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Kaushal Chandak | Page 2

Hampi: A Treasure

by in Trek 

“Hampi in the Karnataka state of India is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites”

Hampi, the domain of the erstwhile Vijayanagara Empire, amidst boulder strewn landscape is charismatic even in its ruined state and attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year, says Rohan Rao.

How to Reach Hampi:

  • Hospet, located about 12 kilometers from Hampi is the nearest railway station. This is the main gateway to Hampi. Hospet is connected by rail to other important towns like Bangalore, Bijapur, Hubli , Guntakal, Hyderabad and Vasco Da Gama (Goa).
  • Hospet has a bus station too with frequent bus services. The local bus service to Hampi starts from here.
  • The nearest airport to Hampi is Bellary (60km). Other airports are Belgaum (190 km) and Bangalore (350 km).

The Shila-Shilp (Stone Carvings) of the granite it bears are scattered everywhere in the vast expanse of Hampi, reminding of the richness and exquisite lineage of Vijaynagara Empire. It is very rightly said, “If dreams were made out of stone, it would be Hampi”

The fragrance of Hampi’s richness was carried by the winds far beyond the shores of India and it was a very much coveted seat then. Now lying in ruins, the Vijaynagara dynasty of the 14th Century, seated at Hampi, spreads over 26 sq. km area, amidst giant boulders and vegetation. Protected by the tempestuous river Tungabhadra in the north and rocky granite ridges on the other three sides, these granites have an epic engraved in their bodies and silently narrate the story of grandeur splendor and fabulous wealth. The splendid remains of palaces and gateways, crumbling plinths, dilapidated walls with the weeds and shrubs widening their cracks, the arches and the architectural grandeur of Hampi tell a tale of men infinite talent and power of creativity together with his capacity for senseless destruction. Every rock, every path and every monument at Hampi speak the same language; a language of glory and beauty.

Dotted around the hills and valleys are 500 plus monuments. Among them are beautiful temples, basement of palaces, remains of aquatic structures, ancient market streets, royal pavilions, bastions, royal platforms, treasury buildings. Hampi is a backpackers’ paradise, the same way the pilgrims’ delight.

In March 2002, the Government of India has announced that Hampi would be developed as an international destination centre. The State Govt. will constitute a Hampi World Heritage Area Management Authorityfor integrated development and conservation of Hampi.

Renowned historian and Kannada literary scholar M Chidananda Murthy had earlier this year demanded the Karnataka Government to take steps to confer special status to World Heritage centre Hampi on the lines of Vatican City. Dr Murthy, who had done extensive study on the Hampi ruins, alleged that the seat of power of the then Vijaynagara Empire, destroyed by a confederation of Muslim kings, still stood unprotected.

Karnataka state government has released Rs 20 crore for infrastructure development at the heritage site of Hampi. The tourism ministry has already taken steps like launching tongas for visitors to go around Hampi. Soon, battery-run vehicles will be introduced to minimise pollution. Earlier Hampi was listed under UNESCO’s endangered, but the removal of the name of world heritage site Hampi from the list of endangered monuments last year is recognition for the Hampi Development Authority which took up several works to develop it as the historic spot as per the guidelines of UNESCO. The Vijaynagara Festival organized by the Government of Karnataka in December recreates the grandeur of the bygone era.

An entire day, which the tourism packages offer to witness and experience the grandeur of Hampi, is very very limited. Imaginations, they say run wild, but even a lifetime is sometimes too short to imagine the richness that Hampi harboured in the Golden era. Still some of the significant monuments and major tourism attractions that can be witnessed give an insight of the glorious past.

Source – old archives of portal india-travel.co.in

Sawantwadi: A Heritage Treasure

by in Trek 

Its wooden toys, bamboo craft, pottery art, traditional art paintings & carved bison horns are world famous and has been adding to the glory of Sawantwadi since 250 years, says Rohan Rao.

  • nearest airport is at Belgaum (64 km).
  • Sawantwadi Road Railway Station, about 28 km away, on Konkan Railway is the nearest railhead.
  • The National Highway 17 passes through Sawantwadi and state transport

More Information:

  • Hand made Ganjifa Cards of Sawantwadi are made from circular pieces of paper on which intricate designs of Dashavtar (Ten Avtars of God Vishnu) are hand painted
  • Local folk art like Pinguli puppet show, Dhangari Nritya (shepherd dance), Dashavtaar and Koli Nritya (fisher folk dance) are features of Sawantwadi heritage
  • Hiranya Keshi Nagarta Falls and Narayangad are the major attractions for picnicking at Sawantwadi.
  • The palace of Maharaja of Sawantwadi is still in a good condition, and it is worth visiting.
  • Laquerware, wooden toys, and artificial fruit making are famous products from Sawantwadi.
  • Three unique projects that are shaping up in Sawantwadi are: Shilpagram, Environmental Awareness Center at Narendra Dongar and an Ayurveda-based health Center .

