Category Archives: Uncategorized

Get Set to Celebrate Guy Fawkes Night in Style

The Guy Fawkes Night, also known as the Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night, is just round the corner. It is a traditional British celebratory bonfire held on 5th November every year to mark the failed Gunpowder plot of 1605 in the UK.

bournfire

The day is observed with bonfires, burning of effigies, and spectacular fireworks shows across the country. The bonfire is marked by celebratory feastings, family entertainment shows and activities, and several fun fairs.

Origins

The Guy Fawkes Night celebrates the failed attempt to blow up the UK Parliament by a gang of men led by a man named Guy Fawkes. After the government made public the foiled attempt, people rejoiced and lit bonfires as their king had been saved. With the passage of years, the festivities became all the more elaborate.

Present Day Celebrations

On the administrative front, even today it is customary for the Yeoman of the Guard to search the cellars in the Houses of Parliament. People observe the day by lighting a bonfire, burning effigies of Guy Fawkes in these bonfires, and organising spectacular displays of fireworks.
Some of the places where fireworks displays will be held this year on 5th November in London are mentioned below.

Southwark Fireworks Display

Visit the Southwark Fireworks Display to revel in the festivities this year. The event, which can be attended for free, is one of the biggest fireworks displays across London. So, enjoy the spectacular fireworks on the south bank of the River Thames. There will be lots of good food and a number of entertaining events and shows will be held as well.

Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival

The Alexandra Palace Fireworks Festival is considered to be one of the best Bonfire Night events in London. Enjoy amazing panoramic views of London from this spot and engage in fun-filled family activities such as German beer festival, ice skating, and fun fairs.

Blackheath Fireworks

The Blackheath Fireworks display will not only include stunning fireworks in a huge outdoor space but it will also allow visitors to enjoy delicious seasonal treats. The public event is free for all and lets one enjoy memorable festivities with family and friends.

Celebratory Delicacies

Hearty feasting is a major part of the festivities and the highlight is a traditional cake called Parkin Cake. It’s a sticky cake is made with oatmeal, treacle, syrup, and ginger. So, this Bonfire Night, enjoy the festivities as you relish the delicious Parkin Cake with custard poached pears.

Celebrate Folk Music at Cambridge Folk Festival 2016

The Cambridge Folk Festival 2016 is approaching fast. The 52nd edition of one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious folk festivals, the Cambridge Folk Festival is scheduled to be held from 28th to 31st July at Cherry Hinton Hall Grounds in Cherry Hinton, Cambridge, UK.

For music fans, it will be an extended weekend full of an eclectic mix of quality music amidst the classy surroundings of Cambridge. The festival features more than 250 performances, workshops and events, with impromptu sessions being an integral part of the entire festival.

Cambridge Folk Festival

Cambridge Folk Festival by Nicholas Smale CC BY

Although the festival arena has an on-site capacity of up to 10,000 people, its international reputation ensures that it reaches and is followed by around 13 million people through major media partnerships and online presence.

Acts

The festival arena has five stages for the musicians to perform – the Main Stages, the Club Tent, The Den, The Ceilidhs and the Children’s Concerts.

This year’s headliners include Christy Moore, Gogol Bordello and Imelda May among others who will be performing at the main stages.

The Den is an Emerging Talent Stage, which allows up and coming artists in the folk scene to showcase their talents. This year’s performers at The Den include American Southern Gothic alt country blues singer and songwriter Amythyst Kiah, American traditional musicians Anna & Elizabeth, London’s ceilidh band Ceilidh Liberation Front, Dori Freeman, Echo Town, Heg & The Wolf Chorus and India Electric Co among others.

Apart from the usual performances by the folk musicians, the Club Tent also showcases performances by five select artists every year. These five artists are thought to be great performers of the future. The five select artists at the Cambridge Folk Festival 2016 are Patch & The Giant, The Rheingans Sisters, Hattie Briggs, Kelly Oliver and Ninebarrow.

How to Reach?

