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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ancient Seven Wonders Of World

The Colossus of Rhodes
A gigantic bronze statue that once stood 32 meters (110 feet) high on a marble plinth, the Colossus of Rhodes was built by its citizens to revere the Sun God Helios who supposedly helped Rhodes to ward off Demetrius of Macedonia. Constructed by the engineer Chares of Lindos, the Colossus of Rhodes was completed after ten years of meticulous work so that the legs would sustain the enormous weight of the giant statue. Unfortunately, in 227 B.C., an earthquake caused the Colossus to crack at the knee and set it in motion so that it collapsed into pieces. Even so, the statue was so admired that it was left lying in huge fragments for over 900 years until its valuable parts were brought to Syria.

The Pyramids of Egypt
The only surviving wonder of the ancient world, the Pyramids of Egypt (Giza), were the phenomenal achievement of Egyptian construction and engineering. Built between 2600 and 2500 B.C., the three pyramids at Giza encompass more than 5 million limestone blocks which were painstakingly transported via timber sleds and by being rolled over the top of logs. As cranes were as yet unheard of, each block had to be dragged via ramps up to its designated place. According to Herodot, the largest of the three pyramids, known as the Great Pyramid, (about 146 meters high) took 20 years to complete and served as the tomb for the Egyptian Pharoah Khufu. The pyramids represented the link between heaven and earth and were a signal to Horus, God of the World.

The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Built to guide ships through the labyrinth of sandbars that created havoc for merchants attempting to reach the port of Alexandria in Egypt, the Lighthouse or Pharos of Alexandria was the only ancient wonder to have served a practical purpose. Built between 299 and 79 B.C., the lighthouse stood some 166 meters, or around 500 feet, above the city's western harbor and was financed by the Greek merchant Sostratus who wanted to help ensure the safety of shipping traffic. Polished bronze mirrors were specially devised to reflect sunlight out to sea during daytime, and fires were lit at night to serve as a beacon for lost ships at night. The tower stood relatively intact until a series of earthquakes and gradual deterioration from natural elements caused the structure to collapse and eventually be dismantled for its stones.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
A magnificent garden paradise said to have been built in 7th century B.C. in the middle of the arid Mesopotamian desert, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were testimony to one man's ability to, against all the laws of nature, create a botanical oasis of beauty amid a bleak desert landscape. King Nebuchadnezzar created the gardens as a sign of esteem for his wife Semiramis, who, legend has it, longed for the forests and roses of her homeland. The gardens were terraced and surrounded by the city walls with a moat to repel invading armies. There remains doubt, however, amongst historians and archaeologists as to whether this lost paradise ever existed, given that excavations at Babylon have left no definitive trace of this mythical oasis.

The Temple of Artemis
The greatest temple of the ancient world, the Temple of Artemis once stood as the most magnificent accomplishment of Greek civilization and Hellenistic culture, built as a tribute to Artemis - the Greek goddess of the hunt, mistress of Nature, protector of wild beasts and the sister of Apollo. The Temple of Artemis was located in Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey), which was to become the richest seaport in Asia Minor. It once consisted of 127 marble columns each standing 20 meters (60 feet) tall. First built in the 6th century B.C., the temple was destroyed by fire 200 years later and then rebuilt under the supervision of Alexander the Great. The great temple was eventually destroyed successively by invading Gothic hordes, earthquakes, and plunderers. Today, only a solitary column remains of this once-glorious structure.

The Statue of Zeus
This gold and bejeweled statue was commissioned in 438 B.C. by the Council of Olympia in reverence for Zeus, the ruler and most powerful of the Olympian gods. The great statue was the work of the Athenian sculptor Phidias and was constructed inside the Parthenon, the great temple overlooking the city. According to Philo of Byzantium, this was the most inspiring of all the seven wonders of the ancient world: 'Whereas we greatly admire the other six wonders, we kneel in front of this one in reverence...'. The statue of Zeus was later destroyed along with its temple after an earthquake in 170 B.C.

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus
Built between 370 and 351 B.C., this monumental tomb was dedicated to King Mausolus of Caria by his grieving wife, Queen Artemisia, as a memorial to their great love. According to Plinius the Mausoleum once stood 45 metres (135 feet) high and was surrounded by 36 columns, standing atop a marble pedestal at the intersection of the two main streets of Halicarnassus. The Mausoleum stood relatively intact until 1522 A.D., when it was ordered destroyed as an example of Pagan art.

Pictures of Ancient seven wonders of world

Monday, October 13, 2008

How diamonds are made??


