Durga Puja in Kolkata joins the list of India’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity


Kolkata’s Durga Puja has been officially recognised by UNESCO. The incredible cultural feast has made it to the UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. While it is a moment of pride for India, it is in fact a moment of pride for all of Asia. This is the first festival in Asia to achieve the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity status.

Durga Puja is celebrated in Kolkata with great pomp and show when the city completely halts for five days. The festival sees beautiful ornamental pandals being made, wherein large idols of Goddess Durga and her children are placed for worship. A celebration of art, culture, and of great religious importance, the festival is truly unique.

Kolkata, the city of Joy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India and a gateway to eastern India. The former British capital of India is a colorful palette of art and architecture, museums, temples, football clubs, Coffee houses, lip-smacking street food along with plethora of cultural festivals. It is a place where you will be able to see a unique blend of old and modern culture. The city of joy Kolkata is known for its liveliness and rich culture and heritage. The city of Kolkata comes alive in the festival of Durga Puja.

Being the most prominent festival of Kolkata, Durga Puja is the soul and pride of West Bengal. Every year in Kolkata the festival of Durga Puja brings great enthusiasm, joyous moments and a chance to get together with families and friends in a way like never before.

Durga Puja UNESCO

Durga Puja is celebrated in the honor of Hindu goddess Durga. It is a festival of the victory of good over evil. It is celebrated because Goddess Durga defeated the demon named Mahishasura as he waged the war against gods. It is said that he got a boon that no man and any other creature on the planet cannot kill him but every boon has a loophole. As no man could kill him, all the gods assembled in the mountains where they combined all their energies in the form of weapons to Goddess Durga. As a result, she was able to defeat the evil demon Mahishasura. (As death would only be possible in the hands of a woman). Since then, to honor the power of Shakti, the festival of Durga Puja is celebrated all over India. The last day of the Puja is known as Vijaya Dashami. It is said that Lord Rama defeated the demon Ravana and since then Vijay Dashami is also celebrated as Dussehra.

Through every story we get a glimpse of the victory of good over evil. The Durga Puja Festival has been celebrated in Bengal since the 16th century. The zamindars of West Bengal used to celebrate Durga Puja and with time it became an emotion for the Bengali community.

Harrappan City of Dholavira named among UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India


India's ancient civilization is one of teh world's oldest. The Indus Valley Civilization is kaleidoscopic variety of rich cultural heritage. Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, received the UNESCO world heritage site. While Dholavira became the fourth site from Gujarat and 40th from India to make the list, it is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.

Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.  The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites. A cascading series of water reservoirs, outer fortification, two multi-purpose grounds — one of which was used for festivities and as a marketplace — nine gates with unique designs, and funerary architecture featuring tumulus — hemispherical structures like the Buddhist Stupas— as some of the unique features of the Dholavira site. Amidst the ruins are found the origin of Buddhist stupa. While unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira. The memorials at the site contain no bones or ashes but offerings of precious stones, etc. add a new dimension to the personality of the Harappans.

The remains of a copper smelter indicate of Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy. It is believed that traders of Dholavira used to source copper ore from present-day Rajasthan and Oman and UAE and export finished products. It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber. There are beads peculiar to the Harappan workmanship have been found in the royal graves of Mesopotamia, indicating Dholavira used to trade with the Mesopotamians. Its decline also coincided with the collapse of Mesopotamia, indicating the integration of economies. Harappans, who were maritime people, lost a huge market, affecting the local mining, manufacturing, marketing and export businesses once Mesopotamia fell.

It is believed that since 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra. In those times, the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat.

Though it was excavated recently, the Dholavira site has remained free from encroachment in historical periods as well as in the modern era. UNESCO termed Dholavira as one of the most remarkable and well-preserved urban settlements in South Asia dating from the 3rd to mid-2nd millennium BCE (Before Common Era). Since the excavation at the site, the ASI has developed a museum here. Dholavira, a village with a population of around 2,000, is the nearest human settlement at present. Near the ancient city is a fossil park where wood fossils are preserved.


Golden Triangle Tour:  Quintessential Introduction to India


The incredible India is not just one country but a country of million experiences. The land of ancient history, colorful heritage and even more vibrant culture is a traveller’s treasure box. Such is the vastness and diversity of the land that is pretty much impossible to explore and experience it all at one India tour. If India’s best could be put in a nutshell, then it is the brief and carefully-planned Golden Triangle Tour.

