Little Known Destinations

Snake boat race in Kerala

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 11, 2020

 
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The snake boat race in Kerala is being run like the IPL matches of cricket.  Being a homegrown traditional sport of kerala, the support base in Kerala as well as the Pravasi Keralites is very good.  the sport now has 9 leagues, and a massive fan following on TV as well.
 
The Championship of last year (2019)was won by a 01 second margin,  according to Bala Kiran, CEO Trivandrum Smart city.  Over the last 3 years, winning teams took home prize money of approximately Rs 1.60 crores.                                                                
Unlike many other popular sports, the snake boat race can happen only if the rivers of Kerala continue to flow.
 
River Ecosystems in Kerala for water sports
 
River ecosystems in Kerala-A glimpse
 
Pamba River
 
The Pamba originates  in the Peerumedu plateau in the Western Ghats and is 176 km long.  It empties into the Vembanad Lake, which is the largest lake in Kerala.   
 
Snake Boat Race at Pamba River 
The snake boat race during the Onam festival in Aranmula is worth seeing.  The video shows the heats before the festival.  In the final event more than 30 boats participate.  
 
Coracle riding or Bowl boat riding in river Kallar
The Adavi eco-tourism project was launched by the departments of Forest and Tourism as part of the third phase of the Konni eco-tourism project.   
 
Manimala 
 
The rich, natural growth of native plants and trees on the banks of Manimala river. Manimala is a 92 km long river in South and Central Kerala. It originates in Idukki district, also in the Western Ghats.  This river also empties into the Vembanad lake.  In fact ten major rivers of Kerala empty into the Vembanad lake.  A mud regulator divides the lake into two parts - one with perennial brackish water and the other with fresh water from rivers draining into the lake.  
 
The river ecosystems of Kerala are worth protecting for future generations.
 

Bird Watching

Happy Mothers Day

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 10, 2020

 
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#MothersDay   #Whiteeye  #Birding

Happy Mothers Day!!.....Er....Parents Day!!!!says IndianWildlifeClub

Outside our home, near the main gate, we spot a nest.   On the Ashoka tree.   The Indian White Eye (Zosterops palpebrosus) is sitting with its wings spread on the nest.  Surely there are chicks inside.   Birding ethics prevents me from going near the nest.  Temperature outside is 42 degrees centigrade.   

The bird is sitting with its wings spread to protect the chicks from heat.  Parents share duties of cleaning the nest, feeding the chicks and protecting the chicks from heat. 

The Indian White Eye is a tiny bird, 8cm in size.  Sexes look similar.  

Happy Mothers Day!! er   Parents Day!!!!!

Video Susan Sharma

Happy Mothers Day!!......Er... Parents Day!!-Indian White Eye (Zosterops palpebrosus)

https://youtu.be/ekkqWCVtDDU

 

Hindi Blogs

Quinoa products in india

Posted by Queens Quinoa on May 09, 2020

 
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Actually, quinoa can't grain yet without gluten seed, despite the fact that it is utilized in no different manners as entire grains; an increasingly precise term for it is pseudo-grain or pseudocereal. It's an individual from the goosefoot family and is firmly identified with verdant green plants like beets, chard, and spinach. The leaves of quinoa can be eaten simply like spinach. Cooked quinoa seeds are soft and rich yet somewhat crunchy. The flavor is fragile and to some degree nutty. 

Visit quinoa products in India

Quinoa is an antiquated grain created mostly in the Andes locale of South America. Its utilization goes back to about 3000BC. Quinoa was alluded to by the Incas as "the mother grain". Quinoa is not a grain but rather a sans gluten seed; it's utilized, in any case, similarly as other entire grains. This adaptable entire grain sparkles with regards to accommodation, it cooks in only 15 minutes. RiceSelect® Quinoa is accessible in White, Red, and Tri-Color and is Non-GMO Project confirmed, Star-K fit guaranteed, without gluten and is pre-washed, so it's prepared to cook. 

