue for witnessing soulful music and dance performances. Mouth-watering cuisines from different SAARC countries is an added bonus to those attending the fair.

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Taj Mahotsav (Shilpagram, Uttar Pradesh)

The Indian cultural diversity that has been spread over for almost 5000 years while being finely coated with history and mythology comes alive during the Taj Mahotsav. An extravagant 10 day event, the Taj Mahotsav is a much awaited annual event that serves as a common ground to bring together the finest of Indian crafts and cultural specimens. Beginning from February 18, each year, the mahotsav is organised by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department and is held at the Shilpgram. The event gives a glimpse of the history and its vast diversified significance through a potpourri of performances. Difficult to miss, the Taj Mahotsav is the perfect venue where one can witness the best of India’s arts, crafts, culture, cuisine, dance and music, all under the same roof. An aristocratic ensemble of 400 Indian musicians, folk artists, dramatists ensures that the event leaves a mark in the memory of the spectators, especially those who have a soft corner for folk and classical arts. Along with the charming artists, the Taj Mahotsav also serves as a unique shopping destination among everything else. Shoppers can shop for a variety of antiques, handicrafts, wood and ivory work while enjoying the appetising cuisines. Offering a wide spectra of folk music (shayari), dance performances, camel and elephant rides, relatively liked by the Indian and international tourists, Taj Mahotsav offers a spectacular experience and remains a major tourist attraction for the city of Agra. Each year, it is celebrated with a theme that sends out a message to the whole world.

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Tarnetar Mela (Thangadh, Gujarat)

Popularly known as the Trinetreshwar Mahadev Mela or in other words the Tarnetar Mela, the mela (fair) is organised in a village called Tarnetar, which stands 39 km from Chotila in Surendranagar District of Gujarat. The festival and the mela are celebrated together to ceremonialise the wedding of Arjun and Draupadi. The fair is held at the grounds of the temple, which is known as Trinetreshwar Mahadev Temple. The temple also has a kund or a reservoir by the name of papanshu (the destroyer of sins). It is believed that taking a dip in the waters of the kund is as holy as taking a dip in the sacred river Ganga. According to numerous mythological tales, Prince Arjun had accomplished the unimaginable task of piercing the eye of a fish in the pond located in Tarnetar itself, following which, his famous swayamvar with Draupadi took place here. The tradition of holding a swayamvar continues here even today. Unmarried men and women from tribal communities, such as, Bharwad and others visit the fair looking for a prospective match. The custom goes about that men stand under embroidered umbrellas looking for a bride while the women go around with an umbrella looking for a groom. The Trinetreshwar Mahadev Mela is a vibrant affair. From ethnic Gujarati costumes to the folk dance to music and the glittering jewellery, everything is a part of the fair. A cattle exhibition and an event called Rural Olympics along with bullock cart and horse race give it a picturesque appeal in itself.

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Teej Fair (Jaipur, Rajasthan)

Women wearing colourful lahariya saree and bangles, along with a bindi on their forehead, vermilion, dark henna on their hands, and ghevar (sweet) together symbolise the festival of Teej. One of the most widely celebrated festivals of Rajasthan, the festival of Teej is dotted with swings, traditional songs and dancing. This day marks the coming together of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. It is also believed that it took Goddess Parvati 108 births on earth before she was accepted as his wife. Due to these reasons, the festival is considered auspicious for attaining blessing of marital bliss. The most important aspect of this festival is that women fast during the day without drinking or eating anything. At night, they eat the food prepared by the men. Swings decorated with flowers play an important part during the festival as the women wear green clothes and swing while singing traditional Teej songs. The festival is also considered as the beginning of the monsoon season and thus Teej also gets its name as the Saawan Festival and Hariyali Teej. Due to a number of fairs, the festival of Teej also attracts a good amount of tourists. Although the exact date of the festival keeps changing, it is precisely celebrated on the third day of the bright half of the North Indian Lunar month of Shraavana.

