Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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FIFA bans AIFF due to ‘third party influence’

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Federation International Football Association (FIFA), the governing body of world football, banned the All India Football Federation (AIFF) on August 16 citing ‘third party’ intervention.

“The Bureau of the FIFA Council has unanimously decided to suspend the All India Football Federation (AIFF) with immediate effect due to undue influence from third parties, which constitutes a serious violation of the FIFA Statutes,” read the official statement.

“FIFA is in constant constructive contact with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India and is hopeful that a positive outcome to the case may still be achieved,” FIFA added.

According to FIFA statutes, member federations must be free from legal and political interference in their respective countries. FIFA has previously suspended other national associations over similar cases.

The suspension jeopardises the country’s chance to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was supposed to be held from October 11-30 later this year.

Today is Indonesia Independence Day

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Indonesia Independence Day is celebrated on August 17 each year. The national holiday commemorates Indonesia’s declaration of independence from the Netherlands in 1945. The annual holiday is formerly known as ‘Hari Ulang Tahun Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia’ abbreviated as ‘HUT RI’ or simply ‘Hari Kemerdekaan’. Also known locally as ‘Tujuhbelasan’ meaning ‘the Seventeenth’ .

The proclamation led to four more years of fighting before official recognition of their independence. Patriotic and cultural parades, red and white artworks, and street decorations adorn Indonesian towns in August.

Indonesia had remained under Dutch colonial rule for over 300 years until a group of nationalists declared its independence on August 17, 1945. The struggle for Indonesia’s freedom and liberation was not an easy one. It took four long years of agitation and diplomacy before Queen Juliana of the Netherlands formally granted Indonesia her independence.

Today is Parsi New Year

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Parsi New Year is celebrated every year on August 16 by the Parsi Community. Parsi New Year 2022, which is also called Navroz, marks the first day of the Zoroastrian Calendar and is celebrated by the Parsi families across India visiting the holy temples to offer prayers. On Parsi New Year 2022, several traditional Parsi dishes, including Berry Pulao, Farcha, and Jardaloo Chicken are also prepared.

The beginning of Parsi New Year is believed to date back around 3,5000 years ago. This was the time when Prophet Zarathustra founded Zoroastrianism in Persia, Iran nowadays. The day, as per Zoroastrian philosophy, marks the annual renewal of everything in the universe.

The term Navroz finds its association with Jamshed, an ancient Sasanian king who is believed to have introduced the Parsi calendar. Thus, the festival is also called Jamshed-i-Nouroz.

Modern kitchens & the IoT

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By Techno Crat

The household kitchen today is a very different beast from what our mothers and fathers and worked hours in. They are technically excellent, save electricity and fuel and not only have complicated recipes done in quick time, but can also help a single person do a number of dishes almost simultaneously.

Today’s kitchens also include special washing equipment, are safe and look excellent. Most of these require more space, though, and while such kitchens are becoming commonplace abroad, it is also catching up in India. Soon, we will have one in our homes, though in different capacities and abilities.

The full-fledged forms of such kitchens are actually very useful for a restaurant or in hotels, where servings are many.

More importantly, these kitchens of today operate with extraordinary internet support and through controls that can be regulated and pre-set through even a smart-phone app. These are generally termed as connected items through the Internet of Things (IOT).

Let us know more about them.

Modular kitchens
Kitchen appliances transform the modular kitchen, kitchen platform design, and by extension the entire house into a fancier, more functional, and more convenient version of itself. Also, there have always been great innovations in this sector but they have increased exponentially over the past few decades. So, brands such as Bosch, LG, etc. have transformed the game of smart in built kitchen appliances.

Today, the kitchen has expanded into dining rooms and has become more like a common area of the house. It has become essential to upgrade the aesthetics and functionality of the cooking area with the latest innovative smart appliances. Also, the coronavirus pandemic has further changed the dynamics of life. It has taught us the importance of a functional home. So, to make your home effectively functional, you need to have a smart kitchen with smart appliances.

Modular kitchens have always been in trend for their spaciousness and class. Moreover, there are several appliances that make cooking easy, quick, and interesting. Also, these appliances are commonly used in all kinds of kitchens and add to their look and utility. This has led to some of the best Indian home appliances brands offering competitive ranges of these products.

INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT)-BASED SMART KITCHEN
What is IoT?
The internet of things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

A thing in the internet of things can be a person with a heart monitor implant, a farm animal with a biochip transponder, an automobile that has built-in sensors to alert the driver when tyre pressure is low or any other natural or man-made object that can be assigned an Internet Protocol (IP) address and is able to transfer data over a network.

An IoT-based Smart Kitchen is with Automation & Monitoring System using NodeMCU ESP8266. The kitchen is one of the important places in a house. The safety factor is the main aspect that must be taken into account during the activity in the kitchen. The existence of gas leakage, uncontrolled fire, excessive temperatures & a moist environment must be quickly identified and addressed. Apart from this, it is necessary to monitor & control Kitchen Appliances like lights, fridge, oven, etc remotely.

System Design for Smart Kitchen System using IOT This proposed project consists of gas leakage detection system, weight measurement module, microcontroller and alert system.

Hardware requirements are:

  • Arduino UNO
  • MQ5 sensor
  • DHT11 sensor
  • Flame sensor
  • Buzzer
  • Load cell (Weight sensor)
  • LED
  • PC (Intel Core I7, 8GB RAM. Software Requirements are ARDUINO Compiler (IDE), the Python Software (IDE).)

How IoT controls the smart kitchen:
In this system, the MQ5 gas sensor is used to sense the LPG, methane, butane and various gases. This sensor sends a signal (digital pulse) to the microcontroller when gas leaks. An alert message is sent through mail to the authorized user about gas leakage.

The Flame sensor is used to detect fire or flame. If due to gas leakage, a short circuit takes place and causes fire, the flame sensor will sense it and send the signal to the microcontroller about the fire. An alert message is sent through mail to the authorized user, a buzzer alarm is activated and automatically the main power supply will be off.

This alarm produces a huge sound which drops down the attention of the user.

A flame-sensor is one kind of detector which is mainly designed for detecting as well as responding to the occurrence of a fire or flame. The response of these sensors is faster as well as more accurate. This sensor uses the infrared flame flash method, which allows the sensor to work through a coating of oil, dust, water vapor, and ice.

