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Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti

The colourful kite-flying festival of Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan, which falls on January 14 each year, marks the end of a long winter and the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere. Hence the name Uttarayan. According to Hindu astronomy, it is on this holiest day in the Hindu calendar, that the sun enters the zodiac of Makara or Capricorn, heralding the northern journey of the sun. The day is also of special significance, because on this day, the day and night are of equal hours....

The Story of Diwali

Deepavali or Diwali as it has come to be known as, means many things to many people. It means holidays from school, shopping expeditions for clothes, sweets, gifts and crackers to children. To the office-goer it means an annual bonus that can make all this happen. To the businessman Diwali means brisk business just as to the clay potter, Diwali is the occasion of the year when the bulk of his sales are made. Diwali has a special significance for the trading communities of India who usher in their new year and new accounting books (‘bahi khata’) during this time....

Banaras The Eternal City

Banaras The Eternal City

City of many names, Banaras as it is most commonly called, was officially renamed in 1956 as Varanasi, a name from antiquity. It was first known as Kashi, the city of light, when it was the capital of the kingdom of the same name about 500 BC. For over 2000 years, Banaras the eternal city has been the religious capital of India. Built on the banks of sacred Ganga it is said to combine the virtues of all other places of pilgrimage and anyone who ends their earthly cycle here is said to be transported straight to heaven....

Ride the Camel

Ride the Camel

The world looks very strange from a camel’s back. On a recent trip to Rajasthan, we travelled on camel back from the city of Jaisalmer to the Sam dhani or sand dunes of the adjoining Thar Desert. We were travelling to Thar, just 42 km away, to watch its dazzling sunsets. Deoram and Raju When we set out from Jaisalmer, the desert city famous for its golden fortress, the early evening sun dazzles our eyes. Bright, beige wasteland stretches all around us for miles....

Shri Guru Nanak Dev

Shri Guru Nanak Dev

Shri Guru Nanak Dev was born at a time when the world was plunged into the darkness of ignorance, feudal tyranny, religious & cultural strife. Born in 1469 at Rai Bhoeki Talwandi (now known as Nankana Sahib) situated in the Punjab province of West Pakistan, he went on to lay down the foundation of Sikhism. He preached brotherhood and humanitarianism irrespective of caste, creed, colour and economic status. According to him, love of God implied love for his creations and thus service for humanity indicates one’s love for God....

Origamist Whizkid Sivaram

Origamist Whizkid Sivaram

October 21: Imagine the talent required to fold a single sheet of paper as many as 100 times, to create fantastic animals, birds, insects, celebrities, aircraft and gods! Actually this is an intricate art dating back to1000 A.D. Japan, where it was pioneered, and is called Origami. And 12-year-old origamist Sivaram Narayanan, is a whiz at it, as visitors during his recent “one man” exhibition at the Lalit Kala gallery, in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, says a report in the Chennai edition of ‘The Hindu’....

Beef in McDonald's Fries

May 11: Fast food giant McDonald’s seems to be frying in its own fat once again – quite literally at that. Last week, an Indian-American lawyer, Harish Bharti took the fast food giant to a US court for lacing its french fries with beef flavouring, a chemical compound that mimics the taste of beef fat. Millions of Hindus from across the world freely munch its french fries believing them to be vegetarian. Beefing up Bharti’s case is information provided in Eric Schlosser’s recently published book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of An All-American Meal....

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