Durga Puja: The Queen of All Festivals

India is a land of festivals. Being a secular country, there is no dearth of things to celebrate in this land of wonders. From Christmas to Eid ul Zoha, Independence Day to the Cricket World Cup, there is hardly anything that Indians do not like celebrating. Simply point us towards an occasion and we are all for it. But hidden amongst this long list of celebrations is a gem in the form of Durga Puja, something celebrated in its full glory in the Bengali community.

So, what exactly IS the Durga Puja?

Well, for the sake of clarity, Puja refers to a religious festival. However, for us Bengalis, Durga Puja is less of a ‘Puja’ and more of the embodiment of the spirit of festiveness. What exactly does that mean? Well, let us go back a few millenniums to answer that question.

The tradition of invoking the goddess Durga (or the mother, known as ‘Ma’) is first considered to have been done by Lord Ram before he went forth to battle Ravana, as documented in the epic Ramayana. However, the tradition lay dormant till about the late 1500s, when the landlords in Bengal took it up. It was finally given its final form in the 18th century as Baroyaari (or 12 friends’) puja, a term which finally came to refer to community sponsored Durga Pujas held in Kolkata.

Essentially, all parts of India celebrates this period, but in the form of Navratri. It constitutes of 9 days’ worth of fasting, which ends with Dussehra, a day where an effigy of Ravana is burned as a way to show that evils are always championed by good as Lord Ram had championed above Ravana.

In Bengal, however, the meaning of these 10 days are quite different.

My earliest memories of Durga Puja are that of waking up in the middle of the night to listen to Mahalaya on the radio. It is a programme that has been airing on the first day of the Bengali month Ashwin for more than 7 decades and 4 generations of Bengalis, forcing them to wake up at 4 am, something I still do religiously every year on that particular day. Although the magic of the scent, the half awoken self and knowing Ma is coming has somewhat diminished with the years, the idea of something so collectively powerful that it makes a whole community look forward to it still holds a great deal of charm nonetheless.

We treat Ma Durga as something more than just the goddess. While it is true that she embodies the raw power (or Shakti) that overcame evil by slaying the evil demon Mahisasur (hence the term Mahisasur-mardini), she is much MUCH more than just that. The ten days that start with Mahalaya signify her annual visit to her paternal home in Bengal with 4 of her children. As such Ma is, at the same time, a mother, a wife, a goddess, and most importantly, a member of our family. We pamper her, we respect her, we love her and we adore her. She is more than just a divinity.

To us Bengalis, she embodies our truest nature. No matter where a Bengali might be, come Durga Puja, he/she feels a connection to his/her family.

THIS is what it means to celebrate Pujo (a colloquial term for Durga Puja).

Frankly, it cannot be compared to anything else in the world. But, remember the togetherness one gets when visiting the family, or the warmth during Christmas, or the feeling you get when you visit your family after a year away? That is what Pujo means to a Bengali. It is more than celebrating a religious festival. The idea of Pujo is bringing everyone together. And what better way can there be than a mother facilitating all that? We eat, we cry, we talk, be happy and celebrate something that is practically unheard of anywhere else in the world. It does not matter what you religion is. Whether a Muslim, a Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Jain or anything in between (including atheists), if you are a Bengali at heart, Durga Puja is for you. From visiting the tens of thousands of makeshift podiums (or pandals) for hoisting Ma Durga to having a cup of tea in the middle of the night (under a tree in the local shop because it seems to inevitably rain during Puja nights these days, especially if you are out at 2 am) to dancing during the idol immersion ceremony (called Bhashan), Durga Puja is something that you have to experience at least once in your life.

Oh, and did I mention scrumptious luchi and khichudi as lunch during Ashtami and the gorgeous ladies who grace the pandals? Pujo is worth it… believe you me.

And once Pujo is done, while we are all sad, we pray for Ma to return safely to her heavenly abode atop the Himalayas. Thus begins the wait for the next Puja. Another year to spend before our dear mother comes back. Because Pujo never ends, it simply gets shifted by another year. After all, Ma is like the mother who wants you to be happy even when she is gone.

Come, be a part of this wonderful festival of togetherness.

From the Office to an Evening Out in Style

When you are dressing for success in the office or impressing a colleague on the town, your style shows through in your choice of clothing. A classic men’s shirt is elevated to front seat position when you seek out the highest of quality, the precision of well-stitched lines and crisp materials that look great for any occasion.

