Sunday, 28 December 2014

December 28, 2014

Welcome !!!



Welcome Friends !!! We are happy you found us 

Ain't all of you bored by visiting same crowded tourist destinations again and again. Don’t you feel that it's now high time to explore some new destinations? Your quest has brought you to the correct site. Welcome to our website.

We have categorized the destinations across the state in various categories like Unexplored Places,  Tourist Places, Historical Places, Nature, Museums, Safaris, Monuments, Gardens, Lakes etc. We are updating the information in various categories and very soon you will find a site full of information you have always been seeking.

Please feel free to visit the entire site and do not hesitate to drop in your feedback. It will provide us insight into our site visitors needs.

Please Note the site is still under construction so some pages may not open, please do bear with us.

Happy Browsing and keep exploring.

Team
Explore Maharashtra


New Sections Added !!!

Forts of Maharashtra  |  Saints of Maharashtra  |  Festivals of Maharashtra  |  Fairs of Maharashtra  |  Religious Places of Maharashtra





Friday, 28 December 2012

December 28, 2012 1

Kaas Plateau


Kaas Pathar is a plateau made from volcanic rocks in the Satara district of Maharashtra, and comes under the biosphere of the Western Ghats. Hailed as Maharashtra's answer to the Valley of Flowers, Kaas is famous for its overwhelming carpets of flowers which come alive by the fag end of the monsoons. During this time, the plateau receives an average rainfall of 2000 mm, and much of the water seeps through the porous laterite rocks. The whole area is covered with flowers of varying colours, the dominant colour changing with the time of the year. More than 450 species of flowers, orchids and even carnivorous plants such as Drosera Indica are found in Kaas.

Spread over 1000 acres, Kaas is a protected bio diversity reserve and has been designated as World Heritage Nature Site by UNESCO. The ecosystem of the plateau is very fragile, the layer of soil over the volcanic rocks is at times just a few cm thick, and many of the plant species endemic to this area are already in the endangered list.

Source : Happy Trips


Monday, 11 July 2011

Dussehra / Dasara



Vijaya Dashami also known as Dasara, Dashahara, Navaratri, Durgotdsav… is one of the very important & fascinating festivals of India, which is celebrated in the lunar month of Ashwin (usually in September or October) from the Shukla Paksha Pratipada (the next of the New moon day of Bhadrapada) to the Dashami or the tenth day of Ashwin.  

This festival is celebrated not only in India but in almost all eastern countries like Java, Sumatra, Japan etc... Dasara is Nepal’s national festival.   

Word Dasara is derived from Sanskrit words “Dasha” & “hara” meaning removing the ten. This is the most auspicious festival in the Dakshinaayana or in the Southern hemisphere motion of the Sun.  In Sanskrit, 'Vijaya' means Victory and 'Dashami' means 10th day. 'Thus Vijaya Dashami' means victory on the 10th day.

Dasara is also known as Navaratri, as in the first nine days the Divine Mother Goddess Durga is worshipped and invoked in different manifestations of her Shakti. The 10th day is in honor of Durga Devi.  The basic purpose behind this festival is to worship feminine principle of the Universe in the form of the divine mother to remind the teachings of the Taitareeya Upanishad, "Matru Devo Bhava."  Essence of the navaratri celebration at social level is to remind & respect all the women, who are the guardians of the family, culture, and national integrity, to take lead in times of crisis to guide the humanity towards the path of social justice, righteousness, equality, love, and divinity.    

Durga is worshipped as the main deity of Navaratri by all the segments of society including tribal communities.  Dasara coincide with the period of rest & leisure of the farmers after their strenuous hard work in their farms & fields, hence they invoke blessings of Durga in order to have a rich harvest in the next coming season. 

In India harvest season begins at this time and as mother earth is the source of all food the Mother Goddess is invoked to start afresh the new harvest season and to reactivate the vigor and fertility of the soil by doing religious performances and rituals which invoke cosmic forces for the rejuvenation of the soil. 

On the day of Dasara, statues of the Goddess Durga are submerged in the river waters.  These statues are made with the clay & the pooja is performed with turmeric and other pooja items, which are powerful disinfectants and are mixed in the river waters.  This makes water useful for the farmers & yields better crops.

