India

CHILLIES

Chillies are not native to India and came to India in 15th century. Chillies are native to Mexico where these were cultivated since 3500 BCE. Christopher Columbus although took voyage to India in search of spices especially Black Pepper reached America in 1493 and thought it to be India. He and his companions also mistook chillies for black pepper. He brought back the chillies pepper with him. Portuguese reached in India in the end of 15th century and introduced it in India. This gave the birth to red hot Goan curries. Cultivation of chillies took India by storm and use… Read More »CHILLIES

Koh-I-Noor: A diamond with troubled history

Koh-I-NoorSize: 105.602 carats (21.1204 g)Colour: Finest whiteCut: CushionDiscovered: Date unknown in India The name means” Mountain of light” in Persian language. Once known as the largest diamond in the world. It is believed to have originated in Andhra together with its double called”Darya-ye-Noor” meaning “Sea of light”. It was originally owned by Kakatiya Dynasty which installed it in a temple as the EYE of the goddess. It has had a troubled history having been stolen, confiscated or taken over as war loot by various invaders. Presently it is a part of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth having been confiscated from… Read More »Koh-I-Noor: A diamond with troubled history

Stars Looking Benevolently Down

This was first published on 2nd December 2008. In Mumbai, people rarely look heavenwards because they don’t have time for this leisurely activity. They always move like a sea of crowds and will be trodden if they look upwards. After the end of the day, they reach homes totally exhausted by effects of  pollution and interminable journeys. There is no space anymore in the city downtown and almost all the middle class has moved to suburbs. In a way, the bridges connecting the Mumbai islands to mainland of India are like the tongues of dragons licking away the land without… Read More »Stars Looking Benevolently Down

Chandragupta Maurya

When Alexander the great entered Indian subcontinent he crossed Hindu Kush occupied Kabul  and reached Indus and crossed it, it was 326 BCE. The land of India thus attracted outsiders since times immemorial. Omphis, the king of Taxila had already submitted without much resistance. Beyond Jhelum river was the land ruled by warlike king of Punjab, Porus. Alexander was with great difficulty able to defeat Porus in a surprise attack. Porus was captured  and brought before his conqueror. Porus was said to be very tall and handsome man. At the time he was brought before Alexander, he had nine wounds… Read More »Chandragupta Maurya

Dean Mahomet: The founder of First Curry in UK

Dean Mahomet is credited with being the first Indian to open a Curry House in UK in the year 1810 and it was called Hindoostane Coffee House. It was situated in George Street of central London. It introduced Hookah in England and served Indian culinary dishes. The premises is now a building called Carlton House. To many who are now part of the city’s expansive curry house business, Mahomet was a pioneer Mr Mahomed’s plan had been to serve “Indianised” British food which would appeal to the Indian aristocracy in London as well as British people who had returned from… Read More »Dean Mahomet: The founder of First Curry in UK

Tai Ahoms: The Easterly Kshatriyas

Indian subcontinent can be accessed on land and by sea from three sides. In the past, invaders entered it through West from the side of Afghanistan. It is protected from North by Himalayas which act as a formidable wall. The mountains which cover the India from North West to North East have been responsible for keeping the invaders entering from the North directly. lt is also responsible for creating the weather particularly the Monsoon which gives India respite from sweltering heat and helps in meeting the irrigation requirements and bestow bounteous crops to the region. Its snow capped mountains feed… Read More »Tai Ahoms: The Easterly Kshatriyas

Lascars: Indian Sailors on European Ships

Lascars were sailors on the European ships mostly the British ships at a time when the European powers were locked in great tussle for taking control of the routes and spices found in India. British finally ousted all others and took control of India, first as East India Company and from 1857’s mutiny onwards for almost 100 years as British India Empire. The term “Lascar” is derived from Persian word “Lashkar” which means army or a group of soldiers. They worked on the foreign ships under Lascar agreement which gave the owners more powers under which lascars could be shifted… Read More »Lascars: Indian Sailors on European Ships

Magic of Sholay

Sholay is a cult movie in India. After a slow start, it went on to break many records and created many milestones in the history of Bollywood. Many events happened on the personal levels with some of the actors. People still remember its dialogues. Many buffs have seen the movie umpteen number of times. Mumbai Mirror carries one such story every Wednesday in its cinema section. Shyam Aurangabadkar, ace lens man took beautiful and unforgettable pictures and the article is published under the title “Sepia Memories” In this photograph captured by ace lensman Shyam Aurangabadkar, almost the entire stellar cast of… Read More »Magic of Sholay

Frescos

Uttrakhand is called Dev Bhumi meaning the land of Gods just as Kerala is called “God’s own country”. There is no doubt that the state is endowed with nature’s blessings in the form of beautiful Himalayas, Hill stations, Lakes and sacred rivers like Ganga and Yamuna. The state was created in the year 2000 and carved out from the Uttar Pradesh. There are many tourist attractions like hill stations of Mussoorie and Nainital. There are sacred places alongside the Ganges path in the high altitudes like Devprayag, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag, Haridawar and Rishikesh. Dehradun is the capital of the state. It… Read More »Frescos

Rama

Rama is the hero of epic Ramayana. Ramayana which is revered in India is little more than a quarter of Mahabharata. It is different in style and content from Mahabharata which contains many interpolation. The style of Ramayana bears some kinship to that of classical Sanskrit poetry. Ramayana is older than Mahabharata but major narrative portions of Mahabharata are said to be appreciably older. Some scholars think that Mahabharata is older than Ramayana. Ramayana was composed by sage Valmiki who was contemporary of Rama. The central scene of the poem is Ayodhya which was the capital of old kingdom of… Read More »Rama