Amazing zoo

Above is not a still from a movie instead, but a common occurence in “Lujan Zoo” in Argentina. Here people can not only go near wild and dangerous animals, but they can cuddle and even take a ride on them. There is no information though from the zoo, as why these animals behave as domesticated ones.
Lujan’s zoo is located in the Province of Buenos Aires at 42 miles (68 Km) north west of Buenos Aires city, this is one of the main attractions of the city that every week receives hundreds of local and foreign visitors.

Visitors can even pick up the smaller animals and play with them at risk to themselves and the creatures. Shockingly there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of safety regulations to protect either humans or animals
At the zoo visitors are in direct contact with the animals and can also enjoy rides on them. Cages are accessible to everyone who paid $50 and signed the paper saying that if you are eaten, the Zoo is not responsible.
Even children are allowed to enter the lion’s cage and other potentially dangerous animals.

Animal protection charity, The Born Free Foundation, has condemned the zoo and issued a statement to urge tourists not to visit it.

Will Travers, CEO of The Born Free Foundation said: ‘Based on what I have seen displayed on the Lujan Zoo website, I am fearful that a terrible accident is going to happen.
CEO of The Born Free Foundation add : ‘The zoo is, in my view, placing the lives of its visitors at great risk by encouraging them to have ‘close encounters’ with dangerous, potentially lethal, wild animals.

Anyone who has any knowledge of big cats will understand that they are wild animals and, as such, as unpredictable.

Italian wedding

Italian wedding tradition is among the oldest in the world, dating back to Roman traditions. Many of the traditions are still in practice. In ancient time, man request a women hand from his father, this is still in practice in some parts of southern Italy but now a man directly proses a women. In southern Italy engagement is in form of a party among friend and relatives but, this is not practiced in northern Italy.

Italian wedding
Italian wedding

Italian wedding dress:

On the wedding day bride has to wear some thing blue, some thing old, something borrowed and something new. It is believed that this will bring her good luck. Groom wears dark grey thin socks,cuff links, boutonniere, a tail cot including a silk top hat and gloves.
Wedding takes place in a church. Church is often decorated with ribbons to symbolise the marriage bond. Bride is the first person to enter the church so, all relatives and friends wait outside the church for bride and groom. Groom arrive in advance but wait and enters the church few minutes before the ceremony. Bride’s family sits on left side and groom’s family on the right side of the church.
Father of bride take bride and give her away to the bride, and then come back and sit. Then groom unveil bride and then rings are exchanged. When the couple exit church, rice is showered on them as a sign of good luck.

Wedding reception

In southern Italy, reception is bigger,longer and showier, whereas in Northern Italy its more intimate and less showy. An Italian wedding reception include an elaborate meal lasting four hours or longer, and may involve up to fourteen individual courses. One of the final courses is the wedding cake, or zuppa inglese, which is a traditional Italian confection of tiers of pound cake filled with chocolate or vanilla custard, rum cream, and fruit, and trimmed with icing shaped like flowers.
Bride throw away her bouquet on unmarried ladies and is believed that one who catches it will get married next. Another incident is the “cutting” of the groom’s tie into small pieces, then a guest – usually a friend of the spouses – walks between the tables offering the guests a piece of it and gets some money back that, in the end, will be given to the wedding couple.
Dancing is an integral part of any wedding celebration, and no Italian wedding would be complete without the traditional tarantella dance.
At last they give bomboniera to all the guest attending the wedding, as a sign of love, thanking, souvenirs for taking part in the wedding.
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Nine days of navratri

Navratri festival

Navratri is a prominent festival of India. This is a ten days longer festival, tenth day is the culmination and is also called as Vijayadashmi. Mythologically, this day is the day when Lord Rama defeated and killed Ravana to free Sita from his clutches. In nine days of Navratri, various forms of Maa Durga are worshipped.

Nine forms of Durga - Navratri
Nine forms of Durga – Navratri
Navratri is a nine day celebration, in which goddess durga is worshipped in nine different forms. Every day she assumes a new character, a new look and a new duty.

