Sunday, December 28, 2008

Palak Paneer

3 bunches of spinach (fresh and cleaned)
100 gms paneer
1 onion
3 tablespoons of butter
3 to 4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon of black pepper powder
¾ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
½ teaspoon green chili paste
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil


* Mix the ginger-garlic paste, green chili paste and some water with spinach.
* Put the mixture in a pressure cooker, steaming it for about 7-8 minutes
* Blend the mixture in a blender to make an even thick spinach paste.
* Cut the paneer into small cubes.
* Heat oil in a pan and then deep fry the paneer cubes till it is light brown.
* In a cooking pan heat the butter and fry the bay leaves and cumin seeds. Add the chopped onion.
* Add salt, black pepper powder, garam masala.
* Add the fried paneer cubes and cooked spinach.
* Serve hot with rice

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pepper Mushroom

Mushroom one small pack.
Pepper (powdered) 4 or 5 spoon.
Ginger & garlic paste 1 and a half spoon.
Onion (chopped) 1.
Turmeric Powder 2 pinch.
Salt To a needed limit.
Oil 3 spoon.
Lime (squash) 2 drops.
Coriander leaves.
Mustard seeds and Curry leaves .

* Heat a pan containing oil, then add mustard seeds and curry leaves after the oil gets heated.
* Add the chopped onion to that and fry till the onion turn to golden brown in colour.
* Immediately add the ginger & garlic paste,turmeric powder, powdered pepper, fry for a second.
* Add the mushroom pieces to the above mixing.
* Add half a glass of water, add salt. Wait till it turns to gravy.
* Finally Squeeze a 2 drops of lime and garnish with coriander leaves.
* Serve hot with Rice, Chappathi, Naan. You can also add Potatoes(finely chopped) if you like.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A-Z phobia

Achluophobia - Fear of darkness.
Acrophobia - Fear of heights.
Agliophobia - Fear of pain.
Agoraphobia - Fear of open spaces or crowds.
Aichmophobia - Fear of needles or pointed objects.
Amaxophobia - Fear of riding in a car.
Androphobia - Fear of men.
Anginophobia - Fear of angina or choking.
Anthrophobia - Fear of flowers.
Anthropophobia - Fear of people or society
.Aphenphosmphobia - Fear of being touched.
Arachnophobia - Fear of spiders.
Arithmophobia - Fear of numbers.
Astraphobia - Fear of thunder and lightening.
Ataxophobia - Fear of disorder or untidiness.
Atelophobia - Fear of imperfection.
Atychiphobia - Fear of failure.
Autophobia - Fear of being alone.
Bacteriophobia - Fear of bacteria.
Barophobia - Fear of gravity.
Bathmophobia - Fear of stairs or steep slopes.
Batrachophobia - Fear of amphibians.
Belonephobia - Fear of pins and needles.
Bibliophobia - Fear of books.
Botanophobia - Fear of plants.
Cacophobia - Fear of ugliness.
Catagelophobia - Fear of being ridiculed.
Catoptrophobia - Fear of mirrors.
Chionophobia - Fear of snow.
Chromophobia - Fear of colors.
Chronomentrophobia - Fear of clocks.
Claustrophobia - Fear of confined spaces.
Coulrophobia - Fear of clowns.
Cyberphobia - Fear of computers.
Cynophobia - Fear of dogs.
Dendrophobia - Fear of trees.
Dentophobia - Fear of dentists.
Domatophobia - Fear of houses.
Dystychiphobia - Fear of accidents.
Ecophobia - Fear of the home.
Elurophobia - Fear of cats.
Entomophobia - Fear of insects.
Ephebiphobia - Fear of teenagers.
Equinophobia - Fear of horses.
Gamophobia - Fear of marriage.
Genuphobia - Fear of knees.
Glossophobia - Fear of speaking in public.
Gynophobia - Fear of women.
Heliophobia - Fear of the sun.
Hemophobia - Fear of blood.
Herpetophobia - Fear of reptiles.
Hydrophobia - Fear of water.
Iatrophobia - Fear of doctors.
Insectophobia - Fear of insects.
Koinoniphobia - Fear of rooms.
Leukophobia - Fear of the color white.
Lilapsophobia - Fear of tornadoes and hurricanes.
Lockiophobia - Fear of childbirth.
Mageirocophobia - Fear of cooking.
Megalophobia - Fear of large things.
Melanophobia - Fear of the color black.
Microphobia - Fear of small things.
Mysophobia - Fear of dirt and germs.
Necrophobia - Fear of death or dead things.
Noctiphobia - Fear of the night.
Nosocomephobia - Fear of hospitals.
Obesophobia - Fear of gaining weight.
Octophobia - Fear of the figure 8.
Ombrophobia - Fear of rain.
Ophidiophobia - Fear of snakes.
Ornithophobia - Fear of birds.
Papyrophobia - Fear of paper.
Pathophobia - Fear of disease.
Pedophobia - Fear of children.
Philophobia - Fear of love.
Phobophobia - Fear of phobias.
Podophobia - Fear of feet.
Porphyrophobia - Fear of the color purple.
Pteridophobia - Fear of ferns.
Pteromerhanophobia - Fear of flying.
Pyrophobia - Fear of fire.
Scolionophobia - Fear of school.
Selenophobia - Fear of the moon.
Sociophobia - Fear of social evaluation.
Somniphobia - Fear of sleep.
Tachophobia - Fear of speed.
Technophobia - Fear of technology.
Tonitrophobia - Fear of thunder.
Trypanophobia - Fear of injections.
Venustraphobia - Fear of beautiful women.
Verminophobia - Fear of germs.
Wiccaphobia - Fear of witches and witchcraft.
Xenophobia - Fear of strangers or foreigners.
Zoophobia - Fear of animals.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

White Tiger

The white tiger (also known as the Bengal tiger) is about 3 meters long, and weighs approximately 180-285 kg (400-569 LB). It’s coat lies flatter than that of the Siberian tiger, the tawny color is richer and the stripes are darker. White tigers are white colored bengals, they are not albinos and they are not a seperate subspecies of tigers.They have blue eyes, a pink nose, and creamy white furr covered with chocolate colored stripes. White tigers are born to tigers that carry the unusual gene needed for white coloring. Wild white tigers are very rare.They are usually located on the Mainland of Southeastern Asia and in central and southern India. The white Bengal tiger lives in grassy or swampy areas and forests, where they can be well camouflaged. Those living on islands have almost disappeared; most now live in zoo’s or special wildlife parks.Even though it is illegal, white tigers are hunted by poachers in many Asian countries.Tiger’s body parts are sought for use in traditional Chinese medicine and exotic recipes. As well as their body parts, their coats can be sold for a small fortune, so to many people this is the ideal animal to hunt if they want some fast money.

