INCREDIBLE INDIA

Every region of India has its own culture and heritage, bringing about diversity, unlike any other country. The cultural and traditional vividness of India makes it unique to the rest of the world. Be it sports, music, technology, or education, Indians have achieved groundbreaking success in various fields globally. Watch these curated shows and documentaries that are a testament to India's glorious past and bright future today!

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    Beehad

    44 Min

    An area in the Chambal region on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh has a unique geography, and an even more unique human ecosystem. A region which, for many decades, has been home to some of the most feared dacoits in the country. Travel with us deep into the ravines of the Chambal river to hear first hand, the stories and experiences of some of the most notorious dacoits of modern India and the people whose lives are caught in the crossfire. For a close encounter with the legends of the wild, watch this EPIC Special - Beehad.

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    The Hornbill Festival of Nagaland, over the years, has evolved from being just a celebration of the heritage and tradition of the Nagas into one big cultural event for all the 8 Northeast States. Named after the Great Indian Hornbill, the revered forest bird which is displayed in the folklore of most of the state's tribes, the festival is a colourful mixture of religious ceremonies, food fairs, sports, games, parades, crafts, performances, dance etc. In this EPIC Special we take you to the exotic state of Nagaland to experience 'the festival of festivals' and a unique tribal life and culture.

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    Dr Vishwanath Pandey speaks about the achievements of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, a visionary of modern India. Pandit Malaviya, who founded Banaras Hindu University in 1916 and helped Indians become self-reliant and gain self-confidence through his contributions in the field of education. His thoughts and actions changed the course of history in India.

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    After years of attack and desctruction, Mulagandhakuti Vihara was finally restored in 1931 and adorned with beautiful murals, a two-tonne bell, and a gold-painted Buddha statue amongst other ornaments. This temple in Sarnath is dedicated to the sage and spiritual guru Lord Buddha, on whose profound teachings the religion of Buddhism was formed.

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    In Hindustani music, a gharana is a system of social organization linking musicians or dancers by lineage or apprenticeship, and by adherence to a particular musical-style. A gharana also indicates a comprehensive musicological ideology which sometimes changes substantially from one gharana to another. This directly affects the thinking, teaching, performance and appreciation of music.

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    According to Hindu beliefs, the fire and the burning at the cemetery grounds in Banaras liberates one from the everlasting cycle of life and death. Dom Raja Jagdish Chaudhary is the keeper of this sacred flame revered by all Hindus. He offers an insight into his work, which may appall many, but is sealed to become his life and the fate of future generations of his family.

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    Ganga Aarti is performed every sunset on Dashashwamedh Ghat, the main ghat in Banaras. There are many Hindu legends associated with the ghat, including the most-well known one that Lord Brahma himself constructed the flight of steps to welcome Lord Shiva.

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    Sant Kabir was one of the most revered saints of his time. His criticism of meaningless rites of initiation in Hinduism and Islam brought about a revolutionary change in Indian society. Both the educated and uneducated are familiar with his teachings and can recite his couplets even today. The legacy Sant Kabir has left behind is commendable and will be remembered for many more years to come.

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    Born in British India, Krishnamurthy was a philosopher, speaker and writer. His subject matter included psychological revolution, the nature of mind, meditation, inquiry, human relationships, and bringing about radical change in society. Denying allegiance to any nationality, caste, religion, or philosophy, he spent much of his life travelling the world, speaking to large and small groups and individuals.

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    Truth can sometimes be difficult to believe, especially since it's not easily perceptible. One such truth is the existence of Mahavatar Babaji, the deathless guru said to be somewhere between 5000 to 6000 years old. However, several of Babaji's disciples are reported to have met him and even described these first-hand accounts in sermons, books, and pictorial illustrations. Many of these devoted disciples mahasamadhi monuments contain sacred soil from Babaji's cave. One such disciple is Lahiri Mahasaya.

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    Many believe that a dead human’s soul is able to find salvation or moksha when cremated at Manikarnika Ghat, one of the oldest ghats in Banaras. Yamraj, the God of Death is prohibited here, and his work of leading lost souls to their final resting place is done by Lord Shiva himself. Thus, Manikarnika Ghat is said to be the Gateway to Heaven”.

