Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Travel Rajasthan through Palaces, Festivals and the Desert

I chose my travel baptism to happen in Rajasthan, a state in northern India. Rajasthan is known as the land of the Maharajas. Traveling in Rajasthan DIY was really very simple. There are several ways and means with which to move, as there is a wide choice of hotels, guesthouses, and hostels for all price ranges. Above all, I never felt alone because wherever I arrived I meet people who were extremely helpful to give me a hand.

Rajasthan has strong impregnable smells, the majestic Havelis, and rich palaces that have made it a destination for many travelers. Precisely for this reason, we must resign ourselves to the fact that, whatever time you choose to visit, you will always find many other tourists from all over the world.

After arrival in the morning, in Delhi, we stroll through the shopping areas of Janpath and Connaught Place for the whole day. We return to our hotel, have dinner and bid adieu to the night.

NAWALGARH

We drive to Nawalgarh, in the Shekhawati region, which is 270 km from Delhi and takes 7 hours. This technical step enables us to visit Bikaner and Jaisalmer without too much road travel in one day that turned out to be actually a worthwhile stop regardless because here we could admire the beautiful Havelis and finely painted houses that belonged to wealthy merchants in the area.

The name comes from Shekhawati Rao Shekha, who in the fifteenth century conquered some areas of this region. It came under the jurisdiction of Jaipur in 1738 and later the British. The area is particularly renowned for the richness of the paintings inside and outside the mansions. They belong to the rich Marwaris, who are skilled traders of fabrics, spices, and opium.

The recurrent motifs of these frescoes show mythological scenes, family portraits, and anecdotes related to the eighteenth and early twentieth century. The development of railways was a hard blow for merchants and caravans. Marwaris moved to the port cities of Calcutta and Bombay. After arrival at the hotel, we visit the town and the Havelis.

NAWALGARH - DUNDLOD - MANDAWA - ALSISAR

We begin the morning with an excursion to the village of Dundlod, the jewel in the heart of the Shekhawati, founded in 1750 and is characterized by strong and beautifully decorated Havelis. Some of its paintings date back to over 200 years ago. In the afternoon we depart to Alsisar and on the route, we visit the town of Mandawa, built in the mid-eighteenth century at the threshold of the Thar Desert.

Mandawa is a small town that developed along a single dusty main road, but hidden treasures abound in every corner, as stores of old trinkets and fine fabrics and already mentioned Havelis. In its heyday, Mandawa was along the Silk Road and that's why the houses are still silent witnesses of a glorious past.

KARNI MATA TEMPLE

On the way to Bikaner, we made a stop in Deshnoke, where there is a very unique temple dedicated to the worship of the mice! It is called the Karni Mata Temple and is a place of deep faith and devotion. A half hour's drive from Bikaner here is one of the oddities or rather one of the follies that can be found in India. A temple entirely inhabited by mice in which one can enter only barefoot. And that's why compared to other places of Rajasthan, this is a bit less frequented by the masses!

The mice of the temple are sacred and protected and the devotees constantly share food like milk, cereal, and coconut with thousands of rats. All in the hope of being blessed with good fortune with the sighting of a white mouse, which is a very rare occurrence among the thousands of gray mice. Needless to say, I was not so lucky even after the intervention of a friendly guy who accompanied me exactly at the point where he has seen a few minutes earlier.

Bikaner is located in a desert area and boasts some notable attractions such as Junagarh, an imposing fort built in the late 1500s and sumptuous surroundings once belonged to the Maharaja of the area. Here, as in Mandawa, they lie numerous Havelis in the old city streets surrounded by walls.

Rajasthan Travel wallpaper images

TEA IN THE DESERT THAR

We just had enough time for a brief stop in Ramdevra to visit the temple of Baba Ramdevji, reached by many devotees to worship the saint and pay homage to him, and I arrived in Jaisalmer, also called the Golden City, where the heat of the desert began to be felt strongly. Even from a distance, Jaisalmer takes on the appearance of an apparition, a kind of oasis in the desert. To welcome the traveler is the decadent charm of 99 bastions and a city densely populated.

Jaisalmer Fort is one that so far I have called a sand castle in the desert and is the raised complex which is accessed through a succession of four-door that climbs on a road zigzagging until you reach a large courtyard from which unfold convoluted alleys. It is on this level that we find a large number of private homes interspersed with guest house, temples, shops, and restaurants.

It stands on a hill and is surrounded by massive ramparts that look like, thanks to their yellow color, a sandcastle.

There are many treasures to visit inside the citadel, for example, the Jain temples with extraordinary carved reliefs and pierced with magnificent Havelis and portals, but watch out for the bats! There are 7 Jain temples and are made of yellow sandstone finely decorated inside but not outside. Getting inside these temples is to take a journey in between pillars carved with mastery, statues, sculptures and sometimes you can even run into some religious celebrations.

Fort Palace is the palace spread over the Hawa Pol, the last portal of access to the fortified city, and was the residence of the Maharajas. What's striking is not so much the building itself, as the Sati on the exterior walls of the building, or the red paint handprints of the widows of the Maharajas, who immolated on the funeral pyre of their husband as required by tradition. About six kilometers from the center of Jaisalmer is the site Bada Bagh, where were cremated and then buried the Maharaja.

About an hour's drive from Jaisalmer lies the Thar desert that looks like a vast expanse of sand dunes stretching to the border with Pakistan. Here, more than the classic camel ride that is offered by many guides at absolutely bargain prices, I recommend taking a little relaxation savoring the hot tea in one of the stalls on the roadside. Besides the magnificent landscape, we stand to watch the local men who engage in what for them is a real ritual!

At Khuri, about fifty kilometers from Jaisalmer we have the experience of the desert by camel. Here the houses are rudimentary and the main means of livelihood is tourism. Unlike what you might imagine, the Great Indian Desert is not completely made of sand. After the camel safari passed the sunset time, and we have a dinner of vegetarian food and experience typical dances sitting around a fire. We spend the night here.

FARMERS OF OPIUM

After a brief stop in Osiyan to visit the Hindu temple of Mata Sachiya and Mahavira Jain shrine I arrived in Jodhpur, also known as the Blue City for the characteristic color of the houses. Jodhpur is considered as the gateway to the wonderland, made up of sand dunes, rocky terrain and majestic forts from the era of the Maharajas.

Jodhpur is the second largest city of Rajasthan and boasts temples and palaces of historical and artistic interest, in addition to the view from the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, a fortified citadel which guards inside palaces, temples, and gardens, built in 1459, and stands out from afar in all its grandeur. We get on with walking calmly and enjoy the road, and then when we look down from the walls, what I see will be remembered forever.