Basically, the IoT Smart Kitchen does the following tasks:

  • Monitor the Kitchen Temperature & Humidity using DHT11 Sensor on Blynk App
  • Monitor the Air Quality Index (Gas) using MQ-135 Gas Sensor on Blynk App
  • Displays the Kitchen Temperature, Humidity & Gas Level on 0.96″ OLED Display
  • The exhaust fan turns ON & the Alarm activates, once Gas level exceeds
  • Detects the presence or absence of a person in the Kitchen using a PIR sensor
  • Sends Alarm Status, Exhaust Fan Status & Person in Room Status to Blynk App.
  • User can turn ON/OFF Fridge, Oven, Room Light Remotely from Blynk App

What are Smart Kitchen Appliances?
With the changing and evolving times, it is important that our appliances get smarter and more intelligent too. Thus, designers have come up with innovative smart appliances with the latest technologies and hi-tech features for smart cooking areas.

Smart kitchen appliances are nothing but your normal home kitchen appliances from the list laced with the latest technologies and intelligent features. Also, a smart kitchen appliance makes cooking easier and delightful by using innovative and intelligent features such as Artificial Intelligence, Wi-Fi connectivity, voice control, scanners, etc. Moreover, smart appliances understand your preferences and communicate with each other to transform your cooking experience and take it to the next level.

List of Smart Home Appliances:
Smart Refrigerator:
A smart refrigerator is one that is connected to the internet. Depending on the refrigerator that you choose and the brand, a smart fridge can offer several different convenient features. Most smart fridge brands offer an app that can be installed on a mobile phone or other devices to allow the owner to see updates on their fridge remotely.

Most smart fridges allow you to see what is in your refrigerator in real-time from anywhere. Some also provide the feature to see expiration dates on all of your groceries so you can remember to eat them before they go bad, saving you the added cost of buying it again.

These features make it easier to efficiently grocery shop and only spend money on groceries that you actually need. A wi-fi-enabled refrigerator can cost more upfront than a standard refrigerator. However, features like this could save money, in the long run, preventing you from wasting money on extra food.

Save Energy: A smart refrigerator which is 250 litres and is frost-free, generally consumes about 199.22 Kilowatt per hour. Therefore, your electricity bill will be less and save a lot of money.

Not only are smart fridges more energy efficient because they are newer, but they can save on electricity costs by continually monitoring issues and easily allowing the ability to adjust temperatures. Most smart fridges will send alerts to the user if something is blocking the circulation in the fridge or freezer. Some can also be programmed to run their more energy-consuming needs during off-peak hours, which can save homeowners money in some parts of the country.

Where to Purchase Your Smart Fridge: Available at Amazon; Flipkart.

Home Connect coffee machine
The smart fully automatic coffee machines can be controlled easily from any room with the Home Connect app. While you enjoy a gentle start to the day, your coffee machine will work away fully automatically, preparing your favourite coffee in your kitchen.

Coffee just as you like it – at any time. Whether you prefer espresso, latte macchiato or a big cup of white coffee, smart coffee machines with Home Connect take note of how you and your family like to take your coffee.

You can even use the Home Connect app to widen your knowledge about everything to do with coffee. This means that you and your guests can enjoy finding out about new blends and flavours.

Benefits of a smart coffee machine: Convenience above effort: While you enjoy your latte macchiato with extra foam, your machine’s auto Milk Clean function will clean the milk system completely automatically.

 Electric Dishwasher
An Electric dishwasher is a machine used to clean dishware, cookware and cutlery automatically. Unlike manual dishwashing, which relies heavily on physical scrubbing to remove soiling, the mechanical dishwasher cleans by spraying hot water, typically between 45 and 75 °C (110 and 170 °F), at the dishes, with lower temperatures used for delicate items.

The first mechanical dishwashing device was registered in 1850 in the United States by Joel Houghton. This device was made of wood and was cranked by hand while water sprayed onto the dishes. This device was both slow and unreliable. Another patent granted to L.A. Alexander in 1865 was similar to the first but featured a hand-cranked rack system. Neither was practical or widely accepted.

A mix of water and dishwasher detergent is pumped to one or more rotating sprayers, cleaning the dishes with the cleaning mixture. The mixture is re-circulated to save water and energy. Often there is a pre-rinse, which may or may not include detergent, and the water is then drained. This is followed by the main wash with fresh water and detergent. Once the wash is finished, the water is drained, more hot water enters the tub by means of an electro-mechanical solenoid valve, and the rinse cycle(s) begin.

After the rinse process finishes, the water is drained again and the dishes are dried using one of several drying methods. Typically a rinse-aid, a chemical to reduce surface tension of the water, is used to reduce water spots from hard water or other reasons.

The operations in a dishwasher: A dishwasher operates a few automated steps in sequence. First it fills up with water and heats the water to a desired temperature. Then the utensils are sprayed with hot water and detergent, alternately draining and refilling the water. After the final rinse the utensils are air-dried or heat-dried. Any heating operation typically consumes a lot of electricity and so the heating of water and heat drying will consume a lot of electricity.

How much electricity do they use: Dishwashers come in different sizes and they also have multiple modes in which they can be used. But a typical dishwasher would consume about 1-2 units per load on dishes.

Tips to save electricity on dishwashers:
1.Use dishwashers at a lower temperature setting. Heating consumes a lot of electricity and thus it is best to use the dishwasher at optimum temperature setting. You can refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation in the product manual.

2. Make sure that the dishwasher is full when used but do not overload it.

3. Use air-dry mode to dry the utensils if there is one. Avoid using heating elements to dry the utensils, as it will consume a lot of electricity. Opening the door slightly after the final rinse will dry the utensils faster.

4. Try using the most energy efficient mode as mentioned in the user’s manual.

LED Lighting
The mood of a space is heavily influenced by the amount and kind of light the room has. LED lights are a great way to add accent lighting to your kitchen.

Without having to turn on every light in the kitchen to use the stove or having to eat at the table under a bright white overhead light, you can control the vibe of the room with some added LED lights.

Electric Rice Cooker
A rice cooker is a useful kitchen appliance for those who have a limited recipe repertoire and those who have a paucity of time. It has a heat source, a cooking bowl and a thermostat and is used for boiling and steaming rice. With the technological advancements of a rice cooker, preparing rice has become an easy process. Just adding the required rice and water accordingly in the rice cooker is all that one needs to do. The appliance does all the work by itself and also indicates when the rice is ready to be served.

Automatic electric rice cookers were first released in 1955 by the Japanese company Toshiba.In December 1956, the Toshiba Corporation placed the first commercially successful automated electric rice cookers on the market.Since then, millions have been sold worldwide. The rice cookers available today are not much different from the original models.

While cooking (when water is being evaporated from food), about 700 watts of electric power is consumed; in slow cooking mode, once the food is cooked, about 30–45 watts of electricity is consumed.

