Monday, October 5, 2020

  

Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical locations. Travel can be done by foot, bicycle, automobile, train, boat, bus, airplane, ship or other means, with or without luggage, and can be one way or round trip. Travel can also include relatively short stays between successive movements, as in the case of tourism.

The origin of the word "travel" is most likely lost to history. The term "travel" may originate from the Old French word travail, which means 'work'. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the first known use of the word travel was in the 14th century. It also states that the word comes from Middle English travailen, travelen (which means to torment, labor, strive, journey) and earlier from Old French travailler (which means to work strenuously, toil). In English we still occasionally use the words "travail", which means struggle. According to Simon Winchester in his book The Best Travelers' Tales (2004), the words "travel" and "travail" both share an even more ancient root: a Roman instrument of torture called the tripalium (in Latin it means "three stakes", as in to impale). This link may reflect the extreme difficulty of travel in ancient times. Travel in modern times may or may not be much easier depending upon the destination. Travel to Mount Everest, the Amazon rainforest, extreme tourism, and adventure travel are more difficult forms of travel. Travel can also be more difficult depending on the method of travel, such as by bus, cruise ship, or even by bullock cart.

Dakhancha Raja 

"The city of Taj Mahal, the monument of eternal love"

Agra Tourism

Located on the banks of River Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh, Agra is a popular tourist destination as it is home to one of the 7 wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal. It is a sneak peek into the architectural history and legacy of the Mughal empire with two other UNESCO World Heritage Sites Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. History, architecture, romance all together create the magic of Agra, and hence, makes for a must-visit for anyone living in or visiting India.

Agra is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh and 24th most populous city in India. With its long and rich history, it is no wonder that Agra forms part of the popular Golden Triangle Circuit for tourists along with Delhi and Jaipur. It is also a part of the Uttar Pradesh Heritage Arc including Varanasi and Lucknow. History fanatics and architecture buffs are sure to have a ball here with the sheer expanse of the Mughal art and culture on display.

Apart from its monuments, Agra has some exciting stuff for foodies. It is as famous for its Petha (a sweet made from pumpkin and flavoured with rose water and saffron) as it is for the Taj Mahal. Agra is also well known for its marble artefacts which are best bought in the Sadar Bazaar or Kinaari Bazaar area. 

Agra is mostly visited on a one-day trip from New Delhi or other nearby cities in Uttar Pradesh but is totally worth it. Be prepared to be astounded, amazed, inspired and thrilled. However, be a little cautious about conmen in the guise of unofficial tour guides and fake handicrafts.

TAJ OF AGRA IS HISTORICAL PLACE NOW VISIT ONCE TIME

Diwali

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Diwali
The Rangoli of Lights.jpg
Rangoli decorations, made using coloured fine powder or sand, are popular during Diwali.
Also calledDeepavali
Observed byHindusJainsSikhs, and some Buddhists (notably Newar Buddhists)[1]
TypeCultural, seasonal, religious
CelebrationsDiya and lighting, home decoration, shopping, fireworks, puja (worship ceremonies), gifts, performing religious rituals, feast and sweets
DateAmavasya of Kartik month
(Date varies per Hindu calendar)
2020 dateNovember[2]
Related toDiwali (Jainism)Bandi Chhor DivasTiharSwantiSohraiBandna

Diwali (English: /dɪˈwɑːl/Deepavali (IASTdīpāwali) or Divali) is the Indian festival of lights, usually lasting five days and celebrated during the Hindu Lunisolar month Kartika (between mid-October and mid-November).[3][4] One of the most popular festivals of Hinduism, Diwali symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance".[5][6][7][8] The festival is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity, but regional traditions connect it to Sita and RamaVishnuKrishnaYamaYamiDurgaKaliDhanvantari, or Vishvakarman.