 

Quinoa Nutrition and Other Benefits 

  • A phenomenal veggie-lover wellspring of complete protein, giving each of the 9 basic amino acids 
  • A great wellspring of manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, folate, fiber and zinc 
  • Contains almost twice as much dietary fiber as different grains 
  • A decent wellspring of Riboflavin (B2) 
  • Thought about an entire grain by the Whole Grain Council 
  • Sans gluten 
  • Non-GMO checked 
  • Star-K Kosher affirmed 
  • Brisk and simple to get ready 
  • Like couscous in surface 
  • A perfect substitute for any grain 

Travel

The State of Sikkim and Buddhism

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 08, 2020

 
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The State of Sikkim and Buddhism

 

Ruins of Rabdentse, Ancient capital of Sikkim

 
Rabdentse was the second capital of the former Kingdom of Sikkim from 1670 to 1814. The capital city was destroyed by the invading Gurkha army and only the ruins of the palace and the chortens are seen here now. The ruins of this city are seen close to Pelling and in West Sikkim district. Pemayangtse Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Sikkim which is close to the ruins. From the vantage point of this former capital, superb views of the Khanchendzonga ranges can be witnessed. This monument has been declared as of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India. It was first established in 1670 by Tensung Namgyal Namgyal by shifting from the first capital of Yuksom that was consecrated in 1642.
 
The Rabdentse ruins are part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit starting with the first monastery at Yuksom known as the Dubdi Monastery, followed by Norbugang Chorten, Tashiding Monastery, the Pemayangtse Monastery, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, and the Khecheopalri Lake.
 
The Three Chortens where the Royal family of Sikkim used to offer prayers to their deities at Rabdentse palace are clearly visible among the ruins.  The ruins seen now in Rabdentse consist mainly of "chunky wall stubs" whose heritage value is accentuated by its location on a ridge, near upper Pelling.  The approach to this location is from an ornamental yellow gate near the Pelling–Geyshing road, from where it is a walking distance through forested hills.  
 
Along the trek path from the gate, an avenue of chestnut trees with sodden moss leads to a stone throne comprising three standing stones called as "Namphogang", which was the pulpit of the judges from where judgments were pronounced during the active days of the king's reign from Rabdentse. Further ahead, the 'Taphap Chorten' is seen in semi ruined condition. This was the entry point to the Palace and people seeking access to the palace had to dismount from their horses and remove their hat as a mark of respect to the King here. The palace ruins are at the centre of the fourth courtyard.
 
Ancient carved stones with the images of Buddhist deities at a religious shrine among the ruins of Rabdentse Palace
 
Team IndianWildlifeClub visited the ruins of Rabdentse in February, 2020.  
 
As you enter Rabdentse, the 'Bird Park' attracts visitors.  In fact more visitors are found at the bird park than at the ruins(which involves a climb!) The bird park has many exotic pheasants in cages.
 

Yuksom, Sikkim - First Capital of Sikkim

 
Yuksom was Sikkim’s first capital. Until 1975, when Sikkim became the 22nd Indian state, it was a kingdom ruled by a long line of chogyals or religious kings. It was in Yuksom that this monarchy was born.
 
Phuntsog Namgyal became the first “fountain head of secular and religious power”, giving rise to a monarchy that lasted over 300 years. His domain was much larger than the Sikkim known today, and included Darjeeling, parts of Nepal and Bhutan. He set up his capital at Yuksom and established Tibetan Buddhism as the state region.
 
Geographically, Sikkim is wedged between Tibet to the north, Nepal to the west, and Bhutan to the east. Prone to attacks from many directions, the capital moved several times as a result of invasions or to avoid them. Phuntsog Namgyal’s son Tensung Namgyal first shifted the capital from Yuksom to Rabdentse in 1670. In the late 18th century, it shifted to Tumlong, and finally to present-day capital, Gangtok, in 1894.
 
42 kms from Pelling town, the Norbugang coronation site still exists today. Strung with prayer flags, the complex houses a prayer hall, a large prayer wheel, a white stupa, and the coronation throne. Made of stacked stones, the rough-hewn throne sits under a large pine tree, with four seats, one for each of the three  patron saints or Lamas
 
Beliefs swirl around the complex: the chorten (stupa) contains soil and water from across Sikkim; The gifts bestowed on the first king are all buried in the stupa; water from the nearby Kathok pond was sprinkled upon Phuntsog Namgyal during the consecration, and so on. 
 
A holy lake known as Kuthok Lake, a serene lake, is also linked to the history of the place. During winter one can see migratory birds using the clean lake as a transitory site.
Yuksum (Yuksom) lies on the southern fringes of the Kanchenjunga National Park. The word 'Yuksum' means meeting point of the three lamas. Yuksum is also the starting point for the popular Dzongri Goecha La trek along with being a gateway to the Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve, making it a year-round stopover for tourists, scientists, photographers, conservationists and naturalists from the world over.
 
