Month: August 2014

Monsoon Special: BOAT RACES of KERALA

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As people of Delhi NCR region are waiting desperately for monsoon season, one state has already got its share of rain. Any guesses which city I’m talking about? It is none other than KERALA- God’s own country. Kerala is gradually becoming a much sought after monsoon season destination because of Kerala Tourism department’s “Dream Season” campaign, that offers amazing discounts on a wide range of accommodations and packages. The monsoon season in Kerala dates from June to September and October to November. Well rain or no rain, one thing that is worth watching is the festival of boat races of Kerala, which are held in the monsoon months.

Boat Races of Kerala
Boat Races of Kerala

Generally the boats which are used in these races are called as snake boats, commonly known as Chundanvallams by the natives. Don’t get scared! There are no snakes in the boat, it just got this name because the boats have a raised prow that resembles the hood of a snake. Usually a snake boat is manned by 4 steersmen, 25 singers and 100-125 oarsmen who row in unison to the fast rhythm of the Vanchipattu (song of the boatman). There are four main Vallam Kali (boat races) which are held from the month of July to September. All of these boat races have unique legends and myths attached to their origin. Let’s know more about these exciting boat races.

  1. Champakkulam Boat Race

Where:  Champakkulam,  Alappuzha district

Champakkulam Boat Race
Champakkulam Boat Race

The Champakkulam boat race celebrates the day when the idol of the Lord Krishna was installed in the Shri Krishna Temple in Ambalappuzha. This race is one of the ancient and most popular boat races and is organised on the river Pampa at Champakulam. As per legend, the Maharaja Devanarayana of Chempakasseri built a temple at Ambalappuzha as instructed by the royal priest. But just before the establishment of the deity, the King was informed that the idol was not auspicious. So the King’s ministers suggested a solution to bring another beautiful idol of Shri Krishna from the Karikulam temple in Kurichi. The minister along with other people went to Kurichi, told their dilemma to the authorities and got consent to take the idol. While coming back they stopped at Champakulam to spend the night. Next morning boats from the entire region assembled to escort the idol in a colourful, ceremonial procession through the lake to the temple. Now in the modern era, it is celebrated with much enthusiasm and fervour, boats are decorated with colourful parasols and performing arts greets the spectator before the race.

  1. Nehru Trophy Boat Race

Where: Punnamada, Alappuzha district

Nehru Trophy Boat Race
Nehru Trophy Boat Race

One of the major tourist attractions of Kerala, this race is conducted on the second Saturday of August every year. As the name suggests, this race got its name from the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru when he visited Kerala in 1952. The people of Alleppey welcomed him with great fervour and escorted him in the huge snake-boats. Jawaharlal Nehru was so excited with this journey that he announced a trophy to be awarded to the winner of the race. Since then this competition takes place on the Punnamada Lake and draws a large number of tourists. The most interesting feature of this race is the synchronised rowing of traditional 30 metre long snake boats. The Nehru trophy bears a silver model of a snake boat and is awarded to the winning team.

Payippad Boat Race

Where: Alappuzha District

Payippad Boat Race
Payippad Boat Race

Also known as Payippad Jalotsavam, this race is organised on the lake Payippad, which is located at a distance of 35 kms from the district of Alappuzha. This festival is celebrated for three days and commemorates the installation of the deity at the Subramanya Swami Temple. The legend has it that the people of the village decided to built a temple with Sri Ayyappa as the presiding deity. When the temple was ready, the villagers had a vision directing them to a whirlpool in Kayamkulam Lake where they would find the idol of Sri Subramanya which was to be installed at the temple. Therefore, the elders of the village with divers and swimmers rowed to the spot and found the idol right at the same place where it was seen in the vision. They escorted back the idol ceremoniously in the colourfully decorated boats and since then this ritual is celebrated with great enthusiasm.

          Aranmula Boat Race

Where: Aranmula, Pathanamthitta District

 Aranmula Boat Race
Aranmula Boat Race

One of the oldest known boat race event of Kerala, it takes place during the Onam festival which falls during the Malayalam month Chingam (August-September). As per a legend, a devout Brahmin made a votive offering that he’ll feed one pilgrim a day. One day when Shri Krishna himself appeared to him, the overjoyed Brahmin vowed to offer 51 measures of rice and organise the Thiruvona Sadya (the sumptuous Onam feast) at the Aranmula Parthasarthy Temple. Once the Thiruvonachilava Thoni (the boat carrying the offerings) was interrupted by the rivals from another village, but the people of Brahmin’s own village came to the rescue on snake boats. The offering was carried on a Palliyodam (a big, luxurious snake boat that is used by the gods and royalty), escorted by 48 snake boats, representing the nearby backwater villages.

Now 26 snake boats participate in the event which is marked by the colourful water carnival, where an impressive effigy of Shri Krishna is taken out in procession on the lake with children dresses as nymphs and princesses. The boat is occupied by four helmsmen, 100 rowers and 25 singers who sing Vanchipattusongs throughout the race.

 

GoFotoCon Winners On World Photography Day

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GoFotoCon-World Photography Day
GoFotoCon-World Photography Day

August 19th is World Photography Day and the prefect day to announce the winners of GoFotoCon.

