Seven architectural wonders of nature

Nature is full of wonders but these architects of natural world are amazing. These creatures have not taken any training and still are masters. In true sense, their creations are the seven wonders of architecture of natural world.

The sociable weaver build their nests on trees, which are largest in the world, A huge apartment is build when many pairs of birds work together. The dimension of largest sociable weaver nests is over 20 feet to over 10 feet with more than 100 individual nesting chambers. Some weigh several thousand kilograms and can get so heavy they knock down the supporting tree.
For building the nest, sociable weavers use different materials for different purposes. Large twigs form the roof of the nest, dry grasses create the separate chambers, and sharp straws protect the entry of tunnels from their enemies. Inner chambers are lined from top to bottom with soft fur, cotton, plant material and fluff.
Termites are amazing creatures, these .4 inch blind creatures can construct huge towers of several feet and weighing several tons. Termites uses soil, mud, chewed wood/cellulose, saliva, and feces to build homes for their colonies, and this can be of 6 meters.
Spider produces silken threads using their spinneret glands located at the tip of their abdomen. Each gland produces threads for special purpose like, a trailed safety line, sticky silk for catching prey and soft silk for packing it. Sometimes a group of spiders may build web together in the same area. It is common for a web to be 20 times the size of the spider building it. But world’s largest web was found in 2007, in park Lake Tawakoni in Texas, a huge web was found covering 180 meters of trees and bushes. Initially the web was white, but turned dark due to mosquitoes caught in it.
Beavers are nocturnal, semi aquatic rodents. Beavers are known for building dams, canals and lodges. They use their strong front teeth to cut trees and plants. In absence of a pond beaver construct a dam before building a lodge. First they place vertical poles and then fill between the vertical poles with a crisscross of horizontally placed branches. They fill in the gaps between the branches with a combination of weeds and mud until the dam holds back sufficient water to surround the lodge. In Canada the longest recorded beaver dam in the world spans 2800 feet, and has existed for over a decade.
Ants are incredible builders that can carry many times their own weight. A species of Argentine ant introduced into Europe about 80 years ago has developed the largest super colony ever recorded. It stretches 6,000 kilometres – from northern Italy, through the south of France to the Atlantic coast of Spain – with billions of related ants occupying millions of nests. While ants from rival nests normally fight each other to the death, ants from the super colony have the ability to recognise each other and co-operate – even if they come from nests at opposite ends of the colony’s range. The Argentine species (Linepithema humile) probably came into Europe on imported plants. Another is in the US, known as the “Californian large”, extends over 900km (560 miles) along the coast of California and third, huge colony exists on the west coast of Japan.
Claddisfly is a under water architect. It doesn’t construct something huge but, something very unique. The larval form of this fly construct a portable case or sac with silk threads and any other material available like sand, twigs, stones, shells to protect them and to provide natural camouflage. After the pupal stage they cut the sac with their mandibles and fly.
Naked mole rat are pinkish-gray, wrinkly skin, scant hair, and long buck teeth. This is the only known social mammal. Virtually they spend their entire life in the total darkness of underground burrows. They are truly social and live in large colonies, with 80 to 300 individuals. Working as a team they are extremely efficient excavators, a colony of 80 can dig an area of 20 football field in less than three months Their shape incisors are the best digging tools. Their teeth 2 upper one and two lower one are located outside the mouth, so that they don’t swallow unwanted dirt and the hairy lips are behind the teeth.

Herbal plants- Peppermint

This is regarded as world’s oldest medicine.

  • Peppermint generally thrives in shade and expands quickly by underground stolons.
  • If you choose to grow peppermint, it is advisable to plant it in a container, otherwise it can rapidly take over a whole garden.
  • It needs a good water supply, and is ideal for planting in part-sun to shade areas.
  • This plant is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese.
  • Leaves are crushed and rubbed on skin to give a soothing and relaxing effect.
Infused peppermint leaves are used to treat :
  • upset stomach
  • fever
  • flatulence.
  • inhibits bacterial growth.
Peppermint is used in various products such as Peppermint Tea, Peppermint Creams, etc.

