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Lonar : Star Struck

Sumana Shreyesh on Aug 09 2015

Lonar MaharashtraA few years ago, a celestial body - burning like a ball of fire, lit up the sky and shone brighter than the sun, came crashing onto the earth’s surface. The world was awe-struck by these clips shown repeatedly on all news channels. The effects of it were so dramatic that the sound waves generated by this impact caused glass window panes to shatter, causing many casualties. – This place was Russia, and the year was 2013. The estimated size of this meteor was about 20 meters in diameter.

Now let’s go back in time to some 50000 years ago, when a similar incident of a meteor hitting the earth’s surface had taken place. The size of the meteor was about 1.8 kilometers in diameter and the impact created a crater of 150 meters deep. What were its effects can only be left to one’s imagination! Nothing is known for sure, but one can only imagine the extent of destruction this would have caused to all living beings during that time. – This place was in India and the impact resulted into a creation of a lake which is one of a kind in the world!   Read More

Lakhpat

Sumana Shreyesh on Aug 06 2015

LakhpatImagine a port town many centuries ago, bustling with trade and earning daily revenue of one lakh just from trading! Undoubtedly the picture of present day Dubai Port would come across your mind. Now visualize a town in a state of ruins and almost deserted with the villagers earning their daily wages either by fishing or working in nearby factories. Try picturing both together. Well, quite hard isn’t it! This is the remarkable tale of Lakhpat.

Lakhpat is a town in the Kutch district of Gujarat. Lakhpat literally means “millionaire town”. It was named so due to the daily revenue of one lakh Koris (earlier currency) it earned during its glorious days. In those days, the water from river Indus flowed into Lakhpat. Due to the abundance water, rice used to be cultivated which added further to its economy.   Read More

Varied Marriage Rituals of India

Sumana Shreyesh on Aug 03 2015

Indian wedding ritual“The Big Fat Indian wedding” – an apt phrase to describe the elaborate weddings in India. The ostentatious wedding and reception, the dazzling lights and decorations, the loud music and dance, the vibrant colors and rituals, the formal greetings and gifts, the assorted food and drinks, the brimming emotions and blessings, and the oomph in it all – makes marriages in India a comprehensive package of happiness, fun and emotions.
In India, weddings isn’t just a private affair between two persons. Everyone from the family, close relations and at times even the entire locality or village of the bride and groom are involved in the event. Thus making it one of the most awaited event for all. While the essence of Indian wedding remains same across cultures, the rituals vary largely from one state of India to another. Even within the same state, the ceremonies might widely differ from region to region. For some communities, the auspicious time for wedding is the late nights, while for others it is the early mornings. Some are more lavishly celebrated while others are still held in a traditional way – Indian marriages have many shades to it.   Read More

Ancient town of Sopara!

Sumana Shreyesh on Jul 30 2015

SoparaNalasopara, lies towards north of Mumbai in Palghar district of Maharashtra. It is portrayed as the next big thing for the booming real estate projects that has packed this place with buildings and towers. Due to the easy availability of local trains from downtown South Mumbai, Nalasopara has become an ideal place for anyone interested in long term investment. But amidst these tall buildings and new projects, lies a place resilient to any development, narrating a story about a pious soul that once walked on this Earth- Gautama Buddha. The ruins of once a magnificent stupa built around 2500 years ago, believed to have been inaugurated by Buddha himself, still stands in this town.   Read More

Tea drinking culture in India

Sumana Shreyesh on Jul 27 2015

1 CoverAt the crossroads I got out of the bus. As I looked around, I saw a tea stall just across the road. It was a basic tea shop furnished with few wooden benches and relatively empty. “A perfect place to relax and sip a cup of tea till my next bus arrives.”- I thought. I crossed the road, rested my backpack on the bench and ordered a tea. Hearing my order, the tea vendor sprang into action like a machine to a command. Everything he did thereafter, was a choreographed and practiced sequence of actions. The flame was turned on, a vessel was kept on it. On the side of the stove was a pot of milk. He scooped a big spoon full into this vessel. From a shelf concealed somewhere under the table, came out two jars; one filled with sugar other with tea leaves. Like a magician, he sprinkled sugar and tea leaves into the milk. Reducing the flame to medium, he waited for the magic to happen. The sugar slowly melted and the tea leafs started hopping upon the boiling milk leaving a refreshing aroma of tea. He kept stirring it until the milk changed to a rich golden brown color and filled up the entire space with its aroma – thus completing the magic. Turning down the flame, he poured it into a small plastic cup, placed it on a saucer and handed it to me. The smell was so energizing that I just couldn’t wait to taste it. But as it was piping hot, any effort to taste it would burn my lips.

