Posted in Explore

Navratri Utsav

Navratri, literally interpreted as ‘nine nights’ is the most celebrated Hindu festival devoted to Goddess Durga symbolizing purity and power or ‘shakti’. Navratri festival combines ritualistic puja and fasting and is accompanied by resplendent celebrations for nine consecutive days and nights. Navratri in India follows the lunar calendar and is celebrated in March/April as Chaitra Navratri and in September/October as Sharad Navratri.

During Navratri, people from villages and cities gather to perform ‘puja’ on small shrines representing different aspects of Goddess Durga, including Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati. Chanting of mantras and renditions of bhajans and folk songs usually accompany the puja rituals for nine consecutive days of Navratri.
Defining both the religious and cultural themes, Navratri celebrations are seeped in traditional music and dance. Gujarat is the focus of Navratri celebrations with all night-long dance and festivities. ‘Garba’ is a devotional dance form that derives from the folklore of Lord Krishna singing and dancing with the gopis using ‘dandiya’ or slim wooden sticks. ‘Raas Garba’ has also evolved .What’s more, with time, Navratri festival has seen changes in celebrations with well-choreographed dance performances, high-end acoustics and people dressed in made-to-order, bright costumes.

Lets take a glimpse of it happening in Bangalore

 

Posted in Explore

Snorkelling

Snorkelling  is the practice of swimming on or through a body of water while equipped with a diving mask, a shaped tube called a snorkel, and usually fins. In cooler waters, a wetsuit may also be worn. Use of this equipment allows the snorkeler to observe underwater attractions for extended periods with relatively little effort and to breathe while face-down at the surface.

I had tried this activity first at the Maldives Islands .The primary activity on the Maldives island is  Snorkelling . The islands are all coral reefs hundreds of kilometres away from any major landmass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it in the Maldives.

Many divers opt for life boards, which can actually work out much cheaper than paying high resort fees. Currents vary considerably, with generally little inside the atolls but some powerful streams to be found on the sides facing the open sea. Water in the Maldives is warm throughout the year . Diving is possible throughout the year, but rain, wind and waves are most common during the season of the southwest monsoon (June-August). The best time for scuba diving is from January to April, when the sea is calm, the sun is shining and the visibility can reach 30m. Decompression chambers can be found on Bandos in Kaafu (15min from Male), Kuredu in Lhaviyani Atoll and at Kuramathi on Alifu.

The one downside to diving in the Maldives is that it’s quite expensive by Asian standards. Prices vary considerably from resort to resort, with specialist dive resorts offering better prices, but in general, you’ll be looking at around Rs 3500 for a single boat dive with your own gear and closer to Rs 4800 without. Beware of surcharges: you may be charged extra for boat use, guided dives, larger tanks, etc. On the upside, safety standards are usually very high, with well-maintained gear and strict adherence to protocol being the rule rather than the exception. For the people who don’t know how to dive, they can practice underwater scooters in Malé.