Friday, December 14, 2018

Amitav Ghosh Jnanpith awardee of 2018

Noted writer Amitav Ghosh has won the 54th Jnanpith award this year for his contributions to literature. He is famously known for his English fiction novels.

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta on 11 July 1956 to a Bengali Hindu family, The Doon School Weekly. His contemporaries at Doon included author Vikram Seth and Ram Guha. After Doon, he received degrees from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University, and Delhi School of Economics. He then won the Inlaks Foundation scholarship to complete a D. Phil. in social anthropology at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, under the supervision of Peter Lienhardt. His first job was at the Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi.

Ghosh lives in New York with his wife, Deborah Baker, author of the Laura Riding biography In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding (1993) and a senior editor at Little, Brown, and Company. They have two children, Lila and Nayan. He has been a fellow at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and Centre for Development Studies in Trivandrum. In 1999, Ghosh joined the faculty at Queens College, City University of New York, as Distinguished Professor in Comparative literature. He has also been a visiting professor at the English department of Harvard University since 2005.

In a career studded with prizes, he has also won the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Padma Shri, Ananda Puraskar and Dan David Prize.
Ghosh will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Times Litfest on December 16.

Few of the notable works of the renowned English fiction novelist are 'The Glass Palace', 'Sea of Poppies', The Hungry Tide, Flood of Fire and 'River of Smoke'.

Amitav Ghosh has also written few non-fiction novels like 'The Imam and the Indian', 'The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable' and 'In an Antique Land'.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Weddings List 2018, India

Husband & WifeLocationWedding Day
Kapil Sharma & Ginni ChatrathJalandhar, PunjabWednesday, 12 December 2018
Anand Piramal & Isha AmbaniMumbaiWednesday, 12 December 2018
Amrish Sharma & Shruti SharmaNoida, IndiaWednesday, 12 December 2018
Nick Jonas & Priyanka ChopraUmaid Bhawan, Jodhpur, IndiaSaturday, 1 December 2018
Ranveer Singh & Deepika PadukoneLake Como, ItalyWednesday, 14 November 2018
Prince Narula & Yuvika ChaudharyThursday, 11 October 2018
Sumit Vyas & Ekta KaulSaturday, 15 September 2018
Mahaakshay Chakraborty & Madalsa SharmaTuesday, 10 July 2018
Chaitanya Sharma & Shweta TripathiGoa, IndiaFriday, 29 June 2018
Abhinav Shukla & Rubina DilaikShimla, Himachal Pradesh, IndiaThursday, 21 June 2018
Himesh Reshammiya & Sonia KapoorSaturday, 12 May 2018
Angad Bedi & Neha DhupiaNew Delhi, IndiaThursday, 10 May 2018
Anand Ahuja & Sonam KapoorMumbai, IndiaTuesday, 8 May 2018
Ataul Haque & Shabnam ParweenSundargarh, OdishaFriday, 4 May 2018
Chiranjeevi Sarja & Meghana RajWednesday, 2 May 2018
Milind Soman & Ankita KonwarAlibaug, MaharashtraSunday, 22 April 2018
Vineett Kumar & Gaganpreet KaurDelhiWednesday, 18 April 2018
Shakti Arora & Neha SaxenaMonday, 16 April 2018
Neeraj Madhav & DeepthiKozhikode, KeralaMonday, 2 April 2018
Ayaz Khan & Amish KhanLucknowFriday, 16 March 2018
Varun & Vividha KritiThursday, 15 March 2018
Andrei Koschei & Shriya SaranMumbai, IndiaMonday, 12 March 2018
Akshay & KeerthanaChennaiThursday, 8 March 2018
Keith Sequeira & Rochelle RaoMonday, 5 March 2018
Ankit Tiwari & Pallavi ShuklaFriday, 23 February 2018
Shoaib Ibrahim & Dipika KakarBhopal, IndiaThursday, 22 February 2018
Mohit Marwah & Antra MotiwalaUAEThursday, 22 February 2018
Dipika Kakar & Shoaib IbrahimThursday, 22 February 2018
Gaurav Chopra & HitishaTuesday, 20 February 2018
Ved Prakash Sharma & Poonam SharmaBokaro, IndiaSunday, 18 February 2018
Naveen & BhavanaMonday, 22 January 2018
Gautam Rode & Pankhuri AwasthyRajasthanFriday, 5 January 2018
Virat Kohli & Anushka SharmaTuscany, ItalyMonday, 11 December 2017

Friday, November 30, 2018

Prathamashtami festival celebrated on the 8th day after Karthik Poornima

One of the many aspects of the Hindu culture is the emphasis it gives on the firstborn or the eldest child. Ram, the Maryada Purushottam, was the firstborn. Yuddhisthira was the eldest of the Pandavas, though technically Karna was a firstborn. Raja Harishchandra too was a firstborn. As per our Hindu tradition, the first born or the eldest child takes all the responsibilities of the family after the death of the parents. It is him, who is looked upon as the guardian of the family who is the most responsible person to bind the family and carry out his duties.

