This is the second part of “Best Holiday Destinations in India – Top 5 places to experience Dussehra“
The western Indian state of Gujarat celebrates Dussehra as Navratri/Navratra. Gujaratis (people hailing from Gujarat) the world over celebrate Dussehra by worshiping the nine forms of Goddess Durga during these Nav-Ratras (nine nights). What makes Gujarat one of the best travel destinations in India for experiencing Dussehra, is their traditional Dandiya Raas and Garba dances. These dances are traditionally performed on all nine nights, after Durga Puja (Puja means worship).
Image courtesy: www.divyabhaskar.co.in
The dances are so lively and colorful, that they have become popular all over India. Dandiya nights and events are a common feature during the Dussehra period, even in United Kingdom, USA and Canada, where the celebrations are usually led by Indian origin communities.
Image courtesy: www.theguardian.com
Gujarat has some hidden gems to offer the real explorer. For people who are fascinated by history, there are the forts (e.g. Uparkot fort). Looking for something more historical than forts? There are archaeological sites containing ruins of ancient Indus Valley Civilization/Harappan cities (e.g.Dholavira). Then there are some better known attractions like the Rann of Kutch, which boasts of an ecosystem as unique as its stunning landscapes. Gujarat also has four national parks and 21 sanctuaries, and a safari here offers you a good chance to sight an Asiatic lion.
Want to do something offbeat? We have a special interest holiday designed just for you, with heritage walks and guided safaris to the jungle. Love clothes and designs? Set off on A Textile Trail in Gujarat with this special interest holiday package.
Image courtesy: www.zeenews.india.com
One option is to make Ahmedabad, a major city close to Gujarat’s international airport, as your base and explore Gujarat. However, if you would like to experience the true culture and cuisine of Gujarat, then you have to stay closer to the destinations that you’d like to explore. If you’d rather avoid the hassle of researching, booking and then worrying about being duped by misleading pictures and promises, we can help you. From bespoke travel services to tailormade itineraries, our job is to make your Indian holiday a lovely and memorable experience.
Of all the destinations we have covered so far, Kerala has the most unique Dussehra celebration. Kerala, true to its reputation as a state with the highest literacy rate in India, celebrates Dussehra with a focus on initiating education. In Kerala, Dussehra is the time for Saraswati Pooja (worship of Goddess Saraswati) . Goddess Saraswati is believed to be the reigning deity of education and arts in the Hindu tradition. No wonder, one of the very few Saraswati temples is in Kerala – the Dakshina Mookambika Saraswathi Temple is in Panachikkadu, Kottayam.
Photo credits: Ramesh Kidangoor
This festive season is not just about temples though. There’s song and dance too.
Photo credits: Manorama
We think you know this already, but Kerala spoils you for choices. There’s the beaches, the backwaters, the wilderness and the elephants, the temples and the cuisine. There are so many things to do, we can pick the top 5 for you.
1) Go on a wellness holiday. Ayurveda, yoga and healthy diet – all customized for you.
3) Holiday on a wooden houseboat with onboard service. Want a firsthand review? Here is how a houseboat experience feels like.
4) Stay at a plantation retreat and go on a tiger trail.
5) Visit Jew Town, Fort Kochi.
While we are on the topic of Dussehra and Durga Puja, how can one forget the most fervent of all Durga Pujo celebrations, at the City of Joy, Kolkata? Calcutta, as Kolkata was called for a long long time, celebrates Durga Pujo with an altogether different energy. Watch out for our Durga Pujo photo blog to be published in the next few days.
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