Wednesday, May 29, 2013

SOLAR ENERGY IS THE FUTURE

Renewable Energy (RE) is now making a noticeable impact especially in the lives of rural masses. Simultaneously though, its use for urban and semi-urban applications is also growing by the day. India gets more than 5,000 trillion kWh of Solar Energy every year. This much of energy is very high compared to the overall energy requirement and consumption in the country.


What is solar energy?

Solar Energy is the energy received from the sun that sustains life on earth. For many decades solar energy has been considered as a huge source of energy and also an economical source of energy because it is freely available.


Solar Energy Facts

Solar Energy is already being successfully used in residential and industrial settings for cooking, heating, cooling, lighting, space technology, and for communications among other uses. In fact, fossil fuels are also one form of solar energy stored in organic matter. With fossil fuels making major impact on the environment and raising issues of pollution and global warming, solar energy has increased in its importance to industries and homes. While the reserves of fossil fuels are restricted, there is no limitation to the availability of solar energy.

With improvement in solar energy technology and the increase in prices of fossil fuel, solar energy is gradually becoming more and more affordable. In addition, there is additional cost in the form of importation and transportation, required for oil, coal and gas.

In the last few years, the cost of manufacturing of photovoltaic cells has gone down by as much as 5% in a year and the percentage of government subsidies have gone up. This means that every year, it is becoming more and more affordable to use Solar Energy.


When you want to install Solar Energy system at home, you would require it to be sufficient for meeting all electricity requirements in home for a day plus it should generate enough power to store for 3 to 5 days for contingency purpose.

India is blessed with abundant solar radiation all year around. For example, less than 5% of the Thar Desert can provide enough solar energy to meet all of India's energy needs.

Advantages of Solar Energy

Once the initial cost of installation is met, the electricity generated by solar panels is free of cost. In a stand-alone solar power system you don’t have to pay any utility bills. Another positive in installing solar power systems is that government offers lots of rebates and incentives to cover the initial cost. You can also sell the additional electricity generated by your system. Sometimes the utility company will give you credits for selling the excess amount of electricity.

~ No depletion of non renewable resources like coal and petroleum
~ No power shortage as there is endless supply of Sunlight
~ Reduction in Carbon Emissions
~ No water or air pollution
~ Resultant cleaner, greener, healthier environment
~ Reduction in life threatening diseases
~ Increased life expectancy


Development and the Future

With energy prices going up and supplies shrinking, global warming issues, renewable energy has become a focus area for policy makers and governments globally.

A shift towards renewable energy is necessary to meet the rapidly increasing energy needs. Solar Energy is a social revolution that has the power to elevate India in a way that no technology has before.


Author's Note: This is a fact based blog post; just to encourage people to use Solar Energy. I want to acknowledge GREENPEACE INDIA for the idea sharing. I m using this source of energy in buildings, cooking and transportation.. and I want everyone to Give it a thought!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Rajaji National Park

Himalaya encompasses within itself many different types of flora, fauna and wildlife. Located in the Uttarakhand district and is a part of the Shivalik Ranges, close to the foothills of Himalayas is a very popular wildlife zone named The Rajaji National Park. The Park has been named after C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), a prominent leader of the Freedom Struggle, the second and last Governor-General of independent India and one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (in 1954). The park is spread over more than 800 sq. km.



Rajaji National Park is spread over the area of 3 districts of Uttarakhand which encompasses the areas of Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. This national park is among one of the famous wildlife zone in the Himalayan region. It is famous for its variety of flora and fauna (wildlife). Rajaji national park was formed by merging 3 sanctuaries together, namely The Chilla, Motichur and the Rajaji sanctuary in the year 1983. Rajaji is thickly foliated predominantly by the Sal Forest and a number of other forest types which include the Western Gangetic Moist and Northern dry Deciduous and Khair-Sissoo forests.



Animals easily found here are cheetal, hog deer, barking deer, Sambar deer, wild boar,  antelopes such as the Nilgai, Goral and of course the royal Asian Elephant. The park also protects carnivores such as the Tiger and the Leopard and the lesser carnivores like the Jackal, Hyena, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Civets, Himalayan Yellow-Throated Marten and Sloth Bears. The primates include the Rhesus Macaque and the Hanuman Langur. The Indian hare and the Indian Porcupine are among the small mammals found in the park. Reptiles in Rajaji include one of the largest Pythons, King Cobra, Common Krait, Indian Cobra and the Monitor Lizard.



