Dussehra – Festival of Hindus.

In India, tomorrow is celebrated as “Vijayadashmi day” or “Dussehra”. The word Dussehra is derived from the Sanskrit word Dasha-hara, meaning the victory of God Rama over Demon king Ravana. Also, this festival is also celeberated as the victory of Goddess Durga over the Demon Mahishasur. Since Goddess fought against the Demon for Nine nights and ten days, it is called Vijayadashami. Vijaya means victory dashami means tenth day, ie. victory on the tenth day.

The first nine days are celebrated as Navratri , meaning nine nights. During  these nine nights and ten days, Hindus worship nine forms of Devi.  In Many parts of India, women  celebrate Navratri  with the artistic display of dolls, called  Golu to honour Goddess Durga who is getting ready fight the demon on the tenth day. Golu represent the assembly of Goddess Durga before She ventures out on her mission to kill the buffalo-headed demon Mahishasura.

Depending on the availability of dolls, Golu is displayed in odd number of stairs with variety of dolls. Maximum of stairs is 9, depicting nine nights. The top most three steps are dedicated to various Gods and Goddesses. The next three steps are dedicated to Gurus, saints and others of respectul cadre. Seventh step is dedicated to variety of social activities like marriages and festivals. Eighth step is dedicated to business, crafts and other activities.  The ninth step is decorated with dolls of men, women, children, birds, animals etc.

During Golu, nedighbours, friends and relatives are invited home and songs and bhajans in praise of Goddess Durga are sung. Daily special sweets and savories are prepared to offer the Goddess and later distributed to invitees.

In short, Navratri and Dussehra are important and joyful festivals in India.

Incidentally, this festival is celebrated not only in India but also in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.

Happy Dussehra!

Moscow – One of the exotic places on Earth

Last month I had been to Moscow, the capital of Russia for ten days. Though it was a short trip, yet it was  memorable and forgettable experience. My niece lives there and on her invitation, myself and my son  went there. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of Moscow, its incredible buildings, art, architecture, shopping and very friendly people.  The city is 850 years old and you can very well say it represents Russia. It is  850 years old and situated on the banks of the river Moskva. Though  there are many cosmopolitan cities in the world, only few of them are able to preserve their cultural heritage and natural beauty and  Moscow is one among them. The roads are wide and the public parks with their beauty readily catches our eye. I saw Moscow stands out as the most unique, beautiful, interesting, sophisticated, intellectual and, captivating city.   When we went there,  the weather was also very pleasant  and most of the time it was slightly drizzling. Sun sets at 11 pm and rises at 4 am. It was a new experience to us. Wherever we turned, we could see vibrant beautiful flowers.

We visited St. Basil’s Cathedral, Kremlin Palace and Red Square. Russians call Red Square “krasnaya ploshchad,” which can be translated as “beautiful square.” As we steped into the square, The first building we saw was  the Kremlin Palace with its distinct architectural splendor. Kremlin means “tower.” This place is surrounded by lot of churches.  In total, there were 20 towers in the palace and it is here only all the important decisions are taken. In short, Moscow is the heart of Russia and Kremlin is the heart of Moscow.

One of the symbols of Moscow is St. Basil’s Cathedral It was built between 1555 and 1561 and famous for its multi-colored domes. It is completely illuminated at night and look like a fairy land.

Also, we saw the famous Space Centre, which was earlier closed to the tourists. We were thrilled to see it and Special tours are organized and tourists are informed about space work. We also saw Victory Park  which contains a mosque, a synagogue and a church and was built by the Moscow municipality.

Finally, Let me conclude with the note that with its historical heritage, Moscow is a must-see destination.