Issuu on Google+


an

INDIAN Publisher

SanJeet

Editor

Deepa Sethi

Assistant Editor

Ipshita Sengupta Nag

Sub Editor

Divya Goyal

Design

Alpana Khare Neeraj Aggarwal Neeraj Nath

Advertising

Gunjan Sabikhi Harshal Ashar N. Sanjiba Singh Prem Sagar

Production Manager

Anil Kharbanda

Circulation Manager

Ashok Rana

where one lifetime of discovery falls short

journey A DDP PUBLICATION Pages: 60 Vol V Issue 1 January 2012 `50

Dear Reader, Durga Das Publications Private Limited New Delhi : 72, Todarmal Road, New Delhi 110001, India Tel: +91-11-23731971, 23710793, 23716318, Fax: +91-11-23351503 E-mail: ruchika@ddppl.com

India is a celebration of colours, food, festivals and people and we make an attempt to bring alive the various components of her beauty in our pages. If the water colour representations

Mumbai: 504 Marine Chambers, 43 New Marine Lines, Mumbai 400 020 Tel: +91-22-22070129, 22070130 Fax: +91-22-22070131 E-mail: mumbai@ddppl.com

of James Baillie Fraser remind us of the once unspoilt visage

UAE: P.O. Box: 9348, Sharjah, UAE Tel: +971-6-5573508, Fax: +971-6-5573509 E-mail: uae@ddppl.com

and in much the same way as the Pattachitra or leaf paintings of

All information in An Indian Journey is derived from sources, which we consider reliable. Information is passed on to our readers without any responsibility on our part. The contents of this publication contain views of authors and are not the views of Durga Das Publications.

of the Himalayas and its surroundings, the cave paintings of Bhimbetka, Madhya Pradesh reiterate the longevity of Indian art Raghurajpur, which still finds admirers amongst the modern art admirers. Adventure becomes the by-word as we take a unique road trip through Indian roads in an autorickshaw or attempt to capture an angler’s delight as he catches the famous Mahseer in the Indian waters. We take a break to feast on New Delhi’s

Similarly, opinions/views expressed by any party in abstract and/or in interviews are not necessarily shared/do not necessarily reflect any opinion of Durga Das Publications. All rights reserved throughout the world. Reproduction strictly prohibited. Material appearing in An Indian Journey cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. The same rule applies when there is a copyright or the article is taken from another publication. Publications reproducing material either in part or in whole, without permission would face legal action.

famous savouries as we visit the stalls of the ‘Delhi ke Pakwan’

Editorial enquiries and enquiries concerning the reproduction of articles, advertising and circulation should be e-mailed at ruchika@ddppl.com

we give a pictorial salutation to this vibrant city and its people;

The publisher assumes no responsibility for returning unsolicited material nor is he responsible for material lost or damaged in transit. Any material submitted to An Indian Journey will not be returned. The publisher reserves the rights to refuse, withdraw, amend or otherwise deal with all advertisements without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the Indian Advertisements Code as well as the Advertisements Code of South Asia. The publisher will not be liable for any damage or loss caused by the late publication, error or failure or advertisement or editorial to appear. An Indian Journey is printed, published and owned by SanJeet, 72, Todarmal Road, New Delhi -110001 and is printed at Cirrus Graphics Private Limited, B-62/14, Phase - II, Naraina Industrial Area, New Delhi - 110028

festival. A feast of a different kind awaits you readers as you see the riot of colours of the Hornbill Festival of Nagaland. As we Indians celebrate the 100 years of Delhi being a capital, with the most recognisable and not so recognisable landmarks of a landscape that is believed to have been rebuilt seven times and under different rulers. It is a unique cohort of the old and the new and we hope you enjoy these pages as much as we did putting this collage together. We celebrate rejuvenation and new beginning in the same spirit and wish you a very Happy 2012…


Contents

14

20

14 Meter down! Let the journey begin...  xploring India’s various idiosyncrasies through an E autorickshaw journey

18 An Experience in Kerala

23

20 Memoirs from Mussoorie… A Poet’s

23

‘Realization’ The beauty of Mussoorie inspires Dr. Venu Sanon to pen down her thoughts in verse

38

Delhi the monument of time

41

Glimpses of New Delhi as it celebrates its centennial as the nation’s capital

32 The Hornbill Festival

Northeast India congregates in a colourful symphony

An Artist’s Journey… ‘Himala’ James Baillie Fraser’s impression of the now Himalayan ranges

Exploring Neolithic India

46 Cidade de Goa…Experience the Difference


32

38

48

A ‘Taste’ of Delhi

52

An Angler’s Paradise

56 Carving life on Leaves’

A visit to Raghurajpur, Orissa for its famous ‘Pattachitra’ or Leaf Paintings

56

Regular Features 8 Calendar 10

IN FOCUS Updates, events and launches


january 2012

Lohri When: January 13, 2012 Lohri marks the end of the harvest in Northern India and is characterised by the worship of fire. Bonfires are lit in the evening, whether in individual households or in communities and grain, in the form of peanuts, popcorn, puffed rice and similar goodies are ceremonially ‘fed’ to the fire. Lohri celebrations are never complete without music, dancing and feasting.

International Kite Festival 2012 Gujarat Kite Festival, When: 14th January 2012 Gujarat’s International Kite Festival is held every year in Ahmedabad. This is one day when the skies above the city come alive with kites in a hundred different colours, shapes and sizes. The Gujarat Tourism Development Corporation organises the festival at a local stadium, where enthusiasts from all across the world show off their skills.

Magh Bihu When: January 14–17, 2012 The Assamese equivalent of Makar Sankranti and Pongal, Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu too is a harvest festival. It marks the end of the rice harvesting season and is especially important in the agrarian communities. For the occasion, a hut-like structure is set up in the shorn rice fields and is set on fire.

Makar Sankranti 2012 When: January 14, 2012 Makar Sankranti marks the end of winter and is also a harvest festival. It is celebrated to commemorate the end of one agrarian cycle. It is observed with a ritual bath in Allahabad, at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna; in Gujarat and Maharashtra it is celebrated by flying colourful kites and with kite competitions.

Pongal Festival

8

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

When : January 14-17, 2012 In South India the end of the harvest is observed as a 4-day festival called Pongal. In the preparations for the festival, people decorate their houses with flowers and ‘Rangoli’. On this day farmers bring newly harvested rice home and feed their cattle a rice dish called ‘Pongal’. It is also celebrated as the New Year for the people of Tamil Nadu.


Bikaner Camel Festival When: January 8-9, 2012 Bikaner Camel Festival is an annual festival dedicated to the ‘Ship of the Desert’. Organised by the Department of Tourism of the Rajasthan Government, the festival opens with a parade of beautifully bedecked camels against the red backdrop of the Junagarh Fort. The celebrations include camel races, camel acrobatics etc.

Republic Day Parade, New Delhi When: January 26, 2012 To mark the importance of the day when India adopted the constitution and became a truly sovereign state, every year a grand parade is held on Rajpath, New Delhi. The Army, Navy and the Air Force participate in the parade, showing their might and valour. The President of India along with other dignitaries are present on the occasion.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2012 When: January 20-24, 2012 The Jaipur Literature Festival is considered one of the leading literature events in the Asia-Pacific region. The Festival hosts national and international writers and includes a wide range of activities such as debates, poetry, discussions and workshops. This literary festival is punctuated by live performances by notable musicians.

