Tag Archives: South Asia

Sri Lanka: Top 5 Hidden Gems to Discover

Thanks to its beautiful coastline, courteous locals, and plenty of sightseeing treasures, Sri Lanka is rapidly becoming an increasingly sought-after vacation spot. If you visit the well-known coastlines in the south or enjoy a few days in Ella, you may have stumbled across Tulum or the banana pancake route of Southeast Asia.

Sri Lanka Hidden Gems

There are excellent, unknown beauties in Sri Lanka that many travelers are unaware of. Although rare tourist sights, these secret spots are breathtaking and captivating. Although Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Anuradhapura, and Sigiriya are probably familiar, the locations we will share with you are equally beautiful places to explore.

In today’s guide, we will tell you about five magical Sri Lanka gems for a mesmerizing vacation with your loved one.

Riverston

The Riverston province of Sri Lanka is about as far away from the tourist path as it gets. This breathtaking area, located in the central part of the island, has more waterfalls than you can shake your hand at.

Several waterfalls, soaring peaks, and gently sloped terrain surround this verdant paradise. Traveling there from Kandy is better if you’re looking for a quiet retreat in the woods far away from Ella’s throng. You can take a train from Ella to Kandy to reach Riverston for a magical vacation.

Gartmore Falls

Among the most spectacular waterfalls in the country is Gartmore Falls. This gorgeous two-tier waterfall offers an untouched infinity pool where you may take a refreshing dip and a breathtaking 30-meter plunge.

It is incredibly gorgeous and is considered one of Sri Lanka’s treasure troves. Suppose all of that wasn’t sufficient. In that case, very few international visitors know about it, let alone visit, as it’s utterly off the main route in Sri Lanka.

Delft Island

As you explore the island, you will find many historic structures and artifacts from the Portuguese, Dutch, and British imperial centuries. A few of them are connected to the Chola era. You can indulge in sandy beaches and tourism in solitude because this serene region is usually unoccupied by tourists. The sole disadvantage is the need for more eateries and dining possibilities.

Panduwasnuwara

During King Pandukabhaya’s administration, Sri Lanka’s headquarters was Panduwasnuwara, a medieval city in the Kurunegala province. The city kept a wisdom tooth antique, which is an emblem of royalty and without which the ruler or the queen cannot be accepted.

Panduwasnuwara has a few good attractions, although it is home to just the wreckage of the kingdom’s structures, which are scattered over 20 hectares.

Like many Sri Lankans who avoid historical towns like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, few travel to this historic settlement. It’s like taking a leisurely stroll through an old town in pieces when you walk through the Panduwasnuwara walls.

Goyambokka and Silent Beach

Besides Goyambokka and Silent Beach, which are idyllic pockets of beauty in the south, the excessive development that’s taken over nearly every square inch of this area has had no impact.

Other than lovely beaches, a small number of eateries, and some water, there are only a few activities to engage there. If all you desire to do is lounge on the beach, this is Sri Lanka’s greatest-kept mystery.

Sri Lanka is slowly becoming a more beloved vacation spot because of its gorgeous coastline, friendly individuals, and many recreational activities. Remember to include these hidden gems if you’re going to Sri Lanka soon.

With this guide to the most scenic and undiscovered spots in Sri Lanka, we have finally discovered the best off-the-beaten-track locations the country offers travelers worldwide.

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A Visual Symphony of Travel Destinations

In the vast expanse of online travel narratives, some travel photographers and journalists emerge as alchemists, transmuting the ordinary into the extraordinary.

More than a photo blog, visual storytelling can be seen as an immersive journey into the heart of exploration, orchestrating a symphony of stories, visuals, and a commitment to responsible travel.

The Artistry of Photoblogging

Beyond Travelogues: Odyssey into Living Stories

Travel photos transcend the constraints of traditional travelogues, embarking on an odyssey that transforms destinations into living, breathing narratives.

Within the virtual pages of any travel blog, readers don’t just read stories they become part of the unfolding tales in bustling markets, tranquil landscapes, and unexplored corners.

Photos immerse the audience in a participatory narrative, inviting them to contribute to the ongoing story of exploration.

Visual Symphony & Pictorial Poetry

Travel photos don’t have to be a static gallery; they can be seen as a dynamic exhibition of pictorial poetry. Each photograph is a stanza, telling a story beyond mere visuals.

A visual symphony captures the soul of places, evoking emotions and cultural nuances. It is a testament to the belief that every frame is a canvas waiting to tell an untold story.

Explorer’s Companion: A Guide to Immersive Journeys

Travel photos become an indispensable companion, offering more than just travel advice. It becomes a mentor for those seeking not just destinations but immersive experiences.

The photos share insights into the heartbeat of local cultures, flavors, and hidden gems, turning every reader into an explorer ready to actively engage in the narratives woven into the places they visit.

The Ethical Pulse of Exploration

Sustainable Rhythms: Harmony with Responsible Travel

A travel photojournalist or a blogger isn’t just an explorer or adventurer; they are a steward of responsible exploration. Thier stories, photos and videos advocates for sustainable travel practices, encouraging readers to leave positive footprints.