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The Desert Festival (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan)

The Desert Festival or the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is held annually in February every year. Exciting events such as cultural events, camel races and even turban tying competitions take place at the festival every year. The golden sands of the Thar Desert add an enchanting charm to the festival. This is a three day long extravaganza where the cultures of Rajasthan are on display. It takes place in the Golden Fortress of Jaisalmer. The festival attracts performers such as folk artists who sing and dance expressively to the triumphs and tragedies of this land and even local nomadic acrobats known as Kalabaz or Nat’s as well as snake charmers take part in the festival. During the Desert Festival, the city and the people start glowing with joy and activity. It also attracts a number of tourists, especially from other countries and is organised by the Rajasthan State Tourism Corporation. The longest moustache competition is the most anticipated event during the festival. Here, even the guests and tourists are invited to judge the man with the longest moustache. Visitors can be seen posing for pictures with the man who wins this competition. This picture they believe is a moment worth remembering. The other most popular highlight of the festival includes the performances by famous Gair and fire dancers. The Jaisalmeri camels also take part in a series of events such as camel races, camel polo and camel dance. The Desert Festival is an extensively colourful festival that also offers a shopping experience while focusing on just local heritage and customs.

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The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (Mumbai, Maharashtra)

The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is a unique kaleidoscope of culture and art. Art lovers from all over the country visit Mumbai during the festival that exhibits an extensive array of art, literature, music, dance, cinema and theatre. Formed on October 30, 1998, the festival is aimed at preserving and maintaining the art culture of Sothern Mumbai. The festival was started in 1999 and continues to serve an assortment of arts to its audience. World renowned artists display their pieces of art during the festival in the visual arts section. There is also a literature section that works as a platform for book launches, discussions and workshops with popular authors. Eminent artists and groups in the field of dance, music and drama engage their audience with spell binding performances. The culinary section which is most popular among food lovers, offers a live food demonstration experience on a variety of cuisines. Art installations in the festival are eye catching and intriguing and develop a sense a curiosity in the viewer. The festival commences in the first week of February every year and is extremely popular among tourists and participants. An eagerly awaited event, the Kala Ghoda Festival is not just meant for the adults but also offers various events for the children to engage themselves. It is held across different venues including the auditorium at the National Gallery of Modern Art, the garden at the David Sassoon Library, the lawns and auditoriums at the CSMVS, The Museum, Mumbai, and the Cross Maidan, among others.

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Thrissur Pooram (Thrissur, Kerala)

Thrissur Pooram is considered as the most colourful of all temple festivals in Kerala. Thrissur/Thrissivaperoor Pooram is frequently also referred to as “the pooram of all poorams”. It is celebrated every year on Pooram – the day when the moon rises with the Pooram star in the Malayalam Calendar month of Medam. The Vadakkumnathan Temple situated on the famous kkinkadu maidhanam which is a hillock right in the centre of city, serves as the venue for the festival. People believe that the Gods and Goddesses of the neighbouring temples descend from the heavens to be a part of the celebrations in this temple. These Gods and Goddesses visit the temple premises sitting atop giant and unusually decorated elephants along with grand ensembles of Chenda melam and pancha vadyam. Around 50 elephants wearing Nettipattam (decorative golden headdress), beautiful bells and ornaments, impressive Kolam with umbrellas perched atop, beautify the festival more. The festival is a 36 hours of unbroken pooram while serving as a place of major tourist attraction. The Thiruvampadi and Paramekkavu temples or Dewasoms are the major points of attraction of the festival. These two temples compete with each other in display of spectacular fireworks. The festival signifies the coming together of different communities to promote communal harmony. The Muslim community provides the craftsmanship of the Pandals, while the material for the umbrellas called Kudamatton is offered by the members of the church. Thrissur Pooram was started in 1798 by Raja Rama Varma the Maharaja of Cochin from 1790–1805.

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