MAHASHIVRATRI

Shiva – the God of infinite vision, the conqueror of death and the great destroyer is believed to be the supreme lord of the holy trinity of Hinduism. The 13th/14th day of the dark half of the Phalguna (Feburary/March) marks the great night of Shiva which is celebrated as Mahashivratri. It is an overnight celebration of the devotees of Lord Shiva spent by chanting his mantras all night.
There are several versions of the origin of this festival. The one that is widely believed is that this day marks the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. While on one hand some believe that this is the day when Shiva saved the world from poison during the Samudramanthan (churning of the ocean), the others accredit it as the day when Lord Brahma was punished by Lord Shiva for lying. Indefinite of the reason, it can be seen that this festival is not only celebrated across India but also in Nepal and parts of West Indies.
Mahashivratri is one such festival whose celebration illuminates not only the day but night as well. The devotees organize a series of ‘jaagrans’ and spend the rest of their day performing abhishekam (sacred bath) of the shivlinga by offering milk, honey and curd to worship the three eyed god. In company with the ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ chants, the devotees also perform an all-day fasting.
Mahashivratri is considered as the most auspicious of the 12 Shivratris commemorated to proclaim the glory of the blue-throated god. Mahashivratri is not just a ceremony of honoring the divine power but of meditation, concentration and awareness of the universe.

HERITAGE SITES IN DELHI

The serene beauty of Delhi is enhanced by the heritage sites all around.
Red Fort built by Shahjahan, stands in all its glory, representing the grandeur of Mughal empire. Diwan-i-Aam and Diwan-i-Khas have been the topic astonished commendation since their construction.Pietra dura in Diwan-i-Aam was even stolen from the fort and then reestablished afterwards.

Humayun’s Tomb, built in 1570, is of particular cultural significance as it was the first garden-tomb on the Indian subcontinent. It inspired several major architectural innovations, culminating in the construction of the Taj Mahal. Humayun died in 1556, and his widow Hamida Banu Begam, also known as Haji Begam, commenced the construction of his tomb in 1569, fourteen years after his death. It is the first distinct example of proper Mughal style, which was inspired by Persian architecture.

Agrasen ki Baoli which attracted attention after PK movie is one of the oldest monuments in Central Delhi. It was built by Maharaja Agrasen who is considered to be a contemporary of the hindu god, Lord Krishna.

The soaring Qutab Minar is a 73 m-high tower, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak after his victory over Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom. The tower is one of the finest monuments in India. During the preliminary construction only the basement could be completed,rest of the storeys were added later on. The mosque in Qutab complex is decorated with shafts, most of which are from Hindu Temples which were plundered to construct the mosque. The Iron pillar, a curious antique, is situated nearby.

The Kashmere Gate, built by Shah Jahan was so named because it used to start a road which led upto Kashmir. It was the site of bloodshed during the mutiny of 1857. The rebel sepoys captured the gate and were overthrown by British through heavy bombardment on the gate and walls, on 14 september,1857.

Constructed using red sandstone, Mughal bricks and Jhajjar stone, the Sheesh Mahal is a beautiful architectural wonder used as a resting place by Mughals on tour of their Northern Empire.
Wading through all these heritage sites and many more,one senses a strong sentiment of nostalgia, the richness of Indian Culture that is still concealed and waitin

SURAJKUND MELA

HARYANA’S VERY OWN INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR

Haryana had been the cradle of Indian civilization since the dawn of time. The Indus valley
civilization flourished in the areas of Punjab,Haryana and Sindh.This land,blessed with agricultural
bounty had been the first place where the Aryans settled,bringing along with them a new chapter in
the history of India.Moreover,Haryana had been a mute audience to the mystic unfoldings of events
during the time of the pandavas and Krishna. Hastinapur saw God himself stepping in between
Draupadi and Dushasan to save the honour of a helpless woman.Most importantly,it was here in
Kurukshetra that the Gita came to the from the holy mouth of Shri Krishna which has become a
symbol of Indian philosphy and culture.All these prove that there could be no better place than
Haryana to showcase India’s tradition,culture and crafftsmsnship.And if someone is visiting Haryana
to explore and experience these things,the Surajkund trade fair is a must visit.