The diamond is the hardest natural substance known. It is found in a type of igneous rock known as kimberlite. The diamond itself is essentially a chain of carbon atoms that have crystallized. The stone's unique hardness is a result of the densely concentrated nature of the carbon chains. Like other igneous rocks, kimberlite was formed over the course of thousands of years by volcanic action that occurred during the formation of the earth's crust. Kimberlite is located inside these former spheres of volcanic activity—often near mountain ranges—in vertical shafts that extend deep inside the earth. Inside the kimberlite are intermittent deposits of diamonds, one of several minerals present. However, not all kimberlite contains diamond. Other stones often found with diamonds are mica, garnet, and zircon. Kimberlite may be blue-grey in hue—thus termed blue ground—or if exposed to air it may have a yellowish cast and is called yellow ground.

It is thought that diamonds were first discovered in Indiaabout 6,000 years ago in the riverbeds of the region. Traders were responsible for bringing the gems as far east as China and as far west as Rome during the classical and early medieval eras. The Chinese were the first to hamess the unusually tough nature of the gem and used it as a tool to cut other stones. Pliny the Elder, a Roman scholar, wrote about the diamond in the first century. The word itself stems from the Greek term adamas which means "invincible" or "unconquerable."
From the earliest days, the diamond has been imbued with mystery and superstition. Because they were so rare—at first found only in India—it became a commonly held superstition that the diamond lent its wearer special powers. They were worn in battle to insure victory and sometimes invoked as an antidote to poison. Other superstitions associated with the stone included the caveat that placing it in the mouth would bring on a loss of teeth. In other cases, finely ground diamond, made into a powder, was thought to be an effective poison. Indeed, experts agree that even in a pulverized form, the unique sharpness of the mineral would tear minuscule holes in the digestive tract. Because it is both the hardest and one of the rarest natural substances, diamonds have always fetched exceedingly high prices. The extreme value of the stone also made it a portable form of wealth in times of warfare and upheaval.
The actual mining of diamonds as an industry can be traced back to India to around 800 to 600 B.C. India was the only known source of the rocks for over a thousand years, until they were unearthed in Borneo around A.D. 600. During the Middle Ages, the diamond was overshadowed by some of the more colorful gems like the ruby and emerald. These other stones found their way into the jewelry of the rich and powerful of Europe more easily than the diamond. Additionally, gem-cutting techniques had not yet been developed to unleash the brilliance of the stone. Diamonds were usually left in their natural state or shaped by a rudimentary cut. In the 17th century, how-ever, a Venetian lapidary named Vincenzo Peruzzi developed the so-called brilliant cut. This cut revealed the intricacies and the natural perfection of the stone.

In the 18th century, diamond deposits were discovered in Brazil in small quantities, and later in Australia, Russia, and the United States. Brazilian gems were first taken to India and shipped to Europe as Indian diamonds, since people considered non-Indian gems less valuable. In the 20th century, an American mine near Murfreesboro, Arkansas, was open for novelty public mining for a small fee. High-quality diamonds have been found in Siberia, but the extremely cold temperature has made large-scale mining unfeasible.
In 1866 the world's largest cache of diamonds was discovered in South Africa. Some children had found a rock and brought it home, and a curious neighbor passed it on to a trader, who gave it to a geologist. It was discovered to be a diamond of enormous size and worth a small fortune. South Africa soon experienced a diamond rush, and shanty towns sprang up with the influx of prospectors. Eventually, the various mines and mine companies of the region were consolidated under the control of the DeBeers organization. With the DeBeers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., a Central Selling Organization, and a Diamond Trading Company, this conglomerate controls about 80% of the world's diamond output. Contemporary diamond mining is centered at Kimberley, South Africa, and carried out by DeBeers. Every six weeks or so, representatives of the DeBeers Diamond Trading Company invite a special list of diamond wholesalers—less than a hundred world-wide—to London to view preselected lots of the gem. This is the only method by which South African DeBeers diamonds come onto the market.

Industrical Applications

In modern times diamonds have become indispensable to industry. Automobile magnate Henry Ford was the first to uncover the contemporary industrial uses of the stone. He sponsored research into its applications for the manufacturing sector, especially as a low-cost abrasive, and the Detroit area became a hub for dealers of diamond tools. The aircraft industry followed the lead of the automotive sector, becoming an avid user of diamond-based products. Diamonds used for industrial applications are usually of a lower grade than those found in the gemstone market, but they retain the same properties of hardness and durability. Diamond tools last much longer than those made from other sources and offer a nearly unmatched precision in cutting other substances. Additionally, such tools work faster and much more quietly than other alternatives.
Tools made from industrial diamonds are used in the mirror and optical manufacturing fields as well as in gas and oil drilling endeavors. In the textile industry, devices made from diamonds are used to cut patterns. In medicine, cutting instruments made from diamonds are used to cleanly slice bone and tissue. The construction industry uses diamond tools in the grinding and cutting of concrete and pavement. Diamonds are also used to make needles for stereo record players.

