Friday, 26 May 2017

Festivals of India

Jamai Sashti

In Bengal, Jamai Sashti is a day, exclusively for son-in-laws; when they get a day to come closer with in-law’s family in a very traditional way. On the day of Jamai Sashti, the in-laws invite their daughter and son-in law for a grand feast, which is preceded by few rituals. The 'jamai' or the son-in-law is treated with his favourite delicacies by his in-laws specially to ensure that he treats their daughter with due respect for the rest of the year! 😀 While the centre of attention is the son-in-law, the main person behind the event is the mother-in-law, who, in addition to undertaking the rituals and in charge of all the planning. 

The Story behind Jamai Shasti:  

Goddess Shasthi

It is said that Jamaishasthi originated ages ago as a part of a women's socio-religious duty. Goddess Shasthi is always worshipped by the women folk of the family for the goodwill of their children. It was told that there once existed a family in a certain town whose youngest daughter-in-law was a greedy woman. She used to eat most of the dishes and blame it on the cat that used to frequent their home. The cat who is the vehicle of Goddess Shasthi complained about the in justice done to her. It is said the daughter-in-law of the household gave birth to seven sons and a daughter but all her children were stolen from her. Heartbroken she was driven away from home to the jungle. While she sat crying Goddess Shasthi took pity on her and appeared before her in the guise of an old woman. When the young woman poured out her sorrow, Shasthi reminded her of her past wrongdoings. She repented and asked for mercy. She was then asked to perform some social rituals which brought back her children. This story inspired many women to pray to the Goddess Shasthi for their children and perform puja. This slowly took turn to Jamai Shasthi.

The Rituals: 

On the arrival of the daughter and son-in-law a brief social ritual was performed.  The son-in-law is given five fruits followed by 'aashirbad' with 'dhan and dubbo'. A mark or a "phota" with curd is applied on the forehead of the son-in-law and a yellow thread; called ‘Sashti Suto’ tied around his wrist.

The menu: 

Including special Bengali dishes such as 'various fish delicacies', 'prawn malaikari' & special sweets; the full course lunch is prepared by the loving mother-in-law for her son-in-laws. Bowls of vegetable curries and various fish curries elaborately arrange around the main dish, a plate full of rice or pollau.

Fish Market in Jamai Sashti!😁

After the ‘Royal’ meal is over, Bengal's spacial 'Mishti Pan' or Pan Mashala is in the queue; and the rest of the day is spent on friendly and warm social interaction. The occasion is meant to bring the couple, especially the son-in-law closer to the wife's family. As such it is a family festival and aimed to further secure the family ties.

**This Jamai Sashti, use LAL HIT to get a cockroach-free and fragrant kitchen and say #NoMoreFoodPoisioning!

Read Here:Mamma’s Kitchen Is Ready for Jamai Sashti with LAL HIT

Friday, 10 March 2017

Famous Four Places in India to Enjoy Holi

Holi is an ancient and popular Hindu religious festival celebrated throughout India. The colourful Holi festival is not only an obsession for the Hindus; it has attracted many people from various nations of the world. It is a spring festival, celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which occurs around the month of March. It is the second most widely celebrated festival of India after Diwali.

This festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the victory of good over bad. There are several mythological stories behind the origin of the festival. According to one belief, the festival celebrates the killing Holika, the sister of Hrinyakashyapu. Holi festival is also widely associated with the immortal love of Krishna and Radha. The festival also holds significance with respect to end of winter season and the onset of summer season.
Here are four most famous places in India to watch or play the Holi festival.

Mathura & Vrindavan


The Holi of Mathura and Vrindavan is extremely famous throughout the country. It attracts tourists and pilgrims from all over the world.