White tigers are born to Bengal tigers that carry an unusual gene needed for white coloring. The White Tiger is a good swimmer, but a very poor climber.They may be slow runners, but they are stealthy enough to catch any prey in their sights. Because they are solitary animals, they mostly hunt at night.The other four sub-species of tiger are Siberian, South China, Indochinese, and Sumataran. There are only approximately 5,000 to 7,400 tigers left in the wild.It is belief that if you are born in the Chinese year of the tiger you are unusually lucky. Let’s hope that some of this luck rubs off on the white tiger before it’s too late.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Nile- The longest River

At 4,132 miles (6,650 km.), the Nile River is the longest river in the world. It has its origins in Burundi, south of the equator, and flows northward through northeastern Africa, eventually flowing through Egypt and finally draining into the Mediterranean Sea. Three principal streams form the Nile. In Ethiopia's highlands, water flows from the Blue Nile and the Atbara. Headstreams of the White Nile flow into Lake Victoria and Lake Albert. The Nile River basin is immense and occupies an area about one-tenth of the continent of Africa. It includes portions of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Zaire, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, The Sudan, and Egypt. It is estimated to drain an area of 1,293,000 square miles (3,349,000 sq. km.)
The Nile receives its name from the Greek Neilos, which means a valley or river valley. The river flowed northward and flooded the lands in Egypt, leaving behind black sediment. As a result the ancient Egyptians called the river Ar or Aur (black). The Greeks and Egyptians also gave the land its oldest name Kem or Kemi, which also translates into black. The river's water and the fertile soil along its banks created the perfect setting for the evolution of the civilizations that existed in the ancient world. The ancient peoples that lived along the river's banks cultivated the art of agriculture and were one the first to utilize the plow.
Throughout the year, the Nile serves as a constant source of water. This enables farming along its banks in spite of the high temperatures that occur. In those regions, especially The Sudan, where there is enough rainfall to support cultivation, the high temperatures evaporate enough of the water making irrigation necessary. In addition to its vital role in agriculture, its waterways also play a major role in transportation. During seasonal flooding it enables transportation to those areas where road access is not possible.
During the 20th century, dependence on the waterways as a sole source of transportation has been reduced as facilities for air, rail and highways have expanded.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chilly Paneer

1. 1 cup Paneer chopped into cubes
2. 3-4 green chilies
3. 1 tea spn soya sauce
4. 1 tea spn tomato ketchup
5. 1/2 tea spn ginger-garlic paste
6. 1/2 cup onions slices
7. 1/2 cup capsicum slices
8. 1 tbl spn oil
9. 2-3 strands coriander leaves
10. Salt


1. Heat oil and fry the Paneer cubes till they turn slightly brownish. Take them out.
2. In the remaining oil, add ginger-garlic paste and onions. Fry till onions turn translucent.
3. Add capsicum, slitted green chilies and fry till they become soft.
4. Add soya sauce, tomato ketchup, salt and Paneer. Mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Taj Mahal - One of the seven wonders of the world

Taj Mahal of India - "the epitome of love", "a monument of immeasurable beauty". The beauty of this magnificent monument is such that it is beyond the scope of words. The thoughts that come into the mind while watching the Taj Mahal of Agra is not just its phenomenal beauty, but the immense love which was the reason behind its construction. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at the first sight. The very first sight of the Taj Mahal, the epitome of love and romance leaves one mesmerized.
Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with love and romance. It is believed that the name "Taj Mahal" was derived from the name of Shah Jahan wife Mumtaz Mahal and means "Crown Palace". The purity of the white marble, the exquisite ornamentation, precious gemstones used and its picturesque location, all make Taj Mahal travel gain a place amongst the most popular ones. However, unless and until, one knows the love story behind the Tajmahal of India, it will come up as just a beautiful building. But, the love behind this outstanding monument is what has given a life to this monument

Friday, December 5, 2008

Qutab Minar

Qutub-ud-din Aibak laid the foundation for Qutub Minar in 1199 AD and his successor and son-in-law Shamsu'd-Din- Iitutmish completed the structure by adding three more stories. Standing at 72.5 meters, it is the highest stone tower in India. Its base diameter is 14.3 meters and its top diameter is 2.7 meters. It has 379 steps leading to its top story. The lower three stories are made using red sand stone and the top two with marble and sand stone.
There are various stories being told about the reason the Qutub minar was built. Some say that it was constructed as tower of victory to declare the might of Islam. Some others have the view that it might have been used as a tower for defense. The inscriptions at the base of the minaret tell that Firoz Shah Tughlak (AD 1351-88) added the last story in 1368. It is also believed that Sikandar Lodhi(AD 1489-1517) and Major R. Smith (1829) have undertaken several repair and restoration works on the tower. There are a numerous other Arabic inscriptions on the tower telling the history of Qutub.
Other structures in the Qutub complex include:
Tomb of Iitutmish, which was constructed in 1235 AD. The tomb is made up of red sandstone and it describes the Arabic architectural patterns.
Alai Minar, which stands north to Qutub Minar was constructed by Alaud-Din-Khalji with an intention to make it twice the size of Qutub. But he could complete only one storey and the work was abandoned after his death. Alai Minar is 25meters in height.
Quwwat-ul-Islam, a mosque constructed by Qutub-ud-din in 1198 also stands in the Qutub complex.
A famous Iron Pillar, which was erected in the 4th Century AD, is located in the courtyard of Quwwat-ul-Islam. It raises to a height of 7 meters and weighs more than 6 tons. The Sanskrit inscriptions on the pillar tells that it is erected as a flagstaff in honour of hindu god Vishnu and the memory of Chandra Gupta. It is made up of 98% wrought iron and it stood the test of time of more than 1600 years with our rust or decomposition. This proclaims the metallurgical excellence of ancient India.
There are many other installations like madrassas, graves, tombs, mosques in the vicinity of Qutub Minar.
Interestingly Qutub Minar is the most visited tourist spot in Delhi.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Largest Airport - King Khalid International Airport (South Arabia)
Highest Airport - Lhasa Air­port, Tibet
Tallest Animal - Giraffe
Largest Animal - Blue Bottom whale
Largest Bay - Hudson Bay, Canada,
Fastest Bird - Swift
Largest Bird - Ostrich
Smallest Bird - Humming bird
Longest Bridge - the Akashi Kaikyo bridge in Japan takes the title, with a main span of 1,991 meters (or 6,532 feet)
Tallest Building - Taipei 101, Taipei, Taiwan,2004,101 stories,509m,1,670ft
Longest Canal - Baltic sea White Canal
Largest Cathedral - Cathedral Church of New York
Largest Cemetry - Leningrad, Russia
Largest Church - Belisca of St. Peter in the Vatican City, Rome.
Largest Continent - Asia
Smallest Continent - Australia
Largest Country - Russia
Smallest Country - Vatican City
Biggest Cinema House - Roxy, New York
Highest City - Wen Chuan, China
Highest Population - Mexico
Longest Day - June 21
Shortest Day - December 22
Largest Delta - Sunderbans
Largest Desert - Sahara, Africa
Biggest Dome - Gol Gumbaz (Bijapur), India
Largest Dams - Grand Coulee Dam, USA
Tallest Fountain - Fountain Hills, Arizona
Largest Gulf - Gulf of Mexico
Largest Hotel - Hotel Rossaiya, Moscow
Largest Island - Greenland
Largest Lake - Caspian Sea, CISIran
Deepest Lake - Baikal (Siberia)
Highest Lake - Titicaca (Bolivia)
Biggest Library - National Kiev Library, Moscow and Library of the Congress, Washington
Largest Mosque - Jama Masjid, Delhi (India)
Highest Mountain Peak Mount Everest (Nepal)
Highest Mountain Range Himalayas
Longest Mountain - Andes (South America)
Biggest Museum - British Museum (London)
Largest Minaret Sultan Has-san Mosque (Egypt)
Tallest Minaret - Qutub Minar, Delhi (India)
Biggest Oceans - Pacific Ocean
Deepest Oceans - Pacific Ocean
Biggest Palace - Vatican (Rome)
Largest Palace - Imperial Palace (China)
Biggest Park - Yellow Stone Na­tional Park
Largest Park - Wood Buffalo National Park (Canada)
Largest Peninsula - Arabia
Highest Plateau - Pamir (Tibet)
Longest Platform - Kharagpur, W. Bengal (India)
Largest Platform - Grand Central Terminal, (Ely. Sta­tion)New York (USA)
Biggest Planet - Jupiter
Smallest Planet - Murcury
Brightest Planet Venus
Coldest Planet Pluto
Nearest (To the Sun) - Mercury
Farthest (from the Sun) - Pluto
Longest River - Nile, Africa
Longest River Dam - Hirakud Dam, India
Largest Sea - South China Sea
Largest Stadium - Starhove Stadium, Prague (Czech Republic)
Brightest Star - Sirius A
Tallest Statue - Motherland (Russia)
Largest Sea-bird - Albatross
Biggest Telescope - Mt. Palomar (USA)
Longest Train Flying Scotsman
Largest Temple - Angkorwat in Kampuchea
Oldest Theatre - Teatro Ohm­pico (Itlay)
Tallest Tower - C. N. Tower, Toronto (Canada)
Longest Wall - Great Wall of China
Highest Waterfall - Angel (Venezuela)
Widest Waterfall - Khone Falls (Laos)
Lowest Water Level - Dead Sea
Longest Epic - Mahabharata
Hottest Place - Al-Azizia (Libya)
Rainiest Place - Mosinram, near Cherapunji (India)
Highest Road - Leh-Nobra, Ladakh division India.
Highest Village - Andean (Chile)
Highest Volcano - Ojos del Salado, (Argentina) Chile
Largest Volcano - Manuna Lea (Hawai)
Lightest Gas - Hydrogen
Fastest Animal - Cheetah
Biggest Flower - Rafflesia (Java)
Longest Corridor - Rameshwaram Temple (India)
Largest Democracy - India
Fastest Dog - Persian greyhound
Lightest Metal - Lithium