Physical Characteristics

Diamonds are chains of carbon. Carbon is one of the most common substances on the planet. In one form it is simple graphite, used in pencils, but in its crystallized form, it takes an altogether different appearance as diamond. On the scale used by mineralogists to measure the hardness of minerals, diamonds rate ten on a scale of one to ten. Diamonds are measured in carats, the standard unit of measurement for gemstones. One carat is roughly equal to one-fifth of a gram. The carat can be further divided into points based on a scale of 100. One of the reasons diamonds are so prized is because the light they absorb is reflected directly back outward, if the stone has been properly cut. The unusual crystal structure of the gem allows this high degree of refractability. Because of their structure, diamonds are also excellent conductors of electrical current.
Structurally, the diamond can be described as an octahedron. This means that there are double four-sided pyramids of carbon chains inside that meet one another at the bases. Cubes or dodacahedrons—a twelvesided shape—are also found within the stone. Sometimes small triangular pockets called trigons can be observed.
Diamonds are found in nature in a variety of hues. Colorless or white diamonds are the most common, while some tinted stones are rare and valuable. The shades may be yellow, blue, pink, green, or amber. In South Africa it is common to see orange diamonds as jewelry, but this is a custom that has not made its way into the rest of the world. Some of the world's most famous diamonds are the colored ones—the heavy Dresden Green, for instance, and the infamous Hope Diamond. The latter, blue in color, is thought to hold certain negative energy, and many unexplained deaths have been associated with its owners. It is now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Extraction and Refining

Diamonds are mined either from the kimberlite pipes below the earth's surface, or from alluvial deposits. Alluvial (riverbed) deposits occurred when volcanic action carried kimberlite and other minerals from the center of activity to naturally forming irrigation systems. Such diamonds are found quite near the earth's surface. In alluvial mining, considerable amounts of sand must first be removed from the area. The sand and other such components are called over-burden, and large mechanical scrapers are used to move it out of the way. Underneath the overburden lies a gravel bed, and bulldozers scoop the gravel up and set it aside in piles.
The piles are then taken to a screening plant, where the diamonds are extracted. In alluvial mining, it is sometimes necessary to reach the bedrock underneath the gravel bed—or sometimes even below the bedrock itself—in order to unearth the diamond deposits. The bedrock must be thoroughly searched. Sometimes an enormous vacuum device called a Vacuveyer is used for this purpose. As the mining process moves along in a horizontal fashion, the removed overburden is again deposited to fill over the excavated sites.
Below-ground mining of kimberlite for diamond also requires moving enormous quantities of rock and other material in order to unearth gems, but on a much larger scale than alluvial mining. For one part diamond uncovered, it is estimated that 15 to 30 million parts waste must be moved out of the way. Unlike mining endeavors for gold or other substances, engineers cannot determine beforehand whether an area has a large abundance of diamond.
· 1 Block caving is the most commonly used method in excavating diamonds from kimberlite deposits. This method offers the highest yield and thus is the most cost effective. First, a large vertical hole is excavated, typically 1,750 feet (533 m) in diameter. Levels are placed approximately every 40 feet (12 m). Along these levels are horizontal tunnels known as scraper drifts. In the drifts, there are small inclined coneshaped openings at intervals of every 11 feet (3 m) or so. These openings are roughly four feet by four feet. When a horizontal slice is cut above the cones—usually about six feet (1.8 m) in height—the kimberlite begins to break off and fall into the cone and into the scraper drift. The material is then pushed onto trucks. The trucks travel underground through the mining area and take the collected kimberlite to a crushing device.
· 2 In the crushing operation, which occurs in the below-ground mining facilities, large chunks of kimberlite are broken up into more easily transportable segments. After an initial crushing, the kimberlite passes through a grizzly, or a set of iron bars. If the crushed chunks do not pass through the grizzly, they are still too large, and they are sent back for further crushing. The crushed kimberlite is then taken above the surface for further processing. When no more kimberlite is found entering the cones, the area is depleted and work moves on to a lower level.
· 3 The actual diamonds must be separated from the rock that surrounds them. Crushing or milling the excavated material is the first step, but this is done in a rudimentary form so as not to damage the potential gems inside. Next, a gravity-based device is used to sort the diamond-containing portions—called the concentrate—from the tailings, or the filler rock. One of the most commonly used methods to separate the two is a type of washing pan developed in South Africa in the 1870s. Decomposed kimberlite and water—in a mixture known as a puddle—is put into the pan. The mixture's viscosity is a crucial element, because the lighter particles will rise to the top, but the diamonds and other heavy minerals will descend to the bottom of the pan.
Another method of uncovering diamonds uses media separators. A stew called a slurry is made up—typically consisting of water added to the crushed concentrate and tailings. Ferro-silicon powder, which has a heavy density, is also added.
The slurry may be put into one of three types of media separators. The first is a cone-shaped tank, with a cone-shaped agitating element inside. The agitator moves around the sides of the tank, but leaves enough room so that the lighter tailings can rise to the top and the heavier elements sink to the bottom. In a lifting-wheel type of media separator, a wheel is filled halfway with slurry. Paddles inside it agitate the mixture, and lift the heavy particles from the bottom and separate them from the rest of the mixture. The third type of media separator is known as a hydrocyclone. It is a large vat that spins around, and through centrifugal force, the heavier, diamond-rich particles are separated.
· 4 After this rudimentary separation, the concentrate moves to a greasing area, another innovation in diamond manufacturing developed in South Africa in the late 19th century. Mixed with water, the kimberlite-and-diamond mixture is placed on a greased belt or table. This device is usually slanted and vibrated. The method operates on the premise that diamonds newly excavated will not become wet when brought into contact with water. Instead they will stick to the grease. Petroleum jelly is usually the preferred substance on the grease belt or table. The water then carries away the remaining non-diamond particles. The diamond-laden concentrate is then swept off the table and boiled to remove the traces of grease. In a newer method, X-ray technology is used to determine which of the concentrate is diamond and which is effluvial material.
· 5 Chunks of diamond eventually become small, perfectly shaped gemstones commonly used in engagement rings and other jewelry. Since diamond is the hardest known substance, diamond dust must be used to cut the stone. In cutting, a minuscule groove is incised into the surface of the diamond, and a cleaving iron is inserted into the groove. With a quick, forceful blow, the diamond should split perfectly along its naturally occurring planes. The lapidary determines further cuts by marking them off on the surface with ink. Next, a diamond saw, oiled with the unusual combination of diamond dust and olive oil, is rotated vertically on the surface of the raw gem. This device divides the diamond into new segments. These parts are then fed into a lathe-like device for grinding.