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

9


Indian Happenings

In Focus India dyed in Indigo A way to traverse through the different aspects and features of India is via its handloom and handicrafts. To celebrate and explore the majestic world of Indigo, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, New Delhi organised an exhibition cum sale of Indigo prints, ‘Ethereal Indigo – celebrating Indigo naturally’, from December 6-15, 2011. The exhibition showcased an array of designs and patterns on things ranging from sarees to bedspreads, shawls to handicrafts and much more. The intricately fabricated shawls, stoles and scarves created a spellbinding aura of warmth. The different shades of Indigo prints make them assorted forever. Indigo pottery in the exhibit came from Rajasthan and Khurja. While in Rajasthan the blue gazes used on ‘Multani Mitti’ or Fuller’s Earth in Khurja, which is famous for its pottery in Uttar Pradesh, it was done with relief work. These delicate artefacts were procured from the villages of Sanganer, Bagru and Barmer in Rajasthan and Bhuj and the Rann of Kutch in Gujrat. Besides the pottery, ‘Appliqué’ and ‘Ajrak’ works on display were also secured from varied parts of Gujrat. These meticulously fabricated table linens and bedspreads add to the elegance of the chic decor of your home. The ready to wear dresses and sarees with elaborate designs, paterns and in the case of sarees, intricate borders are fine examples of craftsmanship perfected over centuries. From weaves to wear, these captivating and refined dresses, literally imbibed in the ethereal Indian colours, is also imbued in the Indian essence. The name ‘Indigo’ comes from a Roman term ‘Indicum’ which means ‘a product of India’. In this exhibition that aimed to promote the Indigo-based handicraft and handloom products, Central Cottage Industries Emporium, converged the skill and dedication of many Indian craftsmen, from different corners of the country, to showcase the royal colour of India – Indigo.

10

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Happenings

Culinary delight at the International Chef ’s Conclave in New Delhi In a bid to promote Indian Basmati rice in the international markets, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority of India (APEDA) under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India along with All India Rice Exporters Association (AIREA) organised a 2-day culinary extravaganza, ‘Basmati for the World’. In this International Chef ’s Conclave global celebrity culinary masters such as, Chef Lionel Levy, the master French Chef who heads Une Table au Sud and has another popular restaurant La Virgule; David C. Felton, Executive Chef, Ninety Acres; Chef Edgar Navarro an uprising star when it comes to Contemporary Mexican Cuisine, etc., re-invented their own local dishes with Indian Basmati rice for a congregation of international food columnists and international trade. The main objective of the conference was to promote Indian Basmati Rice across the world by integrating Basmati rice into their local recipe. Chefs, buyers & food critics congregated from USA, Mexico, Italy, France, Moscow and other parts of the globe. As a part of Basmati promotion initiative a Basmati Coffee table book, ‘Basmati’, was released during the event carrying detailed information on this unique Indian rice, its essence and how it has been preserved over the centuries to modern days. It also included about 30 recipes created by these chefs from Basmati rice. A ‘Live Basmati Kitchen’ was the major highlight on the first day of the fiesta, where the global chefs created, displayed and served their dishes. Similarly on the second day Indian celebrity chefs, Chef Shilpi Gupta, Executive Sous Chef (Officiating Executive Chef) in The Grand Hotel, VasantKunj, New Delhi; Chef Alfonso Lomonaco an expert in Asian and Thai food; Nita Mehta whose book ‘Flavours of INDIAN COOKING’ won the Best Asian Cookbook Award at the Versailles (Paris) World Cookbook Fair and many more showcased their culinary skills with Basmati. The soiree was attended by the who’s who of the industry, diplomats and concerned government department, etc. “The thought behind this Chef Conclave was to make Basmati available to the local households in the target markets through main stream cuisines such as, Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Thai foods,” said Asit Tripathy, Chairman, APEDA.

12

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Adventure

Meter Down!

Let the Journey Begin... Text : Divya Goyal

Consider journeying across Indian highways amidst the local traffic of Rajasthan, Kerala and the Northeast in an AUTORICKSHAW. Designed for short distances, the participants of the ‘Rickshaw Run’ will use this three-wheeler with seven horsepower at 5,000 rpm to embark upon a long-distance journey across the deserts of Jaisalmer, villages of Kochi and the unpredictable terrain of Shillong, Meghalya.

T

he first ever ‘Richshaw Run’ took place back in 2006, organised by The Adventurists, a UK-based company run by The League of Adventurists International Ltd., who aim to make the world less boring while simultaneously making money for charities. In the inaugural event, 34 teams drove from Kochi, in the South of India, to Darjeeling, in the northern Himalayas and back. This event was an unsupported adventure with no designated route and no back-up of any kind. “There is no support from our side. We do have a team of people, in case of a real emergency, but that is all. Our events are not holiday packages, they are real adventures and though great fun, should not be taken lightly,” warned Matthew Dickens, Event Manager, the Rickshaw Run. “Teams sleep wherever they choose. Some teams bring tents and camp, other teams try their hardest to find a 5-star hotel each night, depending on their preference and of course their budget! Most teams simply stop before it gets dark and before they get too tired - wherever that may be,” he added. With this in mind, the participants are simply required to make it to the finishing line, preferably within the designated two week period and preferably in one piece! India as a whole throws enough challenges at the participants. The roads can sometimes be non-existent, the traffic conditions which they are totally not used to and of course, rickshaws being rickshaws are extremely prone to breaking down. The teams immerse themselves in the local culture as much as possible, so as to get the most out of the trip. Indian hospitality is something that blows away each and every team, every time and makes the trip not only memorable, but also possible for most of the participants. If you are thinking that this is an extravagant race then Dickens informed otherwise, “The event is not a race in the slightest, in fact we here at The Adventurists find races rather

Facing Page: Contestant revering the Indian spirit and culture Top: Participant tearing through a crowded Indian street Above: A group showcasing the Indian spirit in tricolour

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

15


Indian Adventure

Participant enjoying the lush green expanse of the Indian landscape

boring, it is a journey - and a journey of epic and rather jaw-dropping proportions.“ He added, “We have a starting point and a finishing point and the teams are expected to reach the destination within the designated two week period. Of course some teams finish earlier than this and naturally some teams finish later - it all depends on what situations they find themselves in on the road.” Due to the nature of the event, the teams often find themselves way Matthew Dickens, Event Manager, off the normal tourist map and it is the Rickshaw Run. in these moments when they find themselves experiencing the real India. “There is no set route whatsoever. As soon as the teams have left the starting line they are totally on their own until they reach the finish. If we told our participants where to go then how would they find adventure?” said Matthews. Since it is not a race, there are no prizes awarded for coming in first. However, awards are given under several categories, such as, best decoration of the vehicle or the team which raises most for charity. The Adventurists have a fleet of 72 vehicles which take part in three such events annually, with each event raising an incredible amount of ` one crore for charities within India. Teams that sign up for adventures are asked to raise £500 for their adventure’s Official Charity, ‘Frank Water’, founded by Katie Alcott in 2005 and £500 for a charity of their very own choice.

16

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

Each organisation gets a meaningful sum of money to benefit their projects and The Adventurists support projects in the areas where this adventure thunders through. “The journey is about raising awareness for Indian charities and making a whole load of money for worthy causes. Anybody could simply buy a rickshaw and drive around India, though people in today’s world don’t have the time and money to organise these things alone. We supply through the Run, adventures of a lifetime, otherwise people just simply wouldn’t get around such an extravagent experience,” said Dickens. “As a company we do not touch the charity money. The teams create web pages through various fund-raising platforms (such as justgiving.com) and people make donations directly to them,” he further added. The teams themselves generate the money and this is done in a number of ways. Many teams have fund-raisers, “I attended a fund-raiser in London, which had ‘Bollyween’ as its theme. In keeping with the spirit of things, everyone was dressed in an Indian-horror theme. Cash was raised by having a ticket price and by putting on various games and challenges throughout the evening,” said Dickens. “The scope of these fund-raisers is enormous and I’ve heard of the fund raisers which were held on boats, in parks, on the beach and one of the team had a fund-raiser in a cave!” he added. Some teams get corporate sponsorships and many teams make fantastic websites and videos to promote their cause and generate funds from custom made merchandise sales and the like. Some teams also conduct sponsored events. “For example, there was one participant in the Mongol Rally (another of our


