Down the memory lane | Durga Puja in Varanasi in 2008

The festival season in India means bright colours, lights, giant floats, ceremonies and excitement. The major Indian celebration is Durga Puja (Puja meaning worship). The Hindu Goddess Durga is the goddess of Shakti (power). Magic may be the only word that best describes the pageantry and fanfare that revolves around Durga Puja. While going through…

Itkhori | A place of religious tolerance and cultural unity

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.

Visited Holy City of Karbala and Ancient City of Babylon

The city of Babylon, whose ruins are located in present-day Iraq around 100 kilometres south-west of Baghdad, was founded 4000 years ago as a small port town on the river Euphrates. It became a major military power under Hammurabi, who ruled from 1792 to 1750 BCE. We visited the heritage site yesterday. The summer is extremely hot in Iraq with temperature  hovering around 50 degrees Celsius and still we went ahead with our plan.

Kumbh Mela | Shahi Snan on Mauni Amavasya

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. 

Baghdad | Al-Kadhimiya Mosque

Al-Kadhimiya Mosque is a shrine located in the northern neighbourhood of Kadhimiya district in Baghdad on the west bank of river Tigris. It contains the tombs of the seventh Shia’i Imam Musa Al-Kadhim and the ninth Shia’i Imam Muhammad al-Jawad. Also buried within this mosque are the famous historical scholars, Shaikh Mufid and Shaikh Nasir ad-Dīn aṭ-Ṭusi. Due to its special geographical location, Kadhimiya has been considered important and its history is thought to date back before Jesus Christ. This place was then known as Shoneezi, an Arab name meaning the Black Grain.

Baghdad | Abu Hanifa Mosque

The mausoleum of Abu Hanifa is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture, with beautiful ornaments engraved on bricks and beautiful calligraphy of Koranic verses on blue tiles.

Ujjain | Bhasm-aarti at Mahakaleshwar Temple

Mahakaleshwar temple at Ujjain is an important pilgrimage place for Hindus as it's said to be one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It's also regarded as one of the top 10 Tantra temples of India, and has the only Bhasm-Aarti (ash ritual) of its kind in the world.