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Nilgiri Langur

Sunday, June 29, 2008
The Nilgiri Langur (Trachypithecus johnii) is a lutung (a type of Old World monkey) found in the Nilgiri hills of the Western Ghats in South India. Its range also includes Kodagu in Karnataka, Palani Hills in Tamil Nadu and many other hilly areas in Kerala. This primate has glossy black fur on its body and golden brown fur on its head. It is similar in size and long tailed like the gray langurs. Females have a white patch of fur on the inner thigh. It lives in troops of five to 16 monkeys. The animal is often seen encroaching into agricultural lands. Its diet is comprised of fruits, shoots and leaves. The species is endangered due to deforestation and poaching for its fur and flesh, the latter believed to have aphrodisiac properties.

Emblem of India

Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Emblem of India is an adaptation from the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka.

Emperor Ashoka the Great erected the capital atop an Ashoka Pillar to mark the spot where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma and where the Buddhist Sangha was founded. In the original there are four Asiatic lions, standing back to back, mounted on a circular abacus with a frieze carrying sculptures in high relief of an elephant, a galloping horse, a bull and a lion separated by intervening Dharmachakra or Ashoka Chakra wheels over a bell-shaped lotus. It was carved out of a single block of polished sandstone.

The version used as the Emblem does not include the fourth lion or the bell-shaped lotus flower beneath. The frieze beneath the lions is shown with the Dharma Chakra in the center, a bull on the right and a galloping horse on the left, and outlines of Dharma Chakras on the extreme right and left.

Forming an integral part of the Emblem is the motto inscribed below the abacus in Devanagari script: Satyameva Jayate. This is a quote from Mundaka Upanishad, the concluding part of the sacred Hindu Vedas.It was adopted as the National Emblem of India on 26 January 1950, the day that India became a republic.

The emblem forms a part of the official letterhead of the Government of India, and appears on all Indian currency as well. It also sometimes functions as the national emblem of India in many places and appears prominently on the diplomatic and national Passport of the Republic of India.



Mohenjo-daro

Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Mohenjo-daro was one of the largest city - settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization of south asia situated in the province of Sind, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, the city was one of the early urban settlements in the world, existing at the same time as the civilisations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and Greece. The archaeological ruins of the city are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is sometimes referred to as "An Ancient Indus Valley Metropolis".

Significance

Mohenjo-daro in ancient times was most likely one of the administrative centers of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. It was the most developed and advanced city in South Asia, and perhaps the world, during its peak. The planning and engineering showed the importance of the city to the people of the Indus valley.

The Indus Valley Civilization (c. 3300 - 1700 BC, flowered 2600 - 1900 BC), abbreviated IVC, was an ancient riverine civilization that flourished in the Indus river valley in Pakistan and north-west India. Another name for this civilization is the "Harappan Civilization."

The Indus culture blossomed over the centuries and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BCE. The civilization spanned much of what is now Pakistan and North India, but suddenly went into decline around 1900 BCE. Indus Civilization settlements spread as far south as the Arabian Sea coast of India in Gujarat, as far west as the Iran border, with an out post in Bactria. Among the settlements were the major urban centers of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, as well as Lothal.

The Mohenjo-daro ruins were one of the major centres of this ancient society. At its peak, some archaeologists opine that the Indus Civilization may have had a population of well over five million.

To date, over a thousand cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the Indus River valley in Pakistan and northwestern India.

The language of the Indus Civilization has yet to be determined, and the real name of the city as of other excavated cities in Sindh, Punjab and Gujarat, is unknown. "Mohenjo-daro" is Sindhi for "Mound of the Dead." (The name is also seen with slight variants such as Moenjodaro.)

Pondicherry

Friday, June 20, 2008
Formarly a French colony which has developed in the early part of the 18th century. Places of interest are Sri Aurobindo Ashram Auroville - the brain child of the mother and designed by French Architect roger Anger, AuroVille was meant to be an trial in international living where man and women could live in peace and progress harmony with each other above all creeds.
Sightseeing at Pondicherry:
Aurobindo Ashram: The main building encompasses the houses of Shri Aurobindo and The Mother (Mirra Alfassa, a French woman who accepted Aurobindo as her spiritual mentor and guide and later became his most important disciple). In the courtyard are the Samadhi of Aurobindo and The Mother where their mortal leftovers have been enshrined. The worth visiting at the Ashram complex are the International Education Centre, guest houses, libraries and the cottage industries.

Pondicherry Beach: The beaches are the best place to relax in Pondicherry.The 1500 metre long beach that borders the town on the eastern side is clean and is a perfect place for swimming and sun bathing. There are two monuments of historical consequence on the beach. One is the 4m. Tall statue of Mahatma Gandhi and the other is the War Memorial, built by the French in commemoration of the soldiers who died in the First World War. The Light House which stands 29m. High is further down the beach and is over 150 years old.

Churches in Podicherry: There are a number of churches that are worthy of a visit. One of the most beautiful is the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus situated on South Boulevard. It is built in the Gothic style and has three marked glass panels in a corridor behind the altar which exhibits the life of Christ. The Eglise de Notre Dame Des Anges on Rue Dumas was built in 1865. The church has an oil painting of Our Lady of Assumption that was donated by Napoleon III. The Eglise de Notre Dame de Lourdes situated in Villiyanur on the outskirts of Pondicherry is built on the same model as the Basilica at Lourdes in France.

