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India

Delhi

  • Popular tradition traces the name "delhi" to Raja Dillu ,who is said to have ruled here in the first century BC
  • Delhi was built,destroyed and rebuilt several times..Its powerful empires have left behind their mark in a celebration of ritual festivities,art, music,dance,food and enchanting monuments which have stood the test of time
  • The journey from the majestic mosque in old delhi to the towering heights of qutub minar,which stands like a sentinel over new delhi,is interspersed with monuments whispering magical stories of a golden past
  • In its over 3000 years of existence the spell of delhi has remained unbroken. Today Delhi's roughly 16 million residents are sprawled across an area of 1485 sq.km.
  • Even today ,delhi is a mmixture of old and new . Ancient 'tongas'ot horse carriages trot on the streets over which jets zoom past.street acrobats with painted face provide entertainment at traffic signals and street corners,,at the same time delhi offers the finest talents in indian classical dance and music
  • Delhi has been built and re-built more than 5 times at different sites in and around Delhi but the correct reference is found in the Mahabharatha as the city of Pandavas, also called Indraprastha, some 3000 years ago
  • Indraprastha was formed in Delhi in 1000 B.C during Mahabharatha which is assumed to have been around the annex of Purana Quila. According to Mahabharatha, Pandavas named this region as Indraprastha which was known as Khandava-Prastha
  • Our history reveals that Delhi was on the great national highway of the Mauryas that linked their capital Patliputra (now Patna in Bihar) with Taxila (Takshashila), now in Pakistan

Varanasi

  • Every year about one million pilgrims visit Varanasi, to bathe in the Ganga from numerous ghats, the bathing places with steps that line the river's crescent-shaped, stone-lined bank
  • Around the sacred areas of the city is the Panchkosi Road, a 50-mi. circuit every Hindu aspires to walk. According to their religion, if they die in Varanasi they will be released from the endless cycle of rebirths and enables them to enter heaven
  • Across the Ganges from Varanasi is Ramnagar, which was the capital of the former princely state of Benares and is still the seat of the maharajah. Ramnagar is noted for its 31-day Ramilla, the enactment of the events of the Ramayana
  • In the 7th century A.D., Benares had nearly 100 temples dedicated to the Hindu god Siva. Records of pilgrimages date from this time
  • The city has over 1,500 temples, most of them built in the last 200 years following a long period of Muslim invasion
  • The river Ganga originates at Gangotri glacier on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, some 14, 000 feet above sea level
  • Thought to be one of the world's oldest cities, it is the holiest city of the Hindus, who call it Kasi. There are about 1,500 temples, palaces, and shrines
  • The most famous Hindu temples are the Golden temple, dedicated to Shiva, and the Durga temple with its swarms of sacred monkeys
  • Varanasi is of importance to other religions also. Buddha is said to have begun preaching at Sarnath, 4 mi (6.4 km) outside the city
  • The city is an educational center, especially for Sanskrit studies; Benares Hindu Univ. (1916) is there

Jaisalmer

  • Exclusive to the region, Jaisalmer is popular for leather messenger bags. These bags are made from wild camels.
  • Jaisalmer has some of the oldest libraries in India which contain rare artifacts and manuscripts of Jain tradition.
  • The most talented and famous dancer from Jaislamer, Queen Harish (the desert drag queen) is world renowned and features in many International films.
  • The Maganyar musicians native to the regions, are recognized worldwide and their music dates back to several decades.
  • The manmade Gadi Sagar Tank was the only source of water in ancient times.
  • Pokhran situated around 112 kilometres from Jaisalmer is well known for nuclear testing than its mythological connections. As the legend goes, Ram aimed a powerful arrow which generated severe heat in order to dry the Sri Lankan seas. Persuaded not to do so, he fired the powerful arrow into the Saraswati River instead. This dried up the river and left the place to be a barren desert.

Leh, Ladakh

  • In the Thinksey Monastery, Buddhist monks create a mandala made of sand, dust and precious stones. Once finished, it is destroyed to represent the impermanence of forms that are visible.
  • The consumption of garlic and usage in dishes is high as it is a good natural remedy to combat high altitude sickness.
  • Buddhism is the predominant religion. Several monasteries have existed over the years. However, almost half the population consists of Muslims. In Leh, the only mosque built around 17th century is still frequented by the local Kashmiris and has strong Tibetan architectural influence.
  • According to the people who live here, a place called Lamayuru is considered to be a free zone in Ladakh with no criminals allowed to be detained.
  • An exclusive product supposedly sold is the fleece of Tibetan antelopes used to make Shatoosh shawls. The manufacturing, buying and selling of these products is banned by the Government of India and considered illegal.
  • The prayer wheels that are spun by Tibetans are made of pieces of paper with prayers written on them.

Alleppey / Alappuzha

  • The only Buddhist temple in Kerala is an ancient shrine by the name of Karrumadikuttan.
  • It is said that an Irishman, James Darraigh brought a group of craftsmen from Bengal to impart the knowledge of coir spinning and weaving. This knowledge has made the craftsmen of Kerala legendary in the art of coir making and much more popular than their masters in Bengal.
  • The largest powered human boat in the world is the snake boat or Chundan which is found in Kerala. About 100 oarsmen can be seated on one boat and can make around 120 strokes per minute, therefore covering a distance of around 1 and a 1/2 kilometres in 5 minutes.
  • Kettuvallams or house boats are constructed manually by binding planks of wood with coir ropes and other natural material. These boats made of cane measure up to 80 feet in length; around 13 feet in width and can carry 30 tonnes of weight. The evidence of exquisite craftsmanship is by the fact that not a single nail is used!
  • A common practice to be followed in most of the temples is Kerala is that, men have to remove shirts and vests before entering.