Size and capacity: Rice cookers come in different sizes and capacities. Unlike most kitchen appliances, these cookers don’t take more space than a large vessel. The capacity of a rice cooker is measured by a total number of rice cups it can cook. Electric rice cookers are available with capacities ranging from 1 to 6 litres, and some even more. While buying an electric cooker, the first thing to consider is the size of your family. If you are a small family of 5 to 6 people, consider buying a cooker of 3 to 5 liters of capacity. Also, consider how many cups of rice you typically need.

Easy to operate: Most electric cookers come with a one-touch operation. This means you only have to add rice, a sufficient amount of water and let the cooker do the rest. There are more advanced electric cookers with digital controls and functions. There are functions such as self-timer/delay start, automatic keep warm, slow cooking, steaming and more. It is ideal to have a self-timer or delay start function in an electric rice cooker. It sets the cooker to start functioning at a specified time and even tells you the time left until the rice is ready to serve. These features let you automate things and you can be rest assured your rice will be ready when it’s time to eat.

Microwave Cooking
Microwave cooking is a modern, frequently used procedure for food preparation. Microwave cooking or re-heating of foods, particularly in the home, has expanded greatly in recent years and so there is an increasing range of chill, ambient, and frozen-stored foods for microwave heating. Furthermore, it is likely that the use of microwaves to cook or pasteurise foods either industrially or domestically will grow in the future. Key issues are the design and preparation of foods that heat predictably with microwave energy.

All microwave ovens use a timer to switch off the oven at the end of the cooking time.

Microwave ovens heat food without getting hot themselves. Taking a pot off a stove, unless it is an induction cooktop, leaves a potentially dangerous heating element or trivet that will stay hot for some time. Likewise, when taking a casserole out of a conventional oven, one’s arms are exposed to the very hot walls of the oven. A microwave oven does not pose this problem.

It is estimated that a microwave is used, on average, about 15-30 minutes per day. It takes about 1200 watts per hour for an average microwave to run.

Benefits of Using a Microwave Oven: Microwave ovens are faster than conventional ovens for cooking and reheating. Some vitamins are retained when food is cooked in the microwave rather than when it is cooked in a regular oven, because longer cooking times destroy beneficial nutrients in food. Microwave ovens only use electricity, not gas, charcoal or oil, which reduces their carbon footprint and eliminates pollution beyond that which is created in the production of electricity. Microwaves do not brown foods, especially proteins. Dangerous organisms have less time to thrive on food that is cooked in the microwave because the food is brought to a high temperature quickly and can be served right away.

Effects on Food and Nutrients: Microwave ovens can reduce the amount of vitamins B, B1, C and E in foods. Microwave ovens can also damage the protein and amino acid contents in meats and reduce the food’s nutritional value. However it is often better than boiling the same foods, which will remove even more of these nutrients because nutrients are lost through prolonged exposure to heat. It is recommended not to use microwave ovens to warm up bottled breast milk, because it can reduce its nutritional value; it is advised to heat up breast milk under hot water instead.

Mixed Gas Hob
Mixed hobs with a modern design that allow you to combine traditional gas or electric cooking with the latest innovations in the field of induction, using combined cooking zones. They guarantee a quick and versatile performance with a high level of customisation.

Suitable for all culinary needs, the hobs in Chimera range allow for extreme versatility in the kitchen. Technologically advanced and customisable in terms of controls and cooking zones, they guarantee speed in preparation and great flexibility.
Elegant design and solutions designed to guarantee maximum efficiency combined with great attention to detail and finishes: these are the characteristics of the mixed, glass-ceramic hobs in the Idra range.

Available in different flame and Hi-Light plate combinations, with electronic controls and knobs.

75 years of free living

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Seventy five years as an Independent nation, we have progressed beyond the wildest dreams of our oppressors for 200 years, the British. We have belied all grim ‘forecasts’ of leaders of the West who said India would not be able to handle a free existence, or even rule ourselves. We have done better; today many of the erstwhile British Empire’s iconic enterprises belong to Indian companies. Today, many of their sickeningly obese legal pronunciations have been obliterated and new, fresh, lithe legislation have taken their place. We have improved in scales of healthcare, education, social equality and wealth distribution. In many instances, we also lead the world in technology.

This is not to cast aspersions on the British. When they invaded us, the Indian economy was churning out a GDP close to 25% of the world GDP. When they left, having sucked the lifeblood out of the nation, we were down to low single digits, teetering on the brink of literal and metaphorical starvation. The fight-back of our economy and our society as a whole has been miraculous, to say the least. We have every reason to celebrate our independence, our swaraj, our rights, our hopes and aspirations, our progeny.

Seventy five years on the log of history is a mere blip. Yet, we have progressed to a stage from where the possibility of being marked as a developed economy, a developed nation, looks bright. While, in the process we have overcome Himalayan odds, we cannot forget the contribution of the multitude of people who sacrificed their lives for us, for our independence that we hold so close tour hearts and cherish as a birthright.

On this occasion, let us pay our homage to those brave souls who gave us this day, this opportunity to be grateful. We wish all Indians a very happy, independent life.

75 glorious years

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By Chanakya

The idea of India is an aggregation of thoughts and beliefs, a result of thousands of years of ancient heritage, as well as decades of selfless strife to push the British out of the country. The British were opportunists and oppressors. They were a self-seeking bunch of hoodlums, basically out to grab what was never theirs to start with. They ruled India 200 years, before being thrown out on the 15th of August 1947. We have had 75 years of free India, thanks to the freedom fighters who have sacrificed so much, so that we can call Indiaour own.

Thereafter, India has grown to become one the economic powers of the country, it has lead through enterprise, through knowledge, through history and through its ancient traditions. India has also been in the forefront of innovation. We have had trouble, but every time we have been down, we have been up again. The fight is eternal, India shall prevail.

The Brits took control in 1757, following their victory at the Battle of Plassey. The East India Company ruled India for 100 years after which it was replaced by direct British rule in the wake of the Indian rebellion of 1857. The misrule led to widespread resentment and revolts we were ultimately able to kick the British out of our boundaries.

Lord Mountbatten had been given a mandate by the British Parliament to transfer the power by June 30, 1948. If he had waited till June 1948, in C Rajagopalachari’s memorable words, “there would have been no power left to transfer.” Mountbatten thus advanced the date to August 1947.

Independence Day also marks the partition of India and Pakistan wherein widespread bloodshed, mass migration, and violence followed.

Indian freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and others launched numerous movements that helped break the shackles of slavery after 90 years. From the Revolt of 1857 to the Sepoy Mutiny, many movements set the tone for the fight against Britishers. On this special day, the people of India remember the selfless sacrifices and unrivalled contributions of great men and women in achieving India’s independence.

