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Photo Of The Day – The Ruins of Avantipora


 

I have been thinking of what to write about and unfortunately what I have picked up is to put down all the “legendary” stories I made up for my daughter 🙂 However, unless I am able to paint the correct picture, you would not get an idea of what I had visualised, so its taking a bit longer than expected while I figure out the art style.

In the meantime, here’s a pic of the ruined temples at Avantipora near Srinagar. I had clicked this picture whilst travelling back from Pahalgam to Srinagar on a frosty, snowy morning – Dec 30th 2010. Instead of the lovely saffron fields, there was an equally impressive expanse of snow…a literal white ocean extending in the distance. (I will upload that picture tomorrow, its quite lovely)

This one though is of the temple complex…sad to see such an amazing piece of architecture lying in ruins, with no one to care about it. There were a couple of kids skiing and playing in the snow in the far distance, but otherwise, no one around. The first picture is of the complex as it once used to stand in all its glory, followed by a pic of the sad, desolate ruins on a snowy morning.

A schematic of the temple in its glory days

 

 

 

The Big Desert Art Festival


This one is a quick post about a terrific festival in the making this winter in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.

There is going to be a bonanza for music lovers (and art lovers in general) A new festival titled “Ragasthan” is being organised between the 16th to the 18th of November. This promises loads of exciting activities on the sand dunes of Jaisalmer, with 4 distinct music stages, separate tents for art and films, and even a workshop on “budget” sci-fi movie making! To add to all of it, they also have some cool extreme sports such as zorbing, dune riding etc.

the Ragasthan festival website

The accomodation will be in tents ranging from luxury tents to ones that you carry yourself!

Check out the cool website here and also book tickets here.

PS : do have a look at the insane number of headlining bands…a literal whos who of music in India! (especially Rock music!!!) 🙂

Aadhar UID – Important Information


 

Since the last couple of years, the government of India is trying to get everyone under a special unique identification number akin to the unified social security system in the United States.

This however has been (as always) a logistic nightmare with horrible queues forming up thanks to the limited biometric machines available. Recently, however the government has begin the process of trying to organise things better (electronically) and make life easy for everyone. (its a trial process and is currently limited to a handful of cities) This is a great idea BUT fails since there is absolutely no obvious way online to register for an appointment at the biometric centres! (Not even their official website mentions where you can go ahead and do it) … yet another example of a great idea tried haphazardly.

Incredibly though, the actual online form is indeed available online and after a painstaking search on the web, I finally found the link hidden in one of the search results! 🙂

First, download the form here and then apply for an appointment to submit the form and your biometrics.

Please click here and choose your appointment date for submitting your forms and voila that should be all you need to do! (theoretically that is… I myself have applied for an appointment but am yet to see how it goes about!)

Hope this helps everyone in managing to get their enrolment done in a calm and organised manner, so that this initiative can actually bear fruit!

I also urge all my Indian readers to please go ahead and get it done as soon as you can. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Mind Over Matter


It has long been believed that ancient Hindu and Buddhist texts describe advanced techniques of meditation (mind over matter) with which ancient priests/monks could influence not only their body, but also manipulate the elements of nature. These ancient practices are still followed by a handful, mostly the tantric sect of Buddhism which is more common along the remote borders of Tibet, ranging from Tabo in the west to Lachen in the east. Whether this is true or not, you will find people in the remote regions swearing by it…indeed it is a part of their lives in fact! … and why not… in such desolate areas where survival is a challenge, Im sure the mind adapts to a higher plane that we, with all modern comforts, have totally lost out on.

There are quite a few examples that bear one to think of the power of the untapped mind is very real (modern hypnotists and healers aside)

Kyi monastery, near Kaza (Spiti valley)

A couple of decades ago, in Ghuen village in the remote Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh, a 500 year old mummy of a monk was accidentally found, meditating in the esoteric posture of tantric Buddhist practices. He had sacrificed his life, using advanced meditation techniques, for his village to save it from an outbreak of scorpions. The story goes that the moment he gave up his life, there was a flock of butterflies that appeared and the scorpions disappeared.

Lama Sangha Tenzin – the amazingly preserved mummy of a monk who sacrified himself.

(More details can be found here)

To test the mental abilities of the monks, a team from Harvard performed strictly monitored tests, which was made into a documentary shown on the History channel, trailer shown below.

This takes me back to my earlier post – the X Dimension, and leads me to wonder ever more what the mind could truly be capable of.  A lot to be researched, perhaps the answers lie up in the mountains… or perhaps they lie in simple disciplined meditation.

The Lonar Crater – Aurangabad



Hi all,

I am back after a bit of a hiatus… apologies, work kept me really busy! 😦 We have just released 4 games on the android platform that are trivia based (more details here) and I hope some of my readers enjoy them.