Mehrangarh Fort has always resisted attempts to conquer and has never been violated in its five hundred years of history. Set on a steep hill about 130 meters high, the Mehrangarh Fort is the most beautiful fortress in Rajasthan. Its high walls rise up to 36 meters and dominate the city below. For the construction of the fort, the materials of the underlying rock were used. Today we can no longer make out where the rock ends and where the construction began.

We visit the Jaswant Thada, and Umaid Bhawan Palace. Jaswant Thada is an imposing white marble monument built in memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II. It is not too far from the Mehrangarh Fort. We decide to go with a tuk-tuk. This beautiful mausoleum of the late nineteenth century dazzled us with its snow-white marble. It seemed to be the same as the one used to build the Taj Mahal in Agra. The gardens around the mausoleum are filled with frangipani trees and other flowers. It is a place of peace, which is in complete contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city.

We have a tour of the downtown streets between shopping spices and blue walls and of the surrounding countryside in Jodhpur. We were accompanied by a local to visit the homes of opium farmers. In fact, although the use of opium is illegal, people in this area are allowed to grow it because it is used for therapeutic purposes. Entire families are dedicated to this activity, which is handed down from father to son. I was lucky enough to be hosted by one of these families. They showed me the opium-based drink distillation process and the rituals.

In Jodhpur, for a stroke of luck I came across the train of a wedding, and for a while, I followed it and yes that was the taste of India that I wanted.

VENICE OF THE EAST

We started the journey towards Udaipur stopping at Ranakpur to visit the beautiful Jain temple. It is considered a masterpiece of architecture. The marble with which it was constructed changes color throughout the day depending on the light is a must see! The small town of Pali houses one of the 77 wonders of the world.

Built in the fifteenth century entirely of white marble, it will leave you in awe for the refinement of the inlays and workmanship. The temple consists of a central temple and two secondary temples. The middle one, the Chaumukha Mandir, consists of 29 halls supported by 1444 well-carved columns, all different. The careful processing and the complex architecture of this place will strike and will linger longer, also because of the feeling of peace and harmony that reigns.

Udaipur is known as the city of lakes and the Venice of the East. It was in fact built on the shores of six lakes, the main one being, the Lake Pichola, is the reference point for exploring the city. Known above all for the wonderful buildings that in some cases took up whole islands, we travel across the fervent city center in local markets and various shops. We also visit the City Palace.

City Palace is a huge building, the largest of Rajasthan, made up of several adjoining buildings constructed in later times. The result is amazing and while noting the differences between buildings built in different periods, the whole is harmonious and very unique. We do not miss the Saheliyon ki Bari, the garden of the bridesmaids. In the late afternoon in a boat trip on Lake Pichola, we see the beautiful city of Udaipur that stand on the lake in the middle of the enigmatic desert of Rajasthan.

We also take a detour and enjoy a few relaxing days on Mount Abu as also visit the delightful Bundi. We stop for lunch at the wonderful Udai Bilas Palace in Dungarpur. This hotel was built in the mid-nineteenth century, when Maharawal Udai Singhji-II, great art and architecture lover, decided to give shape to the stone and create a building that overlooks the lake. The carved pillars and panels, ornate balconies, inlaid windows, arches and marble sculptures, make it a true marvel of Rajput architecture.

THE KITE FESTIVAL OF JAIPUR

We have another brief stop in Chittorgarh to visit the Fort of Chittor, an acropolis with built palaces and temples on a hill and then straight to Pushkar, which I have devoted only half a day. Pushkar is a holy city for Hindus as Varanasi, who go on the shores of the lake to soak in water and purify and to bring offerings to the Brahma temple.

Surrounded by hills and sand dunes, Pushkar is a fascinating place, loved by all the pilgrims who go there with its 400 temples and 52 ghats, the only temple dedicated to Brahma in the country and sacred lake. We enjoy a walk in the town and in the magical atmosphere that surrounds it.

It is a place with a lively city center and frequented by backpackers from around the world. The holy city of Pushkar every year in November is home to the famous trade fair, where over 50,000 camels are put on display, giving life to a unique spectacle in the world. The sunset over the lake is beautiful, and is one of the best seen in India, I confess!

The real surprise of the trip, however, was waiting for me a little later and bore the name of Ajmer. I have a vivid memory of the Dargah of Khwaja Moin-Ud-din Chishti, the Sufi shrine, where I came across a colorful ceremony. It's a no frill, but it's bloated atmosphere, that has no deviation.

Rajasthan Travel wallpaper images

The journey continues to Jaipur, also known as the Pink City for the typical color of the buildings. Out of town, about ten kilometers from the center, we visit the Amber Fort, the magnificent and imposing strong honey-colored fort dating back to the late 1500s. It is very touristy and very crowded, but it is also worth seeing. We arrive by elephant up over the hill to the Palace of Amber Fort, like the Maharajas.

The Amber Fort is known for its unique and stunning artistic style, blending Indian and Persian elements masterfully. We visit the rooms and corridors of the building, famous for the excellence of its design. Inside the complex, there is Ganesh Pol, the imposing entrance entirely painted with images of the elephant-headed Ganesh. The fully perforated windows offer views from different points and shards of glittering mirrors are embedded within the walls of Sheesh Mahal.

We have a photo stop at the Hawa Mahal or the palace of winds, which resembles a beehive. Its facade is probably the most photographed in Jaipur, with its ornately carved windows. The numerous windows were opened to allow the women of the house to see the world outside without being seen in turn.

Afterward, we have the opportunity to experience first hand the experience of Indian cuisine in the Ikaki Niwas, where we were greeted by a local family. The best advice I can give you about Jaipur is to discover it on foot. It's not too big, and around every corner hides a market or a building that really you would not expect to see.

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is characterized by chaotic streets and remains of ancient glories as the City Palace. City Palace boasts of the valuable collection of antiques, costumes, and armor of the Mughals and Rajputs, including swords of different shapes and sizes with precious chiseled handles. Inside, an art gallery exhibits a collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal accessories and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin, and Sanskrit.

Our next visit is Jantar Mantar, an astronomical and astrological observatory stone built by Maharaja Jai Singh in the 18th century, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the late afternoon, we see the procession of the Teej festival, a festival by women that celebrate the arrival of the monsoon. In my opinion, if you go to Jaipur, it is a must do during the kite festival. Just raising our eyes from the terrace of any Haveli, we see thousands of colorful kites circling in the sky.

I was told that all the children of Jaipur await with great excitement this festival and spend much of their time to prepare for this important day. For me, it is one of the images that still appear in the eyes when I think of this extravagant land.

