Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hampi

Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi. in northern Karnataka, India. It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city.


Emperor Ashoka's Rock Edicts in Nittur & Udegolan (both in Bellary district) suggest that this region was part of the Maurya Empire during the 3rd century BC. A Brahmi inscription and a terracotta seal dating to the II century CE were also recovered from the excavation site.
The first settlements in Hampi date from 1
Immediately before the rise of the Vijayanagara kings, the region was probably in the hands of chiefs of Kampili, now a small town, 19 km east of Hampi.
Hampi was one of the best areas of the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire from 1343 to 1565, when it was besieged by the Deccan Muslim confederacy. Hampi was chosen because of its strategic location, bounded by the torrential Tungabhadra river on one side and surrounded by defensible hills on the other three sides.
The ruins of Hampi were surveyed in 1800 by Scottish Colonel Colin Mackenzie, first Surveyor General of India.
The site is significant historically and architecturally. The landscape abounds with large stones which have been used to make statues of Jaina deities. The Archaeological Survey of India continues to conduct excavations in the area.
The Islamic Quarter, sometimes called the Moorish Quarter, is located between the northern slope of the Malyavanta hill and the Talarigatta Gate. According to archaeologists, high-ranking Muslim officers of the king's court and military officers lived in this area

Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore and 74 km from Bellary. Hosapete (Hospet), 13 km away, is the nearest railway head. Guntakal Jn S.C.Railway just 99 km from Guntakal, which is also on the banks of Tunghabhadra, in AP is some 150 km away.The principal industries of the village are agriculture, the support of the Virupaksha temple and some other local holy places in the vicinity, as well as tourism.Vijaya Festival" has been celebrated since the reign of Vijayanagara. It is organized by the Government of Karnataka as Nada Festival.

The annual Hampi Utsav or "
Due to the presence of several mineral deposits in this region, such as iron-ore and manganese, mining has been done for a number of years. A recent boom for the supply of iron-ore in the international market has led to increased levels of mining in this district. Some feel that the World Heritage Site at Hampi and the Tungabhadra Dam are under threat as a result.

Monday, 6 February 2017

This 22-year-old mom drives an auto as she prepares for IAS exam

Ever heard of a 22-year-old single mother of a two-year-old driving an autorickshaw to support herself while she prepares for IAS exams? No, she isn't a character from an unrealistic, borderline fantasy Bollywood film. She's a real human being from Bangalore, and her name is Yellamma.
Yellamma was forced to marry when she was 18-years-old, and at the age of 20, she gave birth to a boy. She is now a single mother.
Yellamma learned to drive an auto with help from her brother-in-law. Recounting the difficulty she faced in renting an autorickshaw, she says, "Autorickshaw owners refused to rent a vehicle because they won't give one to a woman. A mechanic finally agreed to rent me an auto for 130 rupees per day."
Yellamma drives the autorickshaw from 6am to 8pm. Since this leaves her with very little free time, in between fares, she studies for her exams, and reads newspapers and magazines to prepare herself for the Indian Administrative Services, through which she wants to help other women.
While Yellamma faces hostility from male autorickshaw drivers, who have ridiculous concerns about her 'snatching their customers,' her passengers are generally curious about her story.
"They are curious and ask me to narrate my story. They encourage me to study on and even pay 10-20 rupees over and above the metre."
Life is not easy for Yellamma. She earns INR 700-800 a day but spends half of it on the auto's rent and fuel. Being a woman who is outdoors for most of the day among strangers in an Indian city presents difficulties of its own. On top of everything else, she's a single parent who is only 22-years-old. Her grit and determination in the face of these challenges show her drive and resolve to make a difference.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Hogenakkal Falls (India)

Hogenakkal Falls is a waterfall in South India on the Kaveri river in the Dharmapuri district of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is located 180 km from Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri
 he Kaveri is considered to form at Talakaveri in the Brahmagiri hills in the Western Ghats of south India and gathers momentum as the land drops in elevation. It becomes larger as various tributaries feed into it on the way down. At Hogenakkal, the Kaveri, now a large river, drops and creates numerous waterfalls as the water cuts through the rocky terrain. In places the water falls as much as 20 m (66 ft) and is said to sound like continual thunder. Soon after the falls the river takes a southerly course and enters the Mettur Stanley Reservoir. The river carries sediment which makes the downriver land fertile.
Whirlpool damaged mountain portion in hogenakkal falls in tamil nadu
At Hogenakkal the river spreads out over a wide area of sandy beaches, then flows through to the Mettur Dam and creates a 60 sq mi (160 km2). lake called Stanley Reservoir. Built in 1934, this project improved irrigation and provided hydropower

Boating

 

