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Manipur to showcase traditional lifestyle to dispel image of conflict zone

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Manipur
The image is for representation only. Courtesy: www.flickr.com

By Iboyaima Laithangbam

In a bid to dispel the image of a state in permanent conflict situations, several individuals and NGOs in Manipur are trying to showcase the northeastern border state to tourists by preserving and promoting its traditional culture and lifestyle.

The state government is preserving the traditional houses of the major communities and tribes which were constructed in Imphal as a part of the tourist festival annually held in November. Due to rapid urbanisation and craze for modern houses, the traditional thatched wood and bamboo houses are now not seen anywhere in Manipur. In the tribal society, people adorn the front walls with skulls and horns of the wild animals killed by them. Such traditional houses will be preserved in the festival site for posterity, officials said.

The Trinamool Congress lawmaker of Andro constituency, Thounaojam Shyamkumar, has announced that he will develop the religious site Chingoi Baruni as a tourist spot, after the state government failed to live up to its promise of developing the place.

“The government has not sanctioned any fund. People from all walks of life have assured assistance and it will be easy to develop it to a tourist spot,” Shyamkumar said.

Also, Motua Bahadur, 55, has opened a small private museum in Imphal showcasing unique materials from the state and it has become popular with tourists.

UKAL, a non-governmental organization which acts as a watchdog of the traditional religious affairs, has come down heavily on a section of valley dwellers alleging they were “corrupting and polluting” society by introducing “cheap dances and songs” in their worship.

It has argued that the ‘despicable gyrations” would put off serious-minded tourists who want to know the culture and traditional religious practices of the state.

Though the majority of valley dwellers had been forced to become Vaishnavites in the 18th century, they still worship the sylvan gods.

After becoming Vaishnavites, Manipuris had turned vegetarians, refusing to touch egg or chicken even in the privacy of their homes, though many of them still relish fish.

The innovative housewives had developed unmatched culinary skills using various aromatic and delicious herbs, roots and other plants for preparing the unique Manipuri dishes. Modern spices, condiments and other ingredients sold in the shops are still new to most of the housewives.

Manipuris also eat black rice not found anywhere else in the world. It is used to prepare kheer and other items as a special treat for tourists.

About 30 years ago all hotels used to serve purely vegetarian dishes in the state and the cooks were Brahmins since the Vaishnavites would not touch food prepared by non-Brahmins.

Much to the chagrin of the devout Vaishnavites, the younger generation which is exposed to the outside world, no longer strictly follows the Vaishnava codes of conduct like taking bath before meals.

Vaishnavite girls and women are now seen thronging meat shops while elderly women sell eggs in the market. This is a far cry from the scenario a few decades ago, when children had to prepare omelettes far away from home and they could return only after taking a bath.

Because of the changed food habit and loosening grip of Vaishnavism, there is not a single hotel now which serves purely vegetarian dishes in its restaurants. Most of the mushrooming eateries have only non-vegetarian items.

Fifty years ago some hotels run by Brahmins were doing thriving business at Mao, a border town adjacent to Nagaland. Because of extortion and the changed business environment, the hotels at Mao and Dimapur in Nagaland have shut down. Instead roadside cafes serving non-vegetarian items have mushroomed at Chumukedina areas of Dimapur and Sekmai in Manipur.

To cater to the needs of tourists,The ISKCON temple in Imphal and temples of Narsingh, Vijay Govind and other deities now allow visitors and their guides to attend religious functions like traditional Manipuri weddings and post-death rituals and savor the taste of the age-old dishes cooked on the occasion.

At the temple, with a seating capacity of 1,500 persons, tourists can savor a 25-course vegetarian lunch. (IANS)

 

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7 Forts in India you must visit : Glorious Empires of Incredible India

Plan your next trip to these marvellous historic famous forts in India, dip in rich cultural heritage of Incredible India, thank us later

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Famous Forts in India
Amer fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan (Pic Credits : Elene Machaidze)
  • Forts in India represent the magnanimity of the Royal Kingdoms of India, its rich cultural heritage and history. The majestic palaces and forts in India definitely spell binds you in its charm and will leave an indelible mark on you. Incredible India’s deep manifested past can be experienced through these forts in India.

