Events of India

Have You Visited the Famous Surajkund Mela Yet?

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The ‘Surajkund Mela 2016′, a celebration of Indian folk traditions and cultural heritage, was inaugurated by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and brand ambassador of Haryana Tourism, bollywood actor Dharmendra on 1st February 2016. Organised by the Surajkund International Crafts Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs, the 30th edition of Surajkund Mela will play host to at least 20 countries and all the states of India. It is the largest crafts fair in the world and showcases the richness and diversity of handicrafts, hand-looms and cultural fabric of India and the world as well.

Surajkund mela
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/SurajkundCraftsMela/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream

Quick Facts on Surajkund Mela:

Venue: Surajkund, Faridabad

When: 1st to 15th Feb. 2016

Theme State: Telangana

Timings: 10:30 am to 8:30 pm

Focus Nations: China and Japan

Number of Countries Participating: 20

What to Look out For:

  • Day long cultural performances by renowned national and international cultural artists at the open air ‘Chaupal’ within the Mela ground.
surajkund mela
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/SurajkundCraftsMela/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream
  • A special ambience created in the Mela area which is divided into five zones themed around the five seasons of India i.e. Spring, Summer, Monsoon, Autumn and Winter.
  • A multi-cuisine Food Court that will serve lip-smacking cuisines from different parts of the country and world.
surajkund mela
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/SurajkundCraftsMela/photos_stream?tab=photos_stream
  • Competitions for school and college students.
  • Souvenirs like mugs, key rings, neckties, umbrellas, fridge magnets etc. will be available for sale at affordable prices.
  • Separate section dedicated to amusement and adventure activities for all age groups.

Important Information for Visitors:

  • Entry tickets can be bought online from bookmyshow.com and are available at 20 metro stations including, Dilshad Garden‬, Rithala‬, ‪ Jahangir Puri‬, Kashmere Gate‬, ‪‎Rajiv Chowk‬,‪‎ Central Secretariat‬, ‪‎Saket‬, HUDA City Centre‬,‪ ‎Noida City Centre‬, Karol Bagh‬, Dwarka Sector 21‬, ‪‎‎ITO‬, ‪‎Mandi House‬, ‪‎Lajpat Nagar‬ and Badarpur‬, among others.
  • Tickets: Rs.80 for regular citizens and Rs.40 for senior citizens and disabled persons (weekdays), Rs.120 for regular citizens and Rs.60 for senior citizens and disabled persons (weekends)
  • RO system kiosks have been installed to provide safe drinking water to visitors.
  • e-ticket is also available on the government website of Haryana Tourism.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets now!

A Quick Guide to Celebrate Your First Post-Wedding Lohri

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Freezing weather, dip in temperature, foggy sky and chill in the wind.. ahh! Winter has set in and the air of festivity has started blooming. The advent of January reminds us of Lohri, the festival of harvest. In fact, Lohri is the biggest harvest festival celebrated with huge dashes across North India, mainly Punjab. Delicious food (both sweet and tangy), friends and family gathering, bonfire, traditional songs, Punjabi folk dance and year-old rituals – all play an integral part of Lohri celebration. And if it is your first Lohri, then the festival turns all the more exciting.

Lohri
Photo Credit: goibibo.com

It’s your first Lohri but you’re not sure how to make the most of it. Here’s a quick guide:

Where to Shop?

Lohri is all about getting decked up in the ethnic way. Ethnic shopping for Lohri reminds me of some old traditional markets of North India. The list becomes incomplete without mentioning Chandni Chowk of Old Delhi and Hall Bazaar of Amritsar. A magnificent collection of phulkari salwar suits, richly embroidered Punjabi jootis, churidar pyjama, kurta, patiala salwar, Rajasthani turbans, jhumkas and colourful parandis available in these markets make them ideal for Lohri shopping. Your experienced sasuma will be the best guide for your first Lohri shopping!

Where to Hire the Dhol Walas?

Dhol and traditional Punjabi folk dance form an integral part of Lohri celebrations. Pardeep Rana Dhol Wala, Ashok Rana Dhol Wala and Ravi Sharma Band are well known dhol groups of Delhi that can be hired for the function. Colourfully dressed band players effortlessly put the required energy, adding life to the event.