Elated team on the finish line

Traversing through the Indian terrain

events) who broke the Guinness world record for driving a fairground dodgem car continuously for 25 hours to get the sponsorship,” informed Dickens. As for the Run itself, the vehicle of the Run can be made peculiar and distinctive by a wee bit of creativity. The Adventurists have a ‘Pimp My Rickshaw’ section on their website where participants can upload their idea of their rickshaw onto the website, decorate it to their heart’s content and then let The Adventurists work on it to present it to the participants, in ‘metal and paint’ - their companion for the journey! There is no age limit to be a part of this exciting and adventurous journey. If you have a hunger for adventure and are over the age of 18 feel free to participate and gather two weeks of fun filled memories and thrilling adventure tales. Participants would also need a valid international driving licence. “Our oldest participant to date was in his mid-70’s, proving that age cannot define your capacity for adventure. All participants should make sure they are prepared for some serious challenges, fun and lifechanging moments,” supplied Dickens. The ‘Rickshaw Run’ currently thunders forth three times a year. Each edition has it’s own ‘Un-Route’, as The Adventurists like to call it and its own distinct flavour. For the ‘Rickshaw Run’ 2012, the Winter Run will start on January 1, 2012 and run from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan to Kochi, Kerala. On April 5, 2012, the teams will start from Kochi and head to Shillong, Meghalaya and on September 8, 2012 the new participants will have to drive from Shillong to Jaisalmer. If not a part of the journey, be a part of the launch party. “At either end we organise a cricket (or sometimes football) match against a local team. In these matches we get together a team made up from our participants and invite a friendly game against some worthy opponents. These events can cause quite a spectacle. Seeing as this is India, we haven’t yet won a single game of cricket! We usually get a local V.I.P to make the award presentation,” shared Matthews. “The point of the event is not simply to get to the other end as quickly as possible, the idea should be to see the country, get yourself involved with the local people and culture and get to know what India is about. Seeing as there is no set route you can also go any way you choose - meaning unlimited experiences,” concluded Matthews. R

Making way towards the end of the journey

At the finish point of each event, the teams have to sign on the arrivals board for the teams. Some of the comments from the ‘Rickshaw Run’ 2011, highlight experiences that can only be found in India. Below is a small selection of ‘tales’ from the last Run. • S tuck in roadblock caused by a mob. Befriended the mob. Mob lifted us over roadblock while cheering us on. We love India!! • S topped by machete-wielding Maoist insurgent group in the dead of night while in the Himalayas. Turned out they were very polite and very interested in the event! • D  ay One Hit Count: One Person (not serious), One Barrier, One Ditch • D  riving into a dark tunnel led to being invited to a huge 2,000 guest funeral. Hospitality was indescribable • B  ihar bandits guided us to a hotel and welded our rickshaw back together. Though they did ask for an awful lot of money in return! • L ost both team members along the way due to illness and visa issues and drove solo 1,500 km • B  roke down over 100 times (followed by profanity). Indian mechanics - where are the good ones?! • H  it no cows…until reaching Jaisalmer, I hope we’re not cursed! We’re sorry, we love you India! • A  ttempted high speed robbery by bandits in Bihar - they gave up when they realised we weren’t going to stop, and when they realised that the 3 white giants in the rickshaw could probably eat them for dinner! • G  ot a puncture and was instantly taken in by a gorgeous family that fed and watered us and fixed our puncture! I will never forget these angels. God bless you all.

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

17


Indian hospitality

An Experience in Kerala

God’s Own Country

India’s latest and most exclusive and idyllic luxury hotel and resort, The Raviz, Kollam, Kerala is nestled along the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. Set up in five acres of land with built-up area of 2,00,000 sq ft,The Raviz is surrounded within the natural beauty of Kollam - an ideal luxury travel destination.

18

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2011


Indian hospitality

T

he Raviz welcomes you to Kerala renowned for its legendary hospitality to experience its service and exquisite facilities, steeped in values arising from a unique history and the vibes of Kerala, in Incredible India. This exclusive resort comprises of 94 luxurious and state-of-theart rooms for guests, which are designed to incorporate the finest comforts of contemporary living. The accommodations include the Tower Rooms, Lake View Rooms, Private Pool Villas, traditional Kerala Villas, a 2-bed houseboat and the ultimate in luxury, the Royal Raviz State Room. Other facilities include a fine dining restaurant, a floating restaurant, a garden restaurant and an international convention centre. A 270-metre old road paved with laterite stones along the lower level of the coast provides an interesting walkway for various activities. A boat jetty to bring the guest through the water-way is in a bay along the walkway providing panoramic view of the lake. A speed boat is also provided for water sports enthusiasts. The highlight of the Heritage and Tower Room Wings, are the viewing towers on both, from where one can get the grand panoramic view of the lake that surrounds the island, the sunrise, sunset and the grandeur of the lake on moonlit Coax out everyday stresses and find harmony at Vedal, the Wellness & Ayurvedic Spa is serenity on the rooftop, providing breathtaking views of Lake Ashtamudi, the Western Ghats and verdant landscape. It is certainly the best location to relax and enjoy the uninterrupted changing moods of the most beautiful spot in god’s own country. Ayurveda, an ancient branch of medical science is believed to have originated in India before 4,000 years. The Sanskrit word ‘Ayurveda’ means the complete knowledge or science for long life. The resort has nine specially designed chambers allotted to Ayurveda & spa and a meditation room. The soothing Ayurvedic massages are known for their curative properties, offering lasting relief from chronic aches and pains, like backache, joint pains, stiff neck, migraine and rheumatic pains. Trained masseurs conduct the massage under the supervision of expert Ayurvedic physicians. Popular Ayurveda Treatments 1. Ayurvedic Rejuvenation package - To recharge your body and refresh your mind. 2. Ayurvedic Body Purification package - To cleanse the body for detoxification. 3. Ayurvedic Slimming package - To reduce fat and regain body shape without strict dieting. Above package offers full gamut of authentic Ayurvedic treatments, such as, Abhyangam, Swedana, Kateevasthi, Shirodhara, etc. In a beautiful setting overlooking the lake, Veda will bring wellness that permeates whole being. Treatments may be modulated and scheduled under strict supervision and advice of a physician.

nights. The Ayurvedic Spa is a heaven on the rooftop providing breathtaking view of the lake Ashtamudi, the Western Ghats and the landscape surrounding the property. It is certainly the best location to relax and enjoy the uninterrupted changing moods of the most acclaimed beautiful spot of ‘Gods own Country.’ The convention centre in the north block can accommodate more than thousand guests for wedding and there are two pre-function areas to accommodate the hosting of parties and high tea. A convention centre to hold about 250 people with sufficient pre-function area is available in the south block. The Roadside entry to the resort presents the most exquisite example of ethnic and authentic timber architecture of Travancore. The ceiling of the porch has the acclaimed ‘Thirukazukol’ (radiating rafters) and a ‘Chandrawamada’, a rare feature that has disappeared from today’s architectural context. The breezeway, which connects the porch and the lobby, is a faithful portrayal of the traditional roofing system of Travancore. A short stroll down the corridor brings the lobby, which is a three storey high spacious reception and gives a breathtaking panoramic view of Lake Ashtamudi. Pass through to the lakeside door and the whole vista opens up beyond the inviting waters of the lake. Guests at The Raviz can discover many points of interests like, Thenmala, the Kuttalam Falls, Mannarsala, Aranmula and other undiscovered corners, which are in the vicinity of the property. The Raviz also boasts of a world class all-encompassing Ayurveda Spa, a destination in itself, focussing on the wellbeing of its guests by offering total rejuvenation and relaxation. Signature spa therapies have been devised to address guests’ increasing desire for simple, effective and authentic spa experiences. Developed in consultation with specialists in traditional Ayurvedic master therapists, each signature therapy consists of a relaxing, hands-on body massage ritual that combines the powerful effects of therapeutic benefits of custom-blended essential oils and herbs. The resort also specialises in grand destination weddings. R

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

19


Indian Writing

Memoirs from Mussoorie

A Poet’s ‘Realization’