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    Built in 1750 by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh, Ramnagar Fort is situated on the eastern right bank of the Ganga River, opposite the Banaras Ghats. Its prime and scenic location has made it a popular site amongst both Indians as well as foreign tourists.

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    Our quest for the most beautiful abandoned places in India and the history behind them took us to Kuldhara - a vast maze-like cluster of roofless homes, bare walls, and a carpet of disjointed bricks are all that remain of what is once said to have been a prosperous village. Sitting quiet in the sand dunes of western Rajasthan, this is just one of eighty-four such abandoned villages dotting the stark landscape. A local myth tells us that these villages were of the Paliwal Bhramins who fled their homes overnight to uphold their honour because the then prime-minister of the Jaisalmer court, man called Salem Singh wanted to marry the headman's daughter against her wishes. How true this myth is, no one can tell.

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    Far up in the Himalayas, a couple of hours drive from the border town of Kargil, further north from the grand Srinagar-Leh Highway lie the ruins of what once must have been a majestic fort. Rumoured to be taller and older than its famous cousin - the Leh Palace, the Chiktan fortress is shrouded in many mysteries. Legends of its making, numerous sinister and violent events, magical tales of wondrous creations and a heart-wrenching tailspin of destruction and apathy encompass the story of this fabulous fortress set in an almost fantastical location.

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    A thousand years ago, in an age when Buddhism was prominent in Kashmir, Ladakh and Srinagar, an exceptionally visionary scholar and translator, Lochava Rinchen Zangpo, set up a world class university a kilometre away from where the famous Thiksey monastery stands today on the outskirts of Leh town. Lonely walls and silent shrines are what stand today, mute witnesses to the times when a wonder monk walked the land. There are as many contradictions to its disappearance as there are musings about the wonders it held.

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    Human Life has long been intertwined with the course of rivers and their confluence with the great seas. Lakhpat is the apocalytic setting of life if the river were to disappear. Situated at the mouth of the Kori Creek from where the Sindhu once met the Arabian Sea, it is all but a fortified ghost town whose walls overlook the desert sands as it preserves within it, with infinite care, the remains of a two century old trading hub blessed by the holy men and the beloved of men of exceptional valour.

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    E5 Roha

    21 Min

    In the vast territories of the Kutch, on top of a forlorn hillock stands the fort of Roha. Once the biggest jaagir in the region, it lies neglected and forgotten. A close observer in the tragic death of 120 princesses, the seat of brave rulers, home to famous artists, a once burgeoning and rich principality, this is a story of riches to ruins as tempests of fate took charge of Roha and reduced the stone fortress to whispers in the wind.

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    The astonishment of why some places lie abandoned and in ruins does not get more perplexing than this. Off the Konkan coast of Maharastra lies the impregnable, unassailable and unconquered fort of Janjira. A fascinating history that begins with a pirate keep from which the Ethiopians carved out a stone fortress. It has held back mighty warriors like Shivaji the great Maratha champion. It lends a distinctive colour to the eclectic social fabric of the region.

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    This time our quest for abandoned places and their stories took us to two different places in East Rajasthan. One, an erstwhile king's capital reduced to rubble after being ravaged by war, and the second, an unconquerable fort still standing high and proud after being torn by tragedy. Tying the two are valiant stories of a brave dynasty of Rajputs – the Khinchi Chauhans and their poignant history.

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    A medieval town of palaces and temples, and while the temples still draw pilgrims by the thousands the majestic palaces lie silent. What prompted the Bundelkhandi Kings of Orchha to abandon their capital and move elsewhere? This question throws up a plethora of answers and the most intriguing one tells us of a curse that explains why this town has been abandoned twice in the past and will be abandoned once more in the years to come.

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    A couple of hours drive from Jaipur, in the land of a thousand forts, the fort of Bhangarh has consistently topped the list of the most haunted place in the country. Not much is known about the fort and the entire town the lies sprawled in front of it. Rumours of curses abound and all that meets the eye is a town that appears to have been abandoned at the spur of an instant. Is there a grain of truth in its many creepy stories or can they be explained away through logic?

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    The sleepy town of Ramgarh in northern Rajasthan is known by connoisseurs as a unique open art gallery. It is the site of several mansions made at a time when it was on the crossroads of trade routes and wealth streamed in from all directions. The cenotaphs and palatial homes painted on the outside and inside with some fabulous examples of local artwork are visually exceptional as we follow the story of what turned this cosmopolitan trade city into a sleepy unknown town overflowing with vestiges of a splendid era.