Konark sun temple - Orissa

Konark Sun Temple,Orissa

Situated near the sacred city of Puri (Orissa), the Konark Sun Temple is an amalgamation of artistic craftsmanship and human endeavour, and marks the highest point of achievement in Kalingan architecture so much so, that UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site.

Though accounts of the temple's origins remain ambigous, historical sources maintain that the temple was built by King Narasimhadevan in the thirteenth century. It was constructed in the form of a massive chariot with seven horses and twelve wheels on each side, carrying the Sun god 'Surya' across the heavens. The Sun god has been worshipped in India as early as the Vedic period. Two lions safeguard the entrance while a flight of steps lead to the to the main temple area. Some believe the wheels to signify 24 hours of the day, while others relate it to the 12 months of a year. The horses are deemed to symbolize the seven days of the week. Sailors once knew the temple as the Black Pagoda and feared its power to cause ship wreaks.

Samba, the son of Lord Krishna took great pride in his beauty. So much that he once committed a mistake of ridiculing a sage called Narada. The sage, bursting with rage, hit upon an idea to teach Samba a lesson. Somehow, the sage lured the boy to a pool where his step mothers, the consorts of Lord Krishna, were having bath. As Krishna got to learn of this immoral activity, he was inflamed and cursed his son with leprosy. However, before long, lord Krishna came to know that it was all a premeditated plan of the mischievous Narada. He suggested to his son that he go and worship the Sun god, the healer of all diseases. Samba followed the advise and spent 12 long years of penance and worship. Eventually, Surya instructed Samba to go and take a dip into the sea at Konark. So did the afflicted boy and surprisingly enough his leprosy was cured. Elated Samba made up his mind to built a temple in honour of Surya at the very spot. And that was how the temple came into being.