Organized every year in Faridabad, Haryana,it covers an area of about 40 acres and about a
thousand work huts. It was started in 1987,with an aim to showcase the traditions and crafts of the
different states of India.Firstly operating on a relatively smaller stae,it garnered an international importance in 2013 when it started collaborating with different countries every year.By 2015,the
crafts mela garnered international attention with the fair gathering about a million footfall each
seoson. The proposed dates for the Surajkund trade fair this year is 2 nd to 18 th February. The theme
state has not been decided till now but whichever state is selected will get a special preference and
the whole fair will decorated in the traditional style of that state. It comes as a boon for small and
economically deprived states who get to showcase their crafts and in turn promote their
tourism.The tickets this year is INR 80/- on weekdays and INR 120/- on weekends.50% discount is
available to war widows, senior citizens, differently abled people and school and college students.According to me, the Surajkund trade fair is a must visit for people who want to experience
the beauty of the country.
This year,the fair is going to be an extravaganza because almost 22 countries will be exhibiting
their crafts and traditional works.Other than this,there will be stalls from different states of the
country as well,so it will be a shop till you drop affair.The Surajkund trade fair is a shopaholic’s
paradise.You have carpets and curtains from Eygpt,tea from Sri lanka,jade figurines from China and
handmade wall clocks all the way from the German-Swiss border.There is muga silk from Assam,
Kantha work from Bengal and oxidized jewellery from Orrisa and Himachal Pradesh.The sandalwood
and the rosewood carvings from South India are a must buy and should definitely be bought.The
Pashmina from Kashmir and Bandhej from Gujarat are beautiful.So are the wooden toys and brass
idols,which are a speciality of Varanasi and Moradabad respectively.The beauty of Kanjiwaram from
Chennai and Chikankari from Lucknow cannot be ignored and draws the customer to itself,s if a
splendid and sensual aroma engulfs the visitor.
Traitional paintings also find a mention in the the Surajkund fair.There are beautiful madhubani
paintings from Bihar and the Pattachitra paintings from Orrisa.The warli paintings from the tribal
areas of Maharashtra are one of the oldest surviving forms of paintings and are much sought
after.The Tanjore paintings from South India and the Kalighat style of art from Kolkata are a feast for
the eyes.Then there are Pahari mimiature paintngs from Kangra and Tibetan paintings coming all the
way from Ladakh and Lhasa. The paintings of Rajasthan are a beauty to behold and should definitely
bought.The Eygptian papyrus paintings are too beautiful to be described in words.
This fair is the Mecca for food lovers.The fair offers a sumptuous variety of ational and
international cuisines.There are croissants and chole -bhature, doughnuts and dahi bhalle ,jalebis
and gulab jamuns.There is so much to eat and relish that you need at least two days to relish
everything that the mela has to offer.
Other than these the mela also offers a cultural fest and an open amphitheatre where artists from
differentstates showcase their culture through folk dances and ‘naatak-nautanki’. An open
amphitheatre offers the audience a cultural treat from 10:0 in the morning to 8:30 in the
evening.There are helicopter rides that one can take to see the ariel view of Surajkund or indulge in
your childhood at the amusement centre of the fair.Or one can just stand and admire the enormity
of the fair.
All in all, the Surajkund trade fair is a treat for the senses.You can shop,eat,enjoy and admire, all
in a single place.It a beauty to behold, a fair par excellence.And most importantly,it is not only the
shops and their articles,but the visitors,the enjoyment anfd the very nature of this fair which the
Surajkund fair one of the most successful fairs in India and around the the world.

Khari Baoli

This 17th-century market is situated around Fatehpuri Masjid was built by Fatehpuri Begum.
The name, Khari Baoli means salty step well used for bathing and for animals in the past .Since generations have passed every shop has some ancestry.It is Asia’s biggest spice market which allows you to choose from a variety of spices both local as well as exotic. There are shopkeepers who will proudly tell you about the origin of certain spices. Imported from across the nation spices like nuts, unrefined spices, grains, pink salt, black salt, pulses, rice, herbs, dry fruits and grains of diverse shapes and colors can be found.

Sadar Bazaar

One of the largest wholesale markets of Delhi is located at the western side of Khari Baoli market established as the small covered market now turned into an enormous trading center.Alongside the hefty wholesale market dealing retailers caters the need for smaller customer requirements.

Just like other old Delhi markets, they are extremely crowded is always alive and buzzing with brisk activity.

Sadar Bazaar market remains open from 11:30 AM to 6:00 PM on all days except on Sundays and can be reached through Chandni Chowk metro station.

Sadar Bazaar offers retail items such as toys, imitation jewelry and stationery products and many others that are retailed at lower prices that are offered at a higher price in any other shopping mall in Delhi. One should visit this market once during the diwali time to see the  market in his full glory.

Kinari Bazaar

This is the most shining and shimmering lane you will visit. Kinari bazaar runs along Chandni Chowk and meets at  Paranthe wali Gali.Here you will find things for decorations of suits, sarees etc. beautiful border,gota and pipings can be easily bought.Various tailors and designers can be found shopping for their masterpieces. For a casual traveler, it is looking at the hangings of laces, colorful borders that would sit on a Sari or dupatta, buttons, and patches.

Nai Sarak – For the brand new Books

The Nai sarak is the abode of books and magazine, you could find any conceivable book just name it and get it .It is within walking distance from chawri bazaar metro station. Nowadays this is the place where wholesale books are sold – mostly textbooks. Traders here are least interested in retail customers as they are looking for bulk buyers.