Why Shakti?

We are a team of travel enthusiasts who enjoy the spirit of India. The cultural and natural diversity present in our country leaves us spell bound. Researching the delicate mix that exists between the ancient aspects of India and her current futuristic trends is our passion. And we like to share this with everyone around the world. With more than a decade long experience in the travel industry behind each one of us, we are able to match traveler expectations in all forms -

  • destination knowledge
  • 24/7 service
  • strong supplier relationship
  • attention to detail
  • prompt feedback
  • thinking from the customer's point of view
We consider these expectations to be your dreams and take pride in painting your dreams in colours a shade brighter than you envisaged. More than 80% of our business is sourced from past customer referrals. The passion we have for our country extends to the trips organized by us. We ensure that our guests experience India off the beaten path. So travelling with Shakti Holidays is not just a tour, it is an Exploration of the Spirit of India.

Why India?

She is truly Incredible! Now you may say that it is a cliche. But we say that it is the Truth. She is incredible even for those Indians who enjoy researching her past, present and future. This is a country that has seen many battles, struggles and landmark victories not just in the battlefield, but more so in the social, cultural, economic, spiritual fronts. All this is still evident in the lifestyle of India's people. Today, India's ancient culture thrives alongside internet and space research programs.

Each province of India has an ancient past distinct from the other. This is obvious in the various archeological sites and monuments that remain to this day. Some cultural aspects are part of the people's lifestyle, more evident in rural India - the folklore, dance, music and other art forms.

Even though India has many unique and original features, she has the ability to absorb. Since there has been foreign influence even before the time when St. Thomas landed on the shores of Cochin, other cultures have become a part of the Indian mosaic.
With all this, India makes an interesting study for all people - of course, Indians in India included! Join us in our discovery of India through travel. It is not only India that you will discover, but yourselves too.

Customers speaking

The greatest result we aim for at the end of each holiday we organize is a HAPPY GUEST.
The feedback they give us are ENERGY BOOSTERS that make us want many more of the same HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

Dear Deepa, Many Many Thanks for organizing yet another delightful Corporate Outing for us. Every aspect of the tour right from the location, the food and the transport arrangements were exceptional. A special mention about the transporters, who were very meticulous and cooperative. It was indeed a fantastic getaway for our team, brimming with fun and excitement.
Bindu | Assistant Manager - HR
K-LINK Healthcare India Pvt.Ltd., Chennai

Holidayed in Thekkady, July 2015

We thank Shakti Holidays for making our Goa holiday a very memorable one. Everything from hotel bookings, upgrades to the arrangement of transport for us in Goa was very professional and extremely well done. We enjoyed a great holiday with excellent hotel rates, complimentary upgrades etc.... Which would not have been possible had Deepa not negotiated with the hotel in advance...
Thank you once again and we look forward for our next vacation with Shakti as well.
Vinayak Pendyala, Hyderabad
Holidayed in Goa, March 2015

We recently used Shakti Holidays for our trip to Rajasthan. We visited Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Ranthambore National Park. Deepa helped us with our reservations and she was absolutely outstanding! The communication via email was prompt and very helpful and the actual trip itself was perfectly planned. Everything from our driver to our hotels was booked through Shakti Holidays and it was all very well planned. We especially appreciated when Deepa would call us at 5-6 o'clock in the morning to give us updates on our morning flights. It was very kind of her. I would recommend Shakti Holidays to everybody out there!
Jyotsna Ambekar, USA
Holidayed in Rajasthan, December 2014

Awesome planning, perfect execution and timely support. Shakti holidays helped me immensely with a tour to Dharamsala and dalhousie and it was perfect. My parents and child enjoyed it multiple fold..
Christina Kichenamourty, Singapore
Holidayed in Himachal Pradesh, June 2014