Mathura is the birth-place of Lord Krishna and Vrindavan is the place where he spent his childhood. Drenched in traditions and in the love of Lord Krishna, Mathura is definitely one of the top places to celebrate Holi in India. According to legend, the tradition of playing colors on Holi originated from the leela of Radha and Krishna. Mathura holds a renowned show in the week before Holi. A colourful and musical procession takes place from the temples to river then to the Holi Gate, where the festival is marked. The best place in Holi to catch the throwing of colors in Mathura is Dwarkadheesh Temple.
Dwarkadheesh Temple

The Banke-Bihari Temple in Vrindavan is hosts a week long Holi celebrations. The event here takes place just a day before the main Holi festival. The temple opens up its doors to all visitors to come and play Holi. The town echoes with tales of Radha-Krishna and celebrates the festival with traditions, devotion and serenity. 
Banke-Bihari Temple
The Holi customs in the temple are unique, as there is not play of conventional dry or wet colors, but flowers, and hence the name Phoolon wali holi (Flowers’ Holi). The temple priests’ shower the pilgrims with flowers in a way showering the blessings of the Lord. Arrive quite before the gate opens to get a close up position.



Barsana in Uttar Pradesh is famous for ‘Lath mar’ Holi. Barsana was the home of Radha where Krishna went to tease her and her friends. On the first day of Holi, men from Krishna’s village Nandgaon, travel to Barsana to tease the women there. The women chase men and hitting them with sticks, hence the name Lathmar Holi. The main celebrations at Barsana, take place at the Ladliji temple, dedicated to Sri Radha Rani. Sweets, Thandai, spiritual songs related to Radha and Krishna and play of color make it a fun place to enjoy the festival.



Santiniketan has the distinct identity of culture and heritage, which gives the place a unique soft touch. Santineketan was previously called Bhubandanga (named after Bhuban Dakat, a local dacoit). Tagore family came to be owned this place. Rabindranath Tagore's father Maharshi Debendranath Tagore attracted by the beauty of this place and established Saantiniketan in 1863.

The Holi festival in Shantiniketan has a unique flavor. The Holi is celebrated as Basanta Utsav or Spring Festival here. Rabindranath Tagore started Dol utsav or Basanta Utsav in his institution with colorful cultural programs. The students of Visva-Bharoti celebrate Basanta utsav in very special way. They make the festival more colorful and attractive with their magnificent live performance. 

Students dress up in yellow color and present some wonderful folk dances and cultural programs followed by the throwing of colours. The celebrations start a day earlier than Holi and are now considered an important part of the Bengali heritage. A huge number of tourists arrive every year at Shantiniketan to witness and participate in these celebrations.



Holi is one of the major festivals celebrated in Rajasthan and Jaipur celebrates the festival in royal style with great patron from royal families of Rajasthan. The celebrations stretch for two days. The first day of Holika Dahan is observed at the City Palace in Udaipur. The customs of lighting the Holika Dahan is traditionally performed by the current custodian of the Mewar dynasty. The following morning, the celebrations of Holi are all out on the streets.

The Pink City, Jaipur used to celebrate the festival of colors extravagantly with the elephant festival. Every year the Holi festival begins with a massive parade including elaborately decorated elephants, camels, horses, and folk dancing through the streets. There are also elephant polo, elephant races and tug-of-war between elephants.

😀 Happy Holi 😀


Friday, 10 February 2017

Destination India: Baranti - A World Of Romantic Tranquility

Love is the feeling that joins two souls and brings two hearts together; and, the day of love - we call Valentine's Day! When it comes to romantic times of the year, Valentine’s Day is number one on many people’s list. Traditionally, everyone goes all out to let their special someone knows how much he/she is appreciated on this day and every day. Some will say it with flowers while others will bring on the bling! Others will get creative with customized dates while some will play it low-key with an at-home dinner date and together time.  I can suggest you, this year, go for an outing to a totally romantic and calm place; and Express the wonderful feeling of love to your partner on the Valentine's Day!


If you ever want to get away from urban life, try ‘Baranti’ for a refreshing change. Baranti is a small picturesque hamlet surrounded by hillocks. It is situated in Purulia district, West Bengal. It takes just 4-5 hours to reach there from Kolkata.

