Saturday, February 28, 2009

How Well Do You Know India?

Many wonder about the origin of word ‘India’. The answer lies with the river Indus that gave origin to the word ‘India’. Aryan population used to call river Indus as Sindhu. When the Persian people came they termed it Hindu and thus Hindustan came into existence by combining sindhu and Hindu.

India has several ‘firsts’ in her name. Harappan culture was established in Indus valley civilization some 5000 years ago whereas during the same period many other cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers. India gave birth to four religions Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. More than 25% population of the world follows these religions. Will you be surprised to know that largest English speaking nation in world is none other than India? India is a great hub of scientists and engineers. Officially India has second largest pool of such precious human resources.

India has made tremendous gains in technology department. In fact, apart from USA and Japan, India is the only country to have made super computer indigenously. That does not come as a surprise knowing that the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC. India is also a popular destination for health tours because of the quality of doctors and low cost. Going by the history books, approximately 2600 years ago, Sushruta (father of surgery) had performed complicated surgeries like brain surgery, fractures, cesareans and urinary stones etc. More than 125 surgical equipments were used in that period. Many ancient texts also indicate deep knowledge of subjects as complex as, physiology, digestion, anatomy, genetics, embryology, immunity etc. With reference from about India

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Facts About India

Varanasi is said to be the oldest and continuously inhabited city in the world. Situated on the banks of great Ganges, it was earlier known as Benaras. Lord Buddha had visited this sacred place in 500 BC. It may sound ironical but India was the richest country on earth at one point of time. Fondly known as ‘The Golden Bird’, India lost that prestigious title when British arrived in India in the early 17th century. Even legendary Christopher Columbus, the great explorer had heard of India’s richness and wanted to visit this place.

Many of you will not be surprised to know that the value of ‘Pi’ was discovered in India during the early 6th century. Budhayana calculated its value and gave us the concept that was later known as Pythagorean Theorem. That clearly says that Europeans lagged behind in discovering such calculations. Time taken by earth to orbit around sun was first calculated by the great Bhaskaracharya. The exact figure was 365.258756484 days that was validated by astronomer Smart hundred of years later.

India also gifted trigonometry, algebra and calculus to the world. By as early as 11th century, Sridharacharya had given us quadratic equations. Indians were much ahead of other civilizations in terms of big numbers like 10 to the power of 53 whereas the maximum Romans and Greeks discovered was 106. One of the least known facts about India is that the art of Navigation originated in India in the river Sindhu 6000 years ago. The Sanskrit word Navgatih gave origin to the word Navigation. Used with permission:

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Beauty of India

India has a great history of more than thousand years. There are several interesting facts about this land of miracles. India is the world's oldest, largest, and continuous civilization that has never invaded any country in her entire history. Not for nothing India preaches tolerance, peace and resilience. India is also the largest democracy in world. India has been at the forefront of several inventions and milestones. For example, the number system was invented in India. The great Aryabhatta invented zero. According to a report in prestigious Forbes magazine, our own Sanskrit fits the bill perfectly when it comes to choosing language for computer software. Sanskrit is also said to be the mother of all European languages. In 700 BC, the first university of the world was built in Takshashila. Even during that time, students from all over the world came to study here. The total subjects were more than 60 and approximately 10,500 students from diverse nationalities came to get sound education.

4th century BC witnessed establishment of Nalanda University that was a great foot forward in the education arena. Ancient India is extremely rich in terms of such milestones. Not many people know that earliest school of medicine is Ayurveda and that again was a gift from India to the entire world. Charak is known as the father of medicine. He is credited to establish its roots. Even in this modern age, many people are reverting back to Ayurveda for its magical effect and harmless treatment. Courtesy & permission amazing

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Vedic Age

Period of 1500 BC to 500 BC is known as Vedic Age. This was a golden period in the history of Indian civilization. Vedic Sanskrit texts were composed during this era. Vedic age civilization gave a lot of precious things to Indian culture and civilization. This culture primarily thrived on the Indo-Gangetic Plains of the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism originated in this period only. The wonderful period of Hinduism just started after the Vedic age. Classical Sanskrit literature also came into prominence after the Vedic age. Vedic age sowed the seeds of the great Maurya Empire and Middle Kingdoms that followed Vedic period.

