BEST MONTHS: MAY
FESTIVALS: Eid ul-Fitr, Mumbai (India) and Maldives,
Domkhar Tshechu Festival in Thimphu, Bumthang Bhutan
Tiji Festival in Mustang Nepal
One of the most important festivals in the Islamic calendar, Eid-ul-Fitr marks the end of the month of Ramazan, also called Ramadan (the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar), during which devotees fast throughout the day. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal (the tenth month of the Islamic lunar calendar). On this day, people dress up in traditional finery, gather at mosques and open spaces and offer their prayers, exchange warm greetings with ‘Eid Mubarak’ and enjoy a hearty feast with their families, friends and close ones. Some of the traditional delicacies savoured on this festival include sheer khurma (a milk pudding with vermicelli garnished with generous amounts of dry fruits), mutton korma (a delicious mutton gravy prepared with aromatic spices, saffron and cashew nut paste), biryani (a rice and meat - chicken or mutton - dish slow-cooked with flavourful spices) and sheermal (a sweet flatbread prepared with ghee or clarified butter, saffron milk and sugar). Haleem, a rich stew of meat and lentil, which is usually had at iftar (the meal that is had to break the day-long fast during Ramadan), is also relished during Eid-ul-Fitr.
It is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in the Chumey Valley of Bumthang district in Bhutan. Celebrated in the Domkhar Monastery built by Serkhong Trulku during the 18th century, the festival marks the birthday of Guru Rinpoche, Indian Buddhist saint who visited Bhutan in the 8th century. The celebration takes place with much pomp and fervour which includes chams and local folk dances which are performed by the people mainly the Peling Chams (the composition of Terton Pema Lingpa). The performance is very unique that adds a festive mood to the Domkhar Tshechu celebration.
Trek is a fascinating annual three-day festival consisting of Tibetan rituals that celebrate the myth of a son who had to save the Mustang kingdom from destruction. The festival is indigenous to Lo-Manthang, Upper Mustang. Over the Mustang Tenchi Festival time monks dressed in elaborate costumes and masks perform dances and rituals that are supposed to drive away evil spirits. The Tiji festival dances are all organized by the Choedhe Monastery, which belongs to the Sakya sect of Buddhism. The monastery is headed by a Rimpoche. About 65 monks from Lo Manthang, Nhenyul and Chhosyer reside in this monastery.
Maldives is a popular destination amongst tourists, especially from India. Tourism in Maldives offers variety of sightseeing and entertainment options. The wide range of Maldives tourism packages provided by 21Kraft allows the traveller to explore various Maldives tourist places in comfort.
Nestled between verdant rainforest and white-sand beaches on a private island, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort overlooks the alluring waves of the Indian Ocean. Explore the tropical beauty and rich marine life of this peaceful, eco-conscious setting. Our private lagoon, Iridium Spa and outdoor infinity pool promise nonpareil relaxation. A large variety of water sports and excursions at our diving center can be arranged by our signature service, the butlers. In addition, an exquisite culinary fare awaits at our six restaurants and bars. Boasting refined furnishings and island-inspired design, each of our 33 on-land and 44 over-water villas promises picturesque ocean or garden views from private terraces and pools. Our legendary St. Regis Butlers deliver bespoke service day or night.
Breezy and inviting, the terrace boasts a 16-square-meter private plunge pool framed by sun loungers and a plush daybed. A wooden gazebo provides a romantic sitting area while four overwater hammocks invite guests to soak up the tropical sun. Visible through towering sliding glass doors, the terrace adjoins a flawless living room elevated by rich mahogany floors. The perfect setting for an intimate meal, the open floor plan features a refined dining table that seats four. State-of-the-art technology includes a Bang & Olufsen 55-inch LCD television and sound system as well as iPad room controls. An elegant writing desk enhanced with multimedia connectivity provides a comfortable workspace. A guest powder room is conveniently located off the living room.