In Odisha, the 8th day of the dark phase of the moon in the Margashirsha month is famous for the third-most popular festival of the Odia culture- Prathamashtami (Pratham + Ashtami). It is celebrated on the eighth day after the Kartik Poornima.

The ceremony is a religious rite observed for the well being of the first child, be it a son or a daughter (anybody sensing women empowerment here?). The ritual involves the Aarti of the first child by the mother and other relatives, especially the females. During the rituals, Ganesha, Shashti Devi & the family deity/Kuldevta/Kuldevi are worshipped.

As a customary tradition, gifts are sent for the first born by the maternal uncles.

The social significance of this festival is that the firstborns are brighter, more obedient, loyal and tradition-bound. As per the Hindu culture, after the parents, the firstborns are the guardian of the family.

The signature delicacy for this ritual is "ENDURI PITHA" or "HALDI PATRA PITHA". It is a kind of steamed dumpling. The batter is put on a piece of "HALDI Patra" (turmeric leaf). The stuffing in the form of coconut, chhena, jaggery, cardamom powder, and black pepper is put inside it and it is then steamed.

The heavenly aroma of the turmeric leaves steaming spreads throughout the whole house.

Written by: Saswat Routoy

Facts about the most isolated tribe in the world - Sentinelese

North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands, an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal which also includes South Sentinel Island. It is home to the Sentinelese, a people who have rejected, often violently, any contact with the outside world.

Recently an American missionary John Allen Chau who also got killed by the Sentinelese tribe had left some notes on the social hierarchy of the tribe and tribe's population. According to him currently, the tribe's population is around 250. Tribe's leader wears a crown made of white flowers. The tribe used some local language which mostly sounded like high pitched 'b', 'p', 'l' & 's'.
Chau also observed that the tribe is quite young. Tribe's old people might be living in some other part of the island.

Former Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) researcher Madhumala Chattopadhyay successfully made friendly contact with the Sentinelese in 1991 after escaping an initial arrow attack. She researched for around six years on the Sentinelese tribe and concluded that Sentinelese may be technologically backward but are quite advanced to us socially.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Rath Yatra - A festival celebrated in honour of Lord Jagannath

The Rath Yatra or chariot festival is celebrated in honor of Lord Jagannath who is one of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu at Puri, Odisha. It celebrates the annual journey of Lord Jagannath with his brother Balabhadra and his sister Subhadra, as he travels from his sacred temple located in Puri to visit his aunt’s temple(Mausi Maa) located in Gundicha. The three deities are brought out of the temple in a formal and elaborate procession known as Pahandi. After the Pahandi is over, the holy chariots are swept with stately formality and ceremoniously by the Gajapati of Puri. The Rath Yatra festival is a nine-day period in which the devotees are engaged in the worship of their God and sing and dance for him.
Rath Yatra celebrated in Puri, Odisha

Three separate chariots are created with unique structures and technical design specifications. Nandighosa is the chariot of Lord Jagannath. It is a towering mammoth creation almost like a skyscraper with eighteen wheels. Taladhvaja is the chariot of Balabhadra. It is a huge artistic creation but smaller in size to that of Lord Jagannath and it contains sixteen wheels.
Devadalana is the chariot of Subhadra. It is also a towering creation but smaller than the other two and contains fourteen wheels. As per religious directions and established cultural practices, the idols and the chariots are made of wood and are refurbished after every twelve years in which new creations are established. This is called the Nabakalebara.
Rath Yatra procession

The Rath Yatra signifies a journey through life with family members. The emergence of the god from the temple is a symbol of his presence among ordinary men on earth.
It is a lesson that God is present in our hearts and minds and is manifest among us only. Thus we must respect and honor each other. The pulling of the divine chariot by congregations of devotees signifies the united force of human beings. It illustrates how the power of God can be transmitted to man and how by collective efforts man can reach God. It also instills the value of unity, plurality, and brotherhood on earth.
Lord Jagannath