Marking the historic day in 1947, was the first Prime Minister of Independent India Jawaharlal Nehru, who delivered a speech saying, “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”

Hoisting the Indian national flag on the Lahori Gate of Red Fort in Delhi, these words aptly captured the struggle and happiness of newly-independent India as it finally managed to free itself from the clutches of British rule.

Major Achievements of India Since 1947

  • Railways network nationalised in 1951 and was initially divided into three zones. Indian Railways is now one of the world’s largest railway networks comprising 119,630 km of tracks and 7,216 stations.
  • Chipko Movement: The Chipko Andolan was a forest conservation movement in India. It began in 1973 in Reni village of Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.
  • 1974 JP Movement: It was a movement initiated by students in Bihar against misrule and corruption. It was led by socialist Jayaprakash Narayan.
  • India wins first Cricket World Cup: In 1983, India, under Kapil Dev, defeated West Indies by 43 runs to win its first cricket World Cup.
  • India sent man into space in 1984: India sent its first astronaut, Rakesh Sharma, into space in 1984 in a joint mission with the Soviet Union.
  • 1991 globalisation of economy: Indian economy opened the doors for free trade by foreign investors.
  • Right to Information Act: The RTI Act was passed by Parliament in 2005, throwing government departments open to scrutiny and helping people to acquire any information they want from government officials.
  • Right to Education Act: Parliament passed the RTE Bill in 2009, making education a fundamental right of every child and bridged the gap between different classes of society. It requires all private schools to reserve 25 per cent seats for poor children.

Infrastructure
1.   The Bhakra-Nangal Dam: The Bhakra-Nangal Dam project is a series of multi-purpose dams that were among the earliest river valley development schemes undertaken by the government of India after independence. The project, though, had been conceived long before independence. Preliminary works started in 1946 while construction was started in 1948. As a symbolic initiation of the work, Nehru poured the first bucket of concrete into the dry riverbed of the Sutlej on November 17th 1955.

2.   Bhilai Steel Plant: Bhilai, located in Chhattisgarh, was home to massive iron-ore deposits at Dalli Rajhara. The plant got commissioned on February 5th 1959, with Dr. Rajendra Prasad inaugurating the first blast furnace in the country.

3.   Bhabha Atomic Research Centre:
The Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET), was started by the
government of India on January 3rd 1954 with the intention of consolidating all research and development activities for nuclear reactors and technology under the Atomic Energy Commission.

Others 
4.   First IIT: The first Indian Institute of Technology was founded in May 1950 at the site of the Hijli Detention Camp in Kharagpur, West Bengal. The name “Indian Institute of Technology” was adopted before the formal inauguration of the institute on 18 August 1951 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

5.   First AIIMS : The first AIIMS was established in 1956 under the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Act, 1956. Originally proposed by the then Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru for establishment in Calcutta, it was established in New Delhi following the refusal of Chief Minister of West Bengal Bidhan Chandra Roy.

6.   Green Revolution: The Green Revolution was introduced in 1967. Despite being an agricultural state, India was food-deficient and relied heavily upon imports of food grains to feed the large population. The Green Revolution made India a self-sufficient nation. Today, India is the largest producer of pulses and the second-largest producer of rice, wheat, and sugarcane globally.

7.   White Revolution:  Operation Flood started in the year 1970 and was aimed to create a nationwide milk grid. It was a rural development programme initiated by NDDB – National Dairy Development Board of India.

8.   Space and Technology: India showed the world that it could be a superpower by developing Asia’s first nuclear reactor. The Apsara nuclear reactor was developed in 1956.

1963: India’s first-ever rocket launch. The launch of the first sounding rocket from Thumba near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on 21 November 1963, marked the beginning of the Indian Space Programme. Sounding rockets made it possible to probe the atmosphere in situ using rocket-borne instrumentation. This was the first milestone in modern India’s space odyssey. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai and his then accomplice Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam were the brainchild of this achievement.

ISRO: The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was founded on August 15th; 1969, giving new flight to space research in India. In 1975, India launched its first space satellite, “Aryabhata”, and never looked back. Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to go to Space in 1986, and at present, the best indigenous technology-based launch vehicles have been manufactured under the Make in India programme. In 2008, India set a world record of sending 10 satellites in orbit in a single mission through PSLV-C9. We successfully launched satellites like Chandrayaan to the moon and became the first country to reach Mars in our first attempt through Mangalyaan.

1974: Pokhran I test: It was on May 18, 1974, that India tested its first nuclear bomb successfully in Rajasthan’s Pokhran. After the test, codenamed “Smiling Buddha”, India became the world’s sixth nuclear power outside the five permanent members of the United
Nations, which are US, Soviet Union, Britain, France and China, to successfully test a nuclear bomb.

1975: First Satellite Aryabhata launched
Aryabhatta, the first Indian satellite, launched by the Soviet Union in 1975. The Aryabhata spacecraft, named after the famous Indian
astronomer, was India’s first satellite; it was completely designed and fabricated in India and launched by a Soviet Kosmos-3M rocket from Kapustin Yar on April 19, 1975.

1998: India conducted Pokhran-II tests
On 11 and May 13; 1998, twenty-four years after Pokhran-I, the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) conducted five further nuclear tests, dubbed “Pokhran-II”, at the Pokhran range. The chief scientific adviser and the Director of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr. Abdul Kalam, and Dr. R. Chidambaram, the Director of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), were the chief coordinators of this test planning.

2008: Chandrayaan-1 launch
Chandrayaan-1 was the first Indian lunar probe under the Chandrayaan program which was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on October 22, 2008. The mission was a major boost to India’s space program, as our country researched and developed its own technology to explore the Moon.

2013: Mangalyaan launched
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, is a space probe orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014. It was launched on 5
November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Chandrayaan 2: In India’s quest to land its first spacecraft on the moon, Chandrayaan-2, riding the powerful GSLV Mk-III rocket, was
successfully launched at 2.43 pm on July 22 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav
Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav is an initiative of the Government of India to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of independence and the glorious history of its people, culture and achievements.

This Mahotsav is dedicated to the people of India who have not only been instrumental in bringing India thus far in its evolutionary journey but also hold within them the power and potential to enable Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of activating India 2.0, fuelled by the spirit of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

The official journey of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav commenced on 12th March 2021 which started a 75-week countdown to our 75th anniversary of independence and will end post a year on 15th August 2023.

Old chula, new fuel

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By Chanakya

What is new about the latest action of Jumping Jack Flash Nitish Kumar?  People are talking thirteen to the dozen about how the BJP’s Chanakya (Amit Shah) has been outsmarted by Bihar’s home grown wisdom head. All that is a matter of conjecture, but what can be summarized from early-August developments is the fact that the Opposition, including the Congress, is probably not dead yet; not in Bihar, at least.