What to Eat and Cook?

Yes! Now comes the point. A variety of lip-smacking food is prepared in every home before Lohri. Some of those sweet delicacies are Ganne Ki Kheer, Dry Fruit Chikki, Coconut Chikki, Pinnie, Gajak and Shengdana Chikki. Goodies like til, rayveri, peanuts, puffed rice, gajak and popcorn are also consumed in the form of ‘prasad’. To make the festival tangy, arrange for a bar-be-que and relish spicy tandoori chicken, mutton malai kebab and paneer tikka.

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Newly-wed Bride Performing Lohri Ritual | Photo Credit: Surinder Singh

What about Action?

Lohri is all about action and in case it is your first one, then the list is huge. Bonfire is the focal point of action. Bring friends and relatives along, dance bhangra (traditional Punjabi dance) and gidda around the fire to the beats of dhol and flaunt your colourful parandi and patiala. First lohri? All right.. Get ready for a second round of ‘saat phere’ with your partner.

Lohri
Bonfire Set Up During Lohri | Photo Credit: Priyanka Sharma

Want to Celebrate Lohri Away from Home?

Definitely the terrace or lawn of your house is the best place. However, Delhi is flooded with many public places like gardens and restaurants that organize Lohri parties. India Habitat Centre is one of the most eye-catching places in Delhi to attend Lohri function away from home. Along with a grand buffet dinner, it also organizes traditional dance and bonfire to celebrate the festivity. Come, relish a range of vegetarian and non- vegetarian dishes like Sarson Da Saag, Keema Chakundari and more on the winter evening of Lohri.

Lohri Surinder Singh
Lohri Celebration by Community People | Photo Credit: Surinder Singh

This Year, Go For an Eco-Friendly Lohri?

Atleast, give it a try! A small initiative would be to organize bonfire with community members, rather than organizing it at individual households. The idea will turn both eco-friendly and fun-filled. Think about heating the logs before burning. It will reduce the amount of emitted smoke and keep you healthy all through. Newbies too can make their first Lohri an environment friendly one.

Let us come together, celebrate the Festival of Harvest and at the same time make our surrounding a better place to live.

16 Long Weekends in 2016

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Make sure your boss is happy with you in 2016 so you don’t miss out on 66 days of holidays coming up. Well, if you couldn’t manage those leaves in 2015, then 2016 is here to please you with 16 long weekends. WHOA! More good news – a mega 9-day holiday awaits you in August. Just manage a couple of leaves in between and your travel bucket list for the year is sorted.

Share this calendar with your friends, family and tag the month when you’d like to plan a weekend getaway.

After slogging through work-weeks, ek long weekend trip toh banta hai boss! 

Long Weekend 2016_Calendar

(Design Credit: Prakash Chhetri)

Jaipur Literature Festival 2016: A Literary Extravaganza

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The biggest avant-garde literary fest, the ‘Jaipur Literature Festival’ (JLF) 2016 is ready once again to bring under one roof some of the greatest writers, novelists, celebrity speakers, Man Booker award winners, Nobel Laureates, local language writers, debut novelists, book-lovers, journalists, socialites, the literati, glitterati and chatterati, from all over the world, to sketch one of the grandest carnivals that the literary world eagerly looks up-to. Every January, Pink City, Jaipur transforms into one boiling pot of cultural cracklers with the beautiful Diggi Palace witnessing five days of unabated discussions, readings and debates. The 9th season of JLF, sponsored by ZEE, is a sure-shot cultural catalyst, exposing audiences to interactive workshops and live music sessions.

Jaipur Literature Festival
Colourful decorations at Jaipur’s Diggi Palace

Quick Facts on JLF 2016

When: 21st to 25th January, 2016

Where: Diggi Palace, Jaipur

How to Register:

General Audience Fee: Free

Delegate Entry Fee:

Pre-Festival Registration (2nd Nov to 20th Jan, 2015):

Rs.3,500 per person/day

Rs.14,000 per person/5days

On-the-spot Registration:

Rs.4,000 per person/day

Rs.15,000 per person/5 days

Only delegates will have access to lunch (Diggi Palace), dinner and music concerts (Hotel Clarks, Amer), special gifts and hotel accommodations (on surcharge).

