Category Archives: ethnicity

Maarkah New York Fashion Week Show

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Maarkah New York Fashion Week Show

New York Fashion week was last week and I had the pleasure of attending a few shows. One of my favorites – if not my favorite – was the Maarkah New York Fashion Week Show, by Runway Prestige. Maarkah is an Arabic word for Brand – which makes it the perfect name for this show as it is aimed to show off amazingly talented designers from the Middle East and Africa!

Runway Prestige is ran by Rabab Abdalla – who is an extraordinarily talented, sweet, amazing woman!

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I came to the show to see Houda El Fechka Eddiouane – who I had the pleasure of meeting at the Couture shows last year. I also wrote an article about her work from last years show: http://www.hautedvie.com/houda-el-fechka-eddiouanes-debut-couture-fashion-week-new-yorks-25th-season/

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She showcased two of her collections at the show. I would describe her 1st collection as modern and elegant.

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I would describe the 2nd collection as traditional and dazzling!

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She is an amazing Moroccan designer from the Netherlands. She is definitely one to follow on social media. Her Instagram is houdaee and her facebook is https://www.facebook.com/houda.elfechka

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The show lasted about 2.5 hours and there were designers from Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America! The entire show was amazingly captivating! I could keep talking but the pics speak for themselves! Also, if I were to post all the pics from all the designers – we would be here forever! Also, I ran out of storage space!! (LOL) So here are juust a few of my favorites (before I ran out of space on my phone!!)

It would be tough for me to decide because ALL the outfits and models were stunning, but the first 3 are my top 3 favorites! For more (photos and videos) – go to my Instagram: karenskaleidoscope and lastly please follow Maarkah & Runway Prestige on Instagram, FB and Twitter (Runway Prestige only on twitter)! This was the first of MANY shows, so stay tuned for lots more from Runway Prestige!!

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The Queen of the Night!! #arabiannights ❤

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~Hi My name is Ms. Fabulous but you may call me “Ms. Fierce”~

 

-Karen Bahri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BANANA ISLAND RESORT DOHA BY ANANTARA

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BANANA ISLAND RESORT DOHA BY ANANTARA

An island paradise of natural exclusivity

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Welcome to Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara – an paradise sanctuary which respects local culture by offering an alcohol-free environment with world class facilities and limitless activities providing relaxation and adventure, wellness and pure indulgence.

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Twenty minutes from the heart of Qatar’s vibrant capital, a luxury catamaran ferry crosses crystal clear water to reach a breathtaking island that feels a world away, while a private helicopter pad offers an exclusive arrival with a bird’s eye coastal view. Now, you are in paradise!

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The elegant 5-star accommodation is decorated with Arabic design and features a view of the Arabian Sea.  There are 141 rooms, suites, pool villas and over water villas setting the mood for romance and unforgettable holidays. One can take a dip into the private 800 meter beach or the 100 meter long lagoon pool. There’s even a surf pool! There are actually quite a wide range of water sports to enjoy. Leisure and entertainment also spoil you for choice, from bowling, golf and beach games by day, to VIP cinema at night.

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A golf course and a tennis court are available near the property. To keep the younger guests entertained, Cool Mint Children’s Club and Peppermint Teens’ Club have a wide range of toys and interactive games. The resort also boasts 9 dining options including a contemporary Italian restaurant that serves delectable fresh seafood and meat dishes in a trattoria setting. Al Nahham serves aromatic Arabic-Mediterranean cuisine with panoramic view over Doha skyline! Exotic mocktails and shisha are served by the pool bar.

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Each day at Anantara comes with an invitation to do it all or absolutely nothing at all. If you opt for the latter, experience how health and beauty go hand in hand with expert care, from delightful journeys in over water spa suites to holistic lifestyle programs at the dedicated wellness centre.

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This property is one of the top-rated locations in Doha! Guests are happier about it compared to other properties in the area. With world class facilities and limitless activities providing relaxation and adventure, wellness and pure indulgence, at the Banana Island resort one can escape into true Arabian luxury!

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~Karen Bahri 

 

 

 

Time to add this Rainbow colored Indonesian village to your Bucket List!

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Time to add this Rainbow colored Indonesian village to your Bucket List!

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Just when you thought the world was becoming dull and lifeless, you discover a rainbow colored village in Indonesia!