The story of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar upending his own alliance with the BJP (in the NDA), going to the Governor against incumbent Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, claiming to form a new government in an alliance with the RJD and the Congress (in a Maha Gathbandhdan) with a new Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, as the head is funny, though not riveting. In Bihar, such outcomes will be noted by the starving public as the chula and the fire. It matters little whether the fuel is charcoal, or wood, or even gas, as long as the chula cooks. And, mostly, it doesn’t.

However, what gathers around in the public domain is the fact that the Congress seems to have won the lottery. If the realignment had any real surprise for anybody, it was this party, a venerable nationwide Opposition, today on feeble knees. The side-switching circus of Nitish Kumar, or the blame-storm of the BJP, has been viewed with interest, while the Congress, finally, managed to keep its flock intact. Remember, this was one of the key observations (of its flock being intact) in the recent Maharashtra debacle of the Shiv Sena. There had been a lot of Gaya Rams leaving the party, but the dust seems to have settled. There is a possibility of regrouping.

The big Cong picture
How did the overall picture look, after counting in the last assembly elections in Bihar? The NDA sealed the day on a slim verdict, winning with 125 seats, the BJP winning 74, Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) 43, with others contributing.

However, the largest party was the RJD with 75 seats. Along with its allies, the Maha Gathbandhan won 110 seats. The Congress, left out in the cold, earned only 19 seats. But here is the rub: While the BJP’s vote share was 19.5%, the JD(U)’s 15.4%,  and the RJD’s 23.1% (highest), the Congress was steady at 9.5%.

National data
Here is some national data to think about:

  • The Congress vote share in Indian politics in 1951 was 44.99%.
  • By 1957 this had grown to 47.78%, but fell to 40.78% in 1967.
  • Thereafter, via an interim peak (43.68% in 1971, the year the Bangladesh war was won) the Congress had moved to 48.12% in 1984. That has been its highest. Remember, this was the sympathy vote year. In the general elections, held soon after the assassination of previous Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Indian National Congress won a landslide victory under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi, winning 404 of the 514 seats and a further 10 in the delayed elections.
  • The steep fall started thereafter, reaching 26.14% in 1998, exactly when the BJP was rising, having reached 25.59%.
  • As the Congress recovered to 28.55% in 2009, at the time when the BJP had plummeted to 18.8%, the saffron party regrouped and has not looked back, shooting to 37.4% in 2019, when the Congress vote share was at 19.5%.

Nationwide that is the approximate data for the Congress today.

The correlation
If we look at the rise of vote share of the BJP and fall in Congress participation in the share, we see the two are interrelated. The rise of the BJP share seems to have happened directly at the cost of the Congress depletion. This means that the reverse could also come true, given ideal conditions and also considering the fickle manner of our electorate. It’s the same theory of the chula: the fuel is unimportant, the fire is.

In the long run, any party can use a ruse or a fad to its fullest extent, but when development and policy protection suffers, public perception may change quite suddenly. The ruse and the fad, however close to the hearts of the people, will take a backseat and the voters will change.

A caveat: Within this, though, there is a caveat. Indians have been known to be argumentative and quarrelsome, but throughout history, there has been only one instance of an organised ‘revolt’, during what is called as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1957. Not only was it ruthlessly put down by the British, the religion-related nature of the revolt adds to the theory that Indians do not understand a social principle. Not only cannot they make up their minds about what is good or bad for themselves, they cannot fight for even the most basic of rights. Every ruler down history has known this clearly, hence Indians in general have been subdued and ruled over centuries.

They cannot follow their hearts, they accept defeat even before the battle. The overall belief of Indian being meek is argued against as India being one of brave-hearts. Sure we have and have had brave-hearts, but as a nation, there is something lacking that has allowed corruption at a national level survive. Then there is this obscene practice of servitude. Remember how major minister lay supine before Jayalalithas, when she was chief minister, or how the Congress just cannot see beyond one particular family?

One has to get rid of such stupidity, and in the 75 years of Independence, we need to show to one and all our maturity.

The Prime Ministerial hope?
There has been talk that Nitish was dissatisfied with the BJP because he was not chosen as the vice-presidential candidate. But that may not be right. Nitish believes he has a long innings yet in politics. Instead, the other belief is that Nitish has grown a desire to be Prime Minister. How that is possible within the current regime and system is not clear. It is not clear how, having made himself a laughing stock with eight chief ministerial strokes, can he convince the public as to any particular ideology he believes in, can he hope for the top post.

So how could Nitish’s PM hope, if at all, affect other parties, especially the Congress? Is Nitish looking ahead to 2024? One has to wait till Aug 24, when there is a floor test.

Tejashwi Yadav, Nitish’s deputy today, has hope for the top post. Hence the support of both the RJD and Congress for JD(U). We will wait for more tense moments from the game.

Paratha land

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By Foodie

Of the many special eateries that Agra boats of – many are centuries old, as old as the magnificent historical monuments around – one special shop stands out. The origin of the shop(s), known at one place (the earlier one) as Ram Babu Paratha Bhandar and the latter (near the Sikandra tomb) as Ram Babu Parathe Wale, dates back to 1930. The shops may have slightly different names, but the ownership is in the same family, and the renown is unmatched.

The USP of these shops is the ubiquitous paratha (stuffed Indian pancakes) and the varieties will make your head spin. This is a must visit eatery when you visit Agra next.

The culture and heritage of Agra is centuries old. From the magnificent monuments to being ruled by several dynasties with different ethnicities, the city is a fine blend of different cultures and traditions. This surely has impacted the food scene of the city.

If you are heading to the Taj Mahal or are planning to go there, then do make a stop at the local eateries and try the delicacies that the city has to offer. From pethas to dal moth, as we discover the taste of Agra, one of the things that you need to have is parathas from Ram Babu Paratha Bhandar (or Wale).

Though being a North Indian city, Agra enjoys a fine blend composition of several cuisines. One of the greatest joys that North Indian cuisine has offered is the delicious paratha. A paratha is a chapati (Indian pancake) that is stuffed with several ingredients, vegetables, and other elements to add taste to it.

Established in the year 1930, Ram Babu Paratha Bhandar in Belan Ganj, Agra is a top player in the category North Indian Restaurants in Agra. This well-known establishment acts as a one-stop destination servicing customers both local and from other parts of Agra. Over the course of its journey, this business has established a firm foothold in its industry. The belief that customer satisfaction is as important as their products and services, have helped this establishment garner a vast base of customers, which continues to grow by the day.

