Makar Sankranti is not Uttarayana

Makar Sankranti is about nature, energy of the sun, harvest of new crop, and progress of mankind. It marks the end of Malmaas, an inauspicious month in the Hindu (Panchang) calendar, and the transition of the Sun to the zodiacal sign of Makar (Capricorn) to herald a change in season.

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The tradition of Vedic chanting

The Vedas comprise a vast corpus of Sanskrit poetry, philosophical dialogue, myth, and ritual incantations developed and composed by Aryans over 3,500 years ago. Regarded by Hindus as the primary source of knowledge and the sacred foundation of their dharma, the Vedas embody one of the worlds oldest surviving cultural traditions.

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Annakoot | Mountain of food

Annakoot — Mountain of food — is celebrated in observance of the episode in Sri Krishna’s childhood, in which He gave protection to the cowherd clan of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra and humbled Indra in that process. The cowherd, their wives, children and cattle jubilantly surrounded Sri Krishna. They were awed by His superhuman accomplishment and celebrated Sri Krishna’s feat with a sumptuous feast. Thus began the tradition of Annakoot.

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Kojagori Lakshmi Puja

People of eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Assam and Orissa worship Goddess Laksmi on Kojagori Purnima night — the full moon night in the month of Ashwin of Bengali calendar, just four days after Vijaya Dashami or Dusshera — the last day of the Durga puja in the month of October. Kojagori Purnima coincides with Nabanna or the harvesting festival or season which commences from this day when the harvested grains are consumed in households.

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Tathagata Tsal

The Buddha Park of Ravangla, also known as Tathagata Tsal, is situated near Rabong (Ravangla) in South Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. Tathagata is Sanskrit and Pali word. It’s used to refer to Lord Buddha. The term is often thought to mean either “one who has thus gone” (tathā-gata) or “one who has thus come” (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathagata is beyond all coming and going — beyond all transitory phenomena.

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Siddhesvara Dham aka Char Dham

Char Dham or Siddhesvara Dham is a unique pilgrimage tourism venture of the Sikkim Government developed as “Pilgrim cum Cultural Centre” having a 108 ft statue of Lord Shiva and replicas of four Dhams of the country at one place at Solophok hilltop in Namchi. Namchi is the headquarters of the South Sikkim district. Namchi means Sky (Nam) High (Chi) in Bhutia. Namchi is situated at an altitude of 1,675 m (5,500 feet) above mean sea level.

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Samdruptse | Wish-fulfilling hill

On our way to Char Dham, we went to Samdruptse, near Namchi.  Samdruptse is situated at around 75 km from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the Bhutia language. It is also said that the Samdruptse hill is actually a Dormant Volcano. Painted in shimmering copper, pink and bronze, the awe-inspiring and gigantic 45 metre-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, a.k.a. Guru Rinpoche, lords over the forested Samdruptse ridge and is visible for miles around.

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