ABHANERI WELL

From here I moved in the state of Uttar Pradesh to visit Agra. The place that is never expected from the classic tour but if you are moving in the car, I would recommend it because it is sufficient to take a little detour on the road that leads from Jaipur to Agra. This visit far exceeded my expectations because I did not think that a well could be so beautiful. It is an immense and complex structure, 20 meters deep, the walls of which are composed of steps which descend in a zigzag. A delight for the eyes and definitely something that you can hardly see elsewhere.

Travel Rajasthan images wallpaper

Getting around Rajasthan

The best way to travel in Rajasthan is with a driver. Traveling with a driver is quite cheap and allows a freedom that public transport does not give. You can take your time, ask to make small detours from, traveling comfortably seated in the car instead of on some crowded bus to capacity. You can also ask them to take you to some reliable restaurant or some place where they have a special tea.


To find a reliable driver, please contact the agencies directly or when you arrive in Delhi and in any case do not worry if you cannot find it, as you will find them thanks to the touts present virtually everywhere, or look for them on the internet, or you can ask in the forums or directly on the travel blogs like ours.

When contracted, it is essential to explicitly ask the route that is included in the set price including kilometers and fuel costs. Another tip. If you contract with the agency, pay half at the beginning of the tour and the other half at the end. The implicit threat of not paying in case if you are not satisfied is pretty much a guarantee.

The driver will try to take you to the hotel in which he gets a commission. Personally, on this, I have no problem, indeed. In my experience, I have learned that often the driver knows the hotel, definitely better than you who have seen them only on the internet and it also happened to me at the end to pay for the same hotel less than what it would cost me to book it and pay for it with booking. Only remember when the driver will take you in the hotel ask, before agreeing to let you see the room and agreed price. If you are not satisfied ask him to take you away.

If you do not want to know them to get the driver where he says, simply point it out firmly, but be always polite.

Buses and trains

Traveling in Rajasthan by bus is really exhausting. Which means that in Rajasthan to move from one place to another you will have to travel for ten, twelve hours each time. The bus is one of my favorite means when I travel, but here I recommend you only do this if you have so much time available and therefore can afford to lose a few days and relax for a couple of days before resuming the road.

Traveling by train in Rajasthan

A trip to Rajasthan cannot be defined as such if it does not include the experience of a ride on the train. Tickets can be purchased either at the station if you have the courage to face the endless queues, or in one of the many travel agencies. The internet remains the best way since often the seats sell out days before. Slow and often late, crowded to capacity, trains are a true experience of Indian life. Not to be missed and of course, in the general class in the midst of ordinary people.

The Thar Express, renovated in February 2006 after 40 years of service, stretches from Munabao to Khokrapar in Sindh. However, this crossing is not open to foreign tourists.

Hostels, Haveli and guesthouses

The choice is really wide and there is something for all tastes and for all budgets. The price to quality ratio to our standards is really favorable, as the average price for a high-end hotel with air-conditioning in the room, private bathroom, and other facilities is around Rs. 1000-2000 a night for a double room. If you want to treat yourself to a night to Maharaja, you can do it in some beautiful Haveli spending around Rs. 5000 onwards per room.

Food

If you are like me devourers of street food, you will find in Rajasthan a lot of places to eat. In fact in the restaurants for tourists the quality standard is quite high with quite varied menus, so you'll have no trouble dine well at a cost between Rs. 100-200 per person. If you want to eat like a local, then go in non-tourist restaurants, and be prepared to find delicious dishes, although very spicy. Personally, my favorite dish was the Naan, Laal Maas, and Palak Paneer, with pieces of cheese in a spinach and tomato cream.

Shopping

In Rajasthan, you can really pick any shopping. The prices are very much lower, and the offer is very wide, especially for the fabrics. They are of excellent quality. If you have chosen to travel with a driver, they will attempt like hotels, to bring you in the stores where they will get a commission. Again if the place sells good quality items but not at a great price, you can be happy and satisfied, however, because, even if you go into a store decided by you, the price will always be higher than for people instead of risking more to catch a nice catch.

Also, many travelers tend to trust most of the shops recommended on Lonely Planet or the other guides and these shopkeepers know this very well. In those stores, you will find much higher prices than elsewhere. When you buy something haggle, haggle and haggle. I know that for us after a while it really becomes a stressful thing, but here, it saves you a lot. The first price shops offer is usually pretty crazy.

In Rajasthan, everything has two different prices as in many other places in the world, one for foreigners and one for locals and foreigners often pay more.

Vaccines, precautions and remedies

Then I am not a doctor and I do not have anyone on my conscience, so the most sensible thing I can advice is to head to one of the medical centers and seek advice regarding vaccines needed. In addition, before leaving get a travel insurance.

Rajasthan is, in two words, a great life experience.
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The Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Lalbaugcha Raja 2017

Of all the pandals or street altars that are mounted in the city of Mumbai for the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, there is one that is especially famous and busy. Lalbaugcha Raja statue measures about six meters and every year it is remade, because at the end of the festival it is carried in procession to the sea to be submerged in its waters, like other thousands of idols of all sizes.

Lalbaug is a well-known district of Mumbai. Its original fish market on the coast of Arabian Sea was closed in 1932. In this situation, the fishermen and vendors made a prayed to Ganesha to obtain a new permanent site for their market and their work. Thanks to the authorities, they were eventually granted land on which the new market was erected and then the fishermen fulfilled their vow. They installed a statue of the elephant-headed deity on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi.

That fact happened in 1934 and since then the tradition is repeated every year. Because Ganesha fulfilled the wish of those fishermen, that statue became known for fulfilling the desires of its devotees. Therefore, each new celebration became more crowded to the point of reaching the two million people in the ten days of the festival.

In order to manage this number of devotees, the organizers of Lalbaugcha Raja create two different tails. Through one people can touch the feet of Ganesha idol, and through the other one can just see the idol of Ganesha. In both cases the rows are long, but the first is longer, as it is assumed that touching the idol and making a direct offering is more effective in achieving fulfillment of desires.

From this perspective zenith, and also with some comfort, I watched the human tide pushing and struggling to get to the idol. It gave me ambivalent feelings. On one hand, one can praise the devotion and faith of these people, who are willing to wait for hours to barely observe the idol for less than 1 minute and give their coconut offering to an assistant who picks them up in a box without ever touching the feet of Gaṇesha.

To give more information, on the one hand, devotees can make their donation online and also receive their blessing, but it is good to know that much of the money raised during the festival is used for charitable activities.

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival in Lalbaugcha Raja images wallpaper

The statue of Lalbaugcha Raja from its origin is prepared by the same family of sculptors. The fact that the idol is new and not an image loaded with tens, hundreds or thousands of years of worship continues to influence my perception that the massive visit to the Lalbaug market is more than a spiritual event.


