Saturday, October 9, 2010

Indian Tourist Visa Information for Travelling to India

If you are planning an India travel in the near future, then get ready with Indian tourist visa. Only when you are authorized with an Indian tourist visa, will you be permitted by the Indian government to visit India. All international travellers coming for an India tour need a valid Indian tourist visa, except the tourists coming from neighboring Bhutan and Nepal. Currently, India is offering an “Indian travel Visa on Arrival” facility for international tourists travelling to India from Japan, Luxembourg, Singapore, New Zealand and Finland. However, if you belong to a different country other than the ones mentioned, then, you must obtain an Indian visa before your India travel. Here are the things you need to know before you make your India visa application.
Types of Visa available for India tour
International travellers who are planning an India travel for 72 hours or less, can obtain an Indian travel visa called ‘Transit visa’. In other cases, the traveller will be needed to obtain an Indian tourist visa. The Indian tourist visas are usually issued for a period of six months, during which you can get enough time to tour the various tourist destinations of India. However, that again depends on the nationality of the tourist. Most India tourist visas are multiple entry visas, and so, you can obtain Indian travel visas valid for as short as three months or as long as one whole year! If you are a tourist travelling to India from the United States, then, you can jolly well obtain ten year India tour visas from your country. The Indian tourist embassies of select 18 countries even offer Indian tourist visas which remain valid for 5 years. These include the following countries – France, Vietnam, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico. However, irrespective of the duration of your India travel visa, no international tourist is permitted to stay in India for more than 180 days at a stretch. Moreover, the 5 years India travel visas only allow the travellers to stay for a period of 90 days in India at a stretch.
Cost of Indian tourist visa
The Indian tourist visa cost differs from one country to another, according to the tourism agreements between the government of India and the individual countries. For example, if you want a six month tourist visa for your India tour, you can expect to shell out 70 dollars in the U.S, 30 pounds in the U.K and 90 dollars in Australia. But if you are from any of these countries like Japan, Argentina, Mongolia, Jamaica and South Africa, there’s good news for you! These countries have special agreements with the Ministry of Tourism in India, which relaxes the cost of the Indian tourist visas for the tourists coming from these countries. So, you pay comparatively less for your Indian visa when you are a tourist visiting India from any of these countries!
Indian Visa Application
One excellent news is that the Indian Embassy now has started to outsource the Indian visa application process to a host of private Indian tourist visa agencies in different countries to make the process easier, faster and definitely more efficient. So, if want to travel to India from U.S.A, you can acquire Indian visa for your India tours and travels from Travisa Outsourcing. If you are a tourist from another country planning to visit India, you can get in touch with the VSF India visa centers for acquiring VSF India visas. These VSF India centers are located in France, Thailand, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, China and Australia. To apply for Indian visa, you need to acquire the Indian visa application form from the Indian Embassy in your own country. To make the process easier and faster, you can simply fill up an online visa application form, always available on the Indian visa application processing agencies. To obtain your Indian tourist visa, you have to submit your tourist visa application, fee and passport, a recent passport sized photograph and your tour itinerary details. However, if you want things to get further easier and faster for you, just get in touch with –
India - + 91 - 80 - 42021383
Australia - + 61 - 2 - 80034494
United Kingdom - + 44 - 20 – 81440037
United States of America - + 1 - 347 - 4149002

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Mahalaya – The Count Down for Durga Puja in West Bengal Comes to an End

Mahalaya ushers in the festival of Durga Puja in West Bengal. With the Mahalaya 2010 which is on 7th September 2010, i.e. today, the countdown for the Durga Puja 2010 has finally come to a grand closing and the new countdown has begin to welcome Goddess Durga to earth. Durga Puja is one of the grandest festivals of India. The Indian festival Durga Puja is mostly celebrated in West Bengal, though several states in India celebrate the Durga Puja festival in their own ways. With the Indian festival of Janmashtami, the countdown for the festival of Durga Puja begins. However, it is only on the Durga Puja Mahalaya day that the ritualistic preparations of this beautiful Indian festival reach its stage of finality.