Last three veterans of world wars

The last surviving British veteran is Claude Choules, 108, who lives in Australia. The former seaman is also the last veteran to have served in both world wars. In an interview with The Australian newspaper he shrugged off his achievement, saying: “Everything comes to those who wait and wait.”Born in Worcestershire, he tried to enlist in the Army to join his elder brothers who were fighting, but was told he was too young. But aged just 14, he became a Royal Navy rating, joining battleship HMS Revenge on which he saw action in the North Sea aged 17. He witnessed the surrender of the German fleet in the Firth of Forth in November 1918, then the scuttling of the fleet at Scapa Flow. He transferred to the Royal Australian Navy in 1926 and remained in service for 30 years. During WWII he was chief demolition officer for the western half of Australia. It would have been his responsibility to blow up the
key strategic harbour of Fremantle, near Perth, if Japan had invaded.

Jack Babcock, 109, is Canada’s only surviving veteran of WWI, but he never saw action. In an interview with the Canadian Army website he said: “I don’t consider myself to be a veteran, because I never got to fight.”In February 1916 at the age of 15, he signed up and the medical examiner recorded his “apparent age” as 18, which meant he was allowed to train. Despite being under the legal age to fight, which was 19, he persisted in his attempts to get to the front line. He lied about his age again, and sailed to Britain with the Royal Canadian Regiment. There, conscripts under the legal age of 19 formed the Young Soldiers’ Battalion to train until they were eligible to fight. But he never saw action as the Armistice was signed six months before he reached his 19th birthday.He moved to the United States in the 1920s, serving in the United States Army between 1921 and 1924, before becoming an electrician. He now lives in Spokane, Washington.
Frank Buckles, 108, is the last remaining member of the American army who served in WWI. He was 16 when he lied about his age and signed up, serving as an ambulance driver in the UK and France. After the Armistice, he worked for a prisoner-of-war escort company, returning prisoners back to Germany. He was in Manila, the Philippines, working for a shipping company when Japan took over the islands during WWII. He became a prisoner of war himself and was held for
over three years. He now lives in Charlestown, West Virginia, and in 2008 met President George Bush at the White House as part of a ceremony to honour WWI veterans. The last French veteran of WWI, Lazare Ponticelli, died in 2008 and was buried with full military honours. The man believed to have been Germany’s last WWI veteran, Erich Kaestner, died the same year. Verification of the claim was difficult as the country keeps no record of its war veterans.

Sir Bobby Robson – A Legend

A life of a fighter, and that too, a successful one, this is what which can be said about the great English footballer, Sir Bobby Robson. Sadly, he is no more, but fittingly enough, he went down fighting to an old foe, which he successfully fought for over 18 years, cancer.
He was born in country Durham on 18 February 1933. Robson will be best remembered on the international stage for leading England to the 1990 World Cup semi-final. In 2002 he was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. In December 2007, he received the lifetime achievement award at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year show.
As a player, Robson, who played as a wing half, was a key member of the Fulham and West Brom team during the 1950s and 1960s and also won 20 caps for England. But it was in management that he established himself as one of the greats of the game.
At club level, he cut his managerial teeth at Fulham before establishing his credentials at Ipswich where he won the FA Cup and UEFA Cup in a 13-year stay. Spells at PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona followed before he managed Newcastle United.
After leaving Newcastle, he was a consultant for the Republic of Ireland side while he battled cancer, and later took on an ambassadorial role for the Football Association of Ireland.
Robson, who was first diagnosed with cancer 18 years ago in 1991, fought a brave battle against the disease. He beat bowel cancer in 1992, a malignant melanoma in 1995 and a tumour in his right lung and a brain tumour, both in 2006. In 2007 he was diagnosed cancer for fifth time and his chemotherapy started.
He made his final public appearance at a charity match at St James’ Park on Sunday
On 31st July, 2009 he has lost his courageous battle with cancer. He died very peacefully this morning (Friday) at his home in County Durham.
As a player:
1950-1956 Fulham
1956-1962 West Brom
1962-1967 Fulham
1958-1962 England (20 caps)
1967-1968 Vancouver Royals (player-manager)
As a manager:
1965-1966 Oxford University
1968 Fulham
1969-1982 Ipswich
1982-1990 England
1990-1992 PSV Eindhoven
1992-1993 Sporting Lisbon
1994-1996 FC Porto
1996-1998 Barcelona
1998-1999 PSV Eindhoven
1999-2004 Newcastle
Trophies won:
1973 Texaco Cup (Ipswich)
1978 FA Cup (Ipswich)
1981 Uefa Cup (Ipswich)
1991 & 1992 Dutch league (PSV)
1994 Portuguese Cup (Porto)
1995 & 1996 Portuguese league (Porto)
1997 European Cup Winners’ Cup (Barcelona)
1997 Spanish Cup (Barcelona)