The unique theatrical experience of enjoying a movie night in Jungle Cinema at Gili Lankanfushi is often regarded as one of the best things to do in Maldives. At the Jungle Cinema, the guests enjoy a thrilling cinematic experience amidst the dense coconut and palm grooves completely hidden away from the outside world. Packed with bean bags and comfortable cushions, the entire setup is organized under the open sky, where you can enjoy watching classic films and movie screenings. While you watch your favourites movie play, you can also munch on some good popcorn and sip some great cocktails.
If you are seeking an out-of-the-box dining experience, paying a visit to 5.8 Undersea is definitely one of the best things in Maldives for you. Take your soulmate for a romantic dinner at 5.8 Undersea Restaurant at the Hurawalhi Island Resort. At this unique underwater restaurant, you can relish tempting and exotic culinary preparations at a depth of 5.8 meters below the sea level. While you enjoy hogging the modern and creative delicacies served here, you can soak in the breathtaking views of the exuberant marine world. It will definitely be a lifetime worth experience relishing fresh seafood preparations while waving at the sharks and reef fishes passing by your dinner table.
If you are a spiritual lover, wondering what to do in Maldives, head to the magnificent Friday Mosque in Male without a second thought. Known locally as the Malé Hukuru Miskiy, this shrine is counted among the most ancient mosques in the Maldives. Built back in 1658, this beautifully adorned mosque has its name in the UNESCO tentative World Heritage Cultural List. Designed tastefully with intricate carvings, decorative ceilings, and inscriptions, this mosque flaunts the brilliant Islamic style of architecture.
Adding to the Jewellery, another traditional souvenir that attracts women travellers are the Maldivian Sarongs. They are one of the most authentic Maldivian Souvenir you can get in this island nation. They are traditional clothing worn by the women of the Maldives. With the right mix of bargaining skills, you can get the Sarongs at very cheap rates in the Maldivian flea markets and bazaars. There are also different varieties of Sarongs with unique floral prints and different colours. These Maldivian dresses make it a perfect tropical souvenir and fit very well as a party and beach attire.
Another simple but majestic piece of handloom that you can take back home as a souvenir is the Wicker mat. These are popular hand made products sold in the market which are not only pretty but also reflect the Maldivian culture. This makes it a perfect souvenir you can buy in the Maldives. Buy one of these back home and decorate your house with some Maldivian elegance.
Maldivians have mastered the art of using the beach products. You can get some of the best souvenirs to buy in Maldives, including a myriad of body care products like hair oils, body oils, moisturizers, and even cooking oils. In fact, Maldives is among the leading tropical nations to have harnessed the power of coconut oil in such incredible ways. These are the best deals where you get a promising superior quality at reasonable rates from famous Maldivian brands like Kaashi Theyo, Frella and Faan.
Try this traditional dish of Maldives which is also one of the basic food items of the local population. Garudhiya is a fragrant fish soup that is usually cooked using fish, water and salt. It is served with lime, rice, chilli and onions.
Somewhere between salsa and salad, Boshi Mashuni is a mixture of crunchy, shredded banana flowers and fresh coconut. While curry leaves, turmeric and cumin provide a delightful flavour to the dish, spices, lime and Maldivian chilli give it a tangy twist.
Gulha is what's called a 'short eat' or 'evening snack,' which tastes great when served freshly baked with tea or coffee. These are small bite-sized dumplings filled with Tuna fish, onions, chilli and grated coconuts.
Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra, attracts dreamers with sky-high ambitions from every corner of the country. It is a unique place where the past is mixed with the future and history meets modernity, a city that lies at the cross section of business and entertainment and beats to a pulsating rhythm of its own. Located by the Arabian Sea, Mumbai is an amalgamation of heritage and culture and glitz and glamour. So from historic art deco buildings, which are recognised by the UNESCO, to plush new-age homes of the super-rich, Mumbai has it all!
The Taj Mahal Palace opened in Mumbai, then Bombay, in 1903, giving birth to the country’s first harbour landmark. The recently trademarked flagship hotel overlooks the majestic Gateway of India. This legendary 5 star hotel in Mumbai has played host to kings, dignitaries and eminent personalities from across the globe, and is acknowledged as a world leader in hospitality. Each of the rooms 285 rooms & suites are a striking blend of nostalgic elegance, rich history and modern facilities. Strategically located in Mumbai’s prime historical and commercial hub, The Taj Mahal Palace is walking distance from Colaba Causeway, known for its touristy tiny roadside shops.
