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A little village named Jumbur near Gir in the heart of Gujarat. Jambur is 24 km south of Sasan Gir. Actually, this village called an African village in India. The people who live here, are of African descent but they speak the Gujarati and Hindi languages in daily life. We see many places on the planet whose culture and language may not match that of the country. Even though Sierra Leone is a West African country, but its official language Bengali. Because in recognition of the contribution of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the country’s civil war. Anyway, as soon as you enter this Jambur village in Gujarat it may seem as if you have entered an African city. But the demeanour of the people living here is Indian.

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Google Image
Google Image

The People Of Jambur Village

The people living in this village called Siddi People are originally known as Habshis. The local’s call this village Siddhi village. They are the direct descendants of the Bantu Tribe of the African Great Lake region. According to history, most of the Siddhi People were brought as slaves by the Portuguese from Southeast Africa to give the Nawab of Junagadh as Present. Over time they settled in India, mainly Gujarat, Karnataka, Hyderabad and Goa. But most Siddi people started living in this Jambur village in Gujarat. Islam was the common religion for them, many of them embraced the new belief and adapted to the environment here. As per local lore, a long time ago a ship loaded with African slaves came to the port of Gujarat and when those Africans landed they saw the lion of Gir and they thought they reached Africa. But it became a shock for them.

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Google Image
Google Image

Culture And Heritage

The Siddhi Peoples still hold their African unique culture. The Siddi community strictly married themselves, so their genes did not mix with the local Indian people. That is why they are still able to retain their unique African look. They have been living here for so long and have taken Gujarati customs as their tradition. They have almost forgotten their ancestral traditions. But they are trying to keep their few Bantu traditions preserved. They have been practising their traditional Goma Music and that dance form. And their dance style is still the same as the African dance style. The most interesting thing is that Siddhi People have maintained their African clothing fashion trend even from India. They wear colourful and bright clothes in their daily life. They maintain a unique balance of Indian culture and African culture in their simple life.

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In the world Bicycle one of the most useful vehicle. The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted demand for bicycles, with people using them to commute, for exercise instead of going to gyms and to get some fresh air. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released technical guidance on moving around during the Covid-19 outbreak, advocating cycling and walking overcrowded public transports to limit physical contact during the pandemic.

Bicycle -The Way To Home

In the world Bicycle one of the most useful vehicle. Covid-19, the pandemic has given us a scope to consider cycling as an important mode of commute as its environmentally friendly and economical. During the National lockdown in India, we hear about lots of real and courageous incidents to travel thousands of kilometers by cycle to reach their hometowns.

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Bihar Girl Who Cycled 1,200KM Carrying Injured Father

A 15-year-old girl Joyti Kumari, won praise for carrying her injured father hundreds of kilometers across India by cycle. During India’s strictest nationwide lockdown Joyti and her father stuck in Gurugram (outskirts Delhi). A tenacious Jyoti asked her father to sit on the rear side carrier of her cycle and took him to his native place (Bihar), covering 1200 km in seven days.

Mumbai To Odisha

Migrant laborer Mahesh Jena pedaled 1,700 km across India over seven days to reach home. His biggest challenge was keeping the wheels moving. Jena followed his usual pre-dawn routine, but with an unusual plan in mind. Usually every day, he would head for his factory, a little over 10 km away in the industrial zone of Sangli in Maharashtra. But this time, he was headed home — to a small village called Bhangra in Odisha, nearly 1700 km away.

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Migrants On The Road

There is lakh of migrants people are travel by walk or cycling to reach their home during the lockdown, the cycle has also come to the rescue of people in an emergency. On social media, a short video of a batch of migrant workers from Bengal starting for their home on a bicycle from Chennai, embarking on a nearly 1,700 km journey. New Delhi to West Bengal, two Bengal youth are traveling 1600 km. 45 years old man traveled 1486 km on his cycle to reach his home. There are so many real travel incidents that happen across India, during the lockdown.