Written by: Purva Bhargava Singh

Monday, June 12, 2017

Top 10 Places to Visit in Ahmadabad

Ahmedabad over the years has grown on to become one of the most popular tourist destinations for people both in India and abroad. Located in Gujarat, Ahmedabad each year attracts millions of tourists who visit this place in order to dive in a little deep into its history as well as to get hold of their contemporary lifestyle. Each and every tourist destination in Ahmedabad has a story of its own, and you would be amazed to find the importance this place holds in the pages of Indian history. So, in case you are planning a trip to Ahmedabad here are 10 places which you definitely shouldn’t miss.

  1. Sabarmati Ashram
Photo by Mano Ranjan M, CC BY 2.0

If you talk about Ahmedabad, one place which definitely comes to our mind is the Sabarmati Ashram. Known by many as the home of Mahatma Gandhi, this place actually was more of his second home. It is from Sabarmati that the final movement of Indian independence started and finally it was in the year 1947 that it was won. Mahatma Gandhi spent 12 years of his life at this Ashram and each and every moment of his stay at this place has been captured in 250 photographs which are displayed in this cottage. Declared as a national monument after independence this place does also contain 35,000 books including the famous “My Life My Message” by Mahatma Gandhi.

  1. Akshardham Temple
Photo by Harsh4101991, CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the most intricately carved temples all over India; the Akshardham temple each year attracts millions of devotees. This temple which has been dedicated to Swaminarayan does consist of his 10 stories tall gold statue in between sprawling green land. Being here one can also witness the water shows as well as audio-animatronic shows. You will be mesmerised as well as be amazed to see, Mystic India, a movie showcasing the journey of 11-year-old child who turns into a yogi.

  1. Kankaria Lake
Photo by Arkarjun1, CC BY 3.0

Known as the largest lake in Ahmedabad, Kankaria lake is located in southern Ahmedabad. This place serves as one of the popular tourist spots in Ahmedabad as it offers plenty of entertainment for the family as well as couples. Containing water balloon rides, toy train rides as well as plenty of food stalls, it serves as a one-stop entertainment unit for everyone. And while you are at it don’t forget to see their laser light shows which are conducted in the evening after sunset. To know more about tourist places in Ahmedabad, check:

  1. Jama Masjid
Photo by Nagarjun Kandukuru, CC BY 2.0

One of the oldest mosques in the country the Jama Masjid was built back in the year 1424.This masjid is known to contain the last remains of Sultan Ahmad Shah and his family. This Sultan of Ahmedabad built this mosque for the Friday prayers of Sultans. However, now it is widely used by the common people for praying to their “Allah”. Women are not allowed inside the mosque, however, even from the outside one can witness the great craftsmanship of bygone era.

  1. Lal Darwaja

The oldest market in Ahmedabad, Lal Darwaja does offer tourists their hands of the locally made items as well as fabrics. The place is generally crowded, and you will find thousands of stalls on footpaths selling items at very pocket-friendly rates. However, beware of the fraudsters and cheats as they might try to sell you cheap and low-quality items. An item in this market shouldn’t cost you more than Rs. 500-600, provided it is original.

  1. Parimal Garden
Photo by Emmanuel DYAN, CC BY 2.0

Parimal Garden as the name suggests is a beautiful garden spread in the centre of the city. This place truly is a delight for nature lovers as it does contain plenty of greenery along with colourful flowers. This place truly does offer a relaxing ambience and families can visit this place during daylight for their children can also enjoy on the swings located in this garden. However, if you aren’t much fond of the daylight, then you can visit this place in the evening during which there are colourful fountains to gaze at.

  1. Calico, A Museum of Textiles

Regarded as one of the finest museums for textile Calico has been designed in accordance with the traditional Gujarati architecture. Also, an institute for Indian textile industry this place boasts itself as the proud owner of some of the finest textiles in the nation. This place does contain some of the greatest handicrafts some dating five centuries back. These textiles have been collected and preserved over the years to increase awareness about such designs as well as to allow students to gain in-depth knowledge of same.

  1. Thol Lake
Photo by Emmanuel DYAN, CC BY 2.0

If picturesque locations due to intrigue you, then Thol Lake is one destination which you shouldn’t miss.  About 30 km. away from the city, Thor Lake serves as one of the best destinations to spot various species of bird. According to reports, one can easily find more than 200 species of birds in and around this place with some of the common ones being Storks, Flamingos and Spoonbills. The best time to visit this place is during the month of November to February, as one can Peacefully witness varieties of birds away from the hustle of the city.