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There has been a colourful makeover in the town of Kampung Pelangi, which literally translates to “Rainbow Village”, in Randusari, Indonesia. It’s bringing in tourists in flocks – and it’s all for a great cause!

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The town, originally called Kampung Wonosari, is home to 223 houses which have all recently been painted a minimum of three bright colors and decked out with fun, artistic murals which are so much fun to pose against and post up all over your instagram page! It’s an artists paradise!

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All this color has been provided thanks to funding from the government, who were hoping to banish it’s slum status as well as boost the tourism to the area. It’s certainly working, Instagram is filled with pictures of travellers in front of the colourful buildings and giant murals with their fun and creative poses!

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This project has greatly increased the economy in the village and has turned it from a slum to a thriving tourist destination you should definately add to your bucket list!

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-Karen Bahri

Shanti Stupa of Leh Ladakh

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Shanti Stupa of Leh Ladakh

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Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist white-domed temple on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu,Gyomyo Nakamura and part of the Peace Pagodamission.

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The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama. The stupa has become a tourist attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

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The views – the stunning views over Leh in fact, are the greatest attraction! Sunrise & Sunset views are best viewed from here; and it is completely illuminated with lights at night time! One should make the breathless 15-minute climb up from Changspa when golden afternoon light still illuminates the city as the steps are already bathed in cooling shadow. Breath-taking! There’s a small, simple cafe at the top of the stairway where you can go sit, chill and take in all the glory.

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The Shanti Stupa features the photograph of the current Dalai Lama with the relics of the Buddha at its base. It was built as a two-level structure. The first level features the central relief of Dharmachakra (basically this symbolizes the teachings of Buddha) with deer on each side. A central golden Buddha image sits on a platform depicting the “turning wheel of Dharma” (Dharmachakra). The second level has reliefs depicting the “birth” of Buddha, the death of Buddha (mahanirvana) and Buddha “defeating the devils” while meditating. Both levels feature a series of smaller meditating Buddha reliefs.

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The Shanti Stupa was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. It was built by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists as it is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh.

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-Karen Bahri

Sharjah Light Festival

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Sharjah Light Festival

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The Sharjah Light Festival (SCTDA) is a nightly art exhibit with local and international artists that takes place in public places. The festival, which is the first event of its kind in the region, runs for nine nights in the month of February using the latest graphics and lighting techniques and 3-D technology.

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Just some background info – Sharjah is the third largest and most populous city in the UAE and has land on both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Sharjah City borders Dubai to the south and Ajman to the north, and the three form a conurbation.

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The SCTDA is a culmination of art, culture, science and the renaissance movement initiated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

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Over the years, the Sharjah Light Festival has succeeded in attracting thousands of visitors. Last year’s edition drew more than 560,000 visitors from the UAE and abroad while social media channels recorded 2.8 million interactions, according to Google Analytics.

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The festival covers 14 different locations across the emirate, including architectural landmarks, mosques and historic buildings, which are brought to life with dazzling light displays and musical performances to create innovative three-dimensional designs on mosques, key landmarks and heritage buildings.

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The Sharjah Light Festival is definitely something to check out in the UAE! It’s such an astonishingly colorful festival, as you can see from the many photos I have added to this blog post! I couldn’t help myself! What a spectacularly magical event! It’s worth the excursion if you are traveling to Dubai.

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-Karen Bahri 

Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

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Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

Stilt fishing is a method of fishing unique to the island of Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole and driven into the sand a few meters offshore. From this high position, the fishermen casts their lines and wait until a fish comes along to be caught. One may assume this to be an ancient practice with an engaging history, but stilt fishing is actually a recent tradition.

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The practice is believed to have started some 70 years ago during World War II; when food shortages and overcrowded fishing spots prompted some clever men to try fishing on the water. At first they started fishing from wrecks of capsized ships and downed aircraft, then some began elevating their stilts in coral reefs. The skills were then passed on to at least two generations of fishermen living along a 30 km stretch of southern shore between the towns of Unawatuna and Weligama.

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The practice is unlikely to last much longer other than as a tourist attraction as the catch is pretty much always meager. The 2004 tsunami that devastated much of the Indian Ocean coastline forever altered the Sri Lankan shoreline and reduced access to fish using this method. Fishing also stops entirely during the annual monsoons. The best time is when the currents are flowing in the right direction; which is mostly between October and December during sunset. And the sunsets are as beautiful as ever, which makes for amazing photographs!