First Day – Shailputri

On first day Goddess is worshipped as, Shailputri . She is considered the daughter of the Himalayas. She is a form of Shakti, the consort of Lord Shiva.
Shailputri Devi - worshipped on first day of Navratri.
Shailputri Devi – worshipped on first day of Navratri.

Second Day – Brahmacharini

On second day she is worshipped as Brahmacharini. Her name is derivative of the word ‘Brahma’, which means ‘Tapa’ or penance. In her right hand she holds a rosary, while Kamandal in her left hand. She is also a form of Uma or Parvati, a form of Mata Shakti.

Third Day – Chandraghanta

On the third day the Goddess is worshipped as, Chandraghanta. She is the symbolic representation of beauty and bravery. She has a half-circular moon in her forehead, hence the name ‘Chandraghanta’. With three eyes, she is golden in color. Ten types of weapons, including sword and arrows are held by her ten hands. Seated on a lion, she is always ready to go to war.

Maa Durga
Maa Durga

Fourth Day – Kushmanda

On fourth day Goddess is worshipped as, Kushmanda. It is believed that Kushmanda is the creator of the entire universe and she has created the entire universe by her laugh. She has eight hands in seven hands she hold weapons and in the eight one she bears a string of beads. With rosary in her right hand, she sits on Lion.

Fifth Day – Skand Mata

On the fifth day, Goddess is worshipped as, Skand Mata. She is actually called so because she is here represented as the mother of Skanda, the chief warrior of the Gods army. Skanda Mata – is white in color, has three eyes and four hand. She is seated on a lion, with her son (Skanda), on her lap.

Sixth Day – Katyanani

On the sixth day, the goddess is worshipped as, Katyayani. Seated on her vehicle lion, Katyayani has three eyes and four hands.

Seventh Day – Kalratri

On the seventh day, the Goddess is worshipped as, Kalratri. As the name suggests, Kalrati is as black as a dark night. She has four hands, she is meant to make the devotees fearless thus also known as shubhamkari. She has four hands, with a sharp sword in her left hand and a burning torch in her lower left hand, her lower and upper right hand that shows blessings.

Eighth Day – Maha Gauri

On the eight day, the Mata Rani is worshipped as, Maha Gauri. She is considered to extremely beautiful, white like snow and accessorized with white colored ornaments. She represents calmness and exhibits wisdom. With three eyes and four hands, she rides on a bull. Her left hand shows the fearless Mudra, while her lower left hand holds a Trishul. Calm and peaceful Maha Gauri observed penance

Ninth Day – Siddhidatri

On the ninth day,Goddess Durga is worshipped as, Siddhidatri. It is believed she consists of all the eight siddhis. She rides on lotus and is worshipped by all the Rishis-Munis, Siddhas, Sadhakas and Yogis. It is believed that worshipping her is best for attaining religious asset.