Architecture of the Temple
The colossal structure with its though in ruins now, stands ovation to Orissa's medieval architecture. Its architectural brilliance is displayed in the interesting juxtaposition of intricate and minute sculptural patterns to the free-standing statues of an exceptional size. The wheels of this chariot attract special attention being almost 10m in diameter and covered with intricate displays of creative talent. The spokes of the wheels are used as sundials, with their shadows predicting the exact time of the day. On the walls of this temple one can witness beautiful carvings, sculptures and bas-reliefs (figures projecting from a plain background) depicting images of god, goddesses, men, women and scenes from 13th century social life. The architecture of the temple is typified by its curved towers mounted by cupolas with a pyramidal roof of sandstone ascending to a height of around 30 metres.The temple stands aligned in the east-west direction exemplifying solitary majesty and splendour in the midst of natural surrounding comprising of casuarinas plantations and other trees native to the sandy soil of this region. The gentle undulating topography of the Bay of Bengal coastline lends distinction to the surrounding landscape.

Konark Festival
The Natya Mandir (Dance Hall) within the Sun Temple Complex hosts the Konark Festival of Dances, in celebration of India's diverse dance forms like Odissi, Bharatnatyam, Manipuri, Kathak and Chau. The festival is usually held in the first week of February and is attended by leading classical dancers, connoisseurs, tourists and locals.
Best Time to Visit
Being close the sea, the climate of Konark is never very harsh. With greenery surrounding the place, rainfall is heavy in Konark. The best season to visit Konark is between October and March; however, one can go there throughout the year.
The city of Konark lies in the eastern state of Orissa, India approximately 65 km from the capital Bhubaneshwar and 35 km from Puri.

Getting there and Around
By Air - The nearest airport is the Biji Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneshwar, which is well connected to most major cities of the country like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.
By Rail - Nearest railheads are found at Bhubaneshwar and Puri with long-distance trains connecting them to all key cities of the Country.
By Road - Konark is well linked through private buses as well as those run by the Orissa State Road Transport Corporation to all parts of the State.

Konark offers various government approved accommodations at Panthanivas, Travellers lodge, Inspection Bungalow, yatri Nivas.There are thousands of low budget and luxury Hotels too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lotus Temple

Lotus Temple in Delhi:
A Remarkable Architecture
Lotus Temple is one of the remarkable architectures of Bahai faith. It is located at Kalkaji in New Delhi. The temple looks like a lotus flower and is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. The temple has no restrictions for visitors and is open to people from all religions. The place provides immaculate environment for meditation, peace and wisdom. The Bahai temple was completed in 1986. Since then the temple has received recognition from all over the world for its splendid architecture and design. Lotus Temple is among the most visited monuments in India. The credit for building this beautiful structure goes to the Persian architect Fariborz Sahba from Canada.
Personifying Lotus in the temple does not merely mean giving a lotus shape to the edifice but it has a message to the people of India in the form of a manifestation from the almighty. Lotus is a symbol of peace, purity, love and immortality. It is this particular specialty of Lotus flower which makes the flower an important icon in Indian culture and society. This is why the design of Lotus temple has been inspired by lotus flower.
The design looks like a half opened Lotus flower with 27 freestanding "petals" made of marble. The architect, while designing the temple took into account the eternal beauty of Lotus flower. The construction work took almost 10 years before it finally got shape and was open for public. The team comprised of 800 engineers, technicians, workers and artisans who worked diligently to give realization to one of the most complex edifices in the world. The temple integrates the aesthetic values along with the technological influence within the whole structure. There are nine reflecting pools that encompass the temple from outside. Converting the geometry of the design that did not have any straight line to the actual structure needed a lot of effort and dedicated engineering.
The temple has the capacity to accommodate nearly 2500 people and has nine doors that open in a central hall. The whole structure is made of white marble that adds to the glory of the temple. It is about 40 meters tall surrounded by nine ponds and appears as if the temple is floating like a Lotus flower in water.
The most appraising aspect of this particular architectural masterpiece is the integration of the effervescent Indian history along with the modern engineering and architecture. The temple has to its accreditation being recognized all over the world as one of the most visited edifices in the world with almost 50 million people having visited the temple since its inception in 1986.

Awards Received:

* Award given to the architect Mr. Sabha in the year 1987 from International Federation for Art and Architecture, USA.
* Award for the structural design by the Institute of Structural Engineers in UK
* The Citation Award for personifying the visual impact of the beautiful Lotus flower.
* Accreditation for its outdoor illumination in the year 1988
* American Concrete Institute Award for being one of the most artistically built concrete structures.
* In the year 2000 it received the "Glob Art Academy Award" from Glob Art Academy in Vienna.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Topiary- Art of shaping trees


Topiary is simply the art or practice of trimming and shaping plants into ornamental shapes. The shapes can be any object or geometric shape one can think of. History tells us that Pliny the younger (AD 62-110) described his villa in Tuscany as being embellished with various figures and adorned with animals out of boxwood. So topiary has been around for nearly 2000 years. Its still popular in mansions as well as in the home garden. The term topiary today can mean a large specimen, such as a garden giraffe or a small tabletop centerpiece, but its always related to shaped plants. Here are some of the most popular uses for topiary today.