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Today, few fisherman are willing to pass their stilts to their sons, instead renting them to “actors” who pose as fishermen for photographers and tourists. Definately one of the many attractions to check out on the spectacular island of Sri Lanka!

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-Karen Bahri

Nasir al-Mulk Mosque – Iran’s Colourful Kaleidoscope is a spiritual awakening!

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Nasir al-Mulk Mosque – Iran’s Colourful Kaleidoscope is a spiritual awakening!

From the outside, the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque in Shiraz, Iran, seems like a fairly traditional house of worship — but it hides a gorgeously colorful secret…

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The multitude of stained glass windows turn the inside of the mosque into a mosaic wonderland of color that is absolutely breathtaking!!! It is also known as the “Pink Mosque” for its rose-colored tiles that cover the interior. However, choosing just one color doesn’t do justice to the kaleidoscope of hues that decorate this masterpiece.

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It is said that the mosque’s beauty is best appreciated in the dawn’s morning light. In fact, you can only see the light through the stained glass in the early morning. It was built to catch the morning sun, therefore, if you visit at noon, it will unfortunately be too late to catch the light. This is a case in which the early bird does catch the worm! So rise and shine!!

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The sight of the morning sunlight shining through the colorful stained glass, which then falls over the tightly woven Persian carpet is soo enchanting that it takes you straight into another world! There is something very enlightening about the whole experience that even the world’s most unreligious person can’t help but feel the spiritual energy once they experience the brilliance of the energy from the light and the kaleidoscopic colors!

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If the beaming light and the vibrant colors are not enough to take your fancy, the intricate design of the arches and niches of the architecture are also gorgeously designed and painted very mesmerizingly so, that I know you will fall in love!

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Ceiling work

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Though Masjid al-Aqsa, in Jerusalem and Istanbul’s Blue Mosque both feature stained glass windows as well, they are fairly uncommon in mosque architecture as a whole. The rarity of architecture like this makes Nasir al-Mulk all the more precious.

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-Karen Bahri

 

 

 

Christmas/Hanukkah staycation at the Innside Hotel!

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Christmas/Hanukkah staycation at the Innside Hotel!

As 2016 comes to an end, I can safely conclude this has been the worst year of my life. I was telling a friend the other day after much thought, I don’t believe that just because a new year is approaching doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be a new start or a better year. Its not like things are going to magically glow like Disneyland 😐. I live in a world of reality and I just don’t think so.

Anyways, because certain travel plans backfired followed by new travel plans that backfired (my medium friend told me it’s due to the mercury retrogade. Google it.) I created MY OWN PLANS. Because I obviously cannot depend on anyone besides myself, I decided to book a staycation!

Since I’m the most indecisive human being on the face of the earth, this took me about 3 days of researching a hotel 😂😂…I finally made the plunge and booked The Innside hotel. I’m definitely glad I made this decision! The Innside hotel is a part of the Melia hotels & resorts . If you have been to Miami Beach, I’m sure you have seen a hotel called “ME”, which I learned is apart of this hotel family.

Meliá Hotels International was founded in 1956 in Palma de Malorca, Spain. That being said, there are a lot of Spanish guests at this resort! Holaaa! 😉 It is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and the largest in Spain in both resorts and city hotels! The company currently operates more than 370 hotels in 43 countries and 4 continents under its brands! So lets get straight into my weekend and my overall thoughts of this hotel!

Located on the border of Chelsea & Flatiron, which happen to be my favorite neighborhoods, the building is big & beautiful! They play nice jazz music as you enter and they have outdoor seating for their restaurant in the front. It’s got a see-through cover for these cold months. Upon entry you walk into this glamorous space with perfect lighting! Looking straight you’ll find some couches, to the right you have the bar/lounge area and to the left is reception. Front desk is very friendly and total New Yorkers, so that’s good for tourists! 😂 Check in was easy so lets move on to the next topic: THE ROOM.