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India Is Turning To Cycles Again

As workplaces start reopening, some are choosing cycles to avoid the risk of contamination on packed public transport, while others improve fitness levels. Many people in India have decided to ride a bicycle. People repaired their old cycle or buy a new one. Some Intelligent people of India prefer to waiting a long line of cycle shops instead of a liquor shop. Across all over India people are preferring this mode of transport to move about, whether it’s to go to work, do chores, or exercise.
Cycling is one of the greatest medications of anti-depression. Many people say during these quarantine days they are stuck and depressed but when lockdown over they start cycling regularly and this work out are removed all kind of depression.

Why Should You Cycling

Cycling is mainly an aerobic activity, which means that your heart, blood vessels, and lungs all get a workout. You will breathe deeper, perspire and experience increased body temperature, which will improve your overall fitness level. And at the end of the list, you are Happy.

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The Health Benefits Of Regular Cycling Include:

  • increased cardiovascular fitness
  • increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • improved joint mobility
  • decreased stress levels
  • improved posture and coordination
  • strengthened bones
  • decreased body fat levels
  • prevention or management of disease
  • reduced anxiety and depression.

Coorg is a small district tucked away in, southwest corner of Karnataka state. It is famous for its beautiful coffee estates. The Western Ghat mountain range carve up the region into series of hills. The capital of Madikeri has nestled in a valley at an elevation of over 4000 feet. Kaveri river is the most important river in southern India. And it originates in the mountain of Coorg and worshipped by the local people.

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The Kodavas Of Coorg

The Kodavas, as the Coorgs call themselves, are fascinating people. They are different from other South Indians in their way of dress and tradition. Yet no one can say for sure from where they came actually. Their origin remains a mystery to this day. Their ancestors were worshippers and maintained an ancestral home. They also had warrior traditions going back to the days. They allied themselves with the British against, mighty ruler Tippu Sultan who, determined to conquer all of South India. Even today Kodavas, known for their exemplary role in the armed forces.

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Kodavas people
Kodavas people (Google Image)

Kodavas Connection With Alexander The Great

History says Kodavas are descendants of soldiers of Alexander the Great, who invaded India in 327 B.C. When his soldiers refused to continue fighting, many of them settled down in India. Some of them instead of returning to Greece married into the local population. Gradually these groups migrated to South India. They settled along with the west coast, going as far as Coorg. There they maintained a separate identity from the others. Later they merged with the local people very quickly.

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Traditional Kodava House
Traditional Kodava House (Google image)

Kodava Culture

Kodavas have a distinct culture. They never followed any particular religion but adopted some Hindu traditions. But more significantly, the Kodavas ancestors were worshippers, with family members maintaining an ancestral home called an Ainmane house. An Ainmane house is where Kodava people live their lives which stands apart in architecture. This house is a place of unique bonding. Ainmane has always stood as a mirror reflecting the Kodava culture, life, family practices, worship, and festivals according to seasons.

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Weapons are Worshiped
Weapons are Worshiped (Google image)

Martial Tradition

The Kodavas are the only community in the country that is being exempted from obtaining arm licenses. Which is strictly prohibited in another part of India. So why do the Kodavas have special rights? Actually not just the Kodavas even original residents of Coorg who have Jamma land (land granted by the king), Coorg Gowdas have an exemption from certain sections of the arms act. So it was a simple system – take land for free and don’t pay property tax on it, but when the king needs you, come with your army to assist the king.

Those people who had grant land had to provide service to the king when they were summoned. For this, you were allowed to keep weapons and practice during peacetime. If you decided you don’t want to fight a war, you had to pay taxes on the land you owned. So weapons are worshiped and kept sacred even today.

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We wish everyone happiness at the start of everything. Be it a new year or festival, it should be happy always. But do we know what is happiness in actuality? And what can decide our happiness? I think when our senses feel something pleasant, unexpectedly good, and excitement then we feel the emotion named Happiness. And when we name all these together it combines to one simple thing – Travelling. Seeing something new, knowing something new, the thrill of being in a new place brings a surge of joy in our minds. I Know, in this pandemic situation, it has become difficult like earlier. But today I would list a few things for us which can make things look a little easy.