It was a monumental exercise and a gratifying journey for us at Goibibo, firstly to see the response and quality of images we received, then to see the enthusiasm and sharing of the photographer on the social media and finally the wonderful experiences of the field trip to Srinagar and Gulmarg.

Trip to Srinagar and Gulmarg
Trip to Srinagar and Gulmarg

The arrival of digital camera technology and the explosion of the social media are intertwined in such a way that one cannot live without the other. Think about it, the world probably needs an X number of professional photographers but because of the social media we have more than X raised to the power N number of photographers out there …clicking, uploading, sharing and enjoying the fun tools that have added so much joy to all our lives.

The grandeur of J&K
The grandeur of J&K

In much the same way travel and photography is mutual mulch, one feeding the other in a never ending cycle of simple harmonic motion that started a while ago and today stands at a place where a singularity is a distinct probability, perpetual motion.

Not quite tangentially, it is now time to announce the winner of GoFotoCon. Putting all the clichés about how it was a close competition and how each and every participant is a winner, let’s cut straight to the chase….

And the winner is  …… Rajender Prasad from Mumbai. Congratulations, you are the Goibibo photographer of the year. Your ability to showcase the grandeur of J&K left us asking for more.

Insightful Kashmir
Insightful Kashmir

The Runner Up is Kartik Jain. His eye for the human face was obvious and insightful.

Wonderful Jammu and Kashmir
Wonderful Jammu and Kashmir
World's most beautiful place-Kashmir
World’s most beautiful place-Kashmir

And in a tie for 3rd place are Swarup Mandal and Arpan Mahajan.

Congratulations to you all. You are brand ambassadors for travel and photography.

Thank you to all the participants, all the best for your future travels and watch this space for more wonderful social media interactions from Goibibo.

 

Must See Places this Independence Day

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Independence Day is around the corner and we can already feel the patriotic spirit high. It was a big struggle for India to get back its freedom from the clutches of different rulers including the British, Dutch, French and the Portuguese.

This Independence Day comes along with a brownie weekend making it a long avenue for a holiday trip.

This 15th August, travel to places that have been associated with the India freedom movement. The battle for independence wasn’t an easy task for India but after a long and exhaustive freedom movement majorly headed by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Bhagat Singh, Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the nation achieved freedom in the year 1947.

A visit all around Goa
A visit all around Goa

Similarly, Goa was being ruled by Portuguese who were the first to arrive and last to leave our land. Rules since the 16th century Goa managed to get independent in 1961. A visit all around Goa suggests a touch of the Portuguese style of living even now but incase, you wish to go back to the times, try visiting the State Museum, the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Aguada Fort and the city of Vasco da Gama.

Pondicherry
Pondicherry

The resources of India attracted a lot of foreign rulers, the French being one of them. Pondicherry that happened to be a major source of trade due its placement as a port has had a history with different rulers beginning from Dutch, French, British and then back to French. For history lovers and also to set in the Independence mood, travelers can head to the French War memorial, the city museum, Arikamedu, Sacred Heart Basilica or simply walk around at the French Quarter to take in the aura of the olden times.

While we all get ready to celebrate the 68th year of Independence, there’s something more that a traveler can do this year in order to fill his patriotic spirit. Here’s listing top four attractions where you can head to this Independence Day.

August Kranti Maidan, Mumbai

August Kranti Maidan-Mumbai
August Kranti Maidan

Initially called the Gowalia Tank Maidan, Mahatma Gandhi speech gave his speech for the Quit India Movement at this park urging the masses to revolt against the British rule. Hence, it was named August Kranti Maidan. Now you know why we suggest this as a sure shot place to visit this Independence Day.

Jallianwala bagh, Amritsar

Jallianwala bagh-Amritsar
Jallianwala bagh, Amritsar

We all are aware of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and even today, the mere thought of the agony that victims might have gone through makes one shudder. This is the apt time to make a visit and pay tribute to the thousands of lives lost on April 13th, 1919.

Cellular Jail, Port Blair

Cellular Jail-Port Blair
Cellular Jail-Port Blair

Also referred to as Kala Pani, the Cellular Jail was built during the times of the colonial rule. The prisoners were exiled to this remote location and were said to be given a horrendous and brutal treatment. It was built in a manner that the inmates could have no possible communication and faced solitary confinement. Today, it is a national memorial and is must visit for every Indian at heart.

Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad

Sabarmati Ashram Ahmedabad
Sabarmati Ashram-Ahmedabad

After returning from South Africa, Mahatma Gandhi settled down in Gujarat at Sabarmati Ashram. The place has been a witness to almost every major freedom movement, the Dandi March being the most significant one. Since the credit for India’s freedom undoubtedly goes to Mahatma Gandhi, this place is a must see this 15th August.

Now that we have listed out the ideas for the Independence weekend, all you need to do is get your bookings done. You know we are here to help you out with the same 🙂 Happy Independence Day!

Jai Hind.

