Archive for October, 2011

62/365 – Western Ghats

October 31, 2011 2 comments

Country: India
States: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu
Cities: Ootacamund, Mahabaleshwar, Madikeri, Munnar
Highest point: Anamudi
– location: Eravikulam, Idukki, South India, Kerala, India
– elevation: 2,695 m
Lowest point: Palakkad Gap
– location: Palakkad, Palakkad district, South India, Kerala, India
– elevation: 300 m
Length: 1,600 km, N–S
Width: 100 km, E–W
Area: 160,000 km2

The Western Ghats, Western Ghauts or the Sahyādri is a mountain range along the western side of India. It runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along the Arabian Sea.

The Western Ghats block rainfall to the Deccan Plateau. The range starts near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1600 km through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala ending at Kanyakumari, at the southern tip of India.

These hills cover 160,000 km² and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India. The average elevation is around 1,200 metres.

The area is one of the world’s ten “Hottest biodiversity hotspots” and has over 5000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species, many undiscovered species lives in the Western Ghats. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.



61/365 – Parthasarathy Temple

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Proper name: Parathasarathy Thirukoil
Country: India
State: Tamil Nadu
Location: Chennai
Primary Deity: Parthasarathy (Lord Krishna)
Architectural styles: Dravidian architecture
Date built: 8th century AD
Creator: Pallavas

The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to Lord Krishna, located at Triplicane, Chennai, India. It is one among the 108 divyadesams or holy abodes of Lord Vishnu. The name ‘Parthasarathy’, in Sanskrit, means the ‘charioteer of Arjuna‘, and Lord Krishna is worshipped in that role in this temple.

It was originally built by the Pallavas in the 8th century by king Narasimhavarman I. One of the distinguishing features of is that it has four of the incarnations or avatars of Vishnu: Narasimha, Rama, Varaha and Krishna.

The temple is one of the oldest structures in Chennai. There are shrines for Sri Vedhavalli Thayaar, Sri Ranganatha, Sri Rama, Sri Gajendra Varadharaja Swamy, Narasimha, Sri Andal, Sri Anjaneya, Alwars, Ramanuja, Swami Manavala Mamunigal and Vedanthachariar.

There are separate entrances for Lord Parthasarathy and Lord Narasimha. The gopuram (towers) and mandaps (pillars) are decorated with elaborate carvings, a standard feature of South Indian Temple Architecture.


60/365 – Momo (Dumpling)

October 29, 2011 1 comment

Momo is a type of dumpling native to Nepal as well as among the Tibetans. It is similar to the Mongolian buuz or the Chinese jiaozi.

The Tibetan word momo is a loanword from the Chinese mómo.

Newars of Kathmandu called it MOMO-Cha where is became famous all over Nepal. Today MOMO-cha is also consider the most consumed food in Nepal made of buff, chicken or pork.


Momos are a traditional delicacy in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Darjeeling district and Ladakh. They are one of the most popular fast food in Nepal and many other South Asian region populated with people of Nepali origin and people of hilly origin. They are also common in places with noticeable Nepalese and Tibetan diaspora, such as Assam, Delhi, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal. Nepalese and Bhutanese medical students in Bangladesh have made it popular among their university mates, especially in the city of Chittagong.


There are different varieties of momos, such as fried and steamed momos. Momos are usually served with a dipping sauce normally consisting of tomatoes as the base ingredient, from which numerous variations can be made. Momo soup is a dish that has steamed momos immersed in a meat broth. Momos that are pan fried after steaming first are known as kothey momos. Momo can also be prepared by directly deep frying without steaming first. Steamed momos served in hot sauce is called C-Momo. These are some of the most common items served in Tibetan and Nepalese restaurants.



Categories: Food, General Knowledge

59/365 – Silambam

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Silambam or silambattam is a weapon-based Dravidian martial art from Tamil Nadu in south India but also practiced by the Tamil community of Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In Tamil, the word silambam refers to the bamboo staff which is the main weapon used in this style. Other weapons are also used such as the maduvu (deer horn), kathi (knife), vaal (sword), stick (kali or kaji), dagger (kuttuval), knuckle duster (kuttu katai), and whips with several flexible and metallic blades (surul pattai).. Unarmed silambam, called kuttu varisai, utilizes stances and routines based on animal movements such as the snake, tiger, elephant and eagle forms.

The length of the staff depends on the height of the practitioner. It should just touch the forehead about three fingers from the head, although different lengths are used in different situations. It usually measures roughly 1.68 meters (five and a half feet). The 3 feet stick called sedikutchi can be easily concealed. Separate practice is needed for staffs of different lengths. The usual stance includes holding the staff at one end, right hand close to the back, left hand about 40 centimeters (16 inches) away. This position allows a wide array of stick and body movements, including complex attacks and blocks.