    Incredible India has been embellished with some of the most majestic and beautiful forts in the world. Reflecting a rich cultural heritage, history and a good taste in architecture, these royal forts take one back in the glorious time of Maharajas. One cannot help but fall in love with these amazing pieces of ancient architecture that Incredible India is so proud of. Tourism in India has always been adventurous. Here are 7 famous Forts in India you must visit which will take you on ride to glorious empires of Incredible India :

    1. City Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan

    City Palace Jaipur clicked by Shaurya Ritwik
    City Palace, Jaipur (Pic Credits: Shaurya Ritwik)

    The famous City Palace of Jaipur was constructed in the 18th century by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. The palace is a beautiful amalgamation of Rajputana, Mughal and European styles of architecture. City Palace has magnificent collection of armory and weapons through ages, placed within the museum in the palace premises. Among all famous forts in India, City Palace is one the the most visited giving a big boost to tourism in India. If you are in Jaipur you can not miss to visit this amazing magnificent palace. You can also shop various Rajasthani handicrafts, clothes etc in palace premises.

    2. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana

    Tourism in india
    Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana (Wikimedia Commans)

    In Hyderabad you can not miss three things – Hyderabadi biryani, pearls and Golconda Fort, one of the famous forts in India. Golconda fort was the capital of the kingdom of Golconda and was built more than 800 years ago. Golkonda Fort was first built by the Kakatiya dynasty as part of their western defenses along the lines of the Kondapalli Fort. One of the most amazing features of this historic fort in Incredible India is the engineering marvels hidden in the nooks and crannies of the fort. For example, The Fateh Darwaza has an unbelievable acoustic effect. A clap at its entrance, can be heard a kilometer away at the Bala Hisar pavilion. The Golkonda Fort used to have a vault where once the world famous Koh-i-noor diamond and hope diamonds were stored along with other diamonds.

3. Chittorgarh Fort, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

Famous forts in India
Chittorgarh Fort, Rajasthan (Wikimedia Commons)

The seat of Mewar rulers since 7th century, Chittorgarh Fort is the most spectacular fort among famous forts in India perched on a hill of 591ft of elevation. The unique feature of this fort is that it was self sufficient in water with 84 water bodies in the form of wells, ponds and step wells with the storage capacity of 4 billion litres of water. Chittorgarh Fort is also a UNESCO world heritage site.  The two distinct pillars in the fort, the Kirti Stambh and the Vijay Stambh are extremely preciously carved with the most intricate artwork found in the region. This is the fort which have seen the spirit of Jauhar and Shaka. Chittorgarh fort represents the quintessence of tribute to the nationalism, courage and highest sacrifice exhibited by the Mewar rulers of Sisodia dynasty and their kinsmen and women and children. Chittorgarh is the story of Hindu resistance against Mughals and Islamic empires.

4. Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh

Famous forts in India
Gwalior Fort (Wikimedia Commons)

The Gwalior Fort is one of the most famous forts in India, not only because of its strong, military style architecture, but also because of the aesthetically painted fortress wall, that sports a bright and royal blue color in the carving. It has been inhabited and ruled by almost 110 rulers from different dynasties. The fort has been the witness of historic events like Tatya Tope fighting the British and Rani Laxmi Bai breathing her last. If you are in Gwalior you can not miss this historic beauty.

5. Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh 

Famous Forts in India
Agra Fort (Wikimedia Commons)

Agra Fort is one of the most historic fort among famous forts in India, it is also UNESCO world heritage site. This fort in India has a rich history, it was here from here the world famous koh-i-noor diamond was seized by the Mughal ruler Babar. Three of the most aesthetically designed complexes in Agra fort are the Khas Mahal, Shish Mahal, and the octagonal tower of Muhammam Burj. So if you are in Agra to see magnificent Taj Mahal, don’t forget to check out Agra Fort.

