Month: November 2014

Discover God through Theyyam

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theyyam performer
Photo Courtesy: anoopnegiphotography.wordpress.com

The state of Kerala offers the opportunity to explore the nature’s beauty at its best and leaves everyone in awe. The tagline, God’s own country, suits it perfectly when it comes to its serene backwaters, never ending tea gardens and palm trees laden beaches. While these may be the Almighty’s gift to this land, the locals of Kerala have made sure that people have more than one reason to come down south. The intellect and creativity that you will find in this enchanting habitat is sure to take your breath away. Whether we talk about poetry coming from great people like Kumaran Asan, Vallathol and Ezhuthachan, or the numerous dance forms like Mohiniattayam, Kathakali, Thullal, Oppana and not to forget, Theyyam.

colorful ritual dance-Theyyam
Colorful ritual dance-Theyyam

Theyyam, also known as Thirayattam or Kaliyattam, is an exceptional form of dance coming from North Kerala. Majorly performed in the districts of Kannur and Kasargod, it glorifies Goddess Kali. ‘Theyyam’ comes from the Malayalam word, Daivam that means God. A mythological depiction, this ritual is done by men who also enact the roles of females. Instead of being a stage performance, Theyyam takes places in the open infront of the village crowd generally. However, these days this form of dance is performed on stage so that people from everywhere can get a glimpse. The dancers adorn colourful costumes and heavy makeup while enacting the divine.

Kerala Folklore-theyyam
Photo Courtesy:theyyamcalendar.com

The Kerala Museum in collaboration with Kerala Folklore Academy is conducting a Theyyam performance at Kerala Museum on Nov 15th 2014. If you are staying nearby, do try to catch up with this beautiful form of dance.

Artist:  P.K Sivadasan and group
Date:   15-11-2014
Time:   4.00 pm
Venue: Kerala Museum, Pathadipalam,
Edappally, Kochi, 682 024
Tel: 0484-2541768, 8129051880

Email: mnfoundationkochi@gmail.com

Hotels near Kerala Museum :

The Cochin Legacy | BTH Sarovaram | Casino Hotel 

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Hill Stations where you can directly Fly

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Our country is blessed with some of the best destinations to visit in the Asian continent. The fact that India experiences variable climatic conditions in different regions at different times of the year makes it an all-time favourable place to visit for people across the globe. Hill stations, for instance, have always been a popular choice among domestic as well as international travellers. Due to their scenic beauty, pleasant climate, rich culture, unique art and handicraft and sumptuous food, they are undoubtedly the first choice for holiday trips. Connectivity is the only issue that crops up while planning out a tour to the hills. Quite often, train routes make vacationers change more than two times. Thus, in order to avoid such difficulties, it’s always good to fly off to these places. Here, we bring out to you a list of hill stations where you can directly fly.

Dharamshala

Dharamshala
Photo Courtesy: Adventure Singh

 

A lovely hill station located in the snow capped mountains of the state of Himachal Pradesh. Also referred to as Little Tibet, Dharamshala offers an insight into the Tibetan culture and Buddhist way of life. Visit the place for some serene moments, sumptuous food (especially dumplings or better known as momos) and adventure sports.

Fly off to the Gaggal Airport (also known as Kangra Airport or Dharamshala-Kangra Airport) so as to experience the best of hills. All major flights fly from significant locations of India to this airport.

Shillong

Shillong
Photo Courtesy: Whacky Wanderlust

Situated in the north eastern state of Meghalaya, Shillong is the capital city and is home to the tribal group of Khasis. Regarded as the ‘Scotland of the East’, it is famous for its captivating scenic beauty, cool and calm waterfalls, historical buildings and hand woven shawls. Shillong Peaks and Elephants Falls are a must visit for those landing up in this city.

In order to reach Shillong by air, book tickets for Shillong Airport located at Umroi which lies some 30 km away from the city. Shillong Airport is an important airport and all domestic airlines fly at regular intervals to this city.