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gangas- The Holy River

The mighty river Ganges (Ganga in Indian languages) represents Indian culture in a unique blend of the mythical and the real. The river rises as the Bhagirathi from a mammoth glacier Gangotri, of nearly 200 sq km, in the lower reaches of the Himalayas. It joins the Alaknanda River to form the Ganges. This perennial river flows almost 2500 km before joining the Brahmaputra River creating the world’s largest river delta Sunderbans, on the Indo-Bangladesh border. A tributary of Ganges crosses over into Bangladesh as the Padma River.
The mythic aura of the river is seen from the string of holy shrines that line its path like Badrinath, Kedarnath, Haridwar and Varanasi. The banks of this river and its tributaries have nurtured several settlements that have grown into major cities like Allahabad, Kanpur, Patna, Kolkata and Delhi.

The mythical Ganges, once a celestial river, was prevailed upon by King Bhagiratha, after herculean efforts, to descend to earth to cleanse the sins of his ancestors. This gave Ganges the image of a purifier in Indian beliefs. Scattering the ashes in the river after cremation or a dip in the river is believed to wash away one's sins. The Ganges River is also worshipped as Gangadevi/Goddess Ganga.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Languages of various countries

Dari Persian, Pashtu (both official), other Turkic and minor languages
Albanian (Tosk is the official dialect), Greek
Arabic (official), French, Berber dialects
Catalán (official), French, Castilian, Portuguese
Portuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages
Antigua and Barbuda
English (official), local dialects
Spanish (official), English, Italian, German, French
Armenian 98%, Yezidi, Russian
English 79%, native and other languages
German (official nationwide); Slovene, Croatian, Hungarian (each official in one region)
Azerbaijani Turkic 89%, Russian 3%, Armenian 2%, other 6% (1995 est.)
English (official), Creole (among Haitian immigrants)
Arabic, English, Farsi, Urdu
Bangla (official), English
Belorussian (White Russian), Russian, other
Dutch (Flemish) 60%, French 40%, German less than 1% (all official)
English (official), Spanish, Mayan, Garifuna (Carib), Creole
French (official), Fon, Yoruba, tribal languages
Dzongkha (official), Tibetan dialects (among Bhotes), Nepalese dialects (among Nepalese)
Spanish, Quechua, Aymara (all official)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian
English 2% (official), Setswana 78%, Kalanga 8%, Sekgalagadi 3%, other (2001)
Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Malay (official), English, Chinese
Bulgarian 85%, Turkish 10%, Roma 4%
Burkina Faso
French (official); native African (Sudanic) languages 90%
Kirundi and French (official), Swahili
Khmer 95% (official), French, English
French, English (both official); 24 major African language groups
English 59.3%, French 23.2% (both official); other 17.5%
Cape Verde
Portuguese, Criuolo
Central African Republic
French (official), Sangho (lingua franca, national), tribal languages
French, Arabic (both official); Sara; more than 120 languages and dialects
Standard Chinese (Mandarin/Putonghua), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghaiese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages
Arabic and French (both official), Shikomoro (Swahili/Arabic blend)
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
French (official), Lingala, Kingwana, Kikongo, Tshiluba
Congo, Republic of
French (official), Lingala, Monokutuba, Kikongo, many local languages and dialects
Costa Rica
Spanish (official), English
Côte d'Ivoire
French (official) and African languages (Dioula esp.)
Croatian 96% (official), other 4% (including Italian, Hungarian, Czech, Slovak, German)
Greek, Turkish (both official); English
Czech Republic
Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (Inuit dialect), German; English is the predominant second language
French and Arabic (both official), Somali, Afar
English (official) and French patois
Dominican Republic
East Timor
Tetum, Portuguese (official); Bahasa Indonesia, English; other indigenous languages, including Tetum, Galole, Mambae, and Kemak
Spanish (official), Quechua, other Amerindian languages
Arabic (official), English and French widely understood by educated classes
El Salvador
Spanish, Nahua (among some Amerindians)
Equatorial Guinea
Spanish, French (both official); pidgin English, Fang, Bubi, Ibo
Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
Estonian 67% (official), Russian 30%, other (2000)
Amharic, Tigrigna, Orominga, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, English, over 70 others
English (official), Fijian, Hindustani
Finnish 92%, Swedish 6% (both official); small Sami- (Lapp) and Russian-speaking minorities
French 100%, rapidly declining regional dialects (Provençal, Breton, Alsatian, Corsican, Catalan, Basque, Flemish)
French (official), Fang, Myene, Nzebi, Bapounou/Eschira, Bandjabi
English (official), Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, other indigenous
Georgian 71% (official), Russian 9%, Armenian 7%, Azerbaijani 6%, other 7% (Abkhaz is the official language in Abkhazia)
English (official), African languages (including Akan, Moshi-Dagomba, Ewe, and Ga)
Greek 99% (official), English, French
English (official), French patois
Spanish 60%, Amerindian languages 40% (23 officially recognized Amerindian languages, including Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, Garifuna, and Xinca)
French (official), native tongues (Malinké, Susu, Fulani)
Portuguese (official), Criolo, African languages
English (official), Amerindian dialects, Creole, Hindi, Urdu
Creole and French (both official)
Spanish (official), Amerindian dialects; English widely spoken in business
Magyar (Hungarian) 94%, other 6%
Icelandic, English, Nordic languages, German widely spoken
Hindi 30%, English, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Sanskrit, Sindhi (all official); Hindi/Urdu; 1,600+ dialects
Bahasa Indonesia (official), English, Dutch, Javanese, and more than 580 other languages and dialects
Persian and Persian dialects 58%, Turkic and Turkic dialects 26%, Kurdish 9%, Luri 2%, Balochi 1%, Arabic 1%, Turkish 1%, other 2%
Arabic (official), Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
English, Irish (Gaelic) (both official)
Hebrew (official), Arabic, English
Italian (official); German-, French-, and Slovene-speaking minorities
English, Jamaican Creole
Arabic (official), English
Kazak (Qazaq, state language) 64%; Russian (official, used in everyday business) 95% (2001 est.)
English (official), Swahili (national), and numerous indigenous languages
English (official), I-Kiribati (Gilbertese)
Korea, North
Korea, South
Korean, English widely taught
Arabic (official), English
Kyrgyz, Russian (both official)
Lao (official), French, English, various ethnic languages
Latvian 58% (official), Russian 38%, Lithuanian, other (2000)
Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian
English, Sesotho (both official); Zulu, Xhosa
English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic-group languages
Arabic, Italian, and English widely understood in major cities
German (official), Alemannic dialect
