Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Days of India in Armenia: A week-long festival

From 31th of August till 6th of September Indo-Armenian Friendship in collaboration with ICIRLD Armenia and Havana Restaurant Complex with the support of the Embassy of India in Armenia organized Cultural Festival “Days of India in Armenia”.

It became a festival of colors and joy, tastes and beauties, a festival of a real friendship and global understanding, a festival of new discoveries and new perceptions of real India which is beyond Bollywood…

Opening speech by Hon. Ambassador of India to Armenia Dr Suresh Babu

Opening ceremony

The grand opening was attended by more than 20 ambassadors of different countries in Armenia, by many representatives of very different Ministries and just by Indian culture lovers.

The cultural program of the Opening was full Indian music and dances performed by Armenian artists. The special guest of the evening was Rima Shamo, rather famous dancer of Indian dances who lives in Georgia. One of the surprises of the Opening ceremony was the Armenian song “ Ov sirun, sirun” performed by  the  Second secretary of the Embassy of India in Armenia Mr. Prashant Das.

During the days of the Festival in some regions of India was being celebrated Onam festival which lasts 10 days and symbolizes a colorful celebration of harvest. We also managed to celebrate it by dropping down in the water small baskets of flowers and candles.

The Festival lasted till 6th of September. Starting from 2nd of September we had seminars and workshops on very different topics about India and Indian Culture. We had seminars on Indian Spices and Jewelries, on Indian dances, on cultural diversity and touristic attractions of India, on New Ages and Ayurveda and so on.

The last day was “The day of Indian Cuisine”. It was organized in collaboration with Indian restaurants Veda and Karma. Our guests could enjoy not only the food of Indian cooks from the Indian restaurants but also the hospitality of Mrs. Arevik, the cook of almost all Indian ambassadors in Armenia, an Armenian woman with very deep knowledge and endless love of Indian Cuisine and Culture.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Trip to Lastiver

In continuation of annual tradition, on 13th of September, 2015 Indo-Armenian Friendship NGO organized a trip to the gorgeous Lastiver with IAF members and Staff of Embassy of India to Armenia.

Lastiver is in Tavush Marz (region) of Armenia, nearby Yenokavan village, 10km from the regional ceter of Ijevan. The village is located at a height of 1,000-1,300 meters, surrounded by hills, and close to a forest-covered gorge about 100 meters deep that ranges for about 5km.

On the way to Lastiver the group visited Sevanavank Monastery at Lake Sevan. Sevanavank Monastery is located in Gegharkunik region, which is popular in Armenia due to its possession of the blue pearl of Armenians, Lake Sevan. There are two churches on the peninsula of Sevan. These two churches were built in 874 AD and together form the Sevanavank Monastery. According to an inscription found in the territory, the monastery was built by Armenian princess Mariam, daughter of Ashot I, who later became the king of Armenia and the founder of Bagratuni dynasty. Sevanavank is one of the 30 churches that Princess Mariam vowed to build in the memory of her husband. King Ashot I, in his turn, presented six villages and gardens in the territory of today’s Garni and Yerevan to the monastery.

The trip continued by bus till Yenokavan village from where 3 km long trekking started to Lastiver. The weather was foggy and cold, but trip's participants were still in quite joyous mood. They were singing, telling some funny stories till they reached the "heart" of Lastiver. At the caves a marvelous landscape welcomed everyone: the waterfalls of Lastiver, which is considered to be the wonder of nature in Armenia.

Lastiver Cave is hard to access on a cliff face, and the entrance has been partially protected with an ancient wall. There is a pond taking up most of the cave, which water level is supposed never to change - even if you remove water it immediately returns to its previous level.

At the river, which has beautiful cascades and rapids, there is a campground built, with amenities. Walking around the Lastiver one establishes mental contact with nature which cleans the negative emotions from the body. After having lunch, spending some time at the waterfall and discussing the future plans of the NGO, participants started their journey back to Yenokavan village. It was mostly hiking and more adventurous, sometimes even dangerous.

Although the smallest member of our group was enjoying it the most.

The group had a great day full of many memorable moments.