India Map

In north India, the three cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, 200-250 kms apart, become the three points of the Golden Triangle. These cities are home to great empires, fascinating chapters of history, colorful heritage, magnificent architecture including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, bustling bazaars, enriching experiences and more. This is an ultimate experience of India, especially if you have never visited before, this is the ideal start.

Golden Triangle Tour Map

The Glorious History & Heritage

Golden Triangle tour’s itinerary comprises of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and each of these cities are a treasure of glorious history & heritage.

The ‘City of Cities’ Delhi - To start with Delhi, the capital city of India is not one city but a city of eight cities. The oldest city of Delhi, Indraprastha dates back to 3000 years back mentioned in the epic Mahabharata while the name Old Delhi is given to the city of Mughals when they made Delhi their capital and the newest Delhi is planned during the British Raj by the architect Lutyens. Each of these settlements is a testimony of glorious history and heritage.

Red Fort Delhi

Of note in Delhi is the impressive architecture and craftsmanship that mark each of the different eras and harmoniously coexist with the city matching pace with the modern times. The UNESCO World heritage sites in Delhi- Red Fort, Qutub Minar Complex and Humayun’s Tomb are must visit. Other impressive attractions are- Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk, India Gate, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Raj Ghat, Lodhi Garden, Lotus Temple, Akshardham Temple, etc.

Taj Mahal

‘Gem of the Mughal Era’ Agra - Moving on to Agra, the city of Taj; it is a city of Mughal splendor. The former capital of the Mughal Empire, the city is well-known for the beautiful Taj Mahal, a wonder of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The red-sandstone Agra Fort is another testament of the regal history. Other popular specimens of heritage are Itmad-ul-daulah ‘Baby Taj’, and Akbar’s Tomb. The marvelous Fatehpur Sikri is also a must-visit heritage site, on the outskirts of Agra. Once a glorious Mughal city, the city was abandoned and left in ruin.

Palace in Jaipur

‘Pride of the Rajputana’ Jaipur – Last stop of the Golden Triangle, Jaipur is a glorious city of Rajputana. Nicknamed as Pink City, the capital city of Rajasthan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Walled city of Jaipur dates back to the 17th century, where the entire city was built after proper planning and following of Vastu Shastra. Magnificent forts, royal palaces, incredible architecture are specimens of the royal heritage. Amer Fort and Jantar Mantar are inscribed among UNESCO World Heritage sites, while other masterpieces of architecture are Hawa Mahal-the Palace of Winds, the City Palace, Jal Mahal, Albert Hall Museum and more.

Rich culture

Culture is the legacy of the people and the Golden Triangle tour presents the culture of the Rajputs, Mughals and the multi-cultural Delhi. Festivals highlight the colorful culture and if you would like a brief introduction to the festivities the tour circuit offers the ideal opportunity.

Mouthwatering Tastes

Be it Delhi, Agra or Jaipur, each of these cities offers an opportunity to savor mouthwatering tastes. Delhi is well-known both for street food as well as luxury dining. Old Delhi is famous for its mouthwatering parathas, kachoris and other snacks while the top-notch hotels offer a fine dining experience. Agra specialized in Mughali cuisines and especially the sweet ‘petha’. Jaipur presents the ultimate Rajasthani cuisine with a delicious dishes including the ‘dal-bhati-churma’ and ‘laal maas’.

Royal Hospitality

Heritage Hotels in India

Golden Triangle tours is crafted in a way that it captures the best of India and for that is also capture the experience of the royal hospitality of India. Luxury is a way of life for the guests. Luxury properties, heritage hotels transformed from royal palaces and the international resorts serve guests with a memorable stay. While the lodgings are heavenly, the services are personalized for the guests to feel right at home and enjoy Indian rituals and customs.

Extending your trip

Track tigers in Ranthambhore or spot birds in Bharatpur

Jeep Safari in Ranthambore

The Ranthambhore National Park was once a hunting ground for the maharajas and now protects a growing tiger population. Easy to get to by road, the park is known for incredible tiger sightings as well as other wildlife, including blackbucks and rare leopards. Embark on game drives in the mornings and evenings to increase your chances of seeing a tiger or a group of them.

Birding in Bharatpur

Bharatpur is the home to Keoladeo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to many colorful species of birds including migratory birds that seek refuge in the winters.