In this respect, it is true that despite being two weeks old, the prana pratishtha is done, the ceremony in which the eyes are painted, thus infusing "life" to the statue. I only count my impressions, which is no doubt dyed by the heat and the roar of Mumbai, but without forgetting that for years I have been a faithful devotee of Ganesha.

Hundreds of thousands of people line up to reach Lalbaugcha Raja during Ganesh Chaturthi. Those who go for the longest and slowest queue can leave their offering of money, sweets, coconuts, flowers, etc. before being quickly removed from there. Some devotees throw flowers from a distance. Others simply deposit their offerings in a kind of lateral section that is filled with bags.

Others give up heavier objects to volunteers, that goes from hand to hand until it is closer to the deity. Many parents go with their young children including babies. I saw the case of a mother who passed her 6-month-old baby to a volunteer.

As you can see, my feeling was not particularly inspiring, although my Ganesh Chaturthi experience was complete. Devotion has many facets and religion as well. Spirituality, in essence, is beyond all these rituals although for some people they are necessary and useful. It is said that there are two points of view. In India, that is true and also falls short. The points of views are infinite.
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The Importance of Ganesh Chaturthi and the Elephant God

Ganesh Chaturthi culminates in the Anant Chaturdashi day. Ganesha is represented as a small, red, stout man, or a child with a big, fat elephant head, who has only one tusk, often sitting on a lotus flower. His ears are shown larger than life. His eyes are small and his eyes are piercing and penetrating. With him is always his vahana, a mouse or rat. In other representations, he carries a book and a prayer chain. According to legend, he lost his second tusk in a fight against Parashurama.

During Ganesh Chaturthi countless small or huge Ganesh statues are erected of mud on altars in houses and streets for a few days to worship it amidst prayers, music, and dances. In honor of Ganesha, it is customary to prepare sweets like modak, ladoo, kadubu, and karanji. It is offered to the deity on home altars, temples or in the pandals.


Artisans prepare idols with terracotta, plaster or papier mache. Ganesh is well adorned with a red dhoti, flower garlands, silk fabrics and covered with red sandalwood paste. This ritual is called Prana Pratishtha and includes the chanting of Vedic hymns of the Rig Veda, Upanishads, and Puranas. People organize theater performances with the theme of the content of the sacred texts.

The murti of Ganesha is immersed into the nearest water reserve on this day. In Mumbai, in the last day, the idols are brought in joyous processions to the Arabian sea. In Pune, they are carried to the Mula-Mutha river. While in various Indian cities in the north and east, such as Kolkata, the murti is immersed in the river Ganges, where people sunk it amidst huge cheers.

Scholars agree that the origins of Ganesha precede the Vedic age. The theory assumes that the elephant-headed god was first worshiped both as a scribe and as a deity of the harvests by the tribes. The earliest figures of Ganesha are found in the Deccan region of South India, where sugar cane was, and still is, the main crop.

ganesha wallpaper art painting pictures images drawing photos

One legend says that the Ganas were once human, who had won the favor of Shiva. Ganesha emerged as a distinct deity and clearly recognizable form between the fourth and fifth century, during the Gupta Empire, although he inherited Vedic traits from precursors.

In Japanese, Kanji is used as the equivalent of the Hindu Deva. He is also revered in Buddhism and Jainism. Under the name Vinayaka, he is also worshiped in Tantrism. Here he is considered as a gifted dancer who can bless several women at the same time.

His affairs include poetry, music, dance, writing, and literature. Most merchants regard him as their patron and almost every shop has a Ganesha statue. For many devout Indians, the first thing that comes into a new house is a statue of Ganesha. He can also be found on almost every Indian wedding invitation card.

A bowl of Indian sweet Modak and laddus, signify Ganesha's weakness to eat. He is often represented with a snake. An anecdote from the Purana narrates that Kubera, a rich man went one day to meet Shiva. He invited him to a dinner in his opulent mansion so that he can exhibit all his riches. After these initial rites, the great banquet began. While the servants of Kubera undertook at best to serve all the dishes, the little Ganesha began eating, eating and eating.

Kartikeya took his peacock and managed it within a day. The wise Ganesha simply circled three times around his parents, who represented the universe for him. Impressed by his shrewdness his parents announced Ganesha as the winner.
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Monday, August 21, 2017

Travel Through Mumbai, Maharashtra and Bollywood

Thinking about a travel to western India? Maharashtra, Mumbai, and Bollywood brings to mind the chaos, traffic, pollution, crowds, spices, music and sounds. Everything is true!

Mumbai is a bustling concrete jungle. It will not disappoint the expectations of those who know India thanks to National Geographic documentaries or Bollywood musicals.


Mumbai, situated by the Arabian Sea in Western India is also the largest and most populated city of India. The capital of the state of Maharashtra is a natural film set that is alive 24 hours a day. Lacing my now destroyed Reebok sneakers, I left the suitcase at the hotel and started my first venture in Mumbai. I hoped to see the city fast to make the most of the limited time available.

To travel as much as possible in Maharashtra, I relied on my iPhone and created a route that covered art, shopping, food, nightlife and outdoors.

You cannot breathe the atmosphere of colonial Mumbai without a visit to Gateway of India, an Arc de Triomphe in yellow basalt. Built in 1924 to commemorate the visit of King George V, it is considered the symbol of the city. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Victoria Terminus since 2004 is a World Heritage site.

My next stop was the Crawford Market, the colorful indoor market. Some guides call it Phule Market. It was within walking distance from Victoria Terminus. It was not what I see in other Indian markets. But it was interesting for its colonial architecture. The Chor Bazaar, a crowded flea market was more fascinating. It is a paradise for those looking for second-hand items. Here you can find everything from old gramophones and records to electronic goods.

Although time was running out and the traffic and the crowds seemed to slow the race against time, in Mumbai you cannot leave without tasting the pav bhaji. I took advantage also to rest a bit.



Because of the benevolence of time and weather, the clock allowed me to travel to Borivali National Park. This largest park in the world located within a city is one of the main attractions in North Mumbai. We complete the tour in a safari with lions and tigers. Elephanta Island was also worth the visit. We continue to Kamla Nehru Park. Then from the slopes of the Malabar Hill, we enjoyed the magnificent views of the waterfront. We move to Chowpatty Beach, the Prince of Wales Museum, Mani Bhawan and Dhobi Ghat.

Next morning after breakfast, we drive to the historic town of Nasik. Nasik is located on the banks of the river Godavari. It is steeped in Indian mythology and is the home to numerous temples. According to the Ramayana, Rama spent most of his exile here. Here hundreds of families of priests live. Many of them are Upadhya, who were traditional priests of noble families.