Rajaji contains within itself more than 315 species of exotic birds. The bird diversity in Rajaji National Park is very rich because of it being Eco-tonal zone and also because of different kind of habitats present in it. The majestic Ganges flows through the National Park for a distance of 24 km, the innumerable streams and brooks make it rich and diverse. It offers ample opportunities to nature lovers to enjoy the captivating landscape and wildlife.


The Park also boasts the tribal village of the Gujjars where people are found to be living in primitive clay huts. The park is kept open between the middle of November to middle of June. The months between November and March are an ideal time to visit the park as the temperature is around 22°C during that time. The park is kept closed during the monsoon season due to heavy showers.


From Delhi it is a comfortable 5 hour drive through Meerut, Muzaffar Nagar, Roorkee and Haridwar. Near Khatauli are a number of stopovers for refreshment like Cheetal Grand, Moolchand Resorts and Midway.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Eating Healthy!

Eating healthy sometimes become last of your priorities. Kids, juggling work, social commitments, home commitments, and something after another... It may seem easier to just grab some take-out, or to cook the first available junk food in your kitchen cabinets.  But eating healthfully can be really easy – as long as you take a 'little' time to prepare.

You can do this by making a little commitment to think of what you’ll buy at the grocery store and do some meal planning. It will take an hour or less to write up a few meals you’ll make during the week. It can save lots of time and energy from last minute preparation. On the other hand, be prepared for a quickie meal list too, because you never know when you’ll be stuck at work for longer than usual and have to have dinner on the table – as fast as it could. Lets have few (Veg/Vegan) dishes, with full of energy and nutrients, yet simple.

Chickpea and Potato Salad

Ingredients
4 small or 2 medium potatoes
2 cup cooked (boiled) chickpeas, drained
1 medium cucumber peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 small onion
6 to 8 black olives, sliced

1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt, to taste

Instructions
Boil the potatoes until tender. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a large storage container and add all remaining ingredients. Stir well till flavors blend. Add salt to taste and serve with bread (optional)

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings: 4



Lentil Soup with Coriander and Cumin

Tip: Cook this rich and fragrant soup in the pressure cooker and have it on the table in about a half hour. But if pressure cooking is not your style, simply cook it in a covered pot over low heat, adding extra water as necessary, until the lentils are tender.

Ingredients
2 cups lentils, uncooked
8 cups water or vegetable broth
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, thickly sliced
2 large potatoes, cut into large cubes
2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced

Additional seasonings:
Fresh coriander (chopped if large leaves)
2 teaspoons lemon juice


Instructions
Pick over the lentils and rinse well. Start the water or broth heating in the pressure cooker while you chop the vegetables. Add all ingredients except the additional seasonings and salt into the cooker and bring to a boil. Seal the cooker and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes before using a quick-release method to release the pressure.
Check to make sure the lentils and potatoes are tender; if not, cook, covered but not at pressure, until done, adding water if it seems too thick. Remove the bay leaves, and add the additional seasonings, and salt to taste. Stir in the lemon juice and serve.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s) | Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings: 8



Broccoli Stirfry with Tofu

Tip: This is a “dry” stir-fry that doesn’t have much sauce, so it’s best served with seasoned rice or pasta.

Ingredients

14 ounces tofu, cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons apple juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

STIR-FRY
1 medium onion
1/2 red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger root
1 broccoli chopped
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (or your choice oil)
additional 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari, or to taste

Instructions
Combine the tofu, sliced garlic, apple juice and vinegar and 2 tablespoons soy sauce in a bowl. Stir it and let tofu marinate. Chop the vegetables and heat over medium-high. Cut onion in thin vertical slices. Slice the bell pepper thinly, and mince the garlic and ginger. When the pan is hot, drain the tofu, keeping the marinade in a large bowl. Cook tofu, turning every minute or so, until it’s beginning to brown on most sides, about 6 minutes. 