These picturesque thematic suites have a spacious living area and bedroom. These suites include access to the Palace Lounge, Taj Club facilities, butler service, two-way airport transfers in a luxury car, high-tea
Shri Krishna Janmasthan Temple is located in the holy city of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. It is built around the prison cell in which Lord Krishna’s parents, Mata Devaki and Vasudeva were imprisoned by his evil uncle Kansa. The temple is of great significance for the Hindus as it is believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna
On the most iconic things to do in Mumbai is visiting the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus. This impressive, exuberant and crowded train station is the most elaborate Gothic building in the city and an extension from India in the colonial era. This is one of the most iconic places to visit in Mumbai. One of the busiest railway stations in the city, you can visit this place to know the hustle of the people living here. Do not forget to admire this lovely structure complete with wooden carvings, pretty iron and brass work and much more.
Elephanta Caves is a wonder of architecture that spreads over 60,000 square feet. Accredited as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this site has incredible rock-cut caves that depict Lord Shiva's cult and can only be reached by ferries from India's Gateway and it is one of the fun things to do in south Mumbai.
Flavor and fragrance have been vital features of the Indian lifestyle throughout centuries. Ancient Indian literature - the Vedas or Ayurvedic texts, such as Charaka Samhita or “Gandhshastra”-(also known as the science of odor) talk about many uses and applications of essential oils, perfumes and incenses. Using flowers and herbs native to the Indian subcontinent, Indian perfume oil makers create unique fragrances combining jasmine, patchouli, rose, saffron, camphor, nutmeg or sandalwood. The oldest distillation method is commonly referred to as the “Bhbhaka method” where plants are boiled in water and the vapor generated is condensed to create the intriguing mixture of water and essential oil. Because of its lower density, the oil floats on the water surface and can be easily isolated.
As you already know, it's all about the atmosphere. Re-create an Indian afternoon and its magic by adding a special touch to your home décor. Or better yet, bring a beautiful Indian lampshade as a gift for your friends and enjoy its soft, romantic light whenever you visit. This traditional handicraft has been successfully combined with modern creativity, the lampshades are made out of cotton paper, jute and bamboo. Inexpensive but diverse materials, a fairly easy technique and a little imagination are some of the ingredients of their rapid ascent.
Kolhapuri chappals (also called “Pie-taan”) are a type of traditional leather sandals which take their name from the Kohlapur district of the state of Maharashtra. Worn all over India and abroad, these sandals have quite a history, although their exact date of origin is unknown. Kolhapuri chappals are completely handmade of leather, each featuring complex designs and decorations. A qualitative chappal is usually made of goat or cow leather, no nails being used for stitching. For decoration purposes, golden cords, pom-poms or colorful silk threads are applied on top of the chappal. Traditional designs, such as kachkadi, bakkalnali and pukari, are some of the widest used patterns. Kohlapuri chappal-making is a hereditary craft, practiced by men and women equally.
Butter Chicken Sushi Roll is what the Bombay Roll at Yugo Sushi is better known as. If you aren’t one to find ‘paan’ macarons and gulab jamun cheesecakes blasphemous, you’ll love the slightly dry butter chicken (not a bad thing, can’t possibly have curry dripping through the roll) wrapped in nori sheet with pickled vegetables.
Mumbai’s favourite snack, the pocket-friendly vada pav, comes to the rescue when you want something quick. Even though Ladoo Samrat serves a host of Maharashtrian delicacies, nothing beats their vada pav, a perfect blend of spice and crunch.
This Bengali dish is an absolute classic and needs to be revered to the point of worship (okay, maybe we got carried away for a second)! This coconut delight is a special at The Calcutta Club with the juicy prawns being the star of the dish.