Selection, comfort and style are as important as your first impression is a lasting one. Be sure to seek out and choose the finest of shirts with options that tailor themselves to any event or moment. Take business and smart casual from morning into the evening with smart choices, patterns and options that are easy to add to any wardrobe.

Quality you can Feel and See

Available in a wide variety of sizes, patterns, colors and classic cuff options, these easy to iron and care for shirts offer you all weather and all occasion options. If you’re getting ready for the big presentation, you can’t go wrong with a crisp shirt that fits the moment. Expert stitching is evident in every buttonhole, around every collar and throughout these 100% Egyptian cotton shirts.

Just as individual as you, each shirt, from smart looking Oxfords, herringbone patterns, checked patterns in an array of colors and contrasts to smart looking twill shirts with chest pockets or without, you will be sure to find exactly what you are seeking with this classic collection. Perhaps you are seeking a smart selection for a day out on the course to relax with friends or enjoy the company of a potential client. Look your best with an assortment of impressive choices.

Expect to be Noticed

One of the first things that people notice about you when you walk into the building, the big meeting or the board room is the way you present yourself with your clothing. The business world, whether a casual lunch or a formal meeting about the next big merger requires a bespoke selection in clothing. Before you put on your best suit, be sure to choose a shirt that lets your business associates know that you are bringing your best for every encounter.

With striped, checkered, solid, pinpoint or silk-woven options, you can dress to impress and make every suit stand out. For the casual meeting, the fine Egyptian cottons won’t go unnoticed when paired with a well thought out matching tie or out in the field working in the trenches. When it comes to quality, nothing is left to chance as the craftsmanship and production of these shirts shine through in every choice.

Many men do not take the time to seek out the best in quality when it comes to shirts. You won’t need to worry as every shirt is designed and created with you in mind. Long lasting and easy to keep crisp and business ready, these shirts will last for a long time and look fresh and new even over time. You can check men t-shirt on sumisura.com.

Keeping a good selection of these shirts in your business wardrobe ensures that your business attire reflects your serious attitude about your appearance and your dedication. Pairing these fine tailored shirts with your business suits, ties and cufflinks stand out in the crowd. Be sure to take the time to look at the many different options so that you can discover a style that’s all your own. You will not be disappointed as you inspect every stitch and buttonhole. The quality is obvious in every shirt.

Whether you are going for your second interview or conducting the interview yourself, conducting a seminar or meeting coworkers after work to relax and enjoy the rewards of a laid back evening, your appearance is sure to always be top notch when you choose from the very best. Knowing that the foundation of your wardrobe is of the highest quality will be sure to boost your confidence and make each business day the very best it can be.

10 Women’s clothes you need to have in your wardrobe!

There is always a time in every year that you want to refresh and upgrade your clothes collection. Usually, you get panicked because you do not know what you are missing, what you have to keep and what to get rid of. Here, you will find a list of the pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe.Every girl needs to have the basic equipment in her closet. So, she will not need refresh her collection every single year just by having these necessary items. So, the next time you have unexpected visits or be invited you for a drink you did not expect, you will know what you can wear. Your preparation time will be reduced to the minimum and you will enjoy the drink with your friends, without any problems.

So, what clothes do you need in your collection?Let’s see the most important of them.

Flattering pair of jeans

Whether it’s a bell pants, boyfriend’s or skinny jeans, there’s always one that’s perfect for your body. The good thing with this piece of clothing is that with the right combination you can wear it all day long and every night too, with great success.

Short-sleeved blouse

You absolutely need a basic t-shirt, in a simple color that suits your skin. Most preferable are the white or the black ones. However, I would recommend you to experiment with other colors as well. In this way, depending on the mood you will choose the perfect color.

A jacket

Well-dressed ladies who wear jackets can flatter anybody. It’s a cloth that you can wear from your office to an afternoon coffee, till your first day with the man you are interested in. Buy yourself a jacket that ends at your hip height and make sure it has a neutral color like beige, black, light brown or gray. This way you can combine it with too many clothes! You can also buy a white one, which is a perfect outfit for your summer nights.