Transfer the tofu to the large bowl with the marinade, stir gently, and cover with a plate.
Add the onion to the hot pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, garlic, ginger, and pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add the broccoli and two tablespoons of water and cover quickly. Steam for 2-3 minutes or until broccoli is slightly tender but still crisp. Add the tofu and marinade with the sesame oil and additional soy sauce, and stir well. Heat for just a minute or two and serve immediately.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s) | Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings: 3


Tart & Tangy 'Fresh' Fruit Salad

I simply love the tartness of grapefruit (If grapefruit's not for you, change it with pineapple).

Ingredients

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 Small Apple, cored and cubed
1 Medium Pear or Green Apple, cored and cubed
1 Grapefruit juice/segments
1 Orange segments
1 cup orange juice

Instructions
Pour the lemon juice into a bowl, add the apple and pear and swirl to coat. Add grapefruit and orange segments (add juice too), gently stir to mix. Put in the fridge, serve chilled.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)



Now a recipe for you sweet tooth, it is natural and as healthy as above recipes

Strawberry-Melon Summer Salad


Tip: You can add you favorite fruits like, mango or papaya to rise the flavor

Ingredients

1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups watermelon cubes
2 cups melon cubes
2 cups halved fresh strawberries
1 cup cherries

Instructions
In a salad bowl, whisk together honey, and lemon juice until smooth, and gently add the melon, watermelon cubes and strawberries. Add cherries, toss to coat, decorate and serve.






Friday, May 3, 2013

Off on Summer Holidays!

So the temperature start rising and summers are finally here. Holidays are around the corner, Celebrate this warm weather with cool outdoor fun! Have a glance at some Summer Vacation Destination in India. There are certain cities like Shimla, Manali etc. which have always been on top of the list of tourists; whether they are Indian's or foreign tourists. If you are planning to go to these places or you want to explore more, read the complete post and leave your comment:



1. Shimla:
Shimla is the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. A hill station in the northern part of India; It was developed and established by the British during their rule as a resort place for the families of the British officers. The city is a perfect example of fusion of the British influence with Indian traditions and culture. In today’s times as well; Shimla is one of the most preferred destinations to spend summer in the country. The city is named after the goddess Shyamala Devi, an incarnation of the Hindu Goddess Kali. Read More: 'Mugdha Says' Shimla: Elegantly Beautiful

2. Manali:
Manali is a beautiful hill station, 2000 meters above sea level, surrounded by breathtaking scenery of mountains, streams, rivers and small waterfalls. Manali is considered a paradise for tourists who are interested in adventure sports like trekking, mountaineering , etc. Being situated on one of the most important road links of the country which connects Kashmir with the rest of the mainland. Tourists who wish to travel to remote hilly locations of the country like the Lahaul and Spiti valleys also have to travel from here. The climate and facilities for travelers make it ideal location travelers to spend summer in India.



3. Goa:
An iconic tourist destination of the country; Goa is one of the best places to spend summers in the country with beautiful beaches and party atmosphere all year round. Its pristine beaches, slow pace of life, fresh food infused with Goan spices with moderate climate makes it an ideal place to visit all year round.


4. Srinagar:
One of the most ideal places to spend summer in india; Srinagar the  summer capital of the northern state of Jammu & Kashmir is world renowned for ‘Dal Lake’ which is so beautiful that it is referred to as “Heaven on Earth”. It is also known for it houseboats and shikaras which are a major tourist attraction. The mild temperature makes Srinagar an ideal summer getaway destination. Read More: 'Mugdha Says' Kashmir: Heaven on earth

5. Kodaikanal:
Kodaikanal located in the state of Tamil Nadu, was also established by the British to get away from the searing heat and high temperatures of the southern Indian region. A relatively small hill station is counted amongst the top places to spend summer in India and is preferred place to spend summer holidays. Try Kodaikanal's bakeries, famous for its mouth watering pastries & savouries. Cool all year round, go boating on the lake, visit the botanical garden and just chill. Shop for chocolates, famous oils and local handicrafts.


6. Munnar:
Known for its beautifully landscaped region which is famous for lakes, hills and forests; Munnar a small hill station of Kerala and also renowned place across the world for its tea plantation gardens. It is one of the leading centres for tea manufacturing and exports of the country. The beautiful and picturesque views coupled with moderate and mild climate make it an ideal location for the tourists to spend their summer holidays. The views of the tea plantations are awesome and worth taking time out to enjoy and capture those moments. Don't forget to pack your camera!

