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344/365 – Cape Town

August 8, 2012 Leave a comment

Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa, and the provincial capital and primate city of the Western Cape. As the seat of the National Parliament, it is also the legislative capital of the country.

It forms part of the City of Cape Town metropolitan municipality. The city is famous for its harbour as well as its natural setting in the Cape floral kingdom, including such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point. Cape Town is also Africa’s most popular tourist destination.

Located on the shore of Table Bay, Cape Town was originally developed by the Dutch East India Company as a victualling (supply) station for Dutch ships sailing to Eastern Africa, India, and the Far East.

Jan van Riebeeck’s arrival on 6 April 1652 established the first permanent European settlement in South Africa. Cape Town quickly outgrew its original purpose as the first European outpost at the Castle of Good Hope, becoming the economic and cultural hub of the Cape Colony.

Until the Witwatersrand Gold Rush and the development of Johannesburg, Cape Town was the largest city in South Africa.

Today it is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for immigrants and expatriates to South Africa.

As of 2007 the city had an estimated population of 3.5 million. Cape Town’s land area of 2,455 square kilometres (948 sq mi) is larger than other South African cities, resulting in a comparatively lower population density of 1,425 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,690 /sq mi).

The city was named the World Design Capital for 2014 by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Town

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Categories: General Knowledge, Place

343/365 – Mughal Gardens

August 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Mughal gardens are a group of gardens built by the Mughals in the Islamic style of architecture. This style was heavily influenced by the Persian gardens particularly the Charbagh structure.

Significant use of rectilinear layouts are made within the walled enclosures. Some of the typical features include pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens.

Sites of Mughal gardens

India

Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi (Nizamuddin) Taj Mahal, Agra Ram Bagh, Agra Mehtab Bagh, Agra Safdarjung’s Tomb Shalimar Bagh (Srinagar), Jammu and Kashmir Nishat Gardens, Jammu and Kashmir Yadvindra Gardens, Pinjore Khusro Bagh, Allahabad Roshanara Bagh Brindavan Gardens, Mysore, Karnataka (1927-1932) Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi (1911-1931)

Afghanistan

Bagh-e Babur (Kabul)

Pakistan

Chauburji Lahore Fort Shahdara Bagh Shalimar Gardens (Lahore) Hazuri Bagh Hiran Minar (Sheikhupura) Mughal Garden Wah Vernag

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mughal_Gardens

Categories: General Knowledge, Place

327/365 – Thirukkadaiyur

Thirukkadaiyur is a temple town on the east coast of Tamil Nadu, about 300 km south of Chennai and 15 km north of Karaikal.

The original temple, Thirukkadaiyur Mayanam now called Thirumeignanam built in circa 11th century AD was ravaged by sea and is in ruins now. Another temple on an identical plan was built later and is now thronged by people who pray for long life.

Legend  

Mrikandu  

This is one of the holy places of Saivism today. Legend has it that Mrikandu, a sage and devotee of Lord Siva, prayed to God to bless him with a son.

God appeared and gave him a choice to select the type of child he wanted – An honest responsible and virtuous son who will live only for 16 years or a son who would live for 100 years but whose behavior is bad. Mrikandu chose the former.

Markandeya  

The boy, named Markandeya also grew up to be an ardent devotee of Siva. The destined time came, when Yama (the lord of death) tried to snatch the life of the boy.

Markandeya went to the temple and clutched at the Siva Lingam in a bid to escape death. Pleased by the boy’s belief, Siva rescued him from death, incarnating him as Kalantaka (the ender of death).

Temples  

Most of the temples are known either by the name of the Lord or His Consort. Nataraja is the name that rings in the mind when the word Chidambaram is uttered.

Similarly, the name Madurai brings memories of Meenakshi. However, there are a few temples that are well known for the Lord and his Consort and Tirukkadaiyur is one among them.