Women’s shirt

Shirts are any woman’s favorite clothing, as with some modifications, you can turn your everyday style into formal, in just a few seconds. Wear it with jeans, skirts, shorts or whatever you think. Combine it with a good pants and a fine belt for an important meeting as a shirt dress. With jeans, boots and t-shirts for your afternoon lunch with your friends or with high heels and skinny jeans for the evening out, a shirt is always in fashion. You can buy great shirt dress on weiz.dk

Black skirt

A simple, mini pencil skirt or pleat with a perfect fit in your waist is always needed. It’s the easy way to show off your outfit. You can wear it in the morning with a pantyhose and low heels and in the evening with a black pantyhose and high boots or heels. Show off your skirt, wearing sleeves with bold prints or impressive big necklaces.

Women’s sports t-shirts

You may be wondering why you need a sport t-shirt. First of all, it is the perfect outfit for your gym time. You can, however, wear it with a tight pair of jeans and high heels and a necklace and you will have a sexy evening outfit.

Sweaters and cardigans

You can refresh your style with a few moves. You can wear a checkered shirt and a beautiful sweater over it, or combine your favorite T-shirt with a cute cardigan. This style is the absolute definition of street style and can be worn by every woman any time of the day.

Black pair of trousers

From the cool summers to an island till the cold winter, this cloth can be worn everywhere. You can wear it while having a drink in a bar, while working in the office, for having a coffee after work, on your daily walk with your dog or in the evening. The ladies’ black trousers are suitable to everything and they are in fashion all the time.

Mini black dress

Like the black trousers, the mini dress can also be worn everywhere. It has, however, to be combined correctly. If you want an early look, wear it with a tunic or a heavy coat of pants with beautiful prints. In the evening, you can wear it with high heels and a nice leather jacket. Whatever you use in order to combine it, you will have perfect style.

Nude coat

When the rainy and cold days are about to start, this coat can protect you from getting wet or cold. And the most important of all is that it is also very stylish. You can choose a brown or gray coat in order to combine it with all the clothes in your closet.

Tour Packages for Hill Station Lovers in Bhopal

Bhopal is the capital of Madhya Pradesh, one of the largest cities in India. The city is a combination of modern and historic culture and this can be seen in its architecture. It is a beautiful city and resides in the heart of India. Bhopal was originally called Bhojpal but was renamed later to Bhopal. Bhopal has a good transportation system and tourists from various parts of the world feel free to roam around the city using various modes like three wheeled autos, mini buses and tempos. The green city is situated on the banks of two beautiful lakes and is equipped with so many mosques, art galleries and a number of monuments.
Bhopal is one of the favorite tourist destinations in India because of its culture, heritage, and many tourist places. Hill stations have always been so popular among tourists when they think about going somewhere for holidays. The reason can be due to the pleasant weather or the relaxing atmosphere you will get there. And again Bhopal is the one place you can think of spending your holidays in.
Panchmarhi is one of the famous and most visited hill stations located in Madhya Pradesh. It is situated on a large plateau surrounded by hills on the Satpura ranges. The hill station is at a height of 3550 ft., and is located in Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. This place is surrounded by beautiful forests and various waterfalls that make it an amazing place. There are many hill station tour packages Bhopal available nowadays and one can choose any of them according to their choice. And Panchmarhi is one of the popular destinations when looking at different tour packages.
There are many places included in the package that you will see in Panchmarhi. Some of the main attractions are Bee Falls, a fall providing water to whole Panchmarhi. Another famous spot to visit is Chauragarh Dhupgarh. These are two hills placed separately from where you can watch the sunrise as well as sunset and it makes an amazing view for the tourists. Jatashankar is one of the other sacred caves in Panchmarhi where Lord Shiva is said to have hidden from king Bhasmasur. All these places are included in the packages available, so you can enjoy them all. Another tourist spot in Panchmarhi is the Pandav caves. It is believed that the Pandav spent a little time in these caves during their exile period.
The hill station tour packages Bhopal includes staying in hotels that are available ranging from 5-star luxury hotels to medium budget to lower level hotels. So you can choose any of them according to the budget available to you. April to July is the best time to visit Panchmarhi due to the pleasant weather during this time. The tour packages include all the things you will need to visit Panchmarhi, right from the depart from your home till checking in at the hotel in Panchmarhi. You can enjoy the time here with your friends as well as family.