Located at a distance of approx 270 km from Thimphu, Bumthang comprises four valleys namely Chokhor, Tang, Chhume and Ura. Ura is perhaps the most visited ones which a traditional village with 1 almost a medieval atmosphere. Besides boasting its picturesque natural beauty, Bumthang is home to Buddhist monasteries where tourists can attain a spiritual experience. Tourists who are willing to explore other top tourist attraction Dhomkar our Bhutan festival tour packages will let you explore the best of Bhutan to have a better understanding of the culture, tradition and the people of the region.
In the little-visited Phobjikha Valley near the village of Gangtey, the eight-suite Amankora Gangtey Lodge is set on a forested knoll with scenic views of the valley floor and the 16th-century Gangtey Goemba monastery. Part of the Black Mountains National Park wildlife reserve, the valley is home each winter to a flock of 300 endangered black-neck cranes. Suite interiors are identical to those of Amankora Thimphu, each enjoying a view across the valley. Amenities include king-size beds, traditional wood-burning stoves and banquette window-seats, while bathrooms feature terrazzo-clad bathtubs, twin vanities, a separate shower and toilet.
Jakar Yugyal Dzong; also called as the Jakar Dzong, is one of the most significant landmarks in Bumthang. Also called the ‘Castle of the White Bird’, this fortress is seated on a ridge and has its command on the entire Chamkhar Valley with its religious significance and architectural brilliance. Estimated to be built in 1549 by Nagi Wangchuk, a Tibetan lama, the central tower of this dzong measure up to 50m, which in itself is an astounding architectural feature. Jakar Dzong also has an intact water supply that is sheltered by walls that are interconnected by fortified towers.
If you are looking for some of the ancient places to visit in Bumthang, Tharpaling Goemba would surely catch your attention! Built at an astounding elevation of 3,600m, the monastery was built as a series of small buildings that overlooks the entire Chumme Valley. Lorepa, a Drukpa Kagyupa Tibetan lama is credited to build the monastery.
Your search for the best places to visit in Bumthang comes to a halt as you reach the picturesque Tang Valley! The remotest valley in the region, Tang is located almost 11km away from Jakar. Since the valley attains a higher elevation, the drive to the valley would be a steep one and would take you past the Mebar Tsho.
Out of the many things to buy in Bhutan are the colorful Dzi Beads. Also known as the Himalayan beads, they are used in the making of accessories like bracelets, necklaces, etc. There are different patterns to them as well – ovals, circles, squares, waves, stripes, zig zags, lines, dots, diamonds, and other symbolic patterns. You would be amazed to know that these beads are the most expensive beads found on the face of the earth. It is believed that these beads are the creations of god and they bring luck and ward off evil spirits. You can also find the cheaper versions in the local markets.
If you are looking for something festive, coloured carved masks would be one of the ideal Bhutanese things to buy. These accessories are a part of the major festivals. There are dances that are a part of these events – this is when the masks are used. The masks can be used as home decor adornments.
There are many things to buy in Bhutan, out of which Daysho or Bhutanese paper is quite popular. The country has a huge forest cover that covers about 72% of the total land area. This is brought into great use by the locals into making many items. There are many uses of this paper – printing scriptures, legal agreements, and painting manuscripts. Gift papers, diaries, greeting cards, and notebooks are made using this paper.
Ema Datshi is a traditional Bhutanese stew made using the ever so available Yak Cheese and lots and lots of chilies. Bhutanese people just love chilies and cheese, that’s why almost every dish you’ll find in Bhutan may turn out to be cheesy as well as spicy. Also known as the national dish of Bhutan Ema Datshi is made using Yak cheese, Garlic, oil, split chilies, onion, and tomatoes. This dish is normally eaten with red rice.
Shakam Paa is a magical Bhutanese dish made using ground beef, dried chilies, and radish. The beef in this dish is a bit chewy because beef is first dried and preserved before being used in this dish. Shakam Paa is an excellent source of protein and is one of the staple diets of the Bhutanese people. The technique of drying and preserving beef is also a part of the normal cooking style of Bhutan.