Topiary is found in a wide variety of home gardens as well as commercial establishments. Formal gardens will often include pyramids or arches, maybe even cones or teardrops with little birds pruned on top. Whimsical topiary shapes such as animals or birds or even trains and airplanes may grace a park or zoo, or accent one’s garden, bringing pleasure to all who visit. Topiary children may dance through a cottage garden and topiary dolphins look natural near the swimming pool. Topiary bunnies may welcome visitors by the front door, or human shapes ‘help’ in the garden. A scene of topiary ducks with a mother and her ducklings brings a smile to anyone’s face. Commercial gardens enjoy using garden topiary to delight their visitors, as Cypress Gardens did a few years ago with a huge topiary exhibit with over 75 large frames, including a moving carousel of topiary animals. Elli’s Great American Restaurant in Salinas California has a topiary Statue of Liberty in its front garden. Topiary is so versatile it can be at home in any garden. Its sure to be around for another 2000 years!

Container gardening has become especially popular in the last few years and topiary for containers is a natural fit. Picture a duck or goose in a ‘nest’ of grasses. Or a tall ivy cone graced with impatience around the base with trailing ivy between the flowers. A grouping of containers with a large quail topiary surrounded by smaller quail would make a nice patio vignette. Two ivy standards flanking a door way in victorian urns would enhance an entrance. Container grown topiary has the advantage of being able to be moved around the garden as desired, it serves as a focal point and can be adorned around the base with flowers or grasses to accentuate the topiary.
Another kind of topiary that is very popular is the table top topiary, most often done in ivy, but also found in herbs such as rosemary. Wreaths, hearts, cones, spirals, standards, double standards and many geometric shapes have all found their way to the table as a centerpiece, often decorated with seasonal decorations. With over 500 varieties of ivy to choose from, the possibilities for many different looks are endless. Many of these shapes are instant if one starts with a long ivy. A simple 13” ivy topiary wreath can be made with an ivy that has 18” runners in 10 mintues and they become more beautiful as they grow. The tabletop topiary is very popular for weddings and parties as it makes a pretty and appropriate centerpiece. Its also easy to tie a topiary in to a theme: hearts and flowers for weddings and anniversaries, wreaths and ivy trees for Christmas, custom topiary fish for a fisherman’s birthday, you get the picture!

Martha Stewart Living magazine featured topiary baskets a few years ago that were shaped like different animals and decorated for Easter. Ducks, bunnies, roosters, goats and deer all became topiary baskets that held flowers or colored eggs. Ivy baskets can hold champagne or flowers and make unique gifts.
So topiary can be used as an accent in the garden or as a statement. It can serve a formal garden with repetition of geometric cones or spirals, or be at home in a cottage garden with whimsical animals. It fits commercial gardens with large exhibits or single specimens. And tabletop topiaries are widely used for adorning the home or party centerpieces. And with ready made topiary frames, the whole process has become user friendly and likely to keep growing in popularity.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Amarnath yathra- cave temple

Amarnath Yatra Temple Jammu Kashmir
Situated in a narrow gorge at the farther end of Lidder Valley, Amarnath cave stands at 3,888 m. and is 46 Km. From Pahalgam and 141 Km. from Srinagar. Though the original pilgrimages subscribes that the Amarnath yatra be undertaken from Srinagar, the more common practice is to begin journey at Chandanwari, and cover the distance to Amarnath and back in five days. Pahalgam is 96 Km. Srinagar.Amarnath is regarded as one of principal Hindu Dhams. The holy cave is the residence of the holy trinity, Shiva lord. The guard of the absolute, lord Shiva, the destroyer, is present in the form of ice Lingam in this cave located at a more remote end of the valley of Lidder. This lingam is made naturally of a stalagmite of ice which awakes and weakens with the moon.


The trek to Amarnath Yatra begins at Srinagar on the panchami day of the bright half of the month. The next halt enroute is Pampur, 9 miles south east of Srinagar. Subsequent halts are at Avantipur, Brijbihara and Martand. Martand is known for its ancient temple dedicated to the Sun God - now in ruins. Enroute to Martand are Anantnag and Gautamnag. Martand is known as the architectural lion of Kashmir. It is a temple with a colonnade of 84 columns full of artistic work. This temple dates back to Lalitaditya of Kashmir of the 8th century. The next halt is at Aishmukam, and the next is Pahalgam, which is reached on the day of Dasami, the tenth day of the bright half of the month. At Pahalgam is the confluence of the rivers Seshnag and Liddar.
Next the enroute of stop is Chandanwadi, from where the confluence of the rivers Asthan Marg and Seshnag. Promote is to the top Pishu Ghati, thought to be the site where the demons were crushed by the gods. Promote is to the top the lake Seshnag with a size of approximately 12000 feet above sea level. The next halt is at Wavjan before to raise it stiff with the passage of Mahagunus to a size of 14000 feet, after which there is to the bottom a slope carrying out to Panchatarni. From here, the cave of Amarnath is reached the day of full moon, and the pélerinage is complete.


