Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Five ''healthy drinks'' that can prevent and control Hypertension!!
It is a known fact that  one in ever three Indians has hypertension and this  is the  gift of modern life plus  unhealthy fast foods  that are loaded with all kinds of  bad  items that are not good for  your heart. Proper medication can help reduce BP, researchers believe healthy diet  and regular exercise can produce the desired results. Many people are not aware, there are many drinks other than healthy diet that can help us maintain BP and reduce the risk of  cardiac condition. The Cardiological Society of India,  in its 2017 report, advised people to reduce salt intake and high sodium food items. Say no to canned food, sugary and trans fat laden food and, of course, processed meat and  alcohol.

The following healthy drinks are recommended to reduce BP: 

01. Low fat milk: 
Loaded with potassium calcium and vitamin D, the British journal of Nutrition recommends low-fat milk. Full-fat milk has palmitic acid which cab block the blood vessels, hence it is not recommended. 

02. Chia seeds infused water
Packed with Omega  3 fatty acid, it can help make the blood thinner and reduce BP. It can also prevent strokes.You can soak the chia seed in water or half hour and drink the water. A month later you can see the results.

03. Pomegranate juice: 
This ruby-red juice is a popular one and has lots of potassium. Normally, potassium rich food is  good for reducing hypertension. This fruit has three anti-oxidants, more than green tea and red wine and thus formation of plaque in the arteries can be prevented. If you drink it on a regular basis. it will reduce your BP.
04. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) drink
Drinking ACV has lots of benefits because it has lot of nutriants including potassium, ACV removes excess sodium and toxins from the body. Rennin enzyme in the juice is beneficial to our body as it reduces BP. You can mix the Apple Cider Vinegar  with honey in a glass of  warm water  and drink it, mind you, on empty stomach. Lemon water also does give the same benefits. Vitamin C acts as anti-oxidant  and removes free radicals, thus regulating the BP level.
05. Fenugreek aka Methi water: 
It is a high-fibre drink and can control BP. You can soak the seeds in water  previous night and drink the water in the morning on empty stomach.

Madhur temple, Kasaragod in Kerala that survived Tipu Sultan's onslaught.(1788)

Madhur Temple, Kasaragod town
Madhur sri Vinayaka temple, kerala
Madhur Temple  located 7 km (4.3 mi) from Kasaragod town, Kerala  is a famous Hindu place of worship once dedicated to God Shiva. It was known as  Madarantheswara (Shiva) Temple as the deity, "Udbhava Murthy" (a statue that was not made by a human).  according to the legend,  was first sighted by an old women  by the name of Madaru from local Tulu Moger Community. 

A boy, while playing,  drew a picture  of god Ganapathy on the  southern wall of the Garbhagriha/Srikovil (sanctum sanctorum). As no body expected, for no reasons, it had begun to grow  big day by day and finally it became very big and fat. The boy called Ganapathi as "boddajja" or "bodda Ganesha".  It is now more  a Ganapathi temple than  a Shive temple. This  Ganapathi temple is one among the six Ganpathi temples of ancient Tulunadu, the other five are located at Mangalore (Sharavu Mahaganapathy), Anegudde, Hattiangadi, Idagunji and Gokarna.

Tipu Sultan of Mysore.
It is said this temple escaped from the fury of Tipu Sultan while on a raid in 1788.  We have recently  heard a lot about Tipu Sultan and his exploits in war. Unfortunately, he became a subject of debate  now, as the Congress party, a few years ago,  wanted to celebrate his birth anniversary as ''Tipu Jayanthi'' in Karnataka. A section of Hindu and Christian communities had reservations about it as Tipu, during his reign, destroyed some temples in Kerala and churches in Karnataka. Because of politicians, Tipu has become a controversial ruler of Mysore. Congress wanted to use 'Tipu Jayanti' as a ruse to get Muslim vote,  and countless people vent their voice. It is not done in good sipirit by the nethas. Even a section of Muslims resent it.
Tipu stuck the sword on the wooden shade. Madhur Temple, Kerala
Any way,  the  legend has it Tipu Sultan, who came down to Kerala on a war expedition,  wanted to demolish the temple like Adooru Mahalingeswara temple during his invasion of Coorg, Tulunadu, and Malabar. As he  and his army were thirsty after a long journey they decided to drink the temple water  to quench their thirst first. But after drinking water from the  temple tank, Tipu 
changed his mind to destroy  the Garbhagudi/ sanctum  and then marched towards Malabar. However, it is said, he made a cut with his sword on the front wooden panel of the temple, symbolizing the attack. The mark is still visible on the building that is built around the temple well. 
Water tank, Madhur temple,Kasaragod
Above image;  This is the water tank at Madhur temple where Tipu's army quenched their thirst. For unknown reasons, his army never attacked this temple. The temple tank water might have changed Tip's mind upon experiencing some divine vision.  ...........................................