What to Look-out For?

Be prepared to be smitten by some great faces and voices you will get to see and hear in this fest. While 2015 witnessed some prolific entries, the upcoming season is expected to be wooed by sure-shot head-turners viz Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood, legendary American photographer Steve McCurry, Harvard historian Niall Ferguson, Indian author Ruskin Bond, French economist Thomas Piketty and India’s most renowned psycho-analyst Sudhir Kakar, among 165 others.

Jaipur Literature Festival
Author Anupama Chopra with actress Sonam Kapoor at the Jaipur Literature Festival | Photo Credit: jaipurliteraturefestival.org

While speakers will mainly command on global issues related to migration and navigating change, Homi Bhabha from the Mahindra Humanities Centre will offer his expertise on the theme of privacy in the present-day world.

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Celebrity speakers at the Jaipur Literature Festival | Photo Credit: jaipurliteraturefestival.org

JLF is not all-serious. It is surely going to entertain you with its impressive line-up of cultural events and musical performances as well. William Dalrymple, director of the festival has confirmed the presence of Fatoumata Diawara, the famous Malian musician, to rock the stage.

While listening to the talks, satiate your taste buds with amazing Jaipur kachoris, samosas and Pushkari chai, served in the front lawns.

You could be the next ZEE JLF Blogger or Photo Blogger

Yes, it’s true!

Jaipur Literature Festival
Literary enthusiasts from all over the world at the Jaipur Literature Festival | Photo Credit: jaipurliteraturefestival.org

After the grand success of their first edition, ZEE is back with the second round. This time it’s bigger. You stand a chance to be a published blogger on the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival blog page and related magazines if your creative writing in the form of poetry, story, book review or author analysis is selected by the jury. 10 of the best entrants will be offered bursaries to be a part of their blogging team, travel to Jaipur and blog directly from the festival. Exciting, isn’t it?

You can show-off your passion for photography as well by clicking some amazing pics on themes like Pink or Purple, In the Shadows or Perfectly Timed Moments. A maximum of 9 entries (three for each theme) can be sent. The best entries will be featured on their official Facebook page and website. Two lucky winners will win bursaries to attend and cover the entire festival.

Where to Stay?

While you could choose the venue as your lodging option itself (read about delegate entry at the beginning of blog), other tourists might want to stay closer to Diggi. Some options are – Umaid Bhawan (~5.1km), Dera Rawatsar (~3.6km) or Shahpura House (~4.7km), all located in Bani Park. Reaching the venue would be easy via Ashok Marg or MI Road.

Here is your golden chance to see at close-quarters, people you have been admiring for years. The icing on the cake, you get to explore the beautiful city of Jaipur.

Note: For more updates on the Jaipur Literature Festival 2016, do keep following us on  blog.goibibo.com

Sunburn Goa 2015: The Do’s and Don’ts

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India’s grandest beach party is just a month away! Sunburn, Goa, Asia’s biggest dance and music festival that keeps Goan beaches rocking all night is going to celebrate its 9th glorious year this December at the Vagator ground. The musical extravaganza starting from December 27th is going to give you a new eclectic experience with Electric Dance Music (EDM), cruises, camping and ‘after party’ effects. While tourists, especially the younger lot from India and abroad have already booked their flights to Goa and others are about to do so, we have got the list of some do’s and don’ts that would simply double your fun.