Music lovers who are planning to reach by air should try to book tickets for the closest airport, the London Stansted. From here, they can either take a direct train to Cambridge Train Station, or a direct bus to Cambridge Bus Station.

Travellers can also reach the venue by bus or train. Visitors will be allowed a free bus journey on arrival and a free bus journey on departure between Cambridge City Centre or Cambridge Rail Station and the site of the festival.

Jazz Up your Travel with the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival 2016

The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival, the brainchild of banjo-player and guitarist – Mike Hart, is the biggest of its kind in Britain. Conducted annually, this year the festival will be held from 15th July to 24th July in the capital city of Scotland. The programme features 170 concerts in a time period of 10 days.

For the participants of the fest, there’ll be lots of music, ranging from 1920s traditional jazz to all shades of blues. Not only this, they’ll be entertained by the festival favourites Davina and the Vagabonds, a vintage jazz party with Bratislava Hot Serenaders, Italian super-charged brass from Bandakadabra, and classic Dixieland with Batchelors of Jazz. Some of the past performers include Warren Vache, Buddy Tate, Hot Antic Jazz Band and The Black Eagles Jazz Band. There’ll be 140 gigs at 13 venues around the city. International travellers who have an ardent love of music (…and jazz specifically!) shouldn’t miss this awesome celebration.

Themes

The amazing fiesta reveals all styles of jazz and blues. Music will be from 1920s to the music churned out by emerging artists of the current times. The themes are Brass & Crimson, Cross The Tracks, Europe Jazz Summit, Festival Residencies, Festival theatre Concerts, Firsts, Scottish Jazz Expo, and The Blues.

The Special Feature

European Jazz will be the special feature of the festival. The ‘Europe Jazz Summit’ comprises of concerts headlined by John McLaughlin and Jan Garbarek – the two prominent personalities of the European Jazz from the last five decades. There’ll be musicians from Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden.

Carnival

The incredible carnival includes more than 700 performers from around the world. On 17th July, the carnival parade starts at 2:30 PM from the Mound proceeding towards the West End of the Princes Street. Participants get to observe colourful performances in Princes Street, Princes Street Gardens and the Grassmarket from 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM. The music, dance, circus acrobats and puppetry are just super-attractive!

Multiple Venues

The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival is planned to be held across different venues such as The Queen’s Hall, The Jazz Bar, and Princess Street Gardens. For the first time, Spiegeltent in St Andrew and George Square, Festival Theatre, La Belle Angele and City Art Centre will be hosting the events of the festival.

Tickets

Interested individuals can buy tickets online from the official website and collect them later at the venue. Those intending to purchase tickets in person should head to the Hub Tickets, Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE. Tickets are available at other locations as well. Communication for the same via phone is possible too.  Kids under 16 years of age are permitted to attend the concert free of cost at the Queen’s Hall and Spiegeltent, if accompanied by an adult.

Join the Seattle International Children’s Friendship Festival

The International Children’s Friendship Festival is organized by a non-profit organization, ‘Turkish American Cultural Association of Washington’ every year in Seattle.

seattle

The prime focus of the organization is to help children of every community overcome their differences and peacefully live together. So if you are planning to visit Seattle shortly, book your tickets and be a part of this annual cultural festival.

History

The International Children’s Friendship Festival was started by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the organization, who believed that the future and existence of a nation was only possible by investing in its children. To emphasize his belief, he declared April 23rd as Children’s Day which is also the National Sovereignty Day of Turkey.

Programs

The festival promotes cultural exchange and friendship among children around the world. It features performances highlighting the ethnic heritage of the participants. Solo singing and group singing, ballet and folk dances are performed by children to spread the message of unity in diversity. Moreover, the youth and children celebrate their friendship by sharing cultural practices.

Participate

Being a part of the International Children’s Friendship Festival is a fantastic experience for volunteers as well as participants. Children aged 6 to 12 can participate in stage performances and children older than 13 can join as volunteers. It also has a specific area for cultural exhibits, which lets people display their talent in arts and crafts. The participants are selected on first come first serve basis.