The temple  built in Kerala style  of architecture is of 3-tiered gajaprishta  structure  meaning resembling the back of an elephant.  There are nice  wooden carvings depicting scenes from the  great epic the Ramayana. This well-built temple offers a fine ambiance for those who want to meditate and be at peace with themselves.  The temple is running Vadha Patasala and teach Sanskrit.

The main offering (naivaidyam)  to the deity by the devotees  here is in the form of "Udayastamana". Madhur is famous for this Appa" as the prasad, is a very tasty and mouth-watering.   Among puja rituals "Sahasrappa" (Thousand appas) is popular and is done by devotees once their wish is fulfilled. It is a sort of thanks-giving to the God.  As we may be aware, ''man's success is driven by trust besides his hard work'', this type of offerings is done in many Hindu temples by the devotees.  Yet another  special pooja is Moodappam Seva . It is done by  covering the Mahaganapathi idol  with Appam. This is usually done on a community scale.  This temple is overcrowded on the festival days of Ganesh Chaturthi and Madhur  Bedi.

Local people refer to this temple as the one that escaped the fury of ''Tipu Sultan'' of Mysore.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Alexander Csoma De Koros, an expert in the Tibetan language and Buddhism; his tomb in Darjeeling, India

Tomb of Alexander Csoma De Koros, Darjeeling
Map of Darjeeling, West Bengal.
During the heyday under the East India company rule and later under the direct crown administration after 1859, countless Europeans including evangelists moved over to India to try 
their luck in their profession, passion and skill. Since Calcutta happened to be the main center  of trade, innumerable European families settled there, either working for the English company 
or for the private companies. Some were on their own, takingcare of their livelihood and pursuing their interest. India, being a hot country with horrible summer, the discovery of hill station Darjeeling was a blessing indisguise and mostof the European families would make a beeline to that hill resort to cool off during summer days on the plains. Obviously this place, famous for Darjeeling tea, was visited by well known personalities. Alexander Csoma De Koros was one among them, but, for a different reason. He came to this beautiful hill resort to take an eternal rest in the shadow of the holy ghost.