For example, The Art of Travel blog endorses eco-conscious choices and supports responsible tourism that preserves and respects the environment and cultural heritage of each destination.

Cultural Kaleidoscope: A Celebration of Diversity

What is a celebration of diversity? It’s breaking down cultural barriers and celebrating each journey’s unique stories unfolding. The blog fosters a global community through its narratives, where exploration becomes a shared experience.

The Art of Travel blog believes in the power of exploration to create connections that transcend borders and foster a richer understanding of our interconnected world.

Joining the The Art of Travel Expedition

The Art of Travel is more than a blog; it’s an expedition, and every reader is invited to join this transformative journey. This blog thrives on community engagement, encouraging readers to share their narratives and experiences.

Social media platforms amplify this sense of collective exploration, creating a vibrant space for kindred spirits to connect, inspire, and collectively fuel the passion for discovery.

Conclusion

In conclusion, The Art of Travel and any travel blog that captures the beauty and essence of any place via photos and videos is an artful rendition of exploration. It invites readers to reimagine travel as a symphony, where stories, visuals, and responsible practices harmonize to create a transformative journey.

If you’re ready to go beyond the surface and embrace the symphonic realm of exploration, The Art of Travel awaits as an inspiring guide to the uncharted territories of boundless wanderlust.

The Art of Travel stands out in the world of online travel narratives, transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. It goes beyond a traditional blog, offering an immersive journey into exploration through stories, visuals, and a commitment to responsible travel.

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From Palaces to Backwaters: Luxury South India Tour Packages That Enchant

Welcome to South India, where opulence coexists with cultural splendor and unmatched beauty. Look no further than the exquisite tour packages that highlight the best of South India if you’re searching for a wholly immersive and opulent travel experience.

This blog post presents a hand-picked collection of luxury tour packages that will enthrall you and leave you wanting more, from regal palaces to serene backwaters.

With luxury tour packages that will mesmerize you, set out on an unforgettable journey through South India’s opulent landscapes and cultural treasures. Trust the best in the business, The Grand Indian Route, with your itinerary to ensure an exceptional and seamless travel experience. They create immersive experiences that highlight the best of South India’s palaces, backwaters, temples, wildlife, wellness, and more.

They are renowned for their expertise in curating bespoke luxury tours. As you indulge in the pinnacle of luxury travel through the captivating wonders of South India, let The Grand Indian Route handle every last detail.

“The Grand Indian Route” stands out as the pinnacle of excellence when it comes to luxury South India tour packages. They have made a name for themselves as the go-to travel agency for discerning travelers looking for extraordinary journeys thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the area, meticulous attention to detail, and dedication to unmatched service.

“The Grand Indian Route” is a luxury travel company that places a lot of emphasis on lodging. They carefully choose the most opulent and elegant hotels, resorts, and historical buildings that best reflect the opulence and cultural heritage of South India. Throughout your stay, you can anticipate first-rate amenities, faultless service, and the utmost comfort in everything from royal palaces to upscale beachfront retreats.

Custom luxury tour packages that highlight the best of South India’s palaces, backwaters, temples, wildlife, wellness, and cultural treasures are what “The Grand Indian Route” is known for. Their team of knowledgeable travel professionals has years of experience, extensive local knowledge, and a passion for creating memorable, immersive experiences.

They stand out as the top tour operator for opulent South India vacation packages. They ensure a captivating and immersive journey through the wonders of South India, where luxury and cultural splendor harmoniously coexist. They do this through their expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to creating exceptional experiences.

Discover the Majestic Palaces

Explore the splendor of South India’s palaces, which are living museums of the past. Immerse yourself in the Mysore Palace’s architectural wonders, the opulence of the Chettinad mansions, and the Padmanabhapuram Palace’s regal allure.

These palaces provide a window into South India’s illustrious past and regal way of life.

Cruise the Backwaters in Luxury

Set out on a tranquil journey through Kerala’s well-known backwaters, where luxurious houseboats are waiting.

Drift through the calm waters while being encircled by picturesque villages and lush greenery. Take advantage of the attentive service, mouthwatering food, and spellbinding sunsets.

Temples and Traditions

The vibrant cultural traditions and historic temples of South India are well known. Find out more about the magnificent temples of Madurai, Tanjore, and Hampi, which are renowned for their intricate architecture and spiritual significance.

Experience real rituals, take in traditional dance performances, and get lost in the spiritual atmosphere of these holy places.

Wildlife Encounters

Explore South India’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries on exhilarating safaris. Visit the Periyar National Park to see the magnificent Bengal tigers, the Nagarhole National Park to see the elusive leopards, or the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary to see the exotic bird species.

These luxurious tour packages provide one-of-a-kind chances to interact with nature and see a variety of wildlife.

Ayurvedic Retreats and Wellness

Discover the rejuvenating effects of the traditional Indian medical system known as Ayurveda. Reputable Ayurvedic retreats and wellness facilities can be found in South India, where you can enjoy therapeutic massages, holistic treatments, and yoga sessions. Restore your mental, physical, and spiritual equilibrium while indulging in opulent wellness activities.

