Category: Travel

Mount Mary Church and Bandra Fair

Mount Mary Church, Bandra
Mount Mary Church, Bandra

Mount Mary Church is located on a small hill facing the ocean. It is a semi-Gothic style structure which was built over 100 years ago. Legend states that Mother Mary’s statue is much older around 16th century.

A view of the sea while coming down the hill.
A view of the sea while coming down the hill.
Mount Mary's Church, Bandra
Mount Mary’s Church, Bandra

With the month of September setting in, it was Mother Mary’s birthday on September 8. The following week is the Bandra fair. With the Bandra fair beginning this week, the church and its ground have a festive look. Over thousands of devotees come to this church every year from all over the country and not just Mumbai. The duration of the fair is of 8 days which is part of the annual Feast of Our Lady of the Mount celebrations.

A glimpse into the fair that began on 13 September 2015

Candle stalls at the fair
Candle stalls at the fair
Bandra fair

You may like to read PILGRIM NATION: VIRGIN MARY IN VAILANKANNI – Best Places of Interest

An inspiring and rejuvenating experience 2

I am continuing with my earlier post on an inspiring and rejuvenating experience. Here are a few videos which will give you more information about Bir and Deer Park Institute in Himachal Pradesh.

An inspiring and rejuvenating experience

Bir, Himachal Pradesh
Pathankot Cantt. Station

Pathankot Cantonment station at Punjab is where you alight. You then take a cab or minibus to reach Bir which is in Himachal Pradesh.


On the way, you will find streams, which will leave you spellbound.

Bir, located in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh is a beautiful town renowned for meditation studies and ecotourism. One can wade through tea gardens into the forests and mountains in the north. The inhabitants are friendly, relaxed Indians and Tibetan (Khampa) community. Bir Tibetan Colony came into existence around 1960, following the exile of Dalai Lama and other refugees. There are many Tibetan monasteries, center of handicrafts, Children’s Village school, Medical clinic and Deer Park Institute.

Deer Park Institute Monastery

Deer Park Institute Monastery

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche founded Deer Park Institute which is a centre for the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions. Rinpoche is a term used to honour or shows respect to the ‘precious one’-older, respected, spiritual teacher.

A centre for study of classical Indian wisdom traditions
Breath-taking view of surroundings

Breath-taking view of the surroundings.

Deer Park institute, Bir, Himachal Pradesh

Inside the premises of Deer Park institute, Bir

Buddha hall inside the monastery

Within the monastery or Buddha Hall, in the presence of Buddha, it is peaceful for meditation. Meditation in the broader sense will include techniques for relaxation, building up internal energy and empathy, love, patience, generosity and forgiveness. Meditation has been practiced since ages in religious traditions and beliefs. It has health benefits too, easing blood pressure, depression and anxiety. It can be done in many ways, from sitting in the way Buddhist monks sit, to chanting mantras with prayer beads and closed eyes. It has a calming effect which creates inward awareness.

Roses in Deer Park institute

Roses in Deer Park Institute

a panaromic view of Deer Park institute and monastery

A panoramic view of Deer Park Institute and monastery

music concert at Deer Park institute

Inside Deer Park institute, you can see an Indian classical performance which stays true to what the centre’s aim is the study of classical Indian wisdom traditions. Not very far from this place is Billing.

The path leading to Billing, a Para glider's paradise.

The path leading to Billing, a Paraglider’s paradise.

Bir Paragliding competition

An international Paragliding competition held by Paragliding World Cup Association from 24-30 October.

Billing from where paraglider's take-off.

Billing from where the paraglider’s would take-off. The launch point is approximately 2400 meters in the meadow on the top of a ridge at Billing and the landing area is in the fields near the tea garden of the Tibetan Colony in Chowgan.

a paraglider flying over the valley.

A paraglider, flying over the valley. It is among the top ten flying sites in the world. It is best to fly in good weather with strong thermals and no rain. You need to keep a watch on the clouds while flying. While nearing landing, need to watch out for power lines as it becomes difficult to see from a distance.

Lama's in Bir

Lama’s- Although, the term ‘Lama’, is used for a spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism but is now extended to respected monk or priest.

Chauntra monastery– Dzongasar Khyentse Rinpoche institute at Chauntra is a renowned educational institution. The institution is situated in Chauntra Town of Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh, India.

Chauntra monastery

The first view as you enter this monastery.

Beautiful paintings at the monastery
Beautiful paintings at the monastery

Beautiful paintings at the monastery- They are colourful and different.

Buddhist monks in training at the Chauntra monastery.

Buddhist monks in training at the Chauntra monastery – The student body comprises of more than 500 monks from various locales and monasteries. The students have a complete theoretical education in Buddhist philosophy. The institute produces highly qualified professionals with primary language being Tibetan. This institute also runs an exhaustive English language program for level 10 students who can then travel and teach across physical and cultural boundaries.

Truly, it has been an inspiring and rejuvenating experience with the environment, climate, people and their place of worship, giving peace and tranquillity.

Continued….. Part -2

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5 fabulous offbeat attractions

India is a melting- pot of countless cultures, cultural ethnicities, sites. Memories that will be with you long after you have left the country.  Some places in India will always remain popular than others. So, let us then explore here the fabulous offbeat attractions in India.
Bishnoi village (Image source)

Bishnoi, Rajasthan– It is not very far from Jodhpur and provides a genuine experience of rural Rajasthan. People of this village worship nature and live in harmony with it. They bury their dead instead of burning them like Hindus. You can take the Bishnoi Village Safari which allows a personal encounter with the lives of Bishnois, an old clan of the land. Here you can meet the artisans like the weavers, potters and block printers. While in Jodhpur, don’t miss the blue houses in the old part of the city which often referred to as ‘the Blue City’.

Nuranang Falls (also known as Bong Bong Falls), Tawang district, Arunachal Pradesh

Nuranang Falls in Arunachal Pradesh– These spectacular falls are the wonders of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The falls are 100 meters high in the pristine surroundings, one place; you must not miss while in Arunachal Pradesh. They are commonly known as Bong Bong Falls which also generates electricity for the district.

Darjeeling tea plantations

Darjeeling Tea Gardens– The luscious tea gardens of Darjeeling are located in West Bengal state of India. They are not only renowned for their flavoured tea cultivation but also for their picturesque beauty. The infinite stretch of tea plants which has a tendency to vanish in the mist, transforms into a magical spell for the tourists.

Matheran, Maharashtra– Although, it is the smallest station in India but is beautiful in the Western Ghats at an altitude of 2600 feet above sea level. It is around 90 km drive from the city of Mumbai. Vehicles are not allowed here which means you get to breathe in fresh mountain air which replenishes your soul. Beautiful scenery of the natural surroundings can be experienced while on a trek to Panorama Point.

Malshej Ghat

Malshej Ghat, Maharashtra– This Ghat is nestled in the magnificent peaks of Western Ghats and is a renowned weekend getaway for people of Mumbai. The best time to visit is in August and September where you feel blessed in the refreshing greenery, some gorgeous waterfalls and mist covered peaks. This place is a home for several species of birds like cranes and flamingos which is a haven for a birdwatcher.

So, explore these fabulous offbeat tourist attractions in India and cherish memories for a life time.

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