Alexander Csoma Bust Asiatic Society of Bengal, wikipedia 
Above image:  Hungarian Philologist Alexander Csoma Bust presented by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to the Asiatic Society of Bengal.  de Koros  died at Darjiling in 1842 AD.
Sándor Csoma; 27 March 1784/8 - 11 April 1842)  was born in Kőrös, in Transylvania (today part of Covasna, Romania). His birth date is often given as 4 April, which  is actually his baptism day and the year of his birth is controversial; some authors  put it at 1787 or 1788 rather than 1784.  Hailing from a poor family, the sixth child of András Csoma and his wife, Krisztina Getse (Ilona Göcz). His name in English is written as Alexander Csoma of Koros and in Hungarian Kőrösi Csoma Sándor (Kőrösi means "of Koros). Between 1816 and 1818 he studied Oriental languages; he was Göttingen where he  had a name for his proficiency in 13 languages including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German, and Romanian apart from his native Hungarian. When in  Calcutta  he also mastered Bengali, Marathi and Sanskrit. A scholar in Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan languages, on his  200th birth anniversary in 1984, the Hungarian government released a postal stamp depicting him and his travel. A park in his memory was opened in 1992 at Tar  by none other than the Dalai Lama, a great spiritual leader. 
postal stamp iin honor of  Csoma.
Way back on 1 July 1932 Csoma was  honoured by Hungary by  way of issuing a postage stamps. Again a commemorative postage stamp was issued by Hungary on  30 March 1984, depicting   Csoma, the Master of Tibetan Philology, in the background of a map of Tibet.
We have not heard much about Alexander Csoma De Koros and his activities in India as  we have about other Britishers because of lack of publicity or ignorance.  De Koros, a Hungarian Linguist, philologist, traveller and Orientalist,  was from Koros, Hungary (D.B.O: 4th April 1784).  Being an avid  traveller, his favorite destination was Asia. In 1820s after settling down here, he took keen interest in the Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy. His obsession with the language and religion made him spend much of his time in a productive way.  He was a polyglot, knowing 17 languages. Having gained proficiency in the Tibetan language, he produced the first Tibetan-English dictionary and grammar book. His keen interest in the local language and religion left a deep impression on the natives who called him   Phyi-glin-gi-grwa-pa in Tibetan, meaning “the foreign pupil” and was given the title of Bosatsu or Boddhisatva (Buddhist sainthood) by the Japanese on 22 February 1933 in Japan. Indeed, a great honor and achievement for a foreigner.
Tomb of Alexander Csoma De Koros, Darjeeling
Csoma de Koros, who  is said to be  the founder of Tibetology joined the famous  Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in Calcutta in 1831. The society took keen interest in the Indian languages and did extensive research particularly, in Sanskrit.  In 1833, he became  an Honorary member of the Asiatic Society and in 1834  an honorary member of the Royal Asiatic Society. De Koros was  Librarian of the Asiatic Society from 1837 to 1841.
Statue of Alexander Csoma de Koros riding a yak
An interesting fact emerges from his biography.  De Koros  arrived Lahore (now in Pakistan) all the way from his country on foot, covering a vast distance and different terrains all alone, taking considerable risk to his life. Then he moved on to the monastery of Zangla village in Ladakh via Kashmir,  India. Astonishingly, he covered a long, strenuous journey on a rugged terrain - in total 12000 km from Hungary. It shows his sheer guts and determination to pursue his passion. It was his pioneering works in the Tibetan languages despite his  tough  days in a strange place that attracted the western scholars to take interest in this language. At Zangla, he learned Buddhist philosophy under a Lama and also learned the langauges spoken  there. Later he moved over to calcutta to publish his works. 
Plaque. tomb of Csoma de Kőrös , Darjeeling
That we are being dictated by the edit of god is true in the case of De Koros.  He was on his way to  Lhasa, Tibet  and unfortunately, he could not move far beyond Darjeeling where  he contracted Malaria, a dreadful disease in those days. Medication did not work and De Koros died on 12 April 1942 from  fever in Darjeeling.  He was just 58 years of age.
Located within the Old Christian Cemetery, a mile from the  Darjeeling  town, a  small hexagonal memorial tomb on a low platform is built over the grave of noted Hungarian Philologist Alexander Csoma de Koros who died at Darjeeling in 1842 AD.  The tomb is on Lebong Cart Road which overlooks the Darjeeling town and the tea estates. The Asiatic Society of Bengal, to honor him, erected the monument over his grave, the Hungarian memorial tablet was placed over it. A tablet was placed by the Hungarian government with the words of Count Istvan Szechenyi : "A poor lonely Hungarian, without applause or money but inspired with enthusiasm sought the Hungarian native country but in the end broke down under the burden"

Impressive Navaratna Temple, Pathra, West Bengal - the art form that changes with time!!

