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McLeod Ganj, a hill-station in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh, is a beautiful destination for anyone who wants to reconnect with mother nature. This place is also known as 'Little Lhasa' or 'Dhasa' because of its large population of Tibetans.
Interestingly, the name McLeod Ganj is kept after Sur Donald Friell McLeod, who was once the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. And, “Ganj" is used as a suffix which means “neighbourhood".
So, if you're in McLeod Ganj or are planning to visit this beautiful place, then you must visit the following places:
Bhagsunath Temple and Waterfall
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Bhagsunath Temple is a medieval Shiva temple in McLeod Ganj, and is frequented by members of both Hindu and Gorkha communities. Interestingly, the location of the temple is such that it is surrounded by pristine-looking coniferous forests, hills, and a cascading waterfall that flows through the temple itself! The Bhagsu Waterfall is 30-feet long, and is a wonderful place to experience nature.
Bhagsunath Temple in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.Photo by Flickr.
As McLeod Ganj has a fair amount of Tibetans, therefore this monastery is one of the famous tourist spots. This monastery is also known as the 14th Dalai Lama's monastery, and is a sacred place where various Buddhist rituals and practices take place. At the same time, this monastery also manages a tantric college and a home for the elderly people in Shimla.
Statue of Lord Buddha at Namgyal Temple in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.Photo by Flickr.
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Well, McLeod Ganj also has some historical places, too, for history geeks! The Kangra Fort is a royal palace built by the Katoch dynasty in the ancient times. The fort is believed to be a witness to numerous wars, invasions, and evolution. Also, as Kangra Fort is situated in the outskirts of Kangra district, you will also enjoy many scenic views! Visit to Kangra Fort is a must-must!
Kangra Fort in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.Photo by Flickr.
The Dalai Lama's Temple
This temple is also known locally as Tsuglagkhang. Interestinglyc this is the residence of Dalai Lama. Though, the private residence of His Holiness is out of bounds for tourists, but this complex comprises of many shrines, temples, a Tibetan museum, and souvenir stores. Visiting this temple will truly take you on a spiritual ride, and at the same time, the amount of serenity which you'll experience will stay with you for a long time.
The Dalai Lama's Temple, McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.Photo by Flickr.
Interestingly, this is one of the most visited place in McLeod Ganj. The Institute protects ancient Tibetan culture in the form of art, architecture, and paintings. At the same time, the institute also conducts workshop sessions where tourists can witness how the painters or artists bring the Tibetan culture to life through their artworks. Though, it must be noted, that entry amount needs to be paid in order to get a glimpse if the Tibetan culture. And well, it's worth it!
Norbulingka Institute in McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh.Photo by Flickr.
Keywords: Tourism, McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, Travel, Destination.
Toe rings, or commonly known as 'bicchiya' in Hindi, are worn by married Hindu women in India. They are worn in the second toe of both feet and are usually made of silver metal.
It is believed that toe rings are worn by married Hindu women as a symbol of them being married, and are not removed throughout their lifetime.
It must be noted that while toe rings are known to have a social and religious significance, they are also known for the health benefits associated with wearing them.
Health benefits of wearing toe rings
According to the science Ayurveda, the nerve on the second toe of the feet is believed to be connected directly to the uterus of the woman. So, a slight pressure, which is caused due to the toe ring, is known to regulate the menstrual cycle of a woman. Hence, this leads to a healthy uterus.
Also, a married Hindu woman is supposed to wear the bicchiya on her second toe of the feet, while the unmarried Hindu woman is supposed to wear it on the third toe. This is because wearing a silver toe ring in the third toe by unmarried women helps them ease the pain caused by their menstrual cycle.
In addition to this, wearing toe rings is also believed to give some acupressure benefits as well. This is because toe rings press some of the nerves in the feet which are known to help the reproductive system of the woman.
One more benefit of toe rings in the lives of a married woman is that they are known to arouse sexual desires in married women which eventually leads to good sexual life.
Why are toe rings only made up of silver metal?
Interestingly, it is often seen that toe rings are made of only silver metal. The reason behind this is because silver is known to be a good conductor, and hence, it flushes out negativity from a woman's body.