The Amritaghateswarar – Abirami Temple of Tirukkadaiyur is associated with the legends of Markandeya and Abirami Battar.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirukkadaiyur

319/365 – Point Calimere

Point Calimere, also called Cape Calimere, (Tamil: கோடியக்கரை Kodiakkarai), is a low headland on the Coromandel Coast, in the Nagapattinam district of the state of Tamil Nadu, India.

It is the apex of the Cauvery River delta, and marks a nearly right-angle turn in the coastline. A historic landmark here was the Chola lighthouse, destroyed in the tsunami of 2004.

 The forests of Point Calimere, also known the Vedaranyam forests, are one of the last remnants of the dry evergreen forests that were once typical of the East Deccan dry evergreen forests ecoregion.

The Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, with an area of 24.17 km², was created on June 13, 1967. The sanctuary includes the cape and its three natural habitat types: dry evergreen forests, mangrove forests, and wetlands.

In 1988, the sanctuary was enlarged to include the Great Vedaranyam Swamp and the Talaignayar Reserve Forest, and renamed the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, with a total area of 377 km².

Point Calimere homes the endangered endemic Indian Blackbuck and is one of the few known wintering locations of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

It also holds large wintering populations of Greater Flamingos in India. The area is dotted with salt pans and these hold large crustacean populations that support the wintering bird life.

Pesticide residues running off from agricultural fields and shrimp farms has entered the ecosystem and many species have high concentrations of DDT and HCH in their tissue.

Not far from Point Calimere is the mangrove forest of Muthupet.

Point Calimere is also associated with the mythological Hindu epic, The Ramayana. The highest point of the cape, at an elevation of 4 m, is Ramarpatham,”Rama’s feet” in Tamil.

A stone slab bears the impressions of two feet and is understood to be the place where Rama stood and reconnoitered Ravana’s kingdom in Sri Lanka, which lies 48 km. to the south.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Calimere

Categories: General Knowledge, Place

318/365 – KWMC

Koyambedu boasts of having one of Asia’s largest perishable goods market complex called the “Koyambedu Wholesale Market Complex (KWMC)”.

The KWMC spreads over an area of 295 acres (1.19 km2). Inaugurated in 1996, the KWMC consists of more than 1,000 wholesale shops and 2,000 retail shops.

It abuts Poonamalee High Road and Nesapakkam Road and can be easily accessed from all parts of City. In Phase-I, the Wholesale Market for Perishables have been developed in an area of around 70 acres (280,000 m2) by constructing 3,194 shops.

The market has two blocks for vegetable shops and one each for fruit and flower shops. In Phase-II, a textile market and in Phase-III, a food grain market is planned to be developed in the complex.

The food grain market will be built on a seven to eight acres of land belonging to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, adjacent to the Koyambedu fire service station and opposite the vegetable market, and will have about 500 shops.

The market has over 100,000 visitors daily.   The Basic Infrastructure and Amenities Promotion Committee has approved an allocation of Rs.336.3 million for augmentation and maintenance of the infrastructure, including stormwater drain network, in the market complex.

The Market Management Committee will carry out the work which includes creation of new stormwater drains over 9 km long, widening of roads and concretisation of a 350-m road connecting Gates 7 and 14, which is being used by heavy vehicles to carry perishables to the market complex.

A bio-methanation plant at the market complex set by Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority was inaugurated in 2006 at a cost of 55 million to generate power from vegetable and fruit waste collected from the wholesale market.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koyambedu#Koyambedu_Wholesale_Market_Complex_.28KWMC.29

Categories: Facts, General Knowledge, Place

313/365 – Kabul

Kabul, also spelled Cabool, Caubul or Cabul, mostly in historical contexts, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. Kabul is the 5th fastest growing city in the world and the world’s 64th largest city.

It is also the capital of Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan. According to latest estimates, the population of the Kabul metropolitan area is over 4 million.

The city serves as the nation’s cultural and learning centre, situated 1,791 metres (5,876 ft) above sea level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush mountains along the Kabul River.