A Royal Rajasthan Tour

The Golden Triangle slots in to a longer tour of Rajasthan that can include the ‘City of Lakes’ Udaipur or the ‘Blue City’ Jodhpur or the ‘Golden City’ Jaisalmer. Each of these royal cities further enhance the thrill of exploring India.

Bask in the holy bliss of Varanasi

Boat ride in Ganges

The ancient city of Varanasi is the perfect getaway with the holy River Ganga, sacred river Ghats, Ganga Aarti, temples and more.

Off to the beaches

Houseboat ride in Kerala backwaters

Goa and Kerala offer a refreshing beach experience. Beaches, backwaters, Ayurveda massages, seafood, watersports and leisure time, this puts a very invigorating end to your India tour.

Best time to visit India’s Golden Triangle

The Golden Triangle Tour is best suited between the months from October to April. The winter season in India is a pleasant time to go sightseeing, relish the Indian spicy food and have some incredible experiences.

13 UNESCO Listed Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of India


India’s cultural heritage is matchless. Cultural Heritage of India that does not limit itself to monuments, collections of objects or a particular places; it also includes traditions that have been passed through generations as a way of life. The Intangible Cultural Heritage of India includes social practices, festivals, rituals, oral traditions, knowledge, performing arts, and particular skills to produce traditional crafts. In India, in its centuries of existence, vast cultural diversity, heritage and population, intangible cultural heritage is found in every nook and very corner of the country.

In changing times, the cultural heritage is being lost and to preserve this vast wealth, UNESCO lists these cultural practices at Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. For the tarveles exploring India, the cultural heritage is an incredible experience that makes you fall in love with the colourful kaleipdoscpe of the country.

India has a total of 13 such representative ones in the list:

1. Yoga

Yoga in India

Yoga is an ancient art of health and wellness. It is a holistic knowledge of unifying the mind with body and soul. It is a traditional approach of spiritual, mental and physical well-being taught by the ascetics (rishis) who lead a life of discipline. Yoga comprises a series of poses, meditation, controlled breathing, word chanting, etc. The intangible cultural heritage is one of the reasons to visit India.

Where to go in India to learn about Yoga?

Rishikesh is the Yoga capital of the world and the must-visit place for yoga in India. Bangalore, Kerala, Goa and are the popular places.

2. Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela

The holy gathering of Kumbh Mela is one of the largest human congregations in the world. The festival of the ‘sacred pitcher’ is a gathering where the pilgrims bathe or take dip in the holy rivers of India. As old as Indian civilization if not more, the festival is organized once in 12 years in four pilgrimage places on the banks of sacred rivers in Haridwar (River Ganga), Ujjain (River Kshipra), Nashik (River Narmada) and Prayagraj, formerly Allahabad (Triveni Sangam -confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati).

Where to go in India to learn about Kumbh Mela?

Haridwar, Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain are the four sacred places where the Kumbh Mela is organized.

3. Kalbelia

Kalbelia Dance

Kalbelia is a folk dance form of Rajasthan that is a part of the culture of the nomadic community of the deserts of Rajasthan. The seductive dance form by the vibrantly attired women is performed on the melodies of ‘Khanjari’ percussion instrument and the ‘Poongi’, a woodwind instrument. The Kalbelia folk performances are based upon the myths and tales of the desert. The intangible cultural heritage is one of the best treasures of India.

Where to go in India to learn about Kalbelia?

The desert dunes of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan or at the major festivals of the state including Pushkar Mela, Bikaner Camel Festival, Jaisalmer Desert Festival, etc.

4. Koodiyattam


Koodiyattam is an ancient Sanskrit theatrical tradition practiced in Kerala. The beautiful Kerala is an ancient land of history, heritage and culture. Fondly named “God’s Own Country’ the land is a paradise and the traditions are in reverence of the deities close to nature. Traditionally performed in theatres called as Kuttampalams located in the Hindu temples, the theatrical production is a treasured cultural heritage of Kerala.

Where to go in India to learn about Koodiyattam?

Cultural centers in Kerala, especially Kochi keeps the tradition alive. The many luxury resorts of Kerala also recreate for its guests.

5. Vedic Chanting

Vedic Chanting

India’s vedic era was the base of civilization. The sacred texts of veds of the time are the holy texts of Indian culture. The tradition of Vedic chanting involves chanting during sacred rituals and recited daily by the Vedic communities known not only for the rich content of its oral literature but also for the ingenious techniques employed by the Brahmin priests.

