Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Famous Cuisine of Agra

Agra is one of the famous city around the World. Tourist often come here to visit magnificent 'Taj'. But Agra have lots more to offer other than Taj!! Lets talk about the famous cuisine of this area. During your trip to Agra don't forget to enjoy our food.

Why there is such variety in Agra's food? In History the famous Hindu epic Mahabharat mention Agra as the forest of Agraban close to Mathura. Raja Badal Singh founded the city in 1475 and Sikandar Lodhi made Agra his capital city. Later, Babur defeated the Lodhis to capture the city situated on the banks of River Yamuna and thus, the long association of Mughals with Agra started.

Since then Agra become a center for Art, culture and cuisine.

MUGHLAI FOOD

Back in the 16th century, the Mughals made Agra the capital of India and influence the food style. The spicy and creamy curries, dry fruits and nuts in desserts, tandoori and roasted food items become dominant part of the daily food. The cuisine is so rich that it is suitable for king size appetite.


PARANTHAA

Paratha, or parantha, is a pan-fried bread made of wheat flour and often served stuffed with various ingredients like Poteto, peas, cauliflower, paneer etc. Served with pickles, chutneys and Curd.


BEDHAI and/or KACHORI with JALEBI

This typical breakfast, usually served at street stands, consists of two parts: one spicy and one sweet. The bedhai is a fried, puffy bread, much like kachori, served with a bowl of spicy curry called Sabzi(Hindi) made of potato and curd. The jalebi, is a sticky-sweet dessert made of fermented batter that’s fried and soaked in hot sugary syrup.


CHAAT

Chaat or savory snacks, are very popular in Agra—particularly bhalla (aloo ki tikki), samosas, and gol gappas (Puchka). Bhalla is a fried potato and chickpea patty that’s served with grated ginger and a spicy-sweet sauce. Kind of perfectly satisfying snack.


DALMOTH

Dalmoth is a traditional namkeen or dry snack, made from fried lentils, nuts, spices, and oil. Crispy and a little greasy, it’s the kind of snack one can enjoy with tea or coffee.


PETHA

Petha shopes are everywhere in Agra claim to be the oldest in the city. One can find Petha at Railway station too. It is a centuries-old sweet made from ash gourd—also called white pumpkin or squash—cooked in sugar syrup, and it comes in many varieties: plain (white); kesar(saffron); with nuts; in colorful shades of pineapple, coconut, mango etc. Served dry or in some syrup, usually soft, chewy, and a bit syrupy inside.


MILK with Dry fruits

At any sweet shop one can find delicious milk mixed with dry fruits, one can have it in night after 6pm. Taste the best during chilly winter nights. 


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Happy Raksha Bandhan

Rakhi or Rakshabandhan is one of the sweetest and cozy festival in India, as you all know we have at least 100+ different festivals of different occasions but Rakshabandhan is closest to my heart. The special bond me and my brother share is indescribable!! The love, the fights and the connection when we understand each others feeling without conversation. 

Raksha Bandhan is a popular festival celebrated everywhere in India, irrespective of caste and creed people all around participate in this festival. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the lunar month Shravana (Shravana Poornima). The festival is also called as Rakhi or Rakhi Poornima, Nariyal Poornima and Kajari Poornima in different states and is celebrated differently.


‘Raksha Bandhan’ or ‘Rakhi’ is a special occasion to celebrate this emotional bonding between brother and sister by tying a holy thread around the wrist. This thread, which pulsates with love and sublime sentiments, is means ‘a bond of protection’, and Raksha Bandhan signifies that the strong must protect the weak.

On the occasion of this festival sisters generally apply tilak to the forehead of their brothers, tie the Rakhi to the wrist of their brothers and do arati and pray for their good health & long life. 


Lets talk about History:

There are numerous legends associated with Raksha Bandhan. Though with time it has come to practice that Raksha Bandhan is observed for brotherly and sisterly affection, in the earlier days it was for all relationships at large. It was tied by wives, daughters, mothers and Rishis to people for protection.

As per the popular legend, 'Brihaspati or Guru' ask Indra to vanish all the demons for everyone's protection. During this war when Indra almost lost the battle with demons; Guru Brihaspati and Indrani(his wife) tied a sacred thread around his wrist on the auspicious Shravan Poornima day, after which he emerged victorious in the war. Hence Raksha Bandhan came to be celebrated on the Shravan Poornima day.

During Mahabharata Draupati tore her silk sari and tied it around the bleeding finger of Lord Krishna, who got hurt in the process of slaying the evil 'Sari'. Lord Krishna's grace towards Draupati explains His brotherly affection for Her.


According to another legend, Raksha Bandhan was a ritual followed by Lord Yama (the Lord of Death) and his sister Yamuna, (the river in northern India). Yamuna tied rakhi to Yama and bestowed immortality. Yama was so moved by the serenity of the occasion that he declared that whoever gets a rakhi tied from his sister and promised her protection, will become immortal.