The Norbugang Chorten and the Norbugang throne are visited as part of Buddhist religious pilgrimage circuit involving the Dubdi Monastery, Pemayangtse Monastery, the Rabdentse ruins, the Sanga Choeling Monastery, the Khecheopalri Lake, and the Tashiding Monastery
 
 

Buddhism- A journey Ravangla in Sikkim to Sonada in West Bengal

 
Team IndianWildlifeClub on a journey from Ravangla to Sonada.   Ravangla or Rawangla or Ravongla is a small tourist town situated at an elevation of 8000 ft in South Sikkim. It lies between Pelling and Gangtok, about 65 km from Gangtok.  Sonada is in West Bengal.
 
Buddha Park of Ravangla, is also referred to as Tathagata Tsal.  Constructed between 2006 and 2013, the Park features a 130-foot (40 m) high statue of the Buddha.  THE park was built to mark the 2550th birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha.  
The statue was consecrated in 2013 by the 14th Dalai Lama, and became a stop on the ‘Himalayan Buddhist Circuit’. 
The beautiful statue of Sakyamuni Buddha (Buddha belonged to the Shakya clan of Kshtriyas)with half closed eyes and hands in the Dharmachakra mudra attracts lots of tourists to this spot. There are about 100 steps that one needs to climb to reach the base of the statue. 
Dharmachakra in Sanskrit means the ‘Wheel of Dharma’. It symbolises the occasion when Buddha delivered a sermon to his disciples for the first time after attaining enlightenment, in the Deer Park in Sarnath.  In this mudra the thumb and index finger of both hands touch at their tips to form a circle or the Wheel of Dharma symbolising the union of wisdom and method. The three remaining fingers of the two hands remain extended. The three extended fingers of the right hand represent the three vehicles of the Buddha’s teachings-  the middle finger represents the ‘hearers’ of the teachings – the ring finger represents the ‘solitary realizers’ – the little finger represents the Mahayana or ‘Great Vehicle’ The three extended fingers of the left hand symbolize the Three Jewels of Buddhism, namely, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The hands are held in front of the heart, symbolizing that these teachings are straight from the Buddha’s heart.
 
The entire stretch of the outer wall comprises of beautiful Buddhist prayer wheels.
 
The eco-garden at the Park was also built in 2006,  to commemorate the birth anniversary of Buddha. This would also be a landmark in Sikkim’s unique effort to promote pilgrimage tourism.
The photographs of the main Mudras of Buddhism were taken at Sonada, in Darjeeling, West Bengal.  
Sonada Monastery lies between Ghoom and Kurseong.  
Elevated at an altitude of 6143ft Sonada houses a magnificent monastery Samdrup Darjay Choling Monastery where the body of His Eminence the Venerable Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche has been preserved as a Kardung making Sonada a scared place for the Buddhist pilgrim.
 
 

Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim - Vajrayana Buddhism

 
Team IndianWildlifeClub visited the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim in February,2020.   The Rumtek Monastery is one of the largest and most significant monasteries in Sikkim.  it is perched on top of a hill 23 km from Gangtok.    
It is also called as the Dharmachakra Centre.
The glorious Rumtek Monastery houses a beautiful shrine temple and a monastery for the monks which were established with the aim of spreading the Buddhist teachings around the world. 
Verdant green mountains surround the monastery and thus serves as a visual treat besides being a focal point for spiritual solace. If you climb on top to the Rumtek Monastery, you can have a breathtaking view of the whole Gangtok town situated right opposite the hill. Besides this, the architecture of the striking monastery is one of the finest in the world.
The monastery belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhists who originated in Tibet in the 12th century. The Karma Kagyu school belongs to the Vajrayana branch of Mahayana Buddhism.
 
The gompa, an epitome of Tibetan architecture, was designed by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje himself based on his memories of the Tsurphu Monastery of Tibet, the original headquarter of the Black Hat order. Tsurphu was completely destroyed by Chinese authorities in 1966.
Built in the 1960s, the monastery is the main seat of the Karma Kagyu, a sect within the Nyingma school of Buddhism that originated around the 12th century in Tibet.
 
Vajrayana Buddhism has many rituals.  
 
Between February to March, which is the end of lunar year’s 12th month, there is an organization of 10day rituals for Mahakala protector. This is followed by the sacred tradition dance of the Mahakala. Monks dress up in the colorful attires and wear to dance with the traditional instruments. You will be surprised to find that how they go into some kind of trance with the beats. Since this is one of the ritual dances, they only have well-trained dancers.
 
Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism and the two main branches of Buddhism. I requested Mohit, research assistant in Buddhism studies at IGNCA, New Delhi to explain in brief the progression of Buddhism as it spread out from India.  I have included a talk by him to put the visuals in perspective.  
 
In view of the  COVID-19 linked locked down,  Mohit recorded the talk and sent the audio to be added.
 
The empowerment of the prayer music in the dance comes from compassion, concentration and mindfulness.  Buddhism asks all of us to turn the wheel of Dharma for all sentient beings(human and non human alike) 
 
 
 

Here is a video to give a perspective of Buddhism as a religion in India
2500 Years Ago Buddhism Originated in India

 
Worshiping nature or wild animals is part of many tribal and localized religions.  However 2500 years ago a visionary religion called Buddhism originated  in India which based itself not in worship but in compassion for all living creatures including man.
 
Buddhism is a spiritual practice born out of nature and all living beings. It originated in India nearly 2500 years ago. A belief system based on compassion, Gautama Buddha preached under a tree where the jungle animals also heard him.
 
 Antelopes, elephants, lions, monkeys and a stag are seen among the audience
 
Documenting Buddhism nearly 1000 years later in the Ajanta caves, Buddhist art peaked telling Jataka tales. These were tales of compassion told through Bodhisatwas(earlier incarnations of Buddha as various animals). The Jataka tales treated humans and animals as one universe (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) capable of communicating with each other.  The sculptures at Ajanta caves depict Buddha in meditating poses.
 
The Viharas discovered alongside provided spaces for Buddhist monks to lead a sparatn life of meditation. From the vantage point of the caves they could also exhort the common people to follow the Buddhist principles of "Buddham, Sangham Gachami" (I go to Buddham or higher consciousness for refuge;  I go to Sangham -community-for refuge).  By the time the caves were unearthed from a jungle by a British man in 1819,  the practice of Buddhism had all but vanished from India.  But Buddhism was firmly established as a major religion in many other countries.
 
Why did Buddhism decline in the nation where it was born?  A researcher in IGNCA (Indira Gandhi national Centre for Art)  had some explanations as given in the video.   
 

Environment Awareness

Vegetable Coloured Fabric Manufacturing Unit in Jaipur

Posted by Hitesh Sharma on May 07, 2020

 
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Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and history epicentre of records and art. Even before the inspiration of Jaipur City – the export of hand block printed fabric textile merchandise was done from this region.

Now, we at Srishti Textile create and supply the best nice printed running or material from the metropolis for all our Clients. Also, the affection and trust of this two-decade adventure of my circle of relatives have made those roots strong.

We are here to understand your want and craft your requirements.

For setting a custom order with us you need to provide specific designs and colour mixtures to us – Not necessary in physical combination however Drawings will do good. Also if you need we have a crew of designers to help you to carve your imaginations and make them a reality.

Green Jobs

Garden for the Garden-less

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 07, 2020

 
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  • Garden for the garden less in Gurugram
Some of us are lucky to have our own garden. Some have balcony gardens. A vast majority do not have space for gardening at all. That could be a reason many are moving away from nature. Can we do something for the garden less? 
 
When Seema Sud relocated from a bungalow type house with a front and back garden,  into a flat type accommodation, many thought her passion for gardening will take a back seat.  
Within no time Seema took charge of the landscaping and gardening of the condominium to which she moved in.  Her organic gardening skills transformed the common areas into beautiful welcoming spaces.  Her knowledge about the soft science of gardening made sure that whatever she planted were seasonal, local and healthy.  Herbs and vegetables of her garden produce are sold to the residents and income used for improving the garden.  
 
This short video captures the beauty of the winter flowers and veggies. The summer plants are already sown and Seema participates in hands on gardening wearing a mask during the lock down. 
Besides being an avid gardener, Dr.Seema Sud is a naturopath and Yoga enthusiast.  She can be contacted at +91 9899521492
 
 Garden for the garden less in Gurugram
 

Travel

Sikkim Travels - Meeting a self -made Entrepreneur

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 07, 2020

 
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Sikkim Travels -  Meeting a self -made Entrepreneur
During our tour of Sikkim in February 2020, we came across many interesting 
individuals and Shri D.K Rai was one of them.  13 kms from Ravngla where the Buddhha Park is located, Mr.Rai's tree house situated on the national highway  beckons travelers to enjoy a good cup of coffee/tea with snacks.  
 
