The Lakshadweep islands are a group of islands lying in the Arabian Sea, off the south-west coast of India. The word dweep means island and laksha means lakh or hundred-thousand. From the name, it would seem that there are a hundred-thousand islands in the archipelago, as a group of islands is called. But in reality, it has only 36 islands, scattered in the Arabian Sea. They form the smallest Union Territory in India. […]
When we in India meet someone, or when we greet guests, it is common to press our palms together, hold them close to the chest, fingers pointing up, and say Namaste. Depending on where in India we live, we may also say Namaskar, Namaskaram or Vanakkam. The gesture and the appropriate word are also often used in parting. This is a habit which we learn in childhood, and practice all through life. […]
The Kumbh Mela is considered the world’s largest religious gathering. Millions of people gather at particular places on the banks of one of four rivers during a specific auspicious period, and take a holy dip in the river. It is believed that doing so will wash away the sins of that person and his ancestors. There are various types of Kumbh Melas, and they occur at specific times. […]
India is known as a land of festivals. We celebrate religious as well as cultural festivals throughout the year. Almost all of them are declared as holidays for schools, colleges and Government institutions. But not all of them are celebrated by everyone everywhere in the country on the same day. There are three celebrations that are held across the country on the same date every year. These three dates are called ‘National Holidays’ because they are important to India as a nation. They are – Republic Day, Independence Day and Gandhi Jayanthi. […]
In 1931, two British mountaineers, Frank S Smythe and R I Holdsworth, were returning from a trek up Mount Kamet in the Himalayas, when they lost their way and suddenly came upon an amazing sight – a valley carpeted with flowers of many colours! Frank Smythe was so fascinated that he returned some years later, and wrote a book about the place. He called it the Valley of Flowers, and that’s how it’s known even today. […]
The Bahá’í Temple in Delhi is quite different from other places of worship in India. It is shaped like a lotus flower. Passages from sacred texts of all religions decorate its walls. Everyone is welcome to come in and pray, no matter what faiths they follow. […]
The Indian cobra is a very poisonous snake found in the sub-continent. It lives not only in India, but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and parts of Afghanistan.
Cobras are easy to recognize because when they are angry or scared, they raise themselves up and blow out their ribs to form a ‘hood’. There is a ‘V’ pattern on the Indian cobra’s hood, something like a pair of spectacles, because of which it is also known as the ‘spectacled cobra’. […]
Patterns drawn on the ground outside front doors are a common sight in India. They are called kolam in south India and rangoli in north India, though they are known by some other names too. These patterns may be simple or complicated, drawn in white or with colours.
The tradition of drawing kolams dates back about 5000 years. There are several reasons why these patterns are drawn. Broadly speaking, they have a religious purpose, and a decorative one. […]
What is the first thing you reach out for in the Geometry period? My guess is, the ruler! This instrument makes calculations easier and solving sums speedier. Have you ever wondered since when this wonderful tool been around? You will be surprised to know that the answer to that question is since 2400 BCE! And where was it discovered? In our very own Indus Valley! […]
The Navratri festival is held to venerate three Hindu goddesses: Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati. ‘Nava’ means ‘nine’ and ‘ratri’ means ‘night’ – and, as per the name, the festival is spread over ‘nine nights’ (or days). Navaratri is primarily celebrated by women, as they are the ones who organise the festivities and take part in them. Different state celebrate them differently: with Kolu, a display of dolls, In Tamil Nadu, with Durga Puja in West Bengal; garba raas and dandiya raas in Gujarat; and Ram Lila in Uttar Padesh. […]
When you think of camels, you always think of deserts too, don’t you? After all, the camel is known as the ‘ship of the desert’. But not all camels live only in deserts. There is a special breed of camel which can swim in the sea! It is found only in one place in the world – Gujarat. […]
The Dal Lake is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northern-most State of India – Jammu and Kashmir.
It has a shoreline of around 15 km. It’s not just one water body, but several inter-linked ones. It has islands as well as ‘floating gardens’. These gardens are known as Rad in the local language. They are not attached to the lake bottom but float on the water. They are very fertile, and vegetables and fruits are cultivated on them. […]
When asked to name a favourite board game, the one that instantly springs to mind is Chess. This popular board game has been ruling the roost for nearly 1500 years and do you know where it originated from? Our very own India!
Chess started out as Chaturanga and was developed in the Gupta dynasty as early as the 6th century AD. It was designed as a strategy game and went on to initiate the board games of chess, sittuyin, xiangqi, makruk and janggi. […]
One rainy season, the south-west monsoon brought such heavy and incessant rains that the cities were flooded in the course of a week. All the people vacated their homes and moved to safer places.
A man, on the way to a shelter with his family, noticed that the priest of the Church had not left. He went to him and said, ‘Father, the city will soon be flooded. We are moving to a safer place. Please come with us.’ […]