Around the World: Kerala Folklore Museum

Kochi, India

This museum is dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage of southern India. The architecture of the museum itself has historical significance. It is a mixture of 17th-20th century traditional design. Inside, over 4,000 artifacts capture the spirit of the region. For those wishing to do more than browse displays, special live performances are available, as well as an on-site café that features traditional cuisine. All facets of anthropology are represented here, from linguistic to sociocultural, archaeology to physical anthropology. It truly is the best place to soak up the flavor of southern India.

Models of men from different castes and tribes wearing traditional face painting and head coverings. Photo Credit: http://keralafolkloremuseum.org/anthraGallerys.php?id=19
Models of men from different castes and tribes wearing traditional face painting and head coverings. Photo Credit: http://keralafolkloremuseum.org/anthraGallerys.php?id=19

History of Kerala Folklore Museum

The Kerala Folklore Museum is the only architectural museum in Kerala and documents over 1,000 years of history. Its founder, George J. Thaliath, had 35 years of experience in antiquities and interactions with different tribes, castes, and indigenous peoples. He developed an appreciation for all walks of life and made his dream of opening the Folklore Museum a reality. As such, the museum endeavors to bring this love of humanity and reverence of culture into its exhibits.

Photograph on display at the museum. Photo Credit: http://keralafolkloremuseum.org/anthraGallerys.php?id=19
Photograph on display at the museum. Photo Credit: http://keralafolkloremuseum.org/anthraGallerys.php?id=19
Traditional Dancing. Photo Credit: http://keralafolkloremuseum.org/anthraGallerys.php?id=19
Traditional Dancing. Photo Credit: http://keralafolkloremuseum.org/anthraGallerys.php?id=19

HOW TO GET THERE

The Kerala Folklore Museum is located in Kochi itself. A six-minute car ride or 4 km walk will take you there. To book a flight to Kochi, India, trust Sky Bird Travel & Tours. We’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to India. Call or email us today to get started!

 

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

Around the World: Arikamedu

 

Pondicherry, India

The Roman empire stretched from the Atlantic coast to the Near East, from the shores of Africa to northern England. It may surprise you to learn they had a trading post in India. Originally founded by the Greeks, this post traded with Indians and Romans for about 200 years, from roughly the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD. Eventually, it was conquered by the Romans.

Entrance to the site. By Jayaseerlourdhuraj - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21295694
Entrance to the site. By Jayaseerlourdhuraj – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21295694

Silk Road Trading

Archaeologists believe this was a stop on the Silk Road as well as a major seaport, as evidenced by the remains of an ancient harbor. Major imports to Arikamadu included wine and olive oil from Rome. Exports heading back included glass and stone beads, semi-precious gems, and glass and shell bangles. Artifacts found at the site suggest a wide array of goods were exchanged, though beads seem to have been one of if not the most popular commodity. In fact, beads  were so plentiful that locals claim you can still find beads on the nearby beaches after a heavy rain.

 

Grey pottery with engravings found at Arikamedu. Photo Credit: By PHGCOM - self-made photographed at Musee Guimet, 2007, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3598599

Grey pottery with engravings found at Arikamedu. Photo Credit: By PHGCOM – self-made photographed at Musee Guimet, 2007, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3598599

World Heritage Site

Arikamedu has been proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has contributed much to the understanding of cultural exchange in the ancient world. One of the most significant historical finds at the site, aside from the popular glass beads, are black and red megalithic stones known as Pandukal, Tamil for “old stones.” These structures have been used as grave markers prior to the Roman occupation and represent an important part of the Tamil region’s history.

 HOW TO GET THERE

Arikamedu is only a 12-minute car ride from central Pondicherry. It is also accessible by walking 4.4 km, about an hour. Flights to Pondicherry are available through Sky Bird Travel & Tours. We’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to India. Call or email us today to get started!

 

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

 

 

 

 

Around the World: Dodda Aladha Mara

Bangalore, India

 When visiting India, you should definitely see the forests. Not only are they the inspiration for stories like The Jungle Book, they are some of the most unique forests on the planet. In fact, the “forest” of Dodda Aladha Mara is really a forest of one plant. That’s right: a single tree appears to grow as a forest.

The Magic of Banyan Trees

Banyans start off as epiphytes, which means they grow upon another plant, like a tree, without harming the other plant. This may sound borderline parasitic, but epiphytes only use their plant companion for physical support. In short, Banyans get by with a little help from their friends. Being a fig tree, banyan seeds are typically dispersed by fruit-eating birds.