As one begins the journey of life, it is a path which most fail to enjoy in the effort of reaching the destination. Here is a poem from Dr. Venu Sanon, about her inner growth and realisation of her destination and embracing the chosen path which began with her dreams and continues through her life in Mussoorie…a very popular hill town in the Himalayas, the beauty of which would turn many writers into poets... Wayward child of earth and fire, Held captive by the mountain old; Seething, squirming to acquire A form most terrible to behold. Searing heat, his father's gift, Raw elements housed in mother's womb; A union of both, sudden and swift, To form a child for mankind's doom. Boiling with a rage primeval, Twisting ,straining to emerge; Monster child fated for survival, Man and cities to submerge. - The Volcano, Realization

20

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Writing

Photos:The scenes and people who inspired Dr.Venu Sanon

I

was a lonely child, growing up in a large colonial bungalow, surrounded by sprawling lawns, gardens and orchards. A national highway bordered the house on two sides and an ancient church of red bricks, called the Lal Girija, with sad and forlorn grounds, was the only other neighbour. The church seemed desolate for most of the week, coming alive with the sound of the church organ and a choir singing hymns in Hindustani, only on Sundays. There was an amazing treasure of books in the study at home. I guess that is where my writings germinated. My childhood was spent happily in the comforting company of books, amidst sprawling lawns and orchards and a profusion of flowers. Sunday afternoons in winter would be spent in the guava orchards, sitting below one of the low guava trees, on a carpet of fallen leaves, with a book in hand. Sometimes, I would doze off with half-read tales from Greek mythology feeding my imagination. Pluto, Prosperina, Narcissus, all would come to life in the magical arena of the mind. I would dream and I guess dreams are the stuff poetry is made of! My father had an incredible association with trees, plants, ferns, hedges – anything green. Our garden was a virtual tropical paradise. Fruit trees flourished in the orchards, the vegetable gardens displayed a profusion of edible wealth, the rose gardens were a riot of colour and the easter-lilies bloomed with an amazing brilliance, spilling all over the edges of the narrow flower beds. As for me, I accepted these gifts of natural wealth very easily. I took them

for granted. They were a part and parcel of my home, my family and my thoughts. However, I must confess that there is a genetic predisposition to my imaginative streak as well. My mother, a practising doctor, had all the time in the world for us. She was an amazing storyteller. Her tales were unique, creations of a fertile imagination, exhibited and related with great artistry. She could spin tales that carried on in a sequence for months on end.The characters would miraculously come to life in her voice and we would listen spell-bound, totally mesmerised by the magic of her words! I guess this was one of the subconscious influences on my writings. My love and compassion for life soon showed me my destined path. I became a doctor and with marriage, shifted to Mussoorie – a small hill-station nestled in the foot-hills of the Himalayas. I was enchanted by the sheer abundance of natural beauty in my new home. Mussoorie was a living poem. Sunlit skies would darken in a matter of moments. Thunder, lightning and rain would arrive in speed and then depart as miraculously to reveal the most glorious of rainbows! A gust of wind would reveal the white undersurfaces of oak leaves and then the green would show again. With trees clothing entire hill-sides, the sight would be mesmerising. In the villages where I would visit as a doctor, women would trot gracefully down the hill slopes, balancing huge stacks of hay on their heads. Beautiful children, faces grimy with dirt, clad in rags to face the biting cold of the hills, would smile back in innocence.

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

21


Indian Writing

The input that I was receiving from my life was too massive to be ignored. I was overwhelmed by the messages of beauty and compassion that were delivered to me every day. I had no choice ��� I had to write. My thoughts needed a form on paper. There was a compelling need to share them with others and

22

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

the need was urgent. I was impatient and my writings flowed in a rush. Incapable of retaining the deluge of inputs being delivered by life, I sought an outlet in words which soon took the form of a self-published book ‘Realization’. I identified myself with the elements, “Once I was the forest, where trees like sentinels stood;”……(Poem titled “I” in the book ‘Realization’); I became the sea, ”.. with waters blue and deep”… ; I questioned the wind, reflected on the silence of the mountains and desperately searched for the astounding logic behind all creation. I realised that nature was all about give and take. We were morally bound to give back to nature, we were supposed to share our blessings with the less fortunate and that only in doing so did we attain the real purpose of life. stood;”……(Poem titled “I” in the book ‘Realization’); I became the sea, ”…with waters blue and deep”… ; I questioned the wind, reflected on the silence of the mountains and desperately searched for the astounding logic behind all creation. I realised that nature was all about give and take. We were morally bound to give back to nature, we were supposed to share our blessings with the less fortunate and that only in doing so did we attain the real purpose of life. It was at this point of time that my husband and I founded the ‘Divine Light Trust’ – a small trust built with love and hope and with the aim of giving back to society. The primary aim of this trust is to afford super-speciality medical treatment to the poorest of the poor. After all, they had as much a right to benefit from the advances of technology as we had. The trust also furthers the cause of education by serving financial aid to mediocre students from underprivileged sections of the society, so that they may become financially independent after obtaining technical education from institutes of technical education. This was my realisation. My inner self surfaced in the form of the written word and ‘Realization’ was born. At its very inception, 50 per cent of the sale proceeds were pledged to charity. The book ‘Realization’ is all about an inner journey in 10 chapters. Each chapter has a theme with befitting poems under its title. ‘Nature’ is the first on the list and it is but natural that the amazing beauty and the incredible logic present in nature be followed by an upsurge of emotions. Poems on ‘Emotions’ follow, with the next chapter on the ‘Mind and Dreams’. I question the purpose of dreams and speculate on the yet unknown powers of the mind. ‘Positive Thinking’ and ‘Refinement’ follow logically in sequence. Fascinated by ‘The Spirit of Time’, I question whether keeping track of time binds man in shackles. Powerless to stop the passage of time, he can only avail of his given time by giving and sharing love and happiness. ’Intuition’, ‘Introspection’, ‘Prayer’ and ‘Silence’ are subsequent chapters - each reflecting my inner journey to search for answers; answers to questions of the spirit. Such is the saga of ‘Realization’ - born in beauty, bred with compassion and coming across with a simple message to share and give. It is the story of a journey through life written in traditional verse. In conclusion, may I state: “ Poets are like you and me, An ordinary class of men; They just have a way with words...”


Delhi

the monument of time Photographs : Simran Kaur

Humayun’s Tomb reflecting Delhi’s marvel


As we enter the new year, lets peep into the past of the nation’s pride and capital city – New Delhi. Having celebrated its 100 years of being the Capital in December 2011, Delhi, has kept its roots intact and is now stepping into the future. In the following pages, we have put together the timeless memories of the city which show that Delhi has aged gracefully with the help of technology and its evergreen ‘Dilliwallahs’...


Busy and colourful street of Kinari Bazar (Market), Chandni Chowk

Itar (perfume) vendor at Dariba Kala, Chandni Chowk

Faith holds strong in one of Delhi’s oldest mosques

Delhi’s pride Qutab Minar - started by Qutb-ud-din Aibak and completed by Iltutmish


The recently built Akshardham Temple dedicated to Lord Swaminarayan claims to be the country’s largest temple. Enjoy a boat ride and light & sound show here

Delhi pulsating towards progress - Delhi Metro began in 2002

A moment of pride for Delhi - Commonwealth Games 2010, opening night


Select Citywalk Saket is replete with shopping and entertainment options

A typical evening scene on the bustling ITO road

Delhi’s luck, Connaught Place, built by Lutyens in the shape of a horse-shoe

Adjacent to Delhi’s Outer Ring Road is the Millennium Park which houses the Shanti Stupa


India Gate in its morning glory - a war memorial etched with the names of the 70,000 Indian soldiers who fought for the British Army in World War I

Qwwali at Nizamuddin Dargah

Oldest market of Delhi, Sadar Bazaar - the best place to buy your spices and dry fruits in Delhi

Cathedral Church of Redemption at Baba Kharak Singh Marg


Pious crowd gathers at the courtyard of Jama Masjid to offer Namaz (prayers)

Savoury offerings of Old Delhi – Gol Gappas

Chanakyapuri – Embassy Road

Phirni (Rice Pudding)

Select Citywalk, Saket


Old and new come together at the Agrasen ki Baoli - a stepwell on Hailey Road near Connaught Place.

