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access_time November 15, 2017 chat_bubble_outline 1 comment 1066 views

Dive into the Indian culture through five states, best known for the sacred rivers running through them. Amisha tells us how these sacred rivers have shaped the customs and culture of the regions they pass through, creating an identity we proudly call Indian.

#1. Uttar Pradesh

Latthmar Holi of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

Latthmar Holi of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

No matter which city of Uttar Pradesh the Ganga flows through, its holy vibe is quite palpable. The sounds of mantras and conch shells are as common a phenomena as the many devotees taking dips in the sacred River Ganga on the Ghats of Banaras.

The Ganga in Kanpur is best visited a week after Holi for the age-old Ganga Mela, where people conduct a procession to commemorate freedom fighters, play with colours and conclude the festivities by taking a dip in the holy river. Allahabad, another city where the Ganga flows, is known for its famous Kumbh Mela and even the Magh Mela. The ‘Ardha Kumbh Mela’ will next be held in Allahabad in 2019.

Kanpur is also known for its ‘nautankis’ and Mathura still celebrates the ancient ‘Braj’ culture by performing on traditional folk songs of Radha and Krishna.

Fact File – Uttar Pradesh

Location: North-central India. Uttar Pradesh is the fourth-largest state in terms of land area. 
How to Reach: The main railhead of Uttar Pradesh is Lucknow. If you’re taking a flight, the state has four domestic airports:  Lucknow, Agra, Kanpur and Varanasi.
Official Language: Hindi
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Humid subtropical with dry winter
Food & Drink: Paapdi-chaat, kachori, samosa and a must try is paan.

#2. Uttarakhand

The shrine of Goddess Yamuna nestled in the Himalayas

The shrine of Goddess Yamuna nestled in the Himalayas

The River Yamuna originates in the Yamunotri glacier and flows through this state of valleys. Pilgrims on the Char Dham Yatra first visit the Yamunotri temple to seek Goddess Yamuna’s blessings. The Poanta Sahib Gurudwara on the river banks at Sirmour, holds a special place in the hearts of Sikhs.

Like her many mythological forms, the Yamuna flows in different forms throughout this state. She is boiling hot at Surya Kund near Yamunotri, icy cold at the Har Ki Doon valley, and aggressive through the hills, giving us many reasons to visit Uttarakhand. Some would also prefer to experience this state through treks in the Garhwali Mountains, white-water rafting at Rishikesh, or a wildlife safari at Jim Corbett National Park.

The folks of Kumaon, Garhwal and the ethnic tribes here have some interesting traditions and festivals. Devidhura Mela, for example, sees people first fighting to please their Goddess and then hugging each other.

Fact File – Uttarakhand

Location: North India.
How to Reach:
Official Language:
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Summers: temperatures cross the 40°C mark with considerable humidity. Winters: chilly with temperatures going below 5°C
Food & Drink: Bhang Chutney, Kafuli, Jhangora Kheer, Gulgula.

#3. Assam

The Brahmaputra River originates from the Angsi Glacier in Burang County of Tibet

The Brahmaputra River originates from the Angsi Glacier in Burang County of Tibet


Tsangpo, Siang, Brahmaputra, no matter what name it takes, this river is pure bliss. And Assam in northeast India is equally interesting with its blue mountains, green expanses of paddy fields and tea plantations, and the beautiful monasteries and mystical temples.

The Kamakhya temple in Guwahati and the Kaziranga National Park remain on the itineraries of most visitors. However, the best way to discover the essence of Assam is through the Brahmaputra. While the tranquil river island of Majuli shows you the calm face of the river, its grandeur is best witnessed through the fabulous Brahmaputra River Cruise. This river’s importance is seen in the festivals that celebrate its wonderous might, with the Namami Brahmaputra River Festival and the Brahmaputra Beach Festival, held at Guwahati around the time of ‘Magh Bihu’ being two such key events.