7. Coorg:
One of the most beautiful hill stations of the country; Coorg, also known as the 'Scotland of India', This mountainous district in Karnataka is famous for its coffee estates, its misty mountains, serene views, orange and honey plantations. There have been reviews from travelers who have visited Coorg, that the beauty of the place is such that it will stay in hearts of the travelers and compel them to visit again and again.


8. Mahabaleshwar:
Located on the Western Ghats; Mahabaleshwar is the highest hill station in the entire western region and because of the virtue of its beauty. It is known as the Queen of Maharashtra’s Hill stations. The city has great historical reference and monuments making it an ideal getaway destination to spend summer in India. 

9. Ooty:
One of the most favorite and popular tourist destinations in the Southern part of the country; Ooty is famous for its Blue Mountains which are covered with forests all through the year. It is famous for tea plantations and various movies have been shot in the beautiful and picturesque locations of the city. The climatic conditions of the hill station make it one of the most frequented visited places during summer. Udhagamandalam is the official Tamil name for the town.


10. Nanital
Nainital is a hill station in Uttarakhand and lies at the foothills of Kumaon range of mountains. Highlights of the city is a pear-shaped lake, called The Naina Lake, approximately two miles in circumference, and surrounded by mountains. From the tops of the higher peaks, "magnificent views can be obtained of the vast plain to the south, or of the mass of tangled ridges lying north, bounded by the great snowy range which forms the central axis of the Himalayas." Nainital is a glittering jewel in the Himalyan necklace, blessed with scenic natural spledour and varied natural resources. Dotted with lakes , Nainital has earned the epithet of 'Lake District' of India. Read More 'Mugdha Says' Nainital: Town of lakes

11. Thanedar and Kotgarh
17 km from Narkanda, Himachal Pradesh,about 76km from Shimla is home to apple orchards and in summers (April-June) the trees are full of apples,stroll through the orchards or head to a nearby lake. A beautiful place to enjoy your holidays.

12. Dalhousie
Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh is 302km from Chandigarh in Punjab and 80 kms from Pathankot train station. A charming location to holiday in all year round, very cold in winter and cool in summer, around 25 degrees centigrade in summer. Rains usually starts from June. It is a destination for everyone. Be it a nature lover or a photographer or a history enthusiast, Dalhousie captivates the attention of each and every person with its endless arrays of treasure troves.


13. Sikkim
Sikkim is a great area to checkout, if you want to see something new. Hospitable people and abounding in natural beauty. Hilly terrain, many rivers, valleys and in the upper reaches almost alpine climate prevails. One will find beautiful snow covered peaks and stunning valleys in this place. The other adventure activities which one can go for in the area are Yak Safari, River Rafting, Trekking, Hang Gliding and many more.

14. Andaman Islands
A splendid beach vacation, this is a group of Islands in the Indian ocean. Summers are from march to may,after that the monsoon season starts.Temperatures here are around 31 degrees in summer. May be humid though. The Andamans are blessed with a tropical climate. There's always this soft breeze blowing, which makes it a pleasure to walk up  on the beach side. Try water sports or just relax on a hammock under a palm tree on the beach. Andaman and Nicobar islands have recently been recognized as a world-class Eco-friendly tourist destination. The environment lover finds this a paradise. Worth a try.


15. Mukteswar
Situated in Uttarakhand is just too pretty and wild at the same time.Stay anywhere in the area and enjoy views of the himalayan ranges. Fruit orchards, lots of natural beauty and a cool climate. 40+ km drive from Nanital. Bhimtal and Naukuchiatal en route are lovely places famous for their lakes. And a little away from Mukteswar, Binsar and Kasauni are also worth a visit.

16. Mussoorie
Popularly known as "The Queen of Hills", Mussoorie is a famous tourist place in Uttarakhand. It is 34 km away from Dehradun and is situated in the foothills of Himalaya Ranges. Mussorie has derived it name from "mansoor" a plant indigenous to Mussoorie. This is probably the reason why Mussoorie is often referred to as Mansoorie by the locals. If you are looking forward to an unforgettable vacation this summer, then the hills of Mussoorie could top your itinerary list. Its ethereal beauty, cascading waterfalls, wonderful climate and the rich flora/fauna that you spot as you travel along this scenic place is worth exalting. Read More: 'Mugdha Says' Majestic Mussoorie

There you have it, a list of  summer holiday destinations.Take your pick and bon voyage!