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Tame Your Mind To Be Happy

The first and foremost thing is to make a decision. In this pandemic, roaming around may cause trouble. But locking yourself to a safe zone forever also is not possible either. We all understand that this pandemic is not going anywhere soon. It will stay, and we need to make a few lifestyle changes to fight this. We all need to practice and adopt frequent hand wash, wearing masks, sanitization. Please be cautious and take the necessary precautions before and after touching everything. Be aware of the symptoms and act responsibly. Things can be heard and repeated in the past few months thousands of times. But adopting these things will help our movement a little less restricted. Most importantly, learn to tame your mind that these things are not difficult rather easy to follow. A happy mind can do anything.

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Add Quality Then Quantity

Earlier in the year, I used to travel 4/5 times. But now I plan for 2 destinations. Due to the pandemic, the travel cost has increased. We need to choose a hotel, travel mode places carefully. Also, we need to add good travel insurance. These are not luxury but a necessity. Also ignoring a few things may cause a big problem. So better be sure than sorry.

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Travel Means Happiness

A travel memory stays with us forever. We can cherish those specials moments any time. It brings instant smile on our face. So don’t put a pause, rather gear up with new rules, and adopt the new normal. May this bring good travel in all our life.

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Cover Picture Source by –Exotic Miles

Hatu peak in Himachal Pradesh, one of the places connected with also epic literature Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Hatu Peak is perhaps one of India’s most scenic destinations. With dense forests dotting the slopes for miles. And tall conifers and oaks standing proud, it presents a breath-taking view to visitant. Situated at an altitude of 12,000 feet above sea level. As the highest point in the entire district of Shimla. You can catch the sights of the thick green cedar and fir shield. For nature lovers, this place will be a fascinating experience. Among trekkers, Hatu Peak is also popular as the lush green alpines sweep across the trail, the views are truly bewitching.

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The Epic Connetion

Hatu Peak is located in Narkanda in Shimla district. Another famous religious spot to visit in Hatu Peak at a height of 3400 metres is an ancient Hatu Mata Temple. The distinctive wooden architecture and Chinese-style carvings make it one of its kind. As per popular belief, Hatu Mata is Mandodari, Ravana’s wife herself. Ravan was the great villain of the epic Ramayana.

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Also, Its believed to be a place where Mahabharata great heroes, Pandavas cooked their food while they spent their days in exile. Bhim Chullah is believed to be two hearthstones near the temple made by Bhim. You will come across curious mythical stories based on Ramayana and Mahabharata. The location is common among bikers seeking short but exciting hideaways.

Bheem Chullah  at hatu Peak
Bheem Chullah (Google Image)

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Hatu Peak

Hatu Peak Himachal Pradesh
Hatu Peak

If you plan one day for the trek in Hatu peak, then you will get everything in this Himalayan trek. Dark pine forests, mountain range views, enchanting meadows and silence. There are some places where you don’t want to do anything, you just want to sit down and see the views. Such a place where one can get close to nature. About 8 km from Narkanda, and 63 km from Shimla a beautiful road surrounded by pine forest. It is Completely off-road is a pleaser for people, who drive in the mountain. On the Way to the peak from Narkanda, Place has a tea shop where minimal items are available.

Hatu Peak

The Peak View

When you go towards the view-point you will be amazed by the fascinating view of almost 360-degree snow-clad mountain of  Pir Panjal, Dhaula Dhar & Trans Himalayan ranges. This peak is more beautiful during spring and winters. A spiritual place with mesmerizing views all around you, make you feel like staying here for a day spending a night under the stars.

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Many interesting places in India have only developed on human beliefs and myths. Later people’s faith and respect turned that place into a unique one. Baba Mandir in Sikkim, India is such that kind of unique place. People believe that Baba Harbhajan Singh died while on duty. And his demise does not stop him to do his duties. Until Harbhajan Singh’s retirement age, the Indian army sent his salary to his family every month. Every year his belongings are sent to his family in Punjab when Army officers are on holiday.

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Sikkim

If you can’t find peace in any place, head to Sikkim. It’s the place where you will truly believe in the goodness of nature and humanity. The state of Sikkim, nestled in the North-Eastern part of India, isn’t exactly on the tourist radar. But it should be. The state has so much to offer to visitors. You will fall short of words to describe its natural beauty.