How to Choose From the Best Hotels in Dubai Within Budget

Time has changed a lot especially for Dubai which has transformed itself into the most sought after commercial destination in the world. Once a lonely desert, this gulf region has become a heaven for commercial people and all leading brands. A large number of people come to Dubai to give wings to their dreams. And this city never disappoints them with its magnificent charm that is truly distinctive in its own sense.

For visitors, staying at a good hotel is not big deal but they need to do a bit of research to get the best offers on the budget hotels in Dubai. From budget hotels, to 5-star & 7-star hotels, Dubai boasts of an extensive range of options that meet the specific accommodation needs of people coming to the region. Whether for business purpose or entertainment, these hotels offer superb amenities to travelers at economical rates.

Being one of the seven United Arab Emirates, Dubai enjoys comfortable location that makes it a great place for trading purpose. With its ever-developing trade scenario, it has become a center of trading, drawing tourists from all across the world. Dubai is recently in news for its hi-tech architecture of high-end construction projects and sports. A major part of its foreign cash flow emerges through tourism. With around 70 shopping malls and Dubai Mall, one of the biggest in the world, it is widely regard as the 8th most visited place in the world.

Among various big cities in the world, Dubai has some of the most magnificent hotels, resorts and apartments for rent. Most of the best hotels in Dubai are rated high on global hotel standards. Some of the best & luxurious accommodation options are Al Bustan Centre Residence, Al Bustan Rotana, Al Maha Desert Resort and others.

Anyone who is coming to Dubai and wants comfy and affordable accommodation, it is strongly suggested to do a thorough research on all leading budget hotels in Dubai that provide world-class hospitality experiences in a budgetary way. The deeper your research is the better outcome you can expect to get.

It is not just the city which offers an unforgettable experience to visitors, the hotels there also provide the similar level of experience to travelers. So, next time you think of visiting Dubai, make sure you get the most out of your time, efforts and investment. This way you can choose to enjoy a pleasant and remarkable accommodation experience.

Vancouver, A Year Round Vacation Destination

Vancouver, British Columbia has consistently been ranked n the top of the world’s most desirable places to live in the world. The openness, quality of life, the diversity of outdoor activities in the surrounding mountains and the ocean at your doorstep as well as the modern cosmopolitan city centre and natural beauty all help to make this world class city truly unique. Not planning on living in Vancouver? Well you should at least visit to see for yourself what all the excitement is about!

Any time of the year you visit this gem of the Pacific Northwest will prove to be a memorable one. In the winter season you have all the mountain activities from heli-skiing to dog sledding in Whistler to snowshoeing or romantic log cabin dining in the Coastal Mountains. Enjoy an authentic Canadian mid-winter evening by catching a National Hockley League game at the Rogers Arena in the heart of downtown as the local Canucks team takes on a visiting challenger. Demand for tickets are extremely high so be sure to book your seats in advance or you can always see what’s available, usually at a premium, outside the stadium right before game time. Dining in Vancouver is wonderful year round; however, it is especially delightful in one of the many cozy restaurants on a brisk night with perfectly prepared local seafood hot out of the kitchen served with wine from one of British Columbia’s growing and acclaimed vineyards. The fireside ambiance in a dimly lit soothing environment really is the perfect evening out.

During the summer season the ocean is made more accessible by the perfectly hot temperatures from June to August but that doesn’t mean the mountains are out play. You can hike on established or less trekked trails throughout the surrounding area of Vancouver and feel as if you are 1000 miles away into the wilderness. You must be careful and take the proper precautions with local wildlife but a single or multi-day trip into the mountains and surrounding valleys is always a rejuvenating and empowering experience. Getting into the ocean by boat or on one of the many world-class beaches that surround the city will give you a real sense of the delights of these West Coast paradise. Sailing, swimming, yachting, kayaking, whale watching or just chilling on the beach, your day with the Pacific Ocean will be unforgettable. Spend the evening in one of the many restaurants of Vancouver or go for a stroll around Stanley Park to watch the sunset. Be sure to check out what festivals and shows are going on in Vancouver while you are there are the city attracts many international events and acts. Annual events that often draw a great deal of attention are the Celebrations of Lights fireworks show, Bard on the Beach Shakespear Festival, International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Sun Run and much more.

When planning your vacation to Vancouver be sure to pick the time of year that best suits what you’re looking for. Also, the city and surrounding area is quite large and the sites are not always accessible through the public transportation system. Consider renting a vehicle for you stay to ensure you get to see everything you want to on your schedule with the efficient guidance of a GPS so you don’t get lost on your way.