In this city, there are many temples and shrines on the left bank of the river in the neighborhood called Panchavati (5 banyan trees). We visit the ghats on the river Godavari and the Naroshankar Temple. Nasik is also the wine capital of India and we take the opportunity to travel to a local winery.

Next morning after breakfast, we travel to Daulatabad. Also known as Devagiri, it was founded in 1187 by Bhillamraja. Thereafter we proceeded to the Ellora Caves. Here the three great faiths of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism can be seen side by side in the elaborate carvings. The 34 caves date back to the seventh century. Of these, 12 are of Buddhists, 17 of Hindus and 5 of Jains.

The fifth group of the Buddhist cave was an old classroom for young monks. It was supported by two dozen pillars. Of the group of Hindu caves, the sixteenth was the most interesting. The Kailasha is the largest monolithic structure in the world. The area of the caves is very large. So we recommend you not to organize the tour through anyone. It is worth wandering with no one to put you on the anxiety clock.

Next morning after breakfast, we move to Aurangabad. It is the gateway to the world heritage sites of Ajanta and Ellora. In the afternoon we visit the Shivaji Museum and the famous Bibi Ka Maqbara. Bibi Ka Maqbara was built in 1660. It had elegant, refined sculptures in marble structure.

Next morning after breakfast, the day was dedicated to the visit to the Buddhist caves of Ajanta. Here we see fine paintings and sculptures from second century AD. Ajanta is considered the Sistine Chapel of Asia. These caves were formed by a steep ridge of rock. They were discovered by chance in 1819 by a group of British officers who were hunting in the area.

The monastic complex of Ajanta consists of 29 caves. They are smaller than Ellora, and date from the period between the second and fourth century AD. They are all Buddhist. The vihara (monastic apartments) and chaitya (stupa) were excavated in two phases.

The first phase is called Hinayana referring to Hinayana Buddhism. The second phase of excavations began after a break of three centuries. This phase is called, Mahayana referring to less severe Buddhist school that encourages the representations of Buddha through paintings and sculptures. Despite the incredible humidity, the frescoes in the caves were kept in excellent condition. I suggest traveling with a torch because the lighting was almost non-existent. Photos with flash, of course, are prohibited.

The wall frescoes were taken from the life of Buddha and religious legends. The most beautiful paintings were found in caves 1, 4, 17, 19, 24 and 26. The excavation of caves in the rock resumed an ancient custom to live in caves. With the passage of time, the rock art was also accepted by wealthy patrons.

The Ajanta caves were immersed in the green in a valley through which flowed a mountain stream. The setting was spectacular. But, this site was much less attractive compared to Ellora.

Next morning after breakfast, we continue the trip to Shirdi. Shirdi is a city that exudes a great sense of spirituality and mysticism in contrast to its size. Here, we visit the center and walk in the bazaars around the temple.

Next morning after breakfast, we move to Pune. On the way, we visited the Kirkee War Cemetery. It was followed by the visit to the homonymous memorial that was built to commemorate the death of Indian soldiers during the World War I.

Next morning after breakfast, we travel to the hill station of Matheran. Upon arrival, we moved to the hotel, on horseback.

Next morning after breakfast, we drive to Lonavala. Lonavala was a beautiful town of valleys, hills, waterfalls and lush vegetation. In the afternoon we visited the Buddhist caves of Bhaja and Karla.

Accepting a challenge against time and also against my principles because I do not like doing things on the run, I decided to make the most of the week available to explore this region.
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Pola and Other Rituals with Animals

Pola is a bull worshipping festival celebrated by farmers in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, in the Vidarbha region. On the day of Pola festival on Pithori Amavasya in the month of Shravan that coincides in August, farmers worship their bulls, which are an integral part of the agricultural chores. From the next day ploughing and sowing begins.

Though the bullock is replaced by the tractor, on the new moon day in the superstitious hinterlands, rituals dedicated to the cows and ox continue to mark the festival of Pola.

The exuberant tribals in Chhattisgarh love to celebrate life and this remains incomplete without the celebrations of the Pola festival. It is a thanksgiving festival to the cattle. Children play with well-decorated clay idols of Nandi bull the vehicle of Shiva.


Pola images

The worship of the bull was common in the ancient world. Its source of knowledge comes from Egypt, and then it passed to the villages of Ancient Mesopotamia and Hellenistic Greece. From protohistoric times, the bull occupied an important place in the life of human beings. Both the nomadic and the sedentary people coexisted closely with this animal. People often depended on the bull for survival. Therefore they worshiped it. The bull was identified with virility and procreation in nature.

From the earliest times, the bull was lunar in Mesopotamia. Its horns represented the crescent moon. Horned bull skulls were found in a shrine of VIII millennium BC in Çatalhöyük in Eastern Anatolia. The sacred bull of the Hattians, whose elaborate standards were found in Alaca Höyük along with those of the sacred deer, survived in Hurrian and Hittite mythologies as Seri and Hurri.

Going back to the past, from 3000 BC to 2000 BC, we can distinguish two species of bulls in Egypt. The so-called iw was imported from Dongola to the south. It was fat with a low-hip, that is to say, short, with big horns and which was deliberately fattened for use as food or for sacrifice.

The other specimen was the native wild bull of the delta called ng. It was tall with big horns and that was captured by looming it. People used it in field tasks or to pull large stones. It was also hunted in the great royal hunts. This is our Apis and possibly also the other sacred bulls.

These uses were not categorical regarding the two species since both could be domesticated, both were used for worship in some cases, both were sacrificed, but only the IW served as food and only NG was used in hunting and only the Ng was a Apis.

The function of the Apis was that of intermediary between the god Ptah and its faithful, communicating between them by means of the oracle. Thus the bull was on the one hand the herald of the god, the informant of the events that happened on the earth and on the other, acted on behalf of that same god when giving a verdict in its function as an oracle. By its connection with Osiris, Apis fulfilled funerary functions. Inscriptions have been found in the Serapeum, where Apis is called the Life of Osiris.

Occasionally, Apis was in charge of bringing grain to the other world, relating it to the agrarian function. At other times it assumed the transport role for the same dead man. Paintings have been found representing the Apis carrying the deceased mummified towards the necropolis on their backs. As we know, the Egyptians used to paint various symbols and gods of which they hoped for help and protection in the trip to the other world.

The predominance of the bull is fully justified, since it was an animal that, in addition to its particular characteristics with connotations of fertility, was intimately related to different gods.

The bull is also found in jewelry, amulets and weapons. As unique examples are a pair of earrings in form of cornucopia from which leaves a head of Apis; Two or three amulets in green stone and lapis lazuli and a golden dagger, whose handle is covered with a head of Apis. There are also two very interesting sculptures found in Saqqara that show us one to Pharaoh Ramses II who ordered the construction of the Serapeum and the other to his son Jaemuaset who carried out the planning and construction of the necropolis. Both are represented near them to the bull Apis.