Adding Final Touches to Idol of Goddess Durga - Durga Puja West Bengal
Rituals of Mahalaya – the onset of Durga Puja

With the coming of the Mahalaya it is believed Goddess Durga, the beloved wife of Lord Shiva of Kailash Mansarovar, prepares to come down to earth with her four children – Goddess Lakhsmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Kartik and Lord Ganesha to visit her paternal home. Mahalaya is an auspicious day in the entire Durga Puja festival. This occasion, which heralds the advent of Goddess Durga to her birth place, is observed seven days before the actual Durga Puja festival.

People Offering Mahalaya Tarpan to Ancestors in the Holy Ganges - Mahalaya before Durga Puja Festival
Mahalaya – the auspicious day of remembrance

From the day of Mahalaya begins 'Devipaksha' which marks the ending of the 'Pitri-paksha'. On the day of Mahalaya in India, men dress up in dhotis and offer ‘tarpan’ or prayers for the ancestors on the banks of the Holy Ganga. This is a pre-dawn ritual which is believed to fill the mind, body and soul of the worshipper with the Holy blessings of their ancestors, who come down to earth for 15 days, stay during Mahalaya Amavasya and leave on the Mahalaya new moon day. According to the Durga Puja legends, Mahalaya is the day when the Gods wake up from their divine meditative state to prepare themselves for the Durga Puja festival.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Indian Crafts - The Essence of Indian Tradition

Indian crafts form a rich part of Indian tradition. The history of Indian crafts is as old as 5000 years. Indian handcrafts reached its peak during the Indus Valley Civilization and during those times, Indian crafts also held a religious value. So, come let’s have a look at the rich tradition of India, through its wide range of art and crafts.
Indian Carpets
Indian carpets are amongst the best known Indian crafts. The carpets of India form an integral part of the country’s rich craft traditions. The Indian tradition of carpet weaving goes back to several centuries. The Indian carpets are usually woven with wool and silk. The hand flooring carpets like door mats, floor mats and durries are made from cotton, bamboo, grass, jute, coir and wool.

Indian Jewelry - Tradition of India
Indian Gems and Jewelry
Indian gems and Indian jewelry have been the pride of Indian crafts tradition since the ancient times. Earliest Indian jewelry used to be made with seeds, leaves, stones, feathers, berries, fruits, claws, teeth, animal bones and leaves. Today, these forms of Indian jewelry can still be seen to a certain extent in the Indian tribal communities. Indian jewelry has ornaments for every part of the body and today they are made with gold, silver, oxidized metal, diamond, gem stones, pearls, copper and several other semi-precious metals and stones.
Indian Glassware
Just like most of the traditions of Indian crafts, glass making in India also dates back to several years in history. Indian glass making accounts have been found in the epic of Mahabharata and historical events have also found great evidence of Indian glassware art during the medieval period and Mughal rule. Indian glass making is thus, an ancient Indian art.
Indian Pottery
Indian pottery is one of the most fascinating works of art in the Indian tradition of art and crafts. This ancient tradition of pottery making in India speaks volumes about the different civilizations that were born in this mystic land.

Indian Pottery - Tradition of India
Indian Textiles
Textiles form the most versatile tradition of India. The tradition of textiles in India traces back its root to the dawn of Indus Valley Civilization. Textiles weaves of the Indus Valley Civilization weaved garments from homespun cotton. Today, the Indian textiles enjoy being one of the most flourishing trades in the world. The banarasi saree, the Kanjeevaram silk and Khadi are some of the finest examples of the rich and varied Indian textile industry.
Leather Crafts India
The Indian tradition of leather crafts also dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Many ancient texts have been found referring to the use of animal skin in India. The ancient ascetics and sages have themselves testified the ancient Indian tradition of leather crafts. In the olden times, leather was only used was clothes and footwear. These days, leather is mainly used for making armors, bags, shoes, belts, caps and saddles.
Indian Metal Art
Metal works have been in the Indian tradition for some 5000 years now has been well testified by the famous dancing girl image from the Mohenjodaro civilization. Traditionally, the craftsmen of India have been using assorted metals like copper, iron, silver and even alloys like bell metal, bronze, white metal and others to show their versatile metal craftsmanship.