In Agra, this establishment occupies a prominent location in Belan Ganj. It is an effortless task in commuting to this establishment as there are various modes of transport readily available. It is at Belanganj Road, Belanganj Crossing, Near Yamuna Kinara Road, which makes it easy for first-time visitors in locating this establishment. It is known to provide top service in the following categories: Restaurants, North Indian Restaurants, Pure Veg Restaurants, Moderate Restaurants (Rs 500 to Rs 1,000).

Focused
The restaurant is very focused. It serves parathas of different kinds. The menu card is a long list of options.
The parathas were sliced into 4 like a pizza & served.

The parathas are cooked on a heavy & super thick iron tawa (more than 1 inch thick), & having the diameter of a paratha + 1 inch. The parathas were of course fried in ghee.

One had just to choose the paratha–sabzis were served with the parathas.

There are two branches in Agra
The restaurant has two branches in Agra city. One in Belanganj (Old) and the other (new), called Rambabu Paratha Wale, is located in Sikandra.

Ingredients

(Rambabu Paratha Thali)

  • 1/2 Cup Wheat flour
  • 2 small Boiled potatoes
  • 1/2 cup Peas
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Chopped ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp Chopped green chillies
  • to taste Salt

How to make
1.  For the dough knead one cup of wheat and all-purpose together and let it rest for half an hour.
2. For stuffing take two potatoes, half cup of peas, chopped onions and shredded cauliflower.
3. Mix half tablespoon of pepper, chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, chopped ginger, green chillies and salt according to taste.
4. Roll out your dough and fill the stuffing inside.
5. Shallow fry your parathas on the tawa till golden brown.
6. Now serve it with aloo ki sabzi, green chutney and kele ki chutney and enjoy.

PARATHAS FROM OTHER PLACES
Rajasthani Churi Ka Paratha or Moong Daal Paratha
Churi ka paratha or korme ka paratha is a specialty from Rajasthan. As Rajasthan happens to be a dry state so they use lots of gram flour, sun dried vegetables and lentils in their cuisine. They made so many types of  delicious kadhi and curries with the use of gram flour and lentil or lentil flours.

Different varieties of parathas and poori’s are also made regularly using gram flour/besan, papad and lentils and served with curd and pickles. The lentil parathas are so healthy and delicious that there will be absolutely no need for any vegetables as side dishes.

These paratha’s taste great with just a cup of tea or with some pickles and chutney. These healthy Churi ka paratha can also be packed in kids tiffin boxes with some curd and chutney.

What is Churi Ka Paratha?
This lentil paratha is popular as churi /choori ka paratha or korme ka paratha. This is a very traditional recipe of Rajasthani cuisine.In olden days all the daals are crushed at home using the stone chakki. Whole gram and lentils are milled at home to make gram flour/besan, daliya and whole lentils are crushed to make split moong daal.

While doing so lots of semi crushed coarse dal powder is left which is called daal ka Korma/churi. This daal ki churi/korma is soaked in water and added in the flour to make paratha.

Ingredients

  • 50 gm Yellow Lentil/Moong Daal
  • 200 gm Wheat flour/ Multigrain atta
  • 3 tbsp Cooking oil
  • 2 tsp Fennel Seeds/ Saunf
  • 2 tbsp Chili flakes/ Kuti lal Mirch
  • 1/3 Asafoetida/Hing
  • 2 tsp Whole Coriander/ Dhaniya Kuta Crushed
  • 1/3 Turmeric/ Haldi
  • Salt/ Namak
  • 2 Green Chili/hari mirch
  • 1/4 cup dhaniya
  • Enough ghee or oil

    How to make:
    1. Wash and soak moong dal in enough water for 20 minutes.
    OR
    Soak moong daal ka korma in enough water for 15 minutes
    2. Take a big wide bowl and add the soaked daal or korma ,wheat flour ,all the spices ,3 tbsp oil, chopped green chili and fresh coriander
    3. Add water and make a medium soft dough , cover with a lid and let it rest for 15 minutes.
    4. Make equal size balls from the dough and keep aside ,covered with a moist cloth.
    5.Take a dough ball ,dust with dry flour and roll to make a thin chapati.
    6. Heat a tawa /griddle and put the rolled paratha over it and dry roast from both the sides on medium heat.
    7. Then apply some oil or ghee and roast from both sides by pressing with a spatula till nice golden in colour.
    8. Remove from the tawa and serve hot.
    9. Serving suggestion- serve with dahi ki aloo, aam ki launji or with any tangy pickle or chutney.

    PUNJAB’S FAMOUS LACCHA PARATHA
    Laccha paratha is a popular flatbread of Punjabi cuisine. It is said to have originated in the Indian sub-continent during the 12th century. The term ‘Laccha’ means ‘ring’. This paratha is made of layers of dough resting upon each other with each layer looking like a ring. The dough is frequently folded over while adding ghee to it, and frying it on a pan or in tandoor. Laccha paratha looks very similar to Malabar parotta; a flatbread popular in Kerala. Several techniques can be used to make this paratha.

    The technique you use is very important, usually, there are two types of laccha paratha; a tawa laccha paratha and a tandoori laccha paratha. Tandoori style is the traditional way of cooking the paratha which gives it a dry and smoky texture. Whereas the tawa laccha paratha, though, tastes the same but has a more crumbly texture. Laccha paratha can be easily prepared at home. Here is how you can make the perfect laccha paratha.

    Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour aka “atta” make sure it’s finely ground.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2-3/4 warm water as needed
  • ghee and flour as needed for layering

