It is the winter season here in North India. The place where I live is adjoining the hills of Himachal Pradesh. During severe winters, many birds from these hill areas come down to adjoining plains which are relatively warmer.
There is a forest near my residence. These days lots of Alexandrine Parakeets and Rose Ringed Parakeets are present in this forest. Their flocks fly from one tree to another searching for the cavities in the tree branches for making nests.
In our country where mythology plays a big role in the lives of its inhabitants, many sites like hills, rivers, and caves have their associations with the mythology. One such concerns the Lord Krishna and is called Govardhan Parvat (mountain).
The legend is that when the uninterrupted deluge threatened to innundate Mathura, Krishna lifted the entire mountain on his little finger to make an umbrella to protect the Mathura.
UP government has planned to revive the almost barren Govardhan parvat situated about 23 kilometres from Mathura. Government plans to plant the herbal plants on the mountain. These are:
Kadamba: It is a tropical tree. Krishna and Radha are said to have conducted their love play under the cool shade of the tree. It is used as one of the raw materials in the preparation of “itars”.
Tamala or Indian bayleaf or tezpatta: It is commonly used in Indian culinary as well as medicines particularly for alleviation of diabetes due to the presence of highly antioxidant enzymes.
Karira: Scientific name is Capparis decidua. It’s spicy fruits are used for culinary purposes like vegetable, curries, and pickles. It is also used in medicine.
Pakar : It belongs to mulberry family. Leaves have sour taste.
Pilkhan: Scientific name Ficus virens. It grows to heights of about 100 feet. It is Avenue tree. It bears “strangler figs” because they can germinate on other trees and strangle them. It is used in Thai cuisine.
Steppe Eagle is also known as Aquila nipalensis in the scientific language is a scavenger. This species breeds east in European Russia from across Kazakhstan into Kyrgyzstan, China and Mongolia. Birds winter mainly in south and south-east Asia.
The bird is placed in the Red List by IUCN in the endangered category. There are many reasons attributed to the decline in population to such an extent. Some are like loss of habitat and exposure to radioactive radiations in its basic habitat.
Bird winters in South and South East Asia. It has suffered in Pakistan and India due to the presence of a drug Declofenac in the carrion of the dead animals which these birds feed on. This drug is used extensively in the treatment of cattle in these countries.
Thus these birds suffer both at the original residence as well as their temporary stay in Asia.
I chanced upon a ditch amidst the bushes where the carrion are being dumped. One can observe the eagles flying over the area. Earlier there were mostly Egyptian Vultures but now a group of these Steppe Eagles have landed here.
Size: 105.602 carats (21.1204 g)
Colour: Finest white
Discovered: 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 its owners in 1850 by imperial powers.
Western powers have monopolized the nuclear power and weapons. Russia and US hold 92% of the resources. Treaties like CTBT discriminate against the rest of the countries who want to use nuclear resources even for peaceful purposes. India has not signed this treaty. Supply of nuclear materials is controlled by Nuclear Supplies Group (NSG) which is largely controlled by US and Russia and puts discriminatory conditions on developing nations.This is why they are bitterly opposing nuclear tests by North Korea who is not toeing to their line.
Here are statistics
No. of nuclear tests:
USSR Russia: 715
North Korea: 6
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 of chillies in food became very popular.
Some chillies of India
- Dhani lanka or Bird’s eye Chilli: Grown mostly in North East and Bengal
- Bhoot Jhalokia: Native to Assam and Nagaland. Hottest chilli in the world. 400 times hotter than Tabasco sauce. In Nagaland these are known as Raja Mircha.
- Kashmiri Chillies: Mild and famed for aroma and color. Add lovely colors to many Indian dishes.
- Mundu Chillies: Grown mostly in Tamilnadu and Andhra. They have very delicate skin and nice flavour. Mild in nature
- Guntur chillies: Known for their powerful taste. Used for adding heat to Andhra and Madhya Pradesh cuisine.