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Top 10 travel ideas for April 2017
 
Tulips of KashmirTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017

Asia's largest tulip garden on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar has been thrown open to visitors. Spring is when Kashmir is at its most picturesque, and is also the season for flowering tulips. This special time of year is beautifully captured by the Tulip Festival in Srinagar. The garden, in the foothills of Zabarwan Range, has a total of 1.5 million tulips and its opening marks the beginning of new tourism season in Kashmir Valley. Formerly known as Siraj Bagh, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden was opened in 2008. The idea of the garden was conceived to advance the tourism season in the Valley by two months. The average life span of the tulip flower is three to four weeks but heavy rains or too much of heat can destroy them.

When: April 2-17, 2017.
Where: Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir

Rongali Bihu in AssamTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017


Bihu is the main festival of Assam. This agricultural festival occurs three times a year but the biggest celebration, known as Bohag Bihu or Rongali Bihu, happens in April. It's celebrated for three days and marks the start of the new year there, as well as seeding time in spring. The farmers prepare the fields for cultivation of paddy and there is a feeling of joy around. The ladies make pitha, larus (traditional food made of rice and coconut) and Jolpan which gives the real essence of the season. The first day of the bihu is called goru bihu or cow bihu, where the cows are washed and worshipped, which falls on the last day of the previous year, usually on April 14. This is followed by manuh (human) bihu on April 15, the New Year Day. This is the day of getting cleaned up, wearing new cloths and celebrating and getting ready for the new year with fresh vigor. The third day is Gosai (Gods) bihu; statues of Gods, worshiped in all households are cleaned and worshiped asking for a smooth new year.

When: April 14-16, 2017.
Where: Assam.

Arattupuzha Pooram, Thrissur, KeralaTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017


Arattupuzha is a culturally significant village located in Thrissur district of Kerala. This village, about 15 km from the town of Thrissur is renowned for the annual festival called Arattupuzha Pooram. The Sree Sastha Temple, dedicated to Lord Ayyappa, which is believed to be more than 3000 years old and its premises are the venue for the festivities. It is believed that during the festival period, Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity at the Sree Sastha Temple is visited by gods and goddesses of the neighbouring villages. The annual festival at Arattupuzha is also termed as the mother of all pooram festivals in Kerala, due to its sheer magnitude and grandeur. Visitors from nearby and far off places reach the village of Arattupuzha during the festival days, to be part of this grand festival. The pinnacle of excitement and devotion during the seven-day festival is obviously the last two days. The evening prior to the last day of the festival would have an assembly of caparisoned elephants and staging of percussion ensembles as part of the ceremony called Sasthavinte Melam. The atmosphere during Sasthavinte Melam would have the brilliance of the many brightly lit traditional lamps and also the huge flame bearing staffs, locally called as theevetti. Once this ceremony is over, by early morning the elephants carrying deities of nearby temples would proceed to the adjoining paddy field for the grand spectacle that would have about 50 odd elephants lined up in front of a cheering crowd.
The venue would soon become electrifying with groups of traditional percussion ensembles comprising Panchavadyam, Pacharimelam and Pandimelam playing their best possible beats and rhythms, while the caparisoned elephants bearing muthukkudas (sequined, glittering umbrellas) and venchamarams (white whisks) make a delightful sight, as they stand patiently and entertain the crowd. By sunrise, the elephants carrying deities from neighbouring temples that had gathered at the Sree Sastha Temple at Arattupuzha would proceed to the nearby river for the aarattu ceremony. It is a ceremonial cleansing process by immersing the idol in the river accompanied by chanting of mantras and floral offerings. The last to undergo the aarattu would be Lord Ayyappa, the presiding deity of the Sree Sastha temple at Arattupuzha.
When: April 8, 2017
Where: Arattupuzha Temple, Thrissur, Kerala

Vaisakhi in Amritsar Top 10 travel ideas for April 2017


Vaisakhi is a harvest festival. Vaisakhi (also spelled Baisakhi) is the festival which celebrates the founding of the Sikh community known as the Khalsa. It is celebrated on April 14 each year. It falls on the first day of Vaisakh which is the second month of the Nanakshahi calendar. On Vaisakhi day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh summoned Sikhs from all over India to the city of Anandpur Sahib. It was then when the Panj Pyarey came into existence. It's celebrated with a great deal of feasting, bhangra dancing, folk music, and fairs. Major celebrations are organised at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, and it becomes carnival-like outside. There's also a street procession.

When: April 13, 2017
Where: Throughout the state of Punjab, particularly in Amritsar. 

Aoling festival of KonyaksTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017

The Konyak Nagas celebrate the arrival of spring with their festival, Aoling. This festival stretches for six days and is held in the first week of April which also marks the start of the Konyak New Year. During Aoling the Konyaks perform different rituals like animal sacrifices, agriculture related activities, dancing and feasting. One day is also reserved for cleaning the houses and the village. Located at the very remote eastern most corner of Nagaland, Mon is home to the fascinating Konyak Tribe. Deadly headhunters once upon a time, the tribe today lives a peaceful existence and spend most of their time practicing agriculture, drinking local alcohol, smoking opium and occasional hunting. It is a time when the Konyaks are at their most jovial mood, displaying a huge appetite of fun and laughter. The first day of the festival is called the Hoi Lah Nyih. It is spend in preparing for the festival where the villagers collect firewood and vegetable items, prepare rice beer and weave new traditional cloths and ornaments. On this day, every family also partakes in the ritual of soothsaying, where chickens are sacrificed and the future is predicted by the shape of the intestine. The nest two days, Yin Mok Pho Nyih and Mok Shek Nyih, are spent searching and gathering domesticated animals which will be killed in the festival. Young tribal boys are also trained during this period in traditional male practices. The fourth day, Lingnyu Nyih, is the most important and lively. Men and women of the Konyak Tribe wear their charming colorful traditional dresses and ornaments. The entire day is spent celebrating through beautiful dances, singing, heavy drinking, community feasts and endless merrymaking. The ancient headhunting ritual of the Konyak Tribe is also reenacted during this day, where Konyak men start dancing from the village gate, shoot their guns in the air and appear to hold their enemy’s head in their hands as a display of victory. The remaining days of the festival, Lingha Nyih and Lingshan Nyih, are spent honoring and meeting each other’s families and relatives, and remembering the loved ones who have passed away.