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Tourists on the verge of occupying their seat at Sunburn

The Do’s:

  • Stay in beach camps. Hotels will not give you that ‘Sunburnt’ feel.
  • Carry light, comfortable clothes because December is not that chilly in Goa. Dancing for hours at a stretch would make you feel like a drenched towel. Pack your favourite hot pants or backless tops without giving a second thought.
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Crazy crowd shaking their legs at Sunburn | Photo Credit: flickr.com
  • What shoes you wear is equally important! Say no to your stilettos or any kind of heels for that matter.. Carry flat slippers or flip flops. At least you should feel your feet after hours of leg shaking.
  • Carry loads of sunscreen lotion with high SPF because you will get tan while soaking under the sun.
  • Try carrying smaller cameras (I mean small digital cameras will do) instead of those heavy DSLRs. I am sure you wouldn’t want to miss out on those lovely clicks of Asia’s biggest music concert and brag of things your friends missed out on.
  • If you are a social media addict who will ensure posting everything cool on your Faebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, do not forget to carry power banks and chargers to charge your mobile phones.
  • Look stylish with sling bags strung around shoulders. Keep your backpacks in the hotel and carry all essential belongings in a stylish spacious sling bag while hitting the floor. You wouldn’t get your Michael Jackson moves with heart touching pops right with anything heavier.
  • Since you are going to a pretty expensive fest, trust me, stalls would be ever ready to shrink your wallets. So bargain right and land good deals.
Sunburn_Goa
Shop your beachwear from Anjuna flee market
  • If you love your glasses then you would surely love those Happy Hours during Sunburn when you get a free drink on every drink purchased. Keep a check!
  • You would surely thank me for suggesting this. Carry your favourite deodorant and wet wipes all times. Wet wipes will keep you going while the deod0rant will keep others going. 😀
  • Try carrying cash as ATMs are pretty far from the venue and you wouldn’t want to waste even a bit of your energy looking for them. However, be careful of pickpockets.
  • Once it is dark, your torch-lights would be your knights in shining armour. So, don’t leave them behind.
  • If you get tired of all the dancing, just sit, relax and watch others (it’s really amusing at times) or you could even try other fun activities, which are a part of Sunburn every year.
  • Once the main event gets over, you could stay-back for the after-dark parties to enjoy Goa’s madness. However, do not return without exploring the city’s Portuguese architecture and vibrant heritage.
Sunburn_Goa
Artists performing during the carnival | Photo Credit: Facebook Page of Sunburn Festival


The Don’ts
:

  • Avoid drinking more than you can handle. Measure your glasses so your friends don’t have to bear your burden (quite literally) once you are sloshed. Remember, you are there primarily for great music, dance, and definitely Goan food. So why spoil the fun?
  • Avoid tripling on bikes because chances are high that you would end-up walking a marathon.
  • Avoid wearing real jewellery. Avoid unwanted attention. Come on, you are here for some rock music, dance and not a wedding.
  • You must carry some identification proof. Specially those who look younger than they actually are! People under 18 are strictly not allowed.
  • Last but not the least. Have fun!

Since the flight rates and hotel tariffs are going up by the hour, do not wait any further and make your bookings here!

Have any tips you’d like to share with fellow readers?

(With inputs from Debatree Saha)

 

In and Out of Bacardi NH7 Weekender, 2015

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Since its humble beginning in the year 2010, Bacardi NH7 Weekender has spanned over five Indian cities including Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Bangalore and now Shillong. It is a blend of talent that provides an awe-inspiring combination of local and global music. Music lovers can now strike-off names of must-see live music concerts from their bucket list by watching their favourite artists perform in their cities.

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Can you match the energy? Photo Credit: Facebook Page of Bacardi NH7 Weekender

NH7 Weekender, Delhi

When: 28th & 29th of November, 2015

Where: Greater Noida Formula One Circuit

NH7 Weekender, Pune

When: 4th, 5th, 6th of December, 2015

Where: Laxmi Lawns

NH7 Weekender, Bangalore

When: 5th , 6th of December, 2015

Where: Embassy International Riding School

If you’ve not booked the tickets yet, here’s some motivation coming your way!

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Artists performing at NH7 Weekender | Photo Credit: Facebook Page of NH7 Weekender

Artist Lineup

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A.R. Rahman to perform for the first time at NH7 Weekender
  • The Uptown Funk guy, Mark Ronson is going to bring forth his best music collections that have already stunned music lovers around the world.
  • India’s very own Grammy Award winner A.R. Rahman is going to perform for the very first time in such a music fest. Fans can look forward to something seriously interesting from him.
  • The crazy music, crazier visual skills and sonic details of track making from Flying Lotus (an experimental multi-genre music producer, electronic musician, DJ and rapper from Los Angeles) is going to give you an unforgettable experience
  • Mogwai & SBTRKT (Mogwai is a legendary post rock band from Scotland and SBTRKT is a a self-taught producer from London who has remixed songs of many eminent artists) will be playing at all the chapters of the event.
  • The Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero will play their first sets in India with the NH7 weekender this year.