The story of Navratri festival

Navratri – worship of Maa Durga

Navratri is nine days of worship done to thank Goddess Durga. Whole of Iindia celebrates this festival. The festival of Navratri is celebrated twice in India.  Once in the Hindi month of Chaitra which is the month of March-April. Secondly, in the month of Ashwin  i.e.  September-October.  It is a nine days long festival in which the Goddess Durga is worshipped in nine different forms. People all over the country celebrate this festival with immense joy and enthusiasm. Devotees of Maa Durga observe a rigorous fast of nine days during this festival.

Durga – worshipped during Navratri


Maa Durga
Maa Durga
In different parts of India, different legends describe the history of Navratri festival.

North India

The legend in North India goes that Mahishasura, the mighty demon, worshipped Lord Brahma and obtained the power of eternity. Soon, he started killing and harassing innocent people. He set out to win all the three lokas. The gods in swargaloka appealed to Lord Shiva, to find a way to get rid of the demon. To protect the world from the atrocities of Mahishasura, the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva united their powers and created a divine female warrior, known as Goddess Durga. Mahishasura, when he saw the divine beauty of Goddess Durga, got mesmerized. So fascinated was Mahishasura by Goddess Durga’s beauty that he approached her with the intention of marriage. The goddess agreed to marry him, but put forth a condition.
Mahishasura would have to win over her in a battle. Mahishasura, agreed immediately! The battle continued for 9 nights. At the end of the ninth night, Goddess Durga beheaded Mahishasura. The nine nights came to be known as Navratri, while the tenth day was called Vijayadashmi. This was the day that brought the triumph of good over evil.

Eastern belief

As per the legend prevalent in East India, Daksha was the king of the Himalayas. He had a beautiful and virtuous daughter called Uma. She wished to marry Lord Shiva, since her childhood. In order to win over the Lord, she worshipped him and pleased Shiva. When Shiva finally came to marry her, the tiger-skin clad groom displeased Daksha and he broke off all the relationships with his daughter and son-in-law. One fine day, Daksha organized a yagna, but did not invite Lord Shiva for the same. Uma got so angry at her father’s rude behavior, towards her husband, that she decided to end her life by jumping into the agnikund of the yagna, where she was united with eternity (since then, she came to be known as Sati). However, she took re-birth and again won Shiva as her groom and peace was restored. It is believed that since then, Uma comes every year with Ganesh, Kartik, Saraswati and Laxmi and two of her best friends or ‘sakhis‘, called Jaya and Bijaya, to visit her parent’s home during Navratri.

The legend of Rama and Ravana

Yet another legend of Navratri festival relates to the Hindu epic The Ramayana. It goes that Lord Rama worshipped Goddess Durga in nine aspects, for nine days, in order to gather the strength and power to kill Ravana. He wanted to release Sita from the clutches of powerful demon king Ravana, who had abducted her. Those nine nights became to be known as Navratri and the tenth day, on which Lord Rama killed Ravana, came to be called Vijayadashmi or Dusshera, signifying Rama’s (good) triumph over Ravana (evil).
Ravana killed by Rama
Ravana killed by Rama

Nine days of Navaratri

Important herbs – Milk thistle

Useful herbs – Milk Thistle

Dioscorides, a first century Greek physician, gave milk thistlethe name Silybum marianum. Silybum relates to a number of edible thistles and marianumhonors the symbolic associations to the Virgin Mary. This is one of the important herbs which nature has provided to us. This is one of the herbs, which is used widely in liver disorders. The liver-protective effects were known and written about in ancient times, leading to the active chemical, pharmacological, and safety research beginning in Germany in the 1950s. Clinical use for a variety of liver ailments, such as hepatitis, has also prospered throughout many parts of the world.