Kamakhya temple – Sati Shakti Peeth

Kamakhya Devi – Sati Shakti Peeth

Kamakhya Temple, Assam is one among the 52 shakti peeths of India. Kamakhya Temple is situated at the top of Ninanchal Hill ( 800 feets above sea level) in the western part of Guwahati city in Assam, India.There is no image of Shakti here. Within a corner of a cave in the temple, there is a sculptored image of the Yoni of the Goddess, which is the object of reverence. A natural spring keeps the stone moist. Other temples on the Neelachala hill include those of Tara, Bhairavi, Bhuvaneswari and Ghantakarna. This temple was destroyed in early 16th century, and then rebuilt in the 17th century by King Nara Narayana, of Cooch Bihar.
Kamakhya temple
Kamakhya temple
This current temple has a beehive-like shikhara with delightful sculptured panels and images of Ganesha and other Hindu gods and goddesses on the outside. The temple consists of three major chambers. The western chamber is large and rectangular and is not used by the general pilgrims for worship. The middle chamber is a square, with a small idol of the Goddess, a later addition. The walls of this chamber contain sculpted images of Naranarayana, related inscriptions and other gods. The middle chamber leads to the sanctum sanctorum of the temple in the form of a cave, which consists of no image but a natural underground spring that flows through a yoni-shaped cleft in the bedrock.
Shakti peeth - Kamakhya
Shakti peeth – Kamakhya
Legend
Sati married Lord Shiva against the wish of her father, King Daksha. Once King Daksha was having a yagna and he didn’t invited Sati and Lord Shiva. Sati was very sad on not getting an invitation but she still went to her father’s palace. When she reached there her father insulted her and Lord Shiva. Sati was unable to bear this disrespect for her husband, so she jumped in the fire and killed herself. When Lord Shiva came to know this he was very sad, and enraged Shiva started wondering holding the dead body of Sati. He started the dance of distruction of universe. Lord Vishnu in order to save the universe and break this attachment of Lord Shiva, cut the body of Sati into pieces with his sudarshan chakra. Body parts of Sati fell at different places and these places are known as shakti peeths. In kamakhya Temple, Assam yoni of mother goddess fell.
Story about the stair case of the temple. There was a demon Naraka he fell in love with Goddess Kamakhya and wanted to marry her. Goddess put a condition that if he would be able to build a staircase from the bottom of the Nilachal hill to the temple within one night, then she would surely marry him. Naraka took it as a challenge and tried all with his might to do this marathon task. He was almost about to accomplish the job when the Devi, panic-stricken as she was to see this, played a trick on him. She strangled a cock and made it crow untimely to give the impression of dawn to Naraka. Duped by the trick even Naraka thought that it was a futile job and left it half way through. Later he chased the cock and killed it in a place which is now known as Kukurakata, situated in the district of Darrang. The incomplete staircase is known as Mekhelauja path.
Apart from the daily puja offered to the Devi, a number of special pujas are also held round the year in the Kamakhya Temple. These pujas are Durga Puja, Pohan Biya, Durgadeul, Vasanti Puja, Madandeul, Ambuvaci and Manasa Puja.
Durga Puja: This is celebrated annually during Navratri, in the month of sep. oct.
Ambuwasi Puja : this is a fertility festival, it is beleived that mother goes under menstural period and the temple remain closed for 3 days and then opened with great festivity on fourth day.
Pohan Bia : A symbolic marriage between Lord Kamesvara and Kamesvari during the month of Pausa.
Durgadeul : During the month of Phalguna, Durgadeul is observed in the kamakhya temple.
Vasanti Puja : This puja is held at the Kamakhya temple durinh the month of Chaitra.
Madandeul : This deul is observed during the month of Caitra when Lord Kamadeva or Kamesvara is offered special pujas.
Manasa Puja : Manasa puja is observed from the Sankranti of Sravana and continues upto the second day of Bhadra.

Herbal plant – Marshmellow

This plant is edible, leaves are eaten as salad.
Roots are taken internally to treat :
  • inflammations and irritations of the urinary and respiratory mucus membrane
  • counter excess stomach acid
  • peptic ulceration
  • gastritis
Externally, the root is applied to treat :
  • bruises
  • sprains
  • aching muscles
  • insect bites
  • skin inflammations
  • splinters

Jwalamukhi Temple – Sati Shakti Peeth

Jwalamukhi Temple – Sati Shakti Peeth

Jwalamukhi temple - Sati Shakti Peeth
Jwalamukhi temple – Sati Shakti Peeth
Jwalamukhi is one among the 52 shakti peeth in India. This is 30 kms from kangra and 56 kms from Dharamshala. There is no idol, the eternal and shinning blue flame emanating from a rock sanctum is worshipped as manifestation of goddess, which is burning without any fuel or assistance. During March-April and September-October every year colourful fairs are held during the time of navratri.