Hindu Vedic Civilization was truly rich in terms of literature. One can not categorize the linguistic richness of the era in one single category. Experts have classified the text of the period in five categories of Rigvedic, Mantra language, Samhita Prose, Brahman Prose and Sutra Language. Rig Veda is a text collection of richness of that era. It is said to be written over a number of centuries. Mantra language is renowned for having Atharvaveda and other such great texts. Samhita Prose is known for having Yajurveda and painted grey ware culture whereas Brahmanas period gave India Upanishads. Sutra Language has the major components of Srauta sutras and Grihya sutras. The post Vedic age witnessed compilation of historical epic texts Ramayana and Mahabharata. Vedic period is known for political structures and works in areas of agriculture and literature. Several historiacal events took place during this era that marked the beginning of many new milestones registered in development of Indian civilization.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kerala- The Major Attractions

Those who have visited Kerala are well aware of the term Kettuvallams. Boats sailing on the beautiful backwater of kerala are stitched together to form Kettuvallams. These are huge structures, sometimes measuring upto 75-80 feet in length. Anhili is the term given to woods used in the making of these gigantic country crafts. If one has deep interest in taking a look at rich culture of Kerala, then Kettuvallams offer you best propositions. These houseboats are made up of eco-friendly materials like bamboo mats and poles, coir carpets, coconut fiber etc. all these materials are produced locally so that bring down the costs as well.

Kumarakom is a lush green place situated on the Vembanand lake. One of the most popular tourist attractions in kerala, the place has been visited by several big names who have found it to be a perfect gateway for relaxation. Alappuzha is another popular backwater destination in this southern state. Also refered as Alleppey, it gives you wonderful view of numerous canalas forming the amazing network. One is sure to get lost in the picturesque beauty of the land.

Kozhikode is located in the northern part of kerala. It offers you wonderful exploration opportunity of cruising and old world feel. Relatively an under-traveled place, it has managed to sustain its heritage and ancient history. Kollam is another favorite with tourists because of its backwater. Kollam is more famous for its cashew trade and often known as Swapnadesham. Kochi is famous for its natural harbors. It has a proud history of being a major trading center. Because of its beautiful backwater beauty, it is also known as the 'queen of Arabian sea'.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Backwaters of Kerala

Kerala is known for its blue backwaters. But one fact that is not very known is that backwaters labyrinth is composed of crisscrossing of no less than 44 rivers. These 44 rivers flow across the state and are further formed by several lagoons, canals, deltas and lakes. More of a network, these 44 rivers flow alongside sea water. The complex structure of the backwater can only be felt and experienced. The total stretch of the backwater is astonishing 1900 km, however for safety and difficulty reason only 900 km of the water is allowed for navigation purposes. Houseboats are preferred and more useful mode of transport in these backwaters. Tourists all across the world flock to experience these backwaters on the houseboat.

Apart from being a major tourist attraction, the backwater of kerala also provides amazing ecological support to the Mother Nature. It is unique and extremely beneficial for several reasons. One can witness great number of birds and water animals in the backwaters. The complex backwater labyrinth also supports many rare and unique species that are not found anywhere else. Aquatic life is fully supported by the richness of the water. Species like terns, darters, crabs, mudskippers, kingfishers, frogs, cormorants, turtles and otters can found the serene beauty of Kerala’s backwaters. There are several leafy plants as well. The beauty of nature can be seen in surrounding greenery as bushes, shrubs and palm trees adorn this wonderful place.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

God’s Own Country

Kerala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India. Lakhs of tourists visit to kerala every year. Kerala is known for its serene backwaters that manage to provide tourists, a wonderful unforgettable experience. Also known as ‘God’s Own Country’, the place has been a favorite with not only domestic but international travelers as well. It’s an enchanting place with several wonderful places that are yet to be cluttered with any sort of discomfort. Kerala stands alongside Goa in terms of number of visitors. The unique part of kerala is its complex and quite long structure of its water body that is popularly known as backwaters. It is also a peaceful state with highest percentage of literacy in India. People are quite educated and that reflects in respect accorded to the tourists. The state of kerala is also known for its lush green environment and beauty spread all around.