Bahai place of worship popularly known as the Lotus Temple

Alluring street market at Connaught Place

Father and son take a holy dip in the pond of Bangla Sahib Gurudwara

Another proud moment of Delhi-NCR as Formula 1 formally came to India in 2011


Nagaland’s Pride

The Hornbill Festival Text & Images: Shahwar Hussain

32

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Culture

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

33


Indian Culture

N

agaland has always been touted as the ‘Land of Festivals’...and now they have a brand new catch phrase - ‘Festival of Festivals’ as the state machinery referred to the annual Hornbill Festival held from December. 1-7. The Hornbill Festival, held at the Kisama Heritage Village, certainly is a fest for the eyes – a riot of colours and costumes. Nagaland has an amazingly colourful culture and unique tradition...and this, coupled with a sense of the exotic and mysterious, draws in the crowd by the hordes especially during the Hornbill Festival. What had initially started as a five day event 11 years back, has now graduated into a seven day event....and by the look of it this year, it has all the potential to grow into an even bigger event.

34

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

Not for nothing is Nagaland called ‘The Land of Festivals’. There are 16 major tribes and numerous sub tribes in the state and every month one tribe or the other celebrates its festival. The Hornbill Festival brings all the tribes of the state under one umbrella to showcase their rich culture and tradition. Ofcourse the rituals are not as elaborate or as spontaneous as those held in the villages, particularly in special times of the year when the whole village participates in rituals. The Hornbill Festival lets you see the festivals and customs of the different tribes through a very wide window indeed. Don’t get me wrong when I say that the rituals are not spontaneous. They are performed with a great deal of zest and pride. As Mr Yitachu, Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism explained, “A particular village that performs at the Festival might get its next chance after about 40 or 50 years and some


Indian Culture

Facing page Above:Yimchunger men performing their war dance Top Right: Cultural group from Zelianrong await their turn to perform Middle: Santam girls present their dance Bottom Right: An immaculate WWII Jeep at the war memorial rally

even longer. Each tribe is represented by a particular village each year and since the bigger tribes, like the ‘Ao” and ‘Angami’, have many villages, it would take a very long time indeed for a particular village to perform again at Kisama.” Many of the present day performers would not live to get the privilege to perform again at the festival and thus the pride. The primary focus of the Hornbill Festival is to bring all the tribes of Nagaland on one platform and create a sense of unity among the different tribes and also to resurrect some of the culture and tradition that is dying a slow death. Although

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

35


Indian Culture

overwhelming dances and rituals were based on agriculture and fertility, the warrior tribes like the Konyak, Chang, Yimchunger, Sema and a few others displayed some amazing war dances and head hunting rituals that were practiced in the days of yore... complete with log drum beating, mock fighting and torching of other villages. The second day of the festival was meant for performers from the rest of the Northeastern states and what a fantastic show they put up throughout the day. But if you think that the Hornbill Festival is only about dances... you are mistaken. There were ethnic Naga cuisine, exquisite handicraft and handloom, kids carnival, night bazaars, music – both traditional and contemporary, a superb show of fusion music compromising musicians from all the states of the Northeastern region, literary fest, fashion shows, beauty contest and fun events like climbing a greased bamboo pole and Naga King Chilli eating contests which saw a whole lot of contestants crying “FIRE”!! Stalls with Naga cuisine drew large crowds. The lifting of the Protected Area Permits for foreigners resulted in a huge number of western tourists flocking to the Heritage Village and making a beeline to the ethnic food stall. Never mind the fire chilly, they had the sweet rice beer to wash it down! Music is an integral part of Naga culture and the Rock Contest held as part of the festival was a huge draw. The contest, held by the Music Task Force set up by the Government to promote music in the state, is one of the biggest of its kind in the country. I am sure the bands didn’t mind the freezing cold

36

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


temperature as they performed under the open skies for the top prize of ` 5 lakhs! The other big draw was the Peace Rally to commemorate the battle of Kohima. The WWII Jeeps and their crew in period costumes drew in a lot of spectators. The Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio led the rally in one of the jeeps. I guess his security guards must have had the jitters because the participants including the all-women team, were carrying period guns and one could hardly make out the difference between the real and a fake one! Seven days were over in a flash and the finale was a grand affair with each tribe lighting a bonfire. As the sun dipped over the hills at Kisama, the bonfires lit up the arena and the skies were filled with the war cries of the tribes as they all danced around the fire. “Till next year� they said and by the look of it, it certainly is going to be a tourist magnet... R

Facing page Top: Muscians from all the Northeastern states presenting an amazing show of fusion music Facing page Bottom:Wooden sculpture at the festival Top:Traditional handlooms for sale Middle: Ethnic Naga food being laid out in a bamboo for the visitors Bottom: Sangtam girls performing

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

37


Indian Art

An Artist’s Journey

‘himala’

Text: divya Goyal

38

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Art

In 1815, A British diplomat and linguist who was also a very famous travel writer and artist, James Baillie Fraser, along with his brother,William embarked upon a journey to a part of India, which was then new to the Europeans.

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

39


C

ommissioned by the East India Company, the duo wandered into the unchartered territory of the Gurkhas, in the Northern Nahan region (in Punjab hills) to find the source of the river, Ganga and the beginning of Himala (now known as Himalaya). And in doing so, Fraser became the first European to discover the source of the Ganga. Five years post the path breaking voyage, in 1820, twenty aquatints of Fraser’s water colours were published in a folio edition, along with the journal of over 500 pages, entitled ‘Views in the Himala Mountains’. This thought-provoking journal provided meticulous details on an array of subjects ranging from history to agriculture, flora & fauna to geology & ethnology and commerce, manufactures and mineralogy, etc. The paintings of Fraser delve deep in the topography of India, revealing the socio-political milieu of the times. His search commissioned by the Company became the underlying theme of all his paintings; each expanding and never ending, pointing towards a stream or another peak with another peak just slightly visible behind it, covered by a misty cloud… Previous page spread: Assemblage of Hillmen Above: Snowy range of Nagkanda staging Bungalow Left: Gungotree - the holy shrine of Mahadeo

40

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Art However what remains till date as its most remarkable feature is the ‘Views in the Himala Mountains’.While traversing in this unchartered area of North India, Fraser captured the most enthralling picturesque aspects of the Himalayas. The lush green serenity and the never-ending snow covered mountains are just a few of the memorable things in those memoirs. Each painting depicts the nature in its complete bounteous and beauteous form. The expansive greenery and the robust water bodies in the paintings are a site that is not the same anymore. Years of exploitation of the natural resources have dimmed the beauty of that wondrous part of India. Although the Himalayas even today are pristine in their own rights, the Himalayas that Fraser explored were even more immaculate… Apart from the natural landscape of the Himalayas, Fraser captured in his art the political turmoil and the village life in northern India. Many of his paintings depict landmarks such as Gangotri, Castle of Bumpta, Seran Raja’s palace, almost as if Fraser was drawing a map to reach the point of origin of the Ganga. And in doing so he captured the effervescence of the locals and their towns such as in the town of Rampore. Going forward, he recorded a moment of his journey in his painting ‘Crossing the Touse’, where after reaching Rampur, capital of Bhushur on the River Sutlej, William was called for his military duties. After a perilous crossing of the Tonse River, the brothers parted company. And now, Meera Akoi and Parag Books have joined hands to acquaint us with the lost glory of the Himalayas. With the help of modern technological devices in addition to traditional modes, such as handicraft etc. they have reproduced the original format with the same quality of craftsmanship as the original. The folio also contains additional text by Robert Hutchison, an acclaimed authority on the region, which makes it an enduring work of art in its own right. The folio also consists of a foreword from the celebrated author and historian William Dalrymple. The limited Parag Books edition is the first large scale reproduction of the finest series of acquaint engravings of the Himalayan views ever produced, showing the Himalayas in all their grandeur. 192 years ago, in his search for the point of origin of the ‘Himala’, Fraser witnessed and captured not just the scenic beauty of the region, but also the spirit of the Himalayas – unending, strong and immemorial. It was through his marvelous illustrations that the Europeans got their first glimpse of the majestic Himalayan mountain range. This exceptional folio soon became a prized collector’s item. Today, Fraser’s original lithographs sell in auctions for thousands of pounds and the complete volumes rarely appear on sale. R

Top: Village and Castle of Bumpta Middle: Crossing the Touse Bottom:The town of Rampore

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

41


Indian Heritage

Exploring Neolithic

India Text and images: Sanjeev bhar

The destination of Bhimbetka on the outskirts of Bhopal gives a complete picture of Neolithic man through cave paintings and rock shelters.The UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely a fascinating experience to find oneself in the past.