Legend of Jwalamukhi Temple

Sati was daughter of king Daksha she married Lord Shiva against the wish of her father. Once King Dakha was having a yagna and he didn’t invite Lord Shiva and Sati. When Sati went to her father’s palace, he insulted Lord Shiva and Sati. Unable to bear this disrespect for her husband she killed herself, when Shiva came to know this he was enraged, he began to wonder holding the dead body of Sati in his arms and he started the dance of distruction of universe. Lord Vishnu in order to save the universe and to break this attachment of Lord Shiva cut off Sati’s body into pieces with his sudarshan chakra. Sati’s body fell at different places these places are called shakti peeth.
Jwalamukhi temple is the place where Sati’s tongue fell. These flames are burning without any fuel or assistance from ages. Inside the temple, there is a 3 feet square pit with pathway all around. In the centre of which is a hollowed rock over a primary fissure of flame. This one is regarded as the mouth of Mahakali. Nine flames in total emanate from different points in the pit and represent Saraswati, Annapurna, Chandi, Hing Laj, Vindhya Vasini, Mahalakshmi, Mahakali, Ambika and Anjana-nine form of goddess.
This Indian Temple has some great historical significance, Mughal emperor Akbar was amazed at the continuity of flame so he tried to extinguish them. He ordered to construct water channel to douse the flame, but all in vain. Finally, he submitted to the power of the goddess, he went to the shrine bare footed and presented a golden umbrella to goddess. But when leaving , he looked back with immense pride at the valuable gift he made, but he was mortified to find that the gold turned into a colossal metal.
Dome of Jwalamukhi temple
Dome of Jwalamukhi temple
.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh, gilded the roof of the temple as a thanks giving after his success in Afghan war. Later his son Khadak Singh presented a pair of silver plated folding doors to the temple.

 

Devi Maa at Jwalamukhi temple
Devi Maa at Jwalamukhi temple
There are 102 pujaris in the temple who perform rituals on daily rotation basis. The deity is- offered Bhog of Rabri or thickened milk, Misri or candy, seasonal fruits, milk and arti is done. There is a mystic Yantar or diagram of the goddess, which is covered with, shawls, ornaments and mantras are recited. The puja has different ‘phases’ and goes on practically the whole day. Arti is done five times in the day, Havan is performed once daily and portions of “Durga Saptashati” are recited.

French toast



Ingredients :
bread slices-2
eggs- 2
milk- 2 tbsp.
salt to taste
sugar a pinch (optional)
butter

Process :
– Break eggs into a wide, shallow bowl beat lightly with a fork. Add sugar, salt, and milk.
– Place the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl or plate, letting slices soak up egg mixture for a few seconds, then carefully turn to coat the other side. Soak/coat only as many slices as you will be cooking at one time. Wheat Bread can also be used for this purpose.
– Over medium-low heat, heat griddle or skillet coated with a thin layer of butter
– Transfer bread slices to griddle or skillet, heating slowly until bottom is golden brown. Turn and brown the other side.
– Serve hot.


French wedding

French Wedding

A charming wedding custom of small French town, which is still in practice where the groom comes to her bride’s home early on the wedding day. Groom escorts her to the wedding chapel in a procession, headed by musician, followed behind by bride with her father, guests and groom with his mother at the end. In Brittany, children block the roads with ribbon that must be cut by the bride. The groom has to remove brains that have been placed across the road by those who demand and receive payment for these obstacles. All these obstacles are created for the wedding couple to overcome together and thus to signify their common path in new life.

A French wedding procession

The church is filled with incense and flowers, bride and groom are seated on two red velvet chair, underneath a silk canopy. At the end of ceremony a square of silk fabric is held over the head of the couple as priest blessing. The same silk is used to wrap their chill when they are baptized. Outside the church rice or wheat is showered over them as a symbol of prosperity.
At the reception the newlyweds toast each other from a engraved two handle cup, called la coupe de marriage. The traditional french wedding cake is called croquembouche which is a pyramid of creme-filled pastry puffs, drizzled with a caramel glaze.
French wedding cake : Croquembouche
Dancing is the popular past time in french time, the traditional dance is ‘rond‘ in which people join hand and dance in circle. After the reception, those invited for the wedding gather outside the newlyweds window and bangs pots and pans. They are then invited in the house for some more drink in the couple’s honour. This practice is called chiverie or charivari.
See other articles on  weddings.
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Prison Breaks

Unconscious Policemen at the Police Station in Durgapur

Yesterday, a news item in Kolkata’s newspaper The Telegraph, has caught my eye. Some prisoners have escaped from Durgapur’s prison, West Bengal, India by offering spiked soft drinks to the authorities. Two persons, thus freed six gangsters. This immediately reminded me a similar, and very very famous story of Charles Sobhraj’s prison break from a high security prison, Tihar in New Delhi and I am more surprised that the same tactic is used again.