The most attractive feature of Kerala is experience of canoe or houseboat. One can have one of the most soothing experiences of life while cruising across the backwaters on a houseboat. The experience will make you come again to God’s Own Country. The houseboat carries all the facilities and comforts. One will witness lakes and lagoons in the structure of backwaters. The backwaters are main link between cities and far flung villages of kerala. It’s not only soothing but also makes one aware of structure of this mesmerizing state.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Second Urbanization Phase

Second urbanization phase opened number of new avenues in Indian society. The flourishing arts reached a new pinnacle. Ceramics especially became very popular. The major excavations findings of that era are; rajagriha, vaishali, bodhgaya in bihar; dharanikota in Andhra Pradesh; nevasa in Maharashtra, saranath, hastinapura, kosambi in Uttar Pradesh, chandraketugarh in West Bengal, arikamedu in Pondicherry, sisupalgarh in Orissa and vidhisa in Madhya Pradesh etc. These above mentioned cities have significant number of fortified cities belonging to second urbanization era.

The Buddhist phase brought refreshing changes in Indian culture. This is one of the glorious phases in Indian history. The one major change in Buddhist phase was the kind of support they received from famous kings and generous merchants. Urban citizens also provided amazing patronage to Buddhist constructions and many shrines at places like ajanta, sanati, sanchi, kanehri, lalitgiri, saranath, amravati etc beat testimony to richness of buddhist culture. Jainism also made its entry during this period and it also got royal patronage and many cities in India have splendid Jain monuments. The names include, mathura near New Delhi and udayagiri, khandagiri in Orissa.
During one particular era Buddhism was the single biggest religion in India but once that period came to an end, large numbers of brahmanical temples were constructed in all parts of India in accordance with regional styles. Besara and dravida in south India and kalinga and nagara in north India have such temples. Meanwhile, Jainism kept its presence intact and they also built temples in places like ellora in Maharashtra and sravanabelagola in Karnataka. Soon, Islam also followed with monuments in north Indian places like Agra, Lucknow, Delhi and in south India, Hyderabad and northern Karnataka. Other amazing archeological wonders were built by Marathas of Maharashtra, Rajputs of Rajasthan etc.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Megalithic phase

Megalithic phase witnessed great developments in south India. Identifying a megalithic site is usually done by dolmens, attractive stone clusters or normal monoliths. There are several places in southern India that bear testimony of impressive megalithic culture. Few of them are south and north arcot district (Tamil nadu), maski, rajan kalur and brahmagiri (Karnataka), bhagimari (Maharashtra). Several tribal areas in India including bodosof, gonds (bastar) and gadabas (Orissa) etc also have several memorial monoliths symbol. Kodekal or Topikal refers to stone objects designed in mushroom shape. These objects are found in kerala. Indian archeologists have indulged in several excavations operations that have resulted in discovery of numerous megalithic sites. Megalithic culture reveals India’s growing economy and advanced warfare. Many artifacts have also been found that shows richness of the culture.

India witnessed its most intense transformation during the 800 years of period between the time of Buddha and Guptas Empire. The period was 6th century B.C and 4th century A.D. this phase is also called as second urbanization phase. This phase is renowned because of several positive and development changes in India’s economic, social and political structure. The whole social paradigm went through a complete turnaround. The first stage of complete reversal in India’s fortunes was witnessed in regions surrounding the plains of the Ganges. Soon, the growth spread to all parts of the country. The major changes were manifested in the forms of introduction of currency, rising trade domestic as well as international, discovery of many new overseas trade routes, progress in arts and crafts etc.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Indus Valley Civilization

Indus Valley Civilization is known for giving several new things to the world. It spread over a large area of the Indus and Ghaggar river valleys in northwest India bordering Pakistan, and in Kutch and Saurashtra in Gujarat. The area it covered was bigger than any of its contemporary civilizations. Surkotda, Kalibangan, Rakhigari, Dholavira etc were some of the prominent Indus cities. Indus Valley Civilization has been credited with some wonderful new things that include cultured economy, splendid planning and creation of new towns.