Lithuanian 82% (official), Russian 8%, Polish 6% (2001)
Luxermbourgish (national) French, German (both administrative)
Macedonian 67%, Albanian 25% (both official); Turkish 4%, Roma 2%, Serbian 1% (2002)
Malagasy and French (both official)
Chichewa 57.2% (official), Chinyanja 12.8%, Chiyao 10.1%, Chitumbuka 9.5%, Chisena 2.7%, Chilomwe 2.4%, Chitonga 1.7%, other 3.6% (1998)
Bahasa Melayu (Malay, official), English, Chinese dialects (Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, Hakka, Hainan, Foochow), Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Panjabi, Thai; several indigenous languages (including Iban, Kadazan) in East Malaysia
Maldivian Dhivehi (official); English spoken by most government officials
French (official), Bambara 80%, numerous African languages
Maltese and English (both official)
Marshall Islands
Marshallese 98% (two major dialects from the Malayo-Polynesian family), English widely spoken as a second language (both official); Japanese
Hassaniya Arabic (official), Pulaar, Soninke, French, Wolof
English less than 1% (official), Creole 81%, Bojpoori 12%, French 3% (2000)
Spanish, various Mayan, Nahuatl, and other regional indigenous languages
English (official, common), Chukese, Pohnpeian, Yapase, Kosrean, Ulithian, Woleaian, Nukuoro, Kapingamarangi
Moldovan (official; virtually the same as Romanian), Russian, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)
French (official), English, Italian, Monégasque
Mongolian, 90%; also Turkic and Russian (1999)
Serbian/Montenegrin (Ijekavian dialect—official)
Arabic (official), Berber dialects, French often used for business, government, and diplomacy
Portuguese 9% (official; second language of 27%), Emakhuwa 26%, Xichangana 11%, Elomwe 8%, Cisena 7%, Echuwabo 6%, other Mozambican languages 32% (1997)
Burmese, minority languages
English 7% (official), Afrikaans is common language of most of the population and of about 60% of the white population, German 32%; indigenous languages: Oshivambo, Herero, Nama
Nauruan (official), English
Nepali 48% (official), Maithali 12%, Bhojpuri 7%, Tharu 6%, Tamang 5%, others. English spoken by many in government and business (2001)
Dutch, Frisian (both official)
New Zealand
English, Maori (both official)
Spanish 98% (official); English and indigenous languages on Atlantic coast (1995)
French (official), Hausa, Djerma
English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Ibo, Fulani, and more than 200 others
Bokmål Norwegian, Nynorsk Norwegian (both official); small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities (Sami is official in six municipalities)
Arabic (official), English, Baluchi, Urdu, Indian dialects
Urdu 8%, English (both official); Punjabi 48%, Sindhi 12%, Siraiki (a Punjabi variant) 10%, Pashtu 8%, Balochi 3%, Hindko 2%, Brahui 1%, Burushaski, and others 8%
Palauan 64.7%, English 9.4%, Sonsoralese, Tobi, Angaur (each official on some islands), Filipino 13.5%, Chinese 5.7%, Carolinian 1.5%, Japanese 1.5%, other Asian 2.3%, other languages 1.5% (2000)
Palestinian State (proposed)
Arabic, Hebrew, English
Spanish (official), English 14%, many bilingual
Papua New Guinea
Tok Pisin (Melanesian Pidgin, the lingua franca), Hiri Motu (in Papua region), English 1%–2%; 715 indigenous languages
Spanish, Guaraní (both official)
Spanish, Quéchua (both official); Aymara; many minor Amazonian languages
Filipino (based on Tagalog), English (both official); eight major dialects: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinense
Polish 98% (2002)
Portuguese (official), Mirandese (official, but locally used)
Arabic (official); English a common second language
Romanian (official), Hungarian, German
Russian, others
Kinyarwanda, French, and English (all official); Kiswahili in commercial centers
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
English (official), French patois
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
English, French patois
Samoan, English
San Marino
São Tomé and Príncipe
Portuguese (official)
Saudi Arabia
French (official); Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka
Serbian (official); Romanian, Hungarian, Slovak, and Croatian (all official in Vojvodina); Albanian (official in Kosovo)
Seselwa Creole 92%, English 5%, French (all official) (2002)
Sierra Leone
English (official), Mende (southern vernacular), Temne (northern vernacular), Krio (lingua franca)
Mandarin 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9% (2000)
Slovak 84% (official), Hungarian 11%, Roma 2%, Ukrainian 1% (2001)
Slovenian 91%, Serbo-Croatian 5% (2002)
Solomon Islands
English 1%–2% (official), Melanesian pidgin (lingua franca), 120 indigenous languages
Somali (official), Arabic, English, Italian
South Africa
IsiZulu 23.8%, IsiXhosa 17.6%, Afrikaans 13.3%, Sepedi 9.4%, English 8.2%, Setswana 8.2%, Sesotho 7.9%, Xitsonga 4.4%, other 7.2% (2001)
Castilian Spanish 74% (official nationwide); Catalan 17%, Galician 7%, Basque 2% (each official regionally)
Sri Lanka
Sinhala 74% (official and national), Tamil 18% (national), other 8%; English is commonly used in government and spoken competently by about 10%
Arabic (official), Nubian, Ta Bedawie, diverse dialects of Nilotic, Nilo-Hamitic, Sudanic languages, English
Dutch (official), Surinamese (lingua franca), English widely spoken, Hindustani, Javanese
English, siSwati (both official)
Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
German 64%, French 20%, Italian 7% (all official); Romansch 0.5% (national)
Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood
Chinese (Mandarin, official), Taiwanese (Min), Hakka dialects
Tajik (official), Russian widely used in government and business
Swahili, English (both official); Arabic; many local languages
Thai (Siamese), English (secondary language of the elite), ethnic and regional dialects
French (official, commerce); Ewé, Mina (south); Kabyé, Dagomba (north); and many dialects
Tongan (an Austronesian language), English
Trinidad and Tobago
English (official), Hindi, French, Spanish, Chinese
Arabic (official, commerce), French (commerce)
Turkish (official), Kurdish, Dimli, Azeri, Kabardian
Turkmen 72%; Russian 12%; Uzbek 9%, other 7%
Tuvaluan, English, Samoan, Kiribati (on the island of Nui)
English (official), Ganda or Luganda, other Niger-Congo languages, Nilo-Saharan languages, Swahili, Arabic
Ukrainian 67%, Russian 24%, Romanian, Polish, Hungarian
United Arab Emirates
Arabic (official), Persian, English, Hindi, Urdu
United Kingdom
English, Welsh, Scots Gaelic
United States
English 82%, Spanish 11% (2000)
Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero
Uzbek 74.3%, Russian 14.2%, Tajik 4.4%, other 7.1%
Bislama 23% (a Melanesian pidgin English), English 2%, French 1% (all 3 official); more than 100 local languages 73%
Vatican City (Holy See)
Italian, Latin, French, various other languages
Spanish (official), numerous indigenous dialects
Vietnamese (official); English (increasingly favored as a second language); some French, Chinese, Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Western Sahara (proposed state)
Hassaniya Arabic, Moroccan Arabic
English (official); major vernaculars: Bemba, Kaonda, Lozi, Lunda, Luvale, Nyanja, Tonga; about 70 other indigenous languages
English (official), Shona, Ndebele (Sindebele), numerous minor tribal dialects