Darjeeling

Darjeeling sightseeing
Darjeeling

Located in the state of West Bengal, Darjeeling is known for its tea gardens, monasteries, adventure activities and natural beauty. A combination of two words, ‘dorje’ and ‘ling’, Darjeeling stands for the ‘Land of the Thunderbolt’. Touted as one of the most popular honeymoon destinations, its tranquil climate offers the best for newly married couples.

The nearest airport to Darjeeling is Bagdogra Airport which is situated at a distance of about 95 km. Those landing here can also cover Siliguri, Gangtok, Kalimpong and Mirik, all of them situated close to each other.

Gulmarg

gulmarg
Gulmarg

The meadow of flowers, Gulmarg is a hill station infused with astonishing beauty, adventure sports and ever warming hospitality. A blessed habitat in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it offers some great attractions like Alpathar Lake, Ningal Nallah and Drung.

In order to reach Gulmarg by flight, one needs to get down at Srinagar airport that lies just 56 km away. A visit to the Kashmir region is incomplete if you do not go to Pahalgam and Baramulla along with Pahalgam.

Shimla

Shimla
Shimla

Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh and also the summer capital during the colonial rule, is undoubtedly the most popular tourist destination in India. Every year during the summer season, people from India as well as abroad come down to this splendid city to experience the ecstasy of nature and the old world charm.

Fly off to Shimla Airport from anywhere in the country. It is located in Jabarhatti that is 22 km away from the main city. Also, try visiting nearby destinations such as Kullu, Manali and Solan. Alternatively, vacationers planning to take a trip to Kullu before can get down at Bhuntar Airport (also known as Kullu Manali Airport)

 

Celebrities Involved in Swachh Bharat Campaign

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Swachh Bharat
Photo Courtesy : brainbuxa.com

The phrase ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ has finally become more than just an idea. On 2nd October, 2014, on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s 145th birth anniversary, PM Narendra Modi launched an important campaignSwachh Bharat’ i.e. Clean India. The aim of this campaign is to make India one of the cleanest cities of the world in the next five years. This cleanliness campaign has become so popular that from a common man to bollywood celebrities, everyone is participating wholeheartedly. At the launch of the campaign, the PM said that cleaning should not be the sole responsibility of the workers or safai karamcharis. Everyone should feel responsible towards cleanliness and remember the pledge of the campaign “I will not litter or allow anyone to litter.”

sania mirza swachh bharat abhiyan
Photo Courtesy : hyderabaddaily.com

The PM himself started the campaign by walking from Rajpath to Valmiki colony and cleaning  a small area in the colony of sanitation workers in the company of party colleagues and officials. Keeping in mind the importance of social media, the PM also started a social media campaigning by asking 9 people to come forward and start cleaning an area and upload their video or pictures on social media. These 9 people will then ask another 9 people to take up the challenge, which will continue, thereby creating a viral campaigning. The PM has invited Mridula Sinha, Priyanka Chopra, Shashi Tharoor, Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Ambani, Kamal Haasan, Baba Ramdev and the entire team of Taraak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma to take part in this cleanliness drive through social media. Let’s have a look at some of the nominated celebrities who have accepted the challenge:

1.    Kamal Hassan: On his 60th birthday today, Kamal Hassan launched the cleaning of Madhambakkam lake in Chennai. He’ll clean the lake with the volunteers of his  ‘Narpani Iyakkam’ (Welfare Club), which has announced that it will adopt and clean 25 lakes in Tamil Nadu.

Kamal Hassan Swachh Bhart Campaign
Photo Courtesy : Filmibeat.com

2.    Amitabh Bachchan: Superstar Amitabh Bachchan picked up the broom on 29th October and swept streets in Mumbai and shared the pics of his participation in the nationwide cleanliness drive on Twitter. He was nominated by industrialist Anil Ambani to participate in the campaign.