Vancouver has established itself as a world-class livable city and since the 2010 Winter Olympic games is establishing itself as a top vacation destination. Any time of the year it provides everything you would want from a relaxing destination holiday or an action packed adventure. Ensure you get to where you want to go in a timely manner by renting a vehicle to eliminate any hassles or unnecessary travel time.

Booking a Hotel Online? Here Are Some Things to Remember

Booking a hotel online is an easy task and yet it takes a lot of consideration. Unfortunately many people find themselves disappointed when booking into a hotel online because the hotel may use old photographs of rooms or the guests expect more than the hotel can provide. In order to reduce the risk of disappointment, there are a number of things you should remember to ensure that your time away from home is enjoyable and one to remember for years.

The main factor you are going to want to focus on when looking at hotels online is the location. If you are planning a business trip then you want to ensure you are located close to where you are attending meetings, but if you are going on a holiday, then you want to ensure you are close to the public transport services so that you can explore with ease and confidence.

The next thing you are going to want to take note of when looking at any hotels online is the star rating. All hotels get a star rating, which determines the level of accommodation, service and facilities you can expect. A good example is that there is a big difference between a three star and a five star hotel, over and above the price. A five star will offer you twenty four hour room service, a twenty four hour reception desk and they have a swimming pool, while the three star will offer you good and comfortable accommodation and breakfast.

Before you get excited and book into a hotel you know you can afford which is in the right location, take a few minutes to read through their online reviews and see what past and current guests have to say. Reading through the reviews can help you identify if the hotel does offer you the services that they promise and that their description meets what clients have experienced. It can give you much needed peace of mind and make it easier for you to make your booking with confidence and ease.

Further, you are going to want to look at transport options. Can the hotel assist you with an airport shuttle or do you need to travel with public transport. Either way you want to ensure the hotel is within easy access so that you can get from the airport to your accommodation without too much fuss.

Consider the type of accommodation provided by the hotel. Do they give you a choice of rooms that you can select from? Do they have guest rooms and suites? Do the rooms come with modern conveniences such as televisions, coffee making facilities and en-suite bathrooms? What about Wi-Fi, can they provide this service to the rooms? These are important factors you will want to look at to ensure the hotel meets your exact specifications now and on the day of arrival to reduce the risk of disappointment.

The final factors to consider before booking is to identify the facilities and services provided by the hotel. Not all hotels offer the same facilities and services so this is an important step to ensure you are going to get the services and the experiences you want to achieve when staying in the hotel.

Facilities may include an on-site restaurant, an on-site wellness center and a concierge service. While the services may include everything from daily housekeeping to twenty four hour room service and free Wi-Fi. They may also be able to provide you with assistance on tours, car hire and more to make your stay memorable and enjoyable.

Earlie Beach and The Golden Plover

Earlie Beach is a little town with about 1.300 people, in Queensland, Australia, along the Whitsunday Coast. It’s the gateway to the unparalleled Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s very popular with backpackers… and I was one of them! After arriving in the famous locality, I spent a couple of days relaxing and having a look around, trying to find out what could interest me in the area.

I simply loved the feeling of being careless free, fortunate to be in this superb part of the world.

One day, I do not remember if I was in a backpacker or in a pub, I saw an advertisement on the wall that unchained my imagination. The image of wonderful tall ship with all its sails unfurled appeared in front of me. A comment said that being on it would have been an adventure of a life time experience.

It was about a week cruise around the Whitsundays, a collection of 74 continental islands in the North-East Coast of Queensland.

I was hooked. I knew that I needed to go.

The ad also published: “Backpackers willing to help out with serving food and cleaning up will get a huge discount.” Without hesitation, I went to a travel agency and I bought a ticket immediately. I was very lucky; the ship was nearly booked out for the next weeks and they only had a few places left.

I was very excited about the trip and the ship as well. I started to gather information about my new mean of transport, which was a brigantine.

What is a brigantine? I am sorry about the technical wording but there is no other way to get around it…

It was, they do not exist anymore nowadays, a two-masted sailing vessel with an entirely square rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast: a square top sail and a gaff sail mainsail (behind the mast). The main mast is the second and taller of the two masts.