Baranti, due to its effortlessly serene and peaceful environment has become one of the most famous gateways for people who seek to indulge in the virginity of nature and rejuvenate their souls by becoming one with the Mother Nature. It is a perfect spot for a short break from the hustle and monotony of city life. This place is one of those very few locations which remain fresh and evergreen in the memories of people who witness its beauty.

Baranti is located in the midst of two hills; Panchet hill at one side and Biharinath on the other. A water reservoir has been constructed by erecting a small earthen dam between Muradi Hill and Baranti Hill. The tribal village is named after the Baranti hill and the lake is named after the Muradi Hill. The water of the reservoir look like a large blue painted glass mirror reflecting the vast expanse of sky over it. 

The view of the sunset at the lake is awesome. The area is shrouded with trees like Sal, Mahua, Piyal, Palash etc. the lake is filled with seasonal birds in the winter. 

The hilly forest often transforms into different colours during the change of seasons. It is intensely thrilling to hear the wild cries of nocturnal birds wafting out of the hills in the dead of night. A walk through the villages like Jibanpur and Dandahit is a pleasant experience.

If you have some extra time, visit some interesting places near Baranti:

Joychandi Hills

It is About 12 km away from Baranti. The hills provide good terrain for a moderate trek. The hills were where a portion of Satyajit Ray’s ‘Hirok Rajar Deshe’ was shot.

Garh Panchokot

Panchkot was a part of an ancient East Indian kingdom known as Rajchakla Panchkot, locally known as Panchet. Damodar Sekhar, established Panchkot Raj probably during early 90 AD with the help of Sardars of Jhalda and expanded his kingdom over several other parganas. To give recognition to the main five (panch) clans (khunt) of the locals, the kingdom assumed the name Panchkot. A group of temples are still standing as mute spectators of the rise and fall of the dynasty. The Pancharatna temple still carries some depleted but exquisite piece of presumably pre-muslim period terracotta work on its arches and pillars.

Maithon Dam

Maithon also known as 'Kashmir of Koyalanchal’. The Dam is Independent India's first Dam Project (one of Nehru's dreams). The Dam is the biggest dam of damodar valley corporation and was built for flood control and power generation. It is a very famous picnic and weekend destination.

Kalyaneshwari Temple

The Kalyaneshwari Temple is famous as the “Temple of the Lady of Fulfillment”.  It is a 500 years old centre of Shakti worship. The present temple, however, is not very old and was constructed by Panchakot Raj. The temple of Goddess Kalyaneshwari is believed to fulfill the wishes of childless women. The worshipped deity in the temple is Maa Kalyaneshwari, who is present in the form of Shakti or Goddess Kali.

Also, you can visit  some more places like Panchet Hills, Panchet Dam, Susunia Hills, Kashipur Rajbarij (palace), Raghunathpur Tasar Silpa.

It is surprising that this unique tourist spot is not much known to tourists, even though it is located so close to Kolkata. If you are a nature-lover, you must have a trip to Baranti

How to reach:

By Train:

At first, reach Kolkata by train or flight. Then reach Asansol by any train from Howrah/Sealdah/Kolkata Railway Station. You can find so many cabs at Asansol Railway station. Hire one of them to Baranti. Also, you can go to Muradi Station and reach Baranti village either by Cycle Rickshaws or by hired vehicles.

By Bus:

Many buses are available from Kolkata to Asansol. They depart either from Dharamtala or Salt Lake Bus Stand (Karunamoyee) to Asansol in the morning. Tourists can avail either Volvo service or any other Express bus service to reach Asansol within 4 hours and can proceed described above.

Where to Stay: 

There are so many family Resorts at Baranti – Baranti Wildlife & NatureStudy Hut, Palashbari, Akaashmoni,  Ankhaibari, Aaronnok etc. You can book online any before you go there.