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is 16th century oil painting created by the renowned Leonardo da Vinci. The work of art depicts an enigmatic woman gazing at the viewer, and it is said that if you move across the room while looking into her eyes, they’ll follow you. It is definitely one of the most popular paintings worldwide and has been the center of many artistic, religious, and theoretical debates. The French government currently owns the Mona Lisa and it is featured at the Musee du Louvre in Paris. The painting can also be referred to as La Gioconda or La Joconde. The name of the painting stems from the name of the woman in the portrait, Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a wealthy businessman in Florence, Italy named Francesco del Giocondo. Mona means ‘my lady’ or ‘madam’ in modern Italian, so the title is simply Madam Lisa.
Art historians agree that Leonardo da Vinci likely began painting the Mona Lisa in 1503, and completed it within 4 years. In 1516 the King of France, King Francois, bought the painting and it is thought that after Leonardo’s death the painting was cut down. Some speculators think that the original had columns on both sides of the lady, whereas other art critics believe that the painting was never cut down in size. It has been suggested that there were 2 versions of the Mona Lisa painting, but many historians reject the second version. The duplicate copy can be found at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. After the French revolution the painting was moved to the Louvre, and Napoleon had it placed in his bedroom for a short time before it was returned to the Louvre. The popularity of the Mona Lisa increased in the mid 19th century because of the Symbolist movement. The painting was thought to encompass a sort of feminine mystique.In 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. The art thief hid in a broom closet until the museum closed, stole the painting, hid it under his jacket and walked out the front door. Eduardo de Valfierno was the mastermind behind the theft and has planned to make copies of the original and sell them as the real thing. Eventually, in 1913, he was caught when trying to sell the original to a Florence art dealer.
The Mona Lisa is most famous for her facial expression, her enigmatic smile and da Vinci’s mastering of tone and color in the painting. There is much mythology and interpretations relating to the painting that mystify the world. Many art critics and art history buffs suggest that the Mona Lisa is actually a portrait of da Vinci himself in feminine form. In addition, most viewers see the meaning behind Mona Lisa’s smile very differently.

Mona Lisa Smile:
The most enigmatic and most sought after factor in the painting of Mona Lisa is its smile. This is understood that her smile has a number of things hidden.The most starking feature is that a viewer finds different shades in her smile. If one looks at it with full concentration, he finds that in beginning the painting seems to be smiling and in light mood. But after sometime the same painting seems to be catching a serious mood and the lightness fades away gradually.
Many scientists and researchers put their efforts to bring forth the secret behind this world famous oil painting. In late 2005, Dutch researchers from the University of Amsterdam scanned the image through an "emotion recognition" computer software developed in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The revelations of the software were very interesting. It found that the smile to be 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, 2% angry, less than 1% neutral, and not surprised at all. This study was not only a startling fact about the painting but it was the display of the new technique also that set accuaracy standards.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Children's Day

Children’s day is special day for the children. Universally, Children’s Day is celebrated on 20th November, every year. But in India it is celebrated on 14th November, because the date marks the birth anniversary of legendary freedom fighter and independent India’s first Prime Minister – Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru. As a tribute to Nehru and his love for children, Children’s Day is celebrated on his birth date. This day reminds to each and every one of us, to renew our commitment to the welfare of children and teach them to live by their Chacha Nehru’s quality and dream.

Nehru’s Life & love for children
Jawaharlal Nehru was born on 14th November, 1889 to Motilal Nehru and his wife Swaroop Rani. From the beginning he was an exceptional child and brilliant child. After the early education his father sent him foreign to pursue higher education. Nehru completed his higher education in England at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge University. He completed his M.A. from Cambridge University, England. After his returned to India, Nehru practiced law before joining into politics. After quitting the legal profession, he joined the Congress and Gandhiji in the Freedom Struggle of India. He was an extremely outspoken, honest, practical and courageous politician. And when India gained its independence, he was unanimously selected by the Congress to lead the country as first Prime Minister of the independent India.

Pt. Nehru was not only a great leader, statesman but also a great philosopher and think-tact of all time. He perfectly blended the western scientific thinking with eastern philosophical values. He was also a great poet and writer of his own. His famous works are ‘Glimpses of World History’ and ‘Discovery of India’. His letters to his daughter, Indira Priyadarshini from the jail reflects his philosophical outlook, and his compassion to children.
He was fondly referred as Chacha Nehru by the children. He was also fond of both children and roses. He started to wear a rose on his jacket after a child pinned one rose on his jacket. He often stated that children were like the flowers in a garden and they should be carefully nurtured. He said the children’s are the future and foundation of a nation. Every one should keep a careful eye for their development and upheaval. For him children’s were little adults in the making. Nehru’s empathy toward children is well-known, he once said, “Our one goal, our bounden duty, is to gift the future of India - our children - a country filled with peace and tranquility.”

Friday, November 7, 2008


Places to visit in Egypt
Pyramids at Giza
Sharm el Sheik
Nile River

Egypt could be said to have six major tourist sites. Each has its own flavor, and mostly each serves a different purpose. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, most of these tourist areas do not depend on ancient monuments to sustain them. In fact, only Luxor is completely dependent on this trade. These sites consist of: Alexandria and the immediate area around the City, Cairo and the immediate area around the City, Luxor and the surrounding area, Aswan and the surrounding area, Hurghada and the surrounding area, particularly El Gouna and Sharm El Sheikh, and the surrounding area including Sharks Bay. This is not to say that there are many more tourist destinations, particularly on the Red Sea and in Sinai, and on Egypt's mainland interior, the oases. However, in much of the rest of the mainland interior, travel and destinations are limited. However, the tourist super-sites encompass perhaps ninety-five percent of the ancient monuments, and most else there is to do in Egypt.

The second largest city in Egypt, Alexandria, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean", has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km. from Cairo. Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Greco-Roman Egypt, its status as a beacon of culture symbolized by Pharos, the legendary lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The setting for the stormy relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Alexandria was also the center of learning in the ancient world. But ancient Alexandria declined, and when Napoleon landed, he found a sparsely populated fishing village.From the 19th century Alexandria took a new role, as a focus for Egypt's commercial and maritime expansion. This Alexandria has been immortalized by writers such as EM Forster and Cavafy. Generations of immigrants from Greece, Italy and the Levant settled here and made the city synonymous with commerce, cosmopolitanism and bohemian culture. Alexandria is a city to explore at random. It's as important to enjoy the atmosphere as it is to see the sights.

The largest city in Africa as well as the Middle East, Cairo is one of the world's largest urban areas and offers many sites to see. The city is a traveller’s delight, providing a fascinating look into the age-old empire of the pharaohs, with markets, museums and music conjuring up the spirits of the ancients. There are also ancient temples, tombs, Christian churches, magnificent Muslim monuments and of course, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum all within or nearby the city. Cairo is an amazing city full of life and movement, and it is that way almost 24 hours every day, with the noisy honking of horns, children playing in the streets and merchants selling their wares and services. And here, the Egyptians are most at home in this powerful, modern and ancient city Cairo provides great culture, including art galleries and music halls, such as the Cairo Opera House. Cairo offers an incredible selection of shopping, leisure and nightlife activities. Shopping ranges from the famous Khan el-Khalili souk, (or bazaar) largely unchanged since the 14th century, to modern air-conditioned centers displaying the latest fashions. All the bounty of the East can be found here. Particularly good buys are spices, perfumes, gold, silver, carpets, brass and copperware, leatherwork, glass, ceramics and mashrabiya. Try some of the famous street markets, like Wekala al-Balaq, for fabrics, including Egyptian cotton, the Tentmakers Bazaar for appliqué-work, and Mohammed Ali Street for musical instruments and, although you probably won't want to buy, the Camel Market makes a fascinating trip. This is, and has been for over a thousand years, truly a shopper's paradise.

The Great Pyramids at Giza are acclaimed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The entire complex of antediluvian tombs seemingly shrouded in mystery is spell-binding in its stature. The monumental Sphinx, along with the conical mausoleums of Cheops and Chephren, form El Giza’s imposing center. So ancient are these magnificent structures that, though they were built adjacent to the Nile, over the centuries the river has meandered over 5kms away.

Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open-air museum, as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world. Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor. To say that the Luxor area is a major attraction for tourists in Egypt would be an understatement. It has been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism. Even in ancient times, during the late dynasties of the Greek and Roman periods, the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever since. Today Luxor is well equipped to accommodate tourists with many hotels and in general a tourist industry ready and willing to serve the people from many countries that descend on this area of the Nile Valley every year. Within Luxor, there are only three main streets consisting of Sharia al-Mahatta, Sharia al-Karnak and the Corniched, next to the Nile. Along this street one will find the colorful signs of restaurants and cafes, as well as bazaars where the usual variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found. Of interest is the alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank and milled not far from here. Also look for the clay pots used by the locals for cooking, which are more unusual. In Luxor proper on the East Bank, one of the first stops must be the Temple of Luxor built by Amenophis III.

swan, Egypt's sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town located about 81 miles south of Luxor, has a distinctively African atmosphere. Its ancient Egyptian name was Syene. Small enough to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile, the pace of life is slow and relaxing. Days can be spent strolling up and down the broad Corniche watching the sailboats etch the sky with their tall masts or sitting in floating restaurants listening to Nubian music and eating freshly caught fish. In Aswan the Nile is at its most beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. Explore the souk, full of the scent and color of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets. View the spectacular sunsets while having tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel (named due to the location of the Nile's first cataract located here). Aswan has been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the nineteenth century, and it's still a perfect place to get away from it all. Every night Nubian dancers and musicians perform in the Cultural Center, just off the Corniche. Folklore troupes recreate scenes from village life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances.

The simplicity of sun, sea and sand. The luxury of five-star hotels, water sports, shopping and entertainment. This is Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the most accessible and developed tourist resort communities on the Sinai peninsula. All around are Bedouins, colorful tents, mountains and sea. There are small, intimate hotels with modern designs, as well as larger hotel complexes belonging to International chains, plus about all the amenities one could expect of a tourist center, including casinos, discos and nightclubs, golf courses and health facilities. In fact, with diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports, horses and camel riding, desert safaris, and great nearby antiquities attractions, it is almost impossible for a visitor to ever suffer from boredom.Four miles south the southern section of the town stands on a cliff overlooking the port providing a great view. Na'ama Beach is a center of tourist activities. Located just north of Sharm, this area is developing into a resort town of its own. Most hotels at Na'ama Bay have their own, private beaches with comfortable amenities such as chairs, shades and even bars. Shark's Bay is also nearby, and again is a growing resort community with more and more to offer, along with several diving centers. The small harbor known as Sharm el-Moiya is located next to the civil harbor, has accommodations for boats, and includes a Yacht Club with rooms. For those who live to shop, the Sharm El-Sheikh mall provides shops with both foreign and local products, including jewelry, leather goods, clothing, pottery and books. For diving enthusiasts, it has been said that this area is a must. There are many diving sites along the 10 mile beach between Sharm el-Sheikh and Ras Nusrani.

Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century, and until a few years ago, remained a small fishing village. But today, it has gone on to become the foremost tourist resort of the Red Sea coast and an international center for aquatic sports. If it takes place in or on the water you can do it here: windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming, but, above all, snorkeling and diving. The unique underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world, justifiably famous amongst divers. The warm waters here are ideal for many varieties of rare fish and coral reefs, which may also be observed through glass bottom boats. This area has many fine accommodations, usually offering warm and efficient service. Restaurants are mostly along the main road. While in Hurghada, don't miss the museum and aquarium, with their complete collections of flora and fauna of the Red Sea. Today, Hurghada is known as a party town, particularly among Europeans. Locals and others will tell you that life begins at night in Hurghada, with the many, many clubs. One may often find a rousing party centered around the visitors from a tour group taking over the action of a particular bar.

A first time visitor to Egypt who wants a classical pharaonic antiquities experience would do well to book a Nile cruise. Of course modern airlines now shuttle tourists to the southern region of Egypt, but historically the Nile cruise was really the only way to visit the temples and tombs located along this stretch of the river. It is still a popular means of visiting upper Egypt and has many advantages to other means of travel. Nile cruises often visit a wider variety of antiquities along the banks of the river. But equally important, they also allow the tourist to gain a perspective of the rural Egypt, where people live much the same way they did even thousands of years ago, in mud brick homes, tending their fields with wooden plows and moving produce via donkey. It is a wonderful experience to sit on a shaded deck of a floating hotel, sipping an iced beverage while watching 5,000 years of culture slowly drift by.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Shimla- Tourism


Shimla is the capital town of Himachal Pradesh. The town of Shimla is built over several hills and connecting ridges. The important hills are Jakhu ( 2,455 meters ), Prospect Hill ( 2,328 meters ), Observatory Hill ( 2,350 meters ), Elysigim Hill ( 2,466 meters ) and Summer Hill ( 2,300 meters ). Shimla is situated in the North-West Himalayas and was the Summer Capital of India during the British rulling era. This town is spread over the ridge measuring about 12 km. It is perhaps the biggest hill station in the world, located at an altitude of 2,421 meters above sea level. A place of peace and pleasure, Shimla is a tourist resort in real sense of the world. The best season of the year here is autumn but the early spring runs a close second. Shimla is connected with air, rail, and road traffics. Shimla under snow is a wonderful sight and it offers the unique attraction of an open air ice skating rink. Also the legendary Ridge under snow and snow sports at Kufri make Shimla a wonderful winter holiday resort.

Famous Places Around Shimla :
Jakhu Hill : ( 2,455 meters ) 2 km. from town. This is the highest peak of Shimla and offers panoramic view of the town and the mountains. 'Hanuman Temple of Jakhu' is very famous. According to legend, Hanumanji took some rest here when he was carrying a hill of 'Sanjiwani Booti' ( a herb to save the life of Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama ). Jakhu is one of the most famous places around Shimla.

Indian Institute of Advanced Studies : The institute in Shimla is housed in the erstwhile Viceregal Lodge which was built in 1884-88 during the period of Lord Dufferin. It is a commanding building in Summer Hill. The gardens of the Institute are really beautiful and fascinating. It was designed by Henry Twain.

Glen : ( 1,830 meters ) Distance 4km. This is one of the most beautiful picnic spots of Shimla with flowing streams through dense forest. Approach is near Cecil Hotel and Kennedy House. It is sure one of the very famous places around Shimla.
Chail : ( 2,250 meters ) Situated 45 km. from Shimla.. This was the Summer Capital of the erstwhile Patiala State. The small town is located amid thick woods and has fine walks. It has the highest cricket ground in the world. The dense forests around are alive with many species of birds and animals but it is best known for its Scottish red Deer which were introduced by the Maharaja.

Kufri : ( 2,633 meters ) 16km. from Shimla. Kufri has won a name on the sports and tourist map of India due to its Ski-runs, Seed Potato Farm of the Central Potato Research Institute and Food Craft Institute. It is the winter sports capital. Kufri in Shimla is the most favourable place for winter sports activities. Excellent view of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Pirpanjal Range and Shiwalik Range from a height.
Summer Hill : ( 2,123 meters ) 5 km. A picturesque suburb of Shimla, which offers shady walks in quiet surroundings. Himachal Pradesh University is located here.

Kamna Devi : ( 2,145 meters ) 5 km. This place is located near Boileauganj. Kamna Devi is the most popular picnic spot in Shimla which commands a unique view of Shimla, Jutogh, Summer hill and Tara Devi. The hill is famous by name of Prospect Hill.

Tara Devi : ( 2,100 meters ) 8 km. Tara Devi in Shimla is another beautiful place in Shimla. There is a famous temple on the top of the hill.

Christ Church : The imposing Church stand majestically on the ridge, is the second oldest Church in North India. It has a very majestic appearance and inside there are stained glass windows which represent faith, hope, charity, patience and humanity. It was built in 1857. In fact it has become synonymous with Shimla and no picture of two town is complete without it.

Tattapani : ( 2655 meters ) 51 km. A dip at the hot sulphur springs at Tattapani not only relaxes the body but also has therapeutic effects. There is a tourist bungalow at Tattapani to accommodate 20 persons.