Indian Embroidery - Tradition of India
Indian cane furnishing
Bamboo is considered one of the best assets of Indian tradition where art and craft is concerned. The Indian cane furnishings made from bamboo have been in popular use in the Indian homes since the 2nd century AD. From chairs, sofas, tables, stools, bookshelves and cabinets to beds, couches and recliner, bamboo has found an artistic use in India.
Indian embroidery
Probably the finest examples of Indian embroidery is Chikankari and zardosi work. The detailed and intricate work of these two embroideries is simply fascinating. However, Indian embroidery is just not limited to chikankari and zardosi embroidery. It extends well beyond and almost every state in India has its own unique styles of embroideries. Kashida embroidery of Kashmir, Phulkari embroidery of Punjab and Kantha stitch of West Bengal deserve a special mention in this regard.

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Indian Folk Dances - The Rural Facet of Cultural India

Indian folk dances and tribal dances celebrate every occasion, whether it is to welcome the seasons or a new born baby. The Indian folk dances have a special meaning during weddings and festivals. Simple and joyful, the folk dances of India have their own unique significance. So, come let’s discover the beautiful tribal and folk dances of India.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The fascinating Nicobarese dance is performed by the tribal people of Car Nicobar Island on the Pig Festival or the Ossuary feast. Costumed in coconut fronds, this dancers dance away the moonlit night under the swaying palms.
Andhra Pradesh
Thapetta Gullu is the tribal dance of Andhra Pradesh, performed by a group of 10 or more. This dance in the praise of the local deity is performed with drums and tinkling bells.

Dandiya - Folk Dance of India
Arunachal Pradesh
The folk dance of Arunachal Pradesh is called Bardo Chham, which is performed by Sherdukpens. The dance depicts the triumph of good over evil.
Karma or Munda, as this traditional tribal dance is called, is performed by men and women by circling around the Karma tree of good fortune and dancing in the rhythm of drums.
Panthi, performed by the Satnam community dancers is a folk dance of religious and spiritual significance. The dance is performed around a jaitkhamb on the occasion of Maghi Purnima. The Raut Nacha is the other folk dance of Chhattisgarh performed by yaduvanshis or yadavs as a tribute to Lord Krishna.
The Tarangamel folk dance of Goa is performed by the rainbow costumed youths on the festivals of Holi and Dussehra. Streamers and multi-colored flags are the main props of this dance. The other popular folk dances of Goa are Kunbi dance, koli dance, samayi nritya, jagar, gonph, dekhni, tonnya mell and ranmale.
The folk dances of Gujarat are Garba, Padhar, Raas, tippani and bhavai. Garba dance is performed during Navratri in circular movement patterns with clapping. The Bhil tribes perform the tribal dance of Padhar with interesting movements that depict sea waves and roving mariners. The vibrant and energetic dance of Raas is a mock fight dance that uses polished sticks or dandiya.
Himachal Pradesh
The Kinnauri Nati is a beautiful hillside folk dance of Himachal Pradesh which enacts all the activities involved in the crop fields like sowing and reaping. The Namagen folk dance of Himachal Pradesh celebrates the autumn season.

Bhangra - Folk Dance of India
The folk dances of Haryana are Saang, chhathi, khoria, dhamal, ghoomar, raslila, jhumar, gugga and loor. While many of these folk dances are performed during weddings and festivals, there are several other dances which are dedicated to different seasons and harvests.
Yakshagana is the popular dance drama of Karnataka which involves songs, dance, music, story, acting and dialogues. The elements of Yakshagana comprise both classical and folk dance forms. There is another folk dance popular in Karnataka. It is called Dollu Kunitha, where the men from the Shepherd community perform an artful dance with various acrobatic movements and drumming.
The tribal dance of Kashmir is called Dumhal, which is performed by men belonging to the Wattal tribe. The performers are costumed in colorful robes and beaded conical cabs.
The folk dance of Lakshadweep called Lava is performed by the people living in Minicoy Island. The dancers dress in multicolored dresses and a headgear. Each dancer carries a drum and they dance in prolific movements in the rhythm of the drum beats and song.

