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Traveling alone can be the most therapeutic form of self-indulgence! By traveling alone, one can engage with their new surroundings unfiltered by the prejudices, tastes, or preferences of a traveling companion and connect with the soul of the place by hanging out with the locals
Switzerland is a solo traveler’s haven, one of the safest and easiest places to navigate, – the sheer variety of things to see and do ensures that your solo trip is a memorable one, especially if it’s your first!
Here are some of the activities we recommend you should add to your itinerary!
Not just a place to stay, but to experience:
Switzerland has a number of reasonably priced youth hostels around the country that are clean, safe, centrally located, and with a choice of a single room, a double room, and bunk beds with central kitchens and lobbies and lounges – perfect if you’re looking to meet other travelers.
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Other than hostels, travelers can choose to stay in single rooms available at lower rates than double rooms, in most hotels- whether budget, mid-priced, or luxury.
The ultimate travel partner- The Swiss Travel Pass:
When traveling solo, a Swiss Travel Pass is a boon! Swiss Travel System makes traveling alone in Switzerland trouble-free with their efficient network of public transport- from the high-speed and famously punctual trains to buses, boats, and trams. The Swiss Travel pass offers exciting discounts on most mountain excursions and gives you free entry to almost 400 museums!
A part of the country’s heritage and history, Switzerland’s panoramic train routes are among the most beautiful rail routes in the world. To experience Switzerland’s majestic mountain scenery, idyllic valleys, and villages; along crystal-clear lakes and ice-blue glaciers- a journey on The Glacier Express, or The Bernina Express is highly recommended!
With the stunning landscapes and action-packed activities, Switzerland will surely unravel the hidden adrenaline junkie in you! Whether you choose to jet ski over crystal blue waters, dive from the sky into lush green valleys, or ski down steep terrains of the snow-capped Alps, there’s an adventure to suit every person when in Switzerland. We recommend trying mountain biking or e-biking or sliding down the fastest Toboggan Run in Pilatus.
The best part? Your daring escapades aren’t limited to just one season. Whether you plan your trip in the summer, autumn or winter, Switzerland will always welcome you with towering alpine peaks, emerald green valleys, and shimmering blue lakes!
In Switzerland- cheese and chocolate will be your go-to choice of food. But Switzerland’s local cuisine has the influence of 3 different cultures- German, French, and Italian, so whether you are a meat-lover or vegan, you will never run out of options to eat!
If you are on a budget, many restaurants offer a “meal of the day” which includes a salad/soup, a choice of 2 or 3 main courses, and a dessert. Many mountain excursions offer a ‘picnic’ option where you can carry your meal. Another must-try when traveling to the country is Swiss Wine; one of the country’s best-kept secrets is that almost all regions in Switzerland produce their own wines.
The Viognier, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay from the Lake Geneva region and Merlot Bianco from Ticino are particularly well known. However, if you consider yourself a wine connoisseur a trip to the Lavaux vineyards is a must!
When you are done trying the rich wines and scrumptious Swiss Delicacies and are craving a taste of home you can try one of the many amazing Indian restaurants in the country.
Swiss Cities- the fusion of old with the new!
Swiss cities are a true wonder! Surrounded by the spectacular scenery that dominates Switzerland’s landscape, the cities embody the quality of life, urban flair and are perfect to base yourself to explore when traveling independently.
Zurich is a perfect example of Swiss cities, which are a blend of the old and new! While the old town will show you the rich history, the newer parts will cater to your young spirit with the best of Zurich nightlife with trendy bars and clubs. Any cosmopolitan swiss city such as Zurich or Geneva will fill your calendar with festivals, fireworks, and alfresco fun, where you can meet different people and make connections for life!
And the best thing is that a 10-minute train ride can take you into the countryside, so compact is even the biggest of cities in Switzerland.
Idyllic countryside landscape:
The picturesque villages of Switzerland have made for some of the most gorgeous backdrops of our Bollywood movies! Tucked in the lap of the Alps and surrounding valleys, these villages offer you a chance to unwind or pair up with other tourists and experience local life and culture!
In addition to being a paradise for hikers in summer and skiers in the winter, every village offers a multitude of attractions and mountain excursions throughout the year!
Rewarding mountain excursions:
The snow-covered peaks with panoramic viewpoints, thousands of hiking trails, and many other alpine highlights make Switzerland an established destination for different mountain excursions. The journey to the mountaintops is either onboard a cogwheel train, a cable car, or the world’s steepest funicular, is a unique experience in itself.
When in Switzerland, you have to try the golden round trip to Lucerne’s home mountain Mt. Pilatus or experience the world’s first revolving cable car – Titlis Rotair while heading up Mt. Titlis! A fun visit to the snow park at Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe or discovering the Glacier palace at Matterhorn Glacier Paradise will also make your day eventful! (IANS)
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
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Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.
The Mysore kingdom became a popular tourist destination after India became an independent country. The Wodeyar dynasty who succeeded Tipu Sultan are still royalty, but they do not rule the state. Their heritage and culture have become what Karnataka is famous for.
Among the many things that Mysore offers to the state of Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is one. In north India, various cultures have their own headgears. They wear their traditional outfits on the days of festivities and ceremonies. Likewise, in the south, especially in Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is worn.
Made of the traditional Mysore silk, the Peta is usually a white turban decorated with a gold silk thread. It is worn by the Maharaja of Mysore during Dasara, or any other public appearance. This tradition has been preserved and is used all over the state by prominent leaders.
Politicians who want to appease older, more experienced politicians, offer a peta as a sign of honour. International guests are welcomed into the city with a peta and silk shawl. In universities, the peta is worn as a replacement to the black caps, as a sign of graduation and scholarship.
Even today, in the court of Mysore, petas are worn and given out as tokens of honour. The peta of the king varies from the ones a courtier wears, and even among them, there is a difference according to status. Petas are made by a particular family and passed down from generation to generation.
Keywords: Mysore kingdom, peta, silk, Wodeyar