Bhutanese never waste things that can be used in one way or another, this dish is a perfect example of that culture of Bhutan. Zow Shungo, another one of the popular dishes of Bhutan is made from leftovers of vegetables and red rice. This dish a favorite among the Bhutanese people can be made without efforts moreover, it also helps in cutting down food wastage.
The Upper Mustang trek is the ultimate gateway to the mysterious world of the old Buddhist kingdom of Mustang, also called Lo. Once forbidden and isolated from the rest of the world for decades, the area was able to evolve within its own distinctive culture and rich traditions closely tied to Tibet. Upper Mustang is famous for the ancient trade route. It’s the only route connecting India to the south with China’s Tibetan plateau to the north. It is the ancient trade route part of the Silk Road.
Moksha Mustang is located in Mustang, a neighbourhood in Jomsom, and is in the mountains. Local points of interest include Muktinath Temple and Annapurna Conservation Area. Make sure you don't miss outdoor adventures like mountain climbing, rock climbing and cave exploring.
Rooms are meticulously designed to instill a sense of peace and belonging. Each room is designed using local materials but paying attention to modern comforts.
The origin of Kaligandaki River is in the Mustang district. This river makes the second deepest gorge in the country. The river drains the rocky soil and highlands of mustang and flows towards the south of the country. This gorge is another attraction of Mustang Nepal.
An adventurous overland journey to Lo Manthang is possible from Kathmandu or Pokhara. This adventure provides you with life experience. The advantage of traveling with a private jeep is you can stop between the journey to take a picture and observe the beauty. This safari tour is appropriate for a family with kids and elders as well.
Another attraction of the Mustang region is the Tiji festival influenced by Tibetan Buddhism. During this festival, you can experience cultural art and dance. This program is for three days. It is the best place to take part in the Tibetan Buddhist culture along with their music. If you travel to Mustang in May, you will get an opportunity to celebrate this festival. Make sure to explore forgotten Buddhist culture of the 15th century.
A Thangka painting (alternatively spelt as hangka, tangka, thanka, or tanka) is a Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, silk applique that usually depicts a Buddhist deity or mythological scenes. Thangka serve as important teaching tools depicting the life of the Buddha, various influential lamas and other deities and bodhisattvasSurviving thangkas date back from the 11th century. At least 20 are known to be from both the 11th and 12th century. Today printed iterations and poster size of the thangka paintings are commonly used for prayers and decoration. Many paintings were produced in sets, though they have become separated as time went on.
Khukuri is the world’s most popular knife known for its unique slashing edge. The traditional knife was used in the wars dating back to 1800s. These Nepalese Khukuri are high quality and handcrafted . So, they make an excellent souvenir, particularly for collectors. But, it can be difficult to transport. So, do know about the size limits of Khukuri that can be easily transported.
Dhaka is a national symbol in Nepal as the Dhaka Topi (Cap) is very famous in different parts of the world, helping people recognize Nepalis. Both men and women wear Nepali Dhaka in various traditional events and wedding ceremonies. Made from natural fibers, Dhaka is available in different products like Topi (Caps), Shawls, Waistcoats, etc.
Wo is a kind of pancakes made by the Newari people of Nepal. The Newaris are an indigenous group of locals in the Kathmandu valley. Wo is made with ground lentil (green or black) batter during the 'Sithi Nakha', a Newari festival. These Dal patties are light and perfect for snacks. For non-vegetarians, Bara can also be added with minced chicken and battered egg.
A fusion of doughnut and bagel, Sel Roti is one of the most sought after snack in Nepal during festivals like Tihar and Dashain. It is a circular rice flour bread which is deeply fried to make it crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It is crispy and sweet and tastes best with yoghurt or veggies. Being a popular festival food in Nepal, this dish is a must on your culinary bucket list. excellent source of protein and is one of the staple diets of the Bhutanese people. The technique of drying and preserving beef is also a part of the normal cooking style of Bhutan.
This is a condiment or a side dish often accompanied by Dhido. It is considered as the national food in Nepal. It is actually fermented or pickled green and leafy vegetables. It is made by storing mustard, radish and cauliflower in an earthen pot which is then left to be pickled until the veggies inside release acidic juices and have undergone fermentation.