Arts and Crafts

Raktika: The bright seed of Gunja

Raktika or Gunja vines grow wildly in many areas of India. Raktika or Rati, seed of Gunja vine, was used in ancient India as a unit of weight for weighing the precious metals like Gold. The seeds have the quality of having almost identical weights. It is generally taken as 0.118 grams but the consistency over the different times is doubtful. The standard varied from time to time and place. The seed is also known as Jequirity, Crab’s Eye, Rosary Pea, John Crow Bead, Precatory bean, Indian Licorice, Akar Saga, Giddee Giddee or Jumbie¬† Bead in different parts of the… Read More »Raktika: The bright seed of Gunja

Fabled Jand Tree

There are many references to “Jand” tree in Punjabi literature. Foremost it is connected to a place called Danabad the village of Mirza in the legend of “Mirza-Sahiban”. After getting Sahiba from her home on the day of her marriage to someone else, and sneaking on his mare-called Bakki in local language, he decides to take rest under the cool shade of Jand tree. He was overconfident that even after taking rest for the summer noon, he will make it easily to his native place before the end of the day. Rest is well known. He was killed by Sahiban’s… Read More »Fabled Jand Tree

Rock Garden in Chandigarh

World famous Rock Garden is located in Chandigarh. Chandigarh is the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana. As such the Chandigarh is called City Beautiful because it is a planned city based on modular units called sectors. Every sector is a complete city in itself with a market, milk supply centers, dispensaries and schools. Then there are some sectors which are commercial sectors having big stores, cinemas and offices. On one end of the city in a row are Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Legislative Assembly and Secretariat which incidentally is biggest building in the city and houses the offices of… Read More »Rock Garden in Chandigarh

Boat Makers of Assam

In the modern world everywhere, the industrial revolution is ushering automation in every field: be it a automobile, telephone, airplane, home gadgets. Traditional hand makers are in trouble if they don’t adapt themselves to these changes. Automation means mass production of items. Mass production or assembly line production of the articles or gadgets is like asexual reproduction where the product items are almost identical to each other and there is very small degree of error usually in parts per million. Mass production through assembly produces monotonous items. On the other hand, man-made products reflect the personality of the creator and… Read More »Boat Makers of Assam

Rhinos: On the Verge of Extinction

Rhinos or more accurately Rhinoceros are in the danger of becoming extinct. They are hunted for their horns due to their supposed healing and aphrodisiac properties. The horns were sold as trophies and also used in Chinese medicine. Handles of ornamental daggers called Jambiyas are made from the horns. There are 5 species of Rhinos Black Rhinos: 5055 left Sumatran Rhinos: 100 left Javan Rhinos: 35-44 left Northern White Rhinos: 2 both females Southern White Rhinos Major areas where the Rhinos are found are South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya These animals are herbivores. They are often accompanied by oxpeckers… Read More »Rhinos: On the Verge of Extinction

Warli:The Innocent and Natural Folk Art

With the intense activity to industrialize the country, the selfish entrepreneurs are venturing into the areas which have remained unaffected and immune to the fast pace of industrialization. Although for a country to become economically self sufficient, it is necessary to exploit the natural resources but given the present structure of economy, only a few are benefiting from all this at the cost of mindlessly destroying the nature and create problems for so many people who depend upon the nature for the lives. These people, whom we call tribal, live in complete harmony with the nature using only whatever is… Read More »Warli:The Innocent and Natural Folk Art

Chemistry Behind Cleopatra’s Beauty Products

Everyone has heard about Cleopatra. She is said to be most charming seductress and willy woman who became the queen of Egypt. She was very conscious of her looks and knew the value of being beautiful and always looking young and alluring. It was Cleopatra, who popularized skin care treatments in her book titled “Cleopatra Gynaeciarum Libri”. There, she recorded recipes for making cosmetics and perfumed ointments. She was so interested in spa treatments and perfumes that her lover, Mark Antony, gave her the gift of a spa and perfume factory that had been built by Herod the Great at… Read More »Chemistry Behind Cleopatra’s Beauty Products

Sanjhi: Almost forgotten Festival of North India

When we were small boys, every year ten days before the festival Dussehra, our mother would choose a small area on one of the mud walls and make a crude image of a woman, stars and moon and bullocks with the cow dung. We lived in the village. Almost everyone has some land on which agriculture was done. Also there were plenty of animals like cows¬†and buffaloes. Houses were made of mud and walls and floors were plastered with wet cow dung. We did not understand all this and thought this as some folk art. It was called Sanjhi. Now… Read More »Sanjhi: Almost forgotten Festival of North India

Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier!!!

Sounds strange title!! This is the name of the most expensive still life painting. Since the artist Paul Cezanne was from France which was the heart of the world famous art and paintings, the name is in French language. It translates to Jug, Curtain and Fruit Bowl which aptly described the painting. A curtain hangs from top on left side of painting and partially rests on a wooden table. There is a large jug and fruits like apples and oranges are scattered on the cloth. Paul Cezanne was the master of still life painting. He also created another version of… Read More »Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier!!!

World’s Biggest Hockey Stick

Recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records is a hockey stick 205 feet in length weighing a staggering 28118 kgs. It got this recognition in 2008. It was built in 1985. After taking part in an EXPO in Vancouver it was dedicated to Cowichan Community Centre in 1988. It is 40 times the actual hockey length. It’s Shaft and blade is made in sections with steel reinforcing Douglas Fir beams.