7Dec2018

Gokarna is a small town in Karnataka which has always been famous for its temples, and has now also become famous for its beaches.

The Mahabaleswar Temple here, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is considered very holy. It is called the Dakshina Kasi, or Kasi of the south, because it is as important as the Shiva temple in Kasi. According to legend, the Linga, the symbol of Shiva which is worshipped here, was brought directly from Mount Kailash, the abode of Lord Shiva. […]

6Dec2018

One of the oldest and holiest temples in India is the Vaishno Devi Temple. It is actually a cave temple, located on the Trikut mountain on the foothills of the Himalayas in Jammu. Interestingly, there are no idols in this temple, but a rock formation which is five-and-a-half feet tall, with three ‘heads’ or pindis, which is worshipped. Devotees believe that Vaishno Devi is a manifestation of Goddess Parvathi, or Shakti. […]

5Dec2018

On the upper Shirui hills in Manipur there grows a plant called the Siroi or Shirui Lilly. It has beautiful bell-shaped flowers. It is one of the rarest plants in the world, because it grows only in this particular area. […]

4Dec2018

In India, it is common to see a line of footwear outside the front doors of homes, and also outside temples and other places of worship. Have you ever wondered why we take off our shoes at the doorstep, not only of the homes which we visit, but also of our own homes? […]

3Dec2018

Pattachitra is a special form of painting done in Odisha. Patta can be translated as canvas, and chitra means painting. So Pattachitras are paintings done on canvas. But you don’t get these canvases in art stores. They have to be specially prepared by hand, and the process takes a lot of time.

The colours have also to be hand-made. Only 100% natural dyes are used. The base for the paints is the gum of the Kaitha tree. Different things are added to get different colours. Powdered conch shells are used to make white, lamp soot gives black, a stone called harikala is powdered to make yellow, and so on. The root of the Keya plant is used as a brush. […]

30Nov2018

Once upon a time there lived a bird named Bharunda. Everything about him was normal, he had two feet, wings and one stomach but for his head; he had two of them!

One day while wandering on the banks of the lake, one of the heads saw a delicious fruit. He started to devour it.

He smacked his lips and said, “This is the most delicious fruit I have ever eaten!” […]

29Nov2018

A miser, over a period of years, had naturally accumulated a lot of wealth as he did not spend a penny. He carefully stored the money in a box and hid it in a hole that he had dug under a tree in his garden. Almost every day, he dug out the box, counted the money and put the box back in the hole.

A thief who had been watching the miser for some time, correctly concluded that he had wealth hidden in the hole. One day he promptly dug up the hole, grabbed the box, filled the hole up and ran away with the box. […]

27Nov2018

If you love dogs, then there’s some good news for you. Did you know that having a dog is good for your health? According to a report in the Harvard Health Letter companion animals have more dependable behaviour in comparison to our human companions. Dogs, as we all know, offer unconditional love and form a completely non-judgemental bond with their owner. Dogs are being recommended as a holistic way of dealing with stress because having a furry friend lowers blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety levels. […]

26Nov2018

Dum-Dum-Dum, I can hear them loud and clear: the sound of drums!

As I enter the Jus Drums school, I can see about 15 children and a few drum kits in the room. Some of them are playing a beat over and over again, a couple of them discussing, a parent waiting for his turn to ask a question. I see an animated Murali “sir”, their teacher, asking the eldest student in the room why a doubt is being cleared just a day before a crucial exam. […]

24Nov2018

Dev Deepavali, which literally means ‘Deepavali of the Gods’ is celebrated 15 days after Deepavali (Diwali) in Varanasi (Benaras) in Uttar Pradesh. The 5-day festival is marked by the lighting of clay oil lamps along the banks of the Ganges in honour of the river. The festival is on a full moon day (Poornima), and taking a dip in the Ganges on this day is said to be of special significance, as the Gods themselves are said to come down to bathe in the holy river on this day. […]

24Nov2018

Sushruta, a physician in ancient India (800-600 BC), described cataract as a disorder of the lens, and even performed minor surgery to remove the cloudy part. He is said to have been the first physician to have performed such a surgery, which is now known as ‘couching,’ and described the procedure in his book, Sushruta Samhita (Compendium of Sushruta). The procedure involved using a curved needle to push the opaque matter in the eye out of the way of vision; the opaque, phlegm-like matter was then blown out of the nose. The eye was later soaked with warm ghee and then bandaged. However, ‘couching’ was regarded by later physicians as a dangerous method as the slightest mistake could result damage to the cornea and possible blindness. The removal of cataract by surgery is to have been introduced to China from India, where it flourished in the Sui (AD 581-618) and Tang dynasties (AD 618–907). […]

23Nov2018

Speed is so important isn’t it? The fastest runner wins the Gold Medal, you choose the fastest route to get from one place to another, the faster you finish your homework, the sooner you can go out to play. Speed is important in computers too. Guess what makes a computer fast? –It is the processor. […]

23Nov2018

Turmeric is a root belonging to the ginger family. It is an imperative part of every kitchen as it is a staple in many recipes that are of Indian origin. It is bright orange to yellow in colour, has a heady fragrance and an earthy taste. […]

22Nov2018

Gilli Danda is a game played mostly in rural areas. It is said to have originated in India around 2,500 years ago. The game is played with two sticks: a large one called a danda, which is used to hit a smaller one called the gilli. It is also known as ‘Tipcat’ (in English). […]