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.