Initially I called them and they gave me a free upgrade to a King room with a view! I verified that, and just because life in the past month has been everything bad…and worse…I just figured something had screwed up..so naturally I had my game face on 👺! But all was well, ain’t nobody screw up my king room with view upgrade, gurrrl! So up to the 15th floor I went! The hallway was SO CLASSY!! Full length mirrors next to every door!! What a girl needs!! The walls were a clean black so it was a nice contrast! I opened up my door to find a very open, modern, bright, clean, amazing room!!! Bathroom right next to the front door, huge room with flatscreen TV, minibar, wine bottle opener, espresso machine…..And…….a…… VIEWTODIEFOR!!! I had the BEST view of the Empire State Building!!! I was soo happy! Three days of indecisiveness turned out to be a great decision!

I think the only 1st world problems I complained about in my head was half the TV stations didn’t work and the room was pretty cold. I even had the maintenence guy come look at the thermostat but nothing. Oh well! Next time I’ll bring my portable heater!

That evening I ended up making plans and we started off at the hotel lobby bar and had a great convo with our bartender! Very friendly, cool staff! The hotel also has a gym and meeting rooms. Would have been nice if it had a pool or spa but hey, we can’t have it all! 🤔😄

All in all, it was very peaceful, I took nice videos, snapchat filtered way too much & a small amount of pics, it was relaxing and it was nice being IN the city. Even though I’m a ten minute train ride away, it still makes a big difference! So I totally suck! I took numerous videos & snapchatted nonstop, but not as many pictures, except for my view! So the website is below, containing photos. I am adding in the few pics I did take and will try to screenshot from my videos. Those will be blurry just FYI lol. I’ll try to upload videos but they take forever and seem to always crash :/ But check the pictures out on the website! The hotel looks exactly the same! Happy New Years to all! And may you travel tons and your travel plans not get screwed up in 2017!

https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/united-states/new-york/innside-new-york-nomad/index.html
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My perfect view! Blue & White for Hanukkah and Red & Green for Christmas! #blessed
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Doha – the new Dubai.

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Doha – the new Dubai.

Skyline – Doha, Qatar

 

 

 

 

I watch a lot of youtube and a lot of vloggers. There is a very popular Arab vlogger from NYC named Adam Saleh whose family is from Yemen. Recently he went to Doha for a meet & greet. The crowd was wild!! The show shut down because too many people showed up and they bombarded his car! This happened sometime in July. I recently came across another Yemeni vlogger from Birmingham, UK (aka my 2nd home) who happened to go to Doha also for a study abroad for a month. He was working at a TV studio during that time. He filmed a vlog of his experience going to the Adam Saleh meet & greet and it was soo cool to watch from a fan’s perspective! I felt bad because this kid (his YouTube name is MuTube, his name is something Muslim and difficult so I am not going to butcher it and try to spell it here lol, but I think its like Muath or something. I told you I shouldn’t have tried!!!) Anyways, I felt bad because he’s newer in the YouTube scene and really wanted to meet Adam since they are both Yemini youtubers, and its not like that’s a common thing! He didn’t get to meet him bc the crowd was insane but his vlog was really, really cool to watch!

So on his journey from his flat to the mall where the meet & greet was at he talked about some interesting facts about Doha. It’s basically a city in construction and in maybe 5-10 years it is going to vanquish Dubai! That kinda scares me because Dubai has been high on my list and I hope to get there before it’s old news and deflated lol.

if interested, here’s the link, watch it after you finish reading MY blog lol:

Doha, the capital of the small, gas-rich gulf state of Qatar, has more than its fair share of eclectic architecture. Its not typical shapes of buildings like we have here in New York. It’s very futuristic!

21st-century Doha has much more to offer visitors than a quirky skyline. The city has been designated the Arab Capital of Culture. So, if nearby Dubai is the Las Vegas of the UAE, Doha sees itself more as a smart Geneva – wealthy, progressive and vaguely neutral. It is home to the Middle East’s independent news network, al-Jazeera, and every autumn holds its own version of the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival!!!

The population of Doha is overwhelmingly composed of expats whereas Qatari nationals for a minority. The largest portion of expats  are from South East & South Asia, as well as North Africa. There are also a number of Europeans, North Americans, South Africans & Australian’s.

Something important to make note of, is that they do not use street numbers or even street names in their addresses. Therefore it is often difficult to find a place, and people navigate by using landmarks.