Boating in Hogenakkal is allowed during the dry-season as the water falls are not strong enough to disrupt the passage of the boats. This is the main source of income for these boat operators. The coracles are about 2.24 m (7 ft 4 in) in diameter, but still can take a load of eight persons at a time. These coracles are made of bamboo, and with all materials available takes about a day to build. The bottom of the boats are made waterproof by the use of hides, but sometimes with sheets of plastic. Use of plastics in the Hogenakkal vicinity, not just for boats, has been criticised due to problems with pollution. These boats are steered and propelled using a single paddle, making them unique. The coracles are locally called parisal in Tamil and either teppa or harigolu in Kannada.
Freshly caught fish are sold by the gorge and also various vendors selling water and snacks up and down the gorge rowing their coracles is not uncommon. The fish caught include katla, robu, kendai, keluthi, valai, mirgal, aranjan and jilaby. After leaving the gorge, on the left shore one can find improvised stalls set up on the sand. There, one can let the fresh fishes be prepared in one of the many kitchens. Also, many people can be found swimming or bathing around there.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

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Sunday, 31 July 2016

Friday, 15 July 2016

Gopalaswamy Betta

Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta, is a hill (betta in Kannada) located in the Chamarajanagar district of the state of Karnataka, at a height of 1454 m India and is extensively wooded. It is also the highest peak in the Bandipur National Park. It lies in the core area of the Bandipur National
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Park and is frequented by wild life including elephants. Dense fog predominates and covers the hills round the year and thus gets the prefix Himavad(in the native language of Kannada) and the temple of Venugopalaswamy (Lord Krishna) gives the full name of Himavad Gopalaswamy Betta.

 The hill is home to wild animals like Elephants, Gaur, Sloth Bear and the elusive Tiger. There are places uphill where you get a birds eye view of the forests below, so while driving up or down. stopget out of the vehicle armed with camera and binoculars and screen the forests below. Some Times, the elephants are visible even to the naked eye. It is fascinating to see the Elephants from above move with their little ones slowly eating their way into the forests. We have also spotted Sambar, Gaur and an abandoned Tiger cave.


These regions were a favorite hunting ground for the Mysore Maharajahs and their British guests. The royals have built a guest house on top of the hills and there are some rare pictures of the Maharajahs and their guests with their prized huntthe tiger.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Kalari

The word Kalari means "threshing floor" or "battlefield" in Malayalam and Tamil. Training for Kalaripayattu, a martial art of Kerala is traditionally done inside the Kalari. Also the past village schools of Kerala, run by the traditional astrologers families were known by the name Kalari or Ezhuthu Kalari


Every Kalari has a Puttara (meaning "platform where flowers are kept" in Malayalam). The Puttara is a seven tiered platform placed in the south-west corner and houses the guardian deity of the Kalari. The seven tiers symbolise the seven abilities that each person must possess: Vignesva (strength), Channiga (patience), Vishnu (power to command), Vadugashcha (the posture), Tadaguru (training), Kali (the expression) and Vakasta - purushu (sound). Other deities, most of them incarnations of the Bhagavathi or Shiva, are installed in the corners. Flowers, incense and water are offered to the deity every day.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Maha Shivaratri

Maha Shivaratri is a Hindu festival of Nepal and India celebrated annually in reverence of the God Shiva. While most Hindu festivals are celebrated during the day, Shivaratri is celebrated during the night by keeping a "jaagaran" - a night-long vigil as its believed that Lord Shiva saved the universe from darkness and ignorance. This day is believed to be the day that Shiva was married to the Goddess Parvati. The Maha Shivaratri festival, also popularly known as 'Shivaratri' (spelt as Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri, and Shivarathri) or 'Great Night of Shiva', marks the convergence of Shiva and Shakti. Maha Shivaratri is celebrated on the Krishna Paksha Chaturdashi of Nepali Calendar|Bikram Sambat Calendar on the month of Falgun as per Amavasya-ant month calculation. As per Poornima-ant month calculation, the day is Krishna Paksha Trayodashi or Chaturdashi of Bikram Sambat calendar month Falgun which falls in February or March as per the English Gregorian calendar. Of the twelve Shivaratris in the year, the Maha Shivarathri is the most holy.
The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael leaves to Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-vigil (jagaran). All through the day, devotees chant "Om Namah Shivaya", the sacred mantra of Shiva. Penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life's highest good steadily and swiftly. On this day, the planetary positions in the Northern hemisphere act as potent catalysts to help a person raise his or her spiritual energy more easily. The benefits of powerful ancient Sanskrit mantras such as Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra increase greatly on this night.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Theyyam

Theyyam (Teyyam, Theyyattam ) is a popular ritual form of worship of North Malabar in Kerala, India, predominant in the Kolathunadu area (consisting of present-day Kasargod, Kannur Districts, Mananthavady Taluk of Wayanad and Vadakara and Koyilandy Taluks of Kozhikode of Kerala) and also in Kodagu and Tulu nadu of Karnataka as a living cult with several thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs. The performers of Theyyam belong to the lower caste community, and have an important position in Theyyam.People of these districts consider Theyyam itself as a God and they seek blessings from this Theyyam. A similar custom is followed in the Tulu Nadu region of neighbouring Karnataka known as Bhuta Kola.