Beachside Bliss

Beautiful beaches in South India provide the ideal fusion of luxury and relaxation. Relax on Kovalam’s palm-lined beaches, take part in water sports in Pondicherry, or reenergize at an opulent beach resort in Varkala.

These beach locations offer the perfect setting for an opulent and relaxing vacation.

Cultural Experiences

Through immersive experiences, become fully immersed in South India’s rich cultural heritage.

Visit traditional craftsmen’s communities to see silk weaving, bronze casting, and pottery being made.

Attend classical music and dance performances, take cooking classes to learn how to prepare genuine regional dishes, and interact with the locals to better understand the culture.

Exquisite Cuisine

Enjoy the flavors of South Indian food, which is renowned for its wide variety of dishes and aromatic flavors. Enjoy traditional cuisine prepared on banana leaves, spicy Chettinad specialties, and Kerala’s world-famous seafood.

Curated culinary experiences, such as private dining with celebrated chefs and trips to local markets, are frequently included in luxury tour packages.

Conclusion

An opulent, culturally immersive, and naturally beautiful experience is what a luxury tour of South India promises. Whether you’re exploring majestic palaces that echo the grandeur of a bygone era or cruising along tranquil backwaters surrounded by lush landscapes, these luxury tour packages promise an unforgettable journey.

These expertly chosen tour packages provide the ideal fusion of luxury and authenticity, whether you’re touring regal palaces, sailing the backwaters, or indulging in wellness retreats.

Explore Ladakh and Spiti: A Journey into the Heart of the Himalayas

Ladakh and Spiti are two regions in the northern part of India that are known for their breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and spiritual significance. Both regions are situated in the high-altitude Himalayan region and offer a unique experience to travelers who are looking for an off-beat destination to explore.

Explore Ladakh

Ladakh, also known as ‘the land of high passes’, is a region in the northernmost part of India that is situated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The region is known for its stark and dramatic landscapes, which include high-altitude deserts, snow-capped peaks, and crystal-clear lakes. Ladakh is also known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several ancient monasteries and Buddhist temples.

The region has a predominantly Buddhist population, and the local festivals and celebrations reflect this cultural heritage.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Ladakh is Leh, which is the largest town in the region. Leh is located at an altitude of over 11,000 feet and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and rugged terrain.

The town has several monasteries and temples, including the famous Hemis Monastery and the Shanti Stupa. Other popular tourist destinations in Ladakh Packages include the Pangong Tso Lake, which is a stunning high-altitude lake that changes colors throughout the day, and the Nubra Valley, which is a scenic valley that is known for its sand dunes and Bactrian camels.

Explore Spiti

Spiti, on the other hand, is a region in the northern part of India that is situated in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The region is known for its rugged landscapes, which include high-altitude deserts, snow-capped peaks, and deep gorges.

Spiti is also known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several ancient monasteries and Buddhist temples. The region has a predominantly Buddhist population, and the local festivals and celebrations reflect this cultural heritage.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Spiti is the town of Kaza, which is the largest town in the region. Kaza is located at an altitude of over 12,000 feet and is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and rugged terrain.

The town has several monasteries and temples, including the famous Key Monastery and the Tabo Monastery. Other popular tourist destinations in Spiti tour packages include the Pin Valley National Park, which is a stunning high-altitude park that is home to several endangered species, and the Spiti River, which is a pristine river that flows through the region.

Both Ladakh and Spiti are popular destinations for adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts. The regions offer several trekking and mountaineering opportunities, including the famous Markha Valley Trek in Ladakh and the Pin-Parvati Trek in Spiti. The regions also offer several opportunities for camping, wildlife spotting, and bird-watching.

Moreover, both Ladakh and Spiti are also popular among spiritual seekers, who are looking for a serene and peaceful environment to connect with their inner selves.

The regions are home to several ancient monasteries and Buddhist temples, which offer a glimpse into the spiritual traditions and practices of the local people. The monasteries and temples are often situated in remote and secluded locations, providing a perfect setting for meditation and introspection.

Apart from their natural beauty and cultural heritage, Ladakh and Spiti are also known for their hospitality and warm welcoming people. The local people are friendly and hospitable, and they are always ready to share their traditions and way of life with visitors.

The regions are also known for their traditional cuisine, which includes dishes made from locally grown vegetables, herbs, and spices. Some of the popular dishes include momos, thukpa, and chhang.

However, it is important to note that both Ladakh and Spiti are situated in high-altitude regions, and travelers need to acclimatize themselves to the altitude before undertaking any strenuous activities.

It is also important to be mindful of the fragile ecosystem of the region and to minimize the impact on the environment. Travelers should respect the local traditions and customs and behave responsibly while traveling in these regions.

In conclusion, Ladakh and Spiti are two regions in northern India that offer a unique and off-beat travel experience to visitors. Whether you are looking for adventure, nature, spirituality, or culture, both regions have something to offer.

The regions are home to stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and warm welcoming people. However, it is important to be responsible and mindful while traveling in these regions to ensure a sustainable and meaningful travel experience.

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10 Things to Know Before Taking Indian Safari

For a nature lover, there is no better place than visiting a national park. The flora, fauna, wildlife, and natural beauty of a national park are almost a treat for people living in urban cities and anyone who loves adventure.