There are numerous sub-sects in silambam like nagam-16 (cobra-16), kallapathu (thieves ten), kidamuttu (goat head butting), kuravanchi, kalyanavarisai (similar to quarterstaff), thulukkanam, and so on. Each is unique and may differ from one another in grip, posture, foot work, method of attack, length of the stick, movement of the stick etc.

The references to Silappadikkaram in Tamil Sangam literature dating back to the 2nd century refer to the sale of silamabam staves, swords, pearls and armor to foreign traders. The ancient trading centre at the city of Madurai was renowned globally and said to be thronged by Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians among others who had regular sea trade with the Tamil kingdoms. The bamboo staff, one of the first weapons used in Indian martial arts, was in great demand with the visitors.

The soldiers of Kings Puli Thevar, Dheeran Chinnamalai, Veerapandiya Kattabomman and Maruthu Pandiyar (1760–1799) relied mainly on their silambam prowess in their warfare against the British Army. Indian martial arts suffered a decline after the British colonists banned silambam along with various other systems. They also introduced modern western military training which favoured fire-arms over traditional weaponry. The stick lost much of its combat superiority and some of silambam’s vast techniques and styles were lost. During this time, silambam actually became more widespread in Southeast Asia than India. It is still practiced in Malaysia today, and demonstrations are held for certain festive occasions.


Categories: General Knowledge, Sports

58/365 – Thirukkural

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Thirukkural, is a classic of couplets or Kurals (1330 rhyming Tamil couplets) or aphorisms celebrated by Tamils. It was authored by Thiruvalluvar, a poet who is said to have lived anytime between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD. It is undoubtedly one of the finest wisdom literatures India has ever produced. Although the exact period of its composition is still disputed, scholars agree that it was produced in the late Tamil Sangam period. The Thirukkural expounds on various aspects of life and is one of the most important works in the Tamil language.



This is reflected in some of the other names by which the text is known:
– Tamil marai (Tamil Vedas);
– poyyamozhi (words that never fail); and
– Daiva nool (divine text).

Thirukkural is a collection of 1330 Tamil couplets organised into 133 chapters. Each chapter has a specific subject ranging from “ploughing a piece of land” to “ruling a country”. According to the LIFCO Tamil-Tamil-English dictionary, the Tamil word Kural literally means “short verse”, and is typified by the Venpa metre that consists of two lines. In the aspect of metre & brevity, and the profoundity of expression,Thirukkural comes under one of the four categories of Venpas (Tamil verses) called Kural Venpa.

The 1330 couplets are arranged into 3 main sections and 133 chapters. Each chapter contains 10 couplets. It has been translated to various other languages

There are claims and counter claims as to the authorship of the book and to the exact number of couplets written by Thiruvalluvar. The first instance of the author’s name mentioned as Thiruvalluvar is found to be several centuries later in a song of praise called Garland of Thiruvalluvar in Thiruvalluva Malai.

Most of the Researchers and great Tamil Scholars like George Uglow Pope or G.U. Pope who had spent many years in Tamil Nadu and translated many Tamil texts into English, which includes Thirukkural.

Thirukkural is structured into 133 chapters, each containing 10 couplets, thus a total of 1330 couplets. The 133 chapters are grouped into three sections:
Aram – righteousness
Porul – wealth and
Inbam or Kamam – pleasure
Aram containes 380 verses, Porul with 700 and Inbam with 250.

To Read:



Categories: Book, General Knowledge

57/365 – Strange Facts – 4

October 26, 2011 2 comments

A hummingbird weighs less than a penny.

Human thigh bones are stronger than concrete.

Camels have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.

It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

“I am.” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

Most cows give more milk when they listen to music.

Owls are one of the only birds who can see the color blue.

Human teeth are almost as hard as rocks.

A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue.

Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails.

Honeybees have hair on their eyes.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the “General Purpose” vehicle, G.P.


Categories: Facts, General Knowledge

56/365 – Kanchipuram

October 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Kanchipuram is a temple city and a municipality in Kanchipuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a temple town and the headquarters of Kanchipuram district. In ancient times it was called Kanchi and Kanchiampathi. Former chief minister of Tamil Nadu and founder of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, C.N. Annadurai was born here.

Kanchipuram is located on the Palar River, and known for its temples and silk sarees. Kanchipuram is also called as “City of 1000 Temples”. Kanchipuram is also famous for its silk sarees, which are hand woven.

There are several big temples like Varadharaja Perumal Temple for Lord Vishnu and Ekambaranatha Temple which is the “earth abode” of Lord Siva. Other abodes include Chidambaram (Sky), Sri Kalahasti (air), Thiruvanaikaval (water) and Tiruvannamalai (fire), Kamakshi Amman Temple, Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kumara Kottam, Kachapeshwarar Temple, n Kailasanathar Temple.