In the lead-up to Diwali, celebrants will prepare by cleaning, renovating, and decorating their homes and workplaces with diyas and rangoli.[9] During the Diwali people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas and rangoli (oil lamps or candles), offer puja (worship) to Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth,[note 1] light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithai (sweets) and gifts are shared. Diwali is also a major cultural event for the Hindu and Jain diaspora from the Indian subcontinent.[12][13][14]

The five-day long festival originated in the Indian subcontinent and is mentioned in early Sanskrit texts. Diwali is usually celebrated twenty days after the Dashera (Dasara, Dasain) festival, with Dhanteras, or the regional equivalent, marking the first day of the festival when celebrants prepare by cleaning their homes and making decorations on the floor, such as rangoli.[15] The second day is Naraka Chaturdashi, or the regional equivalent which for Hindus in the south of India is Diwali proper. Western, central, eastern and northern Indian communities observe main day of Diwali on the third day, the day of Lakshmi Puja and the darkest night of the traditional month. In some parts of India, the day after Lakshmi Puja is marked with the Govardhan Puja and Balipratipada (Padwa), which is dedicated to the relationship between wife and husband. Some Hindu communities mark the last day as Bhai Dooj or the regional equivalent, which is dedicated to the bond between sister and brother,[16] while other Hindu and Sikh craftsmen communities mark this day as Vishwakarma Puja and observe it by performing maintenance in their work spaces and offering prayers.[17][18]

Some other faiths in India also celebrate their respective festivals alongside Diwali. The Jains observe their own Diwali which marks the final liberation of Mahavira,[19][20] the Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas to mark the release of Guru Hargobind from a Mughal Empire prison,[21] while Newar Buddhists, unlike other Buddhists, celebrate Diwali by worshipping Lakshmi, while the Bengali Hindus generally celebrate Diwali, by worshipping Goddess Kali.[22][23] The main day of the festival of Diwali (the day of Lakshmi Puja) is an official holiday in Fiji,[24] Guyana,[25] IndiaMalaysia (except Sarawak),[26] MauritiusMyanmar,[27] Nepal,[28] Pakistan,[29] Singapore,[30] Sri LankaSuriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.[31] Diwali (English: /dɪˈwɑːl/)[3] or Divali[35] is from the Sanskrit dīpāwali meaning "row or series of lights".[36][37] The conjugated term is derived from the Sanskrit words dīpa, "lamp, light, lantern, candle, that which glows, shines, illuminates or knowledge"[38] and āvali, "a row, range, continuous line, series".[39][note 2]

The five-day celebration observed every year in early autumn after the conclusion of the summer harvest and coincides with the new moon, known as the amāsvasya – the darkest night of the Hindu lunisolar calendar.[40] The festivities begin two days before amāsvasya, on Dhanteras, and extends two days after, the second day of the first fortnight of the month of Kartik.[41] According to Indologist Constance Jones, who specialises in religious sociology, this night ends the lunar month of Ashwin and starts the month of Kartika.[42][note 3] The darkest night is the apex of the celebration and coincides with the second half of October or early November in the Gregorian calendar.[42]

The festival climax is on the third day and is called the main Diwali. It is an official holiday in about a dozen countries, while the other festive days are regionally observed as either public or optional restricted holidays in India.[44] In Nepal, it is also a multiday festival, although the days and rituals are named differently, with the climax being called the Tihar festival by Hindus and Swanti festival by Buddhists.[45][46] Happy Diwali!!!

History[edit]

The Diwali festival is likely a fusion of harvest festivals in ancient India.[42] It is mentioned in Sanskrit texts such as the Padma Purana, the Skanda Purana both of which were completed in the second half of the 1st millennium CE. The diyas (lamps) are mentioned in Skanda Kishore Purana as symbolising parts of the sun, describing it as the cosmic giver of light and energy to all life and which seasonally transitions in the Hindu calendar month of Kartik.[33][47]

King Harsha refers to Deepavali, in the 7th century Sanskrit play Nagananda, as Dīpapratipadotsava (dīpa = light, pratipadā = first day, utsava = festival), where lamps were lit and newly engaged brides and grooms received gifts.[48][49] Rajasekhara referred to Deepavali as Dipamalika in his 9th century Kavyamimamsa, wherein he mentions the tradition of homes being whitewashed and oil lamps decorated homes, streets and markets in the night.[48]

Diwali was also described by numerous travellers from outside India. In his 11th century memoir on India, the Persian traveller and historian Al Biruni wrote of Deepavali being celebrated by Hindus on the day of the New Moon in the month of Kartika.[50] The Venetian merchant and traveller Niccolò de' Conti visited India in the early 15th-century and wrote in his memoir, "on another of these festivals they fix up within their temples, and on the outside of the roofs, an innumerable number of oil lamps... which are kept burning day and night" and that the families would gather, "clothe themselves in new garments", sing, dance and feast.[51][52] The 16th-century Portuguese traveller Domingo Paes wrote of his visit to the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire, where Dipavali was celebrated in October with householders illuminating their homes, and their temples, with lamps.[52]

