This is a guest post by my very good friend Bhakti Motta. She is an amazing photographer and had recently captured a lot of places in Rajasthan. In this post, we bring to you some of her lovely captures!
When one visits Rajasthan, its not just the colour-coded cities that astonish people but the simplicity of people residing there and the use of colours in their day to day life that’s what compel them to visit Rajasthan again and again.
Rajasthan is not only rich in culture and architecture but also in hospitality.
Palace of winds or Hawa Mahal located in the heart of Jaipur was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Jaipur.
Just opposite Hawa Mahal, these cafes are good place to grab a cup of coffee and click wonderful photos of monument.
One can easily find such beautiful turbans in any market around Rajasthan. This pic is from a street of Jaipur.
A tourist buying colorful umbrellas and handmade clothes from the streets of Jaipur. Rajasthan is famous for colorful clothes and accessories, especially for handmade works.
A flock of migratory demoiselle cranes flying around a small village called Khichan in Phalodi tehsil of Jodhpur district in Rajasthan. These cranes visit khichan during winter and are fed by the villagers.
What is a desert without camels?
Khuri village in Rajasthan is famous for its sand dunes. khuri is a small village situated 50kms south-west of jaisalmer in Rajasthan. People visit khuri to experience the village lifestyle. The villagers here have adapted well to the increasing tourism.
Camel cart at khuri sand dunes.
A perfect place for sunset photography.
A new born (9-11 days old) calf in the village.
A female villager drawing water for her family’s daily needs.
The exteriors of jaisalmer fort.
The second part to this series will be out soon. Till then, enjoy these photographs and don’t forget to leave a comment!
With this post, I enter the #AtoZChallenge of blogging in which I will be writing about things to do in cities listed in alphabetical order. For today, we have Amsterdam.
Cycling is the most preferred mode of commuiting amongst the people of Amsterdam. So, when there, hire one. The city has more than 8,00,000 cycles so one can imagine how convenient cycling around is. It is easy to maneuver, takes you everywhere and the city being bike friendly, cycling everywhere actually acts in your favour.
Amsterdam has something for everyone – be it arts & exhibition, concerts & music, performing arts, museums, festivals, events, film and cinema. Here is a rundown of few things you must cover if you have 24 hours to spend in the city.
Anne Frank House
This is a part of history one shouldn’t miss. Even if you have never heard of Anne Frank, this is a good time to find out more and visit the musuem. The museum is open on all days of the week. This is the place where Anne and her family hid, and yes, this is where she wrote her diary. You can find out more about the timings, price or ticket and what else can be seen at their website http://www.annefrank.org/
The FOAM museum is an international photography organisation based in Amsterdam. If you are even remotely interested in photography, you might want to head over here. The museum is open on all days of the week though the timings differ. You’ll need to buy tickets which can be done from their website http://www.foam.org. You can be part of an ongoing tour or attend any of the current photo exhibitions.
Blue Boat Tour Company
Canal cruises in Amsterdam are absolute must and Blue Boat Amsterdam Canal Cruises give you the perfect ride which you deserve. You have the option of city canal cruise, open boat cruise, hard rock burger cruise, kids cruise, dinner cruise, and more. The experience is grand and once in a lifetime. Not only that, this gives you the wonderful opportunity to explore the city in a different manner. Know more about this at https://www.blueboat.nl.
When one mentions the Hermitage Museum, what comes to mind is the one in Russia. However, there is a branch of the same museum at Amsterdam! Located in a building which dates back to 1861, it is at present the largest satellite museum. The musuem houses two very prominent and permanent exhibitions – Matisse to Malevich and The immortal Alexander the Great. If you wish to visit the place, learn more at their website http://www.hermitage.nl/en/.
The nightlife scene at Amsterdam is on fleek and there is something for everyone – be it festivals, bars or night clubs. There is this option called the Amsterdam Nightlife Ticket which you can get from IAmsterdam, and gain unlimited access to eight different Amsterdam nightclubs for seven days. Along with the free pass, you’ll also get free welcome drinks.
These are only few of the places one can visit. It is quite possible that none of them interest you. These are just few suggestions from me, nothing more.
Tung tung da Sound Karda, tung tung da
Tung tung da saaj
Tere mere dil vich loud vajda
Tung tung tung hai tung waaj
It was MTV Sound Trippin that introduced me to the adrenaline pumping sports event of Rural Punjab. Kila Raipur Sports Festival went a little mainstream in 2016 when Amir Khan chose the setting has the shooting location for Dangal. After spending three days in this festive extravaganza, I realized what must have been the reasons for him to select this place as the shooting location.
