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Over 2,000 Musicians perform traditional ‘bajantri’ on Mahashivratri in Himachal Pradesh

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Lord Shiva (representational image), Wikimedia

Mandi, Feb 26, 2017: In a record of sorts for this Himachal Pradesh town, on Sunday over 2,000 musicians played the traditional ‘bajantri’ at the same point of time, an official said.

The performance by 2,023 players of ‘bajantri’ — the ‘shehnai’ like traditional folk instrument — during the weeklong festivities of Mahashivratri is set to enter the record books, Mandi Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kadam told IANS.

The folk instrument players participated in the “Dev Dhawani” programme, a musical concert, at the Paddal ground here in the presence of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his cabinet colleagues.

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Dressed in traditional Himachali attire, the ‘bajantri’ players accompany the hill deities during their sojourn to Mandi town every year during Mahashivratri. They lead the chariot and play folk instrument tunes.

Kadam said a total of 1,806 folk instrument players performed during the Mahashivratri festivities last year and entered the Limca Book of Records.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh lauded the efforts of the Mandi administration in conducting the mega musical event that saw instruments like kettledrums, ‘shehnai’, a woodwind instrument, and drums being played.

He said Mahashivratri here was particularly famous as the special fair, which transformed this town into a venue of grand celebrations when gods and goddesses from nearby villages and towns gathered, to celebrate it.

Mandi town, popularly known as ‘Chhoti Kashi’, sees a gathering of over 200 deities from hundreds of temples during the festivities of Mahashivratri every year.

The celebrations date back to 1526 when this town was founded during the rule of Ajbar Sen (1499-1534). He had ‘invited’ all the local deities to bless the founding of the new town.

The weeklong Shivratri fair began on Saturday. Nearly 200 deities are participating in the festivity that will conclude on March 2.

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Mandi, located on the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway-21, is dotted with more than 80 temples built in typical hill architecture. The prominent temples are those of Bhutnath, Triloki Nath, Jagannath, Tarna Devi and Jalpa Devi.

Ever since the rule of princely states came to an end, the district administration has been following the practice and inviting deities to the Mahashivratri festivities here.

The administration also offers an honorarium to the “kardars” — the attendants of deities – and the instrument players for participating in the festival. (IANS)

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‘In our industry, it becomes difficult to remain headstrong’, Says actress Kangana Ranaut

Kangana again speaks her heart openly. Watch out What she has to say this time.

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Actress Kangana Ranaut
Actress Kangana Ranaut . Wikimedia Commons
  • Actress Kangana Ranaut is known to speak her mind despite the reactions her words elicit

Kangana Ranaut says, ‘it is difficult to remain “headstrong” in Bollywood as there are always people who try to make one “feel insignificant”. But she continues to fight it.

“Being an outsider in the business, I have fought to carve a niche for myself. I have also been opinionated and I choose to express my views openly,” Kangana Ranaut told.

“In our industry, it becomes difficult to remain headstrong as you are often judged for not following the status quo. There will always be a segment that will try to make you feel insignificant, but it is important to channel your strength and confidence and work hard to triumph. It’s important to grow a distinct voice to break the clutter,” added the National Award winner.

Kangana, a Reebok brand ambassador, is a part of the second edition of the brand’s #FitToFight campaign, which fights looming gender demons of eve-teasing and pays disparity.

The actress has been actively talking about her struggle in the industry as well as her relationships with actors like Aditya Pancholi and Hrithik Roshan. She tagged filmmaker Karan Johar as a “flagbearer of nepotism” during his chat show.

Does she consider herself “mentally tough and fit to fight”?
“Absolutely,” she said.
“My experiences in life, on the personal and professional fronts, have helped shape the individual I am today. There have been moments in my life when it was very difficult to continue working in unfavorable conditions. But I fought my way, to make a mark for myself.

“I realized the importance of being tough, both mentally and physically, which encouraged me to deliver my best regardless of the odds. In my journey, I learned that challenges may always beset you, but if one is strong-willed and determined, you can overcome them,” added Kangana Ranaut, often tagged the “Queen” of Bollywood.