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    Sara explores the mystical place of Lakhamandal with many stories attached to it, majorly of the escape of Pandavas from Lakshagraha, where Dyurodhan tried to scheme their death.

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    E9 Manu

    21 Min

    Sara explores the story of formation of our world in the story of Manu, equivalent to Noah's Ark in western mythology, in modern day Manali, also known as Manualaya.

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    Sara explores the story of Prashar Rishi and how he contained his anger by striking a blow in ground to make Prashar Lake, near Mandi, Himachal.

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    Sara explores the story of Shaktipeeth and Parvati's scattered body parts, when she burns herself in Sati.

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    Sara explores in Rudraprayag the story of Parvati and Shiva's marriage which was supposed to have taken place in the Trijuginarayan temple.

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    Sara explores the story of tribal Hidimbi from Mahabharata, who marries Bhima after he kills her brother and they give birth to their son Ghatotkacha.

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    Sara explores the story of Geeta-Saar, the dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, as Arjuna is faced with self-doubt, in modern day Kurukshetra.

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    In the southern Himalayas, Sara explores Rewalsar, where the love of Guru Rinpoche and Princess Mandarava transformed a pyre into a sacred lake.

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    Sara explores the story of finding Sanjeevani bought by Hanuman, from the hills of Shimla.

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    Sara explores the story of Sita-Haran, the kidnapping of Sita by demon king Ravana and the name that got forever attached to the place Nashik.

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    Whether you refer to Udaipur as the City of Lakes or the City of Dawn, you're sure to agree that romance and beauty fill the air. In Jaipur, we tour the Pink City, paying close attention to such architectural treasures as the Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal) and the Amber Fort.

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    Discover the amazing history of this ancient city through its religion, royal lineage, architecture and art. We visit the Golconda Fort where the ultimate in diamond souvenirs originated. And, of course, no visit to Hyderabad would be complete without taking a look at its high-tech and movie industries, which have revolutionized the city.

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    Bill encounters the magnificent tiger along with Sambar and Blue Bull, Wild Boar and Langur Monkey in the wildlife sanctuary of Ranthambore. We end the episode with a tour of a very different national park. Board a rickshaw and join your guide as he explores Keoladeo National Park, known for its abundant bird life.

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    We cruise the backwaters of Kerala, one of the most beautiful and serene areas of India. We explore the cities of Cochin and Kozhikode, attend a local theatre performance and learn about traditional drama styles. The drama continues as we witness a local festival and then take in a display of the ancient art of Kalaripayattu. Bill helps raise the Chinese fishing nets at dusk and tours a 1000 year old boat yard, where luxury vessels are still handcrafted.

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    The Golden Temple is the centerpiece of the city of Amritsar, and probably the second most photographed building in India. The most significant building to people of the Sikh faith, it is open to people of all faiths. We witness the celebration of the changing of the guard before heading into the mountains for a visit to the British influenced town of Shimla.

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    E6 Agra

    25 Min

    Agra is home to India's most recognizable monument the Taj Mahal. First, we tour the Agra Fort and learn its role n the incredible history behind the Taj Mahal's construction. Bill takes us to a factory where we learn how the craft of stone inlay that adorns the Taj Mahal, is still made today. We continue on to Fatehpur Sikri, a former Mughal capital, which was created of red sandstone and displays the influence of its Hindu and Mughal roots.

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    With classic tales as The Jungle Book to his credit, Rudyard Kipling brought India to life for many readers around the world. In this episode, Bill steps back into Kipling's wild world while exploring Kanha and Bandhavgarh National Parks, the inspiration for The Jungle Book and many other tales. There, we track tigers and search for jackal, sambar, chital, monkeys and wildboar.

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    Follow Bill as he journeys through this city of contrasts and touches on its many faces. We visit Cubbon Park and Lal Bagh Gardens, shop in the markets and explore the nightlife of the modern city. We also explore architecture, from ancient Bull Temple, the legendary source of the Vishva Bharti River to the largest legislative building in India. Bill's final stop is the Queen of the Hill Stations Ooty.