When: April 1-6, 2017.
Where: Mon district of Nagaland in North East India.

Mopin festival of Galo tribeTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017


The Adi Gallongs in the Along-Basar-Bame area celebrate the Mopin festival during the first five days of April. Mopin is thought to bring wealth and prosperity to the households as well as to the village. It is also believed to drive away evil shadows and to spread the blessing of God for universal happiness. The Adi Gallong villages come alive with the dancing and chanting of their rhythmic songs made livelier by smearing rice powder on each other’s face. The village folk don their traditional costumes and organize the amazing 'popir dance', expertly performed by the female folk. They form a circular queue and one group assembles themselves and chants folk songs, while the other complements this with dancing, keeping to the beat of the songs.

When: April 5-6, 2017.
Where: East Siang and West Siang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Festivities take place on a grand scale at Mopin Ground, Naharlagun, near capital city Itanagar.

Chithirai Festival of celestial weddingTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017


Chithirai Thiruvizha is one of the most important annual festivals held at the world famous Madurai Meenakshi Temple at Madurai in Tamil Nadu. The festival is celebrated for 12 days during the Tamil month of Chithirai or Chitirai. It re-enacts the wedding of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) and Goddess Meenakshi (Lord Vishnu's sister). Legend has it that Lord Vishnu came to Madurai, mounted on a golden horse, to witness the wedding. In 2017, the date of commencement of Chithirai Thiruvizha is April 28, 2017 with flag hoisting ceremony. Pattabhishekam of Goddess Meenakshi is on May 5, 2017. Celestal Wedding or Thirukkalyanam of  Lord Sundareswarar with Goddess Meenakshi is on May 7, 2017. The Car festival is on May 8, 2017. The Theertham festival is celebrated on the 12th day (May 9, 2017) with the Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathi going round Masi streets and blessing the devotees.

When: April 28-May 9, 2017.
Where: Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Painkuni of royal TravancoreTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017


Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple with its rich history is one among the most famous temples in India. A major festival at this temple which sees huge participation of devotees from across the state is the Painkuni Festival. Painkuni is a ten-day festival in which special rituals are offered every day. The festival is a visual delight where in colossal figurines are set up. These huge fibre glass figures of the Pandavas (the five sons of Pandu in the Indian epic Mahabharata) are placed at the eastern entrance to the temple. It is held that these figurines are set up in order to propitiate Indra, the Rain God. The festival starts with kodiyettu, which is the hoisting of the ceremonial flag. The ninth day has the head of the Travancore Royal Family performing the palli vetta (royal hunt) ritual, near the Vettakorumakan Temple in the Fort area. The arattu (holy bath) ceremony of the idols in the sea at the Shanghumugham Beach marks the end of the festivities. The head of the royal family of erstwhile Travancore will lead the procession for the arattu carrying the ceremonial sword and wearing the traditional green cap. The male members of royal family of Travancore will escort the deities in the procession and devotees line up to offer their prayers to the deities. The idols are then taken back to the temple.

When: April 10, 2017.
Where: Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple, East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram

Sankat Mochan Music FestivalTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017


Banaras has a long tradition of classical music and dance in temples. The first Sankat Mochan Musical Festival was held in 1923, and since then it's attracted acclaimed classical musicians and dancers to perform from all over India. Recitals are held every evening in the temple courtyard and go on until dawn, as part of Hanuman Jayanti (birthday of Lord Hanuman) celebrations. The Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh is the biggest annual classical music and dance festival of Banaras, and one of India’s biggest. For many Banarasis, it is the highlight of the year, its magic lingering long after it is over. First Sankat Mochan Music Festival was organized in 1923 and since then it attracts numerous enthusiasts of Indian classical music and dance world, including Odissi guru, Kelucharan Mahapatra, who was associated since its early days. In fact he was instrumental in starting women's participation in the festival with Sanjukta Panigrahi, Swapna Sundari and Kankana Banerjee. Sankat Mochan Music Festival is an all night long music festival which goes on for four nights. India Classical Music maestros from all over come to participate to showcase their skills and consider it as an honour. This Music Festival has attracted numerous maestros of Indian classical music and dance world

When: April 15-19, 2017
Where: Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Patayani at KadammanittaTop 10 travel ideas for April 2017

Kadammanitta Devi Temple in the tiny hamlet of Kadammanitta in Pathanamthitta is famed for its impressive display of the ritual art form of Patayani- the Kadammanitta Patayani.
A vibrant outburst of colour and energy, the Patayani is performed to appease Goddess Bhadrakaali and this festival is celebrated every year from the first day of Malayalam month, medam to the 10th day, called the pathamudayam. The festival begins with chootuveipu – the lighting of fire and the beating of the thappu, Patayani percussion instrument. This is followed by eduthu varavu or the procession of several patayani kolams which marks the conclusion of the festival. 

When: April 14-21, 2017.
Where: Kadammanitta Devi Temple, Pathanamthitta. Nearest railway station is Thiruvalla, about 30 km, while nearest airport is Trivandrum International Airport, about 105 km.

 
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