Temples in Podicherry: There are many temples in Pondicherry that were erected by the Cholas among the 10th and 12th centuries. Most of them are committed to the local goddesses of the villages where they were built. There are also quite a few temples devoted to Lord Vinayaka or Ganapathy.

Auroville: It is about 10 km from the city centre and the place has been transformed into a lush green cover from a highly eroded area, by 25 years of sheer hard work. Auroville, at the moment, is formed of several communities, dotted along the border of Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.

Mysore Dasara

Thursday, June 19, 2008
It's magnificent Palaces and Majestic buildings, sprawling gardens and tree lined boulevards, Shimmering Silks and Sandalwood, the 'City Royale' always figures in the tourist's journey. It conjures up visions and memories of the magnificent glory of the illustrious Wodeyar Kings. This former state capital is a seamless blend of old-world charm and modernity. It retains its tradition in music and dance, art and literature. Mysore is the second biggest city in the state of Karnataka. It lies 130 km's from the State. Headquarters, Bangalore. It is the erstwhile capital of the Mysore Maharajas, who ruled Mysore State from this royal City. Mysore Dasara is a Royal Festival Celebrating conquest of Truth over Evil. Legend has it that the Goddess Chamundeeswari or Durga slew the demon Mahishasuran on Vijayadashami day. Dasara is 10-day festivals in the region culminate on Vijayadashami. In Karnataka, Dasara is experiential as State festival - Nadahabba, because of the celebration of the festival is steered by the Royal Family of Mysore. The royal family of Mysore performs special Pooja on the event of Dasara. During Dasara, the entire City is decorated and illuminated. Cultural programmes by famous artists are arranged in the Palace along with Sports, Wrestling, Poet's meet, Food Festival, Film Festival witnessed by a large number of people.

Bandipur National Park

Friday, June 13, 2008
Halfway down the Mysore-Ooty highway, the Deccan Plateau rises to meet the crumpled folds of the Western Ghat Mountains. The most one of India's best-known wildlife reserves - Bandipur National Park.

It is located within Chamarajanagar district in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, and abuts the states of Tamil Nadu & Kerala. Capable with a moderate climate and diverse geographical features, the park supports an amazing variety of flora and fauna, making it a veritable heaven for wildlife. In 1973, Bandipur became one of the first of India's Tiger Reserves and the southernmost of the nine reserves particularly established under Project Tiger. In 1974, intention was acknowledged under the Wildlife Protection Act to notify it as a National Park.

Flora & Fauna in Bandipur National Park: The scrub jungles towards the eastern limits of the park consist of underdeveloped trees, interspersed with bushes and open grassy patches. Towards its northwestern fringes, there is a measured shift in the vegetation from open dry deciduous forests to tropical mixed deciduous forests. These diverse habitats support an enormous diversity of animal life. With the onset of pre-monsoon showers in April, Bandipur begins to unfold in all its glory.
The resident birds begin their breeding activities. The air is filled with their harmonious calls. Sprouting grass in the meadows and view lines attract elephants and the majestic gaur in large numbers. For the tourist who comes to watch the larger mammals in their natural surroundings, Bandipur is a paradise from April to October. Even before this, during summer, when dryness prevails over most parts of Bandipur, the backwaters of the Kabini Reservoir in the northwestern portion of the park host huge congregations of large mammals, especially the elephant and the gaur. This unique feature makes a breathtaking spectacle, and is almost the only one of its kind in Asia.

Best Time to Visit Bandipur National Park: The ideal time to visit the Bandipur National Park is between the months of April and October.

Kovalam Beach

Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Close to Thiruvanthapuram (Trivandrum), the capital of Kerala, lays the perfect beach of Kovalam. This beach resort of Kerala is much admired with the domestic as well as international tourists due to its natural beauty. Initially this was a small fishing village with practically very little or no industrial activity of its own. Kovalam actually consists of three succeeding crescent beaches - the southernmost known as the Lighthouse beach, the Middle beach and the Third beach north of the Ashok Radission Resort.

An extensive rocky altitude on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm waters ideal for sea bathing. The spare time options at this beach are plenty and diverse. Apart from engaging in diverse water sport activities, you can also indulge in herbal body toning massages, special cultural programmes, Catamaran cruising etc. Lives on the beach begin late in the day and carry on well into the night.

National Museum of India,New Delhi

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
National Museum, New Delhi, today , has in its possession over 2,00,000 works of exquisite art, both of Indian and Foreign origin covering more than 5,000 years of our cultural heritage. Its rich holdings of various creative traditions and disciplines which represents a unity amidst diversity, an unmatched blend of the past with the present and strong perspective for the future, brings history to life.

Apart from the collections of Pre-historic Archaeology, Archaeology, Jewellery,Paintings, Decorative arts, Manuscripts, Central Asian Antiquities, Arms and Armour, etc. ,the Museum today has a separate branches of publication, Hindi, Public Relations, Education, Library, Exhibition cell, Display, Modelling, Photography, Security and Administration.

Conservation Laboratory , A well equipped conservation laboratory not only provides restoration to all the organic and inorganic art objects but also training facilities to students and deserving professionals, including restoration of oil-paintings in India.

The National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology came into existence in 1983 and now is Deemed to be a University provides various Courses with its campus at National Museum(New Delhi).

Yadgaar Delhi, one of the oldest cities in the world, and the favoured capital of several dynasties is a legend in architectural style and design. Each stone tells a story, each structure is a tribute to a glorious heritage.



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