Well, it is great news that India is one of the top countries in the world known for its biodiversity.

India has 101 national parks that include wildlife, sanctuaries, marine life, and much more. Boasting some of the rarest animals like One-horned Rhinoceros, White Tigers, Asiatic Lions, and many others, Indian National Parks are a favorite spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Bengal Tiger

People from across the world appreciate this natural beauty. However, one must realize that these are wild predators, and it is a privilege to watch these glorious and magnificent creatures. The least we can do is follow the rules when visiting these parks and taking a safari.

Indian National Park Safari Tips

Every national park in India has its rules and guidelines for visitors. This helps them see the animals but also keep both the animals and people safe.

Please ensure you know about these rules thoroughly and take time to follow them when taking a safari in these parks. Below are 10 common things you should know before taking a safari in Indian National Parks.

Maintain Distance with Animals

Remember that they are in their space. You are just a visitor. You are invading their private space. That is why you must always remember to let the animals be and not try and engage with them. As they walk around in their area, do not disturb them in any way or try and make them afraid or infiltrated on.

One-horned Rhinoceros

Do Not Litter

This is an actual rule of any place across the world. However, more so, in the different Indian National Parks, you may visit. Do not be irresponsible. Do not throw plastic covers or glass bottles around as you travel through the national parks.

Unlike us, animals that inhabit the area do not understand the difference between stepping on different textures. It is your responsibility to ensure that you protect them.

Do Not Smoke or Start Fires

Creating fires or throwing cigarette buds that are not turned off in the national park is dangerous. Fire is a real issue. Often, if you are in an Indian National Park, there are usually designated areas where you can start a campfire, a barbeque, or even smoke. Follow the rule.

One mistake could lead to drastic displacement and a lot of heartache for the inhabitants.

Avoid Feeding Animals

The experts know what they need. By that, it is the people who are handling the national park and the animals themselves. You are not helping by trying to throw food on the road. As much as you think you are helping the animals.

If you do not know what they must or can eat, you have to ensure that you stay away from the idea of feeding animals to satisfy yourself.

Spotted Deer (Chital)

Follow the guide’s instructions

Guides that take you through safaris in Indian National Parks are experts for a reason. They come with years of experience and know what they are talking about.

It is pivotal that you follow their instructions to the tee. Do not try or think you know better than those who have got it and done it for years.

Stay Inside the Vehicle

Safaris have select vehicles that can stand the route and is designed to protect you during animal encounters. So, unless you are advised to get out and walk around the national parks, do not step out of the vehicles. Trust the experts.

A Tiger in Ranthambore National Park

If you are taking a tour without a guide, make sure you stick to the route and don’t go off the way searching for more creatures. Such adventure can put you in a lot of trouble like losing the trail, animal attacks, and more.

Do Not Disturb Their Habitat

Again, you are in the animal zone. Keep it quiet. Parties can be taken elsewhere. When you are in their habitat, respect it. In all likelihood, animals do not like loud noises. Therefore, respect their space.

Avoid playing music or making noises to get a reaction from an animal. It is not just unnecessary; it is also cruel.

Indian Gharial in Chambal River

Stay Silent and Calm

When you are going on a Safari in Indian National Parks, there is every chance that you will have a trip of your lifetime.

Baby Elephants taking a bath

However, the best way to go through the safari is to not disrupt wildlife. They will come and showcase themselves. But if you gasp a little too loudly, you might scare or annoy them away and not get the complete experience of the safari. So, stay calm and be patient.

Wear Light Coloured Clothes

Jarring colors can throw animals away from trying to get closer to the people that are coming to meet the visitors. They usually do not respond well to bright colors. Doing the best to be one with and blend in with flora and fauna is part of the things we do.

This will help us be one with the surroundings making us as travelers more accessible to the animals.

Earthy colored clothes are the best for Safari

Carry Supplies

Safaris usually last a while. So, always carry supplies. This includes ensuring you are prepared for a long ride as the guides take you through different parts of the national parks. You should try and carry supplies like water, basic food, and a garbage bag, so you do not litter.

Additionally, make sure you have the right equipment to make all the memories. However, ensure you do not scare them with flashes.

Never in your safari trip, you should forget that you are venturing into the wildlife’s space and somehow disturbing their habitats. So, by abiding by the rules of the park you are not only respecting the animals but also helping yourself and the animals.

Author Bio

Gulshan Bafna is a wildlife enthusiast and a brilliant photographer. His love for natural beauty can be found on his blog, where he shares all his travel experiences in a beautiful way that most of his followers love to read.

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Explore the 13 Intangible Cultural Heritage of India

There are 13 traditional-cultural elements of India that have been inscribed on the UNESCO List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Indian ICH list is an attempt to recognize the diversity of the Indian culture embedded in its rich and diverse social demographics.

