Itkhori in Chatra district of Jharkhand state of India is situated at around 150 km from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, at the confluence of two rivers named ‘Mahane' and 'Baksa'. Bhadrakali temple complex is a symbol of religious tolerance for centuries. It is a wonderful place with abundance of historic reminiscences and archaeological remnants demonstrating a breath-taking saga of religious tolerance and cultural unity.
Kolkata, the City of Joy, is known for its cultural significance. The 350-year old metropolis boasts of a rich heritage and several popular landmarks that exude a distinct charm. As the sun sets, painting an evening sky with a hundred shades of red and orange, the cruise sails through the Hooghly river.
Kolkata’s Durga Puja is India’s official nomination for the 2020 edition of the UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Durga Puja is not only a religious festival, it is the most significant socio-cultural event in Bengal. Though predominantly originated in the Hindu ritual and legends, the Durga Puja celebration cross cuts the communal divide in many of its attributes. It is an epitome of harmony across caste, class, creed and religion.
Dolma is a family of stuffed vegetable dishes common in the Mediterranean cuisine. It slowly made a delicious journey from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea to the shores of the Bay of Bengal, where it got the exotic transformation.
While I was posted at Jharkhand zonal office, I used to travel sometimes to Lohardaga, Latehar, Palamau, and Garhwa districts of Jharkhand from Ranchi and a small town named Kuru (कूड़ु), around 60 km from Ranchi, used to be my regular stop. There is a T-junction at Kuru. The road goes straight to the bauxite city of Lohardaga, while the right one heads towards Betla, Latehar, and Daltonganj. There are a few sweet shops selling famous chhena toast and dhushka.
India is endowed with the beauty of diversity in languages, geography, features, habits, cultures, religions, ethnicity and origins. It now seems that the great pot is broken. It’s the time again for rebuilding the social cohesion. We are living through a period of global transition. Technology is connecting us ever more closely, and cross-cultural exchanges are deepening every day — but this does not mean there is more understanding. We must teach our children the history of India, cultures of India, festivals of India and accepting the diversity. Tolerance is our strength and not weakness. Tolerance is not passive.
The Kumbh Mela — the largest congregation in the world — sees world gathering of saints, pilgrims, devotees to take holy dips in the sacred confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mystical Saraswati. Bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse and purify ones’ soul of all sins. Recognized by UNESCO as India’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, Kumbh Mela never ceases to amaze and its amazement is always felt in the grandeur of it being the largest religious-cultural festival in the world.