Back in 2014, Bullock Cart race was very popular here, often called the USP of the event. For some reasons, animal right groups got it banned and since then horse and mule cart race have taken all the attention of the festival enthusiasts.
I took a train from Delhi and reached Ludhiana at 5:30 in the morning. I had no idea about how I am supposed to travel further. All I knew was that there are buses going to Dehlon from where shared auto rikshaws will take me to Kila Raipur, or as the bus driver told me, Killa Rapper.
When you are traveling in Punjab, you are supposed to be very specific about two things. You do not pronounce the names as they are spelled in English. For example, Dehlon is Dhellon. This whole Dehlon, Dhellon confusion got me into the wrong bus and I almost reached Jalandhar.
Second thing that you must take care of is that when a Punjabi offers you food, you must eat it. Punjabis are very emotional about their food and take is as a personal offence when you refuse to eat what is being offered. I was traveling to Anandpur Sahib, I stopped at a Dhaba. My tired face, dirty clothes and messy hair gave the dhaba owner and the guests a feeling that I haven’t eaten anything for a year. They started putting food on my plate. Chapatis to the size of an entire plate, daal filled in a tumbler double the size of regular ones. Then came a glass of Lassi whose quantity was enough to feed me four times. Politely, I asked them to stop and the dhaba owner looked as if I have questioned that entire logic behind his faith. I told him, I’ll get fat if I eat so much, a guest replied, ‘ agar mote nahi hoge to pata kaise chalega ki Punjab aae the’ (If you don’t get fat, how would you tell people that you were in Punjab.) Everyone laughed, Apparently in Punjab, there is no such thing as too much food.
It was 12:30 in the afternoon when I finally arrived Kila Raipur sports venue. For a change there were no soft drink billboards and banners sponsoring the event. This actually felt like one of those places free from the grip of corporate chains and mainstream media. I tried to get into the sports ground but was stopped by policemen as I didn’t have a press pass. I looked around and then entered the sports ground from the fields. I kept running away from the organizers so that they don’t send me back.
Teams from different districts of Punjab were trying to outmatch each other in a high flying kabaddi match. There were players who had previously participated in National Kabaddi League. A team member from the opposite team crossed the line and jumped on the defending team, they tried hard to catch him, he tried his best to eliminate atleast one of his opponents, both failed and the game continued.
Tussi Said (side) ho jao, ghodeya wich breakan nahi hondi (Move aside, horses don’t come with breaks)
While human competitors are in their full force to perform the best, it is the animals who take the center stage. The hunter dogs from Punjab Police, the mules, horses and even a camel flaunting his intricate decorations, each of them is trying their best to impress the audience.
The race of the hunter dogs from Punjab Police is enough to thrill and scare the shit out of you at the same time. They are unleashed by their handlers and they run across the track in such a fierce speed that my camera fails to capture them. They themselves are unable to control their speed and by the moment they stop, they are already in the nearby fields. Not a big deal, they recognize their handlers through a special whistle. They are found in no time. A journo shows me the pic of dog race from his huge camera. It is so precise that I almost feel jealous at my inability to buy a decent equipment, but it turns out that these are some of my finest clicks till date.
Finally, I get to see what I was waiting for. The horse race starts. There are competitors from Rajasthan, Haryana and the host state Punjab. A fire in the air and the horses and their jockeys race to their destination. The thrill can be felt from their faces and everytime the jockey screams the horse responds, trying to outmatch the leading horse.
Kila Raipur is a visual treat. For anyone who wants to get up and close with the culture of Punjab, this is the place to be. The sports event is sponsored by Grewal foundation and invites sportsmen from far off corners of Punjab and even Kenedda (Thet’s how Canada is pronounced here). It has something to offer to everyone, whether you are a sports enthusiast, a photographer or a culture seeker, you’ll find everything that you have been looking for. The range of sports varies from sprint events of 100, 400 and 1600 meters for men, women and senior citizens. There is a wheelchair race for army veterans, weight lifting contests with truck tires and wheat sacks.
Kila Raipur gives you a glimpse of rural and rustic Punjab. Green fields, glasses of lassi, sugarcane juice and spicy choley kulche are here to feed your soul. Bhangra performers take your heart away while stunt coordination by The Nihangs takes your breath away. Kila Raipur Sports Festival is one event that you must experience in the coming years before it goes mainstream.