  1. Hutheesing Jain Temple
Photo by Chobist, CC BY 2.0

If you are a history lover or architecture and design is something which interests you, then this Jain temple definitely should be on your To-Do List in Ahmedabad. Built by a merchant back in the 19th century this temple is carved out of marble and is dedicated to 15th Jain Tirthankara, Dharmanath. Famous for its splendid architecture this two story tall temple is visited by thousands of people and does contain separate areas for each of the 15th Tirthankara. There are so many things to do while in Ahmedabad, check:

  1. Manek Chowk
Photo by Uwais, CC BY-SA 3.0

Now after all this travelling and visiting one definitely does crave some good food. So, in case you wish to taste in some delicious Gujarati food, then look no further than the Manek Chowk. A popular food street in Ahmedabad the place serves foods of all types be it Chinese, Continental or Mughlai. So, what are you waiting for head there to get some real taste of India.

So, these were the top 10 destinations you definitely ought to visit while being in Ahmedabad. There are a few other places and water parks which you can visit if you have time, however visiting these 10 will provide a good glimpse of old and new Ahmedabad.

Author Bio:

Rohit loves exploring new destinations and sectors across town. A history buff this individual wish to unravel some of the deepest facts buried deep down in the pages of Indian history. You can read more about his travel stories on

Sunday, April 16, 2017

This man stands and plays flutes all day long to make his living will make you cry

Standing business-as-usual 10 hours every day selling flutes

A flute seller Story

This man nicknamed ‘Raju’, a native of Sultanpur, 136 km South East to Lucknow comes daily to sell Flutes near Sector 54 Chowk Rapid Metro Station, Gurugram.
He comes from Sector 9 old Gurugram to Sector 54, Gurugram every day through a city bus via Golf course road. He is routine to come near Sector 54 Chowk rapid metro station daily by 11 am and his business as usual starts standing in the sunny day till 9 pm without breaks.
The man keeps playing his flute all day long to woo visitors coming to Bikanervala, The Indian grill and people working at Business Towers.
I happen to saw him many times and finally, couldn’t resist going to him, just to ask him, how he able to stand so long hours every day, irrespective of so odd days (chilly winters to hot and humid summers). It was unbelievable to listen to him when he was speaking, the guy whose flute sound can be clearly audible in 200 meters circle from where he stand was unable to speak as loud so that a person standing 2 to 3 feet away could hear him properly, his voice goes so hoarse playing flutes day long.
What if I say, he don’t even bring food along but borrows some water from the security guards of the Business tower to satisfy his thirst and keep playing his flutes all day long every day from 11 am to 9 pm.
What if I say he hardly manage to attract 8 to 12 prospective customers, playing his flute and finally able to sell just 3 to 5 flutes, after standing 10 hours a day and playing his flute all along the course of his business as usual hours.

I urge everyone reading this story, please don't bargain with these guys just pay them the price they ask for their products, trust me they hardly make enough money to save, they just earn enough to have a meal a day and continue their business as usual.

I brought one home with the first price he asked me to sell his flute.
Flute from the flute seller
Flute from the flute seller

Flute from the flute seller
Flute from the flute seller

Monday, April 10, 2017

Top 10 Best Tourist Places to Visit in Kerala

If you thought that Kerala is a hot and humid coastal state famous for mosquitoes even in winter, you’d be dead wrong. Kerala has more serene, cool hill stations and scenic backwaters that one gets to see anywhere. Kerala’s immensely blessed when it comes to natural splendor, a rich culture, fascinating traditions, and wildlife. Oh, and did we forget to mention the amazing beaches? Here are some of the best places to visit in Kerala this year.

Romantic Seaside Towns

1.    Varkala
If you’re looking for an amazing beach surrounded by high cliffs for that perfect photo opp, head to Varkala. People come here from all over the world to worship the sun, ride boats, surf and enjoy relaxing Ayurvedic massages. Varkala is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus, who believe that the sunset here can drive away one’s sins. Don’t forget to check out some of the top Kerala attractions such as the Janardhana Temple, Kappil Lake and Sivagiri Mutt.