Where to go in India to learn about Vedic chanting?

This experience is not very hard as the many temples all over India practice the tradition.

6. Ramlila

A theatrical performance of Ramayana, the Ramlila is performed across North India during the festival of Dussehra. What makes this special is the devotion for the characters of Ramayana, the dialogues and the lessons of life. It is a treasured cultural heritage of India.

Where to go in India to learn about Ramlila?

Vrindavan, Varanasi, Delhi and Ramnagar are the most popular places.

7. Ramman

Another religious festival of India that finds its mention among the elite list of cultural heritage of humanity in India is Ramman. Hailing from the mountains of Uttarakhand, the festivities involve one particular village where all the residents have specific roles.

Where to go in India to learn about Ramman?

The villages of Saloor and Dungra in Uttarakhand are the exclusive places to experience the festival.

8. Mudiyett


From the God’s Own Country, Kerala, Mudiyett is a ritual dance drama based on a mythological tale of the battle between Darika, the demon and Goddess Kali. The vibrant attire, the magnificent masks and the traditions make it a rare gem of Indian cultural heritage.

Where to go in India to learn about Mudiyett?

Cultural centers in Kerala, especially Kochi keeps the tradition alive. The many luxury resorts of Kerala also recreate for its guests.

9. Chhau Dance

Chhau Dance

Chhau Dance is a semi-classical form of tribal dance, combining martial arts, storytelling, martial arts, mock combat, acrobatics, and athletics and story-telling based in eastern India. Based on episodes from epics including the Mahabharata and Ramayana, local folklore and abstract themes, the dance form is a colorful cultural heritage. The incredible masks used in Chhau are worth admiring as are the vibrant attires, musical instruments and graceful dance is an experience to cherish.

Where to go in India to learn about Chhau Dance?

The origin of Chhau Dance is East India, in the cities of Kolkata, Purulia, Bhubaneswar, etc.

10. Buddhist Chanting

Buddhist chanting is a part of the prayers of the Buddhist lamas (priests) in the Ladakh region. There are several forms of chanting and what makes it special is the serenity it grants to the chanters and one who even listen to the chants. Accompanied with musical instruments, these chants are a melody that soothes the body, mind and soul.

Where to go in India to learn about Buddhist Chanting?

Monasteries in Ladakh keep the tradition alive.

11. Sankirtana

Hailing from the North East India, Sankirtana is a set of arts performed to mark religious occasions and various stages in the life of the Vaishnava people of the Manipur plains.

12. Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making

The craft of the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru constitutes the traditional technique of manufacturing brass and copper utensils in Punjab.

13. Nawrouz

The Persian New year celebrated worldwide. It involves street performances of music and dance, public rituals involving water and fire, traditional sports and the making of handicrafts.


Bask In the Wilderness of Jungles with These Top 10 Safaris in India


Watching a big cat in real life could be a distant dream for many! However, this dream, in India, is not that tough to be realized as the country is blessed with over 3000 tigers, 99 national parks, 40 tiger reserves, and 450 wildlife sanctuaries. India has made a global mark as it has transformed as home to 75% of the tiger population of the world.

No matter if you are surrounded by the big mountains of Himalayas in Uttarakhand or are in the desert landscape of Rajasthan or in the centre of Gujarat, the rich fauna will be there to enthrall and entice you always. So let's take a quick view of the top 10 national parks in India that are home to diverse wildlife. 

1. The Ranthambore National Park, Rajasthan: The royal land of Rajasthan also houses the royal predators. Stretching across the area of 1,334 square kilometres, this Park offers fascinating jungle safaris. You will be delighted to see the cats prancing and pouncing on trees and grounds freely here. The other animals that are spotted here include Sloth Bears, Wild Boars, Sambar, etc. 

Ranthambore National Park

Best Time to Visit: The Park is open from October to June. However, the ideal time to spot tigers is March-May. 

2. Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand: Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest established national park housing the most furious member of the cat family, the tigers. Many species such as Fishing Cats, Serow, Goral, Himalayan Tahr, and other fascinating wild species have made their habitat in this park. It was in 1936 when the journey of Jim Corbett started. The Park was declared as Asia's very first National Park in the same year. Later in 1974, it was declared as the first Tiger Reserve under Project Tiger. People from across the globe keep thronging here to catch a quick view of these brilliantly dangerous cats. 

