Though mostly known for beaches, the Indonesian island of Bali also offers immersive experiences among volcanoes, majestic temples and glistening rice paddies. The island is home to religious sites such as cliff side Uluwatu Temple, the beachside city of Kuta that has lively bars, while Seminyak, Sanur and Nusa Dua are popular resort towns. The island is also known for its Yoga and meditation retreats. Bali enchants one and all with its dramatic dances and colourful ceremonies, its arts and crafts, luxurious beach resorts and exciting nightlife.
Bali’s cultural core, culinary capital and artistic heartland, Ubud is a must visit. Criss crossed by rivers , valleys and rice paddies, it lies among the island’s cool uplands amidst serrated rice fields. The region is also preferable for shopping and one can also find local goods here.
Singapore is a sunny, tropical island in South-east Asia, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. The city-state is 710 square kilometres and inhabited by five million people from four major communities; Chinese (majority), Malay, Indian and Eurasian. Since its independence in 9 August 1965, the country has adopted a parliamentary democracy system. Currently, the government and the cabinet are led by Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong while President Halimah Yacob is the Head of State.
Ideally positioned in South-east Asia, where the rest of the region is just a hop, skip and jump away, Singapore is a thriving metropolis offering a world-class infrastructure, a fully integrated island-wide transport network, dynamic business environment, vibrant living spaces and a rich culture largely influenced by the four major communities in Singapore with each offering different perspective of life in Singapore in terms of culture, religion, food, language and history.
India, country that occupies the greater part of South Asia. Its capital is New Delhi, built in the 20th century just south of the historic hub of Old Delhi to serve as India’s administrative centre. Its government is a constitutional republic that represents a highly diverse population consisting of thousands of ethnic groups and likely hundreds of languages. With roughly one-sixth of the world’s total population, India is the second most populous country, after China.
It is known from archaeological evidence that a highly sophisticated urbanized culture—the Indus civilization—dominated the northwestern part of the subcontinent from about 2600 to 2000 BCE. From that period on, India functioned as a virtually self-contained political and cultural arena, which gave rise to a distinctive tradition that was associated primarily with Hinduism, the roots of which can largely be traced to the Indus civilization.
Uttarakhand, also known as Devbhoomi or the Land of Gods, is home to numerous temples and welcomes devotees all year round. Among the countless religious sites and circuits that devotees visit in Uttarakhand, one of the most prominent is the Char Dham Yatra. This Yatra or pilgrimage is a tour of four holy sites – Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath – nestled high up in the Himalayas. In Hindi, ‘char’ means four and ‘dham’ refers to religious destinations.
The high-altitude shrines remain shut for around six months every year, opening in summers (April or May) and closing with the onset of winter (October or November). It is believed that one should complete the Char Dham Yatra in a clockwise direction. Hence, the pilgrimage starts from Yamunotri, proceeds towards Gangotri, onto Kedarnath, and finally ends at Badrinath. The journey can be completed by road or by air (helicopter services are available). Some devotees even do a Do Dham Yatra or a pilgrimage to two shrines – Kedarnath and Badrinath.
The Yamunotri temple, lodged in a narrow gorge close to the source of River Yamuna (the second-most sacred Indian river after River Ganga) in Uttarkashi district, is dedicated to Goddess Yamuna. The district of Uttarkashi is also home to Gangotri dedicated to Goddess Ganga, the most sacred of all Indian rivers. Located in the Rudraprayag district lies Kedarnath, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Badrinath, home to the sacred Badrinarayan Temple, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Char Dham Yatra is as divine as it is arduous but fulfills the soul!