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6. Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Famous forts in India
Jaigarh Fort (Wikimedia Commons)

Jaigarh Fort is also known as Victory Fort, it gives an insight into Rajputana majesty and glory. The fort overlooks Amber Fort and Maota lake. The fort was built by Jai Singh II in 1726 to protect the Amber Fort and its palace complex and was named after him. Jaigarh Fort was a centre of artillery production for the Rajputs. The fort has a cannon named “Jaivana”, which was manufactured in the fort precincts and was then the world’s largest cannon on wheels.

Famous Forts in India
Jaivana, world’s largest cannon on wheels (Pic Credit : Shaurya Ritwik)

7. Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan

Famous forts in india
Kumbhalgarh fort (Wikimedia Commons)

The mighty Kumbhalgarh Fort is an epitome of Rajputana stature and grandeur with boundary wall which extends over 36 km, the second largest wall after Great Wall of China. The sheer massiveness of fort makes it a must visit. Kumbhalgarh Fort was built was Rana Kumbha in 15th century, Rana Kumbha is said to never lost a battle in life. Kumbhalgarh is also the birthplace of Maharana Pratap, the greatest king and warrior of Mewar. One interesting fact is that Kumbhalgarh Fort has never been conquered.

So, what are you waiting for? Plan your next trip to these marvellous historic famous forts in India, dip in rich cultural heritage of Incredible India.

– By Shaurya Ritwik, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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7 spectacular Hindu Temples to visit in Incredible India

Have you ever considered visiting a temple while you are struggling in life? A temple visit is enough to give you strength, calm you down and help you to reconnect with divine. Go for a temple walk. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu temples in Incredible India

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Hindu Temples
Akshardham Temple, Delhi (www.akshardham.com)
  • Hindus have more sacred sites, festivals and pilgrimages, more yogis, monks and sadhus, an older and vaster literature than any religion – Dr. David Frawley

Temples in Hinduism holds a very important place. Hindu temples are popularly known as mandiram, devaalayam or devastanam, meaning the shrine, abode or place of Ishwar. Hindu temples are at once a collective work of art, the adobe of Ishwar, a symbol of the cosmos and a path leading the worshipper into contact with the God, from the temporal to the eternal. Hindu temples are valued and respected both as a means of enabling worship in the presence of God and as a way to uphold Indian culture and dharma. Here is a list of 7 spectacular Hindu Temples in Incredible India you will love visiting as many times as possible in your lifetime.

1. Somnath Temple, Gujarat

Hinduism
Somnath, Gujarat (Image Credit : Shaurya Ritwik)

The Somnath is believed to be the first among the twelve jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. Somnath Temple has been looted, destroyed and resurrected 17 times. In AD 1026, Mahmud of Ghazni first looted the temple, and then came Afzal Khan, the commander of Ala-ud-din Khilji and later Aurangzeb. While the barbaric looters are sleeping in their grave, Somnath still stands as a pillar of Hinduism, as a sign of resistance. Somnath is the place where you can connect with history and your source. Best time to visit Somnath : Well, any time of the year.

2. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Hindu Temples
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai (Image Source: Wikipedia)

Meenakshi Temple is known for its beautiful architecture. It is dedicated to Meenakshi, a form of Parvati, and her consort, Sundareswar, a form of Shiva. The temple was almost completely destroyed in the year 1310 following the invasion of the Islamic conqueror Malik kafur. Most of the Islamic rulers were noted for their intolerance towards Hindu temples, the invaders destroyed most of the ancient sculptures of the temple. The temple was rebuilt by the Hindu Nayaka dynasty ruler Vishwanatha Nayakar in the 16th and 17th century. According to the Tiruvilaiyatal Puranam, of the list of 68 pilgrimage places in Shaivism, four are most important: Kashi (Varanasi), Chidambaram, Tirukkalatti and Madurai. The sacrality of Madurai is from this temple.

3. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa

Hindu Temples
Jagannath Temple, Orissa (AKL)

Jagannath temple was built in the 12 th century by Raja Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva. It is one of the Char Dhams of Hinduism in Incredible India and is situated on the Nilgiri Hill. The temple is known for its annual Ratha Yatra, which attracts millions of Hindu devotees every year. It is said that the divine mahaprasad of the temple is prepared under the scrutiny of goddess Lakshmi. During Rath Yatra, idol of Jagannath along with Subhadra and Balabhadra are placed in huge chariots and brought out to the street. Thousands of people pull the sacred chariot. The main chariot is around 45 feet high. These rathas are constructed new every year. It has wood-carved horses and charioteers. Rath Yatra is held every year during the month of Asadha as per Hindu calendar.