The Navaratna Temple complex is on the north bank of river Kansabati, Pathra, west Midnapore distt. West Bengal.  The complex includes several temples, thanks to the Majumdar family who patronized them. Details are sketchy with respect to deities in the temples being worshipped by the people. 
Navaratna temple complex Pathra, West Bengal.
The Hindu temples of West Bengal follow different architectural style and they are altogether different from the Nagara style of Odisha, the Dravidian style of Tamil Nadu and other places. Nor do they have any close affinity with those of Kerala  temples where hard wood is widely used  in the interior. In Bengal, terracotta material is widely used for temple  decorations/ construction.  Like many regions of India, the art forms, native to Bengal are visibly religious in nature and the temples provide an ample opportunity to bring out the nuances of native art. In the 16 and 19th century, brick was widely used in the construction of Hindu temples and obviously they form distinctive groups of sacred monuments as opposed to South Indian temples where granite or other hard stones were used. 
Brick temples of Bengal show a wide range of forms and techniques of construction and they have close link with the  local influences on the region during different periods, Hence various fine artistic forms find expression in brick and terracotta. In Bengal, the temples are manifestations of ever changing culture, religious movements  and arts; they have certain ramification on the artistic adn relief works in the terracotta. The temple art forms keep changing in tune with the changes in the society. The blending  of Hindu and Muslim elements in monuments  is an intrinsic part of Bengali culture. This was after the arrival of Islam in Bengal - 12 or 13th century? The earliest temple artforms show the influence of Mayrian and Gupta periods. In the late 18th century, temples were built in small size with less terracotta decorations. Yo can see decorations only on the front part. At that point of time the economic and social condition of the society had a direct bearing on the nature of the temples  - small in size, less decorative works and minimum embellishments. 

Here at Pathra, there are three other  flat squared roofed Temples adjacent to it and one atchala brick built Temple. Of these, the famous is the Navaratna Temple built in 18th century. AD and having exquisite terracotta ornamentation.
Site plan. Navaratna temple complex Pathra, West Bengal.

The Kalachand Temple complex is on the  northern side of the river embankment  right across  Navaratna complex comprising  rectangular built Dalan type brick Temple  and one rectangular roofless laterite structure fronted by a verandah locally known as Durgamandapa. There is a half-buried Pancharatna Temple made of brick  just obstructing the embankment; there is another damaged  pancharatna Temple at a short distance on the Northern side of big tank and few other small Temples are close-by. .

Monday, 15 July 2019

India's first ever official airmail flight 1911, Allahabad, UP - world's first ''Aerial Post''

First aerial post, Allahabad, India.18 Feb
Though air-plane industry, research and development were mainly taking place in the US and Europe, it was in India, believe it or not the first official airmail flown by air plane took place  deep in the United Provinces.

Walter Windham, an Englishman in 1910 was invited by the United Provinces (now part of Uttar Pradesh) to take part in their annual cultural and commercial exposition in Allahabad  to be held in Feb. 1911. They requested him to bring his planes and spares, etc to conduct demonstration flights to create an interest among the Indians in the art of flying - a  new venture in those days. 
Tndia. 1911First aerial post,
Special cancel used only one day, India, Feb 18, 1911First aerial post,
Experienced French pilot Henri  Pequet was  also in India to hold flying demonstration flights for the United Provinces Exhibition in Allahabad,  During his stay there in Allahabad  for the commercial exposition, one  Rev. W.E.S. Holland, a chaplain of the Holy Trinity Church, Allahabad,  contacted Windham and requested him to help him raise funds for a  youth hostel project. It dawned upon Windham to introduce  aerial post  in India as there was no such facility available and the colonial government and the public were dependent on the overland postal services which were slow and not attractive.  The chaplain  accepted the proposal and Windham approached the postal deptt. Geoffrey  Clarke, Postmaster General of the United provinces and the Director of the Post Office, India granted approval  for mail to be officially received and cancelled  prior to transport by one of Windham's planes.  Postal officials asked Windham to design the cancel. Most mail has a magenta cancellation, but a few examples exist with black ink. The regular postage rate required an additional surcharge as a donation for the Church Hostel Building.