Lined by the golden strips of sun-kissed beaches on one side and bounded by the steep slopes of Deccan plateau on the other, the limited confines of the Konkan caters an unlimited vibrant space to its visitors. With a rich history, varied culture, authentic Konkani food, forts, temples and the untouched serene beaches, Konkan is a blessing bestowed on Maharashtra. Sawantwadi, an elite heritage destination nestled in these beautiful environs of Konkan is a standing testimony to our rich heritage and a sentinel of history waiting to be explored by the touristers. Thus, heritage tourism is an important component of Sawantwadi.

Established by the Sawant Bhonsale dynasty almost 300 years ago, Sawantwadi is basically a heritage town with several ancient heritage spots including Lester gate (1895), the Great Royal Palace (1790s), Chitnis wada (1836), Mathi , Atmeshwar Tali (1891), Vithal Mandir, Raghunath market and 200 years old Kolgaon darwaja.

As part of the Sahayadri hills, it has the second largest biodiversity in the whole of India. Sawantwadi is also known as a Handicraft Town with 250 years of tradition in the manufacture of wooden handicraft, pottery, gold and silver embroidery, lacquer ware and ganjifa.

Hand made Ganjifa Cards of Sawantwadi reminds everyone about richness of its art work. These cards are made from circular pieces of paper on which intricate designs of Dashavtar (Ten Avtars of God Vishnu) are hand painted. Each card pack contains 120 hand painted cards housed in equally colourful box. History says that these cards arrived in Sawantwadi 350 years ago, when Bhonsale, Royal Family of Goa settled here after fleeing from portuguese regime there. The Bhonsales brought several artisans who were versed in woodcarving & paintings. A clan of indigenous people, the Chitkaris, is skilled in the art of painting on playing cards, wooden and clay artifacts, jewellery and other embellishment. The paintings have intricate patterns depicting royal lifestyle as well as spiritual beliefs of the people in the region, dating back to almost the 7th century. This art has been preserved and patronized by the Royal family under the aegis of Sawantwadi.

Color lacquer is applied to the surface of the object to be decorated and the lacquered surface is polished using a ‘kewda’ leaf. Floral patterns are painted on the borders and surfaces. The final step involves painting mythological figures on the surfaces.

The mythological figures are painted with Chitrakatha, Temple or Ganjifa styles. Images belonging to the Chitrakatha style are of bold nature, with the figures depicting some action. Temple style usually portrays deities in a sitting position. Ganjifa is more stylish and depicts the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. This style is especially seen in the famous Ganjifa cards made during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Ecotourism is another major component of Sawantwadi. The town is blessed with natural beauty. Established around a beautiful lake, Moti Talav, it presents a panoramic view of Narendra hill in its background. A water sports center has been established at Moti Talav Lake. The area around the lake has been beautified and a Geneva Jet Fountain is installed at its center further enhancing its beauty. It is replete with ecological wonders providing a rich and unique biodiversity with interesting locations such as Kesari River, which provides water supply to the town of Sawantwadi, Nageshwar falls, Ragheshwar point, and the scenic village of Amboli .

Ecotourism is likely to fuel the demand for greener and eco friendly lifestyles, by catering not only to foreign tourists in search of simple and peaceful lifestyle, but also for the local tourists looking for affordable yet unique atmosphere distinct from urban concrete jungle. At the same time, Ecotourism provides opportunities for local people to improve their standard of living and preserve their cultural heritage, arts and crafts.

Despite the limited tourist amenities in Sindhudurg district, international tourists visit the remote yet well known hill station of Sawantwadi, known for its unique biodiversity, flora and fauna, which has 10 – 12 species of fauna and more than 59 varieties of medicinal plants. The Municipal Council of Sawantwadi has also undertaken a massive tree plantation program along roadsides and gardens. Local varieties of trees that are on the verge of extinction are being specially planted and propagated. These include Moha, Pangara, Palas and Bahawa.

Three unique projects that are shaping up in Sawantwadi are: Shilpagram, Environmental Awareness Center at Narendra Dongar and an Ayurveda-based health Center .