The cave of Amarnath was where Shiva lord reported the secrecy of immortality, Amar Katha with his Wife Parvat. Shiva hesitated initially but finally gave inside.Shiva wanted to reveal the secrecy in a place of isolation far from any life being and thus chose the cave of Amarnath. In preparation, Shiva left his Nandi (the Bull), which he rode at Pahalgam. At Chandanwari, he released the moon from his hair and on the banks of Lake Sheshnag, he released the snakes. Son Ganesha was left at Mahagunas Parvat and at Panjtarni, Shiva left the Five Elements behind - earth, water, air, fire and sky - that make life possible. As a final precaution, Shiva created Rudra named Kalagni and ordered him to set afire and eliminate every living thing in and around the Holy Cave. Finally, Shiva and Parvati entered the Amarnath Cave where he began meditating on a deerskin. He then narrated the Amar Katha to Parvati. Unknown to them, a pair of mating doves eavesdropped on this conversation and learned the secret. Reborn again and again, they have made the cave their eternal abode. Today, pilgrims claim seeing the pair of doves when they trek the arduous route to pay their obeisance at Shivalinga formed naturally of an ice stalagmite.


The story narrated by people about the discovery of this Holy Cave is of a shepherd Buta Malik. He is given the credit of discovering this Holy Cave. Story goes like this, that a saint gave Buta Malik a bag full of Coal. On reaching his home when he opened the bag , to his utter surprise the bag was full of gold coins. This made him overwhelmed with joy. He ran to thank the Saint. But, what he found was that the Saint had disappeared. Instead, he found The Holy Cave and Shiv Lingam there in. He announced the discovery of this to the Villagers. Then onwards this has become the sacred place of Pilgrimage.
The ancient epics narrate an other story which goes like this. The valley of Kashmir was under water. It was a big lake. Kashyap Rishi drained the water through number of rivers and rivulets. In those days Bhrigu Rishi came that way on a visit to The Himalyas. He was the first to have Darshans of this Holy Cave. When people heard of the Lingam, Amarnath for them became Shiva's abode and a Centre of pilgrimage. Since then Lacs of devotees perform the pilgrimage through tough terrain and avail eternal happiness. The trek to Amarnath, in the month of sharavan (July August) has the devout flock to this incredible shrine, where the image of Shiva, in the form of a Lingam, is formed naturally of an Ice Stalagmite, which waxes and wanes with the Moon's cycle. By its side are fascinating, two more Ice Lingams, that of Maa Parvati and of their son, Ganesha.


The climatic conditions are very uncertain. Rain or snowfall may take place at any time or place during the Amarnath Yatra. It is to be particularly noted that abrupt changes in temperature might occur. Sunny weather may turn into rain / snow fall in a short time . The temperature may fall up to -5 degree C.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Capitals of various Countries