It is linked with Kandahar, Herat and Mazar-e Sharif via the circular Highway 1 that stretches across Afghanistan. It is also the start of the main road to Jalalabad and further to Peshawar, Pakistan.

The Kabul International Airport is located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from the center of the city, next to the Wazir Akbar Khan neighborhood.

Bagram Airfield is about 40 kilometres (25 mi) northeast of Kabul.   Kabul’s main products include fresh and dried fruit, nuts, Afghan rugs, leather and sheep skin products, furniture, antique replicas, and domestic clothes.

The wars since 1978 have limited the economic productivity but after the establishment of the Karzai administration in late 2001 some progress has been made.

Kabul is over 3,500 years old; many empires have long fought over the valley for its strategic location along the trade routes of South and Central Asia.

Between 1504 and 1526 AD, it served as the headquarters of Babur, builder of the Mughal Empire. It remained under the Delhi Sultanate until 1738, when Nader Shah and his Afsharid forces conquered the Mughal Empire.

After the death of Nader Shah Afsharid in 1747, the city fell to Ahmad Shah Durrani, who added it to his new Afghan Empire. In 1776, Timur Shah Durrani made it the capital of the modern state of Afghanistan.

It was invaded several times by the British-Indian forces during the Anglo-Afghan wars in the 19th century. After the outbreak of the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919, the city was air raided by the British Royal Air Force.

Since the Marxist revolution in 1978, the city has been a target of foreign-backed militant groups such as the Mujahideen, Taliban, Haqqani network, Hezbi Islami, and others.

While the Afghan government tries to rebuild the war-torn city, insurgents have continued to stage attacks not only against the Afghan government and US-led NATO forces but also against foreign diplomats and Afghan civilians.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabul

Categories: General Knowledge, Place

289/365 – Nagaland

Nagaland is a state in the far north-eastern part of India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and part of Assam to the north, Burma to the east and Manipur to the south.

The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. The state of Nagaland has an area of 16,579 km2 with a population of 1,980,602 (nineteen lakhs eighty thousand six hundred two) as per the 2011 census making it one of the smallest states of India.

The state is mostly mountainous except those areas bordering Assam valley. Mount Saramati is the highest peak in Nagaland with a height of 3,840 metres and its range forms a natural barrier between Nagaland and Burma.

It lies between the parallels of 98 degree and 96 degree East Longitude and 26.6 degree and 27.4 degree latitude North of the Equator.

Nagaland, the 16th state of the Indian Union, was established on December 1, 1963. It is divided into eleven districts: Kohima, Phek, Mokokchung, Wokha, Zunheboto, Tuensang, Mon, Dimapur, Kiphire, Longleng and Peren.

It is a largely mountainous state. Agriculture is the most important economic activity in Nagaland. Principal crops include rice, corn, millets, pulses, tobacco, oilseeds, sugarcane, potatoes and fibres. Other economy boosters are forestry, cottage industries, insurance, real estate and tourism.

History

The early history of the Nagas is the story of the customs and economic activities of the Naga tribes. The people were originally referred to as Naka in Burmese languages, which means ‘people with pierced ears’.

The Naga tribes had socio-economic and political links with tribes in Assam and Burma (Myanmar); even today a large population of Naga inhabits Assam.

There are claims of nagas residing in Manipur but these tribes are culturally and socially different from the tribes of Nagaland and Assam.

They are referred to as “Kaccha Nagas(Fake nagas)” because of the dissimilarity with the tribes of Nagaland and naga tribes in general.

Following an invasion in 1816, the area, along with Assam, came under direct rule of Burma. This period was noted for oppressive rule and turmoil in Assam and Naga Hills.

When the British East India Company took control of Assam in 1826, Britain steadily expanded its domain over modern Naga Hills. By 1892, all of the Naga Hills except the Tuensang area in the northeast was governed by the British.

It was politically amalgamated into Assam. Missionaries played an important part in converting Nagaland’s Naga tribes to Christianity.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagaland

Categories: General Knowledge, Place