Indian Heritage

H

aving no plans can be a blessing in disguise. With my business trip getting over quickly and no concrete plans in hand, I had another day to spare in Bhopal, capital city of Madhya Pradesh – the state now having a repute to be known in Hindi as ‘Hindustan ka Dil’, meaning ‘Heart of India’. But, someone suggested to make a quick hop to Bhimbetka, which is some 46 km from the city and takes one back many ages. The very thought of going back in time was enticing enough and I made a quick decision to head that way. The best way to reach the spot is a cab. It was a journey unlike any other; stepping back in time. The cab started on National Highway (NH) 12 from Bhopal and after crossing the city limits, took on NH 69 for my destination Bhimbetka. Within a 15-20 minute drive, I passed some small names like Mandideep, Nayapur, Nooganj, Bisankheda and Obedullaganj. This highway connects to a popular hill station of Panchmarhi, Hoshangabad and finally reaches the ‘Orange City’ of India - Nagpur. I arrived at my destination in less than an hour. A small cut on the right of the road displays a plaque with Bhimbetka etched on it, with a sign that says ‘Pre-historic Rock Shelter & Paintings - a UNESCO World Heritage Site Monument.’ A sense of the unknown was rushing through. For a moment, I was pondering over the word ‘monument’ i.e., whether it is an apt reference for those rock shelters. But my confusion had answers in my destination. Maintained by the Archaeological

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

43


Indian Heritage

Survey of India (ASI), this site has vivid, panoramic detail paintings in over 500 caves depicting the life of the prehistoric, cave-dwellers, making the place an archaeological treasure. I felt like a treasure hunter after seeing the first group of paintings of elephants near the entrance cave. The patterns on the rocks of the cave had distinct shapes showcasing the artistic outlook of nature created over ages. As I moved from one cave to another, there were splendours waiting for me to explore. The cave paintings The paintings were executed with a high degree of deftness in colours of white and red. In some cases, it was easily recognisable that a patch of green and/or yellow was there but time has faded the warmth of those colours. The paintings were theme based, individual episodes, progressive in nature i.e. visible through the way human figures were clothed. I could see warriors on horses, hunters, dancers, elephant riders, depiction

44

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

Above and Previous page top: Exquisite cave paintings discovered in Bhimbetka Previous page Bottom: Entrance to the cave in Bhimbetka


Indian Heritage

Cave paintings validating the existence of man dating back to 1,00,000 B.P.

of honey collection, household scenes, decoration of bodies and so on. Further, animals played a much important role in the life of the Neolithic man which was shown through paintings of bisons, tigers, lions, wild boar, antelopes, dogs, lizards, crocodiles, hens, etc. The religious sentiments were depicted through designs and decorations that told a lot about the strong society or community oriented ethics and lifestyle. Depiction of dayto-day life and situations can be seen clearly etched on the walls of numerous caves. In some places they are done very subtly, so that only a trained eye can catch them. However in one of the caves, it was right above me on the ceiling. According to a research there are seven different periods, which can be divided based on the evidence: Period I – upper Paleolithic, Period II – Mesolithic, Period III – Chalcolithic, Period IV &V – Early Historic and Period VI & VII – Medieval. Each depicts a different set of characteristics as far as representations are concerned like, sizes, colours, agricultural activities, community requirements, etc. It was interesting to note that the colours used by the cave dwellers were prepared combining manganese, haematite, soft red stone and wooden coal.To an extent of being precise, they also used animal fat and extract of leaves. The colours of the paintings have remained intact for centuries due to the chemical reaction resulting from the oxide present on the surface of the rocks.

Rock shelters While these paintings are one way to look forward to making this place one of the most sought after tourist, the cave shelters are amazing too. The rocky patterns demand attention. The region is surrounded by the northern part of the Vindhyan Range. Bhimbetka gives a feeling of being secluded from the entire landscape with rocky terrain, dense forest and craggy cliffs. These 600 rock shelters belonging to the Neolithic Age were discovered in 1957-58 by Dr. Vishnu Shridhar Wakankar. Out of the 750 rock shelters, only 500 have paintings from linear depiction of human figures, warfare, dancing to dayto-day activities of the ancient man. An ASI note states that the cupmarks made on the rock surface at Bhimbetka has been dated back to 1,00,000 B.P. This pushes back the date of the cognitive development of man at Bhimbetka to many thousands of years earlier than that of similar sites in various parts of the world; making it one of the earliest cradles of cognitive human evolution. Anyone heading to this part of the country should not make the mistake of missing it. It is certainly a worthwhile expedition for history lovers and seekers of the human past through the creative bylanes that were painted ‘ages’ back. R

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

45


Indian Luxury

Cidade de Goa

Experience the Difference Just 10 minutes from the capital city of Panjim, a leafy winding path carries you to a resort that appears like a breath of fresh air. A sprawling 40-acre haven nestled along a tranquil beach, Cidade de Goa brings to mind a quaint Portuguese village with its intimate alcoves, overhanging balcaos and vibrant murals reminiscent of a bygone era – an architectural style that earned international acclaim for its creator, Charles Correa.

46

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Luxury

W

ithin this unique kaleidoscope of Mediterranean indulgence and Indian exuberance one can discover a world of welcoming hospitality. Impeccably furnished rooms and suites with every possible amenity, including great sea views. The Goan ‘susegad” spirit and passion for life infuses everything, from the cuisine choices and beach activities to the entertainment and more. Food, mood, sun, fun… for everyone Connoisseurs of the culinary arts will delight in Cidade’s array of restaurants. Signature haute-cuisine specialities, inventive interpretations of local favourites, the choicest wines and spirits, beachside grills, chilled-out bars and enchanting theme nights all add to the gourmet experience. The fun shines brighter too at Cidade with a range of watersports, beach games, indoor activities and kids’ facilities. You can even feel the adrenalin rush of Las Vegas with the latest in gaming entertainment at Goldfinger, the 24 hour casino. Rest easy or even work hard When you’re ready for some much-deserved pampering, surrender yourself to Pavitra – Ayurveda Spa. Here, expert practitioners combine centuries-old treatments with modern healing methods to soothe your mind, body and soul. Want something more invigorating and rejuvenating? Try the array of Swedish body massages that Clube Saúde is renowned for. And if you need to get down to business, count on Cidade to make it a pleasure. A well equipped business centre, banqueting halls and the latest conferencing equipment enable you to conduct anything from a small meeting to a large convention. You’ll find there’s so much more to help you unwind, get active or just chill. Come, experience the best that Goa has to offer at the Cidade. R

Cidade de Goa Vainguinim Beach, Goa 403 004. Tel: 91 832 245 4545 Email: cidadedegoa@cidadedegoa.com Website: www.cidadedegoa.com

