My name is Shehnaz and I am working as a tour guide at Reality Tours and Travel. My family is originally from Bihar but my father moved to Delhi about 25 years ago to work and sustain the family. I was born in Delhi in a middle-class family and we are six siblings. My father is a tailor but I would like to call him an artist and, of course, my superhero…
India is a very diverse country and every city has its own rich history and culture. A particularly striking aspect of this is the range of different festivals celebrated throughout the country.
One of the biggest festivals celebrated around this time of the year in Mumbai is “Ganesh Chaturti”. Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. He is one of the most famous Hindu Gods and easily identified by his elephant head. He is known as the God of Wisdom and Intellect, but also as “Ek Dant”- one tooth – and “Vighnaharta”- vanquisher of obstacles. Continue reading Ganesh & The Story Behind Maharashtra’s Favourite Festival
Will and Kate are in Mumbai, kicking off their whirlwind trip around India. In 2012, Prince Andrew visited Dharavi with the help of our founder, Krishna Pujari. For this royal visit, however, our services weren’t called upon. But that didn’t stop us from imagining the perfect one day Mumbai tour for the royal couple!
Our itinerary would be a mix of prominent sights tied with British colonial history, local experiences, and an introduction to Mumbai’s temples, markets, and slums. Continue reading If Reality Tours Planned The Royal Visit To Mumbai
Nick takes us through his experience last year during Ganesh Chaturthi and explains what he learned.
The Modern Origin
There weren’t any crowds when we turn onto the side street indicated on our map. It was surprising considering my friend and I were trying to find the housing society responsible for the modern form of Ganesh Chaturthi, Mumbai’s biggest festival, during the holiday itself. We went down the entire lane only to find a small Ganesh in a nearly empty housing society courtyard. We decided to ask them for directions.
As we walked into the courtyard, with facads in the old Portugese style rising up on either side of us, a young man sitting on a wooden platform in front of the Ganesh pandal immediately bounced to his feet and came to greet us. He was incredibly friendly and quickly informed us that this was indeed the first society to celebrate the festival in its modern form, which they have been doing continuously for the past 121 years.
The morning of Eid, after repeatedly assuring us that it wouldn’t be an inconvenience, Asim kindly invited the foreigners from the office to his family home nearby Dharavi for Eid al-Adha. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous for this: I had never seen anything sacrificed before. We wound our way through the narrow streets to Asim’s home and greeted his extended family. Everyone was sitting around the living room in their Sunday best casually chatting and surfing the internet on their smart phones. The scene looked like it could have been the living room of any of my family’s holidays, except for one key difference: there was a skinned goat cut in half sitting in the center of the living room. The head and legs were on a platter underneath a chair. What a way to start off the week!