Amitabh_Bachan_Swachh_Bharat
Photo Courtesy:twitter.com

3.    Salman Khan: Salman Khan initiated a clean-up drive in Karjat on 21 October 2014 and shared pictures of himself along with his team, including actor Neil Nitin Mukesh, sweeping and cleaning up the area.

Salman-Khan-Swachh-Bharat-campaign
Photo Courtesy:Firstpost.com

4.    Sachin Tendulkar: Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar swept a road in Mumbai with a broom in hand on 5 October 2014.

Sachin Swachh Bhart
Photo Courtesy: youtube.com

5.    Anil Ambani: Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani picked up the broom to clean an area outside Church Gate station on 8 October 2014.

Swachh Bharat_Anil Ambani
Photo Courtesy : business-standard.com

6.    Hrithik Roshan: Nominated by Anil Ambani, actor Hrithik Roshan along with a group of people, cleaned garbage at a street in Juhu in Mumbai on 26 October 2014 and shared his experience on Twitter. He wrote, “Went around talking learning and informing residents, watchmen and workers about better ways to keep our society clean”.

Hrithik Roshan Joins Swachh Bharat Campaign
Photo Courtesy : twitter.com

 

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:Celebrities
Photo Courtesy : allindiannewspapers.com

Let’s work towards making India a clean and beautiful country. Join the campaign and follow the celebrities by nominating your family members and friends.

High speed travel to Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal

The Taj has always been the pride of India. People from far and wide arrive to the Agra city to get that one sight of the beautiful epitome of love that King Shahjahan built for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Being a part of the list of wonders of the world, Taj Mahal occupies a special place in the heart and mind of tourists. Our PM has constantly talked about the power and scope of the tourism industry. One of the key factors of strengthening this sector is improving transport and introduction of bullet trains has been a great initiative in this direction.

Moving forward with this idea, the authorities are coming up with the nation’s first high-speed train that will run to and from the capital city, New Delhi to Agra. Speculated to start running in the month of November, this train will possess a speed of about 160 km per hour. The first fourteen coaches are to roll out from the Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory. Out of fourteen, four have already been manufactured while the rest will be out soon. As per sources, 12 coaches will run on a regular basis and the other two will work as spare ones.

High Speed Train-Gatimaan Express
Photo Courtesy : Indiarailonline.com-Gatimaan Express

The train is said to be equipped with comfortable seats and would be categorized into two classes namely the Executive Class and Chair Car. If sources are to be believed, passengers can expect eight-inch LCD TV screens installed at the back of every seat. In the beginning, only pre-recorded programmes would be broadcasted although later on, live feeds will be provided. The high speed train also comes with extra features such as emergency braking system, automatic fire alarm alongwith the passenger information system.

Gatimaan-Express-Interior-View
Photo courtesy : hindustantimes.com Gatimaan Express Interior-View

The engineers at the Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala in consultation with the team at RDSO (Research Development and Standard Organisation) have improvised the coaches and operations so as to make the journey smoother than what Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express offers. The changes include installation of automatic sliding of inner doors and design of the coupler system.

Gatimaan-Express-Interior design
Gatimaan Express Interior design Photo courtesy :Hindustantimes.com

As per the GM, the cost of one coach of the high speed train happens to be somewhere around Rs.2.25-2.50 crore. While the initial speed of these trains is going to be 160 kmph, it would gradually be increased to 200 kmph by making certain moderations. The train between Delhi to Agra is expected to take duration of about 100 minutes to reach its destination.

Train India-High Speed
High Speed Train Exterior View Photo courtesy : Intoday.in

The train that runs from the capital to the Taj city will be called Gatimaan Express. Apart from this, Indian Railways has chalked out ten more routes where similar trains will run as per the railway budget. Kanpur-Delhi, Chandigarh-Delhi, Hyderabad-Chennai, Nagpur-Bilaspur, Goa-Mumbai and Nagpur-Secunderabad happen to be some a few routes where high speed trains are expected to run. Hopefully, this initiative is going to help the tourism industry to a large extent.