An unparalleled monument to the ageless art of story-telling, the tales of the One Thousand and One Nights have, for many centuries, titillated the imaginations of generations the world over. With her hair flowing down her back, her mouth curved into just the hint of a smile, her bronze hands gesturing gracefully, she spins tales of thieves and sailors and magic lamps for King Shahryar, who reclines in front of her.
There is a statue of a beautiful young girl carrying a jar and pouring water down and surrounded by another forty jars around her on the crossroads between the famous Karrada Dakhil (the inner district) and Karrada Kharij (the outer district) in the capital city of Baghdad. Her name is Kahramana.
The Buddha Park of Ravangla, also known as Tathagata Tsal, is situated near Rabong (Ravangla) in South Sikkim district, Sikkim, India. Tathagata is Sanskrit and Pali word. It’s used to refer to Lord Buddha. The term is often thought to mean either “one who has thus gone” (tathā-gata) or “one who has thus come” (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathagata is beyond all coming and going — beyond all transitory phenomena.
Char Dham or Siddhesvara Dham is a unique pilgrimage tourism venture of the Sikkim Government developed as “Pilgrim cum Cultural Centre” having a 108 ft statue of Lord Shiva and replicas of four Dhams of the country at one place at Solophok hilltop in Namchi. Namchi is the headquarters of the South Sikkim district. Namchi means Sky (Nam) High (Chi) in Bhutia. Namchi is situated at an altitude of 1,675 m (5,500 feet) above mean sea level.
On our way to Char Dham, we went to Samdruptse, near Namchi. Samdruptse is situated at around 75 km from Gangtok. Samdruptse literally means ‘wish fulfilling hill’ in the Bhutia language. It is also said that the Samdruptse hill is actually a Dormant Volcano. Painted in shimmering copper, pink and bronze, the awe-inspiring and gigantic 45 metre-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava, a.k.a. Guru Rinpoche, lords over the forested Samdruptse ridge and is visible for miles around.
The word ‘Banjhakri’ means a forest shaman. A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.
Jeita is an extraordinary site which could be one of the wonders of the world but remains an intimate experience. The Jeita caves are solutional karst caves which have formed over millions of years due to the dissolution of limestone. The grotto has strategically positioned coloured lights that showcase the stalactites and stalagmites in all their crystalline glory.
Pondicherry is affectionately known as Pondy, and has been officially known by the alternative name Puducherry since 2006. It is a blend of spiritual aura, French colonial heritage, Tamil culture, virgin beaches and the cosmopolitan flair of many nationalities in a small but varied city. Pondicherry was designed on the French grid pattern and features neat sectors and perpendicular streets.