Anyway, onto the special locale for today – the Lonar crater. It is the biggest crater on the Deccan plateau of Central India (and the only one discovered yet) The crater is also one of the handful around the world of its size and is quite unusual for its saline lake in the centre.

 

The massive crater – satellite image

 

The crater is found in the Buldana district of the state of Maharashtra and is believed to have been caused in the Pleistocene era by a high velocity meteoritic impact. This crater is also special as it has been mentioned in ancient Hindu texts and seems to have had ancient temples and cave systems since ages back.

 

A temple around the rim.

 

The crater is not an easy trek down from the rim (for newbies) but once down, there is a lot to explore. The lake around the centre is ringed by a forest that promises mystery since it has not been explored in detail and could hide surprising places of archaeological importance. Perhaps someday, someone will excavate and find something unique 😀

More information on the crater can be found here.

Would you Like To Try The PURPLE PILL, Mr Anderson?


Whoever thought the famous “Mr Anderson blue or red pill” line up……. was pyschotic, confused, completely high (on whatever) and a genius. Perhaps he meant it as a modern day cliche or perhaps it was unintentional and had its basis in a truth far beyond the usual constraints of English grammar.

This post isnt humorous at all and talks about perhaps one of the most amazing metaphors of the current generation. Do we play it safe hombres, or do we go out in a blaze of glory that is most likely to be short lived?

What is truly delusional? are we all constant junkies of the blue pill that gives us the conformity, and thus the security, we all crave? do we truly live in the true world? are we even aware of the true world?

Regularly we are bombarded with new discoveries that challenge what we knew just a few years ago! We have technology that did not begin its advent until very  very late in our evolution, but once it did, its been off the charts!

Is it not magic that we SEE events and people on a slim panel made out of sand, called the television? Isit not magic that we treat photographs from galaxies thousands of light years away, as objects of research? Is it not a miracle.that we can see the stunning light from galaxies of the furthest outposts of our own universe…have we even stopped and tried to imagine the mind boggling distance that the light travelled to reach us?

Do we ever think what that universe must be… NOW? Do we ever think why WE still struggle with the notion of other intelligences populating the infinite universe and wondering why so few of us ever take the red pill?

Every day of our lives we go through personal misery or on a larger scale – “constitutional” misery. A pain brought out of our own belief in being unable to change the “system” that forces us to do what we do not wish to.

When in the depths of such despair what do most people do? Complain? sigh? seek out comfort food? blame it on the government? kneel before an altar of stone , believing it to be the omnipotent force to make US happy at the expense of everyone else who prays likewise?

SO, what in fact are we actually imbibing? is it truly the blue pill? the pill of “logic” or is it the red pill? believing in what we think is a supreme force sent to assuage us of all our crimes and guilt?

Fact is, both pills lie within us – we ARE the world we know. Has anyone given a thought as to why some things just cannot be explained by science despite science being able to create nano transmitters?  or devices that unravel the complex history of space time? We peep a billion light years into our past and yet know not how to conduct ourselves. We die and kill others for idiotic concepts of omnipotence around shards of rock that must bemusedly be watching our circle of self destruction.

We dream about populating outer space and yet we cannot educate ourselves on cleanliness and climate change…or most importantly, on co existence with tolerance and love for all. We do not truly wish to save our planet and yet we hope for miracles out of a guilty conscience.

Its been pretty long as it is, but the fact is that I am an eternal optimist and hope that my ridiculous prose is read by someone and changes even a couple in the way they think. Without further ado I shall end this rubbish discourse and remind all of the only organ we all have that can bring about a revolution.

Thats right, the brain .. the only PURPLE PILL we all have – the only means to right what is wrong and to make the impossible come true. Its the gateway to all dimensions, and true wonder 🙂

The Last Stand


The cloying smell of anaesthetic floats down like a disembodied waif along the humid Stygian depths. The wet roof of the cavern hangs unevenly high above, betraying its imperfections through the dim halo that snakes around like the winter fog suffused with the dying embers of a peat fire … slithering and simmering its way with a controlled malevolence.

Foggy Cavern by Shinrou (Please visit his site if possible…all artists love being appreciated) 🙂

It had been a while now, since the far horizon had strobed with intense white light, and the long chrome arm had methodically stalked its way past the left edge, searching…probing hungrily… until finally it had retracted, releasing compressed jets of liquid in its wake, remorselessly flushing everything in its path…all the way down into the endless pits of hell. I could feel the wash as it gurgled away deep down into the bottomless pits of hell, all the way echoeing  and rippling; swelling and ebbing hollowly against the walls … the discordant notes of a grand piano ripping itself apart as it tumbled down an endless, steep escalator to the netherworld.

Its the lull before the storm and an expectant hush falls over the humid air. The jet has slashed its way and melted away layers along the sides, revealing polished, jagged white blocks lining the left edge of the cavern, sticking up resolutely like the spine of a long buried gigantic reptile who breathed its last eons ago. I have seen this before countless times and I know the end is near.

