Nabapatrika: Unique Ritual of Durga Puja

Nabapatrika was a popular ancient ritual performed by the peasants/farmers worshipping Mother Nature for rich and bountiful harvest. With the popularity of the Durga Puja, this ritual was assimilated in the festivities. This important ritual of Durga Puja is an example of inclusiveness — harmonious synthesis of Vedic and ancient non-Vedic rituals. As we cry for climate change and environment, here is the highest form of regard for the environment where goddess Durga is symbolized by the Banana Plant and the important plants and trees are worshiped for the preservation instead of devastation.

Sep 11: National Forest Martyrs Day

National Forest Martyrs Day is observed in India on September 11 every year to commemorate the Khejarli massacre, which took place on September 11 in 1730. The Ministry of Environment and Forest made the declaration in 2013 to remember the sacrifice of those who laid their lives to protect the forests and wildlife across the remote corners of the country and since then, people across India observe this day every year to pay tributes to the valour and sacrifice made the forest personnel to protect the forests and wildlife of India.

Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Mandir

In Hindu mythology, Lord Ganesha is the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the most widely celebrated festivals of the country. The history of Shree Siddhi Vinayak Temple goes back to 1801 when a childless woman named Deubai Patil funded the temple so that the Lord may grant children to other childless women. Laxman Vithu Patil was the man behind the construction of the initial temple. The magnificent temple of Shree Siddhivinayak is definitely worth a visit whether you are looking to seek the holy blessings of Lord Ganesha and to soak into the spirit of holiness.

Blessed Gurudongmar Lake

Gurudongmar lake is located at a surface elevation of 17,800 ft (5,430 m) and covers an area of 290 acres making it the largest lake in the whole of Sikkim. The India-China border is just a few kilometres away from the lake. This lake is considered very sacred by both Buddhists and Hindus. Guru Padmasambhava (8th century) and Guru Nanak (15th century) had blessed this lake.

Ancient Temple of Ninmakh

Located in the fabled ancient city of Babylon, adjacent to the Processional Way and the iconic Ishtar Gate, the Ninmakh Temple was rebuilt several times during the reigns of Esarhaddon, Assurbanipal, and Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BCE. Ninmakh is the Sumerian Mother Goddess and one of the oldest and most important in the Mesopotamian Pantheon. She is principally a fertility goddess. Ninmakh subsumed the characteristics of similar deities like Ki (earth) and others, and was later herself subsumed by the fertility goddess Inanna/Ishtar.

Itkhori: A Place of Religious Tolerance

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.

Om Ali — bread pudding of Arab world

Um Ali: Dessert Born in Blood

Recently, I attended an Iftar party at a luxury hotel in Baghdad. After I finished the food, I found a nice, sweet dessert there, called Om Ali — a simple concoction: bread and pastry are combined with raisins, pistachios, coconut and almonds, then drenched in sweetened milk. It’s not the story of a royal chef preparing an innovative dish at the behest of a discerning king, but of a murder and a rather cruel one! 

Yeti: A Himalayan Mystery

Among the snowy peaks of Nepal and Tibet, stories tell of a mysterious ape-like creature called the Yeti. Purported to be a towering human-like figure covered in shaggy fur, the Yeti continues to excite dedicated believers still hoping for evidence that the mythical creature is real. The lack of hard evidence despite decades of searches doesn’t deter true believers; the fact that these mysterious creatures haven’t been found is not taken as evidence that they don’t exist, but instead how rare, reclusive, and elusive they are.