Fact File – Assam

Location: Northeastern India
How to Reach: Guwahati’s Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport is only 25 km away from the city and Guwahati Railway Station welcomes many new faces everyday. 
Official Language: Assamese, Bodo, Bengali
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Summers: temperatures cross the 40°C mark with considerable humidity. Winters: chilly with temperatures going below 5°C
Food & Drink: Meat delicacy Khaar, Duck meat curry, Aloo Pitika

#4. Maharashtra

 Intricate detailing on historical Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, Maharashtra

Intricate detailing on historical Trimbakeshwar, Nashik, Maharashtra

Trimbakeshwar near Nasik in Maharashtra, where the Godavari or Dakshin Ganga originates, is counted among one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

Every 12 years, the grand Simhasta Kumbh Mela, one of the four Kumbh Melas, is held on her banks near Nasik. The event attracts lakhs of people, who gather here to perform the bathing ritual in this sacred river.

The river is also known to support the wildlife at Chandrapur, the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, and several other sanctuaries in the Godavari basin. The Nandurmadmeshwar Bird Sanctuary on the backwaters near Nasik has been termed as the ‘Bharatpur of Maharashtra’. Paithan, famous for its Paithani sarees, is set closest to the Jayakwadi Bird Sanctuary and is another nesting ground for hundreds of species of birds.

Fact File -Maharashtra

Location: West-central India
How to Reach: Mumbai is one of the major cities with both the domestic as well as an international airport. Also the Mumbai city has a well connected rail network.
Official Language: Marathi
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Tropical
Food & Drink: Misal-pav, Poha, Wada-pav, Sol kadhi, Kokam sharbat

#5. Madhya Pradesh

Mahal built for Mughal Emperor Jahangir, at Orchha

Mahal built for Mughal Emperor Jahangir, at Orchha

The journey of Narmada or Reva from Amarkantak, its point of origin, through Madhya Pradesh is beautiful and is considered to have religious merits; a reason why people do a ‘Parikrama’ (travel around the river and back). Temples along the ghats of the Narmada are mostly devoted to Lord Shiva, although Madhya Pradesh is also known for its many Jain shrines and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sanchi Stupa.

Madhya Pradesh’s history is marked by the rule of numerous emperors, a legacy that is reflected in its architectural heritage. The 10th century Bandhavgarh Fort in the Bandhavgarh National Park is believed to be Lord Rama’s gift to Lord Lakshmana. While the fort has since been used by numerous dynasties, it is now a tourist spot.

This state is also gifted with natural wonders like Bhedaghat, formed by the Narmada cutting through marble rock to create a series of tall rock formations, perfect for boat rides on moonlit nights. Another amazing sight is the scenic Dhuandhar Falls, where the Narmada falls with such intensity that it resembles a cloud of white smoke.

Fact File – Madhya Pradesh

Location: Central India
How to Reach: Raja Bhoj in Bhopal and Devi Ahilyabai Holkar in Indore cater to domestic and international flights. Bhopal, Indore, Katni, Jabalpur, Ujjain, and Ratlam are well connected with major cities.
Official Language: Hindi
Currency: INR
Time Zone: UTC+05:30
Climate: Subtropical
Food & Drink: Daal bafla, Malpua (sweet), Bhopali gosht korma, Handia (rice beer).

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Amisha likes to explore lesser-known places and this she does by studying maps. Once at her destination, she digs out eateries serving local food and soaks in the culture through the region’s cuisine. Being a sea person, most of her trips are to beach destinations and she intends to cover destinations along India’s coastline.

 

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Cox & Kings

Cox & Kings is the longest established tours and travels company in the world. Established in 1758, we are headquartered in Mumbai with a presence in over 13 countries worldwide. Our services include destination management, domestic and international holiday packages, luxury travel, business and MICE, NRI and foreign exchange solutions, as well as insurance.

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1 Comment

  1. Rajesh Thakkar
    November 17, 15:54 Rajesh Thakkar

    Nice details and article Amisha. Thanks

    reply Reply this comment

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