A photo of Charles Sobhraj

In movies also, there are few famous prison breaks are worth mentioning, but one which I would like to mention is from the famous movie, Sholay. Here Jai and Veeru, used “disinformation”, a term I am borrowing from Mr Frederick Forsyth’s novel, ICON. They knew about the jailer’s informer, and used him to let the jailer believe that they are in possession of a pistol. The jailer became vulnerable because he thought that his prisoners were dangerous, which led to error in judgement on his part.
In above two situations, the second ploy is definitely more intelligent and requires more planning and on the surface, would appear to be more likely to succeed. But in reality, I would like to stress that this is less likely to taste success as there are too many factors or dependencies, which adds to the plan’s vulnerability. e.g. The informant’s closeness to jailer, the jailer’s intelligence, timing the escape and skill of the prisoners in carrying out the stunt (in this case, Jai and Veeru.)
A jail scene from movie Sholay. Hariram Nai, the jailer’s informer, is also in the picture.
But in the first instance, there are only two factors – greed and memory. And this is established for centuries that a human being is very susceptible to these. Greed always blinds a man’s wisdom and memory seldom serves human properly. So here we have a plan whose cornerstone is established and it may look as a very simple plan, but in reality, this is the simplicity which makes it likely to succeed. I have no doubt that above is not the last instance of jail break using the method one.

Benefit of fruits

Fruits are found everywhere and without much effort. Beside satisfying our gustatory pleasure, they possess marvelous curative property. Fruits are rich in nutrients and the benefit of fruits is amazing. But wrong eating habit and improper supply may devoid us from its benefits.

Fruits work wonders when taken in their respective season. Unseasonal fruits can only satisfy your taste buds, they don’t possess the same nutritional values and benefits like fresh ones.

Fruits are best taken on empty stomach. If mixed with meal or you are taking them after meal, then they fail to display significant results.

Eat fresh and ripe fruits, avoid cooking them, because cooking loses many nutrients.

Eat fruits without peeling, by peeling you may loose many nutrients.

Eating fruits and fruit juices supplies sugar and mineral at same time and the water absorbed from them is the most pleasant way to hydrate yourself. Fruits have a good hydrating effect on body.

Fruits are rich in different minerals such as potassium, magnesium and other minerals, making it a good diuretic and dieresis.

Fruits helps in elimination waste from intestine, thus keeping the body free from toxin wastes.

Fruits provide minerals to body. Dried fruits such as apricot is rich in calcium and dates are rich in iron. Fresh fruits like custard apple is rich in calcium. These minerals are essential for bones and blood.

Fruits are rich in fibers, these fibers aid in smooth passage of the food in digestive tract and easy bowel action. Regular use of fruit prevent and cure constipation.

Low level of sodium plays as important role for people who want a salt free diet.

Banana: its easily digestible, so that body can readily use the energy. It is rich in iron. Raw banana is not easily digestible. Fibers in banana soothen the gut and also act as fuel for beneficial bacteria in intestine.

Watermelon: This is digested very rapidly in empty stomach. It help to boost immunity and good for skin, eyes and lungs.

Oranges: Fruit or juice both are rich in vitamin C and folic acid.

Apple: It has two fibres, insoluble one work as roughage and soluble pectin firm up loose stool. So is good for treating diarrhoea. It also act as a fuel for beneficial gut bacteria.

Raspberries: These are rich in antioxidants, manganese, vitamin C essential for healthy skin, bone and cartilage.

Pineapple: It is rich in bromelain, helps in digesting protein and also helps in reducing inflammation. Beneficial in sore throat, sinusitis and swollen joints.

Pear: They contain vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, folic acid and niacin. Copper, phosphorus and potassium are found in abundance, also it contains lesser amounts of iron, calcium, chlorine,magnesium, sodium and sulfur. The Chinese pear is known to have the most medicinal values.

Avocado: This is rich in minerals and antioxidants. It helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It also help in treatment and prevention of prostrate and breast cancer.