Afghanistan - Kabul
Albania - Tirane
Algeria - Algiers
Andorra - Andorra la Vella
Angola - Luanda
Antigua and Barbuda - Saint John's
Argentina - Buenos Aires
Armenia - Yerevan
Australia - Canberra
Austria - Vienna
Azerbaijan - Baku
The Bahamas - Nassau
Bahrain - Manama
Bangladesh - Dhaka
Barbados - Bridgetown
Belarus - Minsk
Belgium - Brussels
Belize - Belmopan
Benin - Porto-Novo
Bhutan - Thimphu
Bolivia - La Paz (administrative); Sucre (judicial)
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Sarajevo
Botswana - Gaborone
Brazil - Brasilia
Brunei - Bandar Seri Begawan
Bulgaria - Sofia
Burkina Faso - Ouagadougou
Burundi - Bujumbura
Cambodia - Phnom Penh
Cameroon - Yaounde
Canada - Ottawa
Cape Verde - Praia
Central African Republic - Bangui
Chad - N'Djamena
Chile - Santiago
China - Beijing
Colombia - Bogota
Comoros - Moroni
Congo, Republic of the - Brazzaville
Congo, Democratic Republic of the - Kinshasa
Costa Rica - San Jose
Cote d'Ivoire - Yamoussoukro (official); Abidjan (de facto)
Croatia - Zagreb
Cuba - Havana
Cyprus - Nicosia
Czech Republic - Prague
Denmark - Copenhagen
Djibouti - Djibouti
Dominica - Roseau
Dominican Republic - Santo Domingo
East Timor (Timor-Leste) - Dili
Ecuador - Quito
Egypt - Cairo
El Salvador - San Salvador
Equatorial Guinea - Malabo
Eritrea - Asmara
Estonia - Tallinn
Ethiopia - Addis Ababa
Fiji - Suva
Finland - Helsinki
France - Paris
Gabon - Libreville
The Gambia - Banjul
Georgia - Tbilisi
Germany - Berlin
Ghana - Accra
Greece - Athens
Grenada - Saint George's
Guatemala - Guatemala City
Guinea - Conakry
Guinea-Bissau - Bissau
Guyana - Georgetown
Haiti - Port-au-Prince
Honduras - Tegucigalpa
Hungary - Budapest
Iceland - Reykjavik
India - New Delhi
Indonesia - Jakarta
Iran - Tehran
Iraq - Baghdad
Ireland - Dublin
Israel - Jerusalem
Italy - Rome
Jamaica - Kingston
Japan - Tokyo
Jordan - Amman
Kazakhstan - Astana
Kenya - Nairobi
Kiribati - Tarawa Atoll
Korea, North - Pyongyang
Korea, South - Seoul
Kosovo - Pristina
Kuwait - Kuwait City
Kyrgyzstan - Bishkek
Laos - Vientiane
Latvia - Riga
Lebanon - Beirut
Lesotho - Maseru
Liberia - Monrovia
Libya - Tripoli
Liechtenstein - Vaduz
Lithuania - Vilnius
Luxembourg - Luxembourg
Macedonia - Skopje
Madagascar - Antananarivo
Malawi - Lilongwe
Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur
Maldives - Male
Mali - Bamako
Malta - Valletta
Marshall Islands - Majuro
Mauritania - Nouakchott
Mauritius - Port Louis
Mexico - Mexico City
Micronesia, Federated States of - Palikir
Moldova - Chisinau
Monaco - Monaco
Mongolia - Ulaanbaatar
Montenegro - Podgorica
Morocco - Rabat
Mozambique - Maputo
Myanmar (Burma) - Rangoon (Yangon); Naypyidaw or Nay Pyi Taw (administrative)
Namibia - Windhoek
Nauru - no official capital; government offices in Yaren District
Nepal - Kathmandu
Netherlands - Amsterdam; The Hague (seat of government)
New Zealand - Wellington
Nicaragua - Managua
Niger - Niamey
Nigeria - Abuja
Norway - Oslo
Oman - Muscat
Pakistan - Islamabad
Palau - Melekeok
Panama - Panama City
Papua New Guinea - Port Moresby
Paraguay - Asuncion
Peru - Lima
Philippines - Manila
Poland - Warsaw
Portugal - Lisbon
Qatar - Doha
Romania - Bucharest
Russia - MoscowRwanda - Kigali
Saint Kitts and Nevis - Basseterre
Saint Lucia - Castries
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - Kingstown
Samoa - Apia
San Marino - San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe - Sao Tome
Saudi Arabia - Riyadh
Senegal - Dakar
Serbia - Belgrade
Seychelles - Victoria
Sierra Leone - Freetown
Singapore - Singapore
Slovakia - Bratislava
Slovenia - Ljubljana
Solomon Islands - HoniaraS
omalia - Mogadishu
South Africa - Pretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judiciary)
Spain - Madrid
Sri Lanka - Colombo; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative)
Sudan - Khartoum
Suriname - Paramaribo
Swaziland - Mbabane
Sweden - Stockholm
Switzerland - Bern
Syria - Damascus
Taiwan - Taipei
Tajikistan - Dushanbe
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam; Dodoma (legislative)
Thailand - Bangkok
Togo - Lome
Tonga - Nuku'alofa
Trinidad and Tobago - Port-of-Spain
Tunisia - Tunis
Turkey - Ankara
Turkmenistan - Ashgabat
Tuvalu - Vaiaku village, Funafuti province
Uganda - Kampala
Ukraine - Kyiv
United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi
United Kingdom - London
United States of America - Washington D.C.
Uruguay - Montevideo
Uzbekistan - Tashkent
Vanuatu - Port-Vila
Vatican City (Holy See) - Vatican City
Venezuela - Caracas
Vietnam - Hanoi
Yemen - Sanaa
Zambia - Lusaka
Zimbabwe - Harare