In her last released film “Simran”, she played an imperfectly perfect girl who wants to lead life on her own terms. Does she think such characters hardly exist in real life where girls are always following the norm?
“My career trajectory is full of characters and films where I am trying to redefine the conventional heroine tag. I think it is important to reinvent oneself continuously and diversify your craft.

“I have been fortunate that I have worked in path-breaking films such as ‘Fashion’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, ‘Queen’ and ‘Simran’ where I play individualistic characters. I do know ‘Queen’ had a strong impact on viewers. I always choose to do roles where there is a message being delivered that makes the viewer think differently and shapes their choices,” said the actress, who will next be seen in “Manikarnika”.

She also feels “there are many women who aspire to dream bigger and better” and she is one of them. Kangana, who comes from a small town in Himachal Pradesh, says her circumstances never discouraged her from chasing her dreams.

“I encourage women to believe in their strength and value their hard work. My motto has always been to follow my own path and not succumb to norms. I believe it’s important to celebrate yourself and grow with each experience,” she said.
This is what she is trying to promote with the #FitToFight campaign.

“I hope to inspire other girls through my stories of courage, faith and conviction. I truly believe in the limitless potential that every woman possesses to be physical, mentally and socially fit. I do hope my story and journey of facing adversities, fighting obstacles and emerging stronger and fitter, will inspire other women to be Fit to Fight,” she said.(IANS)

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Home is Where Mountains Are ! Rundown of 7 Mountains in India

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Beautiful mountains in India
Manali in India. Pixabay

Sep 20, 2017: Mountains are simply attractive, but the blooms and lush greenery creates a lovely shading which makes them appear even more alluring. India is blessed with such splendid sights and eye soothing mountain ranges.

Take a look at these 7 magnificent mountains in India

Valley of Flowers, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Valley of flowers, Garhwal Uttarakhand India. Wikimedia

Valley of flower is situated in Uttarakhand, also Known as God’s own land. The impressive panoramas of the mountains and valleys of the downtown ought to be exceptionally noted. This place is brimmed with distinction.

Chandratal Lake, Himachal Pradesh

Beautiful mountains in India
Different colors of Chandratal lake. Wikimedia

Its magnificence is conceived by its snow-clad mountains, waterways, and lakes. There befall peace and solace by seeing them.

Beautiful mountains in India

Rohtang Manali, Himachal Pradesh

Beautiful mountains in India
Rohtang Pass, Manali. Wikimedia

The wonderful valley of Rohtang Pass here gives a feeling of paradise on earth. In the meantime, the magnificence of the Solang valley adds four moons to the perfection of Rohtang.

Kanchenjunga Mountain, Sikkim

Beautiful mountains in India
This is the view of the great Kanchenjunga Mountain range in Sikkim taken in the morning at a freezing temperature. Wikimedia

Every scene of Kanchenjunga situated in Sikkim is unmatched and wonderful in itself. The mountains secured with snow, streams ascending through the mountains heighten the magnificence of this place.

Beautiful mountains in India

Pithoragarh, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Aesculus indica, Horse Chestnut, Pithoragarh, Himalayas. Wikimedia

This area is the easternmost Himalayan region in Uttarakhand, also known as the little Kashmir. High Himalayan mountains topped with snow, emerald grasslands and meadows is a sight full of astonishment.

Ranikhet, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Ranikhet (Beauty of Himalaya valley). Wikimedia

Located in the Kumaon mountain, the Ranikhet slope is arranged amongst Nainital and Almora. It is encompassed by woods from all sides, the name of the slope of Ranikhet, which is named after Rani Padmini. The excellence of this place are the fundamental focuses of fascination.

Beautiful mountains in India

Rishikesh, Uttrakhand

Beautiful mountains in India
Monsoon in Rishikesh. Wikimedia

The bright slopes and valleys spread over the city makes the place even more alluring.

Prepared by Naina Mishta of Newsgram. Twitter @Nainamishr94


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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC