India first took part in the Olympic Games in the year 1900, at Paris. Of course, India was not an independent country at that time, it was under British rule. It sent just one representative – an athlete named Norman Pritchard. And he won two silver medals! […]

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The Birla Planetarium in Kolkata is said to be the first planetarium established in India. Situated at Chowringhee Road (near the Victoria Memorial) in South Kolkata, it is the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest planetarium in the world. Popularly known as ‘taramandal’, the planetarium was inaugurated on 2 July 1963 by Jawaharlal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India. […]

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India ink (also known as Chinese ink) is a black or colored ink that was once widely used for writing and printing. It is now more commonly used for drawing and outlining, especially for comics. While the ink was actually invented in China (as early as the 3rd millennium BC), it was called ‘India ink’ by the British due to their trade links with India. […]

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Also known as ‘The Flying Sikh,’ Milkha Singh is a former track and field sprinter, who was the first gold medallist from independent India at the Commonwealth Games. […]

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Hastinapur is a town near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. It is an ordinary place now, but it is believed that at one time it was the capital of one of the greatest kingdoms of ancient India.

It is among the most important places mentioned in the Mahabharata, the story of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, two sets of cousins who were rivals. It was the capital of the Kauravas initially. After the Pandavas defeated the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, they made Hastinapur the capital of their new kingdom too. […]

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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. […]

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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. […]

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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. […]

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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? […]

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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. […]

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