Mashobra : ( 2,150 meters ) 13 km. This is a popular picnic spot in Shimla which offers ideal walks amidst forest of oak and pine. The area adjoining to Mashobra is famous for apples orchards. Nearby is the site of annual 'Sipi Fair' held in June.

Naldera : ( 3,044 meters ) 22 km. Naldera offers one of the oldest and most sporting golf courses in India set in the midst of thick forests. The country around Naldera is also famous for its temples which are representative of the typical hill architecture of the area. Naldera in Shimla is known for its 'nine hole golf course'. Naldera course was laid by Lord Curzon in 1903.

Fagu : ( 2,510 meters ) 22 km. Fagu's idyllic surroundings area for those looking for tranquillity and solitude. A slamm hamlet overlooking prosperous apple orchards and with a fine view of the Himalayan Panorma. Fagu in Shimla is also a popular trekking stage.

Narkanda : ( 2,708 meters ) 64 km. Narkanda in Shimla commands a unique view of the eternal snow line and the dense forest. A quaint sleepy hamlet. From here, you get breathtaking view of the snow clad Himalayas. 'Hatu Peak' at an altitude of 3,143 meters above sea level ai 8 km. from Narkanda. In winter, there are exciting ski slopes to Ski on.

The State Museum Shimla : Shimla museum has endeavoured to project hill art and the cultural wealth of the state showing their link with the national artistic scene. There is a collection of minitature paintings, costumes, textiles and jewellery of the region. A leisurely winding walk from the Mall, past the Gortan Castle and the Cecil leads to a colonial mansion perched atop a hill. It houses the state museum. A visit to Shimla is incomplete without seeing this museum, which offers a peep into Himachal's grand past.

Coffee House Shimla : This coffee house of Shimla is working under a cooperative society. The interior decor of the coffee house is always kept simple with a few framed pictures, but only those portraying coffee. Having two floors, the Shimla Coffee House is spacious but it is always packed.

Kali Bari Temple : Few yards from scandal Point towards General Post Office. It is believed that the idol of Goddess Shayamla is enshrined there.

Rampur : ( 924 metres ) 140 Km. )On the Hindustan Tibet Road. Once the capital of the Princely State of Bushahr, the town is situated on the banks of Satluj river, Big Commercial Centre and famous International Lavi fare which is held in November every year, Dumgir Buddhist Temple, Padam Palace, Raghunath Temple, Ayodhya temple and Narsingh Temple, are worth visiting. Himachal Tourism runs a tourist Complex and air conditioned Cafe, Satluj.

Kalapathar : ( 2673 metres ) 85 Km. ) Motorable on Shimla-Rohru road. A famous religious shrine Giriganga is 7 Km on foot or by jeep. HPTDC Tourist complex Giriganga Resort under construction.
Tourism in Shimla :
Shimla combines the luxury of being a hill station as well as a city. Tourism in Shimla is advanturous. Tourism in Shimla is delightful as Shimla offers a lot of beautiful places to explore. The main attraction of tourism in shimla is the The Mall and the Ridge. These two places are the most favourable places to enjoy tourism in Shimla. Kufri and Narkanda offers great opportunity for tourism in Shimla because of snow covered terrains and skiing in winter season. Britishers called Shimla "the queen of hill stations" and staying true to this saying, Shimla and its nearby areas are heavens for any kind of tourism related activities. Tourism in Shimla offers everlasting memories of quality time spent in the heart of Himalayas.

District Shimla : General Information
Altitude : varies from 600 meters to 6000 meters.
Headquarter : Shimla ( altitude 2,210 meters )
Location : Shimla district lies between 30°45' and 31°44 North Latitude and between 77°0' and 78°19' East Longitude. It is bounded by Mandi and Kullu in North, Kinnaur in the East, the state of Uttar Pradesh in the South and by Sirmaur district in the West.
Access by Air : The nearest airport is Jubbarhatti 23 km.
Access by Rail : There is broad guage railway line upto Kalka and thereafter narrow guage line upto Shimla 90 km. ) with 103 tunnels.
Access by Road : Almost each and every part of the state is linked by roads. The Himachal Road Transport Corporation is running its buses covering the whole state. There is huge network of HRTC to cater the needs of the people.
Distances : Manali 260 km., Mandi 150 km., Palampur 235 km., Dharamshala ( via Hamirpur ) 235 km., Dalhousie 336 km., Sarahan 175 km., Sangla 230 km., Kalpa 244 km., Tabo 374 km., Kaza 421 km., Keylong ( via Kunzum Pass ) 610 km., Hatkoti 109 km., Chigaon 137 km., Kssauli 75 km., Renuka 165 km., Delhi 370 km., Pathankot 295 km., Chandigarh 117 km.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dewali - Festival Of Lights : Why is it celebrated??


Indians celebrate Diwali with great passion. They fire lots of firecrackers and eat sweets and wear new clothes. Why is Diwali so important in India?

Diwali is the day when it is said that Lord Rama returned to his kingdom Ayodhya after conquering Lanka. Lord Rama was asked by his father Dashrath to go to the wild forests for fourteen long years. In the forest Ravana, the king of Lanka, abducted his queen Seeta. Lord Rama was along in the jungle with only his brother Laxaman with him. In the forests Lord Rama met the monkey king Sugriva.

Sugriva sent monkeys around the world to search for mother Seeta. Finally Lord Hanumana found Seeta in the kingdom of Ravana at Lanka. He burnt Lanka and came back to inform Lord Rama about mother Seeta. Lord prepared a large army of monkeys and bears and invaded Lanka. Ravana was defeated. Vibhishan the brother of Ravana had joined Lord Rama in the battle. After defeating Ravana Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya his kingdom after fourteen long years.

Indian Hindus celebrate Diwali as a day of celebration. Candles are burnt in every home. People clean their homes and wear new clothes. Sweets are shared and people wish each other. Diwali is the biggest festival of India that celebrates the victory of good over the evil. Indians all over the world celebrate Diwali and it is also the beginning of new year as per the Hindu calendar.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chicken Biryani Recipe

• 1 kg Chicken (pieces)
• 500 gm Basmati Rice
• ½ cup Milk
•4 tbsp Garam Masala (whole)
• 4 tsp Garam Masala Powder
• 50 gm Butter
• 4 tbsp Garlic (chopped)
• 2 tbsp Rose Water
• 1 cup Onions (sliced)
• 4 tbsp Ginger (chopped)
• 3 tsp Red Chili Powder
• 1 tbsp Coriander Powder
• 5 tbsp Oil
• ½ gm Saffron
• 2 tsp Turmeric Powder
• 2 cup Curd (yogurt)
• ¾ cup Tomato (chopped)
• 4 Bay Leaves
• Salt to taste

How to make Chicken Biryani:
•Take a bowl and put salt, 1/2 of the red chili powder, 1/2 of the chopped ginger, 1/2 of the chopped garlic, 1 tsp garam masala powder, 1/2 of the turmeric powder and curd in it, mix well.
•Add chicken pieces to it and leave for an hour.
•Now wash and soak rice in water for 30 minutes.
•Boil water, add 1/2 of the whole garam masala, bay leaf, salt and rice in it.
•Cook the rice until 3/4 th done.
•Drain rice and place it aside.
•Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and combine remaining whole garam masala with it, let it crackle.
•Add sliced onions to it and cook it till light golden brown.
•Add the remaining coriander powder, turmeric powder chopped ginger, chopped garlic, red chili powder, 1 tsp garam masala powder and chopped tomatoes to it, cook for 5 minutes.
•Combine marinated chicken with it and cook until chicken is tender.
•Dissolve saffron in warm milk and set aside.
•Place alternate layers of chicken and rice.
•Now sprinkle saffron dissolved in milk, remaining garam masala powder, golden fried sliced onions and butter in between the layers and on the top.
•Carefully end it with the rice layer topped with saffron, spices & rose water.
•Cover and seal it with an aluminum foil and cook on low flame for about 10 to12 minutes.
•Chicken Biryani is ready to serve.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ooty - Queen of hill stations

Ooty Udhagamandalam
Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the "Queen of hill stations' among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 km away from Coimbatore. The height of the hills in the Nilgiri range varies between 2280 and 2290 metres, the highest peak being Doddabetta at a height of 2623 metres.
The Tea
The establishment of numerous tea estates made Ooty famous. Lofty mountains, dense forest, sprawling grasslands and miles and miles of tea gardens greet the passengers on most routes. The annual Tea and Tourism Festival attracts crowds in huge numbers. Visit Ooty during this festival, when tea lovers from all over the world converge. An occasion not to be missed!