The heartthrob of Bollywood music, Vishal Dadlani, a solo percussive acoustic guitarist, Dhruv Vishvanath and indie pop rock, The Clameens, are the set of exclusive performers who are going to hit the F1 racing ground in Delhi. While Vishal Dadlani is going to pay tribute to legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad’’, Dhruv Vishvanath will single-handedly showcase his flamboyant style of singing, playing and drumming. The Clameens will make you shake your legs till the end with their collection of indie pop songs.

Pop music lovers to Sufi admirers, all stay tuned and schedule your time to attend If you haven’t been to one yet, let me tell you that this is one of India’s biggest and craziest live music festival. I am sure that this fantabulous event is going to make your weekend musical.

Tickets are available here!

P.S. If you are going, let us know if it was a hit or a miss!

What to Expect at the Trade Fair 2015, Delhi

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If you are one of those who go crazy buying local-made stuff on every single trip (and mostly irritating others with your long list of to-get things when they are travelling), then you must absolutely visit the 35th India International Trade Fair (IITF) in Delhi. The event kick-started on the 14th of November at Pragati Madan. While the business days are still going on, we thought you’d like to know what’s in store at the fair this year!

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Sand art at IITF to pay tribute to Paris attack victims

Take a quick glance through this fact sheet before you plan a day at the India International Trade fair, 2015!

  • Days: November 14th to 27th, 2015.
  • Exclusive Business Days: November 14th to November 18th.
  • Public Days: November 19th to November 27th.
  • Ticket Cost: Rs. 400 per person on business days Rs. 50 per adult and Rs. 30 per child on general days. You can get the tickets either from Paragati Maidan or from specific metro rail stations.
  • Timings: 9.30 am to 7.30 pm.
  • Parking Fee: This will literally burn your pocket with Rs. 175 being charged as the parking fee. And you thought parking in malls was expensive?
  • Food: Carry your own or get the best street food of Purani Dilli at the fair itself.
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Home decor items at International Trade Fair, Pragati Maidan

What to look out for?

  • Carpets, saffron, dry fruits and marble products from Afghanistan and Pakistan. The juicy dates are to die for.
  • Jamdani, Katan,Tanglail sarees and dress materials from Bangladesh.
  • Ladies bags, silver and fashion jewellery from Thailand
  • Porcelain tableware from Sri Lanka.
  • Jewellery boxes in all shapes, sizes and patterns from Khurja.
  • Beautiful linen scarves from Kolkata.
  • Black stone jewellery and show pieces from South Africa.
  • Pretty lanterns, lamps and chandeliers from Turkey. (You will fall in love with these!)
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People at ongoing India International Trade Fair

 Tips You Must Consider:

  • Do not even think about wearing heels. Slip ons or a comfortable pair of sneakers will help you get through the day long walking.
  • Carry backpacks, strolley bags, or extra carry bags to avoid getting tired of lifting stuff you have bought.
  • Start your day early to avoid the crowds. Maximum footfall is witnessed right before lunch till early evening.
  • Carry a light sweater or shrug as it gets chilly in the evening.
  • Though items are decently priced and to a certain extent discounted, yet I will recommend you to practice your best bargaining skills.
  • To strike the best deals, visit the trade fair during the last two days. This is the time when the sellers want to sell-off everything they got to minimise the loss on packaging and transportation of stuff not sold. So bargain as hard as you can and make the best use of your bucks.

Lastly, be ready to get pushed and stamped during the peak hours. And if you decide to see every single part of the fair, apply for a leave for the next day in advance . Trust me, you will be half-dead by the time you reach home, unless you are superman!

(With inputs from Bhawna Grover Bagai)