The public was invited to deliver stamped and addressed mail to the Chaplain of the Trinity Church enclosing six pence or annas with each letter to be posted by air. People could also get the mail sent by air with the help of a postal official in the hanger on the parade grounds.The mail flight was scheduled to take place on 18 February 1911, two days earlier. As it happened to be a sensational event, thousands of people saw Pegquet take off with mails.  French pilot Henri Pequet (1888-1974) carried the first official mail flown by an air plane. He carried a sack with about 6,500 plus cards and letters on his Humber biplane. The plane flew a distance of five miles, from an Allahabad polo field, over the Yamuna River, to a place called Naini and took 13 minutes to land there.. All mail received a special cancel depicting an airplane, mountains, and “First Aerial Post, 1911, U. P. Exhibition Allahabad.”.The postal official on the outskirts of Allahabad received the mails, sorted them out for surface transport to destinations world over.
01. The postal mark used on the air mails was  distinctive and made in the postal works in Aligarh, UP.  

02, The event also marked the first ever flight in India and was held during the Maha Kumbh in 1911.

03. The letters bore an official frank "First Aerial Post, U.P. Exhibition, Allahabad. 1911"

04, On the basis of this successful experiment in India, the world's first scheduled airmail post service took place in the United Kingdom between the London suburb of Hendon, North London and the Postmaster General's office in Windsor, Berkshire, on September 9, 1911, as part of the celebrations for King George V's coronation

05, The first official U.S. airmail delivery took place on August 17, 1859. On that day, veteran balloonist John Wise (1808-1879) carried 123 letters and twenty-three circulars from Lafayette to Crawfordsville, Indiana, a distance of thirty miles, in his balloon Jupiter.

Ships named ''Hindostan'' owned by the British in the 19th century - a brief note

 It is the Persian name for India, broadly the Indian subcontinent, which later became an endonym used in Hindi-Urdu. Hindustan is used as a geographic term for the Indo-Gangetic Plain in northern India. The name 'Hindustan' does not have constitutional sanction by  the Constituent Assembly of India, whereas 'Bharat' was adopted as an official name. However, that 'Hindustan' would continue to be used unofficially across the Indian subcontinent.

SS Hindostan (1842)
A number of ships were named Hindostan or Hindustan, after the old name for the Indian subcontinent and they were owned by the British Shipping companies. The following are some well-known ships 150 years ago.
Slave ship.
Hindostan (1819 ship) :
She was launched by William Barnar, Hindostan was launched at Whitby in 1819. She made one voyage, in 1821, transporting convicts to New South Wales. Later, she made two voyages transporting convicts to Van Diemen's Land, one with female convicts (1839), and one with male convicts (1840–1841). When not transporting convicts Hindostan was a general trader, sailing across the Atlantic, to India, and perhaps elsewhere as well. She was lost in 1841.d of Deptford on 3 November 1789 as Hindostan. Hindostan appeared in Lloyd's Register (LR) in 1820 with Williamson, master, Herring, owner, and trade London–Calcutta. She sailed to Calcutta on 25 January 1820 under a license from the British East India Company (EIC).
Hindostan foundered in the Atlantic Ocean on 27 August 1851. Nine of her sixteen crew went down with the ship. Survivors took to a boat and were rescued on 27 September by the schooner Martha Greenow. She was on a voyage from Whitby to Quebec City, Province of Canada, British North America. Ship owned by Christian Richardson & Co.

SS Hindostan (1842): It was a P&O side paddle-wheel steamer that swent down  in a cyclone in Calcutta in 1864 while employed as a store ship. First carried mail from Southampton to Calcutta (sept. 24, 1842) First mail service  in India via sea

The passage to India required larger and sturdy  ships that could stock  more coal and bigger engines capable of withstanding the monsoon season in the Indian Ocean.

The first P&O ship to go to India was the Hindostan which left Southampton on 24th September 1842 and arrived in Calcutta 91 days later. Built in Liverpool under the watchful eye of Charles Wye Williams, she was over 2,000 tons and ten times the tonnage of William Fawcett. Built in Southampton shipyard, it was built to withstand windy  SW monsoon accompanied by heavy winds and rains. 
Designed for the bimonthly Suez to Calcutta service, Hindostan could carry 102 First Class passengers (and their servants) in addition to the mails and cargo. The passenger cabins were in the centre of the ship  to avoid the effect of pitching and rolling  on the high seas. Her sister ship Bentinck, launched a year later, boasted cabins with marble-covered basin stands, mirrors, drawers and writing desks together with a ‘gorgeous’ gilded saloon and a well-stocked library.