My family vacation to North Kerala - Calicut and Wayanad organised by Shakti Holidays was extremely good and my sincere thanks to you for that. The resorts were good and the travel arrangements were hassle free too. This is our second continuous year of vacationing using Shakti Holidays and we are happy to say you are getting better every year! Kudos to you and your team and we hope you will have yet another good vacation plan in place for us next summer!
Ganesh Madhu & Family, Chennai
Holidayed in North Kerala, May 2014

One Word - Terrific !! Our experience with Shakti Holidays was exceptional. The attention to detail, care and warmth were inimitable. We enjoyed the experience, and the entire tour. We learned a lot about our homeland. Kudos !!
Prakash Mahadevan, New Jersey, USA
Holidayed in Rajasthan in June, 2012

We really appreciated the time and effort you put in to planning our trip. It was very kind of you to check in with us as we moved from place to place. Your services will be enthusiastically recommended to all our friends who are planning to come your way.
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Highlights were definitely seeing the Taj Mahal and also the sunrise boat ride along the ganges looking back at the ghats at Varanasi. Thanks for planning such an interesting and varied tour.
Varny, New Zealand

Hi Deepa,
Just wanted to thank you for arranging a nice holiday for my family. We had a wonderful time. If it had not been for this Bandh, it would have been more relaxing.
I Would like to thank you for your help especially for arranging the things on the Bandh day and following it up with phone calls, its much appreciated. I would happily recommend your services to my friends and colleagues. And will definitely come back to you for my next holiday.
Prasannaa S.

We will definitely tell people out here about your services as we had the most enjoyable trip ever.. And we had nothing to worry about with u around...
Darrel and Anca, Kuwait

Thank you for all your help to date Deepa.
You stand as a prime example of excellent service
Jan Belote, USA

Overall it was a very planned vacation and all of us had a very good time and your coordination was excellent. The tour guide was quit knowledge able and was able to give information to us about the places we visited. The air-conditioning of the vehicle we had in Chennai was not very effective. It took more than an hour for the vehicle to cool when we started from the service apartment and it lead to some discomfort.
I would definitely reach out to you for my next vacation needs. And it would be great if you keep me informed about any vacation offers that you may come to know.
Abhijith Godbole, Hyderabad

"The arrangements made for the Kerala trip and the choice of hotels were superb. Specific arrangements in a destination like Kalathil in Kumarakom is unforgetable".
Harish CH., Hyderabad


India Facts

Drop by this page whenever you wish to relax with an interesting book in hand....
Sittanavasal in Tamizh Nadu is a lesser known prehistoric site dotted with numerous dolmens, stone circles, megalithic burial sites, stone temple and forts - all of which lie within a radius of 40 km. Prominent amongst these is a 70 m high hill that has a natural cavern and a rock-cut cave temple dating to 2nd century B.C. This rock-cut Jain monastery contains artwork comparable to famous murals in Ajanta Caves.

The name "Sittanavasal" is a distorted version of "chir-ran-nal-vaa-yil" meaning in Tamizh language "the abode of great saints".

The rock cut Jain monastery is called Eladipattam. The cave is reached by stepping on seven holes cut in the rock. Inside this cave there are seventeen polished stone berths aligned into rows, each with a raised part - most likely these were beds for Jain monks with "stone pillows". The largest of these ascetic beds contains inscription in Brahmi script, Tamizh language from 1st century BC. Some more inscriptions in Tamizh language are from much later time - 8th century AD. These inscriptions name mendicants - monks, for example - Tolakunrattu Kadavulan, Tirunillan, Tiruppuranan, Tittaicbaranan, Sri Purrnacandlan, Nityakaran Pattakali. Most likely these people spent their lives in isolation in this hill. Eladipattam served as a site of very severe penance - kayotsarga (meditation in standing posture until salvation) and sallekhana (fasting until death).

This stone shelter continued to be the "Holy Sramana Abode" until 7th - 8th century AD.

The famous paintings are located in this later rock-cut temple named Arivar-Koil (temple of the Arhats) in north-western side of rock. This temple has been cut in rock in 7th - 9th c. AD.