Shopping is a major leisure pursuit of many Qataris and expats, and you can expect cheaper prices than Dubai. Bargaining is still a thing there, unlike in India nowadays! Mall culture is a thing in Doha. I know that’s not a surprise since Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the same! Most malls in Doha are open from 10am to 10pm Saturday to Thursday. Most will be closed on Friday mornings but will open up during the evening, when they’ll be the most crowded. Also, be aware that some malls schedule “Family Days”, where single men will be turned away at the door — say whaaatttt?!?! However, most Westerners will be allowed in, but brown-skinned persons (particularly South Asians dressed in desi gear) will be turned away (racissstttt!!!)

So From MuTube vlogs, he vlogged inside the Villagio mall in one episode and throughout the whole segment he was freaking out at the size and beauty of the shopping center! They have a mini Venice IN the mall! Like a full fledged Canal! They also have a fake sky on the ceiling to make you feel like you are outside. It’s known that the entertainment in the malls in the UAE are nothing like malls anywhere else! I meannn it’s so hot in these countries they need a big huge air conditioned center for entertainment that doesn’t involve alcohol since its haram in those countries!!

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You can’t go to any Middle Eastern country without checking out the souqs! Souq al Waqif, the oldest souq, or bazaar, in the country. The old part is newly renovated, the newer parts have been reconstructed in a historical style. Souq Waqif is the top tourist destination in Doha! It is noted for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs. It is also home to dozens of restaurants and Shisha lounges. Although it dates back at least a hundred years, it was renovated in 2006 to conserve its traditional architectural style. Here are some photos I found online that are soo inviting!! I wish I could be there right now strolling the streets people watching:

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Souq al Waqif in the evening. Doha, Qatar

 

Anyways, I look forward to going there one day and updating and expanding my thoughts on this up and coming city for you guys!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Independence day, Mother India!!! 8/15/1947

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Happy Independence day, Mother India!!! 8/15/1947

Happy Independence day India! India celebrated its independence from the British Empire on the 15th of August in 1947. The holiday is observed throughout India with flag-hoisting ceremonies, parades and cultural events. There is a national holiday and schools and government offices distribute sweets but no official work is done….parrtayyy!!!

India is a country of “Unity in Diversity” where people from different religions live; however any national occasion, they celebrate it together!

Here are some quick, interesting, fun facts about our colorful, diverse nation:

  • First Independence day of India was celebrated in 1947, 15th of August by hoisting tri-colored flag.
  • India has never attacked any other country in the last 100000 years of history.
  • There was no any National Anthem during the time of Independence of India.
  • India is the world’s largest Democracy, with 1.2 billion people.
  • Police in one non-identified state in India get a slight pay upgrade for having a moustache……………………………..
  • India has the world’s lowest meat consumption per person.
  • Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. It was developed about 5000 years ago. Hinduism is a colorful religion with a lot of rituals. People who follow this religion believe in a lot of Gods and Goddesses.
  • 70% of all the world’s spices come from India.
  • One woman dies every hour in India because of dowry-related crimes.
  • In India, there is a vigilante group called the “Love Commandos” that offers protection from harassment to couples from different castes who fall in love.
  • There is a gypsy tribe in India that celebrates death as one of the happiest events in their lives, while treating births with great grief.
  • The Golden Temple in Amritsar feeds a vegetarian meal to over 100,000 people a day regardless of race, religion and class.
  • Global warming ‘solved’ a land dispute between India and Bangladesh:
    the island in dispute disappeared.
  • 74% of young Indians prefer an arranged marriage over a free-choice one, a 2013 survey found.
  • Only about 1 in 100 marriages in India end in divorce, one of the lowest rates in the world.
  • India has more people using the internet than the entire population of the U.S.
  • The people of North Sentinel Island, India, are among the last people to remain
    virtually untouched by modern civilization.

  • There’s an experimental township in India founded in 1968 and called Auroville, where citizens are from all over the world and there’s no money or religion.
  • The first Bollywood movie was released in 1899, where as the first Hollywood movie released in 1907. Bollywood is older than Hollywood!

Well folks, there you have it! Have a safe, wonderful pandarah (15) August 🙂

 

 

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What India do we have without the KING of Bollywood himself – Mr. Shah Rukh Khan!!!

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus bus terminal in Mumbai lit up gloriously!!!

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