Cheraw - Folk Dance of India
Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh has three different folk dances called Tertali, Charkula and Jawara. Tertali tribal dance is performed by a group of 2 to 3 women belonging to the Kamar tribe. The Charkula dance is more popular in Braj, which is especially performed the next day after holi. This dance which is dedicated to Lord Krishna and his consort Radha, is performed by women who dance with mult-tiered pyramids on their head, alight with oil lamps. The jawara dance is performed by the men and women of Bundelkhand with jawara baskets on their heads.
The Kokna tribal dance also called Pavri Nach or Tarpha Nach, is popular in the hilly regions of Maharashtra. The main accompaniment used in this dance is an wind instrument called pavri or tarpha.
 Thang Ta and Dol Cholam are the folk dances of Manipur. While the former is a dances form which incorporates martial art moves and with a display of traditional warfare, the latter is a drum dance performed during the Holi festival.
The folk dance of Mizoram is the Cheraw dance where groups of four performers dance holding two pairs of bamboos, weaving patterns as they dance.
The tribal dance of Nagaland is called Chang Lo or Sua Lua. In the earlier times, this dance was performed by the people of Chang tribe to celebrate victory over enemies. These days, this wonderful dance is performed during the festival of Poanglem in Nagaland.
Chhau Nach - Folk Dance of India
Ghumara or Ghumra is one of the most popular folk dance forms in Orissa. The other popular folk dances of Orissa are Ruk Mar Nacha or Chhau nach, goti pua, Nacnī, Keisabadi, Karma Naach, Dhap, Dalkhai and Baagh Naach. Apart from these, there are other Odissi folk dances as well which include Rasarkeli, Sajani, Chhata, Daika, Bhekani, Maila Jada, Gunchikuta, Chhiollai, Jaiphul, Dauligit, Humobauli and Bayamana.
Garadi is the famous folk dance of Pondicherry. The dance continues for 5 to 8 hours and is performed in almost every festival in Pondicherry. The dance depicts the legend of Ramayana.
Bhangra is the popular folk dance of Punjab. The instruments accompanied in this dance performance include dhol, table and chimta. The dancers wear traditional Punjabi attire for this dance and this dance is popularly performed in the harvest season. Giddha, jhoomer, dhamalan, danker, sammi, dandass, ludi and jindua are the other folk dances of Punjab.
Kalbelia is the folk dance of Rajasthan, performed by women dancers of the Kalbelia community. This dance has serpent like movements.
Singhi Chham, a masked dance is the tribal dance of Sikkim. This dance depicts the snow lion, which is the decreed the guardian deity of Sikkim. The dancers wear furry costumes for this performance.
Tamil Nadu
The folk dances of Tamil Nadu are Kamandi or Kaman Pandigai, Kummi, Kolattam, Mayil Attam, Poikal Kudirai Attam and Theru Koothu. Most of these rural dances are dedicated to festivals, Gods and Goddesses.
Hojagiri is the folk dance of Tripura, where the dancers perform fascinating acrobatic feats in rhythm.
West Bengal
The folk dances of West Bengal are gambhira, kalikapatadi, Nacnī, alkap and domni. The gambhira is a themed dance depicting social issues while kalikapatadi is a dance depicting the calming down of angry Goddess Kali by Lord Shiva. The Alkap dance is associated with the Gajan festival.

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Monday, October 4, 2010

Northern India Ram Barat and Janakpuri Fair Begins in Agra

The ‘
Northern India Ram Barat and Janakpuri Fair’ begins in Agra finally and is all set to woo the spectators from 4th to 7th Oct. The festivals of India are myriad and full of the most interesting aspects of celebration, heritage and culture. Here’s yet another festival ready to takeoff with its wings in Agra. Known as ‘Rambarat,’ this Indian festival may not be as heard about as Diwali or Id, but this is an important festival of India, that precedes the popular Dussehra festival. Rambarat is a special marriage procession of Lord Ram, which is held every year in the Taj Mahal city - Agra.


The Rambarat festival is actually a crucial part of Ramlila, which stages the life of Sri Ram and continues till Dussehra with the killing of evil Ravana. The Ramlila or the traditional dance-drama depicting the scenes from Lord Rama’s life, are played by teenage boys, who play the female characters in the play. The festival of Rambarat in India is no less spectacular with its procession of jeweled diety “jhankis,” which are all carried to the ‘Janakpuri’ palace, the paternal home of Lord Rama’s beloved wife – Goddess Sita. The best attraction of the Rambarat festival is the giant fair, where thousands of people flock to witness the elaborate royal wedding of the deities.

The procession

The procession of Rambarat in Agra begins from Lala Channomalji Ki Baradari and ends at venue of Janakpuri, snaking its way past different parts of the Agra city. Sri Rama is mounted on a silver leafed chariot as the divine groom and his brothers are mounted on bejeweled elephants. A celebration to watch out for!!

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