History is filled with examples where brothers died in defence of their sister's honour. Rani Karnavati of Chittor sent a Rakhi to the Mughal Emperor Humayun when she was threatened by Bahadur Shah of Mewar. Humayun himself ride there to rescue her. 

According to one legendary narrative, when Alexander the Great invaded India in 326 BC, Roxana(his wife) sent a sacred thread to Porus, asking him not to harm her husband in battle. In accordance with tradition, Porus, gave full respect to the rakhi.
The Social Binding

As we learn from history, this ritual not only strengthens the bond of love between brothers and sisters, but also confines the whole family. When a Rakhi is tied on the wrists of close friends and neighbors, it underscores the need for a harmonious social life, where every individual co-exist peacefully as brothers and sisters. All members of the community commit to protect each other and the society in such congregational Rakhi Utsavs. Girls send Rakhi for Army and defence guard as a thank you for protecting us all year long.

Raksha Bandhan stands as the foremost among all festivals, celebrating unconditional love and universal harmony. Today when we talk about celebrating Raksha Bandhan in a new form, our main consideration should be safety of Universe above our family, society or nation. What we can do is that tie a thread of love around a tree and take the responsibility of its care. Worshiping of trees as of God, contains the interest of human in itself.


The festival of Rakhi conveys a message that has socio spiritual significance of the need for nurturing of positive qualities, purity in thoughts and deed.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Eid Ul Fitr

All Muslims fast on daily basis every year in the holy month of Ramadhan from dawn to the dusk. By withholding from some of the carnal and basic desires and needs, people develop self-discipline or self-control: the ability to prevent from doing something one deeply and intensely desire, purely out of compliance to the Creator. This month-long exercise of fasting helps in developing and strengthening to live a life of wholesomeness and obedience to Almighty God regardless of the lure towards sin. Those people who are sick, traveling, and elderly or women who are nursing and pregnant are allowed to break the fast and cover up the missed days of Ramadhan at some later time. If they are incapable to do this later, they must provide food to a needy one for every missed day.

Fasting is advantageous to health, it is considered chiefly as a way of spiritual self refinement. Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival which has its own essence of merriment and enjoyment and the history of this activity is dated back to many centuries. It is being celebrated with much zeal and warmness all across the world but as the time have changed now, the ways and customs involving Eid-ul-Fitr has also changed but the basic idea of festivities remains the same.


According to Muslim belief, they are commanded by Almighty God to do the fasting until the conclusion of Ramadan as mentioned in Holy Quran and also pay Zakat-al-fitr before offering the Eid prayer. As written in history, this pious festival was first observed in Madinah. When the Prophet Muhammad arrived at the city of Madinah, he found people celebrating a day with highest merriment. Prophet Muhammad asked people about their celebrations and merriment at which people responded that these festivities were occasions of recreation and remembering their God with full obedience and discipline.

At the end of the Ramadan, Eid-Ul-Fitr celebrated. Eid occurs on the first day of the Shawwal, the tenth month of Islamic calendar. On the last day of Ramadan after sunset, people start sighting the crescent moon. As soon as the moon (hilal) is spotted the celebrations for the Eid-ul-fitr begins.


Importance Of Eid-ul-Fitr
Ramadan is said to be the holy month of Muslims, it is believed that holy book Quran was revealed to prophet Muhammad during this month. It is believed that during this month the gates of hell are closed and the gates of heaven are open. It is also believed that Ramadan is Allah’s own month. It’s the month to thank Allah for that he has given to human being.


Eid is the time to spread happiness, love, and triumph thereby creating enthusiasm among all the family members. On the Eid day all the Muslims wear new clothes and go for special Eid Prayer ceremonies in their nearby mosque to thank Allah by reciting various prayers and Eid-Ul-Fitr Dua’s.


After the prayers there is a get together at houses for an Eid meal and to celebrate the occasion together. Children always have a joyful Eid Celebration as they get clothes, gifts, perks, and sweets from all their relatives.

Eid Mubarak to all from my side... May Allah bless you all :)


Monday, August 5, 2013

Goa: The Nature Hub

I'm back with another friend and another beautiful story, This post is by my very dear friend Sumant... its been 4-5 years since I know him and he is like best friend cum brother cum companion to me.. He is presently working at National Institute of oceanography Goa, hence you will have the flavour of Goa in this post.. By the way all the pictures are clicked by Sumant.. 


Sumant

Goa is not only famous for its beaches, beers and Bay watches, but also for its unique biodiversity richness. Goa falls under West coast in South Western region of India. It is enveloped in Sahyadris (western ghats). It has two Major rivers Mandovi and Zuari. Estuaries of both the rivers are located close by. So we can find three types of ecosystems here Riparian, Estuarine and Sea shore.



During the migratory season of the birds (Jan to March) we can find hundreds of terns including Arctic terns, river terns etc. As far as herons are concerned we can see almost all types of egrets, herons, bitterns and storks as they mainly feed on freshwater fishes. Entire state looks so green especially during monsoon, walls of the buildings are layered with bryophytes which make the entire region look green. 