A Self styled Entrepreneur D.K Rai, interacted with team IndianWildlifeclub sharing how he created the tree house out of his imagination and experience using natural  materials. 
 

 

 

Travel

Sikkim travel-Lachung

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 06, 2020

 
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Lachung

The coldest and most beautiful place we visited in Sikkim had to be Lachung. 
Lachung is a mountain town in northeast Sikkim, at an elevation of about 9,600 feet (2,900 m).  Lachung lies at the confluence of the Lachen and Lachung Rivers, both tributaries of the River Teesta. The word Lachung means "small pass". The town is approximately 125 kilometres from the capital Gangtok.
Tourists come from all over the world to visit the town between October and May, mostly on their way to the Yumthang Valley and the Lachung Monastery. Most of Lachung's inhabitants are of Lepcha and Tibetan descent. 
 
Later I recorded a video on Usha Lachungpa, who served in the Sikkim Forest Department for many years.  Her take on the forests and wildlife of Sikkim, throgh the medium of a casual conversation with my husband gives us a rounded perspective of Sikkim as a State.
 

 

Travel

Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim - Vajrayana Buddhism

Posted by Susan Sharma on May 05, 2020

 
Forum Post

Buddhist Monastery

 

 

 

We did visit many monasteries in Sikkim.  I am including a write-up on the one which impressed me most, a monastery easily accesible from Gangtok.

The Rumtek Monastery is one of the largest and most significant monasteries in Sikkim.  it is perched on top of a hill 23 km from Gangtok. It is also called as the Dharmachakra Centre.

The Monastery houses a beautiful shrine temple and a monastery for the monks which were established with the aim of spreading the Buddhist teachings around the world. Verdant green mountains surround the monastery and thus serves as a visual treat besides being a focal point for spiritual solace. If you climb on top to the Rumtek Monastery, you can have a breathtaking view of the whole Gangtok town situated right opposite the hill. Besides this, the architecture of the striking monastery is one of the finest in the world.

The monastery belongs to the Kargyu sect of Buddhists who originated in Tibet in the 12th century. The Karma Kagyu school belongs to the Vajrayana branch of Mahayana Buddhism.

 

The gompa, an epitome of Tibetan architecture, was designed by the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe Dorje himself based on his memories of the Tsurphu Monastery of Tibet, the original headquarter of the Black Hat order. Tsurphu was completely destroyed by Chinese authorities in 1966.

Built in the 1960s, the monastery is the main seat of the Karma Kagyu, a sect within the Nyingma school of Buddhism that originated around the 12th century in Tibet.

 

Vajrayana Buddhism has many rituals.  

 

Between February to March, which is the end of lunar year’s 12th month, there is an organization of 10day rituals for Mahakala protector. This is followed by the sacred tradition dance of the Mahakala. Monks dress up in the colorful attires and wear to dance with the traditional instruments. You will be surprised to find that how they go into some kind of trance with the beats. Since this is one of the ritual dances, they only have well-trained dancers.  The empowerment of the prayer music in the dance comes from compassion, concentration and mindfulness.  Buddhism asks all of us to turn the wheel of Dharma for all sentient beings(human and non human alike) 

 

Enjoy this video shot in the monastery

 

 

Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana Buddhism and the two main branches of Buddhism. I requested Mohit, research assistant in Buddhism studies at IGNCA, New Delhi to explain in brief the progression of Buddhism as it spread out from India.  I have included a talk by him to put the visuals in perspective. 

 

In view of the  COVID-19 linked locked down,  Mohit recorded the talk and sent the audio to be added.

Travel

Boat house in Kerala

Posted by saavi joe on May 04, 2020

 
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Boat house in Kerala

Houseboats in Kerala or Kettuvallams were traditionally cargo boats that carried rice, spices and other commodities, which now are transformed into luxury boats complete with bedrooms, kitchen, living area, bathrooms and other amenities. Today, these allow travelers to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of Alappuzha while gliding along its backwaters. The Alleppey Houseboat Team having the largest inventory of houseboats, motorboats, shikara in Alleppey, Kumarakom, Kollam & Neeleshwar in Kerala.  They have more than 250 Houseboats 100+ Shikara and motorboats available for tourists coming to Kerala. They can guarantee you the availability of houseboats, shikara & other backwater leisure services in all seasons.

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