Originally whole interior of the temple including the sculptures, was plastered and painted. Unfortunately the paintings on the walls have been lost.

Temple and paintings in it were noticed in early 20th century by S.Radhakrishna Iyer, local historian and he described this wonderful discovery in a book devoted to interesting sites of this region. The wider scientific community learned about frescoes later, after 1920.

Most paintings are made in Pandyan period - 9th century AD.

Central and most important drawing is a pond with lotuses, flowers in the pond are collected by monks, ducks, swans, fishes and animals in the pond. This scene shows Samava-sarana - important scene in Jain religion. Samava-sarvana is special, beautiful audience hall where Tirthankaras (great liberated souls in Jain religion) delivered sermons after they reached realisation (kevala-gnana). Bulls, elephants, apsaras and gods gathered in this audience hall to witness this grand scene.

Other paintings are floral patterns.

Tops of columns contain drawings of dancing women (apsaras) with lotuses. Southern pillar contains drawings of the king and queen with an umbrella over them.

Most likely the colors initially were vivid, now they are more grey. The technique of the drawing shows well developed style in art. India has long tradition of painting on rock with many Neolithic and later paintings in natural caves.

The walls of Sittanavasal Cave are not very even and thus the plaster has different thickness - from 1 to 8 mm. First layer of plaster contains coarse sand, second is more fine - this is similar to the technique of European frescoes. Pigment was mixed with the lime and possibly some gum (in the black pigment) as well. Color was put on dry plaster. It adhered to the plaster extremely well - persisting for more than 1000 years. Medieval artists had deep knowledge (which is lost now) about the natural pigments - colors did not bleach when mixed with lime and very well withstood the test of time. Artists in Sittanavasal have used black, green, yellow, orange, blue and white pigments.

Damp air in the cave facilitated growth of slime consisting of algae and lichen - throughout the centuries it covered the paintings. This slime had to be removed mechanically - with strong brushing in 1942 (Shri S.Paramasivan, K.R.Srinivasan) - happily paintings withstood this well.

Unfortunately the extremely valuable cave paintings have been vandalised. Some of the damage was done by contemporary artists secretly copying the paintings by laying tracing paper over the ancient paintings and redrawing them. As a result nowadays the paintings are barely visible and even somewhat insignificant.

Garbha griham is small square chamber, 3 m wide and deep, with 2.3 m high ceiling.

Rear wall contains sculpted images of three figures - possibly two Thirtankaras and acharya.

intricate carpet design and also a scene of Samava-sarvana with lotus pond.

The small shrine has exceptional, unique echo effect: if one is humming "ohmmm" inaudibly, the room starts echoing in audible frequencies. This does not happen if one is humming audibly.
The Manganiyars are a community of musicians originating from the remote desert villages of Barmer and Jaisalmer of Western Rajasthan. They perform during all occasions in their patron's family - during births, weddings and deaths. The Manganiyars are Muslims, but their music has Hindu themes as their patrons were Hindus. During all occasions at their patron's house, they compose songs describing the virtues and achievements of past generations of the patron's family. Traditionally, each Manganiyar family sings for a particular patron family through the generations. The genealogy of their patrons has been passed to them through songs composed by the Manganiyar's own ancestors.

In the current days, with the fragmentation of traditional community structures, the Patron-Manganiyar relationship is not as prevalent as it used to be. The Patrons' current lifestyles do not accommodate their relationship with their Manganiyar families as much as in the past. In 1960, renowned Rajasthani writer, Padma Shri Award winner Shri Vijaydan Dehta along with Rajasthani folklorist Shri Komal Kothari established Rupayan Sansthaan in the village of Borunda near Jodhpur, Rajasthan. In this remote village, the Manganiyars were invited to perform for an attentive audience. It can be said that this was the first time they were performing to an audience which was gathered for the sole purpose of listening to their music. All these centuries, the festivities in the patron's house dominated over their music. Through the Rupayan Sansthan the Manganiyar music was recorded and produced in CDs to be distributed across the world for the first time. Stalwart musicians like Pandit Ravi Shankar found the Manganiyar music to be highly sophisticate and rich in repertoire. In the last few decades, Manganiyars have performed in music festivals across the world, notably in France, Holland, New York, Sydney, etc.