Changuu Lake (Google Image)

Baba Harbhajan Singh -Hero of Nathula

The temple of Baba Harbhajan Singh of East Sikkim has been built through various mysteries and stories. This temple located at an altitude of 13,123 ft in the conjunction of Nathula Pass and Jelepla Pass is just about 52 km from Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim.

Baba Harbhajan Singh is revered as the “Hero of Nathula” by soldiers of the Indian army. He was born to a Sikh family on 30th August 1946 in Punjab, Harbhajan joined the Indian Army at the age of 20. He was posted at the border. On 4th October 1968, while escorting a mule column from his battalion headquarters at Tukla to Deng Chukla, he slipped and fell into a fast-flowing stream and got drowned. The army searched for his body for three days but didn’t found it. It is believed that one of his Sepoy friends was informed in his dream about the exact location of his body with his wish to be cremated there with full military honors. He was accorded the status of a saint(Baba) by the Indian Army. Later a memorial was built at the cremating spot which came to be known as Baba Harbhajan Singh Mandir.

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Baba Harbhajan Singh

Beliefs And Myth About Baba Mandir

  • The people of Sikkim and Indian Army officers still believe that even after the death of Baba Harbhajan Singh, his soul is still working in the border areas.
  • Any army official not maintaining a clean and disciplined attire is punished with a slap by Baba himself. This shows how disciplined he was all his life.
  • It is also believed that water kept at the Baba Harbhajan shrine becomes capable of curing ailing persons. Devotees, therefore, leave bottles of water in the name of ailing people and then give this blessed water to the sick.
  • There is a belief in the army that Baba will warn them of an impending attack at least three days in advance.

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In honor Of Baba Harbhajan Singh

  • Every year on 11 September, a jeep departs with his personal belongings to the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri, from where it is then sent by train to the village of Kuka, in the Kapurthala district of Punjab. A small sum of money is contributed by soldiers posted in Nathula to be sent to his mother each month.
  • The Army is on high alert when Baba is on leave.
  • During flag meetings between the two nations at Nathu La, even the Chinese Army set a chair aside to honor him.

The End Story

Captain Harbhajan Singh retired from the army a few years back. Indian army hadn’t promoted him from Sepoy to the rank of a captain. One important thing is that his family never received a salary every month from the Indian Army directly. But the soldiers there created a fund in his honour which raises money for his family. In the year 2005, he was scheduled to retire but it postponed till the year 2006 based on his love for the duty.

The Pattern!!! The Similar Kind!

“Baba, I find Jacky Chan“. ” See how smart, only 8 years old. He recognizes the pattern”– said the proud mother.

“Pattern!!!” this word made me turned to them. It was important to see their faces. That 8 years old’s father proudly said, “An engineer’s son after all. But he is no Jacky but a similar kind son. What will you have, I am ordering mixed momo bucket, we will share.”. The child nodded happily.

“Similar Kind!!!” … I looked at the waiter; handsome, must be in his 17’s or 18’s, in black tee and jeans, slim build, 5.5 feet height, and with a cute smile. I felt concerned for him. He should not listen to all these crap, he must not feel bad. But they listen to these things every day. Being judged for their look are normal to them. They have learned to not give a damn. But that shield is also bearing ruthless and brutal attacks.

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Who Are They?

The son asked again, “who is he?” “They all are Nepalis. These people have increased everywhere.” The engineer father continued. “I think he is from china, like your Jacky Chan. China is near from here. They come to these places to earn.” My eyes follow the waiter, he went near them, took all their orders politely and moved to the kitchen.

His Mrs. show off says, “our driver is also Nepali, he was listening to those songs entire road. This waiter has the same dialect.” Here the patriarchy said again with disgust, “Arre; you know nothing. The china border is not much far from Sikkim; just walking distance. I mean for them. China has so much population, these poor people have to come to India for the job”. I scoffed, being an Indian, do we have the right to point at any other country that’s too about population and lack of jobs.

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Find Me A God

The 8 years old smart asked, “baba do they celebrate Durga Puja”. I wonder, how the intellectual breed feeds their child toxin. The mother’s dangerous reply came, “Their’s GOD is different. They worship Lord Buddha, not Durga Ma”.

