TRAVEL TIME- Glance At Some Beautiful Festivals

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Summer vacations are synonymous to travel time. There is an extreme zeal to make plans for next holiday destination for the upcoming summer break. But sometimes it becomes difficult to decide such a holiday destination which will just double our fun. India is a colorful country and is colorful and rich in its culture too. There is much more to know about some very beautiful festivals celebrated in our country. Here are some of them-

1. KOTITYOOR VAISAAKH MAHOLSAVAM-

The Vaisakha Maholsavam festival is held every year during the month of May-June. The twenty eight-day festival starts with the Neyyattam Ritual on the Swati Day in Edavam and concludes with the Thrikkalashaattn.
This festival is followed by a ritual of bringing a sword from Muthirerikavu from Wayanad. On the following day, on Visakham star Bhandaram, Ezhumallath ritual is held. Gold, Silver vessels heavenly ornaments etc. are brought from nearby Manathana village to Kottiyoor. It is followed by 2 more extremely prestigious rituals i.e- “ELANEER VAYPPU” or submitting tender coconuts before the swayambhu Shiva Linga. The second ritual is ROHINI AARADHANA, here the priest embraces the Swayambhu Shiva Linga as part of the ritual. The belief behind this ritual is that Brahma himself worships Lord Shiva to pacify for the loss of Sati.
Kerala is privileged with the alluring natural beauty. A soothing view of lush green areas, a beautiful beach and satisfying sight of the ocean makes it the final destination of the beautiful vacation. Kotityoor Utsavam is a unique festival in itself. It is an annual festival of 2 temples AKKARE KOTTIYOOR and IKKARE KOTTIYOOR that are located on either side of the BAVALI river in the KANNUR district of Kerala. The festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva, who is the deity of both the temples.

2. SHIMLA SUMMER FEST-

Celebrated on a large scale, Shimla Summer Fest is organised every year in month of May/June . This is a colorful and renowned event held regularly in Shimla, since the 1960’s and is a five day long pageant. The whole event is adorned by the folk-dances, food festivals , flower shows , ice-skating festival and even a Himachal film festival. The Local artist give performance in music and dance. Each day a new celebrity is invited to perform on the stage. Shopping and sports tournaments are the center of attraction. School children also put up some totally astounding cultural acts and performances, to add the cherry on the top. Many other events are too carried out such as- photography competition , poster-making competition and fashion shows which mainly displays folk dresses, designed by local designers.
The numerous festivities that are organised make the summer festival a fun and enjoyable event held in the cool weather of Shimla, with a blissful atmosphere, making the city a magnet to the tourists attraction.

3. YURU KABGYAT-

The festival is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm at the LAMAYURU MONASTERY. Yuru Kabgyat Festival is celebrated for two days in Ladakh. It is a very obligatory event for the followers of Buddhism.
Buddhists from all over the world attend the festival and it is a special attraction for Lamas from Tibet, Japan, Korea and China. Natives usually enjoy the festival and are seen gaping at the masked performances lasting for several hours. Sounds from the astronomical pipe rumble many a times in the monastery during the entire festival. Prayer wheels are also a major highlight of the Yuru Kabgyat festival. The festival offers excellent opportunities to get insight about the Buddhism and understand the teachings of Buddha. Monks from far and near perform the masked dances in order to please the deities who in return keep the evil spirits and disasters at bay.
The thrilling event is incomplete without the “Chams”. In Cham , masked dance , monks dance in circular motions adorned with huge masks. The dance movements compliments the sound of cymbals, drums and long pipes. At the end of the festival, sacrificial offerings are made and some sacred rituals are performed.

4. AMBUBACHI MELA-

                                   

The Ambubachi Mela is celebrated in the capital city of AM, in the north-eastern state of Assam in India. It is celebrated in the Kamakhya Temple of Guwahati. It is believed that the presiding Goddess of the temple , Devi Kamakhya , the Mother Shakti goes through her annual cycle of menstruation during this time stretch. During the Ambubachi Mela in Guwahati , the doors of the Kamakhya Temple remain closed for three days . during this time any kind of farming work is not taken on as it is believed that the Mother Earth becomes unclean for 3 days. daily worships and other religious performances are also paused for that span of time . After 3 days, the doors of the Kamakhya Temple are reopened only when Devi Kamkhya is bathed and other rituals are executed . It is only then believed that Mother Earth has retrieved her purity. This is purely a ritual of Tantrik Cult.

5. HEMIS FESTIVAL-

Celebrated annually on the 10th day of Tse-Chu, Lunar month of the Tibetan Calendar, Hemis Festival is a remarkable event in Ladakh. The 2-day fiesta marks the birth anniversary of Guru PadmaSambhava. Hemis Monastery is beautiful decorated on this day to host the ceremony. The colorful festival showcases the wonderful handicrafts of the area. Natives full of zeal and enthusiasm , dress up in lovely traditional attires and gather in the courtyard of Hemis Monastery ,the biggest Buddhist Monastery of ladakh . The otherwise cold-barren desert comes to life during Hemis Festival. As per traditions , monks are supposed to wear long gowns , elaborate mask and a headgear. Every mask holds a special significance associated with it. The “Chham Dance” depicts the triumph of good over the bad are the highlights of the Hemis Festival of Ladakh.

In the end, a sculpture made up of dough and representing the evil powers is destroyed by the head of Black Hat dancers. This basically implies beating off the evil spirits. The broken pieces are then thrown in four different directions. The rituals indicates purification of soul after death. The cultural significance of the festival is that besides being celebrated as the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the Hemis Festival marks the victory of good over the evil.

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