When: Kila Raipur Rural Olympics is held every year in the month of February
How to Reach: Ludhiana is the nearest city where you can stay. There are buses leaving for Dehlon every half an hour from ISBT. From Dehlon you can catch a tuktuk to sports venue.
About the author
Anshul once used to be a struggling comic book writer that gave up his dream like many others, now he is just a struggling writer. As an engineering dropout he found his dreams hidden in the mountains and sea shores and since then he has been solo traveling across the country. Anshul likes putting down his thoughts and travel experiences in form of poetry, he calls himself a hopeless romantic who wishes to fall in love with the mountains, the oceans and the rivers. Apart from bitten by travel bug, Anshul loves reading comic books and writing his travel stories in his blog at http://dailypassengerr.wordpress.com/
In December last year, I got to know about a NGO called ANSH Happiness Society. They call themselves a youth organization founded in Bhopal to come up as a platform for young people to connect, explore and act. How I learnt about ANSH was pretty interesting. I was attending a program by UNICEF Madhya Pradesh, celebrating 70 years of the organisation. Their, I heard the people behind the platform – Mohsin and Kokila, speak about the concept for S4D – Sports for Development.
A few days later, as a continuation of UNICEF’s celebrations, we attended a photo exhibition for S4D at Swaraj Bhawan. Over there, we met a host of youngsters who are themselves students, but involved in this project. Varun Namdev whose photographs were also on display, explained to us how S4D works for the children. ANSH is doing this in association with UNICEF where they are identifying schools and involving the children in sports activities to teach them important life lessons like sharing, caring, supporting, trusting, being trustworthy, etc. These habits are usually not taught to these children at school or home and through sports, they get to learn lessons on morals and self-development without it being a ‘lesson’.
The young people we spoke to like Sanskar, Varun, etc told us that they were all scattered in different districts and for weeks, they spent time with the children, involving them in the games during their school times. The games were inclusive of both gender and that gave the children a seperate set of lessons which are oft forgotten – that they too need to be taught to co-inhabit the world space with the opposite sex, rely on each other, support each other and be a team instead of against each other.
Sports for Development (S4D) is an initiative of the Department of School Education, Govt of MP in association with UNICEF. As of now, 100 schools from across the state have S4D implemented in their curriculum and it is trying to break social and gender barriers by bringing people together. It also aims at breaking hierarchy and advocating inclusion.
Last Sunday, on the 12th of March, I attended a very interesting gathering of young people at Dylogg Co-working Café, Kasturba Nagar in Bhopal. We knew that it would be a programme where 10 songwriters would present their creativitiy but what we witnessed was much better.
Kokila Bhattacharya and Animesh Chaurasia had brought together this beautiful evening at their co-working space which they intend to use even more to get together like minded, creative people and help form a strong tribe in this city.
The event had more attendees than the hosts had expected which shows how much in need of such gatherings the city was. In all honesty, both my husband and I were pleasantly surprised at the level of talent our city boys showcased that evening.
The show began with Shikhar Chaudhary who is all of 18, and made time to attend the programme despite his board exams staring at him in the face. Next up was Rohan Pathak who sang some beautiful ghazals. I could manage to capture parts of Shikhar’s and Rohan’s performances and am sharing them below. One thing Rohan said has remained with me since I identify with it a lot – I am not a miserable person, but I like miserable music.
Rohan Pathak Singing ‘Yeh Moh Moh Ke Dhaage’ (C) Samarpita Sharma
While the songs and the music was lovely, what made the evening better was that the song writers spoke about why they write and create music, who inspires them, what their songs mean to them, etc. The performers and audience seemed to be more or less in their 20s and 30s – and despite two decades (and some more) of people sitting in one room, everyone was enjoying the songs.
Parvatish came up next and sang a song he’d gifted his best friend on her birthday – Mehroom. Abin played the keyboard and presented a beautiful song. Tannison Mathews rendered a soulful number Let it be me while he played the keyboards.
Apricot, the group also performed their own composition after Bhaskar’s performance for which he’d come down from Ahmedabad. Samar Mehdi presented his own compositions Parey and Do Pal.
The event ended with Animesh Chaurasia presenting Befiqri and the event was hosted by Kokila.