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Hindawi (Hindu) Swarajya used to always worship Lord Shiva & Goddess Durga in the form of goddess Bhawani before any military expedition.  Goddess Bhavani had blessed Shivaji Maharaj with her own sword called “Bhavani Talwar”.

Buses, trucks and huge machines in factories are all decorated and worshipped as Dasara is also treated as Vishwakarma Divas - the National Labor Day of India. 

Veda Vyasa is considered as the foremost Guru and Vijayadasami is also celebrated as Vyasa Puja. Dasara is the festival of Victory of Good over Bad, God over Devil. 

One of the 3 ½ Muhurtas (Most Auspicious Days)
1st Muhurta is Gudhi Padva (Chaitra shukla pratipada),
2nd Muhurta is Akshaya Trutiya (Vaishakh shukla trutiya)
3rd Muhurta is Dasara/Vijaya Dashami (Ashwin shukla dashami)
4th Muhurta Padva in Diwali (Kartik shukla pratipada) is considered as half Muhurta.
 As per Hindu Religion, Dasara is considered as one of the 3 ½ auspicious days (Shubha Muhurta).  It is proven over years and years that any new venture started on this day is bound to be successful.  Hence in most parts of India Dasara is selected for starting a new businesses, construction activities (house, building, hospital), taking possession of new house, buying new vehicle, buying gold, booking the first order for the business etc…

Many parents start the learning activity for their child on Dasara.

On Dasara farmers start their new crop season & the work in the field, manufacturers worship their machines, traders worship their books of account, intellectuals worship their Pen, Calculators, Computers and children worship their school books, notebooks, drawing material etc...


Deeper meaning & significance of Navaratri
As per Indian Vedic Astrology nine planets are (1) Ravi (Sun), (2) Chandra (Moon), (3) Mangal/Bhaum (Mars), (4) Budha (Mercury), (5) Guru/Bruhaspati (Jupiter), (6) Shukra (Venus), (7) Shani (Saturn), (8) Rahu (North Node) & (9) Ketu (South Node).

Human body has nine openings (1) 2 for seeing - Chakshu (Eyes), (2) 2 for hearing - Karna (Ears), (3) 2 for breathing - Nasika (Nostrils), (4) 1 for speech & eating – Mouth, (5) 1 for Malotsarjan - Anus & (6) 1 for Mutrotsarjan – urinary opening.

If the planets favor & all the openings of the human body are kept under proper control, the human life is bound to be a great success.

Navaratri means "nine nights", which we must use to seek blessings from the nine planets and control our openings.  In the worship of the goddesses during Navaratri, one of the planets should be worshipped & one of the openings should be cleaned each day, not externally but with heart, mind and soul focused. Bodily actions are ephemeral. The body derives its value from the spirit within. Hence it should be regarded as a sacred temple.

Navaratri festival is observed ten days, out of which nine for cleansing one's self of all impurities, in order to experience the divinity within & the last day is dedicated to "worship of weapons (Aayudha Pooja). The weapons to be worshipped are the divine powers & virtues within. When the divine is worshipped in this way, one is bound to progress spiritually.


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Ranga Panchami



Ranga Panchami also known as Dhulivandan, is an important festival in Maharashtra and it coincides with the Holi festival. It is celebrated on the day after Holika Dahan in Phalguna month. The festival is of great importance to farmers and agriculturalists. The ashes of Holika burned on the previous night and soil are worshipped by the farmers for a good harvest.

Dhuli Vandan is observed in Maharashtra when the rest of the country plays Rang Holi. Nowadays, Dhulivandan in its strict traditional sense is limited to rural areas. In cities most people play Holi with colors on the day.

There is a popular belief that Lord Shiva opened his third eye burned down Kama Deva to ashes on the day.

Gokul Ashtami


The birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated on Gokul Ashtami or Janmashtami. Most devotees fast till midnight till the birth of Lord Krishna is announced. Gopal Kala-a preparation made of flattened rice and curds is prepared on this day. Another fun-filled ritual performed on this day is dahi-handi - clay pots filled with curd, puffed rice and milk are strung high up above the streets and groups of enthusiastic young men (and even women) form human pyramids to reach these and break them open, the way Lord Krishna and his friends would, after sneaking into the houses of gopis (milkmaids) to steal and eat butter.

