Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christian Worship Temples

Basilica of Bom Jesus

The Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the most famous churches in India. Located in the heart of beach city Goa, the Basilica of Bom Jesus was constructed in the year 1695. This ancient church is known to to hold the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier who died while on a sea voyage to China on December 2, 1552. The holy saint made his last wish to transfer his mortal body to Goa, which was fulfilled by his followers in the year following his death. It is said that the saint's body was as fresh as the day it was buried. The divine body of St. Francis Xavier is kept for public viewing every ten years (last held in 2004). The authentic devotion amongst the Christians for the holy soul can be easily felt at those times. The saint is said to have miraculous powers of healing, and pilgrims come from all over the country. The church is carpeted with marble flooring and inlaid with precious stones. Apart from the elaborate gilded altars, the interior of the church is simple. The church also holds paintings of St. Francis Xavier. The Tomb of St. Francis Xavier (1696) was the gift of the last of the Medicis, Cosimo III, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Basilica of Bom Jesus is a world heritage site and a lively example of devotion.

Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine

Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine was founded by St. Thomas. It is situated at the southernmost state of India - Kerala. This church is one of the famous and holy Christian shrines in India. Mar Thomas Pontifical Shrine has a very rich past history. It is believed that St. Thomas, the apostle, landed on Nov. 21, 52 A.D. at Kodungallur, adjacent to Azhicode, then known as Musiris, in Kerala. During her stay here, she preached the message and teachings of Christianity in Kerala. Later she formed seven churches and few Christian communities in Kerala and Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine was the first of them. It is said that Mar Thomas Pontifical is the cradle of Christianity in India. Visit this ancient Church for a lifetime meory of stupendous devotion and passion for religion.

Santa Cruz Basilica

Santa Cruz Basilica is is one of the oldest and famous churches in India.. It is located in Kochi, Kerala. Originally built by the Portuguese in the year 1505, Santa Cruz Basilica was elevated to the cathedral by then Pope, Pope Paul IV in the year 1558. This ancient church has a very defiant history. Famous around the world, Santa Cruz Basilica is a 500 years old church. The British had partially destroyed it in 1795. Again when the Dutch people invaded and destroyed many catholic buildings, this church was spared. Later this sacred building was demolished and renovated by the British in 1887 by the orders of Bishop Dom Gomez Vereira. Santa Cruz was titled as Basilica by the Pope John Paul II in the year 1984. A must visit for everyone to witness the genuineness of Christian religion.

St.Francis Church

St.Francis Church is one of the oldest European Church in India. It was built in 1503. Located at Kochi in Kerala, St.Francis Church stands today as an epic evidence of Christian history. There is an interesting story associated with St.Francis Church. In 1503, the then Rajah of Kochi permitted Alphonso Alburquerque to build this church. It describes about the struggle of the European colonies in India. St.Francis Church holds the honor being associated with great Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama. He died in Kochi in 1524 and his body was buried in this church only. But later the remains of his body were taken back to Lisbon in Portugal. St.Francis Church is amongst the most sacred worship place of Christians.

Se Cathedral Church

The Se Cathedral Church is considered to be the largest in Asia. It is located in the city of exotic beaches - Goa. Built in dedication to St. Catherine of Alexandria, this church was built by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The Se Cathedral is famous for its five massive bells. The existing tower houses a famous bell, 'Golden Bell' which has a melodic tone. The main altar is dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria. Old paintings on either sides of the altar portray scenes from her life and martyrdom. Portuguese style with a Tuscan peripheral and Corinthian core constitute the architecture of this famous church. Originally, there were two towers, on either side of the facade, but the one on the southern side plummeted in 1776. The fallen bell tower was never rebuilt and has given the building an exceptionally charming look. A visit to this ancient and sacred church is surely a divine experience.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Christmas - A time for Family Reunion


'A Time for Family Reunion'

Christmas is here and its time to celebrate the birthday of Lord Jesus Christ on 25th of Dec. The festival is celebrated all around the world with immense joy and devotion. The whole atmosphere is buzzed with jingles of Christmas bells and churches singing Christmas carols. People exchange gifts with their friends and relatives. The tempting Plum Cakes along with variety of other Christmas Recipies are prepared on this last festival of the year.

