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-By Sonali Pimputkar
International Bikini Day is celebrated on July 5, a day that marks the anniversary of a two-piece bathing suit in 1946 by a Parisian Fashion Designer Louis Reard. Since then there is no turning back. Women around the globe have been hitting the beaches and pool sides in the bathing suit. When it comes to India, bikinis are usually worn in the movies and even in 2018, the bikini culture has not been accepted fully. Not to forget the fact that India is home to sun-kissed beaches that spread over 7,500 km coastline. Beaches mean waves, sand, shores, and fun. When it comes to beaches you will find people taking photographs and secretly judging you. But that should not turn you off from hitting the beaches in India in your favourite bikini. Well, having said that there are few local beaches across India that provide complete freedom to flaunt your bikini body enjoying the sun and sand.
If you are planning to explore the backwaters of Kerala, then head to the Marari Beach in Alleppey. The secluded beach is an undeveloped one and is an ideal for lazing around. The tourism in the area is growing though. The place is minus any water sports and beach shacks. However, you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. The beach is also home to few resorts.
Butterfly beach is one of the secluded beaches in Goa, which is known for dolphins, crabs and of course ‘butterflies’. The place is peppered with gorgeous views, aquatic lives and an aura of bliss. The semi-circle landscape, flying butterflies and acrobatics of dolphins and you donning a gorgeous bikini, doesn’t it make a picture perfect scene?
Located in Lakshadweep, Kadmat Beach is surrounded by large lagoons from both Eastern and Western side and gorgeous beaches. The beach is perfect for those who want to unwind completely. So what are you waiting for? Take a break from your hectic schedule and spend your vacation sunbathing in your favourite bikini.
Situated in the Havelock Island in Andaman, Radhanagar Beach is known for its beauty and sunsets. The beach is also known as Beach Number 7. The turquoise blue beach and white sand give tourists an opportunity to delve into nature’s charm. Sunbathing and basking in the sun is a must do activities here. The only advice is carried good sunscreens to protect your skin from the harsh sun.
Agatti Island, Lakshadweep
Agatti Island in Lakshadweep is every adventurer’s delight and is known for water sports activities. The beach is also home to sea turtles and beautiful corals. Visitors are allowed on the beach with certain restrictions and have to obtain an entry permit from the Lakshadweep Administration for entering the island.
Om Beach, Gokarna
One of the popular beaches in Gokharna, Om beach derived its name for being naturally shaped like the auspicious symbol ‘Om’. The beach is also home to a bunch of water sports activities including speedboats and surfing. It is often frequented by tourists from the West and is considered safe to don a bikini.
Varkala Beach, Kerala
Also known as Papanasham beach, Varkala beach is located in Thiruvananthapuram. The beach is believed to be holy which has the power to wash away sins. It is often visited either by tourists or worshippers.
Palolem Beach, Goa
Located in the Southern Goa, Palolem beach is a one-mile long beach and is also known as Paradise beach. The beach is largely unspoiled and is inhabited by local fishermen and foreign tourists. The beach tops the list of the safest beach as it is considered safe to wear bikinis without being judged at.
Mamallapuram Beach, Tamil Nadu
Mamallapuram Beach, also known as Mahabalipuram, is a perfect destination for lazing around without being judged. Sunbathing is a must do activity here. The place is a beautiful blend of history and natural splendor. The beach is home to various tourist attractions including School of sculpture, Snake venom extracting center, Tiger’s Cave, Crocodile Farm, Five Rathas and Arjuna’s Penance.
Benaulim Beach, Goa
Benaulim Beach is one of the less explored beaches of Goa and is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, the beach sees a huge crowd on weekends. Old houses, temples, and churches add to the old charm of the beach. The beach is home to a lot of accommodation and witnesses a huge crowd during weekends. (IANS)
Diwali is arguably one of the most auspicious and celebrated holidays in South Asia. It is celebrated over the span of five days, where the third is considered most important and known as Diwali. During Diwali people come together to light, lamps, and diyas, savour sweet delicacies and pray to the lord. The day has various origin stories with the main them being the victory of good over evil. While the North celebrates the return of Lord Rama and Devi Sita to Ayodhya, the South rejoices in the victory of Lord Krishna and his consort Satyabhama over evil Narakasura.
Narakasura- The great mythical demon King
Naraka or Narakasur was the son of Bhudevi (Goddess Earth) and fathered either by the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu or Hiranyaksha. He grew to be a powerful demon king and became the legendary progenitor of all three dynasties of Pragjyotisha-Kamarupa, and the founding ruler of the legendary Bhauma dynasty of Pragjyotisha.
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Narakasura was created, grew up to be strong and powerful but he was not satisfied with it, so he decided that he would worship Lord Brahma. He performed severe penance and was driven by the power of his penance; Lord Brahma appeared before him. Narakasura knew his mother loved him dearly so he asked Lord Brahma to grant him a boon that he would only die by the hands of his mother, Bhumidevi. Lord Brahma smile and ultimately granted him the boon.
Narakasura burst out laughing as Lord Brahma vanished. He thought no mother would kill their child so Lord Brahma had made him immortal. Drunk and maddened by his own power Narakasura brought all the kingdoms under his control and targeted Swargalok (Heaven). Even Indra (King of Gods) and demi-gods had to retreat in front of Narakasura. He kidnapped and took 16,000 women from the palaces as prisoners. Troubled by Naraksura's deeds the gods rushed to Lord Vishnu for a solution.