Support

You can also support this grand event either by donating or offering sponsorship. A small donation or sponsorship goes a long way in helping this great cultural event promote awareness amidst various ethnic groups in Washington. Volunteers can help in setting up the stage or offer backstage assistance to performers.

When and Where

This year, you can attend the festival at Seattle Center in Washington from April 16th to 17th, between 11:00 am to 05:00 pm. The admission to the event is free for the public. For any further enquiry you can check out its official website or contact the department of TACAWA by filling up a simple form.

Merry Times at the NYC Craft Distillers Festival

Get ready to witness the third official NYC Craft Distillers Festival in New York City. On April, 2nd renowned craft distillers as well as spirit lovers will crowd New York City to be a part of this amazing event.

new york city

NYC Craft Distillers Festival will leave everyone delighted. The event will remind you of the pre-prohibition era in New York. You will get the chance to experience the merriment of the jazz band of the 1920s and perhaps also enjoy the fabulous collection of more than 60 varieties of perfectly crafted spirits. Savour the smooth textures and flavours of liquors ranging from whiskey to vodka, beer and many other spirits.

Distillers Diversity

Organised by Craft Hospitality, this speakeasy event will showcase an array of spirits for guests. Meticulously picked brands will grace the event, including Harvest Spirits, Valentine Distilling, Astoria Distilling Co., Cooperstown Distillery, The Manhattan Moonshine Company and Jack from Brooklyn. A splendid range of wines and other spirits will be showcased for guests to taste and enjoy.

Elite Entertainment

Classy entertainment sessions will enthral guests with music and other live performances. Cherish exclusive performances by renowned artists, including Emily Asher, Lady Alchemy, Ida Blue, and Anna Zand. For the convenience of guests, the event is divided in two sessions of entertainment. Interested people can buy tickets to one or both the sessions as per their interests. The Emily Asher’s Garden Party will be held during Session One, whereas Ida Blue and Lady Alchemy will perform in Session Two of the NYC Craft Distillers Festival.

Ticket Tracker

Interested people can buy tickets from the official website of the festival quickly. The ticketing process is powered by Eventbrite and it accepts cards, including American Express, Visa and Mastercard. One can also easily purchase VIP and normal entry tickets.
So, get ready to experience the vibrant and celebratory ambiance of the festival to the core.

Four Terrific Places for Wildlife Photographers in India

Many a shutterbug would agree that wildlife photography is one of the best things about photography. It needs a lot of patience and skill to capture a perfect moment on camera. Some of the main difficulties faced, while clicking photographs of a wild animal are that they may be too swift or ferocious in nature. Well, all this is part of the charm. There are many beautiful places in India that are just perfect for wildlife photography. Have a look at some of our top recommendations.

wildlif

wildliff

Hemis National Park, Ladakh

Snow leopards are some of the most magnificent creatures and look absolutely ravishing in a photograph captured at the right moment. If you are interested in taking pictures of Snow Leopards, Hemis National Park in the Leh area of Ladakh, is a good bet. The park is situated at a high altitude, thus making it the perfect place to start your thrilling photographic adventure. You may find pug marks of the snow leopard on the snow. The convergence of Zanskar River with Indus can also be seen from the border of the park.

wildlife

Desert National Park, Rajasthan

Desert National Park in Rajasthan features some of the rarest animal and avian species such as the Great Indian bustard as well as around forty different species of reptiles. Situated near Jaisalmer in the Thar Desert, this park has one of the most rugged landscapes, making it a unique place for wildlife photography.

Hazaribagh National Park, Jharkhand

Located about 130 kilometres from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, Hazaribagh National Park is a wildlife photographer’s delight. With animals like sambar, kakar, nilgai and cheetal, Hazaribagh National Park will give you a lot of opportunities to take pictures of some of the most scenic and dramatic moments in the wild.