You may be wondering how a tree could grow so large and wide and it appears to be a forest. Banyans have special roots known as “prop” roots. They grow into thick trunks and become indistinguishable from the main trunk. Older banyans, like Dodda Aladha Mara, can spread out laterally and use their roots to cover a wide area.

Prop roots allow banyan trees to grow laterally. Photo Credit: By Kiran Gopi - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5 in, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15023516
Prop roots allow banyan trees to grow laterally.
Photo Credit: By Kiran Gopi – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5 in, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15023516

Big Banyan Tree

This is what Dodda Aladha Mara translates to, and it’s not hard to see why. Covering 3 acres (12,000 m2 ) makes Dodda one of the largest banyan trees in the world – quite a lot of ambition for a tree! At 400-years-old, it’s still going strong, though the main root was lost to disease in the early 2000s. Without the main root to visually connect the prop roots, the tree seems to be a forest of many banyans.

Mischevious Monkeys

A large number of monkeys make their home in the Big Banyan, and while they are cute, visitors should exercise caution. Be sure to secure valuables like cameras, food, and hats.

HOW TO GET THERE

A 50-minute car ride will get you to the car park, which has space for about 30 vehicles. In addition, there are bus routes which will drop off visitors right beside the tree. For flights to Bangalore, we’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to the India. Call or email us today to get started!

 

Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

 

 

Around the World: Taj Mahal

Jaipur, India

 

History of Mughal Empire

The Mughal Empire spanned 300 years and covered parts of four modern countries including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Established in the 1500s, the Mughal Empire reigned until 1857 when it was overthrown by the British East India Company. There was also a brief period of overthrow by another empire, but this only lasted 15 years before the Mughals were able to regain power.

 

Taj Mahal

The Mughal emperor, Shan Jahan, ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal. It was well-documented by court historians at the time that Mumtaz was his favorite wife and adored her more than any other. Together, they had 14 children, but despite her many pregnancies, Mumtaz traveled extensively with Shan and was his trusted advisor. Unfortunately, she died young – just 37 years of age – after complications giving birth to their 14th child.  Shan was so devastated that he mourned her death for a year, refusing to see anyone but his oldest daughter. When a year had passed, he ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal.

It was completed in 1643 and is one of the most elaborate examples of Islamic architecture in the world. Characteristics of the building include jai inlay, which involves cutting and polishing stones and placing them within marble to create images. Marble lattices and a long reflecting pool are also well-known features of the monument. But perhaps the best-known attribute is the round dome. This was likely inspired by a similar tomb: the tomb of Tamerlane, emperor of the Timurid Empire. Tamerlane was an ancestor to the Mughal emperors. Emperor Shan and Mumtaz are buried side by side in stone sarcophagi in the lower levels of the building.

Taj_mahal_detail_outside_wall
Close up of jali inlay. Photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71430

The Taj Mahal was chosen as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and it’s not hard to see why. The great artistry is unlike anything else on earth. Just as the Eiffel Tower is the symbol of France, so too has the Taj Mahal become a symbol of India. Moreover, the structure stands as a testament to undying love.

 

How to Get There

Whether your clients are visiting friends and family or seeing India on vacation, they won’t want to miss this exquisite treasure. We’re partnered with over 90 airlines, so no matter their city of departure, we can get your clients there. As a top airfare consolidator, Sky Bird Travel has the lowest net fares to get them there. Call or email us today to begin your adventure!

 Are your clients looking for something off the beaten path? Are they not interested in tourist traps? Stay tuned for our Around the World series. Several times a week, we share interesting things to do in exotic places. Give your clients a new experience in old places!

Photo Credits:

By Rajesnewdelhi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29053600

 

 

Sky Bird Helps Plan the “Trip of a Lifetime”

Sky Bird Helps Set Up Cruise, Italy, India Package  

When it comes to booking complicated trips with multi-destinations it can be quite challenging. But Sky Bird was up to that challenge when Jean Wells of Jean Wells Travel in North Carolina was tasked with planning a cruise followed by a tour of Italy and then a trip to India for a customer of hers. This was an opportunity to help one woman take a solo trip to destinations she’s always dreamed of visiting. We were happy to be the ones Ms. Wells called on to book this complex itinerary and even more thrilled to hear her customer enjoyed this custom-made adventure – it’s not easy to travel the world by yourself.

We’re proud that we get to be a global partner with Jean Wells Travel.

Make sure to bookmark www.skybirdtravel.com to easily access the best net fares and contact us when you need to book a group trip or land/river package – we are here for you.

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