    How to make
    1. In a bowl, mix flour and salt.
    2.Pour in oil and mix until flour becomes crumbly.
    3.Next, slowly start adding warm water and bring the dough together until the flour is moistened. I typically end up using 1/2 to 3/4 cups of water but the quantity will depend on the temperature where you’re located.
    4. Once flour is moist and you can pick it up in a ball, let it rest for 10-15 mins. The dough should just be a tad sticky to the touch. Dab on some oil so the surface does not dry out while the dough is resting. Resting will help the glutens in the dough to relax.
    5. After 10-15 mins, start kneading the dough until it gets visibly soft. Add flour if it is too sticky. At the end of 3-4 minutes of kneading, the dough should be soft and it will bounce back when pressed with a finger gently.
    6. Next, divide the dough in quarters for medium sized paratha (make sure the paratha is not bigger than your pan!) and shape each quarter in a round ball. At this point you can let the balls rest for another 10 mins. Don’t forget to apply oil so the top doesn’t dry out.
    7. When ready to make paratha, roll out the dough very flat, as flat as you can. It’s okay if the dough rips a bit.
    8. Next, smear ghee. I use my fingers to rub it all over the dough.
    9. Next, sprinkle some flour along with salt. The flour prevents ghee from dripping, however, you can omit this since we only use a small quantity of ghee.
    10. To make a flaky paratha, begin folding the dough from one corner like a Chinese fan and then twisting the dough up in a cinnamon roll shape. You can also make a slit from the center down to one end and begin rolling the dough from the slit in the shape of a cone and flatten it.
    11. When you’re ready to make paratha, roll the layered ball of dough and with the help of a rolling pin, roll it out flat and round. It should not be too thin but enough so that you can easily pick up the paratha and flip from hand to hand without ripping it.
    12. In a hot griddle, tawa or pan, plop down the paratha. Instantly, you’ll see the high heat begin to cook the paratha. When you see bubbles form on the surface, flip the paratha and lower the heat to medium. Apply some ghee and smear on the paratha with the back of a spoon.
    13. Flip again, when you see brown spots appear on the underside.
    14. Keep applying a touch of ghee and press down your spatula very gently. Lower the heat further if you think paratha is browning too fast.
    15. Remove from the pan once paratha is speckled with brown spots. Don’t overcook, or else the paratha will get very crispy like a “papad.” You want to remove it when it’s nice and soft.
    16. A tip to coaxing out the paratha layers (making it “lachedar”) is to scrunch it up while hot. Place your hands on either side of the paratha and clap them together, scrunching up the paratha. This will separate the layers. I recommend using kitchen paper or cloth to avoid burning your hands.
    17. Serve hot! Paratha and roti are best enjoyed hot off the stove.

Backwaters of beauty and peace

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By Journey Man

Fast pace of ‘development’ are depleting natural wastelands, swamps and inland water bodies at a faster pace. This has been proved to be bad for the environment. In such a situation it is gladdening to see the preservation of some wetlands in this country. The Vembanad Lake of Kerala is one of them. It has immense natural beauty, though some of it is in danger through indiscriminate human intervention.

The Vembanad Lake or wetland of Kerala and is considered to be the longest lake in India. It is also the largest lake in Kerala. Spread over an area of more than 2000 sq km it covers the districts of Ernakulam, Kottayam, Thrissur and Alappuzha. The wetland consists of backwaters, lagoons, mangroves, marshes, canals and reclaimed lands. The lake is a part of the Kerala backwaters’ tourism, and houses many aquatic habitats, with beautiful houseboats floating on it and a large number of resorts along the shoreline.

The lake is separated from the Arabian Sea by an island known as the Thanneermukkom barrier to prevent interruption of salt water within the lowlands. Because of this the lake has been divided into two parts. One part is the brackish perennial water and the other is the fresh water from the rivers draining into the Vembanad Lake. There is no natural release of pollutants due to this type of man-made structure hindering the growth of prawns and fish. Several water weeds are developing into it and is hindering ecological balance.

Vembanad Lake emits the hues of sapphire and emerald. The sight of emerald green coconut fringes flanked by the sapphire led backwaters is a treat for the eyes. At 96 km long and 14 km wide, the Vembanad Lake is recognized as not only the longest lake in India but the largest water reservoir in Kerala. Moreover, it is the heart of Kerala backwater. People from around the world come here for a boat ride and to spoil themselves in the scenic beauty of the backwaters.

A complex aquatic system
Vembanad Wetland is spread over the districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Thrissur of Kerala. The wetland has an area of 1521.5 sq km and volume of 0.55 cubic km, fed by 10 rivers flowing into it, adding up to a total drainage area of 15,770 sq km. It is a complex aquatic system of long coastal backwaters, lagoons, marshes, mangroves and reclaimed lands, with intricate networks of natural channels and man-made canals.

The wetland is at the heart of Kerala Backwaters tourism with hundreds of kettuvallams (houseboats) crisscrossing it and numerous resorts nestling on its banks. Five rivers originating in the Western Ghats drain into this water body. The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the wetland. Vembanad is famous for its scenic beauty and has become a major tourist attraction. However, because of overuse, The area of Vembanad has shrunk from 36,329 hectares in 1834, to 12,504 ha in 1984 and the water holding capacity consequently declined from 2.449 cubic km to 0.559 cubic km.

The wetland was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands in 2002. It is home to more than 20,000 waterfowls in India. Major livelihood activities include agriculture, fishing, tourism, inland navigation, coir retting, lime shell collection.

Serene and tranquil backwater of Kumarakom turns into a starlit affair during the festival of Onam and snake boat race. During these festivals, the backwater springs back to life as thousands of people gather to cheer for their favourite Chundan Vallams to chase the title of the fastest. More than just a sports event this grand carnival calls the international as well as domestic crowd to cheer the participants getting involved into an energetic activity.

Get in tune with nature
Canoes and houseboats are best recommended to traverse the length and breadth of Vembanad Lake. Life at Vembanad Lake runs at a very slow pace. Vembanad Lake is the place known for its serenity, peace and the aquatic animals that breed here. Houseboat rides in Vembanad Lake will take tourists to the Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary and small islands where they can see paddy plantation, hyacinths, traditional style of fishing, and a sightseeing experience that is truly exhilarating.

Tourists can also spot fascinating yet beautiful avian species that are thriving in the temperate season. For photographers, the lake is nothing less than a bountiful ride that will show them the most pristine form of nature. Surroundings of the lake are too-good-to-be-true.

The vast array of rivers and canals that Kottayam is blessed with, empty themselves into the picturesque Vembanad Lake. It is a lovely place to go for a picnic and has also turned into a prominent backwater destination. There are many boating, fishing and sightseeing options available in the area. The Kumarakom Tourist Village has many house boating and holiday packages available.

Onam brings new life to these waters with stunning Snake Boat Races. As oarsmen in large numbers dictate the rhythm of the water underneath, one is transported to a new dimension altogether.

Ecological importance
Vembanad Kol Wetland was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands It is home to more than 20,000 waterfowls – the third largest such population in India. It is also an ideal habitat for shrimps. Major livelihood activities of the people living on the shores of the lake include agriculture, fishing, tourism, inland navigation, coir retting, lime shell collection.

The uncontrolled mining of shells from the lake bed is also posing a threat to the ecosystem. The sewage effluents and the heavy load of organic material released from the neighbouring areas including a medical college at Alappuzha are let into the water and are responsible for the decrease in dissolved oxygen content in the water in the water body.

The pollution factor
Heavy metals and pesticides have caused massive contamination in this lake. This, in turn, has created health risks for people living in and around the lake. Studies conducted have showcased that the contamination may lead to the disruption of biochemical processes and the biological body.

In addition, household waste and industrial activities have majorly impacted this zone in Kerala. This has led to the waning of transparency and depth of the Vembanad estuary along with dissolved oxygen level. The decrease in oxygen level is mainly due to houseboat tourism and sewage discharge. Rusted boats, waste dumping and development activities that have been taking place in the canals of Alappuzha have given birth to massive contamination.

