The Kumbh Mela is often considered the world's most massive act of faith. It will be held in Allahabad, India from January 14 - March 4, 2019.
Just when is the best time to visit South Asia? Ultimately, it depends on your destinations and preferred activities. Scuba diving in Maldives, trekking in Nepal, or exploring temples in India will all have contrasting high seasons. Some travelers also favor visiting a destination when the weather may be less satisfactory, resulting in fewer tourists. Our Sodha Travel Destination Specialists will recommend travel times after learning more about your trip preferences.
Last week, we spotlighted the tradition of mehndi in India. The ancient art form is generally applied during festivals and special occasions, particularly weddings. Did you know that Sodha Travel coordinates India Destination Weddings? Over the years, we have been delighted to plan the details for wedding celebrations throughout India. Often, the bride and groom wish to incorporate a tour for their friends and family before or after the wedding festivities. This is a great way for the guests to experience the highlights of India and also witness a traditional Indian marriage.
Several of Sodha Travel's tours, including our Colors of India women-only group tour, include a private mehndi session. Mehndi, or henna, is a traditional and temporary art applied to the hands, feet and body. Made from the dried leaves of the henna plant, mehndi is generally applied during weddings, festivals, and special occasions.
Located in Southwestern India, Kerala is a scenic region of palm-fringed beaches, hill stations, tea plantations, backwater canals, and wildlife sanctuaries. It is the most literate state in India (93%) and the first state to become 100% internet connected. Also, Kerala is considered the birthplace of Ayurveda, a traditional and holistic form of medicine.
I received an interesting phone call the other day from a woman who was considering traveling to India. She asked me only one question: "Allison, why should I travel to India?" Usually, travelers have already decided on India as their next destination, or they inquire about specific elements of traveling to the region. I appreciated the simple and direct question, though I had to find a way to summarize why I believe India is a travel-worthy destination. (Really, I could spend hours on the topic!) Here was my abridged response:
Last post, I was excited to announce our newest women-only tour: Colors of India. Just a few days ago, we also added a new Featured Tour: Legacy of Leh/Ladakh. Ladakh is a remote region in Northern India, located between the Himalayan and Kunlin mountain ranges. Historically a Buddhist kingdom, Ladakh was strategically placed at the crossroads of major trading routes. The region is commonly called "Little Tibet" and many travelers have discovered this destination as an alternative to visiting the disputed territory of Tibet.
Every March/April, we start receiving daily phone calls from travelers who wish to experience the Pushkar Festival. Located in Rajasthan, Pushkar is a small town that houses over 400 temples, including the only Brahma temple in all of India. Every November, over 50,000 camels are decorated, raced, and sold during the Camel Fair - one of the largest livestock fairs in the world.
Many travelers are aware that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is considered the busiest travel day of the year. However, this year there is the strong possibility of an even longer delay at airports. Several groups have announced plans to encourage travelers on Nov. 24 to opt-out of the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) full body scanner machines and opt-in for TSA's enhanced pat-downs. As a result, security check-point delays may occur at some airports.
Sodha Travel wishes all of you a Happy Diwali! Diwali is a national holiday in India and a significant festival in Hinduism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Although it is commonly referred to as the Festival of Lights, its spiritual interpretation is the “awareness of the inner light.” Happy Diwali and a prosperous New Year to all!
On August 9th, I will be presenting Highlights of India: A Destination Guide in Tigard, Oregon. Join me as I explore popular travel destinations in India, including Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Mumbai, Kerala and Darjeeling. I will also share travel tips and resources for visiting the country, including visa requirements, vaccinations, and social etiquette. For those of you living in the Portland area, I invite you to attend!
It is almost time for Holi, the Festival of Colors! Holi is a Hindu celebration that occurs at the end of the winter season on the last full day of the lunar month Phalguna. As bonfires are lit to signify a devotion to Lord Vishnu, the God of Preservation, people gather and throw colored powder and water at each other. Depending on the region, the festival can last up to sixteen days. This year, the main day of Holi is on March 1.
Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year 2010! It is that time of year when many of us make plans and promises for a better tomorrow. For some, these plans include traveling to a new or favorite destination. For me and the family, the travel bug becomes stronger every year!