In Cyprus ritual bull masks made with real skulls were used. Terracotta figurines carrying bull masks and Neolithic stone altars with bull horns have been found on this island. In Egyptian mythology the Apis bull is considered the incarnation of Ptah and later of Osiris. Bulls were identified by the priests and housed in the temples. They were embalmed and buried.

Numerous monolithic burials were stored in the Serapeum of Saqqara, which was discovered by Auguste Mariette in 1851. Other venerated bulls were Mnevis or Merur, the incarnation of Atum - Ra, in Heliópolis; Bujis or Baj, the sacred bull of Montu in Hermontis; and the bull of the god Min, in Coptos. In Ancient Egypt, Ka was as much a religious concept of the life force, as the word that designated the bull.

In other cultures, Marduk is the bull of Utu and the mount of Shiva is Nandi. When the heroes of the new Indo-European culture came to the Aegean basin, they clashed with the ancient Holy Bull on many occasions, and always surpassed it, in the form of myths that have survived.

For the Greeks, the bull was related to the Cretan Bull. Theseus of Athens had to capture the ancient sacred bull of Marathon before facing the bull-man, the Minotaur. Ancient frescoes and Minoan ceramics represent rituals of Taurocatapsy, in which participants of both sexes jumped over the bulls by clinging to their horns.

Dionysus was another god of resurrection who was attached to the bull. In a hymn of worship from Olimpia, at a festival in honor of Hera, Dionysus was also invited to appear as a bull. He is often depicted with bull horns, and in Cyzicus he had a tauromorphic image, and also alludes to an archaic myth in which Dionysus is massacred as a calf and eaten by the Titans.

In the classical period of Greece, the bull and other animals identified with deities were separated. Agalma was a species of heraldic piece that signified their numinous presence. Alexander's famous horse was called Bucephalus, linking the self-proclaimed king with the mythical power of the bull.

The bull is one of the animals related to the late Roman syncretic and Hellenistic cult of Mitra, in which the death of the astral bull was central in the cult of the time. A suggestion relates the remnants of the Mithraic ritual to the survival or boom of bullfighting in Iberia and southern France. The Irish mythology includes important references to the bulls, as in the Tain Bo Cúailnge as well as the stories of the epic hero Cuchulainn, which were compiled in the book of brown cow in the seventh century.

The sacred bull survives in the constellation Taurus.
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Travel to See the Great American Solar Eclipse in the USA

The US is preparing for a great natural drama with a total solar eclipse that begins on the Pacific coast and ends on the Atlantic coast. The total solar eclipse on Monday runs diagonally across the US to Charleston, South Carolina, on the east coast. Millions hope for a cloud-free sky on Monday. For weeks, USA has been eagerly awaiting the Great American Eclipse.

On August 21, 2017, the moon's core shadow will cover the entire sun. The total solar eclipse on the North American continent can be seen from 14 states of Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina. Montana and Iowa are only stripped of the moon's core shadow.

If you are in the right place at the right time, you can experience a total solar eclipse as the sun is then completely covered by the moon for at least two minutes. This is the only time when you can directly see the sun with the naked eye. It is the first ever coast-to-coast total solar eclipse on the continent for 99 years. In the core zone, many schools are closed on 21 August. Dozens of small and big Eclipse festivals are planned.

We get a small part of the eclipse of the sun, in parts of Europe, Africa and South America as partial darkness. Nevertheless, there will also be a lot of spectators here, because the eclipse can be pursued through many Live streams on Monday evening. The US space agency Nasa, on the other hand, wants to chase the shadows with two special jets at an altitude of 15 kilometers. Even wedding ceremonies during the dark are planned.

annular solar eclipse wallpaper

In the narrow zone of total darkness live about twelve million US citizens. Millions will be arriving there on Monday. There is probably no place where the solar eclipse which will be visible for the first time in nearly 40 years from the mainland of the USA can be better observed than at a music, art, or food festival. That is why we have put together a list of the best vantage points in the country:

Oregon

The total solar eclipse can be seen from the coastal city of Newport in the morning at around 10:15 (local time). First you can experience how the city of Albany is immersed in total darkness for almost two minutes, then head straight to the Northwest Art & Air Festival. At this popular art festival, countless colorful hot air balloons will rise around the clock. If you do not want to be on your own, you can enjoy the view from the ground, admire numerous art exhibitions, or find out everything about the car at a vintage car show.

Idaho

Next, the eclipse of the sun is spread over much of Idaho. You can climb the 3,860 m high Borah Peak, the highest mountain of the federal state. This breathtaking view will surely not be forgotten! Do you want to see the solar eclipse and get to know the western flair of the USA better? Then go to the annual Caldwell Night Rodeo. The five-day event is considered one of the best outdoor rodeos in the country.

Wyoming

If you want to experience the splendor of nature as the shadow falls on the earth, you should be in the southern part of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The Grand Teton Music Festival takes place in front of the rare natural event, where mainly lovers of classical music will get their money's worth.

Nebraska

The total solar eclipse will cover approximately half of Nebraska, starting in the northwest corner of the US state and later in the southwest. A real secret tip here is to travel to the small villages, from where you can have a particularly good view of the natural event. At the summer Maha Music Festival in Omaha, you will not only have a good view of the total eclipse, but you will also be able to witness live concerts from different bands in the USA.

Kansas

The total solar eclipse will cut just as the northeast corner of Kansas. So get into one of the communities like Troy, if you do not want to miss the event. If you're already there, you should be at the Roots Festival in Paola. The Americana music (a mixture of folk, blues and country music), dance, art and craftsmanship are the focus of the second day.

Missouri

The two largest cities in the US state, Kansas City and St. Louis, are just right to watch the solar eclipse. If you already make a trip to St. Louis, you should definitely stay there until the end of August, because then the famous Festival of Nations takes place there. Tens of thousands of visitors travel every year to experience the colorful mixture of multicultural music, dance, games and delicious dishes from all over the world.

Illinois

At the southernmost peak of the US state of Illinois, the sun is completely covered by the moon for over two minutes. Travel northwards from there, a visit to the Northalsted Market Days in Chicago, one of the largest street festivals in the country.

Kentucky

The shadow of the solar eclipse will be seen in the west of Kentucky, including Franklin and Russelville. When you travel to this US state, you should not miss the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville. You will not be bored, because numerous events from world class riding tournaments, country music concerts to brewery demonstrations ensure unforgettable entertainment.

Tennessee

The solar eclipse can be seen in the middle of the US state of Tennessee. Nashville, which is regarded as an Eldorado for Country Music, is briefly overshadowed. If you are in the area, visit the Grand Ole Opry, one of the country's most popular live music venues, the Country Music Hall of Fame and other exciting musical attractions.