Bandhavgarh Forest Reserve

  • In 1914, considering it a good omen to shoot 109 tigers, Maharajah Venkat Raman Singh of Rewa factually killed 111 tigers.
  • It is regarded that the grasslands of Bandhavgarh was earlier inhabited by swamp deer. The change of habitat is considered to be the main reason behind their disappearance.
  • The Sal timber tree found in the region is the second best after teak. Its leaves are used by the tribal people for making 'bidis' or homemade cigarillos.
  • While the year round breeding of the Barking Deer may not seem to be so peculiar, the shedding of their antlers around the month of May-June is surely fascinating.
  • Tigers follow a regime of alternating extremes of famine and feast. At one sitting, a tiger can consume up to 18 to 20 kilos of meat as there is no certainty about getting the next meal.
  • Poaching and killing of Indian tigers is mainly for the use of traditional medicine made from tiger bones and skin. This illegal demand comes entirely from China and has little or no demand from India.
  • There is an adage about drinking wine made from the intoxicating Mahua flower. They say if a man drinks a little mahua wine, he repeats whatever he says like a parrot; if he drinks a bit more, he roars like a tiger instead of speaking and if he drinks too much he would flop to the ground like a hog.

Coorg

  • In 1852, the exiled King of Coorg, Veerarajendra and his daughter Gowramma were the first Indian royal family to visit Britain. Queen Victoria was the godmother of the princess and showed strong affection towards her. She was called Princess Victoria Gowramma.
  • People in Coorg did not practice child marriage and were against dowry system making it perhaps the only Indian community to do so.
  • Kodagu is considered to be the most densely forested district in India. Around 65 percent of its geographical region is under tree cover.
  • Angling is a popular sport in the River Kaveri. A rare catch is the mahaseer fish with a few weighing up to 46 kgs! A major rule to be followed is that if you hook a mahaseer fish you have release it back into the waters. The ladyfish you catch could be taken home.

Goa

  • Goa was colonized by the Portuguese until the 1960's.
  • At Campo de Sao Lazaro, during the Portuguese Inquisition, Jews were burned at the stake in the sixteenth century.
  • A difference in cooking styles can be observed in Goans. People from south prefer to grind coconut and spices together and pass them through a thin muslin cloth to maintain the flavour while people from north prefer to grind them separately.
  • In the 1970s, hippies auctioned their belongings in order to extend their stay on the heavenly beaches of Goa. This led to the birth of what is known today as the Anjuna Flea Market.
  • Jesuits discovered Goan toddy in the village of Majorda where they leaven bread. The people from this village were initially trained in the art of baking bread and are still considered to be the best bakers in Goa.
  • Abbe Faria, one of the Great Goan Freedom Fighters was born in Candolim and is also considered to be the Father of Hypnotism.
  • In 1755, an earthquake and tsunami struck the coasts of Lisbon and Portugal, destroying the naval fleet and trade routes. The Portuguese were unable to regain control over the trading routes and therefore Goa as an important trading hub gradually faded.

Jaipur

  • Jaipur was founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II.
  • Jaipur was built in the 18th century based on the principles of Indian architecture or Shilpa Shaastra.
  • When the Prince of Wales visited the city in 1853, the city was painted pink as a sign of welcome. Exactly why, even to this day Jaipur is referred to as the Pink City.
  • Though known for its historic and artistic grandeur Jaipur manages to find its place among the 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing cities.
  • Jaipur is also home to a prosthesis called Jaipur Foot known for its affordability and quality.

Udaipur

  • Well known as the Lake City, Udaipur is dotted with lakes such as the Lake Pichola, Fateh Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar.
  • Situated close to Udaipur is Shilpgram, a crafts village that's home to one of the biggest annual crafts fair in India.
  • In addition to being a favourite locale for the Indian cinema industry, certain parts of the popular James Bond movie, Octopussy was shot in Udaipur.
  • The Udaipur Solar Observatory is built along the lines of the Solar Observatory at Big Bear Lake located in California.

Mysore

  • Initiated by Raja Wodeyar, the Mysore Dasara celebrations have been taking place ever since the year 1610.
  • Even as early as 1882, Mysore was connected to Bangalore through a railway connection making it one of the first cities to have that honour.
  • In September 1935, Mysore played host to the first private radio broadcasting in India.
  • As a literary epicentre, Mysore had its first local newspaper in the year 1859.
  • Close to Mysore is Krishnarajasagar Dam that is home to Brindavan Gardens, a popular tourist destination that is modelled along the lines of Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar.

Chennai

  • In a cricket crazy nation, Chennai is home to one of India's oldest cricket stadiums- The M.A. Chidambaram Stadium (MAC)
  • With over 1000 performances, the Chennai Music Festivals is one of the world's largest cultural events in India.
  • Chennai's municipal administrative body that was established in 1688 is the oldest in India.
  • Chennai contributes roughly 60% to India's automotive exports.
  • The Guindy National Park comes within the city limits of Chennai giving it an honour very few cities in the world can talk about.

Mumbai

  • After Shanghai, Mumbai is the most populous city in the world.
  • According to some surveys, Mumbai is among the top 10 costliest office markets in the world.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the oldest Stock exchange in Asia is The Bombay Stock Exchange.
  • The Bombay Samachar was first published in 1822 making it Asia's oldest newspaper.
  • Mumbai is also home to the now famous Dabbawallas, a lunch delivery organization that have been awarded a six sigma rating.

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