Friday, 8 July 2011

July 08, 2011

Ganesh Chaturthi


Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is the Hindu festival of Ganesha also called Vinayagar in Tamil Nadu, the son of Shiva and Parvati, who is believed to bestow his presence on earth for all his devotees in the duration of this festival. It is the day Shiva declared his son Ganesha as superior to all the gods. Ganesha is widely worshipped as the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune and traditionally invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at the start of travel.

The festival, also known as Ganeshotsav ("festival of Ganesha") is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period). The date usually falls between 19 August and 15 September. The festival lasts for 10 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi (fourteenth day of the waxing moon period).

While celebrated all over India, it is most elaborate in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. Outside India, it is celebrated widely in Nepal and by Hindus in the United States, Canada, Mauritius, Singapore and Fiji. The festival is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon). The date usually falls between 19 August and 15 September. The festival lasts for 10 or 12 days, ending on Anant Chaturdashi. This festival is observed in the lunar month of bhadrapada shukla paksha chathurthi madhyahana vyapini purvaviddha. If Chaturthi prevails on both days, the first day should be observed. Even if chaturthi prevails for the complete duration of madhyahana on the second day, if it prevails on the previous day's madhyahana period even for one ghatika (24 minutes), the previous day should be observed.

Legend
Traditional stories tell that Lord Ganesha was created by goddess Parvati, consort of Lord Shiva. Parvati created Ganesha out of sandalwood paste that she used for her bath and breathed life into the figure. She then set him to stand guard at her door while she bathed. Lord Shiva returned and, as Ganesha didn't know him, he didn't allow him to enter. Lord Shiva became enraged, severed the head of the child and entered his house. After realizing that he had beheaded his own son, Lord Shiva fixed the head of an elephant in place of Ganesha's head. In this way, Lord Ganesha came to be depicted as the elephant-headed God.

Two to three months before Ganesh Chaturthi, artistic plaster of Paris (originally clay) models of Lord Ganesha are made for sale by specially skilled artisans. They are beautifully decorated and depict Lord Ganesh in poses. The size of these statues may vary from 3/4 of an inch to over 70 feet.

Ganesh Chaturthi starts with the installation of these Ganesh statues in colorfully decorated homes and specially erected temporary structures mandapas (pandals) in every locality. The pandals are erected by the people or a specific society or locality or group by collecting monetary contributions. The pandals are decorated specially for the festival, either by using decorative items like flower garlands, lights, etc. or are theme based decorations, which depict religious themes or current events.

The priest, usually clad in red or white dhoti and uttariyam (Shawl), then symbolically invokes life into the statue by chanting mantras. This ritual is the Pranapratishhtha. After this the ritual called as Shhodashopachara (16 ways of paying tribute) follows. Coconut, jaggery, 21 modakas, 21 durva (trefoil) blades of grass and red flowers are offered. The statue is anointed with red unguent, typically made of kumkum and sandalwood paste. Throughout the ceremony, Vedic hymns from the Rig Veda, the Ganapati Atharva Shirsha Upanishad, and the Ganesha stotra from the Narada Purana are chanted.

Ganesha is worshiped for 10 days from Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi to the Ananta Chaturdashi, On the 11th day, the statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees. This is the ritual known as Ganesha Visarjane in Kannada, Ganesh Visarjan in Marathi.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

July 07, 2011

Narali Pournima


This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Shravan in the Hindu calendar (around month of August). This is the most important festival for the coastal region as after the rainy season,the new season for fishing starts on this day. Fishermen and women offer coconuts to the sea and ask for peaceful season and pray the sea to get/remain calm. The same day is celebrated as Rakhi Poornima to commemorate the abiding ties between brother and sister. Narali Bhaat (sweet rice with coconut) is the main dish on this day. Deshastha Brahmin men change their sacred thread (janve in Marathi) on this day

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

July 06, 2011

Modern Festivals


Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti
Fourteenth Day of April is celebrated as Dr. Ambedkar jayanti.It is indeed celebrated throughout India especially by the people who have embraced Buddhism under his guidance. This date coincides with New year celebrations in Punjab(Baisakhi), Kerala Vishu, Tamilnadu, Bengal and Buddhist countries of Cambodia and Thailand.The followers of Buddhism visit the monestries and recite the verses written by Buddha. Sweets are made to enjoy the happiness.