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

47


Indian Palate

Food Festival 2011

A ‘Taste’ of Delhi Text: Ipshita Sengupta nag

‘Paranthe wali Gali’ is as important a landmark of Delhi as the India Gate and the sweets from Ghantewala, Chandni chowk is as much a treat for the senses as watching Raisina Hills light up for a festival. Delhi’s culinary culture reflects the atypical food habits of the various ethnic groups who have made the city their home over the centuries. So there is ‘Chaat’ to enjoy for every plate of ‘Biryani’ and a ‘Kulfi ’ to enjoy for every ‘Kebab’.This culinary diversity of Delhi was brought together within a kilometre for the ‘Delhi ke Pakwan’ Festival in celebration of the city being a capital for 100 years. 48

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Palate

O

rganised by Delhi Tourism, at the State Emporia Complex of Baba Kharak Singh Marg, ‘Delhi ke Pakwan’ Festival was a celebration of the city’s unique palate. The crux of the festival were the delectable delights sold in the labyrinthine lanes of ‘Purani Dilli’ or Old Delhi and the famous street food of this city. “Street food is the very soul of the culture of Delhi and no celebration can be complete without the quintessential chaat, kulfi, biryani and kebabs sold in the maze of old Delhi. To venerate this inseparable aspect of the capital, the tourism department has brought the culinary delights of the age-old shops of ‘Purani Dilli’ out into the open for everyone to enjoy,” said Manish Chatrath, Chairman of Delhi Tourism.

Facing page Top: Crowded venue of ‘Delhi ke pakwan’ festival Top: Food stall with mouth-watering food snacks Middle: A cook at his best from the ‘Paranthe wali Gali’ Bottom: Flavoured milk being served while maintaining the standards of hygiene

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

49


Indian Palate

50

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Palate

Inaugurated by Sheila Dikshit, Chief Minister of Delhi, the ‘Delhi ke Pakwan’ Festival was enclosed within an 1,100 ft long wall decorated with paintings by several artists, who have made Delhi their home over the years. The wall symbolised the mood and culture that is unique to Delhi. Each painting had a story to tell, be it that of the Yamuna, which read, “There is a river. A river in you, in me. Let it flow” or that of Mirza Ghalib quoting his eternal couplet “Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi, ki har Khwahish pe Dam Nikle,” which means “there are thousands of desires, such that you could give your life for each.” The stalls were uniquely designed with thatched roofs and this added to the special ambience. The food counters could be accessed through any one of the seven gates that had been constructed to symbolise the seven gates of Delhi; each of them (the original gates) was built by a different dynastic ruler, who made Delhi his capital. A visitor to Delhi may never reach the famous food streets that lie in the crowded areas in the very heart of Delhi, not marked but known by all the ‘Dilli wallas’. This Festival was an opportunity to taste the famous delights without having to hunt them down. The entire map of Delhi had been compressed and streets and places such as, Paranthe wali Gali, Sarojini Nagar and Lotus Temple had been transported to Baba Kharak Singh Marg to celebrate the different avatars of Delhi for the nine days of the festival. The enthusiastic visitors gorged on Raj Kachori, Gol Gappe, Chaat Papri, Dahi Bhalla, Aloo Tikki, Kebabs, stuffed Parathas, Chholey Bhature and other mouth-watering delights downed

Facing page Top: Shopping stall at the Food Festival Facing page Bottom:Visitors relishing Fruit Chaat and ‘Aloo Chaat’ Top: Curious visitors peek into the traditional bio-scope Above: ‘Chaat Bazaar’ in full swing

with a cup of steaming hot Chai or Expresso Coffee, the old Indian name for a Cappuccino. Those who wanted to take a break from foodstall-hopping could pick up colourful handicrafts from the various outlets put up at the venue. This was a feast for the eyes of a different kind and reflected the colourful diversity that is India. Another unique feature of the festival was the 100 chairs of different sizes, shapes and colours that were lined up near India Gate, one of the entrances of the festival - an obeisance to Delhi’s sovereignty as the seat of power for a century now and the Delhi of many many years before that…R

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

51


Indian Sport

Go Fishing!

An angler’s paradise

The best time to go sport fishing is from October to November and mid-February to mid-May when the rivers and the streams are replete with all varieties of fish.The Holy Grail for die hard fishers in India is the mighty Mahseer. A fish which fights you, makes you sweat and if you win, you bow your head in pride to the indomitable spirit of the great Mahseer.The majestic Mahseer is to fishing what the tiger or elephant hunt was to big game hunting. 52

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012


Indian Sport

I

ndia has a coastline of more than 3,000 km and an estimated 55,000 km of lakes, streams, rivers, tributaries and reservoirs. With this huge amount of water resources at its disposal, it is an ideal destination for angling, sport fishing and fishing. Fishing has come up in a big way due to a sustained effort put in by the Department of Fisheries of various states. Avid anglers in the western countries have started realising the kind of potential India has in the field of fishing and adventure sports. The day is not far when some of the biggest catches would be attributed to the Indian rivers. The biggest advantage in India is that all the major rivers are sited in easily reachable places and near major cities. Some major rivers and its tributaries where fishing can be enjoyed are Mahanadi, Yamuna, Kaveri, Ganga, Brahmaputra, Sutlej and Teesta. A wide variety of fishes like Golden Mahseer, Silver Mahseer, Silver Gray Mahseer, Black Mahseer, Trout, Rohu, Katli, Brown Trout are found in these rivers. The coastal waters also have some amazing variety of fishes like, Sea Bass, Mackerel, Marlin, etc.

Keeping in mind the potential of fishing in promoting tourism and adventure sports, the fishing departments of different states have started hatcheries and fish sanctuaries. These steps have been taken to maintain the stock of fishes in the major rivers of India. Kudos to the Fishing Departments of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. The biggest myth is that the best fishes are found in the remotest streams or rivers. What you need to know is that every fish has different traits and breeding seasons. An experienced hand will keep all the characteristics of a fish in mind and then look for the best spot to lay his line. It is not easy to foretell in which stream you are going to get a good catch, even pros can struggle to find a suitable spot. The best thing to do is to try out different streams and then use your experience to find a suitable spot for oneself. We would strongly recommend everybody to take some assistance of experienced fishing guides.

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

53


Indian Sport

Good places for sport fishing • Himachal Pradesh: Streams feeding the Beas River in the Kullu Manali region are well known for Brown Trout. The cold mountain streams are well suited for trout, and are home to some of the biggest varieties of trout. The best beats are at Larji valley, situated on the confluence of the river Larji and Tirthan. Sainj, which is also a trout stream, flows on the other side. • Uttar Pradesh: Dodital Lake, nestled among the snowclad peaks in the Uttarkashi Himalayas is a fresh water lake and a tempting trout pool, where you can get a good catch, during all seasons. The forest rest house at Dodital and Barkot are ideal for the night stay. Other options for fishing Mahseer in Uttar Pradesh are in the Ramganga and the Sharda rivers in the range of Jim Corbett National Park. You can also go to Rishikesh that offers good fishing sites. • South India: Cauvery Fishing Lodge near Mysore is a great place to catch Mahseer. In Kerala streams around the hill stations of Munnar are ideal for fishing. • Kashmir: Major points of angling in the state are the Indus and Lidder rivers, their tributaries and a network of smaller rivers and streams. There is an ‘ideal’ fishing permit that allows you to fish exclusively, in a beat of 2 km. If you are more adventurous, you can fish in one of many high altitude lakes (14,000 ft above sea level), which can be reached by trekking. One trek, in particular, starts from Sonmarg and goes on to Vishansar, Kishansar, Satsar, Gadsar and Gangabal all alpine lakes.

Fishing Seasons Fishing in India is possible throughout the year. This is because of the different climatic conditions in the different regions of India. The best time for fishing tour in Himalayas is from October to November and from April to June. The best season to go fishing in South India is from April to September. It is important to know about the breeding seasons of different varieties of fishes because fishing is not allowed during the breeding season. You should also be aware of the climatic conditions prevalent in the area, like the Himalayas will be very cold from December till March.