Getting there
Nearest railway station: Kottayam, about 13 km
Nearest airport: Cochin International Airport, about 63 km

Best Time To Visit
Vembanad Lake can be visited by tourists at any time of the year. Here you can go for a walk with family or friends at any time of the year. But if we talk about the time of day, then sunset time is the best time to visit Vembanad Kol. At that time the place looked completely different. This is really worth experiencing.

THINGS TO DO
Bird watching: Vembanad has a suitable environment for the flora and fauna found in it. Because of this, the lake is very special for bird watching. You can see different types of colourful birds here. Tourists visit Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary located on the banks of the lake for an exciting birding experience. Where you can see birds like cuckoo, owl, the egret, heron, Brahminy kite, parrot, flycatcher, lark, teal and Siberian crane.

Boat ride: Boating amidst the clear waters and cool breeze is certainly one of the fascinating activities to do in Vembanad Kol. Tourists can choose Night Boat Tours or Day Boat Tours as per their convenience. One can see the surrounding scenery while boating in Vembanad Kol. Along with that, you can spend a pleasant time with your family in the midst of natural beauty. The night boat rides in the lake are also attractive.

KUMARAKOM
The village of Kumarakom is a cluster of little islands on the Vembanad Lake, and is part of the Kuttanad region. The bird sanctuary here, which is spread across 14 acres is a favourite haunt of migratory birds and an ornithologist’s paradise.

Egrets, Darters, Herons, Teals, Waterfowls, Cuckoo, Wild Duck and migratory birds like the Siberian Stork visit here in flocks and fascinate all visitors.
An enchanting backwater destination, Kumarakom offers visitors many other leisure options. Boating and fishing facilities are available at the Taj Garden Retreat, a sprawling old bungalow-turned-resort.

Waterscapes, the backwater resort of the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation has independent cottages built on stilts, set amidst coconut groves offering a panoramic view of the backwaters. Holiday packages involving houseboats and traditional Kettuvallams (rice barges) offer great experiences.

Festivals
The tranquil and serene beauty of the lake is transferred into a crowdie place during the festivals of snake boat race and Onam. A huge number of people gathered around the lake to cheer for their favourite rider. It is something more than sports and the grand carnival invites lots of people from local as well as national places to take pleasure in the energetic activity.

  • Places of interest
  • Vaikom temple- famous Hindu Shiva temple
  • Alappuzha beach– sandy beach offering houseboat tours
  • Kumarakom bird sanctuary- bird watching spot
  • Andrew’s Basilica- the largest shrine of St. Sebastian in the world
  • Kumarakom Museum- Best Antiques Craft Museum in Kerala

    Major tourists attractions
  • Vallam Kali is one of the major and popular snake boat races held in the month of august every year.
  • A backwater cruise would help you to have a close look at the nearby villages and know the life of the people.
  • Exploring the main tourist spot, the island of Pathiramanal on the lake is another major attraction that can be reached only by boat.

    Activities
    For enjoying the beauty of the lake you can take canoes or stay in the houseboats and float along the length and width of the water body. The houseboats can take you to the bird sanctuary and the nearby islands where you can feel a sense of bliss of nature. Water hyacinths, paddy plantation, traditional way of fishing and the green sight all around are really exhilarating. The fascinating avian species can also be spotted by the tourists flourishing in the temperate zone. The wonderful scenario while enjoying the boat ride is truly a lifetime achievement.

    Drawbacks
    The wetland was much bigger in size previously and gradually it is getting dried up due to land reclamation. But still it holds enough water to make it the largest lake in the state as well as in India. A huge pollution is seen to occur in some parts of the lake which resulted in threat to the ecosystem. The uncontrolled shell mining, releasing organic material into the wetland made the oxygen content low in the water. Due to this many aquatic animals are facing threats.


WHERE TO STAY
Kumarakom Lake Resort: Starting price @ Rs 3,599
The rooms, villas and suites at Kumarakom Lake Resort are a perfect blend of Kerala’s traditional architectural charm with luxurious, modern comforts. Each is a careful reconstruction of manas, the 16th century traditional homesteads of Kerala, with many such manas having been transplanted from their original locations and reassembled painstakingly by hand, plank by plank, tile by tile, to create the luxurious abodes at Kumarakom Lake Resort. The traditionally styled, luxuriously modern, open-roofed bathrooms set in small, aesthetically designed courtyards are a common feature to the villas and suites.

Kayaloram Heritage Lake Resort :  Starting price @ Rs 1559
Kayaloram Lake Resort Managed by Mir Group of companies, Kayaloram Heritage Lake Resort,set in the enchanted landscape of Alleppey, offers impeccable services at par with international standards. Ideally suited for business travelers and tourists alike, the resort is set in the lush green settings of Punnamada in Alleppey, the Venice of the east. Kayaloram is a true blend of the rustic ambience of Alleppey and the facilities of a modern resort.The resort also offers an Ayurvedic centre which has all the major treatments.Kayaloram has been classified under the title of Heritage Resort, by the Government of India.Sizzling backwaters Cruising along the stunning and unique backwaters of Alleppey gives you the most enchanting holidaying experience.

The backwater cruise along the narrow canals that interweave the rustic villages of Kuttanad gives you the most awesome experience. Hear the ripples of Vembanad Lake and feel completely relaxed in the rustic charm of the villages. It is fascinating to watch the village girls engaged in the various household chores in front of every house & men doing their daily works.

In a set of traditional Kerala-style cottages, this relaxed garden-set resort overlooking Vembanad Lake is 7 km from both Alleppey LightHouse and Alappuzha Beach.

After suffering major heart attack, Raju Srivastava’s condition stable

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After being in ICU for more than two days, popular comedian and actor Raju Srivastava’s health has become stable, informed his family.

The Bombay to Goa fame actor suffered a heart attack while working out in a gym on Wednesday. Later, he underwent a successful angioplasty in the AIIMS Hospital Delhi.

Raju Srivastava’s Family statement read, “Dear all, Raju Srivastava Ji’s condition is stable. We are praying for his speedy recovery. The doctors are treating him and are doing their best. Thanks to all the well-wishers for their continued love and support. Please ignore any rumour/fake news being circulated. Please pray for him.”

Raju Srivastava became popular for his stand-up when he participated in ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’. After that, he did several movies and shows that proved his mettle in the entertainment industry. Some of the famous films of his career includes ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Bazigar’, ‘Bombay to Goa’, ‘Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya’, etc. The actor also appeared in the third season of Bigg Boss.

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