An Artists village, Shilpagram is a replica of the ancient Raghunath market built in 1891. Being developed on a lush green plot of 5 acres, it is built maintaining natural contours and with minimal damage to the surrounding ecosystem. The Shilpagram plan includes working areas for artisans to manufacture wood, clay and bamboo handicrafts as well as pottery and a very rare leather-craft known as Pinguli art. Local folk art like Pinguli puppet show, Dhangari Nritya (shepherd dance), Dashavtaar and Koli Nritya (fisher folk dance), shall be presented in the specially built Amphitheatre at Shilpagram. Cottages are provided for tourists staying overnight. The plan also includes waterfalls operated on solar energy, replicating the famous Amboli waterfalls. Waterfalls and streams have been planned to create a village ambience. The State Bank of India has sponsored the landscaping of the place. Large-scale tree plantation has been undertaken in the entire complex. All structures at the Artist village are constructed using locally available laterite stone.
Ayurveda Health Resort; Sawantwadi is also known for the practice of traditional Indian medicine called Ayurveda. It has one of the best Ayurveda colleges in the country. The center is proposed to be built using eco friendly techniques of construction such as laterite stones and mud walls.

The Environmental Awareness Center is situated on Narendra hill, with 11 acres of tabletop park site land demarcated by the forest department from the lush reserved forest area of the region. The Center will also serve as a demonstration center for eco friendly construction technologies as well as for renewable energy, watershed management, water and waste recycling. It will be a self-sustainable demonstration model for locals and tourists.

Indeed, places like Sawantwadi, with their natural marvels need to be preserved for their own sake. They provide inspiration and spiritual regeneration. They are a powerful representation of the forces of nature. Ecotourism must sustain these resources, not only because they serve as an evolutionary link to our future, but for the pure joy of experience

(source – 2006 archive of portal india-travel.co.in)

Fritzing – open-source hardware

Fritzing is an open-source hardware initiative to support designers, artists, researchers and hobbyists to work creatively with interactive electronics. We are creating a software tool, a community website and services in the spirit of Processing and Arduino, fostering an ecosystem that allows users to document their prototypes, share them with others, teach electronics in a […]

Hinduism as Open-Source Faith

“Its often stated that the word “Hinduism” itself is a total misnomer, as it basically refers to the sum total of spiritual and religious thought and practice that has taken place on the Indian subcontinent over the past 5,000 years.” ”..key point of differentiation between Hinduism and these other faiths is not polytheism vs. monotheism. […]

BAIF Development Research Foundation

BAIF Development Research Foundation (formerly registered as the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation), is a reputed voluntary organisation established in 1967 by Dr. Manibhai Desai, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, at Urulikanchan, near Pune to promote sustainable livelihood in Rural India. BAIF is committed to provide sustainable livelihood to the rural poor through management of natural […]

Great Collection of Indian Stamps online

Indian Stamp Ghar has been exclusively created for philatelic enthusiasts who want to share information and views on philatelic issues.


Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. The […]

ultimate tic tac toe

Ultimate Tic Tac Toe

Interesting game by improvising a simple games. Atleast this shall require more brains. Source: http://mathwithbaddrawings.com/2013/06/16/ultimate-tic-tac-toe/ Play on your android device – click here to install

Alternative view of world

by in Business 

Interesting representation on map to highlight the distribution of wealth and power in the world of today, this cartogram sizes the countries according to their relative financial status, here presented through gross domestic product (gdp) per capita, offering an alternative world view to a regular map. Countries such as China and India become much smaller, next to giants in Western Europe, North America and Japan. Africa represents a minor speck, while South and Central America lands somewhere in between.

Author: Philippe Rekacewicz, UNEP/GRID-Arendal, Vladimir S. Tikunov
Source: http://www.grida.no/graphicslib/detail/world-economy-cartogram_1551

Mumbai Marathon 2010

by in Running 

Greetings for the season! Hope this message finds you in good health and mood.

Keeping up with the challenge of running marathon one day, I have registered for full marathon (42 kms, route) @ StanChart Mumbai Marathon to be held on Jan 17, 2010.

Last year I raised around Rs. 47K as charity for physically challenged children. All the money was donated to NGO ASTITVA, based in my town Dombivli. This year too I am planning to raise charity for them. In this mail, I take opportunity to appeal you to support my cause.

You can contribute minimum of Rs.10/km and anything above that. All money would be collected after the race. Race organizers use an electronic chip which is attached to the shoe which measures distance covered and time taken. You would be contacted after the run along with my completion certificates.

It has been 2 years of practice now. I completed 21 kms in around 2 hours last year. This year, I plan to complete 42 kms in less than 5 hours. Though, practice while working and commuting in Mumbai is difficult; I have been pushing myself towards the full marathon. My longest runs so far have been around 30 kms so far. Hopefully, with all your motivation I would be able to push myself to 42 kms mark.

If you are interested in supporting the cause, please help me with more details so that I may contact you after the run.