Islamic historians of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire era also mentioned Diwali and other Hindu festivals. A few, notably the Mughal emperor Akbar, welcomed and participated in the festivities,[53][54] whereas others banned such festivals as Diwali and Holi, as Aurangzeb did in 1665.[55][56][note 4][note 5]

Publications from the British colonial era also made mention of Diwali, such as the note on Hindu festivals published in 1799 by Sir William Jones, a philologist known for his early observations on Sanskrit and Indo-European languages.[59] In his paper on The Lunar Year of the Hindus, Jones, then based in Bengal, noted four of the five days of Diwali in the autumn months of Aswina-Cartica [sic] as the following: Bhutachaturdasi Yamaterpanam (2nd day), Lacshmipuja dipanwita (the day of Diwali), Dyuta pratipat Belipuja (4th day), and Bhratri dwitiya (5th day). The Lacshmipuja dipanwita, remarked Jones, was a "great festival at night, in honor of Lakshmi, with illuminations on trees and houses".[59][note 6]

Epigraphy[edit]

William Simpson labelled his chromolithograph of 1867 CE as "Dewali, feast of lamps". It showed streets lit up at dusk, with a girl and her mother lighting a street corner lamp.[60]

Sanskrit inscriptions in stone and copper mentioning Diwali, occasionally alongside terms such as DipotsavaDipavaliDivali and Divalige, have been discovered at numerous sites across India.[61][62][note 7] Examples include a 10th-century Rashtrakuta empire copper plate inscription of Krsna III (939–967 CE) that mentions Dipotsava,[63] and a 12th-century mixed Sanskrit-Kannada Sinda inscription discovered in the Isvara temple of Dharwad in Karnataka where the inscription refers to the festival as a "sacred occasion".[64] According to Lorenz Franz Kielhorn, a German Indologist known for translating many Indic inscriptions, this festival is mentioned as Dipotsavam in verses 6 and 7 of the Ranganatha temple Sanskrit inscription of the 13th-century Kerala Hindu king Ravivarman Samgramadhira. Part of the inscription, as translated by Kielhorn, reads: "the auspicious festival of lights which disperses the most profound darkness, which in former days was celebrated by the kings Ila, Kartavirya and Sagara, (...) as Sakra (Indra) is of the gods, the universal monarch who knows the duties by the three Vedas, afterwards celebrated here at Ranga for Vishnu, resplendent with Lakshmi resting on his radiant lap."[65][note 8]

Jain inscriptions, such as the 10th century Saundatti inscription about a donation of oil to Jinendra worship for the Diwali rituals, speak of Dipotsava.[66][67] Another early 13th-century Sanskrit stone inscription, written in the Devanagari script, has been found in the north end of a mosque pillar in JaloreRajasthan evidently built using materials from a demolished Jain temple. The inscription states that Ramachandracharya built and dedicated a drama performance hall, with a golden cupola, on Diwali.[68][69][note 9]

Religious significance[edit]

Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Newar Buddhists,[22] although for each faith it marks different historical events and stories, but nonetheless the festival represents the same symbolic victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, and good over evil.[5][6][70][71]

Hinduism[edit]

Diwali is celebrated in the honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.

The religious significance of Diwali varies regionally within India. The festival is associated with a diversity of deities, traditions, and symbolism.[5][72][37] These variations, states Constance Jones, may reflect diverse local autumn harvest festivals that fused into one pan-Hindu festival with a shared spiritual significance and ritual grammar while retaining local traditions.[8]

One tradition links the festival to legends in the Hindu epic Ramayana, where Diwali is the day RamaSitaLakshman and Hanuman reached Ayodhya after a period of 14 years in exile after Rama's army of good defeated demon king Ravana's army of evil.[73]

As per another popular tradition, in the Dwapara Yuga Period, Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, killed the demon Narakasura, who was evil king of Pragjyotishapura, near present-day Assam and released 16000 girls held captive by Narakasura. Diwali was celebrated as a significance of triumph of good over evil after Krishna's Victory over Narakasura. The day before Diwali is remembered as Naraka Chaturdasi, the day on which Narakasura was killed by Krishna.[74]

Many Hindus associate the festival with Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and wife of Vishnu. According to Pintchman, the start of the 5-day Diwali festival is stated in some popular contemporary sources 

    Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical locations. Travel can be done by foot, bicycle, automobile, train, boat,...