Intangible Cultural Heritage Classifications

The UNESCO’s Convention for safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) classifies cultures and traditions into 5 broad domains. These are:

  • Oral traditions & expressions (including ancient languages)
  • Performing arts
  • Social practices, rituals, & festivals
  • Knowledge & practices concerning nature & the universe
  • Traditional craftsmanship

Intangible Cultural Heritage of India

The 13 traditional-cultural elements of India are:

  • Vedic Chanting
  • Kutiyattam (Sanskrit theatre)
  • Ramman (a religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal)
  • Mudiyettu (a ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala)
  • Ramlila (the traditional performance of the Ramayana)
  • Kalbelia Folk Songs & Dances (in Rajasthan)
  • Chhau Dance (in Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Odisha)
  • Buddhist Chanting of Ladakh (recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the Himalayan Ladakh region)
  • Sankirtana (a ritual singing, drumming, and dancing of Manipur)
  • Traditional Brass and Copper Craft of Utensil Making (among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru in Punjab)
  • Yoga
  • Nawrouz
  • Kumbh Mela (most popular in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh)

Vedic Chanting

The oral tradition of the Vedas consists of several recitations (or chanting) of the Vedic mantras. Such traditions of Vedic chant are often considered the oldest unbroken oral tradition in existence, the fixation of the Vedic texts as preserved dating to early Iron Age.

UNESCO proclaimed the tradition of Vedic chant a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity on November 7, 2008.

The four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva) are not books in the usual sense, though within the past hundred years each veda has appeared in several printed editions. They comprise rather tonally accented verses and hypnotic, abstruse melodies whose proper realizations demand oral instead of visual transmission.

Kutiyattam

Kutiyattam, is a traditional performing art form in the state of Kerala. It is a combination of ancient Sanskrit theatre with elements of koothu, an ancient performing art from the Sangam era.

It is officially recognized by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Koodiyattam, meaning “combined acting” in Malayalam, combines Sanskrit theatre performance with elements of traditional koothu. It is traditionally performed in temple theaters known as koothambalams.

It is the only surviving art form that uses drama from ancient Sanskrit theatre. It has a documented history of a thousand years in Kerala, but its origins are unknown.

Ramman Festival

Ramman is a religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal region in India. It is a festival of the Hindu community in the Saloor Dungra village of the Painkhanda Valley in the Chamoli district in Uttarakhand, India.

Photo by UNESCO CC-BYSA3.0

The festival and the eponymous art form are conducted as an offering to the village deity, Bhumiyal Devta, in the courtyard of the village temple. The Ramman is unique to the village and is neither replicated nor performed anywhere else in the Himalayan region.

Ramman combines the sacred and the social, the ritualistic with revelry and expresses the history, faith, lifestyle, fears and hopes of the Saloor Dungra villagers through a mesh of oral, literary, visual, kinetic and traditional craft forms.

It is an annual affair that children learn by watching. The various skills it involves in terms of dance, singing and drumming are passed down across hereditary communities orally.

Note: The onslaught of globalization and technology and lack of financial or artistic compensation have adversely impacted the ritual and traditional performances of the Ramman. Being peripheral to mainstream art forms, the awareness of the Ramman beyond its immediate borders is small and it stands the risk of becoming extinct in time.

Mudiyettu

Mudiyett or Mudiyettu is a traditional ritual theatre and folk dance drama from Kerala that enacts the mythological tale of a battle between the goddess Kali and the demon Darika. The ritual is a part of the Bhagavathi or Bhadrakali cult.

The dance is performed in Bhadrakali temples, the temples of the Mother Goddess, between February and May after the harvesting season.

Photo by Bobinson K B CC-BYSA3.0

Being a community based art form it is the community that has traditionally encouraged and trained the next generation to preserve the art form. There is no school or institution to give training in this art form and its survival depends almost exclusively on direct transmission through the Guru-Shishya Parampara (i.e. masters to disciples tradition).

In 2010, Mudiyettu was inscribed in the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, becoming the second art form from Kerala after Koodiyattam.

Ramlila

Ramlila (literally ‘Rama’s lila or play’) is any dramatic folk reenactment of the life of Rama according to the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana or secondary literature based on it such as the Ramcharitmanas.

It particularly refers to the thousands of Hindu god Rama-related dramatic plays and dance events, that are staged during the annual autumn festival of Navratri in India.

After the enactment of the legendary war between Good and Evil, the Ramlila celebrations climax in the Dussehra night festivities where the giant grotesque effigies of Evil such as of demon Ravana are burnt, typically with fireworks.

Most Ramlilas in North India are based on the 16th century secondary work on Ramayana, Ramcharitmanas a verse form composition in the regional vernacular language by Tulsidas. These verses are used as dialogues in traditional adaptations.

Open-air productions are staged by local Ramlila committees, and funded entirely by the villagers or local neighborhoods in urban areas. The core team of performance artists train for the dance-drama, but the actual performance attracts impromptu participants from the audience and villagers.

This art form is a part of the Hindu culture, found for many gods and goddesses, but those of Rama, Durga (as Durga Puja) and Krishna (as Rasa lila) are the most popular and annual events in the Indian subcontinent.

Kalbelia Folk Songs & Dances

Kalbelia or Kabeliya is a dance from Rajasthan, performed by the tribe of the same name. The dance is an integral part of their culture and performed by men and women.