There can be no doubt", say Bridget and Raymond Alchin, "that a very large part of this modern folk religion is extremely ancient and contains traits which originated during the earliest periods of Neolithic, Chalcolithic settlement and expression" mainly there is no doubt, giving from fremin

The dance or invocation is generally performed in front of the village shrine. It is also performed in the houses as ancestor-worship with elaborate rites and rituals.
There is no stage or curtain or other such arrangements for the performance. The devotees would be standing or some of them would be sitting on a sacred tree in front of the shrine. In short, it is an open theatre. A performance of a particular deity according to its significance and hierarchy in the shrine continues for 12 to 24 hours with intervals. The chief dancer who propitiates the central deity of the shrine has to reside in the rituals. This may be due to the influence of Jainism and Buddhism. Further, after the sun sets, this particular dancer would not eat anything for the remainder of that day (again possibly on account of a legacy of Jainism). His make-up is done by specialists and other dancers. The first part of the performance is usually known as Vellattam or Thottam. It is performed without proper make-up or any decorative costume. Only a small, red headdress is worn on this occasion.
Angakkaran Theyyam
The dancer along with the drummers recites the particular ritual song, which describes the myths and legends, of the deity of the shrine or the folk deity to be propitiated. This is accompanied by the playing of folk musical instruments. After finishing this primary ritualistic part of the invocation, the dancer returns to the green room. Again after a short interval he appears with proper make-up and costumes. There are different patterns of face-painting. Some of these patterns are called vairadelam, kattaram, kozhipuspam, kotumpurikam, and prakkezhuthu. Mostly primary and secondary colours are applied with contrast for face painting. It helps in effecting certain stylization in the dances. Then the dancer comes in front of the shrine and gradually “metamorphoses” into the particular deity of the shrine. He, after observation of certain rituals places the head-dress on his head and starts dancing. In the background, folk musical instruments like chenda, tuti, kuzhal and veekni are played in a certain rhythm. All the dancers take a shield and kadthala (sword) in their hands as continuation of the cult of weapons. Then the dancer circumambulates the shrine, runs in the courtyard and continues dancing there. The Theyyam dance has different steps known as Kalaasams. Each Kalaasam is repeated systematically from the first to the eighth step of footwork. A performance is a combination of playing of musical instruments, vocal recitations, dance, and peculiar makeup (usually predominantly orange) and costumes.

Valentine's Day

Every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from? Find out about the history of this centuries-old holiday, from ancient Roman rituals to the customs of Victorian England.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Kathakali