Malevolence personified

The horizon flashes an intense white again, and the leering mouth of the chrome monster glides in. The ghoulish spikes of the contraption are like a vicious Iron maiden turned inside out, seeking their target with unnerving precision. The hum begins on a subliminal level, gaining intensity as the motors begin rotating like a mechanical dervish in sadistic ecstasy. The hum intensifies into a high pitched wail of triumph, jarring my synapses, coming ever closer…

My Last stand – Vashkau Art. Please visit the site for some amazing illustrations

 

I know this is my last stand … I am weary to the point of collapse. Its time to let go, as I close my eyes against the storm of malevolence that threatens to tear my mind apart. Yet, I know I will not give it the pleasure of hearing me scream … let my final stand be long remembered for unfailing courage in the face of impossible odds. Redemption is just an arm’s length away

……

………….

………………….

………………….

………………….

………………….

Wakey wakey!

“Right, we’re done now. You can open your eyes. Sorry ’bout that… the final cavity was a real doozy!”

Dentists…the blokes that test your testicular fortitude by jabbing you in the
mouth with medieval torture devices. The irony and the ridiculousness of it all
….. gets worse when you end up with a hole in your pocket, just because you
were careless enough with your teeth … in your childhood!

(and someone said you pay for your sins after you die – I’m quite positive he never really had an intimate session with a modern day dentist)

I’m out of here now, got to make myself that medal for bravery in the line of fire. God knows, that’s one medal well earned!

Ciao!

May I have this please? 🙂 Credit – http://www.gov.ns.ca/govt/bravery/about.asp

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This article is a bit unusual and its a work of fiction that I hope will be entertaining enough to read all the way through. This is my submission for the WordPress weekly challenge based around similes/metaphors. I have tried to take the idea to a new level, with the entire article itself being a simile 🙂 Please comment/critique on what you liked/disliked 🙂

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Photo Of The Day Sep 29th 2012


Along the south-eastern border of the state of Himachal Pradesh in the North West Himalayas, lies the province of Kinnaur. As the road climbs on its way from the capital of Himachal, Shimla, the biggest town of the Kinnaur region is its capital – Sarahan. This is a picturesque valley along the Sutlej with apple orchards, surrounded by snow capped peaks on all sides.

This is also famous for its stunning Himachali architecture, best emphasised by the beautiful Bhimakalai temple and the splendid palace. The picture below is that of the Sarahan palace also known as the Raja Bushair palace and the Bhimakali temple complex.

The beautiful Raja Bushair Palace and Bhimakali Temple – Sarahan

Raja Bushair Palace is 200 year old monument. This palace cum temple complex is a wonderful multi-layered building in timber with beams of cedar. It was built by the Rampur rulers of Bushair, who once ruled Kinnaur.

The Dinosaurs’ Last Stand!!!


Along a secluded hill, facing the mighty Kanchenjunga range, the chill wind gusts downwards, past the dinosaurs running amok in this Jurassic Park!

The Last Stand Of The Himalayan Dinosaurs 🙂

Ok, its not THE Jurassic Park and neither are the dinosaurs alive 🙂 This is one of the most unusual, surrealistic science parks I have come across. Situated well away from the town of Kalimpong, up on the hill that leads onto Delo (famous as a picnic spot with splendid views of the Kanchenjunga range) lies an often overlooked, splendid science park, simply known as the… Science City 🙂

Whilst the actual exhibits in the building mid-way up the hill are the usual mini science experiments which are your usual run of the mill…the real treasures hide up on the crest of the hill. Walk up the path to the top and the vista will open out in front of you with an amazing array of life size, well crafted dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes, looking well at ease on the wind swept hill. Making their home among these interesting specimens are a number of excellent large scale science exhibits demonstrating various principles of physics. All in all a beautifully made mini science park which does not get the due attention it deserves.

The next time you are in North Bengal – Kalimpong, do drop in for a visit. Kids will surely love the place and adults will be amazed and amused by it 🙂

Just for the record, I end with the usual photograph of the spectacular Kanchenjunga range taken from the Delo viewpoint further up the road.

The Beautiful Mt. Kanchenjunga from Delo, Kalimpong

Black and White Classic Comedic Videos – Bollywood


This music video is from a super hit movie back in the black and white days – Bhoot Bangla. A few days ago I was watching a rerun of it with my wife when we had this blast from the past… the super hit song “Aao Twist Karein” which was the first instance of the “twist” in Indian cinema (Bollywood)

This video is pretty hilarious and is worth a watch right till the end, especially with the expressions on the actors’ faces and especially after that “popularity meter” explodes… when some of the men and women virtually go into a zombie-like trance 🙂

Definitely worth watching all the way !!!

Travelling and games for me please :) Check our games https://twitter.com/blackcobragame

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