By the time the smiley hunk came with the Bengali family’s food and to surprise them all, he asked “sir aar kichu lagbe? (Sir do you need anything else). The family looked at him in awe. As he left, the father said, “see he has learnt our language so well. India is great. We accept everyone and make them one of us. Eat now.”

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I ate my food. The waiter came to me. “Sir, do you need anything else?” he asked. “Some good knowledge, common sense, with love and respect with no pretension and unnecessary superiority. I would like to give you a treat with the dish for your kindness, patience and affection towards dumbs.” I replied. Everyone looked at me. The father was shocked then a rage overpowered his gaze. But he was diction less, so he was burning me down with his eyes. looked at the smiley face. His eyes were on me too, but with respect and awe. The family in 10 minutes paid their bill and left from there abusing me indirectly.

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World Truth

Later I asked him, “Bhai, why do not you say anything to them?”. He said something which made me write today for him. He said, “sir many talk like this. How does it matter? All matter is my thought process, which tells me God is everywhere, in Durga, in Buddha, in them, in you and in me too.”

We all talk about unity in diversity. But we don’t respect the change. We all know the truth but always live in denial. Such hypocrisy. We all raise a voice about black lives matter, but we name the northeastern people momo, chowmein, chinki, Chakmas, Nepalis, Chinese and now coronavirus. We raise our voice against racism but on the other side recognise people by their looks and clothes. The real darkness is in our heart. That is world truth. We forget that we all belong to the same nation. But A simple waiter has more sense than an engineer. He has found his God. And I pray we too find HIM soon.

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When I planned my first Nagaland visit, at that time many people gave me a lot of advice. Like Nagaland is not a safe state. Nagas are not ordinary people like us. Naga cuisine is very bad, even they eat dog and sometimes human also. Culturally they are wild. Nagaland does not have law and order. The most ridiculous part was these people never been in Nagaland.

So I asked to my those well-wishers one simple question. ‘HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN NAGALAND’. They confidently answered, “No, we hear all sort of stories”.I understood that these are popular believes about the beautiful Indian state NAGALAND. When we think about Nagaland, we tend to think about negative things only. As nobody has told them the positive story of this state. The believes are mostly like ghost stories. Nobody has seen it but heard a lot about it. So today I’m excited to give you a glimpse of what I had experienced in the beautiful state.

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Naga By Birth- The tagline
Tagline ….

My First Visit

I visited Nagaland in 2019, December, for the great Hornbill festival . And trust me, Nagaland is extremely safe, like any other cities of India, with the most friendly people I’ve ever met. They went out of their ways to ensure my safety and a good time. Until you visit the state you will never know what was missing in your life. So make your first move.

In this blog post, I’m going to share with you my top 5 favorite things about NAGALAND

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The People

Sumi tribe Girl Nagaland
Sumi Tribe Girl

I interacted with as many locals as I could. And not once on any occasion, I was disrespected or even looked funny or disappointed. I was invited dozens of times by the locals into their houses for a cup of naga tea or rice beers and even been offered a bed to sleep in. I accepted the offer and stayed there with one of them for 4 days. They prepared food for me, even they gave me a tour in Kohima city and nearby cities. And believe me, I was feeling so ashamed as they were not letting me pay a single penny for anything. I was trying to pay them for their hospitality, on the other hand, all they care about their hospitality. Such a difference. They truly believe that the guest is The God. I made many good friends at the Hornbill festival, and I can’t wait to go back and visit them all someday soon. All over Nagaland people are very friendly and helpful. They are also very colour full and concern about the tourist.

Chang Tribe people Nagaland
Chang People

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Hornbill Festival Ground
The Ground of Hornbill

The Hornbill festival

The ‘Hornbill Festival’ is held every year from December 1 to 10 at the Kisama village. More than 2.39 lakh people witness Nagaland’s annual cultural function. The festival was conceptualized to showcase Naga culture,  traditional and contemporary, in the spirit of unity in diversity. The  10-days cultural extravaganza celebrating the age-old traditions of the 16 tribes of Nagaland through art, dance, music and obesely food. Since its inception in the year 2000, it has brought about radical changes in the tourism scenario of the state. This colour full festival is connected Nagaland to all over the world.