It must be noted that toe rings are never made of gold as this substance holds a 'respected' status in Hinduism, and it must not be worn below the waist. According to Hindus, gold is the metal of the Gods as it symbolizes Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, and therefore it is considered to be it inappropriate if gold is worn below waist.
Keywords: Hinduism, Women, Hindu, Married, Sexual Life, Toe Rings, Significance.
It is true that street performances has been existing in India since ancient times. But, it was Philip Astley who brought the concept of circus in India in the 1880s. Interestingly, Astley is known as the father of modern circus.
Birth of the Great Indian Circus
In 1879, the Royal Italian Circus by Giuseppe Chiarini came to India. Before any of his shows, he would often say that India did not have a proper circus, and apparently, the country would have to wait for many years in order to develop the "circus trend".
Once, Balasahib Patwardhan, who was the king of the Kurundwad state of Sangli (today's Kolhapur) went to watch the circus. He was accompanied by Vishnupant Chatre, who was the keeper of his stable and also a riding master at the stables. As it was ritual, before starting with any performance, Chiarini used to challenge the audience by saying, "a thousand British Indian rupees and a horse would be given to anyone who would repeat his daring effects within six months". Interestingly, this time, the challenge was accepted by Chatre, and he announced that he will perform the same in Kurundwad within three months. And if he fails, he promised Chiarini that he would return "ten thousand British Indian rupees and top ten horses. On March 20, 1880, Chatre came to perform his circus at the Kurundwad Palace Grounds. But Chiarini did not come to see it.
Soon after this, Vishnupant Chatre bought most of the circus equipment from Chiarini, and within a year, he formed a new circus company called the "Great Indian Circus". This is referred to as the first circus company in India. Chatre's Great Indian Circus toured various parts of India and the world. Later on, Chatre merged his circus company with his cousin's company to launch a new company by the name of "Karlekar Grand Circus".
Other Famous Circuses of India
After the coming of Karlekar Grand Circus, many circuses came into being in India. In 1904, the Malabar Grand Circus, which was the first circus company in Kerala came into being under the leadership of Pariyali Kannan. Another circus named the Great Royal Circus was started in 1909. Though, its previous name was Madhuskar's Circus. One of the famous circuses of India was also the Grand Bombay Circus which was founded in the year 1920 by Baburao Kadam. Since a long time, tradition of circus as an art has been prevalent in India, though slight decline in its practice is evident now.
Keywords: India, Circus, Tradition, Art, Performance, Great Indian Circus, Philip Astley, Culture
Khadi fabric, which is also known as khaddar fabric, is a hand woven natural fibre made with cotton. There are other variations of Khadi fabric, too, which includes silk and wool. Historically, Khadi fabric originated during the time of Mahatma Gandhi when he led the Swadeshi Movement in 1905. In appearance, this fabric has a rugged texture and feels very comfortable when worn during winter season and also makes one feel fresh when worn during summer season.
History of Khadi in India
The first Khadi fabric was made in India when the Boycott Movement began. As a part of the Swadeshi Movement, all foreign goods were banned in India. Gandhi Ji, who led this movement, was of the belief that more than sales, this handwoven Khadi fabric would bring better changes to the daily lives of people. At the same time, he also encouraged people to weave their own yarn and wear it with pride in order to establish and maintain the heritage of the country. Later on, in 1925, All India Spinners Association officially launched Khadi fabric. Since then, advanced weaving techniques have emerged and they continue to flourish even after independence.
Khadi in the Twenty-First Century
Now, with advance and dynamic techniques, Khadi fabric has become widely available, and that, too in multiple variations. With handworks like Kantha and Block Print, this fabric captivates beauty with its subtle weaves. Earlier when Khadi fabric was only limited to Nehru Jacket, now it is widely available in the form of shirt, trousers, dresses, sarees, coats, etc. Though, it's a bit sad to see how modern machinery has taken over the traditional hand-making Khadi procedure. But, it is good to see how people are widely advocating Khadi, which is also advocating India and it's culture!
Interestingly, every year Khadi Day is celebrated on 19th September. At the same time, as per the Indian Flag Code, only Khadi fabric is acceptable to create the Indian flag. And, if it's made with any other material, then there's imprisonment of three years and also a fine punishable by the law.
Keywords: Khadi, Mahatma Gandhi, Swadeshi Movement, India, British, Independence