An ancient city situated on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River, Ujjain was the most prominent city on the Malwa plateau of central India for much of its history. It emerged as the political centre of central India around 600 BCE. It was the capital of the ancient Avanti kingdom, one of the sixteen mahajanapadas. It is an important place of pilgrimage for Shaivites, Vaishnavites and followers of Shakta. It is a known Hindu pilgrimage centre with the Kumbh Mela held here every 12 years.
It can only be termed as a blessing, by Lords and mother nature, that Omkareshwar, the sacred island called Mandhata or Shivapuri in the Narmada river, is shaped like ॐ (Om) - the holiest symbol of Hinduism. Not surprising then that this serene town is also one of the 12 Jyotirlinga shrines in India. Pilgrims in unimaginable numbers visit the shrine every year, seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva.
Established by the Rajputs in the 18th century and a princely state of the British Rule in the 19th century, Maihar is a city in Madhya Pradesh. It is best known for the famous temple of Maa Sharda Devi (ca. 502 CE), situated on the top of the Trikoota Hills, which can be reached after climbing 1,063 steps. The name of city means ‘mother’s necklace’, and it got this name because, as per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva was carrying his mother’s body when her necklace fell off. The place where it fell was in this city, which is why it is called Maihar. The city is a prominent place for the Indian classical music. It was originally the birthplace of the Maihar Gharana, a type of Hindustan music.
Saraswati (also Sarasvati) is the Hindu goddess of learning, wisdom, music, and aesthetics. She is also known as Bharati (eloquence), Shatarupa (existence), Vedamata (‘mother of the Vedas’), Brahmi, Sarada, Vagisvari, and Putkari. Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and arts, represents the free flow of wisdom and consciousness. Saraswati represents vak or the divine word, but the same inspiration she reflects extends to all Hindu goddesses as arising from chit-shakti, the power of consciousness.
Chhath Puja is one of the few all-women celebrations observed by the women folks of the family without the necessity of a male priest and the utterance of Sanskrit mantras. Source of the festival could be in the fertility cult prevalent during the hoary matriarchal/matrilineal days of the country and in the Harappan civilisation.
Sohrai is a winter harvest festival and one of the most important festivals of santhals in Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is mainly celebrated at the beginning of winter harvest, when the paddy has ripened, on the new moon day of the Bengali month of Kartik, coinciding with Diwali or Kali puja, in the month of October-November.
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.