Saramati peak

The Beauty

Nagaland is an unexplored beauty.  Nagaland is also a place of abundant beauty evident in its mystifying hills and valleys spread everywhere. A land engulfed in mystery, inhabited by vibrant people zealously guarding their culture – dancer, warriors head hunters mountain, valleys, forests, all these from the portrait of Nagaland the moment the word is uttered. The cultural and the scenic merge is the main quintessence of this place. This is the land of Colour, rituals and festival. The untouched beauty of tribal history and customs is the added grandeur of this state. The river Doyang and Diphu pass through the place and create a mesmerising effect with the amalgamation with the hills. Nagaland has come a long way over the year and etched a name for itself in the world’s tourist destination map. So don’t listen to people about  Nagaland, just listen to your soul.

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The Food

Preparation of Naga cuisine
Naga Food

We are always curious about naga cuisine. As per popular belief, we think naga people eat almost every eatable thing which actually they do. But every community and culture have their own survival struggle. History will tell us many incidents like this. When people are out of food, then they used to hunt everything to eat. Nagaland is not the exception. Naga people geographically and economically went through such time, which made a diverse change in their food habits. There are sixteen main tribes in Nagaland, each with similar yet unique traditions and practices. While food from each tribe overlaps, there are also certain dishes that are specifically known from a certain tribe. Rice, pork, chicken, dog, insects and worms, vegetables, and famous chilli sauces are essential in the Naga diet.  For real Naga food, it’s best to eat it at someone’s home. A normal Naga food meal would include rice, some kind of meat either dry or gravy, pork with bamboo shoots, boiled vegetables, and spicy chilli sauces. 

During the Hornbill festival, I had seen people all over the world enjoying authentic naga food like dried Pork, smoked pork stew, Nagaland pork w/dry Bamboo Shoots, Bamboo Steamed Fish and Roasted Intestines and Boiled Vegetables. And The rice beer is the topmost booze in Nagaland. Any house party to all over the hornbill festival the only drink you got this is rice beer. Naga people call Zutho.

The Naga Culture
Naga Culture

The Culture

The Falcon Capital of The World, Nagaland supports a flamboyant tribal culture which leaves anybody visiting the place amazed and dazzled. Nagaland has an ancient history of tribes whose count sums to be as much as 66 including the sub-tribes. Out of these, 16 are considered as major tribes. With a difference in language, all tribes have a similar leafy dress code, eating habits and traditional laws. Nagas are mostly Christians. The state is regarded as the most Baptist state in the world as 75% of it is dominated by them. Soft-heartedness and hospitality of Nagas leave anyone visiting the place astounded. They have a zest for life and are very exuberant when it comes to celebrating festivals or any other day of equal significance.

But naga people like western cultures very much. They like any kind of music but they like most western music. It made me feel sometimes that I was in China or Japan. In my eye, Nagaland is one of the beautiful places in India though it’s little neglected. But this land is pure gold.

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First Encounter

Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka, India. It became the centre of the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire capital in the 14th-century. Besides the historical background, Hampi has a magnetic charm. And my first encounter happens with it when I start my walk towards the hill at 5 am to see the sunrise.

Nothing can beat the feeling of seeing the first golden rays of the Sun, falling on top of mountains and then gradually spreading the warmth to the legacies. The sun is peeking behind the mountains with all its glory, portraying a mesmerizing sight for all wanderlusts. Every day the Sun rises with new hope, and when your soul rises with the sun that’s when you feel writing a blog. As this is kind of rising happens after trouble. 

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lost My Way

I am a very timorous man and on top of that, I lost my way to sunrise point at Matanga hill and got afraid of the sudden occurrence of a snake. There was no one to help me with the right direction to the sunrise point. I was standing alone with lots of giant stones and the morning breeze touched my chubby cheek, I got a chill on my spine and the realisation of having a real spine. I looked around and felt as if nature was telling me that this was my time. The Sun was going to rise only for me that day. I heard the sound of peacocks, got a sight of fidgety squirrels running away. My fear disappeared like it never existed. I took a deep smell of the ruins of Vijaynagara. I stood there calmly, waiting to see my Sun. 

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And the Sun rose, spreading its golden rays, and I felt alive. Then I needed a cup of tea. Good morning Hampi…

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