Photo by Aniket Murkute CC-BYSA4.0

The Kalbelia dance, performed as a celebration, is an integral part of Kalbelia culture. The dancers are women in flowing black skirts who dance and swirl, replicating the movements of a serpent.

The male participants play musical instruments, such as the pungi, a woodwind instrument traditionally played to capture snakes, the dufli, been, the khanjari – a percussion instrument, morchang, khuralio and the dholak to create the rhythm on which the dancers perform.

The dancers are tattooed in traditional designs and wear jewelry and garments richly embroidered with small mirrors and silver thread. As the performance progresses, the rhythm becomes faster and faster and so does the dance.

Kalbelia songs are based on stories taken from folklore and mythology and special dances are performed during Holi. The Kalbelia have a reputation for composing lyrics spontaneously and improvising songs during performances.

These songs and dances are part of an oral tradition that is handed down generations and for which there are neither texts nor training manuals. In 2010, the Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan were declared a part of its Intangible Heritage List by the UNESCO.

Chhau Dance

Chhau dance, also spelled as Chau or Chhaau, is a semi classical Indian dance with martial, tribal and folk traditions, with origins in Eastern India. It is found in three styles named after the location where they are performed, i.e. the Purulia Chau of West Bengal, the Seraikella Chau of Jharkhand, and the Mayurbhanj Chau of Odisha.

Photo by Biswarup Ganguly CC-BY3.0

The dance ranges from celebrating martial arts, acrobatics and athletics performed in festive themes of a folk dance, to a structured dance with religious themes found in Shaivism, Shaktism, and Vaishnavism.

The stories enacted by Chhau dancers include those from the Hindu epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the Puranas, and other Indian literature.

The dance is traditionally an all males troupe, regionally celebrated particularly during spring every year, and may be a syncretic dance form that emerged from a fusion of classical Hindu dances and the traditions of ancient regional tribes.

Buddhist Chanting of Ladakh

The recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the Himalayan Ladakh region. These chants are a form of musical verse or incantation, in some ways analogous to Hindu, Christian or Jewish religious recitations.

In Buddhism, chanting is the traditional means of preparing the mind for meditation, especially as part of formal practice. However it can also be done for ritualistic purposes.

In a more traditional setting, chanting is also used as an invocative ritual in order to set one’s mind on a deity, tantric ceremony, mandala, or particular concept one wishes to further in themselves.

Tibetan buddhist monks are noted for their skill at throat-singing, a specialized form of chanting in which, by amplifying the voice’s upper partials, the chanter can produce multiple distinct pitches simultaneously.

Sankirtana

Manipuri Sankirtana is a form of performing art involving ritual singing, drumming and dancing performed in the temples and domestic spaces in Manipur State in India.

Through the performances which exhibit unparalleled religious devotion and energy, the performers narrate the many stories of Krishna often moving the spectators to tears.

It is practiced primarily by the Vaishnava community in Manipur and by the Vaishnava Manipuri population settled in the neighboring States of Tripura and Assam.

Traditional Brass & Copper Craft of Utensil Making

The traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru Punjab has got the distinction of being inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, UNESCO, in 2014.

The crafts colony was established during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1883), the great 19th Century Sikh Monarch, who encouraged skilled metal crafters from Kashmir to settle in the heart of his kingdom in the Punjab. Jandiala Guru became an area of repute due to the skill of the Thatheras.

The craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru constitutes the traditional techniques of manufacturing brass and copper utensils in Punjab. The Thatheras craft utensils are of both Utilitarian and ritualistic value made of copper, brass and kansa (an alloy of copper, zinc and tin).

The metals used are recommended by the ancient Indian school of medicine, Ayurveda. The crafting process carried out by a specific group of craftspeople, known as Thatheras, has a unique ethnic and historical identity with an oral tradition that underpin their skill. The very name of the community – ‘Thatheras’ is identical with the name of the element.

Yoga

Obviously, yoga! Namaste world! 🙂 Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions.

There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The practice of yoga has been thought to date back to pre-Vedic Indian traditions; possibly in the Indus valley civilization around 3000 BC.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the most popular authoritative text on yoga, dates from the 2nd century BC. It has gained prominence in the west in the 20th century after being first introduced by Swami Vivekananda.

Nawruz

Nowruz (Persian: “new day”‘) has Iranian and Zoroastrian origins; however, it has been celebrated by diverse communities for over 7,000 years in Western Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea Basin, the Balkans, and South Asia.

Tradition of Nowruz in Northern India dates back to the Mughal Empire; the festival was celebrated for 19 days with pomp and gaiety in the realm. However, it further goes back to the Parsi Zoroastrian community in Western India, who migrated to the Indian subcontinent from Persia during the Muslim conquest of Persia of 636–651 AD.

In the Princely State of Hyderabad, Nowruz was one of the four holidays where the Nizam would hold a public Darbar, along with the two official Islamic holidays and the sovereign’s birthday.

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is a major pilgrimage and festival in Hinduism. It is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites: the Prayagraj (where three rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and Sarasvati meet), Haridwar (river Ganges), Nashik (river Godavari), and Ujjain (river Shipra).