Kanchipuram is one of the oldest cities in South India, and was a city of learning for Tamil, Sanskrit, and Pali and was believed to be visited by Xuanzang (Huan Tsang) also known as Yuan Chwang. It was during the reign of Pallava dynasty, from the 4th to the 9th centuries that Kanchipuram attained its limelight. The city served as the Pallava capital, and many of the known temples were built during their reign. The founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhidharma was born here, as was the famous Sanskrit writer Dandin who wrote Dashakumaracharita. The Sanskrit poet Bharavi hailed from Kanchi and wrote the famous Kiratarjuniya here under the patronage of the Pallava king Simhavishnu. Great Buddhist scholars such as Dignaga, Buddhaghosa, and Dhammapala lived here too.

The king of Kanchi, Pallava Mahendravarman I was a great scholar and musician, a man of great intelligence and also a great Sanskrit satirist and playwright.

Xuanzang, the great Chinese traveler, visited the city in the 7th century and said that this city was 6 miles in circumference and that its people were famous for bravery and piety as well as for their love of justice and veneration for learning. He further recorded that Buddha had visited the place.

As regards learning, Kanchi stood second in glory only to Banaras. The history of Kanchi can be traced back to several centuries before the advent of the Christian era. The place finds its name in Patanjali’s Mahabhashya written in the 2nd century BCE Manimekalai, the famous Tamil classic, and Perumpanatru Padai, a great Tamil poetical work, vividly describe the city as it was at the beginning of the Christian era. Pattupattu, one of the sangam literatures records that the king Thondaiman Ilandirayan ruled this town around 2500 years ago.

Naga-worship next to the Sri Vaigunda Perumal Temple in KanchipuramFrom the 3rd to the 9th century CE Kanchi was the capital of the Pallavas who ruled over the territory extending from the river Krishna in the north to the river Kaveri in the south. The Pallavas fortified the city with ramparts, moats, etc., with wide and well laid out roads and fine temples. They were a great maritime power with contacts with far-off China, Siam, Fiji, etc., through their chief Port Mamallapuram, the modern Mahabalipuram. The Cholas ruled this town from 10th century to 13th century. Kings of Vijayanagara dynasty ruled from 14th century to 17th century. The temple tower, 192 feet height in Ekamabaranadhar temple and 100-pillar mandabam in Varadaraja Perumal temple in this town are famous for the architectural techniques of Vijayanagara dynasty.

Robert Clive, of the British East India Company, who played a major role in the establishment of British rule in India, is said to have presented an emerald necklace to the Varadaraja perumal.

Kanchi was a major seat of Tamil, Sanskrit, and Telugu learning as well as an important place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, Jains and Hindus. Once the seat of learning and religious fervour started its climb down from the Mughal invasions followed by three centuries of colonial rule under the British

List of Vaishnava temples
Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Ashtabujakaram – Sri Adhikesava Perumal Temple
Tiruvekkaa – Sri Yathothkari Temple
Tiruththanka – Sri Deepa prakasa Perumal Temple
Tiruvelukkai – Sri Azhagiya Singar Temple
Neervalur – Sri Veetrirunda Lakshmi Narayana Perumal Temple
Tirukalvanoor – Sri Adi Varaha Swami Temple
Tiruoorakam – Sri Ulagalantha Swami Temple
Tiruneeragam – Sri Jagadeeshwarar Temple
Tirukaaragam – Sri Karunagara Perumal Temple
Tirukaarvaanam – Sri Tirukaarvarnar Temple
Tiruparamechura Vinnagaram – Sri Vaikunda Perumal Temple
Tirupavalavannam – Sri Pavala Vanar Temple
Tirupaadagam – Sri Pandava Thoodar Temple
Tirunilaaththingalthundam – Sri Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple
Tirupputkuzhi – Sri Vijaya Raghava Perumal Temple
Parithiyur-Kalyana Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Sri Aadhi Kesava Perumal – Kooran [about 8 to 9 km from Kanchipuram]
Vamanar temple ( very near to Kamakshi Temple)

List of Shiva temples
Kailasnatha Temple
Ekambareswarar Temple
Dhrmalingeswarar Temple (Kayaar Kulam)
Thiru Kayaroganeeswarar Temple
Kachi Metrali
Onakanthan Tali
Kachi Anekatangapadam
Kachi Nerikkaaraikkadu
Tiru Maakaral
Sangupani Vinayakar Temple
Vazhakarutheeswarar Temple
Thirumetrali Temple
Satyanadeeswara Temple
Adhi Kamakshi Temple
Kanaka Durga Temple, Koneri Kuppam
Thiruparruthikundram – Jaina Temple
Chitragupta Temple (near bus stand)


Categories: General Knowledge, Place