Simlipal National Park, Odisha

Simlipal National Park is situated in the eastern part of India in the state of Odisha. The park has an abundance of peacocks, talking mynahs, flying squirrels, 4-horned antelopes, Indian Bisons, and Elephants to name a few. With such an abundance of wildlife, the park sure is a haven for wildlife photographers.

International Cherry Blossom Festival – Popular Annual Event in Macon, Georgia

In a few days, many cities in the US will flaunt extravagant springtime colours. You can explore these colours at numerous annual festivals.

Georgia

International Cherry Blossom Festival is one such event which takes place in Macon, a beautiful city in the state of Georgia. With “Love, Beauty, and International Friendship” theme, this annual festival features a great variety of cultural, social, and recreational activities. The 2016 edition of International Cherry Blossom Festival is scheduled from 17th March to 03rd April. Let’s check out what you can experience and enjoy at this annual festival.

The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade

This is probably the most significant highlight of International Cherry Blossom Festival. The theme of this year’s parade is “Rhapsody in Pink, a Southern Melody.” Reach historic downtown on 19th March at 3pm to witness this colourful parade of military units, marching bands, costumed performers, and dazzling floats. You don’t need to buy any tickets to admire the procession.

Sozo Choir Inspirational Concert

This choir group from Uganda adds a magnificent African tinge to International Cherry Blossom Festival. The Methodist Children’s Home will host this event on 23rd March at 6:30pm. Anyone can watch this free family-friendly act, which narrates an inspirational story.

Party on the Green

Presented by the CBF Chairman’s Club, this fun-filled event features a picnic-style environment, complete with fireworks, live music, games, and great food. The Green at Wesleyan College is the venue for the Party on the Green. Visit on 03rd April between 5pm and 8:30pm for an amazing time with your kids and other family members.

Food Truck Frenzy

On the last weekend of the International Cherry Blossom Festival, 2nd and 3rd April, Downtown Macon will feature numerous gourmet food trucks that offer special local delicacies and delicious fare from the US and Mexico. You can find participating food trucks between Mulberry Street and Walnut Street.

Three Beautiful Islands near Pattaya

The Islands around Pattaya offer a peaceful escape from the busy city. A number of these islands are quite big and the majority of them are isolated. Almost all of these are marked by stunning beaches and turquoise waters.

Pattaya

If you are fond of water sports, this is the best place for you to try an array of activities such as fishing, diving and snorkelling among others. However, if you aren’t much of a water person, the islands are perfect for spending some quality time with your family or that special someone. Have a look at the top 3 islands around Pattaya.

Koh Larn

Koh Larn, which translates as Coral Island, is the largest of all the islands in the archipelago that are accessible from Bali Hai Pier. There are just a few hotels, in the village situated near the main pier, called Na Ban. Hotels are also situated in the larger beaches around the island. The island consists of 6 main beaches, namely Samai, Tawaen, Tien, Tayaiy, Tonglang and Naul. Different beaches have different facilities. For instance, Samai, Tien and Tawaen have hotels. Similarly, some of the beaches also have facilities for adventure sports such as banana boat rides and jet skiing.

Koh Phai

Koh Phai or Bamboo Island is the largest among the chain of small islands. Situated around 20 kilometres from Pattaya, it can be reached in roughly 2 hours. As the island is under the administration of the Royal Thai Navy, tourists are not allowed to stay overnight. Surrounded by gorgeous coral reefs, it is one of the most beautiful islands in the archipelago. Sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling are permitted.

Koh Sak

Koh Sak was once a private resort, exclusively visited by the rich and the famous. However, now the whole island has become a tourist hotspot complete with a number of cosy restaurants. The U-shaped island has a pristine beach at each if its ends. The beach on the northern part of the island is popular for swimming and sunbathing. You can also take diving tours to reach an artificial shipwreck. A major highlight of the island is the footprints of eminent personalities on concrete. One such personality was Neil Armstrong, who came here just a few months after the Apollo XI expedition.