4. Kailashnath Temple, Ellora, Maharashtra

Hindu Temples
Kailashnath Temple, Ellora (Image Credits: AKL)

The Kailasha Temple or Kailashnath Temple is one of the largest rock cut ancient Hindu temples. A megalith carved out of one single rock, it is considered one of the most remarkable cave temples in India because of its size, architecture and sculptural treatment. It is a prime example of extraordinary ancient Hindu architecture. Visiting this temple will definitely give you a ride to our glorious ancient past.

5. Konark Sun Temple, Orissa

Hindu temples
Konark sun Temple, Orissa (Image Source : Wikimedia Commans)

Konark houses a colossal temple dedicated to the Sun God in Orissa attributed to king Narsimhadeva about 1250 CE. Even in its ruined state it is a magnificient temple reflecting the genius of the architects that envisioned and built it. The ruins of this temple were excavated in late 19th century. The Konark temple is famously known for its architectural grandeur and for the intricacy and profusion of sculptural work. The entire temple has been conceived as a chariot of the sun god with 24 wheels, each about 10 feet in diameter, with a set of spokes and elaborate carvings. Seven horses drag the temple. Two lions guard the entrance, crushing elephants. A flight of steps lead to the main entrance. If you are in Orissa you can not miss one of the most spell binding temple in Incredible India, Konark sun Temple.

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6. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand

Hindu Temples
Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand (Image Credit: Shaurya Ritwik)
Hindu Temples
Prime Minister Modi at Kedarnath (Twitter)

Kedarnath is among one of the holiest Hindu temples of Incredible India with Lord Shiva as its residing deity. The temple was built by Pandavas and revived by Adi Shankaracharya himself in the early 8th century. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of India and the main temple of Panch Kedar. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open only between the end of April (Akshaya Tritriya) to Kartik Purnima (the autumn full moon, usually November). During the winters, the vigrahas (deities) from Kedarnath temple are brought to Ukhimath and worshipped there for six months. You must visit Kedarnath, one of the most important pilgrimage in hinduism to feel the beauty of nature and divinity.

7. Chennakeshava Temple, Belur, Karnataka

Hindu Temples
Chennakeshava Temple, Karnataka (Image Credit : Wikimedia)

The Chennakeshava Temple, also referred to as Keshava, Kesava or Vijayanarayana Temple of Belur, the erstwhile capital of Hoysala kingdom is a 12th-century Hindu temple in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, Incredible India. This Hindu temple is another testament to the amazing artistry of ancient Incredible India. This place will give you sense of pride regarding what our ancestors left for us.

So, are you ready for a “Walk to Temple”? The wonderful Hindu temples Incredible India has can not be comprehended in a list, there are lakhs of them, visit them to connect with your roots, to get acquainted with Dharma which is eternal.

 

– by SHAURYA RITWIK, Shaurya is Sub-Editor at NewsGram and writes on Geo-politcs, Culture, Indology and Business. Twitter Handle – @shauryaritwik

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Dalai Lama on Three Day Visit to Manipur

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Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama will be in Manipur on Tuesday. ians

Imphal, October 16: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will arrive here on Tuesday on a three-day visit to Manipur, officials said.

This will be his second trip to India’s northeast after his April visit to Arunachal Pradesh.

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh told IANS on Monday that the government had declared the Dalai Lama a state guest.

“We will extend a warm welcome to him. He will be given all facilities as an honoured guest,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Dalai Lama will be given a public reception at the Convention Centre here. It will be followed by a felicitation programme at the same venue.

The Dalai Lama will interact with members of the public and dignitaries.

The Dalai Lama, who has lived in India in self-imposed exile since fleeing his homeland in 1959, is coming to Manipur at the invitation of the Speaker of the Manipur Assembly.

His Arunachal Pradesh visit had sparked a diplomatic row between India and China.(IANS)