Useful herbs - Milk Thistle
Useful herbs – Milk Thistle

The part of the plant used in modern day herbal medicine is the seeds. Good quality seeds are black and shiny. For many centuries extract of this herb is used as a liver tonic. They are taken internally to treat the following:
  • Liver and gall bladder disease.
  • Jaundice.
  • Hepatitis (liver inflammation).
  • Poisoning.
  • High cholesterol levels.
  • Insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who also have cirrhosis.
  • The growth of cancer cells in breast, cervical, and prostate cancers.
  • Effects of a hangover.


Useful herbs – legend around Milk thistle

Legend has it that the white mottling of the leaves of milk thistle was caused by a drop of the Virgin Mary’s milk. The plant was traditionally used to stimulate milk production. Its scientific name is Silybum marianumwas a name given to some edible thistles in the first century by a Greek physician, and marianum is a reference to the Virgin Mary legend.

Originating in Kashmir, India milk thistle found its way to Europe during the Middle Ages. Milk thistle was cultivated in European gardens as a vegetable until the end of the 19th century. All parts of the plant were consumed.

Herbal plant – Fenugreek

This plant is used as a herb as well as spices.
  • It is used to lower blood cholesterol level.
  • To treat inflammation and ulcer of stomach and intestine.
  • To improve digestion.
  • To treat painful menstruation.
  • Insufficient lactation.
  • To freshen bad breath.
  • For body building.
  • To treat skin problems such as abscesses, boils, burns, eczema, gout and ulceration of the skin.
  • It’s a effective remedy against heartburn or acid reflux.

Herbal plant – Evening primerose

Evening primrose is another good plant to have in a home and can be used for variety of purposes:
– Young roots can be eaten like vegetable or even shoots can be eaten as salad.
– Tea made from roots can be used for the treatment of obesity and bowel pain.
– Oil made from the leaves and bark are used in treating :
  • multiple sclerosis.
  • premenstrual tension.
  • hyperactivity.
  • eczema.
  • acne.
  • rheumatoid arthritis.
  • liver damage due to alcohol.

Cheese toast

  • Bread slice – 2.
  • Cheese grated- 1 cup.
  • Capsicum chopped- 1 tbsp.
  • Tomatoes chopped- 1 tbsp.
  • Green chill chopped (optional).
Process :
  • In a bowl mix cheese, capsicum, tomatoes, chillies, salt.
  • Mix so that it become like paste, otherwise you can add some cream.
  • Toast the bread slightly.
  • Apply cheese mixture on the bread slice.
  • Put it in oven in broil mode or in convection mode till you get the colour.
  • This is a bit spicy form of plain cheese toast, and it tastes yummy…

Marriage – Muslim (Nikah)

A Muslim marriage or nikah is not a sacrament, but a simple, legal agreement in which either partner is free to include conditions. These conditions are stipulated in a written contract. Violating any of the conditions stipulated in this contract forms legal grounds for a partner seeking divorce.
1 Giving free consent to the marriage personally or through a close relative like father (called Wali). A man and woman say in clear voice three times that they accept (name of the person and his/her father name is called) as their husband/wife.
2 The amount of Haq-e-Mahr (marriage money) is agreed upon, announced, and paid to the bride at the spot or paid in the future.
3 Two adult, free men witness the ceremony in Sunni.
4 The nikah is publicised/advertised widely.
Once these conditions are fulfilled, bride and bride groom are declared husband and wife.

A Muslim bride signing a nikah nama
Walima is performed after the nikah or marriage ceremony. It’s a marriage banquet given by groom’s family to celebrate the welcoming of bride in the family. It is recommended to be held as early as possible after nikah.