Georgia

You can see the exciting natural event from many places in the US state. The view from the small town of Clayton is especially spectacular. As soon as the eclipse of the sun is over, take a trip to Atlanta, where you can find many great events like the Decatur BBQ, the Blues & Bluegrass Festival or the Piedmont Park Arts Festival, which is especially appealing for families with children.

North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers the perfect backdrop in the midst of boundless wilderness if you want to watch the total solar eclipse. You should plan enough time to explore not only the park, but also the State Bluegrass Festival, which is not far from it.

South Carolina

Finally, the solar eclipse will be in the center of South Carolina before the event comes to an end at about 2:36 pm (local time) near Charleston in the US. Since it can get very hot during the summer months, you should do the same for the locals and plan a relaxing trip to Hilton Head Island. On the island you can stroll along unspoilt beaches, participate in numerous outdoor activities and pass the time on more than two dozen golf courses.

Where in Europe can you see the solar eclipse on 21 August?


In Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, and UK, the event is to be experienced as partial darkness. in Lisbon, for example, between 19:46 and 21:03, almost one fifth of the sun will be hidden.

Almost every year there is a total solar eclipse somewhere in the world. In a solar eclipse, the new moon shifts from the earth to the sun. In doing so, the moon casts its shadow on certain regions of the earth with the result that the sky darkens there. The moon conceals the sun either partially or in some eclipses also completely depending on whether the so-called core shadow of the moon merely touches the earth or meets its surface. The rare spectacle of a total solar eclipse only occurs in regions over which the core shadow of the moon is moving.

Researchers will look at the spectacle with telescopes from the ground. A total of seven minutes, the jets will be able to observe the phenomenon. Other researchers are traveling with other aircraft, such as a Gulfstream V from the National Science Foundation. From the ground numerous balloons will rise up into higher atmospheric layers while keeping an eye on the darkness. The Montana State Eclipse Ballooning Project wants 57 balloons to rise in 25 places.

In India, a total solar eclipse was last seen in 1995. For a few minutes, the day became night, birds were silent, while bright stars and planets glowed in the daytime sky. The next total solar eclipse in India will not be shown until December 2019. Iceland and Spain get to see the spectacle on August 12, 2026. With the exception of the short total eclipse, Astro fans need a special SoFi glasses with a tested filter.

Solar eclipses have always exerted a special fascination on people. In the past, solar eclipses were interpreted as an ominous sign or as a divine signal. Our ancestors were very anxious about them. In the past, darkness was interpreted as a sign of destiny as the sun was the source of life. The ancient Babylonians knew mathematical rules, with which solar and lunar eclipses could be predicted.

The ancient Chinese believed that in a solar eclipse, a heavenly dragon devours our life-giving central brain. Also in the mythology of South American people and in ancient India monsters were blamed for the frightening experience when the day suddenly becomes a night.

In India, solar eclipses are associated with war and disasters. Any food cooked during a solar eclipse is considered impure and is thrown away or given to the beggars. Temples, as well as shops, close on this occasion. Life on Earth depends on the light and heat that the Sun sends us daily. Its sudden disappearance during an eclipse is considered the most dreadful that one can imagine. This is considered the period of demons.

Pregnant women are made to stay at home and it is considered inauspicious to deliver at that time. The sun's rays are deemed toxic during the eclipse. People take a bath after the eclipse. There were cases of handicapped children buried up to their necks in the sand or mud during eclipses in the hope of curing them. Similar beliefs exist during lunar eclipses. In India, the eclipses are known by the Surya Grahan and the Chandra Grahan.

The Ancient people realized that eclipses are not an exceptional and unique phenomenon but they are repeated with a certain frequency. They then began to record the times of the various phases of the solar eclipse and lunar eclipse with great precision. The main purpose of these observations was to learn to predict the phenomenon and to find correlations with the motion of the Sun and the Moon.

The astronomers of ancient Greece and the Arabs of the Middle Ages measured the times of eclipses seen from the different locations, to determine the differences of longitude. The main historical sources of eclipse that have come to us are mostly from Babylonians, Chinese, Arabs, and Europeans. There is more or less direct evidence from the Mayans, the ancient Egyptians, and even from some prehistoric civilizations.

The Mayans did not possess the knowledge necessary to determine whether a Solar Eclipse was visible in the areas in which they lived. It also seems that the eclipses that were not visible and therefore could not have been observed were, however, foreseen and recorded. In fact, in the Dresden Codex, there are some tables concerning the prediction of eclipses.

In ancient Egypt, the Sun often appears at the entrance to tombs and temples, perhaps to portray the victory of light over the darkness. Sometimes this image also includes two heads of snake and goat horns, which are also symbols of Sol or the Sun.

Many people have developed their own myths and legends about eclipses from ancient times. They often believe that eclipses were the forerunner of some natural catastrophe or the death or defeat of a king. For centuries people have considered eclipses as a terrible and horrible event, a pretense of misfortune. People have performed rituals, ceremonies, and sacrifices to exorcize them.

Lunar Eclipse moon wallpaper

A widespread myth is that a dragon devours the Sun during an eclipse. Many cultures have also developed their own methods to counteract the effects of an eclipse. For example, the ancient Chinese tried to make a lot of noise to scare and drive the dragon away by playing drums, squeezing arrows in the air and percolating pots.

In India, people drifted on the knee near a river, believing that this would help the Moon and the Sun defend themselves from the serpent. In Japan, people used to cover the wells during an eclipse, in order to avoid the falling of the poison coming from the dark sky.

There were also more optimistic beliefs about this natural phenomenon. In Tahiti, eclipses were interpreted as the loving attachment of the Sun and the Moon. Even today, some Eskimos and Arctic tribes believe that eclipses are a sign of divine goodwill. The Sun and Moon leave their place in heaven for a short time to see that everything is all right on earth.

When the full moon arrives next Monday, the Partial Lunar Eclipse will not last very long. However, the so-called half shadow will still remain visible for some time. From August 11th to 13th the shooting stars from the Perseid Meteor Stream will reach their annual maximum.

What is a partial lunar eclipse?


In a partial lunar eclipse, the moon enters a part of the Earth's core shadow. The rest is in the half shade. The edge of the shadow cast by the earth is visible as a circular arc on the surface of the moon. At a total lunar eclipse, the moon with its full diameter enters the Earth's core shadow.

Lunar Eclipse moon wallpaper

Where and when can I watch the partial lunar eclipse best?


First of all, the good news. The lunar eclipse on August 7, 2017, can be seen with naked eyes. Of course, you can also take binoculars, which makes the drama more impressive. It is important to look for a place that gives a broad and unobstructed view of the southeast horizon and excludes artificial light sources. If you want to observe the lunar eclipse, you should find a suitable place a few days before. People in larger cities should head towards the east.