While I waited patiently for the tea to cool down, I saw two locals walking into the shop and ordering tea. The tea seller repeated the same vivid sequence of actions and prepared tea for them but this time he did not serve it in cups. Tea was served directly in the saucer and they were sipping from it with ease. Watching them, I too poured my tea into the saucer, and started slurping from it slowly relishing its taste with every sip. The taste of hot tea combined with its smell is the most revitalizing experience to your senses. I felt this was not only a faster way of drinking hot tea but also the most enjoyable way of doing it. Seeing me do this, the tea vendor and the locals exchanged smiles. Raising my saucer to them, I too smiled back and continued enjoying my drink.   Read More

A Paradise called Lakshadweep

Sumana Shreyesh on Jul 23 2015

LakshadweepSoft sandy beaches, clear blue skies, crystal clear waters – a perfect getaway for a beach holiday! India is a treasure to many such beautiful beaches along its coastal line, but there is one destination which takes beach holiday experiences to a whole new level. Lakshadweep not only offers breathtaking pristine sea beaches, but with its colorful coral reefs and atolls housing a myriad species of marine life, makes it one of the best scuba diving destinations of India.

From a bird’s eye view, the islands looks like a painting with 4 distinct colors in concentric circle formation. The innermost filled with green coconut trees of the island, enclosed within a thin outer circle of white sand, extending into the lagoons of turquoise waters. Vast deep blue ocean encompassing it all! The first glimpse of these stunning colors from an airplane makes the whole scene look magnificent!
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Bus Traveling in India

Sumana Shreyesh on Jul 20 2015

Chandigarh Bus terminusWith my hairs swaying to the tune of the winds, I look out of the window and wonder what this new place has in store for me. While my eyes relish to the scenery outside, my brain is busy contemplating about the places I plan to cover on this trip. My mind is in a different world altogether, completely occupied with thoughts and excitement about the journey. A firm tap on my shoulder suddenly disrupts my flow of thoughts and I turn around. I look up to see a woman gesturing with her hands, asking me to move a bit and make some space for her to sit. I give a surprise look back to her thinking how is she going to sit on this 3-seater bus seat where already 3 of us are sitting! By this time, the two locals seated beside me, had already adjusted themselves to create some space for her. So I too, went with the flow. This is one of the experiences one cannot escape from, if traveling by a public transport bus in rural India where “adjusting” is a way of life!   Read More

Rogan - The Traditional art of Gujarat

Sumana Shreyesh on Jul 16 2015

Gujarat Raan UtsavNirona is a small village in Kutch district of Gujarat. It would seem like a simple ordinary village to an onlooker until one notices the constant flow of tourists every day to this place. Nirona has something so inimitable to offer that people from around the world come here to admire it. What makes this place stand out is an art called Rogan, which is practiced only by one family of this village and nowhere else in the world, making this one of the unique destinations of India!

Khatri family of Nirona is the only ones in the world keeping this 300 year old art still alive. This art is like a traditional in the family passed on from generation to generation. Till now they have 11 national and state awards to their credits for this art. Earlier times when printed fabrics weren’t too common, this art was used to make designs on clothes. The texture of this art on fabric closely resembles the printed fabric textures we see today. But after the commercialization of printed fabrics, people were drawn towards it and gradually this art started to die out. Many started searching for other professions for a living. But Gafoor Daud Khatri, the head of the family, took this art to a completely different level. He converted this art to not just another design to be made on clothes to wear, but to an intricate art item which people can buy, frame and hang it on their walls!   Read More

ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLAND – BE ENCHANTED

Shreeradha Mishra on Nov 26 2014

It’s that time of the year when the winter witch casts her spell all over the Country and the only thing that is on everyone’s mind is to escape these dreaded winters and visit places dominated by white sands and pristine blue water and of course, the sun. And the beautiful Andaman and Nicobar Islands perfectly fit into the above criteria. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of over 572 islands in the Bay of Bengal, south-east of the Indian Mainland. elephants in water in andamanPort Blair is the largest town in the Andaman district and is a capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  It is situated on the east coast of South Andaman Island and is the main entry points to the Island.  It is a small, vibrant town and majority of the population is dominated by Bengalis therefore making Bengali the dominant language in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  It is connected only to Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata by air and sea. Therefore if one wants to visit Andaman and Nicobar Island, then he/she can board flight either from Chennai or Visakhapatnam or Kolkata and it takes 3 hours to reach Portblair if one is travelling by air. Veer Savarkar Airport or the Port Blair Airport is the main airport of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and is at a distance of 2 k.m from the city of Port Blair.   Read More

Kerela – God’s Very Own Country – Part II

Shreeradha Mishra on Nov 24 2014

Once one is done visiting the numerous monuments museums, one can go and visit the beaches for which Trivandrum is equally famous for.  The kovalam beach is one of the finest beaches in the world and is at a distance of 17 km from Trivandrum. The pristine aqua-blue water and the numerous coconut trees overlooking the sea makes it the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate oneself. fisherman keralaThe best time to visit the beach is in the early morning as it is not much crowded and the cool morning breeze can soothe anyone’s mind. Other beaches include Shanghumukham beach which is adjacent to the thiruvanantapuram international airport and is the best place to experience the beauty of the setting sun. Other attractions include the Padmanabhapuram palace which was the old headquarters of the Travancore royal family. The palace is a work of art and is famous for its wooden carvings and is the World’s largest wooden palace.   Read More

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