Three Popular Tourist Destinations in Sri Lanka

When it comes to culture and heritage, Sri Lanka easily remains one of the most popular destinations in South Asia. There are various places of interest in the island country, which attracts tourists from all around the world. With abundant natural landscapes, tea plantations, temples and markets, buying flight tickets to this beautiful country, is worth every penny. Have a look at our pick of top tourist destinations in Sri Lanka.

Sigiriya

Sigiriya

Sigiriya, or the Stone Lion, situated atop a rock plateau stands on the site of the erstwhile palace of King Kasyapa built in the 5th century.  The fortress is one of the most unique and mysterious ancient sites in Sri Lanka and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. There are beautiful ancient frescos here that date back to about 1500 years. This beautiful and mysterious site is a famous pilgrimage site for the Sri Lankans.

Kandy

Kandy

Kandy holds a vital place in the history of Sri Lanka. In 1815, this was the last place where the power was handed over by the King of Sinhala to the British Empire. Kandy is also a popular place for the Buddhists, as there are numerous Buddhist heritage sites here. The highlight of the trip to this beautiful place is Dalada Maligawa, or the Temple of the Tooth, which is said to contain the tooth of Gautama Buddha in a well-guarded casket. If you are a history-buff, this place is a must visit.

Colombo

A trip to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, requires lots of planning. Colombo’s strategic location on the coastline lures a large number of tourists every year. The city is modern and has state-of-the-art infrastructure, including restaurants, luxury hotels, shopping centres, al fresco cafe options and a good transport system. There are various tourist attractions in the capital which were mostly constructed during the colonial era. If you want to experience the flavour of the native culture, you should definitely plan a trip to Pettah; a traditional bazaar. Haggling is common here and you will be able to shop for things at a much cheaper rate.

Top 3 Historical Attractions in Havana

Havana, the capital of Cuba, has its present rooted in the history of various events like colonisation by Spanish conquests, revolutions and independence.

 Havana  by Bud Ellison/ CC BY

Havana by Bud Ellison/ CC BY

Today, various historical monuments stand here as a proof of the incidents and events that occurred in the past. The city has a colourful historical and cultural ambiance. The citizens of this Caribbean city are a helpful lot and have lots of exciting old tales to share. Have a look at the top three historical monuments in Cuba.

Old Havana (Habana Vieja)

Old Havana has been recognised as a World heritage Site by UNESCO and exudes old-world charm. Various buildings constructed in Baroque and Neoclassical styles ornate the area. Some of the highlights here are Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja and the magnificent Catedral de San Cristobal. After visiting these monuments, head to the famous La Bodeguita del Medio, which had been of service to various renowned people such as Pablo Neruda, Ernest Hemingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Josignacio. It is still known as a meeting place of poets, writers, musicians and artists.

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana

Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana, situated atop the La Cabana Hill is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Havana. Constructed in the 1770s, it was one of the largest and the costliest ports made by the Spanish during that time. Following the lead of the British Colonials, the Spanish built this fort which dominates the entrance to Havana.  Le Cabana was used as a military prison during the regime of Batista and the headquarters for Che Guevera during the time of the revolution. The fort, has a number of museums today, amongst which, the most impressive one is the Museo de Comandancia del Che. At night, you will be able to witness the Ceremonia del Cañonazo, during which, several actors perform a cannon-firing ceremony wearing 19th century costumes.

Finca La Vigia, San Francisco de Paula, Cuba

Finca la Vigia, located in San Francisco de Paula, about 15 kilometres from Havana, is famous for being a part-time home to Ernest Hemingway for about 20 years from 1939 to 1959. After Hemingway died, his temporary residence at Finca La Vigia was turned into the Museo Hemingway or the Hemingway Museum. The house is just as Hemingway had left it and contains around 8,000 books along with his typewriter, hunting trophies, paintings and other memorabilia. You can also take a stroll in the garden, where “Pilar” Hemingway’s fishing boat can be seen. The garden also has a pet cemetery where some of the beloved cats of Hemingway lie buried.