54

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

Permits It is advisable to contact the tourism and fisheries department of the state in which you intend to go fishing. If you are from another country, it is important to know about certain restricted areas where foreigners are not allowed without special permits. These permits can be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India, Foreign Residents Registration Offices and Indian Embassies in your country. Fishing licenses are not issued during the breeding season. Overnight stay facilities You have the option of either camping in the wilderness or opt for city stay. Most of the good fishing beats are not located far from major towns. It is not difficult to find suitable lodging of your choice. To promote fishing safaris, state governments have started operating forest lodges which can be rented on a room basis or the complete lodge can also be rented. There are a number of privately-operated camps which can be found near some excellent beats. R


indian Wellness

With the Indian corporate world opening up to new experiences in terms of meetings and conventions, MICEtalk gets talking on the finest ideas in business travel. Innovative, magnificent, spectacular are some of the superlatives that these exploits attract. Intended as a guide for business travellers, MICEtalk is a testimony to how prominent a place India is coming to occupy on the MICE map.

Business Travel gets a Makeover...

Each month, 32,000 copies of MICE go out to corporates, international trade associations and the travel industry in general. For Advertising Contact: Joel at: +91 9650196531 (Delhi), Harshal at: +91 9619499167 (Mumbai)


Indian Tradition

Carving

Life on Leaves Text: sanjeev bhar

Raghurajpur in Odisha is not only a heritage village par excellence that is known for its famous ‘Pattachitra’ (Leaf painting) but also shows how nature and an eco-friendly approach are still very much part of India’s art tradition that is being passed on from one generation to another in a seamless manner.

T

here are certain creations in life that are best appreciated and given apt denomination when they are made in front of you. Pattachitra is probably one of those myriad mystical art forms that lie hidden in India’s heartland. It is referred to as paintings that are etched on Patta or a dried palm leaf (also Tamra patra in Sanskrit). The history of this art form goes back to 5th Century BC. Raghurajpur is one of the most popular places in the state of Odisha (erstwhile Orissa) that is known to have nurtured this craft. It takes a 40 minute drive i.e. a distance of 14 km from the temple town of Puri to reach this fascinating village in the Puri district on the southern banks of River Bhargabi. It is a noted heritage crafts village, where the community has been formed by skilled artisans. The village is also quite popular because it is the birth place of Late Padma Vibhushan Guru Kelucharan Mahapatra, a doyen of the Indian classical dance form – Odissi. The State Institute for Development of Arts & Crafts, Bhubaneshwar promotes this village to create knowledge about the craft as well as to ensure that this art form survives.

Maga Nayak using his carving tool to create an image on Patta (inset)

56

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

Tussar Silk paintings with images of Indian Gods & Goddesses with a bunch of ‘painted betel nut hang piece’ resting on it

Endearing Images The pictures that come to life through Pattachitra go through a long process. It is an attractive journey for a traveller to witness it at the village itself. A number of small rectangular frames are carved and painted with colours and later joined together piece-by-piece to eventually bring a story to life. The process is extensive and involves a lot of patience and most importantly, a calm mind.The palm leaves are carefully chosen and are soaked in a solution of Neem paste and Turmeric. These leaves are then dried in sunlight for about 8-10 days. These are then cut into equal pieces, which are usually long rectangular strips. For painting, only mineral and earth colours are used. The colours and binding agents that are used in the process are derived from nature. Some examples of basic colours from nature based on pigments are - Red Ochre and Cinnabar (red), Lamp black (black), conch shell (white) and Orpiment (yellow). Once the painting is done, the palm leaf strips are joined with a metallic wire or thread to create a complete canvas. But the process of applying colours comes much later. An artist takes each of these strips and neatly engraves his imagination with a fine carving tool. It is quite interesting to see how an


Indian Tradition experienced artist like, Maga Nayak, master craftsman who runs Krishna Arts & Crafts in Nayak Patna near Raghurajpur, could just go about his thought and etches it directly on the Patta strip without even making a rough sketch. He directly applies his carving tool on to the Patta strip to carve a scene. At first, as he carves it, the picture doesn’t make sense. A paste of soot and oil is then rubbed on the leaf. It is allowed to settle for a minute as the black soot gets deposited on the finely engraved lines.The paste is simply wiped off with a cotton cloth and what remains on the leaf is ‘magic’. The engraved painting, which was not so apparent to the naked eye, gets a black filled line giving it a shape and dimension that is fascinating. His imagination suddenly comes alive on the leaf. Once all the Patta strips are drawn on in this fashion and mellowed yellow, the canvas showcases a complete painting in black. It can then be added with different earthy colours or can be left as it is. In this fashion, Nayak says, it can take a month or more to complete a painting where different Patta strips need to articulately designed and correlated so that the painting appears perfect when small individual pieces are joined together. In Pattachitra, stories about princes & princesses, kings & queens, various gods and mythological scenes are engraved conventionally, which are complimented through ornamentation of flowers, trees and animals, which are then painted to give a complete image. Everything is so delicately carried out that the final image really commands attention. “This art form is greatly appreciated in Raghurajpur, and all homes follow this tradition,” Nayak adds. As he shares the techniques of this craft, young children by his side practice this traditional form as they practice engraving the leaves to fine tune their creative skills. Stretching the Dimension A lot of change is taking place in this art form and creativity is being used towards newer horizons. Noted artist GK Maharana

Above: Depiction of a mythological story as Pattachitra Below: Painting of Goddess Durga on Tussar Silk

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

57


of Sun Crafts in Puri who is known for his Pattachitra styled sarees says, “This craft has become extremely popular and we get international orders for sarees that take more than six months to make offering a distinct look based on this art form.” Apart from Pattachitra, paintings on Tussar Silk are another attraction that is equally worked upon by the Pattachitra artists in Raghurajpur and otherwise. The paintings on silk usually showcase tribal and village lifestyle. There are some that simply use black ink and portray multi-dimension shapes for designs that look very attractive. According to Nayak, the tribal paintings and mythology are usually the common themes chosen for Pattachitra.There is a definitive style of this art form and artists bring in their creative inputs within that to give it a new direction. This way the art form is changing yet keeping the age old essence intact.” Apart from such paintings, palm leaf engravings, paper masks, paintings on coconut and betel nut (Supari) also attracts travellers allowing them to peep into the world of the Pattachitra that is surviving with support from the Government. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India recognise and thereby offer an intense art experience to discerning tourists by taking artists from this village to many cities to showcase their talent. Adorned Village Though the art form of Pattachitra and Tussar painting are in great demand all across the world and are being exported by India, a visit to this secluded geography is a different experience altogether. Raghurajpur in this respect has really evolved as a craft village in every sense. It becomes apparent the moment one steps down and enters this locality. A big billboard

58

AN INDIAN JOURNEY

January 2012

Tussar Silk Painting

Reaching Raghurajpur The craft village of Raghurajpur can be reached from Bhubaneshwar (nearest airport) which is 50 km away. It is just 14 km from Puri and can be accessed through taxi and coach services available easily. Lying on the coastal belt, it is advisable to avoid visiting the crafts village during Monsoons. September-April is the best time to visit the village when the temperature falls down to a comfortable level averaging 26°C. welcomes all and the houses elegantly decorated with these paintings showcase the talent that this village possesses. It is said that every single house in this village promotes this craft and is taking the heritage forward. The village houses display the craft and entering these small homes gives a wider perspective on how the artists make incredible things using such basic materials. Their painting style carved on wood, wooden dolls, even cowdung and papier mache (chewed paper) toys, etc. brings a new dimension to this handicraft. This unique traditional craft of Odisha comes to life in this village and has been preserved for long. It is heartwarming to see that kids are also deft at this craft and join their parents in learning the tradition. This age old art form has not lost its sheen in the commercial dynamics of export opportunities it commands. Changes are being brought in to ensure that paintings last long keeping the spirit of this craft at a high. This village, in that term, undoubtedly ensures that the tradition remains alive as a craft, enjoyed by kinsman and tourists alike. R


RNI No.:DELENG/2008/26217


An Indian Journey