The ship was built in 1910 by the Ports and the Harbours of Victoria, in Australia. At that time, she was called “Plover”.

For its construction, they used the best materials: the New Zealand Kauri, a gigantic native tree, and copper fastenings.

This astonishing 30-meter vessel was one of the last tall ship on planet earth.

It is hard to describe the feeling of being on it.

Its story is fascinating. It started as a steam powered ship in Melbourne and worked at diverse jobs as fishing ketch, ferry, scallop boat and finally as a striking cruise ship.

Unfortunately, in 1986 it caught fire. Luckily nobody died while the fire was raging but the deck was destroyed. Even its superstructure was completely wrecked. The ship then was abandoned in the mud for 2 years in the Marybyrnong River. A disaster!

Providentially 4 guys from Germany and a professional rigger of Geelong, called George Herbery, had the vision of seeing the huge potential of the discredited ship.

The brothers, called Helmut, Günther and Gert Jacoby and an engineer called Ed Roleff, were ship lovers. Within 4 years and 6 months they turned the derelict into a classy and elegant sailing vessel.

It was so picturesque, eye-catching and unique that it was regularly used in movies. One was the notorious softcore “The Blue Lagoon”…

Nevertheless, the day I was impatiently waiting for to start my new journey arrived…

The ship was blue with immaculate sails. What a wonderful sight when I saw it for the first time! What a feeling to embark on this masterwork!

My imagination ran wild… The Golden Plover reminded me of pirates, black and white flags with the skull, symbol of piracy par excellence… of deadly naval battles and hidden treasures…

Not only I was on a magnificent vessel… I was going to cruise along the legendary, stunning Whitsunday Islands.

Shiny white sand beaches and turquoise waters were waiting for me…

What’s next? Just follow me… And I will show you the world.

Homestay In Goa – What To Expect

Goa is indeed one of the best places I have chosen to be my holiday destination. There is just so much to enjoy and see here, from the rich history of the culture and fun activities. The beaches like Querim Beach, Arambol Beach, Mandrem Beach, Morjim Beach, Chapora Beach in North Goa are definitely a must visit while here because I am a big fan of sun and sand. This is one destination that has never let me down as far as having a time of my life during the holidays goes.

Accommodation in Goa is not a problem; the options are numerous. Homestays are some of my favorites because of the many benefits they come with and with so many fairy spread across the region, I always have an easy time finding my ideal homestay in the area to make my holiday as memorable and convenient as I wish for it to be. But what exactly makes homestay in Goa so attractive? If you are thinking of homestay for the first time, here is what you can expect from the properties here.

  • Lots of homestay options. If there is one thing I love about Goa is that it does not limit me to a few options when it comes to homestay. There are just so many you can choose from with some of the most popular properties being Riviera Hermitage, Royal Land Scape, Castelinhos and Parth Holiday home among many others. I advise that you check out what each has to offer so you can select a property you are bound to enjoy to the fullest throughout your stay in Goa. It has always been easy for me to select based on property type, themes I am interested in, locality and the landmarks. This way, I have always landed a property that is convenient for me in every sense.
  • Tranquil atmosphere. One of the things I have noticed about the majority of the Homestays here is that they all have beautiful relaxing surroundings. I just love how serene the atmosphere is in the properties, making it possible for me to forget all my worries and stresses. If you are looking for pure relaxation and rejuvenation like I am always seeking, then the homestays are the way to go. I enjoy coming home to my homestay after a crazy crowded day full of activities and sitting on a calm beach like Anjuna Beach, Baga Beach, Calangute Beach and Candolim Beach.
  • Comfortable rooms. Every item in the homestays here seems carefully selected to give you nothing but comfort. I also love how well equipped these rooms are and the modern to ensure I miss nothing at all during my stay. The properties all come with modern facilities to make the perfect home away from home!
  • Perfect locations. Apart from the amazing tranquil atmosphere, Goa Homestays are located strategically to make it possible for travelers to easily stumble on what they find most attractive during the holidays here. You can visit the local tourist places like Reis Magos Fort, Museum of Goa, Shantadurga Temple, Mangeshi Temple, Deltin Royale Casino etc. Whether it is the history I am interested in or the local culture and cuisine, or the beaches, there is always a perfect choice of property to keep me closer to what I love the most.

Hawaii Happenings: Much to celebrate on Oahu and Maui this Spring season.