Prime Attractions of Udagamandalam
Botanical Garden
Botanical gardens are a major tourist attraction for those who visit Ooty, one of the most popular hill stations of India. They sprawl over 50-acres and lie on the lower slopes of Dodabetta peak, which is the highest point in Ooty.
Government Museum - Ooty
The Government Museum At Ooty The government museum, Mysore Road, Ooty has items of tribal objects, district's ecological details and representative sculptural arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu. It was set up in 1989, with a view to provide education benefits to the residing and visiting population of Nilgiris district. Tourist Information Admission: Free Timings: 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm Closed On: Fridays, Second Saturdays and National Holidays Ooty The nearest airport is at Coimbatore (100-km). Ooty on the narrow gauge railway is connected to Mettupalayam, which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai on the broad gauge. There are regular bus services connecting Ooty to Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Calicut, Tirupati etc.
Hills and Views
Udhagamandalam (Ooty), the capital of Nilgiri district, is popularly known as the "Queen of hill stations" among the tourist circuits. It is situated at a distance of 105 kilometres from Coimbatore
Kalhatty Falls
The Kalhatty falls are located on the Kalhatty slopes at about 13-km from Udhagamandalam on the Udhagamandalam - Mysore Kalhatty ghat road. Also known as the "Kalahasti Falls", the water here cascades down a height of 122m.
Kandal Cross Shrine
Kandal cross, a Roman Catholic Shrine considered, as the Jerusalem of the East is located in Udhagamandalam in Tamil Nadu. The Nilgiri Catholics consider it as the "Calvary of Tamil Nadu".
Mini Garden and Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is situated about 3 to 4-km away from Charring Cross. Mini garden is also situated on the way to the boathouse where the children amusement park is housed.
Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park
The Mudumalai wildlife sanctuary is located where the Nilgiri Hills, the offshoot of the Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats. The Mysore - Ooty highway runs through the sanctuary, following the course of the Mayyar River, which separates Mudumalai from Bandipur.
Ooty Lake
The beautiful Ooty Lake is a favourite haunt of tourists. It was constructed in the year 1825, through the initiatives of Mr. John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. This lake was built in order to provide an irrigation tank to the people.
Summer Festival
There is several beautiful hill stations in Tamil Nadu. With the Summer Festivals, the hills are even hospitable to welcome the visitors. The summer festival is held in the 'Queen of Hill Stations',
Tea and Tourism Festival
Akin to the nectar of the Gods is the Camellia Sinensia, which is a bush that gives fragrant amber ambrosia-a refresher and stimulizer. In other words, TEA.

Significance - Udhagamandalam
It is believed that the name Nila, has been in use for over 800 years since, the King of the Hoysalas Vishnu Vardhana, who ruled from 1104 to 1141 AD seized the Nilgiris Plateau. His general Ponisia recorded this fact in 1117 AD with mention of Todas. The name Nilgiri was due to the blue haze, which envelops the range with most distant hills of considerable size. This Nilgiri territory came into possession of the East India Company as part of the ceded lands, held by Tipu Sultan, by the treaty of Srirangapatnam in 1799. Rev. Jacome Forico, a priest was the first European who visited Nilgiris in 1603 and released his notes about the place and people of Nilgiris. In 1812 surveyor William Keys and Macmohan visited the top of the plateau. In 1818, Wishand Kindersley, Assistant and Second Assistant to Collector of Coimbatore visited this spot and submitted their experience report to the Collector of Coimbatore Mr. John Sullivan. Settlement in Udhagamandalam began in 1822 with the construction of the Stone House by John Sullivan, the then Collector of Coimbatore. The bungalow, which is locally called "Kal Bangla", is one of the landmarks of Udhagamandalam and is now the Chamber of the Principal of the Government Arts College.

Fairs & Festivals - Udhagamandalam
Summer Festivals A summer festival is held each year during the month of May in the Botanical Gardens, which is an added attraction for tourists. The Flower Show is the pride of the festival. Cultural programmes are organised for those interested in traditional classical arts. Adventure spots like trekking also form part of the festival.

Leisure - Udhagamandalam

The Nilgiris are a trekker's paradise. Landscaped by nature, the hills abound in trek for lovers of nature. There are treks and treks in whichever direction you turn and from whichever point you start. A trek can be full of thrill, excitement and adventure and a way of seeing and enjoying nature in all its beauty and splendour. Udhagamandalam (Ooty) offers several trek routes, which vary in distance, altitudes and terrain. There is a base camp at Parsons valley, from where one can start trekking to various points within Western Ghats. The down hills of Western Ghats on the North ends up with meeting the extensions of Eastern Ghats, where the sprawling Mudumalai Sanctuary lies which opens vistas for adventure tourists. Trekking pamphlets are available with the Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association (NWLEA). There are guides who have sound knowledge of certain areas. If necessary, their services may be hired. And for further details contact the Tourist Information Office at Charring Cross, Ooty.
Hang-glidng courses are also organised during March to May every year, with the assistance of the Department of Tourism. Contact the Tourist Officer, Ooty for assistance.
Goad Trout, Carp and mixed water fishing is possible in various streams and lakes of Ooty. The Assistance Director of Fisheries issues the fishing licence.

Just about anything available in the cities can be had at Ooty with the added attraction of leisurely shopping. Exclusive Nilgiri products including Nilgiri tea, fruits, natural oils like Eucalyptas, Toda embroideries, plant nurseries are easily available in the town. Co-operative Super Market and Municipal Market are some of the best places for shopping fruits and general groceries. Kairali of Kerala Handicrafts and Poompuhar of Tamil Nadu Handicrafts have their showrooms near to Super Market Buildings on Charring Cross.

Eating Out
Blue hills Chandan Vihar Tandoor Mahal Ooty Coffee House Chinkos Chinese Restaurant Hills Palace.

How To Get There - Udhagamandalam
By Rail
Ooty is on the narrow gauge railway, connected to Mettupalayam (47 km), which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai. The famous toy train connects Ooty with Mettupalayam and Coonoor.
By Road
A good network of roads and national highways connect Ooty with all major towns and cities. There are regular bus services to and from Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Palghat, Calicut, Tirupati and other important destinations in South India. Ooty is also well connected with major cities of Kerala and Karnataka.
Local Transport
Taxis, tourist cabs, auto rickshaws are available in plenty. There are no standard rates except tourist cabs. Town buses are also available to all important places. Conducted sight seeing tours are arranged by the private operators and the Government Tourism Development Corporation.
By Air
Coimbatore, 105 km from Ooty, is the nearest airport.

Places To Stay - Udhagamandalam
Accommodation is available at the luxurious and economy class hotels, lodges, and resorts in Ooty. Both Indian and Western style accommodation and food are available. Prior booking is advisable, especially during the summer months.

Climate - Udhagamandalam
Max 21ºC, Min 5ºC
Max 25ºC, Min 10ºC
121 cms.

General Information - Udhagamandalam
STD Code: 0423
Niligiri District, Tamil Nadu.
Founded By
British In 1800.
8,1763 (1991 Census) .
2,623 metres.
Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and English.