By Harshita Srivastava

Superb views of Srinagar

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Bruno Barbery once said, “Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere.” Perhaps, he was right because on our way to Srinagar, we met so many people from different states having different colloquial languages but there were two things that united all, the beauty of Kashmir and the pictures everyone clicked. The scenic beauty that we get to see at every step we took at Srinagar kept us spellbound. No doubt, all of us, we and the rest of the travelers we met on our way, were hooked to their DSLRs for obvious. That was the day we learnt that there’s another mode of communicating with people, photography.

Our shortlisted winner, Shashikala Jain happened to be one of those people who got really with everyone and communicated with not just her words but also her pictures. Here’s to Shashi’s clicks at Srinagar.

views of Srinagar
views of Srinagar

Dramatic Light on Barren Mountains

Dramatic Light on Barren Mountains
Barren Mountains

Dynamic Jewellery of Kashmir

Dynamic Jewellery of Kashmir
Dynamic Jewellery of Kashmir

Kitni Khoobsurat Ye Kashmir Hai

Ye Kashmir Hai
Ye Kashmir Hai

The Beauty of Artifacts of Kashmir

The Beauty of Artifacts of Kashmir
The Beauty of Artifacts of Kashmir

There will be more smiles when the smoke clears

If you like her pictures and want her to win the title of Goibibo ‘Photographer of the Year’, vote for her here.  Maximum comments lead to maximum chances of winning.

We wish all the luck and success to Shashi! 🙂

Gorgeous Gulmarg

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Who would have thought that CS and law person can anywhere come close to a stream like photography. Well, Priyanka Jain, one of our shortlisted winners managed to crack out through the corporate saga in the form of photography. She believes that this form of art helps her balance her hectic professional life. While she enjoys both, her profession and passion, she also has an inclination towards another form of art, dance. With an impeccable sense of dressing, Priyanka happened to be one of the loveliest people you’d meet around in a group of people.

Here’s listing up Priyanka’s best pictures on her trip to Srinagar with Goibibo.

Gorgeous Gulmarg
Gorgeous Gulmarg

I Believe in God. Don’t Panic

Believe in God-Don’t Panic
Believe in God-Don’t Panic

Because I don’t feel safe here

Dal Lake-The Lonely Planet
Dal Lake-The Lonely Planet

Dal Lake-The Lonely Planet

Gateway to Heaven
Gateway to Heaven

Gateway to Heaven

Shades of Kashmir
Shades of Kashmir

Shades of Kashmir

If you like her pictures and want her to win the title of Goibibo ‘Photographer of the Year’, vote for her here.  Maximum comments lead to maximum chances of winning.

We wish all the luck and success to Priyanka! 🙂

Photographers Paradise

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There’s a saying by Peter Adam, “Photography is not about the cameras, gadgets and gismos. Photography is about photographers. A camera didn’t make a great picture anymore than a typewriter makes a great novel.”

A person who aptly fulfills the words of the great photographer and writer, Peter Adams is Rajender Prasad. Rajender who originally belongs to Dilwalo ki Dilli currently works at Satyajit Ray Film & television Institute in Mumbai. Creativity is something that he flows in his blood and it came as no surprise to see Mr. Prasad as a master in photography. His amazing pictures surely left us spellbound.

Let’s have a look at the talented clicker’s snaps while on his way to Srinagar and Gulmarg with Goibibo.

Where love is born

                                                 Where love is born

The Spiritual Shade

                                                  The Spiritual Shade

Royal ride in a majestic lap

                                                  Royal ride in a majestic lap

Royal ride in a majestic lap

                                                  On the way to Heaven

On the way to Heaven

                                                   Magical Valley

If you like his pictures and want him to win the title of Goibibo ‘Photographer of the Year’, vote for him here.  Maximum comments lead to maximum chances of winning.

We wish all the luck and success to Rajender! 🙂

Traveling Emotions

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Some people are born to be associated with art in some form or the other. Vinayak Hegde happens to be one of those unique people, after all photography is a form of art and so is designing. Vinayak who is currently based in Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, works as a Motion Graphics Designer at a leading e-commerce firm. His passion for photography is reflected in his work.

With an inclination towards capturing the bond of love and scenic beauty, Vinayak has come a long way. He tells us that he has been clicking since the past eight years when he was in Std X. His father had a Yashica camera then and it was at that time when the seeds of photography were sown by his Dad.

“Later I bought a Sony Ericsson mobile which was later on replaced by a Sony digital camera. Now, Nikon D3200 18-105 and a 35mm lenses are my companions.”

The ace photographer that he is also owns a photo blog titled as Chaayabindu-Drop of Light. Apart from photography, Vinayak loves travelling and listening to music.

Let’s have a look at the pictures clicked by Vinayak during our trip to Srinagar.

Age of Innocence
Age of Innocence

Age of Innocence

Hope in eyes
Hope in eyes

Hope in eyes

Light in the Valley
Light in the Valley

Light in the Valley

Nature finds companion
Nature finds companion

Nature finds companion for all

Tranquility Personified
Tranquility Personified

Tranquility Personified

If you like his pictures and want him to win the title of Goibibo ‘Photographer of the Year’, vote for him here.  Maximum comments lead to maximum chances of winning.

We wish all the luck and success to Vinayak! 🙂