Art and culture take center stage this Spring with a Bob Dylan concert, a major photographic exhibit and a nightly cliff dive ceremony. Here are some of the highlights:

“An Evening with Bob Dylan:” Rock and Roll icon to perform two concerts in Hawaii. After taking a 16-year hiatus from the Aloha state, Bob Dylan will be strutting his stuff in April on two Hawaiian Islands. The legendary troubadour will perform at the Maui Arts and Culture Center on April 26 and is also booked for an April 29th concert at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Arena.

If a visit to Hawaii is on your calendar, or if you live in Hawaii, this is a rare opportunity to experience one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, musically and culturally, the man described by Time Magazine as a “master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation.” See ticket details below.

More art and culture: In Honolulu, round out your beachcombing expeditions with a visit to the Honolulu Museum of Art where a photographic exhibit titled “Decisive Moments” is on display through June 8. The exhibit’s title, “Decisive Moments” honors the phrase coined by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, when he described the singular convergence of simultaneous form and motion recognized by the photographer when he/she captures an enduring image. On display are more than 70 works by giants of the genre, Diane Arbus, Irving Penn, Lisette Model, Robert Mapplethorpe, William Eggleston and more. Sign up for one of the museum’s scheduled tours and follow the tour with an art discussion over iced tea in the Museum’s Café.

Make it a musical immersion on Maui: On the last Thursday of each month, in a free outdoor concert, Hawaiian musicians perform in the kanikapila style on the lawn of Baldwin House Museum. In a tranquil setting, the audience gathers on the lawn while Hawaiian artists share their music, vocal talent and love for Hawaii. Bring a blanket and beach chair. April’s concert is on the 24th, just two days before the evening Dylan event.

Where to Stay: Honolulu. On my last stay in Honolulu, I very much enjoyed a stay at the Shoreline Waikiki. My island-themed room with a city view was infused with urban chic yet just two blocks from famed Waikiki Beach. Out the door, a vast choice of multi-ethnic restaurants and world class shopping venues beckoned, from the budget friendly Forever 21 to the upscale Chanel and Gucci boutiques. The Waikiki Shoreline’s staff recommended several restaurants during our stay, even graciously calling ahead for reservations. After a day out exploring the island, we returned for a soak in the rooftop pool to watch the sunset light up the skies over the island’s majestic mountains. Because we only needed a car for excursions, the hotel’s private parking on the entry level was super convenient. Too, the hotel’s intimate size lends itself to a romantic stay. There’s a definite feeling of “coming home” when you walk in to the lobby with its welcoming staff, light-filled lounge area and refreshing drink station. Visit http://www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/hawaii/shoreline-hotel-waikiki.

Where to Stay Maui: Another taste of Hawaiian culture awaits those who stay at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa. As day transitions to twilight, the resort’s nightly Cliff Dive Ceremony recreates the legend of an 18th century leader, “King of the Spirit Leap,” Chief Kahekili, who inspired his people with this very same feat. Each evening just before sunset, a young warrior sets torches aflame, shedding light along the path as he travels to the summit of Pu‘u Keka‘a, known as Black Rock. With a blessing to his ancestors, he then offers his torch and lei to the waters below before making the courageous traditional dive into the Pacific.
Nestled amongst 23 acres of tropical landscaping, all guest rooms at Sheraton Maui Resort &Spa offer breathtaking views of the Pacific. Pure paradise. Visit www.sheraton-maui.com

“An Evening with Bob Dylan” tickets: Honolulu’s Blaisdell Arena: Ticketmaster Phone Sales/Information line: 1-800-745-3000 or 866-448-7849. . Tickets: $59, $69, $89, limited number of premium $125 seats. www.ticketmaster.com
Maui Arts & Cultural Center, 1-808-242-7469. Visit: http://mauiarts.org/tickets

Honolulu Museum of Art: 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu. (808) 532-8700 www.honolulumuseum.org.

Baldwin House Museum concerts: Lahaina Restoration Foundation, 120 Dickenson Street, Lahaina, Hawaii www.lahainarestoration.org 808-661-3262. theo@lahainarestoration.org

For information and a calendar of events for all of the Hawaiian Islands, visit www.gohawaii.com

Hawaiian Airlines offers non-stop service to Oahu and Maui from major US cities with the option to add inter-island flights to your ticketing. Visit hawaiianairlines.com