SS Hindostan (1863): It was built for British & Eastern Shipping Co., which sold her in 1873 to the New Zealand Shipping Co. That company renamed her Waitara. She sank in 1883 following a collision with Hurunui in the English Channel, with a loss of 20 lives.

SS Hindostan (1869): It  was a P&O steamer that was wrecked on a reef near Madras in 1879.

SS Hindostan - amazing wooden paddle steamer (1842) carried first mail and passengers from England to Calcutta

first ship from Britain carrying mail. SS Hinduostan /
Johnson's Hindostan or British India map, 1864 wikipedia
Above image:  ''Hindustan is derived from the Persian word Hindū cognate with the Sanskrit Sindhu. The Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola. Hence, the Rigvedic sapta sindhava (the land of seven rivers) became hapta hindu in the Avesta. It was said to be the "fifteenth domain" created by Ahura Mazda, apparently a land of 'abnormal heat'. In 515 BCE, Darius I annexed the Indus valley including Sindhu, the present day Sindh, which was called Hindu in Persian. During the time of Xerxes, the term "Hindu" was also applied to the lands to the east of Indus'' ................ (vide:

Do you have any idea about the start of first passenger service including cargo and mail from England to India?  Do you know way back  centuries ago many ocean - going ships carried the name of ''Hindustan''?
SS Hindostan (1842) was a  wooden paddle steamer run by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P & O) sailing between Southampton and Calcutta.  Unfortunately, it sank near Calcutta during a cyclone in 1864.

This was the first ever steam auxiliary ship to run between the Suez Canal and Calcutta; During the early colonial period, when the East India Company became well-established after having taken over the whole of Bengal and adjacent lands, regular navigational shipping services between India and England became a dire necessity.  This was to bring in work force, cargo and mail from England. So, EIC  entered a contract with the P & O company mainly for carrying mail. 
Hindostan ship had three masts for sails and paddles run by 520 horsepower engines, and was capable of carrying 2017 tons; 249 in length, it was made in a  Liverpool dockyard under the direction of  one Charles Wye Williams, marine engineer,  

It began its long voyage on  24  September 1842 from Southampton to Calcutta. It took 91 long days to sail to Calcutta, harbor;  it was a 4,787- mile journey from Calcutta to Suez in 25 days 3 hours made despite SW monsoon winds and rains. It was boon for the mercantile traders. In July 1849 Queen Victoria requested to visit Hindostan at anchor in Southampton water close to Osborne Hose on the Isle of Wight. Indeed, a great honor for the shipping Co - P&O.

It plied via Suez and Calcutta with stopovers at Colombo and Madras. Its very first passage round the Cape of Good Hope to Calcutta was faster than the overland mail to Bombay via Mediterranean  and the Suez. There was provision for 102 First Class passengers, including their servants. It was a bimonthly service between Suez and Calcutta. 
As interesting feature is, giving due importance to the comforts of the passengers on a long journey, the ''passenger cabins'' were in the middle of the ship  where the effect of pitching and rolling will be much less.  


Above image: Left: Riveted steel paddle wheel from a side wheeler paddle steamer on the lake of Lucerne. Right: detail of a steamer..............................
side wheel steamer. en. wikipedia. org.

Above image:  Advance, a Greenock-built American Civil War blockade-running side wheel steamer............................

In the case of a paddle steamer  or steam boat it is   powered by a steam engine that drives paddle wheels to propel the craft through the water. In antiquity, paddle wheelers followed the development of poles, oars and sails, where the first uses were wheelers driven by animals or humans.

In the early 19th century, steam-powered the propulsion using  paddle wheels.  Paddle propulsion was largely superseded by the screw propeller in the later period. and other marine propulsion. This system in marine propulsion  had a higher efficiency,  in rough or open water. Paddle wheels continue to be used by small pedal-powered paddle boats and by some ships that operate tourist voyages. The latter are often powered by diesel engines.