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335/365 – Kurinji Flower

Kurinji Flower is a gregarious flowering plant hence it blooms once in 12 years. It belongs to the species Strobilanthes. Kurinji Flower is native to Nilgiris, India.

In Asia there are over 200 species of Stroilanthes. There are 150 species in India alone of which 40 species are found in the Western Ghats and the Nilgiris.

Vital statistics of Kurinji Flower

Botanical Name: Strobilanthes kunthiana

Colloquial Name: Kurinji, Kurunji, Neelakurinji

Family: Acanthaceae (Ruellia family)

The Kurinji flower is bright purple-blue in color. The Kurinji flower is bell shape. The kurinji blooms in a clustered manner on a typical inflorescence stocks. The flowering season ranges between August and November with a peak period of late September and October.

Interesting facts related to Kurinji flowers

The name of place Nilgiris (in Tamil Nadu, India) means Blue Mountains. The mountains got their name after NeelaKurinji flower (Neela means blue in Tamil and Malayalam) as they covered the vast hills like blue color during the blooming season.

It has been noticed that there has been an increase in the rock bees during the flowering season.   It is interesting that with the blooming of kurinji flowers Paliyan tribal people calculate their age.

The writers and poets of Sangam age (2nd to 3rd century AD) have expressed the Kurinji flower and the associated mountainous landscape where it blooms as a symbol for the union of lovers.

It has been described vividly by the poets in the ancient Tamil Sangham literature like Ahananuru, Maduraikkanchi and Kurinjipattu.

The ancient Tamil Nadu was once divided into five geographical zone and one of the zones name was called Kurinji.

According to Hindu mythology, Murgan (second son of God Shiva) married Valli, a veda (tribal hunter) girl and wore a Kurinji garland during his wedding ceremony.

Murga is known as Kurinji Andvar (God of Kurinji). There is a famous temple dedicated to Murgan on a hilltop in Kodaikanal.

Source: http://www.squidoo.com/Kurinji-Flower#module112734051

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270/365 – Porcupine

The porcupine is the prickliest of rodents, though its Latin name means “quill pig.” There are about two dozen porcupine species, and all boast a coat of needle-like quills to give predators a sharp reminder that this animal is no easy meal.

Some quills, like those of Africa’s crested porcupine, are nearly a foot (30 centimeters) long.

Porcupines have soft hair, but on their back, sides, and tail it is usually mixed with sharp quills. These quills typically lie flat until a porcupine is threatened, then leap to attention as a persuasive deterrent.

Porcupines cannot shoot them at predators as once thought, but the quills do detach easily when touched.

Many animals come away from a porcupine encounter with quills protruding from their own snouts or bodies. Quills have sharp tips and overlapping scales or barbs that make them difficult to remove once they are stuck in another animal’s skin. Porcupines grow new quills to replace the ones they lose.

The porcupines found in North and South America are good climbers and spend much of their time in trees. Some even have prehensile (gripping) tails to aid in climbing.

The North American porcupine is the only species that lives in the U.S. and Canada, and is the largest of all porcupines. A single animal may have 30,000 or more quills.

North American porcupines use their large front teeth to satisfy a healthy appetite for wood. They eat natural bark and stems, and have been known to invade campgrounds and chew on canoe paddles.

North American porcupines also eat fruit, leaves, and springtime buds.

Other porcupine species live in Africa, Europe, and Asia. These animals usually live on the ground and can inhabit deserts, grasslands, and forests.

Female porcupines have between one and four young, depending on the species. Babies have soft quills at birth, which harden within a few days. Most young porcupines are ready to live on their own at about two months of age.

Source: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/porcupine/

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190/365 – Footwear

Sandals originated in warm climates where the soles of the feet needed protection but the top of the foot needed to be cool.

4,000 years ago the first shoes were made of a single piece of rawhide that enveloped the foot for both warmth and protection.

In Europe pointed toes on shoes were fashionable from the eleventh to the fifteenth centuries.

In the Middle East heels were added to shoes to lift the foot from the burning sand.

In Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries heels on shoes were always colored red.

Shoes all over the world were identical until the nineteenth century, when left- and right-footed shoes were first made in Philadelphia.

In Europe it wasn’t until the eighteenth century that women’s shoes were different from men’s.

Six-inch-high heels were worn by the upper classes in seventeenth-century Europe. Two servants, one on either side, were needed to hold up the person wearing the high heels.

Sneakers were first made in America in 1916. They were originally called keds.

