Saturday, April 12, 2014

Election Season 2014

The indelible ink marked on the index finger of each voter (here my husband and me) who has voted.
 The election fervor is in the air. The newspapers are filled with news about netas (political party leaders) and their varied stories….

Elections have started in some states in India. Today was the election day in Goa. All the polling arrangements have been very well done, ensuring that there is a nearest polling station in every ward (sub locality)

My husband I casted our votes and all this was hassle free – it just took us 10 minutes to complete the voting.

I read an interesting article in today’s, Times of India about poll symbols and would like to share an excerpt with all of you:

‘The EC (Election Commission) commissioned 87 free symbols by designers, whose only brief was to pick from everyday objects for easy recognition and recall….

The most common are the cot, the cup and saucer, the autorichshaw, coconut, candles and whistle’

Not easy to make a choice!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Paratha’s galore at Parathewali Gali

We travelled by Metro to Chandi Chowk station and dodged our way through the heavy traffic, starving ourselves to savour the much famed parathas of Parathewali Gali. The nondescript lane dedicated to selling paratha’s in Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi is known as Parathewali Gali (lane of stuffed Indian flat, fried bread)

The enticing aroma of freshly cooked parathas wafts through this lane. Impatienly, we rushed to the nearest stall of Pandit Babu Ram ParatheWala, which is comparatively new and was established in 1983.

The oldest of the paratha stalls is of Pandit Gaya Prasad Shiv Charan which was established in 1872.

With expectant eyes, we looked forward towards relishing our meal, which first arrived in steel plates, laden with potato curry, raita, mixed vegetable pickle, sautéed mash of sweet pumpkin alongwith sweet lassi.

The varied menu card - an array of stuffings for the parathas.....
Later, the various stuffed parathas (all of which are strictly vegetarian) arrived with stuffings - whichever we wished for…. Peas (Matar), Ladyfinger (Bhindi), Gramflour(Besan), Cauliflowe, Tomato (Tamatar), Raisins (Kishmish), Indian cottage cheese (Paneer), Carrot (Gajar) We relished the tasty parathas to our hearts content ! You name it and they have various stuffings of vegetables and sweets too.

Chandni Chowk is a popular culinary destination in Old Delhi, thus to cater to the ever increasing need of food lovers, an online food retail website has been launched:

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, February 17, 2014

Lotus temple, Delhi

A view of the serene Lotus temple.
Our next stop was the famous, Bahai House of Worship, popularly known as the Lotus temple. It is designed in the shape of 27 blooming lotus petals and is a white marble structure.

From close quarters...

Situated towards the east of Nehru place in Delhi, it has been designed by Iranian architect, Fariburz Sabha. Encircled by nine pools in sprawling green lawns and gardens, spanning an area of 227 acres, this modern structure was completed in 1986.

An aerial view of the beautiful lawns surrounding the temple...

Glimpse of one of the serene pool's...

It is the last of seven major Bahai temples* built around the world.
The lotus shape was chosed as the symbol common to Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam.

*The other six Bahai temples are located in:
o Wilmette, Illinois, U.S.
o Kampala, Uganda
o Sydney (Ingleside), Australia
o Frankfurt (Langenhain-Hofheim), Germany
o Panama City, Panama
o Tiapapata, Samoa
o Santiago, Chile (currently under construction)

The Bahai sect originated in Persia and is based on a view of humanity as one single race. All Bahaí temples share certain architectural elements, some of which are specified by Bahaí scripture. Abdul-Baha stipulated that an essential architectural character of a House of Worship be that it requires to have a nine-sided circular shape (Nonagon)

Temple timings: Winter: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Summer: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm, the temple is open on throughout the week except on Monday.

For more details check its website:

"The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."
- Bahaullah

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Rustless Wonder - Iron Pillar of Delhi

Living testimony to the skilled metallurgists of ancient India - the wonder pillar! 
 Housed inside the the Qutb Complex in Delhi, the iron pillar is a ‘Miracle of Metallurgical Technology’ and has been intriguing many scientists. When I saw this pillar for the first time, it did not appeal to me in any away, until I thoroughly read about it's history and uniqueness. Now I am in awe of this ancient wonder...

Here are some facts about the rustless wonder:
1) It is 7.3 metres tall with 1 meter buried below the ground.

2) Weighing approximately 6.5 tonnes, the diameter is 48 centimetres, tapering to 29 centimetres at the top.

3) It was manufactured by forged welding.

4) The age of the pillar has been stated to be 1600 years !

5) It was constructed by Chandra II Vikramaditya to honor Lord Vishnu

6) This fourth century pillar bears inscription in the Brahmi script (the oldest known Indian script)

7) There is a strong local tradition that it was brought here by Anangpal,the Tomar king who is credited with the founding of Delhi in 1020 A.D.
8) The erection of the pillar is attributed to Anang Pal, dated 1052 A.D., whose name it bears. He was the Tomar king who is credited with the founding of Delhi in 1020 A.D.

A fence was erected around the pillar in 1997, as damage to this treasure was foreseen. It was considered good luck, if one could stand with one’s back to the pillar and make one’s hands meet behind it.

Standing besides the awe-inspiring pillar

Some facts about the pillar’s corrosion resistance are:

1) Metallurgists at IIT, Kanpur have discovered that a thin layer of "misawite", a compound of iron, oxygen and hydrogen, has protected the cast iron pillar from rust.

2) The high phosphorous content is a result of the unique iron-making process practiced by ancient Indians, who reduced iron ore into steel in one step by mixing it with charcoal.

3) It’s unusually good corrosion resistance appears to be due to a high phosphorus content, which together with favorable local weather conditions promotes the formation of a solid protective passivation layer of iron oxides and phosphates, rather than the non-protective, cracked rust layer that develops on most ironwork.

4) The protective film took form within three years after erection of the pillar and has been growing ever so slowly since then. After 1,600 years, the film has grown just one-twentieth of a millimeter thick, according to R. Balasubramaniam of the IIT. In his view, the pillar is "a living testimony to the skill of metallurgists of ancient India"

The story about the pillar’s origins are as follows:*The pillar, with an idol of Garuda at the top, was originally located at a place called Vishnupadagiri (meaning “Vishnu-footprint-hill”), identified as modern Udayagiri, situated in the close vicinity of Besnagar, Vidisha and Sanchi, towns located about 50 kilometres east of Bhopal, in central India. Vishnupadagiri is located on the Tropic of Cancer and, therefore, was a centre of astronomical studies during the Gupta period. The Iron Pillar served an important astronomical function, in its original site; its early morning shadow fell in the direction of the foot of Anantasayain Vishnu (in one of the panels at Udayagiri) only in the time around summer solstice (June 21). The creation and development of the Udayagiri site appears to have been clearly guided by a highly developed astronomical knowledge. Therefore, the Udayagiri site, in general, and the Iron Pillar location in particular, provide firm evidence for the astronomical knowledge in India around 400 CE.

"As rust, sprung from iron, eats itself away when arisen, even so his own deeds lead the transgressor to states of woe…."
-Gautama Buddha