The whole world gets lightened on the Christmas eve. Display of various decorations such as lights, candles, mistletoe etc marks a jubilant atmosphere. The main attraction of Christmas is the Christmas tree which is a mesmerizing sight of sparkles and shimmers with lights and other decorative materials. It is beautifully lit and decorated with lights, candles, stars, balloons and other decorative materials along with edible goodies. It is also a tradition to hide all the gifts under a Christmas tree or inside a sock in the case of children and be distributed on Christmas Day.

Christmas is the time when children get busy in writing letters to Santa Claus to get their wishes completed. Santa Claus is supposed to climb down the chimney to deliver the gifts to the children when they are asleep. People attend masses, sing Christmas carols, exchange Christmas cards with one another and celebrate this holy festival with great excitement. Christmas festivities continue throughout the 12 days of Christmas and are symbolized by bright fires, the Yule log, exchange of gifts, carnivals (parades) with floats, carolers who sing while going from house to house, holiday feasts, and the church processions.

Besides the grand celebrations of Christmas, it is also a time for family reunion. As it arrives at the end of the year, people tend to take a week off from their work and enjoy the days with their families. Falling in midst winter, Christmas reunites the families making them enjoy this holy festival as a whole. The most astonishing experience is the Christmas eve when the complete family celebrates a gala time together. Generally, people plan their winter vacations during Christmas and explore new destinations with their families.

Christmas brings smile on every face and acts as a bonding force between families. So enjoy the world celebration of Christmas. Plan your vacations and have a memorable time. . .


Friday, February 13, 2009

Valetine Day Special

Valentine day is celebrated amidst lot of fanfare every year on the 14th. day of February. This is a day when love is in the air and when lovers all across the globe express their feelings towards their loved ones. In the recent years, the fever of valentine day has caught up quiet strongly among the people of India. There is a sudden swift change all around the marketplace as lot of shops gear up to sell merchandises to mark the occasion, hotels come up with lucrative discounts to attract the love birds, and there is seen a sudden rise in the number of cinema-goers. All this a part of the interesting marketing strategies adopted by the corporate world. In India, this years valentine day festivities would be in the backdrop of the recent attack on women pub-goers in Mangalore.

The tourism industry also works at rapid fire pace as they gear up for this day with announcement of many lucrative tour packages to attract the consumers. People in love leave no stone unturned in ensuring they give their best to their loved ones and each one of them makes it a point that the day is memorable as it is the only day in the world kept exclusively for love. They spend lavishly on gifts and booking exotic tour packages to woo their loved ones, with metropolitan city goers of Delhi & Mumbai going as far as the backwaters of Kerala to renew their love vows.

There is a wide-spread caution among the law enforcement agencies all over the country to ensure that the festivities are not marred by any unruly incident by any group acting as a moral police. Acts like the one instigated recently in Mangalore in the garb of moral policing curtails the freedom of expression of the citizen of India and show it in bad light in front of the world. Therefore, the law enforcement agencies will be all geared up to prevent any untoward incident on 14th. of February.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Magic of Desert Festival

..............................Desert Festival (click on the image for more information)

Event : Desert Festival

Date : 7th - 9th February 2009

Venue : Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

It is time to head to the golden city of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. The Internationally acclaimed Desert Festival starts on 7th February. This is a 3 gala festival which is filled with music, dance, culture and competitions. It is an yearly cultural event which attracts performers from all over Rajasthan and spectators form all of the world. The camel shows like camel dance and camel acrobatics with decorated camels is of particular interest to the tourists. And you really don't want to miss the Mr. Desert Competition. This competition is about the length of the mustache and the Man with the longest mustache is the winner. Mr. Desert competition will surely leave you dumbstruck. There are other folk and cultural events as well like puppet shows and Rajasthani folk dances.
The venue is one of its biggest points. The finals of the competitions are held right in the middle of the desert on Sand dunes. Since the festival is organized on weekends; being a part of Desert Festival in Jaisalmer is a perfect option for weekend getaway.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mamallapuram Dance Festival

.......................................Mamallapuram Dance Festival..................................................