This civilization was basically agriculture based. The economy of Indus valley civilization was also well versed in the business of marine life for subsistence. Craft of ceramics, bead making and shell were also the prominent feature of this era. The design and planning used in the town construction was the prime feature of Indus valley. It still baffles experts how the planners of that era managed to make such well regulated streets and houses of comfortable and proper sizes. The town planners had also constructed the city in two parts of lower town and citadel. Fortifications were done separately for both parts of the town. Indus valley civilization has earned its fame on basis of its domestic as well as foreign trade. The other outstanding features comprise of established religious beliefs, weight and measure system and literary skills as amply demonstrated in written scripts. By the end of 1700 B.C, Indus valley civilization has started to decline and many new settlements came out of the fragmentation of this era.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Indian Archaeology

India’s Archaeological world is truly amazing to say the least. It’s a treasure trove that has yet to be explored completely. India contains mesmerizing archeological sites within its fold. The proper study of Indian archeological period can not be contained to any single period. We can start getting the idea of rich culture and sites of Indian archeology by dividing it into five periods of Stone Age, Indus Valley, Neolithic-Chalcolithic, Megalithic-Early Historic and Late Historic periods.
Paleolithic refers to beginning of the Stone Age in India whereas Middle Stone Age or Mesolithic signifies end of this period. Geological era of Middle Pleistocene gives us a clue about Paleolithic. Places like Hunsgi (Karnataka), Bhimbetka (Madhya Pradesh), Kulina (Orissa), Pallavaram (Tamil Nadu), Didwana (Rajasthan) etc bear the testimony of Paleolithic sites in India. However, the number of Paleolithic sites are far outnumbered by the Mesolithic sites because of the huge presence of later in many parts of the country. Mesolithic period refers to world of 10,000 years ago when gathering food, fishing and hunting were established social practices. This period is better known for few samples of rock paintings whose themes were taken from ritual scenes and hunting.

Mesolithic period was followed by the Neolithic-Chalcolithic Age which was a fairly advanced period in terms of agricultural techniques and developed state of rural life of India. This age goes back to 3rd and 2nd millennium B.C. the archelogical sites in India with distinct proofs of this period are; Utnur (western Andhra Pradesh), Inamgaon and Walki (Maharashtra), Pandu-Rajar-Dhibi (West Bengal), Navdatoli (Madhya Pradesh), Ahar, Balathal and Gilund (eastern Rajasthan), Golbai (Orissa), Budhihal, Sangankalur, Maski and Brahmagiri (Karnataka) Chirand (Bihar) etc.

Monday, February 2, 2009


The Mighty Himalayan Mountains of India gives you a majestic sight. It is a sight to behold and cherished. Himalayas is made up of two words, Hima and Alaya. Hima means snow whereas alaya refers to abode, so that combines together to form the abode of snow or better known as Himalayas. This famous range of mountains in the northern part of Indian peninsula also acts as a strong defense barrier. The great river Indus and its four offshoots originated from king of mountains. Himalayas also has the highest elevation of the world.

Himalayas have been bestowed with several other names and one of them is ‘Nagdhiraja’. The snow-clad Himalayas stand across a length of 2500 kms from the Pamirs in Pakistan to Brahmaputra in Assam. The grandeur presence of Himalayas has always been associated with divinity. It is also a place that attracts large number of pilgrims from all over the India. The magnificent Himalayas is a great source of climate control. It determines the climate of northern India and saves us from extremely cold winds flowing from Tibet. Himalayas have also saved us from invasion from north side.

The highest peak under the fold of Himalayas is Mount Everest at 8863 meters. Kanchenjunga and Nanda Devi are other glorious peaks. There are total 94 peaks under Himalayas and astonishingly 92 of them stand above the height of 7,300m. there are several mesmerizing tourist places in the valley of himalaays including Kashmir, Kullu, Chamba etc. Himalayas have gven birth to mighty rivers like Ganga, Chenab, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Sutlej, Ravi etc. Indian Himalayas have been divided into three zones of Shiwaliks, Pir Panjal & Dhauladhar and Greater Himalayas. Shiwaliks form the south wing of mighty mountain whereas Pir Panjal and subsequent peak forming middle range. Himalayas ranges are ode to mighty power of supreme divinity.