The festival is marked by a ritual dip in the waters, but it is also a celebration of community commerce with numerous fairs, education, religious discourses by saints, mass feedings of monks or the poor, and entertainment spectacle.

The seekers believe that bathing in these rivers is a means to atonement (penance) for past mistakes, and that it cleanses them of their sins.

The festival is traditionally credited to the 8th-century Hindu philosopher Adi Shankara, as a part of his efforts to start major Hindu gatherings for philosophical discussions and debates along with Hindu monasteries across the Indian subcontinent.

About UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

The purpose of such a list is to preserve intangible human elements that help demonstrate the diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.

Some of the criteria for inclusion in the representative list are if the inscription of the element will ensure visibility and awareness of it and if the element has been nominated after having “the widest possible participation” of the community, group or individuals concerned and with their free, prior and informed consent.

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Explore the 8 Natural History Museums in India

The visit to a museum has always been an enchanting experience for every visitor since humans started collecting and preserving ancient artifacts and memories of bygone people, wildlife, and cultures.

A visit to a museum always leaves a visitor gawking at the unexplored parts of both the past and the present. That’s why if a museum houses elements from paleontology, geology, archaeology, climatology and various other natural spheres, then the visit to such a museum becomes the greatest source of pleasure and excitement.

The best part about these museum is that you can visit them with kids as well, which makes it a great choice for family travel.

India is blessed with the presence of 8 such natural history museums across its prominent cities. Even though each of these 8 natural history museums is a great place to explore, in today’s blog, we’ll highlight the top 4 museums because of their rich collection and beautiful ambiance.

Leopard at Gass Forest Museum / Photo by Booradleyp1 CC-BYSA 3.0

Natural History Museums in India

  • Indian Museum, Kolkata
  • Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, Mumbai
  • Gass Forest Museum, Coimbatore
  • Napier Museum, Kerala
  • Government Museum, Chennai
  • Bengal Natural History Museum, Darjeeling
  • Thar Natural History Fossil Museum, Rajasthan
  • Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai
  • National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi (1972–2016; sadly, it got burned down in 2016)

Ready? Let’s being.

Indian Museum, Kolkata

The Indian Museum in Kolkata is the oldest museum present in India. Not only is the Indian Museum the largest in India and best among all museum in Kolkata, but, it also acquires a significant place in the Asia-Pacific zone. Started out in 1814 by the Asiatic Society, this museum has emerged as the most-stocked museum in India over the years.

As soon as the visitor sets foot on the steps leading to the museum, he or she is greeted by the huge, white pillars structured as per the British architecture. The various halls of the enormous building are tagged as per the different contents stored in them.

While a visitor may get awestruck looking at the weapons and coins of the old era at one hall, another visitor may get scared looking at the giant skeleton as soon as he or she enters the Paleontology section.

However, even though these things are beautiful in their own ancient way, the biggest source of attraction at the Indian Museum is the Egyptian section. The reason why every visitor rushes to the Egyptian section is because of the mummy that is displayed within the glass chambers.

There is a particular sort of chill in the air that automatically makes every tourist keep quiet and pay respect to the Egyptian mummy resting there peacefully.

Apart from the specimens, the architectural bounty of this museum, especially the white-washed walls and the huge pillars surrounding the lush green courtyard, leaves every visitor dreaming of returning to this exceptional place again and again.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai

Started out in the early 1900s as the Prince of Wales Museum, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya is known for its massive collection. This museum too has different sections and specializes in the collection of art and culture.

However, a huge natural section is also present at this museum which is a beautiful deviation from the age-old cultural partiality of any museum. Thus, as a whole, the collection of this Indo-Saracenic style architectural museum along with the adjoining lush, green lawn makes the city of Mumbai a proud owner of immense diversity.

Gass Forest Museum, Coimbatore

Photo by Booradleyp1 CC BY-SA 3.0

The Gass Forest Museum was established in Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu in 1902. This museum is an influence of the forest department and, hence, houses a great variety of biodiversity.

This museum is blessed with some of the best collection of stuffed animals in India that enlivens the tour and makes the visit an enriching educational experience.

Napier Museum, Thiruvananthapuram

Photo by Ashiq Surendran CC BY-SA 4.0

The Napier Museum, founded in 1855 in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, is one of the oldest museums in India. Inspired by the Indo-Saracenic architecture, this museum boasts of a wide variety of the specimens of art and culture.

The natural air-conditioning system of this museum makes the visit a pleasant experience even in the hot, summer months.

This museum also has a zoological garden which was established in 1857. This is one of the oldest zoological gardens in India and, thus, has a huge collection in the field of natural history.

Thus, this varied flora and fauna, and, the cultural and natural biodiversity makes the Napier Museum a must visit for every tourist.

Conclusion

Thus, it can be comprehended how beautiful India is in terms of the natural museums. Because of the marvelous collection of natural specimens in each of these aforesaid museums, India boasts of being a proud owner in the field of displaying the untold stories of the past.

Author Bio

Rohit is a curious traveler who takes a keen interest in getting to know the past and comparing it with the present. He takes out time from his busy schedule to unearth true knowledge and share the same with his readers. You can read his stories and experiences at his travel blog Trans India Travels.