2.    Kovalam
Kovalam is an exotic, beautiful beach that’s famous for sunbathing and Ayurvedic treatments. If you’re here during December and January, do join in the traditional New Year celebrations. Enjoy a fabulous view of the whole city from the top of the lighthouse on the crescent-shaped beach, Visit the historic Vizhinjam mosque and Kovalam’s Samudra Beach and Hawah Beach. An interesting sight is the strangely shaped rock formations along the coast. Be sure to include Kovalam into your Kerala packages.


3.    Marari
Marari is known for its beaches and for its fabulous backwaters. Blessed with a long stretch of white sand bordered by exotic palm trees and surrounded by sleepy fishing villages, Marari is the best cure for a restless soul. Take a boat ride on the backwaters overnight, and watch the fishermen line their boats along the coastline for dawn fishing. Stay at one of Marari’s beach resorts and enjoy the endless golden sands and warm sunshine.

Kerala’s Lovely Backwaters


4.    Alleppey
Alleppey is so well known that Lord Curzon described this place as the ‘Venice of the East’. Rent a houseboat for the duration of your vacation and cruise the natural backwaters. Green paddy fields, fishermen with their nets, cute ducks, small chapels and water lilies will pass by. Enjoy a conventional Kerala meal served on plantain leaves. Don’t miss seeing the Arthunkal Church, Krishnapuram Palace, Chettikulangara Bhagawathy Temple, Pathiramanal, Marari Beach and Sri Krishna Temple in Ambalappuzha.


5.    Kumarakom
Kumarakom is a sleepy little hamlet located near the picturesque Vembanad Lake, famed for its rare plants, wildlife and exotic scenery. You can go house boating, rafting, fishing, sightseeing, bird watching and kayaking on the lake and the waterways. A walk through cool coconut groves, green paddy fields and mangrove forests is a definite treat. Sail over the Vembanad Lake and watch wild duck, egrets, teal, herons, waterfowl, cuckoo, and darters along with a variety of migratory birds. Visit some of the small islands nearby for a more thorough wildlife study.


6.    Ashtamudi
The Ashtamudi Lake is the second longest lake in Kerala, stretching for 16 kilometers. Gift yourself a long backwater cruise from Ashtamudi to Alleppey. Explore the cluster of eight tiny islands named for Resident Colonel John Munro at the confluence of the Kallada River and Ashtamudi Lake. Enjoy the local crafts such as coconut husk netting, and the making of Chinese fishing nets.

Kerala’s Cool Hill Stations


7.    Munnar
Munnar is covered with green mountain slopes full of tea farms, where low-flying clouds scud along the misty valleys. Munnar was favored by the English colonials for tea farming and for its climate. Hike around the mountains and discover streams and waterfalls. Be sure to check out the Blossom Park, Pothamedu ViewPoint, TATA Tea Museum, Attukal Waterfalls, Kundala Lake, Top Station, Mattupetty Dam, Eravikulam National Park, Marayoor Dolmens, Anamudi and the Indo Swiss Diary Farm,


8.    Wayanad
Wayanad is a calm, serene little place where over fifty different tribes live in harmony. Places to see will be the Banasura Sagar Dam, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Edakkal Caves, Lakkidi, Tusharagiri Waterfalls, Sentinel Rockfalls and Kalpetta. Be sure to take long treks on the hills and enjoy this blissful little hillside town. Not to miss is the heart-shaped lake you’ll find on the way to the top of the Chembara peak.


9.    Thekkady
Thekkady is famous for the Periyar Wildlife sanctuary in the thick evergreen Periyar Forest. Here you’ll find elephants, bison, leopards, boars, sambars, tigers, gaurs and lion-tailed macaques. Sail a boat on the Periyar Lake, and ride an elephant in the jungle. Trek through the jungles from Moozhiyar to Thekkady, and spot an elephant or two.


10.  Vagamon
Vagamon is a quaint little hill station located across the Idukki-Kottayam border. This place is blessed by nature; you’ll see endless green meadows, dales, tea plantations, gardens and perfect green valleys, Explore the mystic hills - Thangal Hill, Murugan Hill and Kurisumala and experience what true bliss is like.

Other not to miss place is Bekal, a beautiful hill station known for its famous giant keyhole- shaped fort and a pristine blue sea. There’s also Nelliampathy, one of India’s best hill stations, known for its amazing peacocks and natural beauty. Kozhikode is known for its historical, cultural, culinary and educational aspects. Malampuzha offers natural beauty and enthralling cultural experiences. Last but not the least; Thrissur is a cultural feast you don’t want to miss. 

The author of Post: Neha
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