Lord Krishna and Devi Satyabhama were born to kill Narakasura
Lord Vishnu was born as Lord Krishna and Narakasura's mother Bhumidevi took the avatar of Krishna's wife Satyabhama. As Satyabhama, Bhumidevi was unaware of the knowledge of Naraksura being her son. Aditi the mother of all gods approached Satyabhama crying for help with bloodied ears as Narakasura had torn off the glowing earrings from the ears of Aditi.
Satyabhama was furious on gaining the knowledge of Narakasura's atrocities she asked Krishna to fight the demon king while she fights alongside him. Krishna agreed and they attacked the great fortress of Narakasura, riding his mount Garuda with his wife Satyabhama.
The furious battle unleashed. Krishna defeated Narakasura's general Mura and came to be known as Murari (the killer of Mura). Narakasura used several divine weapons against Krishna, but Krishna slew all those weapons effortlessly. The demon hurled a shakti towards Krishna, which mildly hurt Krishna and he fell unconscious. Upon this sight Satyabhama was enraged, she furiously pulled out a weapon of her own and hurled it at Narakasura's chest. Anxious Satyabhama turned to her fallen Lord, Krishna got up with a smile and he was completely fine. He was only playing his part. It was Satyabhama who was an incarnation of Bhoomidevi, whose hands were destined to slay Narakasura.
ALSO READ: Choosing Environment-Friendly Diwali
Lord Krishna and Goddess Satyabhama had put an end to the Narakasura's kingdom of evil. As Narakasura lay on his deathbed he realised that Satyabhama was no one but an avatar of his own mother. He requested a boon from his mother, for no one to mourn his death. Instead, he wished for people to celebrate it with light and colours. They freed the 16,000 women who later married Lord Krishna to restore them of their honour in society, retrieved Mother goddess's earrings. This day is celebrated as 'Naraka Chaturdashi' popularly known as Choti Diwali - the day before Diwali as the triumph of good over evil.
Keywords: Diwali festival, goddess Laxmi, demon king, Lord Krishna, Satyabhama, the festival of light, Naraksura, Narak Chaturdashi
For all the great inventions that we have at hand, it is amazing how we keep going back to the safety pin every single time to fix everything. Be it tears in our clothes, to fix our broken things, to clean our teeth and nails when toothpicks are unavailable, to accessorize our clothes, and of course, as an integral part of the Indian saree. Safety pins are a must-have in our homes. But how did they come about at all?
The safety pin was invented at a time when brooches existed. They were used by the Greeks and Romans quite extensively. A man named Walter Hunt picked up a piece of brass and coiled it into the safety pin we know today. He did it just to pay off his debt. He even sold the patent rights of this seemingly insignificant invention just so that his debtors would leave him alone.
Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement in the 70s. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
Later, he even invented the sewing needles and a couple of other important inventions but never kept any of the patent rights.
When the punk rock tradition took over in the seventies, safety pins became a fashion rage. They were used as piercings and to patch clothes together. Anyone wearing safety pins that were visible began to be associated with the rock movement. In some cultures, the safety pins have become symbols of good luck.
Keywords: Safety-pins, Punk Rock, Brass, Accessories, Walter Hunt
In South India, Deepavali marks the end of the monsoon and heralds the start of winter. The festival is usually observed in the weeks following heavy rain, and just before the first cold spell in the peninsula. The light and laughter that comes with the almost week-long celebration are certainly warm to the bones, but there is still a tradition that the South Indians follow to ease their transition from humidity to the cold.
Just before the main festival, the family bathes in sesame oil. This tradition is called 'yellu yennai snaana' in Kannada, or 'ennai kuliyal' in Tamil, which translates to 'sesame oil bath'. The eldest member of the family applies three drops of heated oil on each member's head. They must massage this oil into their hair and body. The oil is allowed to soak in for a while, anywhere between twenty minutes to an hour. After this, they must wash with warm water before sunrise.
Women applying oil to the heads of men Photo credit: Indians in Kuwait
In some parts of the peninsula, soap is not used to wash off the oil because it nullifies its effects. Some cultures who do not like the oil to remain in any way on their skin wash it off with shikakai and herbs, which is a paste that is traditionally used as a substitute for soap. Sometimes, the oil is heated with flowers and spices as well and is less sticky than in its pure form.
The purpose of this ritual is to cleanse the body, detoxify it, and produce heat in it. Sesame is a very heaty substance and tends to heat up the body. This heat, or 'usshna' in Kannada, prepares the body to face the sudden cold that comes to the peninsula immediately after Diwali. South India has no smooth transition weather-wise from monsoon to winter. There are a few days of stable, rainless weather, and suddenly the cold winds descend.
In many ways, the celebration of Diwali is centered around preparing for winter, considering the amount of heat and light the rituals consist of – lighting lamps, bursting crackers, and consuming warm treats. Those who practice these rituals earnestly find the shift in seasons and weather quite pleasant.
Keyboards: Sesame Oil Bath, Diwali Ritual, Traditional Sesame Oil Bath