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6 Places To Visit In India During Winter

The winter landscape is surreal. The snow-laden mountains and pristine blue sky make beautiful scenery. But I bet you don’t think of India as a winter travel destination.

What if I told you that there are many places in India that will take you on a tour of a winter wonderland. Pack your bags and buckle up to discover the beauty of the chill.

SHILLONG

The crystal clear water of Unmgot is the major attraction of Shillong. You can row your boat here and think you are flying. The feeling is sensational. During this time of the year, many festivals are organized.

You can attend them as well as savor the tangy oranges near the Uni got the river. The Pleasant temperature will make your stay more fun.

LEH

The freezing temperatures of Leh can make your bones chilled. But what is an adventure without a little risk? You can do ice trekking here in Like trek, Sham trek and much more. The icy blue floor beneath you and the clear blue sky above you.

You will be overpowered by blue. But, you need to ready yourself for the harsh environment also, because it can get a bit dangerous if you are not well insulated.

NAGOA BEACH


The unspoiled territory of India, Diu is a gem to be explored. Nagao beach here is the sandy escape of your dreams. In the comfortable temperatures of winter, you can get out and lounge in the winter sun. During the night a bonfire sounds like an exciting idea.

What better way to spend your night singing and dancing around the fire with your close ones? A world-famous festival Festa De Diu is held at the ivory-white beach of Nagoya. Enjoy your new year.

RANN OF KUTCH

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The western Indian state of Gujarat has something to surprise you at every turn. Rann of Kutch is a massive area of endless sands sprawled across the barren land. You can pitch your tent at the nearby Dhordo village.

At night you can gaze at blue sands shining under the moonlight. During your stay, Rann Utsav will be in full sway. The ethnicity of festivities will leave you flabbergasted.

DALHOUSIE

Himachal Pradesh is known for its lovely winters. If you want to experience some serious snow, go to Dalhousie. Deodar trees surround the old colonial town.

Snow envelopes the quaint houses and trees, giving the town a Christmassy feeling.

You can do trekking here as a beginner or as an expert. The National Himalayan Winter Trekking Expedition is your opportunity for some adventure.

SRINAGAR

It is titled as the heaven on earth, and rightly so. Once you behold the vibrant scenery of Kashmir, you will fall in love with it.

The snow-covered landscape makes it an apt place for winter sports like skiing and ice trekking. You can ride a shikara on the jheels (lakes) of Kashmir. Winters enhances the magic of Srinagar.

6 Adventure Sports in Tatopani, Nepal You Can’t Miss

If you want to get away from the hustling and bustling of Kathmandu city and experience the bumpy ride across Himalayan hills, “The Last Resort” is a place to visit on your Nepal trip.

It is a place full of dare and fear, so if you want to get some adrenaline rush, experience gravity-defying adventure, and to test the adventurer in you, read on.

The Last Resort is about 3 hours drive from Kathmandu and is located close to the Tibetan border in a place called Tatopani.

 

The resort is beautiful and very accommodating. It lies on top of the Bhotekoshi river gorge where you can view the beautiful valleys terraced slopes, the flowing high current river, and greenery all around.

Not only the location and the scenery is perfect for relaxation, but there are also other things that you can do to make your experience more rewarding and meaningful.

How To Get To Tatopani?

There are a lot of day trips as well as stay in at the resort options and packages to choose from with adventure sports.

The drive from Kathmandu to Tatopani is not long (about three hours, 102 km) but taking early morning transportation will save you some time.

Kathmandu city (rooftop view)

 

If you only want to do one activity and experience the resort a day trip back and forth from Kathmandu can be done. If you choose to do a couple of activities and experience the nature and serenity at Tatopani, then stay at last resort.

The drive is pretty interesting. One of the highlights of the trip will also be the experience of the drive from one hill to another and then circle around the hill up and down to another hill.

I loved the drive which I call “edge of the road drive” and at some points, you will see a truly breathtaking view of the array of valleys. Once you get to the resort there are lots of thrilling and fun activities to do.

Note: Prebooking the activity is always recommended to reserve your spot.

Adventure Sports To Try In Tatopani

Have you ever thought of jumping from a 160m high bridge where all you can see below is a flowing river?

No kidding! Nepal has one of the world’s most breathtaking Bungee jump and the world’s highest canyon swing.

Bungee Jumping

Bungee is most popular with tourists as well as Nepali residents. The jump is from a 160m high bridge with the roaring Bhotekoshi river beneath. It is definitely an experience you won’t forget.

Canyon Swing

One of the world’s largest swing from the 160m high bridge.

Tandem Swing

Don’t worry if you don’t want to jump alone, partner up and do the jump together.

 

 

Canyoning

Connect with nature and explore the hidden gems of nature, get wet under the waterfall.

High Ropes

This is an interesting Zip lining and the adventure course in the midst of the woods.

White Water Rafting

Nepal has some best rivers for white water rafting. Bhotekoshi river which is formed by the snow and mountain glacier is great for rafting.

 

Keep exploring the world and keep that connection with our earth strong.

Namaste!

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