Boots were first worn in cold, mountainous regions and hot, sandy deserts where horse-riding communities lived. Heels on boots kept feet secure in the stirrups.

The first lady’s boot was designed for Queen Victoria in 1840.

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123/365 – Thillaiyadi Valliammai

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Thillaiyadi Valliammai (22 February 1898 – 22 February 1914) was a South African Tamil woman who worked with Mahatma Gandhi in his early years when he developed his nonviolent methods in South Africa fighting its apartheid regime.

Biography

She was born to R. Munuswamy Mudaliar and Janakiammal, a young immigrant couple from a small village called Thillaiyadi in Thanjavur in India to Johannesburg – the gold-city of South Africa to work for their way out of difficulty.

Her father was a trader and owner of a confectionery shop. Since her mother Janaki is from Thillaiyadi in Tamil Nadu, her daughter Valliammai came to be popularly called Thillaiyadi Valliammai.

Valliammai had never been to India. She grew in an environment that was rather hostile to Indians. But the young child did not even know that it was not right to be segregated so,until she was in her early teens.

The birth of Tri-Colour

She heard somebody ask “Why don’t you people register and become South Africans instead? Indians! India doesn’t even have a flag! What are you really fighting for?” “If having a flag is what would give form to India, then here it is,” she said, tearing off her saffron-white-green sari, “MY FLAG! MY MOTHERLAND!”

Gandhi designed the flag with the same three colours as her sari. Gandhi later said that it was her sacrifice that increased his resolve to fight for Indian independence.

Honors

Thillaiyadi Valliammai Memorial Hall, including a public library, was instituted in 1971 on 2452 square meters of land by the Indian Government in the village of Thillaiyadi, now in Tharangambadi Taulk, Nagapattinam, India.

The Library is functioning regularly in this memorial. Other buildings in her name include Thillaiyadi Valliammai Nagar and the Thillaiyadi Valliammai High School in Vennanthur.

A commemorative stamp on her was released on 31-december-2008.

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

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99/365 – Veetrirundha Perumal Temple

December 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Location: Thirumazhisai
Main Deity: Veetrirundha Perumal
Other Deities: Shenbagavalli

 

 

Thirumazhisai is a town in Thiruvallur district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Thirumazhisai is on the way to Thiruvallur district.

This temple of Maha Vishnu in a rare sitting posture tucked in a tiny hamlet in Tamil Nadu has attracted many devotees and fulfilled their wishes.

There are many important places of pilgrimage, or temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu or his incarnations, which attract a number of devotees all the year around. Sri Veethirundha Perumal Temple at Tirumazhisai is one such ancient attraction.

 

Others Temples in Thirumazhisai:

Thirumazhisai is a punniya sthalam and has a lot of temples. To list a few of the temples

1. Thirumazhisai Aazhwar temple: Also known as Jagannatha Perumal temple. One of the twelve Alvars of Vaishnavism was born in Thirumazhisai hence was called as Tirumazhisai-aazhvaar.

2. Othandeeswar temple: A shiva temple kai thanda pran [devotee who gave his hand]. It is told that this temple was built at this site as Lord Shiva showed himself here to the devotee (King Kulothunga Chola) who cut off his hand when he accidentally used his sword to cut the climbers on the Lingam to pave way

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirumazhisai
http://www.eprarthana.com/temples/chennai/tn416veet.asp?tid=416

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81/365 – Maraimalai Adigal

November 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Name: Maraimalai Adigal
Born: Vedhachalam, July 15, 1876,Nagapattinam, Madras Presidency, British India
Died: September 15, 1950 (aged 74), Madras, Madras State, India

Maraimalai Adigal (15 July 1876 – 15 September 1950) was an eminent Tamil orator and writer. He was a devout Hindu as a staunch follower of Saivism. He has authored more than 100 books, including works on original poems and dramas, but most famous are his books on his research into Tamil literature. Most of his literary works were on Saivism.

He founded a Saivite institution called Podhunilaik Kazhagam. He was an exponent of the Pure Tamil movement and hence considered to be the father of Tamil puritanism. He advocated the use of Tamil devoid of Sanskrit words and hence changed his birth name Vedhachalam to Maraimalai.

Politically he was inclined towards non-Brahminism and hence he and his followers considered that the Self-respect movement was born out of his efforts. Nevertheless, the atheist ideologies of Periyar E. V. Ramasamy were shunned by Maraimalai Adigal and caused years of differences between the two.

Maraimalai Adigal spent most of his income on buying his books and after his death his collection were made into a library according to his will.

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

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