Here’s wishing all the songwriters the very best in their lives. Just knowing that such talents has grown up in the streets of Bhopal makes me feel so good. And I hope Kokila, Animesh and Dylogg bring to the city more such gatherings and cultural events!
There used to be a time when attaining a new passport or even renewing an existing one was quite a cumbersome process. Over time, the rules started becoming quite transparent. And recently, rules at Passport Seva Kendra have been amended to make attaining a passport extremely easy. I collated the new rules and listed them in this post –
Annexure A or Marriage certificate which was mandatory to file an Indian passport are no more so. Married couple can submit their applications even if they don’t have a marriage certificate.
People who are divorced can now apply without having to submit the divorce decree which was earlier mandatory. Mentioning the name of the spouse is not a compulsory requirement anymore.
If an orphaned child was to apply for passport, earlier a birth or school leaving certificate was required. With the new rule, all that would be required is an attested letter from the Head of the Orphanage which will do as a proof of birth.
When applying for passport of adopted children, the resgistered adoption deed is no more mandatory. Instead, a self-attested letter autheticating the adoption would suffice.
When government employees seek a passport on urgent basis, they can submit a self-declaration in Annexure N, informing that prior intimation about the application for Indian Passport had been given to the Head of the Department. Identy certificate or no objection certificate from the employer are no longer needed.
Earlier, when sadhus and sanyasis applied for an Indian passport, they were required to mention the names of their parents. As per the recent rules, they have the choice to mention the name of their Guru instead of parents, as long as it is accompanied by atleast one document out of Aadhar Card, Election Photo Identity Card, PAN Card, etc. that has the name of the Guru under the header of parents names.
Children born out of the wedlock would not have any hassles with applying for an Indian passport. Only document that is required to be filled in this regard is Annexure G.
Regarding attestations of annexes, applicants can self-declare on plain paper and submit the documents.
Number of annexes to be filled have been brought down as A, C, D, E, J, and K have been detached reducing the number to 9 annexes only.
When single parents apply for passport of their children, the application has been simplified and the parents can opt against mentioning the name of the child’s other parent.
Mentioning the name of only one parents when an individual is applying for their own passport, is allowed now.
Earlier, those born after January 26, 1989 where required to sumbit their birth certificate. With the new rule, this is not mandatory. Any other proof of date of birth is also acceptable and the document could be any one amongst – Aadhaar card, Pan card, birth certificate issued by Municipal Corporation/Registrar of Births and Deaths, driving license, voter’s card or policy bond. Goverment employees can submit the copy of the Extract of the service record of the individual if still in service. If retired, Pay Pension Order with DOB can be submitted. Both kind of documents submitted by government employees need to be signed and authorized by the administer in-charge of the department/Ministry.
These are the current changes in the rules. However, rules can change with time, so it is best to check the website of Passport Application.
Having said that, how can I be an advocate for road trips, if I don’t suggest few kick-ass destinations for the same? So here is a list of what I think are the best roads to travel on, with in India. Go on, take a break. Fuel your car, pack your bags, grab your music and get the wheels rolling!
|Leh-Manali Road Trip (c) Wikicommons|
|View From Nandi Hills (c) WikiCommons|
Below is a video taken by Joshu Samson, of a bike ride down Nandi Hills:
|Tawang City (c) WikiCommons|
|Ahmedabad To Kutch (c) Krazysouls|
|Konark Sun Temple built by the Eastern Ganga
dynasty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Catch this video of the Ranthambore National Park:
|Noh Kali Kai Falls Cherrapunji (c) Hrishikesh Sharma|
- Gangtok to Lake Tsomgo
|Tsomgo Lake, Sikkim (c) Sankalp Sharma|
Sikkim is geographically placed between West Bengal and the seven sister states of north east India. A picturesque state, it is pollution free. Vehicle usage is restricted to the outside areas in the capital city of Gangtok while smoking in public, littering and usage of plastic bags are banned throughout the city. So, you can just imagine how beautiful every corner of the state is. The drive takes longer than what the distance would take on the plains, but that is because the route is zig-zag swirling around the mountains. Keep your medication near if you get motion sickness, and your cameras ready. The views are spectacular and need to be captured. The distance of about 56 kms takes you to Tsomgo Lake which is at the altitude of 3753 mtrs/12,310 ft. The lake is on the Gangtok-Lhasa trade route which falls between Sikkim and Tibet.
|Araku Valley (c) roadconnoisseur|
|Digha beach (c) Rajarshi Mitra|