The Banganga Festival
Every year, in January, a cultural extravaganza is organised at Banganga, where top artistes from around the country perform live classical music concerts. Cultural enthusiasts attend the festival and feast the soul as well as the mind as the sun sets

The Elephant Festival
In February Elephanta, a small island near Mumbai, is a favoured destination for culture lovers. It is the site of the Elephanta Festival, the tranquil abode of Lord Shiva, just one-and-a-half-hour's journey by motor launch from Mumbai. Every year, renowned dancers and musicians perform outside the caves, beneath a star-studded sky, to a select and appreciative audience. Special launch services and catering arrangements are provided for visitors.

The Ellora Festival
MTDC organises the Ellora Festival here in December, inviting in renowned artistes who display their virtuosity in music and dance. Surrounded by 1,400-year old caves and rock carvings, artists perform in this magnificent ambience to enchant the gods, goddesses and human lovers of art. The Kailash temple, sculptured out of one huge rock, is one of the most beautiful backdrops for an event such as this.

Monday, 4 July 2011

July 04, 2011

Other Festivities


Akshaya Tritiya
The third day of the Vaishakh month is celebrated as Akshaya Tritiya. This is one of the 3 and a half most auspicious days in the Hindu Calendar (usually comes in the month of April). This marks the end of Haldi Kumkum festival which is a get-together organised by women for women. Married women invite lady friends, relatives and new acquaintances to meet in an atmosphere of merriment and fun. On such occasions, the hostess distributes bangles, sweets, small novelties, flowers, betel leaves and nuts as well as coconuts. The snacks include Kairiche Panhe (raw mango juice) and Vatli Dal.

Wat Purnima
This festival is celebrated on Jyeshtha Purnima (full moon day of Jyeshtha month of Hindu calendar), around June. On this day, women fast and worship the Banyan tree to pray for the growth and strength of their families, like the sprawling tree which lives for centuries. Married women visit a nearby tree and worship it by tying red threads of love around it. They pray for well-being and long life of their husband. These type of festivals makes the bond of marriage a strong one.

Ashadhi Ekadashi
Ashadhi Ekadashi (11th day of the month Ashadha, somewhere around July–August) is closely associated with Marathi Bhakti saints Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram and others. Twenty days before this day, thousands of Varkaris start their pilgrimage to Pandharpur from the resting places the saint. For example, in case of Dnyaneshwar, it starts from Alandi with Dnyaneshwar's Paduka (footwear made out of wood) in a Palakhi. Varkaris carry tals or small cymbals in their hand, wear a rosary of tulsi around their neck and sing and dance to the devotional hymns and prayers to Vitthala. People fast all over Maharashtra on this day and offer prayers in the temples. This day marks starting of Chaturmas (The four Monsoon months, from Ashadh to Kartik) as per Hindu Calendar.

Guru Paurnima
The full moon day of the month Ashadha is celebrated as Guru Purnima. For Hindus 'Guru-Shishya' ('Teacher-Student') tradition is very important, be it educational or spiritual. Gurus are often equated with God and always regarded as a link between the individual and the Immortal. On this day spiritual aspirants and devotees worship Maharshi Vyasa, who is regarded as Guru of Gurus.

Mangala Gaur
Pahili Mangala Gaur (first Mangala Gaur) celebration is one of the most important celebration for the new brides in Maharashtra. On the Tuesday of the month of the Shravan falling within an year after her marriage, the new bride performs Shivling puja for the well-being of her husband and new family. It is also a get-together of all women folks. It includes chatting, playing games, Ukhane (married women take their husband's name woven in 2/4 rhyming liners) and great food. They typically play Zimma, Fugadi, Bhendya (more popularly known as Antakshari in modern India) till the wee hours of the next morning.

Hartalika
Third day of the month of Bhadrapada (usually comes around August/September) is celebrated as Hartalika in honor of Harita Gauri or the green and golden goddess of harvests and prosperity. A lavishly decorated form of Parvati, Gauri is venerated as the mother of Ganesha. Women fast on this day and worship Shiva and Parvati in the evening with green leaves. Women wear green bangles and green clothes and stay awake till midnight.