I am witnessing one of the most prolific display of Indian Classical Dances these days. I have come to Tamil Nadu to be a spectator in the famous Mamallapuram Dance Festival. The festival started on the day of Christmas and will continue till 25th January. A month long dance festival, that makes it the longest dance festival in India.

I have now been here for three days and every night has been a special one. I saw live performance of Bharatnatyam that absolutely mesmerized me. As much as the dance is intriguing, the backdrop is also mind blowing. The venue is the Arjuna's penance. It is a bass-relief carved on two gigantic rocks. There is a performance of different dance every night. All Indian classical dances like Odissi, Kuchipudi, Kathakali and Kathak are slated to be performed here during Mamallapuram Dance Festival. The performers are all very well known and established dancers.

So if you are coming to Mamallapuram or even Chennai which is only about 50 km from here, do not miss out on this dance festival.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ananya – The Dance Festival

Every year in the month of October, Delhi gets to witness a breathtaking display of talent in Indian Classical dances by some eminent personalities. I am talking about the newly started Ananya Dance Festival that is organized by Delhi Tourism department is association with a premier dance Organization called 'Seher'.

Knowing a little about 'Seher' will help you a lot in understanding what Ananya Dance Festival is all about. Seher is an organization which works in the area of performing and Visual arts. Founded in the year 1990. Seher has been known for its creativity and experimentation in group choreography.

Group performances with a difference is what you will get to see in the fast becoming famous Ananya Dance Festival. Held with Purana Quila as the brilliant backdrop, Ananya Dance Festival celebrates the beauty of various Indian classical dances in different styles. The daring choreography virtually thins the line between classical and contemporary by reaching for waters never explored before. It is a 5 day festival in which each day is set aside for different classical dances. The dance stresses on taking the dance to a new level, a unique one where it can cope with the changing demands of the spectators. Though one finds a lot of up gradations and experimentation, it has not invited any ire or discontent from enthusiasts who want the dances to retain its originality. It is because, in search of contemporary, the dances have not lost even a bit of the classical essence.

Having completed seven years, Ananya Dance Festival is slowly climbing the ladder to becoming the most famous dance festival in India. It certainly is the most unique already. Since last year it has started a new interactive session in between the festival where general public, scholars and enthusiasts can communicate directly with the artists. This way people get to participate more in the show and know more about different Indian classical dances; and artists get the platform to give a verbal expression to their art.

Ananya Festival left no stone unturned in creating a mesmerizing ambiance for the audience throughout the five days. It is an absolutely unique experience so do not miss the opportunity next year, to find a new face of Indian dances.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Etiquette And Customs

India is a vast country and different customs are followed in different parts of the country. The metros are usually more liberal and cosmopolitan than the countryside, where you may come across unusual customs as are preserved over thousands of years. In general, the attitude to life is vastly different from that in the western world. But Indians are very hospitable people

1 . Always remove your shoes before entering a holy place – a temple, gurudwara or a mosque. Gurudwaras will also require you to cover your head.

2. Do not touch any holy object with your feet or your left hand. Also do not accept or give or eat using your left hand.

3 . Public show of affection is generally disapproved of, particularly in smaller cities and villages.

4 . Avoid wearing skimpy and revealing clothes. Though metropolitan cities are liberal on this front, but in smaller villages, do not even wear clothes that bare hands and legs.

5 . Always follow rules written on notice boards at holy places. If they are written in local languages, make sure you get them clarified from the authorities there before you make a blunder. The rules sometimes can be pretty strict.

6 . Giving tips is customary but not mandatory.