Itkhori: A Place of Religious Tolerance & 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.

Holy City of Karbala & 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. 

Al-Kadhimiya Mosque in Baghdad

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.

Ujjain: The Temple City

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.

Omkareshwar: Blessed by Gods, adorned by nature

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.

Maihar: Where the Mother’s necklace fell

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.