Gauri / Mahalakshmi
Along with Ganesha, Gauri (also known as Mahalaxmi in Vidharbha region of Maharashtra) festival is celebrated with lot of festivities in Maharashtra. This is three-day festival. On the first day, Gauris arrive at home, next day they eat lunch with variety of sweets and on the third day they return to their home. Gauris arrive in a pair, one as Jyeshta (the Elder one) and another as Kanishta (the Younger one). They are treated with lots of love since they represent the daughters arriving at their parents' place. In many parts of Maharashtra including Marathwada & Vidarbha this festival is called Mahalakshmi or Mahalakshmya or simply Lakshmya.

Ghatsthapana
Starting with first day of the month of Ashvin as per Hindu calendar (around month of October), the nine-day and -night festival immediately preceding the most important festival Dasara is celebrated all over India with different traditions. In Maharashtra on the very first day of this 10-day festival, idols of Goddess Durga are installed at many homes. This installation of the Goddess is popularly known as Ghatsthapana. During this period, little girls celebrate 'Bhondla/Hadga' as the Sun moves to the thirteenth constellation of the zodiac called "Hasta" (Elephant). During the nine days, Bhondla (also known as 'Bhulabai' in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra) is celebrated in the garden or on the terrace during evening hours by inviting female friends of the daughter in the house. An elephant is drawn either with Rangoli on the soil or with a chalk on a slate and kept in the middle. The girls go around it in a circle, holding each other's hands and singing the Bhondla songs. All the Bhondla songs are traditional songs passed down the generations. The last song typically ends with the words '...khirapatila kaay ga?' ('What is the special dish today?'). This 'Khirapat' is a special dish / dishes often made laboriously by the mother of the host girl. The food is served only after the rest of the girls have guessed the covered dish/dishes correctly.

Kojagari
Short form of Sanskrit 'Ko Jagarti?' (meaning 'Who is awake?'), Kojagiri is celebrated on the full moon day of the month Ashvin. It is said that on this Kojagiri night Goddess Lakshmi visits every house asking "Ko Jagarti?" and blesses those who are awake with fortune and prosperity. To welcome the Goddess, Houses, temples, streets, etc. are illuminated. People get together on this night usually in the open space (e.g. garden or on the terrace) and play games till midnight. At midnight, after seeing reflection of full moon in the boiled milk (boiled with saffron and various varieties of dry fruits), they drink this milk. Eldest child in the household is honored on this day.

Khandoba Festival / Champa Shashthi
A six-day festival, from the first to sixth lunar day of the bright fortnight of the Hindu month of Margashirsha, in honour of Khandoba is celebrated by many Marathi families. Ghatasthapana, similar to navaratri, also takes place in households during this festival. The sixth day is called Champa Shashthi

Maha Shivratri
Maha Shivratri or Maha Sivaratri or Shivaratri or Sivarathri (Great Night of Shiva or Night of Shiva) is a Hindu festival celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day in the Krishna Paksha (waning moon) of the month of Maagha (as per Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama) or Phalguna (as per Vikrama) in the Hindu Calendar (that is, the night before and day of the new moon). The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael (Bilva) leaves to the Lord Shiva, all day fasting and an all night long vigil. Per scriptural and discipleship traditions, the penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life's summum bonum steadily and swiftly.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

July 03, 2011

Bail Pola



In Somvavshi Kshatriya Samaj Pithori Amavashya is celebrated, to bless a mother's sons or daughter a long life. The elder daughter in law asks the children "Kolhapur chi vaat kuthali??" - three times . They answer "Hich hich ". Then she asks "mazya otit kon?? " to which the children reply "Mich mich". After this she gives a prasad of Pithori aai.

Pola or Bail Pola is celebrated on the new moon day (Pithori Amavasya) of the Shravan month (usually falls in August) to pay respect and gratitude to bulls for their year long hard work, as India is mostly an agricultural country. The festival is very important for the farmers. On the day of Pola, farmers take their bulls to the river and clean them thoroughly. They then decorate them by painting their horns, putting decorative shawls on their body, ornaments on their horn and flower garlands around their neck. The bulls are then taken in a joyous procession accompanied by music and dancing. Villages have fairs, competitions to celebrate this festival.

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