A three day feast of small, independent films is the last thing you would expect to find  in a small town in the north of India.   McLeod Ganj is a small town as far as India goes.  Famous for being the home of the Dalai Lama for the last 50 years, it is perched high on a ridge overlooking the Kangra Valley with the foothills of the Himalayas as a backdrop, and  is the residence to  8,000 local Indian and refugee Tibetan and expat  residents and many tourists.

Dharamshala Film Festival or DIFF is where all the films come together usually in October or November each year.  It has been big on vision since its beginning.    It’s founders, a  local husband and wife team,  Indian and Tibetan, both film makers,  saw the lack of opportunities  for local artists and filmmakers in the area and decided to do something about it.

The first festival held in 2012 was based on the idea to create a non-partisan cultural platform to involve all communities of the area.  It was also to promote mutual understanding, foster harmony and offer exposure to contemporary forms of creative expression. A big ask for a small place!

Some 4 years on, I think it has been achieved.  From films like  Butter Lamp, Tashi and the Monk, Lo Sum Choe Sum , Ankhon Dekhi  and Five Broken Cameras – all quirky films from mixed origins made by independent film makers that have some relevance about life today.  http://diff.co.in/

One can never forget the behind scenes which are handled by a lot of young, enthaustic volunteers hoping to see a famous or up and coming film director/maker or simply to be in the mountains to have a good time amongst fellow film enthausists, it is a great place to be.

I  am planning to book my pass for the entire festival.  It starts in Dharamsala 3rd and runs till 6th December 2016.  Book your place now with our Dharamsala Film Festival package. http://eknotravels.com/tours/the-dharamshala-international-film-festival/

Ladakh is exotic, remote, stunningly beautiful and one of my favourite parts of the world.
It is no ordinary place. Leh, it’s capital is built in the rarified air of 3,500 metres. It sits in a green belt surrounded by arid and desolate and lunar looking landscape Due to its remoteness and proximity (close to the Chinese/Tibet border and Pakistan) it is a sensitive place strategically for India. There is no mobile coverage for foreign visitors and limited internet connection. It is a disconnected place, and has its roots far beyond technology . It’s history is thousands of years old. You can see it in the landscape and in its buildings – the most prominent being it’s monasteries.
One such monastery is Hemis, 90 minutes drive from Leh. Hemis is famous for its festival that is 300-year-old and features lama dancing, colour parades and ancient ceremonies. It is a showcase of how its traditions can bind people from across generations. The festival organised in the honour of Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, the annual two day Hemis Festival at the Hemis Monastery has become an important date in the calendars of travellers from across the world.
This year is especially different as it is the grand Naropa Festival 2016, to be held from July 1 to 31. This spiritual programme takes place once in every 12 years and one of the features will be the unveiling of the giant Thankga (Buddhist painting) of Guru Rinpoche and the display the ornaments belonging to Naropa, the 11th century Indian saint and are some of the holiest treasures of the Himalayas.
For anyone wanting to escape to somewhere completely different or simply to be part of an ancient festival, this is the place for you. As part of our festival tours we are running an 8 day 7 night package from 11-18 July 2016. Details : http://eknotravels.com/tours/hemis-festival-and-ladakh/ Contact us: tour@eknotravels.com.au


Welcome to the world of Marigolds and Exotic Hotels in India. A highlight of the tour was having New Years Eve big bash where everyone danced the night away to all the Bollywood favourites at the Exotic Marigold Hotel in Khempur (near Udaipur). They also visited other sites of the movie as the Pink City of Jaipur and the Taj Mahal in Agra. This tour/retreat for women was organized by Tammie Day from Vibrant Women www.vibrantwomen.com.au and organized by www.eknotravels.com from 29 December 2015 to 6 January 2016.

If you are looking to start 2017 with a bang, Tammie is organizing her 2016 New Years Eve extravaganza starting again in Delhi on 29 December. You can contact us for details tour@eknotravels.com.au. Thanks Tammie for sharing this video with us.

BANGLES:
Bangles have been found in many archaeological sites in India, with the oldest examples dating back to 2,000 B.C. or earlier. Those early bangles were usually made from copper, bronze, agate, or shell and some feature rivets or gold-leaf decoration as well.
Marriage
While girls in traditional Indian society are allowed to wear bangles, married women are generally expected to wear bangles. The jewelry is primarily associated with matrimony, signifying marriage in the same way that the Western wedding ring does. Sikh brides wear red and white carved bangles called “chuda” on their wedding day. After a Hindu woman’s husband dies, she breaks her glass wedding bangles in an act of mourning.
Color and Meaning
Glass bangles hold different meanings according to their color. Some regions have specific bangles associated with their local traditions, and there is a more general color code for bangles as well. Red bangles symbolize energy, blue bangles symbolize wisdom and purple symbolizes independence. Green stands for luck or marriage and yellow is for happiness. Orange bangles mean success, white ones mean new beginnings and black ones mean power. Silver bangles mean strength, while gold bangles mean fortune.
Tradition and Beliefs
An Indian bride on her wedding day will sometimes attempt to put on as small a glass bangle as possible; smaller bangles are thought to symbolize more happiness during the honeymoon and afterward. Friends or sisters often aid the bride in this task by sliding the bangle on with scented oils. After the wedding, the woman continues to wear her bangles as a charm of safety and luck for her husband, and if the bangle breaks before the husband’s death, it is considered an ill omen.
From :Yahoo7 answers by Narenda b

India is vast! Vast in space, vast in population, vast in culture, vast in change, it is just vast. It is a country where cultures meet. Their own! From ethnic groups which pride themselves on their ancient traditions, still living as their ancestors had, still speaking their native tongue of generations back. Dressing in traditional dress to the urban middle classes who speak mainly English (with a smattering of Hindi thrown in), dress in western style clothes of jeans, leather boots and stylish shawls talking on their up-to-date smart phones. Is it a case of where cultures collide or are they completely compatible?

Wallah is a word that is followed by someone’s occupation.
For example, if you sell tea for a living you are known as a Chai wallah; if you run a shop, you are a dukaan(shop) wallah;
if you drive a taxi, you are a taxi wallah.
If you sell fruit, fruit wallah
Wallah may refer to:
• Dabbawala, lunch box deliverer
• Auto-wallah, driver of an auto rickshaw
• Chai-wallah, a boy or young man who serves tea
• Attar-wallah, seller of perfumes and extracts
• Kulfi-wallah, maker of Kulfi (Ice-cream)
• Kaan-saaf wallah, ear cleaner
• Bottley-wallah, recycler of printed material, bottles, and these days, electronic gadgets such as TVs
• Dudh-Wallah, this is a caste, an accent and applies to milkmen
• Punkawallah, The servant who keeps the punkah or fan going on hot nights
• Dhobi wallah, laundry worker.

In India the turban is referred to as a pagri, meaning the headdress that is worn by men and is manually tied. There are several styles, specific to the wearer’s region or religion, and they vary in shape, size and colour.
Colours are often chosen to suit the occasion or circumstance: for example saffron, associated with valour sacrifice (martyrdom), is worn during rallies; white, associated with peace, is worn by elders; and pink, associated with spring, is worn during that season or for marriage ceremonies.
Navy blue is a color common more to the Sikhs. It signifies war and royalty, while black is associated with resistance, orange with martyrdom and white with old age, death, or peace; however during times of peace or rallies for peace people will usually be in war gear (i.e. blue) white only has the association.
from: wikipedia