Through this strong revival of hereditary folk art, the Manganiyar youth have found great opportunities to lead a comfortable lifestyle by continuing with their traditional profession as musicians.

Written in consultation with Shri Prakash Dehta, nephew of Shri Vijaydan Dehta
India is adorned with numerous temples, many of them more than a thousand years old. Each of the ancient temples is associated with a sthala purana (stories about the origin of that temple) and annual festivals. The Vazhuvoor Temple in Tamizhnadu has a Shiva Purana associated with it.

After his union with Mohini to create Manikandan/Lord Ayyappan, Lord Shiva was roaming the forests of Tharukavanam in the form of Bikshadanar(beggar). This visit had a purpose, as the Rishis in this forest had come to believe that worship of God was not necessary and salvataion could be attained just through Karma. The handsome Lord walked the streets of the Ashramas of the Rishis begging for alms. The rishipatnis (wives of rishis) were charmed by the Lord's beauty and followed him like zombies. They passed the site where the rishis were performing yagnas around the holy fire. The rishis were shocked to see this spectacle and decided to destroy the Bikshadanar. They performed the Abichara Yagna (Black Magic sacrifice) to bring out forces to destroy the Lord. The fire emitted a hissing snake, which The Lord caught and wore around his neck. Then a ferocious tiger emerged, which the Lord killed and wore the skin around his hips. The rishis then sent out an evil fire and drum reverberating with thundering noise. This too, The Lord tamed in his two hands. Finally out of the fire came a huge angry elephant. Lord Shiva assumed a miniscule form and entered the trunk of the elephant. For a moment everyone thought that the elephant was victorious as the Lord had disappeared. Suddenly the elephant rushed around madly like a rogue elephant. It was experiencing agony due to the movement of Lord inside its body. The Lord tore out of the elephant in a huge six armed manifestation, two hands holding the torn apart elephant skin and weapons in the other four hands, one leg on the elephant's head and the other leg lifted in the air. This is the image of Gajasamharamurthi (image of one who killed the elephant). The rishis realised that it was the Lord who had played this drama to bring them closer to Him and thereafter worshipped Him. Lord Shiva gave moksha (salvation) to the elephant and the rishipatnis returned to their normal state.

It is believed that this incident took place in Pazhuvoor in Tamizhnadu. Pazhuvoor is today called Vazhuvoor and one of the important shrines of the Vazhuvoor temple is the bronze image of Gajasamharar. An annual festival is conducted in this temple where the entire episode of Gajasamharam is enacted. The bronze idol is decorated and brought to the north western corner of the Temple pond into which the rogue elephant is believed to have fallen. A huge mock elephant made of cloth is part of the panorama. The Lord performs the dance of destruction and the suddenly the bronze idol is placed inside the cloth elephant. All lights are turned off and the entire town is in darkness. Under this cover of darkness, the cloth elephant is rushed to the south western corner where the Lord is believed to have emerged out of the torn elephant. As the bronze image is brought out of the elephant, Mangala Aarti is taken and after this the lights are turned on. The moment of the Mangala Aarti (light from camphor or oil wicks) is a sight to behold. This is followed by elaborate poojas. But that moment of Mangala Aarti lingers in our mind's eye forever and ever.

Contact us

Shakti Holidays Private Limited
22-23, 5th Street, Periyar Nagar, Madipakkam, Chennai 600 091
Phone: Call/Whatsapp +91 9840236872, +91 9611804972
Email: info@shaktiholidays.in, shaktiholidays@gmail.com

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