Those who wish to enjoy the biodiversity, nature and natural beauty of this region, be prepared to get drenched in the incessant downpour of the monsoon. Apart from the India's one of the highest waterfalls, Dudhsagar, there are hundreds of miniature waterfalls alongside the rail track for several miles on the way to Belgaum, Hubli and Pune.



We can see several birds chirping in the dawn which include Golden oriole, crimson sunbird, purple sunbird, rufuos treepie, coucal, sparrows, tailor bird, weaver bird, grey hornbill, pied hornbill, pariah, brahminy kite, sea gull, river gull and the list goes on. 



Though Goans take seafood frequently, they have the attitude of conservation on their natural resources and as part of that they keep the localities clean, they do not harm any animal/bird, They are also fond of maintaining pets, almost in every shop and house we can see atleast 2 cats and dogs.

Goa is the best tourism spot and remain crowded almost all year long.. visit and experience the beauty by your own.. 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

DRUG problems among Youngsters

August is a month of Friendship, people celebrate it in their own way, some go out for lunch on friendship day, some tie knots and bracelets, I dedicated this month for friends.. All the post are going to be guest posts, written by special people, about their interest or their work or anything they want to share with my adorable readers... you guys can still read me on my other blog..  Mugdha's Musings

This first post is by Medhavi Agrawal, very talented, I could see the hidden writer in her.. She was my schoolmate and we share some very special memories together.. 3 cheers for her first article... Now without any further delay let me present her post on DRUG ABUSE

Friends being a student of pharmacy I have read a lot about drugs. In my language drug is any chemical substance or product intended for use in the medical diagnosis, cure, treatment or prevention of disease. But this definition doesn’t end here. Apart from these ‘life saving drugs’ there are many drugs which can also be a reason for various disorders and even cause mortality.

We all have heard about drug addiction or drug abuse. It means habitual intake of addictive or illegal drugs. We had seen and heard about teenagers, youngsters and sports persons using these drugs. The drugs which these people use for addiction are narcotics, depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, steroids. In Layman terms we call them as heroin, nicotine, cocaine, steroids, alcohol etc....


Let’s see why the poisonous tree of addiction is penetrating its roots in our society???

  • Mostly teenagers and youth, first try drugs out of curiosity, to have a good time, because their friends are doing it. They think it as a status symbol and a sign of modernity. It’s all fun for them. The Gen X who born with a silver spoon in their mouth can be seen in rave parties drinking, smoking and taking drugs.
  • Sportsperson use these drugs in an effort to improve athletic performance to win more and more medals and awards, to beat previous records and gain name & fame all over the world.
  • These days’ youngsters are using steroids at a very larger rate to build their muscles in gyms but in long run these steroids show harmful effects.
  • People who have low self-esteem or live a stressful lifestyle use addictive drugs to ease problems such as stress, anxiety or depression. Those who have gone through problems with relationships, such as fights with partner or family members, an unhappy boss, or the loss of friends.
  • Some Parents who live a high social life, not able to give enough time to their kids, these kids then feel neglected and start intake of addictive drugs. Guardians are so busy in maintaining their luxurious lifestyle that they are unaware of what their children are doing.
  • Children, youngsters who are victims of human trafficking are forced to take these drugs for fulfilling the bad motives.
  • Youngsters see the superstars of entertainment industry as their idols and try to follow them. When they watch them drinking alcohol, smoking or taking drugs in movies they take it as a fashion statement and start using such substances.



But But But.... after prolong use it moves from casual to problematic. It cause very serious problems and change in behaviour like:


  • Feeling that one have to use the drug regularly, the frequency can vary. It may be daily or even several times a day.
  • Drug users who want to get rid of such addiction fail in attempts to stop using the drugs. To get the drugs they also get involve in unethical jobs.
  • They spend more and more money on the drug, even though they can't afford it. Household items may disappear because they're being sold to support their drug habit.
  • People start doing such things to obtain the drug that they normally wouldn't do or even can’t think of doing, such as stealing, fighting with their families and friends. They show various episodes of violence in their social behaviour.
  • Youngsters and teenagers start missing their school and adults miss their work. They lack motivation and energy which show a decline phase in their performances.
  • They not even care of their physical appearance because of loss of senses and no longer take part in social activities like meetings and parties.

So, we can say that drug addiction is increasing at an alarming rate and has become a critical social problem. It is effecting individual as well as society on a whole.  It is a serious and complicated health condition that requires both physical and psychological treatment and support. It is important to be evaluated by a trained professional to determine the best care. Counsellors, family doctors and therapists are the best choice. Recovering from drug addiction is much easier when one have people they can lean on for encouragement, comfort, support and guidance. Family members and close friends play a very important role here.



I want to conclude on this note that the people who want to get rid of this habit should be treated as normal. Avoidance or rejection can worsen the condition to a large extent. They need extra love, care and support to live a normal and happy life again.
~ Medhavi Agrawal