Kathakali , kathakaḷi; Sanskrit: , kathākaḷiḥ) is a stylized classical Indian dance-drama noted for the attractive make-up of characters, elaborate costumes, detailed gestures and well-defined body movements presented in tune with the anchor playback music and complementary percussion. It originated in the country's present day state of Kerala during the 17th century and has developed over the years with improved looks, refined gestures and added themes besides more ornate singing and precise drumming
Kathakali has its origins almost 1500 years ago in the early ritual folk dances and dance dramas of Kerala, in southern India, such as the dances associated with the cult of Bhagavathy (Thiyyattom, Mudiyettu, and Theyyam), that were performed at religious festivals by actors wearing elaborate masks, colorful costumes and headdresses, and intricately painted faces.; and socio-religious and material dances such as the Sastrakali and Ezhamattukali. Ashtapadiyattom, a dance drama based on the Gita Govinda of the twelfth-century poet Jayadeva, told the story of Krishna embodied as a humble cowherd, his consort Radha, and three cow girls. In 1655, Manavedan, the Zamorin Raja of Calicut, wrote Krishnagiti, a dance drama to be performed as Krishnattom (Krishnan; attom (enactment)) on eight consecutive nights, incorporating elements of Ashtapadiyattom and Koodiyattam, another form of Sanskrit ritual dance drama. The performance of Krishnattam was strictly restricted to the Guruvayur Temple, palaces of the members of the Zamorin's family, and temples and houses of Namboodiri Brahmins within the jurisdiction of the Zamorin's empire.Krishnattam told the story of Krishna, using dance and mime, while the narrative was sung by musicians. According to legend, Kottarakara Thampuran, the Raja of Kottarakara (once a province of Kerala), a great admirer and promoter of traditional art forms, invited the Zamorin to present Krishnattom in Kottarakkara. The Zamorin refused, saying that Krishnattom was not for the unsophisticated audience of southern Kerala. In response, Kottarakara Thampuran composed several plays and created Ramanattom (Raman; attom(enactment)), also performed on eight consecutive nights. At first, Ramanattom enacted stories from Ramayana and other epics, but as it evolved into Kathakali., it began to encompass many stories.Kathakali shared similarities with both Ramanattom and Krishnanattom, but incorporated several outside elements from the folk and martial arts of Kerala which contributed to its popularity. The increasing use of the local language, Malayalam (as a mixture of Sanskrit and Malayalam, called Manipravaalam) made it more popular among the masses, who could not understand the ancient Sanskrit language. In time, masks were discarded in favor of more elaborate facial make up. Around the seventeenth century, acting became separated from singing, leaving the actors free to concentrate on dramatic expression. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, Prince Kottayam wrote four plays based on the Mahabharata, liberating Kathakali from adherence to any particular Hindu epic and distinguishing it from Ramanattom. Emotion expressed in the face became central to performances, and he introduced a white frame around the face, and red features on a green background, to emphasize movements of the facial features. In the eighteenth century, Kapplingattu Nampoothiri (b. 1740) introduced a number of innovations that shaped Kathakali as it is performed today. He improved the percussion accompaniment, and standardized the use of alarrca, the inarticulate cries made by demons and animals. He further borrowed mudras from Koodiyattam, and harmonized their use with body movements. He clarified and defined the five types of character and strengthened the use of three-dimensional makeup. He also developed the “kathi,” (knife) character type, which combined noble features with evil qualities, as the central role in Kathakali plays. Kathakali was traditionally performed during religious festivals. Several Hindu ethnic groups participated in the performance of Kathakali. In its early days, the Nair community dominated because they were often well-versed in the martial art, Kalarippayattu, which is used in Kathakali training and, in a mild form, on the stage. Kathakali, as it is performed today, is just more than four centuries old. It is no longer restricted to temples, palaces and religious festivals, but is often presented in theaters and at special events as entertainment, and is performed far more frequently than the older forms of dance drama to which it is related.

Vallathol Narayana Menon is credited with revitalising Kathakali. He stimulated the world's interest in this art during his tours abroad between 1950 and 1953. The revival of the art of Kathakali in modern Kerala was mainly due to the efforts of Vallathol and the Kerala Kalamandalam.

Mohiniyattam

Mohiniyattam, also spelled Mohiniattam , is a classical dance form from Kerala, India. Believed to have originated in 16th century  it is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms recognized by the Sangeet Natak Akademi. It is considered a very graceful form of dance meant to be performed as solo recitals by women.


Mohiniyattam was popularized as a popular dance form in the nineteenth century by Swathi Thirunal, the Maharaja of the state of Travancore (Southern Kerala), and Vadivelu, one of the Thanjavur Quartet. Swathi Thirunal promoted the study of Mohiniyattam during his reign, and is credited with the composition of many music arrangements and vocal accompaniments that provide musical background for modern Mohiniyattam dancers. The noted Malayalam poet Vallathol, who established the Kerala Kalamandalam dance school in 1930, played an important role in popularizing Mohiniattam in the 20th century.

The three pillars—Sri Swathi Thirunal Rama Varma, Sri Vallathol Narayana Menon (a poet and founder of the institution, Kerala Kalamandalam) and Smt. Kalamandalam Kalyanikutty Amma (considered “the mother of Mohiniyattam”)—contributed to the shaping out of the contemporary Mohiniyattam during the later part of the 20th century. Guru Kallyanikutty Amma cleared the mythical mystery behind the name of this dance form and gave it the most convincing explanation based on truth, social and historical evolution, interpreting Mohiniyattam as the dance of a beautiful lady than that of a mythical enchantress from heaven.

Friday, 21 August 2015

wayanad cricket stadium

Governor Nikhil Kumar has called for a core change in the outlook of the public for the State to produce more cricketers to play for India.
Mr. Nikhil Kumar was speaking after dedicating a cricket stadium at Krishnagiri in Wayanad, the first to be owned by the Kerala Cricket Association (KCA), to the nation on Tuesday.
He said the State had produced many national and international players in athletics, football, volleyball and basketball, but not in cricket. Such a trend should be changed.
The Governor commended the initiatives of the KCA to promote the game by constructing cricket stadiums in each district of the State. The stadiums would help improve the talent of budding cricketers.
He asked the KCA authorities to construct an international stadium only for cricket in the State. They should approach the State government for land. The State had an international stadium in Kochi, but it was a multipurpose stadium. He offered his full support to realise the dream.
He said India had given birth to master cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar, and their achievements for the country would inspire youngsters to achieve excellence in cricket. The time was not far for such a great player to emerge from the State, he said.