In Central Europe, however, the conditions for the lunar eclipse are rather unfavorable. The moon does not appear until the heavenly drama has already come to an end. Those who want to see the lunar eclipse can follow it from large parts of India, Africa, and Asia as well as the Antarctic, Australia and Eastern Europe. However, amateur photographers can capture good picture motifs by the end of the twilight. Due to the lunar cycle, the moon stands at sunset just above the places of sunrise in the twilight of the area.
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Does NASA Confirms that Earth will Experience 15 Days of Darkness

NASA has denied the 15 Days of Darkness hoax that states that between 15 and 30 November our planet will be plunged into darkness. The hoax states that NASA confirms that the Earth will experience 15 days of total darkness. The event, according to NASA, has not occurred in more than 1 Million years. Charles Bolden, who was named the chief of NASA by President Obama, issued a 1000-page document explaining the event to the White House.

What would happen if the Earth suffered 15 days of darkness?

Every now and then a hoax circulates through the nets that our planet will go through a period of darkness that can vary between three to fifteen days. Now, that hoax is already running again, and on this occasion, it is claimed that the Earth will be partly obscured between November 15 and 30, because of an astronomical event between Venus and Jupiter. Of course, NASA has already denied this news, but we still wonder what would happen if the sunlight were really dark for half a month?


A NASA technician named Jared Nelson once explained that if the planet suffered a total blackout during that time, the consequences could be quite devastating. And, according to the expert, who would suffer first would be the plants. And because there is no sunlight, vegetables cannot do the chlorophyll function.

In principle, trees and most small plants are prepared to withstand long periods of time to survive without doing so (otherwise there could be no plant life in areas of the planet where it is night throughout winter). But what would be lethal to them would be the brutal fall of temperatures that would occur.

NASA Confirms 15 Days of Darkness images

In just 48 hours temperatures could fall to 0 degrees and, in the following days to -11 or even much less depending on the area of the planet. As Jared Nelson explains, at such temperatures, most plant species would perish. This, in turn, would affect many animal species that would lose their food and end up succumbing.

Herbivorous animals that are not confined in acclimatized farms, would die, whereas the carnivores would enjoy fresh meat without the necessity to hunt it. But even these would decimate with the extreme cold. Likewise, human mortality would also be very high in the most depressed areas of the planet, especially those that are not used or prepared for low temperatures.

The NASA expert says that life on the planet can survive fifteen days of darkness, but ecosystems would completely alter on most of the planet, which would no longer be the same after that great planetary blackout.

Fortunately, as we already said our planet will not go through any period of total darkness during the second half of November. Sunlight will continue to shine in those days, though, logically, for fewer hours than it does at this time of the year in which we find ourselves.
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Harley Davidson - Mileage, Price, India, Bike

The 2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycles range is the most extensive with the presentation of Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, Low Rider, Softail Slim, Deluxe, Breakout, Fat Bob and Street Bob. For all new models, the new frame and the new swingarm are stiffer and lighter than in the previous models.

Just in time for its 115th anniversary Harley-Davidson presents eight new Softail models, which are a successful synthesis of the performance of the previous Dyna models and the classic look of the Softail series. The new models are designed within the longest product development program in the history of Harley-Davidson.

With its powerful Dual Bending Valve fork and adjustable spring strut, the 2018 Softail models are faster, lighter and handier than any of their predecessors. Thousands of hours have been invested in development and testing to reinvent the choppers and cruisers from scratch.

In order to give the driver a unique feeling, it was necessary to combine the classic spirit of Harley-Davidson with the best technology available in our era. The authenticity of the 2018 Harley-Davidson design is a matter of love for all of the details that designers bring from the very beginning of the development process.


For example, the new Softail frame reminds me of a small piece of art. The more you are freed from it, the more beautiful it becomes. The new, lighter and stiffer frame allows the Softail models 2018 to improve driving performance. Maintaining the classic look of a rear-wheel unsprung motorcycle and still offering modern suspension comfort at the highest level, it combines form and function in an ideal way.

With numerous models, the freedom from tilting could be increased and the driver will find easier to lift the machine from the side stand to the vertical. Thanks to the increased carbon content in the steel, the frame could be designed to be stiffer than its 2017 Harley Davidson motorcycles. It also scores with a reduced complexity, with a 50 percent reduction in its components and around 22 percent fewer weld seams.

Harley Davidson images

2018 Harley-Davidson motorcycles combine the frame with two different wings with one for Narrow and one for Wide. The wide chassis is 5.89 kg (15 percent) lighter and the narrow chassis that weighs 8.16 kg (20 percent) less than the chassis of the previous model. The swingarm is supported by a central spring strut towards the frame. It is hidden from the eye of the beholder under the seat so that the classic lines of a rigid frame are preserved.

The fork features the Dual Bending Valve technology, which 2017 Harley-Davidson motorcycles used for the first time on Touring models. It improves the damping behavior over the entire interval of the rebound and rebound. The design is just as powerful as a conventional cartridge fork but is easier to handle.

With a spring travel of 130 mm, it offers an ideal synthesis of comfort and dynamic qualities. The optimized handling of the new Softail models also contributes to a modified steering head angle and caster. Thanks to the new chassis geometry, the driver always has the machine under control. In combination with the fork, the new central spring-base absorbs all road irregularities to keep the bike as quiet as stable.

It's spring base can be adjusted. Depending on the model, the new Softail models are up to 17 kg lighter than their predecessors. Selected models were equipped with new tires optimized for use in the new Softail chassis.

The Softail models are also made of new materials and have been redesigned so that a Softail is now suitable for an even wider range of body sizes. The Softail models are powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 107 or the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, the strongest engines ever used in a Harley-Davidson Chopper or Cruiser.

The Milwaukee-Eight retains the classic design of the Harley-Davidson engines as a V2 with a powerful outreach cylinder angle of 45 degrees and a slim crankcase as well as a lower camshaft. The V2 is connected to the Softail frame. The mounting points have been redefined in order to integrate the motor into the frame and to increase the chassis stiffness.

Thanks to its compensating shafts, the engine's vibrations are reduced to the degree that the 2018 Harley-Davidson drivers will appreciate. Since the engine is dampened on the intake side, it's typical Harley-Davidson sound is all the more effective.

According to various media reports, Harley-Davidson is said to have expressed interest in Ducati. The motorcycle brand Ducati belongs to the Audi/Volkswagen group and is to be sold for approx. 1.5 billion euro. There are several prospects, as Reuters reported. What Harley-Davidson offers, remains to be seen.
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