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    Explore the Gateway to India Mumbai. From its early history, it's many foreign occupations to the hustle and bustle of today. Bill tells Mumbai's rich history as told through two of its most famous inhabitants, Gandhi and Kipling. From Mumbai Bill heads to a little bit of heaven on earth, the coastal paradise of Goa. This hot spot for in the know travelers feature white, sandy beaches and is surrounded by tropical plant life.

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    The desert of Gujarat is hardly the place one expects to encounter a lion, but in the scrub forest of the region Bill does exactly that. Join him as he tracks the lion and many less dangerous creatures from spotted deer to owls and parrots. Around the campfire at night meet the local dance group who is preserving the traditional dances of the area people. A unique experience in a unique region.

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    The Mahouts of Kerala is a window into the exotic world of the elephant-loving Princess Lakshmi and the mahout Kuttan, whose family have been caring for the Maharaja's elephants for generations.

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    The three-week-long Nanda Devi Raj Jat is a pilgrimage and festival of Uttarakhand in India. People from the entire Garhwal-Kumaon Division, as well as other parts of India and the world participate in Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra. The goddess Nanda Devi is worshipped at dozens of places in Kumaon and Garhwal, but the region around Mt. Nanda Devi and its sanctuary, which falls in the Pithorgarh, Almora and Chamoli District, is the prime area related to Nanda Devi. The Jat, meaning Yatra or pilgrimage starts from Nauti village near Karnprayag and goes up to the heights of Roopkund and Homekund with a four horned sheep. After the havan - yagna is over, the sheep is freed with decorated ornaments, food and clothing, and the other offerings are discarded. The legend is this that Nanda Devi, consort of Lord Shiva left her village and went to the Nanda Devi parbat. Therefore, when the yatra starts, heavy rain occurs as if the devi is crying. This yatra covers many villages, interesting legends and awe-inspiring locales. The journey is difficult because of the difficult terrain it goes through, it goes high upto 16000 feet above sea level. Besides many interesting places, one passes by a Lake known as Roopkund which is surrounded by hundreds of ancient skeletons and there are interesting legends behind this skeletal lake. Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra 2014 started from 18 August 2014 and went up to 6 September 2014. 40000 people covered distance of approximately 290 km. The 230 km distance was covered by foot or by trekking route and the rest 60 km was covered by the bus transport. Nanda Devi Raj Jat is organised once in 12 years. Nanda Devi Raj Jat 2014 has special importance because that is the 1st ever Raj Jat of Uttarakhand State, which was part of Uttar Pradesh State in earlier Raj Jat.

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    Janani

    43 Min

    Rivers have been the thread through which a nation's history, culture and existence has been woven. Be it Ancient Egypt along the Nile, or Indus Valley Civilisation along the Indus - rivers are the cradle of our civilisation. The rampant growth and development in the last couple of centuries has taken its toll on rivers - environmentally and culturally. Janani is a journey along the glorious Yamuna river, exploring it's mythical and natural origins, the society and culture that prospered on its banks and the environmental degradation it now faces. Mother to cities like Delhi and Agra, consort of Krishna and a gushing pristine stream in the Himalayas, Yamuna is not only a giver of water and life to its people, it is also a goddess and a cultural icon that has been celebrated in various art forms. Janani is the story of this river from its birth at Yamunotri till its confluence with Ganga and the Mythical Saraswati at Allahabad.

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    This is the story of the many ghats on the banks of the Ganga and its tributaries in the holy land of Lord Shiva - Varanasi - and the millions who call it home. Kids, adults, locals, and people from all over the country live here in harmony, eking out a living and a life for themselves. Death surrounds the Ganga, with those who pass on from this world in the hope of attaining salvation or Moksha.Dreams are fulfilled and broken right here along the holy river, but life goes on despite everything. Ghat Ghat ka Paani explores life and its myriad hues along the holy Ganges.

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    Go back in time and discover the vivid, yet scattered history of Kashmir. The monarchs of Kashmir, centuries ago, built several temples. But these temples can not all be seen in present-day Kashmir. Some temples couldn’t defeat the rage of the foreign invaders, and some got defeated by the sands of time. Today, even in their state of ruin, these shattered temples speak volumes about their history. The few that have survived and are standing tall are monuments of grace even today. Kashmir Ki Virasat brings their oft-forgotten history to life.

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