Among the democratic countries in the world, India is the most populated with more than 1 billion people. It is the seventh largest country by area and currently one of the fastest growing economies not only in Asia but across the globe.
It is also interesting to know that India is rich in history and culture, from ancient to modern times. The people are religious and they enjoy celebrating festivals all throughout the year.
India’s Diwali Festival
One of the popular festivals in India is the festival of lights or the Diwali. This is the time for rejoicing and celebrating happiness in their tradition. This is part of the Hindu faith that symbolizes the triumph of good versus the bad and celebrated on the 13th of November until the 17th of November.
Known as Devali in other region or the Diwali (from the word Deepavali), the word means row of lamps. It is the festival of lights celebrated during the thirteenth lunar day of the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashwin in the Hindu calendar. In the Gregorian calendar this is in mid-October and mid-November. This festival is also considered as an official holiday for the countries of Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Singapore, India, Nepal, Guyana, Fiji, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobago.
Diwali festival uses a lamp representing the victory of the good against the evil. This lamp is put in a clean house to accept goddess Lakshmi. Hindu families celebrate the occasion in the traditional ways like wearing new shirts, giving sweets with the other members of the family and use of firecrackers to cast away the bad spirits.
Here are the names and meaning of each day during the Diwali festival.
- Dhanteras for the first day of festival. It is also the financial year of Indian communities.
- Naraka Chaturdas is the second day. They believe that on this day goddess Lakshmi incarnate during the new moon at the churning of the ocean.
- Amavasya is the third day where they worship their goddess of wealth Lakshmi.
- Kartika Shudda Padyami is the fourth day on which the Hindu’s belief is that Bali ruled Bhuloka by the order of Lord Vishnu.
- Yama Dvitiya or Bhai Doo is the fifth day wherein sisters ask their brothers to visit their house.
A UNESCO World heritage site, the Ajantha/Ellora Caves in the Indian state of Maharashta is one of the most breathtaking attractions of the country.
They are 28 to 30 rock cut cave monuments which has an assortment of drawings considered to be masterpieces because they represent Buddhist religious art and universal pictorial art. It is believed to be created during the first century BC and 5th century AD. India is also noted for its natural resources.
In Darjeeling, you will find India’s most majestic mountains. From Ghoom, walk a steep incline to Tiger Hill where the sun worshippers breathe the sweet mountain air and have the grandest view of snow capped Everest.
Since India is a very big country second to China, their cuisine is more known on its regional origins. One of the most noted for its cuisine is the Punjab region or North India. Among its popular dishes are meat and Indian bread cooked in a tandoor. This is a clay oven fired by charcoal. This region is also popular for their curries that have thick, moderately spicy and creamy gravies.
In addition, the other dishes patronized by tourists are the delicious and succulent chicken tikka, spicy aloo muttar , a curry made with potatoes and pea. These regional fares are now available at every nook and cranny in Delhi.
India is a shopper’s haven. From clothes to ceramics, there are but just so many to ogle from. There are elegant metal crafts, and for musical lovers instruments to haggle on.
To facilitate your shopping, plan your trip in India according to your shopping preference. Buy all those lovely handmade trinkets shop at MESH in Delhi but since its weavers are disabled artisan, the items are a little expensive. For designer dresses and Indian saris go to Mumbai malls but do not forget its outskirts for more bargain finds.
In Mumbai, there is the trendy Bandra, Hill Road and Linking Road for the latest in fashion, accessories, jewelries shoes, and bags. In Kolkata, you can find a market bursting with interesting goods. Among the sought items for tourists are saris, handicrafts and terracotta. At New Market a Kolkata shopping institution, you can find everything from clothes to cheese at very low prices. For bargain hunters this is the place to go. You can bargain for as low as 70%.
India’s Popular Events
Among the celebrated events in India is the Holi (Phagwah) or the Festival of Colors. It is usually held on March 7 and 8. It is welcomed by India as a harvest thanksgiving and at the same time a welcome festival for the spring season. People would smear colored powder or gulal and colored water on each other’s face and have raucous laughter after that.
When greeted in India with a welcome, the word is “svagat hain”. To be greeted with “Namaste” means hello, and “Kaise hain ap” is an inquiry as to how are you. “Ap ka nam kaya hai” is an inquiry of your name. These words and phrases are the commonly used during interactions between tourists and locals.