Corbett National Park

Best Time to Visit: The Park is open from October to June. However, the ideal time to spot tigers is March-May. 

3. Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh: The Royal Bengal Tigers! Sounds too royal… isn't it? And if you wish to have the spectacular vista of these tigers, then Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh is the best place for you. Blessed with the presence of striped cats and many other exotic fauna species, Bandhavgarh is one of the best places for wildlife safari in India.

Once upon a time, this place used to be the hunting ground for royal dynasties. However, the scenario changed slowly and Bandhavgarh is a protected area now. 

Bandhavgarh National Park

Best Time to Visit: The national park could be visited between mid-October and June, but March to May is the ideal month to see big cats. 

4. Kanha National Park, Madhya Pradesh: Do you aware of the Mogli Land exist in India? If not, then you should plan a trip to the Kanha National Park soon. Owing to the existence of the vivid wild creatures, this dense jungle became an inspiration to Rudyard Kipling's forever classic-the Jungle book. The roaring of tigers in the real woods of Kanha jungles is what that attracts thousands of tourists from across the world to this park.

Kanha National Park

Best Time to Visit: The gate remains open from mid-October to June, however, the peak time is March to May if you want to see royal tigers.

5. Kaziranga National Park, Assam: Welcome to Kaziranga National Park, home to world's largest population of one Horned Rhinoceros. Stretching across 429.69 square kilometres, this place is far off from human inhabitance and hence helps in maintaining the rich flora and fauna. This Park also houses Elephants, Bears, Panthers and many pretty birds. As the wildlife flourishes without any limits here, Kaziranga is being titled as one of the renowned World Heritage Sites of UNESCO. 

Kaziranga National Park

Best time to visit: You can explore this park from November to the end of April. 

6. Sunderban National Park, West Bengal: This park could help you in spotting surprising sights. You can see tigers swimming in the water around the Mangroves of the Sunderban National Park. Sunderbans jungles have many credits to its portfolio. It's the largest tiger reserve. Also, it boasts of the tiger populace that has adopted an amphibious lifestyle. It also houses one of the world's largest forest cover of the Mangroves.

Hence, it forms one of the ultimate destinations to enjoy wildlife holidays in India. Owing to its distinguished distinctions, it has been honored as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Best Time to Visit: The Park is open throughout the year; however, to see the amphibian tigers, the best time to visit here is from October to April.

7. Gir National Park, Gujarat: Housing the royal Asiatic Lions, the Gir National Park is the treasure trove for those who love to see the rich diversity of wildlife. What makes the USP for the Gir National Park is that it is the only home to the populace of Asiatic Lions, and therefore it contributes significantly to India wildlife tourism. Besides Lions, there are around 32 species of mammals, over 300 species of birds and 26 of reptiles. 

Gir National Park

Best Time to Visit: The best season to visit the park is from October to May end.

8. Pench National Park, Madhya Pradesh: If you want to spot tigers frisking around carefree, then Pench is the place to be. One can listen to the loud rumbles of the big and furious predators in these jungles. This royal kingdom also boasts of other wild beings like Leopard, Wild Boar, Nilgai, and Crimson-breasted Barbet and so on.

Best Time to Visit: Pench remains open from mid-October to June. The best time to sight tigers are months from March to May.

9. Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh: The live wild world of the Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh is a treat to the eye. Spotted Deer, Leopards, Sloth Bear, Black Buck, Sambar, Four Horned Antelopes, Porcupine, Smooth Otter or Pangolin, all varieties have made their home in Satpura. The terrain is rugged here with the presence of peaks of sandstone, slender gorges, several ravines, and dense jungles, thereby making it a complete adventure zone. 

Best Time to Visit: October to April is the ideal season for visiting this park.

10. Tadoba National Park, Maharashtra: If you want to enjoy deciduous forests and undulating hills while enjoying your wildlife safari holidays, then Tadoba National Park in Maharashtra is the best place. There is a beautiful lake encircled by lush mixed forests in this park. Tigers, Barking Deer, Hyenas, Gaur, Leopards, and many others form the inhabitants of this jungle.

Best Time to Visit: Park is open from October to June. However, the best time to spot tigers is in months of March, April, and May. 


Author Bio: Archana Sharma is a freelance writer who is passionate about her profession. Travelling is something that excites her. She has been in the creative field for over 15 years and has been writing for print media and digital media.

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